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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.

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.

Post Title

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

Just because you can buy and sell property on your own, it doesn't mean you should. Real estate agents remain essential when making these pivotal financial transactions. 

There are many ways agents add value during the purchase or sale of a home:

  • Handle the technical nuances -- Whether you're the buyer or the seller, a home sale includes a dizzying amount of paperwork. Skilled agents know how to fill out what documents and when, saving you time and helping you avoid mistakes.
  • Speak the lingo -- The industry uses an astonishing number of acronyms. Working with a real estate agent gives you the opportunity to better understand the conversation. 
  • Can negotiate without emotion -- It's easy to get triggered when a potential buyer picks apart your home. Let the agent handle criticisms or requests that could set you off or scare away an interested party. 
  • Help you look beyond the property's walls -- Agents have expertise beyond the sale, including insight on everything from utilities to neighborhoods to quality schools. 
  • Are well connected -- It takes a village to complete a home sale. Whether you need a trustworthy home inspector, an efficient mortgage broker or a creative interior designer, turn to your agent for credible recommendations. 
  • Keep up with the most recent laws and regulations -- You may only complete a few real estate deals in your lifetime, whereas an agent often signs off on several each year. Experienced real estate agents know as soon as something in the industry changes and can save you from a liability headache

Whether your aim is to net money from the sale of your home or spend wisely on a new one, a real estate agent has your best interests in mind and can make the process as seamless as possible.

Credit Score: What It Means and How to Improve It

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

Are you considering making a major purchase, like buying a home, this year? If so, your credit score will likely come into play. An understanding of the basics can help you effectively monitor and manage it. 

Credit Score 101
Your credit score will usually range from 300 to 850. It's derived from an algorithm that takes into account several factors, including payment history, the total debt owed and length of credit history.

Lenders use this three-digit number to predict risk and the likelihood that you'll repay your debt on time. The higher your credit score, the less risk you are and the lower your loan terms will be. For example, a person with a "good" credit score of 700 may have a lower interest rate and smaller required down payment than someone with a "poor" credit score of 400.

How to Improve Your Score
If you don't have much credit history or you have a few negatives on your report, consider these strategies to increase your score.

  • Pay all of your bills on time. Late payments can negatively impact your score.
  • Pay off debt where you can. The less debt you have, the lower your debt-to-income ratio.
  • Keep your credit card balances as low as possible, aiming to use no more than 30 percent of your available credit. And pay off as much as you can each month since higher balances can sink your score.
  • Review your credit report at least annually, and keep an eye out for mistakes and identity theft.

3 Strategies to Make 2017 Your Most Organized Year Yet

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

 

The new year represents a clean slate and the chance to begin again. It's also the ideal time to clear out unwanted items and organize your home for the year ahead. If you want a fresh start to 2017, let these decluttering approaches inspire you. 

Organizational Apps
Decluttering apps are plentiful, and they provide an effective way to complete the purging process. Some, like Snupps, let you digitize your belongings and organize them into simple categories or "shelves." From there, you decide what to keep, sell or give away. You can also reach out to other users for organizational inspiration, discover items you may be interested in acquiring or show off your personal collection. 

Room-by-Room Schedule
To systematically remove clutter over time, try monthly organization that's broken down by room. For example, you can tackle the kitchen in January and give the home office a deep clean in February. Make a schedule that works for you. This method may feel less overwhelming and rushed.

Single Purge 
Prefer to declutter your entire home all at once? Designate a few days or a weekend to devote to the process. The secret is to stay focused on one task at a time and avoid getting sidetracked. Work your way through each room one by one until you've cleared out all areas of your home. 

The new year is fast approaching and now's the time to eliminate your clutter. Whether it's an app, a 12-month schedule or one big purge, there's no shortage of methods to help you have a more organized 2017.

Cleaning Tips for Your Hard-Working Appliances

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

Occasionally cleaning household appliances like stoves and refrigerators may seem obvious, but what about equipment that does the cleaning, like the dishwasher and washing machine? Give these often overlooked appliances a deep clean with the following tips before the holidays have them working overtime.

Unclog the dishwasher. The cleaner the dishwasher, the cleaner your dishes will turn out after going through a wash cycle. Take a moment to clean the dishwasher's filter, usually located on the inside bottom of the machine. This detachable filter becomes clogged with food and debris over time, so empty it out regularly to keep it working efficiently. 

De-gunk your garbage disposal. Use a natural abrasive combo of ice and salt to loosen grime from the blades. Though it will be loud, run the disposal until the ice is gone. When finished, you can grind up a lemon or lime wedge to deodorize the drain. 

Give your washing machine a wash. Hosting out-of-towners during the holiday season? Avoid musty bedding and towels by sanitizing the machine and removing mildew buildup every few months. To do this, run a hot wash cycle without a load and add one cup of bleach to the soap dispenser or directly into the machine.

Give your vacuum more power. Increased foot traffic could have this tool working harder over the holidays. Keep your vacuum maintained with simple fixes like unclogging hoses, cleaning the rotating brush and replacing the filter.

Want to keep your appliances working hard for you? Give them regular attention and their own cleaning now and then.

How to Throw a Seamless Dinner Party

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

Think being a good host means stressing in the kitchen while your guests enjoy the party? Think again. With a little advanced preparation, you can unlock the secrets of a stress-free holiday get-together. 

Plan and Practice the Menu
Choose dishes that don't have to be served piping hot, like lasagna, quiches and braised stews. Test out new recipes in advance so you can make necessary adjustments to the ingredients and perfect your prep time. Once you've got the menu figured out, prepare what you can ahead of time. Ready entire courses that will keep for a day; then heat them up just before your guests are set to arrive. 

