Teenagers and snooping- To Snoop or Not to Snoop?
Granted, the teen years are harrowing times and worrisome for every parent on the face of the planet. But is snooping on your teen really the best solution? Guess what – there’s a better way to find out what’s going on with your young adult … and you might just accomplish some relationship-building in the process.

Before you snoop, make sure to ask yourself these questions. Is there really something you should be afraid of or are you just curious? If you don’t have evidence that your child could be in danger then simply ask them what’s going on before choosing to snoop. Asking before snooping will cause your child to respect you more as a parent, as opposed to hating you for rifling through his or her top drawer.

If you are still uncertain whether or not your child is telling you the truth, lay some ground rules and explain your position. Explain your position on matters like drugs, alcohol, Facebook, etc. so that your child knows where you’re coming from and how you feel. This conversation can assert your authority for the future.and snooping- You should also model what you want your child to be like. You wouldn’t want your child snooping through your things, so you should trust your child enough not to snoop through theirs. This will increase the respect between you and your child.

Lastly, before you snoop, think back to your teen years. I’m sure there were some things you hid from your parents…and you managed to turn out just fine. Take a step back and trust that you are raising your children right and that they are making good decisions.

Source: SWparents.com

Home staging will help you sell your house faster. When you show your home’s best features by staging it effectively, you help increase your final selling price without breaking the bank. In fact, on average, sellers receive $2 in increased sale price for every $1 they put into staging a home. As the infographic below shows, the following five golden rules of home staging will help you show off its best assets.

Rule #1- Depersonalize your house

Buyers need to picture themselves in your home, not you. Remove photos, trophies, personal items from your home. They are a distraction to a buyer.

Rule #2- Declutter and Maximize space

Clear closets of unnecessary clutter- it makes your closets look larger. Use boxes stacked together to hide your clutter. Use matching hangers for a modern and clean look. Use gender neutral colors, and try to create a focal point for each room. Remove anything not related to sleep from the bedrooms, such as televisions or office furniture.

Rule #3- Clean your home

The easiest and cheapest way to stage your home is to clean it. Wash dirty dishes; clean floors, walls, baseboards, ceiling fans and windows. Clear off countertops. Put white bath and hand towels in the bathroom. Clean shower doors.

Rule #4- Modernize

Modernize your cabinets with a coat of stain or paint. Replace brass or wooden cabinet hardware with brushed silver or stainless steel. Clean your refrigerator, sink, inside of oven and declutter kitchen cabinets and drawers. Remove rugs. Flat appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerators can be updated quickly, using stainless steel stick-on coverings or specialty appliance paints.

 

Rule #5- Neutralize

Paint your home neutral colors. Depersonalize each room. Maximize all available space.

Painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to update your home. Window treatments can also help to make a room feel larger. Use neutral color curtains and thin rods to hold them.

Tips taken from blog.rismedia.com. When you are ready to sell your home, contact Dupont Real Estate. We are here for you.

Tips to protect your home

Tips to protect your home:  If you are going to be away from your home for an extended period of time, be sure to take some safety precautions before leaving to make sure your home and possessions are safe.

For starters, make sure to not post on social media sites about your being away before your departure. The less people who know about your vacant house, the better. And speaking of that vacant house, try to make it so that your home looks “lived in” even when you are away. Set your lights to turn on and off with a timer and leave a car parked in the driveway at all times. These small steps alone will deter any burglars or unwanted guests from entering your property.Tips to protect your home

Make sure to stop your mail or have a neighbor bring it in for you. Hiring a house sitter is also a great idea to amp up your home’s security. Install deadbolts on doors and make sure all windows are covered.

Another often-overlooked idea: Make sure all of your insurance policies are up-to-date and accurate. Keep this information secure in a fire-proof safe. You aren’t going to be taking every valuable possession with you, so be sure that the ones you do leave behind are completely covered in the case of a burglary, vandalism or fire.

With the proper protection in place,  and these tips to protect your home, your mind can rest easy and be focused on your trip at hand.

