How to Protect Your Home

When it comes to home maintenance, everyone thinks of weatherproofing, but does anyone think of thief proofing? Last year, there were 8,632,512 property crimes, costing an estimated $16.6 billion, which includes burglary.

Here are a few home security basics to help you protect your home.

(Homes for Sale in Berkeley, WV)

Check Locks and Latches – Add checking locks and latches on windows and doors to your regular maintenance routine. All it takes for a thief to gain entry is a single broken latch.

Cut Back Trees and Hedges – Maintain sight lines to the street by removing trees and hedges that obscure key entry points into the house. The lack of a suitable place to hide is sometimes enough to deter would-be criminals.

Alarm System – Consider an adding alarm system. Modern systems offer features like remote access, security cameras and 24-hour monitoring. Here’s what you need to know before buying an alarm system.

Security Lights – Install security lights anywhere a potential thief might look to gain entry to your home, including back doors, attached or detached garages, covered porches and any other outbuildings.

Beware of Bragging – Avoid broadcasting big-ticket purchases via social media – this could be an invitation for trouble. It’s also a good idea to shred any receipts or credit card statements that may alert thieves to your recent purchase (this also helps prevent identity theft).

Keep Control of Keys – Get in the habit of gathering keys from contractors or household helpers after they are done. Be careful about using a smart key system that allows you to rekey locks yourself – some are easily picked.

(Homes for Sale in Berkeley, WV)

Family Reunion 2015

Gary Keller delivers 150-minute, 99-slide tome to 10,000 KW agents in Orlando

Along with data dump, KW guru discusses portals, NAR and his competitors

ORLANDO, Fla. — Yesterday morning, more than 10,000 Keller Williams agents sat studiously quiet for 157 minutes at the Orlando Convention Center as KW guru Gary Keller delivered a 99-slide PowerPoint lecture on economics and the state of the industry without seeming to blink or take a breath. (See the full presentation.)

At the annual raucous rah-rah KW Family Reunion event, Keller’s serious tome was mixed with aw-shucks tales of his early days as a real estate agent in Texas and a few light barbs at his competitors, the Internet portals, this news service and the National Association of Realtors.

“NAR already sold us down the river,” he cracked when talking about

Keller was generally optimistic about the economy and the housing market, but he did not resort to tired industry boosterism. He cautioned that market cycles are not to be underestimated and they cannot be predicted, and he advised his audience to get into the flow of a cycle to grow your business. He pointed to gross domestic product, lower unemployment, housing affordability and record low interest rates as indicators that made him cautiously bullish.

His deck was generously mixed with NAR research numbers, government data, and other economic and industry sources as he meticulously walked the audience through a raft of charts, pie charts and numbers. The crowd seemed truly enraptured, despite the seriousness and dry nature of the subject. His color commentary warmed up the audience. Plus, like dancers flanking Beyoncé in a Las Vegas show, three young research assistants sitting behind Keller interjected their own commentary, always in step and never upstaging the KW founder. The fact that all four seemed to be reveling in the show helped to keep the crowd’s attention.

More friendly professor than big-shot CEO, Keller waxed on about technology and wasn’t afraid to take a position. He dissed the broker portal initiative but embraced the industry Upstream project, which is attempting to take back control of the listing data from the portals and wayward MLS organizations.

On the eve of an announcement that KW is the largest real estate company in the world as measured by agent count, it was evident that Gary Keller is enjoying the fruits of his success.

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(Article by Inman News)

Add These To-Dos to Your Presale Checklist

Homes for sale in Berkeley County, WV

Before booking your market evaluation appointment to discuss listing strategy, here are a few things you can do to prepare for a speedy sale.

Handle Repairs – Take care of easily fixed repairs that may be potential red flags for buyers. Common quick fixes include repairing drywall, repainting walls and oiling hinges.

Declutter – Take this opportunity to get rid of those seldom used itemsthat are cluttering up your home. Remember, it costs to move them so now is the time to let them go!

Start Packing – Store out-of-season clothing, sports gear and small appliances you know you won’t need before the move. Too much stuff crammed into cupboards and closets will make your home seem small.

Downsize Furniture – Consider removing extra or large pieces of furniture that make your home look smaller. You may want to stage specific rooms to highlight potential uses for the space.

Depersonalize – Tuck away family photos, collectibles and any other personal items. It’s important to make your home a “blank canvas” for potential buyers to imagine themselves in.

Check Curb AppealPlant colorful annuals along sidewalks and in containers, and remove any debris or clutter from around your home. Many buyers will preview a home from the outside before deciding whether or not to schedule a showing.

Homes for sale in Berkeley County, WV

When You Need to Improve Accessibility in Your Home

Imagine trying to do the most basic tasks in your home with impaired mobility. Would you be able to navigate the hallways in a wheelchair? Reach the bathroom counter from a sitting position? Would you be able to reach the front door?

Whether you are recovering from a serious illness or accident, or simply choosing to remain in your own home into your golden years, the key is not only making your home safe but also making it easy for you to continue living independently.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

How to Improve the Accessibility of Your Home

Level Entry – Improve safety by installing a wheelchair ramp or adapting the floor plan to use a side or rear entrance that requires no stairs to access.

Safety Railings – Install railings on both sides of the stairway, extending from the very top step to the bottom.

Improve Lighting – Always keep stairways and entrances well lit. Consider adding luminescent paint or tape to stairs to make the edges of steps easy to see.

Turning Space – Reconfigure furniture placement to leave sufficient space to turn a wheelchair around, and ensure hallways and doorways are wide enough to navigate.

Remove Slip Hazards – Replace loose throw rugs and mats with sturdier, no-slip versions.

Knee Space – Adapt bathroom and kitchen counters by removing cabinets to allow for use with a wheelchair. See this aging-in-place remodeling checklist for more ideas.

Improve Grips – Replace round knobs with lever handles, or add rubber bands or handle grips to doorknobs to make them easier to grasp.

Add Grab Bars – Install grab bars and safety rails to assist with sitting and standing.

Switch Control Systems – Replace light switches with rocker switches that can be used with the whole hand, and add touch or voice sensors to lamps.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

Homes for sale in Berkeley County, WV

Looking for the perfect gift for family and friends? Try one of these gadgets and gifts for the home:

Matching Mornings – Give the couples on your list a set of matching or personalized mugs.

Tune Tech – Be the life of the party with a music docking station or wireless speakers.

Wine Accessories – Impress your sommelier friends with a gift for their wine cellar, like this red wine decanter and aerating funnel.

Endless Entertaining – Give the gift of entertaining with a cheese board and knife set.

Breakfast Basics – Make cooking up a batch of pancakes and bacon easier with a set of pancake rings and a cast-iron bacon press.

Coffee Caddy – Help keep your coffee connoisseurs organized with a Coffee Pod and Flatware Caddy or a K-Cup Carousel.

Vintage Charm – Give a piece of Americana with the iconic Fiesta Ware. Now back in vogue, this colorful dinnerware takes you back to Thanksgiving dinner at grandma’s house.

Coffee To Go – Make rushing out the door with a java in hand easier with a single cup coffeemaker that brews coffee directly into a reusable go cup.

Personal Touch – Add that personal touch with a monogrammed wooden cutting board made from bamboo or maple.

Bathtub Bliss – Give the gift of relaxation with a bathtub reading caddy, like this one with a reading rack to hold your book.

Homes for sale in Berkeley County, WV