Spring Cleaning During COVID-19

mopSpring cleaning your house includes traditionally includes extra dusting, window cleaning and shampooing carpets. With our home cleaning checklist, we’ll give you the best spring cleaning tips, plus additional tips for attacking COVID-19.

CLEANING VS DISINFECTING

Did you know there’s a difference between cleaning and disinfecting? Cleaning is the removal of dirt and germs from surfaces. Cleaning doesn’t kill viruses, but it will lower them. You can clean a surface using a simple combination of soap and water, which is effective against COVID-19. Disinfecting involves using a chemical to kill germs on surfaces after you clean it, which lowers the risk of spreading infection. You can use a simple bleach combination to disinfect, which is ⅓ cup of bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. It’s important to let the bleach sit on the surface for at least one minute before you dry it completely.

The CDC recommends regularly cleaning and disinfecting areas of your home that are frequently touched — three times per day if someone in your house is sick. This includes:

-Kitchen and bathroom counters
-Light switches
-Doorknobs
-Faucets
-Toilets
-Electronics

DUST YOUR HOME THOROUGHLY

Spring cleaning is a great time to both clean and declutter your home. If you’ve got major clutter to deal with, getting a portable container delivered to your driveway may be just what you need to get the job done, especially if you need to make room as you work. Having temporary at-home storage can also help if you need to separate items to go to relatives, donations, or a garage sale.

If it’s just a matter of dusting and cleaning a room, here are some quick tips:

-Before getting started, take time to peruse shelves and side tables to see if there are any books or knick-knacks -you can clear out.
-Empty all shelves and dust thoroughly with a feather duster.
-Use your vacuum to get hard-to-reach spots.
-Gently clean your books with a damp cloth.
-Disinfect surfaces before you rearrange things.
-Don’t forget to vacuum ceiling fans, the tops of your windows and moldings.
-Reach corners in rooms where cobwebs cluster with a long duster.

WASH YOUR WINDOWS

When months go by and you wonder why those trees and blue sky aren’t looking so vibrant anymore, it means it time to clean your windows! Now is a great time to give your windows a wash. If you can reach, wash both inside and out. Might as well enjoy the view while you’re staying home all day, right? If you have slatted blinds, use a damp cloth to wipe them down.

CLEAN YOUR FLOORS

Tile can really start to look dingy if you haven’t done a deep cleaning in a while. If you haven’t been able to find traditional tile cleaners in the supermarket, a simple mixture of baking soda and water will do. Just pour ½ cup baking soda into 2 gallons of water and mix well. This is a great non-toxic cleaning option for bathroom and kitchen floors. You can even do this on your tiled kitchen countertop before you disinfect. Vacuuming and carpet shampooing should be on your list for this year’s deep cleaning. Make sure you move furniture to clean underneath so you can suck up those pesky dust bunnies. Clean under beds and in closets as well.

POLISH STAINLESS STEEL

Your kitchen will look like it is ready for an open house once you polish your stainless steel appliances. First, clean your stainless steel with a soft cloth to remove dirt and grime. Then, soak a microfiber towel in olive oil and slowly buff the steel. Buff again with a clean, dry cloth and your stainless will be sparkling in no time.

DON’T TRY TO DO ALL YOUR CORONAVIRUS SPRING CLEANING AT ONCE

If you try to do all your deep cleaning in one weekend, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed and may want to quit before you finish, so try to break it up into easy to manage sections. Don’t forget your electronics and remote controls! Once you’re done with your deep cleaning, it’s important to keep cleaning and disinfecting for coronavirus regularly, especially the commonly-touched surfaces.

Covid-19’s Impact on Arizona Real Estate

Hey Everyone, Elise Fay here—hope you are all doing well and taking care of one another. Concerns about the global impact Covid-19 will have on the economy are real. And they’re scary, as the health and wellness or our families, friends and loved ones are high on everyone’s emotional radar. That said, we can be confident that, while we don’t know the exact impact the virus will have on the housing market, we do know that housing isn’t the driver.

The reasons we move: marriage, children, job changes, retirement etc—are still part of our lives. As a result we are still open for business!

