Helpful TipsWinter December 15, 2020

North Idaho Winter Driving

Here in beautiful North Idaho we are lucky to have 4 very distinct seasons. Everybody loves the warmth of Summer, the freshness of Spring, the colors of Fall, and the coziness of Winter. With winter comes SNOW and that can mean snowstorms!  Driving in the snow and knowing how to be prepared for winter driving can be a bit stressful. Knowing what to do or even where to start preparation can be one of the biggest hurdles. There are simple preparations that can be done to your vehicle and with your family to get through the longest and coldest season. Check out the winter driving preparation tips below to help avoid winter sneaking up on you and those you love.

 

Preparation Tips for Winter:

Get a Vehicle Winter Maintenance Check-up Before Winter Hits:

  • Don’t wait to check your battery, belts, hoses, radiator, lights, brakes, heater/defroster, and wipers
  • Tire shops and mechanics are busiest just before and during winter storms, so get your check-up scheduled NOW

 

Know How to Drive in the Snow and Ice

  • Start your vehicle early and scrape your windows each morning before heading out. It will ensure you will have a clear view of the roadway and keep you warm
  • Be smooth and slow in steering, breaking, and accelerating. If you move the tires too quickly, they don’t have time to respond and you will end up sliding.car on snowy road surrounded of green trees
  • Drive for the conditions – that means drive slower, accelerate slower, don’t stop if you can avoid it since accelerating back up may be difficult and leave additional room between you and the vehicle in front of you (Keep in mind that the larger the vehicle the longer it will take for it to stop)
  • Do not use cruise control because if your car skids or hydroplanes it accelerates to maintain the vehicles speed which will make it very difficult to remain in control of your vehicle.
  • Accelerate from a stop in 2nd gear because there is less torque and you’re less likely to spin the tire.
  • Know how to handle a hill, do not power up the hill or stop on your way up.
  • Drive in the snow pack next to the road to get more traction if the road is too icy
  • Remember that all-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicles do not stop faster or steer better on ice
  • Slow down when you approach intersections, off-ramps, bridges, or anything that looks like it may be icy or where you will need to stop
  • If you end up behind a snowplow, slow down and give the plow extra room
  • Chain-up and removal areas are often where people are out of their vehicles so be sure to slow down and be vigilant in those areas

Practice driving in parking lots to learn how to handle your vehicle in a slide and get to know your breaks, that will help tremendously in a real-world situation.

 

Have Basic Winter Survival Kit & Basic Winter Travel Gear in Your Vehicle:

  • You never know what you will run into when you drive away from your home each winter morning, so it’s best to always be prepared. The checklist below will make sure you have everything you need.

What to Keep in Your Car – Checklist

Line of cars driving in snow

Know What to do in an Emergency:

  • If you start to slide, first thing to do is stay calm! Avoid sudden movements. Do not turn your tires quickly, accelerate or break suddenly, it can cause you to lose traction. Look where you want to go and steer that direction. If you start heading off the road, steer towards things that will cause the least amount of damage, such as an empty field or yard.
  • Find a roadside assistance company and plan that works for you. Check with your insurance provider and see if it’s comes with your plan or any possible discounts. Don’t forget to renew the policy! Many individuals let it expire and forget about it until it’s needed.
  • There may be a situation where you are stranded, maybe your vehicle broke down or you’ve slide off the road, and you need a tow truck or a ride. It’s good to have phone numbers saved in your phone in case you are at a location where you can’t access the internet. Below is a small list of tow companies and ride options in our area:
  • Schaffer’s Towing – (208)667-2330
  • Reliable Towing – (208)762-5151
  • Cole’s Automotive, Mobile Service, & Towing – (208) 83-3582
  • Al’s Towing – (208)265-8697
  • Coeur d’Alene Cab – (208) 667-9000
  • Collins Taxi(208) 704-0151

Note: Often with ridesharing options, such as Lyft and Uber, you must sign up and create an account to use their service. If you haven’t already, it would be a good idea for sign up for one, so you have another ride option.

 

Keep Your Fuel Tank Full:

~ Don’t let it fall below half a tank because condensation can form in the empty portion of the gas tank. In cold weather, that condensation will freeze then collect into icy blockages in your lines and make it difficult to start your vehicle.

