Consumer Real Estate News

    • What Kind of Insurance Do You Need for Your Vacation Home?

      19 June 2018

      Evey homeowner knows they need a full range of homeowner's insurance coverage to protect them from the many contingencies that could befall them, from liabilities related to trip hazards, fire, theft, and weather events. But what about vacation homes? Do these second or seasonal homes need special or heightened types of insurance protection?

      According to our sources at Selective Insurance Group, there are a few things to take into consideration to properly protect your vacation home.

      Property crime - If your vacation property is only used during certain parts of the year, and you don't rent it out, periods when it is unoccupied leave it susceptible to break-ins. Although property crime - including burglary - fell between 2016 to 2017, it's still cause for concern, the folks at Selective say. Burglary still accounted for almost two of every 10 of the estimated 7.9 million property crimes in 2016.

      Single family or condo? If you own a condominium versus a single-family residence, your condo association may already have coverage. But does the association insurance only protect the physical structure of the condo - not your belongings? Selective advises condo owners to look into this with their insurance agent.

      What about flood insurance? Flooding can happen in a wide range of regions, no matter the time of year or local weather patterns. While some areas are more likely to see flooding than others, many regions can experience devastating flooding. Are you as protected as you should be?

      Amenities. With various amenities from swimming pools or hot tubs to trampolines,  accidents are possible. So consider reviewing the liability portion of your insurance policy and your liability limit to ensure assets are adequately protected in the event someone is injured on your property and files a lawsuit.

      Value it right. Property insurance premiums are determined by how much it would cost to rebuild your residence from scratch should it be destroyed. Your independent agent and insurance carrier can work with you to determine the appropriate amount of coverage you might need for a vacation home.

      If you want to protect yourself and your home away from home, consult with a certified insurance professional before another vacation season exposes you to an unnecessary loss.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Red Cross: Get Ready for Hurricane Season Now

      19 June 2018

      The Atlantic hurricane season started on June 1, and forecasters are reporting we could once again see above-normal storm activity between now and when hurricane season ends in November.

      Whether you or someone you love lives in a hurricane prone area or not, the following ten preparation tips from the Red Cross are great steps to take in advance of any storm:

      - Talk with household members about what to do if a hurricane strikes and create an evacuation plan. Talking about it ahead of time will help ease fears, especially in younger children.

      - Build an emergency kit in an easy-to-carry container with items including a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, and supplies for infants and pets.

      - Be informed. Learn about your community's hurricane-response plan. Plan routes to local shelters and register family members with special medical needs as required.

      - Get access to NOAA radio broadcasts. Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA weather radio in the Red Cross Store.

      - Keep important papers and valuables in a safe deposit box in a place less likely to see flooding damage. You can take pictures with your phone or keep copies on a flash drive to carry with you on your keys.

      - Protect windows with permanent storm shutters or invest in one-half inch marine plywood that is pre-cut to fit your doors and windows.

      - Identify a place to store lawn furniture, toys, gardening tools and trash cans (away from stairs and exits) to prevent them from being moved by high winds and possibly hurting someone.

      - Clear clogged rain gutters and downspouts.

      - Download the free Red Cross Emergency App (text 'GETEMERGENCY' to 90999) for expert guidance on what to do before, during and after hurricanes as well as 34 other types of emergencies.

      - Take a First Aid and CPR/Course (redcross.org/takeaclass) to learn what to do in case emergency help is delayed.

      Source: American Red Cross

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Trick Your Way to a Bigger Bathroom

      19 June 2018

      (Family Feature)--When knocking down walls to create more space isn't an option, there are still plenty of ways you can maximize a small bathroom space to make it look and feel larger than it really is.

      Opt for monochromatic cabinetry. Whether you buy new or paint existing cabinets, make them blend in monochromatically in the lightest shade possible. White and light colors reflect light, making the room seem brighter and more spacious. To maximize the illusion, extend the monochromatic scheme throughout the space, including floor tiles, wall paint, ceilings and even the decorations.

      Place cabinets strategically. Think of the spaces in your bathroom that you don't usually use, such as the area above the doorway. Especially if you have high ceilings, you can install decorative storage shelves to house items you don't need in everyday reach like bathtub salts, scrubs and more. You can also use the shelves for storing extra toilet paper and cleaners to free up valuable storage space below the sink.

      Maximize vertical space. Consider extending cabinets up to the ceiling. Adding color at a vertical height can cause the eye to go up and, therefore, enlarge the bathroom space and feel. It is also a wise use of unused space rather than borrowing from limited floor space, which can make the space feel cramped.

      Consider open storage. Open storage shelves trick the mind because the airy openness can give the illusion of taking less space than enclosed storage. However, be mindful of over-filling shelves, which can create a cluttered look. Instead use the open space as an opportunity to feature artwork or other accents that add life to the room.

