Costs and SpendingFirst Time Home BuyerHelpful Tips January 19, 2021

Increase Your Buying Power

Buying a home can sound like a pretty daunting idea, especially in our current market. However, there are ways to empower yourself by strengthening your financial standing. It’s all a numbers game when buying a house. The following categories are items that lenders will look at to determine your eligibility for a loan. Review them to find out what you can work on to increase your buying power.

 

Increase savings for your down payment

A down payment will often times increase the likelihood your offer will standout from other offers. The down payment is typically around 20% of the home’s sale price. That amount can sound like a lot, but there are ways to slowing increase your savings. First, you could put a little away from each paycheck into a savings account. Your savings will start growing without you needing to put in much work. You could even open up a special savings account just for your down payment savings. Second, you could find ways to generate additional income. Explore an opportunity for a part time job, and dedicate all the additional income towards your savings.

There are many benefits to offering a serious down payment. Outside of your offer being a standout, you may also be able to negotiate a lower interest rate on your mortgage and it could even remove private mortgage insurance (PMI). So, get to saving!

 

Improve your credit score

It’s pretty straight forward – when your credit score is better, your interest rate is better. It’s not something that happens overnight, it takes work and dedication. But, it will be beneficial in the long run. There are many things that factor into your credit score including your payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, credit mix, and new credit. To start raising your score, focus on paying down your credit cards, especially those with high interest rates. Avoid opening unnecessary lines of credit. Additionally, try not to make any large purchasing leading up to the time you are preparing to make an offer. Remember that student loans also affect your financial picture so paying them off consistently will improve your standing.

 

Stabilize your debt to increase buying power

Your debt-to-income ratio is also looked at by lenders to determine what you can afford. The purpose is for lenders to confirm you can pay your mortgage on top of all your other debts. They figure this out by finding out which portion of your monthly income will go to your mortgage payments and which portion will go to your other debts (the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance of your mortgage payments, credit card payments, student loans, and any other loan payments). When you pay off your credit cards and make steady progress on decreasing your loans, it will in turn help your debt-to-income ratio.

We are here to help!

Having the right realtor always increases your buying power! The right realtor knows the market, the area, great lenders and your specific situation, which allows them to assist the best way possible. We can do just that! If you have any questions or want to get started increasing your buying power, reach out!

Phone: (208) 818-2456 or (208) 818-2365

Email: traceytindall@windermere.com or johntindall@windermere.com

 

 

 

Credit: Windermere Blog by Sandy Dodge

Our Events! January 8, 2021

Super Bowl 2021

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!?!?!?! We are! The most showcased NFL game of the year is just around the corner. However you chose to watch and celebrate, you’ll want to be prepared. Check out the details of the game, ways to celebrate & some recipes to try below.

 

Game Details

If you are a football fan, you likely already know all the details of the game. But in case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s what you need to know. Super Bowl 55 kickoff is set at 3:30pm on Sunday, February 7th. It’ll be located at the Buccaneers stadium in the Tampa Florida and you can watch the game on CBS. And for those of you who are only watching the game for the halftime show, you have the 3 time Grammy award winner & Canadian singer-songwriter known as The Weeknd to look forward to!

Get Pumped for the Game

If you’re team isn’t in the Super Bowl or you have kids that totally understand the concept, there are still some great ways to get into the spirit:

1. Pick your team and go all in! Make signs and banners and start decorating. Wear your team colors, dress up and you could even paint your face.

2. Make fun recipes with your kids. The best part of Super Bowl has to be all the yummy snacks! This year, instead of putting out all the classics, cook up some new things with your kids. It doesn’t have to be crazy or complicated, your kids will love to get messy in the kitchen with you. Go a step further and create food that represents you team of choice.

3. Play a Super Bowl themed game. The game can tend to get a bit long for some, keep it interesting with a game. There are tons of ideas out there such as commercial BINGO, football brain teaser, place your bets and more! Check out some more ideas and how to make it a reality here.

