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

Spring Cleaning Made Easier with Built-In Storage

It will be March next week and that means spring cleaning time here in Las Vegas. It’s a great way to refresh spaces and toss out that stuff that’s just been collecting with no real purpose. But what do you do with the stuff you DO want to keep? Maybe now is the right time to think about adding some extra storage space in your home!

Luckily there are tons of prefabricated kits that can help you turn your home into an organizational center. If you start building your future storage now, you’ll be totally ready for sorting and putting away when the bushes and trees start blooming again.

Built-In Storage Kits

You don’t have to be Bob Villa to install any of the many basic storage systems that are available at big box stores and home improvement centers across the valley. Some are designed with specific kinds of storage in mind, like closet systems that help you make more room out of nothing at all. Other systems are designed to be extra sturdy for more challenging spaces, like garages or utility rooms.

These out of the box systems are a great way to add built-in storage, even if you’re not particularly handy. They often feature pre-cut pieces with just a few fasteners you’ll need to insert into the wall, along with step-by-step instructions to help you succeed. I put up a few of those garage ceiling kits a few years back and I just love them!

And (if you’re feeling up to it) pick up add-on parts for those systems, or use them in unexpected places, like under stairs and in other odd spaces in your house. Every nook can become mega storage if you have the right kind of system to install there.

Building From Scratch

If you have experience with home repairs and building things, you may want to take a serious look at spaces like ceilings, wall voids, rafters, and attic knee walls for room you can reclaim. Ensure there’s no electrical wire or plumbing running in the space you have your eye on for extra storage, though. Skipping this step can lead to some serious repercussions, including, but not limited to, electrocution and pipe ruptures.

However, with a careful hand, you can take those formerly useless stretches of wall or ceiling and add things like built-in bookcases, cabinets, and drawers. Don’t forget that your built-in can only be as deep as the void, minus the thickness of the back materials, so choose your spaces accordingly. Attic knee walls are especially fun options, since there are usually deep voids behind them that you can transform into your storage fantasies.

Some Special Options for Kitchens

Kitchens are notorious for lacking storage or working space, but they also offer a lot of small spaces that most people tend to overlook. For example, if you have a lot of mugs or teacups, the simple act of installing mug hooks under your upper cabinets can permanently free up shelf space – this works for wine glasses as well and can add a bit of style. The inside of your cabinets can host shallow storage racks, which are great for holding cleaning supplies, spices, and other small items. I’ve noticed that plenty of pantries are just poorly designed… they have a lot of room, but no organization. You can use kits, baskets, or even plastic bins to organize yours.

Need help with your storage projects?

Sometimes, you can be long on ideas for new storage, but short on the skill or time to execute them. That is when you call me Jeff Howard, your Realtor for Life.  I have lists of handy people that can help you get anything designed and/or built so you’re ready for spring.

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

Ready to Refinish Your Cabinets? You Have Options!

You have been staring at your kitchen cabinets for a year now and realized you do not like them and haven’t for years.. It is time to do something about them. 2021 is a year about promise and change, so, why don’t you start the process in your own home? There are many ways to give your cabinets a new look and there is an option for every budget. Most of the time you won’t even need to replace your cabinets or counters, unless you just really want to. Your approach just depends on just how much time and money you are willing to put into the project.

You will have the most flexibility if you’re working with wooden cabinets, even if they have been painted previously. Laminated cabinets (also sometimes called MDF) are a bit of a different beast, and are very difficult to change once they’ve been installed. Here are a few things you should consider, depending on your cabinets:

  1. Swapping Hardware. Sometimes, the hardware is the thing that is making your cabinets feel old and dated. It might sound like a small thing, but heavy cabinet hardware from the 1970s has a whole different feel than more streamlined contemporary hardware. If you’re on a small budget, or you can’t have your kitchen torn apart for an extended period, simply investing in new hardware would give you a whole new look
  2. .Repainting. This is generally only a trick to try on cabinets that are made of wood, but if you use specially designed paints and primers, you can often make paint stick to laminated or metal cabinets. Choose a paint that’s self-leveling and dries hard, like a latex-based enamel cabinet paint, along with a bonding primer, for the very best results.

You’ll need to take the doors down, sand the existing finish just enough to rough it up, and allow for plenty of dry time, but because these paints are tintable, you can let your imagination run wild. It goes on just like other high-grade paint, so mix and match colors, paint two-tone designs on your existing cabinetry, or freehand it with fancy designs for a look you really love.

3.Restaining. This will only work with wood cabinets, but you can really change the look of a room simply by restaining your existing cabinets. It’s possible to strip old paint off of painted cabinets, but be warned: it will be a lot of work and mess, so do it outside as much as you can.

