Posted in Real Estate

3 Ways To Make Your Home Safer

3 Ways To Make Your Home SaferIn the wake of the recent news reports, you might be looking for ways to make your home safer. Some of the most common accidents and events that take place in homes include poisoning events, falls, and even burglaries. The good news is that there are ways to improve the safety of your home. You might even be rewarded with a lower home insurance premium!

Invest In An Alarm System

It is not easy to figure out exactly how many burglaries are prevented every year by having an alarm system; however, even having a sign in the front yard could be enough to scare off potential intruders. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to make your home safer, invest in a home alarm system. 

The price of a home alarm system from vary from provider to provider. Homeowners can tailor their security services to meet their needs. This is a great way to keep burglars at bay.

Purchase A Video Doorbell System

There has even been a rise in the frequency of porch pirates, or those who steal the packages of others from their front door! If you are someone who buys a lot of stuff online, then you should get a video doorbell to watch your packages when they get dropped off.

Furthermore, you can even use this video doorbell system to see who ringing your doorbell when you aren’t home. In some cases, you can even communicate with them, providing them instructions, or asking them to leave when necessary.

Buy Automatic Outdoor Lighting Systems

Lights are often enough to scare people away. There are plenty of motion sensor lights that you can purchase for your driveway, porch, and front door. These lights can even be set to turn off when the sun comes up to save energy. 

Keep Your Home Safe

These are a few of the easiest ways that you can make your home safer. If you take steps to keep burglars at bay, not only will you protect your home but you might even save some money on home insurance! 

Posted in Mortgage

How To Be Sure Your Home Is Sanitized During Quarantine

How To Be Sure Your Home Is Sanitized During QuarantineDuring the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever for everyone to make sure they act in the best interests of their local communities and the world as a whole. This means that everyone should follow the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), practice social distancing measures, and obey all orders to shelter in place. When families are stuck at home, it is important to ensure the house is sanitized. This will prevent the spread of this dangerous virus. There are a few measures that everyone should take to make sure their home is as clean as possible.

Clean High-Touch Surfaces Frequently

Any surfaces that multiple people are going to touch on a regular basis need to be cleaned every day. Some of the most common surfaces people need to clean daily include counters, doorknobs, bathroom appliances, faucets, toilets, phones, tablets, end tables, tabletops, and keyboards. Try to use a household spray followed by a wipe.

Read the labels of these cleaning items to make sure they are being used properly. During the cleaning process, try to wear gloves and make sure to dispose of them after they are used. Finally, if there are any surfaces that have bodily fluids on them, including blood, these need to be cleaned thoroughly as well.

Step Up Laundry Practices

All laundry needs to be cleaned as thoroughly as possible. If there are any clothes that have bodily fluids on them, including sweat after working out, these need to be laundered immediately. While handling laundry, try to wear disposable gloves. Try to keep these items as far away from the body as possible. Make sure to closely follow any and all directions on laundry detergent. Try to wash clothing at the warmest temperatures allowed on the clothing labels to ensure any pathogens are killed. Finally, wash hands with soap and water after handling any laundry.

Ask Questions 

Finally, anyone who has questions about how to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic needs to rely on resources from credible sources such as the CDC and WHO. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to call a local doctor and ask questions. It is important for everyone to watch out for one another during this trying time.

Posted in Real Estate

Safety First! How Often Should You Clean Your Chimney?

Safety First! How Often Should You Clean Your ChimneyChimneys are as old as homes themselves. Yet, when it comes to chores, cleaning the chimney is one of the most neglected tasks. While people often think about yard work and housework, they often forget to clean the chimney.

When someone neglects to clean the chimney, they risk the development of mold. This can influence the efficiency of the chimney, causing debris to back up into the home. For this reason, it is essential for people to clean their chimneys on a regular schedule. 

Make Sure To Inspect The Chimney Properly

Chimneys are used seasonally. When the temperature starts to drop outside, people are going to start up the fireplace and use the chimney. Prior to lighting up the chimney for the next season, it is important to make sure they are properly inspected.

