Prepping Your Home for a Vacation

Prepping Your Home For a Vacation

Vacations are a time to relax and escape from regular life. When you’re miles from home, the last thing you want to worry about is the safety of your home. If you plan on taking a vacation this summer (or any time this year), here are some simple tips on prepping your home for a vacation.

Stop Your Newspaper and Mail Mail
One sure sign of being absent from your home is a pile of newspapers in the driveway. Contact your newspaper delivery person and stop service while you’re gone. If you don’t have a locked mailbox, contact the post office and have them hold your mail. You can also ask a trusted neighbor to collect mail, newspapers and deliveries and have him/her hold them for you until you’re back.

Park Your Car in the Garage
The last thing you want is to get home from a vacation and have your car gone. If you can, park your car inside the garage, or have a family member park it at his/her house. You can also ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway, making it look like someone is leaving each morning.

Put a Light on a Timer
A dark house stands out in a neighborhood, especially when all the other homes are lit up. Before you leave, buy a timer and install it on a lamp in your home. It’s also a good idea to install a motion-activated sensor on an outdoor floodlight that will be triggered should someone walk by it. You can also ask a neighbor to turn on the front porch light in the evening.

Mow Your LawnMow your Lawn
Grass can grow pretty fast in two or three days. If you have a lawn, make sure it’s trimmed before you embark on your trip. If you’re going to be gone longer than a week, ask a family member or neighbor to cut the grass in the front yard while you’re away.

Some of these items are easily overlooked, but could cause major issues when you’re away:

Unplug Small Appliances and Electronics
Small appliances and electronics can be energy vampires when plugged in, and some are still active even when they look like they’re turned off. Before you leave, unplug those items that won’t be used while you’re gone (coffee makers, toasters, espresso machines, etc.). It’s also a good time to make sure all smoke detectors work properly throughout your home.

Turn Down the ThermostatAdjust your Thermostat
Your thermostat makes sure your home maintains a specific temperature throughout the day. Before you leave, set the thermostat to a lower temperature if the house is going to be empty. This will help conserve energy while you’re gone. If you do turn down the thermostat, be sure to keep your home at a temperature that will still protect plants, pets and furniture.

Put the Water Heater in Vacation Mode
Traditional water heaters heat water throughout the day, even when you’re not using water. Before you head out on a vacation, put the heater in vacation mode. Check to see if your water heater has a VAC setting — which is for vacations. If it doesn’t, you can turn down the thermostat to the lowest setting. But don’t stop at the water heater: turn off water valves to the dishwasher, washing machine and any sinks. The last thing you want to come home to is a flood in your house because a pipe broke or a hose burst.

Tidy upTidy Up the Kitchen
Before you leave it’s always a good idea to clean out the fridge and dispose of anything that will go bad while you’re gone. The sink can harbor things that cause bad smells — run a half cup of vinegar and some water through the garbage disposal to alleviate any potential buildups, and make sure to take out any trash and recycling so you don’t come home to a smelly house. If you have a trusted neighbor, ask them to put your garbage, recycling or yard debris bins out on pickup day.

Leave Emergency Contact Info with Neighbors
You may tell your family that you’re heading out, but you should also let a neighbor know. Neighbors live near you and can be your first point of contact should something happen to your home while you’re away. Let a trusted neighbor know you’re going to be out of town — provide them with information on where you’re going, how long you’ll be gone, and contact information for yourself and for family members in case of an emergency.


Alternative Energy and Your Home

Alternative Energy and Your HomeWe all appreciate electricity — each one of us uses it in some capacity every day. Heating and cooling our homes is one of our top priorities, not only for our comfort but also for our safety. In recent years more and more information about alternative and green energies has become available to consumers. Green or alternative energy is energy that is produced from renewable resources: wind, water, or sunlight. Here are some of the most-readily available options for alternative energy systems offered to home buyers right now:

Solar PowerSolar Power
Solar power is “the power obtained by harnessing the energy of the sun’s rays.” This is done through solar panels and photo voltaic cells on the panels, which convert the sunlight into usable energy. Solar power is the most common and popular option for homeowners looking to take the first step toward alternative energy. Solar uses the power of the sun, so this option is best for homes or properties located in areas where sunlight is strong year-round. There are three types of solar panel systems: On-Grid Battery Systems, which are connected to the grid but also contain batteries that can store excess energy; On-Grid Systems without batteries – these are more simple and easier to install, but if the power goes out in the area the system will shut off; and Off-Grid Systems, which are not tied to the electricity grid and generate all their power independently.

