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How To Create A Home Inventory Just In Case

by Mary Ann Sawyers

How To Create A Home Inventory Just In Case

 

            Do you know every single item you own – and would you be able to remember it all if you had to recall from memory?  Taking a detailed home inventory requires making a thorough list of everything you own including a description, serial number, and estimated value.  Having this inventory can save lots of time and headaches after a home fire, robbery, flood, or other disaster, but it’s also a good exercise to make sure you have enough home insurance and for tax purposes, if necessary.

 

Taking The Inventory:  Walk through every room in your house.  Write down, take pictures or video, and/or create an audio recording of every single item.  A visual inventory provides a more detailed overview of your belongings.  Expensive items like jewelry and collectibles should be photographed from several angles.

 

Get Technical:  A number of apps make it even easier to keep track of your personal items using photos, bar codes, and sorting options.  These apps include American Family Insurance’s DreamVault (Android/iOS), Sortly (iOS), The Home Inventory (Android), and Know Your Stuff (Android/iOS).  For Android, go to play.google.com/store/apps and for iOS, go to itunes.apple.com.

 

Note Prices And Serial Numbers:  Keeping purchase receipts makes it easier to record how much you paid for each item.  Look up the prices of those items for which you are unsure, and don’t forget to make a note each time something new is added to your home. 

 

Store The List:  Keep your list updated and stored in a safe or bank deposit box.  Don’t forget to keep a digital back-up in an accessible location as well.

How To Make A Home Safer For Babies And Seniors

by Mary Ann Sawyers

How To Make A Home Safe For Babies And Seniors

Mary Ann Sawyers - How to make a home safe for babies and seniors - Victoria, Texas


A happy home is a safe home. If there are babies or senior citizens living in yours, there are several things you can do to make it as safe as possible.


Babies:

~ Use safety gates at the top and bottom of staircases.

~ Cover electrical outlets with plastic caps.

~ Tightly close containers with cleaning supplies, detergents, and paint, and move them to top cabinet shelves. Move sharp objects and suffocation hazards to top drawers.

~ Secure the oven door and refrigerator with appliance latches.

~ Add cushioned guards to sharp-cornered surfaces.

~ Move furniture away from windows.

Use doorstops and door holders to prop doors open.

~ Mark sliding glass doors and other expanses of glass with colorful stickers.

 

Seniors:

​~ Ensure flooring has a good grip. Remove small rugs and other tripping hazards, and place carpet or rubber flooring over slippery floors.

Remove electrical cords or cables that lie across pathways.

Place light switches near room entrances, and place motion-sensor nightlights around the home.

Install handrails in the bathroom and along stairways.

Keep fire extinguishers easily accessible throughout the home.

Replace the bathtub with a walk-in shower, and place a suction-bottomed bathroom mat in the shower.

~ Place commonly used items in eye-level cabinets and cupboards so they can be easily reached.
 

Wishing you and your family a Safe and Happy New Year!

 

How To Use Your Senses to Transition Your Home from Summer to Fall

by Mary Ann Sawyers

Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - How to Use Your Senses to Transition Your Home from Summer to Fall

Allow sight, sound, touch, taste and smell to be your guide with decorating your home for Fall.

 

Fall at home is comfort, warmth and serenity under one roof. From the smells of cinnamon to the coziness of curling up under a soft throw blanket there is no better season to enjoy your little slice of heaven that you call home sweet home. Here are some easy ways to transition your home from summer to fall by using your 5 senses as your guide.

The scent of fall is perhaps the most intoxicating of all the seasons. It is Earthy and comforting and can a part of your home with a little help from scented candles, stove top simmers and homemade potpourri.