Cleaning grout and mold is an important part of making sure the chimney works properly. When someone is cozied up in front of the fireplace, it is important to note that there is an active fire happening. About 25,00 fires per year start due to an issue with the chimney. Make sure that all routine maintenance has been performed on the chimney for that year before firing it up.

Why Clean the Chimney In The First Place?

When it comes to fires, safety should always come first. This the biggest reason why chimneys need to be thoroughly cleaned. When someone cleans the chimney, they are working to prevent home fires. 

The more people use the fireplace, the more soot is going to build up in the chimney. The end result is flammable substances backing up in the chimney. This can be dangerous because it might lead to a fire when people least expect it. To prevent this from happening, be sure to clean the chimney on a regular basis.

How Often Should A Chimney Be Cleaned?

At a minimum, it is important to clean the chimney at least once per year. Annual maintenance on the chimney should be a readily accepted part of owning a home. This includes both cleaning the chimney and inspecting it for any structural flaws.

Some people may want to clean the chimney themselves. This is acceptable; however, it is also recommended to have a professional come in and take a look at the chimney. An extra set of eyes on the chimney may help prevent a fire from breaking out in the future.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

Posted in Around The Home

The Basic Home Security Checklist Every Home Needs

The Basic Home Security Checklist Every Home NeedsDid you realize that only around 17 percent of the homes in the United States have a security system? Leaving your residence unprotected can come back to haunt you in the future.

The longer you wait to find and fix security problems, the harder you will find it to keep your family safe. Taking the time to inspect your home is a great way to see where security problems exist. With the help of the checklist in this article, you can secure your home and keep burglars at bay.

Check Your Existing Security Alarm

If your home does have a security alarm, you need to make sure it has all of the latest features and updates. Some homeowners think that a security alarm is something they can set and forget.

One of the main things you need to make sure your alarm has is monitoring. With monitoring, you will be able to get the authorities to your home in a hurry in the event of a burglary.

The key to getting the right monitoring is working with the right security company. Before using a particular company, find out more about how they will monitor your home. Paying a bit more for high-quality monitoring will be worth it considering the safety it will add to your residence.

Check Your Windows and Doors

As you inspect your home, be sure to pay close attention to your doors and windows. Usually, these are the areas that a burglar will target when trying to break into a home. If the windows or doors are old and not working properly, it can put you and your family in a lot of danger.

This is why replacing damaged doors and windows is so important. You may also want to think about adding window alarms to your home. With these alarms in place, burglars will not stand a chance when trying to gain access to your residence. An experienced security company will have no problem installing these window alarms for an affordable price.

New Outdoor Lighting is a Good Idea

Another factor you should pay attention to when inspecting your home is the condition of the exterior lighting. If there is limited illumination on the outside of your home, you need to fix this immediately. Leaving the outside of a home dimly lit is like sending an invitation to burglars. This is why investing in high-quality landscape lighting is a good idea.

Things like motion-sensor lights can help you keep burglars away. Instead of trying to find and install these lights on your own, you need to hire professionals. They will be able to get the new lights in place in a hurry.

They can also help you choose the right places to put these lights.

A Great Investment

Instead of looking at additional home security as something you have to do, you need to view it as something you want to do. The money you invest in better home security will be worth it in the long run.

Posted in Real Estate

The 5 Most Common Dangerous Home Issues

The 5 Most Common Dangerous Home IssuesYou are supposed to feel safe in your own home; however, accidents can happen and there are plenty of hidden dangers that might land someone in the hospital. It is important for you to understand the common household dangers. Knowledge is power and you can take steps to prevent these issues from arising. 

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

This is one of the most common household dangers that everyone should know. Homes always have a smoke detector; however, carbon monoxide detectors are often overlooked. This is an odorless gas that can actually kill someone if the levels get too high. Make sure that your carbon monoxide detectors are working. This gas commonly arises from the tailpipe of a running car.

