Must Read Advice on Adding a New Member to the Family.

        Bringing a new pet into your home can be one of the most exciting life changes. Pets can bring so much joy and company, but they come with their fair share of responsibilities even before they arrive home for the first time. Here’s how you can prep your home for a new pet.

But first, here’s something to keep in mind…

When adopting a pet into your home, you should brace yourself for potential damages. A kitten or puppy can often have accidents in the house during training, so keep this in mind as you get your home ready for a new furry friend. Wood or linoleum floors and leather or vinyl furniture are the easiest to clean. As always, if you’re renting your home, be sure to check with your landlord before adopting a pet.

Clean your house from top to bottom

Just as you would want to clean your house before having visitors over, you’ll also want to clean before taking in a new member of your family. If you are introducing a pet into your home for the first time, it’s a good idea to start with a clean slate. We recommend cleaning your entire home from top to bottom. This way, you can go over every room and ensure that it is clean and orderly (and make sure there aren’t any forgotten messes or areas that your new furry friend may get into).

Pet proof your home

After giving your home a deep clean, it’s time to make it pet-proof. Much like baby-proofing a home, pet-proofing requires assessing the areas that your pet will be able to access and make sure they are safe. Ensure your cabinets aren’t easily accessed so your new pet can’t get into any food or harmful chemicals. If you can, opt for washable area rugs instead of carpet, in case your new pet has an accident. One of your main priorities should be to secure all door and window screens (and secure your yard or patio area, if you have one) to make sure your pet won’t be able to escape your home.

Organize a personal space for your new pet

Next, we recommend finding an area of your home that can be your new pet’s personal space. As humans, we value having areas in our home that are designated for relaxation, and your pet will value this, as well. Organize a sleeping area for your new pet, an area for their food, and an area for the litter box if your new pet is a cat. Having an official area for sleeping will help your pet feel right at home. If you’re adopting a cat, try purchasing a scratching post or tower to prevent damage to your furniture. If you’re adopting a dog, make sure you have plenty of toys.

Overall, pets can bring so much life and joy to a home, but keep in mind how much maintenance they can be.



Some Useful Advice On One Of The Most Hectic Aspects Of Selling Your Home.

That 30-60 day period between accepting a buyer’s offer and closing the deal is a busy time for both parties.

While the buyers are focused securing financing and making sure the house is as it appears to be, sellers are mainly concerned with 1) proving that they have the right to sell the property, and 2) making sure the buyers are aware of the true condition of the property.

Here’s an outline of what sellers can expect during the closing process.

Disclosure and Clear Title

First, you’ll probably need to disclose any material facts about the property to the sellers. The requirements vary by state, but often include items like known water damage, structural issues and liens.

You will also need to address any clouds on title. If the title company finds any discrepancy in ownership or encumbrance that could invalidate your clear title, these will need to be removed before title can transfer to the buyer. Common title issues include things like foreclosure proceedings, liens from contractors who have not received payment for their work on the property, and probate issues when the owner of record has passed away and the house is being sold by the deceased’s estate.

Appraisal and Inspections

An appraisal will be completed (at the buyer’s expense) to assure the buyer’s lender that the property is worth the sales price. Sellers typically don’t need to do anything except make the property available to the appraiser.

The buyers will also probably want a home inspection, so the property will need to be made available to the inspector. Inspections often uncover maintenance issues in the home that may require repairs. The buyers will notify you shortly after the inspection to make any requests for repairs or to ask for a price reduction to account for the cost of the required repairs.

These requests are entirely negotiable. You can agree to some, or all, of the requests. Or you can refuse and risk losing your buyer. A good real estate agent is invaluable at this stage of the transaction. They know industry standards regarding who typically pays for what, they can offer practical advice, free from the emotion that goes with being the homeowner, and they can often save a deal threatened by the results of an inspection.


At this point, you have a bit of waiting to do, typically a couple weeks while the seller works with their lender to secure financing. But you’ll probably be so busy packing you won’t miss the hustle of the transaction!

Signing the Paperwork

Just a few days before the closing date, you’ll get to sign the small mountain of paperwork that accompanies every real estate transaction.

It’s generally helpful to request a copy of the documents before your signing appointment so you can read everything through in your spare time. That way you won’t be rushed through while the notary waits for you to read the docs at the signing appointment.

Moving Out

That’s it! Now you just need to leave a few things for the buyers: keys, garage door remotes, appliance and system manuals and warranties, etc.

Then you can turn off the lights, lock the doors, and embrace a new chapter in your life!



Tips And Tricks On How To Save A Little Extra Money

Home and appliance upgrades can lighten your wallet. However, in the long run, you can actually pad your wallet with money you save by investing in certain upgrades.

