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.
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
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Revamp your space: Packing up your children’s belongings and moving them into a college dorm or even their own apartment can be overwhelming for parents who are used to having their family close at hand. While many parents choose to keep their child’s room as is, a growing number are taking advantage of the extra space by revamping the area, turning it into something that the rest of the family can enjoy.
If you’re ready to remodel—but not sure where to start—the following ideas from the Relocation.com blog will help set the wheels in motion.
Whether you work from home on a daily basis or are simply looking for a space to pay bills, the addition of a home office will help keep both your home and paperwork organized. All you need to get started is a computer desk and chair, shelves, bookcases and cabinets.
If you’re looking for a new place to entertain your friends and family, a game room may be the perfect solution. From board games to dart boards and even pool tables, a game room is a great place to house any and everything you need for a night of entertaining. Don’t forget to save some space for food and beverages.
Depending on how much space you have, your game room can double as a media room. By adding a TV, surround sound, comfortable seating and even shelves to display your CDs, DVDs and books, you can create a space that fits all your needs.
For those that love a good workout, you can easily convert an empty room into an exercise room. Whether you plan on incorporating a few workout machines into the area or even yoga mats, work out DVDs and free weights, having a place to exercise at home will eliminate the need to ever set foot in a gym again.
Home sales are all the news. By now just about every would-be buyer out there knows there simply aren’t enough homes for sale these days to appease the hordes of competition. But despite the shortages, rising prices, and bidding wars, more homes are expected to be sold this year than in more than a decade.
In 2017, the number of sales of existing homes (which have previously been lived in) is expected to rise about 3.5%, to 5.64 million, according to the midyear forecast from the National Association of Realtors®. The group predicts that existing-home purchases will rise an additional 2.8% in 2018, to 5.8 million.
“The combination of the stock market being at record highs, 16 million new jobs created since 2010, pent-up household formation, and rising consumer confidence are giving more households the assurance and ability to purchase a home,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yunsaid in a statement. “However, prices are still rising too fast in many areas and are outpacing incomes.”
Sales of brand-new homes, which builders can’t seem to put up fast enough, are expected to jump 10.7%, from 560,000 in 2016 to 620,000 this year, according to NAR. They’re expected to rise an additional 8% in 2018, to 670,000 sales.
New homes are typically more expensive than existing homes, as builders must contend with shortages of land and labor, plus rising costs of materials and difficulty obtaining financing.
The price tags of all homes are expected to keep rising. NAR predicts prices will jump 5% in 2017 and an additional 3.5% in 2018.
“As a result, buyers are compromising on the number of rooms, length of a commute, or other home qualities,” says Senior Economist Joseph Kirchner of realtor.com®.“Meanwhile, builders are mostly building for the mid- to upper-price range. This mismatch in supply and demand is making affordability more acute for those with modest incomes.”
In some white-hot markets along the coasts, prices are rising by double digits because of the dearth of homes. That’s led many current homeowners who might be interested in trading up to a larger, nicer home in their area to hold off—because those homes are simply out of their price range.
Bidding wars have gotten so bad in Seattle that buyers are driving up prices 30% over asking in some cases, says local real estate broker Chris Bajuk, of HomeSmart Real Estate Associates. (Seattle prices were up 12.2% year over year in February, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Schiller report.)
“It is crazy,” Bajuk says. “There’s strong demand and lack of supply.”
Buyers are coping by putting ever-higher percentages of their incomes toward homeownership—even when it means eating at home every night and doing without new clothes or annual beach vacations. Sometimes they’re spending half of their take-home pay on housing, he says.
Others are purchasing homes farther from the city center where they work, settling for smaller homes or even purchasing residences in need of some work.
“They may need to spend more of their disposable income,” Bajuk says. “Or they may need to lower their expectations on what kind of home they get.”
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Will Ramsey Creek Beach be better this year? Officials hope so
Everyone has high hopes for a smoother sail this summer at Ramsey Creek Beach on Lake Norman.
“We learned some lessons last year and are aiming for an improved start on the front end this year,” Greg Clemmer, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation superintendent, said.
As the only public Lake Norman beach in Mecklenburg County, the Cornelius beach’s inaugural 2016 season was filled with curious beachgoers, but complicated by overcrowding, the lack of adequate pedestrian/walkway access, and delays in getting a new traffic signal installed.
Last summer, the beach attracted over 68,000 bathers, which Clemmer admits was more than they expected.
