To Paint or Not to Paint Before Selling Your Home. Consider Your HOA First


If you're planning some renovations before you sell your home, you're probably trying to determine what will boost its value best so you can get out the money you're putting in. Pulling out the paint for some touch-ups may be one of the most common things you'll hear about, but before taking on such a sizeable job, it's worth considering the needs of your home and what you'll have the ability to do before it goes on the market.

Here are 4 important factors to consider before painting you home.

Your HOA Approval

Some HOAs will require you to hire an approved, HOA-contracted painting company. Others give you a variety of acceptable color choices. If you desire a different color, like a creamy yellow, you must go through the proper approval channel: submit paint swatches, list manufacturer guarantees, attend board meetings, etc.

The State Of Your Paint

To brighten a room and instantly improve the look of a space, there are a few things that will do the trick like paint. Often, a poor paint job will be one of the first things potential buyers notice when they visit your home, whether the color is dull or there are cracks showing. If your home's paint job is neither impressive nor out-of-date, you may not want to take on such a big project. However, if these issues will negatively impact your home sale, it may be worth the effort.

What Is Your Timeline?

There are many easy home fix-ups that can improve your home, but painting is one of few things that can take a lot of time. It's unlikely you'll want to shell out for a professional painter if you've already decided on a renovations budget, but if you don't have the time you may want to decide on a few problematic areas to paint. If the bathroom or the kitchen are looking weathered, focus on those areas instead of taking on the whole house.

What Buyers Will Change

When potential homebuyers are looking at your home, they'll not only be thinking about what they love, they'll be considering what they want to upgrade down the road. Unfortunately, painting is not one of the projects that buyers will want to spend time on as soon as they move in. While it may not be worth their time to move into a house that needs to be painted right away, it just might be worth yours to get out the roller.

There are several home renovations that can improve your home's value, but painting may be a necessity if your walls are dull and showing signs of age. If you're currently preparing to put your home on the market.

Playground Safety In Your HOA - National Playground Safety Week 2018 is April 23-27.


National Playground Safety Week 2018 is April 23-27. National Playground Safety Week is a time to focus on children's outdoor play environments. 

State laws and regulations addressing playground safety. 

Nearly 80 percent of playground injuries are caused by falls. Some of the top equipment associated with injuries are climbers, swings, slides climbing bars and jungle gyms, according to the National Program for Playground Safety.

  • It is estimated that close to 220,000 children 14 or under went to the ER for injuries associated with playground equipment in 2011.
  • 57% of estimated playground-related injuries treated in ERs occurred at either schools or parks.
  • Falls account for over 75% of all playground-related injuries.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has come up with playground hazards you should watch out for when taking your kids to the park. SOURCE  Click here to see the details.

Summer is on the way and so is outdoor play activity.  The sound of children playing outside is one of the many joys of the warm weather months.

Many HOA's have community amenities and offer community playgrounds which can be a liability. Every HOA board should consult a professional equipment installer to ensure that playgrounds are built according to safety standards and maintained properly. Inspections should be scheduled yearly to keep your playground safe and free from equipment failures that can cause accidents. 

HOA's should have proper Liability insurance for amenities including playgrounds, covering construction, maintenance and liability issues.  It is important when there are accidents or injuries that occur on common property. For example, if playground equipment breaks and isn't repaired, resulting in a child getting hurt.

If you are in a community and see problems with playground equipment or if a playground is unsafe, report the equipment to the HOA so they can repair it quickly. And remember, there is no substitute for parental supervision.

From the smallest condominium to the largest lifestyle community, resident amenities are a fundamental advantage to living in a community Association. These amenities may be as grand as golf courses, lakes and pools or as humble as a unique sitting area. No matter how large or small the amenities, prompt, proper and cost-effective operations are vital to that community.


4 Tips To Keep Your HOA Community Safe For Residents



The safety and well being of community members is highly important to your HOA. Associations should take every measure possible to adhere to all procedures and policies that keep communities safe.

Every association wants to make sure that the best quality services are being provided to the residents to ensure maximum protection for them.  The safety and security of the homeowners’ community is in the hands of the HOA or the management company..

If your HOA is being managed by a management company there are procedures in place for the prevention of unplanned accidents on the property as well as procedures on how to respond to accidents, fires, adverse weather contitions and other unforeseen situations that may arise.  Here are a few steps to consider to ensure safety and security for the community.

