Protect Yourself and Your Medications

Open HouseWhen a home is for sale, holding an open house is an important part of the process. Open houses offer potential buyers the opportunity to check out homes for sale on their own without feeling pressured. Buyers have nearly full roam of your home to envision their own family living there. However, a real estate agent who has the best interests of their client in mind will give you (as a seller) a set of tips or instructions to safeguard your valuables and especially your medications.

Opiate abuse, particularly prescription painkillers as many are aware is at epidemic proportions. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, but I am not going to talk about that in detail here. Unfortunately there are bad actors that will visit open houses with ill intentions that include scouting out your valuables and more so today, your prescription drugs. Recently, it has become more commonplace that opiate abusers are visiting open houses to attempt to steal painkillers like Vicodin and others.

When I explain how an open house will operate to a client, part of the conversation includes what items should be locked up and hidden out of view, or even a step further by removing the items from the home during the open house. This will keep your mind at ease and those with bad intentions from acting on them.

Below is a document released by the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey which highlights what is going on during open houses and what you can do with unneeded prescription drugs. The State of NJ Division of Consumer Affairs has created “Project Medicine Drop” where you can safely discard medications that you no longer need. If you are expecting to have an open house in your home soon, be sure to check with your agent for what you can do to avoid potential problems. However if they are unable to provide solid information and guidance, feel free to Contact me and I would be happy to help you to safeguard your possessions with tips.

Project Medicine Drop – Download this free informational PDF

Healthy Lawn? Stop Crabgrass!

Spring Lawn Care Tip! 

Want a Healthy Lawn? Stop Crabgrass!Crabgrass – it is every lawn enthusiast’s worst nightmare.

Spring has finally arrived and it is time to prevent this pesky weed before it invades your lawn. Want a Healthy Lawn? Stop Crabgrass! Like any other weed that can develop in your lawn (broadleaf weeds, grass-like weeds, sedges, etc.), crabgrass will deprive the individual grass plants that make up your beautiful lawn of the things necessary to survive. Nutrients and water that are critical for the survival of your lawn are consumed by weeds. When there is a major breakthrough of weeds, particularly crabgrass, the individual grass plants will die off from starvation or crowding out and the the crabgrass plant will flourish leaving your lawn full of voids and bare spots, particularly after the crabgrass plant has established itself grown in size. The best defense is to prevent this problem before it becomes a major issue affecting the health and appearance of your lawn.

Crabgrass plants germinate from seed when soil temperatures reach approximately 55ºF (approximately April – May). Once germinated, the plant will grow very quickly and as it matures, it will branch out into “tillers”. Science has been helpful in providing us with products that will stop the plants from ever taking root in your lawn. The best time to do this is in the early weeks of the Spring season and there are a number of products available to control this weed (among other grass-like weeds).

If you have experience fertilizing or applying lawn chemicals you can take a ride over to the local hardware store and pick up granular or spreadable crabgrass pre-emergent  (aka “preventer”) and apply the product at the manufacturer’s labeled rate to keep this pesky weed under control. Alternatively, you can hire a professional for this service and they will ensure that it is applied correctly. Either way, some examples of the best active ingredients that you can look for in a crabgrass pre-emergent are: prodiamine (Barricade) or dithiopyr (Dimension). Note: Unlike Barricade, Dimension can be applied later in the season as well and it will have some post-emergent control qualities for any crabgrass that has developed, but the plants must be small.

Should you decide to venture out and apply the product on your own, now would also be a great time to apply the first round of fertilizer to your lawn. You can purchase a bag of a balanced fertilizer WITH crabgrass pre-emergent together in the bag. This will provide a feeding and defend against crabgrass. Again, read the label and only apply at the recommended rate. Also you should know that as of 2011 the State of New Jersey (and many other states) have adopted laws that regulate the use of fertilizer (See http://www.nj.gov/dep/healthylawnshealthywater/) in an effort to help with the problems of the waterways. Always clean up any product that has spilled or was left behind on sidewalks or driveways. Not only will some products stain concrete, they will wash away with the rain directly into the storm drain.

 

Different Types of Agents for Sellers

Different Types of Agents

Did you know that there are different types of agents for sellers? Who is really going to sell your home?

After you hear a listing presentation, one of the most important questions that you should be asking is “Are you only a listing agent?” The real estate world is be a very competitive and busy place and there can be a little unintentional deceit when you decide to sign on the listing agreement. The truth is there are generally 3 types of real estate agents and you need to decide which is best for you and the sale of your home.

Listing Agent – Only.

One who only takes listings will do only that. They will preview your home, write up the contract and get your commitment. However, once the sign goes up in the front yard, you won’t be seeing them again. Typically someone else within their company will hold open houses and show your home, but this isn’t the same person who you got to know and who knows your home. This generally presents a problem when another agency shows your home and has a question. If it takes a long time for the question to get answered, the prospective buyer has already started loving another house. A listing agent doesn’t show houses nor does he spend time finding a buyer. In this case, a listing agent has set aside time in their schedule to prospect for more homes to list and meet with those people – not sell your home (they rely on a Buyer’s Agent).

Buyer’s Agent – Only.

A buyer’s agent generally only brings buyers after the Listing Agent has obtained the listing and it has entered the Multiple Listing Service. Usually the buyer’s agent is a part of a team that includes the Listing Agent, but that is only if the buyer’s agent represents the same agency. Again, if the buyer’s agent has questions but the Listing Agent is unavailable to answer them quickly, the buyer’s agent has many other homes they can quickly show the prospective buyer because the buyer’s agent wants to make a deal.

Listing Agent who also works with buyers.

A listing agent who also has a large database of buyers – and works exclusively with the mentality of getting your home sold – will do just that. Your home will be marketed to a large audience, including an already qualified list of buyers ready to make an offer. Your home is top priority with a listing agent who has your best interests in mind – full time, all the time. This listing agent will be the same person holding your open house because not only do they want to market your house, it helps to increase their list of buyers. This listing agent will know every detail about your home and can quickly relay that information to their pool of buyers or to another agency. Lastly, this type of agent is in it for the long haul. They are full-time and they only get paid when your home sells (which certainly provides the incentive necessary to sell your home!)

Personal Note: I am a listing agent who works with buyers. My database of buyers is forever growing and I understand the value that I bring to my customers when I can navigate the deal from start to finish by knowing my customer and the product (your home) well. Additionally, I do not have the same emotional attachment to your home as you would, but I have the same goals that you do – to get your home sold, no matter what.

Buying and selling real estate is set of processes and requires a plan. The main thing that a home seller must keep in mind is “What is the plan? How is my home going to be marketed?” If the plan is to just list it and wait for the buyer to just fall from the sky, you can expect the listing to expire and frustration to grow. However, if you enter into a listing agreement with a plan in place and you share the same goals with your agent, you can start packing and prepare to begin the next chapter.