Steve Casey
RE/MAX Real Estate Center | 508-341-4464 |

Posted by Steve Casey on 7/24/2017

One of the most forgotten tips for increasing a home's resale value is to look into installing an irrigation system.  So many people have their property professionally landscaped without realizing how much the selling price of their home will increase by installing a sprinkler system as well. After completing major landscape projects, or improving your lawn by planting grass seed, or laying sod, installing a sprinkler system ensures all your hard work is sustainable.  Along with routine maintenance and regular fertilizing, consistent watering is essential to maintain all of your shrubs, flower gardens and lawn.  Irrigation systems also help homeowners save time and money when it comes to watering all of these areas. Sprinkler systems really are a great investment. When installed by a professional contractor, the installation is a minimally invasive process. It is possible to install a sprinkler system yourself, however, it is best to go with a professional irrigation system technician when setting up a system for the very first time. Home irrigation systems are installed below the sod and under the gardens to evenly disburse water throughout your yard.   The water is carried from the water source, through the pipe system, and out through sprinkler heads that pop up through the ground.  The even distribution of water will give you much greener grass and provide a better level of care for your gardens. Regular sprinkler maintenance is a big part of making sure that your system will continue to work properly. Hiring a professional water irrigation company to inspect your system annually will ensure the lines and sprinkler heads remain in top working condition.  You can prevent floods from occurring on your lawn or other malfunctions by staying diligent to a care and maintenance program. The increase in value that an irrigation system adds to a home stems from the ease and efficiency it provides in maintaining the upkeep of your yard.  Sprinkler systems can be set to come on automatically at the appropriate time of day.  When setup correctly an irrigation system will provide excellent results while using the most efficient amount of water.  

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Posted by Steve Casey on 7/17/2017

Pets are family members. They accept you even when you're having a bad day. Own a pet and you may never lack for love and affection. You also might not run out of things to do in the morning, the time when you're mostly likely to be rushing around the house trying to get ready for the day.

Pets that may not do well at your house

The same applies during the evening when you own a pet. Unless you own a cat, you may have to walk your pet at the end of the day. It doesn't matter how tired you are. If you want your pet to stay healthy and happy, you'll have to let it exercise regularly.

Animals are also social creatures, some more than others. They need to be with and communicate with other animals. Then, there are animals that thrive as long as you spend time with them each day. It's these animals, pets that don't need a lot of interaction with other animals, that may do well at your house.

Turtles, fish, spiders and other reptile are pets that can thrive with a tank, special diet and water. There's no walking needed with these pets. If you're worried that you and your family will find it hard to connect with these small pets, let those concerns go.

Traditional pets don't always make the best house guests

Small pets that can live inside a tank are among the first pets that many people have. You can grow as attached to these small, indoor pets as you can to larger pets like cats and dogs.

Regarding larger pets like cats and dogs, it's important that you make sure that the type of cat or dog you get fits well with your personality and you schedule. Cats and dogs that you get from a shelter may have psychological or emotional problems that cause them to feel anxious whenever they are alone.

Other pets may be too aggressive to leave around young children. Dogs like Boston terriers, chow chows, sheepdogs and Akita dogs shed a lot of hair. No matter how often you vacuum and pick up after these pets, you might find hair balled or laying on furniture and the floor.

Size isn't the only way to tell if animals make great indoor pets

Large dogs like German Shepherds, Doberman pinchers and Rottweiler breeds need lots of room to run and expend their energy. Get a large dog for a pet and it's a good idea to have plenty of outdoor space. These large pets may actually prefer to be outdoors.

Although you may not suspect it, certain cats like Bengal cats need space to expend what seems like boundless energy too. Bengals cats aren't that much bigger than atypical house cat. But, energy -- Bengal cats have an exorbitant amount of energy.

When choosing between indoor and outdoor pets, think about your children's ages.Also, consider how responsible your children are. Try to avoid getting pets simply because your children cry and beg you to bring the pets home because they look cute when you look at them through a pet store window. A pet is a responsibility that requires more than five minutes of care each day.

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Posted by Steve Casey on 7/10/2017

Holidays aren't the only time when you may find yourself looking for fun games to play at home. Birthdays, sleepovers, weekends and traditional family gatherings are other times when you'll love engaging in sport at home.

Turn your home into an entertainment zone

Board, sport and hand games like the ones in this article can strengthen family bonds. If you play the games in teams, relatives can spotlight their creativity and innovative thinking. But, these games aren't only for family. They are fun games that you can play at home with friends and neighbors. Depending on when you grew up, some of the activities may remind you of games you played as a kid.

Indoor bowling - You can buy indoor bowling balls, pins and game charts from department stores. Clear away space in the living room or, better, play indoor bowling in your finished basement. This game could become a family favorite with children and adults.

Monopoly - This board game has been played in houses throughout the United States since the early 1900s. About 750 million people have played Monopoly. Pull out the traditional game or introduce your family and friends to the ultimate banking edition. Looking for a great way to show young adults about banking and economic systems, play Monopoly.

Puzzles - Everyone from children to teens to adults loves to put a puzzle together. Puzzles challenge and reward.They are great brain exercises. More than that, puzzles depict amazing artistic images. Some people bind puzzles with tape or paste, then frame finished puzzles and hang them on a wall in their house.

Hide and seek - Although hide and seek is offers great outdoors fun, it's a game that works well indoors too. Play long enough for everyone to get a turn at being "it". This one is a hit with kids. If you play hide and seek indoors, place glass and other fragile items in a safe location.

Guess the movie - Of all the charades games, this one is a favorite. See how many movies you remember. You could guess the names of movies that were Oscar award winners. You could also guess the names of movies from certain genres or eras.

