Stuck at Home? Here’s Some Things to Do.

By now we might all be getting a little stir crazy. With the gloomy weather and the COVID-19 social distancing going on, there is only so much Netflix one can watch. That being said, what are some other things we can do around the house to keep from pulling our hair out?

Well, aside from the obvious spring cleaning and small house project here or there, below is a list brought to you by our friends over at Lawyer’s Title with some fun ideas to keep you and the kiddos busy during this strange time.

 

March To-Dos for Your Home

The weather has finally been warming up (can we get a “hallelujah”?)! With sunshine and blue skies, it’s beginning to be nice enough to put on those work boots and do some much needed inspecting around the home. Below is a list from houseopedia.com with some things to consider doing around your home now that the weather is thawing out.

  • Inspect the roof. Check for damage from ice and wind. Look for loose shingles and flashing. Check behind chimneys where shingles meet flashing. Inspect the gutters, especially where they attach to fascia boards. Reattach any gutters that may have pulled loose under the weight of ice.
  • Inspect the attic. Look at the underside of the roof decking, checking for signs of water seepage. Ice can get into cracked shingles, expand and cause a leak upon melting. Replace shingles and backing, if necessary.
  • Foundation drainage. Before spring rains, check the slope of soil from the house foundation. Build up any areas where soil has eroded. Use small river rock mixed with the soil to better hold it in place.
  • Clean fireplace. Shovel out ashes and log remnants, then use a hand broom and vacuum to remove the fine dust. Close the damper. If you have a gas log set, consider shutting off the pilot for the spring and summer to save on gas usage.
  • Prep garden tools. Sharpen shovels, hoes and pick axes. Gas up the lawn mower and weed eater and give them a trial run. Take the insulating covers off the faucets and move hoses into place.
  • Gardening goals. In March or April, depending on your climate, it’s time to start thinking about a spring and summer garden. Clear raised planting beds of debris, and turn soil. Start seedlings inside. Do not plant until after last frost date in your area.
  • Relocate firewood. If you have left over wood, move it several yards away from the house. During the spring, a wood pile attracts creatures such as termites, carpenter ants, skunks and possums.
  • Power wash siding and decks. Over the winter prolonged moisture may create mold and moss on decks and house siding. Rent a power wash machine and give them a good cleaning.
  • Clean windows. Winter weather leaves dingy windows. Let the sun in with a good cleaning.
  • Provide nutrients for your landscape. Depending on your climate zone, March or April is the time to apply fertilizer and weed control. Consult local gardening experts.

Deep Cleaning and De-Cluttering Your Home

Somehow we are already in the middle of February as time in 2020 moves just as fast as every other year.

Soon it will be Spring and that means it’s almost time to do some much needed Spring cleaning. Whether it’s deep cleaning your home, yard work, accumulated clutter around the house, old appliances, or whatever else you can think of, it’s time to take a hard look at your home and see what needs to go. Depending on the extent of cleaning needed, it might be a DIY job, or you might need to call in some professionals.

Here are some things to consider when it comes time to do your Spring cleaning this year:

The different types of trash in your home and getting rid of it

When it comes to your household waste, it falls into three categories, each with its own process of disposal.

  • Household trash is your everyday waste: food, food packaging, cans, cardboard boxes, diapers, etc. Your weekly trash pick-up handles this.
  • Junk includes old furniture not worth selling or donating, old warn out cloths, worn out appliances and household accessories. This includes things such as old mattresses and box springs, televisions, barbecue grills, refrigerators, washers and dryers, old microwaves, and more. When buying a new appliance, always ask if the merchant will haul away the old one. Remodeling construction debris also is common, but your contractor should dispose of it.
  • Hazardous waste includes paint and stains, cleaners, oils and pesticides. Do NOT put it in the trash or pour it down the drain. Refrigerators are both junk and hazardous material, since they contain refrigerant gas and a small amount of oil. Old fluorescent lights have gasses that make them hazardous.

For these things, check your city or county website to see if it offers extra services, such as pick up of large appliances or old furniture, for a small fee. Sometimes municipalities will schedule special days a couple of times a year to pick up large household items. The same applies to household chemicals. Many cities or counties have facilities where residents can drop off old paint, pesticides and other household hazards. Otherwise, you might consider hiring a junk removal service to come and hall things away for you.

Deep cleaning and De-Cluttering

In case you aren’t quite sure what types of deep cleaning things to do for your spring cleaning, here are some ideas:

  1. Cleaning the baseboards
  2. Wiping off the ceiling fan blades
  3. Emptying and cleaning your fridge and cabinets
  4. Cleaning the lint out of your dryer vent
  5. Shampooing your carpets
  6. Trimming trees and bushes
  7. Spraying your home for insects
  8. Shaking out rugs and curtains
  9. Replacing water filters, light bulbs, smoke detector batteries, etc.
  10. Dusting EVERYTHING
  11. Go through every closet, dresser, garage, and storage area to get rid of old cloths and things you don’t use anymore.

*A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn it or used it in over a year, it can probably go.

These are just a few suggestions to go along with your normal cleaning this Spring. Once everything has been cleaned and all the junk taken away, it’s amazing how much more open and fresh your home will feel!

How to Keep Snakes Away from Your Home

Although here in Prescott we’re still having some cooler weather, pretty soon things are going to start heating up! With warmer temperatures comes that beautiful weather we’re all looking forward to, however, it also brings along other things with it.

That’s right, it’s almost snake season again, not to mention bugs too, but for now we’ll focus on our slithering friends.

In Arizona, now is about the time where snakes are going to start coming out of their homes again. It’s not so much about the time of year for them as it is the right temperature, and if you didn’t know, we have plenty of species of snakes to go around. Rattlesnakes, bull snakes, gopher snakes, king snakes, and the list could go on. So, with so many snakes soon to be out and about, how do we keep them away from our homes?

Well, while we’re in real estate and have some knowledge on all things Prescott, it’s probably best to ask the experts on this one. That being said, we turn to Rattlesnake Solutions, whom you can follow on Facebook.  They have all the knowledge on snakes in Arizona.

Here is their latest in-depth article about How to Keep Snakes Away from Your Home.

The Trend of Stress-Free Homes

Life can be crazy. With spouses and kids to look after, busy work weeks and errands on top, it’s easy to feel like you are constantly running around or having something to do. Amidst all the chaos of our hectic lives, it’s nice to walk through the front door of your home and breathe a sigh of relief, instantly feeling more calm and ready to relax.

That being said, check out this article from The National Association of Realtors Magazine about how more and more, stress-free homes are becoming a trend for today’s builders and home buyers:

Stress-Free Homes Are a Trending Niche

From family and jobs to finances and health, life can get complicated. “Zen is in demand,” as one real estate pro says. Learn how you can provide that.

Whether it’s a luxurious $45 million estate in California or a modest $250,000 two-bedroom house in Ohio, marketing a home’s stress-relieving qualities is a growing trend. Today, developers, builders, and interior designers are trying to make homes that offer that soft landing at the end of a day. And homeowners need it—about eight in 10 Americans say they frequently (44 percent) or sometimes (35 percent) encounter stress in their daily lives, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Helping clients find a soothing place to come home to can become a niche in the real estate world. And, understanding what stress-relieving designs are available can help you and your agents guide clients to a happy purchase.

Reaching Female Homebuyers

Since 2003, Design Basics Inc., in Omaha, has been gearing many of its residential blueprints toward easing stress because that is one of the four important elements women look for in a home’s design. Why women, you ask? Well, 91 percent of home purchases are influenced by women, according to the Harvard Business Review. Additionally, the National Association of REALTORS® 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that the number of single female buyers continues to rise, and are currently the second largest buyer group at 18 percent behind married couples at 63 percent.

Paul Foresman, director of business development for Design Basics, says the company took data and research on female buyers of all ages and backgrounds and created the Woman-Centric Matters home design program. They discovered the four primary elements women are looking for in home design: entertainment, stress relief, storage, and flexible living. Foresman travels across the country talking to builders about the program.

“Everyone lives differently. But women tell us that they want to come into their home and feel like it is a place of respite. They look for homes that make their life easier, more convenient, more fun, and more inviting to others,” he adds.

The High End of Less Stress

Home designs by Greg Malin, CEO and founder of Troon Pacific in San Francisco, are adding amenities such as lap pools with underwater speakers that play music and art galleries with chaise lounges so you can take it all in.

“What’s the best luxury in life? My late wife would say it’s your health,” Malin says. So, he builds homes with his passion for sustainability and wellness in mind. Less stress in a person’s world can help with their health. For instance, cables in all bedrooms of his homes are shielded to mitigate electromagnetic field waves, which can cause the body to emit stress signals that can lead to high levels of adrenaline.

His company also uses biophilic design, which bridges a homeowner’s lifestyle with natural environment around them. “We’re trying to connect people to nature. One of our homes offers a yoga deck. Plus, each [development] project offers a wellness center with a sauna, steam room, a place to have a massage, meditation area, and outdoor shower,” he adds.

Joel Goodrich, agent at Colwell Banker Preview International in San Francisco, has shown Malin’s stress-free homes several times to clients. He also is a friend of Malin. “Perhaps, we are living in more stressful times than ever before. People are looking for their homes to be an oasis or retreat from life, the world, and business,” he says. “These homes are designed to feel like a retreat. Zen is in demand.”

Tips for Alleviating Stress at All Price Points

Most home buyers are looking for respite in a haven from everyday stress. The good news is not all stress-free homes have to be multimillion-dollar properties. Here are some of the stress-reducing designs and products being showcased in homes across the country.

Natural light, plus dimmers. “People always gravitate to the bright, sunny spaces in a home. So, anything we can to do enhance natural light is popular,” Foresman says. Malin adds that lights with dimmers can also help reduce harshness, especially in bedrooms, for a more relaxing ambiance.

Automated shades. Shades programed to open at sunrise can be a calming way to wake up without an alarm. They can also be used to reduce sunlight for those not ready to rise, Goodrich says. In addition to setting times, homeowners can pair smart shades with a digital thermostat, so they automatically open and close based on temperature.

A water feature. “Water can be very calming,” Goodrich says. In one extreme example, an international architect put a waterfall in the middle of a living room design and branded it. But a simple fountain in a sun porch or patio can do wonders, too, he adds.

Pet centers. Many buyers nowadays are seeking pet-friendly abodes, so features such as cabinets with pullout drawers for dog food goes a long way. Some want a dog washing station or a room for the pet itself. Electronic doggie doors have also become popular, where the dog has a collar that automatically opens the door to go inside or out.

Nature’s beauty. The ability to see flowers or greenery outside your windows—even in a big city—helps create peacefulness. In Malin’s homes, he plants green rows of bamboo or cypress outside the main windows, even in the heart of the Bay Area.

Covered outdoor living space. Foresman says you don’t have to cancel your plans if it rains when you have a covered outdoor area, which eliminates worry. Plus, coffee on the patio can still happen on rainy mornings. A pergola cover or easy-to-assemble patio gazebo are cost-effective ways to accomplish this.

Work-in pantry. Taking the walk-in pantry to the next level, some buyers want a prep area, sink, dishwasher, and sometimes an oven in what’s dubbed the “work-in” pantry, Foresman says. This eliminates guests seeing any mess while keeping the heart of the gathering in the kitchen.

Relaxing sounds and white noise. Malin installs speakers in master bedrooms and bathrooms, allowing for the sounds of waterfalls, forests, or whatever keeps the homeowners tranquil. For existing homes without built-in speakers, try a Google Home or Amazon Echo—relaxing sounds at open houses may even entice buyers.

Shipping vestibule. This involves a door or cupboard that opens for delivery people. They can leave the package behind the door without entering the house, Foresman says. You don’t have to be home when the delivery is dropped off, and locks can used from your smartphone to avoid theft.

Dual owner suites. This newer building plan has quickly become Foresman’s top seller. It includes two suites on the main floor that can be used for older couples who don’t sleep in the same bed, multigenerational households, boomerang kids, friends who have purchased together, or live-in caregivers. “In many ways for all involved it’s a great stress reliever, with a private bathroom and enough storage,” he adds.

 

Tips to Winterize Your Home in Prescott

As the temperatures drop and we patiently await our first snow – not just the flurries, but the kind that sticks – now is a good time to look at precautions to take in order to winterize your home in Prescott.

While don’t get as much snow as other places such as Flagstaff just north of us, or Colorado’s white winters, we still get some chilling temperatures and blizzards that can wreak havoc on unprepared homes. Burst pipes, inadequate insulation to keep in heat and save energy, a furnace that cannot keep up with the freeze, and many other things.

Below is a blog from Talking Rock Ranch Realty featuring our agencies very own Sheila Mengarelli on how to winterize your home this season. Take a look at her tips and tricks, and make sure your home is properly equipped for the cold months – and hopefully snows – still to come!

 

Realtor Series: Winterize your Home

December 13, 2018

Tips to Winterize your Prescott Home

By Sheila Mengarelli, realtor at Kathleen Yamauchi group

As part of our ongoing Realtor Tips series, we asked one of our expert realtors, Sheila Mengarelli, to share some tips about living in Prescott. She lives right around the corner from Talking Rock.

Keep your family snug and warm while saving on energy bills during the winter months by following the winterizing tips below. Prescott experiences freezing temperatures from November through March, so be prepared. With a forecast of a wetter-than-normal winter predicted, these tips will help protect your home from damage that can lead to costly repairs.

  • Service your Furnace– Have your furnace serviced fall and spring by a local HVAC company to keep you high and dry.

 

  • Change the filters— Don’t forget to change the filter in your furnace. When you put the first furnace filter of the season in, don’t forget to set your digital calendar to remind you to replace it at monthly intervals throughout the cold season.

 

  • Inspect your Gutters– Clogged gutters can cause water that is blocked to freeze and seep into your home. Take the time to clean them out and make sure that your downspouts are carrying the water away and not toward your house.

 

  • Repair drafts– Electrical outlets, door frames, windows, and recessed lighting areas typically tend to be drafty. Sealing up these areas can save on your energy bill. Simply use a wet hand, or incense, to move over the areas to spot potential leaks.

 

  • Check your insulation– Attics require 12 inches of insulation. Moisture problems can occur if your insulation has backing paper, so take the time to do an inspection.

 

  • Check for any exposed pipes outside– Pipes must be insulated from the cold too. Not only does it keep the pipes from freezing, it will prevent condensation from freezing on them, helping to save on energy bills. Make sure any drip systems are drained and water spickets are off.

 

  • Vacation — Will you be away for an extended period of time? Never turn your furnace off. Set it at 50 degrees. This will keep your home at a steady temperature no matter what the weather brings. It’s also a good idea to set your water heater to vacation or away mode

 

  • Check your smokealarm – While you are inspecting so many other aspects of your home, don’t forget to make sure that your smoke alarms are all functioning, and replace the batteries as needed. Also, make sure that you have a functioning fire extinguisher as well.

 

To view the full article, you can visit Talking Rock Ranch’s blog by clicking here.