What is an ADU and Why You Should Be Interested?

ADU is short for Accessory Dwelling Unit – you might know them as a granny-flat or grown child’s apartment and they might just be your next edited home. They are dwellings–either attached or detached from the main house and they exist on the same lot as the main house. Many ADUs are built above the garage. In Las Vegas you usually see them as a casita or a part of the main home away from the main part of the home for privacy issues.

ADUs have numerous benefits such as creating a secondary rental home, increasing the occupancy on a given plot of land, creating a more communal living, while providing autonomy and privacy for both homes.

People who may have once needed a large home filled with lot of kids and are now empty nesters can move into the ADU and rent out the main home.

ADUs are not lean-to’s – they are real homes that require building permits and some investment. A great resource is accessorydwellings.org, which goes into the ins-and-outs of ADU construction, financing, zoning for every state and other issues.

For those looking to install an ADU on their property, but who don’t want the headache of designing a custom home, there are many prefabricated options like from developers like Blu Homes.  Most of these ADU homes come with many features you would have in the main homes and you can be creative with how you design the rooms to get the most of the space.

The wonderful things about ADUs are that they provide a way of optimizing the traditional American home, when the lot size is considerably larger than its home. We realize many people who want to live an edited life live in traditional American homes; moreover they neither want to move into a micro apartment in the city or a tiny house in the country. The ADU provides a great way of working with existing resources, while providing extra income, increasing the efficiency of a property and creating a more community-oriented lifestyle.

Do you have experiences living in or building an ADU? Tell us about it.

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

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

 

Common Appliances and How to Clean Them

Don’t you just hate it when something like chili or pasta with sauce explodes all over your microwave –yuck.  The following is some advice for cleaning household appliances.

Some people love to clean, however for the rest of us it takes a lot of effort and probably some knowledge that we’re currently lacking.  It’s not such a big deal to clean a microwave, but for some reason it feels like a major project. Do not despair – I have the remedy for cleaning basically everything useful in your kitchen.

Microwave

Pre-prep Work: Put a coffee mug or small bowl full of water and slices of lemon in the center and run the microwave on high for about three minutes, or until the liquid is turning to steam. This will help soften food splatter and the lemon smells nice.  If you don’t like lemon you can use other citrus fruits or just use a drop of dish washing liquid.

Break It Down: Take out the turntable and anything else that will come loose. Toss these parts in the dishwasher and run it.  These parts can be mixed with other dishes you have to run through the dishwasher. Wipe down the walls of the microwave with a sponge, cloth or several paper towels, plus your favorite dish soap and water or all purpose cleaner. There’s not really a wrong way to clean a microwave. Wipe the outside while you’re at it, especially the buttons.

Garbage Disposal

Pre-prep Work: Unless it is clogged, there’s not much in the way of prep work to do. Flick the switch, run some cold water to make sure there’s not any food left in the device.

Break It Down: Some garbage disposals, like Insinkerators, have removable baffles (the black part that’s just inside the drain). If yours is removable, take it out. If not, then move along.  Cleaning a garbage disposal is really easy. Just clean your removable baffle, if present, and toss some sliced citrus fruit inside (if you throw a whole lime, or even half of one without cutting it up, it may be too much for your disposal) with some ice cubes. Most garbage disposals no longer use blades (don’t stick your hand in to find out unless the breaker is turned off), so the ice cube trick does nothing, but citrus is still a big deal. If it’s really smelly, drop some liquid dish soap inside and run the water until the bubbles stop.

Dishwasher

Pre-prep Work: Running an empty load with a measuring cup full of vinegar or bleach will help start the process off correctly. These help eliminate chronic smells; you’ll be really happy you did. DO NOT USE DISH SOAP. Remove the racks and anything else that comes loose, like cutlery baskets. Take those to the shower and wait for further instructions. First clean any screens that might be protecting food grinders or other moving parts. You can just wipe that out. Next, there’s such a thing as dishwasher cleaner. Your life will be immeasurably easier if you just buy a few of these and use as directed to clean the inside of the dishwasher. Now to the parts you put in the shower.  Spray them down with a removable shower head or take your chances with the regular kind. If they’re very dirty, give them a going over with soapy water and a sponge. Then put the racks etc. back into the dishwasher and you are all set.

Refrigerator

Pre-prep Work: Take your food out and put items into a prepared cooler and turn the ice maker off.

