High-Tech Tools Preview Roof Repairs

The home improvement industry has embraced the digital age; online virtual-reality tools allow homeowners to easily preview, plan, and choose options for all types of remodeling. The development of these virtual-reality products can help prevent homeowners from making costly mistakes that must be repaired later.

Virtual reality is especially useful when it comes to choosing a roof, which is critical to the curb appeal, comfort, and resale value of a home. GAF’s Virtual Home Remodeler allows users to experiment with a variety of different looks, ranging from French country to Victorian to ranch.

The Millenial Homebuyers are Savvy and Know What They Want

It may be hard to believe, but not all of the 18- to-35-year-old generation is so weighed down with college debt that they’re living in their parents’ basements. Contrary to popular perception, the Millennials are driving home sales. In fact, the National Association of Realtors just recognized them as 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.”
“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, says. Given that new reality, here are four things experts say Millennials desire most in a house. Keep these in mind because you will most likely be selling to a younger buyer.

Reverse Mortgages Benefit Younger Seniors

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – This article is a paid advertisement. The content was provided by One Reverse Mortgage.
Homeowners who are 62 (the youngest eligible age for a reverse mortgage) have an advantage over older seniors when it comes to getting a reverse mortgage: more time to grow their line of credit.
A reverse mortgage line of credit is an adjustable rate loan option that allows you to draw money as needed. The product is similar to a home equity line of credit; however, the key differences are that no monthly mortgage payments are required and the available funds increase over time. You are still responsible for paying your homeowners insurance, property taxes, and home maintenance costs.
Younger seniors have such an advantage with the reverse mortgage line of credit because the earlier you start it, the more time you allow the available amount to increase. The available amount in your line increases by the “growth rate,” which is your interest rate plus your mortgage insurance premium. The growth occurs yearly and compounds over time. Given a sufficient time, the available amount could even exceed the value of your home.
You are not required to draw any funds at the time you start the line of credit, and you can draw from the line at any time while the available amount continues to increase. So, if you need to draw money for an emergency, such as home repairs or medical bills, any amount that is left over in the line of credit will still grow.
Another benefit? The growth will not be affected by housing market values. That means that even if the value of your home declines, the line will continue to increase.
And because the reverse mortgage is a non-recourse loan, you will never owe more than your home is worth.
Making an informed decision is most important. The licensed specialists at One Reverse Mortgage can provide more information, talk to you about your specific financial goals, and help you determine if a reverse mortgage is right for you. So call (888) 980-4839 today to get started or visit www.onereversemortgage.com/ns to get a free information kit.
Equal Housing Lender. Licensed in all 50 states. One Reverse Mortgage NMLS #2052
These materials are not from HUD or FHA and were not approved by HUD or a government agency.

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.

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?