Let me share with you a few facts from yours truly, based upon what we are seeing, boots on the ground. Since March 15th, 2020:

-4040 homes were put under contract.
-3233 NEW listings were added to the market
-3481 homes successfully closed in Maricopa County—those are buyers and sellers who sold their homes and went thru with the sale despite the Corona Virus effect.

Personally, our team has put 19 deals under contract, 25 deals have closed. So if you think these numbers look promising but you are still scratching your head…Here is the how and why. It still goes back to Supply and Demand.

We still have a lack of sellers. Low supply of homes is the result of several factors—I will share with you a few of them.

-New Builds: we have half the number of new builds to the market than we did in the early 2000’s and this is due to labor shortages, some gov’t regulations and in most cases, not enough available land.
-During the last recovery we saw savvy investors and some of the larger institutional investors buy up a lot of homes that were in short sale or foreclosure. These investors were building up their portfolios and had plans to either sell on the upside or hold them as rentals. Well with rents on the rise, as a result of the short supply of sellers, these landlords are NOT selling and instead holding on tight to their investments. Being a landlord IS profitable right now!
-Empty nesters who weathered the downturn in the market years back, are now keeping their homes on average about 13 years—some are still a bit frozen, unable to unlock all their equity. Let’s not forget the HGTV effect that we are seeing on some of these older and dated properties.

Right now, we are seeing that demand is being dampened by the Corona outbreak and as a result we are seeing that inventory is loosening up, making more homes available and in some price ranges, lessening the competition a bit. We are seeing this in the market space where millennials may be entering for the 1st time. Interest rates are still at an all-time low, making owning a home cheaper than renting. Lending guidelines have tightened up a bit but that is another level of protection that has been put in place.

We have a crazy new normal. We are out showing homes, taking greater precautions; we wear gloves, carry hand sanitizer and retain a safe distance. We also have protocols in place to protect our sellers. In Arizona, housing is a huge economic driver for our economy—I am not here to sugar coat anything but just want to let you know that we are not seeing doom and gloom at this point.

If you have questions about what it means for your family’s homebuying or selling plans, reach out to me. I will be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have. 602-329-7782

Covid-19

Hosting Thanksgiving Tips

Thanksgiving TableRegardless of whether you want to try cooking a new Thanksgiving dish or sticking to your reliable menu, hosting Thanksgiving dinner is an overwhelming event that rarely goes without unavoidable hiccups.

The Turkey Won’t Thaw

Defrosting a turkey takes quite a while. Regardless of whether you neglected to remove the turkey from the freezer in time, or still have a half frozen bird, place it in a sink loaded with cold water, changing the water at regular intervals until it is defrosted. The turkey will take around 30 minutes for each pound to defrost in the sink.

The Turkey Is Undercooked

Grill it, roast it, deep-fry it, smoke it or brine it, cooking a turkey is at the center of Thanksgiving meal preparation. Most cooks fear slicing into a Thanksgiving turkey to find it still uncooked! You can rescue the circumstance via cutting off and serving the parts that are cooked, and putting the rest back in the broiler while everybody eats.

The Turkey Is Overcooked

Well, at least it’s done! Unless you’re facing a National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation kind of situation, you can salvage the overcooked turkey by smothering it in gravy.

Your Table is Not Big Enough

If hosting Thanksgiving dinner pushes the limits of your home’s ability to accommodate guests, then it’s time to get creative. Once all the seats at the dining room table and folding card tables are taken, start putting people around the coffee table, or seat children on a blanket on the floor, picnic-style.

There Isn’t Enough Food

A key part of your Thanksgiving dinner should be making sure you have plenty of food. In the event you have more guests than expected, whip up some extra mashed potatoes, soup, stuffing, rice or pasta!

You Have Bottles of Wine or Beer, but No Bottle Opener

It’s the one day of the year when you most need an alcoholic beverage, so what do you do when you can’t find the bottle opener? Thankfully, you can utilize the edge of a counter, or a belt clasp to open most bottles. Need to open wine without a corkscrew? On the off chance that you finish the bottle, drive the plug in.

You’ve Forgotten a Key Ingredient

Google “substitute for” and whatever it is you’re short of and recipe substitutions will be your new best friend on Thanksgiving.

