Shannon Nealey's Blog
Statistics vary, but according to two credible sources, 44% of Americans own a dog. That means that if you don't own a dog, there's a strong chance one or both of your next door neighbors do!
Why are dogs such a permanent fixture in so many households? Unconditional love is probably the number one reason most people bring a dog into their lives, but enhanced health, home security, and companionship are others.
Health benefits: If you have a dog in your family, you probably already know the power of the "w" word. From a dog's perspective, there are few experiences that outrank the joy of going for a walk with their master! It not only provides a daily bonding experience for both dog and owner, but it's also an opportunity to introduce a moderate amount of exercise into your life -- assuming your doctor approves! While running, athletics, or weight training is not up everyone's alley (or even medically advisable), taking a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood can be a great way to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and enjoy bonding moments with your four-legged companion! It's also a proven fact that petting or playing with a dog (or cat) can help lower your blood pressure and distract you from the cares and worries of everyday life.
Teaching moments: Not only do most kids love playing with pets, but they can also benefit from learning pet responsibility, kindness, and compassion.
Home security: While it's not an infallible method of burglarproofing your house, having a dog almost always serves as a deterrent. Most dogs are inherently protective of their territory (and loved ones) and will generally bark if they sense an intruder on the property or at the front door. Since one of the last things burglars want to do is call attention to themselves, a barking dog can definitely help keep the bad guys away!
Companionship: Dogs aren't the greatest conversationalists in the world, but they can be a very comforting presence when you're reading a book, watching TV, or relaxing at home. Many also love to join you for a ride in the car, a walk in the neighborhood, or a run in the park.
While dog ownership is not for everyone, more than 40% of us could not imagine life without our canine companion(s)! They do require a lot of attention, patience, and training, but the rewards are usually well worth the effort.
If you're considering getting a dog, you can gather a lot of helpful information about dog breeds, barking tendencies, temperament, shedding, how much exercise different breeds require, and other characteristics from the American Kennel Association. To help ensure a mutually satisfying relationship between you and your dog, it also pays to sign up for a dog obedience class and go online to learn about dog behavior, crate training, and health maintenance.
If you've conducted an in-depth search for your dream house but still have yet to find your ideal residence, there is no need to worry. In fact, you can revisit your homebuying strategy and revise it as needed. This will allow you to restart your house search and increase the likelihood that you'll discover your dream home sooner rather than later.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to revisit your homebuying strategy, and these include:
1. You can consider why you're searching for a house.
There are many reasons why an individual may choose to buy a home. By revisiting your homebuying strategy, you can think about why you want to purchase a house and proceed accordingly.
For example, if your initial goal was to buy a home near the top schools in a particular city or town, you may want to refocus your house search to achieve the optimal results. Or, if you now find that you'd prefer to own a house in a big city instead of a small town, you can update your house search.
2. You can evaluate your home must-haves and wants.
After attending open house events and home showings, your homebuying criteria may have changed. As such, now may be a good time to revisit your homebuying strategy so you can update these criteria.
Think about things you've liked and disliked as you've viewed various available houses. You can use your open house and home showing experiences to revamp your home must-haves and wants, and as a result, reenter the housing market with a fresh perspective.
3. You can review where you want to live.
As you've searched for homes, you may have found that houses in certain cities and towns are more appealing than other residences. Thus, you can revise your homebuying strategy to focus on residences in your preferred cities and towns. This will help you accelerate your house search and ensure you can find a home in a city or town where you want to live.
Of course, conducting a home search on your own often can be difficult. But if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to find a great residence in any city or town. He or she can help you revamp your homebuying strategy and streamline your house search.
In addition, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses that become available and help you navigate the homebuying cycle. Once you find your dream house, a real estate agent will make it easy to submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence. And if you ever have concerns or questions about purchasing a home, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.
Revisit your homebuying strategy today, and you could move one step closer to finding and purchasing your ideal residence.
That time is coming if it is not already here. The kids are gone, and it is just the two of you—or, maybe there’s only one of you—and you feel like you’re rattling around the house like a couple of beans in a can. You’re tired of cleaning rooms that you never use. You’ve stopped visiting the basement, and you pretend that it isn’t even there. But you have no idea what things you should consider in purchasing that next “smaller” house. All you’ve ever planned for is that perfect house for the family, so … here are some things to consider.
