Another excellent guest post from Cindy Aldridge of OurDogsFriends.org
As a dog owner, a great way to foster good relations with your neighbors is by being responsible for your dog’s behavior. It is your responsibility to ensure that your dog does not irritate or inconvenience your neighbors in any way. Below are six tips on how to be a responsible dog owner in your neighborhood.
Install a fence to keep your dog out of the neighbor’s yard
Some of the most common complaints you are likely to receive in regard to your dog include your dog trespassing on your neighbor’s property. The surest way to prevent such incidences is by installing a fence to keep your dog out of your neighbor’s yard. According to ImproveNet, you can install a fence for a national average cost of $2,400, depending on which material you choose to use (wood, vinyl, aluminum, wrought iron, or metal). Be sure to check into your neighborhood’s rules and regulations on fences before having one installed.
Take responsibility for your dog’s misbehavior
If your dog misbehaves or acts in an offending way to another person or another dog, take responsibility for it. For instance, if he jumps on or barks at someone, immediately command your dog to stop and sit, and apologize to the person. In case your canine causes harm or damages, be sure to cover the costs. And always clean up after your dog.
Teach your dog good behavior
First, train your dog to obey basic commands such as stay, sit, come and stop. Train your dog to stay calm when encountering people or visitors. Consider hiring a professional obedience trainer. A 90-minute dog-training session can cost you around $225.
Minimize barking and howling
By their nature, all dogs bark from time to time. Your dog becomes a nuisance if he or she barks or howls a lot and at odd hours such as early morning or in the middle of the night.
It is not uncommon for your dog to be silent when you are home and bark endlessly when you are away. Therefore, if your neighbors complain about your dog barking when you are away, take time to investigate and implement the necessary measures to prevent your pet from barking uncontrollably. One way to control excessive barking is to keep Fido healthy and happy.
Keep your dog happy and healthy
A happy and healthy dog is more likely to be well-behaved. Keep your dog well-fed, safe and comfortable. Maintain a clean home environment for you and your dog. Remove any elements of danger and discomfort in your home. For example, you should keep an eye on your HVAC system to maintain a safe temperature for your pet.
Provide your pup with adequate stimulation by taking him for walks, providing adequate playtime and providing appropriate toys. Adhere to a regular feeding, playtime and sleeping schedule. Stay up to date on vaccinations. In case your dog shows symptoms of illness, book an appointment with the veterinarian immediately. The average cost nationally for a visit to the vet ranges from $45-55, but costs vary depending on where you live.
Tag and leash your dog
Most states require dog owners to put a tag on their dog. Should your dog get lost, it will be easy for neighbors to identify your pet and bring him back to you. When walking in public areas, hold your dog’s leash closely. Only take off his leash when in your fenced-in yard or off-leash areas.
As a conscientious dog owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that your dog is not only healthy and happy but also that he is interacting well with the community. Being a conscientious dog owner makes you a good neighbor.
Photo Credit: UnSplash
This year started strong for real estate, but then the market began to soften. Home inventory in the starter and move-up categories dwindled to almost nothing, mortgage rates were projected to rise, and home sales had decreased for several months in a row.
To many, the outlook heading into 2019 appeared dim… at best.
Then, in a 24-hour window last week, things seemed to change. On Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) revealed in their Existing Homes Sales Report that home sales had INCREASED for the second consecutive month. The next day, NAR’s economic research team announced that the percentage of first-time buyers in the market was higher than last month and even higher than a year ago.
What happened to turn around the downward momentum in the market?
You only needed to wait a few hours to find out. On the heels of NAR’s revelations, Zillow released their November Real Estate Market Report that explained:
“After nearly four years of annual declines in inventory, the number of homes for sale has now increased year-over-year for three straight months…”
Ending 2018, we now know two things:
- Listing inventory increased over the last three months
- Home sales increased over the last two months
Maybe a lack of inventory was the major challenge all along.
But, what about those pesky interest rates?
Last Thursday (the day after all of the above news), Freddie Mac announced that mortgage rates did not increase but instead decreased…again. From their release:
“The response to the recent decline in mortgage rates is already being felt in the housing market. After declining for six consecutive months, existing home sales finally rose in October and November and are essentially at the same level as during the summer months.
This modest rebound in sales indicates that homebuyers are very sensitive to mortgage rate changes – and given the further drop in rates we’ve seen this month, we expect to see a modest rebound in home sales as well.”
Will 2019 start out better than many have predicted? Perhaps, but we’ll have to wait and see. Things do look much better today, though, than they did just a month ago.
One of the most common loans you can get to buy a home is a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. If the thought of paying for your home over the course of 30-years seems daunting, here are some easy ways to shorten that term which will actually end up saving you money over the life of your loan.
Any additional payments to the principal amount (the original sum of money borrowed in a loan), helps to cut down the amount of interest that you will pay over the life of your loan and can also help to shave years off the loan as well.
When you make ‘extra’ payments toward your loan, the key is to let your lender/bank know that you want the extra funds to go toward your principal balance as they will not automatically do this for you.
You don’t have to double your mortgage payment to make a big difference either!
If you have a 30-year mortgage on a median-priced home ($250,000) with a 5% interest rate, you’ll be responsible for a $1,342.05 monthly principal and interest payment. Over the course of the loan, if you pay your exact monthly payment, you will have paid $233,133.89 in interest alone!
Paying a Little Extra Can Pay Off Big
1. Pay an additional 1/12th of your mortgage payment every month
Benefit: In the example above, adding $111.84 to your monthly mortgage payment might not seem like a lot, but each year you will have paid one extra month’s worth of payments which will shorten the term of your loan by 4 years and 8 months, all while saving you $42,000 in interest!
2. Pay an additional $50 per month towards your mortgage
Benefit: Fifty dollars might not seem like enough to make a difference on the term of your loan, but that small amount will save you over $21,000 in interest and will take over 2 years off the end of your loan. Twenty-eight years from now, you’ll be happy to pay off your loan that much sooner!
3. Make one-time lump sum payments when you can
Benefit: If you find yourself with a little extra money after a yearly bonus, a tax return, or from investment dividends, paying that money towards the principal can cut your costs. This option, however, is less predictable than the extra monthly payments.
If you have higher interest debts, like credit cards, consider using any extra funds you have to pay those debts down before applying that money towards your mortgage. Also, if you do not plan on staying in your home for more than 10 years, paying extra toward your mortgage might not make sense.
If you’re wondering what strategies would work best for you to shorten the term of your loan, let’s get together to answer your questions.