Douglas Schmidt - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West



Posted by Douglas Schmidt on 5/22/2017

Shopping at yard sales is an art. First you have to find the good yard sales, then hunt down the best deals while avoiding distracting impulse buys, then you have to smartly negotiate your offer. Sure, there will be a lot of competition out there, but with the right planning you can give yourself enough of an advantage to find the hidden gems amongst all of the junk that people get rid of at their yard sales. In this article, we'll give you a crash course in yard sale shopping. Come Sunday afternoon, you'll be heading home with a smile on your face and that perfect addition to your home in your trunk.

Finding the right sales

The first step to finding the best yard sale deals is to find the right yard sales. Sure, it can be fun to aimlessly drive around your area Saturday and Sunday morning looking out for yard sale signs, but there are smarter ways to use your time.
  • Craigslist. Many people post announcements on Craigslist when they're going to have a yard sale. They'll often specify a date, time, and the type of things that will be for sale. If someone says "MASSIVE multi-family moving sale" you can be pretty sure there will be lots of good stuff there.
  • Facebook. Search Facebook for local community pages for your town or city. Oftentimes people make pages for buying and selling in their area, or just to have heated debates about local happenings. Sometimes, however, people post about their upcoming yard sales.
  • Local news. If your local newspaper has a classifieds section they might advertise yard sales as well.

Making your shopping list

When you go to a yard sale you should be prepared in terms of what you're looking for. You want to avoid making impulsive buys on things you don't need, but you also can't expect to find the exact color and model of vacuum cleaner that's on your Amazon wish list. Think of some things you'd like to look for and determine whether getting them at a yard sale makes sense. Plan your transportation accordingly. If you're looking for big items, make sure you bring a truck or SUV that can fit what you're looking for. Bring bungee cords, rope, a tarp, and whatever else you think you might need. Then head out to the sales.

When you find that must-have item

So you've found the exact vacuum cleaner you were looking for AND it's in great shape. It has a tag on it for $30 and the proprietor of the yard sale is going on about what a great vacuum cleaner it is. Before you start throwing money at them, consider these tips:
  • Research. With a smartphone in your pocket, you basically have instant access to valuing any object. While you browse other items, pop open your phone to read reviews, check used prices, and see if it's a deal that makes sense.
  • Be friendly. Sure, yard sales are all about making a quick buck, but neighborhoods are about community. Don't be afraid to share some small talk with the proprietors of the yard sale. It might pay off in the end.
  • Negotiate. There are general rules of negotiation that have been proven to get you better deals. Your first offer should be lower than what you're willing to pay. For example, if the vacuum is $30 and you're ready to pay $25, offer the salesperson $20.




Tags: home   sale   shopping   yard sale   garage sale  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Douglas Schmidt on 12/19/2016

Gold in the BankOur homes contain almost everything of value to us. In a way, your home is like a giant safe that you want to protect from break-ins, floods and fires. Unfortunately, you can't always be one-hundred percent sure that everything in your home is protected from these hazards. For an added layer of security for your most important belongings, buying a home safe is an excellent option. However, there are many different types of safes across a large price range. Knowing which one fits your needs but also your budget can be complicated. What's more, deciding what items you own should be kept in a safe is a process all of its own. But we've got you covered. In this article, we'll talk about the types of safes and some items you should keep inside of them.

Safe Categories

Not all safes are created with the same purpose. Some may be designed for you to be able to open from your smart phone, whereas others are created from an everyday object, such as a book, to be hidden in plain sight. Others might be small and fireproof but not very effective against burglars who can easily carry them out of your home. When shopping a safe and thinking about size, remember that you should probably buy a safe that is a bit larger than your current needs since you will probably someday add items to your safe.   Here are the main types of safe to help you choose which one is right for you:
  • Water-tight and fire resistant. If you have important documents, jewelry, or electronics that you want to keep secure, a weatherproof safe is the way to go. For added security against floods, keep the safe away from areas that are prone to water damage like basements. These are the most common safes and are a great choice.
  • Diversion. Diversion safes often only have minimal security measures (locks), if any at all. Their main strength is that they can be hidden in plain sight, such as being a book inside a bookshelf.
  • Wall-installed. You've probably seen this type in the movies. They are installed into a wall and can be hidden behind objects. These have the advantage of being hidden like a diversion safe, but also use thick metal and complex locking mechanisms. But be prepared to pay a hefty price for all those features.
  • Anti-burglary. These safes are very difficult to break open. They have complex locks and thick metal with few vulnerabilities.
  • Object-specific safe. Some safes are designed just for weapons, others designed just for jewelry.

What to keep safe

Generally speaking, anything of value to you that isn't easy to replace can be kept in a safe. Depending on how easy it is to access your safe and how often you use the item, you may decide it's simpler to leave the item out of the safe. However, you can always use the safe to secure backups of documents and files. Here are some ideas for items to keep in your safe:
  • Passports
  • Birth Certificates
  • Social security card
  • Spare keys
  •  Wills
  • Flash drive containing important photos and documents
  • Important passwords
  • Jewelry
  • Family heirlooms
  • Weapons and other dangerous objects
 




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Douglas Schmidt on 12/5/2016

There's nothing more frustrating than being at a climactic moment in your favorite show on Netflix and suddenly losing internet connection. On my TV, it actually shows my download speed slowly disappearing. 10mbps... 7mbps... 2mbps... flatline. At this point, many people are prone to either throwing their remote across the room or calling their internet provider to complain about horrible service. However, there are some things you can do right in your home that can help you boost your internet speeds.