Revise and update security procedures

Devise a comprehensive security policy in collaboration with board members and make it mandatory that the terms and procedures are followed to ensure maximum protection for residents. Perform an annual review of the current and past safety and security policies and identify the areas for improvement.

Investigate the areas that may be vulerable to danger or damage and take any necessary action on what needs to be changed.

Collaborate with law enforcement agencies

It is vital to have open lines of communication with local municipalities, law enforcement, fire and medical emergency personel. Communication with local municipalities is important when your association needs to report street light outages or road and sidewalk problems.

Your HOA may need local police and law enforcement agencies to provide security during threats, events or just patrolling the community. Each board member should know the procedures for contacting emergency personel in case of emergencies or security issues.

Establish a close-knit community

Encourage residents to look out for each other and develop a supportive community.  A friendly neighborhood learns to look after each other, and reports to the proper authorities whenever they notice any suspicious activity happening in the community.  Neighbors should be wary of whatever is happening in the community.

A well managed Neighborhood Watch program is an important part of maintaing a safe and secure community. Your Association should actively recruit volunteers and hold informational meetings and special events focusing on community safety.

Give tips to the community

This also comes with keeping the community informed about the latest procedures, devices and looming threats. A community nesletter is a great way to communicate. The use of technology, such as email is a fast way to notify residents on impending adverse weather threats, road closures, ice removal and other important notices that need to reach residents in an expedited manner. Regular monthly published updates along with security tips, such as securing  the doors and windows, not letting children walk out alone at night, not letting strangers into the house and not giving away their house security codes to others.

Here is a list of reminders your Association can publish to your community members to assist the board and management in keeping your community safe.

1.    Is the garage door closed?

2.    Are all car windows up?

3.    Are the car doors locked?

4.    If you have a garage remote in your car, remove it.

5.    Are all items in your car removed? Remember, it might be only an empty store bag, but the thief sees a bag that “might” contain something valuable. Those cheap sunglasses looked expensive in the dark through the car window.

6.    Is the door between your house and garage locked?

7.    Are all home windows closed and locked?

8.    Are all doors locked?  

As a community member know who is on your HOA Board and who should be contacted. In the event of a true emergency calling 911 as your first step.

Each Board Member should know the policies and procedures set up by the Association or managment company and they should be followed precisely to avoid liability on the part of the Association or management company.

Association Management Group handles all of this for communities as your HOA Management Company. AMG also provides training for HOA's.

Happy National Pet Day! Your Pets Living in Your HOA

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April 11 is National Pet Day. While loving our pets is something we do every day, National Pet Day encourages us to pay special attention to pets. It is also a day to commemorate everything that our pets do for us on a daily basis. So if you have a pet, you can do something special for them on this day.

Here are 5 things you can do for your pets:

1. Take them for a long walk.

2. Buy them a special treat or new toy.

3. Spend a little bit of extra time with them. 

4. Give them a back scratch or tummy rub.

5. Take them to the groomer and give them a bath or haircut. 

After all, don’t they deserve it?

Let's look at your pets living in an HOA

It has been proven by studies that most homeowners select a home with their pets in mind. They are seeking homes that are suitable for pets and having nearby dog parks are a highly sought after community amenity. If the community does not have a designated dog park, a local nearby dog park is desired.

If you live in an HOA community, you have rules pertaining to pets. Many community associations institute rules governing the size of dogs, and some even ban certain breeds for safety and liability.  Each HOA has different pet regulations. Some have designated pet walking areas to keep waste in  a confined common area. If your community has dog walking areas, you may notice a waste recepticle and plastic litter bags. 

If you are a pet owner or plan to get a pet after you move into an HOA community, it is wise to read the rules in your HOA documents regarding pet restrictions. Pet related issues such as barking dogs, permitting pets in other resident's yards and  owners not picking up after their pooches' are just some of the most common complaints with Homeowners Associations.

Reading your HOA documents regaring pet ownership may keep you out of an HOA related complaint issue and keep you from receiving notices, or worse, a fine for a violation. Associations often don't have to deal with the homeowner about pet pooping because angry homeowners feel free to  confront culprit owners themselves instead of reporting it. In either case, it should be common courtesy for responsible pet owners to pick up after their own pets.

