The Keiths Blog

Is your pooch pawing your petunias? Here’s how to keep your dog out of your garden and away from your precious plants.

We want our dogs to eat well, but we don’t want them snacking on our heirloom vegetables and prized perennials. Nor do we want them digging up the daffodils.

How can you keep dogs from wrecking your garden?

Spray Nasty Odors


Your vegetable garden is a salad bar for your dog. To keep him away, spray plants with pungent white vinegar or apple bitter. Or plant marigolds between vegetable rows, which repel dogs and other backyard pests, such as Mexican bean beetles, aphids, squash bugs, and whiteflies.

However, don’t apply rabbit or deer repellents that contain coyote urine. Dogs love the smell of urine and will either roll in your

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When you’re home hunting, information is power. The more you know before you make an offer, the better. Usually when two homes are equally appealing, digging into the details can make a difference. Here’s a list of “bonus information” that most buyers overlook or forget to ask about while they’re shopping for a house:

Homeowner’s association rules: Certain neighborhood covenants may be a deal maker or breaker for you, so if there’s a set of guidelines you’ll be required to adhere to, get them up front. They can cover everything from paint schemes to lawn design and beyond.

Utility bills: Most sellers won’t balk at sharing with you what utilities cost annually. Water, power, gas, and even telecommunication or cable service provider bills can help you

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Before you put your home up for sale, understand how the right comparable sales help you and your agent find the perfect price.

Knowing how much homes similar to yours, called comparable sales (or in real estate lingo, comps), sold for gives you the best idea of the current estimated value of your home. The trick is finding sales that closely match yours.

What makes a good comparable sale?

Your best comparable sale is the same model as your house in the same subdivision--and it closed last week. If you can't find that, here are other factors that count:

Location: The closer to your house the better, but don't just use any comparable sale within a mile radius. A good comparable sale is a house in your neighborhood, your subdivision, on the same

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Okay, first-time buyers… it’s time to turn the dream into the dirt you can stand on. Your very own home. I’m sure you have questions. In fact, I’m sure your questions are like most first-time buyers. Which is why I’ve put together this down-and-dirty answer guide for the most common questions home buyers have.

 1. What kind of credit score do I need to have?

Generally, 630 or above is what you’ll want to have. The better your score, the better the terms will be on your loan. Some lenders may give you wiggle room on this, but it all depends on the circumstances. A loan professional can help you navigate this as you go.

 2. How much of a down payment is required?

There are loans which will let you in for as low as 3% - 5% of the value of the

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Agent with clientsA second pair of eyes on an important document often helps spot mistakes or awkward phrasing we might miss on our own. Therapists help guide countless people through difficult situations with an outsider’s viewpoint. The same is true with selling a home: Buyers can see what’s holding your house back.

Naturally, some buyers believe complaints will help them lower the price when negotiation time comes around, but more often than not buyer feedback offers valuable insight. As the owner, you are frequently too familiar with your home to see it (and smell it!) with a buyer’s point of view.

Common buyer complaints include:
- Foul or off-putting odors from animals, cigarette smoke, mildew, or a “closed up” house.
- Poor lighting or a “dark” feel to the rooms

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Okay, first-time buyers… it’s time to turn the dream into the dirt you can stand on. Your very own home. I’m sure you have questions. In fact, I’m sure your questions are like most first-time buyers. Which is why I’ve put together this down-and-dirty answer guide for the most common questions home buyers have.

1. What kind of credit score do I need to have?
Generally, 630 or above is what you’ll want to have. The better your score, the better the terms will be on your loan. Some lenders may give you wiggle room on this, but it all depends on the circumstances. A loan professional can help you navigate this as you go.

2. How much of a down payment is required?
There are loans which will let you in for as low as 3% - 5% of the value of the home, but I

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On line learningSo much of our attention gets focused on the Internet as a tool for entertainment. While I enjoy streaming videos and social media as much as the next person, I’ve also found some incredible resources for free learning online. More and more companies, universities, and leaders in fields of business, technology, and literature are placing free courses online. Want to learn how to code? It’s out there. Want to learn a foreign language? You can do that, too.

Below is a list of some of my favorites, and hopefully you’ll share this list with others. I know that many of my real estate clients have enjoyed using some of these resources to brush up on helping their kids with their homework as well as taking the time out to learn a few things about new software

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I wanted to have a conversation about renting versus buying. I definitely understand now may not be the right time to buy, especially if affordability is a concern and you may be unsure were you’d like to live in the near future.

That said, I thought you might find this article on the hidden long-term cost of renting compelling. It’s called “The $700,000+ mistake nearly 6 in 10 millennials may make.” You can check out the article at the related link below.

Renting in the short-term may be your best option, but waiting to buy can have a high cost. For example: “At current rates of appreciation, in 10 years the average home (now priced at $190,000) would be selling for about $249,000. If interest rates return to their historical norm (from over the

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MLS data sheetOdds are you have spent a little time online searching for homes. After all, most home searches begin online. You may have used one of our a our Hittner Group websites or a site like Realtor.com, Trulia or Zillow to help you browse listings.

But where does listing information come from?

Way back in the day, prior to the Information Age revolution, brokers used to gather and exchange information about their properties. The idea was fairly straightforward: I’ll help you sell your properties if you help me sell mine. It’s a “private offer of cooperation and compensation.” Cooperation meant the real estate industry could thrive and buyers and sellers could enjoy smoother transactions.

This spirit of cooperation gave rise to Multiple Listing

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Unlike earlier generations of retirees who paid off their mortgages and retired in their family home, today's Baby Boomers are looking to capitalize on home equity to enhance their retirement savings. If you’re thinking how relocating might stretch your retirement dollar, below are a few points you should consider before relocating, downsizing, or trading up:Tiny house

1. Speak with your spouse or partner first, even if you think you’re both of the same mind. Don’t assume that you’re in agreement. When the moment to make the leap comes, feelings may change.

2. Consider the cost-of-living in a different part of the country. There’s a pretty big swing between rural Florida and urban San Francisco, for example. This might also mean factoring fuel costs if you’re

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