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Apartment Decorating, Pets

5 Dire Mistakes People Make Moving Their Pets to a New Place

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Moving involves so many tasks: planning, packing, hiring movers, enlisting emotional and physical help, and lots more. Moving with pets can add even more to your to-do list.

When we moved a couple of years ago, I never really considered how our two Lab mixes, Coco and Cookie, would handle it. That was a big mistake. I looked up a few tips online and tried my best to put them into practice. But, for the first few days in the new house, my dogs were stressed and anxious, got into fights with each other and barked all the time—all unusual behavior.

After a couple of weeks, they started to adjust, and their anxiety subsided. But it got me wondering what I could have done to make this move less traumatic for them.

moving with pets
My two dogs

Erica Sweeney

To help keep your animals calm and safe when moving to a new place, we’ve highlighted some top mistakes pet owners make in the process. Here are some moves that experts say pet owners should avoid if they want a smooth transition.

1. Keeping pets around on moving day

Moving day will probably be chaotic, so boarding pets, or having them stay elsewhere for the day or overnight, is a good idea, says Nicole Ellis, a pet expert and certified professional dog trainer with the online pet sitter and dog walker network Rover.

Cats can be confined to a specific room in the old or new place to keep them away from the activity, says Mikel Delgado, a cat behavior expert at Rover. She suggests placing a sign on the closed door that reads, “Cat Inside: Please Do Not Open Door,” to prevent escapes.

We boarded our dogs for a few days during our move, which gave us time to start unpacking and get their things set up before bringing them home. Knowing they were safe and out of the way made the move less stressful.

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Watch: For Floors’ Sake! Smart Tips for Housetraining Your Puppy

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2. Washing pets’ things before the move

Familiar smells ease pets’ anxiety, Ellis and Delgado say. It may seem like a good idea to wash your pets’ belongings or buy them new things before a move for a fresh start, but don’t.

Beds, blankets, toys, litter boxes, and food and water bowls bring the scent of the old home into the new one, and this substantially reduces pets’ stress and helps them adjust, they say.

Delgado also suggests not packing pets’ items until the last minute, so they’ll feel at home while you’re preparing to move.

3. Not keeping an eye on them in their new environment

Once you’ve moved, Ellis recommends watching your pets closely as they explore their new place—and checking (inside and outside) for possible escape routes. For instance, even if your new house has a fence, “Dogs can jump higher than we are often aware, so keeping them company outside is always safest,” she says.

She also suggests walking them around the neighborhood one step at a time to ease them into new sights and sounds, which can be overwhelming.

Another tip: Introduce yourself and your pet to neighbors. Give your number to neighbors and explain that your pets are still adjusting to a new place, so if they’re barking too much, neighbors can politely tell you.

4. Changing their setup too much

For cats, “Home turf is everything,” Delgado says. Cats are territorial and feel safest in familiar spaces; moving can cause unusual behavior, such as hiding, fearfulness, and being more vocal. Setting up a “safe room” with your cats’ necessary and favorite things for the first few hours, days, or even weeks helps them adjust.

Once cats get comfortable and are acting like their normal selves, they can be free to explore the rest of the house, Delgado says.

Ellis recommends arranging beds, crates, and toys as close to the old setup as possible. Giving dogs a sense of familiarity with where their stuff is located makes them feel more at home.

This is a tip I found online that seemed to work for us. We placed our dogs’ beds next to the couch in the living room of the new home, similar to where they had been in the old home, and put their water bowl in a similar spot in the kitchen. I also didn’t wash their favorite blankets and bedcovers before we moved, even though it was tempting.

5. Changing your pets’ routine

Routines are important for both dogs and cats, so sticking to regular feeding schedules, walk times, play activities, and other familiar tasks creates stability.

“They really rely on their favorite blankets, beds, and scratching posts to feel safe, and routine is very important to cats,” Delgado says.

Our dogs love their routine. They wake up at 6 a.m. every morning, ready to go outside to use the bathroom and then have breakfast. We kept up this schedule in the new house.

The bottom line is that settling pets into a new place will take time. How much depends on the individual animal, the pet experts say. Ellis urges pet parents to have medical records, microchip numbers, and current photos on hand, in case a pet gets lost.

Pets may show signs of stress and anxiety for several days, but there should be signs of improvement, Delgado says. If not, or if pets aren’t eating, call the vet.