Here are a few of our favorite smells this fall:

Fall Candles | Bath & Body Works

If you are looking for the perfect candle at a reasonable price, Bath & Body Works has the ultimate. Their 3 wick candles are priced at $22.50 and fill the room with the perfect scents for fall.

candles

Pumpkin Spice Stove Top Simmer | Free People Blog

“Bursting with the sweet and spicy scents , this recipe will make your home feel like fall in an instant”

Homemade Potpourri | Bustle

“Dried fruit, spices, and the right dried flowers can make for an ideal grouping of wonderful fall smells.”

 

Fall is the epitome of comfort from the clothes we wear (welcome back leggings and boots!) to snuggling up with a warm blanket. At home,  choosing the right decor can bring the “touch” of fall in with textures and materials that include faux fur, wool and knit.

Faux Fur Blanket | Restoration Hardware

Indulge in the feel of fur by faking it with this $99 throw from RH.

Striped Wool Blanket | Coyuchi

Add a PSL from Starbucks and you have a match made in heaven.

Cable Knit Throw | Pottery Barn

Cozy Chic

Cover up your grill and say goodbye to all your backyard garden fruits and veggies. It’s time to prepare for a fall feast. The staples for this season include any and everything pumpkin, crisp apples (you know you went a little overboard at the orchard!) and hearty meals. Here are a few of favorite fall recipes that will leave your kitchen smelling delicious and your tummy feeling full:

Creamy Pumpkin Soup | Living The LLife

A perfect appetizer for a fall soiree or all by itself with a warm piece of bread.

Mini Apple Pies | Food.com

This recipe is as easy as pie!

 

Crocktober Ideas | Jennfab1130

500+ delicious slow cooker recipes.

 

Summer and fall decor are polar opposites. Summer means light linens and bright colors and where fall is filled with plaids, cooler colors and bulkier throws and comforters. Here are a few fall decor looks we are totally vibing on from homes currently listed on coldwellbanker.com 

A Stunning Contemporary | Aspen, CO

Seamless indoor outdoor living that allows you to soak up all that fall has to offer from a crisp cool breeze to the warmth of a flickering fire.

Simple Touches | Holladay, UT

A few colorful pumpkins add a cool fall look to this comfy living room.

Serenity in Seattle | Seattle, WA

Can you imagine enjoying the last few moments warm nights in style here?

Chic in Chicago | Chicago, IL

Don’t forget a nice big closet to house all your bulky jackets and sweaters!

 

The sounds of fall are different for everyone. The symphony of summer crickets starts to fade away only to be replaced by the howls of the fall breeze hitting the trees outside our windows or the sounds of leaves crunching as children jump into piles. Or perhaps it is the sounds of laughter from trick or treaters running around your neighborhood on Halloween. For me, it is the sound of family. During the summer we spend less time at home because of the beautiful weather but as the days get shorter and it becomes dark earlier we have a tendency to return to being homebodies. Some of our favorite fall sounds at home include the crackle of a fire and the clinking of wine glasses around the dining room table. Whatever your favorite sound may be we wish you a very happy fall from our home to yours.

Guest post by Lindsay Listanski, CB Blue Matther

How to Cut Down on Pool Maintenance Costs This Summer

by Mary Ann Sawyers

How to Cut Down on Pool Maintenance Costs This Summer


Enjoy your pool without breaking the bank with these simple cost saving tips from HomeAdvisor.

Pool maintenance doesn’t have to be an expensive annual chore. Rather than spending up to $700 on pool maintenance, you can cut costs by doing a lot of the work yourself. You don’t want the pool to fall into such poor shape that you have to spend thousands of dollars on repairs. Here are some steps to keep pool maintenance costs down to nearly nonexistent this summer:
 

#1 Run your filter at night.

Running the pool filter at night helps to cut down on energy costs while still keeping your pool clean. Some people opt to run their pool filter 24 hours a day, but this is a waste of energy and over-cleans the pool, which can cause more problems. See if there’s an optimum time to run the pool filter at night and save on your electricity bill.


#2 Clean the pool filter.

Sweet and simple: cleaning your pool filter keeps your swimming pool clear and prevents you from spending more money on other, more costly pool repairs. So just do it.


