Real Estate & Community News

April 19, 2019

How to Keep Home Repairs from Wrecking Your Finances

This week's blog is brought to you by Julian Lane from Thefixitchamp.com 

 

You can reach him at julian@thefixitchamp.com and for more information please visit his website at TheFixitChamp.com

 

 

Photo By: Unsplash

 

Owning your own home comes with plenty of perks such as independence, stability, tax breaks, and the sheer pride you feel in being able to call yourself a homeowner. However, when home repairs need to be made, you can’t depend on a landlord or apartment maintenance team to swoop in and save the day. That leaves you to not only foot the bill, but also to find the right professional for the job. To keep home repairs from wrecking your finances and causing a major headache, check out the following tips.

 

Don’t Get Caught Unprepared

 

If you’re like most people you have some savings set aside for unexpected expenses such as car repairs, medical bills, or a spur of the moment splurge. As a homeowner, it’s critical to have money set aside for a rainy day home repair fund. Why? According to HomeAdvisor, the national average for a major home repair or renovation is $10,538, and includes problems like a roof repair, plumbing issues, foundational problems, and water damage. Even minor repairs can cost you $1,000 or more, so it’s crucial that you have a home repair fund. The general rule is that you should take 10 percent of your home’s monthly mortgage payment and put it into a liquid savings account so you can access it quickly. Consider putting aside more if your home is older or you are anticipating a repair. Not sure about the cost of some of the common home repairs? Use this list from Sofi so you know what to expect.

 

If You Do Get Caught

 

Emergencies happen, so what are you to do if a repair needs to be made and you don’t have funds to cover it? Before you do anything, take a look at your home insurance policy to see if the repair or damage might be covered. Most policies don’t cover mold damage, sewage backups, and homeowner neglect. If you cause further damage by trying to fix the problem yourself, you might not be able to make a claim either. If your insurance won’t cover the problem, look into government assistance via loans and grants. If you’re really in a pickle, you might consider a home equity loan or a second mortgage. A great way to prevent these emergencies from cropping up is by staying on top of home maintenance. This in-depth maintenance checklist courtesy of HSH details tasks to stay on top of each season, as well as monthly, yearly, and long-term tasks.

 

Find the Right Person for the Job

 

When it comes to home repairs and renovations, you have three options: hire a handyman, hire a contractor, or do it yourself. The biggest difference between a handyman and a contractor is that a contractor must be licensed by the state, meaning they have gone through the necessary training to meet state requirements. A handyman is still very skilled in a particular area, and can get the job done. In general, a handyman is the best option for small repairs, while a contractor is the safest route for large repairs with big price tags due to liability and insurance purposes. When hiring a professional, be wary of potential scams such as wanting money upfront or verbal quotes. Be sure to treat the hiring process like an interview and ask for a list of references. Before deciding on one, get at least three quotes so you can be sure you are getting the best price. Keep in mind there are some simple repairs you can do yourself, such as unclogging the drain, repairing broken tiles, or re-caulking the shower. However, anything you aren’t familiar or comfortable with needs a professional’s touch.

 

 

Home repairs and renovations are a costly but necessary part of homeownership. To avoid an expensive surprise, start putting money in a home repair fund. If you get caught off guard, explore financing options such as an insurance claim or government loan. Most importantly, hire the right person for the job so it is done right the first time. Repairs are necessary, but breaking the bank isn’t.

 

Posted in Homeownership Tips
April 11, 2019

West Seattle Junction Condo - Sold!

Congratulations to our team member Gale and his seller who just sold this West Seattle Junction condo!

 

Posted in Closed Homes
April 9, 2019

Spring Real Estate Market

 

 

Listing inventory is up and interest rates are lower which means an active spring market! For Real Estate market information specific to your neighborhood call us at 206-462-4444 or email info@bethghomes.com #bethghomes #seattlerealestate #tacomarealestate #springmarket#homesellers #homebuyers #interestrates

https://www.seattlepi.com/realestate/article/Seattle-March-real-estate-housing-market-interest-13748608.php#item-85307-tbla-5

Posted in Real Estate News
April 5, 2019

Spring Maintenance Checklist

If you are planning on selling your house this Spring, make sure you check these 10 maintenance items off your list and contact us to get an updated current market value for your home!

