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Monday, March 28, 2011

If you're a Veteran or know a Veteran, the websites below provide a wealth of information related to Veterans benefits, eligibility, where to apply, and how to appeal.  God Bless you for your service! 

Veterans Benefits, Eligibility, Applications, and Appeals - Warner Robins Real EstateAmerican Gulf War Veterans Association
Board of Veteran's Appeals
Center for Minority Veterans
Center for Veterans Enterprise
Center for Women Veterans
Compensation Rate Tables
Department of Veterans Affairs
Directory of Veterans Service Accreditation Organizations
Disability Examination Worksheets Index
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations
Forms and Records Request
Geriatrics and Extended Care
Guidelines for Chronic Pain and Fatigue
Health Services Research & Development Service
Homeless Veterans
Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom Veterans
Mental Disorders, Schedule of Ratings
Mental Health Program Guidelines
My HealtheVet
Online VA Form 10-10EZ
Prosthetics Eligibility
Public Health and Environmental Hazards 
Public Health/SARS
Publications Manuals
U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
VA Best Practice Manual for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
VA Loan Lending Limits and Jumbo Loans
VA National Hepatitis C Program
VA Trainee Pocket Card on Gulf War
Vet Center Eligibility - Readjustment Counseling Service
Veterans Benefits Administration
Veterans Legal and Benefits Information
VHA Forms, Publications, Manuals
VHA Public Health Strategic Health Care Group
Vocational Rehabilitation
VONAPP online
Web Automated Reference Material System (WARMS)
War-Related Illness and Injury Study Center - New Jersey
Welcome to the GI Bill Web Site

As always, Veterans information is provided as a courtesy by your Warner Robins Realtor.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

The old adage, you only get one opportunity to make a good first impression, definitely applies in real estate.  As a homeowner you have nurtured your house, crafting it into your own personal oasis, yet if it is cluttered it may give potential buyers a sense you have neglected the property.  Whether you live in Warner Robins GA, Austin Texas, or anyplace in between, keeping clutter to a minimum will enhance your opportunity to sale.  

It took years to collect all the knick-knacks, tchotckes, and keepsakes so having a plan to streamline your home is the key.  It is a guarantee, buyers will look in, under, behind, and around every space in the home so every effort should be made to give your home a more spacious look and feel.  Here is a de-clutter guide to simplify the process. 

Start in the kitchen

Remove, discard, or give away seldom used and mismatched appliances, utensils, pots and pans, silverware, and crockery.  Clear off countertops, stovetop, and de-personalize the outside of the refrigerator.  Clean out cupboards, drawers, the pantry, and refrigerator, reorganizing like items together to save room and show the space potential.  Only keep what is absolutely necessary. 

Tackle the bathroom

Clear off countertops and remove or put away all personal items.  Use drawer organizers to give a tidy appearance.  Minimize items in the bathtub or shower, using a caddy if necessary to keep products together.  Frayed, torn, stained, or old mats and towels should be discarded.  Streamline the medicine cabinet ensuring all outdated products are disposed of.  Buyers love a clean bathroom so clean as you go so your de-clutter efforts are not wasted.   

Bedroom, bonus, dining, family, and living rooms

Visible clothes, shoes, magazines, books, and toys should be put away, donated, or discarded.  Over-sized or out-of-place furniture and exercise equipment should be removed or relocated.  Knick-Knacks need to be kept to a minimum, as do personal effects such as photos and trophies.  Store all valuables and remove offensive articles.  Remember, buyers want to see less of you so they can picture more of themselves in the room. 

Closet clutter

Clothes should be hung up or folded in baskets or storage shelves.  There should be space between hangars and the shelves should be sparsely filled.  Remove as much out-of-season or infrequently worn items as possible.  Shoes should be neatly arranged whether hanging or on the ground.   

Garages, carports, and sheds

These areas are notorious for clutter buildup.  All broken, unused, and outdated tools, devices, and materials should be given away, sold, or discarded.  To maximize space, use shelving to store common and often used items.  Less frequently used things get placed in cabinets or bins.  Neatly display your wares for practicality and clean all visible surfaces. 

Outside the home

This is the first thing new buyers see so make sure it shines.  Clean out flower beds and gutters, clear off porches, and keep lawn manicured.  Mulch where needed, sod or seed bare areas, and roll up or put away all hoses.  Add, replace remove, or fix shutters, borders, mailboxes, and planters.  Paint as necessary and ensure kids toys, if present, are in a designated area.  Trash must be picked up and refuse cans stored out-of-site. 

The key to de-cluttering a home is to start early and cover one area or room at a time.  If it is a large space or congested with “stuff”, break the effort up into manageable chunks so you do not get distracted, frustrated, and quit.  Find a system that works (i.e. sort, decide, act) and repeat that method throughout the house.  When in doubt, minimize to maximize!

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

It is Moving Day!  Four words that suddenly have you all tied up in knots.  Did we take care of THAT?  Is IT resolved?  Are THEY on their way?  WHO is doing that?

Moving Day - Courtesy of your Warner Robins Realtor - Warner Robins Real EstateYou have been prepping for this day and are still not prepared as you would like.  Rest assured, it is a day filled with adventure, stress, excitement, apprehension, sorrow, and a host of other emotions.  Luckily you only have 1,001 things to do, right?!    

Here are a few tips to help you minimize the stressors so you can focus on the important things. 

1. When possible and practical, hire professional movers.  They do this for a living so let them.  Your back, legs, and mind will thank you. 

2. Clearly label boxes and tag furniture.  Putting things away at the new house is tough enough without having to relocate boxes or search for items.   

3. Keep the kids and pets preoccupied.  They want to help but the last thing you want is a child getting injured because they are in the way.  This is a good day to let them stay with a friend or visit a relative.

Moving Day - Courtesy of your Warner Robins Realtor - Warner Robins Real Estate4. Enlist the help of friends/family (if moving yourself) - The more help you have the quicker the move will be. 

5. If you have hired out, be present for the pickup and delivery.  Check the movers inventory sheets, ensuring all items are accounted for.  If possible, give the movers a pre-inventory list with serial numbers, make, and model of your key possessions.  

6. Coordinate with the neighbors.  It is a courtesy and you will need space for the moving truck(s) or friends/family vehicles.  Most neighbors are happy to oblige so give them a heads-up to keep tensions at a minimum.

7. Start/stop all essential services such as mail, utilities, and insurance.

8. Provide refreshments.  Water, snacks, lunch, etc. are always appreciated.

Moving Day - Courtesy of your Warner Robins Realtor - Warner Robins Real Estate9. Either hand-carry or send valuables via registered/insured mail services. 

10. Prepare a must-have kit for the new home.  Items such as alarm clocks, box cutters, change of clothes, pain relievers, snacks, disposable dishware, extension cords/batteries, linens, medications, basic tools, cleaning supplies/trash bags, pet food, toilet paper, work gloves, and toys for the kids should be handy. 

11. Do a last minute walkthrough to ensure you have not left anything behind.  Lock the doors and windows, turn off thermostat/lights (if applicable), and clean if necessary. 

Moving is stressful but with a little organization and preparation you can make it a fun experience for the family.  So, which box is the tv remote in again?  

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Your Warner Robins RealtorHave you noticed…the home buying process is like trying to have a baby.  Inter-personal interaction, quickly followed by hope, queasiness, angst, and finally joy.

Agent/buyer conception is where ownership anticipation and home search repetition reign supreme.  Can we look in both the mornings and evenings?  How about all day?  Agents will clear their calendars and assist anytime their services are needed.

Found your dream house?  Welcome to the euphoric “can’t believe this is about to be our home” stage where six-leaf clovers and lottery wins are possible.  It’s perfect for us.  Nothing can possibly go wrong, right?

Your Warner Robins RealtorBut wait…negotiation problems, issues with the home inspection, and appraisal anxiety quickly turn your future love nest into a room spinning, stomach churning, nausea induced train ride…destination unknown.

Finally, issues resolved.  Woot, woot, this baby will soon be ours.  Did we ask for the fridge?  Will Suzie Condo come with all her fixtures?  Sure hope the seller leaves Johnny Craftsman’s gutters.

Huh?  Wrong letterhead, missing documents…underwriting has hit a snag; closing delayed!  No worries, our agent is like the Oak Tree in the front yard…strong, firmly planted, and able to withstand banking/lawyer storms…she’ll save the day!

Your Warner Robins RealtorSigning day.  Aren’t they the cutest eaves you’ve ever seen?  Such strong columns! With a 2-year home warranty, this baby is healthy!  Life is good.

Unbeknownst to our intrepid homeowners, the terrible twos, adolescence, and the dreaded teenage years are just a cracked foundation away.

Looking for a professional real estate agent to lead you through the home purchase life-cycle? Call a local Realtor® today!

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