If you are buying into an HOA community, you can ask your Real Estate agent to do the preliminary work for you. He or she may already know which communities will be best suited for you and your pet. Most realtors are well versed in homeowners’ association laws, so they can quickly detect an issue for you. Ask your realtor to contact each HOA to verify breed restriction laws beforehand. It’s not worth falling in love with a home where your dog isn’t welcome. Once you’ve selected a home, ask your realtor for a copy of the HOA bylaws. Read through your documents carefully, and clearly understand pet restrictions. Many HOAs have  leash laws.

For more information on pet rules, implementation and management, contacct AMG. Ask about our HOA board training.

    AMG NEWS: Postal Service Offering High-Tech Way To Preview Your Mail. Letters & Packages

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    At Association Management Group, the well-being and safety of community residents is a high priority. Additionally, technology and government services that provide tools can positively impact communities nationwide.

    Association Management group would like to share this new technology tool provided by the United State Postal Service (USPS).

    Recently, the USPS released an online software application called Informed Delivery.  Informed Delivery is a free and optional notification service that gives residential consumers the ability to digitally preview their letter-sized mailpieces and manage their packages scheduled to arrive soon. The feature is provided at no additional cost for all Informed Delivery users.

    Find more detail here:


    Homeowners: 3 DIY Projects That Will Keep You Busy Until the Weather Warms Up

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    Do you find yourself staring out the window, longing for an early sunrise, hot days and late evenings? With spring just around the corner, it might feel like summer is a lifetime away. However, the good news is that you can be productive around the home while you wait for summer to arrive. Let's take a quick look at three easy do-it-yourself projects that will keep you busy until the summer sun is shining.

    Add A Splash Of Spring-y Color

    As long as you are willing to do the prep work, painting is one of the most straightforward home improvement projects you can undertake. It is also the best way to put your own personal touch in each room in your home.

    If you haven't painted before, it is best to start with a single room. Spend an hour or two watching instructional videos on YouTube before you head out and begin buying supplies. The colors that you choose are up to you, but if you are going for a 'spring' look, consider pastel colors including soft greens, powder blues and creamy whites.

    New Planters For The Garden

    If you have a flower or vegetable garden, building new planters is a fun weekend DIY project. You can make planters out of wood, but a more durable option is to use granite, marble or another hard stone. Simply buy four slabs of stone and a tube or two of stone adhesive. Line up the slabs together and, using a ruler, ensure they are at 90-degree angles. Caulk or glue the slabs on the inside of where they meet and then tape them together on the outside to hold them until the glue cures.

    Bird Seed Rings For Your Feathered Friends

    Do you enjoy the sound of birds around your home? If so, bird seed rings are the perfect treat to attract them. Creating these delicious treats is easy. Combine gelatin, corn syrup and flour into a thick paste. Mix this paste with a bag of bird seed, ensuring that it is fully combined. Then mold the rings together using a donut pan. Hang these tasty treats outside for your feathered friends to enjoy.

    Investing your time in home improvement projects is an excellent way to wait out the sunny days of summer. If you decide that it's too much work to renovate and that you would rather explore a new home, give us a call. Our friendly real estate team is happy to show you some beautiful new homes in the local area.




    With freezing temps and burst pipes happening with regularity, it’s a good time to encourage owners to acquire a homeowner’s insurance policy (“HO6 policy”) which would cover their portion of the master policy deductible after a loss.  If your docs do not require owners to obtain HO6 policies, you should consider an insurance resolution to modernize the insurance provisions.  

    MEEBpc Blog

    Going Green(er): 3 Common Waste Items You Had No Idea You Can Recycle


    Going green is not just for plastic, glass and newspapers. There are many items people use everyday that they don't know they can recycle.

    It has never been more popular to abide by a green lifestyle and develop sustainable living practices that will help the planet. Fortunately, while you may be used to recycling cardboard boxes and giving away your clothes, there are probably a few household items you didn't even know you could recycle! If you're wondering what to do with some of your old, used items, here are a few things that may be ready for re-use.

    Re-constituting Your Lenses

    It's common to think your eyeglass prescription only works for you, but an easy way to re-use old eyeglasses is to take them to your local eye glass store or even to the doctor's office so that they can make use of them. Not only will someone in need be able to use the frames that you've provided, your lenses may be donated to another person with a similar prescription who will truly appreciate what they've been given!

