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Cleaning your carpets may seem like a hassle, but it's a necessary task. This guide will make the process easier.

While a nice, clean carpet is often a key component of a comfortable living space, it doesn't take long for it to get nasty. Carpet is a harbor for germs, dust, debris, dirt, and so regular cleaning is important for keeping your family healthy and your home's interior looking good.

A good carpet cleaning routine involves more than just regular vacuuming; however, the process doesn't have to be difficult. Establishing a regular cleaning cadence is key. Our real estate agents pulled together this quick guide to carpet cleaning options so you can help preserve the floors and air quality in your home:

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The appraisal is an important step in selling your home. Here's how you can prep for it.

While a home appraisal is a normal part of the closing process, it's common for sellers to be a bit nervous about the outcome. The purpose of an appraisal is to gain an independent third-party valuation of your property. Naturally, sellers want the appraised value to come back as high as possible. If the appraisal comes in lower than the offer price, then you may need to return to the negotiating table to determine who is going to cover the difference, which could ultimately eat into your return.

While a good portion of your appraisal will be based on recent sales of nearby homes, some of the assessment is subjective. Therefore, doing everything you can to make a good impression can impact the outcome. Our real estate agents suggest these tips for preparing for your home appraisal.

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Your home may not be as clean as you think it is. Here's how to properly do a deep clean.

Sometimes your home reaches the point where your regular cleaning routine just won't cut it. When it seems like dirt and grime are accumulating everywhere, it's time to open up the windows, put on the cleaning gloves, and focus on the nitty-gritty aspects of cleaning.

While deep cleaning can be a lot of work, you'll feel so much better once you have a nice, clean, and shiny house. Our real estate agents often do a thorough deep clean twice a year: once in the fall and once in the spring. We recommend adding these tips into your fall deep cleaning routine this year:

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Before making an offer on your dream home, make sure you cross these tasks off your list.

Shopping for a new home can be an emotional rollercoaster, and the process often takes several weeks or months. Once you discover that perfect home, it's normal to feel a mix of excitement and anxiety, which often leads buyers to act with a sense of urgency. However, before you have your agent draw up an offer, it's important to take some time to thoroughly evaluate the property and consider your terms.

Our real estate agents always encourage clients to take these steps before submitting an offer:

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It's not always easy to inspect your plumbing. Here's how you can ensure hard water won't ruin your pipes and appliances.

Did you know hard water can negatively impact your home over time? While it's safe to drink, hard water can lead to many interior problems, which is why our real estate agents recommend addressing it as soon as possible. Hard water is common across much of the US, especially in the Midwest. As a result, it's an issue most homeowners have to contend with. Below, we'll tell you all about hard water and share some simple solutions for treating it in your home

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National Pet Fire Safety Day

National Pet Fire Safety Day takes place every year on July 15, and it's a day to learn how to keep your pet safe in a fire. For many of us, pets are our most precious asset so it makes sense that we would dedicate a day to keeping them safe during one of the scariest things we can imagine. It was started by the Kennel Club and ADT Security in 2009 to help pet owners learn safety measures to protect their beloved pets and homes from fire, and it's a great opportunity to learn how to keep your fur baby safe.


While our animals are oftentimes the culprit behind devastating fires, it's a little ironic that dogs (specifically dalmations) have become an American icon associated with firefighters today. Let's briefly explore how that came to be. A few hundred years ago, dogs were trained to trot alongside horse-drawn wagons and protect their occupants (and horses) from harm. Dalmations quickly became the ideal carriage dog for their strength, vitality, fortitude, and size. They also had a reputation for getting along well with horses and were known to have a calming effect while firefighters were battling a blaze. Overtime as motorized fire trucks replaced carriages, Dalmatians and other fire pups were seen less aboard fire trucks and more as on-site firehouse residents and mascots.

Today, many firefighters have pet Dalmatians, and firehouses around the country still have Dalmatians as station dogs. However, Dalmatians aren't the only dog in the firehouse. It's become common for firefighters (and sometimes entire fire teams) to adopt dogs rescued from fires. These lucky pups, whatever their breed, become symbols of the resiliency, bravery, and fortitude of firefighters and the individuals they help. They also take important steps into education and helping firefighters demonstrate fire safety and emergency preparedness for schools and community groups across the country. Teaching that pets cause over 1,000 house fires each year in the United States and the preventive measures we can take to protect our beloved companions.


13,000 B.C.
People Make Pets

Evidence suggests people bred dogs in Europe and Asia around this time.

6,000 B.C.
Sacred Dog Burials

Special dog graves include expensive items. Proof of their deep meaning to humans

Emotional Support Animals Protected

The Fair Housing Amendments Act allows people to keep their ESAs, despite landlords.

The Awareness Begins

The Kennel Club and ADT Security decided it was time to get serious about pet fire protection.