4. Start Celebrating Early. If you have kids that are too young to stay up for the game or you just want to start the celebrations early, try watching some Super Bowl themed movies. Try the classics like Little Giants, Friday Night Lights, Remember the Titans and Rudy. Or you could start your own family flag football game.

 

Chicken And Waffles Sliders - Delish.com

Recipe Ideas

Wanna impress everybody at your Super Bowl party? Try some new and exciting Super Bowl foods like mac and cheese bites, chicken & waffle sliders, maple bacon wings or pulled pork ring. Check out some other great ideas here!

 

 

 

 

 

Credit: SportingNews, MomyNearest

Costs and SpendingFirst Time Home BuyerHelpful Tips December 9, 2020

Which Type Of Home Is Right For You?

Deciding which type of home is best for you – house, condominium, townhouse or apartment – can be a struggle. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks, it all depends on your life and specific circumstances. But it’s best to know the differences and how it will align with your life before making the decision.

 

Differences Between House, Condominium, Townhouse and Apartment

House

This option offers the most privacy and freedom of the 4 different options. You have more opportunities to personalize your space. You don’t share a wall like you do with a condo, townhouse or apartment. Additionally, the outdoor space is usually the largest of the 4. On the down side, a house is situated on its own lot which leaves you with the responsibility of maintaining the lawn and structure. Also, purchasing a home has the most cost upfront with a down payment, closing costs, and other homeowner fees.

Townhouse

A townhouse is typ4ically a multi-leveled & narrow structure that connects to others in a row or block. The building has a small parcel of property either in the front or the back. This option offers a mix of both a house and condo, which may be the best of both worlds for some. Similar to a house, townhouse owners are responsible for some maintenance and repair. HOA fees are generally lower than that of a condo since there are less shared amenities.

Condominium

A condominium or condo is an individually owned unit of a larger structure. A condo is generally less expensive than a house or townhouse due to their smaller size and they come with no land. However, with a monthly mortgage payment combined with HOA fees, the cost of living can increase. You are only responsible for the inside of your unit which means less maintenance responsibility. The outside of the unit is considered the common area and ownership is shared with all the condo owners in the building, which means less privacy. As a condo owner, you will live in close proximity to others including sharing certain amenities.

Apartment

An apartment is similar to a condo in that it’s a unit inside a larger building. The largest difference than the other 3 options is that apartments are rented rather than owned. You may get similar amenities as a condo, but you only pay monthly rent to the landlord. Because of that you won’t be building equity to use in the future. Renting an apartment is likely the least expensive option, especially since you won’t be paying monthly HOAs. You must rely on the landlord for all maintenance inside and outside of the unit. The space is not yours to personalize and may be required to leave after your lease is up.

 

Will It Work For Your Life?

House

Purchasing a house is the best option for those who would like to invest in their financial future since you will be building equity. Additionally, it will give you the opportunity to put down roots and the space to start or grow your family. You will have the security of knowing you can handle significant life changes. The privacy and freedom to personalize your space as you please.

Townhouse

For those that would like more space than what a condo or apartment can offer but aren’t yet ready for owning a home, this is a great between option. It’s ideal for homeowners who don’t want the responsibility of maintaining a large home and yard. It could be a great fit for those looking to get out of renting in a large metropolitan area to owning their own home in a more residential area.

Condominium

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance residence with shared amenities and a strong community feel, this would be a great fit. They are typically located in more of a metropolitan area with access to shopping, dining and entertainment. This will allow for a shorter commute than in a suburban area.

Apartment

An apartment is a smart choice for those who don’t want the responsibility of home ownership just yet. It would be a stepping stone into living on your own, knowing that you are not yet building equity. Also, it would be good for those who don’t plan to stay in one area long-term.

 

Ultimately, you will need to do what feels right for you and your situation. But we hope to have helped in making a decision in the right direction. No matter what type of home ownership you are looking for, we are here to help. Feel free to contact us with any questions!

