Top Items To Clean Up In Fall Before The Snow Sticks

October 13th, 2015

Fall is here and winter is around the corner, before the snow sticks here are the Top Items we suggest you do to take care of your home before the snow is here!

School has started, we have had our first snow fall and we need to prepare our homes for winter!  TOP THINGS WE RECOMMEND YOU DO BEFORE WINTER SETS IN.  

It has been a rainy fall so far so it makes it a little harder to get out there and do some of these items but we recommend you do as much as you can to maintain your yard and exterior of your home.  Not to mention take care of the major components of your home.
-Exterior Checklist-
1.Clean out those rain gutters.  They wont do you any good in the spring if they are full of leaves and debris.
2. Pick up they leaves in the yard.  Whether you have a manicured yard or not, getting those leaves picked up now will help prevent leaves blowing around through the rest of fall and help clean out the underbrush from your trees.
3. Check all the exterior of your home, re-caulk those areas that need to be sealed up again, check the windows and trim work.
4. Trim up some trees if needed.  We sometimes get really strong winds through fall and winter and if you have those trees that may be a concern for falling on your home or near your home take care of them now so you can be worry free on those windy days!
5. Clean up your perennials, and garden.  Get it ready now for spring so your flowers have room to grow!
6.  Remove your hose from the house and empty the water from your hose so it does not freeze and get ruined.  A frozen hose attached to your house can cause water line back ups and freezing.
7. Get your snow shovels. Tune up your snow blower and/or four-wheeler plows ready for the winter to make sure it is in working condition.
8. Put away your rakes, and gardening tools, if they sit out during the winter months they will take wear and tear on your tools.
-Interior Checklist-
1. Its a good idea to flush your water heater every now and then.  If you don’t feel comfortable with this then call your favorite HVAC person to come and do it.  It will help your water heater run more efficiently through the winter months.
2. Clean up your window seals on the interior too, if you need to do some caulking this would be a good time to seal out some of that cold air.
3. Clean up around your garage and set up rodent prevention, they are looking for warm places to nest during these winter months.
4. If you have or use your fireplace, remember to get it cleaned regularly.  This can be a life saver and prevent a house fire!
5. Everyone does this at different times but if you don’t have a set time to do it just think of the Fallback and Spring forward these are good times to look through your heating system, change filters get your heating system serviced and cleaned.

Having A Specialist On Your Side

July 30th, 2015

We just wanted to do a short little blog about how our Real Estate Team works.

We have specialists on our Real Estate Team, which is a kind of unique way to think of a Realtor.  We boast having Listing Specialists, Buyer Specialists, Executive Assistant, Office Manager and Marketing Specialists.

Commonly when people think of a Realtor, they think, “oh someone who sells homes, lists homes and does it all.”  On our team we specialize and break down the whole process.  It is kind of like seeing a General Practitioner opposed to seeing a Orthopaediatrian for a bone injury.  If I had an injury to my knee I would defiantly prefer to see someone who specializes in knee injuries…wouldn’t you?

So with that said we specialize in our departments.  As a Listing Specialist our licensees work only with sellers.  They know the market through and through being able to price a home so it can sell for top dollar!  Our Listing Specialists know the market, and work with our marketing team to maximize listings providing our sellers with next to none marketing and assistance through the selling process.  Our Buyer’s Specialists work specifically with home buyer’s they know that first time home buyers may need a little more explaining and assistance through the whole process and that the mover upper and down-sizer buyer know the process but assist them accordingly keeping them in the loop through the whole transaction.  Buyer’s Specialists also know the market very well, they walk-through and preview several homes each week as new homes hit the market, being on top of the market as new homes hit will benefit their buyers so they can have an edge to assist home buyers.  The Executive Assistant on our Team is an integral part of every transaction.  They make sure that all the t’s are crossed and all the i’s are dotted, that we are staying in contract, getting home inspections done on time, appraisals done on time and that we will be able to get to the closing table in a timely fashion.  Staying on top of a contract making sure that we are all in the loop and completing our contract is the Executive Assistants goal!  Our Marketing Specialists do a fantastic job staying on top of the best way to market seller’s homes.  They are educated on the best upcoming ways to get seller’s home in front of as many eyes as possible.