At the current moment, solar power accounts for three-tenths of one percent of the total energy consumed in the U.S. (instituteforenergyresearch.org/). For those who live in year-round sunny climates – California, Arizona, Hawaii, etc. – a solar panel system can pay for itself in as little as three years (judithcurry.com).

Wind Power
Wind PowerAnother popular alternative energy option that has been seen throughout the U.S. is wind power. Wind power is the “power obtained by harnessing the energy of the wind.” Modern wind power uses wind turbines to harness wind’s kinetic energy, which is then turned into electricity. There are different types of wind power: Utility-scale, which are the large wind turbines seen on the side of hills– these are larger than 100 kilowatts and deliver electricity directly to the power grid; Distributed, which are smaller turbines, 100 kilowatts or less, and these deliver electricity directly to a home or small business. There are also offshore wind turbines, but these are mostly found outside the U.S. At the current moment, the U.S. receives about 4.1 percent of its electricity from wind power (www.awea.org/).

Wind power is an excellent option for those who live in areas where there is a good source of wind all year long. Initially, wind power systems can be expensive, and the turbine prices vary depending on the type, manufacturer and the area you live in. Many people look to the advantages of wind power over the initial investment – utility bills are cut and the homeowner has control of knowing how his/her energy is generated, and there are generally federal tax credits available to those who buy a wind power system.

Geothermal PowerGeothermal Power
Geothermal power is “the heat from the Earth.” Geothermal power takes advantage of the earth’s natural heat. Geothermal energy is harnessed in two ways: tapping extremely hot temperatures via steam at great depths, or the use of moderate temperatures at shallow depths (http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/). In almost all parts of the U.S., the shallow ground (upper 10 feet of the Earth’s surface) maintains a nearly constant temperature of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. To use this naturally occurring heat, consumers can install a geothermal heat pump. The pump utilizes air or antifreeze liquid in pipes. The liquid or air is pumped through the pipes, which are buried underground, and comes back into the building. In summer, when the temperatures are hotter above ground, the liquid or air moves heat from the building into the ground; in the winter, when temperatures are colder, the pipes pump pre-warmed air or liquid into the building. Geothermal power is also a renewable energy that can supply continuous power (www.ucsusa.org/).

Geothermal systems can be expensive to set up, with estimates into the low $40,000s. There are tax credits available, which can cover 30% of the total cost of a new geothermal system. Geothermal systems last about 20 years before needing new parts, and over the course of a 20 year lifespan, these systems can save homeowners upwards of $60,000 in electricity costs (www.esquire.com/).

The U.S. relies heavily upon fossil fuels for its energy sources. Currently, 82 percent of U.S. energy demand is met by fossil fuels (coal, petroleum (oil) and natural gas) while the other 18 percent is met by renewable energy and nuclear energy (instituteforenergyresearch.org/). Electricity is a vital part of the U.S. economy, and it helps a household run every day. Homeowners have options in every facet of their lives, and energy is no different. Fossil fuels are a finite resource – exploring other options available to homeowners not only opens up access to other technologies and ideas, but it also helps the Earth. Alternative energy also presents more reliable and efficient energy sources. When a homeowner or consumer gets more reliance and efficient energy, more money is saved in the long run, making for a happy, safe and sustainable home.


Staging Tips for Sellers

Staging Tips for Sellers

Spring has arrived, which means real estate season is upon us. When selling your home or property, attracting full price offers is always top priority, and a properly staged home can be your number one asset in drawing as many offers as possible. Here are staging tips to help you prepare your home for the market.

Enhance Your Entry
It’s the first thing buyers see, and most likely serves as the first impression of your house. Utilize the entry by updating the front door color, change out the door hardware (or clean and polish the current hardware). Make potential buyers welcome with a nice mat and some potted plants or flowers.