 

Credit: Windermere Blog Written by Sandy Dodge, Bankrate

Best of CDACDA is AwesomeLife on the LakeOur Events!Our Great CityThings to Do and See in North IdahoWinter November 25, 2020

Eagle Watching

Bald eagles migrate each year and from November through February they visit us here in the Coeur d’Alene area. That’s due to the spawning kokanee and salmon in the lake that they feast on. These majestic creates are a marvel to watch and eagle watching is a great winter activity to do with your family.

Reasons To Eagle Watch

There are a million reasons to watch these marvelous birds as they hunt, nest and soar around the area. But here are just a few:

  1. Perfect Family Activity – People of every age enjoy watching these bald eagles. It’s a relaxing yearly activity you can do with your family and you are guaranteed to make forever memories.
  2. Educational Opportunity – You can learn so much about these birds just by watching them. And you can do some research before heading out and teach your children about why they’re here, what they feed on and their importance to North Idaho
  3.  Great Outside Time – During these winter months we tend to spend too much time inside, especially during this time of COVID. Eagle watching is a great opportunity to get outside to enjoy the fresh air and there’s plenty of room for social distancing.

 

Places to Eagle Watch

If you’d like to head out and find a place to spend to watch the eagles outside, there are 3 great places to go:

Higgins Point Address: N Idaho Centennial Trail, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814

Mineral Ridge Boat Ramp Address: 7608-7322, ID-97, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814

Mineral Ridge Trailhead Address: 9200 ID-97, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814

Lake Coeur d’Alene also offers 2 hour cruises with cruise boats that are heated so you can stay warm.

Lake Coeur d’Alene Eagle Watching Cruises – Check out the details by clicking here.

 

Eagle Watching Etiquette

Eagles are wild animals, so a human presence can stress the birds. Here are a few tips when eagle watching:

  • If watching from the roadside viewing location, stay in or near your vehicle.
  • Avoid loud noises
  • Use binoculars or spotting scope rather than trying to get closer
  • Don’t do something to try to make the eagles fly

Since eagle watching will occur mostly in the winter time and if you plan to view the eagles from outside, keep the following in mind:

  • Pull completely off the road
  • Park in designated parking areas
  • Be prepared for snow, ice & mud
  • Dress for the extreme cold, including any possible wind chill
  • Bring hot drinks and snacks

 

 

Safely and politely enjoy watching our friendly visitors over the next few months, before they’re gone!!

 

Credit: Bureau of Land Management, Delaware Highlands Conservancy, CDA Resort 

Helpful TipsHome & ProjectsWinter November 19, 2020

Away For The Winter? Keep Your Home Safe

If you head south for the winter, whether it just for a week on vacation or for the entire season, be sure your home is protected. A vacant home can be a target for thieves, damage or system malfunctions. Take these steps to safeguard your home.

 

Protect Your Home From…

1. Water Damagegray Nest thermostat displaying at 63

A burst pipe can cause significant damage if you are away for a long period of time. The first option is to completely turn off your water supply. Be sure to drain your pipes of all its water by opening the faucets and flushing the toilets. Think about pouring antifreeze into your toilets to avoid any remaining water from freezing.

The second option is to not drain your pipes but to keep your furnace running to avoid pipes from freezing. Keep the temperature to 55 degrees or higher to keep the floor and wall cavities, where the pipes are located, warm enough. Open cabinet doors open to keep the warm air circulating. If you’d like to be extra safe, you can add extra insulation around your pipes.

Shut the water off to your washing machine and dishwasher to avoid any leaks. Shut off and drain your outside water sources to avoid freezing. Additionally, turn off the heat source and water supply to your water heater.

