Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



Posted by Thomas Murphy on 7/23/2017

Many people think that if they live in a so-called "nice neighborhood" that they're immune to residential crime. While it's true that the probability of having their home or cars broken into may be lower than in urban or high-crime areas, there's always the outside chance that there's someone wandering through the neighborhood -- especially at night -- who doesn't have the best of intentions. While that does not mean you have to be in a state of "high alert" all the time, it does make sense to develop good habits with regard to home security. One thing to avoid is being lulled into a state of complacency by the the sight of manicured lawns, friendly neighbors, and the peaceful atmosphere of your neighborhood. Although those qualities are well worth appreciating and being grateful for, an ounce of prevention can help preserve the sanctity of your home and property. Typical Security Mistakes Homeowners Make Whether you're talking about highway safety, food safety, or home security, you and your family can lead a safer, more secure life by following a few basic guidelines. Unfortunately, all-too-many people tend to let their guard down and leave themselves vulnerable to threats, like home break-ins, burglary, and other residential crimes. Have you noticed any neighbors on your street who seem to "throw caution to the wind" when they're away? Maybe you, too, have gotten a little too complacent or forgetful about basic home security measures. Here are a few of the common mistakes many people make -- especially when they're on vacation -- which could be an invitation to trouble:

  1. Leaving a house key under the front door mat: Although it may seem like a convenient and somewhat discreet place to "hide" a key, it's one of the first places a resourceful burglar is going to look. Not only that, but every time a friend or member of the family accesses that key, they could easily be observed by someone passing by. The longer it's there, the more people are going to see it.
  2. Forgetting to suspend mail or newspaper delivery: When you go on vacation or visit relatives for more than a few days, your mind is already cluttered with travel plans and other arrangements. It's easy to forget about details like mail delivery and newspapers accumulating in the driveway. However, if either of those items start piling up in front of your house, it's equivalent to placing a flashing neon sign in your window, saying "Nobody's home!" Rather than contacting the post office and newspaper circulation department, an easier method is to have a trusted neighbor or friend gather your deliveries and store them in a safe place -- possibly inside your home. (If they're a really good friend, they can also water your plants, feed your tropical fish, take care of your pets, and turn on a couple lights at night -- but, maybe you don't want to test the limits of your friendship that much!)
  3. Leaving lampposts and outdoor floodlights on continuously: Again, it's like an advertisement that the house is unoccupied.
  4. Allowing the grass to get too long: It's amazing how a little sunshine and rain, while you're away, can cause an unexpected growth spurt in your lawn. Although it's not as obvious as the previous items, it can be a tip off that the family is on vacation, blissfully unaware of the security breaches that are occurring. The overgrown grass problem can be prevented by either hiring a regular lawn mowing service or recruiting an enterprising teenager in the neighborhood to keep your property looking well tended while you're away.
There are potentially dozens of home security measures you can take to ensure that your premises are completely burglarproof, but they can be expensive and complicated. However, if you just follow a few commonsense guidelines, both your possessions and your peace of mind should remain fully intact!





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 6/4/2017

Although preparing your house for a real estate showing can be hectic, there are ways to make it easier and less stressful. One source of stress for many people is that nagging feeling that they're forgetting to do something important.

Admittedly, overlooking some things could result in lost sales or even lost valuables, but a little advance planning and organization can help prevent those problems from happening.

The solution is to create a checklist of important reminders and tasks you have to complete before leaving the house. Your real estate agent will provide helpful guidance and tips on effectively preparing your house for showings.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

When your house is up for sale and it's being actively marketed, appointments with prospective buyers are sometimes made on the spur of the moment. While real estate agents will be scheduling the appointments and conducting the tours, it's up to you to ensure that your home is always in tip-top condition. Hopefully, you'll be able to enlist your family's help in picking up clothes, putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and cleaning up after themselves. If you have small children, they will undoubtedly need assistance in putting away their toys and making their bedrooms look civilized! Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when getting ready for house showings:

