Blog Blog posts for Blog Wed, 29 Mar 2017 12:11:30 +0100 FeedCreator 1.7.2 Don’t Overlook the Importance of Curb Appeal on Home Sale Values <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Mar 29, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When getting homes ready to put on the market, many forget that the outside should be just as primed and ready to showcase as the inside. Homes with high curb appeal sell faster and at higher prices. That doesn&rsquo;t mean you need to be replacing siding (necessarily), but if you are wondering how to increase curb appeal, there are several things you can do that will contribute to your home&rsquo;s wow-factor.</p> <h2>&nbsp;</h2> <h2>Clean Up</h2> <p>Before you make any big adjustments, wash off any long-standing dirt or mildew from the outside of your home. Merely washing your home can add upwards of $10,000 to your sale price. Be sure to include the windows, inside and outside. If you feel like splurging, you can always hire a professional cleaning crew to get this done in a couple of days; otherwise, you can finish it in a weekend or two.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This is the most important step because it will help determine what needs to be replaced, fixed or cleaned up further once you have a chance to evaluate your home.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>New Paint</h2> <p>A fresh paint job is going to be the most common advice given to enhance curb appeal. It is instantly recognized by buyers and appraisers to boost the resale value of your home.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Landscaping</h2> <p>Good landscaping can add up to 28% to your home&rsquo;s value and makes your home visually appealing. Keep your lawn freshly mowed, and add a little green to your grass with grass food and plenty of water. Replace any overgrown bushes with plants and colorful flowers, add mulch to trees and bushes, and pull any weeds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Update Your Mailbox</h2> <p>It may seem like a small detail, but adding an upgraded mailbox can substantially add to your curb appeal. It catches the eye as soon as potential buyers arrive to tour your home, and it&rsquo;s simple and cost effective to install.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Hide Potential Eyesores</h2> <p>While things like hoses, trash bins, air conditioners and the like are expected as part of a home, it&rsquo;s a good idea to keep them out of sight to improve the overall appeal of your home while it&rsquo;s on the market.</p> <ul> <li>For garbage cans, a small fence, garbage can storage shed, or even a few lattice panels will cover the cans when they&rsquo;re away from the curb. A handful of lattice panels will do well to cover your air conditioning unit as well.</li> <li>There are pots you can purchase that will fit the entirety of your hose and include a small hole in the back to keep it connected to the faucet.</li> <li>Air conditioning units can be large and unappealing. A few lattice panels will work to cover the unit. Otherwise, consider planting a few small bushes to hide it.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Take a second glance at things like light fixtures, the driveway, doorways, and any other things that could take away from the appeal of the front of your home. Any potential signs of aging in fences or gutters should be attended to; after all, this is the face of your home! You want it to draw buyers in right from the very start.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To improve your curb appeal, all it takes is a fresh coat of paint, some pulled weeds, and a little bit of creativity. You&rsquo;ll be surprised at what a difference it can make to potential buyers to know their soon-to-be home was well maintained. Follow these steps and your home will be looking as good as new!</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Why Is Debt-to-Income Ratio Important? <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Mar 24, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Applying for a mortgage involves a lot more than having a good credit score. Lenders will also consider whether or not you can afford to take on additional debt, and that&rsquo;s where your debt-to-income ratio comes in. There are a few factors to consider when calculating your debt-to-income ratio and understanding why it matters.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>What Is a Debt-to-Income Ratio?</h2> <p>Your debt-to-income ratio is the comparison of how much you make each month versus how much you owe. More specifically, it is the percentage of your income before taxes that goes towards such payments as rent, credit cards, or other forms of debt.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>How to Calculate Debt-to-Income Ratio</h2> <p>Before shopping for loans, calculating your debt-to-income ratio will be pivotal to finding out what kind of mortgage you qualify for. Calculating your debt-to-income ratio can be done in 3 easy steps:</p> <ol> <li>Add up all of your monthly debt. This includes rent/house payments, student loan payments, car payments, credit card payments, and any other debt you may have. (Typical household expenses such as groceries or utilities don&rsquo;t count!) Note: Your credit card payment should be factored at the minimum payment amount.</li> <li>Divide your monthly debt total by your gross monthly income.</li> <li>Take your debt divided by your income and multiply by 100 to get your percentage.