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Lung Cancer in Your Dog: Signs, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Our dogs are important to us. For many of us, they’re just like family. I have been around dogs for as long as I can remember, pretty much since childhood. When a dog gets visibly sick we hurry on to the vet to get them healed. We try to keep our dogs healthy; we like to feed them, nurture them, bathe them, and do everything we can do to make sure that they have a healthy life; but in some cases especially if your dog has a genetic predisposition to cancer, it might not be enough. However, there’s not much a person can do to prevent canine lung cancer from occurring. The good news, however, is that there are many treatments available! Also, educating yourself about the disease can help you understand it, which will help you in your pet better combat this disease. Let’s discuss this a little bit.

In the case of Canine Lung Cancer it can start off slowly, and then as your dog progresses further into this disease more and more symptoms appear. Over time, just like human cancer, this can really begin to have an affect on your pet. There are several symptoms that you can look for to identify canine lung cancer. Weight loss, lethargy, trouble breathing, chronic coughing and coughing up of blood; these are all indications that your dog could be suffering from canine lung cancer. 

Hence, as a pet owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your pet is always healthy and happy. Educating yourself on how to keep your pet happy and healthy is one of your min responsibilities. You can find more info here.

What happens is carcinoma (a type of Canine Lung Cancer) forms in the lungs in a small mass. This will begin to cause trouble breathing, and your dog may even begin to cough a little. As the carcinoma increases in size, the symptoms will also increase. If your dog is coughing up blood, or there is blood in the saliva, it’s an indication that the lungs have begun to deteriorate, or that the dog could have ruptured the cancer cells. This is a dangerous situation which could cause immediate death if you don’t get them to surgery right away!

Other signs to watch out for would be your dog dragging their hiring legs rather than walking, less movement while they’re sleeping and as well as during the day. You might also notice numbness in their limbs.

Carcinoma, can usually be malignant. That means that it will cause death if not treated properly. The causes of carcinoma are still widely unknown, but just like in cancer for humans it is recommended that you avoid smoking around your pet it is believed that secondhand smoke can affect your dog, just as it can affect those around you. So avoid smoking around your dog. Also, give them plenty of exercise and a good, healthy diet which will help prevent lung cancer from occurring.

In the case of treatment, your 1st option will usually be surgery. Removal of the mass from the lungs is necessary, and proper medication will help heal the lung. There are cases, however, where the mass might be too big to remove without destroying the lung. Your veterinarian, in this case, would suggest radiation therapy to help reduce the mass until it can be removed surgically. Sometimes in radiation therapy the mass may disappear completely. Radiation and chemotherapy are used to reduce the mass and hinder abnormal cells from forming. It may take up to a few radiation treatments or surgeries before the canine lung cancer is healed.

We, as dog owners feel responsible about the health of our pets. Canine lung cancer is very dangerous and deadly so I hope this will help you understand some of the symptoms, and treatments of this serious illness.

Pacing and Circling Dog: Brain Tumor May Be Cause

If your dog has suddenly started pacing and/or circling for no reason, the dog might have a brain tumor. A brain tumor in a dog can burst onto the scene with no warning; this happened to my parents’ dog, just a few months before his ninth birthday.

If your dog has suddenly taken to pacing back and forth, or pacing around in circles — particularly in the same direction — get your pet to the vet as soon as possible for a diagnosis. Pacing in a dog can be caused by other issues besides a brain tumor. However, there is only one way to find out what’s going on: a complete veterinary exam.

My parents’ dog kept pacing counterclockwise around the kitchen island and around the kitchen table. This was totally uncharacteristic of him; he’d never done that before. This new behavior was accompanied by several other peculiarities. Not much more than a week prior, however, the German shepherd had been perfectly normal.

I did a Web search on pacing in dogs, and came to a forum that had a lot of possible causes including liver disease and bloat. Bloat is a life-threatening condition that can kill a dog very quickly, and painfully. One of the symptoms of bloat is pacing and restlessness, along with unsuccessful attempts to vomit.

My parents’ German shepherd has been making unsuccessful attempts to upchuck, and at one point, succeeded. Dogs at risk for bloat are large breeds, and the older they are, the higher the risk. In bloat, the stomach organ literally twists about inside the animal’s abdominal cavity, and emergency medical treatment is required.

