Flooring Options for High-Traffic Areas

Deep pile carpeting can look wonderful in your home, however if you have a few kids plus their friends and your friends coming in and out on a regular basis carpeting may not be the best flooring choice. Not only will you have to work harder to keep it clean, but you’ll also have to replace it sooner than you’d like because all those feet and shoes will leave their mark over time.

If you want nice-looking floors without worrying about a personal parade wearing them down before their time, you want to find a flooring option that’s better suited for high-traffic areas.  The following are some great ideas:

Laminate FlooringThis is an increasingly popular option in homes, laminate flooring uses laminated wood slats with images applied to them to create the look of a premium flooring option without the premium price. Laminate is available in a wide range of sizes and types; choose thicker 12mm or 15mm laminates to help ensure that they won’t wear down due to excessive foot traffic. If you want something a bit different than standard laminates, some companies are also now making vinyl flooring (called vinyl plank) that functions similarly to laminate floors but with the water resistance and other benefits of using vinyl making it a better choice than laminate in “wet” areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. If you choose this option, make sure your installer removes the existing baseboards, instead of extending them using something like 1/4-round wood pieces. It’s slightly more expensive to install it correctly, however, the completed project looks so much better.

Natural StoneIf you really want something that can stand up against some foot traffic, consider going with natural stone. These stone tiles add a touch of beauty and class while giving you the wear protection that only stone can provide. Depending on the option you choose, this may run a bit more expensive than other options, but there is very little out there that can match the look of stone in the end.

Concrete FlooringThis may sound unappealing to you at first think, however there’s a lot that can be done with concrete flooring. You can add color, stains, etchings, stamps and even embedded features such as stones or tiles to really bring the floor to life. Best of all, you already know that concrete can stand up to a lot of traffic and use without showing any wear, so you won’t have to worry about your floors showing their age for a very long time.

HardwoodAnother option, which can be a bit pricey depending on the wood you go with, is engineered hardwood (natural hardwood does not last long in the dry Nevada desert, so engineered is a much better choice). There is very little that can beat a hardwood floor when it comes to beauty and wear resistance. You have several woods to choose from, each giving the floor its own touch of color and personality. The maintenance of hardwood is a little higher than some other options if you want to keep it looking its best, but the little bit of extra time you spend keeping up your floor is more than worth it.

Ceramic Tile FlooringThere are a lot of benefits to using ceramic tile in your high-traffic areas. Tile is versatile, comes in a wide range of colors and styles, creates a classic look, and is relatively easy to repair and replace if individual tiles get broken.  Modern ceramic tile brings a whole new dimension to this option, and has become very popular. Just wait to see what has been done with ceramic tile.

Traffic-Resistant CarpetYes, carpet isn’t always the best flooring option for high-traffic areas. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t carpeting options available for rooms that see a lot of use, however. Not only are there low-pile carpets and other options designed with higher-traffic use in mind, but you can also get carpet tiles and other carpet options that are both easy to maintain and easy to repair if parts of them start showing a bit too much wear.

If you opt to go with stone, concrete or wood surfaces you might want to use area rugs on top of them in lower trafficked areas in your home in order to “soften” the room.

Obviously, there are a few options available to keep your floors looking nice despite the amount of traffic they see. If you would like an expert’s opinion, I have a list of quality interior designers that can help you out to decide what type of flooring suits your home and your needs.  Just contact me and I’m glad to help.

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

Bargain Buying 101: Things to Look for In a Deal when Buying a New Home

Great you and your family have decided to purchase a new home along with the New Year.  It’s not uncommon to face a little bit of sticker shock when it comes to price. This can often lead buyers to try to find a good balance between what they want and what they can afford. However, if you’re smart and maybe a little lucky, you may be able to find some really great deals if you know what to look for.  Plus having a great Realtor can help a lot.

There are some key things to look for in finding a good deal.  Look for properties that have qualities that might seem unappealing at first but that can be corrected fairly easily. Some of these things can drive prices down significantly but won’t require a major renovation to fix. If you’re hoping to find a bargain, here are a few things to look out for.