Not all home upgrades are created equal in terms of saving money. Explore some of the smartest home upgrades you can invest your money in to save some green.

Smart Thermostat:

Programmable thermostats electronically control the temperature and heating system in your house. Smart thermostats make it easy to stay energy efficient and properly control the temperature in your home.

These thermostats make your home more energy efficient and will significantly reduce the energy you use on heating and cooling your home.

While some of these thermostats can start as high as $500, you’ll easily make this and more back in the long term. Smart thermostats can save you almost $150 per year. In Canada, studies show up to almost $100 savings per year.

Upgraded Dishwasher:

Older models of dishwashers are extremely inefficient. They can use up to 10 gallons of water per cycle, which may make your utility bills skyrocket. Newer models of dishwashers can run cycles with half that amount of water to save you money on your utilities.

Compared to non-certified dishwashers, Energy Star certified dishwashers save 30% more water and are 12% more energy efficient. A new dishwasher can be pricey, but the energy (and money) you’ll save with a new model will pay off.

Ceiling Fans:

With summer approaching, most people are getting ready to shut the windows, crank up the air conditioner, and bliss out while eating popsicles.

However, blasting your air conditioner all summer is a surefire way to have ridiculously high bills and use up a ton of energy. Supplementing air conditioner use with ceiling and house fans will reduce the amount of energy you use when using an air conditioner by itself.

Fans work to reduce the temperature in your home using less energy than an AC system. Certain days and nights may be bearable with fans alone, allowing you to turn off your AC.

Buying and installing ceiling fans can cost anywhere from $300-$400 dollars. But, they will likely reduce your energy bills and save you money each year, quickly making up for your initial investment.

Solar Panels:

Solar energy is only becoming more popular with over 1.3 million solar installations in the U.S in 2016, a number which doubled since 2015. In Canada, solar isn’t as popular as other renewable fuel options but, the number of panels are growing significantly, specifically in Ontario.

Solar panel installation will save you on energy bills by converting the sun’s rays into usable energy.

Not only will your energy bills be reduced with the addition of solar panels to your home, but you can also get some tax credits and rebates if you’re a U.S resident. These credits can amount to thousands of dollars that will go right in your pocket.

Overall, the lifetime savings you’ll get from solar panels can range from $10,000 to approximately $45,000 depending on where you’re living. That doesn’t include the fact that solar panels can add an estimated $15,000 to the value of your home in both the U.S and Canada.  



Common Misconceptions Clarified

        The real estate world is full of myths. Myths that prevent people from making smart decisions when buying and selling and keep people from maximizing their real estate returns.

        Let’s count down the top five biggest real estate myths. And debunk each one!

Myth #5. You shouldn’t buy right now because interest rates are rising.

        Rising interest rates are a great reason to buy right now!  Historically speaking, interest rates are still exceptionally low. Throughout the 70s, interest rates ranged between seven and 12 percent. The 80s saw double-digits, reaching over 18 percent at one point. The 90s were more in the seven to nine percent range.

        Today, you can still get a mortgage loan under five percent with good credit. If you plan to buy, do it now before rates rise!

Myth #4. You need a 20% down payment to buy a house.

        This myth is a relic of previous generations, when you really did need a 20 percent down payment to get a mortgage and buy a house. That was when homes prices were $100,000, so 20 percent down was a large but manageable $20,000. Now that home prices in some major metro areas top $400,000, lenders have come up with different financing arrangements for all of us who couldn’t possibly come up with an $80,000 down payment.

        One of the most popular options for low down payments is an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan. Not only do FHA loans provide a route to home ownership with as little as 3.5 percent down (just $14,000 on a $400,000 home), but they can also work with less-than-stellar credit.

        Don’t dismiss buying a home because of the down payment, talk to a lender and explore your options.

Myth #3. Real estate investing is just for the rich.

        It’s easy to see where this myth comes from: real estate typically requires a substantial investment, so people assume it’s only for investors who have money to spare.

        But there are so many ways for the 99 percent to start investing in real estate! Instead of buying a single-family home, buy a duplex or triplex. You can live in one unit while you make money renting out the other units. You can also take advantage of low down payment programs or find investment partners and pool your money to purchase your first investment property.

Myth #2. You need to leave yourself room to negotiate when deciding on a list price or offer.

        Sophisticated buyers and sellers don’t have time for games.

        If you over-price your house to “leave room to negotiate”, buyers will assume you’re unreasonable and will steer clear. And sellers will dismiss low-ball offers from buyers just as easily.

        If you’re serious about buying or selling, stick with real, reasonable numbers from the very beginning.

Myth #1. Going for sale-by-owner will save you money.

        It’s tempting to cut real estate agents out of a real estate transaction to avoid paying the commission. But it can actually cost you money.

