Millennials Go House Hunting, and Here’s What They Crave

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored by GAF-Guess who’s been driving home sales for the past few years?
Millennials — the older ones at least. That’s right, contrary to popular perception, not all of the 18- to 35-year-old generation is so wracked with college debt that they’re living in their parents’ basements while working for peanuts as baristas. In fact, the National Association of Realtors just officially crowned them the largest segment of the homebuyer market at 35 percent — up from 32 percent in 2014 — in its most recent 2016 “Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Study.”
And that trend only looks to accelerate.
“The coming years of housing demand will be Millennial-driven and will support the single-family sector,” Dennis Lockhart, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, has said.
Given that new reality, here are four things experts say Millennials crave most in a house, which Boomers and even Gen-Xers need to know before trying to sell to them. (Warning: Be prepared to have some of your most cherished beliefs upended.)
* Open floor plans. Okay, so you’re probably not going to tear down your interior walls to create more of a loft feeling — or are you? — but at least know that Millennials entertain differently than their elders and that something like a formal dining room just doesn’t impress them.
“In essence, the kitchen is the new living room,” one realtor told Bankrate.com. “They want people to flow through the home during gatherings, rather than be sectioned off in rooms.”
What does impress them? A home office, given that 9-to-5 jobs are so passé. Immediately point out that your FDR can easily be converted into one.
* Technological efficiency and healthy living. Those built-in bookcases you’re so proud of?
Hah!
Don’t you know Millennials read everything off a screen? And that they’re just as likely to go around counting outlets to plug all their tech toys into as they are to ask if you’ve installed programmable LED lighting and motion sensors?
“Low-VOC paints and appliances like steam ovens also rank high,” Realtor magazine declared.
* The right “look.” They’ve seen all these great houses on Pinterest and HGTV, which means Millennials might not even stick around long enough to gush over your steam oven if the first thing they spot from the street is a shabby roof.
Yes, this is one of the few things they definitely have in common with older generations.
“Unsightly roofs are huge turn-offs and make buyers predisposed to find even more things they don’t like,” warned Patsy O’Neill, a sales associate with Sotheby’s in Montclair, New Jersey.
Since Millennials love what the Washington Post calls “modern, sleek lines” — as well as “rustic looks” — if your roof does need replacing you might want to consider the very affordable Sienna line of diamond-shaped shingles from GAF (gaf.com), North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, whose products are often showcased on HGTV.
“They pick up on key Millennial style trends of natural, clean materials, clean lines, and the integration of artistic elements,” says Leslie Franklin, executive director of residential marketing at GAF.
* Low maintenance. Your definition of what qualifies as “high” and “low” may differ from theirs. Your shag carpeting, for instance? High. Hardwood floors, which they favor? Low.
Hmmm, maybe that also explains why they often like smaller houses, although that could also have to do with Millennial buyers’ medium income of $77,400.

Water Treatment System Maintenance for the Well Owner

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Water treatment can help household well owners address health risks and undesirable taste, odor, and smells — but treatment systems work only if properly maintained, says the National Ground Water Association (NGWA), which operates the website, WellOwner.org.
Periodic water testing can help ensure that treatment systems are working properly. A water treatment service provider or the manufacturer can recommend water testing intervals.
Consult with a water treatment professional about your capability of maintaining your water treatment system. If you are unsure, have a water treatment professional do it.
Here are maintenance basics for primary water treatment technologies.
Continuous disinfection: Ultraviolet light systems treat water coming into the house. Good maintenance requires that the quartz sleeve in which the lamp is housed be clean. Also, annual lamp replacement is wise.
Ion exchange: Referred to as water softeners, ion exchange needs salt, which needs replenishment periodically. Water softeners can run years with minimal maintenance.
Maintenance requirements can vary. For example, if ion exchange is used to remove nitrate — a health risk to infants at certain concentrations — the system requires a different resin and substance to regenerate the resin than traditional water softening.
Reverse osmosis (RO): When coupled with granular activated carbon (GAC) filters before and after the RO membrane, RO is effective in treating many water quality issues. GAC filters usually need replacement once or twice a year. But the RO membrane can last for years.
Whole house sediment filter: These remove particulate and enhance effectiveness and reduce maintenance of treatment systems down the line. Follow the manufacturer’s filter-change directions.
Adaptable automatic backwashing filter: These backwash the filter media, requiring little maintenance to remove sediment, tastes and odors, iron and manganese, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and arsenic.
The media bed must be replaced periodically. For VOCs and arsenic, consult with a qualified water treatment service provider or the manufacturer about periodic water monitoring and proper media bed disposal.
Acid neutralizing systems to reduce lead: These reduce corrosiveness in water that can cause lead leaching from plumbing pipes, fittings, fixtures, and solder.
Adaptable automatic backwashing filters and sodium carbonate feed pump systems can reduce corrosiveness. The filter requires calcite addition annually and total calcite replacement every two to three years. The injection system requires adding sodium carbonate two to three times annually.
Click the “water treatment” tab on www.WellOwner.org for more.