Ugly Paint – There’s a lot of damage that can make your paint look ugly, however sometimes the paint is just ugly because someone chose to bring together colors that should never coexist. It could be awful colors, it could be cheap paint that’s faded over time or it could even be an amateur paint job that never got touched up. Regardless of the reason for the ugly paint job, it can drive the price of the property down by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. It doesn’t even have to be the entire house; one ugly room can give you an opportunity to find a good deal on an otherwise nice property.

Landscaping IssuesA property’s front yard is one of the first things that a potential buyer sees. If it’s obviously been neglected or has bald patches and overgrown flower beds, this can make a negative first impression since it suggests that the house itself might not have been taken care of either. That isn’t always the case, though. Even if the house is in good condition, a yard that needs some TLC can usually trim off some money from the asking price and help you to net a great deal.

Fixtures and Accents – There are a lot of cosmetic elements in houses that can start looking rough over time. Handles and knobs can come loose or become tarnished, shutters can get loose, and bathroom tiles can become cracked… the list goes on. While updating these issues won’t break the bank, many sellers will drop their asking price quite a bit due to how these little things make the house look.

Bathroom Concerns – A lot of buyers shy away from houses that have obvious bathroom problems, causing those sellers to bring the price down significantly in many cases. Depending on the extent of the issues in the bathroom, there could be a real opportunity here. If the problem with the bathroom is mostly cosmetic, then you may be able to fix it on the relatively cheap side and save a lot of money in the process. Just be sure to keep an eye out for signs of water damage or mold, since that could indicate problems that would be much more expensive to fix.

All of the issues I have made you aware of are cosmetic and are easy fixes.  Some of you might be very handy and can do what needs to be fixed by yourself.  Others might want to find a great handyman (or woman) to do this work.  I have lists of people to recommend to you that are good at fixing up, painting and landscaping.  They are all trustworthy and reliable.

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

6 Great things to do with the Family between Christmas and New Years in Las Vegas

So the kids are on holiday break and you might have family or friends visiting – what is there to do in Las Vegas during the 6 days between Christmas and New Years? There are many activities that can keep everyone busy. Here are a few ideas to help you make plans for every day over the holidays this year.

  1. The Las Vegas Christmas Town is billed as “A holiday experience for all ages.” It’s located at the Cowabunga Bay Waterpark and admission is $25 per person. This festive event runs through December 31st, it’s a wonderful way to pass the time in between Christmas and New Years. Take the Polar Express Train Ride, play Yuletide Laser Tag, visit Santa’s Cozy Cottage and much more at this family-friendly attraction.
  2. One of the best things to do in Las Vegas is to explore the beauty of the Las Vegas area. The surrounding nature is truly spectacular if you know where to go, and everyone can benefit from a quick escape from the Strip. Take a ride to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, Zion National Park (weather permitting) and you can even go see the Grand Canyon.
  3. Why not visit an escape room? The Trapped! Escape Room Las Vegas features a completely unique experience and it’s conveniently located right off the strip. You and your group can choose from three different puzzles. Then, you get locked in the room and must solve the mystery to escape before time runs out! Push your creativity, problem-solving skills, and teamwork to the limits in the room of your choice, and then come back to try the rest!
  4. The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village is one of the most festive attractions in Las Vegas. This family-friendly event “is a winter wonderland with millions of sparkling lights, nightly entertainment, great food and endless holiday cheer.” Open from November 23 to December 31, it’s a perfect place to visit between Christmas and New Years in the Vegas Valley.
  5. The Bellagio Fountains are one of the most popular free attractions in Las Vegas. Stop by every thirty minutes to catch the daily shows and you’ll quickly understand why: the water is choreographed with music and lights and soars up to 460 feet in the air. After looking at the water go inside the hotel and see the magnificent holiday display that has horses and polar bears, Santa’s chalet and all sorts of presents – all made of millions of flowers. It is really breathtaking.
  6. Go Ice Skating -The ice rink at The Cosmopolitan  is a perfect thing to do in between Christmas and New Years. Every year “The Cosmopolitan transforms into a winter wonderland high above The Las Vegas Strip.” It’s the only outdoor rink in the city and with s’mores, open fires, and even the occasional snowfall, a visit to The Cosmopolitan should not be missed during the holiday season. If you want to avoid the Strip – there is the Rock Rink in Downtown Summerlin.  After skating you can find lots of restaurants and retail stores to add another gift or two that Santa might have missed.
  7. 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

No More Loan Limits for VA Loans: What This Means for Veterans (Hooray!)

