Why It’s Essential to Train Your Dog

The benefits of owning a dog are immense, but the importance of training them effectively and from the beginning can’t be overstated.

Assuming you’re adopting a healthy, happy puppy from a reputable breeder or pet shop, then training should only require some basic knowledge and a lot of patient repetition.

Well treated puppies and dogs are not only eager to please their owners, but are often quite intelligent and relatively easy to train.

If you’re not an experienced dog owner, there are several options for making sure your dog gets the proper training it needs.

  • Dog obedience classes are often available locally through pet stores, dog daycare centers, and individual trainers. In many cases, dog owners actively participate in the classes so they can learn the training and behavioral modification techniques they’ll need to use at home. It’s generally a good idea to research two or three local dog training services before deciding on the one that would best serve your needs, your training goals, and your budget. Since dogs are like members of the family, it’s important that you feel comfortable with the dog trainer’s personality, their level of experience, credentials, and rapport with you and your dog.
  • How-to manuals, training videos and websites are available for dog owners interested in taking on more of a DIY approach to dog training. You can pick up a lot of free tips and training techniques from articles, blogs, and free videos online, but apply the same quality standards to an online expert that you would with an in-person trainer. They should be experienced, patient, professional, and credible. In most cases, it’s pretty obvious whether those qualities are present, especially when you’ve viewed online videos from several sources and have points of comparison.
  • Network with other dog owners you know to compare notes, training techniques, and behavior modification tips. In general, dogs respond favorably to patient repetition of verbal commands and visual prompts, enthusiastic praise when they get it right (positive reinforcement), and, of course, dog treats.

Among your first training priorities will be house breaking, having your dog come when called, and teaching them to sit on command. Although occasional house breaking accidents may occur, the sooner your dog understands the necessity of letting you know when they have to relieve themselves outside, the better it will be for your floors, your furniture, and your family! Side note: Crate training is a method many dog owners swear by.

There are effective and ineffective ways to train your dog and curb undesirable behaviors, so it pays to do some online research, get a dog training manual or DVD, take classes with your dog, and/or hire a professional dog trainer. If you just try to train your dog based on logic, general knowledge, and intuition, both you and your dog will end up feeling frustrated with the process and the outcome.

Save Money and Discover Bargains at Local Yard Sales

Stopping by local garage sales in search of bargains and treasures is a lot like panning for gold. Some days you’ll be sifting through a lot of rubble before you discover the hidden gems. Other days, you’ll hit the mother lode, right away! Whether you’re looking for cheap books, antique furniture, unique jewelry, retro clothing, statues, gardening tools, or gently used toys, you can expect to stumble upon some very interesting and worthwhile items — usually at extremely low prices.

Keys to Bargain Hunting Success

Many people who attend garage sales on a regular basis seem to have developed a system to ferret out what they’re looking for, spot bargains, and negotiate the lowest possible prices. They often don’t even get out of their cars if the items displayed fail to catch their interest.

Yard sales attract a wide variety of people, but the ones who find the best stuff at the lowest prices know the value of persistence, getting an early start, and advance planning. Many are quite adept at surfing the Web, clippings ads, and using social media to find promising yard sales to check out.

The Seasoned Garage Sale Hunter

In addition to a natural curiosity about the unexpected treasures they might find in their travels, they recognize the following underlying truths about garage sales.

  • There are two main reasons that people hold garage sales: to make extra money and to get rid of things they no longer need or want. In most cases, they’re highly motivated to make sales and do not expect to rake in boatloads of money. If they happen to be in the process of selling their house and getting ready to move, they should be especially motivated to clear out all their garage sale inventory. The last thing they want to see is an interested customer with a wad of cash in their hands walk away because the price wasn’t right. If you make a reasonable offer, chances are they’ll either accept it or make a counteroffer. By cultivating some basic negotiating skills and learning to have fun with it, you can pick up some amazing deals in your neighborhood.
  • At first, going to garage sales may seem like a hit-or-miss proposition. However, persistence pays off. Good timing, a little bit of luck, and being in the right place at the right time will eventually work in your favor. It’s sort of a “numbers game,” so if you plan to visit a few different yard sales in one morning, you’re bound to find all kinds of worthwhile treasures and bargains.
  • If you know what you’re looking for and have a pretty good idea of what its worth, you’ll be in a good position to make reasonable offers and walk away with exceptional deals.

Whether you’re looking for a used guitar, an inexpensive desk for a college student, or some hard-to-find first-edition books, you never know what you’re going to discover when you dedicate a Saturday or Sunday morning to some serious garage sale shopping!