Study Refutes Link Between Strokes, Chiropractic Care

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Is it time to finally put this one to rest?
Every once in a while, when some high-profile young man or woman dies unexpectedly from a stroke, the media races to find an explanation. Aha! She ran a marathon without being in shape! Aha! He visited a chiropractor several days before to relieve a pinched nerve in his neck!
The latter theory at least is refuted by research done this year by a team of neurosurgeons at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. They performed what they described as “a systematic review and meta-analysis of published data” to determine whether there’s a direct correlation between the manipulation performed by doctors of chiropractic — manual adjustments widely acknowledged to relieve muscle-related pain — and a condition called cervical artery dissection (CAD) in which a small tear opens in the artery walls of the neck.
That’s important since such a tear can result in a stroke should a blood clot form and later break free to block a blood vessel in the brain.
The team’s conclusion? “There is no convincing evidence to support a causal link between chiropractic manipulation and CAD.”
CAD is actually quite rare. It’s been estimated that it annually strikes only two to three people, per 100,000 of the population, and various epidemiologic studies through the years suggest that strokes can occur at an equal rate whether sufferers are under chiropractic or other medical care for the headaches and neck pain it often produces.
As for chiropractic care in general, it’s worth remembering that — after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged doctors last March to avoid prescribing potentially addictive prescription painkillers in the face of mounting deaths — a slew of health experts joined the chorus of those who’d already been praising chiropractic as a safe and effective treatment for neck, mid back, and lower back pain.
“Not only is chiropractic care very safe, it actually poses fewer risks than medical or surgical treatment,” says Gerard Clum, DC, a spokesperson for the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress.

How Well Owners Can Improve Their Water Quality

protectwellwaterWell water is typically an excellent source of good, safe drinking water for millions of Americans. But for those with water quality issues, such problems are easily addressed.

A key to improving water quality is knowing the basics about water testing, well maintenance, water treatment, and groundwater protection, says the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).

Unlike public water systems, private well owners are responsible for testing their own water. NGWA recommends that well owners test annually for bacteria, nitrate, and anything of local concern. To get your water tested, check with your county health department to see if it offers testing services, or check with a private drinking water testing lab.

Post-Hurricane Matthew: What to Do to Prepare Your Home

Waves break over the church and the castle in Camogli, Italy

Risk mitigation.

It’s a term that typically comes up after every major storm —Hurricane Matthew being the latest to wreak havoc — as homeowners are warned that many houses are simply no match for high winds, and that prudence dictates that they act to help protect themselves and their property from future tempests.

If you think those warnings are needlessly alarmist, so too did all those New Yorkers who got pummeled by Hurricane Sandy.

So what should homeowners do, proactively, to increase their odds of beating Mother Nature?

Read on.

Three Home Upgrades Worth Your Money

homeupgradesgafcIf you don’t care about blowing tens of thousands of dollars on upgrades that add little to nothing to your home’s value, you might as well stop reading and Google what’s currently going on with Kim Kardashian and clan. But if you do care— and you should if you ever plan to sell — then Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs Value Report for 2016 is a must-read.

Still interested? Of course your are.

