It’s getting cold, and that means you’re at risk for blizzards or ice storms. Depending on where you live, these winter storms can knock out the power for weeks. With these easy tips, you can be prepared for and even enjoy these storms.
Losing power means losing heat, and that can be a pain. But trust me, you can live comfortably for a long time with no heat. The first step is to dress warm. Lots of light layers keep you warmer than one big coat, so layer up. Wear a hat or a hood as well.
Your body loses most of its heat through your head. It’s also important to insulate your house. Put extra weather stripping or towels under the door and windows. You don’t want any drafts getting in.
Keep Your Water Running
Pipes might freeze during a winter storm as well. It’s important to keep the water running. The water in the pipes will freeze much faster if it isn’t moving. So go to each faucet and tap and turn them on just a little bit, so that they’re barely dripping. That way the water won’t sit still in the pipes and freeze.
Stay In The Loop
Your regular sources of information may be obsolete without electricity. Your computer and cell phone will die quickly, and your television will be dead as well. Keep a battery-powered radio on hand.
It seems old-fashioned, but it’s much more comforting when you know when the power is expected to come back on. Remember that most news like this is on the AM stations.
Check On Your Neighbors
Remember you’re not the only one without power. Put on your snow boots and go see how your neighbors are fairing in the winter storm. Even if they’re the kind of neighbors with an obnoxious barking dog, it’s worth checking in on them. You might bring an extra blanket or two as well.
When it comes to winter storms, it’s better to be over prepared, than not prepared enough. Keep some extra water and canned foods stored in the house. Keep extra flashlights, candles, matches, a camping stove, and maybe some extra gasoline for the car, or generator.
Like a boy scout always be prepared. Most storms won’t be a matter of life and death, but your preparedness will make the storm much more comfortable.
Winter storms can be a pain in the neck, but a little preparation goes a long way. When the power goes out, it’s nice to know that you have everything you need to get by.
Just remember to stock up on supplies, keep your water running, stay up to date, and check on your neighbors.
Last week brought several indicators of a strengthening economy. New home sales, private and federal employment and mortgage rates rose.
The Department of Commerce released construction spending numbers for October with mixed results. Although public projects fueled an 0.80 percent increase in month-to-month construction spending, residential construction fell by 0.60 percent.
Analysts had expected an increase of 0.50 percent and also noted that the negative effect of the government shutdown was a “blip.” October’s reading for construction spending was the highest since 2004.
CoreLogic released data that home prices rose by 0.20 percent, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 12.50 percent for home prices. Pending home sales were suggested that November sales are expected to hold steady as compared to October, and projected year-over-year sales for November at 12.20 percent.
Slower growth in home prices was attributed to higher mortgage rates and a fear of a housing bubble in the West, where demand for homes far exceeds the number of available homes.
Not wanting to buy at the top of the current housing market, some potential buyers may be waiting for the talk of another housing bubble to subside before buying. Robert Shiller, co-author of the Case-Shiller Housing Market Index, noted that home buyers may not be “psychologically ready” for another housing bubble.
New home sales for October were higher than expectations of 419,000 homes sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. October’s reading of 444,000 new home sales was 21.60 percent higher than September’s reading of 354,000 new homes sold. The national median home price fell by 4.50 percent to $245,800 in October; this was the lowest month-to-month reading since November 2012.
The number of available homes fell to a 4.90 month supply in October. This may cause buyers to put their home searches on hold as they wait out the winter months and hope for supplies of available homes to increase.
U.S. Employment Improving, Mortgage Rates Rise
ADP a private-sector provider of payroll services reported 215,000 new jobs added in November as compared to October’s reading of 184,000 jobs added. Weekly jobless claims supported the ADP reading as new jobless claims fell to 298,000 against expectations of 325,000 new claims and a prior reading of 321,000 new claims.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics brought more good news with its Non-Farm Payrolls report and Unemployment Rate for November. Non-Farm payrolls added 203,000 jobs in November against expectations of 180,000 jobs added and October’s reading of 200,000 jobs added.
The National Unemployment rate dipped to 7.00 percent in November against expectations of a 7.20 percent reading and October’s reading of 7.30 percent. The Federal Reserve has set a benchmark unemployment rate of 6.50 percent as an indicator of economic recovery.
Last week’s strong economic news boosted mortgage rates; Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose by 17 basis points to 4.46 percent with discount points lower at 0.50 percent.
The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage also gained 17 basis points at 3.47 percent with discount points at 0.40 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose by 5 basis points to 2.99 percent with discount points at 0.4 percent.
What’s Coming Up
This week’s scheduled economic news includes Retail Sales, Weekly Jobless Claims and Freddie Mac’s report of average mortgage rates.
As the temperature drops and we don more layers, it can be startling to realize how cold it’s actually gotten.
So before the snow starts piling up at your door, you’ll want to get yourself prepared for winter and the harsh conditions it can bring.
Below are a few cold weather safety tips to keep you and your home secure from Frosty’s frigid touch.
Keep The Cold Out
If you haven’t already winterized your home, then now is a good time to do it. Add extra insulation in your attic and walls, if possible. Caulk around windows and doorframes to keep the warm air in and the cold air out.
Prepare An Emergency Kit
In case your power goes out, you want to be sure you’re prepared to brave the cold weather for a few days. You’ll want a backup heat source, such as a generator or wood-burning fireplace.
You’ll also need at least a three-day supply of water, non-perishable food items, flashlights with extra batteries, battery-powered cell phone chargers and a medical kit that includes prescriptions.
Be Cautious When Warming Your Home
Make sure you’ve replaced the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. While turning on your heater will probably be fine, you should take extra precautions since it probably hasn’t been fired up for months.
Also, be extremely careful with space heaters. Make sure they’re away from anything flammable, and always turn them off before you go to sleep.
Care For Your Pipes
Frozen pipes are costly to fix. Your pipes can freeze and cause water damage when they thaw. And, not being able to access clean water can be major inconvenience.
To prevent frozen water, keep your home at a constant temperature day and night. If the power goes out, turn your faucets on to get a small trickle and open up all the cabinets to circulate warm air around the pipes.
Don’t let a snow or ice storm catch you unprepared! From survival storage to heating your home, the better you equip your house now to handle the cold weather, the less you’ll have to worry about when the power goes out.
Utilize the safety tips above to get your family and your home ready for whatever winter might blow at it. For more around the home tips or how to stay warm in a new home this winter, contact your trusted real estate professional.
Every holiday season when you get out the decorations, there always seems to be a period of organization where you need to untangle lights, sort out the broken ornaments and just get all of the trimmings in order.
Next year, skip the hassle of sifting through everything. The year-to-year holiday storage strategies below will help make next December’s decorating easy.
Hide Paper Up High
Utilize a space that is always vacant — the ceiling of your closet. Attach two strings of wire from the front wall above your closet door to the back wall. Make them parallel to each other and about two feet apart. Then you can slide your wrapping paper tubes across the two wires. No more crinkled or torn paper!
Bag Your Lights
The hassle of untangling holiday lights every year can become a dreaded tradition. A smart solution is to invest in inexpensive gallon-sized sealable bags. Label what each bag’s lights are for, such as the tree, mantel or outdoors.
Wrap individual strands around your arm and them place them inside the appropriate bag. Put all bags in one holiday storage container.
Recycle Wrapping For Your Breakables
After you’ve ripped off the wrapping and gotten to the goods, don’t just throw your pretty paper out. Reuse it! Run it through the shredder to create fun filling for the boxes that hold your ornaments and breakable decorations.
Get Crafty With Labels
Instead of writing straight onto the holiday storage bins, tape or glue festive envelopes to the side. Then you can write a list of everything in that box and put it in the envelope.
For those who like everything clean and organized, this means that if you switch out anything in the box, you don’t have to mark it out on the side — just change the paper inside the envelope.
Display Holiday Cards Creatively
Receiving holiday cards is a great way to keep in touch with distant family and friends. Instead of throwing the cards away each January, use a hole punch to create two holes in the sides of the card.
Then insert jump rings to make little picture memory books that you can display on the coffee table every year. For more around the home tips or if you are looking to buy a home with plenty of storage space, contact your trusted real estate professional.
Any real estate agent will tell you that it’s harder to sell your home in the winter. The days are colder and shorter, leaving less time to show your home to potential buyers.
The good news is that most of the buyers who are looking at houses in the winter aren’t just killing time. They’re serious enough about finding their new home to go house hunting at a time that most people would rather stay inside.
There Are A Few Things You Can Do To Make A Good Impression On Home Buyers This Winter:
Make sure all walkways are safe. Spread out ice melt or sand to provide traction during snowy weather. Shoveling the snow on the driveway and sidewalks will make your real estate appear more inviting and well-maintained. Be sure to place a mat for visitors to wipe their feet on.
Warm up the house. Buyers will remember the house that was pleasantly warm on a frigid day. In addition, you will be able to demonstrate to the buyer that your furnace is in good working order.
For a welcoming scent, bake cookies the day of the showing. Some people are sensitive to the fragrances in air fresheners and perfumes, so skip spraying those when expecting someone to look at your house.
Serve snacks in the kitchen. Give the buyer a reason to linger in your home by leaving a light snack in the kitchen. If the weather is cold, consider providing chili or soup in a crockpot to keep it warm with festive disposable bowls. Or, to keep it simple, you can provide coffee or hot chocolate and cookies. Be sure to talk with your real estate agent before leaving these snacks so he or she knows they’re for the buyers.
Make your house appear warm and inviting. Turn all the lights in the house on; place warm-toned throws and decorator pillows around the living room. Put on some soothing classical or jazz music; keep the volume low enough that buyers can talk quietly to each other.
You can make your home seem more inviting this winter by using these proven techniques.
Are you ready to sell your home? Call your trusted real estate professional today.