Keeping Your Basement Dry and Organized

Depending on its condition, a basement can be a mixed blessing. On one hand, basements can provide an abundance of storage space to help keep your home organized. On the other hand, basements can be plagued with water leaks, excess moisture, and mold growth.

Some solutions to wet basement problems can be expensive, such as installing French drains, perimeter trenches, or exterior waterproof membranes. If you’re considering buying a house that may have basement moisture problems or water damage, a good home inspector can identify these issues beforehand and let you know how serious they are.

Moisture Control Tips

Relatively simple solutions to wet basement problems include buying a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier extracts excess water from the air and can help prevent mold growth and moisture damage to your belongings. Ideally, a home basement should be a place where you can safely store everything from clothing and holiday supplies to tools and family heirlooms. A humidity meter, also called a hygrometer, can be a good way to keep track of relative humidity (RH) in your basement. Whether you’d want to buy a cheap one or a more costly model depends on the value of the items you want to protect.

The EPA’s Energy Star program recommends maintaining a humidity range in your home of between 30% and 50% to prevent bacterial and mold growth. (For homeowners living in colder climates, it may be necessary to keep the RH level below 40% to prevent window condensation.) Note: If you’re storing moisture-sensitive items like wooden musical instruments, important documents, or cigars, it’s vital to carefully monitor humidity levels and follow all recommendations for optimal care and preservation. (Depending on the situation, it may also be necessary to keep track of other climate control factors, such as room temperature, dust, and air quality.)

What to Do About Clutter

Another common basement problem that often develops after homeowners have lived in the house for several years is clutter and disorganization. The ideal scenario is to set up an organization system in the basement immediately after moving into a house. In the real world, however, many people tend to postpone unpacking moving boxes and allow clutter to accumulate over a period of years.

The solution may consist of buying shelving units for the basement, setting aside and organizing things you want to keep, and dispensing with items that no longer serve your needs. Options for getting rid of unwanted stuff may include holding a garage sale, donating old belongings to charitable organizations, giving them away to friends and relatives, or paying a junk removal service to haul them away.

Although keeping your basement dry, organized, and clutter free is an ongoing task, the benefits almost always outweigh the short-term inconvenience.

What to Look for in a Great Walk-In Closet

Celebrities,senior level business leaders and wealthy inventors aren’t the only people who should enjoy the benefits inherent in an amazing walk in closet. You deserve to have easy access to a closet that offers you enough room to hang and store a majority of your clothes, shoes and fashion accessories.

Stop dreaming and get the great walk in closet that you deserve

Although you could pay to have a great walk in closet built at your home, this may not be the best way to get a durable, multi-purpose walk in closet. If you want an awesome walk in closet, look for this feature in each house that you check out during the home buying process. Here are just a few advantages and pluses to look for in a great walk in closet:

  • Lots of shelving – Overhead and lower shelving provide ample storage space
  • A bench to place items on while you’re picking out clothes or shoes to wear for the day
  • Great lighting – You need to be able to see well while searching for things to wear. Poor lighting could cause you to think that a blue suit is black or that a pair of red shoes are dark purple.
  • Awesome floor design – It doesn’t matter if the floor is hard wood, carpeted, ceramic or tile, you should find the design personally appealing.
  • Cabinets – In addition to a bench and lots of shelving,a great walk in closet may have cabinets with doors on them. You could use this space to store items like jewelry, belts, shoes and handbags in.
  • Drawers – Similar to cabinets, walk in closet drawers offer you the space to store smaller clothing and fashion items in. This can keep you from losing ties, cuff links and decorative pins. Walk in closet drawers also help to keep your walk in closet from appearing cluttered.
  • Mirrors – A great walk in closet that has floor length mirrors eliminates the need to exit the closet and walk inside your bedroom or bathroom just so you can see how a blouse, pants, dress or suit looks on you. This saves you time. On busy mornings or busy evenings when you are rushing to get to work or an event, the extra time that you save could help you to arrive on schedule.
  • Vertical floor length shelving – This type of shelving is different from regular horizontal shelves. Vertical floor length shelving is designed in bookcase style. Not only can you store clothes and accessories on the shelves, you can decorate your walk in closet by adding figurines and framed photos to these shelves.

If you’ve never had a spacious, multi-purpose walk in closet, you don’t know what you’re missing. A great walk in closet offers you more bedroom space. It can also reduce the amount of clutter in your home. Another benefit of a walk in closet has to do with time. By not having to search through stuffed dresser drawers and storage bins for clothes, you could save several minutes a day. Get a beautifully designed walk in closet and you can also enjoy a unique and appeasing décor.