[info]MY BIGGEST CONCERN IS THE TRAFFIC CONGESTION ON NANTZ ROAD, NEAR CATAWBA. THE REAL TEST WILL COME WHEN THE BEACH OPENS -Kim Goodrum[/info]
The crowds were especially large during the first month, resulting in traffic congestion on Nantz Road approaching the park and bathers walking on the street due to unfinished pedestrian walkways.
Coupled with the delay in getting a traffic signal installed, conditions for the beach neighbors were dicey to say the least.
“We had a constant line of cars turning in our driveway because the signage for the park was inadequate,” said Roger Morris who lives on Nantz Road across from the park entrance. “Coupled with people walking down the middle of the street, it was worse than bad. …
“With the new signs and signal, we’re hoping things will be better this year.”
Park officials share that sentiment.
“We’re opening on May 20, earlier than last year, to work out any kinks prior to Memorial Day weekend,” Clemmer said. “The shuttle buses will also be running from the park and ride lot in Huntersville right from the first weekend, new signs have been installed, and we now have that traffic signal at the Nantz Road/Catawba Ave intersection, which should help immensely.”
The county has also partnered with the Cornelius Police to have security cameras installed at the beach and adjacent parking area, which are monitored 24/7 by the police. The beach parking lot had about 130 parking spaces last year, but the county re-striped the lot and grabbed some spots from the boat lot so now there are 247 parking spaces, including 29 handicapped.
However, some neighbors on Nantz Road, a residential street that ends at the lake, still have their doubts.
“My biggest concern is the traffic congestion on Nantz Road, near Catawba,” said Kim Goodrum. “The real test will come when the beach opens. However, I do think the new traffic light is an improvement.”
Goodrum also said she thought the beach would have been better situated at the county’s Jetton Park, where she says park access had greater visibility.
The cost of installing a traffic signal at the Nantz Road/Catawba Avenue intersection, the only road access to Ramsey Creek Park, was covered by Epcon Communities, which is building a group of single-family, age-restricted homes nearby. However, the signal installation became one of the biggest headaches during the beach’s first year of operation, according to Cornelius Town Commissioner Dr. Mike Miltich, who lives near the beach. “The county had originally said the light would be in by last Memorial Day, but the road had to be realigned first, which required substantial utility relocation.”
As a result, installation was put on hold and the town had to station a police officer at the intersection throughout the summer season, for which they were reimbursed by the county.
To make matters worse, when Nantz Road was realigned, it was not wide enough to accommodate a left turn lane and had to be widened again this spring. “I’m not an engineer but I could tell right away it was not wide enough for three lanes of traffic. Very frustrating to say the least,” Miltich said.
The signal finally went into full operation in April.
One issue which will not change is the unique appeal of the beach itself. Lake Norman has more miles of shoreline than the North Carolina ocean coastline, yet Ramsey Creek Beach is one of only two public beaches on the lake, the other being Lake Norman State Park 22 miles away in Troutman.
Guardians of Ramsey Creek Beach in Cornelius aim for smoother start this season, the second year the public has access to this swimming and play spot on Lake Norman. John D. Simmons email@example.com
At Dupont Real Estate, we know our community and we know our market. It is imperative to stay in the know with our growing community! We are your Real Estate Resource. If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Lake Norman, Charlotte, or surrounding areas anywhere in NC, SC, or VA. We are here to assist you! Contact Us.
As the north Mecklenburg and south Iredell area continues to grow, so does interest in establishing local programs for the arts. Nowhere is this more evident than in Cornelius, where residents have approved $4 million in bonds to establish a new downtown arts center.
Each of the towns — Cornelius, Davidson, Mooresville and Huntersville — has an active series of programs and services tied in to appreciation of the arts. In addition, new physical facilities will soon be enhancing those efforts.
Blue pre-fab buildings are on the property next to Police Headquarters where the Cornelius Arts Center is expected to be built.
The focus in Cornelius is on development of a Town Arts Center near Town Hall on Catawba Avenue.
The goal is to erect a new building adjacent to Police Headquarters where arts-related programs and activities can be presented. Town officials are taking this effort very seriously.
“Beyond its prominent geographic location in our Town Center, the community and cultural influence of this facility will be felt across all of Cornelius and regionally too” said Assistant Town Manager Andrew Grant.
At the town’s recent budget retreat, Planning Director Wayne Herron noted the arts center will also be an eco-development magnet, facilitating additional interest in the Old Cornelius downtown area.
The town board has also approved a management contract with the Cornelius Arts and Community Center, a nonprofit organization. This will enable the center to start raising additional funds for the center as needed.
Meanwhile, property in the downtown area near town hall is being acquired for the Arts Center, including a 1.85-acre parcel next to Police Headquarters on Catawba Avenue.
