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Smart Sprinkler Controller

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It seems like most homes have sprinkler systems and if they do, they have some form of controller to automatically turn the water on and off for the time and days you feel necessary.  It seems like basic functionality and if it isn't broken, you may not feel the need to replace it. Today, there are so many smart home devices that are not only convenient, but they'll end up saving you enough money to pay for the upgrade.  There are different manufacturers,but you should at least consider the Rachio if for no other reason than the easy installation procedure. The process is simple.  Unplug the old controller and disconnect the wires being sure to label which wires went to which stations.  Using the Rachio template, mark three spots on the wall, drill holes in the drywall, insert the anchors into the holes and screw the new controller to the wall. This model has convenient wire connectors that do not require crimping a wire around a screw.  It is quick and easy to put the numbered w…

How Does It Measure Up?

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People are always looking for a "down and dirty" way to determine the value of a home and square footage seems to be one of the most common things used by people whether they are buyers, sellers or real estate agents.While it seems straight forward, there are several variances that can lead to inaccurate determinations.The market data approach to value uses similar properties in size, location, condition and amenities to compare with the subject to arrive at a price.Differences in any of these things can affect the price per square foot.Appraisers are trained and licensed to make these adjustments but the differences are not necessarily objective and that is where opinions start to influence the value.Even if a person were to make accurate adjustments, they would be based on the assumption that the square footage of the comparable properties is correct.That leads to the next area of concern: how was the subject property measured.It is commonly accepted to the measure the out…

It's Worth Digging a Little Deeper

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There are hundreds of thousands of people who believe, for one reason or another, they cannot afford to buy a home currently.Some people  may not for any number of reasons but it would be very surprising to know how many who can buy but have gotten some bad information along the way.It's worth digging a little deeper to find out the facts.John and Karen have been renting a home for the last five years at $2,000 a month.During that time, the value of the home they were renting went up by $30,000 in value while the unpaid balance decreased by $18, 400.Even though they were fortunate enough the rent remained constant over the five years, they missed out on close to $50,000 of equity that the owner realized instead of them.Another thing to consider with today's low interest rates, it is quite common for a mortgage payment to be lower than a tenant is paying rent for a similar property.So, in this example, John & Karen paid more to rent than a house payment would have been and …

Grilling Safety

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More people grill in July, June & August than any other months and correspondingly, there are more injuries, as well as fires, due to grilling accidents in those months. Even though Labor Day is in September, we still need to be aware of safety. Close to 20,000 patients per year visit the emergency room due to injuries involving grills.Approximately half of the injuries involving grills are thermal burns.If you are around fire, there's a chance of getting burned.About 2/3 of American households own at least one outdoor barbecue, grill or smoker.Interestingly, gas grills contribute to more fires than charcoal grills.In addition, there are over 10,600 home fires started by grills each year.While grilling is associated with celebrations, good food, fun and friends, it is important to make sure that accidents don't interrupt your activities.Only use BBQ grills outdoors and in ventilated areasPlace the grill away from home or anything that could be flammable Keep grill stableKe…

Forbearance is Not Forgiveness

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Forbearance is a temporary postponement of mortgage payments.The lender can grant this option to a borrower instead of forcing the property into foreclosure.The CARES Act provides protections for homeowners with mortgages that are federally or Government Sponsored Enterprise backed or funded such as FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.A mortgage holder should contact the lender to explain the temporary difficulty they are having making payments and ask for relief under forbearance or other options.Once the lender grants approval, it is important for the borrower to get the terms of the forbearance agreement in writing to be clear about when the payments will resume and how the missed payments will be recovered.Generally speaking, homeowners in a forbearance plan will not incur late fees and it should not adversely affect their credit.Unfortunately, borrowers must be vigilant to see that the lender is protecting them from delinquent credit marks according to their agreement.Forbe…

Building a Pool Is Just the Beginning

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During the first major stay-at-home event that most of us have experienced in this country, a pool can give you and your family enjoyable recreation without leaving the home.For those without a pool, the NPD group reports that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased pool building by 161% this year. When your children are small, pools become a magnet for not only your children but their friends as well.It can also be a great place for the summer holidays, Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day.Any day during the summer, especially on the weekends, can be an opportunity to enjoy the pool, cook outside and bask in the sun.Some of you may have even made the transition from your children enjoying the pool to your grandchildren.Usually, there is an interim where you may have wished that your home didn't have a pool so you would not have the maintenance and required upkeep.Then, the new generation of family starts using it regularly and again, you are glad you have a pool, so you'll see…

Three Reasons to Refinance

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Three reasons to refinance a home include lowering the cost of housing, shortening the term of the mortgage to pay it off sooner or to using the equity to accomplish another purpose.Replacing the mortgage at a lower interest rate, which is entirely possible in today's market, would reduce the payment.On the other hand, shortening the term of the mortgage could make the payments increase but would allow the home to be paid for sooner.In either case, the equity would not be reduced unless the refinancing costs were rolled into the new mortgage.Refinancing the home to take money out would increase the mortgage on the property and lower an owner's equity; careful consideration should be made before doing so.Mortgage rates are considerably lower than credit card rates and usually lower than short term borrowing like student loans or car loans.For that reason, homeowners will sometimes refinance to payoff higher cost debt.Some people refinance for more than their current balance to …