Consumer Real Estate News

    • Busting Myths About Electric Heat Pumps

      23 February 2018

      (Family Features)--Like any technology, ductless heat pumps need to be used properly, and under the right conditions, in order to achieve maximum value. Learn how to get the most benefit from a ductless heat pump by debunking four of the biggest misconceptions about these devices.

      Myth: They are more expensive to run than oil or gas heaters.
      Fact: Multiple studies show that electric heat pumps save between $1,000-2,000 annually in energy costs, depending on the system's efficiency, condition of the original equipment and climatic region.

      Myth: They collect and distribute bacteria.
      Fact: All split-ductless heat pumps have filters to gather and capture bacteria before it has a chance to grow. In fact, many indoor units include anti-allergy enzyme filters designed to reduce germs, bacteria and viruses in the space.

      Myth: They are only suitable for new construction.
      Fact: Ductless and hybrid (short duct run) heat pumps can provide superior efficiency levels and improved comfort in all homes, new and old.

      Myth: They don't work in cold climates.
      Fact: Some systems, such as those offered by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating, offer a Hyper-Heat boost for especially cold climates. These systems deliver 100-percent heating capacity at 5°F outdoor ambient temperature and offer performance down to -13°F outdoor ambient temperature.

      Source: Mitsubishi

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Take Ladder Safety to New Heights

      23 February 2018

      While a necessity for any homeowner, ladders can present a myriad of hazards when not used properly. In fact, according to a recent study from the American Ladder Institute (ALI), the two most cited causes of ladder accidents were missing the last step and overarching, followed closely by failure to use three points of contact and simply using the wrong type ladder for the job at hand.

      The good news is these accidents and others can be easily prevented with some common-sense caution. ALI recommends doing the following to “step-up” ladder safety:

      - Make sure you’re using the right type of ladder for the job. Choosing one that’s too tall or too short can set the stage for an accident.

      - Make sure that the ladder is set up correctly. Make sure the ground underneath the ladder is firm and level.

      - Be sure to carefully inspect the ladder you’re using for damage or wear and tear. Clean the climbing and gripping surfaces if they haven’t been used in a while.

      - Likewise, make sure the soles of your shoes are clean to avoid slipping on the ladder.

      - Don’t use ladders in bad weather - this just increases the odds of an accident.

      - If you’re feeling under the weather or at all prone to dizziness or balance issues, leave the ladder duties to someone else, or hire a professional.

      - Use towlines, a tool belt or an assistant to help pass materials so that your hands are free when climbing.

      - While on the ladder, make sure you’re always maintaining three points of contact.

      With these few simple, but critical, precautions, you can get a variety of DIY jobs done around the house safely.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Retiring? Think Beyond the Beach

      23 February 2018

      Starting to think about where your post-career phase of life might take you? Well if golf courses and beach communities are not what come to mind when you think about retirement, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

      With about 4 million baby boomers retiring each year, it’s no surprise that the location options are expanding. While warm weather states such as Florida, Arizona, Texas and Georgia are still top choices, more and more of today’s retirees are opting for hardier climates - with states like Colorado, Pennsylvania and Maine making Forbes 2017 list of best places to retire.

      Also growing in popularity are urban locations, with many choosing to stay in place or downsize to urban centers. Cities offer high walkability scores, boundless options for entertainment and culture, and quick access to transportation and quality healthcare.

      If city life is your option for retirement, do your research and talk to local real estate professionals to rate any city you’re considering on the following factors suggested by the Milken Institute:

      - Affordability
      - Safety
      - Convenience
      - Aging-friendly housing options
      - Access and safety of public transportation
      - Community engagement
      - Cultural offerings

      Of course, pedestrian-friendly streets and a strong local economy are important as well. Remember, city life can be within your reach, no matter what your age.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Bedroom Upgrades that Won't Break the Bank

      22 February 2018

      (Family Features)--Upgrading your bedroom might sound like a daunting task. You may assume it costs an arm and a leg, takes months and requires professionals to complete. However, upgrading your bedroom doesn't have to mean breaking the bank, or your back. Investing in a few quality upgrades to some bedroom essentials can make your life less stressful and more cost- and energy-effective.