  • Cleanliness (or a lack thereof) will be one of the many things that house hunters notice. While your house may meet their requirements for number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and overall layout, they could quickly lose interest if your floors, countertops, and sinks are visibly dirty.
  • Pets can be a potential issue if your home is scheduled for a showing. Not only can dogs be a distraction if they bark a lot or have other undesirable behaviors, but some people are allergic to dogs and cats. The ideal solution is for a friend, family member, or neighbor to take care of your dog while the house is being shown. Unfortunately that's not always possible. Sometimes confining your dog to a fenced-in back yard (briefly) or a comfortable crate that they're accustomed to may be a viable, short-term solution. Several factors would come into play, including the weather, the temperament of your dog, and whether it's going to bother the neighbors by being outside.
  • Doing your best to eliminate clutter throughout the house is another strategy for making the best possible impression on potential buyers.

Protecting Your Valuables and Privacy

Another priority that some homeowners forget is to hide valuables, such as jewelry, mobile devices, checkbooks, and cash. It's also a good idea to make sure your computers are password-protected, and that you turn them off before leaving the house. If you have any concerns about security during home showings, you might want to hide computers, personal items, and yesterday's mail in a secure place. Although most people touring your house will only be interested in its features, décor, and condition, it's always good to exercise a little caution when opening your house up to the public.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 4/10/2016

The Security of the home is a point of paramount significance to all homeowners.  Burglary is one of the most common crimes committed in the United States. It is estimated that every 15 seconds, someone falls victim to this felony. Knowing that a criminal has violated their personal living space,  homeowners can become fearful and feel insecure in their own homes.  Worrying about whether or not your home is safe can affect the whole family's feeling of security.  Together, the family can make some simple changes that may help deter a felon from entering their home. Helpful hints to secure your home against burglary: Do not leave valuables lying around in plain sight, inside or outside of the house. This could be an open invitation to thieves.  Personal belongings that would be tempting to a burglar should be kept out of sight in a secure location.  There is a wide variety of home safes available today that provide secure storage.  It is also important to protect your belongings outside of the home.  Leaving expensive items such as toys, bicycles, or tools unattended in an easily accessible area of your yard is an unsafe practice.  The criminal mind is always looking for a quick pick ! Be aware of how much personal information your trash can provide. After purchasing a new appliance or electronic device, avoid placing the box in its entirety out with your trash. Cut it up, place it in a large trash bag, or bring it to a recycling center. To a criminal this is great advertisement that there is an brand new plasma TV in your house! Burglars tend to come around when no one is home.  If they get the impression someone is home, it discourages them from entering. Therefore, when leaving the home, it is best to create an illusion that someone is still there. Leave on some music, a lamp by your favorite chair and maybe your coffee cup on the table.  When you need to be away from your home for an extended period, the use of timers on the inside and outside lights will improve the authenticity that someone is actually home.  The minimal amount of electricity that you will be burning to implement these safety measures will be well worth it if you can deter a break in. Securing all possible entry points of your home is also key.  Older sliding doors and windows may need to be secured with an extra measure of protection as some can be easily popped off.  Bulkheads and basement doors need to be locked and secured to avoid easy access.   Window air conditioning units can be easily removed allowing quick access if not installed securely.  An unlocked door on an attached garage can be open invitation to a criminal.  Keeping your doors locked may not deter all break ins, but it is a simple step to take in making your home more secure. Although it may seem like a good idea to leave a spare key under the doormat, this type of behavior should be avoided.  Most burglars are aware of the common hiding places and will quickly locate your "hidden" key.  A safer option is to give a spare key to a trusted neighbor or friend. You can keep a spare key hidden in your vehicle or secured with a combination lock somewhere outside of the home.  Remember, never place any information that identifies your house on the key just in case it ever ends up in the wrong hands. There are many things a homeowner can do to keep their home safe.  Fortunately there is also a wide variety of home security systems available for individuals that desire a higher level of security.  Taking the preventative measures that you can and seeking the guidance of a security system professional is the best way to confirm your home secure.