Pubic art exhibitions are held at Robbins Walk, and the town has purchased sculptures to place around Cornelius. A Tawba Walks arts festival is held downtown as well.
While Davidson doesn’t have an arts center of its own, the town has perhaps the next best thing: a strong liberal arts college.
“Our town has a long history of supporting the arts in conjunction with Davidson College,” said Economic Development Manager Kim Fleming, “starting with the college’s permanent collection including Rembrandt, Picasso and Matisse found in the Cunningham Fine Arts Center and the Belk Visual Arts Center.”
Lectures, readings and performances are held year round at the Duke Family Performance Hall, and the Davidson Community Players perform at the Armor Street Theater.
One of the best known initiatives in Davidson is the summer concert series, Concerts on the Green. Throughout the summer on alternating Sunday evenings, the lawn in front of the town’s library is filled with hundreds of people enjoying the sounds from some of the best musical organizations in the Carolinas — all free of charge.
Although the town does not currently have a physical facility dedicated strictly to the arts, it does have two facilities scheduled to open in 2018.
Veterans Park in downtown Huntersville will have a stage and festival lawn, which will allow the town to offer more live music, arts festivals and performing art in the downtown area.
In addition, the town is having a new 24,000-square-foot Recreation Center built within the Huntersville Athletic Park on Verhoeff Drive. The new facility will have a multipurpose room giving the town more programming space for other art-related offerings.
In addition, the town hosts an annual music and arts festival called Hello Huntersville. The daylong event — this year on May 7 — features music and art programs along with displays by regional art vendors.
Similar to Cornelius, the town’s biggest connection to the arts is based on a yet-to-be-completed facility. Through a partnership with the Mooresville Graded School District, the town will be presenting many nationally known artists and plays at Mooresville High School’s new Performing Arts Center, which is cunder construction.
The state-of-the-art auditorium will be the biggest in the area with 1,600 seats.
“We believe the type of arts and culture this partnership will allow the town to bring in will not only provide wonderful opportunities for folks in our community, but also will have a great positive impact on our local economy,” said Stephanie Crisco, supervisor at the town’s citizens center.
Also new in Mooresville is SPARC, its community think tank. SPARC stands for Special Events, Arts, Culture.
“This volunteer committee is made of people in the community that want a say in what kinds of arts and culture are brought to Mooresville,” Crisco said. “We are looking for individuals who have a passion for the arts and bring their own ideas to the table and we can see how we can bring them to life.”
The next SPARC meeting will be held 6:30May 16 at The Charles Mack Citizen Center. Anyone interested can contact Stephanie Crisco at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 704-662-3334.
Mooresville is also home to Mooresville Arts, www.magart.org.
Construction continues on a new, 1,600-seat auditorium at Mooresville High School. Numerous art and music shows will be presented at the facility.
At Dupont Real Estate, we know our community and we know our market. It is imperative to stay in the know with our growing community! We are your Real Estate Resource. If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Lake Norman, Charlotte, or surrounding areas anywhere in NC, SC, or VA. We are here to assist you! Contact Us.
The use of drones to sell your house for real estate marketing saw a significant uptick in 2016. According to industry statistics, homes with aerial images in their listings sold 68% faster than homes with just standard images. Many real estate professionals jumped on the trend, using photos and videos captured with drones to catch potential buyers’ eyes and gain a competitive advantage.
But drones aren’t just great for enhancing your MLS listings. Many home inspection companies use them as a tool to investigate rooftops too high or steep to safely access. They can then provide their customers with high-quality photos of any damage that might have been missed during a traditional inspection. Inspectors can even stream video on a tablet or smartphone to show customers the condition of their roof and other hard-to-reach areas of their home.
Whether you want to ramp up your sales with aerial photos of your listings or your clients are interested in supplementing their home inspection with high-resolution imagery, you should be aware of the risks and know the FAA guidelines that govern drone use.
You (or the drone operator you hire) must have a remote pilot-in-command certificate or a Section 333 waiver.
The drone must not exceed 55 lbs. If it weighs more than that, it must be registered with the FAA.
You can only operate drones within Class G airspace (typically very near the ground at 1,200 feet or less).
You must keep the drone within your line of sight at all times, flying at or under 400 feet and 100 mph. Note: you cannot fly a drone over people unless you have obtained a waiver.
You (or the drone operator you hire) should have liability insurance. It’s also a good idea to obtain personal injury liability coverage in your E&O policy to protect your business if the drone operator unintentionally infringes on a person’s right to privacy.
If you’re thinking about using a drone for your business, be sure to check the laws in your state or country. The FAA issued updated commercial requirements for drone operation as recently as 2016, but regulations may vary depending on location.
