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September
13

Happy Cat Month: How to Make Your Home Cat-Friendly

Home Improvement for PetsWhether you have one beloved cat or a full house with multiple cats, you want to provide a comfortable, safe, cat-friendly home environment.

September is National Happy Cat Month. Yes, there really is a recognized month when cat lovers celebrate their feline friends. Happy Cat Month is an annual event held in September that serves to inform and educate cat owners about creating a cat-friendly home. At Old Dominion Realty, our real estate agents take pride in supporting the well-being of our furry felines. Take a look at ways you can create a cat-friendly home.

Cat in Home

Create an Outdoor View

Although your cat may be an indoor-only feline, they will welcome an outdoor view of trees, plants, flowers, and outdoor critters. Cats are curious creatures, and they need stimulation to stay happy. If you're looking for properties in Virginia, many homes have spectacular outdoor views that will keep your cat mesmerize your cat for hours.

Keep Your Cat Active

Keeping your cat active will provide exercise and mental stimulation. Cats love to play, so they love cat toys with playful interaction. You don't need to buy expensive toys since cats like unwinding balls of string, attacking shadows on the floor, jumping up to catch a feather, and chasing toy mice. Taking time to play with your cat shows affection, creates strong bonds and promotes healthy activity.

Tabby Cat

Create Vertical Spaces

One of the best ways to create a cat-friendly home is by providing vertical spaces where your cat can climb. This is especially important in multiple-cat households where cats need their own private space. Cats love to climb and perch themselves high above the floor where they feel safe. If Broadway homes for sale have high ceilings, you can use tall cat trees with multiple levels, as well as cat shelves that can be attached to walls and windows.

Indoor Cat

Provide a Cozy Bed

Cats spend a lot of time sleeping, so they need a cozy bed where they feel safe. Some cats like to rest and relax in different spots in the house, so you can use soft quilts, blankets, and large throw pillows to create cozy places to relax in different rooms. For cats who like to hide, soft baskets and decorative containers are cozy options for Dayton homes for sale with large rooms and open floor plans. 

Buy a Scratching Post

Cats scratch to file their claws and mark their territory. If you don't buy a scratching post, you're likely to find scratches on your walls, cabinets, furniture, and upholstery. Scratching posts should be as tall as possible to allow your cat to scratch vertically at a full stretch. If you build a floor-to-ceiling scratching post in an area where your cat likes to scratch, your cat will love you, and your furniture will last a lot longer.

Indoor Cats

Buy a Quality Food Bowl

Cats look forward to eating their food. As creatures of habit, they prefer regular daily feeding schedules, food placed in particular bowls, and meals served in certain places. Cats are picky about their food. It's best to buy a food bowl made of glass, ceramic, or stainless steel so you can wash it. Avoid bowls made of plastic that can give off chemical odors because your cat will turn up his nose. An elevated food bowl will keep your cat's whiskers cleaner and out of the food.

Provide Fresh, Clean Water

Water is essential to your cat's health, so make sure they always have fresh, clean water. Most cats like their water bowl near their food, but some cats prefer water in separate locations. Cats are natural hunters, so finding a water bowl in a different room rewards their hunting instincts. Cats prefer water bowls that are filled to the brim so they can drink without putting their heads down. Pet drinking fountains encourage drinking while creating a playful experience.

Pay Attention to the Litter Box

If you have a cat, you need a litter box. Cats instinctively know how to use a litter box, even if they have never stepped into one. Make sure your cat's litter box is big enough for your cat to easily move around. If you have two cats, get three litter boxes. As a cat owner, you owe it to your cat and yourself to clean out litter boxes every day and refill them with clean, fresh litter. Dirty litter boxes can quickly create unhealthy, stinky odors in your home. 

Ready to find a new home for you and your cats? For information on Virginia homes for sale, contact us for available listings and prices in different neighborhoods. 

June
20

5 Great Ways to Add Personality and Value to Your Home

Add Value to Your Home
No matter if you're thinking of selling in the future or plan to put your home on the market in the next few days, our real estate agents want you to know there's never a wrong time to raise a home's value!

