Blog :: 05-2021

Welcome to our blog! Here you will find information regarding market, local and Lakes Region information and events! Along with DIY projects and more! Come back often to see what's new and leave us a comment if there's something you'd like to see.

The Future of Smart, Safe Showings

Keyless smart locks are showing up on front doors across America. The reasons are clear: They provide easier access without the hassle of a physical key. So, does this mean the electronic lockbox real estate professionals are accustom to using for showings is on the way out? Not anytime soon, says one industry expert. 

Keyless smart lock on front door

By Lisa A. Beach  

Platform convergence is on the horizon!    

SentriLock's new platform is the first and only real estate solution that integrates showing-scheduling functions with property access with a premium on data security.

While home sellers with existing smart lock systems might question the need for another access device, lockbox technology is evolving quickly and offers a range of advantages to real estate pros and consumers beyond enabling entry inside a listing. “Electronic lockboxes provide a great synergy of accessing technology with the smartphone they’re already using,” says Scott Fisher, founder and CEO of SentriLock LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS® and a REALTOR Benefits® partner.

Dealing with existing smart locks can be frustrating for agents trying to gain entry to a property. At least 25 different vendors, such as Nest and Ring, offer more than 45 different consumer smart locks, each requiring its own app and interface. This means downloading different smart lock apps, then figuring out how to operate them for showings. By contrast, an electronic lockbox used by a local MLS or association ensures product uniformity throughout the area.

From a security standpoint, electronic lockboxes can update the agent’s credentials and authorization status daily, providing controlled access during the marketing of the property. Electronic lockboxes can also provide peace of mind for sellers. “When the lockbox is removed from the property, the digital credentials go away,” says Fisher. “The homeowner can feel confident that no one can get in their home with the electronic credentials.”

SentriLock’s commitment to safeguarding data entered into the system will be just as vigorous in its new home showing scheduling platform SentriKey Showing Service, which is integrated with the lockbox system. Access credentials are provided only after an appointment is made. This ensures property access is restricted to scheduled appointments.

SentriLock is working to form a digital bridge with other smart lock products, which should please sellers with objections to putting lockboxes on their home. SentriLock will be integrating its technology with other platforms, which will allow agent credentials to be sent from the SentriKey Real Estate app to an existing smart lock. Their goal for the real estate space is ultimately to become vendor- and hardware-agnostic. The first integration will launch early this summer.

"Key" Takeaways:

  • Sellers with smart locks on their doors may question the need of a separate electronic lockbox for access during showings.

  • Electronic lockboxes can update the agent’s credentials and authorization status daily, providing controlled access during the marketing of the property.

  • The lockbox tracks access and reports back centrally, with the agent’s authorization and de-authorization handled automatically.


Lisa A. Beach is an Orlando, Fla.-based freelance writer whose work has been published in The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Parade, and USA Today.


Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day sign with flowers

This Sunday, mom's everywhere will be waking up early to a chorus of “Happy Mother’s Day,” and a homemade breakfast feast, complete with homemade cards, inexpensive flowers, and syrupy hands. Perhaps, followed by making Mother’s Day a family fun outing by going somewhere or taking a walk.

Whatever you decide to do, it’s nice to spend the day together. Well, over the past year or so there have been plenty of days together with family. Why not, challenge yourself and mothers everywhere to taking a little "me" time and treat yourself.  Below are some ideas to taking care of you!

lady reading book on couch  Jewelry  Hand Soaps and dish for spa therapy

1. Take Time for Yourself

If you’re craving alone time, ask your partner to take the kids for a nice long walk, and leave you at home. Enjoy the silence. Take a nap. Read. Take a bath. Rock out to Bon Jovi. Do whatever makes you happy. If you’re dreaming of a family outing, set up a backyard game, make an outdoor movie screen, have a lip-sync dance battle, or go for a drive through a local nature preserve.

2. Ask Only for What You Really Want

Make an “Acts of Service” wish list that your significant other and the kids can do instead of gifts. Sure, it’s basically a list of our least favorite chores, but hey, not having to fold the laundry for a whole weekend is like gold to any mama!

3. Buy Yourself Something

Is there a local store you’d like to support? Buy yourself a gift card or shop their online store. Does your athleisure wear collection need some updating? Now is the time! Have your eye on some jewelry? Buy it! Just go for it.

4. Eat Well

If you’re lucky enough to have family members who cook or grill well, take advantage of that. Put in your menu request early and enjoy your favorite grub. If you are the cook, take the day off and support local restaurants. Be sure to pick up your favorite treats and beverages on your next grocery run so you can enjoy the good snacks after the kids are in bed.

5. Create an At-Home Spa

It may not be the same as going to a real spa, but you can pamper yourself with a facial mask and some DIY bath bombs. Throw in a foot soak and a fresh coat of nail polish and you’ll feel like a new woman. If your little helpers are excited about spa day too, make it a mommy-and-me activity with facials for everyone.

Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your day! Happy Mother's Day!