#3 Invest in an energy-efficient pool pump.

If you have a normal pool pump, it only pumps at one speed — and it wastes energy on filtration, among other tasks. If you invest in an energy-efficient, variable-speed pump, you could save more than a thousand dollars over the life of the pump. You may also qualify for an energy rebate.


#4 Keep the temperature low.

You pay more money for every degree you raise the temperature in the pool. Consider keeping the water as cool as possible while remaining comfortable. You should also turn the heater off in the off season, when you’re not using the pool.


#5 Maintain the pH balance.

You must pay attention to the chemical balance of the water — not only to keep the water safe, but to keep your costs down as well. If the alkalinity of the water is thrown off for any reason, you’re usually better off getting a swimming pool professional involved. Pool chemicals are expensive — and if you don’t get the measurements right, you’re throwing money away as you pour the chemicals into the water.


#6 Balance stabilizer levels.

While all pool owners are aware of how important it is to maintain chlorine levels, not all may realize how stabilizer (cyanuric acid) plays into the process. Stabilizer aids the chlorine in its effectiveness. Too much or too little stabilizer will result in chlorine losing its effectiveness.  Pool owners need to check their stabilizer levels and decrease or increase the amount of chlorine needed in the water to keep the pool safe.


Additional Pool Maintenance Costs:

These are quick and efficient steps to keeping your pool in shape this summer. However, there are some costs you need to keep in mind for the future too:

·       Using a pool cover in the fall: $75 – $200

·       Running an automatic pool cleaner: $700 – $2,000

·       Vacuuming the pool: $50 – $100

·       Using chemicals: $20 – $100/month

If this seems like too much work for you, you can hire a swimming pool maintenance service. It will cost more, but they can do a lot of the work as part of a package, which could cost less in the long-term. Packages generally include:

·       Brushing the pool

·       Skimming debris

·       Adjusting chemical levels

·       Cleaning the pool filter

·       Vacuuming

For more information on the costs of maintaining a swimming pool, check out this piece from ImproveNet.

Guest Post by Andrea Davis

 

 

Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - Smart Home Technonogy
The rise of smart home technology is making both buyers & sellers ask themselves the same question before deciding where to call home: “Is this a smart home?”

Buying a home is a big decision. Budget, location and the vibe of the house (could this house become my home?) top the list of considerations for most people when they are buying a house. Noticeably, “is this a smart home?” is making its way to the top of the list for buyers.

According to the 2017 Smart Home Marketplace Survey from Coldwell Banker Real Estate, 71 percent of home buyers surveyed are looking for “move-in ready” homes. Home buyers want “smart ready” homes complete with smart security, smart locks, smart thermostats, smart lights and other smart devices. In fact, Coldwell Banker affiliated agents note that the majority of top selling homes over the past few months in some markets, such as Miami, have smart home technology installed before the sale***.

Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - Smart Home Technonogy
 

There are two key trends driving this evolution in home buying behavior:

First, smart home devices, like the Nest thermostat and August Smart Lock, offer an attractive industrial design, are easy to install, have key features that allow users to save money or deliver convenience and  peace of mind . The smart home devices also provide a simple and elegant user experience that makes them very easy to use while hiding all of the technical complexity.

Second, home buyers have become increasingly knowledgeable about smart home technology. Conventional wisdom indicates that millennials are early adopters of smart home technology. The Coldwell Banker Real Estate Smart Home Survey (August 2016)** found that over half of baby boomer and Gen X-ers are expressing an interest in smart home technology at the time of purchase. This clearly indicates that smart home technology adoption has moved from early adopters towards mainstream customers.
 

Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - Smart Home Technonogy


The popularity of  voice assistant technology from giants including Amazon (Alexa), Google (Assistant), Apple (Siri), Microsoft (Cortana) are also accelerating the adoption of smart home technology, serving as an entry point to the smart home experience. These companies have sold millions of devices and simplified the use of smart home devices through their voice interfaces by making it as easy as speaking naturally to control lights or adjust the temperature or lock a door. There is no learning curve beyond installing the device.


