My Thoughts on Reverse Mortgages

I recently read an article in Investopedia entitled “5 Signs a Reverse Mortgage Is a Bad Idea” and I thought I might learn something new about reverse mortgages. All I saw was a “glass half full” explanation of them. Let’s be honest, every financial tool is not perfect for every situation, and if you are over 62, you may be considering a reverse mortgage, so let me tell you what I think about them. Then, read other opinions and decide for yourself.

What is a reverse mortgage? Let’s start with what is a mortgage? (just in case). If you are clear what a mortgage is, skip to the next paragraph. A Mortgage (called a Deed of Trust in some states) is a loan, secured by real estate, and they were really made popular after the Great Depression when the time to repay was stretched from 5 years to 30 years. That’s right, many years ago, if you could not pay off your house in 5 years you couldn’t buy one, and the Federal Government stepped in to create the 30 year mortgage in order to increase homeownership. When you buy a home, most people borrow most of the money and the repayment is usually spread out over 30 years. We won’t get too deep into amortized interest here, so suffice it to say that for the first several years, most of your payment goes to pay interest, and a small portion goes to pay down the amount you need to repay (principal). Usually, your real estate taxes and homeowner’s insurance are also bundled into that payment. You also might pay a fee called Mortgage Insurance, which is essentially an insurance policy in case you can’t pay your mortgage and they need to begin collection proceedings. Yes, they can take your home away if you do not pay your mortgage (that’s fair, right?).

So, what is a reverse mortgage? Well, it’s a mortgage that works in reverse… With a mortgage, you start with a high balance, and pay it down. If you stay in mortgage for the full 30 year term and never make extra payments, at the end of the term, you no longer owe a mortgage payment (you still owe real estate taxes and homeowner’s insurance). In a reverse mortgage, you start with a low loan balance (as low as zero if you have paid your house off already) and your balance increases as you receive money. You must start with at least 50% equity, so if your home is worth $400,000 and you owe less than $200,000, you have enough equity. You could also use a reverse mortgage to buy a $400,000 home with a $200,000 down payment and, because the house is going to pay you, you do not need to have good credit or income.

What? Why would I receive money from my house? That sounds like a scam to me!

Based on my conversations with people, there are 4 primary reasons people don’t get a reverse mortgage when they should, and the above reason is

#1. People think it must be a scam, so let me explain why a bank would send you money. Remember, the loan is secured by real estate, and banks are just investors who are in business to make money by loaning it out. And if you remember that you must be 62 or older to obtain a reverse mortgage, then you’ll realize that you are closer to the end of your life than the beginning, and reverse mortgage is only valid while you are alive and living in the home. When you die, the bank loan must be paid off. The 2 most common ways this happens is that your heirs pay off the loan by getting a new mortgage, or they sell the property. If there is any money left over after selling it, the heirs get to keep it. However (and this is pretty cool) if there is not enough money from the sale to pay off the loan, your heirs do not owe the difference. Now you can see, it makes business sense for a bank to offer a reverse mortgage.

#2 (THIS IS FALSE) People think the bank will eventually foreclose on me and kick me out! As long as you are alive and living in the home, the bank cannot take it away from you. The worst thing they can do is stop sending you money if they have sent you the maximum they originally agreed upon, and very often, by the time they have sent you that amount of money, the home has gone up substantially in value, however it is possible that you stop receiving money. In fact, if you really beat the odds and live to a healthy 150 years old, the bank will just have to wait until you die (or voluntarily move), in order to get the mortgage paid back. Of course, interest will continue to accrue, but remember, your heirs do not owe the difference if the sale does not bring in enough to pay what is owed.

