Making Good Neighbors

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teamphoto-houseLiving next door to someone doesn’t make you a neighbor. It makes you the stranger next door! One of the great opportunities we have in our communities is the chance to build real, meaningful relationships with the people who live closest to us.

While I understand the desire for privacy, I think it’s important we realize that regular, helpful communication with our neighbors makes us both safer and paves a smooth road for difficult conversations we might face with our neighbors in the future.

It doesn’t take much to start off the right way. Consider leaving a nice note in their mailbox, a small “thank you” gift for looking out for the neighborhood, or some other “olive branch” act that will build rapport.

Small gestures such as a nice note about landscaping, an invitation to a potluck, or an “all hands on deck” community improvement project allow us to get to know our neighbors. This is vital when you consider the people around you are the most likely to spot smoke in a fire, clue you in to suspicious activity, and have the opportunity to share vital local information.

What’s more, if you build a positive base with your neighbors, when the time comes to have a difficult conversation (such as a nuisance dog, kids running amok, or intrusive lighting issues), you’ll have a buffer of mutual respect and goodwill to draw on.

If your opening conversation with a neighbor is a complaint, you’re setting yourself up for a long, antagonistic relationship. Who wants to live next to that?

We think a civil community depends upon our connection to our neighbors. We all benefit when we depend on and trust one another!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

Making A Move To A New Home With Kids

Making a Move to a New Home with KidsAmidst the excitement of moving to a new home is a lot of stress for families with younger children. Often they don’t understand what is happening. That can make them feel powerless and afraid. Here are some ideas for turning those stressors into an adventure for your little ones.

Involve children in decisions

House-hunting with children is neither practical nor advisable since you cannot expect a home to be childproofed. You can, however, sit down with your children and ask them what would be most important in a new home. Do they love the outdoors … a big yard is in order, or a home near a great park, or both! If a tree-house is on their radar, be on the lookout for a great backyard tree and a neighborhood that allows for tree-houses. Do you want a pool? A pool with a safety fence can narrow down your choices for you. What about a big playroom, game room or media room? Separate bedrooms for each child?

Bring your family’s wish list with you to your very first meeting with your real estate professional. She needs to know exactly what you’re looking for, and what your kids are looking for, so that she can find you the perfect new home. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, show your kids pictures of the houses that fit their criteria.

Plan their new room

Even before you nail down the house choice, children can trek with you to home stores to look at paint chips. Letting your child choose his new room’s color can heighten the excitement of the move.

If you plan to include new bedding, a theme or other enhancements to the room, start a scrapbook or Pinterest board for each child to add their favorite ideas.

Packing together

Of course your child won’t be involved in the bulk of the packing, but seeing all of their familiar things shut away in boxes can be scary. Give each child a box to pack his treasured items, favorite books or special toys. Have him color or draw on the outside of the box so that he knows which one is his. If practical, bring those boxes in the car with you as you travel to your new home.

Give everyone a break

According to child psychologists, the stress of moving (including during the planning stages and once you’ve arrived at your new home) affects children’s sleep pattern, behavior, appetite, toilet training habits and anxiety levels. They may cling more, or be more aggressive. They may wake up during the night more often or even revert to thumb-sucking and bedwetting. A change in time zones, and the unfamiliar new surroundings can disrupt sleep as well.

You may be frazzled and so might they … so give everyone some extra grace.

Say goodbye

If your move takes you to a new city or state, take the time to visit all of your children’s haunts. The park they play in, or their preschool, the homes of their favorite friends, even their place of worship should be on the list. Give them an opportunity to tell everyone and every place “goodbye,” take photos to add to a memory book.

Be organized

Of course, being organized is the key to a sane moving experience for people of any age, but it is especially true when children are involved. Mark ALL of your boxes. If you have a tablet or computer, create a numbering system and list all of the contents of each box. When you have an urgent need for those special toys to calm a restless toddler or keep a child busy, knowing where to find them can ease your own anxiety.

Most of all, let the move be as fun and exciting as possible for everyone.  Give us a call today and we’ll help you and your family start the process of finding the perfect home:  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS, 904-477-5278 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside

Compliments of Virtual Results

Jacksonville, FL just named #1 hottest real estate markets to watch in 2017!

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The entire article and list of cities can be found here: https://www.trulia.com/blog/10-hottest-real-estate-markets-to-watch-in-2017/

 

Trulia’s annual hot-market ranking has a few surprises in store.

