Sunday, January 28, 2018

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM CYBERCRIME*

Whether you’re home with the flu or just hunkering down for the winter, you’re probably using your computer for entertainment, shopping or searching for a home.  From an email hack, a phishing scam, to a Nigerian money order, there are numerous ways you can get scammed online and each day the possibilities increase.   You may not cry over losing a small amount of money for something you never receive, but having  your electronic device become infected with malware and possibly losing your financial data,  can turn into a nightmare!

Here are a few red flags from a recent article I read to help you to keep your business and personal property safe:

Payment required without clarity. If you're interested in checking out a product for business or perhaps a summer rental for personal enjoyment, if an upfront payment is required before you get any real information, it's likely a scam. Even with photos or contact person, especially if you are looking for a rental, use a “real” real estate sales person!

Required downloads.  Online scammers can get you by asking you to download something, infect your hard drive with malware and steal your information. If you're being asked to download something from a source you can't find information on, or if your anti-malware software (because you have that, right?) is giving you an alert, back away slowly.

Jargon. Be wary of jargon you don't understand. Reputable companies aim for clarity. Fraudsters aim to confuse and trick. If you're feeling confused or pressured with the information presented, close it down.

Too good to be true promises.  If a product or "tool" is making lofty promises, they're likely empty, and an attempt to snag your banking information.

Now that I’ve made you paranoid, here are some tips to help you cope and avoid falling prey:

Google  the following: "<company name> scam". This is one of the easiest ways to catch a scam artists and those who have fallen prey are taking to the web to warn others. Always do your due diligence by searching this simple phrase on Google for safety.

Look for a working number. No working phone number? It's likely a scam. And if there is a number, make sure someone actually answers your call.

Look for an address. Legit businesses have an address, yes? After you locate the address, Google it to see what comes up.

Trust your gut. Something inside giving you stay-away signals? Listen to it! Follow your intuition!


*Source: RIS Media’s Housecall,  January 23, 2018.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

WINTER TIPS FOR YOUR SELLING YOUR HOME

We are often asked by our clients whether they should winterize their homes if they are on the market.  After many years of observing the impact of winterized homes, we usually advise them to keep the heat on if possible, at lower temperatures, but no too low, and turn off the water main (again, if possible) before you leave the house. 

Extreme winter temperatures and low humidity affect your home’s interior. Wood trim (and furniture) dry out each winter so there’s more touch up caulking and painting than your primary home. Appliance seals dry and crack and don’t last as long.  If you’re home is on the market, a cold house doesn’t show well, especially with the frigid temperatures we’ve seen lately. Most prospective buyers walk in and walk out when it’s colder inside a home that outside!
             
  Here are some other winter weather tips for your home:

  •  If you have any exposed pipes, insulate them. Be careful with pipes that become hot, they may be a fire hazard if they’re in contact with something flammable. Also make sure that any sprinkler systems and pipes leading to a pool are drained and turned off. Any outdoor faucets should be drained, insulated and covered for the winter as well.


  •          Check your roof  for leaks, or missing tiles/shingles - have the problem fixed immediately.


  •         Gutters and downspouts clogged with leaves or dirt prevent moisture from running through your drainage system.  Instead, precipitation begins to collect en-masse--causing serious gutter and siding damage. Severe cold weather, caused some homes to experience a condition called “ice-damming,” where ice accumulates, melts and has nowhere to go but inside your home, finding its way through your home and ultimately to your basement! Keep an eye on ice and snow accumulation and correct the problem before more damage occurs.


Even though the weather can be a challenge, this is a good time to put your home on the market – serious buyers come to us every day.  We are making deals.  If you’re thinking of selling this year, don’t wait,  call us at 631 765 5333. We’ll help you decide the best strategy, pricing and how to keep your asset safe and sound over the winter season.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

