Category Archives: Real Estate and Housing News

Key Winter Prep That Will Protect Your Home’s Value

Protecting your home’s value means taking good care of it during the more demanding winter months, especially if you’re eyeing a spring sale. According to the Appraisal Institute, winterizing your property will go a long way toward reducing future costs, not to mention keeping you more comfortable in chilly weather.  

Winterization projects that will contribute most to your home’s value are those that focus on your lawn, deck and roof.

– Tend to your lawn by raking, mowing and fertilizing before the cold months set in.

– Check to see if your deck needs protecting by pouring some water on it; if the water beads up, then you’re in good shape. If it doesn’t, then clean and seal your deck.

– Make sure your roof is ready to handle the elements by doing a careful inspection and replacing any shingles or repairing any compromised sections. While you’ve got the ladder out, clean out any gutters to avoid ice damming.

Of course, getting your home ready for winter also means paying attention to energy usage. According to the Energy Saver Guide, homeowners should:

– Use smart and programmable thermostats, which can help lower energy bills by as much as 10 percent per year.

– Replace the home's heating system if it's more than 15 years old.

– Use heat pumps instead of electric furnaces or electric baseboard heaters to reduce electricity used for heating by up to 50 percent.

– Determine their eligibility for weatherization and home energy assistance.

Thanks for visiting my Blog site. If you would like to discuss this topic with me or get more information please contact me by calling 919-247-4667 or emailing me at Tim@TheTrianglesBroker.com. And you can always visit my personal real estate website for lots of additional information and to search for homes at www.TheTrianglesBroker.com or www.BuyAndSelllingTriangleHomes.com  McBrayer – The Triangles Broker.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2018. All rights reserved.

7 Senior Technologies Your Parents Need for Their Home

By Rachel Cooper

As our aging population is growing, senior technology is evolving to make day-to-day life easier. Here are seven innovative products that help the families of seniors feel safe and can improve their loved ones' quality of life:
 
Medical alert systems
The most popular technology for seniors is a wearable call button that dispatches emergency help when needed. These devices are equipped with a range of options, including automatic fall detection, in-home health monitors, fitness trackers, movement sensors, and more.
 
When choosing a system, evaluate the specific needs and abilities the senior in your life has. Consider a base unit located in their home and a mobile system that incorporates GPS technology to call for help when they're away from home.
 
Before making a long-term commitment to a specific service, ask if a free trial period is available so you can see what works best for you and your family.
 
Wearable health monitors
Wearable gadgets such as smartwatches, fitness trackers and specialized sensors are available to measure heart rates, track asthma, monitor blood pressure, and so much more.
 
These devices are increasingly integrated with wireless mobile devices and cloud-based data storage, making them a powerful health monitoring tool.
 
Financial alert technology
Unfortunately, with advances in technology, financial exploitation has become a major concern for seniors and their families; however, technology can also be used to set up alerts to protect you from fraud, scams and identity theft.
 
Sign up with your bank to receive automatic alerts for withdrawals from your account. Credit card companies utilize this technology to alert you any time a charge is made to your account. Also, use apps such as EverSafe to monitor financial activity within multiple accounts.
 
Online rent payment
Today, many property management companies offer online payment options, and the ability to set up automatic payments by electronic transfer, credit card or cash.
 
Monthly rent can also be paid through websites like rentpayment.com, cozy.co, payyourrent.com and others. Families can set up online payments for utilities and other recurring bills to make sure that their loved ones pay their bills on time.
 
Smart home technology
Smart home technology, or home automation, provides conveniences such as LED lighting, auto stove shut-off systems, smart thermostats, home security systems, smart outlets, smart smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, and more.
 
These features are great for the families of seniors, as they can be controlled remotely by an app on a smartphone or any other networked device.
 
Digital assistants
Amazon's Echo and Google's Home are voice-activated WiFi devices that can be helpful to seniors who are living independently. They can turn on lights or adjust the thermostat, as well as take dictation to help you create reminders that can be set to prompt you to take medication.
 