      Whether you've moved to a new space, or just want a fresh look and feel, these are four unique, functional additions you can make to your bedroom.

      Smart Lighting
      Lighting makes the difference between a cozy, inviting escape and a cold, fluorescently lit room. You can upgrade your traditional bedroom with high-tech, smart lightbulbs, which can save you money in the long-run due to their energy efficiency. These lightbulbs are often dimmable, feature Wi-Fi capability and can be controlled from a central hub, like your phone, via manufacturer or third-party apps.

      Adjustable Base
      An adjustable base can help take your sleep to new heights. Today, adjustable bases come in a variety of designs and sizes, and are usually discrete and sturdy. If you suffer from neck pain or back pain, sleeping in a reclined position in an adjustable bed can help decrease the pressure on your spine by creating an angle between your thighs and trunk, according to Healthline. Bases are easily customizable, usually via remote, so you can find your favorite bed position, whether you're sleeping, reading or lounging.  

      Blackout Curtains
      The right curtains can help pull together the look of a room, change the perceived size, impact the lighting, reduce noise and even help with temperature control, especially if you have older windows. There are a variety of size and color options to choose from at different price points, so you can spend less time adjusting your thermostat and more time enjoying your sleep space.

      Self-Adhesive Wallpaper
      Self-adhesive wallpaper is one way to upgrade your entire bedroom. There are trendy, customizable options available that are easy to install. The right wall color can bring together the aesthetic of a room, and peel-and-stick wallpaper can provide it without the mess and fumes of traditional wall paint. Self-adhesive wallpaper can be applied to any flat surface, so you're not just limited to walls, and if you change your mind, it's removable and residue-free.

      Remember, you don't have to rush and upgrade your entire bedroom all at one time. To ensure you're getting the best value, look for deals on specific items throughout the year and rely on retailers such as Mattress Firm that can help stretch your budget, offering you more for less.

      Source: Mattress Firm

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Selling Your Home? Attack Issues Head-on

      22 February 2018

      You’ve finally made the decision to put your home on the market - now comes the tough part: making sure it’s ready for prospective buyers.

      According to Buddy Stark, director of operations for HomeTeam Inspection Service, there are several steps home sellers should take before beginning the selling process and having a home inspection. Here’s what he recommends:

      Clean the house. This may seem like an obvious one, but you must keep your home at a heightened level of clean on an ongoing basis in anticipation of a showing. An ultra-clean home will convey that it's been well cared for and that the house is less susceptible to any issues caused by neglect.

      Check all windows. Take a quick inventory of your windows to make sure they're in good working order. Replace windows that are cracked or broken before the inspection to save time during the selling process.

      Finish the “honey-do” list. You might not think that certain areas of your home have anything to do with your home’s appeal, but they will come up as safety concerns on a home inspection report. Replace burnt-out lightbulbs, test smoke detectors, replace air filters and unclog drains. These little things are easy to forget in day-to-day life, but taking care of them is a relatively easy task that will help potential buyers focus on the important systems of the home.

      Check all outlets. A sampling of electrical outlets will be tested as part of the home inspection to make sure they're in good working order. Take note of which outlets are not functioning in the home and replace them. Or consider hiring an electrician to make sure both outlets and the electrical box are updated and in proper working condition.

      Clear areas for easy access. Home inspectors will be looking at the major parts of the home, including the foundation, HVAC systems, electrical systems, plumbing and even the water heater. Making sure home inspectors can easily access these areas, including the basement and attic, will save time during the inspection process.

      Consider a pre-listing inspection. Having an inspection conducted before the selling process, will allow you to take care of issues that may arise later, clearing the way for a smooth - and speedy - sale.

      Source: HomeTeam Inspection

      Published with permission from RISMedia.