Don’t Freak Out if You Find a Crack in the Foundation of Your House

Yes cracks in the foundation can be signs of a problem; however it doesn’t mean you should automatically think of worst case scenario.  Believe it or not, there are a few perfectly normal reasons why cracks can appear in your foundation.

Of course you should have the issue looked into but hold off on assuming the worst until you determine whether there’s a problem worth worrying about.

There are several things that can cause cracks in your foundation. In some cases, the cracks are simply caused by the settling of your home over time or soil expansion if your home is built on land with a lot of clay in the soil. Other potential causes of foundation cracks include:

  • Drainage issues around the home
  • Insufficient reinforcement to support the weight of the house
  • Major home renovations or add-ons such as adding a second story
  • Tree roots under the soil
  • Earthquakes, sinkholes or landslides that have affected the area
  • Deep soil freezing during the winter

Despite the wide range of possible causes, it’s important to not freak out and get excited and worry over the cracks until you’ve figured out whether they actually indicate a serious problem.

When you first notice cracks in your foundation get a good look at them and where they appear. Taking photos may help with this since they’ll give you an easy-to-access reference later on. If possible, include an object of known size in the pictures to give you a sense of scale; coins, ink pens or other common objects are easy to use.

When looking at the cracks in your foundation, take note of the direction of the crack, how wide the crack is and whether it has a uniform width. If there is an obvious point of origin (a crack that starts at the corner of a basement window or foundation vent) then you should take note of this as well. If you have a crawlspace or basement under your home, go in and examine the foundation wall from the inside as well to see if the crack is visible. The more information you have about the crack, the easier it will be to determine whether there’s a problem.

Small, thin cracks in the foundation usually aren’t much to be concerned about; they typically form as the house and the soil beneath it settle into place. Likewise, small cracks that appear after a particularly harsh winter shouldn’t be a major concern since they are easy to seal before the next bout of cold weather comes around.

There are some cracks that you need to watch out for, though.  Horizontal cracks, straight vertical cracks and cracks that are wider at one end than the other are all signs of potential problems. These can indicate that the foundation is cracking due to a much larger problem than just settling or bad weather. Check the depth of the crack, especially if you have a crawlspace or basement; a crack that goes all the way through the foundation wall can be very bad indeed. You should also see if there are multiple cracks forming around the same area or if any of the cracked areas correspond with cracks or other issues inside the house.

If the cracks seem recent, clean up the area and place marks on the wall beside the cracks. This will let you look for new debris or changes to the crack length over the next several days. Large cracks or cracks that seem to still be growing need to be repaired before they can cause significant issues.

Even if you’re handy around the house, you might want to call a professional to examine the situation and foundation and take care of what is wrong.  Having a pro to do the work will certainly give you piece of mind.  Just give me a call I have a list of professionals that I can highly recommend to you.  I am after all your Realtor for life!!

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

Properly Mounting Things on the Walls of Your Home (pictures, decorations, etc)

Ok so you are in your new home or just adding a picture or mounting a television – anything that goes on your wall needs something to anchor it in place. Sometimes there is a stud in the wall that you can attach it to and you are good to go. You have well-supported wood to drive a screw into which will hold whatever you’re mounting in place.  However if you can’t find a stud where you need one, if the item has any real weight to it, you need some help. That’s where drywall anchors come in.

What is a drywall anchor? Drywall anchors are small pieces that are slightly larger than the screws you are using for this project.  Depending on the type of anchor you’re using it might be made of plastic or metal, with small fins sticking out from the outside of the anchor body and a hole in the middle that runs the length of the anchor.  You first put the anchors into the wall and then your screw goes into the hole. As you screw it in the screw digs into the anchor body in much the same way it would with wood to ensure that the screw won’t slip out.

The drywall anchors are designed to provide a tight fit for your screws. As the screw goes in, the anchor is forced to spread out and open up a bit. This pushes the body of the anchor against the sides of the hole you put it in, causing those little fins to dig into the surrounding drywall. The fins are positioned to go in easy but resist coming out, giving you a solid mounting even though there isn’t any wood or other solid material for your screws to secure to.

There are multiple types of drywall anchors. Choosing the right one for the project you are working on helps to reduce unnecessary damage to your drywall and ensures that the mounting is strong enough for what you are hanging on the wall. To ensure that you have the right drywall anchor for what you need to support you should try to estimate of the weight of the load and check the packaging of different drywall anchors to find an anchor that can hold that much weight.