Lead Poisoning

Lead can be absorbed through the skin or the mouth. Lead poisoning can lead to serious neurological issues. Newer homes are built without lead paint; however, if you purchase an older home, there might still be lead paint on the walls. Check the paint thoroughly and swap it out if lead is present.

Mold

Mold is a common hazard that grows in homes. Mold can release spores into the air that can irritate people who suffer from asthma and allergies. Make sure that you keep your home clean to avoid mold growth. Mold likes warm, humid climates.

Falls

Injuries due to falls are among the most common accidents that happen in homes. If someone falls in their home, they are at risk of breaking bones or suffering a head injury. Make sure that you keep your outdoor steps clean and stabilize your staircases. This will reduce the risk of falls.

Drowning

Unfortunately, drowning can happen even if someone is safe in their own home. Even if a house doesn’t have a pool, people can still drown in the bathtub. In order to reduce the risk of a drowning event, make sure your pool has a fence around it (if you have one). Also, try to supervise bathing children. This will reduce the risk of a drowning event.

Reducing Household Dangers

Knowing about these dangers ahead of time reduces the chances of them happening. Try to inspect your home thoroughly to make sure that these common hazards are avoided.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

Posted in Real Estate

How To Practice Electrical Safety Around Your Home

How To Practice Electrical Safety Around Your HomeElectricity plays an important role in your home. It helps keep you warm, allows you to cook meals, and brightens up the interior of your house. At the same time, electricity is a common hazard.

Electrocution accidents can lead to burns, serious injuries, and even death. You should feel safe in your own home. Therefore, it is a smart idea for you to remember a few important tips when it comes to electrical safety at home.

Watch Out For Damaged Power Cords

One of the most common causes of electrocution accidents at home is from damaged power cords. Over time, the wires that run through the home might start to degrade. This is a danger that is often overlooked. If the protective coating on any of your wires has been stripped away, cover the cord or replace it. If you need help doing this, call a professional for help.

Overloading The Electrical Outlets

Another common source of electrical accidents comes from outlets that have been overloaded. Your outlets have been designed to deliver a certain amount of power. If you plug too many devices into the same outlet, the circuit will become overloaded. This can lead to a fire or an explosion. If you need to plug in more devices, use a power strip. These are designed to add additional outlets in a safe manner.

An Extension Cord Is A Tripping Hazard

Extension cords are great for providing electrical power to something that is far away. On the other hand, they also should not be left out constantly. These cords are long and represent a tripping hazard. In addition to a fall injury, this can also lead to serious damage to the outlet and the cord itself. This can increase the chances of something bad happening with the home’s wiring. If you are using extension cords all the time, it is a smart idea to call an electrician who can add additional outlets to the home.

Avoiding Injuries With Electrical Safety

Other common electrical safety tips include keeping powered devices away from water and supervising children at all times. Electrical injuries are serious and should be avoided at all cost. Practicing proper electrical safety is vital to preventing injuries.

If you are looking for a new home or if you are interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

Posted in Real Estate

Is It Possible To Have A Hurricane-Proof Home?

Is It Possible To Have A Hurricane-Proof HomeThe recent total devastation of the Bahamas by hurricane Dorian reinforced the need for hurricane-proof homes in areas that are subject to this risk. Building codes have not kept up with the increasing severity of the weather.

Wind Damage

As an example, Florida communities, such as the Miami-Dade County area, have building codes that are designated by risk zones.

The risk zones in Miami-Dade County are:

  • Risk Category I – Buildings must be able to withstand 165 mph winds.
  • Risk Category II – Buildings must be able to withstand 175 mph winds.
  • Risk Category III – Buildings must be able to withstand 185 mph winds.

These building codes were last updated in 2010. Broward County in Florida has these same risk categories; however, the wind speeds are 10 mph lower for each category. Other parts of Florida have building codes that are even lower than these standards. Dorian reached a 183 mph wind speed. It stayed over the Bahamas for over fifty hours with these winds.

Water Damage

Water damage from hurricanes is more severe than wind damage. The storm surge for Dorian reached over 23-feet high in some places.