So here I was, thinking the German shepherd had bloat (he’d always been a very fast eater and drank water immediately after his meals — two risk factors for bloat). I paid my parents a visit early in the morning, having an intuitive feeling that something was seriously wrong with their dog, and insisting they make an appointment with the veterinarian.

At around 8:15 a.m., I made an appointment for 11 a.m. that day. At 8:30 a.m., the German shepherd had a seizure. However, I thought that what was happening were convulsions from his stomach organ twisting and torquing: bloat. I ordered my mother to get the car started; that we were heading straight to the vet ER just five minutes away. I also advise that before going to a vet or clinic, make sure to give them a call or go to website first so you can be sure that they are open and resources, facilities and vets are available.

Fast forward two days:

The dog was diagnosed with a “fairly large” brain tumor (which caused the seizure), and the veterinary neurologist said that the brain tumor had been causing the mindless pacing and circling; the sudden loss of interest in playing ball; and a noticeable disengagement from the family members he had always cherished.

If your dog has been pacing, either in straight lines, from room to room over and over, or in circles, get him checked for a brain tumor, even though other conditions can produce these symptoms.

Salmon Paws Dog Treats: A Review

We all know that salmon is good for humans because oily fish contains essential fatty acids, but did you know salmon is also beneficial for dogs? Salmon Paws dog treats are sure to make your dog sit up and beg for more because they are delicious and you will feel good giving Salmon Paws jerky to your dog because of its health benefits. Salmon Paws products are human grade, all natural, low in saturated fat, high in protein, rich in omega-3 and omega-6 oils (which are great for a shiny coat), and are easy to tear into pieces which makes for a great training treat. Salmon Paws treats are suitable for dogs, puppies and even cats.

Salmon Paws Products

Salmon Paws dog treats come in packages of sticks (similar to a Slim Jim), salmon fillet jerky, and kitty bits (for that special cat in your life). I especially love how the Salmon Paws dog treats can be cut or torn into bite-size pieces that can be placed in a Kong, used during training sessions or given as a treat. My dog doesn’t just like Salmon Paws dog treats, he loves them and will perform any trick to get a piece.

*Tip: I recommend dog parents have fresh water available after giving their dog Salmon Paws treats because fish is a bit salty. Click here to see the entire Salmon Paws line.

Purchase

If you purchase Salmon Paws dog treats from their website they will donate 10% to the Lange Foundation (a no-kill shelters that relies on donations). To find a store that sells Salmon Paws dog treats near you, click here. You may also purchase Salmon Paws dog treats at BestBullySticks.com. I personally can attest to the excellent customer service at both Salmon Paws and Best Bully Sticks.

About Salmon

Did you know that there are four different types of wild salmon (King, Sockeye, Pinks and Chums), and two different types of farmed salmon (Atlantics and Steelhead)? Salmon Paws uses only the center cut of Sockeye salmon (caught in the Alaskan waters) because the center of salmon is lean and free of bones.

Fun Facts

Salmon caught in the open ocean feed on baby shrimp which makes the salmon meat is reddish-orange and fatty. Before salmon enter the river, they stop eating which changes the color of their meat and helps it become less fatty.According to Salmon Paws, salmon have a four-year life cycle. Eggs hatch in upper rivers and salmon fry grow one to two years before making it out to sea where they live for two to three years in the ocean before returning to the same exact spot to spawn and die. For more information about salmon paws for dog treats, you can visit this link. This will deliver you some additional knowledge about salmon that can help your pet. If you really love your pet, it is important to be educated on how to take good care of them.

The Jerky Process

Salmon Paws uses salmon caught in the open ocean before entering the river. The salmon is heated to only 170 degrees Fahrenheit to extract the moisture from the salmon jerky and kill any bacteria. It takes over six hours and only 100 pounds of salmon product is produced per 12-hour shift which makes the cost a bit more expensive but it’s worth it. Salmon Paws contains no artificial colors or additives so the texture and color may vary during the season because they use only the freshest fish possible.