What is the difference between a short sale and a foreclosure?
Short Sales and Foreclosures are two financial options available to homeowners who are late on their mortgage payments. There are different reason why homeowner would choose for a short sale versus a foreclosure. In both cases, the owner is forced to part with the home but the timeline and other consequences are different in each situation. Regardless of which approach you choose, always get legal and tax advice before deciding between a short sale and a foreclosure.
Short sale, also known as a pre-foreclosure, is a sale of a property for an amount that is less than is owed on the loan secured by that property. It is often used as an alternative to foreclosure because it mitigates additional fees and cost to both creditor and borrower. If your mortgage company agrees to a short sale, you can sell your home and pay off all your mortgage balance with the proceeds. In lieu of a foreclosure, banks will often settle for a short sale, because from a lenders perspective, it’s better to recover a portion of a mortgage loan than to absorb a total loss. Allowing both the lender and thehomeowner to end up in a better position. The negative impact on the borrower’s credit score is typically
smaller in a short sale than in a foreclosure, however, a short sale usually involves a lot more paperwork for all parties.
Advantages of a short sale:
• You no longer have a mortgage payment
• You are in control of the sale, not the bank or lender.
• You will spare yourself the social stigma of the “F” word, foreclosure.
• You can buy another home in 2 years, rather than 5-7 years, if you foreclose
• You save yourself the costs and fees usually associated with foreclosure.
• Your home sale will be handled like any other home sale, with respect and dignity.
Foreclosures are initiated by lenders only. The lender takes possession of the property, which was guaranteed as collateral for the loan. Many foreclosure takes place when the homeowner has abandoned the home. If the occupants have yet to leave the home, they are evicted by the lender in the foreclosure process. After the property is foreclosed upon, the lender puts it up for sale and uses the proceeds to recover the mortgage balance. Foreclosure takes shorter time to complete than Short Sale, because the lender is concerned with liquidating the asset quickly. Foreclosed homes are auctioned off, where buyers bid on homes in a public process.
Consequences of a Foreclosure:
• Stress and uncertainty of not knowing exactly when you will have to leave your home
• Eviction from your home, you will lose your home and any equity that you may have established
• It will damage your credit, affecting your ability to get credit, new housing and maybe even potential employment for a couple of years.
• You will lose any relocation assistance or leasing opportunities.
• The foreclosure is kept on a person’s credit report, forfeiting your ability to get a Fannie Mae mortgage to purchase another home for at least 7 years.
If you are having trouble making your mortgage payments, you should discuss these options with your lender as soon as possible. Be ready to outline your current hardship and explain the reason and why this is a long-term problem. Your mortgage company will need to understand the reason you are having difficulty in order for them to find the right solution for you.
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Advertising to sell my house can come in many different forms. Advertising is a communication intended to inform, educate, influence and remind individuals of your product. Effective advertising should capture the prospective customers’ attention and entice them to use your product. It should be catchy and interruptive, it should make people stop whatever they are doing at the moment, long enough to read, hear or watch the ad. Regardless of the method, advertising must be unique, credible, memorable, clear and consistently reflect the unique positioning statement of your business.
Marketing and advertising is an investment, not an expense. Enough money must be spent to provide a media schedule for ad frequency, the most important element for ad memorability.
Word Of Mouth
The most effective form of marketing is the word of mouth, the one that consumers trust above all others and the one that is most likely to drive sales for your company. Word-of-mouth advertising has existed as long as mankind has communicated and traded goods and services. People trust what their friends and family recommends several fold over any other form of marketing.
Advertising to sell my house with social media. Another form of effective marketing is Social Media Advertising. It can be through Facebook Ads, Twitter and Instagram among others. Using these tools for advertising gives you the option of being able to target specific demographics. You can target people you have not reached yet and try to engage them. Users don’t always make a purchase through these mediums, however, they can still end up liking your business which gives you the opportunity to create a database of potential customer.
Many other forms of advertising exist, such as televisions, direct mail, billboards, newspapers and magazine. You can try out a few different forms to see which works best for you. The most important thing is for you as the Marketer to focus on engaging your consumer/customer, listen to what they have to say, be part of the conversation about your product. You will have to understand your consumer/customer, what they like about your product and to provide whatever it is they need from you. Let them know that they are important to you and that sharing their opinion is important to you. At the end of the day if the product is good, customers will come and they will keep coming back. So making sure that the customer has a great experience is always the first priority.
Advertising to sell my house
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Mistakes sellers make can be avoided. When choosing a Realtor to sell your home, take time to pick one with an excellent reputation for listing homes. Choosing the wrong one will undoubtedly lead to financial and emotional headaches.
