Trick Or Treat Safety

candy-2518372_640This is a wonderful time of year, and with the October season, many children are excited to go trick-or-treating. As the night draws closer and children are picking their costumes, here are a few things to remember to keep everyone safe.

  1. Mind where you are walking. Be sure to use sidewalks, driveways, and paths while trick-or-treating. Also, cross the street at the corner or on a crosswalk.
  1. Carry a cell phone. Not only can you call the authorities or emergency services (if needed), but the flashlight feature can help if you go into a darker area.
  1. Make sure kids are visible. Put a light or reflective tape on their costumes and have them carry a glow stick or flashlight.
  1. Feed kids first. To keep kids from hitting the candy before they get home, give them a snack or dinner beforehand. Also, before kids start eating their candy, check it out to make sure it is safe.
  1. Don’t lose the dog. If you bring along the family pet, use a leash and collar with ID.
  1. Drive extra carefully. If you drive, stay super alert and go extra slow through neighborhoods to ensure you don’t hit a child or family pet.
  1. Have ground rules. If your child is old enough to go trick-or-treating without you, agree on the route and make sure it only goes through familiar neighborhoods. Also, have them carry a cell phone.
  1. Go over stranger dangers. Remind kids they must never get into a stranger’s car. Tell them to scream loudly and run if someone stops and asks for help or offers them candy.
  1. Don’t forget to have fun. Halloween is all about having fun and enjoying time trick-or-treating. This year, make the most of the holiday with these fun ideas.

This information was provided by Danene Strand.

Sticking to New Year Resolutions

rock-1573068_1280From losing weight, getting organized, quitting smoking to spending less or saving mire, we often make grand resolutions at the start of a new year. Did you know that only eight percent of people keep the goals they set in January? Don’t be disheartened. We’ve compiled a list of the best advice to help you stick to your resolutions.

  1. Phrase them as if you’ve already achieved success

Positivity is truly a powerful force. Instead of saying, “I want to lose 10 pounds” or “I want to quit smoking” you might say, “I’m so grateful to be fit and healthy.” When you use gratitude to describe your goal, you spark the front portion of your brain. Research has shown that this part of the brain enhances focus and helps you identify more possibilities for success.

  1. Set small, SMART goals throughout the year

SMART goals ensure success. They are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Based. You may have a goal to lose 50 or more pounds over the course of 2017. If you break this goal up into smaller and smarter portions, you are more likely to meet your goal and create lasting habits. For example, a more realistic and measurable goal might be to lose five pounds in January and reevaluate from there.

  1. Repetition strengthens new habits

You have to do more than write down your goals and get excited about them for two weeks. Breaking old habits is tough unless you understand how the brain works. Your die-hard habits have formed deep-rooted neuropathways. If your new goal is bigger or different than you have to create new beliefs, habits and neuropathways to achieve success.

  1. Plan ahead

One reason for resolutions not working out is that the makers’ lack self-control. Get ahead of yourself and plan for temptations and dealing with setbacks. Before you start your new resolution, think about potential barriers. Next, identify and create contingency plans for when you’re feeling lazy or can’t resist a smoke break.

  1. Accept failure

If you happen to sneak a cigarette, miss a work out or get short with kids, that’s okay. Accept the failure but learn from it. Identify and remember the triggers that caused the set back. Try, try and keeping trying again and again. Perseverance is the key to success.

What is the MLS?

canstockphoto14766127If you’re looking to sell or buy a home, you’ve probably heard of MLS. But what is this exactly and what does it have to do with home ownership?

MLS stands for multiple listing service, and this is a service real estate agents and brokers use to share property information among other agents. According to Realtor.org, this system started in the late 1880s to help agents sell properties, in a way of “help me sell my inventory and I’ll help you sell yours.”

Because the housing market in competitive, this is a great tool for helping brokers and agents work together to ensure they are giving their clients the best service. Although not all of the information from the MLS is provided to the public, there is some useful information they can share with their clients.

So how does the MLS work? First of all, to gain access to the full database you must be a licensed agent or broker (along with paying for a membership). Once an agent logs in, they are provided with complete information (and photos) along with other data to help their clients find or sell their home.

Ready to find your dream home? Looking to sell? Give us a call today and let us help you find or sell your home.

9 Steps For Moving Into Your New Home

Adjusting to new life changes and getting back into a normal routine is often challenging. This is true for adapting to a new life in a new house. Whether it is a preowned home or new build, this list will help smooth the transition of one of your life’s most significant changes: moving into a new home.canstockphoto6009263

1. Change the locks

When the closing is over and you have gotten the keys to your new house, it’s time to buy and install new locks on all exterior doors. Previous owners, realtors and anyone that provided maintenance on the house could all have a set of keys to the current locks.

2. Change your address

First start by contacting the local post office and ask what you need to do for a change of address. Next contact all creditors, magazine subscriptions and anyone else that you could miss an issue or bill.

3. Set Up Utilities

This can be as simple as contacting the previous owners for the utilities companies’ contact information when you’re moving into a preowned home. You will want to have the basic services in your name before you move in these include electricity, gas, water, sewer, garbage, cable, internet and possibly telephone.

4. Locate Necessary Features (main breaker, water shut offs, smoke detectors, etc)

In case of an emergency, you need to know where the main circuit breaker is located along with the location of the water shut offs. Make sure that you understand the labeling on the breaker. Label it yourself before moving in if it is unlabeled.

5. Clean, Clean, Clean

One you have the utilities turned on, you are ready to start freshening up your new home. Some folks may leave the home clean for you and some may not. In either case, it’s always a good idea to wipe out cupboards, sweep and mop floors, wash the windows and baseboards.

6. Fresh coat of paint

Once you have everything spic-and- span, you can apply a fresh coat of paint. This will be much easier to do before all of your furniture and belongings are moved in. Remember that you can always hire professionals if you are short on time.

7. Install new switch plates and other mismatched items

Preowned homes have likely gone through many renovations which can leave mismatched, dirty or discolored outlet cover plates. You also could find rusted, damaged or missing air vent covers. Replacing all of these to match creates a cleaner feel and newness to the home.

8. Install window treatments

Whether you are updating the current window treatments or installing new ones, having something up on the windows will not only give your privacy, but that added last-minute finishing touch.

9. And of course, send out new contact information

When you are all done prepping and moving into your new home you can send out new contact information to family and friends. You also can invite everyone over for a house-warming party to show off your new home!

How To Take Great Pictures With A Cell Phone (Apps)

hand-1148981_640Love taking pictures with your smartphone, but not a fan of how they turn out? No problem. When it comes to taking better pictures, here are some important tips to make your photos stand out.

  1. The rule of thirds. A big mistake that people make when taking photos is not balancing the photo, which can be improved by implementing the rule of thirds. To access this great tool, turn on the grid view under the camera settings on your phone.
  1. Look for the horizon. When it comes to photographing landscapes, look for the horizon or mountain range as a focal point to draw the eye to for symmetry.
  1. Fill the frame. Get as much into the picture as you can. When taking a picture of your friend, turn your phone to the side and snap a wider picture where you can get more of the surroundings in the image. Don’t put your friend in the center, but instead set them to the side (using the rule of thirds) to balance things.
  1. Avoid zooming in. When taking a photo from a distance, it is tempting to want to zoom in to get a closer shot of the subject. Instead, get a close to the subject as possible or crop the image later on to ensure you still get a high quality photo. You can always play with the sizing of the image later.
  1. Use the HDR mode. This is a great feature for taking pictures of stationary objects (but you’ll have to keep completely still when using this mode). The high dynamic range (HDR) mode ensures the lightly and shadows in a photo are even, which is beneficial when taking high contrast photos.

While you’re taking photos and building your memories, one app you should look into downloading is the PicJoy app. This app allows you to tag photos, organize them, and create stories to find photo’s easy and without the headache.

Have a favorite app you us? Tell us about it below in the comments.

Prepare for hike in interest rates, experts say

Originally found at KSL.com, by Bill Gephardt

SALT LAKE CITY — The Federal Reserve has kept interest rates at record lows for over six years, but financial analysts warn that’s finally going to have to end, and if you’re not prepared, it could cost you.

“The Fed is sending signals they’ll likely raise their rate,” said Shane Stewart, a certified financial planner.

Exactly when the Federal Reserve will raise its federal funds rate remains up in the air, but when it happens, expect big ripples.

“The stock market goes down and has jitters. It will affect credit,” he said.

Costs for anything we buy on credit will go up, Stewart said. With the average household hold nearly $7,000 in credit card debt, the increased costs for plastic will be one of the most expensive.

“If you’re already pinched a little on paying your credit cards, those rates going up will make things worse,” Stewart said. “The best thing that can be done for an individual is to minimize the use of credit and the amount you owe.”

If you’ve been looking into buying a new home or car, now may be the time while interest rates are at their lowest.

“It doesn’t mean you have to rush to the market because the rates will go up slightly and measuredly — won’t go up all at once,” Stewart said.

He said your financial house needs to be in order. A good place to start is by fixing your credit score. With slight rate increases, your credit worthiness may still be a big factor

“The Fed will have their rate increase. In turn, those offering credit will have their increase. They still make that decision based upon what your credit score is,” Stewart said.

And for the first time in years, your savings will start earning a little more interest.

“Rates are very low, which is great for your debt but bad for your savings. And as the rates increase, it will be great for your savings. It will help that a little bit,” Stewart said.