Once you have all the old stain or paint sanded off, apply your new stain per package directions. Today’s stains come in a lot more than traditional “wood” colors; many can create simulated whitewash or aged wood, or add a thin tint of color that will still allow the wood grain to show through.

If redoing your cabinet doors seems like it may be more mess than you’re prepared to deal with, or you want to change the actual design of your cabinet doors, another viable option would be to order just new cabinet doors. You may still need to paint or stain the cabinet bases to match, but a whole new design is a lot easier to achieve with new doors, and replacing those doors is a lot simpler than replacing all your cabinets.

You can also swap the old hinges for “soft-close” … something I did at my home. It doesn’t change the look, but it’s a nice change in terms of everyday use!

If you decide to have a professional company do the work, call me and I’d be happy to give you a couple of referrals to interview.

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

How Much Does It Really Cost to Buy A Home?

First, let me start by saying you do not need a 20% down payment to buy your first home! Many of you reading this might be saying “I know that”, but I meet many people who don’t own a home because they still believe that to be true. There are loan programs for as little as zero down payment. Not everyone will qualify for those, but with no special qualifying and mediocre credit, you can usually get by with a down payment of only 3.5% of the price of the home.

Of course, shopping for a home can leave you feeling like you have been on a roller-coaster ride.  Even though you’ll eventually find the right one, you may also find yourself cutting it close on cash if you didn’t properly prepare financially. So, it’s time for your pre-purchase checklist of places you may be spending money.

What It Costs to Close

Home sellers find closing is a fairly simple process, and most of the time they walk away with a check in hand. However, for buyers, closing can involve a myriad of expenses. I find that it’s much easier to deal with if you’re totally ready for everything that’s going to go into that transaction. And there’s a lot more to paying for your new home than just coming up with the down payment. If you’re like most borrowers, to cover additional expenses on the big day, you can expect to add an additional three to six percent on top of the down payment.

These costs include, but aren’t limited to:

  1. Loan-related fees. The lender you are using should have already disclosed the fees they collect in order to actually create your home loan. If you haven’t talked to a lender yet, you may be surprised at some of the fees that are charged to take your loan from a little dream to a big investment in your future. An application fee is sometimes required to begin the process, as it covers the costs of things like your credit report and the initial loan processing. Other fees include, loan origination fees, discount points, mortgage broker fees and appraisal fees. All of this can really add up!
  2. Real estate-related expenses. There are other fees related to your loan that may or may not have been covered. These include home inspections, as well as any repairs you’ve chosen to pay for at closing (in a sellers’ market, the seller is not always willing to pay for repairs).
  3. Prepaid expenses. Because items like your taxes and homeowner’s insurance are generally paid out of an escrow (or impound) account, you’ll have to put some money into it at the get-go to kick things off. The actual initial deposits will depend on where you live, but count on at least two months, if not a full year, of each being collected to establish that account. If you have mortgage insurance, the same would also apply. You’ll also typically pay the 1st 2 months of any homeowner’s association dues.  And you’ll prepay interest from closing day until the day your first payment is due. There is some good news here though, you will not have your first mortgage payment due for more than a month after you close… so if you closed on May 15th, the 1st payment is due on July 1st, not June 1st, which does help a little.
  4. Title-related fees. Although it would be wonderful to live in a world where you could trust that a seller was absolutely, without question, capable of guaranteeing you could buy and own their home without complications, that world doesn’t really exist. But that’s what title searches and title insurance do. Title and escrow fees are paid to ensure that you will be able to buy a house without anyone else having a legal claim to it later. Imagine if someone claiming to be the owners brother showed up after 5 years and wanted to try to prove that the house was rightfully his! That would complicate your ownership considerably. Fortunately, before a bank will loan you money, they want to know that a home has a clear title. Title searches track all the people who have owned the property before, and title insurance protects against any problems that might have accumulated on the title over time.

Today is a great day to get connected with an experienced mortgage lender who can explain the fees involved in closing a loan for your specific situation. If you need a lender just ask me, I have worked with some amazing lenders over the years and have developed deep relationships.

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

Fireplaces Add Some Snap, Crackle, and Pop!!!

vent less fireplace

As the song goes “when the weather outside is frightful, a fire can be so delightful”. A major portion of homeowners tend to agree with the sentiment, so surely they can’t all be wrong. Adding a fireplace to your home can seem like a big undertaking, but there are several options for homeowners looking to add a little snap, crackle, and pop to their living spaces.

Fireplaces: Beyond the Chimney – A very long time ago, there was only one way to have a fire indoors: you had to have a brick chimney or metal stove to contain the flames and keep everybody safe. However today there are lots of options for adding fireplaces to your home without having to also add a new chimney or repair an old one that’s no longer in use. This is wonderful news, especially if you really want a fireplace for ambiance, rather than to be used as a primary heating or cooking source.

