Real Estate News

    • 10 Gutter Facts You Should Know

      13 September 2019

      How important are your gutters? According to gutter company The Brothers Who Just Do Gutters, pretty important! Below are 10 facts about your gutters they think you should know, from gutter history to maintenance and more.

      - The first people to incorporate gutters on their dwellings was the Indus Valley civilization, the area that is now Pakistan and northwest India. Their clay brick gutters date back to approximately 3000 BC.

      - The Romans brought gutters to Western civilization when they introduced them to Great Britain in 47 BC.

      - Gargoyles are essentially gutters with faces. These structures were originally designed to direct water away from the side of the buildings they were installed on.

      - Before the 1980s gutters were commonly featured on automobiles to prevent drivers and passengers from getting wet when they exited the vehicle.

      - If gutters are not maintained properly, they can trap moisture and rot the wood boards of your home’s roof and siding.

      - Neglected gutters can be harmful to your physical health as well. Debris caught in gutters can decompose and generate mold. Standing water becomes a breeding ground for disease carrying insects.

      - Mesh guards may be the most effective way to keep gutters clean. If you live an area with high pollen conditions, try to find mesh gutter guards with a lower micron count (larger holes) to prevent pollen from clogging the screen.

      - Electrically heated gutters are also available for those living in climates with extreme snow and ice. These devices prevent ice dams and the damage they cause.

      - Cleaning gutters is a dangerous job. Falls from ladders are the number one cause for accidental injuries at home and account for hundreds deaths in the U.S. every year.

      - Gutters impact the value of your home. Even if you haven’t experienced water damage to the structure of your house, gutters in poor condition can detract approximately $500 – $1000 from your home’s selling price.

      Source: The Brothers Who Just Do Gutters

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Plan the Ultimate Kitchen Upgrade

      13 September 2019

      (Family Features)--A kitchen serves as command-central of most homes, so it's also one of the first rooms homeowners choose when it's time to make upgrades. When approaching your kitchen remodel, it's important to keep your family's lifestyle at the forefront of your planning to create a space that fits the way you like to live.
      Get the most livable space and enjoyment out of a kitchen remodel with these tips from the experts at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry:

      Make purposeful changes. A desire to bring your kitchen's style up to date is plenty of motivation for a renovation, but to get maximum benefit from your new space, spend time considering what functional improvements you can make, too. Do you need more cabinets for storage? Is there enough counter space for meal prep? Does the overall layout suit your family's needs? Even if you chose the original layout and floorplan, chances are good that over time you've found a few things you'd change given the chance to do it again.

      Consider physical space. If yours is a family that cooks together, or if guests tend to congregate in the kitchen when you're entertaining, a renovation is the perfect time to make adjustments that accommodate more bodies in the kitchen. You might want more work zones for multiple cooks or an island or peninsula set away from the high-traffic zone for guests more interested in snacking and chatting then getting hands-on with food prep.

      Evaluate your shopping style. You may be in the habit of doing your grocery shopping to fit your available space. However, with a larger refrigerator and more pantry space, your shopping habits could change, allowing you to become a bulk shopper or at least increase the time between shopping trips.

      Be realistic about mealtime. If your family's activities have everyone eating at different times, you may benefit from a feature like a warming drawer that keeps dinner warm until each family member makes it home for a meal. Think about features that would make the table space more practical, such as task lighting so kids can tackle homework at the table or convenient access to power for laptops.

      Choose appliances with care. It's easy to get carried away with all of the design elements that go into a kitchen renovation, but at the end of the day, remember the appliances are the true centerpiece of the space. Be sure to leave room in the budget to select the best appliances for your needs so you have all the functions, features and space to make using your new kitchen as enjoyable as possible.

      Think into the future. A kitchen renovation can be a costly venture, so it's a good idea to project years down the road as you consider your needs. Are there features that would enhance the safety if a baby (that soon will become an inquisitive toddler) joins the family? Are there elderly family members who may benefit from a lower or higher workstation down the road?

      Source: National Association of the Remodeling Industry

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Pro Tips: How Your Yard Can Make or Break Curb Appeal

      13 September 2019

      Take it from some of social media’s top influencers: a carefully cultivated yard can cast your home in a whole new light for prospective homebuyers.

      A survey of high-profile lawn and garden social media accounts, conducted by outdoor power-equipment purveyors Troy-Bilt, revealed that the key to achieving curb appeal before selling is beautifying the outdoors. In fact, there are more than 486K pieces of #curbappeal content currently circulating on Instagram.

      The good news is that influencers agree: Good curb appeal is both design and maintenance simple. Here are some specific tips from the following social media stars who participated in the survey:

      - Amy Andrychowicz, Get Busy Gardening
      - Rochelle Greayer, Pith + Vigor
      - Eric Rochow, GardenFork
      - Erin Schanen, The Impatient Gardener

      Greayer: "Good maintenance and simplicity will go farther than trying to redesign your yard. Think of your house like a face: it needs to be washed and cleaned, and then you can take it to the next level with just a little makeup."

      This means keeping up with routine tasks like weeding, edging, mowing and pruning, along with adding subtle touches of color from container plants to draw the eye to areas of the yard you want to highlight.