  1. Get this useful decoration

    On July 15, get a free Pet Fire Safety Window Cling at your local volunteer firehouse. First responders will see this and know to look out for any pets inside.

  2. Share it to save lives

    Use #PetFireSafetyDay to post on social media and raise awareness to friends and family about the day and ways that they can keep their pets safe from fires.

  3. Have a fire drill

    For families with kids, this tradition is even more important. Discuss your family evacuation plan, designate someone to carry out the pets and execute a fire drill on this day every year.


    1. Pyro Pets

      Pets cause over 1,000 house fires each year in the United States

    2. A Big Problem

      Nearly 360,000 house fires occur each year in the United States.

    3. Save a Life

      Over 40,000 pets die every year in house fires. Awareness can save lives.

    4. Furry (and Slithering) Heroes

      There are thousands of stories about pets, even snakes, saving humans from house fires.

    5. Have a Plan

      The #1 tip is to have an escape plan that includes your pets.


      1. Keep your pets out of trouble

        There are many ways to keep your pet from causing a fire. Blow out candles before leaving home, block off access to the kitchen or remove stove knobs if pets can reach it, and keep any and all wires out of chewing distance, especially from kittens and puppies!

      2. Have a pet rescue plan in place

        Discuss with your family who will be in charge of rescuing your pet in the event of a fire. Planning and practicing fire drills will help the family remain calm and help ensure that your pets are not forgotten during a chaotic evacuation.

      3. Make rescuers aware of your pets and their hiding places

        As part of your evacuation plan, include a list of your pet's hiding places, so that firefighters will know where to look in case your pets don't make it out with you. Also, make sure your pets have collars with up to date tags attached in case they escape on their own.


        Year Date Day
        2022 July 15 Friday
        2023 July 15 Saturday
        2024 July 15 Monday
        2025 July 15 Tuesday
        2026 July 15 Wednesday

Western Michigan is full of exciting opportunities. Here's why you should make it your new home.

There are many factors to consider when choosing a new place to live, and the decision isn't always easy. But for those searching for a great climate, a strong economy, and quality education, Western Michigan checks every box. In fact, our real estate agents say people from all over the world move to Western Michigan thanks to its many amenities. Once you see what our great communities have to offer, we're sure you'll be eager to call this area home.

If you're on the hunt for a new place to live, here are a few reasons why you make sure Western Michigan is on the top of your list:

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The 8 Best Places to Sell Your Old Smart Home Gadgets


Are you looking to get rid of some old smart home gadgets? Maybe you're upgrading to newer models or just decluttering your home. Whatever the reason, selling your old smart home gadgets can be a great way to make some extra money.

No matter what kind of smart home gadgets you have, there's a good chance you can sell them and get some money back. Here are some of the best places to sell your old smart home gadgets.

1. Decluttr

Decluttr is a great option if you want to sell your old smart home gadgets quickly and easily. All you have to do is enter the name of the gadget you want to sell, and Decluttr will give you an instant valuation.

If you're happy with the offer, the company will send you a shipping label, so you can send your items for free. Once your items are received, you'll get paid the next day via PayPal, direct deposit, or check.

The turnaround time is around 3-5 days, including shipping.

It's a great way to get rid of old smart home gadgets without having to deal with the hassle of listing them individually on a marketplace, but you will likely get less money than you would if you sold them yourself.

2. Amazon Trade-In

Amazon Trade-In is an excellent option if you're looking to get Amazon gift cards in exchange for your old smart home gadgets.

To get started, you'll need to search for the gadget you want to sell on Amazon's website. Once you've found it, select the condition of the gadget, and Amazon will provide you with an estimated value.

If you're happy with the offer, you can print out a shipping label and send your gadget to Amazon for free. Once the company receives and inspects your item, you'll get an Amazon gift card for the appraised value.

It's a quick and easy way to get rid of old smart home gadgets, and you'll be able to use Amazon gift cards to buy new gadgets or anything else you want from Amazon.

If you prefer to trade in your gadgets in person, you can also take them to certain physical Amazon locations that will appraise and accept your items on the spot.

With certain gadgets, you can also get a discount coupon on a new gadget when you trade in your old one, making it a great option if you're looking to upgrade.

Amazon offers free shipping and pays out via Amazon gift card.

The turnaround time is around two days after Amazon receives your gadget.

3. ItsWorthMore

If you're looking for a slightly higher payout than what Amazon or Decluttr offers, ItsWorthMore may be a good option for you.

Like Decluttr, ItsWorthMore, you will need to answer a few questions about your gadget like the model, condition, and any included accessories.

Although ItsWorthMore doesn't accept as wide a range of smart home gadgets as Decluttr, they do accept smart home control hubs and smartwatches.

After that, you'll get an instant quote and can decide whether or not you want to move forward with the sale.