While wood burning masonry fireplaces have a sort of rustic, nostalgic appeal, today’s modern ventless options are much easier to install require a lot less maintenance, and are environmentally friendly. They are often extremely fuel efficient should you choose to use them to help fight back winter’s chill.

Chimney-Free Fireplace Options – If you have an existing chimney that’s in great shape, you have lots of options for units that can be installed into that space. For many homeowners it’s not that simple since either their home never had an open chimney, or the one they do have is in poor shape. This is where chimney-free fireplace options come in to play. They can be placed pretty much anywhere you want to put them since there’s no flue required.

When you go shopping, consider options like:

Ventless gas fireplaces have been in use for awhile now. Unlike some gas units, the ventless gas units don’t require any kind of vent, so they can be installed on an inside wall, between rooms, or in other tricky spots. Although they don’t need a vent, it is recommended that you put them in larger rooms. You can often use a ventless gas fireplace when the power is out, making them a great emergency backup in a house that’s otherwise heated with electricity.

Electric fireplaces – If you really like the look of a fireplace, but don’t want to deal with cleaning or maintaining anything, an electric fireplace is a great option. Most units have beautiful LED-based simulated fire and blowers that can put out a lot of heat. When in heating mode, they work a lot like large space heaters. But like an electric space heater, they need almost no care to keep running year after year. Many units can also have the LED turned on independently of the heating element for cool-to-the-touch flames all year round. The other great thing about this option is that it is easy to move them around if you decide to rearrange your furniture! I have one of these myself!

Ethanol. Looking for real fire without having to hook up gas lines? Ethanol may be the solution for you. Instead of piping in gas or tying into the electrical, an ethanol fireplace will produce a real flame with bottled alcohol-based fuel that you simply pour into the burner and light. They come in a huge range of sizes and designs, suitable for many indoor applications. You’ll get some heat from these, but not anything substantial. They’re similar to gel fireplaces, which have been losing popularity to ethanol fireplaces for years, but unlike gel fireplaces they use a liquid fuel instead of a gel-based one.

Water Vapor. If you only want the look of fire, but no actual fire to deal with, a water vapor fireplace can give you one of the most realistic experiences without limitations. These fireplaces can be incredibly large and long, limited largely by your imagination. They don’t produce any heat, since water vapor is used to reflect special lights that create the illusion of a flame. All you need is electricity and tap water to set the mood.

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

Recycling Wrapping Paper

recyclable gift wrapping paper

Is wrapping paper recyclable? Some is, however some isn’t.  The following might be able to help you how to make greener gift wrap choices.

Wrapping paper may have “paper” in its name, but that doesn’t automatically mean it can be recycled. Some types of wrapping paper can be, but many cannot, due to additives such as glitter and metallic finishes. We’ll help you sort out what goes where and help you find greener and reusable holiday wrappings.

What Kind of Wrapping Paper Is Recyclable?

Wrapping paper can usually be recycled if it is plain and simple, non-laminated, made from recycled materials, and is not too thin. When the paper is very thin, it has only a few good quality fibers for recycling.

Wrapping paper cannot be recycled if it contains sparkles, glitter, sequins, foil, artificial texture, sticky gift labels, or plastic. It also cannot be recycled if it has been laminated or has loads of leftover tape, ribbons, or bows still attached. 

recyclable gift paper

Do a Scrunch Test

To confirm that wrapping paper is recyclable, you can do a “scrunch test” by squeezing it into a ball. If it keeps the ball shape, then it can be recycled. If it springs back to a flat form, then it cannot. 

How to Recycle Wrapping Paper

Make sure that all ribbons, gift tags, tape, and other decorative or outside elements have been removed from the wrapping paper before you put it in the recycling bin. Having a mix of recyclable and non-recyclable papers is a real problem for recycling facilities, and they often end up tossing the entire lot because they cannot sort it out themselves. (This is known as wishcycling and it causes tremendous problems year-round with all sorts of materials, not just wrapping paper.)

(In case you missed it, here is a post I did about a year ago called “11 Things You Should Not Recycle”)

Try to find out if your town, city, or municipality accepts wrapping paper, because even if the paper is recyclable, whether it happens depends on each region’s regulations.  If you live in Southern Nevada you should check with Republic Services website www.republicservices.com .  I do have a couple of suggestions from their web site: When giving holiday gifts, commit to reusing laminated bags and recycling those made of paper.

Shipping gifts? Make shredded paper out of old newspapers and be sure to reuse last year’s bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts.

After opening gifts, remember to recycle the wrapping paper – but save and reuse the ribbons and bows.

recyclable gift bags

How to Reduce Gift Wrap Waste

Try these suggestions for cutting down the amount of wrapping paper you throw away.

Reuse What You Have

Wrapping paper has such a brief life span that it can be reused many times, especially if care is taken to unwrap it without tearing. It’s estimated that the U.S. produces 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper annually, and 2.3 million pounds of that ends up in the trash. The remainder stays in people’s homes, awaiting reuse. I love this idea!

Use Different Material

Who says you have to choose glittery paper to decorate a present? Opt for basic brown Kraft paper that can be spruced up with a bow, ribbons, leaves, pinecones, or markers. Repurpose newspaper, old posters, and children’s school artwork as wrapping paper. Plus there are plenty of other eco-friendly alternatives to wrapping paper that are just delightful and celebratory.

Try Zero Waste

Use baskets, fabric, gift boxes or bags, tea towels, and more to conceal and reveal your presents.  Use pretty knots to fasten colorful, reusable fabrics in attractive ways. This way, you’ll have no wrapping paper waste to contend with.

Ask for Better Paper

Retailers stock what customers want, and recyclability should be a top priority, so let that be known when you’re out shopping. As explained by Simon Ellin, CEO of the Recycling Association, a trade body that represents about 90 waste management companies and paper merchants in the United Kingdom, “It’s a crusade we’ve been on all year – do you really need to design a non-paper wrapping paper? Make paper with recycling in mind!” Shop with that in mind, too.

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

The Importance of Earnest Money

Why Do I Need Earnest Money?

When you are purchasing a home the amount of money for a loan application, a home inspection, actually anything and everything you have to pay for can feel very overwhelming. The days of low to no down payments are largely past and markets everywhere seem to be running thin on inventory, earnest money may well be the most important negotiating tool you’ve never heard of.

What Is Earnest Money?

When you make an offer on a home, part of that offer can include a little show of good faith on your part, in the form of cold, hard cash (well not actual dollar bills… you can write a check or send a wire). Generally, one to three percent of the offer price is pretty normal for an earnest money deposit. However this can vary widely based on market conditions. The more you put up, the more serious you appear to the seller. But what happens to that money?

Earnest money is literally just a show of faith. When you go to the closing, it is credited towards the cash you need to close, which is made up of line items like your down payment, your closing costs, and your prepaid items. It will simply be applied in full as a credit in your closing documents, reducing the amount of money you need to bring with you on the big day.

Here’s the one thing to be cautious of; if you were to default on the contract, the seller may be entitled to some or all of that earnest money. However, plenty of situations exist where you can cancel, and your earnest money will be refundable, such as:

An unacceptable home inspection. This all has to be stipulated in your contract; there are no givens in a real estate transaction, but there are things that are reasonably standard. Having an unacceptable home inspection, if the seller is not willing to make reasonable repairs, can be a cause for terminating the contract and getting your earnest money back.

Your financing falls through. Again, you’ll need a financing clause or addendum to ensure you’re covered in this event, however, because financing is so important to real estate transactions in general, they are pretty standard. If your financing falls through due to no fault of your own (you’ve been laid off, your bank closes, a co-borrower dies), you should generally be able to reclaim your earnest money. The specifics will be in your real estate sales contract, so pay close attention (and hire an agent who will pay closer attention).

The seller can’t close. There are a few rare situations where a seller can’t close the transaction. These are incredibly uncommon, but they do happen once in a while. For example, you might find out that the seller only believed they were the owners of the home. This can occur when a parent dies without a will, forcing the property into probate court even when it’s clear an only child will be the sole heir.

And in the case that the seller can close, but chooses not to for whatever reason, you would be entitled to get your money back or, in many cases, you can force the seller to honor the contract.

What Is an Earnest Money Note?

In some markets, you may have an additional option for earnest money, known as an earnest money promissory note. This is essentially an IOU that accompanies the offer. On the note, you’ll specify exactly when you’ll either turn the paper into actual cash or forfeit the offer entirely. Though these were once very common, they’re far less so today. If you choose to use an earnest money promissory note, be sure to describe in great detail why you’re not able to provide earnest money on the spot and how you will remedy this.

For example, if you have some stocks you were going to cash out for your down payment, but didn’t want to touch until you were really ready, you may need time to sell enough to cover the earnest money. In that case, specify this as the reason and say that you’ll initiate a sale on a certain day, then convert the note on that day. Make sure to leave yourself a little leeway, because if you fail to perform, you can suffer serious consequences.

Generally speaking, earnest money promissory notes can be considered a sign of a weak offer, so you should inquire before taking that leap.

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