The adoption of smart home technology has had a significant result for home sellers. Homes designated as a smart homes on coldwellbanker.com are receiving two times more conversions than similar non-smart home properties* highlighting a change in buyer preferences as smart home technology becomes more prevalent. August Home partnered with Coldwell Banker to be part of its Smart Home Staging Kit, which packages three core products that help sellers make their home “smart.” The kit includes the August Smart Lock, Nest thermostat and Lutron lights for under $1000 – an investment that pays for itself.


Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - Smart Home Technonogy


The onus is now on agents to ensure that home sellers are aware of how a small investment in smart home technology can enhance the appeal of their property for buyers. By facilitating the procurement and installation of the most popular smart home devices, agents will bring new value to sellers and accelerate the rise of  smart home technology is soon going to be a checkbox for every home buyer’s checklist.

Guest post by Tejash Unadkat, General Manager, August Home

5 Fitness Fictions That May Surprise You

by Mary Ann Sawyers


Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - Fitness Fictions That May Surprise You
IT'S A NEW YEAR, and you’ve probably made resolutions to work out more often or lose weight.  The fitness world is full of myths about diet and exercise.  To get off to a good start, join a gym or hire a fitness coach.  Here are five fitness myths and the facts you should know so you can choose the fitness regimen that’s right for you. 
 

Fiction:  No pain; no gain.

Fact:  While you may feel sore a day or two after working out, you shouldn’t feel real pain.  If something hurts, stop and rest.  If the pain persists, don’t work through it.  Talk to your doctor instead. 


Fiction:  Lifting weights will bulk you up.

Fact:  Weight training forces your muscles to work 10 to 20 times more than cardio.  But bulking up comes from high calorie intake.  You can tone your muscles by combining weight training with a moderate diet. 


Fiction:  If you work out every day, you can eat anything you want.

Fact:  If only it were true!  To burn fat, you need to expend more calories than your body uses.  While personal metabolisms vary, the answer is to eat a balanced diet – including on rest days – to fuel your body, and to exercise regularly to feel better physically, mentally and emotionally.


Fiction:  You’ll lose weight if you exercise and eat a low-carb diet.

Fact:  Carbs are essential if you want to do strength training, cardio or almost any sport.  Without them, you won’t perform as well or recover as effectively between training sessions.


Fiction:  You can spot reduce one area of your body.

Fact:  Working out can reduce overall body fat, but you can’t control where that fat comes from.  What does work is to burn as much fuel as you can with a good overall exercise program and a healthy diet. 

Here's to success with your fitness resolution and your health in 2017! 

What Not to Do as a New Homeowner

by Mary Ann Sawyers

Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - South Texas New HomeownerWe know so well the thrill of owning your own house — but don’t let the excitement cause you to overlook the basics. We’ve gathered up a half dozen classic boo-boos new homeowners often commit — and give you some insight on why each is critically important to avoid.

1. Not Knowing Where the Main Shutoff Valve Is

Water from a burst or broken plumbing pipe can spew dozens of gallons into your home’s interior in a matter of minutes, soaking everything in sight — including drywall, flooring, and valuables. In fact, water damage is one of the most common of all household insurance claims.

Quick-twitch reaction is needed to stave off a major bummer. Before disaster hits, find your water shutoff valve, which will be located where a water main enters your house. Make sure everyone knows where it’s located and how to close the valve. A little penetrating oil on the valve stem makes sure it’ll work when you need it to.

2. Not Calling 811 Before  Digging a Hole

Ah, spring! You’re so ready to dig into your new yard and plant bushes and build that fence. But don’t — not until you’ve dialed 811, the national dig-safely hotline. The hotline will contact all your local utilities who will then come to your property — often within a day — to mark the location of underground pipes, cables, and wires.