Your Garbage Disposal Is Clogged

Uh oh! How will you deal with cleanup now? More often than not, you can probably fix a clogged disposal by sticking a hex key in the six-sided hole on the bottom of the motor, and wiggling it to free to blockage.

Thankfully, the most important part of Thanksgiving is the time spent with loved ones. Year from now, your kitchen incidents will be only an amusing story to tell at the next Thanksgiving dinner!

“One Less” Campaign to Reduce Waste

As the West Valley continues to grow, there is a growing concern for environmental awareness. As a result, the City of Avondale has launched a “One-Less” Campaign to encourage people to make choices to reduce wasteful habits.

Starting on October 21st, each day will focus on a different aspect of waste with a challenge on how to reduce:

Day 1- Single Use Plastics
Avoid using items such as plastic straws and grocery bags
Only use reusable silverware (no plasticware)

Day 2- Recycling
Utilize proper recycling methods
Use our helpful High 5 Icon for recycling items

Day 3- Keep It Real
Avoid take-out or bring your own to-go containers
Drink from reusable Water Bottles and Coffee Mugs

Day 4- Green Clean
Avoid using harsh chemicals
Use all-natural or homemade cleaners

Day 5- Zero Waste Day
Avoid wasteful habits
Can you go the entire day without creating waste?

Are you ready for the challenge? What habits will you continue to use after the campaign?

Many homes today have environmentlly friendly features, what features are the most important to you when searching for a new home?

 

First Year of Homeownership Tips

phoenix homeAre you a first-time homeowner feeling more than a little confused about what you need to focus on during the first year of your home owning experience? Have you just bought a home for the first time in a long time and need a refresher on what this first year might bring? Either way, you’re in the right place! Despite sometimes being overwhelming, buying a home is an exciting experience! Once you are handed the keys to your new house, you may find yourself at a loss for what to do next. Should you dive right into remodeling? Should you save money? Below, are a few of my tips for the first year of homeownership, whether this is your first experience or you’re a pro:

Wait a While on Remodeling
Some professionals recommend waiting at least the first year before you worry about any remodeling in your home. Depending on your situation, this may not be practical or necessary, but you should wait at least six months until you’re settled in your new home and have decided for sure what you want to focus on with your remodeling budget. Your tastes and popular trends in home design may change quickly, so it’s best to “sleep on it” for a little while before making such big changes.

Fix Little Problems
While big projects can wait, if you notice small issues around your home, take care of them before they get out of hand. For example, if you notice your dishwasher makes a strange noise during one of its cycles or that your garbage disposal has quit working, take care of these problems as soon as possible. You never know when they could lead to something more significant that’s going to take a lot more money and time to fix.

Make a Budget
This is great advice for anyone in any situation and any walk of life, but it’s especially true for new homeowners. Make a budget and try your best to stick to it. This way, you’ll be able to put aside plenty of funds for savings that can be used at a later date to get started on those remodeling changes and DIY projects, too. And this will also mean you’ve got some extra padding in your budget for those inevitable times when a major appliance gives up without warning or a storm knocks down your fence.

Are you considering selling your home?  Get started with this free home value estimate.

Pros and Cons of Artificial Turf

artificial turfSince Arizona is primarily composed of desert land, with very little rainfall, you may have considered installing artificial grass instead of real grass in your front or backyard. One of the biggest reasons to install artificial turf is the lack of maintenance. Gone will be the mornings of mowing, weeding and trimming your grass. Instead, you’ll only need to occasionally rake off some leaves and debris. Additionally, with artificial grass, you won’t have to pay for fertilizer, watering or seeding, so the ongoing maintenance costs of real grass will be nixed.  Another upside to artificial turf is its appearance.  Your lawns will always be green, verdant, and lush-looking.  The average life expectancy of artificial turf, depending on the product itself, is 15-25 years, so it likely will be something you won’t have to worry about with the entire time you live in your home.  Finally, there are many more options of artificial grass nowadays, with many more realistic artificial turf choices out there, instead of the plastic-looking turf of the past.