The post 5 Dire Mistakes People Make Moving Their Pets to a New Place appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

Apartment Life

Why You Should Stop Playing the Lottery and Open a Prize-Linked Savings Account

If you enjoy playing the lottery, you’re not alone. About half of all adults in the United States have played the lottery, and the average player throws about $600 a year on the long odds that they might hit it big.

For the vast, vast majority of people who play the lottery, that’s money down the drain. Right now, your chances to win Powerball’s Jackpot are 1 in 292 million. Even your odds of winning Powerball’s lowest prize, a $4 payout, are 1 in 38.2, on a $2 ticket. So, on average, you need to spend $76.40 to win that $4 prize.

Overall, state lotteries offer a negative return of $0.52 for every dollar spent. Spend $600 on state lottery tickets, and you’re likely to end up $288 in the hole.

Not a great investment strategy.

But of course, most of us know this, and still, we choose to play. Research shows that somehow, we believe that even though the odds are stacked against us, we’re going to beat them.

At the same time, many Americans aren’t saving nearly enough money. A study last year found that 40% of Americans don’t have enough savings to cover an unexpected $400 expense.

A new type of savings account—called a prize-linked savings account or PLS—takes advantage of our eternal optimism, while helping to boost your financial health. It combines savings money with the chance to win prizes.

How Prize-Linked Savings Accounts Work

The specifics of a prize-linked savings account can vary from account to account. But the basic idea of a prize-linked savings account is that the more money you deposit into your savings account, the more chances you have to win prizes—cash prizes.

Take the recently launched Big Prize Savings account from American First Credit Union in California. Under the program, every $25 in your average balance—once you’ve reached the $500 minimum for eligibility—earns you a shot at monthly giveaways of $1,000, quarterly giveaways of $10,000 and an annual drawing of $50,000.

The best part is that even if you’re not a lucky winner, you still win by building your savings account balance.

Let’s imagine you’re a lottery player who spends the average $600 per year on tickets. That’s just under $12 per week. Now, imagine if you took your $12 every week, and put it into a prize-linked savings account. After 5 years, you’d have almost $2,936 in your savings account thanks to the compound interest on your savings rate, instead of having donated it to your state lottery fund.1

You’d have also earned more than 3,400 chances to win prizes valued between $1,000 and $50,000. American First has a calculator that lets you do the math for how much you think you could save and how many chances you’d earn at winning.

The History of Prize-Linked Savings Programs

When it comes to prize-linked savings accounts, America is a bit late to the party. A study from the Harvard Business School mentioned that 20 countries beat the U.S. to the punch. Sometimes, by quite a while.

The first record of something like a prize-linked savings account was called the “Million Adventure,” and launched in 1694 to finance England’s fight in the Nine Years’ War against France. A £10 investment earned accountholders a 10-year return of 6.15%, along with a chance to win prizes of between £10 and £1,000 per year for the next 16 years. That’s a value of around $3 million in today’s dollars.

Instead of financing wars against Louis XIV, more recent prize-linked savings accounts have been targeted at promoting healthy savings habits. Starting as early as 1918, prize-linked savings accounts in countries like Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand and Germany (among others) have been shown to promote savings in the citizens who need it the most.

What took the U.S. so long? The threat of legal trouble. In most states, it’s illegal for anyone but a state to run anything that might be deemed “a lottery.”

When early pilot prize-linked savings accounts were launched in the U.S. in 2007, researchers from the Harvard Business School collaborated closely with the credit unions launching the savings promotion products. What the collaboration found was encouraging. The research showed that prize-linked savings accounts are the most appealing to people who don’t have a regular savings plan as well as to people who regularly participate in some kind of gambling or lottery play.

In short, the research showed that prize-linked savings accounts are great tools for encouraging people to establish healthy financial well-being habits as a substitute for financially unhealthy gambling habits.

After the launch and success of early programs in Indiana and Michigan, states across the country changed laws to specifically allow prize-linked savings accounts to be offered by financial institutions in the state. Currently, around 30 states allow credit unions and banks to offer prize-linked savings accounts.

Who Can Open a Prize-Linked Savings Account?

If you live in one of the 30-plus states that now allow prize-linked savings accounts, you might have a financial institution near you where you can start saving.

While most prize-linked savings accounts are targeted at local customers, a few institutions make accounts open to potential savers around the country. American First’s Big Prize Savings is one such PLS.