We aspire to stand out and assist Buyers and Sellers in our great community.  To get to know our team a little better check out each member of our team on the About Us page at www.LesBaileyAndAssociates.com

We look forward to assisting you and your friends and family!

Free Spirited Alaskans

July 15th, 2015

Flag_map_of_Alaska copy

One of the things I love most about living in Alaska is it is the home of the “Free
Spirited Sparrow”.  Yes it is true, most of the people who live in Alaska originally
came from somewhere else.  Typically I call them “Free Spirits”.  Many of them
came to Alaska to answer the so called, “Call of the Wild.”  Some are running from
something, the hustle and bustle of city life, standstill freeways, maybe they are
running from a bad marriage, or perhaps the police.  Most however are running
towards the freedom one finds in this the Last Frontier.  These are those souls
who have a Pioneering Spirit about themselves, a burning in the bosom to see
what lies over yonder ridge.  For the most part, they are folks who are willing to
stop and assist a complete stranger whose car has broken down on the freeway
on a cold wintery night.  Try that in some parts of our Country this day and age,
and you are more than likely to get robbed.  So I love the Free Spirits who inhabit
this beautiful land.

So exactly what is a free spirit?  Let me explain by reciting the story of the Free
Spirited Sparrow:

The Free Spirited Sparrow was born and raised in the Mat-Su Valley.  Early in his
life it became apparent to friends and family in the Sparrow community he was
not like them.  Simply stated, Free Spirit marched to the sound of a different
drummer; he did things his way, and did not care what others thought.
One brisk fall morning he awoke to a nip in the air.  The skies had darkened, and
the wind was blowing.  In short, it was colder than a Mother-in-law’s Kiss.  Yet he
was enjoying this new environment, catching gusts of wind, and chasing leaves as
they swirled all about him.
The other sparrows came to him and told him winter is on its way, and we must fly
south for the winter.  However, he declined as he was having too much fun
sporting in the autumn leaves.  So while his friends and family headed south to
warmer weather, here he remained.
A few days later he awoke to the worst weather he had ever seen, so he decided it
was now time to leave his Winter Wonderland.
As he winged his way southward the weather rapidly became worst.  He flew
through rain, then sleet, followed by hail, and then found himself in a full blown
blizzard.  He fought the elements bravely, but soon his wings iced up, he lost lift,
and fell with a mighty thug into a barnyard.
There he laid, about to take his last mortal breath, when a horse came by,
stopped, and then took a big healthy dump.  He thought this is a fate worse than
death, here I am, about to meet my maker, and this darn Horse just crapped all
over me.
However the manure was warm, and it thawed the ice in his wings, giving him a
new lease on life.  As he warmed and regained his senses, he became aware of his
hunger.  He looked about the pile of manure around him, discovering undigested
bits of oats and grain which he partook of generously, restoring his strength.
With this new lease on life he was most happy, and soon began to sing, chirp, and
dance all about the crap in which he stood.  As he contemplated resuming his
southward journey, he awoke a sleeping barnyard cat.
The cat quietly crept over to Free Spirit, pounced on him, toyed with him awhile,
and finally killed him and ate him for dinner.
Now there is a moral to this story:

  • If you are a free spirit and buck the system, sometimes you can find yourself in a pile of crap;
  • Everyone in life who craps on you is not your enemy;
  • And everyone who digs you out of a pile of crap is not your buddy;
  • If you find yourself standing in a pile, the best thing to do is to simply keep your mouth shut.

 

Time Managment Ideas-from Les Bailey & Associates

June 29th, 2015

As a busy leading Real Estate Team in the state of Alaska  we have  team members who are all going different directions from showing homes, calling clients, staying on top of files, listing homes, getting homes under contract, parenting, coaching rugby teams, taking kids different directions from swim teams, to soccer games, and of course getting in as many great family memories as we can; we definitely have learned how to have a grasp on TIME MANAGEMENT,  because we want to make sure we are doing great at what we are doing!

We all have calenders that we use…yes calenders, some of us are old school and use the paper notebook/planner style calenders and a few of us use phone/online calenders like Google Calender too.  Being in charge of you calender and organizing your day by time blocking and tasks at hand are a major priority for all of us!

Extraordinary time managers understand that time management should be invested not managed.  They realize that there will never be enough time to get all the things done that they would like to in a day.  They instead focus on spending time on the most important priorities and let go or delegate the rest.

Being overwhelmed is a choice not a given.  Being in charge of when their plate gets full and taking ownership of commitments, delegating, setting boundaries or even realizing when they may need to leave the situation if it doesn’t work instead of being overwhelmed is a choice.

Understanding that saying “no” leaves them options and can often help them achieve more, not less.

Knowing the extent of what they are committing to when they do say “yes” is a priority.  Understanding the extent of their commitment and having a clear sense of priorities will help them manage the task at hand much easier.

Extraordinary time managers understand the plan can be modified and that adjustments can still help them achieve your goal at hand.

Perfection should be a desire but when it becomes a hindrance it is taking away from time put towards their other tasks.  Choose not to do; or do imperfectly the items that are not as important.

 

So with that said here are a few tools that we use to get things done quicker in our office as Real Estate Team at Les Bailey & Associates.

Email templates and auto responders-pretty self explanatory.  We get hundreds of emails daily, marketing emails, client emails, listing emails, lead emails.  It gets overwhelming to go through all of them and make sure that we are not wasting what could be a good few hours responding.  We want to make sure that we are meeting the needs of our clients, because they always come first, so in order to do that we have set up blocks from those marketing emails that we don’t want to see, and then we have set up templates for specific emails to clients, and vendors when it comes to file transactions, listings ect.

Texting and typing shortcuts.  Auto correct is a love it or leave it subject.  Some of our team members use auto correct shortcuts to save time while texting and in emails.  You can set up your auto correct for when you write, “LBA” for it to write out “Les Bailey And Associates”, we learn these kinds of things when we set up a long business name,  😉

Per a TIME article from Business Collective they state “Dragon Dictation is like Siri on steroids!”  We personally have not used Dragon Dictation, another good review was on “Speek” they help with dictation notes as well.

Group texting is a big help on our Real Estate Team.  We use GroupMe to do our group texts.  We have found it useful for keeping in contact about new listings, price changes, properties that have gotten under contract, meetings, just about anything!  It works great for both ios and android, you can mute the texts so you don’t get a ton all at one time and you can add pictures, video ect.

 

Because we are talking about time management we have to bring in Gary Keller’s fantastic book “The One Thing” that teaches you how you can find out what the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary.  The ONE Thing is about getting extraordinary results in every situation.

We have found great success in applying the many gems that we have found in this book thus far!

Home Improvements That Will Boost Your Home’s Value

June 15th, 2015

Whether you just purchased your home, are looking to sell or even just maintaining your home it is always good to know where your home improvements are best made.  There are four general areas that we discuss on our Real Estate Team as far as home improvements go, paint, flooring, bathrooms, and kitchens.

home improvments-les bailey and associatesWhen it comes to paint if you have bold bright colors in your home and are getting ready to sell it may be wise to tone down the colors if you are interested in a quick sell.  Yes any home buyer can change paint colors but be prepared to price accordingly.  This is one of the cheaper, quicker home improvement turnarounds. flooring-home improvments-les bailey and associates

 

 

 

Next comes the flooring, we are kind of along the same terms for paint, it is a buyer’s preference.  Its always best to maintain your flooring the best you can, but if you are planning on making a big change on a budget flooring can be a good choice.  With such easy flooring options to install now days you don’t always need to have a professional install flooring.  You can make a big impact with flooring but again this is something that you should tend to stick with more neutral colors.

 

The kitchen and bathrooms updates are the big places to get your bang for your buck on home improvements!  They have a massive impact for home owners and future buyers!  They are big statement areas and tend to come with big price tags, the unfortunate thing is you may not always get your return on them.  We would always recommend that if you want to do a kitchen or bathroom remodel do it prior to wanting to sell so you can actually enjoy all the work and money that you have put into your home.  This is also the area where you can go way above your budget fast…so unless this home is your forever home just keep in mind your surrounding neighborhood’s homes and their value, putting in 15K in kitchen appliances when a majority of the other homes around you may only have standard stainless steel appliances may be going a little overboard and may make for a future home sale a little more difficult.  Just remember to stay around the surrounding values of homes in your neighborhood and make it the way you like it!

before-after-home improvements-les bailey and associates before and after-home improvemtns-les bailey and associates

As a Real Estate Team that has been around for quite a while we have wonderful resources and relationships with vendors, painters and contractors.  Please visit our local vendors webpage for some possible recommendations on who we use and who we get great feedback on. If there is a vendor you have had great success with leave a comment, we would love to hear who you use!

When it is all said and done enjoy your improvements, best of luck with your home improvements and have fun!

Alaska Summer Planning

May 26th, 2015

Having just celebrated our fallen service men and women for Memorial Day and not having a late spring snow fall makes it official, in Alaska it is SUMMER!!!

 

That means its time to clean up the yard, plant the gardens, paint the house, put away the snow-machines for the summer, get out the four-wheelers, get out the summer camping gear/or trailer, clean out rain gutters, get all that winter guck cleaned up from your yard, get your fishing gear together, get all set up for probably one of may hunts planed for the season and not to mention plan for those long lost family members to come and visit you for the summer…our summers are so jam packed in Alaska it is hard to find time to take care of your home.

four-wheelrerwhite water raftinggardeningking fishingexterior_house_painting_contractor_

Are you feeling overwhelmed yet?

 How you do plan your summer?  There is only so much time during Alaska summers, and living in such a great state that offers so much it is hard to find the time to play and fit in the necessary work around the house.  Whether you are planning on selling your home in the near future or not these are some tried and true tips for taking care of your home during our short summers.

  • After the long winter and the snow has melted you are almost always left with what seams to be an overload of gravel on your what used to be grass, get that guck cleaned up off your yard so you can let your grass breath and while your at it, you may as well get out those heavy duty industrial bags and start collecting all the leaves and trash that accumulate over the winter through the yard as well.  Time to build up those calluses so that when fall rolls around you will be able to rake with the best of them!
  • Whether you are a gardener or not its always nice to put a little bit of curb appeal around the home.  There are so many great garden shops around that are willing to give you great information about what you can do that is simple and hassle free.  Plants that are hardy and long lasting, perennials, and annuals, wildflowers that you don’t have to maintain the options are endless!  Find a greenhouse that you feel confident in and they will help guide you through the process.  One of our favorite local greenhouses is Mile 5.2 here in Eagle River, stay tuned for an interview with them coming soon! (gardening needs it’s own post)
  • Exterior maintenance-this is a big one!  If you take care of the exterior of your home it will help the longevity of your home.  Make sure after all the snow melts that your home has proper drainage, and that you don’t have water sitting up against your foundation.  Clean away grass and weeds growing right up to your foundation as well, you don’t want to have moisture sitting up against your home your just inviting erosion.  This is also a good time to do a light power-wash of the house and check the status of your paint too.
  • It has been a long winter and the roof has taken some wear and tear, it would be good to pop your head up there and make sure you are not missing any shingles and that you don’t have a to much moss growing up there.  Depending on what type of roof you have we recommend not power-washing the roof to avoid damage to shingles.  The top recommendation is to remove it physically with a hard bristle brush.   If you don’t feel confident there are local roofing companies that will remove moss for you.
  • And most importantly plan your family camping trips!  Put them on the calender and get out there and enjoy all that Alaska  has to offer.  If you have peace of mind at home then it will be a lot easier to get out and enjoy your Alaskan Adventures.

Tell us what you do to get ready for summer, and what are some of your favorite summer activities in Alaska?

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 We want to wish you a happy and safe summer!

“With Integrity & Excellence We Sell REAL ESTATE And Empower Our Community”

Graduation Is Among Us-CONGRATUALTIONS GRADUATES

March 3rd, 2015
Congratulations Class of 2015

Congratulations Class of 2015

Graduation season is among us, and here at Les Bailey & Associates we would like to congratulate all of the graduates this year!  For those who have graduates in their family congratulations to you, you have made it through some of the most trying years of parenting-the teenage years.  Having watched from the beginning I am sure this is an exciting and emotional experience to see a  loved one making it that much closer to a big pivotal moment in their lives, good work in encouraging them along their way there!  I am sure this is another proud moment in the midst of many proud and successful moments to come.  To the graduates, congratulations to you!!!  You have made it, there is no limit to what you can do if you keep believing in who you are and what you want to be.  As the great Dr. Suess said it;

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

Graduations start this afternoon and go through May 14th.  Here is a link to the Anchorage School District for Municipality graduations, and for the Mat-Su Borough here are the dates through May 14th as well.

Again, best of luck to all the graduates out there and be safe!