All posts by Becky Blanton
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March 15, 2018

The Top Ten Fire Hazards in Your House and How to Fix Them

There are a million ways to die, but did you know that two of the top ten ways are from home washing machines and dryers? Between 2010 through 2014, US municipal fire departments responded to an estimated 15,970 home fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines. There were 13 civilian deaths, 440 civilian injuries, and $238 million in direct property damage from those fires.

The leading factor contributing to the ignition of home fires (one-third of all fires) involving clothes dryers was the homeowner’s failure to clean lint from the vents or machine. The other top hazards on our list:

Fire Hazard: Cooking

The top home fire hazard in America and much of [...]

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March 13, 2018

Termite Swarms Will Cause Homeowners Problems This Spring

Rough, warmer weather and rain have triggered underground termites to begin emerging more than a month early. Although termites don’t take a day off – ever – feeding year round, they swarm in the spring, looking for new feeding grounds. Experts say the destructive pests are already on the move and looking for places to start new colonies. In the southern US, swarms have been reported in Florida and exterminators expect the activity will move north over the next few months as spring weather arrives. Spring “swarmers,” as they’re referred to by pest experts, are triggered by warmer temperatures and rainfall. As soon as moist, warmer days arrive, [...]

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February 27, 2018

How to Create a Home for Entertaining

No matter how often you entertain, it’s always great to have a home designed to get the most out of a party. If you’re buying a home, here are features to consider if you plan to entertain regularly.

Great curb appeal

Your guest’s first impression of your house is the outside. Is there enough room for parking? Do you have good lighting from the street to the porch? Is your walkway smooth and free of cracks and potholes people might trip over? If your walkway involves stairs, is narrow or has other minor obstacles, you can add lighting, landscaping and maybe a second walkway to improve it.

A covered front porch or entryway

No one wants to stand in the [...]

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February 22, 2018

The Four Best Areas to Focus On to Increase Your Home’s Curbside Appeal

According to the National Association of Realtors, 63 percent of homebuyers will drop by after viewing a home they like online. The term you’ll hear for this first is “curbside appeal,” and it refers to the first impression buyers have of a property. No matter how great a home is inside, it’s first impressions of the outside that matter.

What will buyers see when they pull up to your home? The next time you pull up to your home take a look at what you see. Drive by it both ways and really see what it looks like. Think like a buyer. What would they see? If you think your home looks “fine,” then ask friends or a couple of realtors for an [...]

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February 14, 2018

Is Your Dream Home on a Superfund Site?

Love Canal was one of the most disastrous real estate stories in American history, but few people under the age of 50 have even heard the name. Originally a site for a community in the early 1900s, a canal was built to generate electricity for the community, and later became a chemical waste landfill in the 1920s when the residential plans were abandoned. Once the canal was filled with chemical waste, Hooker Chemical Company, the site owner, covered it with earth. They then sold the land to the city for one dollar in 1953. By the late 50’s more than 100 homes and a school were built on the site, and Love Canal became a working-class community again. For almost two decades [...]

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February 5, 2018

Five Ways to Get Your Money Back From Bad Contractors

Millions of homeowners hire contractors every year, and are thrilled with the results they get, but it’s “practically the norm of homeowners who get a horror story about their contractor instead,” said Jody Costello, a San Diego resident and “pre-renovation coach.” Costello runs a website dedicated to providing information and resources on the dos and don’ts of home remodeling, hiring contractors, and homeowner’s rights. “It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure that their rights are protected and not violated by unethical contractors,” Costello said. “The contractors have rights and the homeowners have [...]

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January 31, 2018

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Building a Deck

There may be a foot or more of snow on the ground, but why not start now to design and plan for the deck you’ll want to build come spring?

Building a deck is one of the top ten easy do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, but there are a lot of things that can go wrong if this is your first deck. If you’ve never designed or built a deck, take time during this winter season to learn how to build one right. DIY-ers can save up to half of the cost of a professionally installed deck by building it themselves, but only if they do it right the first time.

Decisions you’ll need to make before designing your deck Wood or composite? While many homeowners love the romance [...]
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January 23, 2018

10 Life Hacks for Lowering Your Living Expenses

Are you house rich, but cash poor? The phrase is often used to describe people who have a house payment so large they can’t afford anything else – like food, gas, utility bills and things they need day-to-day. If this describes you, don’t worry. You’re not alone, and you can get through it with these ten life hacks for lowering your living expenses.

One: Develop a spending plan

The old-school term for a spending plan is a budget. As much as most of us hate the idea of budgets, they are lifesavers when it comes to helping you save money. If you’ve tried budgets and they just don’t work, consider Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, or [...]

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January 17, 2018

7 Things You Should Know Before You Power Wash Anything

Pressure washing or power washing is the use of spraying water under high pressure to remove loose paint, mold, algae, grime, dust, mud, chewing gum and dirt from surfaces and objects like buildings, fences, masonry, some vehicles and concrete or asphalt surfaces such as driveways or patios. The terms “power washing” and “pressure washing” are often used interchangeably, but the fact is they’re two different processes. Both use water under high pressure to clean surfaces, but power washing has a heating element to heat the water and pressure washing does not.

As with any cleaning process heated water cleans better. Some things should be power or [...]

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January 1, 2018

Ways to Find Affordable Housing

Affordable housing used to mean that those on minimum wage incomes and those with fixed housing struggled to afford rent. However, the Brookings Institute now says middle-income families are also getting squeezed. According to the research, “in 2010, 11.2 percent of unsubsidized apartments were affordable to very low-income households. In 2016, only 4.3 percent of unit met that standard.”

Ninety percent of apartments are still affordable to middle income families, but there is a decreasing trend. Affordable housing is becoming harder to find for a greater range of people. So what can you do to ensure you’re not one of those left out in the cold?

1. [...]

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December 27, 2017

How to Survive a Winter Power Outage

Chances are you’ve experienced a power outage thanks to winter weather. Most power outages last a few hours, but others can last for days or weeks. If you’re not prepared for them, or can’t afford to relocate to a hotel or area with power, a long outage can be miserable. Now’s the time to beat the rush to the store in preparation of the first winter outage!

Stay warm

The first thing you notice when the power goes out, is so does your heat. Unless you heat with gas, the cold is the first thing you and your family will notice. Here are some ways to bring heat into your home:

Hang dark colored blankets in the windows. The dark color will pull in [...]
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December 20, 2017

What To Do When A Tree Falls On Your House

According to OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), more people are killed by falling trees every year (100+) than are killed by sharks (about 4-7 per year). Falling trees kill or injure more people than lightning. Although the numbers of tree fall fatalities are relatively low compared with other fatalities, the numbers for property damage from falling trees is much higher, ranging in the hundreds of thousands. According to the National Storm Damage Center, falling trees are the main causes of roof damage, costing more than $1 billion in property damage each year. So, chances are if you are a homeowner with lots of trees in your yard, you may encounter tree [...]

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