Colleen Griffin - RE/MAX Vision



Posted by Colleen Griffin on 5/14/2017

Having different types of birds in your yard is a great way to add a bit of nature to your house. With their unique plumage and songs, birds will offer you interesting sights and sounds. However, you’ll need to offer them a few things in return. To attract a variety of birds to your yard you’ll need to make it the most desirable place in the neighborhood to be. Here’s a guide to help you attract a large variety of birds to your yard and to keep them coming back each year.

Choosing your feeders

When choosing a bird feeder there are a few traits your looking for. It should be strong enough to withstand the weather and sealed tightly to keep the seeds dry. You’ll want a feeder that is big enough to hold a variety of seeds and is relatively low-maintenance. Hanging tray feeders are the most common type, and for good reason. They attract a variety of birds and are easy to fill and clean. A good tray feeder has a drainage system in the tray to keep seeds dry, which means you should buy a feeder with a mesh bottom instead of solid. For nectar-seeking birds like hummingbirds, you’ll want a few small feeders rather than one large one. Keep it in a well lit area near some flowers to attract the hummingbirds. They’re attracted to bright colors to look for nectar and your fake-flower feeders will seem like a good source if they’re surrounded by the real thing. If you want to view birds from inside your home, window feeders are a great option. Window feeders suction right to your window and will offer you a close-up view of the birds who will slowly get used to you being on the other side of the glass.

Keeping the squirrels away

Putting out plenty of bird feeders won’t just attract birds. Squirrels, too love to eat the various seeds that are found in feeders. You have a couple options when it comes to squirrels. First, you can just accept them as part of the nature of your yard. They, too can be fun to watch and are just looking for something to eat like the birds. If inviting squirrels into your yard isn’t something you can live with, you could try deterring them with a squirrel baffle. Squirrel baffles wrap around the pole your feeder is on preventing the squirrel from climbing up to the tray. However, some crafty squirrels can still find their way through.

It takes more than seed

Just having bird seed isn’t enough to provide for birds. Having lots of trees and water is also a good way to keep the birds around. Bird baths are one option. But there are other creative ways to attract birds to your yard like a small natural pool or waterfall. Having a bubbler on your water source is also a great way to bring more birds to your yard as they will be attracted to the sound of the running water. Add these features to your yard and soon the local birds will find it an irresistible place to spend time.




Tags: home   bird feeding   yard   backyard   birds   feeder  
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Posted by Colleen Griffin on 2/19/2017

Staying in shape during the winter time isn’t easy. Colder weather means less time spent walking outdoors, jogging, or riding a bicycle. The days grow shorter and we get tired earlier when to sun is already on its way down as we leave work at night. All of these things combine to make it difficult to maintain fitness during the winter months.

Luckily, we live in a time when we have access to several great fitness resources right from our own home. In this article, we’ll cover some important tips to keep you moving this winter.

Skip the expensive machinery

As many fitness practitioners will tell you (except the the ones selling them on TV), most “home gym” systems are overpriced, difficult to move, take up a ton of room, and will probably turn into a hanger for your laundry after a few months.

Instead of spending a ton of money on exercise machines, go out and buy a good roll-up exercise or yoga mat and a couple weights.

The internet is your trainer and motivator

Many of us who buy gym memberships do so thinking that paying for something monthly will motivate us to use it. It’s easy to slip out of your schedule, however, and find yourself paying for a service you don’t use. Gyms that charge low monthly membership fees often have hefty cancellation fees. These gyms sign so many people up and then depend on them not to come every day, otherwise they would be extremely overcrowded.

Save your money, and try out various free routines on YouTube. There are videos in several different areas of fitness including yoga, pilates, dance, strengthening and cardio workouts, or even hula hooping.  

Don’t let impossible ideals ruin your good time

Fitness should be fun and rewarding. If you want to stick to it, choose an activity that you enjoy and don’t dread doing every day. If you can’t think of a physical activity you actually enjoy (trust me, I’m with you), then make your exercise something you look forward to by listening to your favorite podcasts while you do them.

