2 Big Things Happening for Las Vegas Today (and another certainly worth mentioning)

First, Clark County School District is having an online Town-hall meeting today. This is supposed to begin at 4:30 and run for an hour; it’s all about the 2020-21 school year. The public is able to ask questions in advance. For details, click this link. If you have kids enrolled in a CCSD school, I’m sure you’ll want to watch this.

Second, The Vegas Golden Knights return to training camp today and NHL play is scheduled to start August 1 to potentially October 2. The hockey on television, with six games a day available early on in the process, will be an incredible spectacle. For more details, click this link.

Vegas Golden Nights NHL team
That’s my son and I at a game at T-Mobile arena

Notable; If you miss live theatre as much as I do, you will want to know that tonight, as well as Sunday 7/19 & Monday 7/20, the Las Vegas Little Theatre will present “The Quarantine Monologues”. It will only be presented on-line and is a collection of original monologues themed on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on our lives. There were almost 90 submissions from all over the country and 15 monologues were selected to be performed. The list of monologues being performed as well as how to enjoy it can be found right here.

Live Theatre returns to Las Vegas (or theater if you prefer)

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website 702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Maximizing Your Kitchen Space

The kitchen is the heart of the home and now that we are all home more than we used to be, it serves basically as the center of operations for most families,  which means it is probably the most trafficked area of your home. The kitchen should be functional and appealing plus well planned out.

The following are tips on how to have a kitchen that works for you and your family:

  1. Kitchen islands help enhance the kitchen in many different ways.  They help define the space the kitchen plus they also give you additional work and dining areas.  Many families like to change it up when it comes to eating meals adding bar stools to the kitchen island and gives a bar-like feeling to many dining experiences. If your house does not have room for a large island, you can buy smaller ones that are on wheels from many retailers.
  2. Extendable tables provide flexibility without have to put in table leafs.  All you have to do with an extendable table is lift and slide with a base table that expands.  Very good for projects you give the kids to do and still be in the same room.
  3. Eat-in kitchens have a very wide appeal with all types of families – couples, singles, and families with kids.  It is more casual than going into the dining room and is more highly functional.  You can figure out what type of table fits your needs better… a round or rectangular table.  The kind of materials the table is made of is also important – you want something that is easy to clean.  Glass tops are very popular, they create a sense of lightness.
  4. Lighting in the kitchen is important and chandelier lighting both sensible and esthetically pleasing.  Putting it on a dimmer is great for giving the room atmosphere.
  5. Mirrors and artwork help add a finishing touch to the space as they do in other areas of your home.
  6. You should think about a timeless look with a soothing color palette.  Many people go for white, taupe and grey a very neutral color scheme.  If you like more color try soft yellow or add a splash of red orange or even green – the colors found in nature.

Real estate is still being bought and sold.  Safety is our top priority.  The Jeff Howard Group will make a one-on-one appointment with you when you want to visit a property in person and we use masks, gloves and booties and of course social distancing.  Meetings can be done via Zoom or another platform, signing can be electronic and many homes have virtual tours set up for you to see – if they don’t, I can go and take a video for you.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

no foolin’ – I Got 3 months of Fender Play online guitar lessons for FREE (and you can too!)

There’s no catch! You don’t even have to give them a credit card number! Start learning guitar, bass and/or ukulele at home via your smartphone or computer today. Don’t have an instrument? Post on Nextdoor or Facebook to see who has one collecting dust (someone does… I guarantee it). Just make sure you sanitize it well before using it. And there’s even an app you can download that helps you magically tune your instrument!

Guitar  Image credit: William Iven from Pixabay

The current global situation has many people with a lot of spare time on their hands. To take their minds off of the current situation, many people are turning to music to help keep their spirits up. Surely, you’ve watched videos of various professional and amateur musicians entertaining themselves and others. So why not ensure this forced downtime is as productive as possible and learn a musical instrument? Worried about disturbing the rest of the house? That’s why this instrument is perfect! It’s not the drums or a trumpet! I took an old guitar into a bedroom and closed a door while my girlfriend was studying something new online in another room that she had always wanted to learn… she said I did not bother her at all.

According to this report from Fender, there are so many benefits to learning and playing the guitar; from reducing stress and inspiring creativity, to boosting your immune system, to help stave off Alzheimer’s disease. (their words, not mine).

Image credit: Kevin McIver from Pixabay

When this offer first hit the streets, Fender had limited the number of free subscriptions available to just 100,000. In an amazing demonstration of generosity, they’ve just increased the offer to 500,000. If you or a loved-one missed out the first time, don’t let it pass you by this time.