What if you are still alive and want to move? Just like any home you own with a mortgage, sell the home, pay off the mortgage, and move. No problem. Which brings me to reason

#3. There are high upfront fees to get a reverse mortgage. Now these high fees, spread out over many years, seem reasonable to me. And let’s be honest, when I die, I can’t take the rest of the money with me, so personally, I am ok with spending that money today to not have a house payment in my later years and create some additional income. Which brings me to reason

#4 If you get reverse mortgage, you are spending your children’s inheritance (or at least some of it). This is a true statement! The more you spend while you’re alive, the less your heirs will receive when you are gone. So here is how I view this; when you’re gone, (depending on what you believe) you will not get to watch them spend it anyway, so if you want them to enjoy your money, why not have them enjoy it with you? Get the reverse mortgage and use the money to spend your last years creating wonderful memories with the ones you love! Also, as a parent, I believe it is my job to teach my children the life skills they need to surpass my accomplishments, not to just leave them a pile of money when I am gone.

Closing thoughts:

I am not 62 yet, and at some point, after I turn 62, I fully intend to get a reverse mortgage. I have paid into my home for years and I will feel good when it pays me back.

To be clear, there are legitimate reverse mortgages and there are certainly reverse mortgage scams out there too, so if you want to talk to a reputable reverse mortgage lender, just let me know and I will be happy to recommend someone, after all I’m Jeff Howard – you’re Realtor for life.

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

Matching Cabinet Hardware

New Hardware

Whether you have knobs, pulls, handles, or some other hardware, you need to have some way to access your cabinets. If your cabinets are relatively new, that hardware is probably fairly modern. However, if you have older cabinets, and you have new cabinets in the same area of your home you may want to match the hardware of the new and old cabinets.

However if your old hardware needs replacing since they have been broken or dinged up over time, this situation can be stressful, especially if you’re not sure where to start. While your success will depend on the specific pieces that you’re looking for and how recently they were manufactured, here’s some info that will hopefully point you in the right direction if you find yourself on a hardware hunt.

The Need to Match HardwareWhy do you need to match old cabinet hardware, anyway? There are a few reasons. The most common is that handles and knobs sometimes become damaged or break over time, especially if the cabinets see frequent use. You may also find yourself adding new cabinets or other fixtures that you want to match as closely to the older cabinets as possible, including similar finishes and hardware. In some cases it may even be a matter of hardware being removed to repair or replace cabinet doors and then getting lost or accidentally tossed out. Whatever the reason, you want matching hardware, and it doesn’t seem to be available in stores anymore.

Sources for Older HardwareWhen trying to match old hardware, it’s important to start by checking if it’s actually available. Visit cabinet or woodworking shops in your area with pictures of the hardware you need (or the actual hardware itself) to see if anyone can recognize it and know where to order it. If that doesn’t pan out, check the internet; there are a lot of stores online that specialize in older items, and this can include out-of-production hardware and other materials. Even if you can’t find the specific hardware from its original manufacturing run, you may be able to locate visually similar reproductions that will at least match the look of your existing hardware.

Mixed Hardware

If that doesn’t work, spend some time searching online auction sites to see if you can find the hardware that you’re looking for there. While online auctions can be a mixed bag, there are a lot of people who post used or out-of-production items that they have a surplus of to make some money off things that they no longer need. It may be worth checking a few times on different days, as new items are listed all the time, and you never know when someone is going to list that handle or knob that you need for a few dollars.

Unable to Find a Match?Unfortunately, there may be some cases where you simply can’t find a match for your old cabinet hardware no matter how hard you try. If this happens, you typically have two options: You can upgrade all your hardware to a new style, or you can find something that complements your existing hardware to create a mix-and-match arrangement. It basically comes down to whether you want to upgrade some of your existing hardware or all of it with something a bit newer. You can choose pieces that complement your cabinets, hardware that goes well with sinks and other fixtures in the room, or even something significantly more modern than the cabinets to create a visual contrast between the cabinets and the hardware. Regardless of what you choose, be sure to pick something that you enjoy.

Of course, if you decide that the cabinets themselves could use an upgrade too- remember Jeff Howard , your realtor for life, is here to help you.  I can help you find contractors and other pros who can give your rooms the new cabinets or other solutions that you need.