So much of our consumer culture depends striving for an impossible to reach body standard. It can be hard for us to ignore, since women and men alike are taught these standards from birth. But to have the best results from your exercise, it should come from a place of pride and enjoyment in yourself and your body, not shame.

Make it social

If you aren’t great at holding yourself accountable (you aren’t alone) or just have more fun doing activities with others, making your routine a social act is a great way to make it a more rewarding and worthwhile experience. You can get your significant other, children, or even a rambunctious dog involved in staying active through the winter.




Tags: home   tips   fitness  
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Posted by Colleen Griffin on 11/20/2016

Many first time home buyers think of the age of a home like a time bomb. With age comes costly repairs and renovations that are often avoided (or at least prolonged) if you buy a newer home. While it is true that older homes are prone to needing more upgrades, they also have many advantages over newer homes. What you don't often hear is that if an old home is maintained properly, it can be as good if not better than living in a newly built one. Old homes often come with perks that are forgotten or ignored in the buying process. In this article, we'll go over some of the best reasons to own an old home, and some of the things to look for when house hunting.

1. With age comes wisdom

Old homes are filled with history. From the people who built and lived in the home, down to the tiny architectural details, these houses will shed light upon what life was once like in your neighborhood. For those eager to learn about the history and culture of their neighborhood, it has never been easier to access historical data from internet archives or your local library. Aside from being historically significant, old homes are also aesthetically interesting. Depending on the architectural style and location of your home, it could have been built using any number of materials and techniques. Today, mass production has made home-building much more streamlined and efficient. Unfortunately, that has come at the cost of some originality in style.

2. Cost

In many instances, old homes are cheaper to buy than new ones. One reason is that sellers assume that buyers will have to pour money into the home to keep it updated and adjust the asking price. Another is simply that your average homebuyer values new homes over old ones. If you enjoy older homes, that gives you a financial advantage. For those homebuyers interested in do-it-yourself repairs and upgrades, buying a "fixer upper" is a great way to save money. However, be aware that some repairs should be better left to the professionals, especially when dealing with hazardous materials like lead paint and asbestos.

3. Location

America is a young country. So the oldest homes tend to be built in centralized and urban areas. That often means easy access to things like grocery stores, schools and highways. Aside from being convenient, old neighborhoods also tend to have developed communities and landscapes. The streets are probably lined with aged trees that provide plenty of shade, and there's a greater likelihood of having nearby parks or ponds.

4. Prime land picks

Older homes tend to have the best plots of land because, well... they got the first pick. As a home buyer, this could be a huge if you're looking for a larger backyard or one with great natural features like aged trees and natural bodies of water.   When you're out hunting for new homes, don't look past the older homes. You might find that they have many benefits that are great for you and your family.  




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Posted by Colleen Griffin on 10/23/2016

Do you ever wonder if those items stored away in your attic or basement are worth any money? Most people assume that their antique furniture and family heirlooms couldn't be worth the trouble of finding out their value. However, there are some items that are currently taking up storage space that you could get quite a lot of money for. In this article, we'll cover some of the items you're likely to have that are worth a lot of money and how to find out just how much they're worth.