Special Seeing-Eye Animal instead of a seeing-eye dog. 

Instead of a seeing-eye dog, Renata di Pietro of Cleveland, GA, relies on a different animal to guide her through life – her miniature horse, Angel.

di Pietro has had guide dogs her whole life, but it got to a point where it was just too heartbreaking for her to handle since guide dogs only work or live for 6-10 years.

“It’s very painful, because you love each one with all your heart,” says Renata.
But then in 2007, on the hunt for another dog, Renata thought about a friend who had a mini horse as her guide. They’re rare: Experts estimate that there are just a dozen or so of them at work in the United States. Renata knew from her friend that mini horses are calm, strong and typically live for 30 years or more.Special Seeing-Eye Animal- article from your Charlotte realtor

Renata paid a breeder $3,000 for Angel (many mini horses are available for $1,000 or less), and hired trainers she found through word of mouth to help ready the horse for service. She also paid $350 for a special harness, but the rest of Angel’s upkeep is pretty manageable: $20 a month for hay and feed, $20 every six to eight weeks for hoof trimming, and vet bills comparable to those for dogs.

Now when Renata di Pietro walks into a store near her home in, jaws drop, cameras click and strangers want to talk. “It’s like the paparazzi are after me,” she says, laughing.

The classically trained singer, who is legally blind, is used to an audience, but these days the main attraction is her loving miniature guide horse, Angel.

The one challenge Renata anticipated—her guide horse being denied access—has not come up. (Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, guide horses are generally legally allowed to go anywhere guide dogs can.) “The first day I took my horse to a store, a police officer ran up to me. I thought, Prepare yourself, Renata. But he just said, ‘Can I take a picture?'”

In their three years together, Renata has come to rely on Angel for much more than sight. “She’s my own personal war horse. We’re fighting a battle for my independence.”

Source: Woman’s Day

 

Contact Dupont Real Estate when you are ready to buy or sell a home. We hope you enjoyed this article.

Outdoor kitchens are a interest of a lot of homeowners. Homeowners continue to cook up outdoor kitchens that in some cases rival their indoor counterparts. Yet some experts insist the popularity of outdoor kitchens has boiled over.

Belgard, a maker of outdoor living products, says souped-up outdoor kitchens include professional-grade appliances (particularly refrigerators and dishwashers), numerous cooking surfaces, bar-style seating and brick ovens, while Trex Co., another maker of outdoor living products, adds cooking islands and built-in sinks to the mix.outdoor kitchen DIY tips from your Charlotte realtor- Dupont Real Estate

“The whole concept of outdoor cooking has grown far beyond a backyard barbecue,” design expert Paul Lafrance, one of the stars of HGTV’s ‘Decked Out,” says in a Trex news release. “Homeowners are hungry for fully appointed kitchens with features like integrated trash bins, ice chests and cabinetry that add convenience and luxury.”

In a 2015 survey by the Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association, 35 percent of people who have outdoor kitchens said they planned to undertake upgrades within the next three years. Outdoor furniture purchases, deck/patio improvements and garden/landscaping improvements topped the list of planned upgrades.

“Outdoor kitchens make life easier for those who enjoy grilling their meals and entertaining outdoors, making your deck or patio an extension of your family’s living space. It also can enhance your home’s resale value,” the National Association of Home Builders says.

As you’d expect, the National Outdoor Kitchen & Fireplace Association is bullish about outdoor kitchens.

“The outdoor kitchen has become one of the most popular home improvements for consumers across America,” the association says, “and just about every consumer we speak to is either planning on having an outdoor kitchen built or it’s at the top of their wish list for a future backyard project.”

A 2013 survey for Casual Living and HGTV showed that 4 percent of U.S. consumers had outdoor kitchens, but it’s likely that number has grown in the meantime. The 2013 research found that outdoor kitchens most often are owned by wealthier, older Americans.

