School is getting ready to start all around the Northern Virginia area. Do you and your family have everything set and ready to go? Here are some of our favorite blogs and websites for gearing up.
This comprehensive list covers all sorts of "family" tips and rules. Pack lunch before bed. Lay your clothes out the night before.......... the things that will make life easier when the big day comes.
If your students are headed back to Northern Virginia schools, here is a link to the requested school supplies. Don't forget the tissues!
Contrary to your teen's popular belief, it's NOT all about what to wear the first day. The reason for the season is actually to learn. Here are some great tips to getting organized and ready for a great year. My favorite tip is #6 Get Involved. So many kids just go to school, do their work and leave. By getting involved in something on campus, not only are they increasing their learning potential but they are learning to deal with other people in PERSON and not just via their phones.
And, speaking of learning, this blog will help set your student up for academic success with some great study tips. I found #1, Don't just have one study space, interesting. I had always thought that your space was your space and that it was sacrilegious to change. But, the article makes the good point that changing scenery now and then can be inspiring.
We scoured the web for some of the best back to school lunch recipes ever. Be sure to check them out on my "Favorite Recipes" Pinterest board.
If you're like me, when growing up, I couldn't wait until that back to school issue of Seventeen magazine came out. Girls everywhere still seem to rejoice but now they read it online and can click right there to buy their first-day outfit. Me, I had folded tabs, sticky notes, and lists galore. Do kids today even know what sticky notes are?
In my school days, our "gadgets" consisted of a calculator or, if you were REALLY cool, a calculator watch. Now, there are things like note taking pens, the Echo Dot and wireless everything. This list will give you a start on what the kids might be pushing for.
Have you seen any good blogs or tips for back to school? If so, please share in the comments below.
Today we have a guest blog from our friend Keith Barrettat Vesta Settlements regarding Wire Fraud. This post originally appears on their blog.
Several attempts have been made recently in the real estate industry to divert funds from both Buyers and Sellers during the closing process. The fraudulent schemes typically involve the hacking of public domain email accounts (e.g. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL etc.) and/or the creation of a similarly named account through which the perpetrator creates a separate thread of communication. In these cases, hackers monitor the emails of agents, buyers, and sellers in an effort to gain information regarding transaction details. They then use this information and the hacked email account to direct transaction funds to their own bank accounts. Once the funds are wired pursuant to the fraudulent instructions, there is little or no chance of those funds being recovered.
These emails can appear genuine and can even contain the logos or branding of the title company, agents or lender. In most cases, the emails are written with a sense of urgency that the wire must be made as soon as possible, prior to the closing date. These emails often contain poor sentence structure, grammar mistakes, and the use of different fonts but this is not always the case.
Vesta Settlements takes necessary measures to protect personal, non-public information through appropriate information security and privacy management policies and procedures.
However, despite these efforts, cyber crime will continue and evolve – vigilance and consistent attention from all parties to a transaction are crucial.
Steps you can take to prevent Wire Fraud on your own transactions:
To download a PDF copy of this blog post, please click here.
Thinking of jumping into the Northern Virginia housing market? There is so much to consider when thinking about moving…neighborhoods, school districts, affordability, hiring movers, packing, unpacking...but take a deep breath, and let technology help!
Searching for a new home, buying a new home, and moving can not only be time-consuming but also very stressful. Thankfully, there are many low-cost or free apps to help you navigate your way through this complex process. These apps can help you search for homes based on your criteria, compare neighborhoods, compare school districts, and calculate mortgages to see if homes are affordable for you.
If you are searching for a new home, start by checking out these 3: Dwellr, Homesnap, and realtor.com.
Dwellr is run by the U.S. Census Bureau, so it is great to check out for accurate information on your potential new home and community before you decide to buy.
Homesnap allows you to get detailed information about a property based on a photo you take of the property. You can also use this app to share information with your realtor, aiding in the communication process when comparing homes and organizing your search.
Some apps, such as realtor.com, will even update you when there are new listings, price drops, open houses and home sales to keep you informed in this dynamic market.