If you’re still young physically, it’s hard to imagine not being able to do the things you have always done. Unfortunately, time does take its toll.
Steps and doors...
Consider that you might want to find a single-story place with a master bedroom and maybe one guest room. That would seem simple enough, but unfortunately, not all single-level homes are created equal. The number one challenge as people get older is managing stairs. When you put “no step” in the equation, all the sudden you start to see how many steps are in many single-level homes. For example, there may be steps up to the front door, steps from the garage into the house, single steps from the dining room to the living room, a step into the bathroom, etc. Now you begin to wonder if the architect had “steps” on the brain.
When buying your family home, you may not have even thought about doors, but there is the possibility of one day needing to use a walker or being in a wheelchair. Now, those standard doorways are a problem. Medical needs might limit you to exiting only through the front door—the only 36-inch door in the house. Oh yes, and there might be steps to get out that way as well.
The second challenge that happens as people get older, besides health challenges, is having a limited budget. In most cases, it’s fixed to your retirement income. So, it’s not just about the house payments. Even if you pay cash for your home, you still have gas, electric, and water bills. Take time understanding what those bills currently are, and determine if those will fit your budget. Then, decide if there's your room in your budget for them to up because you know that nothing goes down in cost.
Time and effort...
Another consideration is lot size. You may really love to work outside in the garden or to have a garden that looks beautiful—even if someone else does the gardening. That is all well and good, but you should consider that there may come a time that it is too big or too costly to maintain. Do you want to move again because you cannot afford to keep up the yard or pay for all the water needed to keep it green? If you live in areas of the country that have lots of snow or ice in the winter, how much of the front walkways can you keep clean so you can come and go? If it is a large front yard with a long driveway and long sidewalks it may be more than you can handle.
These challenges are only a few of the things to consider when downsizing. Let your real estate professional know your needs now … and in the future.
When spring arrives it brings everyone out to the backyard for games, cookouts, picnics, and a number of other fun, fair weather activities. It also brings yardwork.
With the busy schedules that most homeowners have, it can be difficult to find time to spend hours working in the yard each weekend. Depending on where you live and the size of your backyard, there are many options for making it a bit easier to take care of your lawn and garden.
In this article, we’ll give you some advice on how to make caring for your backyard a lot simpler so that you can spend your time outside enjoying the weather rather than working up a sweat.
In most suburban and rural neighborhoods, lawncare seems like a competition. Everyone wants their grass to look as green as their neighbor’s. But keeping a meticulous lawn can be difficult if you have kids, pets, or just don’t have the time to spend manicuring and fertilizing your lawn. What’s more, lawncare can get expensive quickly and can go wrong just as quickly in the case of droughts and pests.
There are many ways you can simplify your lawn care. If you love having a lawn, but mowing is a pain, it can be easier to remove some obstacles from your yard. Bird baths and other decorations can be a nice accept, but sometimes they make mowing more difficult than it needs to be.
If you don’t want to deal with grass at all, or want a smaller area to mow, you have a few options.
You could make your yard more of a natural meadow by planting wildflowers and encouraging long grasses. Laying a brick path down the middle creates the air of a walkthrough garden where you can view the many florae that will be ever-changing in your yard.
If you like your yard to look neat and tidy, creating a patio and placing a few choice potted plants and trees on it will save you a lot of time pushing the lawnmower.
Choose the right plants
Many people plant bushes, trees, and flowers based solely on the fact that they like them. It makes more sense in the long run, though, to choose your plants based on their hardiness, and your ability to care for them.
Some plants are marketed as being impossible to kill. However, you should still read the care requirements to make sure they’ll work with your yard’s climate, light, and water conditions.
In warmer climates, cacti and succulents are a good choice and will likely fit the scenery. For colder climates, there are a number of conifers, shrubs, and bushes that will stay green throughout the winter, adding a bit of color to the dreary season.
A good way to make sure your yard will be low maintenance year-round is to use plants and trees that are native to your area. Since they’re in their natural habitat, they’ll likely require less work on your part.