Back-To-School Organization

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Back-to-School OrganizationWith school starting, it’s time to do a little reorganizing to make early mornings and after-school activities run smoothly. When starting school after moving to a new home, consider some of the additional challenges your children face and plan accordingly. Implement changes to the household gradually so that your kids adjust before that big first day!

Bedtime

Over the summer, kids typically wake later in the morning and fall asleep later in the evening. To ease the adjustment, begin walking back the bedtime hours until you reach the optimum time at least a few days before the start of school. To help in the transition, install blackout curtains in bedrooms and avoid blue light from television, computer, tablet and phone screens.

Breakfast and Lunch

Stock your refrigerator with quick, nutritious options for breakfast and to-go lunches. Choose health-conscious options that your kids like and have them help you pack their lunch the night before school.

Clothing

If your children wear uniforms, having several options so that you don’t have to launder them at night during the week is helpful. Have children pick out their clothes the night before. Create a special space in their closets just for school clothes so you can tell at a glance if you need to replenish their wardrobe before the weekend.

Shoes

Creating a shoe station at the door saves time on hunting for that lost shoe and keeps wet, dirty or muddy prints from tracking through the house. Consider a separate shoe cubby for each child and hang hooks above each cubby for jackets and backpacks. If your child plays sports, create a separate cubby for uniforms, equipment and sports shoes.

After-School Snacks

Set up an afterschool snack station in a basket or decorative bin on your counter and a specific shelf in your refrigerator for juice, sports drinks and veggies or fruit.

Homework

Create a homework station. For younger children, a specific space off the kitchen or living area keeps supplies and assignments contained and organized. Set up organizer boxes for each child to place assignments and set a calendar and bulletin board above the station to keep track of due dates, after-school activities and special events.

Older kids benefit from having a desk or study area in their rooms or a quieter office space, but a calendar on the outside of the door lets you keep track of their schedule while offering them some privacy.

Preparing For the Big Day

Starting a new school in a new neighborhood requires advance preparation. If your child walks to school, take the time to go over several routes to and from school. Learn where crossing guards assist on busy streets and where sidewalks offer safety as they walk to and from school. Locate bike lanes and the safest biking routes from your home. Locate bus stops and learn the correct bus numbers.

If you’re looking for a home in a specific school district or need information about your neighborhood schools, please give us a call!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS 904-515-2479 The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside.

Compliments of Virtual Results

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The PERFECT Summer Yard Sale

woman in grey shirt holding brown cardboard box

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

We’ve been helping families get their homes ready for sale this summer and yard sales have been big on everyone’s to-do list.

Even if you’re not moving, yard sales can be a fun summer activity. They give you a chance to clean out storage spaces, socialize with people, and put a few dollars back in your pocket. (It’s also a safe place for kids to run a lemonade stand… one of those great summer traditions!)

While helping our clients plan their yard sales, we came across this super website for planning yard sales. Just in case you’re kicking around the idea, it’s been handy for others:

http://www.yardsalequeen.com

Have a perfect yard sale and if you are hosting a yard sale to get your home ready to sell, please get in touch – Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

Summertime…and the Grilling’s Easy

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BBQThe good weather’s on its way. Let’s fire it up!

Whether you’re a die-hard charcoal fan, or more of a Hank Hill “taste the meat not the heat” propane griller, we hope you enjoy these tips and recipes. One of the great joys of owning your own home is making a space for a little outdoor cooking. It can be hard to grill on an apartment balcony!

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (http://www.hpba.org/) recently shared these interesting facts for National Barbecue Month. You can see why grilling is so popular!

81% of Americans report that at least one aspect of grilling outside is easier than cooking indoors. The most convenient parts are cited as cleanup (49%) followed by the cooking process itself (40%).

The majority of adults (58%) agree that cooking out is more fun and relaxing than dining out and beneficial for avoiding travel (58%), dress codes (57%) and crowds (56%).

