(Published on - 12/6/2016 7:52:30 PM)

Cold weather can wreak havoc on your home. According to the ?Insurance Information Institute?, losses from winter weather average around $1.2 billion a year in the U.S. The best way to avoid problems caused by winter weather and precipitation is to prevent them before they happen. Here are five common problems that occur and some tips on how to prevent them:

1. Roof leaks and ice dams

Small gaps between roofing materials can turn into big problems in the winter when extreme temperatures cause expansion and contraction. To prevent an ice dam from forming, the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine ?recommend making sure any gaps in the roof or attic that allow hot air to escape from your home are tightly sealed and closed. During warmer weather, look out for water staining, loose shingles, missing caulk, or nails that extend into an attic space. Cleaning your gutters and breaking up piles of ice that begin to form on your roof will also help prevent ice dams. Call a handyman or add these tasks to your to-do list to save yourself from major headaches later.

2. Frozen pipes

When the pipes freeze in poorly insulated areas of your home, the resulting leak can cost thousands of dollars to fix. California Water Service indicates that approximately 250,000? homes suffer severe damage? due to frozen pipes that burst and cause damage to floors, walls, and furniture. To prevent frozen pipes, ?Consumer Reports recommends keeping your heat? set to at least 55 degrees, even when you’re not at home. And if you’ll be out of town for an extended period of time, protect vulnerable pipes by adding insulation, opening cabinet doors, or turning off your water.

3. Mold

In winter, mold can grow near improperly insulated vents in bathrooms, laundry rooms, or exterior walls, causing damage to drywall and ceilings. The Center? for Disease Control and Inspection suggests using a dehumidifier in problem areas of your house, as well as removing carpeting from any areas that are damp or humid. Inspecting your home for signs of mold can address any air flow problems before they become an issue.

  1. Chimney problems

When temperatures are cold outside, creosote begins to form inside your chimney. ?The Chimney Safety Institute of America? says creosote is formed when smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbon, tar fog, and assorted minerals leave the fireplace and flow up into the cold chimney. Creosote is extremely flammable and without proper chimney maintenance, your home could be at risk of a chimney fire. Examine the exterior of your chimney for any cracks, warping, or discoloration from smoke before winter arrives. Also, get your chimney inspected and repaired regularly to avoid sparking a fire that could destroy your home.

  1. Falling trees

Strong winds, heavy ice and snow can cause branches to fall during winter storms. Trees that tend to fall due to ice and snow storms include ?willow, white pine and some varieties of maple. Experts recommend trimming overhanging branches that could damage your home if they fall. Bracing tree trunks with cables attached to stakes around the tree is another common solution.

6 Renovations That can Add Value To Your Home

(Published on - 7/20/2016 7:24:08 PM)

Courtesy Of Realty Executives International


 A lot of people get excited at the idea of a home renovation. They have grand ideas of how they want their home to look. But one thing to keep in mind is how those ideas will affect your home’s value once it comes time to sell after a tenure of nine years, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

It’s important that you do some research before committing to any home renovation project. A good place to start is with a cost versus value report. The report is based on information gathered from real estate agents and RemodelMAX, an online remodelers estimator tool. It will will help you outline the average cost, resale value, and cost recouped for a number of home renovation projects, providing both national and regional estimates. City estimates are also available, but you have to register to access these reports.

To help you determine what renovation projects could add value to your home, here are seven renovations that are worth considering:

  1. Bathroom

When renovating a bathroom there is no need to go overboard with a complete overhaul. In fact, according to Remodeling’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report simple low-cost renovations on average yield a 10% higher return on investment compared to upscale renovations. Instead, consider adding new light fixtures and some paint to revitalise your bathroom.

  1. Kitchen

According to the Consumer Reports National Research Center, 53% of real estate professionals believe that the kitchen is one of the most important rooms to prepare before putting your home on the market, so this isn’t a room that you want to ignore. However, the national average for a minor kitchen renovation is likely to set you back $20,122 with a resale value of $16,716. Since you’re only likely to recoup 80% of the cost, be sure to consider minor repairs and a gentle spruce up before undertaking any major kitchen renovations.

  1. Income Suite

One of the most direct ways of adding value to a home is to have an income suite. Whether you have a beautifully finished basement or an attic/apartment living space, having the option for a tenant (or even just a guest room), will no doubt boost your value.

  1. Make A Good First Impression

First impressions count and they also generate a higher return on investment. Entry and garage door improvements feature near the top of the Cost vs. Value rankings, so if your entrance way  looks a little dated this may be a good place to start.

  1. Energy Efficient Windows

The real estate world continues to go green, so the more energy efficient your home is, the better. Energy Star claims that adding Energy Star-rated windows can save you up to $500 a year. If your windows look like they’re from the 1970s, it could turn off potential buyers.

  1. Energy Efficient Insulation

Attic insulation has the highest return on investment of any project listed on the 2016 Cost vs. Value Report, with a 116.9% return on investment. If your attic lacks proper insulation, the average cost of installation is estimated at $1,268 with a resale value of $1,482.

Do some research before making any major renovations and you’ll be more likely to make decisions that will pay off when it comes time to sell.

This guest post was written by Sara Luckman of CityBlast. The team at CityBlast helps over 10,000 agents and brokers with their social media marketing, keeping their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn up-to-date and professional.

Realty Executives International Ranks #5 In Business Journal's Franchisors List

(Published on - 7/20/2016 7:19:51 PM)

Courtesy Of Realty Executives International

Realty Executives International has once again ranked among the top five firms on the Phoenix Business Journal’s annual list of franchisors.

Closing out last year with 500 franchise units, Realty Executives International placed number five on the list, which ranks Phoenix-area franchisors based on total number of franchise units as of December 31, 2015.  In all, 25 franchise concepts made the list, together accounting for 6,611 total franchise units and more than 245 years of franchising experience.

With a 50-year history of innovation and brand recognition, Realty Executives was founded in 1965, quickly attracting top Phoenix-area real estate talent by introducing the first 100% commission concept for agents. Today, the international real estate franchising company has offices throughout the United States, Canada and other countries and is well-rooted in the valley with headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, staffed by the company’s in-house customer service and development teams.  

Realty Executives International has made significant advancements in the areas of tech, service and training throughout 2015 and into the first two quarters of 2016, continuing to advance a suite of proprietary technology tools, backed entirely by the company’s customer service and development departments who work hand-in-hand to support the company’s exclusive tech offering for the Realty Executives network.

 “We start by acknowledging our real estate agents in the field as our eyes and ears to gauge the demands of the marketplace. All of our new franchisee and agent tools are mobile optimized, mobile accessible and built on a modern, mobile responsive platform to meet the needs of today’s on-the-go real estate professionals and homebuyers and sellers,” said David Celaya, vice president of product development and training at Realty Executives International.  “Mobile optimization is the foundation.  From there, we have enhanced our tools by automating many of the marketing tasks that would otherwise take up valuable time,” Celaya said.

With a set of essential, proprietary digital marketing resources, including a new intranet with website services, lead management, contact management, email campaigns, email broadcasts and on-demand marketing via SMS, Realty Executives International’s technology offerings make it easy for real estate professionals to streamline customer connections and focus on homebuyer and seller needs.

 “People are at the heart of the real estate business. Our tools make it easy for real estate professionals to reach buyers and sellers with the information they want when they want it, and stay connected so they can continue providing deep local and industry expertise,” said Rich Rector, president of Realty Executives International.

For more information, real estate professionals interested in joining Realty Executives may visit the company website or

Foreclosures finally down!

(Published on - 2/10/2016 4:41:23 PM)

Foreclosures plummeted almost 27%, from 603,028 in 2014 to 476,000 in 2015, according to CoreLogic.  (article from 02/09/2016)

Finacial Protection for our Veterans

(Published on - 1/15/2016 7:09:49 PM)

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides active-duty military personnel and their families financial protection involving interest rates, income tax payments, eviction, foreclosure, and more.