You don't have to spend tens of thousands to get a return on your renovation projects. Many projects are inexpensive – some, you could do yourself with only the cost of supplies – and the right ones are eminently worthwhile.

No matter what your timeframe looks like, you want to be sure you're making the right selections to make the most of your investment. Luckily, there are consistent winners that stay the same no matter what style trends are popular.

Let's look at them now:

  1. Refurbish the Kitchen
    The kitchen is always the #1 place to add value to your home. Buyers will spend a lot of time in the kitchen and family gatherings tend to center around the kitchen and dining area. With that in mind, they'll be giving its current state a close look.

    You don't have to start over with a completely new kitchen to get the benefit of updating. New appliances are reasonably inexpensive and will stand out to your prospective buyers. Updating countertops and finishes will also add new life to the space.

  2. Upgrade the Bathroom
    The bathroom is another area people spend plenty of time in but don't often think about much.

    To maximize value, it's always best to add a second bathroom if you can. If this isn't feasible, though, you still have options. Small touches go a long way in the bathroom: Classy towel bars, new fixtures, and re-grouting your tile will revitalize things with much less hassle.

  3. Brighten Things Up
    Color is powerful, but lighting has the most profound effect on the psychology of a room.

    People are subconsciously tuned into lighting conditions at all times, even if they don't notice it. The brighter a room is, the bigger and more open it feels. In addition to installing brighter bulbs, you can also bring in airy curtains and drapes to optimize natural light.

    LED lighting is extremely inexpensive and energy efficient – plus, it generates a tiny fraction of the heat associated with older bulb styles. This gives you more potential to add new lighting, such as under-counter lighting in bathrooms and kitchens.

  4. Add a Coat of Paint
    Fresh paint is an ideal solution for bringing a house in line with today's styles. Since would-be buyers form their first impression based on the outside of your house, an exterior paint job is just as valuable as anything you decide to do on the inside.

    What about indoors? Neutral shades, focused on living areas that form early impressions and stick in buyers' minds, are the best bet. If there's not much time, zoom in on painting trim.

  5. Do Some Landscaping
    Depending on where you are, your front yard could be a huge asset for your home sale. Many people look forward to the ability to have a garden of their own, and the stock of housing that offers this space is not always ample – but green spaces must be neat and tidy.

    Dark-colored mulch can rejuvenate an outdoor area quickly. Replace cracked or broken paving stones and concrete paths, too: Damage makes it feel like the space will be a chore to care for.

This is only a small sample of the many ways you could raise your home's value before it goes to market! Contact Old Dominion Realty today to find out more.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

July
7

10 Tips to Protect Your Home While on Vacation

Tips to Protect Your Home While on Vacation
Vacation is an exciting prospect that many people look forward to. Often in the excitement, small details are forgotten until the time to leave is upon you. One aspect that can be a concern for homeowners is keeping your house safe while you're away. The best way to do that is to take the time to plan in advance. Here are 10 tips for keeping your house protected when you're on vacation so you can have some peace of mind and enjoy your well-deserved escape.

Keeping Your Home Secure and Safe

#1: Have someone stay in your home or stop by frequently – A home that's occupied, even if it's for a short period each day, can help prevent any issues. Consider asking a friend, family member, or trusted neighbor to housesit or at least drop by each day to check on things. This can include looking for packages dropped off, turning lights on or off depending on the time of day, making sure the newspaper is picked up—basically doing things that let others know that "someone is home."

#2: Lay low online – Savvy thieves have discovered that the internet has a wealth of information. Once they see your family happily enjoying a vacation, it's fairly easy to find someone's address. It may even be seen by a friend of a friend who doesn't make good choices. There will be plenty of time to share your vacation photos and stories online, but do it after you get back. That way you're not announcing to the world that your house is empty.

#3: Invest in timed lighting – Not only will lights left on 24/7 end up costing you a pretty penny, it doesn't deter people who are really watching your house. Instead, invest in a switch that you can program. Varying lights throughout the day will make it feel like someone is there.

#4: Remove any spare keys – If you keep a spare key somewhere outside the house, place it inside before you go or give it to a trusted friend. There's no use making it easy to get in. Do a final walkthrough before you leave to check for any windows, doors, or other types of entries that may be unlocked as well.

