5 Rules Of Ladder Safety

Some of you homeowners are still working on spring cleaning, some of you are getting ready for the upcoming holidays, and some of you are getting your home ready to sell. No matter what you’re working on this year, it’s important to practice ladder safety.  According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reports, there are 164,000 ladder injuries each year. The number of incidents rises around the holiday season each year, but no matter what time of year it is, and no matter what you’re working on (cleaning gutters, washing windows, changing light bulbs, etc.) it’s important for you and your family to be safe when working on ladders. Here are some safety tips from Werner, one of the world’s leading ladder manufacturers to help keep you safe this year!

It’s very important to choose the right ladder for the job. If you’re trying to replace a light fixture on the ceiling, maybe you only need a 6-foot step ladder; if you’re cleaning out second floor gutters, you will need an extension ladder or a specialty ladder that bends to a 90-degree angle to get at a hard-to-reach place in a stairwell, according to Inman News. Ladder manufacturers make different styles of ladders so that, no matter what job you’re doing, the ladder you’re working on will keep you stable and productive (climbing or standing). Choosing the wrong ladder for the job could easily end in a trip to the emergency room, so make the right choice!

The length of the ladder you choose depends on the height of the job you’re doing. One important guideline for ladder safety is to never stand above the fourth rung from the top of an extension ladder or the third rung from the top of a stepladder. So, the ladder you’re using for the job needs to extend a certain distance beyond the area you’re working on; experts advise that “if using a stepladder to get on a roof, the ladder must extend 3 feet beyond the roofline. If an extension ladder is leaned against a gutter or roof line, it must extend 1 foot above the roofline.”

Use common sense when working on a ladder. It seems like pretty simple advice, but the truth is that many of the ladder injuries reported each year were preventable. Make sure you’re using your ladder the way it should be used.

  • Ladders should be set up on a firm foundation.

  • Tennis shoes or other shoes with non-slip soles are the best to wear when working on ladders.

  • Your body should be centered on the ladder and be sure to keep your waist between the rails while maintaining a firm grip on the ladder.

  • Don’t over reach or lean to one side.

  • Climb and descend facing the ladder by moving one step at a time and firmly setting one foot before moving the other.

  • If you need to move a ladder, climb down before repositioning it

  • For high work, have one person hold the ladder at the bottom while the other one performs the task.

To read the full article on ladder safety from Inman News, click here.

Money Saving Landscaping Tips For Homeowners

Landscaping is a great way to increase your home’s curb appeal and create a perfect hang-out spot for family and friends. So, whether you’re looking to sell or stay, landscaping is an important area of your property to focus on. However, if you’re not careful, landscaping can also be a very expensive investment. Here are some tips from Better Homes and Gardens for saving money on your landscaping this year.

1. It’s very important to plan before you buy. You should sketch out a complete, detailed landscape design before you buy anything. If you don’t know exactly what you want and what you want to do with it, you could end up wasting a lot of money, so plan first!

2. Decide how much design you actually want. Keeping things simple by building a deck or just a square patio helps keep the cost of landscape designing down, but if its not what you want and you aren’t going to get use out of it, then it’s a waste of money. If instead, you want a lot of design elements (a gazebo, a rock pathway, a small pond, an outdoor kitchen, etc.) it may be useful to hire a landscape architect or designer to help you create a perfect space that you will love and actually use.

3. Consider a consultation. Even if you’re not looking to hire a professional landscape architect or designer to work on your yard, it can be very helpful to simply set up a consultation with an expert. From $50-$100, you can typically get an hour-long consultation with someone who can help you figure out exactly what you want to do and who can give you tips, which will save you from making costly mistakes later.

4. Take your time in buying. Most people aren’t so well-off financially that they can afford to design and landscape their property all at one time. It’s easier and more cost-effective to divide your landscaping project into phases and buy what you can when you can. Only spending what you can at the time will save you from having to make loan or credit payments later. Dividing the project into phases will also help you reassess the project as it moves forward.

5. Buy reasonably priced, quality materials. Warehouses that specialize in landscaping materials often will have items for the lowest price, but the quality may not be the best. Typically, more specialized stores will offer a greater selection and higher quality materials. Plus, such stores usually can provide a more personal service, expert advice, and better guarantees for their products than many warehouses can. Better Homes and Gardens says, “Plant prices may be higher at specialty nurseries, but many offer money-back guarantees on trees, shrubs, and bedding plants”.

6. Make use of online and mail-order sources. Shopping through catalogs and websites can exponentially increase the choices you have for landscape materials. These sources are typically the best if you’re looking for rare plants or specialized products, since most warehouses and stores don’t carry rare or specialized materials. Sometimes you can get a great deal on a product by shopping online or through a catalogue, but don’t forget about the shipping prices.

Read the full article from Better Homes and Gardens here.

Helpful Tips For Maintaining Your Home This Spring

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As you go about your annual spring cleaning rituals, take a few additional steps to save money on energy bills, improve your home’s appearance and ward off big-ticket repairs later.

Here are 10 tips for you to help prepare your home for warmer months and keep it in top shape..