70% of Americans say cooking out gets them in a healthier routine, specifically by encouraging time spent outdoors instead of cooped up in the house. Outdoor cooking also encourages adults to make smarter food choices such as eating fresh rather than frozen foods (54% agreed) and cooking healthier food on the grill overall (40% agreed).

(Source: http://www.hpba.org/consumers/barbecue/national-barbecue-month-2011-summertime-and-the-grilln-is-easy)

Get your tongs, spatulas, brushes, rubs, marinades, and skewers ready. Grilling doesn’t always have to be about meat. If it grows, you can grill it, and adding garden variety fruits and veggies can transform a BBQ experience. Check out 15 amazing recipes, recently featured on the Pacific Coast Farmer’s Market website:

15 Great Seasonal Grilling Recipes:

https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/seasonal/4th-of-july-recipes

Also: Don’t neglect to “set the stage” for grilling when selling your home. Dressing the patio for cookouts can get your buyers thinking of the fun summer afternoons ahead.

Invite the neighbors (and your real estate agent!) over and get grilling!

Looking for a patio you can call your own? Time to upgrade from no back yard to a grill-worthy lot? Get in touch with us today! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

 

Are you Emotionally Ready to Sell?

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3861 Michaels Landing Cir E-MLS_Size-001-21-Welcome to 3861 Michaels-1024x768-72dpi
We love to sell homes. It’s a privilege and an honor to be a part of the process. We get great satisfaction from making our living helping people move on to the next phase of their life, whether it’s upsizing, downsizing, or simply relocating to a new neighborhood.

But there is one sort of home seller we can’t really help: The seller who’s not really ready to sell.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, don’t enter into the process lightly. It’s a big deal. There’s some stress and there’s a great opportunity for joy. There’s a big investment at stake. This, along with a lot of other reasons large and small, is why you want to be 100% sure you’re ready to sell your home. If you think you’re ready to sell, but it turns out you’re not, you waste a lot of time and energy (and sometimes money).

So how do you know if you’re really ready to sell your home?

1. You’re fine with the process. You must have no problem with the idea of a stranger poking around your house, talking about renovating it, or treating it like a used car. If you’ve lived in your house a long time, it’s natural to have emotional attachments. So if the process of selling the house makes you feel protective or defensive, you may not be ready.

2. You are flexible on the right price. Motivated sellers understand selling a home involves negotiation and competitive market pricing. If you have a number “you must get” in order to sell, then you might want to think again. Also, if all of the agents who price your home come back too low for your standards, take a breather and ask yourself if it’s go time or not.

3. You know where you’re going next. Prepared sellers have plans, even if those plans aren’t 100% firm. They’re anticipating the move and they are probably even shopping for houses, if only casually at the moment. If you can’t clearly answer the question, “Where would you like to live after you sell?” then you’re not quite there yet.

If you’re iffy on any of these, take a step back and consider how you feel. While some markets favor sellers more than others, a home can sell in any market for the right price. Don’t jump into something before you’re ready.

However, when you’re ready, we’re happy to help. Give us a call when the time is right:

Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

Baby-Proof your Home

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pexels-photo-315265.jpegYou may not have kids right now, but chances are you may be entertaining guests one day who do. You can put your guests at ease and do your best to protect their little ones from harm by investing in some modest pre-visit baby proofing. Here are some sound strategies to make their visit low-stress and safe:

Mind the Power and Appliances
Outlets are enemy #1. Baby fingers are like magnets for electricity, so splurge on some plastic outlet covers which fit snugly into those empty sockets. If you have any multi-socket power strips around, be sure to cover those as well (or elevate them out of harm’s reach). Depending on the age of your youngest visitors, some may be able to reach knobs and buttons on appliances like your stove. Exploring hands can accidentally turn on the gas, so if you think your kitchen will be vulnerable, invest around $10 on stove knob covers.

Make Some Rooms Off-Limits
It may not be practical to baby proof every inch of your house, so make certain zones baby-free by using gates. Sturdy, simple, pressure-mounted gates will protect certain passages and prevent you from making any permanent holes in your wall. Alternately, use door knob covers to make even unlocked rooms less likely to be prone to an infant invasion.