Why Getting Preapproved Is A Good Idea

When you’re shopping for a home, there’s so much to consider. Between the questions of what neighborhood you should live in and what style house you like, you need to think of the most important thing: finances.

When you think that you’re financially ready to buy a home, you often will get the notion that it’s a good time to just start shopping. There’s several steps that you must take first before you start shopping for a home. One of the first steps you should consider taking before you make the leap into home ownership is to get preapproved.

While buyers still tend to skip the preapproval process, doing this can help you immensely throughout the home buying process. While it may seem an insignificant and kind of boring step, getting preapproved is important for your finances. It may even help you to land in a home that you love faster.

It’s actually detrimental to make an offer without a preapproval, because some lenders won’t accept an offer without one. Many realtors verify and require that offers come along with the stamp of preapproval.

What Does Getting Preapproved Involve?

You may have heard of a prequalification. This is much different from being preapproved. Prequalification involves buyer provided information, just to get a sense of how much they can spend on a home. Preapproval involves credit scores, bank statements, tax returns and more. This process states exactly how much lenders will be willing to give to the borrower. All of the documents needed for preapproval are the same exact documents needed for a mortgage. This helps you as the borrower prepare ahead of time as well.

These are some of the kinds of documents that you’ll need for preapproval:

Pay stubs
W-2s from the previous year
Federal tax returns from the past two years
Two Months of Bank Statements from all of your accounts
A credit report

While a preapproval is only one step in the long process of buying a home, it speeds up the later steps of securing a mortgage. The process also helps buyers face their financial reality. Don’t put off the important process because you fear that you won’t be approved for the amount that you need. It’s also common for buyers to assume that because someone they know has been approved for a certain amount of money that they will be able to get that same loan amount as well. This isn’t always the case and another great reason to get preapproved.

Errors On Credit Reports

Often, there are errors on credit reports. That’s why you need to check them often. If you have some errors on your credit report, getting preapproved is a great way to check if there are any errors and give you time to fix them before you apply for a mortgage.

3 Last Minute Tips to Prep for a Home Showing

As a home seller, you’re almost ready to list your home on the real estate market.

For instance, you’ve committed a lot of time and money to complete extensive home repairs, conducted massive amounts of cleaning and even started working with a professional real estate agent.

But even after all of your efforts, you still need to complete several last minute tasks to ensure your house is ready for prospective homebuyers to check it out.

So what does it take to guarantee your house is ready for a home showing? Here are three last minute tips for home sellers to get a residence prepared for an upcoming showing:

1. Focus on the Flow of Traffic.

Is it easy for homebuyers to get around your house? If large, bulky furniture and clutter fill your residence’s walking paths, it may be difficult for homebuyers to walk around comfortably. Therefore, you’ll want to spend some time investigating the traffic flow in each room of your home and ensure that homebuyers can explore your entire residence quickly and effortlessly.

In the hours leading up to a home showing, you can improve the flow of traffic in any room simply by rearranging furniture as needed.

Remember, you’ll want to give homebuyers plenty of space, and moving furniture to ensure homebuyers can move around with ease is critical.

You also can rely on your real estate professional for support in this area, as he or she will be able to provide you with last minute guidance to empower you to maximize the flow of traffic in every room.

2. Hide Your Personal Items.

You know the photographs, trophies and other personal belongings that fill various rooms in your home? In order to provide a great first impression of your house, you may want to consider hiding these items before your home showing.

The goal of a home showing is to give homebuyers a glimpse into what life would be like if they choose to purchase your residence. And if you keep your personal belongings out of sight, you can empower homebuyers to realize your home’s potential and improve your chances of making a distinct first impression on homebuyers, too.

Take a few minutes to place personal items in a desk drawer, a box in your attic or basement or other areas where these pieces will be out of sight during a home showing. By doing so, you can help your house create a unique impression, one that may make your home more attractive to prospective homebuyers.

3. Keep Your Home Clean.

Ensure you make your bed, clean up your kitchen after breakfast and perform other last minute cleaning tasks to guarantee your home looks pristine.

Ideally, any last minute cleaning tasks should only take a few minutes to perform. But ultimately, these efforts can make a world of difference in the eyes of prospective homebuyers.

Guarantee your home is ready for an upcoming home showing – utilize the aforementioned tips, and you’ll be able to accentuate the positives of your home to homebuyers at any time.