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6 NEAR-GENIUS WAYS TO FOOL BURGLARS INTO THINKING YOU’RE HOME

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

By: Stacey Freed

Your home: You love it, but sometimes you have to leave it.

 

Whether it’s the eight hours a day or eight days on a dreamy beach, allowing your biggest investment to fend for itself can be stressful. And it’s a legit concern; when your home looks empty, break-ins happen. A lot. Ugh.

You could deter burglars by never leaving your house again. Or you could do the next best (OK, way better) thing, and just make it look like someone is there all the time. Here’s how.

#1 Light Up a Room (From the Road)

Your parents may still rely on their lighting timer — on at 8 p.m., off at 7 a.m. That old-fashioned option still works, but apps are more fun. They not only turn your lights on and off, but can do so randomly for a more realistic effect. And you can decide to flip on your porch light while sipping a mojito in Fiji.

You can Google your options, but one affordable example is the Lutron Caséta Wireless system (about $80 for the device and $55 per switch). You replace your current wall switches with these wireless ones and “talk” to your lights from afar.

#2 Fake a Netflix Binge

Nothing says “we are definitely home” like the colorful glare of a television dancing in the window.

Put the little FakeTV gizmo where it can project light onto a curtain, and that’s exactly what your home will say to passersby.

The device (which runs between about $20 and $40 depending on size) plugs into an adapter and can either work on a timer or with a light sensor, so it can switch on when it gets dark.

#3 Change Up Your Shades Remotely

Leave your window shades down while you’re gone and you might as well put out a “Gone Fishin’” sign.

Check out wireless options to throw some shade on the go. Several companies have systems — including Hunter Douglas PowerView, Pella Insynctive, and Lutron Serena — that allow shades to go up and down at your command for about $300 to $500 a window.

#4 Make Some Noise

Burglars can change plans in a hurry at the first sound of life inside a home — they’re a bit tetchy that way. So, one option when you’re just gone for the day is a noise app, like Sleep And Noise Sounds that can play on a homebound phone, tablet, or computer. With noises like vacuuming and a boiling kettle, it can deter a thief who cracks open a window.

#5 Make Them Ring And Run

“Burglars will often ring your doorbell, and if no one answers, they’ll go around back and kick in the door,” says Deputy Michael Favata with the Monroe County Sheriff’s office in New York. Now you can answer the door with the Ring Video Doorbell ($180 for the basic model).

If someone pushes the doorbell, you can talk to them through an app on your phone. Whether it’s your nosey neighbor or a sketchy stranger, you can say, “I’m in the basement” while you’re really on the slopes. They’ll never know. And even if they don’t believe you, they know they’re being watched (insert devilish laugh here).

#6 Try a No-Tech Technique

Not everything requires a gadget. Here are ways to up your home security without downloading a single app:

  • Hire a house sitter. Then someone will be home.
  • If there’s snow, have a neighbor walk up and down the path to your door, shovel a passage up to the garage door and drive in and out of the driveway. If it’s hot out, ask them to keep your plants looking fresh with regular waterings. And don’t forget to bring them a nice gift from your getaway.
  • Ask friends, family, or neighbors to just be present on your property — use your patio, play in your yard, or bring in the mail.
  • Invite a neighbor to keep a car parked in your driveway. During the holidays, they may be happy if they need overflow for visitors.
  • Install a fake security camera for as low as $8. Burglars may not notice these fakes don’t have all the wiring necessary to be real. And their blinking red lights offer reasonable doubt.
  • Get a dog. A real dog. While you’re at work or running errands, nothing deters bad guys and gals like a barking, slobbery security guard. And when you go away, having a pet sitter stay can be as economical as some boarding facilities (especially if you have multiple dogs), and you’ll get the benefit of a human and canine sentinel.
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5 HOLIDAY SPLURGES TO AVOID IF YOU HOPE TO SELL YOUR HOME NEXT YEAR

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

By: Audrey Ference

The holidays are officially here—and while merrymaking and gift shopping are likely top of mind, you may have to keep some of those celebratory urges in check if you're planning to sell your home next year. Why? Because many holiday season activities can come back to haunt you when your house is on the market, even if it's months later.

Don't believe us? Here are five holiday splurges to avoid if you hope to have a smooth home-selling process next year. It's our gift to you! (You'll thank us later.)

