All posts by Becky Blanton
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December 13, 2017

How to Not Get Scammed on Craigslist

It’s getting harder and harder to find good, yet affordable housing, so when you do, it might almost seem too good to be true. That’s because it probably is. According to researchers, up to 25% of all home or apartment rental listings on Craigslist are scams.

Understanding how rental and property scams work and how to avoid them can help you spot a crook before you’re taken for an expensive ride. Studies show that Craigslist filters less than half of the scams posted, so don’t depend on any site to protect you. They do all they can to warn visitors about scams, but it’s up to you to do your due diligence before handing over your money or filling [...]

 
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December 12, 2017

How to Avoid Moving Service Scams

According to Mayflower, a major moving company, approximately 1.6 million Americans will hire movers this year. Unfortunately, nearly 3,000 of those consumers will be scammed by internet-based companies that offer low initial estimates, but then hold a victim’s possessions hostage until they receive thousands of dollars in additional payments. “Consumers are often tempted to go with the cheapest mover instead of with a reputable company that offers the best service for a fair price,” said Melissa Sullivan, marketing communications manager, Mayflower Transit. “Just because someone has a website doesn’t mean they are a legitimate mover.”

Things [...]
 
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December 6, 2017

Questions Veterans Should Ask Their Realtor About a VA Loan

Realtors are waking up to the fact that military families, veterans, and even single military men and women make up part of a growing homeowner niche. And, as more veterans and military members realize that a VA loan can open the door to homeownership, they too are beginning to look at homes. The one thing slowing veterans down in the process is not knowing where to start. How do you find a VA loan knowledgeable realtor, and what basics should you know about VA loans before you start looking? What questions should you ask?

What is a VA loan, and am I eligible?

Before looking for a realtor, find out if you’re eligible for a VA loan. You may be eligible for a VA loan if [...]

 
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November 29, 2017

How to Holiday-Proof Your Home

We’ve all heard the common holiday-proofing suggestions: water your live tree regularly, unplug lights and electric decorations when you’re not home, and don’t drink and drive. But what about some of the less common tips?

Traveling During the Holidays

Are you traveling during the holidays? Don’t announce it on Facebook or social media or tell your friends and co-workers. You can gloat after you’re back home. Tell only the people who absolutely must know you’re gone. Too many opportunistic thieves are willing to break in and steal your Christmas. They watch for deserted homes, and social media posts announcing trips and travel that tell them [...]

 
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November 29, 2017

Tips for Finding a Great House or Pet Sitter

Homeowners with pets, especially large dogs and livestock, know it’s almost impossible to find a house or pet sitter, especially one that can be trusted alone in your home. Most homeowners look for local sitters, the high school kid next door, or the retired couple down the street. But are those really your best or only options? “Maybe,” say Betsy and Pete Wuebker, “It depends on the homeowner.” For those with more expensive homes, assets, and precious pets, a better option is a professional sitter.

The Wuebkers have two lifetimes of homeownership themselves, including twenty years in Minnesota and a few years in Hawaii. They stepped into pet [...]

 
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November 17, 2017

Fall Bugs and How to Get Rid of Them

Let’s face it. Like people, bugs like to stay warm. That’s fine as long as they’re burrowing under leaves, trees, or out in your yard where you don’t see them. But why must they insist on coming indoors, squeezing under the siding, or finding the tiniest of holes in our attic, garage and house in which to let themselves in, uninvited?

via Tom Murphy VII/Wikimedia Commons

The simple answer is, our warm homes attract bugs in the fall like porch lights attract moths. The most common bugs homeowners see in the fall are:

Boxelder bugs

Boxelder bugs are harmless to people. [...]

 
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November 7, 2017

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) Could be the Wave of the Future

There’s a lot of talk about how to solve the “affordable housing” crisis, but one solution has been around for centuries. There’s also one thing that has been slowing down the implementation of the solution: regulations.

You probably know them as “mother-in-law apartments,” or “garage apartments,” by whatever name you use, a second small house, typically under 1,000 square feet, built in the backyard of an existing home, or retrofitted into an existing house is legally referred to as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). They’re about to become the hottest new trend of the next decade if governments allow them. “If [...]

 
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November 3, 2017

Things to Think About Before You Decide on Underground Pet Fencing

If you have a dog, live in a gated community, don’t plan to live in your home long, or just don’t want to invest thousands of dollars to fence in your yard to keep your pet contained, underground fencing may or may not be the best alternative for you.

Cost

Physical fencing typically runs from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars to install, but for some reason, people think invisible fencing is more expensive. It’s not. Invisible fencing typically averages $250 to $1500 for one pet depending on the quality the of the system, the size of the area to cover, and the type of collar you need.

“Underground fencing is much less expensive than a [...]

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