</li> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>The 43% Rule</h2> <p>While there is no definitive amount that requires lenders to offer you a loan, the general standard for qualifying for a home loan is 43%. If your monthly debt exceeds 43% of your monthly income, you are unlikely to qualify even if you make all your monthly payments on time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>How to Improve Your Debt-to-Income Ratio</h2> <p>When it comes to improving your debt-to-income ratio, the only two options are to increase your income or reduce your debt. And in this case, reducing your debt is usually the easier solution.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Review your monthly spending and see where there is room for you to cut back. Amenities such as dining out, entertainment, or vacations are a good place to start.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another option is to look at your cost for such things as cable, Internet, and cell phone service. Can you find a less expensive plan or option?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Remember, improving your debt-to-income ratio is based on your debt payments, not balances. If you have high interest rates, consider consolidating your debt and making smaller payments over a longer period of time. This will help with your debt-to-income ratio and help qualify you for the home of your dreams!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For further information regarding debt-to-income ratio or other loan questions, <a href="">contact</a> your Re/Max Results agent today.&nbsp;</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Pro Open House Tips and Tricks for Savvy Buyers <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Mar 20, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>An open house is the start of your journey to homeownership. It&rsquo;s your first chance to see a property for yourself and ask the listing agent any questions you might have. As you tour homes you can gather insights on the market and how to negotiate as well as what factors are most important to you in a home.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We&rsquo;ve compiled our top open house tips for buyers &mdash; insights we&rsquo;ve developed over the years during our own searches. Buying a house can be a long and arduous process, but when you put in the effort, you can end up with the home of your dreams.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Do Your Research</h2> <p>A common mistake is to waltz into an open house without a concrete battle plan. Without setting a strategy beforehand, it&rsquo;s easy to waste your time and energy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Instead of planning for one visit, schedule an entire afternoon (or even a weekend) to visit all the houses you are considering in a certain area. Make sure your visits don&rsquo;t overlap. Better yet, contact the listing agent to set up an appointment that works with your schedule.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Before going into a house, you should conduct background research on local market data and what the house&rsquo;s price and value will mean in the current real estate climate. You&rsquo;ll want to make notes on the property description sheets so you can talk through the properties when you return home. After visiting several houses, they will begin to blur together, so notes are crucial.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Stick to Your Price Range</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re a fan of HGTV, you&rsquo;ve seen it a dozen times. Prospective homeowners begin the episode with a set price range, romanticize the expensive house that the agent skillfully planted, and end up with a home far out of their budget. Learn from these mistakes. Set a specific cost range beforehand and stay strong.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That being said, there are real estate tips to keep in mind. Don&rsquo;t rule out properties that have been listed for a few months or longer. Their DOM (days on market) is not an accurate indicator of property quality, so avoid making too many negative assumptions from it. While these homes sometimes require a bit more work, the sellers are more likely to negotiate with you on price if their property has been sitting on the market for a while.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Insider Tip: To ensure you don&rsquo;t go over budget, look for homes in a lower price range so you won&rsquo;t be priced out by competing offers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Etiquette Matters</h2> <p>When you tour an open house, it&rsquo;s expected that you will inspect the property closely. This could be your home, so you deserve to be thorough. However, this is not an excuse to rake through the homeowners&rsquo; possessions. Remember that this is still their home and to be respectful of their privacy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While you should feel free to look in closets, measure room dimensions, and check water pressure, you should not disrupt their belongings in any way or take pictures without getting permission from the agent first.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Insider Tip: Bring a tape measure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Utilize the Listing Agent</h2> <p>The listing agent holds a lot of power, so remember to dress nicely and be polite. Once you&rsquo;ve developed a light rapport with the agent feel free to ask some probing questions to get a feel for the property. Why do the sellers want to move? How many offers have been make? What are the neighbors like? What issues does the house come with? What&rsquo;s the seller&rsquo;s timeline?