Break It Down: Pull out all the shelves and drawers at once and place them in or near the sink. Start with the empty cavity of the refrigerator and wipe everything down, from the top to the bottom. Warm, soapy water is fine for most icky stuff. The tough grime can be knocked out with all-surface cleaner. Next, do the door interiors. Now wash the shelves and drawers and leave them to dry. Once all of that is complete, put the fridge back together and repeat with the freezer. Change your water filter and turn the ice maker back on when you’re done. Lastly, wipe down the fridge outside.

Freestanding Range (this also applies to cooktops and ovens that exist independently)

Pre-prep Work: Smooth top ranges just need their tops wiped down. Turn the pilot lights off on gas ranges.

Break It Down: Pull knobs, remove grates, and pull coils and catch pans, as applies to your stove.

The Nitty Gritty: If you have a stove with a self-cleaning oven, find your manual and figure out how to use it. Most will lock themselves, heat until they’re super hot and you only have to wipe the racks down and get the ash (there’s never much) out of the bottom. This will take a few hours. Maybe several hours. But it’ll be super clean. For the top, wipe the bit that’s not removable down with soapy water. Grab the coils and set them aside and put the rest in the dishwasher. No reason to work too hard. Glass top stoves sometimes need harder cleaning. There’s a gritty glass top stove cleaner available commercially. Put it all back together like you found it – except much cleaner.

If you want to skip all of this, you could find a great cleaning service in your community, or you can ask your real estate agent for recommendations and choose from the home pros that are sent your way. You’ll never have to worry about cleaning appliances again when you have a cleaning service handy.

 

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

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Robotic Lawn Mowers

 

Over the years we have seen automation and robotics change the way that a number of things work in the home.   Did you know that robotics and automation work outside your home as well? Robotic lawn mowers are starting to change the way that people approach lawn care with modern robotic lawn mowers that were introduced in recent years, however the devices have a longer history than you might think.  If you have grass on your property you should keep reading.

Hard to believe the first robotic lawn mower was actually created and patented in 1969. Called the MowBot, the robotic device was self-propelled and capable of making random turns within an area defined by a signal wire that was used to create a boundary. The MowBot was a battery-powered device that was primitive compared to today’s robotic lawn mowers however its approach to lawn maintenance wasn’t that far off from how today’s devices work. It had some staying power and MowBot Inc. is still producing robotic mowers today that are more modern takes on the original MowBot functionality.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that the more modern style of robotic lawn mowers began to emerge. A solar-powered mower was developed and introduced in 1995 by Husqvarna, and it was followed for the next 10 years by other niche robotic lawn mower designs. The development of smaller-scale robotic mowers occurred in the United States and the UK in 2000, but it wasn’t until 2005 that the first widespread commercial release of a robotic lawn mower occurred. Interestingly, these mowers used the same sort of signal wire that the MowBot had; combined with a few more modern features.

Since then the use of robotic mowers has really taken off with a variety of solar-powered and self-charging robotic mowers hitting the market with innovations such as programmability, autonomous obstacle avoidance and even the ability to program or control the mower remotely from a smartphone or similar device. Some modern robotic mowers are even designed to only trim a small section of the grass blades at a time, opting instead to mow more frequently (often without any input from their owners) to keep the lawn in optimal shape.

Robotic lawn mowers offer a number of benefits over traditional push mowers or riding lawn mowers. A few of the benefits of these mowers include:

  • Electric-powered robotic mowers reduce fuel costs and carbon emissions
  • Smaller, more frequent cuts prevent excessive strain on your lawn that could result in browning or other damage
  • Lightweight units that use random movements while cutting the lawn prevent damage caused by mowing in the same pattern repeatedly
  • Electric units with smaller motors significantly reduce noise pollution while cutting
  • The mulching action of robotic lawn mowers recycles clippings to feed your lawn throughout the year
  • Using a robotic device gives you the benefit of more free time and consistent lawn heights, plus eliminating the danger of injury from traditional lawn mowers.

Robotic lawn mowers have seen a massive surge in popularity in recent years. Models can range in price from $400 to $3,500 or more, with higher-end models offering greater coverage and more programmability features. Robotic lawn mower sales are growing at a faster rate than sales of traditional mowers, with analysts believing that robotic mower sales will continue to increase by approximately 11 percent each year through 2024. Technology is moving at a rapid pace so expect more automation and other types of gadgets for you home – inside and out.

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

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Don’t buy Summerlin garage sale signs – borrow mine (no charge) ((really))

Did you know the master-planned community of Summerlin requires specific signs for garage sales?  To some it seems silly, I know, but they look nicer than a lot of the homemade ones you see around the Las Vegas valley, and we like our community to look nice, so they have a rule (find the rule here), and I’m really not sad about it.