 

2. Pests

Start by cleaning your home thoroughly to discourage pests. Then, move to your fridges and freezers. Throw out any food not in an airtight container. If you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time, empty, clean & defrost your fridges and freezers. Leave the doors open to avoid mildew. Next, inspect your home, inside & out, including the foundation to ensure there aren’t any holes unwanted guests to enter. If you find one, seal it up. Chimneys and fireplaces are two important places you’ll need to get inspected.

 

3. Fires

Unplug any unnecessary appliances such as TVs, coffee makers, and ant small appliances to avoid any electrical fires or power surges. Consider having a licensed professional inspect your electrical panel, wiring and outlets and repair anything defective.

 

men's gray pullover hooded jacket4. Thieves

Avoid your home from looking unoccupied by having your mail forwarded or picked up. Hire somebody to shovel the snow from your driveway. Put your interior and exterior lighting on censors & timers and turn them on at varying times. Test your security system to confirm it’s in working order prior to your departure. Download an app to connect to your security system to monitor any changes while away. Secure your doors and windows with deadbolt locks. Create an inventory of your valuables or store them in a safe deposit box in case of a robbery or accident. Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your property, to watch for any suspicious activity, pick up anything on your deck and park their car in your driveway every now and then. And lastly, don’t advertise your travels on social media and wait to post any pictures until you’ve returned.

 

Have fun while you’re away and don’t worry about what’s going on at your home since you’ve already taken care of it!

 

Credit: StateFarm, Travelers

Helpful TipsHome & ProjectsWinter November 16, 2020

Don’t Forget! Top 6 Overlooked Winterizing Tasks

As a homeowner, you likely already have a checklist of items you need to complete before the snow stays. But, there are a few items that you may have forgotten about. Don’t let these items go unchecked or you may have unnecessary headache and expense in the future. Below are 6 tasks that should be completed but many homeowners overlook.

Note: If you do not have a checklist of home maintenance before winter, take a look at ours here!

1. Drain Gasoline and Oil From Your Yard Equipment

Mowing your lawn may be the last thing on your mind right now. But, to ensure your power equipment still runs in tip top shape next year, drain the remaining gas and oil out. If gasoline or oil sits too long it could cause changes in the chemical composition which could lead to a number of problems. Read about how gas can go bad and how to identify it here.

Image result for clean weep hole"

 

2. Clean Your Window Weep Holes

There are many windows that have weep holes on the exterior bottom of the frame. Their purpose is to drain any water that collects in the frame’s bottom channel. But often times they get clogged with bugs or debris of some kind which could then spill into your house. First, test the weep hole by pouring water into the track. If it doesn’t steadily drain out, there is likely a clog. If that is the case, you could spray it out with compressed air or poke a wire hanger into the hole.

 

3. Drain Sediment From Your Water Heater

You should drain some of the water from your water heater every year otherwise sediment will collect at the bottom. With gas powered water heaters, this will cause hot spots that will damage the tank. With electric powered heaters, it could cause the lower heating elements to fail. So draining it once yearly will not only extend the water heaters life but also save you money on your energy bills.

 

4. Clean Dryer Vents

If your dryer vent is plugged, it could cause your dryer to run inefficiently or even cause a house fire. Before winter arrives, be sure to clean out your vent to prevent that from happening. It may not always be lint that causes the backup, there may be pests nesting or stuck exhaust hood flappers could also be the culprit. Each year, take the vent off the back of your dryer and clean it. You could get any debris out with a wet/dry vac or use a cleaning kit that can be purchased at home centers. Inspect your exhaust hood flappers to ensure they are in proper working order as well.

 

5. Check For High Water Pressure

High water pressure can cause issues with pipes, connections and appliances not to mention it wastes water. It is very easy to test to pressure, you just need to purchase a pressure gauge that hooks up to spigot or tub faucet. If the pressure is too high, just change the pressure reducing valve.

 

Image result for test sump pump"

6. Test Sump Pump

It’s best to test you sump pump twice a year to avoid your home flooding. It is very simple to test it, you just need to dump water into the basin to make sure it’s working. And be sure your pump has a vertical float switch.