Once you have made that big decision of which new home is right for you and your purchase plans are in place, then it’s time to turn your attention to your actual move. Relocation apps can provide valuable help and advice when moving to a new area.
For your moving plans, be sure to look into these helpful relocation apps: Moveadvisor, Moveatlas, Sortly, and Unpakt.
Moveadvisor can help you take an inventory of your home, find movers around you, establish a timeline for your move, and get free quotes from moving companies.
Moveatlas provides users with checklists, packing lists, a planner for organizing all of those time-sensitive tasks of moving, and even a moving day checklist.
Sortly is another one for those who love to take photographs. This app helps you track your property by sorting and inventorying your possessions through photographs to help simplify the packing and unpacking process. Need to find that coffee mug the morning after the move? No problem...you’ll know which box to check!
Need to find a reputable moving company? See prices and reviews with Unpakt. With this app, you can compare moving companies and see guaranteed price quotes based on the list of items you actually plan to move. You can also access a moving timeline for the weeks before you move so you can plan effectively, stay on track, and hopefully help reduce the last-minute stress of the big move.
Remember, apps are great but you still need a Realtor to guide you through the process. Be sure to ask them what apps they suggest.
Apps can help you find a new home per your most important criteria, decide if it’s affordable for you, and then assist you with planning your big move. You can stay on track with your moving process and keep your belongings organized - all with the help of these creative apps. So, take out some of the guesswork, uncertainty, and stress of moving with the technology you have available to you at your fingertips...you’ll APPreciate the apps! And, when you're ready to take that leap on a Northern Virginia home, give me a call. I'd be happy to help.
Summer is the time for fun and relaxation whether it's a big trip or a stay-cation. But, it's also when many injuries occur. Here are some tips we've pulled together for summer safety around the home.
Beware of Poison Ivy- The old saying "leaves of 3 let them be" is important when working out in the yard and clearing weeds. Wearing long sleeves and garden gloves are step one in preventing poison ivy but also be sure to always wash up well and even consider showering after working in the yard to get any leftover weed remnants off.
Sunburn- Need we say it? Wear sunscreen! Even on cloudy days, the sun can get through and still cause a burn. Most people forget to put sunscreen on the back of their neck and the tips of their ears so make sure to get those covered. A hat or even some of the newer sun blocking clothing can also be helpful. And, speaking of the sun, protect your eyes with some good, dark sunglasses.
Pools- While pools offer the most summer fun you can have in your yard, they are also potentially dangerous. Make sure that no one ever swims alone. Be sure to remind people not to run or dive where they shouldn't. Be certain that a cell phone is nearby in case of emergency. And, if you own the pool, it would be in your best interest to take some safety and CPR classes from the local Red Cross or YMCA. While swimming, also be sure to keep an eye on that sunburn. See above for more on that.
Backing Out of your driveway- Summertime is when kids seem to run rampant in the neighborhood and not all of them are well-supervised or trained on safety. When backing out of your driveway or garage, be sure to take extra precaution to look around the vehicle to know what is going on in your surroundings. Don't just count on mirrors and video to do the job for you.
Grills/firepits- Nothing says "summer" like an amazing burger on the grill or some marshmallows roasted over the fire pit. Be sure to keep these things far enough away from the house so as not to catch your eaves on fire. Also, beware of dry grasses underneath or dry leaves above. As with the pool, it's a good idea to keep a cell phone handy when fire is part of the fun. Also, a fire extinguisher would be handy to keep around.
Bug bites/ticks- Summer sun brings all sorts out for the fun, including mosquitoes and ticks. Using either a natural or store bought bug repellent will help keep them at bay. If it's not too hot, thin long sleeves and pants are also helpful. Upon going back indoors, be sure to do a quick "tick check" on yourself, your kids and your furry friends.
Fence closed- Though it seems a little odd to bring it up, be sure to remind older kids to keep your gate closed if you have a fenced in yard. Not only does that help to keep predators and stray animals out of your yard, but it will help keep your smaller children and animals where they belong inside the fence.
All these tips aside, the most important tip to remember in the summer time is to have fun. This is the time that many of the best home memories are made. Enjoy the season and each other.