Kathy Wilfert - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage


Many are often overwhelmed by the situations that come with moving such as stress and the need to adjust to a new environment. In this excitement, it is easy to divert attention from the security of the house to other things.

You are probably saying 'It is a new home and should be safe by default.' The truth is: even in the safest neighborhood, crimes happen occasionally. Also, when the environment is safe, there is a need to add an extra layer of security to check unwarranted intrusion, theft, and harm to you.Here are essential home security tips you need to keep your new home safe.

Change the locks

A new home is an investment, and you don't want to lose it, or parts of it, to burglars. Old locks are vulnerable to lock picks if they are not the latest, more advanced types. Also, chances are someone else out there is still holding on to the key of your home. Therefore, the first thing to do when you move into a new house is to change all the locks to your outside doors.

Install an alarm and motion sensors

This security measure is one of the best ways to protect your home from burglary. These alarms come in different designs and technicalities for every budget. Also, consider installing motion sensitive outdoor lamps to pick any strange movement within your perimeter.

Install a video doorbell

With a video doorbell, you get visuals of everyone approaching your door. Some come with motion sensors and are even smart enough to transmit to your smartphone when you're away from home.

Video doorbells come with a two-way audio system as well. For instance, if you're in or away, you can communicate with anyone at your door.

Landscape your yard

If there are tall hedges, obstructing trees or bushes that can serve as hideouts for burglars, you are playing cards in their favor. It is best to get those shears to work. Trim hedges, cut branches of trees and if you must have the bushes, consider installing lighting fixtures there to scare the bad guys away.

The aim of landscaping your yard is to deny burglars the chance to hide and plan hideous crimes. Also, when your yard is free from obstructions, you can see all that is going on outside with ease.

Though moving into a new home involves different processes, never neglect the security of your home. These tips have worked and will keep working. Stay safe!


Okay, so you’ve been watching all those home shows and think you want to invest in a second property, but that whole flipping business seems like more trouble than you want to handle. First, you have to budget correctly for the remodel, then it absolutely has to sell, and quickly, otherwise, it stops being a good investment. There is an alternative: keep it as a second property and lease it out for additional income. 

Depending on what kind of rental you want to own, you will want to look at different properties and price ranges. Your real estate agent can help you choose what’s best in your neighborhood.

Standard or Long-Term Rental

For best results, you want your rental home to land smack in the middle of the neighborhood's price bracket. That means calculating your mortgage, taxes and all other included expenses and making sure you can make an income while keeping the rent reasonable. Middle-of-the-road rental prices will get you the best tenants. They will fit into the neighborhood and are more likely to be comfortable there, which means you can probably keep them longer. Each time you turn over the property between tenants, you not only lose the income for that time but incur the extra costs of preparing the property for the new renter. The longer you keep individual tenants, the more profit you make.

Vacation or Short-Term Rentals

Vacation rentals differ from standard rental properties in several ways, but the most common differences are (a) the nightly rate, (b) how often you have tenants, and (c) the range of turnover requirements and costs. Vacation rentals—growing in popularity for a while now—might be your chance to cash in on the craze. Guests prefer them because they can usually get more space for a lower cost than a hotel, fit more people together in a single area and prep their own meals. This makes them particularly popular with families and groups with children.

You'll need to keep your vacation rental furnished and cleaned which increases the costs initially, but if you can keep guests scheduled regularly, the profit margin can be substantial. You can vary your rates depending on the length of stay, catering to stays a short few days or up to three to four months and anything in between. Make sure to check with your local municipality for regulations on short-term rentals in your area.

Don't forget that you can use it yourselves as well, just be careful not to leave too many personal effects there, it can break the ambiance for your guests.

New Property, New Job

The most significant difference between keeping your investment property and flipping it is that you get a second job: Landlord. This is not a position for everyone. First, if you've ever been a renter, you know how difficult it can be if your landlord is in a different city or even a different state. If your property is out of town, investigate getting a property manager. If your property is local, you may want to handle it yourself, but if it takes too much time or causes more stress than it alleviates, you may wish to hire a property manager as well. A good manager will handle interviewing and advising renters, running credit approvals, collecting payments, some landscaping and maintenance, and turning over the home between tenants. Make sure you include this cost when you calculate your necessary rental expenses.

So, ready to invest? Your real estate professional should be your first call! Put their local knowledge to use in finding the best properties for rental investments.


Buying a home is an extensive process that comes with a bit of a learning curve. For first time buyers, this process involves making mistakes and learning from them.

While we can never be 100% sure of our home buying decisions, there is a way to increase your chances of making the best choices when it comes to buying and maintaining your first home.

In today’s post, we’re going to do just that. We’ll take a look at some of the biggest things that homeowners wish they knew before buying their first house.

1. Forgetting to research the neighborhood

It’s easy to become so enamored with your dream home that you barely look beyond its fence. However, the neighborhood your home is in can have a huge effect on your daily life. Having local parks, safe sidewalks to walk on, and road infrastructure that doesn’t drive you crazy on your daily commute are all important aspects of choosing the right home.

2. Getting pressured into making a decision

Many times, a seller will want to portray their home as being highly sought after to encourage higher and more frequent offers. Similarly, you may find that your own family has time constraints and want to make a quick decision to buy a home.