 

 

 

Consider adding the above tasks to your winterizing checklist to help with any possible issues that may arise over the winter season.

Credit: Family Handyman, Do It Yourself 

Best of CDA November 6, 2020

Veterans Day

We all enjoy a day off from work or school because of a federal holiday. And Veterans Day is one of those great days. But, not all Americans may know the history behind that date and it’s important to understand the holiday. As well as know how to honor those who have served.

 

The History

Man Holding Us Flag

November 11, 1918 was the official end of World War I. In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11th as the first commemoration of Veterans Day, then known as Armistice Day. Then, in May 1938, legislation was passed declaring that day as a legal holiday and “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.” This new holiday was put in place to honor World War I veterans.

In 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, the 83 U.S. Congress amended the act, and word “Armistice” was replaced with Veterans. On June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor all American veterans.

The Uniform Holiday Bill was signed on June 28, 1968. The purpose was to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating 4 holidays on a Monday. One of those holidays was Veterans Day which was moved to the 4th Monday in October. Although intentions were thoughtful, many states didn’t agree with the decision and continued celebrating these holidays on their original days. Starting in 1971, Veterans Day was celebrated on October 25th.

Finally, on September 20, 1975, it was determined that the “commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance” to many. Therefore, President Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance to its rightful day on November 11th, beginning in 1978 – and has remained until today. This decision was supported by state legislation, veterans service organizations and the American people.

Returning the holiday back to November 11th, not only “preserves the historical significance of the date, but also helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”

 

Celebrating Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a day for us all to honor all our military, past and present. If you’re trying to think of a way to do so this Veterans Day, there are plenty of things you could do. Check out of a few ideas:

flag of America

1. Show up.

Go to a Veterans day event in your area. Not just a small get together with friends and family, but an actual organized event.

2. Donate.

There are a ton of different organizations that all offer either support, services or appreciation for our veterans. Check out a list here.

3. Fly a flag correctly.

Veterans Day is a perfect day to fly an American Flag. Just be sure you’re do so properly! Check out how to do that here.

4. Ask someone about their service.

We all know somebody who served at some point in their life and Veterans Day is a great opportunity for you to ask about it. Here’s some ideas on a few questions to ask: “What did you do in the military? How long did you serve? What was your favorite moment in all your time in the service? Did anyone else in your family serve? Why did you choose to go into the service branch you did?” Be sure not to ask if they’ve killed anyone, that may not be something they want to discuss. Sometimes you won’t even have to say anything, just listen.

5. Write.

If you know a veteran, just simply writing them a letter or post card is huge. If yo don’t know a veteran, write the local military installation and send one there. It will be very appreciated, even if sent anonymously.

6. Don’t confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day & know the difference.

Although similar in nature, these two holidays are different. Confusing or combining the two could diminish the importance of both. Check out the difference between the two below.

7. Visit a VA hospital.

Volunteer and spend some time with veterans at your local VA hospital. Many of the facilities will have an event or lunch that you can assist with.

Man Wearing Blue Uniform

8. Take a veteran out.

You could take a veteran & their family to a national park since admission is free for all visitors on Veterans Day. Just being outside can boost their emotional well being and improve their physical and mental health.

 

Veterans Day vs. Memorial Day

Although both holidays are similar, they are separated for a reason. Memorial Day is meant for us to remember those who died in service of their country or those who incurred an injury during battle. And although deceased veterans are also remembered on Veterans Day, that day is specifically set aside to honor and thank those who are still living. All the veterans who served honorably during both wartime and peacetime.

 

 

Credit: U.S. Dept of Veteran Affairs, Military.com & Military.com

Helpful TipsHome & Projects July 8, 2020

Organizing Your Home

In these times we seem to be stuck inside more often than not. This can make our home feel a bit more cluttery or unorganized. Take advantage of the time you’re home and get things organized. But, where do you start? If you break it down room by room, it will make the task feel a bit less overwhelming. And before you get started, consider the follow tips.

