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Articles by Brian T. Wolf

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The three weeks (give or take a couple of days) from Labor Day through the beginning of October 2015 are an ideal time to buy real estate. Are you ready?

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  1. The peak buying season is over now that the kids are back in school. Some sellers missed the window andĀ they still need to sell.
  2. Rates are still crazy low, hovering around 4%. As a result your buying power is still way up!
  3. New TRID rules go into effect for new loans after October 3. Thanks, Big Brother. If you want to avoid that additional red tape you need to find a place NOW!

Are you ready to take advantage of the opportunity we’re seeing right now? Give me a call at 847-943-9653. Or if you want to send me your questions contact me through this post.

A little late but here goes! Recapping the series on preparing for vacation:
Prepping Your Home for Vaction
Park Your Car in the Garage
Put a Light on a Timer
Mow Your Lawn
Unplug!
Set the Thermostat
Water Heater
Kitchen
Emergency Contact

The next series is “Budget Friendly Curb Appeal Ideas Done in a Day.” I bet you can’t wait! šŸ˜‰

You may tell your family that you’re heading out, but you should also let a neighbor know. Neighbors live near you and can be your first point of contact should something happen to your home while you’re away. Let a trusted neighbor know you’re going to be out of town — provide them with information on where you’re going, how long you’ll be gone, and contact information for yourself and for family members in case of an emergency.

 

Before you leave it’s always a good idea to clean out the fridge and dispose of anything that will go bad while you’re gone. The sink can harbor things that cause bad smells — run a half cup of vinegar and some water through the garbage disposal to alleviate any potential buildups, and make sure to take out any trash and recycling so you don’t come home to a smelly house. If you have a trusted neighbor, ask them to put your garbage, recycling or yard debris bins out on pickup day.

Traditional water heaters heat water throughout the day, even when you’re not using water. Before you head out on a vacation, put the heater in vacation mode. Check to see if your water heater has a VAC setting — which is for vacations. If it doesn’t, you can turn down the thermostat to the lowest setting. But don’t stop at the water heater: turn off water valves to the dishwasher, washing machine and any sinks. The last thing you want to come home to is a flood in your house because a pipe broke or a hose burst.

Your thermostat makes sure your home maintains a specific temperature throughout the day. Before you leave, set the thermostat to a higher (or lower, depending on the season) temperature if the house is going to be empty. This will help conserve energy while you’re gone. If you do turn down the thermostat, be sure to keep your home at a temperature that will still protect plants, pets and furniture.

Of course a vacation is a time for you to “unplug” from your daily life. Give your electronics the same courtesy.

Small appliances and electronics can be energy vampires when plugged in, and some are still active even when they look like they’re turned off. I talked about this beforeĀ back in December. Before you leave, unplug those items that won’t be used while you’re gone (coffee makers, toasters, espresso machines, etc.). It’s also a good time to make sure all smoke detectors work properly throughout your home.

Grass can grow pretty fast in two or three days. If you have a lawn, make sure it’s trimmed before you embark on your trip. If you’re going to be gone longer than a week, ask a family member or neighbor to cut the grass in the front yard while you’re away.

A dark house stands out in a neighborhood, especially when all the other homes are lit up. Before you leave, buy a timer and install it on a lamp in your home. It’s also a good idea to install a motion-activated sensor on an outdoor floodlight that will be triggered should someone walk by it. You can also ask a neighbor to turn on the front porch light in the evening.

The last thing you want is to get home from a vacation and have your car gone. If you can, park your car inside the garage, or have a family member park it at his/her house. You can also ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway, making it look like someone is leaving each morning.

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OK, I suppose your garage doesn’t look like this. But what if it did?!

 

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