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Play Your Cards Close to Your Chest</h3> <p>While you want to be friendly and complimentary at the open house, avoid being too chummy. Hold your poker face, and don&rsquo;t give away too much information about your dream home, price range, etc. Any information you divulge will likely be used in negotiations. Play a little hard-to-get.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Last but not least, remember to hold criticism until after you leave the open house.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Make Friends</h2> <p>Some of the most honest insights you&rsquo;ll get will be from the other buyers. Many buyers have been looking for homes for months and have a keen understanding of the real estate market and house values. Listen to their reactions and make observations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Do they leave the open house quickly? That&rsquo;s a sign the house is overpriced or lacking in quality. Do they stay and ask loads of questions? This one is probably a keeper.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If you have any further questions about our open house tips for buyers, feel free to visit our website at <a href=""></a>.&nbsp;</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results 5 Chic Interior Design Trends for 2017 <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Mar 15, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When it&rsquo;s time to make changes to your home&rsquo;s interior design, it&rsquo;s a good idea to get up-to-date with the latest trends. Of course, there&rsquo;s always room in your home for your own personal touches, but incorporating modern design trends makes it clear that you have your finger on the pulse of what&rsquo;s popular today. The newest home looks are sure to attract compliments from guests and inspire them with ideas for their own homes. It doesn&rsquo;t require a total makeover to modernize your home&rsquo;s interior, so choose the interior design trends 2017 has to offer that speak to you.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Go Green</h2> <p>We&rsquo;re not talking about reducing your home&rsquo;s carbon footprint (something that has been in style for the last decade), but incorporating the actual color green throughout your home. Pantone has selected the shade &ldquo;Greenery&rdquo; as the <a href="">color of the year for 2017</a>, and it&rsquo;s easy to see why. Green adds a pop of color without being too loud. All shades of green represent rejuvenation and vitality, so when you incorporate green furniture, art and wall paint, the people in your home are sure to feel a little more alive.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Faux Everything</h2> <p>It doesn&rsquo;t take genuine materials to make your home&rsquo;s interior genuinely good looking. In fact, it is becoming extremely popular to include fake reclaimed wood, plants, marble, granite and other elements throughout interior design elements. Technological improvements have made faux materials look more convincing than ever before, which contributes to their growing stylishness. Going for the imitation version of floors, tables, couches, artwork and more can save homeowners a great deal of money at purchase. Even better, fake materials have improved in the durability department, so you&rsquo;re likely to enjoy these items for years to come.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Artisan Furniture</h2> <p>On the opposite end of the spectrum, it may be time to head to your local antique store to find pieces of furniture with plenty of character. For 2017, well-built furniture that stands the test of time is sure to be a hit. If you&rsquo;re looking to make a stylish furniture purchase, keep an eye out for unique pieces, such as handcrafted goods. If it looks beautiful, but you&rsquo;ve never seen anything like it at big box furniture stores, you&rsquo;re on the right track. The right pieces can infuse personality into your home and serve as a long-term investment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Lighting Details</h2> <p>For many people, simply keeping a room illuminated is the main concern when it comes to lighting. You can set your home apart by including unique lighting that wows. Today&rsquo;s interior designers see lighting as an additional element that can add character and atmosphere to a room. If you&rsquo;re wondering where to get started, think about lighting features that are one-of-a-kind and are sure to be noticed as soon as you flip on the power. Accent lighting adds drama and visual interest in a room. Direct accent lights towards sculptures, plants and textured walls to make a visual statement. Keep accent lights three times as bright as the surrounding ambient light to create the perfect focal point.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Geometric Patterns</h2> <p>Including geometric patterns throughout a room makes it feel orderly and neat. This characteristic has been known for millennia, and many ancient cultures incorporated triangles, squares and circles throughout their decorations as an expression of creativity. Today, you can find modern takes on classical styles that look great for wallpaper, furniture material, artwork and other pieces throughout a room. Keep it simple when looking for geometric patterns &mdash; designs that are too busy can feel overwhelming. The goal with these patterns is to subtly compliment the room rather than stand out on their own.