The salmon meat is put through a silent cutter which is a large food processor in order to make it the consistency needed to form large strips. This has been the process at Salmon Paws for 15 years. Why mess with perfection? Some of their products also contain broccoli, wheatgrass and/or carrots. The Salmon Paws facility is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Opinion

Salmon Paws is a wonderful treat for my dog and is very easy for me to use as a training tool or a treat. I love that it is all natural, healthy, and made in America. The folks at Salmon Paws stand behind their products 100% and their customer service is the epitome of excellence. My dog and I give them two paws up.

How to House Train a Puppy

House training a puppy may sometimes feel like climbing Mt. Everest. It really isn’t that hard. Here I will show you the easiest most pain free way of house training your puppy.

It really doesn’t matter the breed, or his ability. All dogs can be house trained. Some take longer than others and it is a process that should not be rushed.

You should pick a spot you want your dog to use every time he needs to go potty. Praise him when he uses his designated spot.

Don’t ever yell, hit, or rub your dog’s nose in his mistake. The only exception to this is if you catch him in the process of it. Then a strong sound from deep in your throat is best, like an uhhhhhnnnnttt sound… almost a growl. It will stop his behavior immediately. Then pick him up and take him to his designated potty spot.

I can’t stress enough, don’t ever hit him! Use a crate as an aid in house training your puppy. Make sure he just has enough room to stand up and turn around otherwise it will not work.

An important fact here is not to leave your dog in the crate for long periods of time. It is best to use it only when you are too busy to watch him, such as when you are cleaning house, or cooking, or outside for a bit.

Never leave a new puppy in a crate more than an hour at a time. He most likely will whine at first until he gets used to it. To get him used to his crate, entice him in with treats and offer him treats when he is silent. Eventually he will get it and then his crate will be like his own personal den to him.

Be consistent! Don’t let him get away with going anywhere and everywhere. Anytime he is sniffing he should be taken outside. Also ten minutes after a meal and when he first wakes up in the morning.

Monitor his water intake because the more he drinks the more he will have to go. Remove all food after five in the evening and all water after nine in the evening and take him out one last time before you go to bed.

If he is the type to get up after you are asleep and make lots of naughty mistakes you can either crate him or put a leash on him and keep him close to you through the night.

It entirely depends on the dog’s nature because each breed is different from the other where some are soft and docile others are aggressive and ferocious but good at heart so the crate is the best option for him if he is the latter so why not try here at some of the best shops in the vicinity.

If you want your puppy to share your bed with you I suggest the leash method. Simply wrap it around a bedpost (if you haven’t got one, your body will work) to where he has no way off the bed and just a little room to move away from his sleeping area. He may whine at first but will soon get into the routine of sleeping through the night.

He will alert you with his cry when he needs out. Night time can be the hardest time with some puppies because until you get their schedule ironed out, no matter the time, if they cry, they should be taken out.

Sometimes they will do nothing and it can get very frustrating. Just remember, consistency pays off! The more consistent you are the quicker your hard work will be done.

Remember, there will be mistakes in the beginning. Use a good quality pet stain and odor remover on any mistakes. Clean the area of any feces and soak up any wetness in the area first with paper towels. Then saturate it with the stain and odor remover.

If it is carpet make sure you saturate it well into the carpet pad. If you don’t get it completely saturated your puppy will still be able to smell it even if you can’t and will most likely use the spot again. If he does use the spot again, just repeat the cleaning step again.

Eventually you will have a very well house trained puppy and a loving and loyal member of your family. Just remember to be consistent not just in your house training endeavors, but in all aspects of his life! There is nothing more pleasant than a well trained dog.

Dog Day Care Job: Think Twice

I have been working for a pet care facility for a few years which offers boarding and dog day care. In those few years, I have been working in the dog day care department which the company I work for likes to call “Doggy Day Camp” and those who work in dog day care are given the title of “Camp Counselor.” When I first started out as a camp counselor, I thought it would be great. I liked the idea of being left alone and not under the constant watchful eye of my manager and loved the idea of becoming familiar with the different personalities that are specific to each individual breed. I also liked the simplicity of it. I had to read a company manual on canine body language, how to break up dog fights and what toys were permitted in the room. The only thing that I wasn’t to keen on was the camera’s that were on either side of the room because I had no idea when an owner might be on the company website watching my interaction with their pooch. But at the same time, I believed the owners had the right to check in and make sure that their beloved pooch was being treated nicely and getting adequate attention. I also did check over here for some tips on how I could properly take good care of dogs. It is important that as a dog day care, you somehow know about the breeds of the dogs, their behaviors and the things that you should do and should not do.

