Treated Deck Lumber Rotting

treated deck lumber rottingLets be realistic, most treated deck lumber rotting issues will occur to just about everyone sometime. Treated lumber contrary to the advertisements will not last forever even under the best conditions. However, the life of your deck or your fence can be extended if you follow some guidelines. Basically you need to keep the water from collecting and standing on the wood. If you can arrange to make sure that there is good drainage and avoid damp earth collecting on the wood, it will last a long time. let’s review a few examples to give you some idea. If you follow the basic rule, your deck etc will last many years.

Treated Deck Lumber Rotting – Guidelines

Since this post is about decks, we will discuss decks first. Always follow basic construction and design guidelines to ensure that you have a deck that is well supported. You want it to be strong enough to hold all possible weight conditions. Next ensure that the deck slopes slightly away from the house. All water and moisture will run off allowing the wood to dry properly after each rainfall.

Ensure that the bottom of all posts are above grade and that there is adequate drainage from around the bottom of the post. Any dampness that remains, will over time, cause the wood to soften and begin rotting.

If your deck receives lots of shade, it may not last as long as on that is in full sun. It just will not dry out. Moisture will not evaporate and will slowly cause the wood to rot. Either relocate the deck or remove some of the trees to provide more sunlight.

Fence posts should follow the same rule. Either encase the fence post in concrete and cap above grade or encase in porous gravel to bleed away moisture. If the moisture sits there, it will cause the wood to rot after even a short amount of time. It will not matter if it is cedar or treated lumber.

For more posts about repairs around your home and general maintenance, click here.

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Practical issues – solar panels on your house

solar panels on your houseMore and more consumers are installing solar panels systems on the roof of their homes. They have bought into the idea of generating electricity to  reduce their costs. They consume less electricity and reduce pollution. Solar panels on your house can be an excellent way of saving money.

There are some practical issues associated with this trend that many sales people and solar panel companies will not talk about. We happen to think it is important for the consumer to know these things. This info should be reviewed prior to making a decision about installing solar panels on your house.

Depending on the state and the subsidies, the amount of sun you get and the cost of electricity from the grid the payback for your investment could be as short as five years. You actually might save thousands of dollars in electricity cost over the lifetime of the solar panel power system which could last 25 years.

Sounds pretty good! But there are some issues the consumer should be aware of.

Solar Panels on Your House – Issues

While all of these incentives are available from government agencies, it may take some time to actually collect. If you are depending on this money for cash flow you might need to think again. The incentives will eventually arrive however just not in the time frame you were expecting.

Some systems require that you read the meter and send that information in once a month. Others, will complete automatic readings for you at an increased cost. It really depends on whether you want to have the responsibility of meter reading once a month.

Most people assume that if the electrical grid goes down, they will continue to have power because they are generating power locally. Unfortunately if the grid goes down, and you are connected to the grid your power system will automatically shut down at the same time. This is to prevent electrical power being fed into the system while workers are trying to make repairs.

Finally if you live in an area that gets lots of snow, you may need to clear snow from the solar panels before you can generate power in the winter time. This is something that many consumers just do not consider as part of the decision to install solar panels on the roof. If Snow is covering the solar panels they will be unable to generate any electricity.


Treated Lumber Rotting

Treated Lumber RottingWe recently read a post about treated lumber rotting. The writer was surprised that the treated lumber on their deck had begun to rot. They had been assured that the lumber would not rot and would last a lifetime.

The bottom line is that all wood will eventually rot. Some will rot faster than others. It really depends on the type of wood used, the treating process and the location where the wood is placed. Treated lumber rotting is a common problem. Anytime you have moisture from poor drainage it will rot. If there is poor air circulation with moisture, it will rot. If there are insects such as termites, they will attack.

Treated Lumber Rotting

I have pulled out fence posts encased in concrete that are as good as the day they were installed after 29 years. On some posts where the concrete was below ground, the posts had begun to rot at ground level. They were exposed to dirt, moisture, poor air circulation and insects.