Better Homes and Gardens; Source: By Megan Boettcher

Soaring Lumber Prices Add $36K to Average New-Home Price

Buyers who purchase newly constructed homes are paying more not only because of intense competition in the market but also surging lumber prices. Record-breaking growth for the cost of lumber is pressing on builders’ budgets and prompting them to pass along price increases to buyers.


lumber yard

© juniart - AdobeStock

The increase in lumber prices over the past year has added $35,872 to the price of an average new single-family home and $12,966 to the price of an average new multifamily home. The latter translates to an extra $119 per month in rent for apartment dwellers, according to new housing data from the National Association of Home Builders.

Some builders report slowing production due to the rising building costs. Still, single-family housing starts jumped 41% in March compared to a year earlier, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. More than a quarter of single-family homes that were on the market in the first quarter of this year were new construction—the highest share on record, according to Redfin research.

But lumber prices—up a whopping 340% compared to a year ago, according to Random Lengths, a wood products industry tracking firm—threaten that market share. For a new home, lumber is often used for framing as well as for cabinets, doors, windows, flooring, and decks.

Builders are facing rising costs for other building materials, too. For example, year-over-year prices are up nearly 7% for drywall, 27% for copper—the price of which set a record high this month—and 11% for land prices. Prices for single lots especially have jumped this year due to high buyer demand and low supply.

“There’s a literal land grab going on as builders are scooping up lots to better match housing supply with demand,” Ali Wolf, chief economist at Zonda, told CNBC. “The lot supply shortage is real, and it is causing prices to rise and builders to move further into the suburbs.”


Realtor Magazine, Source: 

Soaring Lumber Prices Add $36,000 to the Cost of a New Home, and a Fierce Land Grab Is Only Making It Worse,” CNBC (April 30, 2021) and “Higher Lumber Costs Add More Than $35K to New Home Prices, $119 to Monthly Rent,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog (April 28, 2021)

How to Remove Deeply Rooted Shrubs and Trees

Want to Redesign Your Garden? Here's How to Remove Deeply-Rooted Shrubs, Plants, and Small Trees. The good news is that you can tackle this job on your own. Here's what you need to know.

bushes and flower garden


By Kelly Manning

Is your landscape looking a little tired and weather-worn? Or maybe you're simply ready for a new look. It's easy to construe lofty goals until you take a closer look at your garden beds, only to discover the deep root systems of the plants, shrubs, and small trees you'd need to remove to change your outdoor space's style. Not only can this task feel overwhelming, but not everyone has the skillset or tools to tackle such a big job. Below, Blythe Yost, a landscape architect and the CEO of Tilly, a startup aiming to bring landscape design to more homeowners, shares her recommendations for removing longstanding varieties to pave the way for new growth.

Make a clear plan—and stick to it. 

"Landscape design is very labor intensive. Don't bite off more than you can chew," cautions Yost, who recommends homeowners map out a plan that outlines their goals. "Draw something out, even if it's on the back of an envelope, or put together a shopping list with the tools you need." Adds Yost, "Know where you're starting and where you're going so that you get somewhere in the end."

Take a strategic approach to removal. 

To remove shrubs, begin with a pair of loppers, to cut away branches and any large roots visible to the eye. As you get down to the soil, use a pick mattock to help you "hack out" the web beneath the surface. Continue to cut the root system as it becomes more accessible; be careful not to simply pull and tug, which can strain your back. For unrelenting roots, Yost recommends utilizing a Come-Along, a tool that allows you to use the support of a tree during the extraction process. Similarly, when removing the roots of small trees, remove branches with loppers—but be sure to leave enough "to give yourself leverage to twist, hack, and pull the roots," notes Yost. As for unearthing simple plants? Use a sharp shovel, such as a spade to dig up the roots, but remember "they are not as deep as the plant is tall." Uprooted trees, shrubs, and plants should be disposed of in the same manner as your regular yard waste.

Use root killer sparingly. 

If you choose to apply root killer, Yost recommends using it "judiciously;" wear protective gear, do not over-spray the area, and be mindful of runoff, she notes. Furthermore, remember that root killer is systemic and needs time to work. "It needs to be taken up by the leaves and then go down to the roots," explains Yost. "If you chop all the leaves off, you can't use it, because there's no leaf surface." Additionally, Yost has found that root killer is best suited for invasive species and works especially well in warm climates, where plants metabolize faster. Otherwise, it will take about two weeks for the root killer to reach the plant's base. If your goal is to kill the system, organic herbicides wont do the trick, she says, since they are not systemic: "Leaves will shrivel, but roots won't die."

Know when to call in a professional. 

"It depends on how much of a workout you want and how much time you have," says Yost of knowing if and when to hire an expert. "Most things can be achieved on your own, but when a tree is larger than an inch and a half in diameter, it will be very difficult to remove." Getting rid of large, overgrown shrubs, which can be especially taxing to remove, often requires a professional, as well. Assessing "size and quantity are two good ways of approaching it," says Yost.