Real Estate News

  • How to Maintain Your Dehumidifier

    31 January 2023

    Homeowners sometimes encounter a problem with a dehumidifier because they don’t use it the way it’s meant to be used or don’t maintain it as they should. Here are some important things to remember. 

    Use the Dehumidifier Correctly
    Specifics vary by brand and model. Read the owner’s manual that came with the dehumidifier. If you don’t still have it, you can most likely find a copy on the manufacturer’s website. 

    A dehumidifier needs to be placed on a level surface in an area with good airflow. If there is furniture or another obstruction near the dehumidifier, remove it or move the dehumidifier to a better location. 

    The dehumidifier should be at least 6 inches from a wall, and doors and windows in the room should be closed. Leaving them open can increase the amount of humidity in the room and force the dehumidifier to work harder, which can waste energy and money.

    Your dehumidifier should be set to bring the humidity level to 45-50%. Check the humidistat to make sure that it’s set in an appropriate range. If the setting is too low, the dehumidifier can work too hard, and the air in the house can get too dry. 

    Clean and Maintain Essential Components 
    Check the amount of water in the condensate bucket every day and empty it as needed. If the bucket is full, the dehumidifier will shut off. If you leave standing water in the bucket, mold can grow. 

    Once a month, unplug the dehumidifier, remove the bucket, and clean it with soap and water. Let the bucket dry thoroughly before you return it to the dehumidifier. 

    Replacing the filter helps the dehumidifier operate efficiently and emit clean air. It also keeps the unit from breaking down. Replace the filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

    Use a cloth to wipe down the control panel. Don’t get the panel wet. Every few months, use a vacuum brush to clean the air intake and exhaust grilles. 

    If the temperature in the room gets below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, ice can form on the dehumidifier’s evaporator coils. Check the coils regularly for ice. If ice is forming, you can elevate the dehumidifier above the ground, where the air is a bit warmer. Check the instruction manual for additional information.

    When you turn off the dehumidifier, wait a minimum of 10 minutes before you turn it back on to let the system’s pressure equalize. If you turn the unit back on too soon, the compressor can overheat and trip the circuit breaker. Short cycling can also make the dehumidifier operate less efficiently since it won’t have enough time to evaporate moisture. 

    Take Care of Your Dehumidifier
    A dehumidifier can help you control the amount of humidity in the air and make your home more comfortable. Like any other household appliance, a dehumidifier needs to be cared for to consistently perform well. Make these simple processes a part of your regular home maintenance routine.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Why Your House's Location May Make It Hard to Get Homeowners Insurance

    31 January 2023

    Homeowners insurance companies decide whether to issue policies and set their rates based on risk. Many factors, including a house’s location, can influence its risk profile. In some cases, a home’s location makes it difficult to get homeowners insurance. If you find yourself in that situation, you may be able to find another way to get coverage.

    How Location Can Affect Risk 
    Some parts of the United States are prone to severe weather, such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Houses along coastlines are susceptible to storm-related damage. 

    Factors related to a specific neighborhood can influence risk. Some areas are located far from a fire station or hydrant, and certain neighborhoods have high rates of burglaries and vandalism. 

    Any of these factors can make a homeowner more likely than average to file a claim or likely to file a claim for a large amount. Homeowners insurance companies may charge more for houses in those areas or may refuse to provide coverage at all. 

    What You Can Do If You Have Been Denied Insurance Coverage
    If an insurance company turned you down because it considers your house too risky due to its location, ask if there is anything you can do to reduce the risk and qualify for coverage. An insurer may be more inclined to cover your house if you install storm shutters or a home security system or make other improvements to reduce the likelihood that you will file a claim. 

    You may be able to get a policy through another company. Each insurer has its own guidelines. Other people who live in your neighborhood most likely faced the same hurdles you’re facing now. Ask them how they got insurance for their homes. 

    Some states have programs for homeowners who can’t get insurance through a private company because their houses are deemed too risky. Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) insurance plans may be available in your state. If you get a FAIR plan, expect to pay higher premiums than you would pay if you bought insurance through a private insurer. 

    Ask your insurance agent for advice. Your agent may be able to recommend a company that insures high-risk properties or refer you to a state program that can help. 

    Think About Insurance Before You Buy a House
    You may fall in love with a house because of its location, but you also need to consider practical things, including insurance. If you’re currently shopping for your next home, think about whether you might have a hard time getting it insured. If you have doubts or questions, contact some homeowners insurance companies or consult your current insurance agent and ask. You may decide to pass on your dream house if you discover that getting insurance will be a major hassle or too expensive.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • What to Do If Some Rooms Are Colder Than Others

    31 January 2023

    During the winter, you may find that most of your house is nice and warm, but one or more rooms are colder. There can be several reasons for that. You may be able to address the problem yourself, or you may have to call an HVAC technician. 

    Things You Can Try Yourself
    A colder room may have drafts. In some cases, closing the curtains or hanging heavy drapes can help retain heat and keep the room warm. If one or more windows are old and damaged, adding caulk or weather stripping may eliminate drafts. If those strategies don’t work, you may need to replace old windows. 

    A vent that provides warm air to a room may either not be fully open or there may be an obstruction. Check to see if the vent in a cold room is open and make sure that there is no furniture blocking it. 

    If necessary, use soap and water or a cleaning solution to clean the grate that covers the vent. Use a vacuum to remove whatever dirt and debris you can from inside the vent. If you think there might be something deeper inside the ductwork that is blocking airflow, have an HVAC technician conduct an inspection. If you look inside the vent and see rodent droppings, contact a pest control company.

    Your HVAC filter needs to be replaced regularly. A dirty filter can reduce airflow. Check the filter and replace it if necessary. That may take care of the issue.

    Sometimes an HVAC system needs to be balanced to give each room an appropriate amount of airflow and keep the entire house at a consistent temperature. HVAC systems have supply runs that come off the supply trunk and provide heat to individual rooms. If your system has dampers in the basement or attic, you can adjust them to regulate airflow to different parts of the house. If your HVAC system doesn’t have dampers, you may be able to make adjustments at the supply registers. 

    When to Contact a Professional
    Ductwork may be damaged and may need to be repaired by a professional. In some houses, ductwork was installed in a way that makes it difficult for adequate airflow to reach certain rooms. In those situations, an HVAC professional may have to repair or modify the ductwork. 

    The location of a room may be responsible for the difference in temperature. If a room is located along an exterior wall in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, if it’s poorly insulated or if it’s above an uninsulated space, such as the garage, you may need to hire a professional to install more insulation.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Pros and Cons of Buying a House With Cash

    30 January 2023

    Most people who purchase a house take out a mortgage, but some can pay the entire cost upfront and buy a property outright. If you have the funds available to pay cash for a new home, that can give you some distinct advantages, but it’s also important to consider the risks.

    Benefits of Paying Cash for a House
    If you can afford to pay cash, you can avoid all of the hassles and costs associated with getting a mortgage. You won’t have to shop around for the best rates, submit applications or wait for approval. You won’t have to pay fees associated with a mortgage at the time of closing, and you can save tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest. 

    Being able to pay in cash can make your offer more appealing to a seller. Sometimes two parties agree on a purchase price, but the deal falls through because the buyer can’t get financing. If a seller gets multiple offers, you can pay in cash and others can’t, the seller will be more likely to accept your bid. Even if another buyer offers more money, the seller may accept a lower price from you if you can pay in cash and the other buyer can’t. 

    Owning a house outright can give you peace of mind. You won’t have to worry about the monthly cost of a mortgage and will have room in your budget to focus on other priorities.

    Downsides of Buying a House With Cash
    You may have additional financial goals, such as investing for retirement and your kids’ college education. If you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash for a house, you won’t be able to put those funds toward your other long-term priorities. 

    If you itemize your tax deductions and you have a mortgage, you will be able to deduct interest. That may significantly reduce your tax liability. That won’t be an option if you pay cash for a house and don’t take out a mortgage.  

    Buying a house with cash can leave you with little money in savings. If you lose your job, the house needs major repairs or you face some other type of financial emergency, you may struggle to make ends meet. 

    If you buy a house with cash, a large sum of money will be tied up in a single investment. If you fall on hard times and need to sell your home, you may not be able to find a buyer quickly or you may have to accept less than you paid for the property. 

    Weigh the Pros and Cons
    Everyone’s situation is different. Think about how much money you have to work with, how much you have already saved for retirement and other long-term goals, and how comfortable you would be having a large sum of money tied up in a house. If you need additional advice, consult a financial professional.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Why Your Furnace May Be Short Cycling and What to Do About It

    30 January 2023

    The amount of time a furnace runs in a cycle depends on several factors, but it’s typically 10 to 15 minutes. If your furnace runs for a shorter amount of time, then turns off, it’s short cycling. There are several reasons why it may do that.

    The Furnace Is Shutting Off to Prevent a Gas Leak
    A furnace has a flame sensor that detects flames or natural gas. If the sensor is covered with dirt and dust or has corroded over time, it may be unable to detect flames and may cause the furnace to shut off to prevent a gas leak. 

    Your furnace may be short cycling because the hot surface lighter is damaged. If that’s the case, or if the pilot light shuts off, the furnace will turn off to keep gas from accumulating.

    The Furnace Is Shutting Off to Prevent Overheating
    If the air filter or furnace exhaust pipe is clogged with dirt, dust or other contaminants, that can block airflow and cause the furnace to overheat. Furnaces are designed to shut off automatically when they get too warm in order to protect internal components from damage. 

    Make sure that the supply and return vents are open and that there is no furniture blocking them. Check your air filter on a regular basis and replace it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.  

    The exhaust vent removes poisonous carbon monoxide from the house. Rodents, birds and insects can get into a vent and cause a blockage. Ice can also block an exhaust vent. If carbon monoxide can’t escape because the vent is blocked, the furnace can overheat and shut off. A blocked vent can also lead to a gas leak in the house. 

    The Furnace Is the Wrong Size
    Sometimes a house has a furnace that is too large for the amount of space it serves. If your furnace is too big for your house, it will provide more heat than necessary, then quickly shut off when it receives a signal from the thermostat. That can lead to uneven heat distribution, with some rooms or parts of rooms warm and others cold. It can also lead to high utility bills. 

    The Thermostat Isn’t in an Appropriate Location
    The thermostat should be placed in a central location. If it’s near a window, a door, a vent or an appliance that generates heat, it can get an inaccurate temperature reading. If the thermostat’s reading is higher than the actual temperature, the furnace will shut off sooner than it should. 

    Consult a Professional
    It can be difficult to figure out why your furnace is short cycling. If you aren’t sure of the reason, have an HVAC technician conduct an inspection, make any necessary repairs or refer you to another professional who can help with vent cleaning or other services.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.