There are lots of reasons to choose a place to put down roots. Maybe you’ve been transferred for work. Maybe you’ve always wanted to own real estate in Charleston, SC, and you’ve found a deal that’s too good to pass up. Whether you’re looking for an investment or a new city with new opportunities, Trulia has compiled a list of the top 10 real estate markets poised for growth in 2017 based on five key metrics including high affordability, strong job growth, low vacancy rates, home searches on Trulia, and, because of the 2016 election’s outcome, a big population of Republicans. Did your favorite city make the cut?

 

1. Jacksonville, FL: Jobs and a great location

Situated on the banks of the St. Johns River and oft-considered part of southern Georgia given its proximity to its northern neighbor, Jacksonville, FL, has quite a bit going for it. Why is it so appealing? First, there are serious job opportunities. Jacksonville posted a 3.8% job growth rate in 2016, which makes it one of the healthiest markets for employment opportunities in the state. Second, there’s an increasing influx of people — which contributes to the area’s very high ratio of inbound home searches on Trulia by out-of-towners versus outbound searches by locals looking to leave. “There are so many people moving here and very little leaving,” explains Michael Paull, an area real estate agent. “There’s long-term economic stability here plus great schools, fantastic weather, and proximity to the ocean.”

– See more at: https://www.trulia.com/blog/10-hottest-real-estate-markets-to-watch-in-2017/#sthash.bs8nOey2.dpuf

Fireplace Safety for Fall

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Gathering the family around a crackling fire can be one of the joys of the coldest months… or it can be a nightmare. It’s one thing to be seated cozily on the couch while the firewood glows, and quite another to be standing on the curb in the cold watching the fire department trying to save your home.

More than 14,000 fires begin each year in fireplaces, and fires are the cause of nearly $900 million dollars in property damage. Don’t be a victim because of shoddy maintenance or careless usage of your fireplace. This goes for both wood-burning and gas fireplaces.

Here are some tips to maintain your fireplace and protect your life:

1. Before the coldest months set in, get your fireplace inspected. Remember, most inspection companies will be very busy during the winter, so try and secure an inspection at least a month or so before you anticipate using your fireplace heavily.

2. Inspect your fireplace before you use it. Take a flashlight and look in the flue. Look for obstructions. Check for cracked bricks, missing mortar, or other signs of damage. Be sure to clean out any ashes and dispose of them in a metal-lid trash can.

3. Burn properly. This means using seasoned hardwood (which avoids creosote accumulation), and burning logs on an approved rack or elevated grate. Also, don’t burn trash, cardboard, or other debris in your home fireplace.

4. Keep the area around the fireplace clear. Don’t put your Christmas tree near the fireplace, or anything else which is liable to combust. If it’s flammable, keep it safely distant from those flames.

5. Guard against sparks. Sparks may periodically leap from your fireplace, so use a screen to prevent them from landing on rugs or nearby furniture.

6. Don’t leave the house with a fire burning. Extinguishing a fire before you leave is common sense, so don’t leave those burning logs unattended!

Would you like a home with a fireplace? Let us help you find just the right one:  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com 904-422-7626 Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside

Keller Williams Keeps on Growing!

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Keller Williams Q3 earnings continue to show growth

Keller Williams increased its agent count and number of transactions this quarter

BYAMBER TAUFEN STAFF WRITER

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Numbers only tell part of a company’s story, of course — but they’re an important indicator of how any given company is doing at any given point in time.

This quarter’s earnings report from Keller Williams continues to tell a story of growth.

The company reports $78.9 billion in sales volume in the third quarter of 2016, a 15.2-percent increase over the third quarter of 2015. It also reports that its agents closed 279,289 transactions in Q3 (up 12.7 percent over Q3 2015), and that franchisee owner profit and profit share increased 7.5 percent and 10.4 percent year-over-year, respectively.

“During September, when traditional real estate is content to slow down, we set all-time company records in every major production category we track,” said John Davis, president of Keller Williams, in a statement. “Our agents are focusing on the right activities at the right time. They’re expanding market share and funding bigger lives for their families.”

Keller Williams also reports that its net agent count grew by 5,431 agents in Q3, bringing its total agent count in the U.S. and Canada to 139,367. The company’s worldwide associate count is 152,331 and includes agents, office leadership, staff and coaches.