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The last few years brought many changes to interior design, and 2017 continues the evolution of these trends. Giving your home a modern feel is easy with just a few small changes that make a big difference. However you want to incorporate these elements, it&rsquo;s important to create a living environment that feels uniquely yours. After all, if every home had the exact same features, none would be very interesting to look at. Subtly include the latest trends to complement your own style, and you&rsquo;re sure to love your home even more. Design extends past the interior of a home, so check out our blog post &ldquo;<a href="">New Home Construction Trends: Considerations for the Latest Home Designs</a>&rdquo; to learn what&rsquo;s stylish in the world of home architecture.</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Know Your Loans: Choosing the Right Home Loan <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Mar 6, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A major consideration for the majority of people who want to purchase a home is setting up the right home mortgage. Choosing the right home loan has an impact on monthly payments for years, so it&rsquo;s important to research available options when it&rsquo;s time to purchase a home. There are several types of home mortgages, and the best plan for homebuyers depends on a variety of individual financial factors. When it&rsquo;s time to choose the right mortgage, knowledgeable buyers put themselves at an advantage for a great rate.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Fixed-Rate Loans</h2> <p>Fixed-rate loans are the most common choice when purchasing a home due to their predictability. The interest rate for this type of loan is locked, so it will not change for the duration of the mortgage unless you refinance at some point. To determine this unchanging monthly payment, the loan provider benchmarks the 10-year Treasury note and sets a rate slightly above it. Homebuyers usually choose a 30-year term, although a 15-year term is popular as well. There are three types of fixed mortgage loans for buyers to choose from:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><strong>Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loan:&nbsp;</strong>This type of loan goes through a Federal Housing Administration-approved lender. It is the ideal type of loan for a low-income or first time homebuyer, because it can be approved with an extremely low down payment &mdash; sometimes as low as 3.5%. This type of loan is riskier for the lender, so the homebuyer must also pay mortgage insurance as part of their monthly payment with this type of loan.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><strong>Veteran&rsquo;s Affairs (VA) Loan:&nbsp;</strong>A VA loan is only available to active-duty, army reserve, veteran and spouses of U.S. military personnel. There is little to no down payment with a VA loan, and a portion of the loan is guaranteed to the lender in case of a default, resulting in lower rates for borrowers. Unlike FHA loans, there is no mortgage insurance requirement with a VA loan, and there are additional refinancing options available. Current and former military members should consider this type of loan for their next home purchase.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><strong>Conventional Home Loan:&nbsp;</strong>A conventional loan is one that is not insured by the federal government, but instead follows loan limits set by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Buyers who have a good credit score and debt-to-income ratio may benefit from this type of loan, because it&rsquo;s possible to find a decent interest rate and be approved faster than a federal loan. Policies vary by lender, so this is one of the broadest categories of loans.</li> </ul> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>Adjustable Rate Loans</h2> <p>Despite the name, adjustable-rate loans typically feature an introductory period with a fixed rate. While this initial interest rate is often lower than a traditional fixed mortgage, the price can rise significantly once the teaser period is over. The rate after the initial fixed-rate period depends on the market index, and it adjusts periodically. Introductory periods vary in length, but usually last one, three, five, seven or ten years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Interest-Only Loans</h2> <p>Another option for first-time homebuyers, an interest-only loan is cheaper for the first few years of home ownership. This loan only requires the borrower to make interest payments, rather than interest on top of principal. Once the interest-only period is over, the borrower must pay for both interest and principal, which creates a significant increase in monthly pricing. This loan is a good option when someone plans on selling the home before the interest-only period is over.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Balloon Mortgage</h2> <p>While a balloon mortgage is similar to a fixed-rate, there are some differences in the terms of the agreement. The borrower agrees to pay for the loan over a set period, and when that time is over, they must pay the rest of the balance in one lump sum. If they cannot pay the remaining principal once the initial time period is over, the homebuyer must refinance the agreement. The initial loan payments are typically lower than a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, but the buyer must keep in mind the large required payment at the end of this period.