Deck components lasted equally well except for those pieces that were exposed to constant moisture. We had to replace the deck after 27 years. Either way this is not a bad life cycle for treated lumber.

Bottom line, don’t expect treated lumber to last a life time and you will not be disappointed. Expected it to last 15 to 30 years under good conditions. Check the condition on a regular basis, especially as the deck, fence etc. gets older. You will avoid surprises this way.

Also, don’t you think it is time to update your deck design, fence etc after 20 to 30 years! For more fence posts, click here.

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Reading Worn-out Tire Treads

Reading Worn out Tire TreadsReading Worn out Tire Treads can be critical to your safety while driving your car. A worn out tire can blow at any time, especially at high speeds. The tire will heat up causing the pressure to increase and pop goes the tire. A flat tire at high speeds can be quite dangerous and cause loss of control. If it leads to an accident, your life may be in danger. Take a look at all of your tires and take the appropriate action as needed before you have a catastrophic accident. Each check may cost some money but your tires will last longer and you just may avoid an accident.

Reading Worn out Tire Treads

Here are a few of the items that you should consider when reading worn out tire treads.

Alignment – if your tire is wearing on one side or the other it usually means that your alignment is out and needs to be adjusted.

Over inflation – is indicated if the tire is wearing in the middle of the tire. Check your tires for over inflation especially during hot weather. High speed travel also heats up your tires and can lead to over inflation.

Under Inflation – causes the tire to wear on both sides of the tire. Check your tires every week to ensure that they are not too low in cold weather. Tires lose pressure in cold weather.

Chopped or uneven wear – may indicate that your suspension needs to be adjusted or even have the shocks replaced. Poor shocks will allow the car to bounce and also the tire.

For much more information about tires and tire maintenance, click here.


Common Sense Car Tips for Your Car in Winter

Common Sense Car Tips for Your Car in WinterIt is the middle of winter as this post is being composed. It is very cold where we live and there is lots of snow. Fortunately our car starts easily every day because we have taken care of it. Good maintenance and common sense use can make a huge difference regarding how your car runs. Here are some Common Sense Car Tips for Your Car in Winter. Getting it started is one of the first items of concern on a really cold day. That’s why we focus on the battery to begin with.

Common Sense Car Tips for Your Car in Winter

Batteries – lose power as it gets colder and they get older. If your battery is approaching 3 years or more or it is really cold there are a couple of steps you can take to help it start your car. A battery warmer in extreme cold weather is a great investment. Storing your car indoors also helps. Although it is expensive, replacing your battery after 4 years will probably save you a great deal of frustration. A well tuned car also helps.

Let it warm up – once it is started allows the engine to heat the oil in the engine and the transmission. It will flow better and lubricate all of the important areas before you place the engine under load. It will also be warmer in the car when you do get in.

Remove frozen junks from wheel wells – it builds up with all of the slush on the road. If you allow it to fall off on its own, there is a good chance it will damage the wheel wells or the underside of the car.

Tire Pressure drops – during cold weather. You will lose control and traction with low pressure tires. Check them on a regular basis and top up as needed.

Windshield wipers break – during freezing rain situations or water dripping down the windshield as it melts from the heater.  When you park your car, lift them up so that they will not freeze to the windshield.

Be careful with windshield washer bibs – as you are scraping the ice off the windshield. They become brittle during cold weather and easily broken as you are scraping ice and slush from the windshield.


Removing Popcorn Ceilings

removing popcorn ceilingsThe traditional method to remove popcorn ceilings is the one shown in the picture. Basically the ceiling is sprayed with water, allowed to soak for awhile and then you scrape it off the ceiling. You end up with a large mess on the floor. It gets into everything and takes time to clean up afterword. There are several other approaches that we have come across which will save you both time and money if you hire someone to do this work for you.

Removing Popcorn Ceilings – Shop Vac

One method is to spray the ceiling lightly with water as before, but then use a shop vac while you are scraping the ceiling. Take a 6 inch scraper or spackle knife and tape it to your shop vac as shown in the picture. As you scrape the ceiling everything is sucked into the shop vac. Clean up is much removing popcorn ceilingseasier and all you need to do is empty the contents of the shop vac into a garbage bag.