    Old Phones & Electronics

    It can be tempting to throw out an old phone with a shattered screen or an aging laptop that no longer turns on properly; however, with technology being obsolete as soon as it hits the market, it's more important than ever to recycle these items. Old technology like iPods, iPhones, cell phones, chargers and digital cameras can be taken to your local Staples and recycled as part of their e-waste program. Before discarding any electronics, you may want to consider other local places that offer recycling for your old toys.

    Improving Your Oil Change

    While there are many renewable solutions on the market, oil is still the most common resource when it comes to powering the transportation of the world. Fortunately, while an oil change may be necessary maintenance on your car now and then, you can be more environmentally friendly by going to an auto repair place that recycles and re-refines your oil. Before you make a trip to your old auto body shop, look at Motor Oil Recycling Locations on Earth911 for some options in your area.

    It's easy enough to compost food and throw your cardboard boxes in the bin, but there are many common waste items that can be re-used in your local community. If you're looking for ways to go green contact your HOA and request community events and public informatioon regarding recycling in your mero area.

    Spring Cleaning: 3 Weekend Cleaning Projects That Will Transform Your Home

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    The season of spring may be a time for blooming flowers and warmer weather, but it's also synonymous with the idea of spring-cleaning. Whether you clean out your house every year or you haven't seen the back of your closets in years, here are a few springtime projects that will instantly change your home – and clean up your life!

    Clearing Up The Garage

    There are few things that manage to attract excess stuff like the garage, and leftover junk can be an even bigger problem in a 2-car space. Fortunately, spring can be a good time to get rid of the excess and improve the look of your home from one of its main access points. By making a 'throw away', 'give away' and 'keep' pile, you'll be able to whittle down the amount of stuff in your garage and find a new place for it when you're done tidying up. It may be a bit of work, but it will be worth the effort.

    Re-Envision The Living Room

    For most families, the living room is the place where they spend a lot of time, and that can mean that it easily gets covered in a lot of paper and the furniture's a little worse for wear. Take a weekend day to clear away the excess, vacuum the floors and wash the walls. Change the layout for an instantly updated look. If you're really invested in a renovation, you may even want to reupholster a couch or armchair that's seen better days.

    Tackle The Yard

    The yard may not be a room in your home, but it is one of the first things that will make an impression on visitors and passerby's so it's important to keep it looking good. It's a good start if your yard is already clutter free, but spring is a good time to clear away the flower boxes and pluck the weeds, as well as cutting back any overgrown hedges. If you're feeling ambitious, you may even want to clean out your shed or renovate your patio for an improved exterior look.

    Spring-cleaning may be a dreaded term, but it can be a good opportunity to clear away some of the stuff you haven't used and instantly improve your home's appearance.

    AMG President Paul Mengert To Compete In “Dancing With The Carolina Stars:” Charity Competition Feb. 10 Raises Money For Operation Smile 

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    GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Paul K. Mengert, president and CEO of Association Management Group, Inc., will put on his dancing shoes Saturday, February 10, to compete in the 10th annual “Dancing With The Carolina Stars” competition to benefit Operation Smile. The pro-am event will be held at the Empire Room in Downtown Greensboro. 

    For more than 30 years, Paul and his wife, May Gayle, have regularly dedicated a considerable amount of their time to philanthropy and charity work across the globe. Operation Smile is an international medical charity that provides cleft lip and palate repair surgeries to children worldwide.  

    “I have been paired with a professional dancer in a routine called ‘Come Fly With Me,’ Mengert said. “I must say we have been practicing, and it should be a very fun evening.” 

    “I am excited to deliver a great performance, but what really matters is helping Operation Smile raise money to help children with cleft lip and palate deformities receive the care they need through life-changing surgeries,” Mengert said. 

    Mengert noted that every three minutes, a child somewhere in the world is born with this disfiguring condition. For every $1,000 raised, approximately four children with cleft conditions will receive life-saving surgery. 

