Sears Real Estate



Posted by Sears Real Estate on 7/24/2017

Having different types of birds in your yard is a great way to add a bit of nature to your house. With their unique plumage and songs, birds will offer you interesting sights and sounds. However, youíll need to offer them a few things in return. To attract a variety of birds to your yard youíll need to make it the most desirable place in the neighborhood to be. Hereís a guide to help you attract a large variety of birds to your yard and to keep them coming back each year.

Choosing your feeders

When choosing a bird feeder there are a few traits your looking for. It should be strong enough to withstand the weather and sealed tightly to keep the seeds dry. Youíll want a feeder that is big enough to hold a variety of seeds and is relatively low-maintenance. Hanging tray feeders are the most common type, and for good reason. They attract a variety of birds and are easy to fill and clean. A good tray feeder has a drainage system in the tray to keep seeds dry, which means you should buy a feeder with a mesh bottom instead of solid. For nectar-seeking birds like hummingbirds, youíll want a few small feeders rather than one large one. Keep it in a well lit area near some flowers to attract the hummingbirds. Theyíre attracted to bright colors to look for nectar and your fake-flower feeders will seem like a good source if theyíre surrounded by the real thing. If you want to view birds from inside your home, window feeders are a great option. Window feeders suction right to your window and will offer you a close-up view of the birds who will slowly get used to you being on the other side of the glass.

Keeping the squirrels away

Putting out plenty of bird feeders wonít just attract birds. Squirrels, too love to eat the various seeds that are found in feeders. You have a couple options when it comes to squirrels. First, you can just accept them as part of the nature of your yard. They, too can be fun to watch and are just looking for something to eat like the birds. If inviting squirrels into your yard isnít something you can live with, you could try deterring them with a squirrel baffle. Squirrel baffles wrap around the pole your feeder is on preventing the squirrel from climbing up to the tray. However, some crafty squirrels can still find their way through.

It takes more than seed

Just having bird seed isnít enough to provide for birds. Having lots of trees and water is also a good way to keep the birds around. Bird baths are one option. But there are other creative ways to attract birds to your yard like a small natural pool or waterfall. Having a bubbler on your water source is also a great way to bring more birds to your yard as they will be attracted to the sound of the running water. Add these features to your yard and soon the local birds will find it an irresistible place to spend time.




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Posted by Sears Real Estate on 7/17/2017

Whether you call it a "rainy day fund" or a "financial cushion", having some money set aside for emergencies or unexpected expenses can help keep life on an even keel.

Although health insurance and a homeowners' policy can provide a measure of protection, insurance deductibles can take a large bite out of your bank account.

In addition to all the predictable expenses that accompany home ownership, mechanical systems like furnaces, hot water heaters, and air conditioning units have a way of breaking down at the most inopportune times. Another crisis that many people aren't prepared for is the potential loss of a job. When families don't have money set aside to weather the storm of an unplanned income loss, then there's no "safety net" to cushion the fall.

Strategies For Saving Money

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to build up financial reserves, but it often requires self discipline, a new set of habits, and the intention to make it happen. One of the first steps to putting some money aside for a rainy day is to open up a separate bank account. If you put extra money in your regular account -- or (even worse) keep it around the house -- chances are it will get spent pretty quickly. However, if it's deposited into a separate account that's designated for emergencies, unexpected household expenses, or even a college fund, then it'll stand a greater chance of being left alone until it's needed. Putting money aside does take some doing, but it can contribute to your family's financial security and ability to do things that are important to you.

If you have a tight budget, you're probably wondering where this extra money is going to come from! Sometimes, the very act of developing a written budget can provide you with clues and ideas for reducing your expenses. You'd also be amazed at how much the savings can add up when you comparison shop, buy in bulk, use coupons, negotiate lower interest charges on your credit cards, quit smoking, car pool to work, cut back on restaurant food, and make up your mind to live just a little more frugally.

Depending on how committed you are to creating a financial cushion, you could also make the fund grow faster by depositing a percentage of Christmas bonuses, tax refunds, manufacturer rebates, salary increases (raises), and other sources of extra income. Additional ways to beef up your financial safety net could include getting a part-time job, doing freelance work, holding a garage sale, or selling unwanted items through ads or flyers. When you pay off credit cards, car loans, or other debts, you could also redirect some or all of those monthly payments into your "future needs fund."

Whatever you decide to call it, it's nice to know that there's some extra money on hand for unexpected expenses, emergencies, potential job losses, college tuition, weddings, family vacations, home renovations, nursing home costs, or even retirement.






Posted by Sears Real Estate on 6/26/2017

More areas are struggling with droughts today. Conserving water has become a necessity. Even if the area you live in isnít drought-stricken, cutting back on water use has many benefits for you and the environment. Youíll have a lower utility bill for one. Youíll also help to conserve the most precious resource on the planet. Thereís plenty of ways that you can conserve water. Youíll be happy that you implemented some of these tips into your daily routine. Small changes in your life can make a big impact on your water bill and the environment. 


Turn Off Water While You Brush Your Teeth Or Wash Your Hands


Did you know that water comes out of the faucet at an average of 2.5 gallons per minute? Thatís quite a lot of water to waste while youíre merely brushing your teeth or washing your hands. Turn off the tap while you brush (youíre supposed to brush for 2 full minutes!) or scrub your hands. Think of how many gallons of water youíll save over a weekís time if you shut the water off even for those few seconds! Water is a precious resource and we should use it wisely. 


Put A Bucket In The Shower


This sounds like kind of a crazy idea. You know how long it takes the shower to heat up every morning, and now you can save that water which normally heads down the drain. Place a bucket in the tub while the water heats up. You can use that water later for watering plant or keeping the lawn fresh. This way, nothing will go to waste! 


Take A Shorter Shower


We all love to hang out in the shower for a bit, but taking a shower is one of the biggest uses of water in our homes. A shower uses about 2.1 gallons of water per minute. That means the typical 8 minute shower consumes somewhere around 16 gallons of water. If you cut your showers by even one minute, youíd save 14 gallons of water a week! Thatís nothing to sneeze at! 


Flush Less


You know the old saying, ďIf itís yellow let it mellow.Ē Maybe this tip isnít for everyone, but your toilet is the fixture that uses the most water in your home. Higher efficiency toilets use about 1.5 gallons per flush, but older toilets can use anywhere between 3.5 and 7 gallons of water per flush! Consider flushing the toilet a bit less for the sake of water conservation! 


Load The Dishwasher Fully


The dishwasher is a fantastic invention and a necessity in our homes. Every time you run the dishwasher, it uses between 4 and 6 gallons of water. When you run the machine, be sure that itís full of dirty dishes to avoid putting it on too often. 





Posted by Sears Real Estate on 6/12/2017

Launching a search for your next home can be a daunting prospect -- especially if you're a first-time home buyer. It's not only a life-changing decision that will have "ripple effects" for years to come, but it's also one of the largest financial commitments you'll every make. So there is a little "pressure" associated with this choice!

The good news is that once you're approved for a mortgage and you know what you want (and can afford) in your next home, then the actual searching part should be a "piece of cake!" Well, as you can imagine, things can and sometimes DO go wrong along the way, but there are effective strategies for simplifying the process and increasing the probability that you'll be delighted with the house you finally close on.

Identify Your Priorities

Knowing what your priorities are and being familiar with all the different features you'll need to evaluate are the first steps to a successful house-hunting campaign. Your real estate agent can be enormously helpful in asking you the right questions, pinpointing your preferences, and guiding you toward the house that will offer the best combination of features, qualities, and characteristics.

Rarely will you find the property that is absolutely perfect in every imaginable way, but when you're clear about the important things you're not willing to compromise on, your final choice is bound to be one that fulfills your requirements and makes you happy! Also keep in mind that once you're the owner, you can customize, decorate, and landscape that home to become whatever you want it to be. Perhaps the only two things that are set in stone are the location and the proximity of the house to neighbors.

I don't know whether this saying has been attributed to any particular person, but it contains a lot of truth about achieving goals, attaining happiness, and finding the home of your dreams: "If you don't know exactly what you want, it's highly unlikely you're going to find it!" That holds true whether you're looking for the ideal job, home, or life partner.

So the question is "How can you zero in on what you need, want, and would find the most satisfying in a house?" Your real estate agent can help you create a priority list or provide you with a boilerplate list that you can work from. If you haven't chosen an agent yet, there is a free home-buying checklist available from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

There are literally dozens of items you'll factor into your home-buying decision, including the square footage, the quality of the neighborhood, the number of bathrooms and bedrooms, the condition of the roof, electrical, and mechanical systems, the size of the backyard, proximity to neighbors, and whether it's conveniently located near supermarkets, medical offices, parks, recreation, good schools, transportation, highways, entertainment, shopping, and much more. The bottom line is this: When you're organized, focused, and clear about what you're looking for in a new home, you're well positioned for a successful outcome!




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Posted by Sears Real Estate on 5/29/2017

When you sell your home, thereís a cost associated with getting a return on your investment. Certain mistakes that many sellers make when deciding to sell their home can actually cost thousands of dollars in expenses. Before you decide to sell, read on to see what you can do to avoid unnecessary consequences.


Hire A Professional To Sell Your Home


Many people think that they can sell their home on their own. Itís the best practice to hire a professional to sell your home. Even in a sellerís market, a realtor can help you to get the best price on the sale of your home.


Remove Your Things Before The Sale Of The Home


Your clutter will undoubtedly affect the value of your home. People canít see what their life would be like in your home if thereís too many things in the way. While one manís trash sometimes is another manís treasure, it certainly isnít in the case of selling your home. 


Donít Leave An Empty House For The Showing


While too much clutter is bad, it does make a difference for the home to actually be lived in. If possible, donít leave a completely empty home. Buyers need something to help them visualize what life will be like living in the home. Home searchers want to see how functional the home will be for them. 


Donít Neglect Repairs


You should take care of any repairs that need to be made before your home goes on the market. Any repairs that you donít make will likely be discovered during the home inspection. Before you even list your home, make sure that you take care of any major issues that are around your home like a leaky roof or cracked tile. This will save you a major headache later, because you wonít need to scramble to fix things after the home inspection. Buyers will also be more impressed with the home if thereís little to fix. 


Donít Overprice Or Underprice Your Home


If you donít properly price your home, it could lead to a few major issues. You may be left wondering if you could have made more money on your home. On the flip side, your home could sit on the market for a long time, leaving buyers wondering what could be wrong with your property as to why itís not selling.


Be Sure To Stage The Home


People will purchase a home based on what they see and how they feel. If your on-the-market home doesnít look polished, there will be less interest in it. You donít need to go overboard and make your home look like something out of a magazine, just make sure itís clean. Things like dirty laundry on the floor, trash laying around, and papers on the tables are big turn offs for buyers. 


With a little planning, the sale of your home should be a smooth and profitable one.