Fight Falling Objects
Babies are all about testing gravity, and as they try to bring themselves upright, they’re liable to tug on anything within arm’s reach. This might include your entertainment center, bookshelf, floor lamps, or other furniture. Are there any precarious pieces which might tumble down and seriously injure a child? Consider pieces on top of shelves (like decorative glassware) which could be shaken down through modest force.

Curtail the Cords
Power cords and curtain (or blind) cords can cause falls, entanglement, or even strangulation. Tie these up out of the way or too high for a baby to reach from the floor.

Get Down and Look Around
A baby will put anything in its mouth. That will include choking hazards, dropped medications, or stray chemicals such as rat poison or cleaners. Shift your perspective to the floor and look for anything suspicious.

Some homes are more kid-friendly than others. If you’re looking for a great home for little ones, we can help you find one today!: Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside – 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

7 Ways Downsizing Saves Money

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pexels-photo-723876.jpegDownsizing is hardly a dirty word these days, especially as Baby Boomers begin to question the size of their home, and more Millennials are finally making their way into the world. Home ownership is a good investment at any size, and if you’ve ever wanted to free up some cash for the rest of life’s joys (travel? new hobbies? investing?), downsizing can be a great way to rightsize your budget. Here are seven ways downsizing can foster a little more financial freedom:

1. Utility costs. If your gas and electric bills have been climbing year over year, consider the pleasant surprise of heating and cooling 1,200 sq. ft. instead of 3,500. Controlling the climate in empty spare bedrooms is pointless when you don’t need the room. What’s more, you can count on fewer houseguests with less space, and this, in turn, can decrease utility costs.

2. Maintenance costs. How big is that lawn? How many rooms need to be refreshed with a coat of paint? How many windows do you need to wash, and what about the size of that driveway that must be repaired and sealed?

3. Insurance. Your insurance bill is based in large part on your appraisal, and if your new home is smaller, your insurance bill should shrink as well. (This can vary based on location and levels of coverage, of course, but you would be hard pressed to insure less for more!)

4. Property taxes. Much like insurance, tax rates tend to be based on a percentage of assessed value. Here’s a few more dollars back into your wallet.

5. Repairs. How many toilets do you need to have fixed? Appliances? Light fixtures to keep lit? The smaller home has fewer leaking faucets and a smaller roof to replace. Your overall spend on maintenance goes down when you have less home to maintain.

6. Furniture. Downsizing is a perfect opportunity to sell excess furniture and find keep only those pieces well-loved or essential for your new smaller space.

7. Hosting and entertaining. When you’ve got that sprawling home, your place is ground zero for out-of-town guests, relatives, and holiday parties. As your space shrinks, so does your annual hosting and entertaining budget. Besides, if you really want to throw a shin-dig, you can take some of that downsizing cash and pick a perfect venue.

Looking to downsize and redirect that extra cash? Get in touch: Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

Real Estate’s Potential for the Greatest Good

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group final“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.”

-Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881); Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

What does it mean to reveal a person’s riches to themselves? What is the mechanism by which you can even accomplish such a thing? And what does it have to do with your real estate agent?

Quite a bit!  A real estate agent has the power to reveal their clients’ self-possessed riches.

One, a good agent will help clients see how a home is an investment in their future. That they are investing in themselves, and the decision to do so is a mark of their own wisdom.

Two, a good real estate agent helps guide clients through an emotionally fraught transaction, which often shows they have deeper reserves of self-confidence and strength that they may have overlooked in the past.

Three, a real estate agent helps foster a sense of trust and interdependency — that we can, in this world, rely on others to represent our best interests, and that we are not in a perpetual state of “king of the mountain” and abject self-reliance. A client with a good agent has both a friend and a professional ally.

Whether you’re buying your first house or selling your home, there’s both a tangible, bottom-line difference when working with an agent, as well as valuable intangible benefits. For us, it’s a great privilege to be a professional part of that process!

