Fall tips for your home!

Hello,

Children and animals have a habit of getting themselves into dangerous situations. Find tips to make your home and yard safer for dogs and small children below. We have also added some information on the hidden costs of homeownership in case you know anyone who is thinking about buying a home. If you or someone you know is thinking about buying or selling a home, let us know. We’ll be glad to help!

Tips to Protect Your Yard and Dog

Some dogs are natural diggers, while others may think nothing of hopping over a four foot tall fence. Some may trample your garden, while others are plant shredders, deck chewers, or destructive in other ways. If you don’t already know how your pet will react in your yard or garden, do some research into your dog’s breed to find out what behaviors they may be predisposed to. Then, take the appropriate precautions.

Plants
A surprising number of popular plants are toxic to dogs. Avoid using daffodils, chrysanthemum, peonies, iris, lily of the valley, begonias, black walnuts, hydrangeas, and mushrooms in areas dogs can access. If your pup is hard on the grass, consider using clover or artificial turf instead of traditional grass.

Materials
Are the mulch and building materials in your yard are pet-safe? If you have a deck, make sure the material doesn’t get too hot or too cold in extreme temperatures. Also consider whether their nails could get caught in the material. If you have bait for killing pests, make sure it’s placed somewhere your pet can’t access.

Fences
Fences serve a two-fold purpose of keeping your pets in and keeping intruders and predators out. Make sure your fence is up to the job. If your dog jumps, consider a privacy fence or a fully enclosed dog run. If you pet digs under fences, you can put flagstone or another border around your fence to keep your dog from tunneling out.

The Hidden Costs of Home Ownership

Buying a home is a big decision that will impact your life for years to come. Choosing the right house in the right location and the right price point can help you live your best life. But how do you know how much you can afford? There are many hidden costs involved in homeownership that must be taken into account to ensure you’re not overextending your budget.

Insurance
Until you pay off your mortgage, the bank owns part of your home and will require you keep it insured. Even after it’s paid off, insurance is an essential part of protecting your investment. In addition to homeowner’s insurance, you may also need mortgage insurance. This fee is attached to mortgages when less than 20% is put down on the home. Mortgage insurance usually runs around 1% of the value of your loan.

Property Taxes
Property taxes cover expenses for things like public works, schools, police, and fire departments. A lot of mortgages will wrap the cost of your property taxes and insurance into the monthly payment, but this expense won’t usually be included in your initial loan quote. The national property tax average is $6,000 a year, but the exact amount you pay will vary based on location and property.

Maintenance
When you rent your home, all you have to do is reach out to your landlord if something breaks down. When you own your home, you’re responsible for any broken refrigerators, clogged pipes, and anything else that needs upkeep. Even expenses covered by your insurance company will typically involve a deductible. Budget for at least $3,000 a year for maintenance and upkeep on your home.

3 Home Features for Families with Young Children

Safety, convenience, space, and design are all important elements to consider when you start thinking about where you’ll live. Whether you’re custom building your home or looking for one that feels like it was made for you, here are three features you may be interested in if you have young children.

Open Floor Plans
It’s not always easy to keep track of young children, even at home. An open floor plan can help. Instead of walled-off spaces, choose open sightlines so you can do what you need to do around your home while keeping track of what your children are up to.

Room for Toys
Designating a specific room for the bulk of your children’s toys is a good way to keep the rest of your home organized. A spare bedroom, bonus room, or a finished basement or garage can work well as a playroom. Once the kids are older, the playroom can be converted into a study, office, or home gym.

A Matter of Safety
Children are naturally adventurous, and it’s in their nature to explore. Because of this, there’s no such thing as an entirely child-proof home when young children are involved. But there are features you can look for that offer greater peace of mind, such as counters with rounded corners instead of sharp edges. If you’re interested in a multi-story home, check for sturdy railings with narrow gaps between each slat that your child can’t get stuck in or fit between.

Whether your family members have four paws or two feet, I can help you find a home that will suit your lifestyle. Let’s set some time to discuss your housing needs. In the meantime, let me know if you or someone you know has any questions about buying or selling a home!

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