Category Archives: Renovation

Home Security Options


Photo by Matthias Zomer on

I’m married to a security nut and I say that with the greatest admiration! Security of one form or another has been his job for over 40 years, so it makes sense that he knows a bit about it. Our house was the only one on our street that wasn’t burglarized when we lived in Italy! Security was a morning and evening ritual – house, cars, kids – he locked it all down. Or he left strict instructions for the 85% of the time he was out of town – to me.

Now, over 20 years later, we still have a similar ritual. And a security plan. I’m not talking about the home monitoring system. We have a plan for ‘in the event of a break-in while we’re at home’. You should too. But that’s not today’s topic.

What does a secure home look like to you? Smart home monitoring is pricey but there are great products available that cost far less. I thought these ’20 under $20′ were pretty cool!

1. Defender Security Door Lock for homes with small children


silver door reinforcement lock

Bad guys know to attack a door at the lock—so put a lock in an unexpected place. The Defender Security Lock can easily be installed nearly anywhere on the inside edge of your door. It’s easy to lock and unlock from the inside, but practically impossible to tamper with from the outside. And since you can place it high on the door, small kids can’t escape when it’s secured.

But it’s not a perfect fit for every door so you may need to get handy with a chisel to fit it on some doorways. Replace it after a few years of wear and tear. Watch for them on sale and buy a couple at a time so you can replace one as soon as it shows deterioration.


  • Easy to install
  • Good for childproofing
  • Tamper-proof


  • Not durable with frequent use
  • Not functional on all doors

2. SABRE Door Security Bar for added door security


door security bar

A door jammer security device like the SABRE Security Bar has a rubber foot and it fits under your door handle; the bar adjusts to the length you need. 


  • Works with hinged and sliding doors
  • Adjusts from 28.5 in. to 45 in.
  • Can be used on bedroom doors


  • May slide on tile floors

3. Defender Security Sliding Window Locks for vinyl window security


white window lock

This is cool! Literally! The Defender’s Sliding Window Locks offer both protection and airflow. No screws required. Just clamp it on to the window track at the desired location, and it allows for ventilation on those cool Fall evenings. How’s that for a breath of fresh air???


  • Easy installation
  • Durable die-cast construction


  • Difficult removal

4. Sliding Door and Window Locks for aluminum sliding doors/windows


Gripping pads on these door and window locks keep them secure on any sliding door or window track. Double thumbscrews make installation easy and snug. Choosing the lock placement along the track lets you control how far your door or window opens.


  • Heavy duty aluminum construction
  • Easy installation
  • Snug fit


  • Poor performance on vinyl windows

5. Addalock lock reinforcement for renters


red addalock

The Addalock does just what the name suggests: It adds a second lock to your doorknob. You can use it on a front door or on interior doors to block anyone from getting in. It takes seconds to install, and it won’t leave any holes or marks, so it’s a great security device for renters. 


  • Fast, easy installation
  • Non-marking design
  • Compact size


  • Non-universal fit

6. Defender Sliding Door Security Bar for securing sliding glass doors


The Defender Sliding Door Security Bar is just like your grandma’s broomstick in the sliding door track, but with handy components like a hinge that makes it easy to lock and unlock without removing the entire thing and an adjustable telescoping length.


  • Adjustable telescoping design
  • Hinged operation
  • Extruded aluminum construction


  • Drilling required

7. Taiker Personal Emergency Alarm for deterring intruders


gold and purple personal emergency keychains

A whole-house alarm system with monitoring might not be in your budget, but there’s no reason you can’t still scare off intruders with a loud noise. A five-pack of push-button Taiker alarms is under $20, so you can stash one in every room of your house.


  • LED flashlight
  • Compact key fob design
  • Loud 140 dB alarm


  • Limited durability

8. SABRE Shed and Garage Alarm for garages and outbuildings


Even though this alarm is marketed for sheds and garages, you can use it to secure any door in your home. It’s easy to arm and disarm with your own four-digit code, and you can choose between alarm and chime modes.


  • Loud 120 dB alarm
  • Easy installation
  • Entry and exit delay


  • Permanent entry delay
  • No remote monitoring
Continue reading Home Security Options

Millennials, First Time Home Buyers And Buyer’s Remorse


I researched the topic til my eyes were red, swollen and felt like fire! I know it’s real; I know it’s terrifying; I know there are ways to minimize it.

Buyer’s remorse is a sickening topic to consider when the purchase is a home.  It’s not a pair of ill-fitting shoes or an ugly sofa to be returned or cast off and forgotten. I’m amazed to discover statistics are all over the board regarding – well, statistics!  But certain things jumped out at me.  Socio-economic status was deemed irrelevant.  The phenomena seems more prevalent among millennials (who want to diy, but often discover the scope of work is outside their skill set or the cost becomes prohibitive) and first time home buyers (who get swept away in their excitement).

The purchase of a home can easily overwhelm. So, what can you do? Identify each step before you tackle the process, break it down into bite size pieces, and make it manageable.  Part of my job is to help you focus on your requirements and goals. Needs first. Wants are a bonus and depend on your budget. A bit of thought and planning, some serious brainstorming, these things are not a waste of time. 