Fender Play features an ever-increasing bounty of easy-to-follow, instructor-guided videos to help new musicians get underway, as well as developing players who are a little further along on their musical journey. I took 1 guitar lesson here in Las Vegas a few years back and found Fender’s online instruction much easier to follow

“How do I get started?”, you ask? Just visit fender.com/playthrough to redeem your code. Once you have your code you can download the app via Google Play or the App Store and sign into your account. You can also sign into Fender Play via web/desktop.

Image credit: Lubov_ph from Pixabay

Learning songs is a fundamental part of musical development and, in addition to the lessons, the Fender Play library is packed with jam tracks by artists from America to ZZ Top, and there are current artists like Ed Sheeran, Sia and Shawn Mendes. If you’ve been looking for a new hobby or a way to get creative during the uncertain weeks and months ahead, the Fender Play app could be the virtual music teacher you’ve been waiting for.

Hopefully there will be a few silver linings come out of this global pandemic, and if the world has more musicians, I happen to think that would be amazing!

Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want 3 cash offers? Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Love Vintage? Go to Vin’tique – a new store in the West Valley

After renting booths in antique malls, Julie Henderson, Mary Jo Putman (White & Weathered) and Mary Apple are proud to open a store that will connect with their fellow vintage lovers.

The store is located at 7871 W Charleston suite 150, Las Vegas, NV 89117 (just west of Buffalo). This store is different than any other antique store in the area; the owners felt a distinct need to come together as vendors and display their products alongside each other’s in order for the pieces to be complimentary and cohesive. Shopping here is a lovely experience – from the music played in the store to the coffee and goodies for shoppers to enjoy.

The goal of the store is that antique and vintage shoppers from the Las Vegas area will visit the shop and notice the quality of pieces that are on display. Shoppers should feel at home and spend time in the relaxing space that has been created looking at all the pieces of quality vintage they offer. Hopefully you will find at least one item you desire to bring back to your home.

Vin’tique sells a variety of types of items – Home Décor, Vintage Clothing and Antique Furnishings.  Your style may range from Eclectic to Mid Century Modern to Farmhouse to Granny Chic and anything in between, and you most likely will find at least one item that you will fall in love with.  The inventory changes daily as they are constantly bringing in latest finds, which means you are always welcome to stop by regularly and see what is new!

They offer very eclectic pieces in every category, and there’s just something fun about spending time in a great vintage shop, so drop by and check it out!

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Outdoor Kitchens Trends

It’s March and the family can’t wait to eat outdoors and enjoy the outdoor kitchen.  Wait – you don’t have one??  Well now is a great time to have one added to your backyard.  They come in all shapes and sizes and what once were thought as a fad has become more popular every year (and can add value to your home!!!)

So now you want to add this feature – you might be interested in making sure that your new kitchen fits with the current trends in outdoor kitchen design. You also might want to make sure you include essential elements of a great outdoor kitchen.  The following are a few hot trends to help you form the design of your new outdoor kitchen.

Rustic Looks Are King – Not so long ago outdoor kitchens were little more than blocks of brick and mortar with an oven or grill built in. In today’s world they have grown into as much as a full kitchen – plus their overall look has grown as well. One of the really popular trends in outdoor cooking spaces is to give them a rustic or even semi-rustic look; brick and stone still play a part, but so do aged wood and similar accents like corrugated metal. Brick flooring and rustic whitewashing are also fairly popular, as they give the whole kitchen area a very part-of-the-home feel.

Semi-Outdoor Chic – There are some outdoor kitchens that are completely separate from the home, however one growing trend is to build them into a covered deck area or other space that connects to the home. Adding a bit of roofing and a few partial walls or supports capitalizes on the outdoor feel of the space while still giving you a bit of privacy and control over the space you’ll be cooking in.

Accessible Food Prep – When outdoor kitchens first started becoming popular the usual step was to do all the food prep inside and then bring things out to cook. Over the course of time homeowners have shifted toward wanting to do some (if not all) of their prep outdoors as well. This means that modern outdoor kitchens provide access to counter-space, butcher block cutting boards that are built in to the surface, and other prep-area essentials. They also offer up sinks and other sources of water, and many include mini-fridges to keep fresh ingredients cool until they’re needed as well. Some outdoor kitchens even come equipped with dishwashers to provide beginning-to-end cooking solutions!  Don’t you love this idea?  No mess to drag back into your home.