Clean Out ClutterStagingTips1
The majority of us have too much stuff, and clutter is a huge killer for potential buyers. Be ruthless when it comes to clutter — if you haven’t used it in three months, box it up. If you haven’t used it in a year, sell or donate it. Go one room at a time. It’s ok to have empty space. If you can’t part with something, get creative on how to store it. Rolling bins that fit under beds are perfect for hiding items and getting things out of the way. Too much furniture will also make a home look cluttered and smaller than it is. You want to create space – ask what you can live without. Every square foot is prime real estate.

Move or Float Furniture
Once you’ve moved out the clutter, turn to the remaining furniture. Furniture doesn’t need to be pushed up against walls. Moving and floating pieces can help rooms look and feel bigger. Try moving pieces around, even from other rooms, but remember to keep the perimeters clear with clear pathways.

Staging TipsLet the Light In
Natural light does wonders for a home and makes rooms more inviting. Take down heavy drapery and replace with gauzy and airy fabrics. If you have views, play them up! Look into roman shades, which help with privacy but also let light in. Simple curtain panels made from airy fabrics like cotton twill or translucent linen will let the light in during the day and still help with privacy at night.

Re-purpose Rooms
Do you have a designated junk room? Re-purpose rooms that have lost their identity. Most designers look at junk rooms and envision fantasy spaces: an exercise room, meditation space, art studio, etc.. Re-purpose a clutter/junk room into something that will add value to the house. Also consider loft spaces, stairwell nooks and other areas not utilized or gathering dust as possible areas for increased space.

Light It UpStaging Tips
Many homes are poorly lit, making rooms too dim or harsh on the eyes which can deter buyers when they walk into your house. Try to aim for a total of 100 watts for every 50 square feet. Don’t be afraid of dimmers, and replace light-switch covers that are old, dingy or broken. Uplights also help add depth to a room, especially when positioned behind a plant or piece of furniture.

Add Some Color
Color on the walls or as an accent can really make a room pop. Painting is an inexpensive and easy way to give your house a new look. Neutral colors don’t mean beige or off-white; warm tans, honey and soft blue-greens all attract the eye and help to make a room feel warmer without going overboard. Accent walls can also add a burst of color. If painting is too daunting, add richly colored accessories, pillows and throws for subtle bursts of color.

StagingTips4Add Art and Accessories
De-cluttering is important, but so is playing up what you have in your house. Adding art to a drab wall can also add character to a room. Try breaking up the art by patterning and grouping pictures or images together. Add a small touch by accessorizing your room — layer accessories in threes, with varied heights and widths. The eye naturally reads a room from left to right, so adding a large or striking object in the far right corner will draw the eye to it and make the room seem bigger. Another accessory not to be overlooked: plants. A vase of fresh flowers, branches, twigs or greenery will add depth and character to a room.


Reliance Network – Goals & Solutions for Your Business

 

At Reliance Network it is our goal to help real estate brokerages and professionals realize the added financial, competitive and operational benefits afforded by specialized technology integration.

Our Goals:

  • Partner with like-minded brokers to build real estate websites and co-develop the industry’s premier business solutions to benefit the brokerage, agent and client.
  • Offer a clear vision for the future – work with our partners and pool our resources to outpace and outperform the competition at every level. Our methods and products will compete head-to-head against prevailing trends for traditional, dotcom and discount brokers.
  • Collaborate – In the true spirit of partnership, we work together in product development. Pooled ideas and needs of our clients are combined with our own technical and grass roots real estate expertise to create a superior product that reflects the priorities and real needs of our clients.
  • Innovate leading Realtor products that integrate MLS Technology. This is what we do, and we do it well.
  • Maximize your Return on Investment. Our business solutions are designed with three driving considerations in mind — 1. Recruiting, 2. Retention and 3. Production.

Learn more about our business and technology solutions: View our informational brochure.

RelianceInfoBrochure_2015

Contact us for a Demo!


Reliance Network – Sales Automation Solutions


– Brokerage and Agent Sales Automation Solutions – 

At Reliance Network, we provide innovative business and technology solutions, which include a wide-array of lead generation, buyer-seller keep in touch and long-term cultivation tools with every company and agent website. This includes exclusive and easy-to-use products like Market Watch, Property Watch, Online Seller’s Reports, eNewsletters, Custom Drip Marketing Campaigns and more.