First, your home will sell for less. You don’t have the connections or marketing reach of a real estate professional and buyers who only look at for sale-by-owner are typically looking for a steal, so they offer less.

        Second, you’ll spend your own time and energy on the transaction, and your home will sit on the market longer. Time is money!

        Third, what if something goes wrong? Are you prepared to navigate the unusual legal and financial issues real estate agents deal with routinely? A single missed clause in the contract could potentially cost you thousands.

        Don’t fall for this myth. To protect your financial interests, hire a professional to represent you in your real estate transactions.


close to home

Keeping Your Furniture Safe While Moving

                                                                                                              If you are spending time and energy moving from one home to another, you probably want to make sure that your possessions do not get damaged in the process.  Here are a few tips that have helped both I and clients that I have worked with in the past.

Have the proper packing supplies

Before you start moving any furniture, you should be sure to have all of the necessary packing materials and supplies. This includes furniture pads, moving blankets, plastic or bubble wrap (for furniture other than wood), foam padding, packing tape, and other items that will help you during the moving process. Purchasing and gathering these materials in advance will make your moving process easier and smoother, and it map also provide you with some peace of mind knowing that you are prepared to protect your furniture.

Clean your furniture prior to moving

You should also prioritize cleaning your furniture prior to moving. Clean off all surfaces, making sure there is no dust, grime, or residue lingering on your furniture. Also be sure that you have cleared off all decorations and other items from your furniture so that everything is ready to be moved. This will ensure that your possessions are in their best shape before the move.

Take pictures

Taking pictures is the perfect way to keep a record of the condition of your furniture prior to your move. If you are hiring a moving service or if others are helping you during the moving process, it is important that you document the condition of your furniture before the move so you can compare the photos to the condition of the furniture after it has been transported to your new home. This way you will know if anything was damaged during transport. Even if you are not hiring movers, it is still helpful to keep a record of your furniture to check the condition of it (or to be sure that everything made it to your new home and nothing was forgotten).

Disassemble your furniture, if possible

If your furniture has the ability to be disassembled, we advise that you do so. It is easier to pack furniture like dining room sets and bed frames once it is disassembled. The tighter and more carefully furniture is packed, the less likely it is to be damaged.

Wrap and pack your furniture safely

As we mentioned before, it is important to be prepared with the proper packing items so that your furniture can be wrapped and packed safely. That means covering everything with the proper padding, packing the furniture tightly in the moving vehicle, and tying large items down so they do not move during transit.

Label your furniture

To minimize confusion post-transit and to prevent furniture from being unnecessarily moved all around your new home, label your furniture according to the area of your home where it belongs.

Use a dolly

It is important to use the proper equipment to move your items so that nothing is damaged and nobody gets injured. When loading, unloading, and moving heavy items, use a dolly and carefully maneuver it to protect yourself and your furniture.

What are your best tips for keeping your furniture safe while moving?

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The first blog entry!

        Welcome to the first blog entry on our website!  Today I will be breaking down for you one of my favorite cities within the Minnesota.  This wonderful city is Minneapolis, otherwise known as the largest and most prevalent city within our wonderful state of Minnesota.  Minneapolis, alongside Saint Paul, makes up the Twin Cities which is the sixteenth largest metropolitan area within the United States.  The city is currently home to over 400,000 residents with more living nearby in the many suburbs of Minneapolis.  

        There are many wonderful highlights and attractions within Minneapolis that are spread all throughout the city!  Minneapolis is truly a city for everyone, regardless of what your background or interests pertain to.  If you are into theater and the performing arts, Minneapolis is home to the iconic Guthrie theater which opened in 1963.  This theater is nationally renown, and routinely hosts excellent plays and musicals that can create wonderful memories.  Minneapolis is also home to a great deal of incredible and appealing sports teams, some of which include the Minnesota Timberwolves, The Minnesota Vikings, and the Minnesota Twins.  Each of these sports teams have had their own individual moments in which they shined right in the wonderful city of Minneapolis itself!

        The city of Minneapolis is also a wonderful city in regards to ease of access to parks and schools.  There is a wide and diverse array of schools within the city of Minneapolis that each can cater to different children's needs.  In the case of parks, Minneapolis has some of the most iconic, and most breathtaking in the state.  No matter where you live in the city, rest assured, there is always a park somewhere nearby for your convenience and enjoyment.  One of the most well known parks in Minneapolis is Minnehaha park which is home to the incredibly popular Minnehaha falls.  Minneapolis is one of the top cities within not only Minnesota, but the nation as well.  Regardless of what type of person you are, the city can offer you something unique, and of your individual taste!




Congratulations to Artemisa Boston for achieving in 2017, The Chairman and Double Diamond Award and Tom Yang for the Diamond Award 2017!