The American First Credit Union offers accounts to individuals who live, work, worship or attend school in Orange County, California, or in the 16 qualified cities in southern California, or who may work at one of our national affinity group or are members of the Children’s Museum of La Habra.

Who Should Open a Prize-Linked Savings Account?

If you’re currently spending money on lottery tickets or thinking about starting a savings account, or you just enjoy the possibility of winning cash prizes, prize-linked savings can be a good option for you.

While a savings account now can earn dividends in the future, the future is a long time away. In contrast, depositing just a few dollars into a prize-linked savings account can boost your chances of winning money right away!

Of course, the benefit is that even if you don’t win today, you’re still building a savings balance for the future.

Other Savings Account Options

If winning prizes isn’t that important to you, consider a high-yield savings account where you can earn a higher annual percentage rate (APY) for your savings. Putting a similar amount in a personal savings account with a higher interest rate of 2.20% could net you almost $3,091 compared to the $2,936 in an American First PLS account mentioned above.2

However you decide to save your money, it’s a great idea to save money starting now.

About the Author

Jon Shigematsu is CEO and President of American First Credit Union Jon Shigematsu is CEO and President of American First Credit Union. He joined in 2011 and served as its chief financial officer until his appointment to CEO. He has extensive experience in finance, accounting and business management, and is a CPA. He lives in Southern California with his wife and young daughter.

1 Based on an opening deposit of $25 and monthly contributions of $48 and earning .15% APY after your balance reaches $500 and you make monthly contributions of $48 for 50 more months. After reaching a balance of $3,000, you earn an APY of .20%. www.amerfirst.org/WhatWeOffer/Savings/BigPrizeSavings.aspx

2 Based on an opening deposit of $525 and monthly contributions of $48 for 50 months at an APY of 2.20%.

The post Why You Should Stop Playing the Lottery and Open a Prize-Linked Savings Account appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com

Apartment Decorating

Often Overlooked Spots to Check During a Move-In Inspection

Summer is the season for pool parties, vacations, and fun. But it’s also the season most people move from one apartment to another. Having a thorough moving-out checklist is one thing, but what should you keep top of mind when you move in? You may have found the perfect apartment and done the apartment walkthrough […]

The post Often Overlooked Spots to Check During a Move-In Inspection appeared first on Apartment Life.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Crime and Safety

6 Coronavirus-Friendly Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $10K—and Will Bring In Offers

irina88w/Getty Images

Getting a home improvement project to pay off is notoriously tricky. There’s no guarantee you’ll recoup the money you pour into a bathroom remodel or an outdoor kitchen. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic has made completing even minor projects more difficult, as many nonessential construction projects have been halted.

And while it might seem crazy to take on a big-ticket project in a time of economic uncertainty, many home buyers are still looking for turnkey properties with attractive amenities. So if you’re a seller with a house in need of a little TLC, you should focus on relatively low-budget upgrades that will seriously juice your home’s value.

Below, our experts spill on the improvements under $10,000 that buyers are perennially interested in, plus the trending ones whose popularity is likely to last.

Deep cleaning: $500 or less

Scuffs on doors, counters, cabinets, and walls; a ring of scum around a drain; cobwebs in basement corners; toys or tools peppering lawns and patios—these all look bad in the eyes of potential buyers. Luckily, eradicating these blemishes doesn’t take much.

“Deep cleaning is one of the most important things you can do for a little money that dramatically increases your value in the market,” says Heather Wendlandt, a real estate agent with the San Diego-based Team Kolker. “The Magic Eraser and elbow grease can go a long way.”

She says deep cleaning, plus basic paint touch-ups, can increase home values by thousands.

Front-door upgrade: $2,000 or less

Thee front door is the first part of a home that a potential buyer will interact with, so it’s worth lavishing attention on every detail. A fresh coat of paint, new hardware, or updated accessories like house numbers, door knockers, and attractive lighting are all easy and relatively inexpensive to obtain.

Wilmington, NC–based real estate agent-turned-blogger Rebecca Fernandez says that when she was given a listing that sat on the market without activity for months, a front-door upgrade helped make a difference.