ItsWorthMore offers free shipping and pays out via PayPal, check, or Zelle once the company has received and inspected your items.

The turnaround time is around up to 5 days.

4. Apple Trade In

Want to trade in your old Apple smart home gadgets to get a discount on a new one? Apple Trade In is the perfect place to do that.

From Apple TV to the HomePod, Apple Trade In accepts a wide range of Apple smart home gadgets.

The only downside is that you can only trade in Apple products, so if you have any non-Apple gadgets, you'll need to look elsewhere.

To get started, simply bring your old Apple gadget into an Apple Store or go to the Apple Trade In website and enter your gadget's information.

Apple will give you an estimated trade-in value, which you can then use to get a discount on a new Apple product.

You can also choose to receive an Apple Store gift card instead of using the trade-in value towards a new purchase.

Apple offers free shipping or in-store trade-in and pays out via Apple Store gift card or instant credit towards a new purchase.

The turnaround time can take up to a couple of weeks if done online or instant if done in-store.

5. Best Buy Trade-In Program

Want to get rid of old smart home gadgets and receive a Best Buy gift card in return? If so, the Best Buy Trade-In Program is a great option.

It's a similar process to the other trade-in programs on this list. First, you'll need to find your gadget on Best Buy's website and answer a few questions about its condition.

After that, Best Buy will provide you with an estimated value for your gadget. If you're happy with the offer, you can print out a shipping label and send your gadget to Best Buy for free.

Once the company receives and inspects your item, you'll get a Best Buy gift card for the appraised value.

Best Buy offers free shipping and pays out via Best Buy gift card.

The turnaround time is up to 9 days when done online or instant when done in-store.

6. Swappa

If you don't mind waiting a bit for your smart home gadgets to sell, then Swappa is a great option. You can choose your price, and you won't have to pay any listing fees. The only fee you'll pay is a selling fee after your item sells, depending on how much it sells for.

To get started, create a listing for your gadget on Swappa and include as many details as possible, such as photos, condition, included accessories, etc.

Once your listing is live, potential buyers will be able to contact you to purchase your gadget.

The payment process is handled through PayPal, and you'll be responsible for shipping the item to the buyer.

The turnaround time on Swappa can vary depending on how quickly your item sells.

7. eBay

If you're looking for a platform with a large audience, then eBay is your best bet.

Selling on eBay is a pretty straightforward process, and you can list your old smart home gadgets easily.

You'll need to take some good-quality photos, write a detailed description, and set your price.

eBay does charge listing fees as well as a final value fee (which is a percentage of the total sale price), so keep that in mind when pricing your item.

Creating a listing is free, and you can choose to auction off your gadget or set a fixed price.

You'll also be responsible for shipping your gadget to the buyer, and payments are handled through PayPal.

The turnaround time on eBay can vary depending on how quickly your item sells, so it may take a while to receive payment.

8. Facebook Marketplace

Selling locally has never been easier, thanks to Facebook Marketplace. This feature allows anyone with a Facebook account to buy and sell items within their community.

If you're looking to get rid of your old smart home gadgets, Facebook Marketplace is a great place to start. You can create a listing for each item you're selling, and potential buyers can contact you directly to make an offer.

The best part about selling on Facebook Marketplace is that it's completely free. There are no fees or commissions to worry about.

Although Facebook Marketplace has pros and cons, it's definitely a quick and easy way to sell your old smart home gadgets.

The only downside is that you'll need to handle payment and shipping on your own.

The turnaround time on Facebook Marketplace can vary depending on how quickly your item sells.

An Easier Way to Sell Your Old Smart Home Gadgets

Selling your old smart home gadgets doesn't have to be difficult. With plenty of hassle-free trade-in and resale options available, you can get rid of your unwanted gadgets and receive payment quickly and easily.

Don't let your old gadgets collect dust and take up space. Use one of the options on this list to get rid of them for good and earn some extra cash in the process.


Great landscaping requires a lot of prepping and skill, which is why it's so easy to make these mistakes. Here's how you can avoid them.

With so many of us spending summer weekends doing yard work, our real estate agents thought it'd be a great time to share some landscaping tips.

Great landscaping is both an art and a science. We know creating the perfect yard takes time and practice, and it's well worth it. Remember, beautiful landscaping can make or break your curb appeal. Therefore, learning best practices and avoiding mistakes can really help boost your property value and attract attention when it comes time to sell your home.

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The home appraisal is a crucial step in the process of selling a home. Here's how you can prepare for it.

Planning to sell your property or refinance your mortgage this year? Our real estate agents usually recommend an appraisal as a good first step. Knowing your home's true value can ultimately help you land more money when you sell (though keep in mind, that the buyer's lender will likely require their own appraisal). An appraisal is also required if you're planning to refinance.

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