1. Don't do decorations that could damage your home

Yes, we know you want to display your holiday spirit. But avoid any decor that could leave behind damage you'll have to repair later—holes in the walls, marks on the floor, screws that mar the side of the house. If you have a live Christmas tree, be careful not to let spilled water sit on hardwood or laminate flooring, which can warp and stain. And it should go without saying that you don't want to paint walls dramatic colors; save the winter wonderland mural for another year.

Think about curb appeal, too. "Avoid blow-up animals and reindeer in the yard," advises Flor Blanchett, a REALTOR® at the Keyes Company in Florida. "When you take those things out, especially in the South, they leave spots on the grass that are totally dead for months afterward."

2. Don't clutter your home with huge holiday gifts

The mantra of anyone trying to sell a home? "Declutter, declutter, declutter," says Blanchett.

Don't buy a bunch of gifts that are going to have to be hidden away after the new year.

"If you have young children with toys all over the place, I advise packing it all away in a container under the stairs or somewhere people won't see it," she says.

The basic organizational rule is that you don't want your closets to appear bursting at the seams, which will give the impression there's not enough storage.

Obviously, nobody is saying that Santa has to skip your house this year, but consider forgoing the bulky play kitchen or drivable toy car in lieu of smaller action figures or electronics.

Remember: You're going to have to move all that stuff after you sell the house. You'll thank yourself at packing time if you spring for a gift certificate or jewelry instead of sports equipment or kitchen gadgets.

3. Don't buy appliances or furniture that may not fit your future home

It's another prime gift-giving no-no. Avoid shelling out for appliances, furniture, or anything that's specific to your current home's layout. Unless you already know where you're moving, that gorgeous (and large) new couch might not fit correctly in your new digs. And that sparkling new washer-dryer set is probably going to be a gift for the buyers, since appliances usually stay with the home. Grills, sheds, anything bulky—you're going to either gift it to your buyers in a few months or pay someone to move it. Save the heavy stuff for next year.

4. Don't take on too much holiday-related debt

This is not the year to live out your "new car with a giant bow on it" fantasies. Taking on debt, whether it's credit card debt or a car or boat loan, can hurt your chances of getting approved for a mortgage when you're ready to buy your next home. So, don't go out and buy expensive things; a lender will take note and it could work against you. When in doubt, ask first.

"Speak with your lender if making a real estate purchase after the sale on how much you can spend on big-ticket items," says Dillar Schwartz, a REALTOR® in Austin, TX.

5. Don't surprise the family with a new pet

The holidays are a common time for families to get a new furry friend—there are even adoption drives based around getting a holiday pet. However, right before you're ready to sell your house is not a terrific time to be housetraining a puppy or teaching a cat not to scratch the couch.

Showing a house with a pet can be challenging enough even when it's not a new pet, and then they're going to have to go through the wildly pet-unfriendly process of moving. However much you're longing for a cat, pup, or capybara, it just makes sense to wait until after the move. Especially the capybara.

Market Snapshot: San Mateo County Real Estate Report

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Here is an updated Market Report summarizing recent real estate activity along the coastside. Please keep in mind that the values represented are based on current, detailed information from the regional Multiple Listing Service. If you need clarification on any of the figures or if you wish to take additional steps toward property ownership, please let us know. We are happy to help you. See the full report.

Coastside Holiday Events Not To Be Missed

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Home selling tips for pet owners

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

There’s no doubt pets play an important role in our homes. They wait for us to come home after a long day, protect our property, and are there to comfort us when things go wrong. They truly are part of the family. But if you’re trying to sell your home, your four-legged friend could put a bit of a damper on the process. From removing stubborn stains to recommending where to put your pet during a showing, these tips will ensure potential buyers aren’t off-put by your companion.