    To donate to Operation Smile’s fundraising efforts through Dancing with the Carolina Stars, please visit

    For more information, please visit



    Homeowner Tips: Baby on the Way? Learn How to Child-proof Your Home so Your Baby Is Safe From Harm


    Do you have a baby on the way? If so, you are likely already wondering how you are supposed to make your home safe from harm. The good news is that with a little work, you'll be able to make your house or apartment that much safer. Let's take a look at how you can child-proof your home in under a few hours.

    Start With The Baby's Bedroom

    For the first few months, your baby will be spending a lot of time either sleeping or resting in their crib. You'll want to keep the crib away from any cords, blinds, drapes or other items the baby might get their hands on. The crib itself should meet federal safety regulations and should be comfortable without being too restrictive.

    Keep a watchful eye out for anything loose that the baby might be able to put in its mouth. All choking hazards should be kept well away from a crib.

    Baby-Proofing The Halls And Stairs

    Next, it's time to take a quick sweep through your halls and stairways. Once your baby starts crawling, they're at risk for falls and other issues. Go through your hallways and look for any items that the child might pull over. For example, if you have hall tables with plants or pictures on them, are there any fabric items which the baby might be able to reach?

    Your stairways should have some sort of baby guards placed in front of them at all times. If possible, you'll also want your stairs to be carpeted. This can help to reduce injury if your child takes a tumble down the stairs.

    Keeping The Kitchen Safe

    Finally, don't forget the kitchen. There are all sorts of dangerous items in the average kitchen, from heavy appliances with loose cords to tablecloths that can lead to utensils on the floor. In short, everything should be kept in drawers and out of a child's reach. Cupboards should be secured so that a baby can't open them. If you want to go a bit further, consider installing some padding on the legs of hard kitchen furniture and on corners where a baby could bump their head.

    It's almost impossible to fully baby-proof a home, but the above checklist is a good start. 


    Downsizing? Here's What You Can Expect When You Move From a House to a Condo


    Whether the kids have moved out or you just aren't using the extra bedrooms, having a house that feels 'too big' is rarely fun. In today's post, we will share a few changes you can expect when you downsize from a large house to a smaller apartment or condo.

    Why Downsize At All?

    As you might imagine, having too much space is the primary reason that couples and families downsize. Larger homes cost more to maintain and can feel empty if it's just one or two people living there. In many cases, old items and clutter tend to build up as there is so much storage space. Downsizing to a smaller home helps to maintain a lifestyle that is more efficient but no less luxurious.

    Ask Yourself: Are You Ready?

    Another consideration that you will need to make: are you ready to move? If you are retired from work, then you likely have enough time on your hands to manage a move. Conversely, if you and your spouse are both working full-time and live near your workplace, you may want to source a smaller home nearby.

    Don't forget that if you own the house you are living in now, this might mean having to list and sell it while buying your new home. This is a common situation and isn't a significant problem, but it will require a bit of scheduling and financial planning.

    The Hardest Part: Choosing What To Keep

    Ask any couple or family that has downsized their home about the toughest part, and many will share that it was choosing what stays and what goes. When space is at a premium, everything from shoes to appliances needs to be considered.

    Spend some time going through each room in your house, taking an inventory of what you have. Are there any family heirlooms or other emotional items that you can't part ways with? After that, is there anything that will be usable in your new home? Everything else should be considered fair game. Sell it, donate it or toss it out.

    Moving to a smaller home can seem challenging at first, but it is a lifestyle choice that can pay significant dividends. When you are ready to make a move, contact our professional real estate team. After discussing your wants and needs, we will be happy to recommend some perfect local listings.

    3 Easy Ways to Make Your Home More 'Pet Friendly'


    Whether you're moving to a new home or you have a new family pet, it can be a struggle to make the place a little friendlier for them. From the garbage can to the cupboards and doors, there can be a lot of dangers that have the ability to hurt your furry friend you might not be aware of. If you're looking for some simple ways to make their life a little easier, here are a few things you can do.

    Take Care Of The Trash

    The image of dogs sifting through the trash is common for a reason, so it's important to guard your animal against the dangers of the dustbin. In addition to taking out any perishable goods on a consistent basis, it's a worthwhile investment to purchase a tougher trash bin that your animal can't get into. This will insure they won't be able to get at foods like fruit pits, coffee grounds and chocolate, which can be very harmful to their system.

