Consumer Real Estate News

  • Save Your Pipes This Winter

    10 December 2018

    Between gifts and home heating costs, the holidays can hit your bank account hard. If you add frozen pipe damage to the roster, it can be financially brutal.

    "The holidays can make your budget very tight, but frozen pipes can literally put you under water," says Michael Petri, owner of Petri Plumbing & Heating. "The average cost to repair damage from burst pipes is in the thousands. Preparing your home to avoid these mishaps can save your wallet and help you avoid added holiday stress."

    To help, Petri Plumbing and Heating, Inc. brings homeowners to proactively prepare their homes to avoid frozen pipe damage.

    Allow cold water to drip from faucets – When temperatures are expected to drop, allow faucets to slowly drip. Standing water is more susceptible to freezing and keeping the water flowing will prevent disastrous issues from developing.

    Monitor the thermostat – Make sure the home's temperature is no lower than 55 degrees, especially if there are plans to travel for the holidays. A dip in temperature can increase the chances of frozen plumbing.

    Open cabinets under sinks and vanities – These areas are more susceptible to damage from a temperature drop. Keep cabinets open to maximize the ambient heat circulating in the home.

    Insulate the home – Attics, basements, and crawl spaces can develop leaks and cracks over time. Insulating these areas will maintain warmer temperatures and don't forget to check around the foundation of the home as well.

    Insulate the pipes – There are many products on the market to add insulation to your pipes. Heat tape, pipe sleeves, and heat cable are easy, low-cost options that will add an extra level of protection when temperatures are low.

    Source: Petri Plumbing & Heating, Inc.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Plan a Unique Holiday Party

    10 December 2018

    Move over, ugly sweater party. This holiday season, do something unique and fun with your loved ones. Consider the following:

    Host a Holiday Screening. Pick your favorite holiday film and host a screening with warming beverages and popcorn. If you think some of your pals may be more inclined to socialize, host the screening in a living room or basement and set up a socializing station in a separate space.

    Have an Art Potluck. Have your friends each bring an art supply and spend the evening getting creative and catching up.

    Have a Cook-Off. Choose a specific culinary item like lasagna or pecan pie and invite friends to join in on a friendly competitive cook-off. Or, keep it holiday centric with a cookie bake-off. Find a fun prize for the winner, like a bottle of wine.

    Consider a Dance Party. Clear the furniture for the living room, create a rocking playlist, set up some fun lights and invite your pals over for a dance party.  

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • What Comes With the House? Negotiating 'Fixtures'

    10 December 2018

    After receiving a piece of furniture as a last-minute gift from a friend who was selling and moving, the buyer became upset assuming they would inherit the item even though it had not been agreed upon.  

    Something that should be assumed to come with the house is known as a 'fixture.' But what counts as a fixture is the basis for many real estate disputes, according to Elizabeth Weintraub at thealance.com - even when that feature or fixture is outside the building.

    Generally speaking, she says, a fixture is not required to exist inside the house. Landscaping, or any type of plant with roots firmly ensconced in the ground, is considered a fixture, Weintraub says.

    Connecticut REALTOR® Kathy Hamilton says determining what will stay with the home and what will go with the previous owner will vary by seller and contract. She first suggests checking the listing, however, because a seller may have already specified any such items included in their asking price.

    When it comes to any questions about which items will stay, Hamilton advises both sellers and buyers to know the "screwdriver rule."

    For the most part, she says, if it takes a screwdriver to remove, it’s considered part of the home - this includes shelves, light fixtures and even curtain rods. But, if it’s hung on a nail, or is a piece of movable furniture - even a grand piano - it’s likely not included in the sale.

    Devon Thorsby at U.S. News & World Report says states have different standards regarding what things are included in a home sale, but light fixtures and major appliances are typically included unless otherwise noted in the contract.

    One luxury property specialist she spoke with in Fort Lauderdale on the subject said, as a rule, a fixture is something that’s bolted down - if it’s not, you can take it.

    Thorsby reminds buyers that the negotiation also works the opposite way. If you don’t want the seller’s old washer and dryer, you may be able to stipulate they remove the appliances in your contract.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Making Prescriptions Easier

    10 December 2018

    If you manage one or more prescription medications for yourself or a loved one, you know it can be challenging at times. A new survey conducted by AllianceRx Walgreens Prime found that more than half (57 percent) of adults surveyed take prescription medicine regularly, with the percentage increasing steadily with age. Additionally, nearly three quarters (73 percent) of adults manage all or most of the medicine needs for themselves or their family.

    To help ease your prescription management, AllianceRx Walgreens Prime offers the following tips:

    Ask your pharmacist about prior authorization: Ask your pharmacist now if prior authorizations are required or need updating. If so, submit new insurance information to your pharmacy and update your financial assistance or copay information.

    Ask your health plan about medication coverage: Check with your health plan to determine if your medication coverage will change in the new year. Verify your copay costs and contact your health plan with any questions.

    Ask your doctor about appointments: Contact your doctor about prescription refills. Schedule an appointment now, if required, for new or existing medication. During your appointment, discuss any medication concerns with your doctor.

    Ask your doctor to verify your ePrescribe pharmacy of record: Verify with your doctor who they have listed as your pharmacy of record and update if necessary.

    Source:  AllianceRx Walgreens Prime

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • 5 Aging in Place Fixes Under $500

    7 December 2018

    Recently, I learned that 100 percent of ER doctors surveyed across the U.S. say it’s very important that families interested in aging in place invest in basic home safety modifications. Despite this, only 18 percent of adult children report they or their parents have made these modifications.

    Home Instead Senior Care and Dan Bawden, founder of the Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) designation for the National Association of Home Builders, offer the following safety suggestions - all costing less than $500.

    Replace wall-mount shower heads with handheld shower heads on a hose. Handheld shower heads are convenient and safe because a senior can use the device as a fixed shower head – adjustable to the proper height – or convert it to a handheld one.

    Cost: Generally less than $100. With a plumber’s help, could be up to $175 to $200. 

    Install grab bars near shower or tub. Seniors who have balance problems could be tempted to grab on to a towel bar or shower curtain and be at risk of falls.

    Cost: Typically $30 to $60 for a good quality bar. With a pro’s help, an estimated $175 to $200 per bar for parts and labor. 

    Convert to lever handle faucets. Water flow and temperature could be easier for arthritic fingers to control with a lever faucet versus one that twists on and off.

    Cost: Usually between $170 and $250. Add about $150 to $200 for a plumber to install.

    Add lighting to closets and pantries. Dark closets could not only be safety hazards, they could make dressing more difficult for seniors.

    Cost: With attic access, a qualified electrician could install a light for around $250. The cost to add a battery-operated light is typically less than $25. 

    Add swing clear hinges. Narrow doorways could be difficult for walkers and wheelchairs to navigate. Replacing standard hinges with “swing clear hinges” allows the door to swing completely clear of the door opening adding 1.5 - 2 in. of clearance.

    Cost of handyman or trim carpenter: About $150. A pair of these hinges generally costs between $20 and $30.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.