Let’s begin by acknowledging the report’s biggest takeaway: All the academics and real estate pros are right to “tout the value of projects that promote curb appeal.” Read on to see why, and where else you money is or isn’t well spent.

Bright Ideas: Easy Ways to Light Up Your Media Room

Lutron Product Photography

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to spruce up your home before entertaining friends and family. Whether your guests are coming just to watch the big game or for an extended stay, your media room will no doubt be a popular gathering place. The American Lighting Association (ALA) suggests a few ways to enhance everyone’s viewing experience.

No matter what kind of space you have, be it a dedicated media room, a simple TV nook or something in between, the fundamental components are comfort and the appropriate amount of lighting. For the majority of homeowners, most media-related activity takes place in a multi-use space, which means the lighting must have the flexibility to go from everyday activities to TV viewing.

Don’t Forget to Add the Attic to Your Pre-Winter Checklist

Residential neighborhood in the city of Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria in the winter

For anyone who has a fear of heights, but still knows that it’s that time of year to check the health of your roof, there’s good news: there’s a way to do it without breaking your neck.

As any responsible homeowner knows, this is one of two times per year when getting on your roof to do a pre-winter inspection is a necessity (primarily because it’s the key to a home’s energy efficiency, among other reasons.) But who wants to be climbing a ladder 25 feet in the air when the weather is turning sharply colder and nastier?

Is Your Christmas Tree Up to the Task?

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – Ensure that your holiday lighting dreams come true with brightly lit bulbs on your trees, wreaths and other holiday decorations. Plan ahead to save time, reduce aggravation, and eliminate disappointment.
“Test Your Lights” Tuesday begins November 22 and runs every Tuesday through Christmas. Mark your calendar to plug in your holiday lights. And make sure they meet the “merry and bright” standard.
“There’s nothing more frustrating than gathering the family to decorate the tree or house only to find some of your light sets don’t work,” says John DeCosmo, CEO of Ulta-Lit Technologies, maker of the LightKeeper Pro, a one-of-a-kind tool that not only finds the bad bulb on a string of lights but also illuminates the rest of the working bulbs.
“With just a few pulls of the trigger, you can reclaim your special family moment and become the hero who saves Christmas,” DeCosmo says.
At $19.99, the LightKeeper Pro is both economical and eco-friendly. In many, many instances, users save money by reducing the need to replace an entire string of lights simply because of a couple of bad bulbs. Old sets of lights don’t need to end up in a landfill.
Ask for help — at no charge: Should your holiday lights darken, Ulta-Lit’s lighting pros answer questions every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas at (888) 858-2548. To better assist they also take calls year-round during standard business hours. Or, refer to the Ulta-Lit website at Ulta-Lit.
With over 100 years of experience with light sets, here are some tips from the pros:
* Measure: Using your two hands, touch your pointer fingertip to your other pointer fingertip. Then take your thumb tip to your other thumb tip. Bring all four tips together to create a maximum 1/8″ diamond. While standing no less than 10 feet away from your lit tree, peek through that diamond and scan the tree from side to side, top to bottom. This will assist in finding dark spots where you may want to add more lights for a fully lit tree.
* Quality vs. price: Commercial-grade light sets are more reliable for outdoor use because of their durability and thicker insulation.
* Decide on LED vs. incandescent: LEDs are more expensive than incandescent lights, but they last longer. The use of a tree with 1,000 incandescent bulbs can cost $10 over an average holiday season, while the same tree with LEDs would cost approximately $1.50.
* Replace and repair: If you notice one or two unlit bulbs within a section that is primarily operating properly, replace those bulbs ASAP. Two burned-out bulbs can decrease the lifespan of the light set by 39 percent, four burned-out bulbs by 67 percent.

How To Cool Down Summer A/C Bills

It’s a shame we don’t all have the stamina of the greenest of the green.

Think about it: At least some of them have been known to hook up a stationary bike to a solar battery pack, pedal away, while perhaps thinking of an idyllic life in the rainforests of Brazil, while at the same time generating enough stored power to operate their kitchen appliances and computers.

Okay, so it takes 10 minutes of pedaling just to run the toaster. But hey, the point is, there’s lot of ways you might not have thought of to cut your energy bill this summer.