    Pick The Right Flooring

    If you have the choice, ceramic tile or hardwood can be a great way to alleviate the tidy-up of having a live-in pet since you can easily wipe or sweep away the damage. If this isn't possible and carpet is your only option, stick with something that closely matches the color of your pet. As well, if you're letting your pet on the furniture, it's worth investing in materials like leather and suede that are more durable and easy to clean.

    Give Them Their 'Space'

    You may not have to worry about cleaning up after your pet as much if you can provide them with a space that's all their own. While it doesn't have to be anything fancy or sprawling, providing a comfortable bed where they like to nap and a water bowl or selection of toys will do the trick in making them feel right at home. It may also have the added benefit of keeping them away from the family couch!

    Many homeowners are so pre-occupied with making themselves comfortable in their family home that they forget about the animal in the family. While it won't necessarily take much to please your pet, watching the waste and giving them their own comfortable area can go a long way in making your home pet-friendly.


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    As we start this New Year it is imperative that every association check the master insurance policy to ensure adequate coverage is in place.  Full replacement cost coverage sounds great but doesn’t mean your association is fully insured – especially older buildings -- which may require code upgrades following a casualty.  All coverages – including the often neglected Ordinance or Law coverage which is needed for code upgrades to be funded – must be adequate.  When in doubt, call your attorney and insurance agent and make sure your insurance is adequate so your Association will have a Happy New Year -  even if disaster does strike.

    Source: MEEB (Marcus, Errico, Emmer & Brooks)

    How to Become a Better, More Productive Homeowners Association (HOA) Board Member in 2018

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    Being a board member of a homeowners association is stressful. You have a lot of responsibilities over your shoulders. You must attend important meetings, take the right decisions and fulfill all your duties honestly. There is always the extra demand for your time and resources, thus, you must manage everything accordingly.

    So, no matter how big or small your homeowners association is, here are a few tips that you and your fellow board members can use.

    1.      Read your governing documents

    It is best to find out your role and responsibilities, and get used to how your association works as soon as possible. You must immediately read your covenants, by-laws, and all other governing documents. This way, you will know all the facts that will make it easier for you to communicate with your neighbors.

    2.      Review and understand the financials

    Go through the financial statements and in case you do not understand anything ask your board treasurer. You may even schedule an audit if the board is not satisfied with the financials.

    3.      Learn before you look to change anything

    Take your time and learn how you must carry out your duties. You have got a lot of time during your elected term so do not hurry. Prioritize your work. Take a closer look at all the processes and procedures before you decide to change anything.

    4.      Use all the available resources

    Look for other resources and mentors that may help you become more productive and effective at your position. Talk to people who have previously served as board members of your homeowners association. Listen to their ideas, opinions, common problems and challenges. Learn how they faced these problems and how they overcame them. It will help you develop the intuition to make better judgement calls and decisions.

    5.      Thing big, think long term

    Before taking any decision, think of its impact in the long term. For example, whether it is about re-carpeting the community room or sending an irresponsible neighbor to the collections attorney, think of all the possibilities that may happen. Keep your vision about your community’s goals in mind as you develop your next board meeting agenda.

    6.      Communication is key

    Make sure that all the rules and policies are transparent and there is a positive relationship between all the members of the board, and that the community is happy with the operations of the board. Inform your community about all major issues, financial results, opportunities and ideas. Keeping them updated about all the happenings is one way of ensuring their satisfaction.

    7.      Patience

    As a member of the board, there may be times when you encounter challenges with neighbors and other board members due to differences of opinion. However, the key is to remain patient always. Talk to them and try sorting out their queries and issues.

    8.      You are a fiduciary

    Always remember that you are a fiduciary whose aim is to serve their community. Therefore, all your decisions must be in the best interest of your community despite when they are not in your personal best interest.

    Let's Talk Fencing: How to Put a Fence Around Your Home Without Destroying Its Appeal

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    Many homeowners consider a fence around their property for a variety of reasons, whether it's to keep the dog in the yard or to maintain privacy. However, the wrong fence can entirely change the look of your property and make a beautiful yard a bit of an eyesore. If you're trying to determine what kind of fence will work for your home, here are some tips before you start to dig in the dirt.

    What's Your Fence For?