We’d love the opportunity to “the greatest good” on your behalf.  Now is a great time to make your next move: Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

Ranking Your Home Priorities

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shutterstock_111388436Buying a home is exciting. A new neighborhood. More space. A yard. A shorter commute. There are all kinds of reasons people get amped up to go house hunting online and start dreaming of a new home. But when the market is competitive and sellers have an advantage, finding a home that is truly “perfect” is increasingly hard to do. Sometimes this keeps people from buying, and often excellent opportunities are missed simply because buyers sit on the sidelines hoping for perfection.

On one hand, this makes sense. A home is a huge investment. Why rush into it? You want to get it right. But on the other hand, buyers forget that a home is an investment. People sometimes allow themselves to become blinded by the thought that they’re locked into a home, when in reality a home is often only held for seven to ten years on average. What you want to keep in mind as you shop is how well you’ll do from an investment perspective over time.

Adopting an investment mindset means looking at the prospects of a neighborhood, buying at a fair price, and considering factors which may not even matter to you personally as you shop for a home. Yes, you want to be comfortable. Yes, you want it to have the right layout and enough space for your needs. But you also want to imagine who might buy the home in the future.

Even if a home is not ideal, there are factors you should rank before you make an offer. Savvy investors know these four factors can have a giant impact on price when the time comes to reap a return:

1. Affordability. Look for value. Homes which are below median prices are worth a second look, simply because they allow you to prevent yourself from becoming “house poor” in your mortgage while setting yourself up for a larger return when you sell.

2. Schools. You may not have kids or want kids at the moment, but it’s a fact that good schools will help you sell and bad schools will hurt. Check into the local schools on a website like GreatSchools.com.

3. Transit and walkability. Ditching the car in favor for walkability and public transportation is a plus for a home’s value. How’s shopping and entertainment nearby? Check WalkScore.com.

4. Crime rates. BestPlaces.net will give you some insight into local crime rates. Even if crime rates aren’t ideal, see if there are any trend indications. If they’re going to improve, that could mean money in your pocket in the future.

Need more advice during your home search?  Call our team buyer experts today! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

6 Pre-Inspection Tips for Sellers

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1 (1024x676)Everyone wants a smooth home inspection. Sellers, buyers, agents… everyone’s rooting that this high-stakes moment passes without a hitch. Add to that list the home inspector, too! Save time, save money. If you’re selling, there are things you can do to make the home inspector’s job easier and help ensure the most accurate report possible.

1. Declutter your appliances. Get the pots off the stove, remove pans stored in the oven, take that bowl out of the microwave, and check the washer and dryer bins for clothes. While all of these appliances need to be tested, you don’t want an inspector rummaging through your laundry or scorching a pot to get the job done.

2. Replace burned-out lightbulbs. If a light switch doesn’t work, the inspector will need to determine if it’s a problem with the fixture itself. Take the time to hunt down those lightbulbs that might be out-of-the way, too… (Closets, attics, basements, guest rooms, etc.)

3. Keep access doors clear. You might have furniture blocking seldom-used crawlspace entrances, or the space for the pull-down stairs up to the attic may be obstructed. Make these entryways clear to the inspector and save them the time and hassle of getting into hidden areas.

4. Be honest about what doesn’t work. Don’t deceive your home inspector or hope they’ll overlook something. It’s bound to come out, and failure to disclose home defects can be a legal hassle down the line. Know the garbage disposal is broken? Say so. Leave notes for the inspector or prepare them in advance with an email message, etc.

5. Point out pumps and septic tank locations. If you have your own well and septic system, make sure the location of these is clearly described for the inspector. Annotate a photo or draw a simple map if need be.

6. Check your smoke detectors. People forget to change batteries in smoke detectors, and if you’ve neglected yours (or taken them down to change batteries and left them in the garage!) double-check to make sure they’re in place and functioning.

Naturally, this list assumes you’ve made any pre-inspection repairs you want to address. Want a more information about the home inspection process? Get in touch with us today: Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com