Some of the cons of artificial turf to consider are first, the cost.  Artificial grass averages around $7/square foot, so the initial expense can be considerable. This cost, of course, should be balanced against the maintenance and landscaping costs of real grass on an annual basis. Also, in Arizona at least, the temperature of artificial grass as opposed to real grass can be a real concern.  The surface temperature of artificial grass can exceed 150 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes this surface a very real danger. Watering down the surface on hotter days can cool it down, but this may negate the fact that you’re trying to reduce water usage.

I’d be happy to discuss these pros and cons with you, especially with regard to listing or buying a home. 602-329-7762

Smart Devices For Your Home Worth Purchasing

smart home device photoWho is your home assistant? I know many of you have one like I do. I have Google, and between setting timers and asking her to play bluetooth from my phone, I also can use voice activation to control one of my other smart home devices: the temperature on my Nest thermostat. In hot Phoenix summers, Nest helps me save money with intuitive temperature control when I am in and out of the house. 

Smart thermostats, home assistant speakers and door locks are popular and well-known products. But what about these other connected devices you may not have known existed? 

Smart Plugs

If the sinking realization that you forgot to turn off the coffee pot crosses your mind while you’re at work, never fear – you can switch it off from your phone! Smart plugs are simple: They plug into the wall, your device plugs into the smart plug, and now you’ve got full access to control it from your phone. TVs, lamps, crockpots—it can all be controlled remotely. 

Smart Lightswitch

You may have heard of the lightbulbs you can control color and intensity of with your voice, but what about the lightswitch you can talk to? Smart lightswitches are wired into your existing switch configuration and allow you to set nightlight settings, responsive times to turn on and off, and integration with Alexa voice activation, all from your phone. 

Smart Vacuums

Robot vacuums just got a lot more intelligent. Top-tier models not connect with your home assistant and will run a scan of your house so you can edit a map of the areas you want it to go. Now vacuuming can be as simple as lifting a finger (literally): If you have an Apple Watch, you can set it up so all you need to do is tap to start the device in your home. 

Smart Scales 

Smart scales do way more than just read back a number – to help users more effectively monitor and track their weight and health, they report proportions of fat, muscle mass and other metrics straight to your phone. If you wear Fitbit, there’s even a special scale that connects with your tracker. 

Smart homes are increasing in popularity as people are more willing to invest in homes and devices that save time and money.  Let me know what type of home YOU are looking for.

 

 

How Having A Pool Affects Your Homeowner’s Insurance

In Arizona, having a pool in your backyard can be a huge benefit and provide fun for you and your family. But many homeowners question whether it’s a good idea to add a pool to their backyard, or buy a home with a pool, due to the safety concerns and maintenance. It’s no surprise that a home with a pool increases your homeowner’s insurance. But is it worth it?

Your insurance premiums will likely increase if you own a home with a pool. This is because they’re considered an “attractive nuisance,” meaning that an unsupervised child might be attracted to a pool and could cause harm to them.

Homeowners are responsible for taking safety measures like including a fence around the perimeter of the pool, putting a safety cover on the pool or posting a sign warning of the dangers. There also can be increased insurance costs if your pool is less than 50 feet from your home. Some insurance companies worry that your home could be damaged by a pool that is installed incorrectly, which increases costs if your pool is installed close by.

If you are considering installing a pool, you should likely take preemptive measures to protect yourself from any incidents that happen while you own the home. This means increasing your homeowner’s insurance coverage and limits. You can likely expect your premiums to also rise since having a pool is a greater risk. Research indicates it might be a good idea to increase your liability insurance from the standard $100,000 to $500,000 if you install a swimming pool.

When installing a pool, it’s also important to take into consideration the difference between in-ground and above-ground pools. Most in-ground pools are considered part of your home insurance policy, while above-ground pools would be covered under personal property insurance.

It’s important to consult with your insurance agent and discuss how adding a pool could potentially affect your premiums. Another great resource is your pool builder. They can discuss incorporating safety features during the building process to help you save money in the long run.

Despite the increased costs, adding a pool can also greatly increase your home’s value and offer a fun summer activity for you and your family. With proper knowledge of the pros and cons of a pool, you can be prepared for any unexpected costs associated with it.

