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

 

“Go to the public library… from your computer or mobile device?”

I love the library – so many books and videos to find and you can take so much home with your trusty library card.  Oh wait, that was years ago.  Boys and Girls the library is fully in the 21st century.

I just discovered how much you can get from the public library without going to the library… including free music, movies, audiobooks, emagazines, ebooks and more. Plus you can get streaming from the library app called Libby and I recommend you also add the Hoopla app.

A good place to start is https://lvccld.org/online-resources/.  I googled this and then decided to actually go to the library when I found out my library card wasn’t the updated version they have been offering for the last 2-3 years.  It’s special alright – the card has the Vegas Golden Knights logo on the front of the card.  While at the library I spoke to a computer specialist to find out how I can stream movies and TV shows – very helpful.

I don’t know if you have been to the Summerlin Library – did you know it is part of the Clark County –Las Vegas library system?  I found out just recently it was.  The Summerlin Library is fantastic – there are so many events there all year round.

Plus they have several musicals and plays that are open to the public for a very small fee in their wonderful theatre and the casts are fantastic.  Click here for more information on the Summerlin Library https://lvccld.org/locations/SM/

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

 

 

Day Tripping – Part Two

Last week I suggested some fun and interesting day trips to destinations around Las Vegas, and still in Nevada – well here are a few days trips that are across the California state line, and are certainly worth visiting (some you might even want to stay overnight in).

Pioneertown – It’s less than four hours from Las Vegas and has an interesting past. In 1946, Pioneertown was founded by a group of Hollywood investors, including actors Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. They dreamed of creating an Old West set 125 miles east of Los Angeles that was actually a town worth visiting.  The town has 1880s-style false-front facades as well as interiors with things for visitors to see and do.

From the outside there are frontier stables, saloons, and jails; inside, they house ice cream parlors, bowling alleys, and motels. It wasn’t a place just for tourists to enjoy though; more than 50 films and television shows were filmed here in the 1940s and ‘50s.  Recently the town has been experiencing something of a renaissance—artists, entrepreneurs, and just regular folks looking to escape city stress are finding their way here. Longtime standby the Pioneertown Motel, a rustic, single-story 20-room inn, has been updated with fire pits, an outdoor bar, and hammocks; it and La Copine, an upscale eatery in nearby Flamingo Heights are contributing to the area’s newfound reputation as a hip getaway.  https://www.visitcalifornia.com/attraction/pioneertown

Big Bear Lake– This is Southern California’s four-season mountain lake escape. Located in the heart of Southern California – and close to Las Vegas it around a 3 ½ hour drive  – Big Bear Lake is the jewel of the San Bernardino National Forest and known for excellent fishing, snowboarding & skiing, hiking, mountain biking and so much more!

During any season, a drive to Big Bear Lake through the San Bernardino National Forest is a wonderful experience. There are winding roads that cascade through hills that become mountains with amazing views of the California basin. You arrive in a destination that’s totally unique and different from the bustling cities below Big Bear Lake. Wood-carved sculptures line the streets, the smell of fresh pine and clean air permeates, and a town decorated in rustic cabins and lodges welcomes your arrival.  https://www.bigbear.com

Death Valley – It’s about a 2 ½ hour drive from Las Vegas to Death Valley and now is the time to go – not too hot (never go in the summer).  Death Valley is a national park located, east of the Sierra Mountains and bordering the state of Nevada. Death Valley has been the home for many Indigenous people dating back to even 10,000 years ago!  Many of these groups (like the Timbisha Shoshone group) were hunters and gatherers that would make winter camps on the valley floor and escape up to the nearby mountains when the weather started heating up.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Gold Rush hopefuls and miners came flocking to the area in hopes of gaining riches off of precious gems.  Now Death Valley has some very interesting spots for you to check out – Scotty’s Castle, The Oasis at Death Valley, Furnace Creek, with the park visitor center, as well as campgrounds, restaurants, a store, gas station, and the Furnace Creek Resort, Panamint Springs, and so many incredible sand dunes etc.  Check out the web site – https://www.nps.gov/deva/index.htm

Lake Arrowhead – Located a mile high in the heart of the San Bernardino National Forest, Lake Arrowhead Village is 3 ¾ hours Las Vegas.  With 4 distinct seasons, any time during the year is a great time to visit.  Love the snow? They have it for you from December through March. April and May brings daffodils and dogwoods to the village. From June thru August you’ll find perfect summer weather. Put on your favorite fall sweater and enjoy our fall foliage September thru November.  https://lakearrowhead.com

Joshua Tree – Joshua Tree National Park is a vast protected area in Southern California that is around a three hour drive from Las Vegas. It’s characterized by rugged rock formations and stark desert landscapes. Named for the region’s twisted, bristled Joshua trees, the park straddles the cactus-dotted Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert, which is higher and cooler. Keys View looks out over the Coachella Valley. Hiking trails weave through the boulders of Hidden Valley. https://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm

Calico Ghost Town – Calico is an old West mining town that has been around since 1881 during the largest silver strike in California.  With its 500 mines, Calico produced over $20 million in silver ore over a 12-year span.  When silver lost its value in the mid-1890, Calico lost its population.  Walter Knott purchased Calico in the 1950’s architecturally restoring all but the five original buildings to look as they did in the 1880’s.  Calico received State Historical Landmark 782 and in 2005 was proclaimed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to be California’s Silver Rush Ghost Town. https://www.calicoattractions.com/

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

Fun and Interesting Day Trips from Las Vegas – Part One

Now that the summer heat has left us it’s time to wander around the area beyond the borders of Las Vegas and see some amazing places that are near enough for a day trip.