HOW TO GET GOING ON THOSE NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

2018 is here, and we all have things we have promised ourselves we will do.  Whether it’s something simple like cleaning out your closet or a longer term goal, like start getting your home ready for sale, nearly all of us have something on our to-do list that we just can’t seem to get started on. Here are some ideas on how to end procrastination to improve your productivity and get things done and feel better about yourself!
               Do the hard stuff first.  If you’ve been putting off a task and seem to be doing lots of other things instead, do the difficult task first. There’s nothing worse than a task looming over your head that gives you a feeling of dread! By tackling it head on, you eliminate both the project and the anxiety around it. 
               Cut a large project into smaller segments and create realistic daily goals. If it’s a larger task that may take days or weeks (like a big basement clean-out, painting  or decluttering your home), set smaller daily goals to keep you on track. For instance, choose one section to clean or declutter, every day, perhaps for only 15-minute.  After a week or two, the project will be done and you will feel good about accomplishing job.  This is also a good way to start an exercise routine.  Just pick a type of exercise you like (or simply walk briskly around your house) and do it for just 10 minutes every day.  I read somewhere, “you can do almost anything for 10 minutes!”   After a few days, you’ll find yourself enjoying the activity and extending the time to 20 or 30 minutes!
               Make yourself accountable to someone.  Tell another person about your project or goal.  It’s one of the best ways to overcome procrastination—but choose carefully. You want to choose someone who is truly interested in your success.
               Avoid temptations that take you off task.  Activities like social media or binge-watching Netflix or Amazon,  may interfere with getting your goals accomplished.  Delay  those activities until you’ve  completed your daily tasks and then go to Facebook or TV.
               Reward yourself.  One of the best rewards is simply telling friends and family about your accomplishments.  But be careful, they may enlist your help in getting their own dreaded tasks done!
            
If you are planning to sell your home this year, it’s time to start getting it ready now.  These cold days, that keep us indoors, provide a perfect time to get started.  If you want help – call us!  We will be happy to come by and help you put together a plan of action.  We’ll help you prioritize the tasks that need to be done, sometimes it’s not as complicated as it may seem.  You’ve got a partner in us!  Call us at 631 765 5333, email: broker@BeninatiAssociates.com, or brave the cold and come by our office (on thecorner of Main Road and Horton’s Lane in Southold).  We’ll have hot tea or coffee together and get the ball rolling!


Source: RIS Media.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

SELL NOW OR WAIT FOR SPRING?

When the holiday visitors go home and the Christmas decorations come down, you may be wondering if you should put off selling your home until spring.  Many homeowners feel that the winter is not a good time to sell – have to keep the house heated, the walk clean of snow, etc.  But this year especially,  the sooner you put your home on the market the better.  Here are some of the reasons why:

The New Tax Legislation – is too vague, and for most people will not be a significant factor in buying right now.  But as details and the impact on each individual become clearer, it may be a deterrent for those in highly taxed states like New York and New Jersey.

There is Less Competition - the fewer number of comparable homes for sale, the greater the likelihood that a buyer will look at your home.  Less homes on the market increases the probability for showings, and also increases the probability of a good offer.

The Winter Buyer is a Serious Buyer – just like the winter seller!  Serious, smart buyers continue to look at homes, no matter what time of year.  For resort areas like our North Fork, they also  know that they can get their financing and be in the house and enjoy the entire summer season, with enough time to paint or do minor renovations.

Mortgage Rates Tend to Be Lower – just like pricing, there is an element of supply and demand.  Also, with a lower volume of transactions, bank processing is likely to move faster than in the summer.
            
So don’t take that long winter nap!  Get busy, and while you’re putting away your holiday decorations look at little problem areas, where perhaps your home needs paint touchups, minor repairs, or sprucing up especially bedding.  January is traditionally the “white sale” month and stores usually offer lots of discounts.  Consider new pillows, duvets, shams and throw pillows.  When in doubt, go white for all the basics and then add a splash of color with the throw pillows.  Go through the house and “de-clutter.” Pack away special mementos and donate or discard things that you don’t use or need.
               
The market still has quite a bit of momentum, don’t wait for Spring to sell or buy.  I would be happy to meet with you and help you start the New Year by accomplishing an important life goal – to sell your home or buy a home here on the North Fork.  By the way, we’ll help you get the house ready to sell, when you list with us! Call us at 631 765 5333 or visit our office at the corner of Horton’s Lane and Main Road in Southold.  We serve the entire North Fork and have an extraordinary track record!


Happy 2018!