 

Kitchen

A kitchen is often the most used room in the house, which can cause it to feel to most unorganized. The countertops especially seem to be the catch all for almost everything. The first thing you can do to make a difference is to take unused or unnecessary items off the counters. Adding open shelving is a great way to store those frequently used items for easy access. And store the larger items that you don’t use as frequently in cabinets above or below.

A must-have for all kitchens organization is a lazy Susan. This brings the back of your cabinets to the front. The best items to put on a lazy Susan are the heavy, messy and clumsy ones that you seem you use often. Plus, they’re much easier to clean than a cabinet.

 

Living RoomOrganized Living Room - Chaos to Order - Chicago Professional ...

First, take inventory of all the items. Figure out what doesn’t belong, what needs to be disposed of, or what can be moved to make it feel less cluttery. It’s best to really take the time to consider the flow of the room and how foot traffic will interact with the furniture.

A good tip is to use items that serve as multiple types of things. Find items that have storage underneath, this will really help cut down on the disorganization.

 

Bathroom

Open shelving seems to work the best in bathrooms as both functional storage and for aesthetics. It allows you to store bathroom supplies, towels and toiletries in addition to providing a very welcoming feel.

Then, check under your sinks and in your medicine cabinets. Time to go through all those items and discard any old, unused or expired items. Once the amount of items are reduced, you can reorganize to make it feel much cleaner.

 

8 Ways To Simplify & Organize Your Master Bedroom - Organization ...Bedroom

In a bedroom you want to maximize space and minimize clutter. A couple tips to do this, especially if your closet is small, is to place a garment rack against the wall or store out of season clothes elsewhere. Additionally, use the underside of your bed as a storage area with bins or roll out shelving. If you have a nightstand, use that as a dresser or a bookshelf as a decor piece.

The way you hang your clothes can also make a big difference in reducing clutter. Hang the most used items at eye level and those not used as often and accessories higher up. This will help you not also stay organized overtime but also save you time when you’re getting ready.

 

Garage

Garages can get very unorganized and cluttered since it’s not often looked at. But if it’s done right, it can be a very useful storage area with room to park vehicles. The best tactic is to go vertical. This will allow you to store your items as well as those large bulky items that you don’t use everyday.

If you go room by room when reorganizing your home, it can make it a much more doable task. And don’t be afraid to really tear a room apart to put it back together. Something it has to be worse before it can get better.

Credit: Sandy Dodge – Windermere Blog

Best of CDACDA is AwesomeHelpful TipsLife on the LakeSummerThings to Do and See in North Idaho June 15, 2020

Safety On The Water

One thing you can almost be sure of is at some point you will find yourself on a boat during the summer here in North Idaho. With the numerous amount of lakes and rivers, it’s near impossible not to enjoy boat life, even if it’s only for a day. Whether you’re an avid boater, only enjoy it every now and then or are just getting into boating, it’s always a good idea to know the basics of boating safety before leaving the dock.

 

Image result for boating

 

1. Check the Weather Before You Leave

Be sure to check the weather of your route and destination, including the water conditions, before you depart. You can’t always tell a storm will roll in just by looking outside.

 

2. Have the Proper Gear Onboard

You never know if or when you’ll have an emergency. Being sure you have all the proper gear onboard will help avoid additional issues and will ensure you’re prepared for every type of situation. Check out a full checklist here!

 

3. Be Aware of Carbon Monoxide

Always maintain fresh air circulation in your boat and be sure you and others on the boat are aware of carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms. Click here to learn more about CO & CO poisoning.

 

4. Take a Boat Safety Course & Know the Rules

There are several different courses you can take online for boat safety that you can receive certification for them. Check out the list here.

Knowing your rules will ensure you and other boaters safety. Check out the navigation rules here.