 

Empty road with snow on the ground

Plan With Your Family:

~ Create a plan that works well with your family in case an emergency happens, especially if you have younger drivers

~Go over it each year before the snow falls

 

Stay Informed:

~ Be sure to find your local station for traffic reports and emergency messages. Most local stations in your area will have weather alerts, but if you’re specifically looking for a weather channel, click here to find one in your area.
~ Check the weather frequently so you are prepared for its arrival

 

Check Your Tires:

~ Make sure your chains fit before the first winter storm

~ Have the correct type of tires for the weather

~ Check tire pressure during cold weather. To do so, first find out what the recommended pressure is. Then after your tires have cooled, press the tire gauge directly into the tire vulvae and hold firmly (You should hear no air coming out). Based on what the gauge says, you could either release some air, add some or leave it. Check it frequently though winter.

 

Check out this video for additional recommendations and visuals to help with the tips listed above:

 

Click on the Checklists Below for More Information:

Get Ready for Freezing Temperatures & Snowfall

Get Ready for Winter Weather Driving

 

AND REMEMBER TO ALWAYS BE SAFE OUT THERE!!

 

 

Sources: Washington State Dept of Transportation, Take the Winter by Storm, US Forest Service, Osceola Garage, Your Mechanic

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

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 

Helpful TipsHome & ProjectsListings & Selling your Home February 27, 2020

How To Stage Your Home To Sell

Should I stage my home? This may be one of the most frequently asked questions when a person is putting their house on the market. This question is often followed by, How? There are many things to consider and we’re here to help! Check out some tips below to get your home staged to sell.

 

 

1. Clean and RepairImage result for cleaning a home

Starting with the most obvious first, you want to make sure your home is sparkly clean with nothing damaged. Put your home’s best foot forward with a good cleaning. If your home is large or you don’t have enough time, you could always hire a pro. Also, be sure the outside of the home is cleaned in both the back and front yards. When a home is clean, it suggests to the potential buyer that the previous tenants took care of the home and property. Alongside cleaning, you should also patch and repair anything that could be a sign of neglect. Use a melamine foam eraser pad to remove any scuffs from the walls. If there are any holes in the walls, be sure to spackle, caulk and paint that area. Additionally, apply paint to any areas where it seems to have chipped. And once again, this goes for the yard too. The overall goal of this step is to make the home look well taken care of.

 

Image result for depersonalize your home before and after

2. De-Clutter and De-Personalize

When it comes to clutter, the less you have, the larger your space looks… and space sells! You may need to find a spot to temporarily store your belongings. Do not store them in your garage or closets because often times those get looked in. Alongside de-cluttering is to de-personalize. Remove pictures, personal knickknacks and anything that could identify the space as yours. It may be difficult to remove all the things that make your home feel like you, but it’ll be worth it.

 

 

 

Image result for curb appeal to sell3. Work On Curb Appeal

First impressions are everything. Often times potential home buyers will drive by the property first to make sure it’s worth their time. Make sure it’ll lure them in and make them feel like they could be walking into their home. Blooming flowers are always a nice way to add a bit of color and flare to the front of your home. Be sure everything is clean: siding, sidewalks, windows, and porch. Keep your lawn watered, mowed and overall put together. Your porch should have a clean doormat and neat porch furniture if there’s room. Be sure your number is easily readable and even keep your lights on during the evening in case there are drive by’s at night.

 

 

 

Image result for light when home is staged

4. Brighten Things Up

Use the natural light to your advantage. Pull back curtains or open blinds, this will make the rooms feel bigger. Turn on all the lights, even during the day. This will help make your home look more inviting and save perspective buyers from fumbling around trying to find the switch. Also be sure your light fixtures are clean and appealing, even dusting your light bulb if needed. There are also different color temperatures on light bulbs, you could play with your options to find the one that works the best.