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Choosing the right mortgage for a home purchase may seem intimidating, but it just takes a little research to get the right plan. Once you&rsquo;ve secured your loan, it&rsquo;s time to start house hunting. <a href=";status[active]&amp;cf[community,subdivision]&amp;map[45.08418759300644|-93.14689636230469]&amp;prefix[northstarsemar]&amp;zoom[7]&amp;sqfeet[any|10000+]&amp;">Search our properties</a> to locate a home that fits your desires and budget. Getting the home you want with a loan that fits your needs is a rewarding experience. Start the process today to begin the next chapter of your life.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Are Scenic Lake Homes in Minnesota Within Reach in Today’s Market? <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Feb 28, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Many Twin Cities residents have the dream of owning lakeside property in the tranquil north woods of Minnesota or Wisconsin. If you&rsquo;ve ever wanted to have your very own escape away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you may have thought that it is too expensive to make a reality. It is a good time to sell a home in the Twin Cities, so it seems reasonable to think that buyers may have a difficult time finding a good deal on property in greater Minnesota.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The reality is, finding beautiful lake homes in Minnesota for a great price is easier than you might think.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Be Flexible</h2> <p>Most people who want to buy vacation homes on a lake are very particular about what they are looking for. As a result, lake homes tend to stay on the market longer than homes in the metro area. The longer a vacation home is on the market, the more willing a seller is to lower the price or accept a lower offer than the asking price. In 2016, lake homes were selling for around <a href="">18% less</a> than at the same time a year before. It&rsquo;s entirely possible to find a lake home you love and purchase it for well under the asking price. As a buyer, you can take advantage of other people&rsquo;s choosiness by jumping on a property that checks most of your wish list boxes quickly.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Lakeside Choices Galore</h2> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Northern Minnesota is a vast region with thousands of lakes to purchase a home on. Going up north to the cabin is a regional tradition that has led to an influx of lake properties over the last century. No two lakes are identical, and the same goes for lakeshore homes. Buyers can find properties that range from charming, small log cabins to grand multi-story retreats. One big decision buyers face is whether they want to have direct water access or have their lake home a bit further from the water to get a lower price. Both are great options, so it may come down to whether you want to keep a boat at your own dock for quick fishing outings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>A Long-Term Decision</h2> <p>While you may be tempted to pack up and relocate around the cities to be closer to family or a new job, many people who buy a cabin up north keep the property for generations. Home prices in rural areas may not rise as quickly as those in the Twin Cities, but they are still an investment for the future. People will always want to experience the beauty of the northern areas of the state, and demand for lakeside properties will continue to rise. Today, you can take advantage of a healthy buying market and hold on to your property until the balance tips towards sellers. On the other hand, you can also pass your lake home on to your family members and keep it for the long haul.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Searching for a lake home is a lot like choosing your next vacation, but it&rsquo;s the kind of vacation you can go on every weekend for years with friends and family. Now is a great time to research a new vacation home because there are plenty of bargains to be had. Consider how you will use your lake home, which size lake you&rsquo;d enjoy, and your budget before you begin your search. When you&rsquo;re ready to find the lake home you&rsquo;ve always wanted, <a href="">connect with your RE/MAX Results agent</a> to start your search!</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Is Your Home Smart? <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Feb 22, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Smart is no longer a phrase saved for cell phones; now you can find smart technology in your own house! There are an abundance of home automation technology options that can allow you to control everything from lights to temperature to security, making your life both more convenient and safer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Smart Home Advantage</h2> <p>Home automation technology can seem daunting at first, but it is incredibly user friendly. Most smart home technology can be controlled by any number of devices including tablets, phones, and computers. As long as you have Internet, your home management just got a whole lot easier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Smart