206-462-4444 info@bethghomes.com

 

Posted in Homeownership Tips
April 4, 2019

Gig Harbor Just Sold

Congratulations to Gary's First Time Home Buyer's who just Closed on this Gorgeous Gig Harbor Home!

 

 

 

Posted in Closed Homes
March 29, 2019

Newcastle Home Just Sold!

 

Congratulations to our Sellers who just sold their Newcastle home! 

#bethghomes #newcastlerealestate #justsold #seattlerealestate

 

 

 

Posted in Closed Homes
March 26, 2019

Smart Homes Need Smart Protection: Getting to Know Smart Cameras

 

Things seem to be getting smarter and smarter these days. From smartphones to smart pressure cookers, anything that can be built with a brain or an internet connection seems to be being bulked up. Some items that are getting brains don’t necessarily make a lot of sense (smart toothbrushes?), and others seem like they should have gotten smarter sooner.

Smart cameras are a perfect example of the latter. They’re a good balance between smart and sexy, and they will keep your smart home safer.

Getting to Know Smart Cameras

A smart camera is different from a regular home security camera in that one camera can integrate with lots of sensors in your home and actually learn your behavior. So, if you normally disarm the alarm at 8:00 am and rearm it at 4:00 pm, that camera will begin to build that information into its profile of your household.

This way, when someone comes in at 8:00 pm and tries to disarm the alarm, even if they’re successful, the camera will be on alert for more clues about who this person is and if they belong in your home. You’ll be notified through an app in your phone that someone is lurking about.

Some smart cameras, like the Nest Cam IQ are even able to learn faces and distinguish friends you designate from strangers. When a stranger appears in this camera’s sight, it notifies you right away. If it’s simply a friend stopping by to see if you’re home, you can ask the Nest IQ to essentially ignore their activity.

Benefits of Modern Smart Security Cameras

Security cameras have been in homes for decades now, but today’s security cameras bear very little resemblance to their ancestors. Although they share functionality, that’s about all they have in common today. Here are a few things to keep in mind about modern smart cameras:

They’re tiny, with great big brains. As mentioned above, some smart cameras learn patterns of behavior, others go further and learn faces and names. All of this is made possible by modern computing and it’s stuffed into a tiny little package that’s hardly noticeable.

Minimal wiring is required. Old school security cameras required you to run new wiring from them to the television and recording device you were utilizing. Assuming the place you’re stashing the camera already has power, that’s still a lot of extra cabling to deal with. Smart cameras connect to your devices using WiFi, though they may need a wire for power.

Monitoring is DIY. Gone are the days of paying a company to do your monitoring or having way too much space in your house devoted to self-monitoring of those big ancient cameras. Now, you can monitor your camera in real time, no matter where you are. It’s a snap to just drop in and see how things are going in your vacation home or review videos from last night to see if your kids threw a house party while you were away.

Video storage is in The Cloud. The one drawback to smart cameras is that you will have to pay for storage for your recordings if you want to keep them. Most companies offer packages by time spans that range from about 24 hours to weeks and weeks. You can download your videos, but what you don’t download will disappear after the length of your storage subscription.

Get Smarter, Add A Smart Camera To Your Home Security

Smart cameras are really one of the best things since sliced bread. They can keep your home and family safe, even when you’re far away. Although many are designed to be installed by the homeowner, if you don’t have the time or mechanical inclination, maybe it’s time to hook up with a smart home pro. We know a few at HomeKeepr. Come visit the community and your real estate agent can hook you up with smart home pros that they recommend highly. Be smart like your new cameras, let HomeKeepr show you the way.

 

 

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Posted in Homeownership Tips
March 20, 2019

First Day of Spring 2019

Posted in Community News
March 8, 2019

It's Time To Spring Forward!

Posted in Community News
March 5, 2019

Welcoming Your Plants Back After A Long Winter

If you’re a gardener, or at least want to be one, there’s no time as amazing as early spring. This is when your plants are starting to wake from their long winter’s sleep. The white snow and frost flowers are giving way to green grass and emerging vegetation that seems to multiply like magic day after day.

