Paul Stonkus' Blog
Buying a home that works for both seniors and young children can be complicated, if not impossible. When searching for a new home, it’s important to keep in mind the special requirements for every member of your family both now, and as they continue to age.
Parents or other older relatives may need assistance getting upstairs or in and out of a tub. Even if they are fine now, aging is a tricky thing and mobility issues can crop up at any time. Planning for them now can save you money and stress in the future.
At the other end of the spectrum, child-proofing a home is important for small children or new infants, so keep an eye out for sharp edges and remember you’ll have to bring strollers, high-chairs, car seats and more so plan for easy-to-open doors. Don’t forget that as your kids get older, their needs will change as well: plan for privacy and personal space where you can to save on upgrading your home in the future.
For the best home search, make sure to let your real estate agent know who all will be living with you. He or she can assist in finding homes with the features you need and can provide advice about what things are feasible to change yourself, and what will make a house cost more than your budget in the long run.
Some important features to look for include:
- Need help affording a home that meets all your needs? What if you just want to upgrade your existing home? Government agencies offer financial grants and assistance to retrofit your home for the elderly. Check with your agent to see what you might qualify for.
- Ready to find the forever home for your entire family? We can help! Talk to your agent about the best way to search for your new home.
- Wide Doorways: A door without a turning requirement (and those that open wider than a right angle) need to be at least 32 inches wide to ensure that wheelchairs and walkers will fit. Right angle doorways or those that require turning to enter or exit should be at least 36 inches wide.
- Wide Hallways: For comfortable use by strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs, look for hallways that are at least 42 inches wide. That much space gives you the option of installing handrails on one or both sides. Handrails can help both small children learning to walk, and elderly people with mobility issues.
That’s the easy part. The hardest room for both the very young and the elderly is the bathroom. It’s a good idea to ensure that your home has a minimum of 2 full bathrooms to allow you to accommodate the needs of all members of your family. Seniors need ADA toilets (also called comfort height) and grab bars, while your small child would need an extra-tall stool to use the taller toilet. Large showers with floor level entrances, seats and grab bars are best for the elderly, but its often easier to wash your kids in a tub, especially when they’re young. With two bathrooms, you can satisfy the needs of everyone in the family.
Last, but not least, pay attention to faucets, handles, and knobs. Rounded ones can be difficult for both the old and young members of your family. Look for a single handle, lever and touchless options for the best results all around. Don’t forget to test cabinets and drawers for weight or friction pull closers since those are more difficult than soft close or magnetic options. It’s okay if the home doesn’t come pre-fitted with the knobs, handles, etc. you want, a quick trip to your local hardware store will solve it.
Need help affording a home that meets all your needs? What if you just want to upgrade your existing home? Government agencies offer financial grants and assistance to retrofit your home for the elderly. Check with your agent to see what you might qualify for.
Ready to find the forever home for your entire family? Talk to your agent about the best way to search for your new home.
Keeping a swimming pool clean isn't a full-time job if done correctly and regularly. Maintenance is most often crucial in the summer months since that is when swimming pools find the most use. After making the financial investment in a swimming pool, there is a need to make sure that it remains in perfect condition all year round. A neglected swimming pool is a much more severe issue than a dirty pool.
Store pool chemicals safely.
The pool water contains many chemicals that are present in a balanced quantity and level. A clean pool is one that is chemically balanced. As a rule, do not store swimming pool chemicals anywhere that has direct sunlight. Chlorine solution and acidic solutions should be kept far apart in a cool and dry storage space to prevent fire outbreaks and other chemical reactions.
Pool vacuums are important.
One of the toughest tasks of any pool owner is the manual cleaning and skimming of debris from the pool. There are cheap, automatic pool vacuums that are programmed to suck away debris and dirt from the bottom of a swimming pool. Vacuuming ensures that significantly reduces the rate of algae growth, and the pool stays cleaner for longer. A pool vacuum also should not be a reason not to scrub the walls of the pool regularly to prevent the buildup of algae and other living organisms.
Maintain the pool chemical balance.
Chemical balances prevent a swimming pool from becoming a breeding ground for germs and algae which could cause health issues to those who use it. A balanced pool should maintain a pH level in a range between 7.2 and 7.8. There are many simple testing kits help to carry out a quick check of pool pH, so you know when to add chlorine and other chemicals to balance it.
Schedule regular filter cleaning and maintenance.
Pool filters are critical in keeping your swimming pool in a clean condition. They are not the most obvious of pool parts, but they are essential. Have a regular schedule for cleaning and inspecting swimming pool filters. Most swimming pools use three different types of filters, and each needs cleaning in a certain way. Be sure to check everything regularly to ensure that it is not blocked or damaged which could lead to problems with your pool.
Don't neglect your pool care especially in the summer months. For a comprehensive pool cleaning and maintenance, call a local pool cleaning service to help you out.
When it comes to home safety, three areas need to be on the radar for review at least twice a year. Some folks check them with the summer and winter solstice and others with the change to and from daylight savings time. But you might want to check these more often. Whatever the schedule, these three items need your regular attention.
Testing your emergency equipment is a no-brainer, but your smoke detector particularly should be tested often. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, says to check them monthly and replace the batteries at least every six months. According to agency reports, sixty percent of home fire deaths happen in properties where the smoke alarm does not work. And thirty-eight percent of home fire deaths occur in properties where there is no smoke detector or smoke alarm at all. But, working smoke alarms reduce by half the risk of death by a house fire.