Oh dear – you have lived here for years and you haven’t driven through Red Rock Canyon?  Red Rock Canyon features a one-way 13-mile scenic drive, hiking and trailsplants and wildlifegeologycamping, cultural resources and much more. Our Visitor Center offers information and interpretation about recreation opportunities. The facility also features indoor and outdoor exhibits and a book and gift store.

red rock canyon sign

The fee per day is $15 for one truck or car. (or buy a National Park Annual Pass for $80 and go as often as you like plus gain entry in such amazing places as Lake Mead, Cedar Breaks, Death Valley, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Yosemite & more!)

The Valley of Fire is incredible. It is a State Park for public recreation and nature preservation area covering nearly 46,000 acres located 16 miles south of Overton, Nevada. The state park derives its name from red sandstone formations, the Aztec Sandstone, which formed from shifting sand dunes 150 million years ago and contains ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years. A Visitor Center provides exhibits on the geology, ecology, prehistory and history of the park and nearby region

Valley of Fire 1

Entrance fee is $10

Mount Charleston is a great place to visit now with the trees turning colors, in the summer to get relief from the heat and in the winter to ski.  Named for nearby Mount Charleston, the highest point in Clark County, the town is in a valley of the Spring Mountains to the northwest of Las Vegas, noted for its hiking trails, and for the Mount Charleston Lodge, a rustic hotel. At an elevation of approximately 7,500 feet, temperatures are much lower than in Las Vegas, which has an elevation of about 2,000 feet, making it a popular place for Las Vegans to vacation. The mean high temperature is 20.4 degrees (Fahrenheit) cooler than in Las Vegas.

Mount_Charleston

Goodsprings (Ghost Town) was a settlement in the hills seven miles west of Jean. It served as an important town for milling or from the surrounding mines. The town has named after a Mr. Joseph Good who headquartered his cattle raising operation there. At first the site was known as Good’s Springs but eventually was called Goodsprings. It was a mining camp with a hotel, a saloon that is still standing and in operation, and a general store.  Make sure you go to the Pioneer Saloon and the general store!

Pioneer Saloon exterior

Nelson (Ghost Town) was first called Eldorado by the Spaniards who made the original discoveries of gold in the area. A hundred years later prospectors and miners took over and established the notorious Techatticup Mine. Disagreements over ownership, management and labor disputes resulted in frequent killings. Today, you’ll find several old buildings, cars, trucks, buses and 2 crashed airplanes, making it a great spot to explore and take fun photos. I took my son’s HS graduation pics in a tired old pink Cadillac! Make sure you go to the general store!

_Pink cadilac

Boulder City, Nevada is quite a great little town.  Very close to Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam.  The town is quaint with interesting shops of all kinds, and interesting restaurants and bars.  Here is a link that can tell you the 10 best things to do https://trip101.com/article/best-things-to-do-boulder-city-nevada

boulder city

In the near future, I will be putting together other interesting spots to visit in part two – you won’t want to miss that.

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

Do you really need to replace your cabinets?

Have you noticed recently that there may be scratches on your cabinets or they look old and blah?  So your first thought is probably replacing them.  While it seems like a good idea at first, replacing your cabinets can end up being more of a hassle than you anticipated. There are other options you can think about for a lot less money and stress. Here are a few options to consider before you rip them out completely.

Adding a Coat of Paint –One of the simplest fixes you can make when it comes to your cabinets is simply adding a new coat of paint.  It’s a great way to change the look of your kitchen as long as the cabinets themselves are still in decent shape .You can get creative and turn the cabinets into works of art. This can help you to match your cabinets to new appliances or a new decorating style and is also a huge help if your cabinets are a bit old and have simply faded or peeled with time. Just make sure that you take the time to do this job right; slapping new paint on top of a peeling finish without sanding or trying to cover stains and discolorations without a coat or two of primer is just asking for trouble.  If you are not up to the task there are many companies that can do the work for you and they do not cost the amount new cabinets will cost.

New Doors and Fixtures If your cabinets need a little more than just a coat of paint, consider upgrading their hardware as well. Handles, hinges and other fixtures are pretty easy to replace and can completely change the look of your cabinets with relatively little work. You can also replace latches or cabinet locks while you’re at it, helping those cabinets that always seem to hang open to finally stay shut when you close them.

If your problems are a bit more severe and you have damaged, warped or otherwise bad-looking cabinet doors, you can change those as well! New doors will completely revitalize your old cabinets and can be a great solution if the cabinet body and shelving is still in good shape. Best of all, if you still want to add a coat of paint you can easily paint the new doors before mounting them – much easier than doing it after they’ve been hung.