Cards - Card games like Spades, Tonk or Uno are great team builders. These games add fun to a Friday or weekend afternoon or evening. Holiday gatherings gain a spark with several fun rounds of card games. A kitchen or dining room table, several chairs and a good deck of cards is all that you need to start playing cards at home. Treat your family and friends to freshly squeezed orange juice and you may want to play cards for hours.

You don't need a large house to create lasting, loving and fun memories. Games, team sports and creative activities are great at bonding family, friends and neighbors. What's more, you can play games at home whether or not you have children. Houses with open floor plans invite a wide range of fun. But, if your house does not have an open floor plan, you can turn your living room,basement, yard or porch into an entertainment zone.

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Posted by Steve Casey on 7/3/2017

Student loan debt does more than keep some millennials up at night, trying to figure out how they will stay current in their monthly student loan payments while they also pay for food, clothing, transportation and rent. Student loan debt is keeping some people from owning a home. As with credit cards and as challenging as it can be, the sooner you pay off student loans, the better.

Steps to Less Student Loan Debt

However,simply paying the loans down could qualify you for a mortgage. So too could setting a limit on how much student loan debt you’re willing to take on. To reduce the amount of student loans you have to repay, consider:

  • Living with your parents until you get your degree
  • Applying for educational grants and scholarships(Don’t just apply for one grant or one scholarship. Apply for several grants and scholarships annually or each semester.)
  • Sharing an apartment or house with two or more roommates
  • Creating a spending budget and sticking with it
  • Working a full-time or part-time job while attending college

Go with low interest student loans when you do take out loans. Compare private loan interest rates against federal rates. Don’t assume that one is automatically lower than another. Whichever route you take, look to student loans as a last option to pay for tuition.

Ask your parents to check with their employers to see if they offer scholarships or grants. If you work, check with your employer’s human resources representatives to see if you qualify to receive tuition assistance. Earning high grades could help you to get most of your tuition paid for by your employer, depending on the type of tuition assistance program your employer offers. Also, check with the college or university you’re attending to see if they offer tuition assistance or know of places where you can apply for scholarships and grants.

Limit the amount of loans you’ll take out compared to the salary that jobs in your major pay. For example, if you’re studying to be a cosmetologist and jobs for cosmetologists where you live pay $35,000 or less, you may not want to take out a $20,000 loan to get a cosmetology certificate or degree.

Which leads to another point - consider enrolling in a community college or technical school to get certificates or your associate’s degree. Two years at a community college could save you hundreds of dollars in tuition. Just make sure that the majority of the credits that you earn at a community college are transferable to a four-year school.

Road from Student Loans to Home Ownership

Should you take out student loans, start paying extra on the loans. Even if you pay $50 extra a month on loans, it can make a difference over the lifetime of the loans. Create a student loan repayment plan. Avoid taking on new debts while you’re repaying your loans. Another option that you could consider is to work with an experienced financial advisor. This option might prove beneficial if you invest a portion of your money and start building long term equity.

Consider a rent to own option. Include a clause in your rent to own agreement that allows you to walk away from the mortgage should you decide not to buy the property at the end of the lease agreement. If you're a school teacher or public servant,check with the government to see if you qualify for loan forgiveness. Serving in AmeriCorps or the military could also offer you repayment options that could put home ownership within reach.

Move to a rural area and you could take advantage of a USDA home loan. Think about what you want to do after you graduate from college. If your work aligns with a rural lifestyle, check into how much you'd pay on a house in a rural neighborhood. Home ownership might also come through the purchase of an older home that you fix up.

Posted by Steve Casey on 6/19/2017

A condo represents a special type of property, and for good reason. Ultimately, there are many great reasons to purchase a condo, including:

1. You won't have to worry about home exterior maintenance.

For those who dread mowing the lawn on a hot summer day or shoveling snow out of their driveway in sub-zero temperatures, a condo may prove to be a terrific investment.

Condo owners typically pay homeowners association (HOA) fees that cover the costs of home exterior maintenance. Thus, condo owners can reap the benefits of fresh-cut grass, snow-free walkways and other home exterior maintenance perks throughout the year.

Furthermore, condo owners typically are protected against the risks associated with severe roof damage. This means if a hurricane damages or destroys your home's roof, your HOA fees will cover the costs to repair or replace your roof.

2. You can be a part of a wonderful condo community.

Condo communities are set up across the United States and feature rules and regulations set up by HOAs. Although each condo community is different, many communities share rules that ensure each condo owner can enjoy a wonderful experience day after day.

For example, some condo communities set up quiet hours, minimizing the risk that you'll be forced to deal with raucous parties or loud noises late at night. Or, condo communities may prevent condo owners from renting out their properties, which means your neighbors are property owners who care about their neighborhood just as much as you.

Condo communities also may feature neighborhood events periodically. That way, you should have no trouble meeting your neighbors and making new friends in your condo community.

3. A condo may prove to be cheaper than a house.

Buying a condo frequently usually offers a cost-effective alternative to purchasing a house.

Condos are available in a wide range of sizes and styles, ensuring that you can find a property that matches your budget and personal taste. Plus, condos enable you to avoid the headaches associated with roof repairs and other home maintenance projects that may crop up for homeowners.

Purchasing a condo is a big decision, and it is important to conduct plenty of research before you make an investment in any property. With a trusted real estate agent at your disposal, you can search for condos in your area and find one that suits you perfectly.

Hiring a real estate agent with condo experience is essential, particularly for property buyers who want to get the best condo at the best price. An experienced real estate agent will be able to teach you about the ins and outs of condos and ensure that you can find a property that you can enjoy for years to come. In addition, your real estate agent can keep you up to date about new condos as they become available and help you accelerate the property buying process.

Choose an experienced real estate agent to serve as your property buying guide. This real estate professional will make it easy for you to discover your dream condo quickly and effortlessly.

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