April Fools Day Pranks Around the House [Infographic]

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April Fool’s Day is just around the corner! Here’s some inspiration for some pranks you can pull on your loved ones (or not-so-loved ones) in various rooms around the house!

April-Fools-Day-Pranks-Around-the-House

Kitchen

Wrap a rubber band around the hose part of the kitchen sink. When the next people go to use the sink, the water will fly out of the hose into their face!

Patio

Place a layer of bubble wrap under the doormat. When people step on it, the pops from under their own feet are sure to startle!

Office

Tape an embarrassing picture of a family member over the sensor of the computer mouse. The next computer user will be baffled why the mouse doesn’t work until they discover the silly photo!

Bathroom

This is the messiest – and perhaps the meanest – prank on the list!
Place some hot sauce packets under the toilet seat lid for the next unsuspecting user. . .

Happy April Fools Day!

 

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How to Choose the Right REALTOR ®

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By Jeff Gould

Buying or selling a home is typically the single largest financial transaction you and your family will make in your lifetime. Choosing the right REALTOR® is important if you are looking to sell your home for top dollar or to find the home of your dreams. Just because someone passes a real estate exam and puts a name tag on does not make them the right REALTOR® for you. Here are some of the items you want to look at to find the right REALTOR® for you and your family.

How to Choose the Right Realtor

Type of REALTORS®

Buyer’s Agent – In real estate a Buyer’s Agent assists a buyer in searching for a home. Today’s real estate market is sometimes complicated and this assistance goes far beyond the property search function. Here is a quick list of the essential tasks that should be handled by a qualified buyer’s agent:

  • Find out your buying motivation, needs and wants in a home
  • Be you adviser and advocate during the entire home buying process
  • Educate you on the current real estate market conditions and trends
  • Research homes for sale in the area
  • Assist you in narrowing your list of possible homes to view
  • Show you homes
  • Write up, present your offer and negotiate with the seller
  • Assist with appraisal and home inspections as needed
  • Do the final property walk through with you
  • Attend closing to ensure that all of your interests are protected

When looking for a Buyer’s Agent, you want to find a REALTOR® that is an expert in the local area that you are purchasing in. This agent should know the current real estate market, be able to advise you during the home buying process and know the local real estate contract inside and out. This agent should also be a great negotiator to ensure you purchase the home at the best possible price.

Seller’s Agent – The Seller’s Agent main job is to get your home sold for the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time. The Seller’s Agent responsibilities and duties are too numerous to list here but here are the minimum responsibilities they should be performing for you:

  • Research the current local real estate market
  • Prepare a Comparable Market Analysis for you
  • Assist you in determining the asking/list price of your home
  • Identify and help highlight the key selling points of your home
  • Market the home to sell
  • Place your home for sale in the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
  • Add your home listing to additional top real estate and social media websites
  • Place a “For Sale” sign in your yard
  • Put a lockbox on your door (for safety reasons you should insist on an electronic lockbox)
  • Coordinate home showings with buyers
  • Ensure buyers are qualified to purchase the home
  • Hold an open house after you check out 5 Open House Facts Your REALTOR® Won’t Tell You
  • Present and explain offers from buyers to you
  • Negotiate with buyers on your behalf
  • Attend closing to ensure that all of your interests are protected

Again these are just a few of the tasks a seller’s agent (or listing agent) will perform for you. Pricing your home properly is one of the most important aspects to getting it sold for top dollar. Find a REALTOR® that knows how to price and home and does not overprice them. If it is overpriced it will end up selling for less and taking longer to sell.

The agent should be a home marketing specialist. I believe this step is misunderstood by most listing agents. Putting an ad in the local paper and holding an open house is not marketing your home! The truth is those two items largely market the agent and not your home. You should look for and hire an agent that can reach qualified prospects that are looking to buy in your area. Today, that is done by promoting the home online! Your agent should have an online marketing system that incorporates the top real estate industry websites as well as social media outlets. This is the only way to get your home seen by as many qualified buyers as possible. Online marketing is very visual so ensure the agent will be using high quality photos and videos. If the agent is going to use their old flip cell phone to take the listing pictures you may want to find a different agent or at the very least have the agent hire a professional photographer.

In some cases you may be selling a home and buying a new one in the same area. You will need to find an agent that has qualities from both the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. Lean towards an agent with great marketing and understands how to price a home. These skills are the hardest to find.

The Interview

There are literally thousands of REALTORS® located in most areas of the country. Just like with any profession not every REALTOR® is created equal. At a minimum you should interview at least three REALTORS®. Each will have their own sales pitch and tout why you should hire them. To dig through the sales pitch you will need to ask some great questions. Here is an article with 15 great REALTOR® interview questions and what to look for with each answer.