 

 

5. Rearrange FurnitureImage result for stagged furniture

First, remove any damaged or large pieces of furniture or anything that doesn’t match the rest of your decor. With what you have left, decide if there’s still too many pieces or if you need more. You can always rent furniture if the home is too empty. Once your furniture is picked, you want to arrange it in a way that allows for plenty of open and walkable space. Additionally, there is a design technique called “floating” which positions your couches, chairs, and tables away from your walls. Add an area rug to make it feel more cozy, even if the room is carpeted.

 

 

 

Image result for neutral wall colors

6. Be Neutral

Bright colored walls can be a major turn off for buyers. Although it expresses individuality, it signifies the home’s past, not future. Not to mention, bold colors distract from a rooms assets and can be all somebody sees. When picking the new paint for the wall, you do not have to go straight white. There are plenty of sophisticated neutral colors to choose from and they will help make everything look cleaner and put together. Additionally, when decorating the master bedroom specifically, remain neutral. You want to appeal to all types of people, including single or married.

 

 

 

7. Use Every SpaceImage result for decorate awkward space in home

If you have a room that is used as storage or junk dumping area, clean it up. Each room should have a clearly defined purpose. Identify what a buyer could see, maybe it’s an office, a spare bedroom, or a kids room and decorate accordingly. This goes for any awkward areas too. Whether that’s a small nook or space under the stairs, decorate it in a way that can show off the potential.  You could set up a small workstation, put up a bulletin board or build some shelves. Even if this means you need to rent or borrow additional furniture to make this happen.

 

 

 

Staging a home requires much time, effort and often times, money. It may not seem like it would be worth it. But let us assure you, it is! According the the National Association of Realtors, in March of 2019, 83% of buyers said that a staged home made it easier for them to visualize the property as a future home. 1/4 of the buyer’s agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between 1%-5% compared to homes that weren’t staged. Often times, staging a home will provide you with the result you’re looking for.

 

Credit: Moving.com, Trulia, FoxNews, NAR

Helpful TipsHome & ProjectsWinter December 3, 2019

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 

Helpful TipsWinter October 25, 2019

North Idaho Winter Driving Preparation

Here in beautiful North Idaho we are lucky to have 4 very distinct seasons. Everybody loves the warmth of Summer, the freshness of Spring, the colors of Fall, and the coziness of Winter. With winter comes SNOW and that can mean snow storms!  Driving in the snow and knowing how to be prepared for winter driving can be a bit stressful. Knowing what to do or even where to start preparation can be one of the biggest hurdles. There are simple preparations that can be done to your vehicle and with your family to get through the longest and coldest season. Check out the winter driving preparation tips below to help avoid winter sneaking up on you and those you love.

 

Preparation Tips for Winter:

 

Get a Vehicle Winter Maintenance Check-up Before Winter Hits:

~ Don’t wait to check your battery, belts, hoses, radiator, lights, brakes, heater/defroster and wipers

~ Tire shops and mechanics are busiest just before and during winter storms, so get your check-up scheduled NOW

 

Know How to Drive in the Snow and Ice

~ Start you vehicle early and scrape your windows each morning before heading out. It will ensure you will have a clear view of the roadway and keep you warm

~ Be smooth and slow in steering, breaking and accelerating. If you move the tires too quickly, they don’t have time to respond and you will end up sliding.

car on snowy road surrounded of green trees

~ Drive for the conditions – that means drive slower, accelerate slower, don’t stop if you can avoid it since accelerating back up may be difficult and leave additional room between you and the vehicle in front of you (Keep in mind that the larger the vehicle the longer it will take for it to stop)

~ Do not use cruise control because if your car skids or hydroplanes it accelerates to maintain the vehicles speed which will make it very difficult to remain in control of your vehicle.

~ Accelerate from a stop in 2nd gear because there is less torque and you’re less likely to spin the tire.

~ Know how to handle a hill, do not power up the hill or stop on your way up.

~ Drive in the snow pack next to the road to get more traction if the road is too icy

~ Remember that all-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicles do not stop faster or steer better on ice

~ Slow down when you approach intersections, off-ramps, bridges or anything that looks like it may be icy or where you will need to stop

~ If you end up behind a snow plow, slow down and give the plow extra room

~ Chain-up and removal areas are often where people are out of their vehicles so be sure to slow down and be vigilant in those areas

Practice driving in parking lots to learn how to handle your vehicle in a slide and get to know your breaks, that will help

tremendously in a real world situation

 

Have Basic Winter Survival Kit & Basic Winter Travel Gear in Your Vehicle:

~ You never know what you will run into when you drive away from your home each winter morning, so it’s best to always be prepared. The checklist below will make sure you have everything you need.