This free service keeps you safe and helps avoid costly repairs. In many states, calling 811 is the law, so you’ll also avoid fines.

3. Not Checking the Slope of Foundation
Soil
The ground around your foundation should slope away from your house at least 6 inches over 10 feet. Why? To make sure that water from rain and melting snow doesn’t soak the soil around your foundation walls, building up pressure that can cause leaks and crack your foundation, leading to mega-expensive repairs. 

This kind of water damage doesn’t happen overnight — it’s accumulative — so the sooner you get after it, the better (and smarter) you’ll be. While you’re at it, make sure downspouts extend at least 5 feet away from your house.

4. Not Knowing the Dept of Attic Insulation 

This goes hand-in-hand with not knowing where your attic access is located, so let’s start there. Find the ceiling hatch, typically a square area framed with molding in a hallway or closet ceiling. Push the hatch cover straight up. Get a ladder and check out the depth of the insulation. If you can see the tops of joists, you definitely don’t have enough.

The recommended insulation for most attics is about R-38 or 10 to 14 inches deep, depending on the type of insulation you choose. BTW, is your hatch insulated, too? Use 4-inch-thick foam board glued to the top.

5. Carelessly Drilling into Walls

Hanging shelves, closet systems, and artwork means drilling into your walls — but do you know what’s back there? Hidden inside your walls are plumbing pipes, ductwork, wires, and cables.

You can check for some stuff with a stud sensor — a $25 battery-operated tool that detects changes in density to sniff out studs, cables, and ducts.

But stud sensors aren’t foolproof. Protect yourself by drilling only 1¼ inches deep max — enough to clear drywall and plaster but not deep enough to reach most wires and pipes.

Household wiring runs horizontally from outlet to outlet about 8 inches to 2 feet from the floor, so that’s a no-drill zone. Stay clear of vertical locations above and below wall switches — wiring runs along studs to reach switches.

6. Cutting Down a Tree

The risk isn’t worth it. Even small trees can fall awkwardly, damaging your house, property, or your neighbor’s property. In some locales, you have to obtain a permit first. Cutting down a tree is an art that’s best left to a professional tree service.

Plus, trees help preserve property values and provide shade that cuts energy bills. So think twice before going all Paul Bunyan.

Article From HouseLogic.com via National Association of REALTORS®
By: John Riha

How To Save A Bundle On Your Home Energy Bill

by Mary Ann Sawyers

Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - South Texas Energy Savings

Have you ever conducted a “Home Energy Audit” on your home?   It could save you a lot of money by lowering energy costs.  A home energy audit evaluates how much energy your home uses.  Though a professional audit is a good idea, here’s how you can conduct a personal walk-through assessment of your own to help cut costs.

  • Seek out air leaks or drafts.  Look for gaps along baseboards, on the edge of flooring, around outlets and switches, and where walls meet the ceiling.  Anywhere two different building materials meet is a potential place for leakage.  If there are cracks or holes, seal them (depending on where they are, use caulk or weatherstripping. You can search energy.gov for those products to learn how to use them).
  • Evaluate insulation.  Insufficient insulation contributes to heat loss, especially in older homes, but it’s inexpensive to fix.  Find out how much insulation is recommended for homes in your area, then go into your attic and measure the depth of your home’s insulation.  To measure insulation in the walls, you’ll need an infrared thermometer, which can usually be rented from stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s.
     
  • Assess heating and cooling features.  Furnaces, air conditioners, and other similar features should be inspected annually or as recommended by the manufacturer.  Check and replace filters as needed, and make a note to keep them cleaned and changed on a regular basis (usually monthly).
     
  • Identify energy-sucking appliances and electronics.  Even if you aren’t using them, anything that is plugged in to an outlet may be consuming standby power.  Common culprits include office equipment like printers and kitchen appliances such as coffee makers.  Unplug these items when they aren’t in use, or plug them into a power strip that can be turned off.