So, check your alarm every month, and more frequently if cooking smoke activates it since activation can make both the battery and the alarm wear out. Also, test the alarm and check the battery if the alarm chirps or gives false alarms. Always use fresh new batteries. Even if your system connects to your home’s electrical system, the backup batteries need checking since the risk of a house fire when the power is out or upon power restoration is high.
Along with smoke detectors, every house should have a fire extinguisher. You should keep one in the kitchen and any other area prone to fire, especially if you have a wood-burning fireplace or your barbecue is near to the home. But don’t just install it and forget about it. When fire extinguishers go unused for a long time, they may depressurize. Unless you check them, you won’t know until you need to use it.
Review your owner's manual. It should have a maintenance schedule. If it doesn’t have one, contact the manufacturer for one.
Along with the pressures, when checking it, be sure:
- Check the pressure. Usually, an extinguisher has a gauge. Make sure the pressure indicator is in the safe zone.
- Nothing blocks access. If you install in a cabinet, place it near the front. Better yet, mount it inside the door.
- The pin and tamper seal must be intact. Make no corrosion appears on the tank, and the nozzle and hose are crack free.
You don’t want to learn that your extinguisher is inoperative during a fire emergency. Serviced or replaced your extinguisher every five to ten years.
Most people don't think about their electrical panel except during a power outage. Wires, breakers, and switches age and can fail when you need them most. Have a certified electrician test your panel at least every three years, and immediately if you have a breaker that continually needs resetting, have frequent power outages, see sparks or flames from a light switch or power outlet, or rely on your home power to operating medical or other critical equipment.
If you need assistance finding qualified specialists to check your safety equipment, contact your real estate professional today.
If a new home has you dreaming of new possibilities for your lifestyle. This seems to be especially true when buyers home of choice has a spare bedroom and/or finished basement. Upgrade your lifestyle by creating a room dedicated solely to your interests.
Here are five ideas that will have you feeling like you're living the luxe life.
A home gym is a perfect addition to a finished basement or large spare room. To get a true gym feel install large mirrors, a widescreen tv and built-in speakers. Depending on the size of the room and amount of large exercise equipment you include in your room you can make this room even more upscale. Investing in a sauna and/or tanning bed will provide the perfect source of relaxation after a strenuous workout.
If you are a creative having a room solely dedicated to your craft is a dream come true. Whether you’re a painter, writer, scrapbooker or seamstress a whole room to neatly organize the tools of your trade is a new level of freedom. Most likely you are accustomed to packing up and stashing them away after each time you create. Claim your space and let your artistic genius flow!
An increasingly popular addition in new homes is a gaming room. And not in the sense of darts and foosball. Instead, homeowners are creating a space dedicated solely to their multiple video game consoles and creating the perfect gaming environment. Installing surround sound and a large widescreen tv will have you feeling completely immersed in the game experience. A comfortable sofa and well-stocked mini fridge will keep you fueled for those long hours invested in beating your next game.
Another popular choice is a sports bar or what many would call a “Man Cave”. As with a gaming room, you’ll want to create the ultimate game day experience with surround sound and a large high-def tv. Leather couches and a wet bar that includes a built-in beer fridge are a must for this room. Bring in a healthy dose of team pride with framed posters, signed memorabilia and mascot emblazoned items. All that’s left is to prep some game day snacks and stock the fridge before inviting guests over to cheer on the home team.
A spare bedroom should be taken advantage of. Don’t let it become a giant storage closet or a hardly used guest room. Instead, create a room that is unique to you and your lifestyle. Whether you’re a creator, a gym junkie or game fanatic your own room will get more than its share of usage. By investing in your own interests you’ll be gifting yourself downtime and a happier future.
You might think those people who own houses saved up until it got to the right amount. Well, this might be possible, but it is difficult to achieve since the temptation to use the money and unforeseen expenses may arise. So how do most people acquire a house? In America today, the quickest path to homeownership is by a mortgage.
For clarity, a mortgage is a loan from a financial institution or lender that helps the borrower to buy a house. While taking a mortgage may seem like an excellent idea, like every debt, you would want to pay this mortgage off as promptly as possible. So if you are nursing the thought of a mortgage or you are finding it difficult to pay off your mortgage in this post, you will find tips you can use to take control of your money goals and pay off your house early. Here are six practical ways to get there faster:
Switch to Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments
By dividing your monthly house payment in half and choosing to pay every two weeks, you can relieve yourself of financial stress in two ways. Firstly, this extends the cash flow demand required to pay your monthly bill and secondly, it will help slip an extra monthly-equivalent payment annually.
Refinance to a 15-year Mortgage
Another easy way to pay off your house in no time is to refinance your mortgage from the traditional 30-year mortgage to a 15-year term Doing this will offer you a lower interest rate as well as save you a significant amount of money in interest throughout your loan.
Pay extra each month
Adding $50 to your budget is not too much, but when you continuously add this amount or more to your mortgage payment, it can make a massive difference. Although it might look simple to do, it requires a lot of discipline and commitment.
Bring your lunch to work
Coming to work daily with a brown bag can do you more good other than filling your stomach. By packing a lunch instead of buying from restaurants, you save up a reasonable sum of money that you might put toward paying off your mortgage early.
Put your windfalls into your mortgage
Most taxpayers receive a tax refund each year. If you can utilize all or some of that money as a form of extra payment on your mortgage, you will make rapid progress in paying your house fast.
If you're looking to purchase a home and don't want a 30-year payment, consider these factors when determining how much house payment you can afford.