Pizza Ovens Remain Popular – A lot of outdoor kitchens got their start as an excuse to install brick pizza ovens, and these outdoor ovens remain popular today. The types of pizza ovens that people want have evolved a bit, however. While you’ll still see plenty of very basic brick pizza ovens, clay ovens and more traditional gas or electric ovens are also gaining popularity. The type of pizza oven you choose depends largely on personal preference, just so long as there’s a place for you to cook a pizza out there somewhere.

Outdoor Storage – One other major trend in outdoor kitchens is an increase in available storage space for various tools and other kitchen implements. Some of these spaces are simple, with shelves or reclaimed crates as a place to hold items temporarily. Others are much fancier, including “windows” attached to the house that open to reveal service settings and everything else you need to enjoy a good meal outdoors. There are lockable storage solutions, open-air storage solutions and just about everything else that you can think of available. Some people like to include all the storage that you would want in your regular kitchen when building a kitchen outdoors.

Bar – Many outdoor kitchens will include a bar area. Some will even go so far as to install a kegerator with beer taps. Many of your favorite brews are available from your local liquor stores in kegs or half-kegs. You can also have an icemaker installed so you don’t have to lug bags of ice to the party.

Are you loving the idea of an outdoor kitchen but aren’t really sure where to start? Just contact me – Jeff Howard – your realtor for life –I have a list of licensed professional contractors that can deal with all the aspects of building an outdoor kitchen for you.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Just in time for the New Year – the Las Vegas Metro Police Substation will be Opening in Summerlin

First, I want to take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.  2020 begins a new decade with continued growth in the city we call home, Las Vegas…

…Construction of the newest Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is now complete and officially opening on January 25.

The substation is located at 11301 Red Point Drive, near Summerlin Parkway and Far Hills Avenue. This 24,000 square foot facility was funded by The Howard Hughes Corporation on donated land by the same corporation and will be deeded to the Metropolitan Police Department upon completion.  This station is expected to have 168 commissioned personnel and 16 civilian staff members.

Captain Sasha Larkin will be heading up the new substation to oversee operations once it opens.  According to Tom Warden, senior vice president of community and government relations for Summerlin this substation has been planned for many years ago as a part of the master-planned community of Summerlin.  Warden commented “Having a substation located within the community that is designated to serve all of Summerlin will go a long way in helping to keep safe and protected as it grows.”

There is an open house scheduled for February 4, with the doors open to the public at 5:45 p.m. Will I see you there?

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want 3 cash offers? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Bargain Buying 101: Things to Look for In a Deal when Buying a New Home

Great you and your family have decided to purchase a new home along with the New Year.  It’s not uncommon to face a little bit of sticker shock when it comes to price. This can often lead buyers to try to find a good balance between what they want and what they can afford. However, if you’re smart and maybe a little lucky, you may be able to find some really great deals if you know what to look for.  Plus having a great Realtor can help a lot.

There are some key things to look for in finding a good deal.  Look for properties that have qualities that might seem unappealing at first but that can be corrected fairly easily. Some of these things can drive prices down significantly but won’t require a major renovation to fix. If you’re hoping to find a bargain, here are a few things to look out for.

Ugly Paint – There’s a lot of damage that can make your paint look ugly, however sometimes the paint is just ugly because someone chose to bring together colors that should never coexist. It could be awful colors, it could be cheap paint that’s faded over time or it could even be an amateur paint job that never got touched up. Regardless of the reason for the ugly paint job, it can drive the price of the property down by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. It doesn’t even have to be the entire house; one ugly room can give you an opportunity to find a good deal on an otherwise nice property.

Landscaping IssuesA property’s front yard is one of the first things that a potential buyer sees. If it’s obviously been neglected or has bald patches and overgrown flower beds, this can make a negative first impression since it suggests that the house itself might not have been taken care of either. That isn’t always the case, though. Even if the house is in good condition, a yard that needs some TLC can usually trim off some money from the asking price and help you to net a great deal.

Fixtures and Accents – There are a lot of cosmetic elements in houses that can start looking rough over time. Handles and knobs can come loose or become tarnished, shutters can get loose, and bathroom tiles can become cracked… the list goes on. While updating these issues won’t break the bank, many sellers will drop their asking price quite a bit due to how these little things make the house look.

Bathroom Concerns – A lot of buyers shy away from houses that have obvious bathroom problems, causing those sellers to bring the price down significantly in many cases. Depending on the extent of the issues in the bathroom, there could be a real opportunity here. If the problem with the bathroom is mostly cosmetic, then you may be able to fix it on the relatively cheap side and save a lot of money in the process. Just be sure to keep an eye out for signs of water damage or mold, since that could indicate problems that would be much more expensive to fix.