    Before deciding what kind of material to use, it's important to know what type of utility you want for your fence. While a stone fence may be elegant and offer a lot of privacy, it can also be quite expensive; on the other hand, a wooden fence may be more affordable but it can deteriorate over time. It's entirely possible you have a material you've already decided upon, but ensure that it's something that will live up to your expectations and have the functionality you're looking for.

    What's Your Home's Style?

    An imposing stone fence may be the style that instantly draws you, but if you have a relatively unassuming home or a more whimsical style, it can be a bit much for what your home. Instead of basing your fence purchase around the budget you can afford and the style you like, ensure that it will complement the style of your home and the yards surrounding yours so there is no marked contrast between your fence and the rest of your property.

    What's The Neighborhood Vibe?

    Most neighborhoods have a distinct style, so to get some ideas for what type of fence will work with your property, look around your local area. There will likely be homes that look similar to yours and they may be able to give you a good idea of what options you have when it comes to fencing. You'll also want to take note of how particular fences look around the gardens and patios of other homes, as these are features you won't want to obscure.

    There are many fences available on the market that serve every purpose, but it's important to be aware of what will work for your property so you can make a good aesthetic decision. If you're currently renovating your home and are looking to put it up for sale, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

    Winter's Here: Learn How to Prepare Your Plants, Trees and Other Landscaping


    From the approaching holiday season to the New Year, there are a lot of things to prepare for when it comes to the winter. It's important, though, not to forget about the needs of your lawn for the upcoming cold season. If you're wondering how to ready your trees, your plants and your yard, here are some tips for saving your vegetation until the springtime.

    Fertilize For Grass Growth

    It might seem like a waste of time to fertilize your grass going into the winter months, but this is actually the perfect time to prep it for spring. As fertilizer will provide much-needed nutrients to the grass in the months when there is less growth, it will actually stimulate improved growth down the road. It's just important to ensure that you provide a consistent amount of fertilizer so a patchy-looking yard can be avoided. Since weeds scale back in winter, like most other varieties of plants, it can also be an ideal time to apply a herbicide.

    Garden Plants And Perennials

    While plant maintenance duties like pruning can be done in the spring or fall months, it can actually be a better idea to give your plants the summer months to grow before diving in. Cutting them back will enable the plant to focus its energy on maintenance through the cold winter months, so it's a good idea to get to work in before the first signs of cooler air set in.  If you happen to have plants that won't last through the winter, you'll want to compost them so they can be used for soil in the next gardening season.

    Clearing Away The Wood

    Beyond the garden and the lawn, it's also worthwhile to provide a little care for your favorite trees before the winter hits. While you'll want to be cautious about what you do and may want to consult with a gardening professional, clearing away dead branches can help your tree retain its health throughout the year. You may notice the difference in your trees when the spring rolls around again, as they'll likely have a revitalized look and show signs of new growth.

    Winter is a busy time for many people, but it's important to make the time to fertilize your grass and prune your perennials so your yard will be ready for spring. 

    Location, Location, Location: How to Ensure You're Buying a Home in the Right Community


    When investing in a home, one of the most important things is buying a place that you and your family can feel comfortable in. However, while a place you can envision yourself in is important, it's not worth neglecting the neighborhood you'll be moving into for the perfect home. If you're wondering what you should be looking for in the neighborhood you choose, here are a few things to consider before making an offer on a home.

    Is It Safe?

    It may be common to feel bowled over by a home and want to invest immediately, but the right home in the wrong neighborhood may not be the best choice for many reasons. Part of feeling comfortable in your home is being safe among its streets, so ensure you research the neighborhood and its history, and check in on the crime rate. You may even want to consult with your agent or some local neighbors to see what information they can provide about the area's history.

    Are There Local Amenities?

    If you're used to getting in the car to run errands, it might not be important to not have a grocery store or pharmacy nearby. However, if there are no amenities you use frequently close by, it can start to be a bit of a drain on your lifestyle. While you don't necessarily need to have the trendiest restaurants or best shopping, it's important to have a few choice places in case you run out of something and need to make a quick run to the store. 

    What's Your Neighborhood Style?

    It might seem like a strange thing to ask yourself, but the neighborhood you live in is going to become a big part of your life and that means you'll have to see yourself in it. If you want neighbors you can trust and community-mindedness, you'll want to seek out an area with these qualities. On the other side, if you happen to prefer a busier urban atmosphere that offers more independence, this may be the way to go.