Reliance Sales Automation

1. Market Watch | 2. Seller’s Report | 3. Custom Drip Marketing Campaign 

For more information on Reliance Network’s full line of websites, online marketing tools, lead management and CRM for your real estate company or brokerage, please click here. Or Contact us for a Demo.


Reliance Network – Market Watch Report


– The Power of Market Watch – 

With Reliance Network’s Market Watch report, locate the perfect property – with current listings, prices and trends for any market area. With the convenient Market Watch report, buyers, sellers and investors are provided with ‘timely market intelligence’ for home, neighborhood and regional sales trends.

Reliance Network Market Watch

 

• Consumer Tool
Site visitors can get an instant snap-shot of market activity in their desired market area. Customers can see how a current property or area of interest compare to today’s market.

• Agent Tool
Market Watch establishes a foundation for an agent’s prospect ‘Book of Business’ and provides brokers with a product of tangible value that is costly to acquire for individual agents. It is the highest value CRM tool available.

• Drip Marketing Tool
‘Keep in Touch’ provides invaluable market information to clients in relation to their biggest investment. In addition, consumers are more likely to open and review valuable market stats than any other source of industry messaging.

• Traffic Driver
Driver of ‘more web traffic’ and ‘strong lead generation’ tool from agent and broker sites.

For more information on Reliance Network’s full line of websites, online marketing tools, lead management and CRM for your real estate company or brokerage, please click here. Or Contact us for a Demo.


David Teefy announced as Director of Business Development and Education

 
PORTLAND, Ore. — Reliance Network, one of the largest suppliers of enterprise-level real estate sites in the country, is pleased to announce it has named David Teefy as its new Director of Business Development and Education.

Teefy, who held the position as Business Development Manager for Reliance Network from 2002 to 2004, brings over 20 years of in-depth experience in real estate technology and training to Reliance. As a dedicated eMarketing expert, David has extensive knowledge of Reliance Network products and tools, RE/MAX Leadstreet program, SEO/SEM programs, lead generation products, and real estate business development and strategies.

“David brings a tremendous level of knowledge, experience and passion for real estate. He has distinguished himself in the industry with his technology background and commitment to build long standing relationships with leading real estate companies. David possesses exactly what is celebrated at Reliance,” said Sean McRae, CEO of Reliance Network.

As the new Director of Business Development and Education, David will be instrumental in developing and implementing new strategies to strengthen awareness of Reliance Network as a leading business and technology platform for brokerages nationwide.

“Reliance Network is a high energy, creative and solution driven team of professionals. I know this as I have been a competitor, a consultant, an employee and client. The passion at Reliance has never wavered throughout the years of my engagement with them. Reliance Network has never been a “cookie cutter” development company,” said Teefy. “With the next level of products coming online in 2015, plus the roadmap moving forward, this is a special time to be asked to join the team. I am honored and excited to be back.”

Teefy previously held positions as Senior Manager Technical Training with RE/MAX, LLC and Chief Technology Officer for RE/MAX Mid-States and Dixie Regions, Director of IT for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties (previously Prudential Georgia Realty), and CoFounder of Comstock Net Services.


Reliance Network – LeadingRE Annual Conference


LeadingRE Conference 2015

We look forward to the upcoming LeadingRE 2015 Annual Conference February 11-13th at the Wynn Las Vegas.

Reliance Network is excited to sponsor LeadingRE’s Networking Night on Wednesday, February 11th, where attendees will get the chance learn in a fun and interactive setting.

We hope to meet you there & welcome the chance to share some insight into one of the Real Estate Industry’s fastest growing companies, currently serving over 120 leading companies and over 120,000 agents.

Reliance Network services over 650 MLSs throughout the country, focused on bringing you the following:

  • Built-in, automated CRM capabilities
  • Custom MLS search and web products
  • Premium agent web sites integrated with each company platform
  • Managed organic SEO services and content development
  • Back-end Intranet communication systems
  • Customized lead management

Reliance Network

Uncompromising Performance | Advanced Systems | Expert Service


Featured Blog of the Week: Keyes Company of Realtors

Keyes BlogAs a provider of technology and web-based services, Reliance Network works with some of the biggest real estate companies in the United States. This week we highlight Keyes Real Estate. A South Florida and Miami-based real estate company, Keyes was founded in 1926 in Miami, Florida, and puts a large emphasis on its well-respected reputation, gained over the years by meeting the diverse real estate needs of families, investors and business owners alike. This independently-owned business encompasses a large portion of South Florida — from Miami-Dade to Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and Volusia Counties.

