Helpful Information for Your Home
During the exciting time of having your house built or remodeled, make sure to consider one of the most important features that will keep you and your family safe for years to come: security.
According to the National Crime Prevention Council, about six out of 10 completed burglaries take place without any sign of forced entry, suggesting that either a door or window was left unlocked or that a duplicate key was used to open one.
Residential burglary is one of the most frequently reported crimes. It also is the most preventable. Locking your windows and doors and having proper lock security is the easiest and most cost-efficient way to prevent burglary.
The first step in securing your remodeled or newly built home is to deadbolt exterior doors. Deadbolts are available in several formats. Some are key operated from both inside and out, key operated from the outside and open with a thumb turn on the inside, or solely operated with a thumb turn on the inside. Check with your local crime prevention authority to determine what kind of lock is recommended in your area.
Remember that not all locks are created equally. For maximum protection, choose high-security locks. For example, locks made by Medeco incorporate features that protect against drilling and picking. Keys for these locks can only be made by authorized Medeco dealers after you show proper identification. This ensures that only you can authorize the duplication of your keys.
Sliding glass doors tend to be an easy point of entry. Special locks and bars are available to prevent lifting and prying of the door. You also can put a wooden dowel or broom handle in the door track.
When thinking lock security, don’t forget about your windows. Traditional double-hung windows, which have a top and bottom sash that slides up and down, continue to be the most popular window type installed in remodeled or newly built homes. To secure these windows, install a window sash lock, a lock that’s attached to the sashes of a double-hung window to keep in a shut position.
By Megan Bower
The bedroom is the place we spend most of our time, yet also tends to be the most neglected when it comes to decorating. Nowadays, money may be a significant factor! Here are some great tips for brightening up your space with no money at all!
1.Rearrange! A new fresh arrangement always makes a room feel new. Don’t be afraid to try new angles for your furniture…place your bed on a diagonal, or even right in the middle of the room!
2. Search your drawers for scarves, tablecloths, or even pillowcases that compliment your color scheme. You can use things you already own to soften a dresser top or the edge of your nightstand, or perhaps lay a pretty shawl over the foot of the bed. If you already have throw pillows on your bed (if you don’t, it’s time to steal them from another room!) you can also wrap these fabrics around the pillows for a new look, and just safety pin it in back.
3. Add a plant to your room. Look around your house to see if one of your existing plants would be happier in your bedroom, then move it there! If you can’t find a plant ready for relocation, make one! Many plants can be grown from cuttings, either your existing houseplants, one a friend may let you cut, or even some outdoor plants. Ivy and many shade ground covers are very good houseplants. You can even relive your childhood a bit and grow a cut potato, pineapple, or carrot tops in a pinch! For containers, look into your kitchen cupboards. Old teapots and cups, glass bowls, even baking dishes can make unique containers.
4. Add memorabilia to your room. I keep a photo of each one of my children when they were small next to my bedside, and it always makes me smile. How about hanging your wedding veil from the headboard, or framing your wedding invitation or old love letters?
5.Add scent. If you don’t have any potpourri or incense in the house, cut up some orange peels and allow to dry, then mix with whatever sweet spices you have in your cupboard. (It only takes a pinch, try cinnamon, ginger, or allspice.) Place your potpourri in an open bowl in your room to freshen and inspire! Later in the summer, make sure to include flowers in your room, if you don’t have roses or other scented flowers in your yard, roadside daisies can smell great too!
Just a few small changes, no money involved, and a better, more positive place for you to start and end each day!
These are just a few tips on how you can spruce up your home to sell it without spending any extra money out of your own pocket by Megan Bower of Coldwell Banker. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks from Megan! If you would like a more personalized discussion with Megan about your home specifically contact Megan at 727-581-9411, or better yet schedule an appointment
It’s the time of year in Florida where Floridians have the chance to comfortably enjoy themselves outdoors. Now is the time to spruce up your outdoor living space to be able to enjoy it fully for the coming months and capitalize on all the great whether coming your way. While the rest of the country is shivering and shoveling snow you can enjoy the wonderful weather around you. Take the time to do the following activities and you’ll have the best winter ever!
1. The easiest way to jazz up your outdoor deck or patio is by using splashes of color. Sometimes it only means investing in a few accent pieces that make a bold statement and your outdoor living space perks right up. You don’t always have to buy new – with a little elbow grease and some creativity you can make second hand items look brand new. Here are some ideas to help get you started.
2. Before you begin, clear everything off of your deck or patio and give it a good pressure wash. If it needs staining, all the new furniture in the world won’t help – bite the bullet and give it a new coat of stain or paint. This is actually a great place to get started with colorful accents. Try painting your fence posts a bright, coordinating color such as teal. Or paint a pattern or border around the edge of your deck.
3. Decks are for socializing, so show that you are ready for company. The addition of metal furniture is inexpensive and comes in lots of great colors. Place a colorful bar cart in the corner and load it up with bright acrylic glassware.
4. Give your old wicker furniture a facelift by painting it in bright sunny colors, or if you’re feeling adventuress, use a stencil and add flowers or other patterns. Just use acrylic paint, but seal it with varnish to protect your paint job.
5. Get a hold of a galvanized bucket or oblong container, paint it bright blue or orange and add a vine pattern on the outside. Voila, now you have a fancy ice-bucket for all your coolers. Remember, unless you’re using a food-safe paint, the surface should not come in direct contact with food.
6. Use themes such as the seashore, by incorporating fishies, sea shells and beach balls in your accents or stencils. A citrus theme works well by using pale greens, oranges and yellow as colors for chairs or bistro tables. Try painting a slatted table top with two or three different corresponding shades.