Ian Phi, publisher of the Patio Resource website, says the popularity of outdoor kitchens peaked a few years ago and now is waning. As a matter of fact, a December 2015 survey by the National Home Builders Association indicates that builders expect outdoor kitchens to be one of the least likely features incorporated into new single-family homes in 2016.

Phi says some homeowners have discovered that they don’t use their outdoor kitchens all that much, and that these kitchens are yet another area they must clean and maintain. If outdoor kitchens aren’t maintained well, he says, birds, insects and other pests might come calling.

“Most homeowners want to have some planned outdoor space,” Phi says. “It could be something simple, perhaps just a small area to put an outdoor table and a grill. Other people want to go all out and have a fire pit area, lots of custom-built seating, extensive landscaping and maybe even an outdoor kitchen.”

John Egan is editor in chief at LawnStarter, an Austin, Texas-based company that helps people find, schedule, pay for and manage lawn care services.

DIY backyard ideas

Remember backyards? Those things we’ve been ignoring for the past four months? They’re back! They might not be looking as sharp as they did before the snowfalls, but we’ve got some rad DIY backyard projects to bring it back to life.

1. Ground-level trampoline
Do you live in constant fear of your kids falling off the trampoline? Honestly—parenting fears aside—trampolines might be fun, but they’re pretty ugly structures. Well, with these sunken trampolines, you’ll never have to worry about either of those things. Just dig a hole, place your trampoline, and voila!

2. The only thing better than a tree house
Looking for a treehouse alternative, something that looks nice but offered a little distance from the main house? What about a garden house, originally for children to play in and now a perfect woman cave. Moral of the story: your treehouse need not be on a tree.

3. Tin can lanterns
This project is both DIY and eco-friendly (because recycling is good). They are easy to make, and will elevate your backyard to the next level. It’s a win-win!

4. How about some outdoor Tic Tac Toe?
Not only is Tic Tac Toe the best (especially when you’re super good at it), but it also scores high in decorative value. With little effort, you’ll come across as cool and tasteful.

5. Vertical garden
Since we’ve already installed a sunken trampoline, a play house/woman cave, and have a Tic Tac Toe board lying around, how about we go for space efficiency with this one? A vertical garden can cover any and all walls. It looks good, it smells nice, and you can eat it! That is the best of all the worlds, if you ask me.

6. Last but not least, a fire pit
If you can’t roast s’mores in your backyard, is it even a backyard? I’m going to go with no. This DIY project costs only $60 to make, but look how fancy. This fire pit will make the perfect centerpiece for the intense fantasy backyard we just built together. (Also: s’mores.)

An awesome backyard is just one DIY away.

When you are ready to buy or sell your home in the Charlotte/Lake Norman area, contact Dupont Real Estate. We are here for you.

Taking after the Netflix model, Surf Air is targeting frequent fliers who are ready to leave the hassles associated with commercial air travel behind. The new airline is offering an all-you-can-fly service that allows members to hold two, four or six reservations at a time. The service is being tested along the San Francisco – Los Angeles route, but if you’re ready to say goodbye to airline travel as you know it, you may want to check out the Surf Air model.Surf Air

The goal of this unique business model is to remove some of the hassle and time commitment often associated with flight planning. Founders Wade and Chris Eyerley also want to introduce comfort and privacy to the air travel experience.

“It works largely the way Netflix does,” says Wade Eyerley. A $790 membership allows you to hold two reservations at a time – as soon as you fly, you can place another reservation. The $990 and $1,490 memberships allow you four and six reservations. All members enjoy the privilege of flying on one of the fleet’s eight private jets.

Putting a cap on 500 memberships to start, people are flooding in to become part of this new, luxurious travel experience. Eventually, Surf Air hopes to expand with more flights and more memberships.

Source: Yahoo! Travel

Boost Your Retirement AccountBoost your retirement account with these tips. Whether you’ve just started your first job or are well on your way to retirement, saving for the future can be a daunting task. Between monthly bills and paying your mortgage or rent, having money left over at the end of the month to actually save is easier said than done.