home technology offers advantages far beyond sheer convenience. Home automation can significantly raise the value of your home and further entice potential buyers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Why do buyers like these kinds of features? It offers the ability to receive notifications for things such as smoke detection, to control the temperature in your home, and allows you to double check that the front door is locked after leaving &mdash; home management is as easy as checking your phone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Home automation systems give homeowners the power to keep their home and family safe from potential dangers as well as keeping it comfortable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Smart Lights</h2> <p>Smart lighting is an upgrade for a variety of reasons. While the initial cost of installing smart lighting systems may seem high, smart bulbs use less energy and last longer saving you money in the long run.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>You can control these bulbs with a simple app on your phone or tablet, and even add a companion app that lets you group your bulbs, letting you adjust brightness in several areas or the entire house at once.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another advantage to smart lighting is automation; you can schedule your lights to turn on or off at certain times and sync them with other smart home devices or even the outside temperature.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Smart Thermostat</h2> <p>Similar to the smart lighting options, smart thermostats are controllable from your phone or tablet and allow you to save money over time through the ability to oversee temperature in your home and tailor heating and cooling accordingly. You can schedule temperature changes for particular times during the day, and they consistently monitor the temperature outside to keep the temperature inside comfortable. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>These systems can be pricey, but considering the energy it saves by tailoring to your lifestyle it&rsquo;s ultimately the more economic choice in addition to being convenient.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Smart Blinds</h2> <p>Motorized blinds might sound like something out of a bachelor pad from 1992, but the updated versions of smart blinds offer a lot more than just a fancy way to lower or raise your shades.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Wireless shades operate similarly to smart light bulbs; you can raise or lower them in groups or individually right from your phone or tablet and set them to a schedule for things like sunrise and sunset. Some even work with voice activated technology. You can maintain an ambience of natural light and keep your home private and secure at night.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Customized Homes</h2> <p>In addition to convenience and safety, home automation technology provides the opportunity for buyers and homeowners to customize every detail of home management to their liking.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With the amount of options available, you can decide if you would like to control your entertainment from your devices, your appliances, security, and much more. What is better to offer a potential buyer than the option to lock their front door right from their phone?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With how quickly this technology is developing, experts agree that there is a lot of potential with home automation systems. For further information, contact your Re/Max Results agent today!&nbsp;</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Essential Ways to Improve Water Quality in Your Home <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Feb 17, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Choosing a new home means your clients will want to scrutinize every detail, be it paint colors, bedroom sizes, appliances, and yes, water quality. Water quality is an essential part of any home, and it&rsquo;s important to maintain your water to keep your family healthy. Luckily for us, technology allows us to not only determine if there are any issues with the water in a home, but also ways to fix or improve the quality with home filtration systems.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Hard Water</h2> <p>Hard water is among the most common water problems for homeowners and is fairly simple to diagnose. Hard water is caused by an excess amount of calcium and magnesium salts in your water, causing white-ish spots on your dishes or soap scum build up on your shower curtain. Unfortunately, this also means that it can cause mineral deposit build up in your pipes, leading to long-term damage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Hard Water Treatment</h2> <p>Treating hard water is as simple as investing in a water softener. In simple terms, hard water is filtered through a container with beads that filter out calcium and magnesium minerals, then passes through an additional filter and into your home. This is the most comprehensive way to filter your water as it treats the point-of-entry causes of hard water, acting as a home filtration system.