Make sure that the scraper width is narrower than the width of the shop vac wand. This will avoid any of the popcorn material going onto the floor. Your removal and cleanup time will be shorter by hours and there will be no mess on the floor to clean up! Well at least there will be less mess to clean up after you are done.

These jobs can be completed by professionals in much less time than you will take, but is it worth it. You can save hundreds of dollars doing lots of jobs like this one yourself.

For more posts about remodeling jobs in your home, click here.

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Handyman Hiring Guide

Whether you are hiring a contractor or a handyman to complete some type of work around your home, a handyman hiring guide is a useful tool to prevent frustration and increased expenses. We have called this post a handyman hiring guide, but you can apply this to any situation where you hire someone to do some work for you. It is short and just makes common sense. It could save you a lot of time, frustration and money if you hire someone following these common sense rules.

Handyman Hiring Guide

Write down on paper exactly what you want to have completed.

Select all materials or at lease as many as you can in advance to reduce or eliminate assumptions and overhead costs that might be added later.

Verify that the contractor knows what he is doing and has the experience. Ask for references and talk to those references as well.

Do not pay in advance for any work or materials unless it is special order. Materials should always be in your name and delivered to your address rather than the contractors.

All agreements should be in writing, clearly specified and initialed by both parties. Changes should be discussed in advance, costed and agreed to in advance. No surprises.

For more repair information and posts about maintaining your home, click here.


What Causes Asphalt Shingles to Stain

What Causes Asphalt Shingles to StainMy Shingles have a black stain on them. We wanted to know what causes asphalt shingles to stain like this? It is very unsightly when you look at our roof from a distance. The shingles were advertised as 25 year shingles and this is only year 14! They appear to be wearing normally. There is no curling at the ends or abnormal loss of the grit. We also are well ventilated so the attic does not overheat in the summer. It is unsightly and since we live at the end of the street, everyone sees it when they drive down our street. We wanted to know what was causing this and what we could do about it?

What Causes Asphalt Shingles to Stain

Turns out that we live in an algae prone area. If you live in a humid area, there is a good chance that you will encounter this black algae on your roof. It is not harmful to the roof and will not cause your shingles to age prematurely.

The stains are not everywhere on the roof. Anytime there is a metal flashing or air vent, the area just below them are free of the black stain. This is due to the metal from these items being washed onto the roof in very small amounts.

You can wash the roof with chemicals to kill the algae, however it usually returns the following year. You may as well save your money. When it is time to replace your roof purchase algae resistant shingles to avoid this problem.

There are several products on the market specifically designed to remove algae stains from a roof. These include Wet & Forget and Moss Out. A mixture of trisodium phosphate (TSP), bleach, and water will also remove stains.

Oxygen bleach lightens stains as well and is less harmful to the environment, but it doesn’t produce as immediate or dramatic an effect as chlorine bleach. Be careful that you do not damage the roof each time you walk across it while applying the chemicals.

For more information about removing stains, click here.

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Warranty Claims for Roof Shingles

warranty claims for roof shinglesMy roof has black stains all over it on several different parts of the roof. We are thinking about warranty claims for roof shingles. However the industry has a really bad reputation for warranty support. A neighbor has curling shingles after only 7 years. Apparently he has to join a class action suit to get any money back. Even at that it will be minimal in terns of cash. It will not come anywhere close to replacing the roof. With this information, we think there is little chance of any help from the shingle manufacture for us. They do not pay for installation under the warranty so you are really out a great deal of money. It seems that the black stains on our roof is caused by algae and there is not a lot that can be done about it.

Warranty Claims for Roof Shingles – Algae

One solution is to wash the roof with a chemical wash. However you need to take proper precautions to avoid damaging the roof further. In addition there is the cost of the chemical and finding someone who will go up on the roof to apply the chemical.