As the days, weeks and months dragged on, each day began to blend into one another. Spending five days a week in a room full of dogs for up to 5 or 6 hours was no longer enjoyable. There were many factors that played into this sudden change. One of the factors was having to stand in a room watching dogs wrestle, chew on bones, bark incessantly or just sit in a corner only observing became one great big bore. As a camp counselor, you are not allowed to read or have any earphones in your ears. The reason being that you are on camera at all times which owners can watch in real time. If you have earphones in your ears, you can’t hear a dog if it’s in trouble and if you read anything it will look bad if an owner is watching. To add to this, my manager moved small dog day care to a new room right next to the lobby which has a big window. Anytime clients come in, they can not only watch the dogs but look at you. The new room was also installed with a new camera. Talk about really being under a microscope. However, I was met with some relief when the company bought us a sound system for us camp counselors so that we could attach our iPods or smart phones to it and fill the room with music. Eventually playing music through out the room became phased out.

Then summer time came around which is the peak season for the company. My co-workers and I got hit with a huge surge of campers and play and stays (boarding dogs that are allowed to attend camp for only 4 hours). There were days when I had anywhere between 30 – 56 dogs in the room. As always, I was by myself and responsible for looking out for the well being of all these dogs. When the play and stays would arrive, they would urinate and eliminate right away. Many times I had multiple dogs going potty at once and had to run around like a chicken without a head to scoop and mop up the mess before another dog would eat poop or roll in it. Then there were dogs that would hump (a sign of dominance among dogs that can lead to aggression) other dogs. When that would happen, I would have to stop whatever I was doing spray the dog with water and give it a time out in a crate for a couple of minutes. I had to prevent all of this because first and foremost, the room must be clean and humping does not look good for the clients and owners. It was and is very stressful to have to take care of that many dogs alone and to be in so many different places all at once.

I’ve also had to listen to dogs bark and whine incessantly for numerous hours only to spray them with water which may or may not silence them. When I complain to my manager about certain dogs that do not stop barking no matter what I do, she says “We can’t kick a dog out just because it’s noisy.” In other words, I’m not in the room and I don’t care that you are tired or frustrated of listening to the barking. Whenever I and my fellow co-workers have complained about certain dogs, management only placates us and only tells us what we want to hear. It is very difficult for a dog to be pulled out of camp. We have a Yorkshire Terrier that was very aggressive and caused fights. The manager still allows this dog to attend dog day care. She tells us camp counselors “If she misbehaves, call the lobby and we’ll put her in the kennel.” I don’t understand why they put that dog in camp when she is always the cause of a fight. That and the simple fact that she can and has gotten injured as a result of fighting. She has also injured other dogs and bitten us counselors.

I am now resigning from my position. I no longer enjoy it. It has become tedious and frustrating. It has been over six months of telling my manager that I would like to work in a different position or at least not work in dog day care every day. I have tried to climb the corporate ladder. When I heard from a co-worker that an office related position opened up, my manager told me that she had already hired two other people. She didn’t even notify me of the opening of the position when she knew that I was already disliking dog day care and virtually isolated in that room since I’m not allowed to leave it unless someone else is in the room.

After months of going nowhere in terms of outcomes, I have told my manager that I am leaving the company for a new job. I am very happy to be leaving dog day care behind. As much as I love animals, I do not want to work with them in that context. All in all, dog day care was an eye opener.

Do You Have What it Takes to Own a Siamese Cat?

With big blue marble eyes, a creamy coat and tipped ears, tail, face and paws, the Siamese cat is among the world’s oldest and most loved cat breeds. These pets are loving, active and smart. But they aren’t for everyone. These little love bugs will likely capture your heart while knocking over your grandmother’s favorite vase that she left you in her will. If you’re looking for a new cat and you want to add a little excitement to your life, consider a Siamese. If not, it’s not the cat for you because with a Siamese, there’s never a dull moment.

