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Preparing Your Home for an Emergency

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

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

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

Welcome to America's Boomtowns

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.

7 Tips for Energy Awareness Month

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

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 weather stripping 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.

When You Just Shouldn't Do It Yourself

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

do-it-yourself project can be an empowering way to save money, provided you know what you're doing. But making even one simple mistake could put a strain on your back or your bank account. Often, it's best to put safety first and call a professional. Here are four types of home improvement projects that are best left to the experts.

1. Plumbing or electrical projects -- There's a reason these are skilled trades. Both systems are complex, no matter how straightforward a repair may initially appear. Even small leaks can cause serious water damage, and faulty electrical wiring can lead to a house fire. Don't risk flooding or electric shock. Call a plumber or hire an electrician to make sure these jobs are done right the first time.

2. Renovations with possible code violations -- Structural changes require a licensed contractor. Not only can shoddy craftsmanship severely affect your home's value, but it can also put your family in danger. Accidentally removing a load-bearing wall, for example, could cause an entire room to collapse. Why take the risk?

3. Repairs involving heights -- More than 130,000 ladder-related injuries are treated in emergency rooms each year. Whether you're looking at a roof repair or trimming a tree, consider calling a professional before attempting to complete the job yourself.

4. Time-sensitive projects -- Weigh your work and family commitments before embarking on a home improvement project. Even if you're confident in your abilities, the added pressure of a tight deadline can lead to unnecessary and often dangerous mistakes.

Remember, just because a DIY project looks simple doesn't necessarily mean it's safe. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and call a professional.

Home Changes That Affect Insurance

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

Homes often grow and change alongside the people living in them. If you've added expensive furnishings or made substantial upgrades, it's important to re-evaluate your homeowners insurance and make sure your policy reflects those changes. Here are four instances when it may be beneficial to review and adjust your coverage.

Remodeling or Renovation Work
Home improvement projects typically increase the value of your home, which usually calls for more coverage. But that doesn't necessarily mean your insurance rates will automatically increase. In fact, some projects, like adding a new roof, may help you save on your monthly home insurance premiums. Just be sure to notify your provider before any work begins.

Adding a Pool or an Outdoor Trampoline
Because these fun home features come with increased risk of injury, they're labeled an attractive nuisance. Upping your liability insurance can help keep you protected if there's ever an accident on your property and a subsequent lawsuit.

Acquiring New Valuables
Whether you inherit them or purchase them, expensive goods such as jewelry, art, rugs and antiques should be added to your policy. Increasing your coverage is the only way to safeguard them in the event of damage or theft.

Starting a Home Business
Many home-based business owners don't realize they have little, if any, coverage from a homeowners or renters insurance policy. Since a new home business likely means purchasing new technology and expensive equipment, you may need to get additional protection.

You worked hard for your home. Secure your belongings by updating your coverage to match your circumstances.

3 Types of Secret Spaces for the Home

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

For decades, characters like Batman and James Bond have popularized hidden doors and clandestine passageways. Many homeowners have followed suit, adding secret areas to store valuables, provide a safe place in an emergency or create a fun playroom. Could a hidden feature make you feel safer, secure your possessions better or add to your home's appeal?

Conceal a Room With Books
Sometimes the best part of a bookcase isn't what's on the shelves but what's behind it. These large structures create the perfect veil for a secret door to an undisclosed room. An architect can help you work with the space you have and figure out the details, like which direction a door should swing.

Secure Valuables in an Inconspicuous Safe
A safe is an excellent option for storing and protecting assets like jewelry, passports and cash. But if leaving it in plain sight feels too vulnerable, try concealing it entirely. A wall cutout behind a picture frame, cabinet or mirror makes for an ideal hideaway.

Make a Stealthy Escape
Want an inconspicuous escape route? Consider installing an underground passage with a secret switch to activate it. For example, chess pieces moved into a specific position or a particular book pulled from a shelf can reveal the opening. You can also choose from biometric authentication such as a fingerprint or eye scanner.

You don't have to be a superhero or a secret service agent to enjoy hidden spaces in your home. No matter what you have to hide, a secret room or passage can keep it concealed.

Real Estate Trends & Perceptions

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

Whether you're interested in buying or selling a home this year, there's reason to be optimistic. See how a healthy real estate market and positive consumer sentiments are contributing to a buoyant housing sector.

Real Estate Trends
The U.S. housing market continues its recovery as home prices gradually increase, interest rates remain low and millennials represent the largest group of homebuyers for the fourth year in a row. There's been a slight increase in historically low interest rates, but that's an indication of an improving economy. Single women homebuyersexceed single men buyers in the U.S. by more than double, accounting for 17 percent of homebuyers (compared to single men at 7 percent). U.S. home values are expected to keep inching up while the inventory of available homes continues to decline.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), there is considerable divergence among regions. Tighter federal regulations have reduced affordability and access to financing for potential homebuyers, sales are down and prices are trending soft. National sales activity is forecast to decrease 1.5 percent in 2017 and 0.8 percent in 2018.

Consumer Sentiments
The 2017 Q1 Housing Opportunities and Market Experience report published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows favorable sentiments among American consumers. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed thought it was a good time to buy, and 69 percent felt it was a good time to sell. More than half said they believed home prices in their community had increased over the previous 12 months. And renters and suburban homeowners, in particular, felt that prices would continue to rise in the second half of the year.

In another NAR report, the Aspiring Home Buyer Profile, nine in 10 nonhomeowners in the U.S. expressed a desire to own a home. Fortunately, if the market trends and consumer perceptions are any indications, 2017 could very well be the year many renters realize their dream of homeownership.

Adding Shade to Your Yard or Patio

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

Summer is a fun season to enjoy time outside with friends and family -- provided you have sufficient coverage from the sun. Stay cool and comfortable by adding shade to your yard or patio with the ideas below.

Overhead Hangs for the Patio
One popular way to create shade is to string up outdoor fabric and make a retractable awning or canopy. Shade sails are another versatile and inexpensive way to diffuse the sun's rays. If your outdoor space lacks the columns or posts to attach fabric, a large area umbrella is a fail-safe way to keep covered.

A Natural Solution
Like the idea of natural sun blockers? Potted citrus trees add a nice touch and can be moved around as the sun shifts. Wood structures such as a trellis or pergola also make a beautiful statement while creating shady areas. Both are designed to support climbing plants like ivy, morning glory, clematis and bougainvillea.

Surrounded by Shade
For a more closed-in arrangement, try canvas curtains, bamboo blinds or solar shades. Each of these sun blockers is adjustable, making it a breeze to raise them up or down (or to the side) depending on the sun's position and your desired level of coverage.

Whether you're looking to dine alfresco, relax outside with a good book or visit with friends and family, a covered patio is an ideal spot. Just remember: Before you start putting up structures to block the sun, review your homeowners association or rental agreement rules as some options may require permission.

Staging Tips To Help Your Home Sell

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

In real estate, staging a home and selling a home often go hand in hand. Though the process can be involved, the results are indisputable. Need some help executing an effective home staging? Browse this list of resources to help you dazzle prospective buyers and increase your chances of a quick home sale. 

Clear Clutter 
Not only will decluttering your property make moving day easier, but clearing space also gives viewers room to visualize themselves living in your space. Some items you can sell or donate outright. What about the housewares or sentimental objects you want to hold on to but need to remove to optimize showings? Give them a temporary home in a storage unit or portable moving container. 

Set Up Your Space 
Focus on staging the rooms that see the most action: the living room, kitchen and master bedroom. If reinventing multiple rooms in your home is too expensive, you do have the option of renting furniture and accessories. It's a quick way to supply art for the walls, lamps to improve lighting or even an entire suite of furniture. Just be sure to sign with a furniture rental company that offers delivery and pickup as part of their packages. When you're getting ready to move, the last thing you want is to ferry furniture between multiple locations. 

Hire Help
Some homeowners aren't up to the task of a full home staging, and that's OK. Some selling agents offer the service as part of their contract, or you can hire an independent home stager to complete the job. The latter provide a valuable service, though it's important to carefully assess their qualifications before bringing them on. Review their certifications, testimonials and portfolio to ensure they can help you achieve the aesthetic your home needs for a faster sale.

Making the Most of a Bathroom Remodel

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

Do you want to improve the aesthetics of your bathroom? Before you disrupt your household with the hassle of a remodel, make sure you're prepared. Familiarize yourself with this cost and ROI overview to help guide the planning process. 

What Does This Type of Remodel Cost? 
The first step to organizing a bathroom remodeling project is setting a budget. Understanding the potential costs involved can help you decide whether you're working on a complete overhaul or focusing your resources on a few select changes. 

Homeowners who make bathroom updates usually hope to recover at least a portion of their investment. An upscale bathroom remodel is among the projects that see the largest percentages of value increase year over year. But a high-end revamp can cost tens of thousands. If you're working with a more modest budget, going with simple changes like updates to light fixtures, sinks, toilets and the like can refresh your space for significantly less. 

What Should You Change?
When planning bathroom renovations, it's always smart to fix what's broken first, especially since replacement projects see larger returns (74 percent) than remodeling ones (63.7 percent). 

Once you've tackled any necessary replacements, make investment-savvy design selections that add value for you and your family. Trade out the garden tub for an expansive shower, add granite countertops or upgrade the vanity, ventilation or lighting. Finding what most benefits your family can lead to greater satisfaction years after the project's completion. 

With budgeting sense and some design know-how, you'll have the confidence you need to initiate a successful bathroom remodel.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 32

Contact Information

Photo of Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC Real Estate
Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC
RE/MAX Dynamic Properties
3350 Midtown Place
Anchorage AK 99503
Bethany (907) 223-1632
Bonnie (907) 223-0005