      Greayer especially gravitates toward creating defined garden bed edges (using an edger) and orderly lines with her lawn mower when tackling curb appeal in her own yard.

      Schanen: "Clutter is distracting in a yard, and it quickly looks disorderly. Simply picking things up and putting them away makes everything look tidy. Pressure washing the front of the house and entry steps goes even further. It shows that the person who lives there cares about their space."

      According to Schanen, no matter what type of yard or curb appeal needs you have, it all comes down to keeping it basic and attainable. "Sometimes all it takes is a cleanly cut edge to make even an imperfect lawn look great."

      Andrychowicz: Don’t focus on “too much flowers.”

      "Most perennial plants and shrubs only bloom for a short time and can look pretty boring the rest of the year. For best results, stagger plants with colorful foliage and varying bloom times to give you year-round color and the best curb appeal."

      At the start of every planting season, Andrychowicz and Rochow encourage individuals to trade plants with neighbors to add variety and help save on costs. This can easily be done by dividing perennials.

      Rochow: A surefire way to ruin a yard's aesthetic involves fertilizing. "Over-fertilizing can cause grass to turn yellow and create bald spots. Instead, use a time-release fertilizer, as it's much less likely to 'burn' your grass."

      He also recommends keeping grass longer to deliver a fuller look and prevent lawn damage from the sun.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Should You Consider Hurricane Insurance?

      12 September 2019

      As hurricane season peaks in September and October, it’s important to make sure you are considering adequate coverage for your home. Repeated battering or near misses from hurricanes in recent years means it could be smart to add hurricane insurance protection to your residential portfolio. But where should you begin?

      The USAA insurance company tells its customers that where you live in a hurricane-prone area can have a major impact on how much you pay for homeowners insurance - and whether you may need a separate policy for wind losses. 

      Generally, USAA says the closer a home is to water, the more susceptible it is to hurricane damage. The company also offers the following advice that's practical for any homeowner:

      Look for safety upgrades. Go beyond the minimum requirements. For example, look for or install simple metal straps or clips in the attic to strengthen a home by connecting its roof to exterior walls. 

      Reduce impact. Make sure all openings - windows, doors, garage doors - are impact-rated or protected with code-approved storm panels and shutters. Some insurance companies may even offer discounts for these.

      Fill in insurance gaps. For a house by the sea, you could be required to carry up to four separate policies for homeowners, flood, excess flood and wind coverage. Check with your insurance company for requirements before you make an offer.

      Juan Castillo at nerdwallet.com says understanding what your homeowners policy will and won’t cover is key to finding the right hurricane insurance package. 

      He says those in high-risk coastal states might need separate windstorm coverage, either through an insurance company or a state-run insurance pool. It might also be available as a rider on a policy you have already.

      LendingTree's valuepenguin.com warns consumers to confirm if their policy has a hurricane deductible.
      Nineteen states in high-risk areas require a hurricane deductible on top of the existing homeowner's deductible - sometimes thousands of dollars more - before policyholders will be reimbursed for hurricane damage. The site says that, generally, for a hurricane deductible to be triggered, a storm has to be a "named hurricane," along with other conditions. Insureds will need to work with their insurance company after-the-fact to determine whether they need to pay a hurricane deductible. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Prep Your Pool for Winter

      12 September 2019

      While pools offer endless fun in the summer, for pool owners living in states with major seasonal shifts, it’s important to properly prepare your pool for its yearly shut-down. To help, pool liners supplier LOOP-LOC shares the following six tips for prepping your pool for the offseason.

      Timing is everything. If you have the chance, get ahead of offseason and close your pool as soon as you are done using it for the year. However, it's not always that simple. It’s best to wait until the temperature falls a bit below 65 degrees, which will prevent algae from spreading.  

      Brush it down. Once you have accounted for the weather outside, the very first thing you need to do in preparing to close your pool is to clean it. You will need to brush down the sidewalls and floor, vacuum larger sediments and debris, and skim off the top of the water. In doing so, you are preventing algae blooms from populating in the nooks and crannies of your pool.

      Chemicals have a season. Prior to adding winterizing chemicals, you will need to test your water to see the status of it. Once you balance all of the levels (alkalinity, pH, etc.) you will be good to go. You can research online or ask your pool provider for the best chemicals to apply to your pool setup to have a successful winterizing.

      Keep it low. This step if for those who live in colder areas during the offseason. If your area regularly experiences freezing temperatures, you will need to remove water from your pool. This is in an effort to prevent freeze damage, as water expands when it freezes and could displace what is in its way. Ideally, your water level should be placed below your skimmer.

      Remove any pool accessories. Anything that can be detached from your pool, should be. This goes for things such as ladders and rails. If you leave them in your pool during the offseason, you are bound to run into some problems, such as rust or difficulty installing your safety cover. Something like a ladder will cause an impediment to the integrity of the cover and worse off, leave the cover open to debris and small critters entering the pool. 

      Cover for safety. Your choice in a safety cover is critical to a clean pool next summer. Look for a cover that will filter out rain and snow while protecting your pets and family.

      Source: LOOP-LOC

      Published with permission from RISMedia.