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Protecting Your Credit

by Tucker Robbins

The Equifax information hack has many Americans afraid of identity theft, and rightly so. Thankfully, there are several measures everyone can take to protect their credit.  

 

  • 1. First and foremost, find out if your information was compromised here: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/ 

  • 2. Phone lines at Equifax have been flooded with calls, so an online approach is more convenient for now.  

  • 3. Sign up for the free credit monitoring Equifax offers, but don't let that make you unaware of your credit reports. Check them as often as possible, and dispute errors.  

  • 4. Setting up a fraud alert with Equifax, as well as TransUnion and Experian, is another important step.  

  • 5. If you feel compelled, freeze credit reports at all three agencies. A fee is involved, and varies by state. Find more information here:  http://consumersunion.org/research/consumers-unions-guide-to-security-freeze-protection-2/     

  • 6. Married couples need to make sure both spouses have taken steps to protect their information. 

  • 7. File your 2017 taxes as soon as possible in 2018. If someone has your credit information, they can file a false return for a refund.  

  • 8. If you have family members that haven't checked their reports, especially the elderly, offer to help them.  

 

Even though 143 million people were affected by the hack, many will not bother to check their credit reports. If you're not proactive in protecting your credit information, it may cause major problems down the road.  

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins

 

Photo credit: www.pymnts.com

Making New Friends After a Move

by Tucker Robbins

Relocating to a new city, or even a new area, can be hard enough without missing your old friends. Finding new friends and acquaintances can be easy if you put some effort and a little research in it.  

 

Your New Neighbors 

  • 1. Once you're settled, go for a walk and introduce yourself when you see neighbors outside.  

  • Have a porch or front yard gathering on a weekend afternoon. Offer light, simple snacks and invite the whole neighborhood.  

  • 2. Get outside and work on the landscaping, small DIY projects, or sit on the front steps with a good book. Your neighbors then have the opportunity to say hello. 

  • 3. Just a few outdoor decorations can bring compliments from neighbors, always an easy way to start a conversation. 

  • 4. If you have pets, especially a dog, they make great ice-breakers when you're out for a stroll.  

  • 5. Visit your local small businesses and you'll see enough familiar faces over time that saying “Hello” will be easy.  

  • 6. Ask your realtor if there's a neighborhood community center, and call to see how you can get involved.  

  • 7. Children make great conversation-starters.  They love finding nearby kids to hang out with, and taking them for a bike ride is a great way to get to know other families. 

  • 8. Host a fun, child-centered activity in your front yard with outdoor games and snacks.  Invite the kids in the neighborhood and their parents, and they will come! 

 

Your New Town 

  • 1. Ask current friends if they know anyone in your new area, and get in touch with them.  

  • 2. Contacts from local organizations--these can provide you with lots of information about your new hometown, as well as introduce you to new people.  

  • 3. Search social media for events taking place in your area and go to them!  

  • 4. Invite your new coworkers to lunch or coffee.  

  • 5. Getting the kids involved in activities will connect you with locals and other parents.  

  • 6. Hobbyists sometimes have get-togethers for like-minded people. Find a nearby group with your same interest, and join them.  

  • 7. School parent organizations are a great place to meet other parents.  

 

It seems that we are always busy working, or driving our children to so many activities, that a relaxing weekend in front of the tv sounds like the perfect down time. Getting to know who your neighbors are, however, can be invaluable to feeling at home in your new home, and only takes a little effort on your part.  

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: http://www.interconnectedlives.com/

Easy Halloween Decorations

by Tucker Robbins

Halloween is quickly becoming the most popular holiday in the US.  In 2017, the National Retail Federation projects that Americans will spend a whopping $9.1 billion, with $2.7 billion alone on candy.  You don’t have to break the bank for decorations, though.  There are many ways you can prepare for the fun-filled holiday with inexpensive, everyday items. 

 

  • 1. Save gallon milk jugs, and wash them out thoroughly.  Use permanent black marker to draw ghostly faces on the sides, then add a few rocks or marbles for stability. Place a string of battery-powered LED lights inside, and place the jugs along your walkway or steps for a ghostly path to your door. 

  • 2. Wrap white crepe streamers around your front door mummy-style. Cut two big eyes from white and black construction paper, and tape them to look like they’re peeking out of the strips.  Instant spooky! 

  • 3. Pumpkins are cheap and plentiful this time of year. Using child-safe carving kits, have the kids get in on the fun of carving a jack-o-lantern.  http://pumpkinlady.com has over 700 free templates to download and print. 

  • 4. Use black construction paper to cut out basic ghost figures, bats, owls or cats.  Tape them to your windows, and when the lights are on at night, the silhouettes can be seen from outside. 