Continue reading Millennials, First Time Home Buyers And Buyer’s Remorse

Laugh All The Way To The Bank!

From leaving the house for showings and open houses to having to keep the place spotless at all times, having a home on the market can be a nerve-wracking endeavor. Once you’ve made the decision to sell, you want to know that you won’t be in this anxiety-filled limbo forever. You want to hand over those keys, collect your check and move on — literally!

So, without lowering your asking price, what can you do to sell your home in a hurry? Here are 11 strategies that will help your property sell quickly without your wallet taking a heavy hit.

1. Declutter.

Few things detract from the beauty of a home quite like clutter. Though straightening and organizing is rarely the way most homeowners want to spend their days, it makes a huge difference. We’re not just talking about scrapping the junk mail either. Rid your entryways and mud rooms of extra coats, bags, and boots. Keep your countertops clear, and don’t forget to straighten up inside the kitchen and bathroom cabinets!  Yes, buyers look there.

2. Rent a storage unit.

Try removing one third of your items — especially from closets — before putting your home on the market.  This will make your home appear more spacious. Consider renting a storage unit rather than stuffing your basement or attic — because buyers look there as well!

3. Clean like you’ve never cleaned before!

Whether you’ve lived in a home for a few months or a few decades, some stains become invisible to you. While not every visitor will perform the old white glove test, they will notice things like dirty windowsills and dusty shelves. (And that crusty stuff on the bottom of your oven needs to go too.)  Don’t forget the ceiling fans! Continue reading Laugh All The Way To The Bank!

7 Myths Will Keep You From Getting Your Best Price

full frame shot of eye
Photo by Vladislav Reshetnyak on

When homeowners are preparing to place their properties on the market, one aspect looms large in their minds: money.  And it should.  Setting the asking price accurately can mean the difference between getting an offer quickly and having a house languish for months, accruing days on the market and drawing little interest.

How do you block out the noise that often surrounds the intricate art and science of pricing?  How do you separate fact from fiction?  The question can cause you to lose sleep.  The truth?

1.  If we keep waiting, a better offer will come along.

Occasionally.  When sellers receive an offer from the first showing, they may be skeptical or hesitant to accept it.  Would other prospective buyers be inclined to pay more?  Thoughts of bidding wars can cause sellers to want to wait and see.  There’s no guarantee other would-be buyers are waiting around the corner. If the offer is fair, entertain it.  Consider the time, mortgage payments, and inconvenience involved in keeping your home on the market.

2. Getting an offer right away, means the agent priced it too low!

An offer early on in the process may provoke the questions, “Should we have asked for more money? Did our agent price it too cheaply?”.   It’s natural to be skeptical, but receiving an offer quickly most likely means your home was priced accurately and attractively.  If you trust your agent (and read my book), you know he or she didn’t pick a number out of the sky.  It’s based on extensive market research and discussed at length prior to signing your agreement.  It’s an occasion to celebrate!

3. We should price it so there’s room to negotiate.

Sellers – and their agents – want to get top dollar. But overpricing it with the intention of being willing to accept a lower offer may leave you empty handed. (It’s explained in my book) Plus, if you have to drop your asking price multiple times, buyers may begin to wonder what’s wrong with the property — other than the price, that is.

4. That’s not what my Zestimate says it’s worth!

I love Zillow.  But have you ever noticed how homeowners are eager to believe Zestimates or other automated valuation models (Even my Bestimate can go wide of the mark!) when that price exceeds their expectations?  Yet, when the opposite happens, they assume it’s outdated or erroneous information.  Did your agent use the 2-step process to prepare your estimate of value?  (Have you read that part of my book?) Don’t do your home a disservice by asking it to yield more than the market will bear.

5. We can add all renovation costs to the asking price!

No.  Yes, you’ve made improvements.  And the upgrades look great!  But remember, not every change is going to land a huge return on investment.  If you’re curious about the value added, check out Remodeling Magazine‘s annual ‘Cost Versus Value’ report.  You’ll find which upgrades yield the biggest bang for your buck. Also, as you’re making changes, bear in mind that the infinity pool you view as an asset may just seem like a huge liability to a buyer.  Perspective is everything.

6. My Realtor® overpriced my house to make a larger commission.

Agents are paid a percentage of the selling price of the home.  However, even if they were to raise the ask by $25,000, that might yield an additional $1,500 in commission, to be divvied up between with agent’s broker and the buyer’s agent, leaving your agent to realize an additional $750. It’s hard to imagine an agent would blow the possibility of a quick sale — and take on weeks or months of additional showings and marketing expenses — for a few hundred dollars.  It’s not logical.

7. Reducing the price is a sign of weakness.

Definitely not.  It’s not about being eager to drop the listing price.  It’s about constant evaluation of all the data available to you.  If time has passed and interest is waning, talk to your agent.  Ask for an updated CMA.  The market changes.  (Seriously, ask for my book.)  Remember, time is money.  While you’re waiting for someone to meet your price, you’re still paying the mortgage, taxes, utilities, and insurance etc.  Plus, lowering the price (even a small amount), may put your home in front of a new group of buyers.  This translates to increased interest and an opportunity to negotiate the price closer to where it was in the first place.

Call anytime I can be of help.