Agent NewsBudgetBuyingCommunityHealthHomesHousingOffice NewsReal EstateRetirementVacation homes January 7, 2021

How to Make Moving With Your Cat or Dog a Success

blog post by Chasity Rodriguez

 

IN A TIME DEFINED IN many ways by the coronavirus pandemic, everyday life is affected constantly as we adapt to changing circumstances. One of the many effects of the pandemic is that more and more people are buying or adopting pets, sometimes referred to as “pandemic puppies,” than ever before.

Simultaneously, an increasing number of people are sheltering in place or being uprooted and going through multiple moves due to major life shifts in how they work or go to school. For many families, that means packing up and making a move with their furry friends in tow.

Moving is not necessarily a fun activity, and we often don’t take into consideration just how stressful it can be for our four-legged friends. Animals, like people, need time to adjust. But with smart preparation and planning, you can make the move successful and easier for your pet, for you and for your new home.

 

Here are five tips to make moving with your pet as pleasant and stress-free as possible:

 

Visit Your New Home Before Moving Day

Introduce your pet to your new home and surroundings the way you might introduce young children to the space (they’re called “fur babies” for a reason, after all). Most people bring their children to their new home a few times prior to an actual move to get them excited about the house and neighborhood. This gives them time to explore and visualize themselves in the new environment and can alleviate some of the stress that may carry over with the major transition.

Try this with your dogs, too – let them sniff around while you’re taking measurements for furniture. Take them for a walk around the block so they can start to familiarize themselves with their new surroundings. Seek out any local dog-friendly parks and research where the best veterinarians and doggy day cares are. You’ll both come to rely on these resources, and it’ll be a great way to meet new people in your neighborhood.

You may be tempted to throw away old, worn-out items prior to your move, but you’ll be glad that you didn’t get rid of your dog’s favorite chew toy or your cat’s beloved scratching post. Having these familiar items present in their new spaces will be key to helping them acclimate and feel right at home.

If you really hate that old dog bed, it doesn’t have to stay in your new house long-term. Keep it around for the first few weeks until the dog adjusts and feels comfortable in its new space. Think about how you would feel if someone tossed your favorite pillow that you simply cannot sleep without.

The same goes for cats. You may feel inclined to get a brand-new litter box for your new home, but hang onto the one they’re familiar with while they get used to the new setting.

Keep Them Away From the Action

No one enjoys the mayhem of moving day. The house is a mess, movers are rummaging around and you’re scrambling to do your best to make sure it all goes as smoothly as possible.

It may be a smart move for families with children to send them to stay with a family member or friend on the actual move day, and do the same with your pet, if possible. You don’t want them to associate their new home with the inevitable chaos and the frazzled mood you are sure to feel on moving day. If you don’t have someone that lives nearby, drop them off at day care or ask a new neighbor if they’d be willing to help.

Prevent Accidental Damages

A move can make pets act abnormally – your dog may decide to use the floor as a bathroom or a cat may scratch up the carpeting. To avoid these potentially costly damages, try to protect your new home as if you were dealing with a new puppy or kitten with some simple precautions.

Lay floor mats down or cover the couch temporarily until you know all the moving jitters have subsided. An accident can create more stress for both of you, and tarnish what should be a loving and peaceful new environment.

Give Them a Room, Then Room to Grow

Cats, in particular, are more likely to feel anxious about their new surroundings. A way to ease their anxiety is to limit their initial access to the whole house or apartment. Create a home base for them in one room that has their favorite toys, water, treats and a litter box, and allow them to acclimate on their own time. Once they’re comfortable there, you can open up additional space for them to explore room by room. If your cat’s home base isn’t the final destination for its litter box, slowly move it closer to the permanent location each day.

Finally, don’t forget to change your pet’s address tags when you relocate. With time, patience and smart planning, everyone will start off on the right foot (or paw) in your new home.

 

By Allison Chiaramonte, Contributor

 

Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director

Windermere Mill Creek

BudgetCommunityHomesHousingOffice NewsReal EstateRetirementVacation homes December 22, 2020

How to Winterize Your Home Checklist

by Chasity Rodriguez

Make sure your home is safeguarded against subfreezing temperatures. Our checklist will help you ensure you’re prepared.

 


Protect Your Pipes

Depending on the region of the United States you’re in, you’ll need to protect your pipes from bursting this winter.

Frozen Pipes: Prevention and Repair

Check Your Fireplace

Animal nests or creosote buildup in your fireplace can be hazardous. Have an annual inspection before building your first fire of the season. Also, soot and other debris build up in the chimney. Call a chimney sweep to thoroughly clean the chimney before your first winter use. You should also vacuum or sweep out any accumulated ash from the firebox.

Clean Your Fireplace

Clean the Gutters

Cleaning your gutters is an important part of winter prep. A good rule of thumb is to have the gutters cleaned as soon as the last leaves have fallen in the autumn. To prevent clogging, inspect and clean the gutters of leaves and other debris. Clean gutters will also allow melting snow to drain properly.

If you want to avoid gutter cleanings, consider gutter guards. They can be made of stainless steel or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and will help keep out leaves, pine needles, roof sand grit and other debris from your gutter. They need to be occasionally brushed off to ensure the guards work to their maximum effectiveness, but it’s not as strenuous as routine cleanings.