Our roof is 14 years old and it supposedly has another 11 years to go. They were 25 year shingles. The shingles look physically ok, it is just this black coloring on the roof in specific areas.

We took pictures, had them printed and filled in this long report. I think there is less than a 10% chance that the shingle company will do anything about this.

Update: about two months later, we received a replay. Sure enough they denied the claim and indicated that this is a common mold that forms on many roofs. We have since noticed that many homes in our area have the same problem.

There is basically nothing we can do at this point, so I guess we just live with it.

If you are interested in reviewing renovation posts, click here.

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Smart house

smart houseConsumers are just beginning to consider smart house features. New homes can be easily upgraded to add various smart house features. WiFi thermostats, cameras, alarm systems and auto door locks are just a few examples. But is it worth it? Does the money you spend provide sufficient pay back or peace of mind? This is what many consumers are thinking about. Turns out ir really depends on your life style, your wallet, interest in technology and of course the value of your possessions you are trying to protect by alarm systems.

Considerations for Your Smart House

WiFi Thermostats – a useful tool if you need to monitor or change your temperature settings while you are away from the home. Consumers who travel a great deal will appreciate being able to check on your homes temperature remotely and also make adjustments. Many will also send alerts based on your specifications.

Camera Systems – monitor your home while you are away and can provide alerts as well as evidence if intruders enter your home. These systems can be expensive.

Lighting Systems – automated lighting systems are probably the most useful when it comes to making your home look like someone is home. They are also inexpensive.

Alarm Systems – unmonitored systems are useful along with tags on windows to deter thieves. A monitored system will alert the alarm center who in turn will call you and the police. False alarms can be expensive if the police are dispatched. Have the system call your cell phone and then check cameras for intruders can be more useful.

Auto Door Locks – hand with young kids who are leaving for school and forget to lock the door. Can be expensive.

Many of the above systems can be combined into one monthly rental cost. However you need to evaluate the benefits vs. the cost before proceeding.


When to Hire a Snow Removal Contractor

When to Hire a Snow Removal ContractorNow is the time to consider hiring a snow removal contractor. With winter just around the corner, many people are thinking about that awful job of clearing snow from their driveways. They wonder, should they check on their old snowblower to see if it’s working? Or should they contact a snow removal contractor to arrange for snow clearing during the winter.

My neighbor has done this. He loves to stand in his front window drinking his coffee while the contractor clears the snow off his driveway before he goes to work in the morning! But other than economics when should you hire a snow removal contractor?

When to Hire a Snow Removal Contractor

When it comes to cost it is simply cheaper to buy your own snowblower and clear the snow yourself. The cost of an annual contract times a number of years that you will use a contractor will be far costlier than buying your own snowblower.

However there are other reasons why many people consider hiring a snow removal contractor. One reason that many people hire a snow removal contractor is simply time. They just do not have the time to spend clearing snow early in the morning before they go to work or after they arrive home so they can get the car in the driveway.

Another reason is health. This is a major issue and should be taken seriously. If you are not the type to do routine work around the house and stay in shape then clearing snow could be dangerous. Many people suffer a heart attacks after shoveling snow.

Even if you do use a snowblower there is always some snow that you have to clear by hand. If you are a coach potato, bite the bullet and hire snow removal contractor now. It is just not worth it to take a chance with your health.

For more seasonal related topics, click here.

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Should I Purchase a Snowblower

Should I Purchase a Snowblower It is that time of year again when winter is just around the corner. Many consumers are wondering should I purchase a snowblower? Perhaps their existing snowblower is no longer working or needs a major tuneup. They might have been resigned to shoveling snow. They see their neighbors hiring snow removal contractors and enjoying not being out in the cold weather shoveling heavy snow. There are a number of issues to consider before you decide to purchase a snowblower. The same applies if you will hire a snow removal contractor. There are some cost-saving issues to consider as well as ease-of-use and health issues. In this post we will discuss some of the issues associated with a decision to purchase a snowblower.