 

 

5. Get your Boat Checked

You can receive a free boat check! The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadrons both offer that service. These checks make sure you have the proper safety equipment and that they are in the proper condition per state and federal regulations. Find out how to get your check scheduled by clicking here.

 

6. Use Common Sense

Many of the rules on the water are consistent with the rules on the road. Stay alert, operate at a safe speed, make sure passengers are following safety measures, avoid alcohol use when driving and stay clear of the engine are examples of just a few.

Image result for boating in north idaho

 

7. Follow Proper Procedures

Knowing and following proper docking & anchoring procedures are an important part of boating. Depending on the type or boat you have and the weather conditions, the procedures you need to follow could be different. Be sure you know what to do.

 

 

Credit: Discover Boating & Nationwide

 

Helpful TipsHome & Projects June 2, 2020

Backyard Chickens

Backyard chickens have been increasingly popular as people try to have more self-sourced food. But what is really involved in raising chickens in the backyard of an urban development? Is the benefits worth any drawbacks? Where do you even get started? We know a few families who keep chickens and they have some advise and information that may be helpful if this is something you’re considering.

 

Where to Startbrown chicken

Step 1: Know the Law.

Locate your cities municipal regulations as well as your subdivision’s CC&R’s/Bylaws. Every city and neighborhood may have different rules and regulations around raising chickens. For example, many don’t allow roosters (which is fine because hens will lay eggs without them), you may need a permit, signed agreements with neighbors, or there may even be restrictions or ordinances regarding location or size of your coop.

Step 2: Decide on the Chicken Breed.

Believe it or not, there are actually many different chicken breeds that have been bred for different purposes. Depending on what you are using your chickens for, you may choose to get a certain breed or multiple different types of breeds. There are 4 different categories:

  • Egg Laying Breeds – As you could imagine but their name, this type of hen was bred to produce large amounts of eggs in a short production lifetime. This is typically the breed that many homeowners choose when picking the type of chicken to have in their backyard.
  • Meat Breeds – Once again, the name gives away the purpose of this breed. They grow very quickly, put on weight at a crazy rate and are typically slaughtered at about 9 weeks old.
  • Dual Purpose Breeds – This breed is productive in the egg laying department but also get large enough quickly to be used as meat, it’s the best of both worlds.
  • Heritage Breeds – This type of chicken is naturally breeding, they have a very slow growth rate and live long outdoor lives.

Step 3: Build Your Coop.

When it comes to building a chicken coop, there are a few things you need to be sure you have. First, you’ll want the basic shelter requirements, which means a waterproof place for the chickens to get out of the elements. Second, be sure they have enough space, since they can begin to peck at each other if they are too cramped. Third, the coop needs to have good ventilation so it’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Fourth, you will need nesting boxes for your hens to lay their eggs. Fifth, include roosts, so the chickens have a comfortable place to sleep. Sixth, the chickens need a space to roam outside of their coop, whether that’s in a pen or free range. Lastly, be sure you have security, predators will not hesitate coming into your backyard.

Step 4: Prep for Chicks.

Raising chicks requires a few additional supplies compared to if you get you chickens full grown. Those supplies include a brooding box, this doesn’t have to be very expensive or complicated, it just needs to be large enough and protect the chicks from any drafts. Bedding, pine shavings will do, which is also inexpensive. Be sure they have traction and don’t slip around, or they could develop a walking issue later in life. Traction can be as easy as putting some paper towels down under your bedding. Warmth, since chicks don’t get all their feathers right away, we must help them stay warm. A heat lamp for the first 6-7 weeks should do the trick. Food, chick food can be a bit complicated but here’s how it breaks down:

  • 0-8 weeks: 18-20% starter feed crumbles
  • 8-14 weeks: 16-18% starter/grower
  • 15-18 weeks: 16% finisher
  • 18 weeks upward: 16% layer feed

    white and pink rabbit plush toy on yellow plastic basin

The food comes medicated, with a coccidiostat which protects them from a coccidiosis, or un-medicated. If all your birds have been vaccinated, the un-medicated food is fine . Additionally, getting a feeder along with the food will help cut down on the mess. Water, be sure the water you feed your chicks isn’t too hot or too cold and that it’s changed out frequently. You can add an electrolyte/vitamin supplement to the water for the first few days. For additional details on the specifics of the supplies you will need, read more here.