What to Look For in Your REALTOR®

Experience – There are a couple of different aspects to experience, time and quantity. For hiring an agent, let’s focus on the quantity or number of closed transactions. In real estate experience is learned and to get this experience you must close transactions! Look for an agent with at least 10 closed real estate transactions. Anything less than that and they are still really just learning the ins and outs of the profession. I’ve been involved in this industry for over 30 years and closed hundreds of transactions. I still learn something from every single closed transaction. So trust me when I say you don’t really want an agent that is just learning the business when it is your hard earned money is at stake! As far as time is concerned there are a lot of REALTORS® that have been in the industry for years but have never sold anything so to me how long an agent has been in the business is irrelevant.

Local Market Knowledge – This is important! Real estate is local in nature and you want to find a REALTOR® who is an expert in the area that you are looking to buy or sell in. If you ask an agent where they specialize and they say the Tampa Bay area they are most likely not an expert in the Tampa Bay area. It is really too difficult to specialize is such a large area. Find someone that specializes in the immediate area or community where you are buying or selling. I am a REALTOR® in the Tampa Bay area and have bought and sold a lot of homes in the Tampa Bay area but I specialize in FishHawk Ranch real estate. There is no other agent that knows the FishHawk Ranch area as well as I do. You should try to find the expert for your area, the knowledge is priceless.

Marketing – We touched on this a little bit already but it is extremely important. In today’s real estate environment 90% of home buyers start searching for homes online and you need a REALTOR® that knows how to leverage this to your advantage. Find a REALTOR® that has an online presence that includes their own website, and social media accounts like a Facebook Business Page, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and Instagram. This agent should understand and be able to use these powerful social media platforms to get your home in front of as many qualified buyers as possible. I recently pushed a listing on one of my social media sites and in less than a week had over 20,000 views on it! The reach is simply amazing and most REALTORS® don’t understand it yet. Find the REALTOR® in your area that understands and uses this kind of marketing. It is powerful and will help get your home sold for more money!

Communication – In general great REALTORS® are very busy. Ask how the agent will communicate with you. Is the agent technologically savvy? Do they use email and text? Will they answer the phone when you call? Do they only return phone calls during certain times of the day? Do you speak directly to them or someone else on their team? Only you know how you would like to be communicated with. The key is to find the agent that meets your needs.

The Real Estate Company – Century 21, RE/MAX, Keller Williams or a small local real estate boutique, does it matter? I’ve worked for both and in fairness they each have some advantages. In my opinion the agent is much more important than the company they hang their license with. Ultimately it is the agent and the systems they have in place that will matter most to you, so find a great agent and hire them!

I hope you found this article useful. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to answer them for you.

About the Author

The above article How to Choose the Right REALTOR ® was written by Jeff Gould.

Jeff is a top selling, nationally recognized Florida REALTOR® and local FishHawk Ranch real estate expert. You will find him selling homes in the Tampa Bay, Florida and surrounding areas. Some of those areas include FishHawk, Lithia, Riverview, Valrico, Brandon and Tampa. If you are looking to sell or buy a Tampa Bay area home, Jeff is your local and trusted professional. He can be reached via phone/text at (813) 421-3007 or by email at Jeff@FishHawkRanchRealEstate.net.

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How to Stage Your Home

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If you’re planning to put your home on the market, there are some things that you need to do before getting someone to fall in love with your home. You need to hire a great real estate agent and have a home in mind that you want to buy. Finally, you need to set up an open house with your real estate agent. With setting up an open house, there is more to do than just inviting potential buyers over. You have to make your open house stand out, be memorable, and learn how to stage your home.

How to Stage Your Home

What is Home Staging?

Home staging is preparing your home to look as though it is ready to be lived in. This way, potential buyers are likely to see what it would look like if they already lived in your home before they buy it. So when you learn how to stage your home, you’ll be happy to know that it is a great way to get the highest value from your home sale.

Stage Yourself or Hire a Home Stager

You can learn how to stage your home by either hiring a professional stager or learning it online. The price per stager varies, but doing it yourself is an inexpensive alternative if you have a knack for homemaking. If you ask your agent, they are more than likely going to help out with getting your home staged and ready because they want to sell it as much as you do. Since only 1/10 people can visualize what a home would look like before they move in, you need to help the other 90% visualize the property potential.

Why You Should Stage Your Home

If you are planning an open house with your real estate agent soon, then you need to stage your home. Staging a home is the best way to help gain a buyer’s interest in the interior of your property for sale. There are many reasons as to why you should stage your home, but the greatest reason is that there is a 586% return on investment. Staging your home is the best way to guarantee yourself that you will find a buyer who will love your home.

The Basics to Staging Your Home

Before you have your home open to potential buyers, you want it to be clean, peaceful and well organized. These are the characteristics that sell a home. You do not want to have any furniture that looks old or dirty around.

You can start by cleaning and getting rid of all of the trash in your home, including any household items or furniture that is no longer used or looks ragged. You want your home to look as good as possible, so make sure that it is spotless. If there are stains in the carpet or paint, then there isn’t much you can do about that unless you want to get new carpeting or repaint.

How to Stage Your Home

How to Set the Furniture

If you do not have new or modern furniture, you can always use sheets and covers to wrap around any couches or chairs. However, if you do not want to do that, you can always buy new furniture or rent home items, like couches, televisions, or tables. By making your furniture look as new and clean as possible, you are giving the potential buyer a perspective on what the home will look like once they move in.