Should I Purchase a Snowblower

Cost – this is simple. What is the annual cost of snow clearing vs. the cost of a reasonable sized snow blower? In most cases the snow blower will pay for itself in two or three years.

Features – make sure it is easy to handle. Lights are nice but in most cases not that useful . One handed steering and control are!

Storage – you should really have a place to store it inside. It not only protects it, but no one wants to dig out a snowblower so they can use it.

Repairs – can be pricey, however your machine should last much longer than the payback period vs. hiring a contractor

Operation – make sure it is easy to use. This includes starting, handling and maintenance. You should not need to manhandle your machine while clearing snow.

Repairs – replace belts, change engine oil, grease the auger, and change the spark plug once and a while. Be ready to do these things yourself to save money

Ease-of-use – we mention one handed use and control several times. If you can do this with the machine you are buying you will enjoy using it.

Health issues – if your health is not good just hire a snow removal contractor. It is not worth risking further injuries!

For more information about seasonal issues, click here.

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Electric Car Home Charging Stations

Every consumer who is considering purchasing an electric car must consider at least two major issues. Where will they charge their vehicle while on the road and how will they charge their vehicle at home. This post is going to focus on electric car home charging stations for electric only vehicles. Hybrid vehicles use the cars gasoline engine, brakes etc to recharge the batteries are are not considered part of the subject of this post.

What do you Need for electric car home charging stations?

There are some practical aspects to consider when installing electric car home charging stations. For example you will need an electrician to install the plug in or near your garage, wherever you park your car. It should be at least 30 amps capacity and have a chord that will reach to wherever your car is parked.

Go large. In other words it may cost less to install a 15 amp charger, but a 30 amp charger will charge your batteries more quickly. This is a consideration for this vehicle and your planned use as well as future vehicles. It can be frustrating to wait around for your cars batteries to charge.

The cost will vary by location, but somewhere between $500 to $1000 seems to be the norm. Regardless follow the specifications provided by the dealer. Build as much flexibility and capacity into the installation as you can depending on the additional cost. Some charging cables can also be portable. If so take advantage of this feature if you plan to move in the near future.


Consumer Solar Electric Generation Trends

Consumer Solar Electric Generation TrendsAs the cost of solar panels decline and the cost of power from traditional sources increase, consumer solar electric generation trends are going to favor homeowners installing their own solar panels on the roofs of their houses. As we write this post, home owners in the south western United States are beginning to find that they can make a positive business case for a solar power installation. Rates per KW are high for electricity, solar power is getting cheaper and they have more days fo full sunshine than most other areas in the US.

Consumer Solar Electric Generation Trends

Based on our research, the cost of generating power via solar panels has dropped 10% per year over the past 5 years and is now near the national average of $.12 per kilowatt. In many places the cost of power is much higher than this figure supporting the business case to install solar power generating panels on the roof of a home.

Over the next 25 years there will be a significant increase in solar power generation. Solar power may never replace or even jeopardize the existence of large traditional power generation plants.  They will have an impact on the industry over time and be an alternative power source.

Consumers will demand better more efficient prices and they will get them either by installing solar panels or by the traditional players developing more efficient power generation of their own. Solar power generation will grow significantly from an estimated .2% of the total to a much larger portion of the power industry.

For more energy saving ideas, click here.

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Selling Your Home

Selling Your HomeWhen preparing a home for sale, most homeowners focus on pleasing the eyes. In other words, they make their property “look” as attractive as possible. Focus on the curb appeal to begin with. This is the first impression that the prospective buyer will consider. You want it to be a positive impression.  Next focus on the inside entrance. Continue the experience for the buyer. Make them want to have this home. That is, of course, a very important thing to do! However, there is more to selling your home. Your home will be even more appealing to buyers if you also engage their other senses.

Take smells, for example. Ideally, you don’t want any smells at all in your home during a viewing. So be careful about odors that can linger after cooking. Use the fan. Do not use scented air fresheners or strong perfumes in washrooms prior to viewings. If you or another family member smokes, avoid having the smell come into the home.