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Watch: 5 Smart Upgrades To Help Coronavirus-Proof Your Home

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“I convinced the homeowners to provide me with a budget of $500,” Fernandez says. “It was a very small Cape Cod home, painted dark beige, with an unflattering wood front door. To add contrast, I purchased black vinyl shutters and painted the door a dark red. Next, we cleaned up the front lawn and purchased a door mat, flowerpots, and mums, since it was autumn, and we wanted it to have a fresh, seasonal look. After those minor tweaks, with new pictures online and the added curb appeal, we drew multiple buyers and sold the property quickly.”

Touchless fixtures and fresh-air systems: $200 to $5,000

During the pandemic, certain fixtures have become more relevant—and coveted—than ever.

What buyers want right now are touchless fixtures like sinks and toilets that eliminate your need to come into contact with a germ-filled surface, says Scott Campbell, team leader at Cedarburg, WI’s Re/Max. Both of these upgrades cost a few hundred dollars to install around the house.

Another pandemic must-have is excellent airflow.

“Updating mechanical systems and adding a RenewAire system that pulls fresh air into the home every few hours is a huge plus for buyers,” Campbell says. “Uaviolet air exchanges that help kill viruses are also smart investments and very practical for home showings during the pandemic.”

Better kitchens and bathrooms: $9,000 or less

Kitchens and bathrooms that look outdated or cheap can sink the value of an entire home.

Tracy Jones, an associate with Re/Max Platinum Realty, witnessed firsthand how a kitchen face-lift boosted her home’s value.

“During the years we’ve done some hefty renos, but resurfacing our kitchen cabinets cost less than $4,000. We replaced the cheap-looking plywood cabinets with white doors and custom-built drawer fronts with soft-pull hardware,” she says. “We also upgraded the 1990s Formica countertops with granite for $4,000, creating a modern look.”

Jones believes these upgrades helped them bring in a profit. They bought the home for $189,000 in 2006 and sold it for $425,000 in 2020.

Bathrooms can also make or break a deal.

Erik Wright, owner of New Horizon Home Buyers in Chattanooga, TN, says he helped renovate and flip a home that cost him $80,000 and was sold for $140,000. Of the $15,000 he invested in home improvement, Wright put $9,000 toward upgrades on the kitchen and bathroom, including light fixtures, new cabinets and counters, fresh towels, and new vanities and faucets. All told, he cleared $45,000, primarily through minor tweaks.

Backyard upgrades: $500 to $10,000

Backyards are now thought of as an extension of the home.

“For those in the suburbs, pools, koi ponds, and fountains are newfound hot-selling items,” says Neal Clayton, licensed partner at Engel & Völkers in Nashville, TN. A small water feature that makes a soothing impression can be purchased and installed for as little as $500.

“Fire pits and outdoor kitchens with basic cabinetry are also frequently requested as people find creative ways to expand their living spaces,” Clayton says.

Home office: $10,000 or less

Home offices were on their way out before the pandemic, but they are all the rage now. Converting a room and buying all of the furniture, accoutrements, and shelving cost well under $10,000, experts say.

If you’re on the fence about carving out a home office space, consider this: Many buyers won’t consider a home these days if it doesn’t have a place where working or schooling from home is feasible.

The post 6 Coronavirus-Friendly Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $10K—and Will Bring In Offers appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

Roommate Tips, Unique Homes

Historic Indiana Schoolhouse From 1883 Gets an A-Plus Transformation

Fort Wayne schoolhouseTony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The room where students at District School No. 4 once learned their ABCs has been transformed into a grand living space.

On the market for $683,000, the converted schoolhouse on Aboite Center Road in Fort Wayne, IN, is now a one-of-a-kind single-family home.

“To find an intact one-room schoolhouse is hard. Then on top of that, for it to be made into this gorgeous home with a back addition? The way they did it is just incredible,” says the listing agent, Andrea Zehr.

Built in 1883 and last used as a schoolhouse in 1938, the historic structure sat empty and forlorn for decades. The current owners began renovating it in 2016, after the former owner finally agreed to sell it.

“The prior owner would not sell it unless there was someone that was going to not tear it down and do right by it,” Zehr explains. “There were definitely other people that wanted to buy it and then take it down—and he would not sell it.”

Interior of former schoolhouse in Fort Wayne, IN

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Exterior

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Addition

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Historic photo

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Before renovation

Schoolhouse owners

During renovation

Schoolhouse owners

During renovation

Schoolhouse owners

Interior

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Interior

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Entry

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Inside, the former schoolhouse serves as an open space with areas for dining and relaxing. Where the kitchen island now stands is where the original schoolhouse structure ends—the space beyond was added by the current owners.