Place a few digital assistants around your home and enjoy easy access to information that may be cumbersome to look up on a computer. Note that digital assistants can dial landline and mobile phone numbers, but are not reliable to call 911.
 
GrandPad
This customized tablet is a device designed specifically for seniors who have little technical expertise in order to make it easy for them to connect with family and friends. No dialing or typing is required.
 
The GrandPad has a touch screen, large fonts and buttons, and a handy stylus for navigation. There are no wires, and the charging cradle is simple to use. A monthly subscription provides the convenience of unlimited 4G LTE data, ad-free unlimited streaming music and mobile access for caregivers and family.
 
This appeared first on RISMedia's Housecall.
 
Rachel Cooper is a freelance writer and author with more than a decade of online journalism and content creation experience. For more information on senior technology, visit the Apartment Guide Blog.

Thanks for visiting my Blog site. If you would like to discuss this topic with me or get more information please contact me by calling 919-247-4667 or emailing me at Tim@TheTrianglesBroker.com. And you can always visit my personal real estate website for lots of additional information and to search for homes at www.TheTrianglesBroker.com or www.BuyAndSelllingTriangleHomes.com  McBrayer – The Triangles Broker.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2018. All rights reserved.

Data Security Concerns on the Rise

With an estimated 270 million Americans viewing their smartphones about 14 billion times per day, it’s no surprise that we’re getting more concerned about the safety of our data online.

Consider these findings from Deloitte's U.S. edition of the 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey:

  • 85 percent of consumers have concerns about companies using, storing and sharing their personal data with third parties.
  • 85 percent of respondents now believe that companies with which they interact online use their personal data "all" or "most of" the time.
  • Consumers are 14 percent less likely this year to share their photos and address books with companies they interact with online, marking a substantial change in behavior from last year.
  • With regard to mobile in-store payments, only 31 percent of respondents indicated they have ever used their mobile device to make an in-store payment, and only 14 percent do so on a weekly basis. Security concerns (42 percent) and lack of perceived benefits (42 percent) were cited as main reasons by respondents. 

To help protect yourself online:

  • Never store usernames and passwords.
  • Don’t use the same password across multiple sites.
  • Create passwords based on phrases that only you would know.
  • Avoid using WiFi in public places, such as shopping malls and airports.
  • Use double authentication as much as possible.
  • When shopping online, use a credit card as opposed to a bank card to avoid compromising a checking or savings account.

Thanks for visiting my Blog site. If you would like to discuss this topic with me or get more information please contact me by calling 919-247-4667 or emailing me at Tim@TheTrianglesBroker.com. And you can always visit my personal real estate website for lots of additional information and to search for homes at www.TheTrianglesBroker.com or www.BuyAndSelllingTriangleHomes.com  McBrayer – The Triangles Broker.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2018. All rights reserved.

5 Ways to Have a Safe and Sound Home This Winter

While our home chores this time of year tend to focus on fertilizing the lawn for next spring and battening down the hatches for energy savings, we should also be thinking about safety, especially for the seniors in our lives. Here are five steps to take, courtesy of Consumer Reports, to make your home a safe haven in the winter months.

  1. Prepare for ice. Reduce the risk of falls by stocking up now on snow melt, and putting a plan in place for shoveling. If no one at home is healthy enough to take on the shoveling chore, set up a standing arrangement with a snow-removal service or a neighborhood teenager to automatically come to your home when bad weather hits.
  2. Service your heating system. Hypothermia can occur in older adults even when the temperature is between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, so have your thermostat checked and furnace serviced to make sure they’re functioning properly.
  3. Inspect space heaters. While they can be necessary in case of a heating system failure, space heaters are also a fire hazard, so be sure to check the cords and test them in advance to make sure they’re in good working order.
  4. Check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Put new batteries in and make sure there are enough units throughout the home.
  5. Be smart about generators. If you have a generator or are thinking about getting one, know how to use it. Never operate it in an enclosed space and make sure it’s at least 20 feet from your home, windows and doors, with the exhaust pointing away from your home.

Thanks for visiting my Blog site. If you would like to discuss this topic with me or get more information please contact me by calling 919-247-4667 or emailing me at Tim@TheTrianglesBroker.com. And you can always visit my personal real estate website for lots of additional information and to search for homes at www.TheTrianglesBroker.com or www.BuyAndSelllingTriangleHomes.com  McBrayer – The Triangles Broker.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2018. All rights reserved.

Tips for Reducing Waste over the Holidays

If you're a pro at holiday hosting, you've likely seen containers of leftovers sit at the back of the fridge for weeks, or grown tired of yet another turkey sandwich. To help, the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association offers several tips for reducing food waste this holiday season:

Be realistic. The fear of not providing enough to eat often causes hosts to cook too much. Instead, plan out how much food you and your guests will realistically need, and shop accordingly.

Plan ahead. Plan your menu and create a shopping list before going to the grocery store to avoid impulse buys or buying unnecessary quantities that may not be used right away and go to waste.

Know portion sizes. If turkey is on your menu, allow 1 pound of uncooked turkey per person from an 8 to 12 pound turkey. Larger birds have a larger proportion of meat to bones, so ¾ pound per person should be sufficient (and you will have leftovers).

Plan for leftovers. Cook creatively and repurpose food into other meals for less waste after the holiday.  

Ask guests to bring to-go containers. Ask each guest to arrive with take-home containers and fill them up with leftovers as they leave.

Host a post-holiday leftover brunch. Host a fun brunch a few days after the holiday and make it clear you're doling out leftovers. Not quite enough food to cover everyone? Make it a left-over potluck with one hard rule: no new dishes!

Source: National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association

Thanks for visiting my Blog site. If you would like to discuss this topic with me or get more information please contact me by calling 919-247-4667 or emailing me at Tim@TheTrianglesBroker.com. And you can always visit my personal real estate website for lots of additional information and to search for homes at www.TheTrianglesBroker.com or www.BuyAndSelllingTriangleHomes.com  McBrayer – The Triangles Broker.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2018. All rights reserved.

Deck the Halls for Happy Holidays

(Family Features)–Whether you opt for fresh-cut or fresh out of the box, trimming the tree is a staple of holiday decor in most homes. However, if you'll be entertaining this season, you may want to go beyond the tree and take your seasonal decorating to whole new level.
 
Create a scene filled with festive joy and get your home holiday-ready with these tips from the holiday hosting experts at Macy's:

Choose a theme: Designing around a specific theme is a simple way to keep your holiday decor from feeling cluttered. Your theme might be based on color or a favorite seasonal character like Santa or snowmen. If you're starting from scratch, begin with a few statement pieces and let your collection grow over time. Choose a new item or two each year, and soon you'll have a treasure trove of beloved holiday items that can brighten up your home.

Offer cozy accents: Tables, shelves and mantels tend to get their share of decorative love, but don't overlook the ways you can bring cheer to other parts of a room. A snuggle-worthy throw in vibrant holiday hues and some plush seasonal pillows add practical warmth and good cheer. Another option: fun holiday floor decor, from welcome mats to area rugs to cushy kitchen mats that can make all that time cooking easier on your feet.

Set a stunning stage: Go ahead and fill your guests with delight before they even sample their first bite. A holiday spread served over festive placemats and cheerful motifs can make your table come to life. Bring vibrant colors and cheeky detailed design to your dinner table wit placemats and coasters featuring seasonal images like snowflakes, ornaments and red and green lettering with a cheerful "Ho Ho Ho." 

Add pretties to the powder room: The bathroom may not be the first place you think to add some holiday spirit, but it's a room virtually every guest will visit, so don't leave it undone. Deck out the room with hand towels in seasonal colors and prints, and add plenty of festive accent pieces like rugs and soap dispensers. Don't forget a candle with a subtle seasonal scent.

Source: Macy's

Thanks for visiting my Blog site. If you would like to discuss this topic with me or get more information please contact me by calling 919-247-4667 or emailing me at Tim@TheTrianglesBroker.com. And you can always visit my personal real estate website for lots of additional information and to search for homes at www.TheTrianglesBroker.com or www.BuyAndSelllingTriangleHomes.com  McBrayer – The Triangles Broker.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2018. All rights reserved.