Refacing Your Cabinets – Maybe your cabinets need a little more work than just new doors but the shelves and interiors are still in good shape. This is where refacing comes in. When you reface your cabinets, you’ll not only replace the doors and fixtures but you’ll also add veneer or other coverings to the outside of the cabinet body as well. This will cover up any cracks or other damage as well as unsightly stains, giving you the look of a fresh install at a fraction of the work. You won’t have to actually remove the cabinets but everyone who enters your kitchen will think that you did!

Do You Need New Cabinets? If the interiors or the shelves in your cabinets are warped, damaged or otherwise in rough shape, you might have to go ahead and replace the full cabinets. The process is fairly straightforward as it just involves removing the old cabinets and putting new ones in. It may cost more than you expect, though, and the process is often a little more involved than that basic description makes it sound. If the cabinets need to go, though, don’t settle for substandard cabinetry just because you don’t want to do a full replacement. The solutions above are great when they work, but if your problems are too severe for them then by all means get some new cabinets in there.

If you want to hire a professional to do any of the work described above – contact me.  I have lists of good reputable people that can help you achieve the new look for your cabinets. That is why I am 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

 

 

Your Credit is Quite Valuable, So You Should Protect It

On September 23, I received a notification from my credit monitoring subscription that someone had applied for credit using my Social Security Number. I called the creditor and let them know it was fraud. On October 10, I received another notification… a different creditor. I called them. On October 11 & 15 same thing so I “froze” my Experian file… On October 17 I received a notification that Experian blocked an attempt to access my credit and that there was a “hit” to my Transunion profile. (I thought I was freezing Transunion & Equifax on 10/17 – oops!) I then spent some time ensuring that all 3 were “frozen”… 5 “hard” inquiries to my credit report inside of about 3 weeks. Ouch! 4 out of 5 of the creditors said they would report to the bureaus that those inquiries were fraudulent and that it could take 90 days for those to fall off my report. So, while I was in the Equifax site, I decided I would try to expedite cleaning up my credit and I disputed the 3 inquiries that had showed up there plus 2 addresses that were never my addresses. I should mention that the first time this ever happened to me was about 10 years ago and it probably happens 1-2 times a year (until 2 weeks ago) so those addresses may or may have come from those inquiries. Oh, and did I mention that 3 of those 5 applications resulted in approved credit? In any case, when Experian finished reviewing my dispute, they removed the 2 bogus addresses but told me that the inquiries had happened… so they could not remove them and if I wanted them removed, I had to contact the creditor and ask them to report it as fraud.

Currently, (at least in theory) no one can make an inquiry on my credit. If I want to apply for a credit card, car loan or mortgage, I need to “unfreeze” my report long enough for the lender to check my credit, and then, of course, I’ll want to freeze them again. It’s going to be a hassle, but not as big a hassle as the hours I spent on the phone unwinding all the above mess.

Here’s the bummer… credit monitoring isn’t always cheap… I get 1 service free courtesy of my Capital One card and 1 service free for a year because some company that had my information was breached and as part of a settlement, they offered affected consumers that option (and I took it). [Note: this started happening to me long before the above noted breach.] I strongly recommend you contact your credit card companies and see if membership offers that as a privilege. If it’s free, get it! Seriously! Just get it. And based on my personal experience, if you do not have a company offering it to you for free, you may want to consider paying for it. Be careful about the options you choose though. I’ve been poking around the internet and it looks like most companies that do offer a subscription offer a “1 bureau” option… there are 3 credit bureaus and they don’t all get checked by all creditors. If someone applies for credit with a company that does not check the one you are having monitored, then you still won’t know until they have run up a large bill and I (fortunately) do not know what the process is for unravelling that mess! Of course, another proactive approach would be to contact all 3 bureaus and just freeze your credit, like I have (finally) done.

Here’s how… Go to www.transunion.com/credit-freeze and create an account. You will need to answer some questions that hopefully only you can answer (like “which one of these 5 lenders have you ever had an account with?”). They do that to ensure that you are really you, of course. Then you’ll create a 6-digit pin – put that PIN in a very safe place. Now your credit file is frozen and cannot be accessed until you log back in and give that PIN.

Then go to www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/ – similar process as above, however Equifax will create and issue you a PIN.

Then, if you have a Capital One card and have taken advantage of their CreditWise program, log into that and freeze your Experian file. (that’s how I did it). I am told that the Experian freeze is only effective for 2 months (or maybe that is only through CreditWise… not sure), so I have put in my calendar to re-freeze it every 60 days. Or you can go to http://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html and I’m sure the process is quite similar to the other 2 bureaus.

Do you even know what is on your credit report? Did you know you can get a free copy twice a year? (of course, if your file is “frozen” you’d have to “unfreeze” to get a copy). If you have not gotten 2 free copies already in 2019, stop right now and visit all 3 bureaus online – If you wait until you want a car loan, or credit card or mortgage to find out what yours says, you may find out you have a lot of cleaning to do before you can get that loan… they can charge you for your credit score, but not to see what good and bad things are on your report.

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