Step 5: Get Your Chickens.

You can purchase chickens at most any stage in life – from an egg to an adult – the best option for backyard chickens is when they’re chicks, typically about 1 day old. This option allows you to pick the breeds you’d like, when you’d like them and it’ll be the cheapest.  You can get your chicks at a local farm, hatchery or farm supply store. USPS also ships chicks, if you choose to purchase your chicks online. Determining where you get them will take some research and ultimately will be up to what’s the most convenient for you. And once you’ve decided where you will purchase your birds, you’ll want to be sure to pick the right ones. Avoid birds that are lethargic, sitting by itself & reluctant to move, or once that has any nasal and/or eye discharge. Check out the link here for some good questions to ask your breeder.

 

Caring For Your Chickens

Once you get past the chick stage, caring for your chickens is relatively easy. Your coop is built and it has everything they need. All that’s left for you is to provide their food and water and care for any physical needs. Water is very important because if a hen doesn’t get enough water, it can affect her egg laying. If a hen goes without water for 24 hours, she could stop laying for weeks. Hens needs about a cup of water each day, so be sure to set out enough water for all the chickens. Next, you’ll need to be sure to have enough food and the type they need. Chickens will dig up a portion of their diet and eat insects, seeds, etc. But, you’ll also need to put out chicken food specifically made for their needs. To read more about the right type of food, click here.

Over time, you will develop a routine with your hens. Mornings tend to be when you let the chickens out of their coop, check on food & water and do just a general inspection of everything. In the evenings, you’ll lock them back up in the coop and collect your eggs. There will also be other chores you’ll need to preform, like cleaning out their coop and tending to their nesting boxes. That usually happens about once a week.

 

The Things Nobody Tells You

You will get a list from any person who current has or has had backyard chickens of things they weren’t expecting. If you’re seriously thinking about getting chickens for your own backyard, you might want to consider that some of the following will be true for you as well.

two white eggsFirst off, something you’ve probably thought about already is that chickens are dirty and smelly. Seems pretty obvious, right? But the question is, how much dirty and smelly is too much for you? Whatever you do, it will not make the smell go away. They are constantly pooping and tracking it around. Lay out more straw or pick it up more often, doesn’t matter. With the smell comes the flies, which is a whole other problem that you’ll have to deal with.

Your chickens may not lay eggs when you expect them to. There’s a chance they’ll start laying after the age they’re supposed to, even if you get the egg laying breed. Or not as frequently as you were expecting. They could even stop laying all together, which is alarming and there’s likely a reason for that. Check out a few reasons here.

You may begin to feel and treat your birds as pets or even like your kids. They even enjoy human interaction like any pet would. And that’s all totally normal and okay, until…. and dies. Which happens frequently. One of your birds or the entire flock could get sick and die. Or, a predator may get into your backyard and cause a lot a mayhem. You could also get lucky and your bird will live through it production life, but then you’ll need to make the decision of keeping that bird and spending lots of money to feed it, giving it away, or even having it for dinner.

You may expect a hen but get a rooster, that isn’t surprising. Chicken sexing is about 90% accurate, which sounds pretty high. But there’s still a pretty good possibility that you’ll get a rooster. Which isn’t ideal for most backyard flocks since roosters and typically illegal and a nuisance.

Sometimes It Doesn’t Work Out

Don’t feel bad if after trying to raise backyard chickens you determine it’s not something for you. It takes the right kind of person with the right kind of circumstances to be successful and happy. And even if it worked for you in the past, sometimes circumstances change.

 

Credit: ModernFarmer, TheHappyChickenCoop, GoodHousekeeping