7. Who says garden sheds have to be brown and boring. Add colorful window boxes, gingerbread trim and some wild stripes on the walls.
8. Funky lighting goes a long way to perking up a patio area. Colorful lanterns or strings of lights can be hung from overhanging trees or beams providing a fun, economical source of lighting.
9. What to do with the white vinyl furniture that’s still in great shape, but you hate to get rid of? Not to worry. With paint specially formulated for vinyl furniture, and some new cushions, you can make your old chairs look brand new.
10. Use color wisely by tying everything together with your accessories. Take four chairs each painted in a different primary color and add a cushion in a common color such as red or green, and place them around a neutral table top.
For more information about home improvements to help your property gain the best bang for its buck or if your looking to buy or sell property in Tampa Bay’s Beaches, St. Petersburg or Clearwater contact Megan Bower the St. Pete real estate expert.
You’ve probably heard it said many times that buying a new home is one of the most stressful things you can do. In fact, in terms of stress, it’s right up there with getting married and having a new baby. Buying a new home is an exciting time too, though: here’s how to do it the easy, stress-free way!
Don’t break the bank
A palatial new pad may seem worth breaking out the credit for, but struggling to pay the bills is no fun at all – as you’ll find out. To minimize financial stress, it’s always a good idea to set a strict budget and stick to it, no matter how tempted you feel! Shop around for a mortgage and insurance, and remember to budget for any renovations you’ll need to take care off soon after moving in.
Take your time
Like most of us, you’re probably desperate to get your foot on the property ladder – or to move up it if you’re already there. Don’t be in so much of a hurry, though, that you jump at the opportunity of the first house you see and risk ending up with something that’s not quite perfect. This is probably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so take your time over it!
Have a contingency plan
If you find yourself caught in a “chain” (you can’t move into your new home until the previous owners move out, but the people buying your new property are desperate to move in), your stress levels will rocket unless you have a contingency plan. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a bridging loan (a loan to tide you through the gap between buying one home and selling another), so make sure you have somewhere to go, even if it is the spare room in your parents’ house, in case your chain breaks down.
Plan out your moving day
It’s only one day of your life, but you should ideally start planning your move as far in advance as you can, to make sure it’s as stress-free as possible. Pack up everything you don’t use on a daily basis and label your boxes with the room they’ll be going to in the new house to make unpacking easier.
Get an Expert
Sometimes the stress of buying a new home doesn’t come from the house at all, but from the buyers and sellers dealing with the sale. There’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with someone who doesn’t know what they are doing, and having to wait while messages are relayed between yourself and the seller of your property. Now that more and more people are choosing to sell with a Realtor due to today’s tough market, you need someone who can navigate you through the sale because most properties on the market today are short sales or foreclosures. Keep a lookout for properties because several go on the market daily.
Megan Bower is a Realtor for Coldwell Banker located near the Tampa Bay Beaches, Clearwater and St. Petersburg Beach. If you are thinking of buying a home Megan is a knowledgeable and experienced Realtor who is a Florida native selling Florida. If you have any questions about the market contact a professional, contact Megan by phone or email anytime.
One of the major concerns in the world today is depletion of energy. As concerned citizens all of us must make a concerted effort to be conscious citizens and save electricity. Electricity has become integral to life but imagine having to live without power.
Conservation of electricity benefits you personally as you will pay lower bills. Consider:
1. Doing an energy audit. This will tell you how and when you use energy and where the wastage lies. You will be able to make an “energy savings plan” by pinpointing exactly how you can cut back on energy consumption. Some ideas may be as simple as don’t leave the coffee machine on at all times.
2. Think about resetting the thermostat ten degrees lower during the night. If you can do this for say approximately eight hours a day you will save 10% on electricity without sacrificing comfort. Insulate the home in winter by drawing shut the drapes.
3. Check all insulation in the house. If you increase attic insulation to around 12 inches the electricity consumption will reduce by 20 percent.
4. Plant more trees around the house these will cool the house in summer and insulate the house in winter. Studies show that a green cover benefits in many ways.
5. Have all electricity wires and outlets checked for leakage. Check all fuses and appliances.
6. Fluorescent light bulbs are energy efficient. They use 75% less energy than ordinary light bulbs. These have a longer life and contribute to great savings.
7. Use energy efficient appliances. These use less energy and believe it or not a high efficiency refrigerator uses less electricity than a light bulb.
8. When you are away even for a few hours or days you should turn off and unplug all electrical appliances and turn settings on the thermostat, water heater, and refrigerator to the lowest setting.
9. Ensure that you use a water-saving shower head. Water heating costs for a family can be lowered by at least US$ 250 a year.
10. Weatherize your home. This helps reduce heating bills by 20% and cooling by at least 10 percent. Even when building a home or decorating it use weather friendly materials—those that are not good conductors of heat and cold. Install windows and glass panes in the roof in such away that you use sunlight to light up the rooms during day light hours. Make an effort to switch off lights and fans when leaving a room. Ensure that the filters in air conditioners and heaters are always cleaned and free of clog and dust.
If you live an energy efficient lifestyle you will see the numbers on the energy bill actually reducing. The power to cut energy costs is well within your control. It is as simple as only washing full loads and that to in cold water. Use the hot wash option only for very dirty clothes. Cook food only just before you are ready to eat that way you can save reheating costs as well as refrigerating costs of storing the food. Turn the thermostat of the refrigerator to minimum in cold or cool weather. Switch off freezers if they are not in use. Small contributions can all add up to significant amounts of power saved. And, power saved means money in the bank.
If you would like more information on money saving tips for your home or how to improve your homes value to sell for top dollar contact Megan Bower Realtor whose specialty is selling the beaches of Tampa Bay, Clearwater and St. Petersburg Beach.