“While our top teams are closing more than 1,000 transactions annually, the median across Keller Williams is now between 7 and 8 [transactions per agent],” said Darryl Frost, spokesperson for Keller Williams.

“Our units per agent are holding strong, and both volume per agent and GCI [gross commission income] per agent have increased year-to-date in the midst of enormous gains in agent count,” added Frost.

“Our agents and local leadership teams are working hand-in-hand to build strong businesses and deliver a great consumer experience,” said Chris Heller, CEO of Keller Williams, in a statement.

Year to date, Keller Williams reported that:

  • It’s global associate count is up 16.8 percent year-over-year.
  • Closed transactions total 739,548 units, up 15.5 percent year-over-year.
  • Its sales volume is $206.6 billion, up 18.9 percent year-over-year.
  • Owner profit is $142 million, up 14.2 percent year-over-year.
  • Profit share is $122.1 million, up 17.1 percent year-over-year.

For the fourth quarter of the year, Keller Williams is looking at these key performance indicators that could help forecast Q4 performance:

  • In Q3 2016, agents took 177,134 new listings, an 8.2 percent increase over Q3 2015.
  • The volume of listings taken totaled $53.4 billion, up 12.7 percent over Q3 2015.
  • Agents wrote 295,977 contracts (projected to close in 60 days), up 11.9 percent over Q3 2015.

**Want your own awesome Keller Williams agent to help you buy or sell your home?  How about an entire team helping you!

Get in contact today – Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team 904-422-7626 Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

How to Prepare for a Hurricane at the Last Minute | Today’s Homeowner

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Read this article for important tips on how to keep your family and home safe when a hurricane catches you unprepared.

Source: How to Prepare for a Hurricane at the Last Minute | Today’s Homeowner

  • Secure Outdoor Furniture:

    Loose items in your yard can become flying projectiles during a hurricane due to high winds. Move any unsecured items in your yard – including patio furniture, lawn chairs, bird feeders, hanging plants, and toys – inside your house or garage if possible. If you can’t move outdoor item in, use a strong rope or garden hose to tie them securely down.

  • Move Cars to Safety: Cars are often damaged or destroyed by falling trees or windblown debris during a hurricane. If you have a garage, park your cars in it and close the garage door. If not, position cars close to your home on the lee side of expected winds and away from trees to provide some shielding from the storm. Avoid parking cars near power lines or trees.
  • Find Utility Cutoffs: Identify the cutoff switches and valves for your water, power, and gas; and know how to turn them off in case of an emergency. Severe damage to your home from a hurricane can cause a short or power surge in your electrical system, and may also result in ruptured water or gas lines. Cutoffs for water and gas are usually located at or near the meter for each utility. To turn off the power to your home, flip the main breaker in your circuit breaker box.

 

  • Make Ice: Power is often disrupted for days or weeks after a hurricane, and ice to keep food from spoiling will be in short supply. Set your freezer on the coldest setting, and make as much ice in the ice maker or ice trays as possible while the power is still on. Also, fill plastic containers or clean milk and water jugs with water (don’t fill to the top to allow for expansion), and put them in the freezer. Once the power goes out, place containers of ice in your fridge or an ice chest to keep your food fresh longer. Open refrigerator and freezer doors as little as possible.
  • Charge Cordless Devices: Charge batteries on cordless tools, flashlights, cell phones, laptop computers, cameras, radios, iPads, iPods, MP3 players, and portable electronic games. Your cell phone may become your only link to the outside world if regular phone service is disrupted during and after a storm, so keep it with you at all times. A 12-volt DC battery charger will allow you to charge devices back up from your car after the power is out.
  • Document Home and Valuables: If you don’t have a home inventory backed up with video or photographs, take photos or video now for insurance purposes in case your home suffers extensive damage during the storm. The camera on a cell phone can also be used to photograph your home. Send or email the photos to someone outside the area of the storm for backup, and put them on a portable USB flash drive to keep with you. A visual record of your processions and the condition of your home prior to the hurricane will be invaluable when dealing with insurance claims.