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

Nevada Enacts Ban On ‘Non-Functional’ Grass

One thing that will soon become unforgivable in Las Vegas is useless grass.

There is a new Nevada law that will outlaw about 31 percent of the grass in the Las Vegas area.  This effort is to conserve water amid a drought that’s drying up the region’s primary water source: the Colorado River.

Other cities and states around the country have enacted temporary bans on lawns that must be watered, however legislation signed a couple of weeks ago by Governor Steve Sisolak makes Nevada the first in the nation to enact a permanent ban on certain categories of grass.

Sisolak said last week that anyone flying into Las Vegas viewing the “bathtub rings” that delineate how high Lake Mead’s water levels used to be can see that conservation is needed.  Sisolak stated “It’s incumbent upon us for the next generation to be more conscious of conservation and our natural resources — water being particularly important,”

The ban targets “non-functional turf” according to the Southern Nevada Water Authority. It applies to grass that virtually no one uses at office parks, in street medians and at entrances to housing developments. It excludes homes, parks and golf courses.

The measure will require the replacement of about 6 square miles of grass in the metro Las Vegas area. By ripping it out, water officials estimate the region can conserve 10 percent of its total available Colorado River water supply and save about 11 gallons per person per day in a region with a population of about 2.3 million.

John Entsminge, General Manager of Southern Nevada Water Authority, stated  “Replacing non-functional turf from Southern Nevada will allow for more sustainable and efficient use of resources, build resiliency to climate change, and help ensure the community’s current and future water needs continue to be met.

The ban was passed by state lawmakers with bipartisan support and backing from groups like Great Basin Water Network conservation group and the Southern Nevada Homebuilders’ Association, which wants to free up water to allow for projected growth and future construction.

When the ban takes effect in 2027, it will apply only to Southern Nevada Water Authority jurisdiction, which encompasses Las Vegas and its surrounding areas and relies on the Colorado River for 90 percent of its water supply.

The ban came as the seven states that rely on the over-tapped Colorado River for water — Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — consider  the prospect of a drier future.

Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the two reservoirs where Colorado River water is stored, are projected to shrink this year to levels that would trigger the region’s first-ever official shortage declaration and cut the amount allocated to Nevada and Arizona.

In Arizona, farmers in Pinal County south of Phoenix have had to stop irrigating their fields because of the cuts. Nevada stands to lose about 4 percent of its allocation, although the state has historically not used its entire share.

I think we should all pray to the water gods and do a rain dance. It might not help, but it won’t hurt, since we need a lot of rain and snow in the southwest over the next few years to feed our rivers and lakes.

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

Clever Uses for Useless Spaces

As I watched another YouTube boater during their renovations prior to their next adventure, I realized how most boats really try to utilize all of the available space, yet houses often don’t. Spaces that seem useless or wasteful are probably in a few areas of your home.  If you look at them carefully you just might see a missed opportunity to create a space that can be useful and special.

Partial dividing walls, areas below (or even above) a staircase, or little nooks or alcoves that were created by the house’s unique design are all common examples

That blank wall around a doorway doesn’t have to stay empty, and the space under the stairs isn’t just for boy wizards anymore. There are a number of ways that you can revamp these empty and otherwise useless spaces and make your home more functional and fun in the process. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Surfaces and Seating – Look around your home at the various nooks and crannies that seem to just be empty space. With a little work, it will be easy to add seating, tables, desks, and more to these areas and make them much more functional. Once you start thinking creatively, a world of options opens up for you.

Some of the open space in your foyer could have benches added for you and your family to sit and get your shoes on in the morning, possibly with bins that slide under the benches to keep those shoes in when they’re not being worn.

A little alcove could be a great place to install a small desk or computer workstation for homework, bill paying, creative writing, or even grabbing a quick bite to eat. You could even stick a chaise lounge or part of a sectional couch in a largely unused corner to give people a private place to wind down or relax. And these are just a few examples.

