Daryl Lippman's Blog
Each year, flooding causes more than eight billion dollars in damages to homes in the United States. Despite that, many affected homeowners go on to sell their houses so that they can relocate. When your home has damage from a tropical storm, heavy rains, or rising water from a hurricane, here are ways to help your home retain its value.
The crucial first 48 hours
Do your best to minimize the damage. If you know flooding is possible, use sandbags around the foundation, board up windows, fill in crevices around vents and pipes with expandable waterproof insulation. After damage occurs, in the first two days, it is essential that you go through this checklist as quickly and thoroughly as you can.
- Protect yourself. Flood water often has contaminants and dangerous materials, mold and bacteria. If your flooding includes back-up sewerage, this is especially crucial. Wear industrial-quality gloves, rubber boots, masks, and other protective gear.
- Make lists of the damage. Walk around your home and write down everything that is affected by the water. Separate the list by those items attached to your home and those that are separate such as furnishings and personal belongings. These could be very long lists, so write down everything.
- Take photos of all the damage with your smartphone or digital camera. Capture images of the walls, floors, cabinets, outlets, doors, windows, and ceiling if water leaked in from above — document everything.
- Contact your insurance company. They will send out a catastrophic storm damage adjuster to assess the damages. Even if FEMA may cover the costs, ask your insurance adjuster to document everything as well. Compare their list to yours to make sure nothing is left off. Your insurance company may be able to help you restore and repair much of the damage. Professionally mitigated and restored damage makes a tremendous difference when you go to sell your home.
- Once you've documented everything, remove anything that retains moisture from the house. These include carpet and padding, fabric, bedding, furniture, clothing, drywall, and insulation. Doing so lowers the opportunity for mold to take hold in the house. It only takes mold 48 hours to begin germinating, so time is of the essence.
- Rent a dehumidifier to dry out your home. If your HVAC system is unaffected, run the air (heat or cold depending on outdoor temperatures) to help dry things out, too.
- Using a utility knife, cut away and discard any damaged or wet drywall or wallboard and any damp insulation behind it. Spray the remaining walls and the framing of the damaged walls with a solution of nine-parts water with one-part bleach.
Repair or Sell "As-Is."
Make all repairs that your insurance or FEMA covers. If other repairs remain, you might decide to fix them yourself or sell your home just as it is. If you completely restore your home, it likely will sell for more. But if the return on your investment isn't high enough, you may end up losing out in the long run. Here is where you need the advice of a professional. Your real estate agent can help you determine which items to repair and which won't give you any return. Remember, though, that if your relocation is time-sensitive, whatever sells quicker can save you in the long run.
As a homebuyer, it may be beneficial to establish goals. Because once you know what you want to accomplish during the homebuying journey, you can take the necessary steps to achieve your homebuying aspirations.
Now, let's take a look at three factors to consider as you develop homebuying goals.
1. Your Dream Home
Define your dream house – you will be glad you did. If you know what you want to find in your ideal residence, you can map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
Generally, it helps to make a list of house must-haves before you launch a home search. This list should include any features you require from a residence, along with your preferred cities and towns.
If you need a home that provides convenient access to your office in the city, for example, owning a house in or near the city itself is a must. Or, if you require a home that offers ample space for you and your kids, you can search for residences that provide multiple bedrooms and play areas.
2. Your Homebuying Budget
When it comes to buying a house, it is beneficial to get your finances in order. That way, you can hone your home search to residences that fall within your price range.
Meeting with banks and credit unions allows you to learn about a broad assortment of mortgage options. These financial institutions can teach you about different types of home financing. Then, you can select a mortgage and enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.
3. Your Homebuying Timeline
Consider how long it will take you to find and purchase a home that matches your expectations. If you establish a homebuying timeline, you may be better equipped than ever before to optimize your time and resources as you search for your dream residence.
Of course, it helps to maintain a flexible homebuying timeline. And if you encounter challenges during the homebuying journey, you can adjust your timeline as needed.
For those who plan to pursue a home, it may be helpful to hire a real estate agent, too. If you employ a real estate agent, you can get the support you need to navigate the homebuying journey like a pro.
A real estate agent is happy to help you explore a variety of homes in your preferred cities and towns. If you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence. Plus, if your offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will guide you along the final stages of the homebuying journey.
As you prepare to conduct a home search, you may want to develop goals. If you begin a home search with a plan, you could streamline the process of finding and purchasing your ideal residence. Best of all, you may be able to acquire a first-rate house that will serve you well for an extended period of time.
When it comes to moving, how do you pack up food and ensure it will safely make it from Point A to Point B? There are many challenges associated with packing and storing food while you move. Fortunately, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of packing up food so that you can enjoy it once you reach your new home.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can quickly and effortlessly pack your food and transport it to a new address.
1. Get Rid of Any Expired Food Items
Go through your pantry and remove any expired or soon-to-expire food items. That way, you won't have to worry about transporting these items to your new address on moving day.
In addition, you should try to eliminate food waste. For soon-to-expire foods, consume them before it's too late. Or, you can always offer these items to friends or family members.
2. Pack Fragile Food Items Carefully
Flour, sugar and other fragile food items likely require extra attention when you pack. If you dedicate the necessary time and resources to pack fragile food items carefully, you can eliminate the risk that these items could leak or spill while you're moving.
Heavy-duty, sealable containers are ideal for storing fragile food items. These containers usually are easy to find at supermarkets and retail outlets and will ensure your food items will remain safe and secure at all times.
Furthermore, don't forget to cover salt and pepper shakers. Place a piece of masking tape over the top of these shakers, and you can prevent the shakers from spilling out.
3. Use Appropriate Moving Boxes
Moving boxes come in many sizes, and when you're packing food items, you'll want to use the right-sized boxes. By doing so, you may be able to store various food items in the same box – something that may help you unpack quickly once you reach your final destination.
In most instances, small and medium-sized moving boxes are perfect for food items. These boxes offer plenty of space. Plus, with the right-sized moving boxes in hand, you may be able to avoid the temptation to stuff too many heavy food items into a single box.
If you need additional support with packing food items or other belongings, you may want to discuss your options with a professional moving company. This business employs friendly, knowledgeable staff members who can help you prepare for moving day.
Lastly, it never hurts to collaborate with a real estate agent, either. In addition to helping you buy or sell a house, a real estate agent can offer recommendations about moving companies in your area. Therefore, a real estate agent can provide extra help as you search for ways to streamline the moving process.
Simplify the process of moving your food items from one location to the next – use the aforementioned tips, and you can ensure all of your food items will arrive intact at your new address.
How many times have you heard yourself say (or think) something very similar to this: "One of these days, I'm going to organize my closet(s)"? If not your closets, then it's your basement, attic, or garage that needs decluttering, organizing, and/or cleaning.
Question: Are you one of those homeowners (or apartment dwellers) who keeps saving things you don't need, and then finally gets around to sifting through it all when mountains of clutter have taken over your valuable storage space? If that sounds all-too-familiar, then don't worry; you're not alone! Unfortunately, the easiest thing about organizing your home is putting it off until another day.
There comes a point, though, at which clutter takes over your life. Symptoms you're moving in that direction include an inability to find things and the inexplicable disappearance of storage space (actually, there's a perfectly rational explanation for it)! So if the "clutter monster" has been rearing its ugly head in your home in recent months, here are some causes and possible solutions to the problem.
- You know you have a lot of junk, but you're not sure what to do with it. Well, first of all, "one man's junk is another man's treasure," so things you no longer have any use for may be very useful to charitable groups, community fund drives, or homeless shelters. In addition to giving stuff away, you could also offer free or inexpensive things to people in your social media network, hold a yard sale, or offer gently used hand-me-downs to relatives and friends. If your unwanted stuff is actually junk (by anyone's standards), then it might be worth it to have a local junk hauling service pick it up at your house and properly dispose of it. An alternative is to rent a dumpster for a few days and fill it up at your convenience. The cost may be surprisingly affordable, and the amount of living and storage space you'll reclaim in your home will make it all worthwhile. You never know until you get a quote or two!
- You just can't seem to motivate yourself to get started! Procrastination is one of the leading causes of household clutter, but there are solutions. One strategy is to announce to your significant other, best friend, or parents that you're going to devote two or three hours on Saturday (or Sunday) to straightening out your closets, basement, or garage. The value of telling someone else of your intentions is that it sort of puts you on the hook and makes you accountable. A similar approach is often used for dieting, exercising, or spending quality time with your kids. Even though two or three hours of work probably won't transform your home into a model of organization, you'll at least have gotten started and made a dent in the project. For most people, the biggest hurdle to getting organized is getting started!
Many people suffer from allergy symptoms throughout the year without ever realizing that it's indoor allergens that are triggering them. If you find that you constantly have dry, itchy eyes or you feel like you are constantly sneezing regardless of the season, then you may want to take steps to reduce indoor allergens and subsequently improve your indoor air quality.
Here are a few easy ways that you can minimize the indoor allergens in your home while simultaneously purifying the air in your home:
Dust and Vacuum Every Few Days
No one likes to spend their free time doing chores, but you may find that it's beneficial to take the time to dust and vacuum throughout your house at least twice per week. By keeping your house clean and tidy, you will reduce the number of dust mites in your home. Most people find that this helps reduce the symptoms of indoor allergies significantly in a short amount of time.
Open Your Windows Regularly
There's nothing like a fresh breeze flowing through your home, but many people mistakenly believe that they should only open the windows on warm and sunny days. However, if you suffer from indoor allergies, you may find that it's best to crack the windows open at least once or twice a week - regardless of the weather. The fresh air will work to purify the indoor air. The only time that you may want to consider keeping those windows shut tight is if pollen levels are high outside. If there is too much pollen swirling about, it's bound to get into your home through the open windows and trigger your allergies.
Change Your Air Filters Once Per Month
Your HVAC system has air filters within it that trap dust, dirt and dander that circulate throughout your home. These filters work to help keep the air inside your home clean, but if you do not change them they will become clogged with debris. Not only will this impact the air quality in your home and make your indoor allergies worse, but it also reduces the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Experts recommend changing your filters at least once every 30 days.
Take Care of Indoor Plants and Monitor for Signs of Mold
When not properly taken care of, indoor plants can become an ideal home for mold spores. If you keep indoor plants in your home, water them according to their individual needs. Some plants will develop mold if watered too often.
In addition to minimizing the severity and frequency of your allergy symptoms, by taking steps to reduce indoor allergens you also will enjoy fresher air inside your home. This may offer additional health benefits, and you will likely find that your clean and fresh space simply feels better to be in.