Did you know that the signs cost $6 each? If you want to have a garage sale and buy just 5 signs, there’s $30 gone before you get started, right? And if you buy 10… ugh! Well, I have a lot of them (more than 20).  The only thing I ask is that you return them all, in reasonably the same condition you borrowed them in.

You know, the more signs you have out around the area the more visible you will be and attract more people to your garage sale.  Whether you have a few, and want to use more, or don’t have any at all, you can borrow mine anytime (unless, of course, someone else has reserved them for the same day).  I’ll even drop them off to you, and when you’re finished you just return them to me!

What’s the catch you ask?  There’s no catch!  I promise!  Let’s be honest, they just sit in my garage collecting dust most of the time, anyway, and they might as well get put to good use!  Sure, I hope you’ll remember me someday when you are considering buying or selling real estate, but I promise not to start emailing you or calling you, just because you borrowed my signs. I’m gonna loan you the signs and that’s it. Deal? Just call my office at the number below to reserve them!

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

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

 

 

Water Watcher Cards and Water Safety

I am re-posting this blog as I feel this subject is a very important topic and we cannot be reminded to often to take all precautions when dealing with kids and swimming pools.  There are many swimming classes given in the Las Vegas Valley – let’s keep all children safe.

Its summer in Las Vegas and we all know what that means – hot weather and relaxing in the swimming pool to escape the heat and still be outdoors.  However water safety is a must do especially if you have children.

That is why I am giving out Water Watcher Cards to adults that agree to be responsible and supervise the kids in the water without distraction.  If there are several adults around the Water Watcher Card is passed to another responsible adult that will also supervise the kids and keep them safe in the water.

First of all when you have a backyard pool you should install fences around the pool.  The fence should surround all sides of the pool and be at least four feet tall.  The opening gate to the pool should be self-closing and self-latching gates.  The Health District in Las Vegas also advises putting an alarm on the gate.

It might be wise to take a class in what to do in an emergency – learn CPR and water rescue skills – this can help in saving a life.  If you have children you might want to enroll them in swimming classes.

This advice is not only for your backyard pool.  Be a Water Watcher when your family goes to a water park or community pool.  Keep your eyes on your children – there are usually life guards on duty however they cannot watch everyone all the time.

If you have toddlers in the home make sure all bathtubs are empty of water – did you know a baby can drown in an inch of water?  Also get into the habit of putting all toilet seats down so curious toddlers do not get into them.

Water safety also means dealing with monsoon rains and if you are taking out a boat on Lake Mead – those topics are for another blog.

Become a Water Watcher and contact me for a card, and take care of what is most precious in the world – children.

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

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

What should a Home Buyer do right away once they own their home?

Hooray you just bought a new home – whether it is your first home or second or third congratulations.  Besides packing and moving as well as getting utilities turned on there are four other items you should do once you have closed on your new home.

  1. You will most likely not know when the batteries were changed in your new home’s smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detector. After that you should change the batteries twice a year and to make it simple to remember change them at the same time you move your clocks back or forward for Daylight savings time. Also, if the home is more than 10 years old check the date that the smoke detectors were installed (usually on the back). If it has been longer than 10 years, replace them and write the installation date on the new ones in the appropriate place. Although this will cost a few bucks, it may save your life someday.
  2. Replacing air filters in your new home is one of the best things you can do to reduce maintenance or failure issues. Go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and get an  air filter – if you or anyone in the family has allergies get a HEPA filter.  Both these stores carry many different filters in all sizes.

In the Las Vegas area most filters are located in the ceiling.  For some this is a challenge to open the latches on the grill and keep the old filter from falling.  Here is a little trick you might want to use. Before climbing the ladder, go to the thermostat. There are hundreds of thermostats out there but almost all of them will have two switches or buttons. One for “System” and one for “Fan”. The fan switch or button will have two settings: “AUTO” and “On”. The normal position for the fan should be AUTO. But when changing out the air filters you should switch the setting to “On”.

Now, when you unlatch the grill, the filters will stay in place because they will be held in position by the suction of the fan. Before you install the new filter.  When you place the filters in the proper position in the system return, the suction from the fan will hold them in place making it much easier to close the grill.