Storage and Organization – Some of these seemingly useless places can be a great place to add storage solutions to your home. Shelves and cabinets can instantly transform empty walls, giving you additional storage even in the small spaces around doorways or in closets. Drawers are also great additions, as are sliding cabinet racks that pull out and then slide fully back into the wall. There are even more options available if you really want to get creative.

If your kitchen has a small dividing wall separating it from other rooms, consider adding a built-in wine rack within it to hold a few of your favorite bottles. A pull-out vertical cabinet next to the sink or stove can also be a great area to add a spice rack or store cutting boards. Wooden or wire glass racks can be installed under cabinets to hang stemmed glasses that are typically used for wine, champagne or martinis, or put hooks and hang coffee, tea or soup mugs. Bookcases are relatively easy to install, and if you have a large unused area, it might even be an ideal place to add a built-in pantry. Not only do details like these really liven up your home, but they can also help reduce clutter in other areas and make everything a bit more organized in general.

A Use for Every Space -You might be surprised at just how much space there is in your home for these types of projects. The options can increase even more if you start looking at the outside of your home or in the garage, too. While some projects might require a bit of work, others are simple modifications that can really go a long way toward improving both the look and functionality of your home.

If you aren’t sure where to start, consider bringing in an interior designer or general contractor to discuss what you want and see what your options are. You can ask me for names and phone numbers of reputable ones, after all I’m Jeff Howard – you’re Realtor for life.

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

What is a Bug Zapper and how do You Use It?

I would think most people know what a bug zapper is, however, I recently talked to a guy who had never heard of one. There’s also a chance that you’ve never actually used one in real life and have just seen them used in an ad or cartoon or a TV show. Bug zappers have sort of become a part of pop culture, usually indicating that a character lives in a very rural setting and more often than not comes from the poorer side of the tracks. So let’s get rid of that mental image right now. Bug zappers are actually very useful tools that can make your home and yard a bit more comfortable when bugs that bite are out looking for a nibble in the heat of summer or even for those annoying flies that just won’t go away.

How Bug Zappers WorkWhile the “zap” in the name gives away a large part of how bug zappers work, the system is a bit more complex than just tossing out some voltage and killing wayward bugs. Inside the average bug zapper is an ultraviolet light source, which depending on the model of the zapper could be a light bulb, a fluorescent light tube or even UV LEDs. It’s this light source that attracts insects to the device, causing them to fly in between a grid of wires in hopes of reaching the light within. This is where the zap comes in; the grid contains electrified wires that provide a small shock to any insects that fly inside.  This kills them and causing them to drop onto a removable tray for easy cleanup.

Keep in mind that this is just a general description of how they work, and different models may have additional features such as scent or pheromone cartridges designed to attract specific types of insects. There also may be some differences in design between bug zappers intended for indoor use and those designed to use outside. Some small units may even be battery powered or built into the form factor of a flyswatter to make killing specific insect pests easier.

Placing Bug ZappersFor stationary bug zappers, there are two main types: Indoor units and outdoor units. Indoor bug zappers are typically only needed in residential homes if you have problems with bugs in certain areas (such as flies in the kitchen or flying bugs coming in through sliding doors in the summer.) If that’s the case, a bug zapper can be placed around the area where you have the largest problem or near the most obvious entry point.

Outdoor bug zappers are much more commonly used by homeowners, especially during the summer when everyone wants to spend time outdoors. The best locations to place bug zappers outdoors are typically around the edges of the area where you plan to spend time, such as the outskirts of a pool or play area, so that insects will be drawn to the zappers instead of the people within that perimeter. It can also be beneficial to place a bug zapper near outdoor tables where you’ll be serving food, just so long as it’s far enough away that wayward zapped bugs won’t fall out and land on the table. Garden hangers and shepherd’s hooks can be used to hold up the bug zapper units wherever you place them.

Personally, I am a big fan of the tennis racket looking zappers… those don’t attract the bugs, you have to “hunt” them, so it’s more like a game with those!

Bug Zapper SafetySince bug zappers use electricity, keep in mind that you’re likely going to need extension cords to provide them with the juice they need. This means that you’ll need cords that are rated for outdoor use, as well as a grounded outdoor outlet to plug them into. It’s also important that the zappers are mounted in such a way that pets or children aren’t going to grab them; even though bug zappers don’t provide enough of a zap to be dangerous to people or pets, it could still hurt or startle them.

Using a bug zapper can be beneficial around the house, though it’s important to remember that not all bugs will be attracted to one. For other insect pests, calling in an exterminator or other pest removal pro can be a good idea. If you are having a insect problem that a bug zapper will not help with, contact me – Jeff Howard, your Realtor for life – and I can give you a recommendation for great bug people that can solve your problem.

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

Window Coverings Help Beat the Summer Heat

We all love living in Las Vegas even during the hot summer months and keeping your home cool during the hot summer months can be an expensive prospect. This is especially true if you have large windows or rooms that have multiple windows that let sunlight in. While it’s great to have natural light during the day, it can work against your AC by heating up the air in those rooms at the same time you’re pumping cool air throughout the house. This can lead to your air conditioning running almost constantly throughout the day, and in some cases may even prompt an expensive HVAC upgrade if your current unit can’t keep up with the summer heat to your liking.

Various types of window coverings will help cut down your cooling costs during the summer without having to spend potentially thousands of dollars on a more powerful air conditioning solution. Window coverings can make a big difference in how much heat is added to your home through your windows. Not only does this have the potential to cut your cooling costs significantly, but it can enhance the overall style of your home as well.

Curtains, blinds, and other internal window coverings can have a significant impact on how much heat you gain from the sun during the summer. Medium to dark-colored curtains and drapes, especially those with white backings, block sunlight and heat gain significantly and can also help to hold heat in during the cold winter months. Blinds and rolling shades also offer some protection against heat gain, though their effectiveness depends on a number of factors including color, material, and reflectiveness.

Regardless of the covering type you choose, they are typically most effective when closed on south or west-facing windows, since these are the most likely to get direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day. However, closing the curtains or blinds on any window receiving direct sunlight can have at least some beneficial effect.

One of the big problems with using coverings such as curtains and shades to prevent heat gain during the summer is that they block light and visibility as well as heat. If you still want to be able to see through your windows and enjoy some natural sunlight while preventing heat gain, a low-E window film might be a better option to meet your needs.

Low-E films are mildly tinted plastic films that have reflective particles of metal or metal oxide in them, reflecting UV rays while still allowing for some natural light and visibility. Because the UV rays are reflected back out into the outside, they are not able to heat up the air inside of your home. While the effectiveness of low-E films can vary depending on the manufacturer, thickness of the film, and how well they are installed, it’s estimated that some low-E films can reduce summer heat gain from sunlight by as much as 70 percent or more.

There are a variety of other upgrades you can make to your home that will also help to block UV rays and prevent unwanted heat gain during the summer. Functional exterior shutters that can be closed during the heat of the day can make a significant difference in solar heat gain, blocking the sunlight from actually reaching your windows in the first place. Awnings installed over windows can also block some light and heat, while still allowing for some visibility. Exterior solar screens are also an option, blocking UV rays and increasing your energy efficiency while preserving some light and visibility as well.

How do you find qualified window covering companies?  Or what if you just want an interior designer to help you make it all look great? Just ask me for recommendations, after all I’m Jeff Howard – you’re Realtor for life.

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

Lighting up your Walkways

There’s not much that makes as big of an impact on a garden, the walkway to your home or other outdoor space as some mood lighting. Although your garden or walkway lighting won’t shine quite as brightly in the daytime, the lighting you choose can make a huge difference to the functionality and look of the space where you install it once the sun goes down. There are several different options when it comes to outdoor lighting, so how do you begin to choose the right lighting for your space?

What’s Your Lighting Goal?  Before you shop for lighting, it’s important to determine what it is that you want your lighting to do. Should it simply illuminate a path? Is it going to highlight a particular garden element like a nice plant or a fountain? Do you need to brighten stairs to help prevent falls? There are so many different types of garden and walkway lighting available today that if you know what your needs are, can help to narrow your focus before you begin.

Your next step is figuring out where your lighting location should be. There are plenty of benefits to choosing a wired lighting system, but if your garden is far from your home, you may need to bring an electrician onto the project to properly run the wiring to the location in question. If that’s not an option, then you will need to seriously consider solar lighting kits. Although a freestanding solar panel can be installed to power all your lights, there are many lighting kits made of lights fitted with individual tiny solar panels.

Solar garden walkway lighting is definitely a convenient option; however it won’t work for every space or every need. Since solar lighting is powered by the sun, the location of your solar panels is vital. Bright, direct sunlight is best for charging these lights, so if your vegetation is dense, you’re going to lose a lot of potential lighting hours. Generally, solar-powered lights need to be recharged daily, making them difficult to rely on during the darker, colder months of the year, even if they’re in an ideal location.

Low voltage landscape lighting, on the other hand, receives continuous power from your electrical system, allowing them to work on demand. Some homeowners worry this means they’ll run all day long and create expensive electricity bills, but most lighting systems are designed to come on at dusk and turn off at dawn, or on demand, or both, depending on the system you’re using. On-demand systems come in pretty handy when there’s a weird noise outside and you need to go chase an animal out of the trash.

Many solar systems are also built to be disposable, so if that’s the way you’re leaning, be prepared to spend quite a bit more than you might expect for a low-end plastic solar light. There are solar lighting kits made to last much longer -you should be looking for light sets made with metal bodies that allow you to change the bulb, should it need replacement.

There are a many professionals that can help you make these important lighting decisions, based on your specific situation. For example, if you want to know if your site is suitable for solar lighting or needs a permanently powered lighting solution, calling an electrician into the project can get the right answers quickly. If you already know the type of system you’d prefer but aren’t quite sure about how to configure your lighting system to meet your goals, a landscape professional may be an excellent investment.

The good news is that no matter who you’d like to bring into your project, you can find them with the help of your trusted Realtor for Life – Me Jeff Howard.  I can recommend excellent professionals to help you with lighting and make your home look wonderful.

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

When Should You Get Your A/C Ready for Summer?

We in Southern Nevada have such great weather during the springtime, however we all know the nineties and one hundreds are not far away. For most homeowners that means flipping the heat to air conditioning, and, possibly finding that their air conditioner isn’t working properly. That is why it’s very important to check your air conditioning system now, before you really need it. Not only will you be able to beat the rush for repairs, you’ll also get extra time to clean and prep your unit so it can perform at its very best all summer long.

So, when and how should you get your A/C unit ready for summer? Now is the time for A/C prepping -You can run a simple check on your air conditioner any time the weather is above about 50 degrees or so. You don’t need to leave it on all day, just long enough to make sure it’s blowing cold and there aren’t any weird noises or smells coming out of the outdoor unit.

It is advised not to do this when it’s too cold outside, some units will freeze up, others may simply refuse to kick on at all, and both of these situations will probably lead to your calling a repairman for absolutely no reason.

However it’s also important to not wait too long to check your unit for problems, since HVAC experts get booked up as soon as the temperature is on the rise. Check your unit when the days start to warm, but aren’t unbearably hot. You will be able to find someone to make a repair in a reasonable time if you beat the rush.

How to Prepare Your Air Conditioner for Summer

Most of what it takes to repair an air conditioner unit requires a licensed expert, however there are plenty of things a homeowner can do on their own to get their system ready. Don’t ever take covers off of HVAC equipment without specific training, but here are some things you can do right now:

Trim the weeds that are growing into and close to your outside air conditioner unit.  They can interrupt the air flow that makes it possible for your unit to work efficiently. With the breaker turned off, remove any vines that have climbed inside, trim any weeds growing around the unit, and take advantage of this time to spray the weeds within a foot of the unit with a hearty weedkiller.

Rinse the condenser unit. The condenser is that unit that sits outside and hums along during the summer. If you look closely, you can see that the main part of the equipment is a huge bank of tiny metal fins set inside a metal cage. These fins are how the condenser removes heat from inside your home, so it’s really important to keep them clean and exposed to the open air. It’s an easy process to clean them, though it can be time consuming. Simply hose the entire unit down, both inside and out, until the water running out of the unit no longer has dirt or grit in it.

Check your condensation line. Another pain point for air conditioners can be the condensation line. Even though you may use this when your heater is running, a great deal more humidity is removed from room air during the warmer seasons, so a problem may not be glaringly obvious through the winter. You’ll find an access at or near your furnace that will allow you to run a little bit of vinegar or bleach through the line to destroy algae and mildew that can block up the works.

Clean your filters. You should be cleaning or replacing your filters at least once every three months, but sometimes those things slip a bit during the winter. Now is the time to get back into better habits. Check your filter and if there’s any discoloration or visible dirt, clean or discard it, depending on the type you have. Repeat this monthly through the end of the summer for optimal air flow to your unit.

Do you need a good HVAC company to come to your home to inspect or fix your A/C unit?  I have a list of several honest and respectable companies for you to choose from.  There are a lot of HVAC people in Las Vegas- since summer is HOT, not all are good.  Call me Jeff Howard, your Realtor for Life and find the right company.

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

Let’s talk about Smart Locks

Home security is one of the most important considerations in our day to day lives.  Smart technologies continue to grow as an increasing number of homeowners are turning to higher-tech solutions to meet their home security needs.

While options like smart cameras and connected doorbells are becoming much more common, not as many homeowners realize that it’s possible to upgrade their doors with smart locks as well. These locks come in a variety of designs, offering some pretty interesting options to those who want to take their home security to the next level.

Just as the name implies, smart locks are door locks that have “smart” connected functions. This means that you can lock and unlock the locks remotely without the need to physically use a key.

Smart locks often offer status monitoring as well, allowing you to see whether your doors are locked or unlocked (and in some cases, even whether the door is open or closed.) While there are fully electronic smart locks available that can only be opened remotely, the majority of consumer smart locks feature a physical keyhole and/or a numeric keypad for access as well (this is good if the batteries die).

For many smart locks, you can lock, unlock, and monitor them using a smartphone app or a connected hub device such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa. Remote key fobs (similar to those you see with most cars) may also be used to control the lock remotely. Some locks also incorporate biometric features, allowing you to lock or unlock the device by touching a fingerprint reader.

There are a number of benefits to installing smart locks on your doors. By allowing you to unlock the door remotely instead of having to use a key, you can get into or out of the house faster when your hands are full or in emergency situations. This remote feature also comes in handy if you realize that you forgot to lock the door when leaving the house or if you need to have someone stop by and pick something up for you while you’re away.

Smart locks also give you a greater degree of control over who can and can’t access your home and when that access is granted. Many models connect with other devices such as smart doorbells or connected camera systems, letting you see who’s at the door before making the decision whether to lock or unlock. In many cases you can even include the smart locks in smart home routines that you’ve programmed on other devices, having them lock or unlock at certain times or when certain routines are run. This can improve the overall security of your home, allowing the doors to lock automatically when potential threats are detected or at times when no one should be visiting.

Most smart locks aren’t much more difficult to install than standard lock units, though they are likely to have more post-installation setup required. Many smart locks function as a deadbolt, though they may incorporate the doorknob and standard door lock as well. Depending on the model of smart lock being installed, additional components such as a solar panel and battery unit may be included in the installation as well. These components may be integrated into the lock mechanism, or they may be separate.