Although a lot of people sit back and wait for their plants to do whatever it is that they do in early spring, others, like you, are eager to help them be all they can be this year.

 

The Results of Minimum Plant Care

Many homeowners just let their plants come and go as they please. Usually, they’ve inherited the vegetation from the former owner and have little interest in gardening. It’s ok, it’s not for everyone. But, due to this minimal care for the plants, many varieties will start to die off from neglect. A slow death is still a death.

Obviously, you’re looking to do a bit more to help your plants get off to a good start. Because of this, your landscape will be healthier, live longer and produce more ornamental flowers than those of the neighbor who would have preferred a lot of grass and no plants to tend.

 

First Thing’s First, Reduce Your Plant’s Risk of Early Season Fungus

There are varieties of herbaceous perennials like bananas, cannas and elephant ear that can survive the winter in many climates if they’re tucked in under a layer of organic mulch that’s two to four inches deep. While mulch protects them from drying out or freezing to death when it’s cold, once these types of plants start to grow in the spring, that life-saving mulch can become a real enemy.

It’s vital that you pull back the mulch from your plants every few days to check for green growth above ground. Once you see it, hollow a moat out between the plant and the mulch. Make sure no mulch is touching the new growth and that the moat you’ve scooped is about two inches wide to allow for further safe development.

Several opportunistic fungi will take advantage of young, green growth that’s constantly touching something moist, like that mulch. There’s a fine line here, tread carefully.

 

Soil Testing and Amendment

If you have a garden plot and failed to fertilize it in the fall, now is the time to get to it. As soon as you can work the soil, take several samples and either use a home test kit to determine the condition of the soil or have them analyzed by your local university extension’s lab. The extension tests are generally around $10, but the cost varies by location.

Either way, you’ll have some kind of indication about the condition of your soil, as well as what you can do to fix any problems. For example, you may find that your soil is low in nitrogen, a vital nutrient for plants that grow a lot of leaves very quickly, like your lawn. In this case, you’ll follow the instructions for feeding the type of plant you intend to place in the tested area, using a precise amount of fertilizer, so as not to encourage long, spindly growth in those eager plants.

The same applies to other types of fertilizer, including balanced fertilizers like 10-10-10 and 15-15-15. Most established perennials are fine with fertilizer that’s mixed into the top two to five inches of soil, but always check before you get too wild with it. A few species may have unusual reactions, including but not limited to developing an overall burned or wilted look due to root destruction. Never apply more fertilizer than necessary due to the risk of runoff and pollution of waterways.

 

Turn the Sprinklers On!

Once the nighttime temperatures are consistently above freezing, you’re ready to turn the water back on. Your plants will appreciate the long, deep drink and you’ll be happy to not have to water each one by hand. Remember, when turning irrigation systems back on after being drained, do so slowly. Opening the valve too quickly can result in a high-pressure water surge that can rupture sprinkler heads or burst fittings.

Be prepared to turn the system back off if a surprise freeze creeps on, but waiting as long as possible to get the irrigation started again is also a fairly safe bet.

 

Check for Signs of Insect Infestation

As your plants start to bud, you’ll be able to tell if they’ve developed any problems during the winter. Generally, these are caused by insect infestations, but in ornamental and fruit trees, a whole range of fungal invasion is also likely.

Small holes in the trunks of trees and shrubs are likely caused by boring insects like clearwing moths, which spend most of their life cycles inside the plant. This makes them very hard to get rid of and often results in the hollowing of the interior of limbs and branches. Those hollow branches pose a major risk to anyone walking below, as they can reach a point where they are no longer structurally sound and suddenly break away from the tree.

 

Don’t Forget to Call Your Landscaper

You don’t have a landscaper? Well, it’s never too late to meet one, especially when you’re part of the HomeKeepr community! Your real estate agent can recommend their favorite plant experts with just a few clicks and you’ll have access to their complete contact information without ever having to pay for any sort of membership. Recommendations from people you trust, that’s the power of HomeKeepr.

 

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Posted in Homeownership Tips