Here are several things to consider when choosing a Realtor so that mistakes can be avoided:
1. Hiring a Friend or Family
Choosing a Realtor, simply because she is your neighbor or family can be a very bad idea. Your top priority should be to sell your home for the best price as quickly as possible. By contracting with someone based on a relationship without scrutinizing out their credentials or references, the seller could be tied up in a contract that is not beneficial to them. If something goes awry during the process, it can cause conflict and can ruin or damage the relationship.
2. Listing with an agent who gives you the highest selling price
Choosing a Realtor because they suggest the highest price is a common mistake made by the home seller. You should hire someone who can give a strong market analysis to help you determine a reasonable price for your home and to avoid overpricing. It is important that your home is priced right to attract potential buyers.
3. Choose a Realtor based on Commission
Agents and real estate companies put up their own funds to market and advertise your home. Marketing and advertising will cost them money. So the lower the commission, the less incentive for an agent. A full service agent earning a full commission will often drop everything to handle any challenges that come along. If a Realtor agrees to a lower commission with very little or no resistance at all, imagine how strong their negotiations will be on your behalf when you receive an offer. The seller needs to have more information about the Realtor’s experience and success and not rely solely on the fact of lower commission.
4. Hiring the so-called “neighborhood expert”
An agent living in the neighborhood doesn’t necessarily mean that they are better equipped to sell your home than someone who does not. Knowledge of the local market isn’t only acquired by living in the immediate neighborhood. A full-time realtor can get up to speed on a neighborhood fairly quickly by extensive research. Remember, selling a home is not location dependent it is about having the business skills.
5. Picking from an Open House
Open houses basic function is to connect the Realtor to other prospective clients. Yes, open houses can sell homes, but the percentage is so low. It is more of a way for the listing agent to advertise and to pick additional clients. Good agents know better than to pin all their selling effort on an open house. They should use their time in more effective marketing methods, not directly to the public but to other agents. By getting other agents interested in your home, your listing agent multiplies your sales force beyond just one individual.
When choosing a Realtor, find out about their experience and success rate. Check their references and their satisfaction rate from their previous customer. As a seller, you have the right to choose the best person to fit your individual needs. Selling a home can be challenging, but with the help of a reliable Realtor, you can avoid making mistakes and reap the rewards of your sale.
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A home is not only a place to reside but can also serve as a great investment. How can a homeowner make a return on their investment without breaking the bank at the same time maximizing their profit?
Below are some DIY tips that a homeowner can implement without going broke and can be done with little money.
Painting will help sell your house
Putting up a fresh coat of paint can make a home seem new again. However, eye- catching paint job is a big no-no. When choosing paint colors, your best bet is to stick with neutral colors that will appeal to the greatest range of buyers. Yes, bland colors like white, beige or light grey doesn’t really beg for attention. But the point is you don’t want the potential buyers to see your personality on display, rather you want them to see a blank canvass that will allow them to envision making a space on their own. You don’t have to repaint the entire house though prior putting it on the market, you can redo one or two rooms. Kitchen and bathrooms are two main areas that needs complete paint job given the high traffic they see.
Prior to showing, mop the floors or vacuum clean your carpets. Refresh your hardwood floors and clean and polish vinyl tiles. You don’t need to replace them unless completely needed. Replacing it is a costly expense that will not add greater value to the home. First impression are lasting, so pay attention to the entrance area, you don’t want a potential buyer to walk in to see a floor strewn with boots and shoes.
It is important to make minor repairs prior listing, such as fixing sagging shelves and cracked clothes rod, replacing cracked siding boards or repointing brick walls. Check the operation of every door and window and be sure that all light fixtures and wall switches work. Making repairs ahead of time will reduce the chances of a potential buyer backing out of the deal or offer less money for the house.
First impression is formed the instant a potential buyer pulls into the driveway or clicks on its image on a web site. So make sure to create a good first impression by keeping your front lawn mowed and your garden weed-free. Tidy up shrubs and remove dead and broken limbs from trees. You can also add flower garden or some raised beds for a vibrant green space not only making sure that your yard looks better but also appeals to any buyer with a green thumb.
Backyard cleaning will help sell your house
Backyard is important to home buyers today, it gives them privacy from other homes. Prior selling you can paint your fence or hide it by installing a privacy screen or vertical garden. You can do also plantscaping using potted plants to create layers and visual excitement.
Try to avoid expensive renovations unless they are absolutely needed. In the end, buyers also have their own plans for renovating, so keep it simple.
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