If you’re having trouble finding the motivation to start saving for retirement – whether it’s in the near future or a ways down the road – spending time with your grandparents or retired relatives and neighbors can actually help motivate you to plan ahead.

Older folks can provide you with important insight into your future along with some critical financial advice. Picture yourself at their age. Where do you want to be living and what do you want your life to be like?

Above all else, you need to set a savings goal. Pick a goal that might be a little higher than you think you can achieve. This will motivate you to strive harder to boost your retirement account. After you’ve set your goal, break it down. How much money do you need to save each week, month, or year?

If you follow these tips you will be on your way to a bright retirement.

Contact Dupont Real Estate when you are ready to buy or sell your home. We look forward to working with you.

Before selecting a real estate agent or buying a home, most consumers head to the Internet first. Researching homes and real estate agents online can get you ahead of the game when it comes to narrowing down your options. But with so many sites and sources to choose from, an online search can be exhausting…and sometimes futile. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the web when searching for a home or real estate agent.

When searching for a real estate agent: While a referral from a trusted friend or colleague is a great way to find an agent to work with, be sure to dig deeper. Search for the suggested agents on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and find out more about them. This will help you get a feel for who they are as a person and how they conduct business, including how they use social media to market homes. Another way to find an agent to list your home is to look at properties on the market in your area. Find homes similar to the one you are trying to sell and search for those agents online—they’ll usually have a personal website. Once you’ve narrowed down potential agents, be sure to meet with them in person and ask specific questions related to your needs.

The online open house never closes: All major real estate brokers have websites that showcase their listings. You can search by town, price range, number of bedrooms, etc. Also use the search tools available through major home listing portals. YouTube is also a new way to search for homes. These digital open houses give buyers a good sense of what the house looks like…and they’re open 24/7.

Do your homework: To ensure you won’t be disappointed or become emotionally invested in a new home for sale that is out of your price range, get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a property and realize that you can’t afford it. Online mortgage calculators can help you get a sense of what you can realistically afford. When you are ready to buy or sell your home, contact Dupont Real Estate. We are here for you.

Source: AOL Real Estate

Dupont Tips- 3 things you should not buy generic

Dupont Tips for you- from your Charlotte real estate agent.

3 Things You Shouldn’t Buy Generic

Dupont Tips- 3 things you should not buy genericBeing frugal is a good thing, and most of us are looking for ways to save money. Buying generically labeled products is one of those ways – and, in many cases, we do save money on these products while sacrificing little in quality.

But, consumer advocates tell us, there are times when shelling out a little extra cash for the brand name product gives us a better result. The experts suggest the higher-cost products may be worth the price for three types of goods:

Batteries –Whether for your car, your tablet, a smartphone or a kid’s toy, a battery should offer longevity and reliability. With batteries, you get what you pay for. The cost per unit of energy is similar, but reliability is not, and you will be forced to change batteries more frequently. With tablet and phone batteries, the difference in battery life is even more pronounced – and with car batteries, according to Car Battery World, cheaper models are often poorly constructed and made with lower-quality materials. This could lead not just to faster replacement time, but to damage to other components of your vehicle.

Some toiletries – You can do well buying generic shampoos or hairspray, but stick to the brand names with the deodorants, lotions, and colognes that are applied directly to the more sensitive areas of your skin. These items should undergo testing to be sure they contain aluminum-based compounds, parabens and fragrances that are non-irritating and effective at keeping sweat in check. Generic products, the experts say, may or may not have undergone the proper testing.

Some grocery items – Many food products have excellent generic substitutes, and buying them makes sense. But recent studies suggest staying away from some generic processed cheese products as well as spaghetti sauce, ketchup, butter and soda, as taste and quality do not compare to the established brands. But this is an area where taste preference matters. Careful shoppers should try and compare the brand name against the generic before deciding what to buy on a regular basis.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these Dupont Tips. Contact Dupont Real Estate when you are ready to buy or sell a home. We’re looking forward to it!

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