Get Your Credit Score in Shape Before Buying a Home

by Mary Ann Sawyers

Get Your Credit Score In Shape Before Buying A Home - Mary Ann Sawyers
How strong is your credit? Cleaning up your credit is essential before you make any major financial moves. Having a bad score can hurt your chances of being able to open a credit card, apply for a loan, purchase a car, or rent an apartment.

It is especially important to have clean credit before you try to buy a home. With a less-than-great score, you may not get preapproved for a mortgage. If you can’t get a mortgage, you may only be able to buy a home if you can make an all-cash offer.

Or if you do get preapproval, you might get a higher mortgage rate, which can be a huge added expense. For example, if you have a 30-year fixed rate mortgage of $100,000 and you get a 3.92% interest rate, the total cost of your mortgage will be $170,213. However, if your interest rate is 5.92%, you’ll have to spend $213,990 for the same mortgage  - that’s an extra $43,777 over the life of the loan! If you had secured the lower mortgage rate, you could use that additional money to fund a four-year college degree at a public university.

So now that you know how important it is to maintain a good credit score, how do you start cleaning up your credit? Here, we’ve collected our best tips for improving your score.

 

Talk to a loan professional

You can protect your score from more damage by getting a loan professional to check your credit score for you. A professional will be able to guide you to whether your score is in the ‘good’ range for home buying. Plus, every time that you request your own credit score, the credit companies record the inquiry, which can lower your score. Having a professional ask instead ensures that you only record one inquiry. Once you know your score, you can start taking action on cleaning up your credit.

 

Change your financial habits to boost your score

What if your score has been damaged by late payments or delinquent accounts? You can start repairing the damage quickly by taking charge of your debts. For example, your payment history makes up 35% of your score according to myFICO. If you begin to pay your bills in full before they are due, and make regular payments to owed debts, your score can improve within a few months.

Amounts owed are 30% of your FICO score. What matters in this instance is the percentage of credit that you’re currently using. For example, if you have a $5000 limit on one credit card, and you’re carrying a balance of $4500, that means 90% of your available credit is used up by that balance. You can improve your score by reducing that balance to free up some of your available credit.

Length of credit history counts for 15% of your FICO score. If you’re trying to reduce debt by eliminating your credit cards, shred the card but DO NOT close the account. Keep the old accounts open without using them to maintain your credit history and available credit.

 

Find and correct mistakes on your credit report

How common are credit report mistakes? Inaccuracies are rampant. In a 2012 study by the Federal Trade Commission, one in five people identified at least one error on their credit report. In their 2015 follow-up study, almost 70% thought that at least one piece of previously disputed information was still inaccurate.

Go through each section of your report systematically, and take notes about anything that needs to be corrected.

 

Your personal information

Start with the basics: often overlooked, one small incorrect personal detail like an incorrect address can accidently lower your score. So, before you look at any other part of your report, check all of these personal details:

●Make sure your name, address, social security number and birthdate are current and correct.

●Are your prior addresses correct? You’ll need to make sure that they’re right if you haven’t lived at your current address for very long.

●Is your employment information up to date? Are the details of your past employers also right?

●Is your marital status correct? Sometimes a former spouse will come up listed as your current spouse.

 

Your public records

This section will list things like lawsuits, tax liens, judgments, and bankruptcies. If you have any of these in your report, make sure that they are listed correctly and actually belong to you.

A bankruptcy filed by a spouse or ex-spouse should not be on your report if you didn’t file it. There shouldn’t be any lawsuits or judgments older than seven years, or that were entered after the statute of limitations, on your report.  Are there tax liens that you paid off that are still listed as unpaid, or that are more than seven years old? Those all need to go.

 

Your credit accounts

This section will list any records about your commingled accounts, credit cards, loans, and debts. As you read through this section, make sure that any debts are actually yours.