What to Keep in Your Car – Checklist

 

Know What to do in an Emergency:

Line of cars driving in snow

~ If you start to slide, first thing to do is stay calm! Avoid sudden movements. Do not turn your tires quickly, accelerate or break suddenly, it can cause you to loose traction. Look where you want to go and steer that direction. If you start

heading off the road, steer towards things that will cause the least amount of damage, such as an empty field or yard.

~ Find a roadside assistance company and plan that works for you. Check with your insurance provider and see if it’s comes with your plan or any possible discounts. Don’t forget to renew the policy! Many individuals let it expire and forget about it until it’s needed.

~ There may be a situation where you are stranded, maybe your vehicle broke down or you’ve slide off the road, and you need a tow truck or a ride. It’s good to have phone numbers saved in your phone in case you are at a location where you can’t access the internet. Below is a small list of tow companies and ride options in our area:

Note: Often with ridesharing options, such as Lyft and Uber, you must sign up and create an account to use their service. If you haven’t already, it would be a good idea for sign up for one so you have another ride option.

 

Keep Your Fuel Tank Full:

~ Don’t let it fall below half a tank because condensation can form in the empty portion of the gas tank. In cold weather, that condensation will freeze then collect into icy blockages in your lines and make it difficult to start your vehicle.

 

Plan With Your Family:

~ Create a plan that works well with your family in case an emergency happens, especially if you have younger drivers

Empty road with snow on the ground

~ Go over it each year before the snow falls

 

Stay Informed:

~ Be sure to find your local station for traffic reports and emergency messages. Most local stations in your area will have weather alerts, but if you’re specifically looking for a weather channel, click here to find one in your area.

~ Check the weather frequently so you are prepared for its arrival

 

Check Your Tires:

~ Make sure your chains fit before the first winter storm

~ Have the correct type of tires for the weather

~ Check tire pressure during cold weather. To do so, first find out what the recommended pressure is. Then after your tires have cooled, press the tire gauge directly into the tire vulvae and hold firmly (You should hear no air coming out). Based on what the gauge says, you could either release some air, add some or leave it. Check it frequently though winter.

 

Check out this video for additional recommendations and visuals to help with the tips listed above:

 

Click on the Checklists Below for More Information:

Get Ready for Freezing Temperatures & Snowfall

Get Ready for Winter Weather Driving

 

AND REMEMBER TO ALWAYS BE SAFE OUT THERE!!

 

 

Sources: Washington State Dept of Transportation, Take the Winter by Storm, US Forest Service, Osceola Garage, Your Mechanic

Costs and SpendingFirst Time Home BuyerHelpful Tips January 3, 2019

Rules for Saving & Paying Down Debt

Saving money can be such a challenge for most of us.   When it comes time to buy a home or invest in real estate it can become even more of a struggle.   With mortgage financing, we must be sure to keep our debts low, while having  enough assets on hand to get our loan approved.  We will need to consider the budget for new mortgage payments while paying of credit card or consumer debts each month.  AND we must be mindful about putting money away into a 401K or other investments and maybe having a little extra to enjoy life. 

Image result for saving money

 

 

Below are 7 simple rules for saving your money and paying off debts. Following these rules will make it easier to get where we’d like to be financially before taking the steps to get your dream home. 

 

1. Automate It! 

Most places of employment offer direct deposit. Use that to your advantage. Set your direct deposit up for a portion of your paycheck to be deposited into several different accounts. One for your 401K, another into a savings account for the purpose of emergencies, also an account to save for home projects, vacations, etc. Then, set up your bills to be paid automatically. It would be beneficial to check with your loan holders to see if that would be an option. Ultimately, it comes down to this: if you can’t see the money then you won’t have the temptation to spend it.