Hurricane tree damage to house

  • Fill Bathtub with Water: Whether you’re on city water or a well, water supplies can be disrupted or contaminated following a hurricane. Use the water in the bathtub to fill the tank on your toilet for flushing or for washing in the aftermath of a storm, but not for drinking. Lining the tub with plastic before filling will keep water from leaking out of the tub drain. Five-gallon buckets and pots from your kitchen can also be used to store water. After the storm has passed, water from a pool can be used for flushing toilets. If your house is on a grinder pump, don’t flush toilets or use drains in the house when the power is out to prevent overflowing.
  • Gather Emergency Supplies: Gather the following items together in a laundry basket or small suitcase so they will be handy during and after a storm: flashlights, batteries, first aid kit, battery powered radio, cell phone car charger, hand sanitizer, prescription drugs, games, sunscreen, mosquito repellant, duct tape, toilet paper, important documents (including your homeowner’s insurance policy), pet and baby supplies.
  • Close Curtains, Shutters, and Blinds: To reduce the chance of flying glass if a window is blown out by high winds or flying debris, close shutters and blinds – both inside and out – along with drapes and curtains.

Hurricane tree damage to house

  • Go to Safe Area of House: If you’re not able to make it to an evacuation shelter before the storm hits; take refuge in a windowless hallway, bathroom, or closet located in the interior of your home. Bring mattresses from beds with you, bot for comfort and for use as protection in case your home suffers severe structural damage.

How to Save Your Plants This Winter

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When the colder months settle in, there’s no reason to sacrifice all of your plants. Depending on the type of plants you have and the severity of your winter, there are ways to help ensure your favorite decorative greenery sees another spring.

Before it’s too late, take the time now to plan your plant protection strategy. These tips selected from gardening experts from around the web should help many of your most beloved shrubs, bushes, trees, and potted wonders make it through the harsh weather.

Move potted plants off concrete and onto the earth. Protecting the roots of a plant can be key to its survival. The top of a plant can often endure more trauma than the roots. Concrete can warm considerably in the sun, and then become very cold at night. This heat/cool cycle and the rapid swings in temperature it brings can damage roots.

Plant in big pots. Soil is insulation for root systems. In a 10-gallon pot you’ll have ten times the protection a 1-gallon pot provides. It can also be useful to buy a pot with a thickness greater than one inch as a means of helping further shield the roots.

During winter, water at the warmest point in the day. When temperatures climb above freezing, water your plants. Water is often used as a defense against freezing temperatures, in part because when water freezes it releases heat. Also, wet soil does a better job protecting from invasive cold than dry soil (which contains air pockets).

Position plants where temperature swings are lower. Often southern exposures will experience the greatest temperature fluctuations, so consider northern or eastern positions around the house.

Group plants defensively. Gather your plants together, placing the “weakest” of the bunch in the center and the heartiest selection on the outside, forming a border. You can also create a barrier around the group to help shield the plants from excessive wind.

Mulch for additional insulation. Mulch can help create a blanket of protection. Hay or a thick layer of leaves can also work.

Consider bringing some plants indoors. Certain potted plants might have the best defense inside. But if you do bring them indoors, bring them in before it gets too cold. The shock of moving from a chilly autumn night to a heated home can be dangerous.

With a little planning and luck, you can extend the life of your plants and the beauty of your home.

Tired of protecting your plants each winter and ready to move to Florida?  We can help there, too!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com 904-422-7626

Protecting your college student’s possessions at school

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If you have a son or daughter heading off to college, you’ve probably sent them along with most of their most prized possessions. Laptop, stereo, smartphone, mountain bike… it all adds up to several thousands of dollars of personal gear.

So what happens if they get robbed? Will you be stuck for the replacement costs, or are they covered on your homeowner’s insurance policy?

Believe it or not, the insurance policy on your home might just cover what your kid takes to school. But there’s a catch: Many policies only cover the student if they live in a dorm on campus. If they’re in an apartment or house on their own, you might not be covered.

One alternative to covering your student’s possessions while they’re away at school is renter’s insurance. Renter’s insurance is a very affordable way to make sure you’re not out thousands if there’s a break-in. For as little as $15 – $20 a month you can have a bit of piece of mind you won’t find yourself in the Apple store again plunking down for a new Macbook Air.

A few notes:

1. Your student won’t be covered by their roommate’s policy. Policies are specific about covering a single policy holder.

2. A renter’s policy can also include liability coverage, much like your homeowner’s insurance.

3. Taking inventory of possessions and keeping detailed records (with photos and serial numbers) is essential. It provides helpful evidence of ownership in the case of a claim.

You’ll want to talk to your insurance agent about your specific situation, needs, and your policy. Don’t overlook this opportunity to protect your student and your wallet.

Need a referral to an insurance agent? We can help recommend a few we know and trust: Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-422-7626 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com