Spring Cleaning Tips for Home Maintenance

clean kitchen photoSpring is almost here and with warmer weather comes the perfect opportunity to get your home in tip-top shape with some seasonal maintenance. While spring maintenance can be able cleaning and organizing, it’s also the perfect time to check on major systems and features of your home to ensure everything is running properly. Whether you’re getting your home ready to sell, or looking to keep your home up to date on its annual maintenance, here are some recommended spring cleaning around the home:

Clean your gutter

  • Throw on some gloves and pitch a ladder to clean out your gutter. Over the fall and winter, different materials can get caught in the gutter, causing wear and tear on your gutters and blocking the drainage of water.

Replace air filters

  • HVAC technicians suggest changing your air filter up to every month, but most home owners fail to abide by these recommendations. Changing your air filter regularly not only help with air circulation in your home, but it can help lower your air conditioning bill, decrease allergy symptoms and increase the lifespan of your air conditioning system. Spring is the perfect time to switch air filters for fresh air all season long.

Test smoke alarms

  • As you do your spring cleaning, take a minute to test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors. This is a quick and easy task that can save your life.  Experts recommend changing batteries at least twice a year to be safe.

Wash exterior windows

  • Before you crack your windows open on that first seasonal spring day, take some time to wash your exterior windows. There are services around Scottsdale that can do the job for you, or purchase a squeegee and get them done yourself over the weekend.

Schedule pest control treatment 

  • With rising temperature comes an increase in termites and unwanted pests that can damage your home. Take preventative maintenance to ensure the “spring swarm” doesn’t affect your home.

Prepare to open your pool

  • After being covered all winter, spring is the perfect time to roll back your pool cover and begin cleaning debris that have gotten stuck over the off-season. Contact a local pool maintenance company to beat the busy season and get the pool usable for warmer temperatures.

Spring is a great time to sell your home.  Do you know the value of your home?  Click here to get a free home value estimate.

Top Ten Must-Do Spring Cleaning Tasks

patio photoWhen springtime rolls around, you probably feel the need to start cleaning up your home just like most other homeowners do. Spring cleaning is a great habit to get into, and it can really help you improve the lifespan of your home and everything in it, too. But did you know that there are a few spring cleaning tasks that often get overlooked? Check out our list of the top ten tasks you need to pay attention to the next time you’re ready to clean house.

  1. Clean those rugs! Rugs are a good place to get started, but even if they’re not the first thing you take care, don’t forget to beat or wash them thoroughly before putting them back on the floor for the coming year.
  2. Check the grout. You don’t have to re-grout your showers every year, but this is a good time to check on the state of your grout. If it’s very dirty or getting mildewed, take the time to redo it now to save some trouble in the long run.
  3. Don’t forget to look up. The ceilings probably haven’t been washed in a while, and spring cleaning is a good opportunity to scrub them down. Use warm soapy water and take your time with this task, since it can be tough on the back and neck.
  4. Get dusty. Dust the whole house, and not just the areas you see most often. Take items off shelves and get the dust out of all those nooks and crannies.
  5. Wax your wood floors and furniture. Waxing your wood furniture can help extend its life significantly, and the same is true of wood floors. You can also wax tile and linoleum, and you may also want to scrub down any stone floors you may have at this time too.
  6. Clean curtain, drapes, and blinds. Take the curtains and drapes down and see if they can be put through the wash. If not, hand wash them before rehanging. Blinds can be wiped down with warm, soapy water.
  7. Clean and update smoke detectors. Dust around the smoke detector and check inside it for any dust or dead insects. Change the batteries even if you think it isn’t time to do so just yet. This is also a good chance to have a yearly talk with your family about fire safety for your home.
  8. Polish metal surfaces. Door and window handles, sink surfaces, and other metal hardware need to be polished regularly to keep them looking spotless. If you have any metal furniture, polish it at this time too.
  9. Don’t forget your window screens! This is something many homeowners forget to clean regularly, but you can wash your window screens with warm soapy water too. Once a year should be plenty for this task.
  10. Pay attention to upholstery. You may not need to clean your upholstery every year, but if you use upholstered furniture often, chances are you will want to. You may need to have it cleaned by a cleaner, but depending on the furniture, you may be able to take care of this task yourself too.

Click here to get a free home value estimate