#5: Get security and advertise it – A home security system isn't a bad thing. In fact, a good service keeps your house monitored when you can't. A sign in your yard only reinforces that someone's making sure your home is safe. Also, make sure to let your home security company know if you're heading out of town.

#6: Stow valuables – If you have truly priceless items, it's smart to stow them away in a safe or somewhere you're confident is secure.

#7: Turn down the heat – Want to save money? Turn down the thermostat so you aren't running full-blown while you're gone. Make sure it's not too cold though to prevent freezing. If you want to return to a warm home, have a friend turn the heat on the day before you get back.

#8: Unplug – Unplug electronics, toasters, and any other item you want to protect from potential surges or that pose a fire hazard when unmonitored.

#9: Keep some curtains open – It's a way for friends, neighbors, or the police to be able to see what's going on inside.

#10: Stop your mail and newspaper – Call to put a temporary hold on mail and any newspapers you receive. A stockpile sitting on your porch or in your mailbox attracts attention.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

If you're interested in buying your first house or tenth house, our teams of REALTORS® in Virginia and West Virginia are ready to make your dreams of homeownership come true.  Contact Old Dominion Realty today.

July
10

Home Security Checklist for Summer Travelers

Keep Your Home Safe While on Vacation

Home Security Checklist


July and August are hot summer months for swimming, barbeques, and vacations.  Did you know more break-ins occur during July and August too? Keep your home safe and secure while you are away this summer with these ten tips for home security from Old Dominion Realty.  Knowing your home is well-secured and under proper care allows you to simply relax and enjoy your time away.


#1 Secure Doors and Windows

While it may sound silly, but an unlocked door or window is a common entry source for potential burglars. Secure all your exterior doors with a deadbolt at least one-inch thick.  Install locks on all your windows.  Prevent your sliding glass door from being broken into by placing a metal bar in the bottom sliding track and secure the opposite end against the door jam on a diagonal.  Of course, remember to lock your doors and windows before leaving for vacation.

#2 Employ Your Neighbors

Your neighbors are often a great line of defense when it comes to home security.  Ask your neighbor to help while you are away.  Neighbors can hold a spare key and alarm codes for emergencies, keep an eye on your home, pick up your mail or newspapers, and water your plants.

 

Home Security Dog

#3 Hire a Pet Sitter

Keeping your pets at home under the care of a pet sitter or a house sitter may increase home security. A sitter helps make it look lived in and helps your pets stay secure in their own environment.  Also, dogs act as a natural burglar deterrent when they bark alerting neighbors to intruders.

 

#4 Maintain A Lived In Look

It is important to make your home appear lived in while you are on vacation. If you are not using a house sitter or employing the help of a neighbor, there are additional home security measures to follow. Install timers to turn on the lights, televisions, and radios.  Invite your neighbors to park in your driveway.  Allow your A/C to run on its lowest setting or use a programmable thermostat to switch it on and off throughout the day.

 

Home Security Mail Service

#5 Stop the Mail

Contact your local Post Office to stop mail delivery while you are away.

#6 Think Socially

In today's digital world, we often post our plans online without a second thought.  Avoid mentioning your vacation plans on social media.  After all, you do not want to advertise a vulnerability in your home security.

Home Security Alarm

#7 Use Your Alarm

Your alarm is a key tool in home security.  Make sure it is set before leaving and make your monitoring company aware you will be out of town.

 

#8 Windows and Blinds

Closing all your blinds and curtains could indicate you are away from home.  Keep things looking normal by positioning window treatments as you normally do during the day.

 

Home Security Lawn

#9 Don't Forget the Lawn

An unkempt lawn is a key sign that your home is unoccupied.  Keep your home safe by hiring someone to take care of the yard while you are on vacation.

 

#10 Unplug Your Garage Door

Don't forget to unplug your electronic garage door opener before leaving for vacation.  This makes it difficult for a burglar to use a universal remote to enter your home.  Unplug electronic devices--like the television--to protect them from power surges.

 Contact Old Dominion Realty

Old Dominion Realty for Homes in Virginia and West Virginia

Contact Old Dominion Realty to find homes for sale in eastern West Virginia and the central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

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