Diagnosis

Before you start buying new routers or range extenders, you should first get an idea of what your average download speed currently is. There are many free websites out there that can tell you this information, but speedtest.net is one of the veterans in the field that is user-friendly and widely trusted as one of the best. Run the test at different times of the day. See how it's affected by someone else streaming videos on a another device. This will all help provide insight into the issue you're having. If you notice a problem only at certain times of the day, the problem might not be your modem or router, but rather that your internet provider is oversubscribing and getting backed up during internet rush hours. It's also a good idea to change the password on your Wi-Fi network in case you have a neighbor that you're providing free internet too.

Update your hardware

If you're paying $60+ per month on high speed internet but can't ever stream videos there's a problem. Many people assume that paying more for internet automatically means they'll get faster download speeds. If you're using an outdated router, however, it won't matter how much you pay monthly, you're still going to see slow speeds. Check out some of the latest model routers on Amazon or at Best Buy and read the customer reviews. You won't want to buy any routers that are more than a couple years old as Wi-Fi technology progresses somewhat rapidly.

Tweak your router

If you recently purchased a brand new router but aren't getting the results you expected, maybe you need to make some changes to the router itself. Try setting the antennas vertically and placing the router on top of a cabinet in your house for better signal reception. Alternatively, you could look into replacing the antennas on your router for ones that will emit a stronger signal.

Expand your signal

If you live in a large house or often use devices in the basement, far away from your router, you might consider buying a wireless range extender. Extenders come in various shapes and sizes. Some are tiny adapters that stick out of your power outlet, others look just like routers, and others work as a system of small routers that you place around your home to provide blanket internet coverage.

Pretend you're in IT

There might be some changes you can make to your router that will make a huge difference in internet speeds. Sometimes that means updating the firmware of your router, other times it means switching the channel your router is broadcasting on to avoid interference with other routers or wireless systems. To make these internal changes, type in the IP address (usually located somewhere on the bottom or back of your router) into your browser and type in your username and password, then follow instructions for your specific router.




Tags: home   house   wifi   home wifi   wireless   internet   router   high speed   signal   reception  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Douglas Schmidt on 10/17/2016

If you walk down the kitchen aisle of any department store you'll see dozens of kitchen tools--some you've maybe never even heard of. As long as people keep buying gimmicky kitchen tools and utensils, companies will keep making them. The temptation might be there, when walking through Target, to buy that chicken-shaped egg yolk separator, but do you really need it? In this article, we'll cover the essential list of kitchen utensils. Once your drawer has these items, you won't need anything else. You'll free up space in your kitchen and avoid money-wasting gimmicks that often don't even work, allowing you to buy better versions of the tools that really count. Note: We won't be talking about the basic silverware and dishes (forks, spoons, plates, cups, etc.) since we can assume you already have those.

  1. The chef's knife. A chef's knife is arguably the most important item in any kitchen. A good chef's knife is made from steel, has balanced weight, and is comfortable to hold. Be sure to keep it sharp and there's nothing you can't cut with it.
  2. Two spatulas. One metal for flipping items on your baking sheets and meat on the grill, one plastic for your frying pans. Thin, heat-resistant, and durable are what you're looking for here.
  3. Three spoons. One wooden (for stirring), one plastic with holes and one plastic without holes.
  4. A strainer. You don't need four sizes of strainer; one big one will do. Be sure to pick one with handles, sturdy handles, for draining big pots of pasta.
  5. Shears. Whether it's for de-stringing a Thanksgiving turkey or opening up a bag of frozen peas, they'll save you a headache trying to use a knife.
  6. Serrated bread knife. Unless you like to ruin a fresh loaf of bread by crushing it while cutting it, you'll need a serrated edge.
  7. Measuring cups and spoons. Clean your measuring spoons by hand so they don't get tossed around in your dishwasher and melted.
  8. Can opener. Skip the huge electric can openers and buy a good handheld one that will last years.
  9. Cutting board. A quality large wooden cutting board will make your life a lot easier, and it won't dull your blades.
  10. Peeler. Y-shaped peelers are much easier to use than their knife-shaped counterparts.
  11. Mixing bowl. You could benefit from multiple mixing bowls if you do a lot of baking, but oftentimes you only need one large bowl for most recipes and can use your smaller soup bowls for other ingredients.

Avoiding the gimmicks

It seems like every day there's a new infomercial for a lemon juice squeezer or a banana slicer. You'll notice that they tend to follow certain trends and offer the same promises. Here are the ones to avoid:
  • Fruit and vegetable slicers. If you have a knife, there's no need for tools that claim to slice certain types of vegetables better than others.
  • Single-use tools. Shears designed just for cutting and serving pizza? Yes, they exist. Avoid items that will just take up space in your cabinets and opt for those that serve multiple purposes.
  • Things you've never heard of. If it's an object that you've never seen or heard of before, odds are you don't need it in your kitchen cabinets. The most time-tested tools are all it takes to make great meals in your kitchen.




Tags: kitchen   home   Cooking   tools   utensils   kitchen tools   cook  
Categories: Uncategorized  




Tags