Now Siamese cats are different from normal cats as they are quite overenthusiastic in nature and quite clever in comparison to other breeds which is why they are most preferred as pets which you can check over here at a website titled something like ‘cats breed’ where you can find all the relevant info pertaining to Siamese breed of cats.

Troublemakers:

The Siamese cat is among the most lively of breeds. Coupled with their inquisitive natures, they tend to get themselves into trouble. For instance, my Siamese cat has never seen a glass he didn’t want to dump over. I lost a Mac computer that way when he dumped milk all over the keyboard. Also, whenever I’m missing an earring, the first place I look is in what I call his stash, located in his pop-up blue mesh cat house. On any given day, you’ll find a collection of cufflinks, bottle caps or knitting needles that he’s stolen.

Cry like a baby:

One of the most notorious qualities of these cats is their distinctive high pitched sound, which is similar to a baby’s cry. One time I was on the phone when my cat wanted me to pay attention to him, so he cried and cried and cried until the person on the other end of the phone said, “I’m sorry, I’ll let you go. I can heard your baby is crying.”

Lovebugs:

These cats are quite affectionate. Because these cats crave affection coupled with assertive personalities, they will demand to be picked up, cuddled and loved. After his daily nap, my Siamese will trot over to me and expect to be picked up. If I’m sitting down, he’ll slink into my lap as if he’s entitled to it. If I’m busy while sitting down, I’ll gently move him away, but after while, he’ll creep closer and closer until he’s back in my lap.

Don’t ignore me:

One time I made the mistake of locking my Siamese out of the bedroom at night. I did that because he insisted on sleeping on my feet while I was in bed. When I locked him out, he cried and cried and cried, but afterwhile he stopped – to change tactics. He decided a better way to get my attention was to slap the watercolor paintings on the opposite side of my bedroom wall, creating a banging, banging banging, until I relented. He still sleeps on my feet to this day – I’ve just learned to live with it.

Mr. Smartypants:

Siamese cats are among the smartest cats around. Mine is no exception. One of the first things he figured out after I took him home from the shelter was how to open and close doors. Also, if he’s doing something naughty, I’ll gently tell him, “Sweetheart, don’t do that.” More times than not, he’ll immediately stop what he’s doing and strut over to get a better look at me. Sometimes, he’ll “talk back” and we’ll have some kind of cat conversation that only he understands.

Show me the money:

Because Siamese cats are purebred, they can be expensive with some costing thousands of dollars from top breeders. But there are plenty of Siamese rescue groups that adopt these cats out at much cheaper prices, depending on age and special needs.

Also, every so often, your typical domestic cat rescues have purebred cats. That’s where I found my little gem hiding in his litter box, looking quite terrified. When I took him out of his cage to get a better sense of him, he just stared at me with his big blue eyes, seeming almost paralyzed. I finally said to him, “So, do you want to give it a try?” With that, I took him home after paying the $130 shelter adoption fee.

Goofballs: Because these are active and smart cats, some like mine can be quite eccentric. Every so often, my Siamese locks himself in my bathroom. He’ll open the door, walk inside and shut the door behind him. Of course, now he’s stuck, which leads him to cry…like a baby. When I let him out – and if he’s not quickly distracted by something else – I’ll hear the door shut and he’s stuck in the bathroom once more.

Ryan Air is Great for Short Flights

Sooo we got really bored one day and decided to randomly check out plane fares to various places we eventually wanted to see. We ended up on Ryanair.com and could hardly believe our eyes when plane tickets to London from Malmo, Sweden came up as being only 1sek each way per person. That is correct. ONE Swedish Kron. That’s like 17 cents or something. We decided to book that immediately, of course… but I’ll get back to that pricing in a bit. heh.

The Ryan Air site itself is a bit busy and, quite frankly, screams rip off to me rather loudly. It just looks… hmmm… shady. Maybe because of all the info blaring out at you in too-bright colors. They list prices in Euros, but you can have it convert those for you easily enough. There are all kinds of sweet deals listed on that front page flying out of a number of major cities in Europe. You can also do an easy search in the side panel for exactly what you want.