The way you set furniture is up to you, your Realtor, and home stager (if you decided to hired one). However, a great way to arrange furniture is to have a home flow, a way in which you organize your home so that there is order and room to move about it freely. You want to maximize the space in your home while making it look neat and organized throughout. Do not leave clunky furnishing in heavy walking areas.

Be sure to fix any holes in the walls. Do not leave out too many family photos, and be sure that the home smells great by using household fresheners. If you’re still uncertain how you will stage your home, there are some awesome tips online about home staging.

Where to Start with Staging Your Home

How to Stage Your Home

Now if home staging is a completely new concept to you, the best thing you can do for yourself is ask your agent if it is necessary to sell your home. They will most likely say there are some things you can do to get the house in shape for your open house. If you two plan to work together, make sure to come into an agreement as to how the home will be staged for the open house.

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Household Pests [Infographic]

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Here’s a look at the pests most likely to creep into your home. Understand why each of these household pests can be a danger to your property (or your personal health), and what you can responsibly do about the uninvited guests.

Household-Pests

Rodents

Common in big cities and cold areas.

Damages cables by chewing them and infects your food.

Solutions include humane trap-and-release traps. Prevention includes keeping a clean home.

Spiders

Common everywhere, but especially in the Midwest.

Damages people when venomous. Otherwise, relatively harmless.

Solutions include caulking around windows, doors, and other openings where spiders may enter from. Prevention includes trimming back landscaping around the house.

Roaches

Common throughout the U.S.

Damages food with contaminates. They carry many diseases.

Prevention includes eliminating moisture buildup in the home. They go to wet spaces.

Flies

Common throughout the U.S.

Damages residents with the 100+ pathogens they carry. Plus, they’re annoying.

Solutions include a sticky rope with an alluring scent. Prevention is done by masking scents that may attract the critters.

Termites

Common everywhere, but they particularly love warmer climates.

Damages the structure of the home by eating through the frame

Solutions include tenting your home with professionals, or using chemical spot treatments if there is a certain area mites tend to go.

Ants

Common in northern and central states.

Damages are limited to eating your food; some and species bite people.

Solutions are to keep a clean home and use repellent scents.

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5 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

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No matter who you are, or where you’re from, you have a mom who loves you. Mother’s show love in many different ways, but one thing remains certain, they get a special day dedicated to showing love back to them. For this Mother’s Day, here are some amazing Mother’s Day gift ideas to make for your mom, or wife, to show her how special she is and how much you love her.

 

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

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thedomesticfringe.com

1. Make a Mother’s Day Book

For your mom this Mother’s Day, make her a gift she’ll never forget. Now you can always use a photo album, but this is an even better way to get your mom to feel special. Make her a book containing many of your childhood pictures with her in it, showing all of your precious moments together. Then write under the picture about the special moment and what she means to you. By adding pictures and then writing about your memories with your mom, you are showing her how much you love all of the memorable things that you have done together. Also, be sure to decorate the cover and exterior of the book as well!

 

 

Mother's Day Gift Idea's

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2. Mother’s Day Card Made from Craft Sticks

If you’re the man of the house, and you and your wife have children, help them make individual mother’s day cards out of craft sticks to give to their mom. All you need is craft sticks, tape, makers, and a nice ribbon to wrap around it. Start out first by taping the backs of the craft sticks but make sure that they are able to fold up after you have taped them. After that, have your kids start coloring the front of the sticks any way that they want. Make sure that after they have made their drawings, they write a special, love note to their mom.

 

 

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

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3. Mother’s Day Photo Frame

Do you have a special picture of you and your mom or of your wife and your kids? Then why not make a special frame for that special someone? There are a million ways to design a spectacular photo frame. If you’re not too savvy with crafting the frame yourself, simply buy a frame from a store, gather arts and craft materials, and start making that beautiful frame. Be sure to utilize lots of colors, glitter, glue, and markers to make your Mother’s Day frame pop.

 

 

 

 

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

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4. A Basket for Mother’s Day

You can always make your mom or wife a basket for Mother’s Day. Be sure to include everything that she loves. If she likes a certain type of flower, add some to the basket. If she loves chocolates, be sure to include her favorites. Just put everything that mom loves in a basket made just for her. Don’t forget to include a loving card from you and your kids for this awesome Mother’s Day gift idea!

 

 

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

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5. Windowsill Flower Bed

Create a Mother’s Day flower bed for your mom or your wife. A simple, windowsill flower bed can be made by using a plastic container or out of wood if you’re a skilled craftsman. Make sure to write your wife or mother’s name alongside it. Be sure to use lots of colors and paint to make it stand out. You can even have your kids make their hand print alongside it with kid-friendly paint. However you design it, just be creative, and make sure to plant her favorite flowers in the bed!

 

With Mother’s Day coming up, be sure to tell your mom you love her with a special message and any gift that you know she’ll love. We hope that these Mother’s Day gift ideas work for you—just be sure to personalize any gift you make for that special mom in your life.

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