All of the issues I have made you aware of are cosmetic and are easy fixes.  Some of you might be very handy and can do what needs to be fixed by yourself.  Others might want to find a great handyman (or woman) to do this work.  I have lists of people to recommend to you that are good at fixing up, painting and landscaping.  They are all trustworthy and reliable.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want 3 cash offers? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

No More Loan Limits for VA Loans: What This Means for Veterans (Hooray!)

There is a lot to be thankful for this holiday season especially for members of the military on active duty and veterans hoping to buy a home a more expensive home.

Starting next year, they’ll be able to take out Veterans Affairs–backed mortgages as large as their bank accounts will allow.

This is thanks to the Blue Water Navy Veterans Act of 2019; -veterans will be able to buy larger homes in pricier communities without having to put down a cent. However, they must still qualify for their mortgage and be able to afford the monthly payments.

Kyle Reed, an Austin Texas based Realtor stated “It gives the veterans the opportunity to buy homes in the areas they want to be in. It opens up some areas in cities to VA loans … that maybe veterans didn’t have access to before without putting a bunch of money down.”

VA loans up until now, were capped at different amounts across the country. For example, borrowers could take out more in ultra -pricey cities like San Francisco than in Detroit, where homes cost a whole lot less. As long as they stayed within those boundaries they could get a mortgage with a 0% down payment. But if they exceeded those limits, they had to put down 25% of the difference. The change goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Mike Villano of the Veterans Lending Group near Seattle Washington stated “There’s not a lot of VA buyers who are buying these very high-dollar homes, but there are some; however there’s a lot of places where these folks go and serve, and it’s very expensive.”

The problem is that not all lenders are likely to be comfortable making huge loans without imposing a few restrictions of their own. The VA typically backs up to 25% of a VA loan. So banks, credit unions, and other loan makers are likely to set up some internal rules (usually called layers) to protect against defaults.  Some lenders require higher credit scores or debt-to-income ratios to qualify for the loans. And some lenders may even impose their own caps on how much money borrowers can take out.

In addition, mortgage lenders pointed out that the limitless loans will apply only to a borrower’s primary home. That can be problematic for those on active duty, who might buy a home near their base, get stationed somewhere else, and then choose to buy a second home in that location while renting out the first.

Plus if they already have a VA loan on another property, they can’t get the full perks of the loan on a second one. This means they may be on the hook for a down payment or can qualify for only a smaller loan for their new abode. “It would really help a lot of families if they could retain their current home and still be able to purchase at their new duty station with no cap,” says Villano.  Maybe down the road the rules will be modified to include second homes.

If you want a VA loan (or any kind of mortgage), I have a few great lenders I would be happy to introduce you to!

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want 3 cash offers? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Power Surges – Myth or Reality?

A couple of year ago, I was in one of my furnished rental properties, when suddenly (and seemingly for no reason) the lights all got very bright, then burned out and it suddenly smelled like an electrical fire. It turns out, the house had a huge power surge! For some reason, one of the TV’s had a good surge protector, and the other had none at all. Well, as you can probably guess, we had to replace 1 TV, along with the microwave & stove, and several light bulbs. For some reason the washer and dryer were fine. Power surges can wipe out TVs, video games, appliances and many more electronic devices.  This is nothing new – power surges have been in our lives since the invention of electricity, and most of them are more subtle.  However, it is more of a concern these days due to our increased use of electronics.

Basically a power surge is a spike in your home’s electrical current. The spike is very brief, usually lasting less than a thousandth of a second, but it can still cause damage to your anything that is plugged in.

Be certain not to confuse power strips with surge protectors! They look very similar; however, a surge protector will have those words on the box along with a rating in joules!  Essentially, more joules equal better protection, as this means the device can handle one large surge, or multiple smaller surges, before your gear is in danger. Over time, the parts inside the protector wear down, reducing its effectiveness, so you probably want to replace them from time to time… especially the ones hooked up to your most expensive electronics. They are the easiest and least expensive fix for properties with circuit breakers built in.  If you want more protection, consider that phone and cable lines can carry power spikes too. Some surge protectors have connectors for these as well. Many surge protector models will light a warning lamp if the outlet into which they’re plugged isn’t properly grounded. Most do-it-yourself and hardware stores also sell inexpensive circuit testers that are simply plugged into outlets to confirm that circuits are grounded properly.

Also you can install a whole house surge protector at your electrical panel.  I would advise you to have a licensed electrician set this up for you.  This installation will likely cost between $300 to $500. This will monitor electrical spikes and dissolve them safely into the ground before they can do any damage.