 

2. Know How to Prioritize

Should you start paying down debt or saving first? Which debts should you start with? You need to know how to prioritize and compare the numbers. First, start by checking the interest rates on your loans and credit cards. The higher the interest rate, the more of a priority that should be to pay off. Save any extra money you get. Tax return? Put that into savings! Get a raise at work? Automatically deposit that extra percentage into savings each month. Eventually, you will have enough in that account for a nice down payment on your home. 

 

3. Imagine Your Future Self

Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Owning your own home? Not drowning in debt? Studies show if you imagine where you’d like to be in the future that will motivate you to take the necessary steps for the purpose of achieving those goals.

Image result for saving money

4. Stop Unnecessary Spending

Take a good look at your finances and what you spend money on regularly. Do this with the intention of determining what can be dropped or scaled back on. Maybe a gym membership that you pay for monthly and only go once every 3 months or so. Another common unnecessary expense is cable TV; streaming services are cheaper, and they have a great selection. Additionally, rather than getting a coffee at Starbucks every day, make your own coffee at home. You may be surprised to know that could save over $100 a month. Also, eat meals at home instead of going out to eat. Even dropping one expenditure mentioned will make a huge difference on your bank account. 

 

5. Reward Yourself

You can’t live your life to save and pay down debt. Every now and then you need a reward for all your hard work. Use that as a motivation to save. Got a bill paid off? Get yourself something! Reached your goal on an amount of money you wanted to save? Treat yourself! Be sure to make these rewards sensible, but you could be getting perks while saving and paying off bills.  

 

Image result for saving money

6. Take Advantage of Bank & Credit Cards Offers & Rewards

Take a good look at your credit card rewards, it may surprise you what they offer. There may be an opportunity for you to receive a percentage of what you spend in cash back. Who wouldn’t benefit from that? Make sure your bank account doesn’t charge you a monthly maintenance fee. If it does, research how to waive it or get a different account.

 

7. Start Young (Its never early or late to Start)

If this applies to you, pay attention. Starting off at a young age will set you up in the future. Even if you’re working at your very first job, you can start taking the necessary steps. Apply the rules above and your savings will grow faster than you could ever anticipate.

By following these rules, you can save, pay off debt   Whether your goal is to save for a home or prepare for the future, it’s all possible with a little hard work and knowledge on your side.

Think that your credit is hopeless and that you may never be in a position to buy a home? Don’t!  There is always a way with a good plan and a good team.  We have helped so many buyers get into homes when they thought it would never be a reality for them.  We have a great team that can help you build the roadmap to get there.  Want to know more about how to get started?  Let’ Connect

Credit: NPR Public Radio – https://www.npr.org/2018/12/12/676120025/get-started-saving & http://time.com/money/4266906/save-for-new-home-tips/

Helpful TipsWinter November 21, 2018

Preparation for Winter Driving and Snow

Here in beautiful North Idaho we are lucky to have 4 very distinct seasons. Everybody loves the warmth of Summer, the freshness of Spring, the colors of Fall, and the coziness of Winter.  

With winter comes SNOW and that can mean snow storms!   Driving in the snow and knowing how to be prepared for winter driving can be a bit stressful. 

Knowing what to do or even where to start preparation can be one of the biggest hurdles. There are simple preparations that can be done to your vehicle and with your family to get through the longest and coldest season. Check out the below tips to help avoid winter from sneaking up on you and those you love.

 

 

Preparation Tips for Successfully Surviving the Winter:

 

Get a Vehicle Winter Maintenance Check-up Before Winter Hits:

~ Don’t wait to check your battery, belts, hoses, radiator, lights, brakes, heater/defroster and wipers ~

~ Tire shops and mechanics are busiest just before and during winter storms, so get your check-up scheduled NOW ~

Keep a Basic Winter Survival Kit in Your Vehicle:

~ Flashlight ~ Batteries ~ Blanket ~ Snacks ~

Water ~ Gloves ~ Boots ~ First-aid kit ~

Load Your Car with Basic Travel Gear:

~ Tire chains ~ Ice scraper/snowbrush ~ Jumper cables ~ Road flares ~

Keep Your Fuel Tank Full:

~ Don’t let it fall below half a tank ~

Plan With Your Family

~ Create a plan that works well with your family ~

~ Practice it each year before the snow falls ~

Stay Informed:

~ Be sure to find your local station for traffic reports and emergency messages ~

~ Know the weather approaching so you are prepared for its arrival ~

Check Your Tires:

~ Make sure your chains fit before the first winter storm ~

~ Check tire pressure during cold weather ~

Image result for winter driving

………………………………………………………………..