Don't Forget the Drinks
Serving a signature holiday cocktail, whether it's alcoholic or family-friendly, can simplify your hosting process. If you can, find one that can be premixed and served from a pitcher. Chill other beverages in an ice-filled tub to keep your refrigerator food-focused, and position the drink station opposite the food buffet to create a nice flow and avoid bottlenecks. This will help cut back on the number of people congregating in and around the kitchen. 

Aim for Easy Cleanup
Plan out the number of serving dishes you'll need in advance, and borrow from family and friends to supplement what you have. Want to reduce your dish-washing burden? Serve hors d'oeuvres, which can be filling and require little more than a napkin. If you do opt to use dinnerware, begin the party with an empty dishwasher so you clear plates and glasses as soon as guests have finished.

These tips will help you enjoy your gathering without the typical hosting hassles.

Latest Bathroom Trends and Features

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

According to a recent Houzz & Home survey, homeowners are investing more on bathroom renovations than in previous years, largely due to outdated designs and finishes. What types of upgrades are they spending money on? Here are some of the latest trends and tech updates being used in bathroom design.

Aesthetic Additions
You don't have to tackle a full overhaul to make a big impact in the bathroom. Smaller changes can often bring big rewards, both from a resale perspective and by adding value to your daily experience. 

Cosmetic favorites, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association's 2016 bathroom trends, include polished chrome finishes and neutral colors like white and gray. And bathrooms are becoming more streamlined with floating vanities, open shelving and undermount sinks. When larger changes are made, homeowners are incorporating amenities such as no-threshold showers and higher vanity heights that allow for aging in place.

Tech Touches
When you consider updating the appliances in your home, you may automatically think of doing so in the kitchen, living area or laundry room. Many, however, are quickly adopting technological advances in pursuit of the smart bathroom. Some of the more popular add-ons available include:

  • High-tech toilets: The most basic bathroom appliance now has seat-warming options, LED lights, motion sensors and automatic dryers.
  • Accessorized soaking tubs: You can take a basic bath, or you can soak in a chromotherapy tub with mood-enhanced lighting. Or enjoy an air bath, with massaging bubbles similar to a hot spring. 
  • Digital faucets and showers: Along with reduced flow, which conserves water and money, faucet features also include touchless technology and programmable settings like a timed shower option.

Which market trends and tech updates appeal most to your family? When done well, these upgrades can improve your quality of life and increase the value of your home.

6 Tips for Preventing a House Fire

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

Devastating house fires can happen in an instant, and many begin due to human error. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that cooking tops the list of residential building fire causes (50 percent), followed by heating equipment (12.5 percent) and electrical malfunction (6.3 percent).

Make your fall and winter seasons merry, bright and fire-free with these essential fire safety tips. 

  1. Schedule a chimney inspection at least once a year. Creosote, or condensed smoke, builds up on the flue and can catch fire. An annual cleaning and inspection can help prevent chimney fires.
  2. Keep flammable items at least three feet from heat sources. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, 56 percent of fatal home heating fires ignite from items being placed too close to heating equipment. Make sure everything is a safe distance from heat sources, including the furnace, space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves.
  3. Check smoke detectors frequently. Approximately 60 percent of house fire deaths happen in structures with no working smoke alarms. Test your home's smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries each year. 
  4. Have a family escape plan and practice it regularly. All household members need to know all exit strategies in case a fire breaks out, as well as where to meet once they're safely outside. Have a semiannual drill and practice at different times of the day.
  5. Cook safely. Never leave the room when boiling, frying or baking, keep pot holders and dish towels away from the flame, and immediately turn off appliances when not in use.
  6. Be mindful of holiday decorations. If you choose to decorate with strings of lights, always check their condition first. Throw out those with exposed electrical wiring, and be sure to read over the manufacturer's instructions.

Adding Privacy to Your Backyard

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

A yard or patio is the perfect spot for enjoying the outdoors, whether that means playtime with your kids or quiet relaxation after a long day. And while you may like your neighbors, you may not want to see and hear them every time you venture into your backyard. If more privacy interests you, consider these options below: 

Fencing -- Probably the most straightforward solution, fences have long been the go-to for homeowners seeking seclusion. Be sure to check city ordinances and HOA policies before installing one.

Hedges -- Shrubs like boxwood and privet are commonly planted along property lines. Choose an evergreen variety for year-long privacy. Make sure it's suited for your climate and matures to your desired height.

Screens -- Stylish and effective, folding wood-panel screens add a nice visual element while blocking unwanted views. Opt for a weather-resistant screen designed for the outdoors.

Trellis -- The lattice configurations on these simple wooden structures offer an element of privacy. They're also a perfect host for climbing vines and plants if you'd like additional coverage. Just be sure to check the sunlight and care requirements for the vegetation you plant.

Pergola -- A pergola helps block views from second-story windows and balconies. It can be as simple or intricate as you'd like and will offer a degree of shade along with privacy.

Drapes -- Budget-friendly and chic, panels help screen off your patio and can be moved as desired. Make sure the fabric is suitable for outdoor use or spray it with a water-resistant coating.

Vertical Garden -- If you're looking to increase privacy and also want to grow your own herbs, consider a living wall. You can buy prefabricated tower planters for easy installation.

If neighborly noise is a problem, a water fountain is a relaxing, sound-muffling solution. Consider your outdoor space and choose the privacy-adding options that work for you.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 16

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