Puppy and kitten and guinea pigDid you know that pets can significantly reduce your home’s value?  Homebuyers are hesitant to buy a home with pets because they are weary of odors and damage. If you are a pet owner here are some tips to ensure you get the highest final sale price for your home:

1. Start outside. The outside of your home is the first impression, it is the first thing a potential buyer sees. Fill and holes in the yard that have been dug by pets. Make sure to walk the yard and pick up any pet waste.

2. Check the woodwork. Pets have a habit of chewing. Go through your home and look for any damage. Check the floor trim, the threshold of your doors, and the corners of doors and cabinets. Also don’t forget to check carpet, window ledges and screens, especially if you have cats. Hardwood floors can also get scratched by pets too. You may need refinish your floors if they have pet scratches.

3. Check the carpet. Carpets are usually best replaced rather than repaired. It is almost impossible to remove pet odor from carpet. If the carpet has been chewed or frayed from scratching it can likely be stretched and re-tacked by a professional.

4. Look for stains. There can be stains on carpet, flooring, drywall, and trim. Make sure to repair or replace any items that are stained before a buyer sees them.

5. Address odors. You may not even notice pet odors in your home but they will be very obvious to buyers. Ask someone else to give you an honest opinion of pet odors in your home.  Make sure to vacuum daily and open windows if you can. It’s not just accidents that cause bad odors. Your pet’s hair, dander and sweat also create odors.

6. Clean your furniture. Even though the buyer is looking at the house, if your furniture is stained or ruined buyers will still devalue your home.

7. Keep the pets away. If possible remove pets from your home when showing it. You could board them, or have a friend keep your pets while you’re showing your home. If that is not possible make sure to buy pet crates to keep them locked up and out of the way.

Many people think that if they live in a so-called “nice neighborhood” that they’re immune to residential crime. While it’s true that the probability of having their home or cars broken into may be lower than in urban or high-crime areas, there’s always the outside chance that there’s someone wandering through the neighborhood — especially at night — who doesn’t have the best of intentions.

While that does not mean you have to be in a state of “high alert” all the time, it does make sense to develop good habits with regard to home security. One thing to avoid is being lulled into a state of complacency by the the sight of manicured lawns, friendly neighbors, and the peaceful atmosphere of your neighborhood. Although those qualities are well worth appreciating and being grateful for, an ounce of prevention can help preserve the sanctity of your home and property.

Typical Security Mistakes Homeowners Make

Whether you’re talking about highway safety, food safety, or home security, you and your family can lead a safer, more secure life by following a few basic guidelines. Unfortunately, all-too-many people tend to let their guard down and leave themselves vulnerable to threats, like home break-ins, burglary, and other residential crimes.

Have you noticed any neighbors on your street who seem to “throw caution to the wind” when they’re away? Maybe you, too, have gotten a little too complacent or forgetful about basic home security measures. Here are a few of the common mistakes many people make — especially when they’re on vacation — which could be an invitation to trouble:

  1. Leaving a house key under the front door mat: Although it may seem like a convenient and somewhat discreet place to “hide” a key, it’s one of the first places a resourceful burglar is going to look. Not only that, but every time a friend or member of the family accesses that key, they could easily be observed by someone passing by. The longer it’s there, the more people are going to see it.
  2. Forgetting to suspend mail or newspaper delivery: When you go on vacation or visit relatives for more than a few days, your mind is already cluttered with travel plans and other arrangements. It’s easy to forget about details like mail delivery and newspapers accumulating in the driveway. However, if either of those items start piling up in front of your house, it’s equivalent to placing a flashing neon sign in your window, saying “Nobody’s home!” Rather than contacting the post office and newspaper circulation department, an easier method is to have a trusted neighbor or friend gather your deliveries and store them in a safe place — possibly inside your home. (If they’re a really good friend, they can also water your plants, feed your tropical fish, take care of your pets, and turn on a couple lights at night — but, maybe you don’t want to test the limits of your friendship that much!)
  3. Leaving lampposts and outdoor floodlights on continuously: Again, it’s like an advertisement that the house is unoccupied.
  4. Allowing the grass to get too long: It’s amazing how a little sunshine and rain, while you’re away, can cause an unexpected growth spurt in your lawn. Although it’s not as obvious as the previous items, it can be a tip off that the family is on vacation, blissfully unaware of the security breaches that are occurring. The overgrown grass problem can be prevented by either hiring a regular lawn mowing service or recruiting an enterprising teenager in the neighborhood to keep your property looking well tended while you’re away.

There are potentially dozens of home security measures you can take to ensure that your premises are completely burglarproof, but they can be expensive and complicated. However, if you just follow a few commonsense guidelines, both your possessions and your peace of mind should remain fully intact!

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