  • Invest in a good carpet cleaner.
    It’s a good idea to invest in a carpet cleaner or have your carpets cleaned professionally to ensure there are no obvious pet stains. Plus, some pets put off strong odors that can radiate throughout the house. A carpet cleaner will help remove those odors and stuck-in fur. Your house deserves a deep clean!
  • Keep your pet out of the house.
    If possible, it’s best to leave your pet with a friend, a relative, or another trusted caretaker while showing your home. If no one is available, it’s a good idea to leave your pet in a crate, in an area where potential buyers are less likely to be­—either a basement or mudroom. Put a warm blanket, bowl of water, and favorite toy in his crate to help him feel more comfortable.
  • Clean up the yard. 
    Even your backyard could leave traces of your pet, so it’s important to clean up any waste and toys. Keep a toy bin by the door, and try to have your pet use the bathroom in the same area, so the cleanup will be easier. If there are any bare patches of grass, you can try to aerate and seed these spots or plant sod for a quicker fix.
  • Put away the pictures.
    More than likely you’re a proud pet parent, meaning that you have a handful of pictures of your pet around your home or at least some photos where he makes an appearance. You’d be surprised at how many potential buyers pay attention to pictures during a showing. These pictures will be a dead giveaway of your pet ownership, so keep them put away while the showing is going on. 
  • Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy.
    Even if your pet is the nicest pet in the world, having him around during a showing poses a handful of potential risks. Take a look at your homeowner’s policy and make sure that it covers you in the event your pet becomes aggressive with someone on your property. Aggression doesn’t have to always be malicious: even if your pet knocks somebody down due to excitement, you could still be held liable. These types of situations happen more often than you would think, so it’s better to be prepared.

There’s no reason for your animal to hinder your house selling process. Use these tips to ensure that you can still enjoy your pet, and make a deal all at the same time!


For more tips and tricks for pet owners, visit www.americanlifestylemag.com/pets.

See the original article here.

Five Ways to Decrease Busy Season Stress

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Prepping for the changing season is a lot to endure; for some, it’s stressful and nerve-wracking, and for others it means they become quite the busy bee. In addition to everything else usually happening at the end of the year, trying to get ready for the season change while maintaining your household can become a big, burdensome cherry on top. 

 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, believe me - you’re not the only one. No matter if you become frazzled by the thought of holiday prep or if you just need an extra boost, it’s always nice to have some help. The good news? There’s plenty of tips and tricks available that can make everything a lot easier. 

 

Check out some home hacks below that will help you stay organized and on top of your game through this busy time! Do you have your own home hacks that you rely on to get through this busy season? If so, I’d love to hear them 


 

7 CREDIT SCORE MYTHS EVEN SHREWD HOME BUYERS FALL FOR

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Forty percent of us think our credit score will climb if we carry a small balance (nope), and 52% don’t realize bad credit can increase the amount needed for deposits on utilities (it does!), according to a NerdWallet survey.

“There are quite a few myths and misinformation about credit scores,” says Ryan Greeley, author of the “Better Credit Blog.” “This stuff isn’t taught anywhere, so it’s something you have to dig into yourself.” The worst time to find out you’ve got a going-nowhere credit score is when you’re trying to buy a home.

Unless you have us to dig for you, that is. Here are seven top credit score myths, and the reality behind them.

Myth #1: Always carry a small balance on your credit card.

Reality: The credit score gods want to know two main things: that you pay your bills on time, and that you don’t constantly max out the credit you have.

And yes, one of the items they like to see you pay is your credit card bill — all of it. The only thing a running balance increases is the interest you owe. That’s why Erin Lowry, who writes the “Broke Millennial” blog, believes banks and credit card companies probably perpetuated this myth to boost their profits.

Myth #2: It's OK to pay credit cards a day late if you pay them off in full.

Reality: ”Missing a payment is the biggest way to hit your credit score,” Lowry says. “If you pay a student loan a day late, your score can go down as much as 100 points.” So much for that degree making you smarter.

To maximize your score, always pay your installment loans (like car loans and mortgages) on time and in full. You know, like you’re supposed to. But also note that actual humans work for financial companies; if you need to pay late for a legit reason, call your lender — before the due date — and have a frank conversation. They’ll often help out.

Myth #3: Closing old cards will erase any negative history.

Reality: If it was that easy, we’d all be driving Teslas. Credit-reporting companies keep information on your file for seven years, no matter what.

And actually, the longer you’ve responsibly used a particular credit card, the better effect it has on your credit score. Remember, you’re judged by how much of your credit you’re using. Closing a credit card makes that percentage change for the worse.

Myth #4: If you've never had credit, you have a perfect credit score.

Reality: There’s no reason to save your credit virginity for that special something. If you’ve never used credit, it’s anyone’s guess how well you’ll handle it once you do. Credit reporting agencies call it a “thin file,” meaning there’s not enough information on you to create a credit score. So, if you’re a newbie, get an itty-bitty card or loan, and start fattening up that file.

Myth #5: Checking your credit score frequently will hurt your score.

Reality: How else are you supposed to keep track of the darn thing? It’s true that several “hard” checks by companies can ding your score a few points. Hard checks generally happen when you are actually seeking a loan or line of credit, such as a mortgage or credit card.

If you check your own, it’s called a “soft” check, and it doesn’t hurt your score. So, for Pete’s sake, check your score and credit report at least annually. It’s super easy these days, especially with websites like creditkarma.com, or use a banking app that lets you easily monitor your score. A sudden, unexplained dip could be a sign that identity theft or mistakes are hurting your credit (and keep hard checks to one or two a year).

Myth #6: Paying off a student loan or car loan early will hurt your credit.

Reality: Ah, no. Credit report companies definitely do not punish you for paying off loans early. They might even throw you a parade. (Not really. Put away your princess wave.) While responsibly paying installment loans may be good, paying off those loans is way better.

Myth #7: Your age, sex, and other non-money issues affect your credit score.

Reality: What century is it again? Federal law protects you from credit discrimination based on non-credit issues, like race, color, national origin, or sex. Sure, credit card companies or lenders can ask, but they can’t deny you credit based on your answers. Income, expenses, debts, and credit history are what matters.

Myth #8: My credit score can hurt/help my chances of landing a job.

Reality: Actually, this one is partially true, depending on how fancy your job is. If it requires a security clearance or using a company credit card, an employer will want to know how you use credit, or if you’re in a financial mess that may make you bribe-able, Lowry says. But don’t worry, the employer will ask your permission before pulling your credit report, which is considered a soft pull and won’t hurt your score.

 

San Mateo County Real Estate Report

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Here is an updated Market Report summarizing recent real estate activity in the San Mateo area. Please keep in mind that the values represented are based on current, detailed information from the Regional Multiple Listing Service. If you need clarification on any of the figures or if you wish to take additional steps toward property ownership, please let us know. We are happy to help.

"Move-In Ready" Now Includes Smart Home Tech

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team

Today's buyers want move-in ready homes, and a new survey points to exactly what that means.

More than 70 percent of buyers want a move-in ready home, and that ultimately breaks down to a home that has updated heating and cooling and an updated kitchen and bathroom (more than 80 percent expect those features to qualify as move-in ready) and they want new appliances (74 percent), according to a recent survey by Coldwell Banker. To a lesser but still notable degree, buyers feel a move-in ready home has smart home technology installed (44 percent).

Additionally, 57 percent of those buyers that want a move-in ready home would consider an older home updated with smart home technology.

Apparently, survey respondents want the technology but they really don't want to sift through the options and install it themselves. Thirty-six percent of all respondents believe that having smart technology is a major selling point when buying a home, but 32 percent feel they are too intimidated to install it themselves.

And while the millennial generation certainly leans hardest toward this technology with 61 percent interested in it, 52 percent of Gen Xers and 50 percent of baby boomers do as well.

Taking that first leap and making the investment in smart home technology may wind up being an investment in your home's value.

 

THE TOP 10 TRENDIEST HOME FEATURES

by Kathy and Michael Rain - The Rain Team


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 335

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The Rain Team
CA# 01169588 | CA# 01125976 | CA# 01908304
248 Main Street, Suite 200
Half Moon Bay CA 94019
Michael: 650-888-6361
Kathy: 650-888-6903
Fax: 866-396-0207

Kathy and Michael Rain of Coldwell Banker provides real estate services in the San Mateo County, California area including the surrounding communities: El Granda, Half Moon Bay, Montara, Moss Beach, Pacifica and San Mateo. Search for homes in San Mateo County. We list and sell residential real estate, investment properties, vacant land, lots for sale in the San Mateo County, California area.

Licensed in the State of California

Kathy Rain - CA BRE# 01169588 | Michael Rain - CA BRE# 01125976 | Coldwell Banker - CA BRE# 01908304
Cell Phone: (650) 888-6903 * Direct Phone: (650) 712-0411
San Mateo County Real Estate and Homes for Sale

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