Hurricane Proofing

To withstand hurricane-force winds, the structure must be able to handle 180+ mph winds over an extended period. Damage done by the wind includes all the projectiles and debris being blown about. Some homes in the Bahamas had vehicles blown through walls.

The main consideration for wind damage is to use wind-resistant, shatter-proof glass for windows that are also protected by steel shutters, which can be closed when a hurricane is coming. These shutters close to protect other openings such as doors as well. Walls should be thick, reinforced concrete, especially the lower floors that need to resist both the wind and the water.

Water is going to come into the lower two floors of a home on the beach, so beach homes need to be at least three stories high. This may be challenging in some areas because of the building-height restrictions that are in place to prevent blocking other neighbors’ views of the ocean.

The idea is to make to bottom floors able to withstand water entering the home as if it is a swimming pool. When a hurricane is coming, you can move all the items from the lower floors to the upper floor.

In Holland, where many of the coastal cities are at sea level, their solution is to have homes that float. These homes near Amsterdam are like houseboats that are moored down very strongly so that they can rise with the storm surge but not float away.

Summary

There is not a 100% certain way to make a home completely hurricane-proof; however, there are examples of well-built homes that are the only ones left standing when the entire neighborhood is devastated by a hurricane.

When considering a home on the coast, it is better to build a new home to very high standards regardless of the building codes. In all coastal areas, building codes need to be updated to make the hurricane standards more robust because hurricanes are becoming stronger and more frequent.

If you are have concerns about buying or selling a home in a high risk storm area, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

Posted in Real Estate

Four Key Injury Prevention Tips On Moving Day

Four Key Injury Prevention Tips On Moving DayIt’s more likely that someone will incur an injury on moving day than on an ordinary day. The reason is that people are moving in ways that they don’t normally move, loads can be heavy, and accidents do happen. However, most injuries on moving day can be prevented by taking a few simple precautions.

Use A Dolly

Instead of trying to move more than one box by hand, use a dolly or a hand truck. This inexpensive tool can safely move multiple boxes without you having to lift anything at all. Keep in mind that all the boxes should be of equal size; don’t attempt to stack uneven boxes because they may shift and fall, causing an injury.

Take Breaks

Moving day is stressful because there is often a time constraint involved. Everything has to be moved into the truck by a certain time in order to remain on schedule. However, this is the kind of pressure that can lead to injuries. Being overtired leads to carelessness and that’s when accidents occur. Take multiple 10-minute rest breaks throughout the day so your body and mind have a chance to recuperate.

Don’t Overload Boxes

One of the most common moving day injuries happens when someone tries to lift a box that ends up being excessively heavy. Be mindful of the weigh of each box as you pack it. It’s better to keep the weight reasonable and stuff the box with filler than to overload boxes. You don’t have to weigh each box, but just give it a gentle lift to monitor how heavy it’s getting as you pack it.

Send Smaller Kids Packing

If you have smaller kids, the best option is to send them to the parents’ house, or to a babysitter’s until everything is in the truck. Smaller kids may run around and trip you up, distract your attention or otherwise get injured.  

Even the backyard is not a great idea, because they may wander near the truck out of curiosity. For their safety and yours, consider having someone care for them for the day off the premises.

Finally, if you do feel a twinge in your back or get overly exerted, stop what you’re doing and sit or lay down for a few minutes. Don’t try to “push through” the pain; it’s not worth it. Moving day injuries can be minimized or prevented when you take these simple steps. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

Posted in Real Estate

Fall Outdoor Lighting Tips

Fall Outdoor Lighting TipsMany people associate the fall months with cooler temperatures and changing colors. But another defining characteristic of fall is that the days become shorter. Yes, there’s limited daylight, as the sun rises later and sets earlier.

Noting this, it’s important to take any exterior lighting into consideration if you’re listing your home this fall. It’s important because you want your home to have a welcoming vibe to it, but with the potential for showings to occur in limited daylight, some modifications and new light installations may be necessary in order for it to stand out. What’s more is that exterior lighting can serve as a theft deterrent.