………………………………………………………………..

Click on the Checklists Below for More Information:

Get Ready for Freezing Temperatures & Snowfall

Get Ready for Winter Weather Driving

…………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

AND REMEMBER TO ALWAYS BE SAFE OUT THERE!!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Sources:

Washington State Dept of Transportation https://www.wsdot.com/winter/emergencykit.htm

Take the Winter by Storm https://takewinterbystorm.org/

First Time Home BuyerHelpful TipsHome & ProjectsSummer June 30, 2017

Grilling Through The Summer: Grill Tips, tricks, recipes and design

Independence Day is just around the corner and we’ve come up with some tips, tricks and design ideas to help you be the BBQ champion. Some of my favorite childhood memories were any given summer outside, circled around the grill with friends and family. Here’s to you and yours. Here’s to turning those summer days in to wonderful memories.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean your Grill!

The key to having almost anything ready to use, is cleaning it up after you use it. But if you are like me, sometimes the food coma sets in and cleaning up is out of the question. Here are some ways to keep your grill ready for a cookout at a moments notice.

  1. Leave your grill on for a few minutes with the hood closed. This is a super easy, coma-friendly way to burn off any excess foods and fats left on the grill.
  2. Give your grill a good scrub with something abrasive. Grill brushes, tin foil, abrasive sponge. Put a minute of elbow grease in to it to remove any charred junk.
  3. To ensure a non-sticking grill when you fire it up the next time, spray on some non-stick spray or a bit of vegetable oil. I’ve even heard that rubbing a 1/2 onion on the grate can do the trick.
  4. That’s it. These easy steps will have your grill laying in wait, ready to pounce at any moment to help you keep your throne of Grill King- or Queen!

If you hate following instructions like me, here is the video version from diy network: How to clean your grill in 15 minutes

 

BBQ Hacks 

Here are a few hacks to make serving, eating and cleaning up after your festivities easy as pie!

 

 

Recipes

Here are some recipes that we either love or want to make this summer. And I may be a bit biased for bourbon. Not sorry. Photos and titles are linked.

Bourbon Bacon BBQ Chicken Kebabs

 Yes. All of those!

 

Bourbon Honey Glazed Ribs

These look amazing. I cant wait to make these. Ribs are such a guilty pleasure of mine. They’re messy, they’re not exactly on the skinny menu, but Lord they are delicious.

 

Bourbon Burgers

You read that correctly. Made these last year for a family gathering. I wish I had made more, there wasn’t nearly enough to go around twice. 

Pineapple Bourbon BBQ Sauce

This is another recipe I am looking forward to using this Independence day. I hope it has as much kick as they say. 

 

 

BBQ Grill Station Ideas

Maybe this summer your mind is set on remodeling or updating your back yard. Here are some BBQ stations that are functional and add to your back yard setting.

These concrete counter tops have plenty of room for prepping. I really like the clean and fucntional design, as well as the low cost of concrete.

 

 

 

This one is really great too, I think the portable design is perfect for a more laid back yard. And having a sink nearby is such a smart idea. You handle tons of raw meat when you grill, and being able to wash your hands is an obvious way to prevent food-born illnesses. It even has a built in chopping block…. ok, ok. It’s a cutting board. A girl can dream right?

 

If putting together a large permanent station isn’t something that your bank account will allow, this might be a good solution. You can set up a semi-permanent station by using cinderblocks and paver stones to accomplish a similar built-in feel. This way you won’t spend a fortune and you will still have all that work and prep space. 

 

 

We hope you enjoy these tips and tricks. If you’re feeling motivated, we’d love to see how your projects are coming along. And feedback on the recipes is always encouraged. Enjoy!

 

From our family to yours, We hope you have a wonderful and proud Independence Day!

God Bless America!

Team Tindall