    There are a lot of things that go into finding the right home, but it's important not to forget about the neighborhood you're living in and what it will mean for your lifestyle. If you're currently considering homes and are trying to determine an area that will work for you, you may want to reach out to a local real estate professionals for more information.

    5 Key Maintenance Tasks to Prepare Your Home for the Winter

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    The days are getting shorter, the temperature is dropping and the kids are heading back to school. The approach of autumn means that winter is just around the corner. The question is – is your home ready? Break out your checklist and let's run through five key maintenance tasks that will get your home prepared to face the winter.

    Pack Up And Protect Your Outdoor Furniture

    Unfortunately, the arrival of winter means that the patio has to be closed up for the season. It's time to get chairs, tables and other furniture covered up or stored if you have space. The BBQ will also need to be covered or moved off to the shed or another dry area.

    Get Your Windows Ready For Cold Weather

    Next, take some time to inspect your windows for drafts, leaks and other issues. This can be as easy as shutting them tight on a windy day and using your senses to determine if any air is leaking in. Depending on where you live in the country, you might need to do some additional work on your windows to get them prepared for the cold.

    Turn Down Your Garden, Plants And Flower Beds

    Unless you have a garden full of robust, cold-loving plants, it's likely that you will see most of them die off as we move from autumn into winter. Spend some time turning down your gardens and other areas. This can help to move nutrients into the soil where they'll be ready to nourish new plants in the spring.

    Check Your Furnace And Heating Ducts

    If you haven't used it in a few months, now is the time to fire up the furnace and check the home's heating system. The last thing you want is to discover that your home isn't heating on the first cold night!

    Consider Giving The Roof And Gutters A Quick Inspection

    Last but not least, don't forget to check your roof for any damage or areas that might be prone to leaking. You will also want to check the gutters to ensure they are clear of debris. Keep in mind that this does involve climbing up a ladder and physically inspecting these areas. If you're not good with heights or don't own the proper equipment, don't sweat it. Give a professional roofing team a call and have them handle the inspection instead.

    The better your home is prepared for winter, the less likely you are to have a nasty surprise waiting for you in the spring. 

    7 Event Ideas That Your HOA Can Plan for Community Togetherness During the Holiday Season.

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    The Holidays are a wonderful time to bring people together. Young and old, neighbors
    gather together to celebrate the holidays with peace and joy. Most communities are very fortunate to have many diverse cultures, ethnicities, religions and traditions. One thing all people have in common is the belief that the holidays are for celebrating families, for helping one another, and for celebrating all that we have to be grateful for in life. 

     Residents who lead and volunteer on the HOA board often try to bring the community together during the holidays. They want to help residents get in the spirit of giving and sharing. 

    Here are 7 event ideas that your HOA can plan for community togetherness during the holiday season.

    1. A Charitable Donation Drive: Organize a toys for tots drive or canned goods drive to help needy families during the holidays.

    2. Organize a White Elephant gift exchange. Have the event at the clubhouse or common area and have participating residents bring snacks to share.

    3. Hold a holiday tree decorating contest. Ask residents to decorate small trees and select a winner.

    4. Organize a Holiday cake bake off! Have residents get their best recipes and bake holiday cakes and have the HOA members vote!

    5. Organize a community Progressive Party. Each participating homeowner provides a different item: appetizer, salad, side dish, etc and you eat "Dinner" as you move from house to house. Have a sign up for families that want to be involved in the event. Each family signs up for a time slot and opens their home to the group. First family has an appetizer, second family has first course, and so on. A few families can double up to lessen the burden of preparing the dish. 

    6. Recipe Exchange - Have homeowners submit a favorite recipe for their favorite dish: chocolate dessert, favorite side dish, etc. Have the residents bring a sample of the finished dish to share and share the recipe.

    7. Organize a volunteer day or evening event for your residents to participate in. Contact your local food bank or soup kitchen and arrange for your residents to help cook or feed the needy.  It's a great way for your community to give back. 

    Community events come in many varieties with many different purposes. The holidays are the best time of year to get people involved.  Regardless of the purpose or the sponsor, involvement in community events can benefit all involved.

    Announce a board meeting and delegate a special committee to start planning a holiday event in your community. You may be surprised how people come together.