  • 5. Make it look like specters are watching over your yard.  Keep a few paper towel or toilet paper roll tubes. Carefully using scissors, cut different eye shapes in them.  Tape glow sticks inside the tubes, and hide them in your shrubs and bushes. 

  • 6. Grab a straw wreath, a few bags of faux spider webbing and plastic spiders at your local dollar store. Wrap the wreath with the webbing, and criss-cross a few strands across the middle for a cobweb effect. Hang or hot glue the spiders in different places around the wreath, add a Halloween bow, and hang on your front door. 

  • 7. White tights can be repurposed as spider eggs.  Cut the tops off, leaving the legs open.  Add a baseball or softball to the toe, and glue or hot glue plastic spiders to the “sac.” Hang the eggs from trees (away from walking areas) or light fixtures for a really scary look. 

  • 8. Make some ghostly guests out of unused tomato cages.  Turn them upside down, and push a large styrofoam ball down onto the ground wires.  Add lights around the cage, and drape a piece of white cloth or old sheet over the cage. 

  • 9. Add plastic snakes, spiders and insects purchased from a dollar store to your welcome mat. 

 

Spooking up your yard for Halloween doesn’t have to cost a great deal.  Whether you want frightening or fun, decorating with household or inexpensive dollar store finds can be a family project.  When the big night arrives, make sure you have plenty of candy, turn on your porch light, play some creepy music, and enjoy the evening. 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: Reader's Digest, rd.com

Winterizing Your Pool

by Tucker Robbins

A backyard pool used to be a luxury.  Thanks to modern technology and lower prices, a swimming pool is a common sight.  Properly winterizing a swimming pool may take a few hours, but it’s worth taking care of your investment. 

 

In-Ground Pool 

  • 1. Remove any toys and floats, and clean all debris from the pool, skimmer and pump basket.   

  • 2. Remove ladders or other equipment.  If the ladders aren’t removable, you’ll have to cut your cover to fit.  This may negate the warranty, so check the label and cover instructions before you cut. 

  • 3. Test your water, and add the proper chemicals for your pool’s size. Check labels on packaging for proper mixing and distribution instructions.   

  • 4. Backwash the pump, and blow out the pipes according to manufacturer’s directions. 

  • 5. Lay your cover out on one long side of the pool, and place empty water tube weights in their loop holders.  Fill the tubes completely.   

  • 6. After the tubes are in place on one side, you may need the help of another person to pull the cover corners across the width of the pool.  Add water tubes to the remaining sides and fill. 

  • 7. If you invest in a leaf net, it will save the main pool cover from damage from rotting leaves, plus save your from extra cleaning when it’s time to open the pool again.  Put the leaf net in place over the cover and attach according to manufacturer’s instructions.   

  • 8. Once you are finished, walk around the pool to assure your cover is secure, and the pool surface is completely covered. 

 

Above Ground Pool 

  • 1. Follow the first three tips for in-ground pool winterizing. 

  • 2. Disconnect hoses, and drain the pump.  

  • 3. Draining a certain amount of water from the pool to protect the skimmer from cracking or breaking is an important step, but a winter skimmer plate installed over your skimmer can help you skip this step.  Drain the skimmer hose completely if you use a skimmer plate. 

  • 4. Fill the air pillow completely, and place it in the pool. 

  • 5. Pull the cover across the pool and air pillow. 

  • 6. Depending on whether there is a deck around your pool will determine what you need to secure the cover: if there’s a deck, use water tubes; use cover clips if your pool is deck-free. 

  • 7. Once you are finished, walk around the pool to assure your cover is secure, and the pool surface is completely covered. 

  • <span class="SpellingError SCXW212132132" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; user-select: text; -webkit-user-drag: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-repeat: repeat-x; background-position: left bottom; background-image: url(" data:image="" gif;base64,r0lgodlhbqaeajecap="" 8aaaaaaaaaach5baeaaaialaaaaaafaaqaaaiilgaxcchrtcgaow="=&quot;);" border-bottom:="" 1px="" solid="" transparent;"="">8. Intex above-ground pools and their parts need to be completely drained, disassembled and stored inside, especially in very cold climates.  In warmer areas, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for winterizing. 

 

There are downloadable/printable resources with specific step-by-step instructions for all kinds of pool care.  Undertaking this task can save money, but if you are unsure of what you’re doing, or don’t have time, call your local pool maintenance team to winterize for you. You want your Summer pool opening as problem-free as possible when hot weather arrives. 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: Pool Guys of Palm Beach 

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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Photo of Tucker Robbins Real Estate
Tucker Robbins
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
3838 Kennett Pike
Wilmington DE 19807
(302) 777-7744 (direct)