There is a lot to be thankful for this holiday season especially for members of the military on active duty and veterans hoping to buy a home a more expensive home.

Starting next year, they’ll be able to take out Veterans Affairs–backed mortgages as large as their bank accounts will allow.

This is thanks to the Blue Water Navy Veterans Act of 2019; -veterans will be able to buy larger homes in pricier communities without having to put down a cent. However, they must still qualify for their mortgage and be able to afford the monthly payments.

Kyle Reed, an Austin Texas based Realtor stated “It gives the veterans the opportunity to buy homes in the areas they want to be in. It opens up some areas in cities to VA loans … that maybe veterans didn’t have access to before without putting a bunch of money down.”

VA loans up until now, were capped at different amounts across the country. For example, borrowers could take out more in ultra -pricey cities like San Francisco than in Detroit, where homes cost a whole lot less. As long as they stayed within those boundaries they could get a mortgage with a 0% down payment. But if they exceeded those limits, they had to put down 25% of the difference. The change goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Mike Villano of the Veterans Lending Group near Seattle Washington stated “There’s not a lot of VA buyers who are buying these very high-dollar homes, but there are some; however there’s a lot of places where these folks go and serve, and it’s very expensive.”

The problem is that not all lenders are likely to be comfortable making huge loans without imposing a few restrictions of their own. The VA typically backs up to 25% of a VA loan. So banks, credit unions, and other loan makers are likely to set up some internal rules (usually called layers) to protect against defaults.  Some lenders require higher credit scores or debt-to-income ratios to qualify for the loans. And some lenders may even impose their own caps on how much money borrowers can take out.

In addition, mortgage lenders pointed out that the limitless loans will apply only to a borrower’s primary home. That can be problematic for those on active duty, who might buy a home near their base, get stationed somewhere else, and then choose to buy a second home in that location while renting out the first.

Plus if they already have a VA loan on another property, they can’t get the full perks of the loan on a second one. This means they may be on the hook for a down payment or can qualify for only a smaller loan for their new abode. “It would really help a lot of families if they could retain their current home and still be able to purchase at their new duty station with no cap,” says Villano.  Maybe down the road the rules will be modified to include second homes.

If you want a VA loan (or any kind of mortgage), I have a few great lenders I would be happy to introduce you to!

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

How Long Will It Last? – Life Expectancy of Major Systems & Appliances

The following list of appliances and major systems and their life expectancy comes from a respected home inspector NOT a manufacturer.  A home inspector sees hundreds of appliances and systems like a heater system or an air conditioning system and will tell you the realistic life of your systems and appliances.  Of course, home inspectors do not have a crystal ball and there can be unforeseen circumstances that occur so the life expectancy just that… what we expect.

1.  Smoke detectors and Carbon monoxide detectors: Most smoke detectors should be replaced every ten years and carbon monoxide detectors are replaced every seven years. Of course batteries should be replaced every 6 months.

2.  Refrigerators: The rule here is: If your refrigerator is more than 15 years old, it is so inefficient compared to modern day refrigerators that it should be replaced. A 10-year old refrigerator consumes twice the amount of energy as a modern day Energy-Star rated model.

3.   HVAC: In Las Vegas we don’t have separate furnace (heating) and air conditioning systems. Its all-in-one: Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning. A well-maintained HVAC system will last many years. Well maintained includes changing filters in a regular, consistent, and timely manner and having the units serviced semi-annually. Air conditioner components will fail long before furnace issues occur. The average life expectancy for air conditioning systems is 10 – 15 years. Heating systems will generally last 20 – 30 years. Newer units with SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) of 14- 16 SEER are more than 25% more efficient and consume more than 25% less electricity than a 10 SEER unit.

4.  Water Heater: A water heater maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations is supposed to last 8 – 12 years. This generally means that the tank is drained and flushed of sediment twice a year. People rarely do this. Sediment build-up in the tank causes uneven heating in the tank, metal fatigue, and that’s what often causes premature failure. Lowering the temperature reduces the effects of the uneven heating and can prolong life.