Once you book a flight here, you can also go back and change the details later if you need to… for a fee. It is very easy to rearrange things from the site, I’ll give them that much. They make it easy because they like getting those crazy fees for the changes…

So. Yes. We booked the flights to London for a total of 4sek for 2 round trip tickets. The next page gave us the whammy. There was an additional 500sek each for various booking fees. Now, the truth is, that’s about 60 bucks each US, which is still a hella deal. It irked me to be duped like that, though. I mean we’da still booked had they been up-front on the actual costs. No need to be all sneaky at all. Still. Sixty bucks. And I would get to see London. We went ahead with it.

Then they suggested very strongly that we add on Flight Insurance for an additional 100sek each. I snickered and said ummm NO. Lars, being a male, clicked YES. I rolled my eyes. This is not insurance to protect you. It is insurance to cover your luggage. Silly to pay that. Whaddya gonna do though? He’s a guy…

So now these 4sek tickets were up to 1204sek. We’re still at a pretty good rate, really… but wait! There’s more! Oh yes indeedy!

The male decides he would rather fly out early in the morning the same day so as to have an extra whole day in the pubs. So he goes in and changes the outbound flight info for about 7 hours earlier. BAM! That cost us an additional 400sek each. That’s roughly 50 bucks, folks. Each. Now we’re up to 2004sek total for both tickets, or about (oh hell divide by about 7.06 to figure out the US price, I haven’t had enough coffee yet!) Suffice it to say that we were waaaaay above the initial price. But, by this time I am by gawd going to London and I don’t give a rat’s patootie how much it ends up being. Know what I’m sayin? heh.

So yeah, they bait-n-gouge a bit, but at least they do tell ya that they’re doing it as ya go along. It isn’t like they wait and get your CC number and then sock it to ya without tellin ya. So yeah, it’s annoying, but…

They are, however, very spot on with email. They immediately send you a confirmation of the reservations, and a re-confirmation when ya change anything. They give ya a break-down in the email on all those silly charges, and it is very easy to check your reservations at their website. They do ask you to reconfirm 48 hours before the flight. That’s good. You should do that anyway.

Now that they have all of our info, we never have to input it again. Some folks don’t like their info being saved, I do. Next time I am thinking of a short holiday, I will prolly at least check their website first because I know it won’t involve a bunch of typing and hunting for the card and alla that crap. I’m alllll about easy. As to the flight itself, you have to realize that Ryan Air is a no-frill airline. That means small seats and no extra goodies. If you want something to eat or drink you are going to have to fork over some money. I have no complaints at all about the short flight on this airline. If I were travelling a longer distance, I would not fly with them, but for short hops they are the way to go for sure.

I have to end up at about 3 stars for Ryan Air. They are slightly sleazy, but it’s all so easy and they’re honest about the sleaze charges. Well, they are! I’m saying check them along with many others next time you need a short flight. I will. Just be aware going in that the first price you see is not likely the full price you will be paying…

Our Florida Vacation Nightmare

In February of 2006, my husband and I went to St. Petersburg, Florida to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We had planned everything out well ahead of time, with the intention of having the best vacation ever. It was only to be a long weekend, but we had high hopes. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be the case. Everything you could think of went wrong. We should have stayed home.

To begin the trip, our flight was delayed over 10 hours. We should have flown out of Midway Airport in Chicago about 1pm, landing in Tampa at 4:30pm. Instead, our flight was postponed due to weather. We were now to depart about 4pm. OK, no big deal. We ate a little lunch, had a few drinks in the bar, and before you know it, it was time to board the plane.

We boarded, and then taxied out to the run way, where we sat, and sat, and sat. After 2 hours, the pilot came over the intercom, and told us his time had expired, and we had to go back to the gate. Are you kidding? Nope, he wasn’t. The flight was in need of a new pilot. We sat at the gate for another 2 hours, tired, hungry, and frustrated. Mind you, I had coughing, smoker, hacking guy next to me. When I told him I had a headache, he offered me 2 Tylenol that he pulled from his back pocket. I politely refused. Can you blame me? They weren’t even wrapped. Thank God the flight attendant had some. My head was pounding.