  1. Change locks and codes. This is an important safety issue – you and your family or anyone else that lives with you should be the only people that should have a key and know the codes to your alarm system and if you have a keypad on the garage door.  Unfortunately there are a lot of bad people out there looking for a home to rob.  Take every precaution to make sure it is not yours. Even if the old owners have left the city (or even the country) you do not know who they have given keys to over the years. You also change your mailbox lock (if you have one) or the same reasons; but you don’t do that yourself. You go to the post office with your final settlement statement in the first 30 days after closing and they will do it for free! (They will do it after 30 days have passed also, but you have to pay for it)

  1. Verify the settings on your irrigation system control panel. Did you know that lawn sprinkler systems are one of the most damaging components to Las Vegas homes? It is super important that you review the settings on your panel to ensure they are correct. The settings for your panel are easy to find. The Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD) has promulgated all the required schedules on their website. You only need to enter your address. The link is here: https://www.lvvwd.com/conservation/mandatory-watering-schedule/index.html   Keep to the correct days or you might be fined by SNWA seriously, I have seen their new enforcement trucks driving around).

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

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Optimize your 401K Planning

People are living longer, which has become a problem… in that we risk outliving our retirement income. Pensions are all but unheard of outside of heavily-unionized industries and the government, and both these entities have increasingly transferred more and more responsibility to the individual worker as far as their retirement account is concerned. When it comes to employer-sponsored plans like 401(k) s, it is vital for workers, savers and investors (and you should see yourself as all three) to make the most they can out of the plans. While there are some differences with other plans, like 403(b) s, most of this advice applies fairly well across the major plans in the United States. Below is a list of ways to get the most benefit out of your 401(k).

Work Backwards – For folks who have the ambition and the financial wherewithal to truly make the most of their 401(k), one of the best ways to begin is by working backwards. Take your maximum allowable contribution (your 401(k) plan documents should make this number relatively clear, or you can ask for help), divide it by the number of pay periods in a year, and see where that leaves you.

Make the Match – Fully exploiting employer matching is one of the most vital strategies in getting the most out of a 401(k) plan. Matching is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – subject to certain rules and limits, your employer will contribute the same amount of money you contribute, effectively doubling your retirement savings without decreasing your salary or increasing your tax burden. Many employer matches kick in at 3% of your pay (or higher), so try as hard as you can to at least contribute this much. Afterall, who doesn’t like free money?

Watch the Costs – As part of some employee retirement plans, workers can avail themselves of investment advice from independent professionals. Be advised that this advice is rarely free and it may cost up to 1 to 2% of your funds to get this help. It’s understandable that many workers feel overwhelmed when it comes to calculating their contributions, and then investing that money in a relatively fixed menu of investment options. However, if the advice really is from someone who does not stand to directly gain from the advice they give, and they are qualified to help you understand the options, it may be well worth it.

Consider Borrowing – For workers who save some funds in a 401(k) but find that they cannot contribute more, because they are saddled with expensive debt, there may be a counter-intuitive option. Most plans have provisions that allow employees to borrow funds from their own account. This money comes relatively free of strings ( as what the funds can be used for), and it is possible to use it to repay much more expensive debt, like credit card debt. This money does not come free, but the good news is that the interest charged is basically being paid to you.

Additional Options – What do you do if you have maxed out your 401(k) or you really hate the investment options offered? In most cases, it is allowable to have a Roth IRA and 401(k) and contribute to both in the same year. The Roth IRA contributions are not deductible, but the money put aside this way can still accumulate tax-free over decades.

Once you have contributed as much as possible to these tax-sheltered accounts, there are still other ways to save for retirement. People who are lucky to have maxed out their 401(k) or IRAs in a year can consider buying and investing in annuities. There are a lot of problems with annuities – they can carry high sales loads, they typically have high expenses and sponsors have continually transferred more risk to the investor. All of that said, money in an annuity can accumulate without year-to-year taxation, and it is a worthwhile option if protecting even more retirement savings from the taxman is important.

Additionally, you can invest in real estate. The gains are not calculated until/unless you sell, and your tenants pay your mortgage, adding to the wealth created by the appreciation.

Speak up 
– Notifying your employer about a deficient plan can be an effective means of improving your options (and those of your co-workers). If you do not like how a plan is organized or the investment options on offer, say so. Keep in mind that many employers choose 401(k) plans on the basis of what is cheapest and most convenient to offer, and they may not even be aware of its deficiencies. While it is true that many workers do not like to be a squeaky wheel, and some companies are certainly apt to be more responsive than others, doing nothing is a pretty good way to ensure that the plan will get no better.

Careful savings is not likely to be the gateway to becoming a millionaire or independently wealthy, but it can at least go a long way towards ensuring a more comfortable and desirable retirement. Whatever the specific plans being offer to you, be it a 401(k), a 403(b), an IRA and so on, make sure to contribute as much as you can afford and take full advantage of your opportunity to save money for the future.

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

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff