Lessons on Home Safety with Kids

Many people know how to detect a fire or even put out a fire with a fire extinguisher. Many people also understand how to carefully climb a ladder or turn on a stove. But kids need to be taught how to do these things and how to stay safe while around the home. 

What to do during a fire risk

Depending on your child’s age, they may be able to use a fire extinguisher to put out a small fire. If you have teenagers, you can teach them how to use a fire extinguisher to put out a kitchen fire. However, smaller children may not be tall enough or old enough to understand the severity of a fire. So for little kids, it is best to teach them how to dial 911 and then go outside to stay out of harms way.

If the fire is too big, obviously teaching all children to leave the house and dial 911 will make all the difference between safety and serious injury.

Stay off the ladders

Ladders are tricky household maintenance tools. Our recommendation is that all kids stay off ladders unless there is supervision. Even adults on tall ladders should have someone at the bottom holding the ladder still to make sure there is no danger of falling. This also goes for home step stools of a significant height. The item up high can wait until someone else is around.

Electricity and water do not mix

Teaching kids that electrical items need to stay far away from water is very important. Many of us are aware that mixing water and electricity can lead to electric shocks and cause serious injury. Children do not always understand that a radio or television does not belong on a bathtub ledge. Teach children of all ages to keep the electrical items away from water. This also goes for teenagers using hairdryers in the bathroom over a running water sink.

Stay away from power tools

Power tools are like ladders. They are great at fixing things but they are also seriously dangerous. Power tools are best used with adult supervision and with specific training from a skilled adult. Teach kids to stay away form the power tools. And if you have the ability to lock the motors from running, it is best to keep safety mechanisms in place.

Keep clear of roofs

For some reason, kids sometimes think they can fly … just like Superman. It is important to discuss the issues of climbing or sitting on a roof and the dangers that can come with it. Roofs like ladders can cause serious injury and even potentially death. It is important to discuss height issues with children. This also goes for climbing tall trees around your house. Last thing you need is a scare and broken arm for one of your children.

Lawn Mowers

Over time, kids are given the responsibility to cut the grass. Whether they use push mower or rider mowers, these machines have high powered, fast moving blades that are designed to cut grass quickly. If children are not taught the respect of the machine, they could end up hurting themselves due to major cuts that can lead to severe bleeding. It is important to teach children how a lawn mower works in addition to the chore assigned to moving the lawn.

Understanding cleaning supplies

Some cleaning supplies can be toxic. It is important to keep cleaning supplies out or reach of little children. And potentially to add a child safety lock to the cabinets where the cleaning supplies are located. Small children do not understand not to drink cleaning supplies and cleaning supplies can cause death in a child. It is also important to educate older children about the use of cleaning supplies and the need to keep them away from their younger siblings. Using natural cleaning supplies will also help to remove risk of children getting sick from these supplies.

Keeping children safe can be challenging, but by practicing these simple instructions, you can minimize the risk from home related accidents.

Posted on HomeZada

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Report: Homeownership Is a Precondition of the American Dream

Hearth just released their 2017 State of the American Dream report which showed that Americans still see homeownership as an integral piece of the American Dream. The report confirmed that “all generations–including millennials–agree homeownership is very important to achieving the American Dream.

Americans ranked “owning a home I love” higher than any other options (including “starting a family” and “finding a fulfilling career”) as an important part of the American Dream.

Despite some claims that homeownership’s importance to the American Dream is in decline, the report found that the dream of homeownership remains strong.

Of Americans who said they think achieving the American Dream is important, 70% think homeownership is important to the dream, and 41% think homeownership is very important to the dream.

What about Millennials?

Hearth addresses the desires of millennials by explaining:

“Contrary to popular opinion, millennials who want to achieve the American Dream are 5% more likely than Baby Boomers to think homeownership is important. And two-thirds of millennial renters view homeownership as important to the American Dream.

Although millennials are often portrayed as fickle and transient, they actually seek the stability of homeownership even more than their parents.”

Other Key Findings from the Report:

  • Homeowners are 126% more likely than non-homeowners to view homeownership as a way to build wealth. Nevertheless, homeowners still overwhelmingly associated homeownership with a family living space.
  • Homeowners are 24% more likely than non-homeowners to see homeownership as an achievement that reflects hard work.
  • Millennials are 77% more likely than baby boomers to see a home primarily as a way to build wealth.
  • Baby boomers are 98% more likely than millennials to see a home as a way to pass wealth down to children or family.
  • Millennials are 29% more likely than baby boomers to see a home as an achievement that reflects hard work–an outcome we expected given that many millennials are still working hard to afford their first homes.

Bottom Line

The report concluded:

“This survey revealed a powerful finding: Across demographic groups, homeownership remains a precondition of the American Dream.”

Posted by The KCM Crew

National Preparedness Month and Tips Getting You Ready

September is National Preparedness Month. The Federal Emergency Maintenance Association (FEMA) coordinate over 30,000 members and 2,000 events around the United States to help people know what it means to be prepared for any emergency.  This Preparedness Community is a collaborative community where others share support and information in an effort to understand emergency preparedness. While this group also announces over 2,000 events nationwide that helps others become educated about hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, forest fires, house fires, and so much more.

Getting prepared about challenging situations that could put your family and homes at risk could be the difference between actual life or death. National Preparedness Month is designed to avoid tragic situations.

Online Communication

First make sure you have tools available to you to alert you about weather conditions, a number of sites can help you with these efforts. Following resources on Twitter is also a great way to stay connected with real time information.  @FEMA @WeatherChannel @RedCross

FEMA developed this app to help you know how to be prepared if disaster strikes. Know where to take shelter if disaster strikes.

The Whole Family

Being prepared means preparing your whole family. Events are happening in your local area to educate you and your children about emergencies. In addition, making sure your family has all the important telephone numbers enables everyone to understand where each might be when something unexpected happens. Your children’s schools and your offices should also have plans. So make sure you sit down with the appropriate administrator of these plans to educate the members of your family.

Pets

Keeping your pets calm during a disaster situation can be difficult. If need be, make sure you have the appropriate food and name tags for your pets. You need to remember to take them with you. Pets cannot survive on their own if they are left behind. Here are videos and brochures to help you establish an emergency plan to include your pets.

Disabled Individuals

If you or a loved one or friend have some disabilities that require extra needs, make sure you prepare your equipment for a disaster situation. Your family member may use items like electronic wheelchairs. If this is the case, make sure you have them charged. This is in case the power is lost. Another option is to equip your home with a back up generator. If you have specific medications you require, make sure you have a supply on hand. This supply should last you 3 – 5 days.

Make a Kit

Make a kit of some of the most basic elements. Items like flashlights with working batteries, charged cell phones, first aid kits, water, and 3 days worth of food. Also add medications, blankets and potentially weather proof jackets. Having a kit organized helps in case you are both stuck in your home for and extended period of time. This kit can also help if you are not able to get to your home.

In the last 10 years, US citizens have been taking emergencies seriously. May citizens have been securing emergency plans all over the nation. Here are some statistics on who is actually do more with Emergency Preparedness.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Homeowners: Do You Know Your Home’s Value?

Home Value

The latest edition of CoreLogic’s Home Price Index shows that nationally, home prices have appreciated 6.7% over the last year and 0.9% month-over-month. The release of the report included this headline,

“National Home Prices Now 50% Above March 2011 Bottom”

The real estate market has come a long way since 2011, which is great news for homeowners!

Nearly 79% of homeowners with a mortgage in the US now have significant equity in their homes (defined as over 20%), according to the latest Equity Report. The challenge is that not every homeowner knows how much their home’s value has appreciated.

Homeowners in Denver, CO lead the way with 8.7% appreciation over the last year, while owners in Washington and Utah have experienced a 3% increase in values since the start of this year!

Nationally, CoreLogic forecasts that home values will increase another 5.0% by this time next year.

Bill Banfield, VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans, recently explained the importance of knowing the conditions in your area,

“With home values constantly changing, and the rates of change varying across the country, this is one more way to show how important it is for homeowners to stay aware of their local housing market.”

Bottom Line

Do you know what your house is worth? Have you stayed put because you are nervous you won’t have enough equity to buy your dream home? Let’s get together to perform an equity analysis and give you the freedom to achieve your dreams.

 

Click HERE to find out how much your home is worth today!

How Your Home’s Value Grows Your Family’s Wealth

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate 3.64% per year on average and to grow by 18.4% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey.

So, what does this mean for homeowners and their equity position?

As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home in January. If we look at only the projected increase in the price of that home, how much equity will they earn over the next 5 years?

Since the experts predict that home prices will increase by 5.0% this year alone, the young homeowners will have gained $12,500 in equity in just one year.

Over a five-year period, their equity will increase by nearly $49,000! This figure does not even take into account their monthly principal mortgage payments. In many cases, home equity is one of the largest portions of a family’s overall net worth.

Bottom Line

Not only is homeownership something to be proud of, but it also offers you and your family the ability to build equity you can borrow against in the future. If you are ready and willing to buy, find out if you are able to today!

Posted by The KCM Crew

 

How much has YOUR home value appreciated? Click HERE to see how much your home is worth!

9 Easy Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill by up to $750

With just a few simple adjustments, you can plug into big savings on your annual utility spending.

We all want to save energy and money, right? But it’s not always so easy — perhaps you don’t have the time for a home energy audit, or maybe there simply isn’t room in the budget for that energy-saving appliance you want.

No worries! Here are some quick and easy ways to reduce your home energy usage right now.

Reduce hot water usage

Don’t worry — you don’t have to take a low-flow shower! But heating up hot water does require energy, so take the simple and painless route:

  • Adjust the water heater’s temperature. Lower your water heater to 120 degrees F (49 degrees C). An added bonus — you’ll lower the risk of scalding accidents.