It’s when we’re under pressure that we can make choices that we aren’t happy with in the long run. So, in these situations, make sure you don’t make any snap judgments on a home. If it seems like you’re being pressured into making a decision without enough time to consider all of the possibilities, there’s a good chance you should pass on this opportunity.

3. Forgetting that you might someday have to sell this home

Sometimes homes can be difficult to sell due to things like their location and surroundings. For instance, a home that is remote or one that is located in low-scoring school districts may not matter to you if you don’t plan on having children. But, they likely will be important to a lot of your potential buyers when it comes time to sell the home.

This lesson also holds true for what you do with your home once you buy it. Making renovations or design choices that won’t appeal to the average buyer can make your home more difficult to sell and harder to get top dollar for.

4. Didn’t consider all financing options

There are several steps and several options when it comes to financing a home. Not only are the several mortgage lenders to choose from, but there are also many different types of loans available.

While there may not be one “right” decision when it comes to financing your home, it’s a good idea to do your homework and browse carefully all of the lenders and mortgage types.

Consider ways to increase your credit score or save for a higher down payment before buying if possible, so that you can secure the lowest interest rate possible.


You may not think much about your hot water heater. Unless of course, your hot water heater ends up breaking down. Hot water is so important in our homes, yet we take this resource for granted. Hot water does a lot in our homes from clean our laundry to disinfect our dishes to heat up our showers. We use it without thinking about it.  


If you neglect your hot water heater it can cause some costly damage to your home. Your basement could end up flooded. Pipes can burst. You can be without the use of hot water for days- even weeks- if you’re not vigilant about taking care of your hot water heater. 


Once water is gushing from the source, the best course of action is to simply shut the water off to your home. Before you even get to that point there are some tell tale signs of damage to your hot water heater that can be detected before major issues arise. First, if you notice any type of water around your hot water heater, you should get it checked out. Don’t look at it as “no big deal.” Any type of moisture or water stains around the water heater itself are a sure sign that something isn’t right with the unit.


As a homeowner, you should know just how old your hot water heater is. Usually, the installation date on the heater is noted somewhere along with the serial number. The typical hot water heater lasts about 9-11 years. If you live in an area with hard water, this number can vary.   



The Cleanup


Once the damage is done to your hot water heater you’ll likely have a large cleanup project on your hands. You’ll need to call water extraction services that will help dry out the area and clean up any baseboards that can become hazardous. Sometimes, these projects can get a bit bigger than you’d ever expect. After the water is pumped out, the cleanup has only just begun.  


Why Hot Water Heaters Fail


The minerals from water tend to build up (especially in the case of hard water) and cause the unit to rust out form the inside. While the inside of the tank contains glass, it does have metal pieces that can rust. You can replace certain parts of the hot water heater from time to time to keep it in good working order, the best prevention is to replace your water heater when the time is right. Don’t let the unit sit until way past its expiration date.


Being The Homeowner


As a homeowner, you probably wonder if something like a broken water heater were to happen if your insurance would cover the cost of the damage. The insurance will cover the cost of cleanup and repairs. The insurance will not cover the cost to replace the hot water heater or any labor costs. The only way the entire cost would be covered is if you have a home warranty. 


A simple thing that you can get to help alleviate major damage to your home from a hot water heater is to get an alarm. This little device is inexpensive and will alert you when any water hits near the areas of the alarm. This could save you a lot of costly damage and repairs. The most important thing that you can do in your home to prevent major damage from a hot water heater is to stay vigilant and keep on top of maintenance and replacement timelines.           



There is a lot to think about when you know you’re ready to sell your home. The best approach is to take things step-by-step in order to get everything right. 


Make Necessary Repairs


Before you even decide to put a “for sale” sign out front, you’ll want to address the problems in your home that you know about. If the roof needs to be replaced, or you know you need a new refrigerator, you should tend to those things as soon as possible. While these items can be an expense for you, completing these things before the sale of the home will increase the value of the home and save you some aggravation when it comes time for the home inspection.


Don’t forget about the small details as you look at what needs to be done on your property. Does the doorbell ring? Are the lightbulbs all working? These small details are just as important as the big stuff.   


Find A Real Estate Agent


Finding a real estate agent isn’t a one-size-fits-all job. You want an agent who understands your needs and is an expert in your particular market. You can check with your family and friends to see if they have a particular agent who they recommend. Also, you might check out reviews online to help you discover an agent. Do you have a particular agency in mind? Give them a call and they can set you up with one of their agents. Many agents will be happy to provide a number of references of recent sales if you inquire. 


Find Out How Your Home Will Be Marketed


If your home won’t be on social media, there’s something wrong with the marketing plan. You’ll need lots of good photos and maybe even a video tour of your home. You should definitely be sure that your home is being marketed on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to name a few social networks. These networks even offer paid ads to help you reach the right buyers. Talk with your realtor to see what the plan for marketing your home sale is.


Prepare For Home Showings


While you still might need to live in your home while you’re selling it, you want the property to be presentable. Start at the curb of your home and work your way to the inside. The property should look presentable from the moment buyers pull up to the house. The lawn should be mowed, the landscaping should be trimmed, and the inside of the home should be thoroughly cleaned. This will seal the deal on the sale of your property after all of the other hard work has been done.   




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