5.  Water Softeners: The life expectancy of water softeners varies greatly. The general life expectancy is 8 – 10 years. The less expensive off-the-shelf units often don’t last long and the high end models can operate well for over 20 years.  

6.  Clothes Washers: When maintained and cleaned in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations, washers generally have a life expectancy of 8-12 years.

7.  Clothes Dryers: Clothes dryers have a life expectancy of 8 – 10 years. Excessive heat greatly contributes to failure of dryers. Excessive heat is often the result of inadequate airflow. Inadequate airflow occurs when the vent becomes clogged. It’s very important to clean the dryer vent no less than biannually.

 

8.   Dishwashers: A well maintained and cleaned dishwasher may last – 10 years. When they do need to be replaced, replacement Energy-Star dishwashers are often more energy efficient and consume less water.

9.  Refrigerator and Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water Filters: The life expectancy of water filters and RO cartridges varies dependent on usage. Refrigerator filters should be changed no less than every 6 months. RO filters should be changed once per year at a minimum.

10.  Roof’s: Concrete tile roofing is designed to last 50 years. This does not mean that the roof is maintenance-free. A licensed Roofing Contractor should review the roof every 3 – 5 years to repair / replaced wind-damaged tiles and to renew the mineral flashing. A well-maintained composition shingle roof has a life expectancy of approximately 20 years.

11. Range / Oven: Life expectancy of these components differs depending on whether it is gas or electric. Gas ranges / ovens seem to have a slightly longer life expectancy, one of the longest life expectancy appliances in the home. Gas range ovens typical last 15 – 18 years. Electric ones typically last approximately 9 – 12 years.

12. Microwave ovens: With microwave ovens, built-in microwave ovens seem to have a longer life expectancy, 9 – 12 years, than the countertop units, 5 – 7 years.

Of course, the life expectancy of any appliance is greatly influenced by the amount of use it receives and how well it is maintained. To achieve maximum life expectancy of any appliance or component they should be maintained in accordance with manufacturer’ recommendations. You may fully expect to have maintenance costs along the way. These figures provided are generalities and should not be considered set in stone.

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… 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

 

 

 

Power Surges – Myth or Reality?

A couple of year ago, I was in one of my furnished rental properties, when suddenly (and seemingly for no reason) the lights all got very bright, then burned out and it suddenly smelled like an electrical fire. It turns out, the house had a huge power surge! For some reason, one of the TV’s had a good surge protector, and the other had none at all. Well, as you can probably guess, we had to replace 1 TV, along with the microwave & stove, and several light bulbs. For some reason the washer and dryer were fine. Power surges can wipe out TVs, video games, appliances and many more electronic devices.  This is nothing new – power surges have been in our lives since the invention of electricity, and most of them are more subtle.  However, it is more of a concern these days due to our increased use of electronics.

Basically a power surge is a spike in your home’s electrical current. The spike is very brief, usually lasting less than a thousandth of a second, but it can still cause damage to your anything that is plugged in.

Be certain not to confuse power strips with surge protectors! They look very similar; however, a surge protector will have those words on the box along with a rating in joules!  Essentially, more joules equal better protection, as this means the device can handle one large surge, or multiple smaller surges, before your gear is in danger. Over time, the parts inside the protector wear down, reducing its effectiveness, so you probably want to replace them from time to time… especially the ones hooked up to your most expensive electronics. They are the easiest and least expensive fix for properties with circuit breakers built in.  If you want more protection, consider that phone and cable lines can carry power spikes too. Some surge protectors have connectors for these as well. Many surge protector models will light a warning lamp if the outlet into which they’re plugged isn’t properly grounded. Most do-it-yourself and hardware stores also sell inexpensive circuit testers that are simply plugged into outlets to confirm that circuits are grounded properly.

Also you can install a whole house surge protector at your electrical panel.  I would advise you to have a licensed electrician set this up for you.  This installation will likely cost between $300 to $500. This will monitor electrical spikes and dissolve them safely into the ground before they can do any damage.

During holiday time it’s a good idea to plug in any lights you use in decorating to a surge protector. Has this every happened to you? Share your story below!

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… 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

Why you should Brine your Turkey this (and every) Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is next week and if you volunteered to roast the Thanksgiving turkey this year and are starting to feel a bit nervous I have three words of advice: Brine your bird. Brining will make sure your turkey will be a juicy and full-flavored even if you’re not feeling confident about your roasting skills.