We were allowed to leave the plane at this time to get food. It was now about 8pm. My husband ran to McDonald’s to grab us dinner. When he sat back down on the plane, and opened the bag, he noticed that we were only given half of our order,1 cheeseburger and 1 French fry. We had to share, and we were starving. We should have been in Florida eating a great, homemade, Italian dinner.

Shortly after eating our shared dinner, the pilot came over the intercom again. He told us his copilot’s time had expired as well – I could only shake my head at this point. But, a new copilot was currently running down the concourse to meet our plane at this very moment. Whew, what a relief! It was now 9pm.

 

We finally took off at 9:30pm. We were to land in Tampa at 1am. We called my husband’s parents to tell them to meet us at the airport then – We left a message, because no one answered the phone. We landed, and no sign of the in laws. They never checked their messages, and thought we weren’t coming. We waited another half hour for them to show up.

Exhausted, all we could do was climb into bed once we arrived at my in law’s house. We thought we’d have a good night’s sleep, then off to the beach in the morning. It was suppose to be a beautiful day. Sadly, that wasn’t to be the case. We both ended up with the flu. We were stuck in bed, at the in laws, trying to re coop, so we could fly back home.

The only upside to this whole disaster, was that the airline gave us free flight vouchers to use any time we wanted for our inconvenience. We flew back to Tampa in June, and had a wonderful 10 day vacation on the beach.

Is There a Condo in Your Future?

As the real estate market changes dramatically, condos pique the attention of first time buyers who fear or who have no time for home maintenance. The prices are realistic, locations are often extremely convenient to work, shopping and recreation.

Condo life can be wonderful. It can be a nightmare. Do your homework.

An attorney once said, “Condo Boards are magnets for middle management executives who never achieved the status they think they deserve.” The result finds you living in a mini Gestapo.

The CC R;’s and By Laws, often referred to as ‘The Documents’ are the legal papers that guide the operation; outline the rules and administration; describe what you are responsible for and what the ‘Association’ or ‘Board’ is responsible for.

Not all condos are the same. Many are configured like apartment buildings. Others are more like individual attached homes. The difference in construction or configuration has an impact on how the monthly fees are assessed.

Often monthly dues are based on equal payments by the residents. Others are based on the square footage of the individual units.

The argument for equal payments is that the exterior common area benefits each owner equally. An example is that a 3-bedroom residence pays the same as a one bedroom. This seems to make sense in an apartment building setting.

Dues based on square footage pertain to the interior square footage. The owner is responsible for the interior and the Association is responsible for the exterior. So, this requires careful consideration depending on the configuration of the complex and the location within the complex of the individual unit.

For Example: An interior unit, one surrounded on the top, bottom and three sides by other units, has less exterior walls, roof etc., which the Association maintains. However another unit with the same interior square footage my be an end unit with exterior decks, resulting in considerably more area the Association maintains.

Dues are issues to be carefully analyzed.

Over all, it is important to make sure the ‘Documents’ have certain protections for buyers/owners.

  1. Mandatory Non-Binding Arbitration is critical. Without this clause, an owner at odds with the Association or the Board has only one opportunity to have their case heard. Hire an attorney for several hundred dollars an hour. The more desirable alternative of Non-Binding Arbitration ensures your issue can be heard and resolved inexpensively and timely. If one party or the other is not pleased, they still have the option to bring litigation.
  2. Board Directors may not be elected by PROXY. Owners are required to vote in person or by written ballot.
  3. Directors or family members may not vote PROXIES.
  4. Maintenance request must be responded to within 3 days and resolved within 30 days. The timing may be different but it must be specified that the Association will in fact perform requested maintenance in a timely manner.
  5. Note the number of full time residents. A complex with more than 50% of the residents part-timers or seasonal occupants indicates less interest in the quality of the project maintenance.
  6. Take the time to be aware of the maintenance of the building and grounds. Speak up, give written suggestions. Keep a notebook that contains copies of the documents, all notices, meetings and correspondence pertaining to the complex.
  7. Ask the seller to provide you with copies of the prior 2 years financial statements and meeting minutes. If there is a history of ‘Special Assessments’, beware. This is generally a sign of poor management.

If all this seems intimidating, consult an attorney who specializes in Condo Law. In smaller cities you may find only attorneys who specialize in real estate. Lastly, consider sitting on the Board.