  • Don’t overuse the dishwasher. Try to run your dishwasher only once a day or when it’s completely full. See if your utility company offers savings for running appliances at off-peak times.
  • Wash clothes in cold water. Most modern detergents clean clothes very well with cold water. If you have items that you really need to wash in hot water, save them up and do one hot load every few weeks.

Projected savings: Up to $250 per year, depending on the number of people in your home.

Turn it off

Little things add up! An easy way to save money on your energy bill is turning off the lights, electronics, and other energy users when you’re not using them.

  • Leave a room, switch lights off. Make a habit of turning off everything in the room when you leave it — the TV, lights, your computer, etc.
  • Get the kids involved. Make a game out of turning off the lights instead of constantly reminding them to do it. Offer some sort of small, nonmonetary reward for remembering to turn off their bedroom lights for a week.
  • Install countdown timer light switches. For intermittently used rooms, such as the bathroom or laundry room, install a countdown timer light switch that will turn off the lights after a specified period, so you don’t ever have to worry about it.

Projected savings: Between $100-$300 per year, depending on the number of people and rooms in your home.

Heating and cooling bill savings

Generally speaking, the furnace and air-conditioner are the big energy hogs in your home. Here are some easy ways to reduce your dependence on them — and save money!

  • Use windows strategically. Install heavy drapes or blinds on windows located in sunny areas of your home. Open the blinds on cold days to take advantage of the sun’s warmth, and close them on warm days to block out the sun.
  • Install ceiling fans. This one takes a bit more effort than the others, but the payoff can be quite large. Run ceiling fans counterclockwise or downward during the summer to force cool air down into the room. Run them clockwise and upward in the winter to better distribute the warm air.

  • Adjust the thermostat. Yes, this sounds obvious, but one of the best ways to save on heating and cooling bills is simply lowering the thermostat in the winter and raising it in the summer! A programmable thermostat is ideal, but you can save money even with a traditional thermostat. In winter, lower your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees for at least eight hours — when you leave for work, before you go to bed, or both — then raise it when you’re back.  If you have air-conditioning, do this in reverse come summer.

Projected savings: From 10-30 percent on your heating and cooling bills each year.

Saving energy doesn’t have to be a chore. With some very simple lifestyle changes, you can reduce your carbon footprint and save big!

 

Posted by Jane Drill on Zillow

4 Steps to Take After Your Home Has Been Burglarized

What would you do if you came home and found your house was broken into and your property stolen? For millions of Americans every year, this nightmare is a reality. In 2010, there were 2,159,878 burglaries in the United States, equivalent to nearly 700 break-ins per 100,000 people, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Most victims in this situation find themselves totally unprepared and at a loss for what to do. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to regain control of the situation, improve the odds of recovering your property, and prevent your home from being broken into again.

Call the Police

Call the police when you spot the first sign of a break-in. The intruder may still be on your property and pose a threat to your safety. Seven percent of all home burglaries involve violence against household members, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

You also need to call the police to get your case on file for insurance and legal purposes. A police report and investigation increases the strength of your insurance claim as well as your odds of retrieving your property. The police also need to record crime scene evidence which can help convict suspects if they are caught. Don’t touch anything before the police arrive so that you don’t accidentally destroy evidence such as fingerprints.

When the police arrive, they will want you to file a report. Take pictures to document what was stolen, and provide the police with a list of everything that was taken and its approximate value. As a preventive measure, it’s wise to take an inventory of valuable items ahead of time in case you are ever robbed.

Call Your Insurance Company

You should also copy your list of stolen items for your insurance provider. To maximize your odds of receiving reimbursement for stolen items, contact your insurance provider within 24 hours. They will need your police report to process your claim, so make sure you have already filed a police report before calling. Your insurance provider will probably send an adjuster to review the crime scene, so in order to avoid disrupting the evidence, you may wish to stay somewhere else until they arrive, if possible.

Review Your Security Camera Footage

If you have security cameras installed on your property, you should review them to see if there is any additional evidence. If you’re fortunate, you may have captured footage of the burglar breaking in, walking through rooms, or rummaging through items. You may also notice more clues, as well as additional information about which items were stolen. Provide copies of any relevant footage to the police and to your insurance provider.

Evaluate Your Home Security

After the police and your insurance adjuster have finished reviewing the crime scene, you can begin cleaning up. You should also conduct a review of your home’s security with an eye towards preventing future burglaries. Once burglars have successfully broken into a home, they often return in the future, so it’s important to make sure you secure any vulnerabilities that enabled the initial break-in. The National Crime Prevention Council provides a home security checklist you can use to review your home security and identify any vulnerabilities that need to be fixed.

Having your home broken into is a traumatic and disturbing experience, but taking these steps can help you recover and restore your life to order as quickly as possible. Filing a report with the police, calling your insurance company, and reviewing your security footage will maximize your chances of getting your property returned and bringing those responsible to justice. Reviewing your home security can help prevent future burglaries and restore your peace of mind.

 

Posted by Roy Rasmussen on RISMedia