If the load of what you are hanging is relatively light you’ll most likely only need a plastic anchor. The most common of these are known as expansion anchors and are essentially plastic sleeves that you hammer into a drilled hole and that simply spread out as you insert a screw. There are also threaded plastic anchors that look like oversized screws -they work similarly, except you screw them into place instead of hammering them. Regardless of the type of plastic anchor you use, the purpose is still to dig into the drywall and hold a screw in place.

For heavier loads you will need a metal anchor. Though you may see some threaded metal anchors, the most common metal anchors are known as molly bolts and feature a metal sleeve with a screw already inserted into them. You hammer these into place as you would with an expansion anchor and then remove the screw. Once you are ready to mount you place the screw back into the anchor and start tightening – this causes a portion of the metal sleeve to pull toward the screw, expanding metal arms on the other side of the drywall to create a much more secure fitting.

For seriously heavier loads you’ll need to use a toggle bolt instead. These anchors consist of a metal bolt with foldable metal wings that the bolt screws into. You have to fold the wings so that they lie over the bolt and then insert them into a hole large enough that they can fit through to the other side. Once on the other side the wings will expand, preventing the bolt from coming back out. Make sure that there is a washer or something else that’s large enough to cover the hole, though, or the bolt head could slip through the hole and you’ll lose your toggle bolt into the wall.

If a drywall anchor fails then it simply wasn’t the right type of anchor for the job. Trying to use smaller or weaker anchors for heavier loads will often result in failure because they simply don’t achieve enough grip on the surrounding material to hold the load. In some cases, though, the drywall itself may be too weak or the anchor you use may have been intended for a different material. Be sure to match the anchor to the weight and the material to minimize your chances of anchor failure.

If you are still having issues, or just not comfortable doing it yourself, you’ll probably want to hire a professional. I always keep a list of reliable professionals around in just about every category that pertains to your home, so feel free to reach out to me for recommendations. After all, we’re neighbors.

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

 

Kitchen Fire Safety

Do you realize that a good amount of the fire hazards in your home are in your kitchen? Lots of heat sources are in the kitchen like your oven, stovetop and a toaster oven. Most of the time your kitchen is usually a pretty safe place as long as you keep an eye on things and follow fire safety rules. Knowing how to handle a kitchen fire can mean the difference between a scare and a tragedy.

There are several potential causes of kitchen fires. There are the usual fire hazards such as electrical shorts; however you also have kitchen-specific risks such as splashing oil or something falling onto a heating element.  Your safety measures in the kitchen area should be a bit wider reaching than the rest of your home.

A smoke detector is vital in the kitchen and so is a fire extinguisher that you can access easily. Make sure you choose the right fire extinguisher – opt for an ABC fire extinguisher if you can. These can be used on Class A (trash/wood/paper), Class B (oil and liquids) and Class C (electrical equipment) fires.  These can be found at Home Depot, Lowes or another hardware store.

Set aside an area in the kitchen where you can put oven mitts, cookbooks and similar materials that are far enough away from the stovetop to prevent any of them from falling onto a hot surface. Inspect kitchen appliances regularly for damaged cords or other fire hazards and replace anything that could present a danger.

If a fire breaks out in your oven, your first instinct is likely to open the oven and try to put the fire out. That’s one of the worst things that you can do, though; opening the oven provides much-needed air to the fire and can make it significantly worse. Instead, turn off the oven and leave the door closed. This will limit the availability of oxygen, causing the fire to die down and eventually go out on its own. Keep an eye on the fire, though, if it doesn’t start dying out or seems to be getting stronger, you should call the fire department to deal with it.

Stovetop fires come in several forms such as if something falls onto a hot burner that can cause a fire. If oil or other flammable liquids get too hot or splash out of a pan that can also cause a fire. Even letting a pan boil dry can cause a fire. Fortunately, the majority of stovetop fires are preventable by keeping an eye on the stove whenever there’s at least one hot burner.

If a fire breaks out on the stovetop, there are a few things that you can do. If the fire is very small fire such as a grease fire in a pan, simply putting a metal lid on the pan and that may be enough to put the fire out. Slightly larger fires can be doused using baking soda, but do NOT use flour… though you may have heard that flour is okay to use, flour is finely ground dried plant material and is actually very flammable. Your fire extinguisher is a great option, as is calling the fire department before things get too far out of control.

The main points to remember regarding fire safety is to ensure that your smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment stay in good working order, in case you need them.  It’s recommended to change the batteries in the smoke detectors in your home every six months, and replace smoke detectors every 10 years (I just replaced all of mine).

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

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