During holiday time it’s a good idea to plug in any lights you use in decorating to a surge protector. Has this every happened to you? Share your story below!

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Why you should Brine your Turkey this (and every) Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is next week and if you volunteered to roast the Thanksgiving turkey this year and are starting to feel a bit nervous I have three words of advice: Brine your bird. Brining will make sure your turkey will be a juicy and full-flavored even if you’re not feeling confident about your roasting skills.

The turkey is a relatively lean bird, particularly the breast meat, meaning that it doesn’t have a lot of fat to help keep the meat from becoming dry and tough. This is where brining comes in. Brine is a very basic solution of 4 quarts of water and 1 cup of salt, and by giving our turkey a long and luxurious dunk in this solution; we can actually coax a bit more moisture and flavor into our meal.  There are also some aromatic options: bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, juniper berries, allspice berries, orange peels, lemon peels, to add to the brining mix.  There are many stores in the Las Vegas area that sell kits for brining – Sprouts, Bed Bath and Beyond, Whole Foods and Lowes and of course you can order a kit from Amazon.com.

During brining, the turkey absorbs extra moisture, which in turn helps it stay more moist and juicy both during and after cooking. Since the turkey absorbs salt along with the other flavors in the water, getting nicely seasoned from the inside out. Also the salt breaks down some of the turkey’s muscle proteins, which helps with the overall moisture absorption and also prevents the meat from toughing up quite so much during cooking.

The only downside to brining a turkey is that it takes up a good amount of fridge real-estate. First, find a pot or bucket big enough to comfortably hold the turkey and keep it fully submerged. Next rearrange the fridge to make enough space. If you’re okay meeting these two conditions, then you are good to go!

Brine only turkeys that have not been pre-treated in any way, which should be clearly stated on the label. Do not use turkeys labeled as “kosher,” “enhanced,” or “self-basting” for brining. These turkeys have already been enhanced with salt in some way and brining would result in an over-salted turkey. If your label doesn’t say any of these things or give any indication that it has been pre-treated, then it’s safe to assume you’re getting the turkey and nothing but the turkey, and you’re clear to proceed with brining.  Also it’s fine to brine a partially thawed turkey. The thawing process will continue while the turkey is in the brine.

You cook a brined turkey just as you normally would whether brined or not. Once it’s out of the brine, pat it dry and rub it with any spices you were planning to use (although you can skip the salt!). You can also baste the turkey with juices or brush it with butter as it roasts.  You might find that a brined turkey might cook a little faster than a non-brined bird, so it is recommended starting to check the internal temperature.

The following is step by step instructions to help make your brining easier.

  1. Find a pot or food-safe bucket large enough that you will be able to entirely submerge the turkey. Next, clear some refrigerator space and make sure your pot will fit. (You may have to remove shelves)
  2. Unwrap your turkey and remove the giblets, then transfer it to the pot. Add any aromatics you’d like to use.
  3. Heat 1 quart of water in the microwave until warmed — it doesn’t need to come to a boil, just be warm enough to dissolve the salt. Add the salt and stir until the salt is dissolved. Let the liquid cool slightly; it’s fine if it’s still a touch warm. Also add the other flavors at this time.
  4. Pour the brine solution over the turkey. 
  5. Add the remaining 3 quarts cold water. This dilutes the salt solution to the best ratio for brining and also helps further cool the solution.
  6. Make sure the turkey is completely submerged.If needed, prepare more brine solution at a ratio of 1/4 cup salt per quart of water to completely submerge the turkey.
  7. If the turkey floats, weigh it down with a dinner plate. Cover and place it in the refrigerator.
  8. Brine the turkey in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
  9. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Clean your sink thoroughly after doing this step to avoid cross-contamination.
  10. (optional).If you desire, let the turkey air-dry overnight in the refrigerator. Place the turkey on a roasting rack set inside a roasting pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap to prevent cross contamination. This drying step will give your turkey crispier skin.
  11. You can roast the turkey either immediately after brining or after air-drying. I’ve found that brined turkeys tend to cook a bit more quickly, so roast as usual, but start checking the turkey’s temperature an hour before the end of your estimated cooking time.

This might seem overwhelming for first time briner’s, however it is totally worth it – a brined turkey is so good you will always brine your turkeys after tasting the delicious turkey and have your family and friends compliment you on the best bird they have eaten.

It’s funny… I have actually compared staging a home before selling it to brining a turkey… sure you’ll be fine if you don’t do it. However, if you do, the results are dramatically better! (and I always like “better”)

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff