Aging in an Accessible Home

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elderlycouple1If you love your home and plan to live it in through your retirement years, you’ll want to be sure it’s safe for you as you face some of those little challenges aging presents. Assess your home and see if there are any changes you may need to make. Doing so will not only reduce the risk of injury, but it will also give your loved ones peace-of-mind, especially if you live alone.

Here’s what you’ll want to inspect as you consider aging in place:

1. Bathroom handrails. Next to the toilet and tub are top choices. Not only are they there for moments of instability, but they can help you raise and lower yourself more easily. You might also consider converting to a walk-in shower with a seat.

2. Non-slip surfacing. Showers and tubs are much safer if you reduce the chance of slippage. Having coating installed to facilitate your grip is a good idea.

3. Stairway railings. Both inside and outside stairways should have sturdy, useful rails (i.e. not just decorative).

4. Ample lighting. Consider adding lighting indoors and outdoors. Decreased visibility is a major contributor to falls. Lighting also adds security by deterring would-be burglars.

5. Sharp edges. Tables, countertops, and other areas were sharp edges are likely to be found should be replaced with rounded surfaces.

6. Flat thresholds. Transitions from room-to-room should be as bump-free as possible. You may be used to stepping over the occasional random stair or elevated threshold, but you might not be so agile as you age.

7. Storage height. If you’ve been used to climbing up and down step ladders to access your storage spaces, look for alternative storage options.

8. Furniture support. Is your couch too low? Do your chairs have arm rests for support? Are countertops too high? Find the sweet spot where comfort and safety meet.

Home size is often an issue as well, especially if there are upkeep and maintenance issues to consider. Of course, if you’ve decided your current home isn’t the greatest for an age-in-place approach to your golden years, we are happy to help you sell your current home or look for a new one:  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS – http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com 904-515-2479 The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside

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Tips for Adding a Bathroom to your Home

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20180105213409723228000000-oHave you been living with a single-bathroom home? Is the time here to consider adding an extra full-bathroom or “water closet” to your existing layout? First, know that of all the renovations you can make to a single-bathroom home, adding an extra bathroom is one of the soundest investments you can make. With rare exception, the money you put into a second bathroom should pay handsomely when you list your house in the future. The bathroom is one of the most-used rooms in your home and it can have a profound impact on how prospective buyers see your home in the future once you’re ready to move on. If you’ve been curious about the process or want to make the leap two a two-bathroom home without relocating, you’ll want to keep some tips in mind about this special renovation project.

1. Think about where you can add a bathroom versus where you think it’s ideal. You’ll want to identify where your existing water and waste lines are in the home. Adding a bathroom across the house ups the complexity and expense.

2. Single-story homes with crawl spaces have a bit more flexibility for adding a bathroom since crawl spaces provide easy access for running plumbing lines. If you have a two-story house, aligning your new bathroom (either upstairs or down) with your existing one can ease plumbing challenges.

3. Adding a tub can add value, especially if you suspect future buyers might have children.

4. Natural light and ventilation are a big plus. While fans are common and should be installed, being able to draw in sunlight or air out a bathroom via an exterior wall can really upgrade the luxury feel.

5. Always get the proper permits for work and only collaborate with licensed and bonded contractors. You want to make sure you’re covered in the event of any problems and you’ll definitely want to be able to show future buyers that your work is legit and up to code.

6. Choose high-end design fixtures where possible, especially if the bathroom is small. Innovative luxury options can make the room feel larger and really add that “wow” factor. Some nice-to-have options include a towel warmer and separating the toilet from the rest of the room via a “water closet” partitioning. Go with neutral palettes and classic tiles for a timeless effect. You can always jazz up the space with rugs, towels, or other bath accessories.

If adding a bathroom sounds like more hassle than it’s worth, you might want to consider your next move! We’d be happy to help you find a home with your dream bathroom already included! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS – The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

Protecting your Pipes in Winter

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Hey Jacksonville (and the rest of the United States), this article may come in handy right now! Don’t risk thousands of dollars in plumbing repairs… take the time to protect your pipes from bursting. When water freezes in your pipes, the ice expands, adding to the overall pressure in your home’s plumbing. When this force builds, it can cause pipes to split. In addition to plumbing repairs, you might find yourself on the hook for flooding damage, too.

The pipes most at risk? Those exposed to the lowest temperatures, of course. This includes plumbing on the exterior of the home, in exterior walls, and exposed pipes in those unheated zones of your home. Did you know that even a frozen garden hose can cause enough pressure to split an interior pipe? Be sure to disconnect and drain them. Faucets outside are vulnerable as well, so you’ll want to locate the shutoff valves for those spigots and make sure they’re drained before a freeze.

Naturally, if you’re not going to be around for the winter months, you’ll want to prepare your home before you head to a warmer climate. Don’t let the house drop below the mid-50s, and shut off the water main and be sure to drain the home’s plumbing by letting the faucets run to empty and flushing the toilets.

But what do you do if the freeze takes you by surprise? Here are some quick tips to try and save yourself from a plumbing nightmare:

1. Get the taps running. You don’t need a rushing stream of water, just make sure indoor and outdoor faucets are letting a steady drip out to keep the water moving.

2. Open up closed spaces. Have an unheated garage? Pipes in cabinets? Get warm air circulating in there by opening them up to climate-controlled areas of your home. The added heating expense is nothing compared to costly repairs.

3. Insulate pipes. If you suspect the pipes are starting to accumulate some ice, you can try hot towels (soaked in hot water) to loosen the frosty slush in the pipes.

4. Hair dryer to the rescue. When hot towels won’t help, don’t hesitate to get out your trusty hairdryer or heat gun to thaw things out. No open flames, though!

Finally, if you fear the worst is already upon you, turn off your water main. At least this way you won’t face a flood when things get moving again. Protect your home this winter!

Enjoy helpful home tips? Let us know and we’ll include you on our free, periodic mailings: Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of KellerWilliams Realty Atlantic Partners http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com 904-515-2479

 

What should we truly value this Christmas Time?

imagesAs we enjoy the holiday season, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the season when family and friends gather, and the big picture in terms of how we’re all expected to get along on this increasingly crowded planet of ours.

The holidays often put people around the table who may not normally see one another throughout the year. Far flung relatives, cousins, in-laws, and other guests-of-guests may come from all walks of life. Their political, religious, and social viewpoints may differ widely from our own. Yet when we see them during the holidays, we do our best to tolerate differences. Ideally, we look for ways to connect rather than provoke arguments.

Tolerance is not always the easiest value to embrace. Now, especially, we can find ourselves thrust into polemic arguments driven by political and media forces which command enormous attention and influence. Social media and a profound lack of face-to-face interaction makes it easier to distance ourselves from our mutual, essential humanity if we let it. It is easy to be intolerant. Easy to erect high walls. Easier than ever to segment and align ourselves with only those who agree with our values and sense of our role the world.

We would gently urge everyone to see the Christmas season as more than a time to buy gifts, give thanks for our blessings, and eat sweet treats. Let us remember to practice tolerance, acceptance, and recognize the importance of diversity in this world.

God Bless you and your family!

Kevin and Jennifer Hanley and The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside – www.HanleyHomeTeam.com 904-515-2479

10 Tip for Protecting your Home During Vacations

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imagesWe hope you all have a safe and relaxing time during your vacation this summer. It’s crucial that we all have time to recharge and recognize what’s important in life. We only go around once, so it’s important to savor what we have.

Before you leave town, we thought you might be interested in a few precautionary safety tips to keep your home and your possessions safe while you’re gone. Often in the run-up to a vacation, people neglect to take simple steps to protect themselves from becoming a victim of theft or vandalism.

You’ve probably covered your bases, but just in case, here are 10 basic precautions you can take:

1. Have someone collect your mail and newspaper daily.

2. Leave shades and blinds in normal positions.

3. Put at least two lights and a radio on automatic timers.

4. Have someone leave trash at your curb on garbage collection day.

5. Have someone park a car in your driveway occasionally. If you leave your car outside, arrange to have it moved every so often.

6. Leave a key with a trusted neighbor in case of an emergency. Let the neighbor know where you are going and when you are expect to return, also leave them a way to get in contact with you in case of an emergency.

7. Lock all windows and doors before you go. Do not forget to double-check basement and garage doors.

8. On extended trips have someone to maintain your landscaping, (grass mowed, leaves raked, etc.)

9. Consider turning off your home’s water main to prevent damage from a burst pipe.

10. Be careful how much you check-in on social media while on vacation. If your privacy settings are incorrect you might reveal to strangers your home is vacant!

Be safe and have a blast…

Is buying or selling your home a priority in 2018?  Give us a call and let’s make your New Year’s resolution a reality – Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

Forbes Names Keller Williams Realty Happiest Company to Work For in 2018!

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Click here for the article on Forbes.com

The 10 Happiest Companies To Work For In 2018

Companies that keep employees happy aren’t just helping their workers—they’re helping themselves, since satisfied workers are more productive. In fact, a mutual fund that invests in companies with positive workplace ratings, Parnassus Endeavor, has beaten the market handily over the past 10 years.

What are the organizations with the happiest employees? Careers site CareerBliss launched its eighth-annual list of the happiest companies in America. It surveyed tens of thousands of workers and asked them to rate their employers on ten key factors, such as their relationship with management, workplace environment, compensation, satisfaction with job function and growth opportunities.

To see the top 10 happiest companies to work for, open the gallery below. For the full list of 50, see the end of this article.

The 10 Happiest Companies To Work For In 2018

Keller Williams Realty takes the top spot. The Austin, Texas company has 139,000 agents across nearly 800 metro areas and claims to be the world’s largest real estate franchise by agent count. A Keller Williams Realty employee wrote on CareerBliss.com, “One of the greatest benefits is how our company promotes from within. All employees are encouraged and supported to be in control of their growth and career paths.”

Sneaker king Nike ranks second. It remains one of the most valuable brands in the world, and it’s navigating a big transition as more consumers shop online. In June it announced its “NIKE Direct” initiative—the company is trying to sell more of its products directly to consumers through its website and own stores, rather than rely on traditional retailers like Foot Locker.

Adobe is the fourth happiest company, according to CareerBliss. The Silicon Valley tech giant invented PDFs and launched them 1993. It claims PDFs have led to a 91% reduction in environmental impact and 90% cost savings when compared with paper-based processes. And Adobe’s Photoshop software is used by 90% of creative professionals. “The atmosphere is highly collaborative and energizing. People have always been friendly and helpful; very professional,” wrote one employee on CareerBliss.com.

Pharmaceutical giant Amgen ranks fifth. Arthritis drug Enbrel is its top-selling product, bringing in nearly $6 billion in sales last year. “The work-life balance is great, fantastic daycare on campus, lots of smart co-workers,” wrote one CareerBliss reviewer. “Working for Amgen was very rewarding to see the positive impact we made in patients’ lives,” reported a West Coast employee.

Full List: The Happiest Companies to Work for in 2018

  1. Keller Williams Realty
  2. Nike
  3. Total Quality Logistics
  4. Adobe
  5. Amgen
  6. Chevron
  7. Intuit
  8. Bristol-Myers Squibb
  9. PNC Financial Services Group
  10. TruGreen
  11. CIGNA
  12. Starbucks
  13. Apple
  14. Quicken Loans
  15. Leidos
  16. Qualcomm
  17. iGATE
  18. The Vanguard Group
  19. Citrix Systems
  20. Kaiser Permanente
  21. Chase
  22. Pfizer
  23. Fidelity Investments
  24. American Income Life Insurance Company
  25. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
  26. American Express
  27. GE Capital
  28. Merck
  29. American Airlines
  30. Microsoft
  31. Cisco Systems
  32. Nordstrom
  33. Exxon Mobil
  34. Alcatel-Lucent
  35. CenturyLink
  36. Bank of America
  37. The Walt Disney Company
  38. Wells Fargo
  39. Oracle
  40. Citigroup
  41. Broadcom
  42. Farmers Insurance Group of Companies
  43. DirecTV
  44. Dell
  45. Symantec
  46. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
  47. ABC News
  48. CareFusion
  49. Time Warner Cable
  50. Verizon Communications

Follow me on Twitter @JeffKauflin or email me at jkauflin[at]forbes[dot]com.

 

**Get in touch today to find out what makes us so happy!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

The Top 6 Spots Where Mold Makes Its Home

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spotlight1For a healthy home, monitoring and eliminating mold is crucial. Mold is sneaky, though, and it can creep up on you when you least expect it. Spores are known to stay dormant until they have the moisture and nutrients they need to bloom. While some forms of mold are obvious, others hide and thrive until musty smells become prominent or members of your family begin developing health problems.

To be a mold sleuth you need to know the top 6 spots where mold makes its home. Check this list to see spots you may have missed:

1. The Bathroom. Yes, it’s the most common, but are you checking all the spots in the bathroom? Toilet seals, wet walls, shower curtains, and beneath sinks are well-known spots, but it’s the shower where things can get grimy. To keep mold from penetrating the tiles, you need to be sure your caulking and grout is in good shape. Otherwise, water can seep in and make a new home for mold.

2. The Kitchen. Monthly, take a look under the sink, behind the fridge, and around the dishwasher. A quiet leak in any of these areas will up the odds of a mold problem.

3. The Basement (or Crawlspace). Darkness? Check. Proximity to the earth? Check. Hidden from view? You betcha. If basements flood or older homes have poor drainage and ventilation of the crawlspace, mold can take hold.

4. The Windows. Condensation can build up here as temperatures fluctuate, and spores hanging around can gradually take hold and bloom into a black, spotty mess. This is especially true if the windows are shaded or are routinely covered by curtains.

5. The Drywall. Here’s a hidden killer in the mold battle. When water gets into the materials which make up drywall, they can promote mold growth. To cure this problem you often have to remove considerable sections of drywall to identify and remove the mold. Your nose is your best guide here.

6. The Carpet. Much like drywall, carpet can hold mold and need to be replaced. The underside of carpet hides much of the visible mold, and culprits contributing to the cause include flooding, moisture from concrete foundations, or even spills.

We are your mold-free agents! Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

 

Top 10 Ways to Make Your Home Sell Faster

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37_2P5A4007-Edit_mlsThe devil is really in the details when buyers look at a home. Lots of everyday wear and tear that you don’t even notice can ding your home in the eyes of potential buyers. Here’s the Hanley Home Team’s list of ten simple improvements you can do to help your home sell faster:

1. Spruce up your baseboards: Pets, kids, and stumbling husbands in the dark can make a mess of your baseboards. Repainting baseboards after repairing scratches with putty can make the border of any room look new.

2. Fill in nail holes: Part of interior repainting should be careful attention to those errant nail holes from pictures, shelves, and other wall-mounted baubles. Putty, smooth, sand and paint!

3. Sniff for smokers: Filter replacement is a must if someone’s been puffing in your home. Also wash down those walls, prime them to seal in any cooked-in nicotine, and repaint. Be sure to check entryways and lawns for cigarette butts, too!

4. Review the roof: Do you have missing shingles? Broken tiles? Is mold and moss sprouting up there? Do some cleaning and spot replacing.

5. Reinforce your gutters: Clean them out, dry them out, then caulk them to prevent leaks. This will keep water off the siding, reducing staining and damage.

6. Replace bad vinyl floors: Not only are they tacky when they’re cracked or cut, but they can suggest water damage to buyers.

7. Repair dripping faucets: Buyers will turn faucets on and off. What will they find? If your sinks and baths dribble, fix them before buyers imagine their future headache.

8. Tune up screens: Did you have a dog that liked to lean against the front door? Look for the sagging, hanging, bent, and bubbling screens, especially around doors. New screens look clean. Old screens suggest neglect.

9. Patch cabinet scratches: Tibet Almond Stick, Old English Scratch Cover, or even some artful re-staining can make cabinets seem new. Remember to polish them up when you’re done!

10. Reseal wobbly toilets: If the bowl moves when you sit on it, the bolts are rusted, or the bathroom floor is damp and discolored around the commode, replace the toilet or at the very least reseal it.

By the way, you can also use our tools and search for properties on our website! http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com – Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS – The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479

Understanding Price Per Square Foot

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Price per square foot is a concept in real estate which is easy to understand and just as easy to misuse. The formula is pretty simple: To determine price per square foot, you take a price, such as sale price of a home, and divide it by the square footage of the property.

Price per square foot is useful in looking at broad market comparisons, such as comparing one entire metro area to another, or looking at an area’s average change over time. It is not, however, terribly accurate in figuring out the value of your home.

Why? Well, price per square foot fails to take into account the most important factors when pricing a home.

First and foremost, it makes assumptions about the home’s amenities. We all know the quality of materials used in home construction and the condition of the home’s appliances and other features can have a dramatic impact on the value of a home. A kitchen with Italian marble surfaces versus one with pressboard countertops will have completely different values. Price per square foot in a given neighborhood will blend these homes together and produce an average.

Second, price per square foot assumes locations are identical, but in almost any metro area there are up-and-coming neighborhoods as well as neighborhoods in decline. Price per square foot near an abandoned industrial zone will vary considerably from one near a well-established downtown district with a great walkability score.

Third, even the simple methodology of calculating price per square foot can be influenced by how the total number of square feet has been calculated. If one has a garage converted into a mother-in-law, and another home doesn’t, which square footage is valid? And what about home or lot size? Sometimes above or below-grade lots can influence the price per square foot as well.

Price per square foot is more useful in commercial situations where there is tremendous uniformity in the design, construction, and location, but as a tool for assessing your home’s market value, it’s flat out dangerous.

Want a real estimation of your home’s value in its current condition and location? We’d be happy to help. Get in touch today, and we’ll show you what goes into determining the optimal price for your home.  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS – The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.TheHanleyHomeTeam.com