Here’s a closer look at some fall outdoor lighting tips to enhance the appeal of your home this fall:

Go Solar

Solar lighting is an effective, sustainable way to highlight the landscape of your yard, and illuminate paths and walkways. Just make sure that you’re placing solar lights in areas that receive lots of sunlight during the day so that they have plenty of energy after the sun goes down.

Border Patios, Decks

If your backyard features a patio, deck or gathering space away from the home, don’t miss an opportunity to border it with lights to better highlight said features. If your deck or patio has railing, consider stringing lights throughout it.

Here’s another neat idea: If you have a patio umbrella, consider purchasing lights that fit within it. You should be able to purchase an umbrella solar light set from your local hardware store, which does wonders in providing accent lighting for this area. Even if the umbrella isn’t staying with the house, it can still make for a nice touch.

Don’t Shine Lights On Windows

Any lights that shine on windows will only hinder your home’s appearance. That’s because they’re likely to create a glare. Make sure that any lighting that you incorporate is well balanced and only goes to help the home’s overall appearance. On a similar note, make sure that any lighting doesn’t clash with each other.

Consider Uplighting

Uplighting, or shining lights so that they are hitting your home at an upward angle, is a creative way to make your home appear larger. Additionally, uplighting can help accentuate unique architectural features. Be sure to uplight from each side of the house for the best overall look.

Light For Safety

Finally, you should also be arranging lights in a way that promotes safety on your property. For instance, if there are any steps or inclines, make sure that the areas are well lit to avoid the potential for injury.

Contact your trusted real estate professional for many other tips to make your home showing a success!

Posted in Around The Home

Safety Tips: 5 Ways to Prepare for a House Fire – and What to Do if One Breaks Out

Safety Tips: 5 Ways to Prepare for a House Fire - and What to Do if One Breaks Out House fires can break out for a wide range of reasons, and these include everything from grease fires while cooking in the kitchen to lightning striking the home. They can cause a significant amount of property damage as well as personal injury or even loss of life, so preventing them and knowing how to properly respond if a fire does break out are important. Whether buying a new home or residing in an existing home, everyone can benefit from learning more about fire safety rules.

Have An Exit Strategy

Fires can break out whether residents are awake in the living room or kitchen, taking a bath or sleeping in the bedrooms. It is important to have a fire exit strategy for every floor of the home and every room of the home. In addition, it is equally important that all residents in the home understand the strategies and know how to get out.

Invest In Fire Safety Ladders

Fire safety ladders are designed to give residents a safe escape route from second story windows, and they should be placed in a convenient location in every second floor room in the home. Residents should know how to attach them securely to the window as well as how to get down the ladder safely.

Purchase A Fire Extinguisher

Generally, it is safer for residents to get out of the home in the event of a fire rather than to attempt to put the fire out, and personal safety should also come before thoughts about saving the property. However, in the event a very small fire has broken out, a fire extinguisher can provide a homeowner with a safe way to put the fire out. It is best to keep a fire extinguisher in a convenient location on each floor of the home.

Place Fire Detectors In Strategic Locations

There are codes regarding the placement of fire detectors in a home, and your trusted real estate agent can provideyou with more information about this. In many cases, homeowners may benefit from having additional fire detectors placed in strategic locations throughout the home in addition to the locations required by code.

Check Fire Safety Equipment Regularly

Fire safety and prevention equipment is only useful if it works, so it is important to test the equipment and supplies regularly. For example, a homeowner may test the batteries in a fire detector monthly and may take extinguishers to the local fire department for testing annually. These steps will help to ensure that residents have access to functional safety equipment regularly.

Residents should also know what to do if a fire breaks out in a home, and in most cases, the answer is to get out of the home quickly and to call the fire department. Attempts to save personal belongings should not be made, and all residents should know where the family will meet outside of the home in the event of a fire. Those who want to learn more about safety features in a home or about the required placement of smoke detectors can contact your trusted real estate professional for further assistance.