As for sounds, soft, pleasing music is fine. Just be sure to choose a style that would be acceptable to all. Think elevator music! If a neighbor is creating a loud noise next door – jack hammering a patio foundation, for example — ask him or her to keep it down during showings. Most good neighbors will be happy to do so.

In general, anything you can do, that will make your home more appealing to all the buyer’s senses is worth the effort.

Selling Your Home – New Homes

When you shop for a new home, you’ll probably start by thinking about what you need in your next property. Your list might include a spacious kitchen; three bedrooms; and, a mature tree in the backyard.

Those are property features and, of course, they’re important. But finding your next dream home involves more than just property features. It also involves getting what you want from the surrounding area. After all, a home isn’t going to be enjoyable if commuting to work from your neighborhood is long and agonizing. So when you shop for a new home, also think about:

Work. How will you get to work? Is public transit nearby?

School. Where will your kids go to school? Is transit or bus service available? Will your kids be able to walk to school?

Kids. Where will your kids play and hang out? Are there nearby playgrounds and parks?

Neighbors. Do the local homeowners seem like the kind of people you’d like as neighbors?

Shopping. Where will you do your weekly shopping?

Hobbies. How far will you be from golf, theater, or other hobbies.

If you need more details about selling your home, click here.

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Installing Public Electric Charging Stations

Installing Public Electric Charging StationsThere are really three major obstacles for electric vehicles from this writers perspective. All of them are difficult to overcome and it will take time. The three obstacles are Resistance to change, Installing Public Electric Charging Stations, and time to recharge batteries. We will explore each of these in more detail. However many people would argue that the lack of electric charging stations is a big impediment. With only 10,000 electric vehicles in Quebec and 5000 in Ontario, there is not much incentive to install charging stations.

Resistance to Change

Consumers are pretty happy with their gasoline and diesel powered cars. They like the features, the flexibility and the ideal they can fill up anywhere and pretty much at any time. It only takes a few minutes as well to fill up the gas tank. The only negative is the cost of rising gasoline prices. At the time of writing this post is pretty flat and not hurting people in the wallet.

Installing Public Electric Charging Stations

There are simply not enough charging stations around. Although more are being installed every week, the numbers do not begin to approach the availability of gasoline stations. There also at the present time little financial incentive for dealers to install charging stations. Time will solve this problem, but right now it is a huge impediment.

Time to Recharge Batteries

Another big negative is the time to recharge the batteries. A consumer will need at least a few hours or even overnight, depending on the charging station capacity. Compared to five minutes this really just does not work. Tesla has tried to deal with this issue by providing a battery swapping service which cuts down the time significantly. It will be many years before this service is wide spread.

 


Mulch Beside the Foundation

Mulch Beside the Foundation When placing mulch beside the foundation there are several issues to consider. Consumers want to avoid future problems. Although it may look nice, if leaks, deterioration of the foundation, mold etc develop you will regret the day you placed the mulch. The main consideration is always about the presence of water, drainage of water and moisture remaining in place. Whenever there is water present in liquid form or dampness, there is a chance that your foundation will pay a price. This means it will cost you money at some point in the future. We will explain further.

Mulch Beside the Foundation

As landscaping of any kind is considered, the following rules should be considered to avoid future problems:

  • Ensure that there is always a gentle slope away from a foundation to channel water away from the wall
  • Always keep the ground level at least 9 inches below the top of the foundation.
  • Always avoid earth or mulch touching a wood wall or siding. Water will penetrate and begin rotting your joists.
  • Using stones instead of mulch against the wall would be a better solution than mulch
  • The ground will often settle next to the wall over time due to water washing down the wall and into the weeping tile that surrounds your foundation. This is a natural process and should be topped up so that water will channel away from the wall
  • Lack of eaves troughs allows water to fall next to the wall and the foundation. Install eaves trough and channel the water away from the wall.

By following these steps you should be able to avoid leaks in your basement, damp  basements and deterioration of supporting wood structures sitting on top of the foundation. For other maintenance information concerning your home, click here.

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Real Estate Selling Terminology 

Real Estate Selling Terminology As in any industry, there are terms and buzzwords that are unique to residential real estate. I you do not understand or know what these terms are, it can be pretty confusing. When you put your home on the market, you should know what those terms mean. It will save time and cause less confusion during what is a very stressful time for many people. Here are definitions for the most common Real Estate Selling Terminology :

Real Estate Selling Terminology

Fair market value: This is an estimate of how much a specific home will sell for in today’s market, taking into account what similar properties in the area have sold for recently. Another term used in conjunction is, comparables. These are homes similar to yours.

Seller’s Agent: That would be me, the REALTOR® who is helping you sell your property. I would also assist you in finding and buying your next home.

Buyer’s Agent: This is the REALTOR® who is representing the buyer of the property you want to sell.

Pre-approved Mortgage: This is a statement (often in the form of a certificate) from your bank or other lender that states that you qualify for a mortgage for a particular amount of money. A pre-approved mortgage adds credibility to any offer you make on a new home.

Staging: This is a strategy where a home is purposely prepared so that it appeals to potential buyers. Staging may involve cleaning, de-cluttering, rearranging furniture, redecorating, and more.

Survey: This is a document that defines the boundaries and measurements of your property and any structures on it.

Offer: This is an offer of purchase, in writing, for a particular property.

Conditional Offer: This is an offer to purchase, but with conditions. For example, such as “conditional on a satisfactory home inspection” or “conditional on arranging suitable financing”.

More information about selling real estate is available, click here.

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Smart Home Trends WiFi Thermostats

smart home trends WiFi ThermostatsIntelligent WiFi thermostats are just one small part of the emerging smart home trends WiFi Thermostats subject that we want to discuss. Smart homes involve many different aspects. Security, environment control, comfort,  and control of everything in your home from your smart phone or desktop. We recently installed a new furnace and AC system with a WiFi enabled thermostat. This is an initial step towards a smart home.

Smart home trends WiFi Thermostats

We can now control the homes environment from our smart phones from pretty much anywhere. As long as the in home WiFi is working and we have internet access to our smart phones we are good to go.

Using the app on our phones we are able to turn on or off the system. We can adjust the temperature in the home. We can also turn the fan on auto or always on. This capability gives us lots of flexibility to control our homes environment.

Sometime in the future we will integrate the thermostat with other smart home capabilities. We will do this when it makes sense from an economic perspective. The WiFi thermostat was added simply because we were upgrading our AC and furnace, so we decided to upgrade the thermostat at the same time.

A good deal for us and a practical smart home technology.


Home Remodeling for Aging in Place

Home Remodeling for Aging in PlaceIf you plan to stay in your home after retirement home remodeling for aging in place should be strongly considered. If you plan to move at some point then this issue may not be that important. For anyone who wants to stay in their home as long as possible, any changes they make should be well thought out. The picture shows wheel chair access to the oven and the sink. This is just one tiny example. There are many aspects to consider and there are resources available to provide you with ideas.

Home Remodeling for Aging in Place

Important considerations anytime you plan on remodeling and plan to age in place include the following:

  • No step entry into your home at the front entrance or garage entry
  • If there are steps, add a ramp and / or a railing to hold onto
  • Being able to live on one floor of your home
  • Light switches and outlets should be reachable at any height
  • Hallways and doors should be wide enough to accommodate wheel chairs.
  • All faucet handles should be lever style rather than twist type.
  • You may need to remove some furniture to make it easier to get around your home.

These are general items to consider.  Any time you remodel or renovate your home there may be many other considerations to think about. Imagine yourself in a wheel chair or getting around using crutches or a cane. Evaluate all of your day to day activities and assess whether you could complete them with out remodeling your home.

Some people will even go to the extreme and pretend they need a wheelchair  to get around to test how easy your home would be to get around. Do you need to install a chair lift to help get up the stairs? Some of these features can easily be reversed if you decide to sell the home.

For more information about remodeling your home, click here.

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