Fully embracing the spirit of blogging, Keyes.com uses its blog to provide real estate information, tips and ideas; mortgage information; and South Florida community information by city and area. Keyes.com also provides an excellent look into South Florida real estate, with posts highlighting a range of properties available through Keyes.com and their luxury division, Keyesluxury.com. With a blog that offers useful information to those looking into South Florida and Miami real estate, and the easy-to-use Market Watch function on the company website, which provides information on specific properties and areas in South Florida compared to their respective real estate markets, Keyes Real Estate and the Keyes Blog goes above and beyond to offer outstanding service to those looking into South Florida properties and real estate.


New Year To Dos for Your Home

New Year To Dos for Your Home

With the start of a new year, it’s always a good idea to assess your home and its needs. Taking stock of appliances, home systems, and other items that make a house a home will help guide you to home improvements needed, appliances that may be near the end of their lives, and any other updates that can help to boost your home’s worth. Listed below are major home systems to evaluate in the new year to help give you peace of mind.

HVAC

HVACIn the winter and summer months a home’s HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) systems are put to good use. January is the perfect month to replace disposable filters or wash permanent ones in your home’s HVAC or humidifier systems. Filters should be regularly replaced or washed when use is high or during peak seasons.

Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors save lives. Checking alarms and detectors is especially important when cold temperatures in the winter leave homes closed up. This month inspect, clean and test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and be sure to replace any that are faulty, no longer working or old.

Fire ExtinguishersExtinguishers

Very few homeowners actually have to use a fire extinguisher; many times these important tools get overlooked for maintenance. January is a great time to inspect and charge any working fire extinguishers you may have in your home. Fire extinguishers should also be placed in all accessible areas of the home where fires are more likely to occur: kitchens, garages or areas that house furnaces, boilers, fireplaces and stoves

Fire Evacuation Plan

Do you have a plan in place in case of a fire in your home? January is the perfect time to form a fire evacuation plan. Go over the plan with anyone who might live with you, and if you have kids dedicate a time to have a practice fire drill. Should your home’s bedrooms be on a second or third floor, invest in a fire escape ladder, many of which can be found at your local hardware store.

Leaking Windows and Electrical Outlets

With winter setting in, finding the weak points in your home will not only help keep your home warm, but it will also help cut down on heating bills. Identify any windows that may have broken seals by looking for condensation on the inside of the window. Examine electrical outlets throughout your home for any drafts, and insulate those that may be letting in cold air.

Check and Test GFCI Outlets

GFCI OutletsGround fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) are a must have in your home. These special outlets protect people from electric shock by monitoring the amount of current flowing through the outlet. If there is an imbalance of current, the outlet trips the circuit of the appliance, cutting off the electricity. You can test GFCI outlets with a circuit tester that has its own GFCI test button. GFCIs do wear out, and their lifespan is about 10 years. Replace GFCIs that no longer function properly — these outlets save thousands of lives each year.

Many homeowners have home safety and preparedness at the top of their priority list, and the New Year stands as the perfect time to discover what improvements and fixes your home will need in the coming months. Other items to look at in a new year:

  • If you’re in an area that is known to have inclement weather, make sure you have proper snow removal equipment and have alternative energy options in case of power outages
  • January is also a great month for reviewing warranties and product information on a furnace, large appliances, and any other big ticket items in the home

Preventative maintenance will not only save you money and keep your home safe, but houses that do not keep up with maintenance have been known to lose up to 10% to 12% off their appraised value. The US Census has estimated that annual maintenance can cost between 1% and 3% of a home’s initial costs dependent upon the geographic location of the home. With the New Year, getting a head start on yearly to dos, and anticipating yearly maintenance, will put you ahead of the issues and have you prepared for any upcoming and unforeseen fixes.