      Source: Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Summer Patio Trends, Revealed

      18 June 2018

      Are you hoping to revamp your patio this summer? The experts at Infratec say outdoor design trends for 2018 are all about incorporating affordable luxury into your own backyard by turning your patio into a peaceful, lush oasis through low-maintenance water fixtures, a color refresh, and vintage materials.

      The company sees many homeowners gravitating toward easy-maintenance exterior garden designs that enhance physical and mental well-being by adding spa-inspired touches like meditation benches, fountains, reflecting pools, rock waterfalls and zen gardens to backyard spaces.

      According to Infratec, low-maintenance water features can add visual interest and soothing sounds to a yard — even in drought-prone climates because they actually require little water (and recycle the water they do use).
      Kate Simmons at decoist.com says a large number of cabana stripes can be found in this year’s collections, and this trend shows no sign of fading.

      She says that linen, teak and rope are a few of the materials designers are incorporating into exterior furnishings and accessories to give this year's easy-breezy trend pizazz.

      And when it comes to outdoor style this year, Simmons says pink is the accent color of choice! Especially if a hint of blush is introduced into your furniture vignettes.

      Meanwhile, at familyhandyman.com, their trend watchers are seeing patio furniture that mixes materials, such as metal and wood instead of a single material, such as wicker.

      If you have a covered deck or patio, the site says you can bring it up-to-date by adding a ceiling fan. If you haven't installed a ceiling fan before, rest easy — you can do it yourself in less than a day and you'll be comfortable even on the hottest summer days.

      Familyhandyman.com also says the days of small, bistro-style dining tables on the deck and patio are over and large-scale square and rectangular tables are hot.

      And as far as accessories are concerned, think bright and bold when it comes to fabrics for your patio furniture cushions in 2018. Go with yellows, reds and pinks will pop against all that natural greenery and your guests will be raving about your impeccable sense of style all summer long!

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Mobile at Home: Creating an Accessible Lifestyle

      18 June 2018

      (Family Features)--If you're like the majority of the population, mobility is something you take for granted. However, once you or a loved one encounters an illness or disability that results in dependence on a wheelchair, your perspective is likely to change dramatically.

      Mobility is a major factor in a person's independence, but when illness or injury hinders free movement, even a simple task like running to the store becomes a challenge. Fortunately, there are numerous options you can explore to improve mobility and accessibility if you or a loved one becomes reliant on a wheelchair or other assisted mobility.

      Ramps in Place of Stairs
      Safety is a primary concern for someone whose mobility is limited. Even minor falls can cause significant injuries, particularly for seniors whose bones tend to be more fragile. When a loved one begins experiencing trouble with the steps, a ramp is a good solution. In fact, ramps aren't just for those who are reliant on a wheelchair or other motorized device like a scooter. They are also a good solution for someone who uses a cane or walker, or someone who experiences pain or difficulty maintaining balance on the stairs.

      Accessible Vehicles and Parking
      Getting out of the house is an important way to help someone whose mobility is compromised continue to feel connected to the larger world, and practically speaking, even if they're not physically up to social engagements, chances are that doctor's appointments will still be a necessity. However, parking limitations cause major challenges for wheelchair users.

      Not only is getting in and out of the vehicle a chore, 74 percent of people have personally seen a handicap accessible parking space being improperly used, according to a survey by BraunAbility. Consider seeking wheelchair accessible vehicles that provide maximum maneuverability.

      Handrails and Grab Bars
      Hand rails add another measure of safety in the home. They can add stability and support on staircases, ramps and other walkways, but they're also beneficial in areas like the bathroom. A rail or grab bar near the toilet can help steady someone raising or lowering to use the facilities. Similarly, rails in or adjacent to the shower can assist with safe transitions into and out of the stall. Remember to follow all manufacturer instructions for installing rails to ensure they provide adequate support and can bear the weight of the user.

      Bathroom Modifications
      Proper hygiene goes a long way toward promoting overall wellness and independence, but a person with limited mobility may struggle using the features of a standard bathroom. In addition to safety rails and grab bars, devices such as shower stools and raised toilet seats can provide needed support. Depending on your circumstances, it may be necessary to consider renovations to include a roll-in tub or seated shower and a vanity with a counter at an accessible height.

      Wider Doors and Hallways
      While it's not always possible to widen doors and hallways, this is an important consideration for someone who is heavily reliant on a wheelchair or other motorized device. If the chair can't clear hallways and maneuver around corners, a person's access to the home is severely limited, sometimes to the point of needing to find new housing accommodations. When considering whether the doors and hallways will meet your needs, remember to take into account any accessories or equipment, such as an oxygen tank, that may affect the chair's turn radius.

      Source: BraunAbility

      Published with permission from RISMedia.