Collectibles

Some collectible items gain value as the years pass. Sometimes a craze becomes so popular (i.e., Pokemon cards) that people snatch up every item they can find hoping that someday they'll be worth thousands. In reality, it's hard to know what items will be worth something decades down the road. However, there are many items that are currently very valuable that you might have laying around in your attic (hopefully still in the original packaging!).
  • Rare vinyl records Your mom's stack of dusty Kenny Rogers records might not be worth much, but you should dig through and old records and look them up online to see how much they're going for. Some editions of Bob Dylan and The Beatles sell for tens of thousands of dollars. You never know...
  • Comics Just like rare records, rare comic books can sell for thousands to serious collectors. Condition is key, but if you find any comics in the attic you should ask an expert how much they go for.
  • Musical instruments Antique guitars, violins, and pianos are highly sought after by collectors. Four things make an antique instrument valuable: the person who made it, the person who played it, the condition it's in, and the quality of the instrument.
  • Designer fashion If grandma used to have a taste for high fashion, it might be a good idea to look into who made her old purses and jewelry. Similarly, if there is an old wrist watch or pocket watch in the attic, see if you can find any details about it online.
  • First edition books There's a good chance your grand parents or great grandparents were book readers. They didn't have the internet or video games so what else could they be doing all day? If they happened to collect some first editions of the classics, you're in luck--The Great Gatsby with the original dust jacket recently sold for an incredible $194,000.

Artwork

You can probably guess that paintings by prominent artists are some of the most valuable collectibles in the world. However, it doesn't take a van Gogh to turn a profit off of some old paintings and sculptures that might be sitting in your basement. When we say art, we also include things like movie posters and old signs and advertisements. An original Star Wars movie poster can go for up to $100,000.

Antique wooden furniture

You've probably seen old furniture selling for thousands on television. The important things to look out for when it comes to valuing your old furniture are: is it made of all original parts? What time period is it from? Why type of wood is it made of? Which company crafted it? Only an expert can answer these questions for you.




Tags: home   money   antique   antiques   valuable   collectibles   attic   basement  
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Posted by Colleen Griffin on 9/18/2016

Buying a new home comes with a lot of new responsibilities that may have been previously taken care of by your landlords or parents. When you're out shopping for things like tools and cleaning supplies for your new home it's mostly guesswork as to which items you really need. Couple that with the fact that department stores are now filled with endless selections and it becomes almost impossible not to waste money or miss an important item for your home. Users on the popular online forum Reddit were recently asked what the most useful item for their house turned out to be that they didn't think of beforehand. Their answers, which we'll go through below, serve as great advice. If you're a new homeowner or will be soon, read on for these important household buys:

  • A step stool and a ladder You'll use both of these quite often, especially when you're moving. In my house there are a few top kitchen cabinets that are just out of reach, so I'm constantly pulling out the step stool. However, they're also useful around the house like in closets or reaching high spots while cleaning and painting. Equally important is a ladder. You won't want to mess around climbing on unsteady chairs for changing lightbulbs or smoke detector batteries. Plus you'll need one for access to the roof of your shed or house.
  • A whole-house fan or air conditioner When you move into a house, especially in the summer months, you're going to want to stay cool while setting up and cleaning your new home. A great way to bring lots of fresh air into the house is to use a whole house fan which draws air into the attic and therefore causing air from outside to flow into your open windows. Window fans are a suitable substitute, so long as they have an exchange mode to bring air in and out.
  • A bucket and a wheel barrow Both of these items are easily overlooked but will be invaluable when it comes to cleaning your house and maintaining your yard. Reddit user shuggins points out some of the myriad uses for a bucket: mopping the floor, pulling weeds, watering plants, washing the car, washing the dog, and even turn it upside down for a stool when you need a break from all those chores. And in the unfortunate event that someone is sick and queasy, a bucket can be a lifesaver.
  • Drain stops and screens It won't take long for your drain pipes to get clogged up with food in the kitchen and hair in the bathroom without drain screens. Plus, having a drain stop for your sink will turn it into--you guessed it--a bucket! Buckets are the best.
  • New locks  Who knows who has copies of the keys in and around your home. It's important to change all the locks, including padlocks to your shed. There are many horror stories of new homeowners getting all settled in only to be burgled soon after.
  • Batteries all sizes Reddit user typhoidmarry accurately describes the necessity for extra batteries when they write, "Your smoke detectors battery WILL die at 2am. It will." Play it safe and get extra batteries for your all of your electronics to avoid frustration and rage when you can't watch Netflix because your remote battery died.




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