How to Prep Your Home For Vacation

If you’re heading out of town soon, you’re likely packing and preparing. But have you given thought to the home you’re leaving behind?

Webber offers the following tips to prepare the home before leaving for vacation:

Unplug appliances – Appliances continue to use energy even when the device is turned off. It is best to unplug all devices including phone chargers, computers, televisions and coffee pots. This will not only save energy, but it will prevent damage from lightning strikes and power surges.

Adjust air conditioning – The air conditioning system uses a significant amount of energy. Turn the temperature up 10 degrees higher than it is usually set, or have a professional install a programmable thermostat that can be adjusted to turn on and cool the home just before returning from vacation.

Clean garbage disposal – The waste disposal is notorious for developing unpleasant odors while the house is empty. It is wise to flush the garbage disposal out with ½ cup of white vinegar and hot water while the disposal is turned on.

Change the setting on the water heater – There is no need to heat water for an empty home. Adjust the water heater to vacation mode. If the water heater does not have a vacation mode, turn the temperature down. This will save a significant amount of money on the energy bill.

Put lights on a timer – According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), there are more than 2.15 million burglaries each year, with the majority occurring in the peak vacation months of July and August. If a home is dark, it is a sure sign that someone is not home. Put a couple of lamps on a timer inside the home. Set these to go on and off at different intervals. This will give the illusion that someone is home and make the home less vulnerable to burglaries.

Treat stagnant water in toilet – Water left inactive in the toilet can produce a foul odor and a difficult to remove ring that forms around the toilet bowl. To prevent this, place ½ cup of bleach in the toilet bowl just before leaving home.

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties WingHaven/Lake St Louis                   Office, 636-720-3000 & St Charles County Office 636-720-1100                   Experience, Integrity & Teamwork, “Successful Formula For Better Results”

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New Study Suggests Strong Outlook for Green Home

Green HomesDuring the prolonged housing downturn, green homes provided support to the ailing residential market and now promise to be an important element of the recovering market as well, according to a new study conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics, in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and with the support of Ply Gem Industries, a leading manufacturer of exterior building products in North America.

Despite the headwinds created by growing concerns about the cost of building green, a high percentage of home builders and re-modelers are already building green and expect to do so in the future. While home builders and re-modelers report that consumers of all ages are interested in green, the study also finds that consumers age 55 and older are the most important group driving the current green market. The findings also demonstrate that consumers’ association of green with healthier homes leads to even higher potential for growth in the future, as do increased use of renewable technologies by 2018. To download the new study, “Green and Healthier Homes: Engaging Consumers of All Ages in Sustainable Living SmartMarket Report,” click here.

  • The 2015 study, which surveyed 232 builders and re-modelers from across the U.S., demonstrates that they recognize the benefits of green building:
  • Over half (54 percent) of home builders are currently constructing at least 16% of their new homes green, and 39% of re-modelers report that at least 16% of their remodeling projects are green.
  • By 2020, nearly all (81 percent) home builders will be constructing that level of green, with over half (51 percent) building at least 60 percent of their new homes green.

By 2020, re-modelers report a similar level of growth, with nearly three-quarters (74 percent) making at least 16% of their projects green, and over one-third (36 percent) completing over 60 percent of their projects green.

These expectations of higher green involvement emerge despite growing concerns about the cost of building green. 77 percent of home builders and re-modelers report that building gogreenhomegreen has an incremental cost over traditional construction of 5 percent or more, notably higher than the 60 percent in 2014 and 58% in 2011 who noted that level of increased cost. While higher cost is also the top obstacle to green reported, it does not appear to have dampened the drive toward green in the market.

“Builders and re-modelers have long recognized that green is the future of home building,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, MO. “Since we first began partnering on this study with Dodge Data & Analytics in 2006, we’ve seen that commitment grow. The study’s recent findings reinforce this continued growth, with new homeowner feedback showing a desire and expectation that new homes be high-performing, particularly when it comes to energy conservation. Most builders recognize that they need to be at least conversant in green to stay competitive.”

One key factor driving the growth of green is the association of green homes with healthier living. Home builders and re-modelers certainly recognize the potential: most (83 percent) believe that consumers will pay more for homes that are healthier.

“We have seen the commercial sector of the construction industry focus on the impact of buildings on the health of their occupants in the last few years, but these findings suggest that attention to healthier homes may offer an even higher gain for green in the residential market,” said Steve Jones, Senior Director of Industry Insights at Dodge Data & Analytics, “especially as consumers become better informed about the features that make homes more sustainable and healthier, and begin to demand them.”

Another factor leading to growth in the residential market is the increasing use of renewable energy. The study demonstrates that the use of renewable technologies is expected to grow across the board, revealing an interest in energy performance that goes beyond green. By 2018, nearly half of home builders and re-modelers expect to be using solar photo-voltaic (48 percent) and ground source heat pump (52 percent) technologies. Net zero homes are also emerging as an important trend, with nearly one-quarter (21 percent) of home builders having built a net zero home in the last two years.

One interesting finding of the new study is that the greatest impetus for green homes comes, not from millennials as many people might expect, but from consumers age 55 and older. Data from the study suggest that greater familiarity with home features leads to an emphasis on home performance. Therefore, as the environmentally minded millennials gain more experience with home ownership, it is quite possible that there could be even greater demand for green in the future.

To download the new study, “Green and Healthier Homes: Engaging Consumers of All Ages in Sustainable Living” SmartMarket Report, click here.

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties WingHaven/Lake St Louis                   Office, 636-720-3000 & St Charles County Office 636-720-1100                   Experience, Integrity & Teamwork, “Successful Formula For Better Results”

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Help put LOCAL food pantries OUT OF BUSINESS…

Move-for-Hunger2Did you know 304,000 children in Missouri are struggling to find their next meal? 1 out of 6 Americans don’t have enough to eat. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties has teamed up with Move For Hunger and challenge you to help us fight this problem in our local communities.

It really simple! When people move, they throw away a lot of “stuff.” Some of this “stuff” is food that could be given to a family in need. Why not Donate your food when you move.

  • You can find and book a mover who will donate your food when you move by visiting- www.DonateMyFood.org
  • You don’t need a mover? Drop off your non-perishable food donations at any of Berkshire Hathaway Select Properties 10 offices throughout the metro area and we will deliver it to our LOCAL food pantry.
  • From there, your donations will be sorted and delivered to local families in need.

Move for Hunger is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that works with relocation companies to collect non-perishable food items, and deliver it to food banks all across North America. Currently they are working with 601 Relocation Companies across 50 states and Canada. To date they have currently delivered over 4,178,962 meals to food banks across North America.

Please join Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties and Move for Hunger  in our fight to put food banks out of business…

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties WingHaven/Lake St Louis                   Office, 636-720-3000 & St Charles County Office, 636-720-1100                   Experience, Integrity & Teamwork, “Successful Formula For Better Results”

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Voted Top Work Place by St. Louis Post-Dispatch 2014 & 2015

 

Rent vs Own… Advantage or Disadvantage???

Is it better to Rent? Is it better to Own? This is a debate that has been going on for years. Personally, I think it depends on YOUR situation. They both come with pro’s and con’s…

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Advantages of Renting

  • Less financial responsibility. Renters generally don’t have to do the work in maintaining the place. They don’t have to fix the water heater or a leaky faucet. The Landlord is responsible for appliances and system maintenance and the costs associated with it.
  • Minimal commitment.  When the lease is up, you can just move.You don’t have to take care of making sure someone else is going to rent that space.
  • Less work.  There is generally less work in maintaining an apartment.
  • Less up-front cash. Up-front costs can be less when renting than with buying. You generally only have to put up the first month’s rent plus a security deposit, which is usually less than a down payment on a home. After you’re done, you get your down payment back provided the place is in acceptable condition.

Disadvantages of Renting

  • No Equity.  As a renter, you have to pay so much every month for rent, but that money never goes toward ownership.  Instead, you help pay your landlord’s mortgage bill each month.
  • Limited personalization.  There are some restrictions on painting and improvements that can be made. Renters generally aren’t allowed to fashion their living space to their preferences, like putting in different flooring or putting up wallpaper. Your improvements do not increase the value of the property.
  • Limited Space. In apartment-style renting you have limited space for your personal items.  Apartment usually only provide a storage closet or storage locker instead of a full garage or basement.
  • No tax advantages.  Since you are making rent payments you can’t deduct mortgage interest from your taxes.  Your landlord gets any tax breaks.
  • Close Proximity to Neighbors. Noisy or nosy neighbors can also pose more of a problem since, in most apartments, you share walls with them.

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Advantages of Owning

  • Personalization.  Because you own your home, you can design and decorate to your own taste. If you want to add an addition or remodel the kitchen, the only thing limiting you is your imagination. And the more you remodel and upgrade, the more you increase the value of the home.
  • More Space: Typically in a home you have more space such as a basement, attic and garage.
  • Equity.  When you buy a home, part of the money you pay towards your mortgage every month gets applied toward your principle. This means you build equity every time you make a mortgage payment, until you eventually own your home outright.Homeowners also build equity through appreciation. Your home is typically your largest financial asset and the value can be positively affected by factors like home improvements, inflation and the demand for land.
  • Tax advantages. Tax benefits can make home ownership one of the most profitable investments you can make. Mortgage interest is tax-deductible.
  • Low or No Down Payment Programs. In today’s market you don’t have to have a large amount of out-of-pocket up-front costs. There are loan programs that allow you to buy a home with little or no down payment.There are even loan programs, such as interest-only loans, that allow you to buy a more expensive home than you might have thought possible.

 

Disadvantages of Owning

  • Selling Commitment. If you want to move, you have to arrange for the sale of your home.
  • Financial & Maintenance Responsibility.  Work needs to be done by you, or paid for by you.  This includes everything from routine lawn care to major repairs such as appliances, plumbing, electrical and roofing.
  • Possibility of Value Loss.  While historically, home values across the country have risen, there’s always a possibility that home values in a local area may fall.

As earlier stated,  there are advantages and disadvantages with both. To discuss those in detail and to find out what is best for YOUR situation, don’t hesitate to give a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties Agent a call today!

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties Saint Charles County Office 6149 Mid Rivers Mall Drive, St. Charles, MO 63304 or 636-720-1100

 

Sunshine Run (8/24/14) Benefiting Children Fighting Cancer

Sunshine RunCome join in the Sunshine Run 5K Run/Walk to benefit Sunshine Kids. This is a family friendly event that offers a flat course in Fenton for the 5K Run/Walk and a 1 Mile Fun Run. A free 50 yard dash will also be held for just for the kids 10 and under! Strollers are welcome! Sunshine Kids benefits children with cancer by providing positive group activities and emotional support for young cancer patients. Short sleeve shirts will be guaranteed for entries by August 4th.

Sunshine RunWe look forward to the day when The Sunshine Kids Foundation will no longer need to exist. Until that time, the entire Sunshine Kids family is dedicated to providing the most exciting activities, trips and events for as many your cancer patients as possible.

Date
Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunshine KidEvents
5K – 8:00am
1 Mile – 8:00am

Location
Fenton ParkShelters 1 & 2
1215 Larkin Williams Road
Fenton MO 63026

Course
5K  |  1 Mile

Packet Pick-Up
Participants can pick-up their race packets on…
– Friday, August 22nd, from 10am-8pm at FLEET FEET – Des Peres
– Sunday, August 24th, from 7:15-7:45am on-site at Fenton Park.

Registration
Register online or via mail-in form to participate in the race.  Short sleeve shirts will be guaranteed for entries by August 4th.

Awards
Awards will be presented to the top overall male and female finishers as well as the following age categories: 10-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60 & over.

Sunshine Run tech shirtMore Information
Cotton is rotten in our Sunshine Run! That’s why our 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run participants will receive high quality, dri fit Leslie Jordan short sleeve shirts and sizing will be gender specific for a great fit! Youth sizes offered as well. Stay tuned for a preview of this awesome shirt you will want on a hanger in YOUR closet!

Sponsors

High & Dry HSA Home Warranty PRO Home
Select Title Group The Sewer ProsCardinal
Bridgewater Communities

Preparing Your Children For The Move

Millions of families pack up their belongings and embark on new journeys every year. Some move to reduce their expenses; others move for employment opportunities, increase their space or, perhaps even, to make a fresh start. Moving can be stressful for everyone, but it can be especially taxing for children who are used to a routine and often don’t understand the reasons for moving.

Here are some tips to help prepare youngsters for a move and to make the transition less disruptive and stressful:

Acknowledge the move – No matter the age of your children, ensure that you talk to them about the upcoming move. Update your kids on all the process and the stages of the upcoming move. Statistics show that kids need time to adjust and warm up to new ideas and major changes in their lives .Ensure that you talk to them in the best way possible about the changes and be prepared to answer any questions that they may ask you. Ensure that your kids understand that you are willing at any time to discuss with them their concern.

Plan ahead – Parents can ease the transition by providing children with advance information about the new school and community. It might be a good idea to contact the school ahead of time and arrange a tour so the child will have a better idea of what to expect before the first day of class. If information about the new school and new community is available online, provide a visual introduction to the new area before making the move. To make the transition smoother, develop a plan for keeping children in touch with their old friends.

Visit your new home with your kids-  before the official move try to bring your kids Movingwith you when you are looking for the new house so that they actually understand and accept that the family will actually be moving. If you are moving to a different state show your kids using a map where you will be moving in the next few days .If there is climate difference in the new area try to explain to your kids and assure them that everything is in order. Also explain to them any nearby attraction sites that may interest them such as mountains, amusement park or oceans.

Gather information about sports and extra-curricular activities- If possible, ensure that you gather enough credible information on the sports or any other extracurricular activities that may interest your child. Your child will be comfortable if he/she knows that he/she will still play his/her favorite sport once he/she moves to the new place.

Talk about it – The most important thing is for parents to recognize that children deal with change differently. Do not expect children to approach a move in the same way as adults. Talk to children about their feelings. Discuss how to make new friends and how to deal with a new school.

Pay attention – Be aware of the signs that your child might be struggling, such as changes in sleep patterns, loss of appetite, sadness, or irritability. Some children may need professional help to deal with a big change such as a move.

For many families, moving is a common part of life. Regardless of frequency, major changes should be addressed with understanding and support. Planning ahead, discussing concerns and trepidations, and keeping a close eye on behavior, can often soften the blow for a child and make for an emotionally healthy transition. 

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Prudential Select Properties St Charles County Office, 636-720-1100… Soon to Become, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Select Properties… “The BIGGEST name in St Louis Real Estate!”

The Biggest Name in St Louis Real Estate

1911875_10202649418587966_456946288_nIn a month Real Estate in St Louis is Changing FOREVER!!! Prudential Select Properties will become Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties. We could not be more excited about this brand change.

This is much more than a simple name change. It signals a defining moment in real estate by uniting the strengths of industry leaders and bringing together unparalleled operational excellence, innovation and integrity.

Just look at some of Berkshire Hathaway’s credentials:bhhs-harris-poll-award_white-background_hi_res-smaller

  • No. 1 company in Barron’s annual ranking of the world’s 100 most respected companies…
  • 2014 Harris Poll Winner for Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year…
  • No. 8 in Fortune Magazine’s 50 Most Admired Companies survey.
  • No. 18 in Harris interactive reputation study of the 60 Most Visible Companies.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is a new real estate franchise brand built upon the financial strength and leadership of Brookfield and HomeServices,” said Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. “I am confident that these partners will deliver value to the residential real estate industry, and I am pleased to have Berkshire Hathaway be a part of the new brand.”

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At Prudential Select Properties, we’re already committed serving the entire St. Louis region at the highest possible level. This powerful new network will help us as we strive to maintain our reputation as the most trusted and #1 LOCALLY OWNED real estate company in the area.

We’re beyond thrilled to be a part of this new brand and can’t wait to see what the future holds. The landscape of St. Louis real estate is about to change forever!!! BHHSselect, The Biggest Name in St Louis Real Estate… Coming June 2014…

 

 

The Real Estate Market is Changing and So Are We…

We have exciting news to share! In the coming months, Prudential Select Properties will become Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties.

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The announcement of our brand name change to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties signals a defining moment in real estate.   It unites the strengths of industry leaders, bringing together unparalleled operational excellence, innovation and integrity.

BHHSPeelWith our commitment to market St. Louis metropolitan area real estate at the highest level and the vision to be the most trusted real estate company in St. Louis, our Company along with this powerful new network that is “Coming Soon”, exemplifies the reputation of Berkshire Hathaway.

Berkshire Hathaway is the No. 1 company in Barron’s annual ranking of the world’s 100 most respected companies; it ranks at No. 8 in Fortune magazine’s 50 Most Admired Companies survey; and is No. 18 in Harris interactive reputation study of the 60 Most Visible Companies.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is a new kind of franchise that is set to redefine the future of the industry.  We are proud and honored to be a part of this new brand and look forward to serving our St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson, Lincoln and Warren Counties as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties.

The landscape and future of St Louis Real Estate is getting ready to change forever!!!

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Prudential Select Properties St Charles County Office, 636-720-1100

How to Safely Open a Champagne Bottle

chambottleA champagne toast is a great way to welcome 2014, but be mindful as you uncork the bottle: warm bottles of champagne and improper cork-removal techniques cause serious, potentially blinding eye injuries each year.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology warns that champagne bottles contain pressure as high as 90 pounds per square inch – more than the pressure found inside a typical car tire. This pressure can launch a champagne cork at 50 miles per hour as it leaves the bottle, which is fast enough to shatter glass. Unfortunately, this is also fast enough to permanently damage vision.

Champagne cork mishaps can lead to a variety of serious eye injuries. These injuries sometimes require urgent eye surgeries and can even lead to blindness in the affected eye.

For a safe celebration, follow these EyeSmart tips on how to properly open a bottle of champagne:

  • Chill sparkling wine and champagne to 45 degrees Fahrenheit or colder before opening. The cork of a warm bottle is more likely to pop unexpectedly.
  • Don’t shake the bottle. Shaking increases the speed at which the cork leaves the bottle thereby increasing your chances of severe eye injury.
  • Point the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from yourself and any bystanders and hold down the cork with the palm of your hand while removing the wire hood on the bottle.
  • Place a towel over the entire top of the bottle and grasp the cork.
  • Twist the bottle while holding the cork at a 45 degree angle to break the seal. Counter the force of the cork using downward pressure as the cork breaks free from the bottle.

If you do experience an eye injury from a champagne cork, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist – an eye physician and surgeon.

Happy New Year 2014

 

Wishing you a very Safe and Happy New Year filled with success and happiness. Happy New Year to you and your family from Prudential Select Properties Saint Charles County Office, 636-720-1100

 

Press release submitted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

2013 Blog In Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,200 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.