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Other Forms of Treatment</h2> <p>While hard water is common, it is not the only potential threat to your water system. There are the possibilities of excessive chlorination, industrial waste, or even a build up of organic matter that could cause odor and other potential bacteria in your drinking water. While a water softener may treat some water damage symptoms, there are other filtration systems that can help. Faucet mounted filters, inline filters that attach to the water supply line, or even pitcher filters that you fill yourself can all aid in ridding your water of unnecessary and potentially harmful effects.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Depending on the contamination you discover, choosing a home water filtration system to improve your water quality is always smart. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the safety of the water in your new home, contact your city water department.&nbsp;</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Top 5 Tips to Protect Your Home While on Spring Vacation <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Feb 8, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Whether you are planning to vacation in sunny California, tour the foggy Scottish moors, or covertly tail your kids on their Florida &ldquo;SPRING BREAK&rdquo; adventure (no wet t-shirt contests, please), spring vacation is the perfect excuse to get away from your nose-to-the-grindstone lifestyle and experience some much-deserved R &amp; R.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While home safety concerns shouldn&rsquo;t prevent you from taking your trip, it is crucial to take precautions before you leave. If you are careful beforehand, you can more fully relax on vacation and avoid any <em>Home Alone</em> type situations. With minimal effort, you can keep your home safe while on vacation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <h2><br />1. Make a Neighbor Friend</h2> <p>Possibly the best way to protect your home while you&rsquo;re on vacation is to ask someone that you trust to lend a hand. It&rsquo;s easy enough to find a caregiver. Bribe a neighbor with cookies, promise to reciprocate with a friend, or hire a house sitter for the week.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This helpful individual can take care of common chores like feeding your pets, watering your plants, removing pesky flyers from your door knob, and taking in your mail. More importantly, they are there to keep a watchful eye on your house &mdash; making sure that there are no glaring red flags that you are away and looking out for any suspicious activity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;(Bonus Tip: Hold your mail while you are on vacation by going to <a href=""></a>.)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>&nbsp;</h2> <h2>2. Keep Quiet on Social Media</h2> <p>Unfortunately, your Facebook and Twitter accounts are remarkably public. While it might be fun to post about your upcoming trip, avoid sharing too many details about your plans, and never announce that your entire home will be vacant. Beware your answering machine as well. A cute outgoing message should never reveal that you are out for a month. That makes you easy prey for burglars and online predators.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <h2><br />3. Reach Out to Local Authorities</h2> <p>It is always a good idea to tip off the police, especially if your spring vacation will take you away for more than a week or two. They can do routine check-ups on your house and will be able to check up on anything that seems amiss.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For good measure, consider installing a security alarm and leave the alarm code with someone you trust. And, remove the spare key before you leave. That hide-a-key-rock isn&rsquo;t fooling anyone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><img src="" alt="" /></h2> <h2><br />4. Keep it Ordinary</h2> <p>Generally, your home is at most risk if it becomes apparent that you are not home. The best strategy to avoid this is to keep things running how they normally do. For instance, if your curtains are normally open, leave them open, but be sure to place any valuable possessions out of sight.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Set up automatic timers for your lights. While some homeowners consider leaving their lights on all day, this will also look fishy and will hugely spike your electricity bill. We recommend setting a varied schedule on your electronic light timers to mimic your normal usage. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, this may seem obvious but lock everything.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><img src="" alt="" /></h2> <h2><br />5. Avoid Weather Obstacles</h2> <p>While snow is often not a worry come spring time, it&rsquo;s a different story in the Midwest. You are likely to get some snow or frost up until May. A fresh, untouched sheet of snow is an obvious indicator that you are not home. Avoid incriminating weather situations with the help of a neighbor. Ask if they would be willing to park in your driveway while you&rsquo;re away and to shovel snow if necessary. Give them a copy of your car key so that they can move your vehicle in case of a snow emergency.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>(Bonus Tip: Pipes can freeze in the winter. Have your neighbor or house sitter regularly test your water taps if temperatures dip.)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If you are still feeling concerned about knowing how to protect your home while on vacation, we recommend watching <em>Home Alone</em> several times (for research purposes, of course) and setting an elaborate booby trap a la Kevin McCallister. Better safe than sorry. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Enjoy your spring break!</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results Extinguish Fire Risks: How to Prevent Home Fires <p>Posted by RE/MAX Results Results on Feb 3, 2017</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When a fire starts in a home, it can spread from room to room extremely quickly, so it&rsquo;s important to take steps towards preventing home fires and plan for the worst-case scenario. Moving to a new home is a busy time &mdash; but it&rsquo;s also one of the best times to consider fire safety. You never know what small mistake could spark disaster, or what you would do to escape a home in flames unless you&rsquo;re prepared. Beyond property damage, home fires can lead to injuries and even death. After all, our entire lives are contained inside these walls. Learn how to prevent home fires before your next move.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Home Inspection Tips</h2> <p>When you&rsquo;re moving into a new home, the initial home inspection can help you pinpoint risk areas of the home. Your inspector should check every outlet, look for exposed wiring and ensure that there are enough fire detectors in the home. If there are any other obvious fire risks, they should let you know exactly where they are and what should be done to fix them. Every home should have several fire extinguishers (one for the kitchen and one for a bedroom), to put out a blaze quickly. There is typically a home insurance discount for having them, which makes the decision a no-brainer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>Keep an Eye on Your Heating</h2> <p>Moving into a new home gives you the opportunity to put all of your furniture exactly where you want it. Locate heat sources such as radiators, warm pipes and fireplaces and make sure any combustible items are at least 3 feet away from them. Ensure that your heat sources are in working order and free of debris. Furnaces, stoves and chimneys can easily become cracked or dirty, so clean and replace as necessary. Remember to replace your furnace filters every three months &mdash; it&rsquo;s a fire risk people tend to forget about.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Smokers: Take Extra Precautions</h2> <p>The majority of residential fire deaths in the US are caused by improper disposal of smoking materials. If you smoke, you should only do it outside with fire-safe cigarettes. These types of cigarettes have a reduced propensity to burn when left unattended, so they&rsquo;re a smarter choice for smokers. If you&rsquo;re under the influence of medications that make you drowsy, it&rsquo;s better to go without a cigarette than with the risk of a fire. Always extinguish your butts into a can filled with sand and soak in water to ensure they are completely out.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If you must smoke in the house, be sure not to do so in bed while drowsy. Falling asleep could spell disaster.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Be Careful with Cords</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s easy to forget about electrical cords because people tend to put them in places where they can&rsquo;t be seen. Unfortunately, what you don&rsquo;t know CAN hurt you, as frayed wires are a real fire threat. If you&rsquo;re moving, take some time to examine all of your cords before you plug them into outlets. All it takes is one small break in the rubber coating to start a fire, so invest in new cords if one is in bad condition. Be careful where you run your cords as well &mdash; it&rsquo;s best not to tuck them under rugs and furniture.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Teach Children About Fire Safety</h2> <p>If a child is curious about a lighter or set of matches, they might find them and play with them. If you&rsquo;re moving to a new home, look for storage space that is out of reach from children and keep your fire starting equipment secure. There are no guarantees that you&rsquo;ll always remember to put away dangerous materials, so talk to your children about fire dangers. It doesn&rsquo;t take much time to inform your kids, but it could save the lives of your family.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Have a Plan</h2> <p>Should a fire break out at your new home, having a plan could be the difference between life and death. Check to see that all of your smoke detectors are working correctly, and replace their batteries frequently. If your alarms are able to signal a house fire, the next step is escape. Go into each room of your home and think of two escape routes for each one. Agree on a meeting point outside the home where the family will go in the event of a fire. Even if the home burns down, knowing everyone made it out alive is what matters most.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Moving to a new home is big change of pace &mdash; as busy as you might be getting your furniture and other belongings in order, take some fire safety measures that could save your life. When your entire family is on the same page for fire safety, you greatly increase your chances of survival in the event of a blaze. Your new home is important, but your safety matters more. It&rsquo;s easier to keep your home safe if your items are organized, so check out our blog post &ldquo;<a href="">Home Organization Ideas for the New Year</a>&rdquo; to learn how to keep your belongings in order!</p><p></p> RE/MAX Results Results