For example, if you find an outstanding balance for which your spouse is solely responsible, that should be removed from your report. Any debts due to identity theft should also be resolved. If there are accounts that you closed on your report, make sure they’re labeled as ‘closed by consumer’ so that it doesn’t look like the bank closed them.

 

Your inquiries

Are there any unusual inquiries into your credit listed in this section? An example might be a credit inquiry when you went for a test drive or were comparison shopping at a car dealer. These need to be scrubbed off your report.

 

Report the dispute to the credit agency

If there are major mistakes, you can take your dispute to the credit agencies. While you could send a letter, it can be much faster to get the ball rolling on resolving a mistake by submitting your report through the credit agency’s website. Experian, Transunion and Equifax all have step-by-step forms to submit reports online.

If you have old information on your report that should have been purged from your records already, such as a debt that has already been paid off or information that is more than 7 years old, you may need to go directly to the lender to resolve the dispute.

 

Follow up

You must follow up to make sure that any mistakes are scrubbed from your reports. Keep notes about who you speak to and on which dates you contacted them. Check back with all of the credit reporting companies to make sure that your information has been updated. Since all three companies share data with each other, any mistakes should be corrected on all three reports.

If your disputes are still not corrected, you may have to also follow up with the institution that reported the incident in the first place, or a third-party collections agency that is handling it. Then check again with the credit reporting companies to see if your reports have been updated.

If you can keep on top of your credit reports on a regular basis, you won’t have to deal with the headaches of fixing reporting mistakes. You are entitled to a free annual credit report review to make sure all is well with your score. If you make your annual credit review part of your financial fitness routine, you’ll be able to better protect your buying power and potentially save thousands of dollars each year.

 

How to clean up your credit now

Does your credit score need a boost so you can buy a home? Get in touch with me (MaryAnn@MaryAnnSawyers.com or 361-550-4304) and I can connect you with the right lending professionals to help you get the guidance you need.

 

How To Make Your Home A Safer Place

by Mary Ann Sawyers

How To Make Your Neighborhood A Safer Place

   Whether you’ve just moved in or you’ve been living in your home for years, you want your neighborhood to be safe from crime for you and your family.  Take these actions to make it even safer.  


• Safety is a team effort, so get to know your neighbors.  Who works during the day?  Who has kids?  Who is retired?  Maintain a list of home/cell/work numbers so you can call each other if you see something suspicious.  For example, some thieves pose as movers.  If you see someone at your neighbor’s house putting flat screen TVs and computers in a truck, don’t assume it’s a legitimate activity.  Call your neighbors to check, especially if they aren’t home.


• Work with your police or sheriff’s office to launch a Neighborhood Watch Program.  It unites law enforcement and citizens to reduce residential crime.  To find an existing program or learn how to start one of your own, go to www.nnw.org. 


• Improve your neighborhood lighting.  If you don’t have adequate street lighting, join with your neighbors in turning on your outside lights every night.  An effective and inexpensive idea is to place sensor-activated lighting around the outside of your home, especially entry doors
and garage ($20 – $80 at Home Depot or Amazon).  Decorative string lighting or lanterns are also very fun and festive.


• Talk to your neighbors about home security systems.  Visit a site such as www.safewise.com for information on a variety of systems.You can get basic ADT monitoring, for example, for $37 a month plus $99 for installation.  Some insurance providers offer a discount if you purchase a complete security system.  The site also offers an excellent Home Security Checklist (click on Learn and Home Security Resources).

 


Save Thousands When Buying A Home

Did you know there’s a free consumer report revealing ways to save time and money when buying a home?  It’s called 
8 Secrets For Saving Thousands When Finding and Buying Your Next Home,” and it’s great even if you’re not planning to buy soon.  Get your free copy by calling me at…361-550-4304.

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Mary Ann Sawyers
Coldwell Banker The Ron Brown Co.
2505 N Navarro
Victoria TX 77901
361-550-4304

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