The turkey is a relatively lean bird, particularly the breast meat, meaning that it doesn’t have a lot of fat to help keep the meat from becoming dry and tough. This is where brining comes in. Brine is a very basic solution of 4 quarts of water and 1 cup of salt, and by giving our turkey a long and luxurious dunk in this solution; we can actually coax a bit more moisture and flavor into our meal.  There are also some aromatic options: bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, juniper berries, allspice berries, orange peels, lemon peels, to add to the brining mix.  There are many stores in the Las Vegas area that sell kits for brining – Sprouts, Bed Bath and Beyond, Whole Foods and Lowes and of course you can order a kit from Amazon.com.

During brining, the turkey absorbs extra moisture, which in turn helps it stay more moist and juicy both during and after cooking. Since the turkey absorbs salt along with the other flavors in the water, getting nicely seasoned from the inside out. Also the salt breaks down some of the turkey’s muscle proteins, which helps with the overall moisture absorption and also prevents the meat from toughing up quite so much during cooking.

The only downside to brining a turkey is that it takes up a good amount of fridge real-estate. First, find a pot or bucket big enough to comfortably hold the turkey and keep it fully submerged. Next rearrange the fridge to make enough space. If you’re okay meeting these two conditions, then you are good to go!

Brine only turkeys that have not been pre-treated in any way, which should be clearly stated on the label. Do not use turkeys labeled as “kosher,” “enhanced,” or “self-basting” for brining. These turkeys have already been enhanced with salt in some way and brining would result in an over-salted turkey. If your label doesn’t say any of these things or give any indication that it has been pre-treated, then it’s safe to assume you’re getting the turkey and nothing but the turkey, and you’re clear to proceed with brining.  Also it’s fine to brine a partially thawed turkey. The thawing process will continue while the turkey is in the brine.

You cook a brined turkey just as you normally would whether brined or not. Once it’s out of the brine, pat it dry and rub it with any spices you were planning to use (although you can skip the salt!). You can also baste the turkey with juices or brush it with butter as it roasts.  You might find that a brined turkey might cook a little faster than a non-brined bird, so it is recommended starting to check the internal temperature.

The following is step by step instructions to help make your brining easier.

  1. Find a pot or food-safe bucket large enough that you will be able to entirely submerge the turkey. Next, clear some refrigerator space and make sure your pot will fit. (You may have to remove shelves)
  2. Unwrap your turkey and remove the giblets, then transfer it to the pot. Add any aromatics you’d like to use.
  3. Heat 1 quart of water in the microwave until warmed — it doesn’t need to come to a boil, just be warm enough to dissolve the salt. Add the salt and stir until the salt is dissolved. Let the liquid cool slightly; it’s fine if it’s still a touch warm. Also add the other flavors at this time.
  4. Pour the brine solution over the turkey. 
  5. Add the remaining 3 quarts cold water. This dilutes the salt solution to the best ratio for brining and also helps further cool the solution.
  6. Make sure the turkey is completely submerged.If needed, prepare more brine solution at a ratio of 1/4 cup salt per quart of water to completely submerge the turkey.
  7. If the turkey floats, weigh it down with a dinner plate. Cover and place it in the refrigerator.
  8. Brine the turkey in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
  9. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Clean your sink thoroughly after doing this step to avoid cross-contamination.
  10. (optional).If you desire, let the turkey air-dry overnight in the refrigerator. Place the turkey on a roasting rack set inside a roasting pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap to prevent cross contamination. This drying step will give your turkey crispier skin.
  11. You can roast the turkey either immediately after brining or after air-drying. I’ve found that brined turkeys tend to cook a bit more quickly, so roast as usual, but start checking the turkey’s temperature an hour before the end of your estimated cooking time.

This might seem overwhelming for first time briner’s, however it is totally worth it – a brined turkey is so good you will always brine your turkeys after tasting the delicious turkey and have your family and friends compliment you on the best bird they have eaten.

It’s funny… I have actually compared staging a home before selling it to brining a turkey… sure you’ll be fine if you don’t do it. However, if you do, the results are dramatically better! (and I always like “better”)

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… 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