Sunday, August 31, 2014

Staging your Home: Advice for Sellers




Ten inexpensive real estate staging tips to help create a 'mood' or 'emotion' to entice and connect with potential home buyers.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Final Walk-Through: What to Expect at your Final Walk-Through before Closing




It's smart to perform a final walk-through before closing. It's your last chance to make sure the home you're about to buy is in the condition you're expecting. Here's some great tips that you may not have thought of in preparing for your final walk-through.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pensacola Young Professionals Quality of Life Survey

Pensacola Young Professionals Quality of Life Survey
Better Pensacola Forum 2014 Survey results are in.

The Pensacola Young Professionals is a non-profit organization that aims to make the Pensacola area a better place to live, work, and play. 

The mission of the Pensacola Young Professionals is to share our passion for and belief in the Pensacola Bay area, and to act as catalysts for positive change in our community.  Around 300 young professionals carry out the mission in Escambia & Santa Rosa Counties in Northwest Florida.

One of the ways the Pensacola Young Professionals works towards making Pensacola a better place to live, work, and play is through the Better Pensacola Forum. 

Since 2008, the Better Pensacola Forum has conducted an annual survey of registered voters in Escambia County to ask them to rate quality of life factors in our area including:
  • Economy & Jobs
  • Quality of Life
  • Growth
  • Traffic
  • Crime & Drugs
  • Affordable housing
  • Schools
Our local economy and jobs rank among the highest concerns in the city and county with an average of 35% respondents stating it is their main concern. 


Pam Brantley in the PYP Quality of Life Survey
Pam Brantley in the PYP Quality of Life Survey
This year, our broker Pamela Keen Brantley participated in the survey citing the recent growth in Downtown Pensacola.  "With the Downtown Pensacola revitalization, we are seeing more cultural events and festivals than ever, with an increasing amount of family-friendly successful events like Pensacon. But I love that even with this growth, we still have a relatively small-town feel."

In addition to rating quality of life factors, respondents were also asked to rate the performance of local officials including:
  • City Council
  • County Commissioners
  • Pensacola's Mayor
  • Escambia County Superintendent
  • Escambia County School Board
Since PYP's main focus this year is education, they also investigated the "biggest problems facing our schools" many of which included lack of academic standards, lack of funding, lack of discipline, and poor teachers. 


To view the survey results in its entirety, visit Pensacola Young Professionals Better Pensacola Forum Quality of Life Survey 2014 here.

For more questions about the Pensacola Young Professionals, visit their website, facebook, call (850) 332-7820, or email them at rachael@pensacolayp.com

Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
Realty Masters of FL~ #1 in Pensacola Property Management
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
Call us at (850) 473-3983

Over 45 Pensacola Rental Homes at www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com

Pensacola Parks: Lavallet Park, 32504

Pensacola Parks: Lavallet Park off Spanish Trail
Neighborhood Park with Children's Playground & Gazebo

Lavallet Park in Northeast Pensacola
Lavallet Park is located at 3910 Montalvo Dr., Pensacola, FL 32504. 

This Northeast Pensacola park is located off Scenic Hwy and Spanish Trail in the City limits of Pensacola.

This is the perfect neighborhood park to enjoy a shaded picnic lunch under the gazebo. Kids of all ages will enjoy the playground equipment here.

The park is available for birthday parties, family gatherings, and other special occasions. You can book through the City of Pensacola on their website.

Lavallet Park in Pensacola, FL 32504
Playground area for children of all ages at Lavallet Park


Also, make sure to check out our articles on other Pensacola area parks including:
Pet friendly park in Northeast Pensacola
For more information on this park and other City of Pensacola Parks, please contact the City of Pensacola Parks & Recreation department at (850) 436-5670 or visit them online.
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
Realty Masters of FL~ #1 in Pensacola Property Management
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
Call us at (850) 473-3983

Over 45 Pensacola Rental Homes at www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com

Financing: Advice for Homebuyers



This YouTube channel, provided courtesy of Chase, offers the ins and outs of mortgages, how the loan process works and how to select a lender. Worthy of viewing regardless of whom you select as your lender.



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First-Time Homebuyer Tips: Things to Know when Buying your First Home



First-time homebuyers need to keep their ownership goals in mind and make sure to not rush into decisions or feel pressured. This video offers some great lessons from real first-time home owners.



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Friday, August 15, 2014

Bayview Dog Beach reopens!

Bayview Dog Beach reopens!
Pensacola's favorite dog park is now open.

Great news~ Pensacola's only dog beach is now open after being closed for 3-4 months due to the damage caused by April flooding. Your four legged children can now run freely along the beach in Bayou Texar.


Dogs having a great time at Bayview Dog Beach!
For more information on Bayview Dog Beach, read our previous blog: http://realtymastersoffl.blogspot.com/2012/01/bayview-park-our-favorite-community-dog.html

Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
Realty Masters of FL~ #1 in Pensacola Property Management
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
Call us at (850) 473-3983

Over 45 Pensacola Rental Homes at www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Housetraining your puppy: Tips for keeping your dog behaved and your home clean



(BPT) - Few things are as exciting as bringing home a new puppy. Whether Chihuahua or Great Dane, a pup's playful antics delight people of all ages. Having a dog can bring many years of companionship and precious memories, but before you ask, "How much is that doggie in the window?" consider a few expert tips for positive housetraining.



Responsible pet parents start planning long before bringing a puppy home. "Research your lifestyle - what your living accommodations are. Do breed research into what you want the pet for," says Dr. Chris Stearns, partner at Dalton Animal Care clinic in Dalton, Ga. "It's so important to have the right environment - enough room indoors and out, and enough attention."



Talk with different people who can share insight about the breeds you are considering. Veterinarians, trainers, groomers and breeders can provide valuable information about what dogs are best for your lifestyle, and what to expect for each in regard to training.



Stearns, along with Stephanie Daughtrey, a certified animal behaviorist at the clinic, offers these important tips for housetraining your puppy and keeping your home intact in the process.



1. Know potty triggers



Start by understanding your puppy's potty triggers. What exactly stimulates a pup's bladder and digestive system? While it varies from dog to dog, triggers are typically feelings of excitement, like when visitors arrive, and particular times of day, like after he wakes up or right before bed. Keep in mind, puppies will need to go after eating and/or drinking - usually within 15 minutes.



2. Establish a routine



Find a designated "potty patch" outdoors so your dog can associate that space with doing his business. Start by leash walking the pup to that spot so he can focus before spending any time playing.



If your dog doesn't go, consider keeping him on a leash inside too. Rotate 15 minutes inside and 15 minutes outside. Stay close to your new furry family member. If he starts to circle and sniff, in that familiar way, take him outside. If he starts to squat to urinate, clap or make a sharp sound that will stop him in the act. You can transfer him outside to finish and praise him there.



"Young puppies learn through positive reinforcement - not negative. Give them a treat when they go potty outside - that reinforces the good behavior right then and there. Praise them with a happy tone of voice," says Stearns.



3. Avoid indoor accidents



Accept that a puppy will need to go outside every one or two hours. It's the owner's responsibility to provide plenty of time outdoors, otherwise if left unattended for extended periods, a puppy will find a place to piddle.



"Close the doors out of the room where the puppy is - get baby gates to seal off other areas. A puppy will seek out areas of the house that are not part of the 'family den'," says Daughtrey.



4. Clean messes immediately



"Accidents will happen," says Stearns. "Expect it and work with it when it happens. You must deodorize it, so he can't use it as a scent-marking area. Use a product that does more than just mask the odor - it needs to enzymatically destroy the chemical in the urine."



Start by blotting to absorb as much liquid as possible. Then treat the mess with a pet stain and odor remover that has the Carpet and Rug Institute Seal of Approval. Each certified product that features the national trade association's seal goes through rigorous testing in an independent laboratory, so you can be confident you're treating the stain, removing the odors, and protecting the integrity of your carpet.



If your carpet becomes deeply soiled from multiple accidents and dirty little puppy paws, you may want to consider hiring a professional carpet cleaner. For those with allergies, frequent vacuuming and regularly-scheduled cleaning will remove virtually all embedded allergens and pet dander. Certified CRI Seal of Approval service providers have the experience needed to treat stains, remove odors and leave carpet looking like new. Visit www.carpet-rug.org to find a provider near you.



5. Spay or neuter



Finally, spay or neuter your dog at the appropriate age according to your vet's recommendations. Unneutered dogs typically urinate more in the house as an action of marking their territory, so it's something every caring pet parent should consider.



Simple solutions to common landscaping issues



There's one in every neighborhood - the house with the bright green grass, perfectly trimmed shrubs and flowers in full bloom. As you look at your own lawn, plagued with weeds and sparse patches, you wonder how your neighbor is able to achieve such a beautiful outdoor space. The secret isn't in how much time or money can be invested, but rather taking the right steps at the right time to eliminate lawn and garden problems.

Here are some common landscaping issues and the easy steps any homeowner can take to correct them:

Sparse, brown lawn
If your lawn is looking sparse and brown, the likely culprit is thatch. Thatch is the layer of dead grass, leaves and stems that block water and nutrients from reaching the roots. To revive your grass, you need to remove this layer and prime your lawn for strong regrowth.

A dethatcher, also known as a power rake, is the easiest way to get rid of the layer of thatch. Then you'll want to use an aerator to poke small holes in the dirt so that nutrients, air and moisture can get to the roots. These two pieces of equipment are critical for repairing sparse, brown lawn, but purchasing them outright is costly. Consider renting them from your localrental store.

Weeds
No single method will eliminate all weeds, so the best action really depends on what types of weeds you have. Here are some tips on the most common:

* Dandelion - It's imperative to dig out dandelions before they go to seed. You can also spot treat dandelions with a broadleaf weed killer. If you do this, make sure your product does not kill grass.
* White clover - This weed can spread quickly on undernourished lawn. Combat by watering regularly and applying nitrogen fertilizer. You can also use a broadleaf weed killer for spot treatments.

* Crab grass - If it's early in the season, consider applying a pre-emergence crabgrass herbicide. Because crabgrass thrives on shorter lawns, set your mower to a higher setting, about 2.5 to 3 inches.

Overgrown hedges, shrubs and trees
Simple%20solutions%20to%20common%20landscaping%20issues Meticulously trimmed hedges and trees make a yard look perfectly manicured. The tools of the trade will make the job a breeze, but you don't need to purchase a tree trimmer or chainsaw. You can easily rent those at your localrental store for a fraction of the cost of buying them.

The most important consideration when operating a chain saw or trimmer is safety. When you rent, you get personalized training on the equipment. Tell the rental professional what you want to accomplish and they will help you find the equipment you need to get the job done, while providing you with tips on how to use the equipment and safety.

When you're done trimming and clearing out your area, renting a chipper can make cleanup quick and easy.

Wilting, dead plants
No matter where you live, if your outdoor plants start to wilt or turn brown, it's likely that they need water. Sounds simple enough, but it's also easy for plant novices to overwater - which can kill your plants and flowers just as easily as under watering them.

Start by always watering during the early morning or late evening hours. Watering during peak sun hours will cause most of the water to evaporate and little will reach the plants' roots. Research the recommended watering schedule for your lawn and plants so that you can create a weekly watering schedule. Some plants may only need watering once a week, while others may need it daily. You can also ask your local nurseryfor planting and watering recommendations in your area.

Striped lawn
Nothing is more frustrating than the homeowner who spends lots of time on yard work only to wake up one day to a striped lawn. If you have healthy lines of green grass that alternate with yellow or brown stripes, likely the cause is uneven fertilizer application.
The trick to fertilizing evenly with a drop spreader is overlapping wheel tracks by an inch or two. This will help ensure no area gets missed and any potential for stripes is eliminated.



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Greening your home: Start at the tap



In today's environmentally conscious times, it seems we're surrounded by the need to shop, act and live "green." Some of our choices are easy and small, while others can be big and costly. But one thing is for sure - each choice can make a significant difference.

Some of the most important green choices we can make are right within our own home, according to Kevin McJoynt at Danze, Inc.
"Installing items like Energy Star appliances and energy-efficient windows is a great step in moving your home to be more green," says McJoynt. "But changing your in-home water usage can have the most impact."

According to McJoynt, water shortages, energy demands and the cost of transporting water continue to rise. "Finding ways to simply reduce our usage without dramatically altering our lifestyle could save billions of gallons of water each year in the United States."
McJoynt offers up these tips on how you can immediately start conserving water (and save money) in your home:

* Replace older toilets (1992 or earlier) with newer, high efficiency toilets (HETs). They operate at 1.28 gallons per flush and could save 11 gallons of water per toilet per day. Danze has several new HETs that outperform and are more stylish than many toilets found in current homes.

* Be sure to turn off the tap when brushing your teeth - it could save nearly 3,000 gallons of water per year.

* Update your bathrooms with newer WaterSense certified lavatory faucets. According to the Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense program, if every household in the U.S. installed these water-saving lavatory faucets, more than $350 million in water utility bills and more than 60 billion gallons of water annually would be saved, plus $600 million in energy costs for heating the water.

* Always turn the water off between tasks. Letting your faucet run for five minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours.
* Make sure to wash only full loads of laundry. Using a high-efficiency washing machine is ideal, as they use about 28 gallons of water per load, versus an average machine that uses 41 gallons.

* Take a shower rather than a bath. A full bath tub requires up to 70 gallons of water, while taking a five-minute shower uses 10 to 25 gallons. Want to be even more efficient? Switch your showerhead to a water-saving option.

"We realize showers are a tricky one when it comes to saving water. Homeowners want to make sure they have a well-performing shower experience," says McJoynt. "However, the EPA WaterSense program recently published standards for showerheads that consider both conservation and performance to build support of these water-saving units. Be sure to look for the WaterSense certification mark."

* Fix those leaks. Most leaky faucets can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water each year.

"Better design and engineering of many new bathroom products actually gives the user improved performance as well as efficiency," adds McJoynt. "Faucets, toilets and showerheads are great examples. They're just like other appliances that use less energy, but still work very well."

If all the water-saving green choices still have you overwhelmed, select one tip at a time and incorporate it into your home. Looking for other tips? Visit the EPA's WaterSense website.

For more information about the performance and efficiency of Danze faucets, showerheads and toilets, visit www.danze.com.