Get a Programmable Thermostat

In the winter, the Department of Energy suggests keeping the thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re at home. Lower the thermostat a few degrees while you’re away or sleeping. Switching your thermostat out for a programmable version is a good idea. It’ll let you customize your heating so the system doesn’t run when you don’t need it, keeping your home comfortable and bills down.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Bring in the Outdoors

Cold temperatures, snow and ice can damage outdoor furniture and grills. If possible, store them in the garage or basement. If you have a gas grill with a propane tank, close the tank valve and disconnect the tank first. It must be stored outside. If you don’t have storage space for your items, purchase covers to protect them from the elements. You also need to maintain your grill and cover it before putting it away for the season.

Clean and Maintain Your Grill

Maintain Your Outdoor Equipment

Outdoor power tools, such as mowers and string trimmers, need to be cleaned and maintained prior to storing. If you have a snow blower, it’s time to inspect it before the first snowfall to ensure it’s working properly.

Why Own a Generator

Caring for Outdoor Power Equipment

Save on Your Energy Bills

Call your local power company to see if they conduct energy saving assessments. It’s often a free service where a representative will identify specific changes to make your home more energy efficient and save you money. In addition to the suggestions above, LED light bulbs and water heater blankets can also make a difference.

Make Your Furnace More Efficient

Your furnace will function more efficiently with a clean filter. A dirty filter with trapped lint, pollen, dust, etc., obstructs airflow and makes your furnace run longer to heat your home. Replace filters at least every three months.

Be Roof-Ready

Snow, rain, ice and wind can make it challenging for your home to withstand winter’s wrath. Of particular concern should be your roof. You can get a head start on winterizing your roof with a few key steps.

  • Inspect the roof. Look for broken, frayed, curled or missing shingles; clogged valleys; damaged flashing; or deterioration.
  • Clear leaves, pine needles, dirt and other accumulated debris from the roof.
  • Cut back overhanging branches to prevent damage to shingles and gutters.
  • Install snow guards.
  • Check the attic and ceilings for staining from water leakage. While you’re up there, make sure the attic is properly ventilated to prevent mold and mildew.
  • If you live in an area that’s prone to snow, invest in a snow roof rake.

Protect Windows From Heat Loss

To help keep chilly air from leaking in through window cracks, swap out the lightweight summer curtains with thermal lined curtains or drapes. They’ll help keep your home warm and lower your heating bill. For the windows that don’t get direct sunlight, keep the curtains or drapes closed to keep the cold air out and the warm air in.

Time to Stock Up

Don’t wait for the next big winter storm. Depending on where you live, there are certain staples that are good to stock up on ahead of time.

  • Snow shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • Ice melt
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Weather radio
  • Emergency car kit (extra blankets, radio, ice scraper, car charger, first aid kit, jumper cables)
  • Water and food that doesn’t require cooking or preparation (dried fruit, granola bars, crackers, etc.)
  • Extra pet food

 

 

 

Written by Chasity Rodriguez

Social Media Director

BudgetBuyingCommunityHomesHousingReal Estate October 8, 2020

Everything You Need to Know About HOAs

 

   If you have been shopping for a new home recently, you might have realized that more and more communities have an HOA, and therefore have HOA fees. If you buy a home within an HOA, you have to join it, no matter what. So what is an HOA and are they really worth the fees they charge? Should you pass on your dream home just because it is a part of an HOA? Keep reading to find out more about HOAs and whether they are really as bad as everyone thinks! 

What Really is a Homeowners Association?

   So what really is a Homeowners Association, or HOA? An HOA is an organization in a condominium or other neighborhood community that makes and enforces rules for the people living in that community and how they need to upkeep their homes. If you buy a home within an HOAs jurisdiction you automatically become a member in that HOA. An HOA is usually made up from other people in the neighborhood or community. It is nice that the organization is made up of people in the community, but sometimes this means the HOA could be run by people who don’t necessarily know what they are doing or talking about when it comes to your neighborhoods or homes real value. The rules they make are usually designed to keep the neighborhood looking uniform and nice. The rules typically only apply to the front exterior to the house and target things like the cleanliness  and condition of the property. They are usually just rules about how long you can let your grass grow or what color you can paint your house. There may also be rules about the types of things you can use to decorate your yard with too and when it’s ok to display seasonal decorations. This is to make sure that each home and the overall neighborhood is able to maintain its value overtime. So there is a purpose for the fees that they charge their members.

What Are The Fees Used For?

   The fees that HOAs charge are used for more than just helping them enforce the rules. The fees usually go towards things like paying for landscapers for the neighborhood, amenities like community pools and playgrounds or tennis courts, or even neighborhood events during the year, like a neighborhood block party. The fees can even be applied towards things like trash services and snow removal in the winter. The fees average anywhere from $200-$400 a month depending on the neighborhood, but everything goes toward improving your neighborhood and home value.

Overall Pros and Cons

   Just like anything else you need to consider when buying a home, there are pros and cons to an HOA. The main pros being the HOA rules are there to protect your home’s value and that the fees usually go towards things for the community, like being able to maintain a community pool or events like a block party. Some people would say that an HOA can make a neighborhood closer because of the meetings involved and it usually is made up of members of the community. The main cons are that the management could be inexperienced therefore not making the best decisions and that there are set monthly fees that are usually over $200.


   The best way to think about an HOA fee is to just realize it is an investment in your personal community. Like I stated earlier, more and more neighborhoods seem to be requiring you to pay an HOA fee, and while it might feel like an unwanted and unnecessary fee, it can really benefit you at the end of the day. So I wouldn’t suggest passing on your dream home just because of an HOA fee, because that fee might just make your dream home that much better. 

 

Written By Nikki Allen