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Watch: Roll With It: $359K W. Virginia Property Includes a Skate Rink

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The addition to the original structure resulted in two bedrooms and two bathrooms, as well as a basement with an office and extra living space.

Kitchen

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Kitchen

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The kitchen features cherry cabinets, a copper farm sink, 12-foot ceilings, and floors made from wainscoting from the schoolhouse.

Hallway

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Interior

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Master bedroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Master bathroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Master bathroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Master bedroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Master bedroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Bedroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Bathroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Bathroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The master bedroom opens to a patio, and the master bathroom includes dual sinks, LED lights, Bluetooth speakers, and a heated towel rack.

Basement

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Basement

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Basement

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Basement

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Basement

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The basement has 9-foot ceilings and a built-in sleeping area under the stairs, as well as a desk area and space for entertaining. Outside, there’s also a swim spa year-round exercise pool.

Aerial view of exercise pool

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Outdoor space

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The current owners make a living dismantling old barns and reclaiming the wood. They used some of that material as well as other repurposed items for this project.

“They restored everything that they could. The things they couldn’t salvage or had to replace were replaced with things that were repurposed,” Zehr explains.

For example, there’s barn wood from a 1950s barn, lighting from an old building, a door that came from an elementary school in the Iowa town where the two owners met, and much more.

Original chalkboard on display

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Before renovation

Schoolhouse owners

They also gave a proper nod to the property’s past—using original chalkboards as wall decor.

“The original slate chalkboard was still there when they purchased this property. The writing on it predates 1938, when the last classes were held there, so it’s pretty special,” Zehr says.

Exterior

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The exterior of the original schoolhouse is brick, with a slate roof. The addition features a metal roof and vinyl siding.

“The reason why they didn’t try to do more brick on the exterior for the addition is because it’s so hard to match. So they went with siding and a barn kind of look,” Zehr explains.

The agent noted that the addition was carefully designed to align with the slim profile of the schoolhouse, so that it didn’t look like an afterthought. It’s the same width, going straight back, and doesn’t interfere with the front view of the original structure.

Aerial view

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Sadly, the school’s original bell tower was unstable and could not be salvaged.

The schoolhouse design was the work of the architect John F. Wing, a well-known Indiana architect in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His firm designed several buildings, including the gymnasium at Purdue University and many schools.

The owners spent several years converting the schoolhouse into their home, but are ready to move on.

“I think that perfect buyer is someone that really loves and appreciates the history,” Zehr says. “It’s just a really amazing sight.”

Bathroom

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Kitchen and interior space

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

Hallway and stairs

Tony Frantz/ DasFort Media

The post Historic Indiana Schoolhouse From 1883 Gets an A-Plus Transformation appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

Apartment Safety, Home Decor

Lifestyle Blogger Jesse Coulter Gives House Tour of New Texas Home

Home buying isn’t always a walk in the park, but the light at the end of that (stressful) tunnel is your dream home! We recently partnered with Austin-based blogger Jesse Coulter who shared her journey with us, as well as nine of her top tips to keep your sanity during the home buying process

Using the Homes.com Match feature, Coulter was able to find the perfect home for her and her family. Listing her must-haves and nice-to-haves in her future home helped make the home buying experience simply smarter. An Austin, Texas home with high ceilings, wood-look tile, and plenty of space for her two young kids to play around, grabbed Coulter’s attention. The home combines family-living with a modern farmhouse feel.

Now that the Coulter family is starting to settle into their home, it’s time for a tour. If you’re in the market to find your dream home, get your search started today, what are you waiting for?

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Whether you’re looking to buy, rent, or sell, Homes.com offers how-to resources to fit your unique journey. 


Content Marketing Assistant at Homes.com | See more posts by this author

As Homes.com’s content marketing assistant, Sydney gets to combine one of her favorite pastimes with her job– keeping up with pop culture. Outside of work, she enjoys stepping away from her phone and computer and spending time with her friends, whether it’s just hanging out or traveling. Trying new foods, going snowboarding, and long road trips are some of her other favorite things to do, but what does she loves the most? When people read Homes.com’s blog articles, of course!

Source: homes.com