How to Prepare Your House for Sale in Today’s Real Estate Market.txt

It is crucial in today’s real estate market to properly prepare your home for sale. The day’s of just calling your Real Estate agent and listing your home on the multiple listing are long over. Properties have been languishing on the marketing for months and the property prices are plummeting.

You do not have control over the economic climate that our country is facing. The Case-Schiller price index for your region is also well beyond your control. After you have purchased your home you do not have control over the location of the property either.

As a seller you should focus on what you can control. There are a few things you can control, the local listing price, and your property conditions are within your control. You can also decide what the final terms and conditions of the purchase and sale are.

The following are some pricing strategies that you want to consider. You need to be aware of your local towns sold homes prices and property inventory. Prior to calling a real estate agent to come out to your home to conduct a comparative market analysis (CMA) for your home, do your property research on line.

Here in New England you can look at the Bankers and Tradesman on line magazine listings. That magazine keeps records of recently sold homes, and mortgages that either were a refinance or a purchase of the home. The Bankers and Tradesman will cover the Mass, RI, and Conn areas. You can also look up on Zillow.com what the sold homes have gone for. Contact your Registry of Deeds, to view the sold homes that closed in the past 6 months. Also review your local newspapers real estate section under sold homes.

After you have completed your on line research, contact your local real estate agent and have those agents do a free comparative market analysis (CMA) for your property. Compare your on line research with the results of the (CMA). You can get a pretty good idea of what price range your home should be in.

Property condition is also crucial to your success in the selling of your home. Your properties condition can either increase the value of your home or it can dramatically decrease the value of your home. The property condition can also cause a purchase and sale to collapse due to findings in the buyers home inspection report. It would be a wise thing for a seller to consider hiring their own home inspection prior to listing the home for sale.

That home inspector could discover major hidden defects in the property that were not visible to the home owner. Some major areas to be concerned with are the electrical systems. Make sure that you are up to your local code standards for GFE protectors in your kitchen and bathroom areas. Also check your heating and air conditioner systems and other major kitchen appliances. As a home owner you want to address those issues prior to your listing your home.

As a former real estate agent my self, I still keep my Real estate sales license active and up to date with continuing real estate education classes. I have witnessed many a deal fall apart due to home Inspection results. Better to be safe than be pound foolish. You do not want to loose a purchase and sale over something that can be easily prevented.

In addition to having a home inspection done, a home owner should focus on the landscaping and exterior of their home. What I am referring to is of course called “Curb appeal”. As a home owner you have the control over how your home appears. Keep your front lawn cut and trimmed. Ensure that there are no brown spots that are visible. If you need to hire a professional landscaping crew to keep your front lawn in good shape and your bushes trimmed and neat.

You should also focus on the side walks and your walkway entrance to your home. Make sure that those areas are fixed and kept cleaned and neat. Also look at your roof to see if it needs to be fixed. Keep your trim painted. Power cleans your homes exterior.

When your potential buyers and their real estate agents enter your home, when of the first impressions will be your entrance way. You want to keep that entrance way free of clutter as well as clean and in good working order.

As a home owner you want to keep your kitchen clean, uniformed and as up to date as possible. You also want to clear out the clutter in the kitchen cabinets as well. Your kitchen appliances need to be energy efficient as possible. If your appliances, washers and dryers, and heating and air conditioning systems are old; consider offering a 1 year home warranty. This will provide the buyer some piece of mind when they are considering your home versus another home.

Another thing that a home owner should consider is to hire a professional home design stage person. That way you can put a shine to your home. One of the free advice that I can offer is to keep your home and closets, free of clutter, and keep your home clean and painted with a neutral color.

Those cost of home repairs, the hiring of your home inspector, the home designer, the commissions from your real estate agent are all tax deductible items. Always consult with your tax adviser for the latest updates and tax rules.

One of the secrets to selling your home is for the home owner to be flexible with scheduling appointments to show their home to buyers. A seller also has to be flexible with the terms and conditions of the sale of their home. Property condition is a priority now days in determining the successful outcome of the sale of your home. It is the one thing that a home owner has full control over. Your pricing strategy is the second thing that is important as well.