Once a smart lock is installed, it still needs to be configured to work with your app or other devices. This is usually a pretty straightforward process, similar to pairing a device with your phone via Bluetooth, though some users may experience problems during installation or integration into an existing smart home setup. After setup is complete, the locks should function without issue, using encrypted digital keys over a wireless or Bluetooth connection.

If you need help picking out the best smart lock for your home or getting it installed, call me, Jeff Howard, your realtor for life.  I can recommend a great locksmith to fit your needs who will install the smart lock and explain in detail how you use it.

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

Knock, Knock – Who’s There?

Within the next few years, no one will have to say “who’s there?”.   Video doorbells have added a much-needed component to a range of systems, from home security to smart homes.

When I was a kid, if the doorbell rang, I would race my brother to get to it, because I wanted to be the first to see who was there. Now, when the doorbell rings, we all look at each other and ask, “are you expecting anyone?” and we have taught our kids not to open the door to strangers. Of, course you can always get up and go look out of the peephole, however some of them you really can’t see through very clearly and then there are the security gates that can make it difficult to see as well and shorter people may have a problem getting to them at all.

So, you have decided to get a video doorbell – good for you, however, choosing a video doorbell can be a challenging process. There are a lot of technical differences between many different models that look alarmingly similar, as well as various considerations like subscription fees and installation requirements to be aware of.

What You Need to Get Started

Video doorbells require various methods of installation and have different means of powering the sensitive electronics within. Before you choose a doorbell, it’s important to determine if the doorbell will require an existing doorbell transformer, and if so, in what voltage. Older systems could produce as little as six volts, while newer systems could produce as much as 16 volts.

Systems that don’t require an existing transformer usually run on a battery pack that’s removable and rechargeable, which makes them far more flexible options for homes that might otherwise not be able to power a video doorbell. With a self-install, it’s important that you monitor the power usage for the first few weeks to ensure that your doorbell is getting adequate power.

What About Subscriptions?

Many video doorbells will require a monthly subscription fee in order to maintain your video feeds on their cloud storage. You can usually choose from a few different packages that will allow you to retrieve data for a set amount of time and in a specific resolution. It might seem silly to pay extra for HD video of your front door now, but if that video feed helps identify a creep doing something unwelcome because the images were so crystal clear that the perp was unmistakable, you’ll appreciate it.

Top Video Doorbells for 2021

The following is a simple list of video doorbells for 2021, these are some of the better ones on the market as of the writing of this blog, as determined by independent reviewers.

Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2
Hello Nest
  1. Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2. It’s on the upper end pricewise for video doorbells, but that’s because this doorbell has all the whistles and… er… bells. Using a radar sensor, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 can actually tell where people are on your property in order to provide the best view of both visitors and intruders. It also has one of the highest resolution cameras currently available, at 1536p HD, as well as Alexa greetings.
  2. Nest Hello. With a mid-to-upper price point, you should expect a lot from the Nest Hello and it really delivers. Although it requires a hardwired connection, the Nest Hello can recognize individual visitors using facial recognition software, as well as announce them via Google Assistant or Alexa. It also continuously records video, unlike Ring products which require a triggering event to start recording. That’s a pretty nice feature for people who need more intense monitoring, as well as those who want to keep an eye on the wildlife scampering around their yard at night.
  3. Maximus Answer DualCam. Although the Maximus Answer DualCam won’t be able to communicate with Alexa or Google Assistant, it can do something no other video doorbell currently does: look straight down. This may seem like a small thing, but if you have limited porch space or simply struggle with neighborhood box thieves, being able to see that your package is still safe and sound on the porch is kind of a huge benefit. The doorbell is a dual cam, however, meaning that it also will look straight out at visitors like all other doorbells do. Reviewers have complained that the speaker can be very quiet, but if you’re only using it to watch packages, that may be a smaller concern considering the smaller price point..

Maximus Answer DualCam. 

There’s no shame in calling in some help to install your video doorbell, especially as a part of a wider smart home system. I have lists of electricians and handy people and who can help, and they can help upgrade any transformers (if needed) before installing your brand-new eye on the world.

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