Tag Archives: Karen Lower Real Estate

Preparing Your Home for an Emergency

Emergency situations such as fire, extreme weather and power outages can happen without warning. By taking the time to prepare for a possible disaster now, you and your family will be equipped to handle a crisis if one ever occurs.

Fire Escape Route and Meeting Spot
It can take a mere five minutes for a fire to engulf your entire home. This is one reason having an escape plan is so important. Include at least two exit routes in your plan in case one is blocked, and designate a safe location for everyone in your household to meet. Identifying a secondary location outside your neighborhood is good to have in the event it’s not safe to return or you’re asked to evacuate.

List of Emergency Contacts
Make laminated cards with a list of important phone numbers for each family member. This might include contact information for the local authorities and emergency services as well as your nearest relatives.

Home Safety Items
Be prepared in case an emergency does occur by having these home safety items:

  • Fire Extinguisher — Keep one on each floor, and check them annually to make sure they’re functioning properly.
  • First-Aid Kit — Store it in a central location, such as the kitchen, and make sure everyone knows where it is.
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors — Install detectors in each room and test them once a month. Use long-life lithium batteries to cut back on replacements.
  • Food and Water — Put together a three-day supply of nonperishable foods and at least three gallons of water for each member of your household.

There’s often very little time to react in a crisis. But with a little planning and prep work, you can be well-equipped and ready to respond accordingly.

Fastest Growing American Cities

Cities all over the United States are experiencing unprecedented population swells. Fueled by a general migration to urban areas, these boomtowns are supported by steady job growth and thriving home markets. Here are four standouts whose numbers are on the rise.

Seattle-Tacoma
A healthy tech industry seems to be tempering the rain in the Pacific Northwest. The promise of employment in the Seattle-Tacoma area is strong and home price growth is even more robust, and together they help make this soggy city one of America’s fastest-growing regions.

Cape Coral-Fort Myers
Occupying the peak spot in Forbes’ 2017 list of America’s fastest-growing regions is Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida. This area is especially popular among retirees. With the near year-round sunshine, exceedingly low tax rates and virtually nonexistent crime, it’s not hard to see why.

Dallas-Fort Worth
In terms of projected job growth, the DFW area is proving everything is bigger in Texas. The housing market is also solid, which may explain why four out of five of the fastest-growing southern cities are in the Lone Star State. Perhaps not surprisingly, two of them are Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs.

Denver
Farther west, Denver takes the prize for highest home price growth. The strong economy and seasonal amenities make this Colorado capital a go-to for savvy real estate investors.

Of course, thanks to a tech economy that’s growing at breakneck speeds, these four cities aren’t the only ones undergoing serious expansion. As tech industries continue to advance, expect to see more parts of the country experience new growth and development.

Save Energy and Money this Fall

October isn’t just about pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween celebrations; it’s also Energy Awareness Month. Find out how you can reduce your household’s energy consumption this fall while preparing for the seasons ahead.

Reducing Home Energy Use
The average U.S. household consumes tens of thousands of kilowatt hours of electricity each year, and much of it is completely unnecessary. Making changes as simple as adding a few energy-efficient appliances and turning off gadgets when you’re not using them can save you a significant amount of money while also reducing your carbon footprint.

Don’t fret if new Energy Star-labeled appliances aren’t in the budget. Instead, try working in a few small changes from this Home Energy Checklist to help you save throughout the year. Here are a few more ideas:

  • Unplug electronics, gaming consoles and chargers when not in use.
  • Insulate your water heater with a blanket and turn the temperature down to at least 120 degrees.
  • Replace bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs and turn them off anytime you leave a room.
  • Schedule an energy audit and replace your thermostat with a programmable unit.

Prepping Your Home for the Cold
During cooler months you can save additional money and energy with simple, inexpensive fixes like:

  • Using insulating drapes to help diffuse winter chill. Just make sure to open any south-facing drapes to take advantage of the sun’s natural heating capabilities.
  • Finding and sealing air leaks. Check your windows, doors and pipes, and use weatherstripping or caulk to stop cool air from seeping in.
  • Closing fireplace dampers when not in use. You can also have the entire flume completely sealed off if you use your home’s heating system exclusively.

Reducing your energy consumption not only makes a positive contribution to our planet, it also leaves money on the table for fun fall pastimes. With just a few of these small changes, you can get more from your energy budget.