  1. Inspect the AC: For about $75 to $200, a technician will tune up your cooling system and make sure you don’t spend the first hot weekend of the year with an out-of-commission air conditioner. Dirty filters make your air conditioner work harder, increasing energy costs and possibly damaging your equipment. Check them monthly and replace them as needed!
  2. Clean Out The Gutters: Gutter cleaning generally costs $90 to $225 for a 2,000 square-foot home.
  3. Repair Your Roof: An easy way to inspect the roof to find damage is to use a pair of binoculars. If need be, hire a handyman or a roofer to repair any missing shingles or other damages. Make sure to clean out roof drains to avoid damaging the roof and causing leaks.
  4. Pressure Wash Your Home: Clean your home’s exterior to remove accumulated dirt, mold and stains from the siding, deck, sidewalks, driveway, garage floor, fences, and lawn furniture. You can rent a pressure washer or hire someone to help.
  5. Wash The Windows
  6. Prepare To Mow: A dull lawn mower blade doesn’t slice, but instead tears grass leaving it vulnerable to disease, sun damage, and insects. A blade typically needs sharpening once or twice a year, or more often depending on how big your yard is.
  7. Lose The Lint: Make sure to clean your clothes dryer’s lint trap before every use. A clogged vent can reduce your dryer’s efficiency and create a fire hazard.
  8. Put The Temperature on Autopilot: For an initial investment of $50 to $150 dollars for a programmable thermostat, you can save about $180 annually on cooling and heating bills. Set the hold feature for a constant, efficient temperature when you’re away for the weekend or on vacation.
  9. Caulk The Cracks: If the gap around a door or a window is wider than a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. Add weatherstripping around doors, making sure that you cant see any daylight from the inside of your home.
  10. Repair Sidewalks and Driveways: Fix any breakdown in concrete or asphalt before it worsens. You can patch or fill surface cracks, chips or flaking concrete yourself using cement repair products. For deeper cracks, call a professional. To increase the longevity of your driveway, have asphalt resealed every two to five years, depending on climate and wear patterns. Have concrete resealed every one to three years.

For more tips to prepare your home for spring click here.
Jodi Goldberg
RE/MAX Central
(908) 770-2150
jodigoldberg@remax.net
www.JodiGoldberg.com
www.OldMillEstates.net

10 Tips For Home Improvement Safety

Home improvement projects often call for risky practices. We
always preach safety first, but we don’t always practice what we preach. Home Tips recently wrote an article passing along some tips for those of you tackling home improvement projects this Spring.

Accidents can happen. You need to be especially careful when you are working at heights; with power tools or sharp blades; with heavy, awkward, or toxic materials; or with electricity and natural gas. It isn’t worth it to do your own home improvements if you run a high risk of injuring yourself.

1. Tackle only those tasks that you feel safe handling.
2. Keep a tidy work area. Keeping a tidy work area helps you to avoid creating your own hazards. Don’t allow power cords to tangle. Pick up and properly store power tools, sharp tools. or dangerous materials that might cause injury. Pull all nails from old lumber.
3. Keep tools and supplies away from the reach of small children.
4. Dress for safety. Don’t work in flip-flops and shorts. Sturdy clothing, work boots, and gloves will protect you. Wear safety glasses when you use power tools, hammers, or other striking or cutting tools. If you are going to be working beneath construction, get a hard hat.
5. When using a ladder, position it on a flat, firm surface. As you climb or reach, keep your weight centered. Do not lean on one side, keep your hips between the rails and never stand on the top two rungs. When using the extension ladder to reach the roof, extend at least two rungs about the eaves this way you can hold on to the ladder as you step onto the roof.
6. Don’t go up on the roof in bad weather.
7. Equip your garage or workshop and your home with fire extinguishers. Every home should have two working fire extinguishers. Be sure they are large enough to handle home fires; they need to be rated a minimum size of “2A10BC” on the label. Periodically check them to make sure they are fully charged.
8. Protect yourself against exposure to hazardous chemicals and materials. Many varnishes, solvents, preservatives, adhesives, and other products used to accomplish projects contain hazardous ingredients. Pay attention to all label warnings, including instructions about proper ventilation.
9. Dust and fibers can be hazardous to breathe. When sanding wood, wear a dust mask. Never sand, scrape, or dislodge surfaces that you suspect contain asbestos; doing so can put highly hazardous fibers into the air.
10. Always keep a good first-aid kit on hand.

For more information and safety tips read the original article here.

Jodi Goldberg
RE/MAX Central
www.JodiGoldberg.com
jodigoldberg@remax.net
(908) 770-2150

Homeowners, Don’t Scare Off Buyer’s By Doing This…

A recent survey done by Inman News brings to light some of the things that really turn home buyers off to a sale. Many of the things that bother buyers about a listing or home has to do with the availability and accuracy of pictures, as well as what happens during the showing. It’s important that you make sure to avoid these things when selling your home, otherwise you may have a hard time closing the deal!

Pictures

  • Make sure you have them: Make sure you post pictures of your home and yard on Picture3your listing! The thing that irks buyers the most about the pictures of a listing is if there aren’t any. Many buyers rely on listing sites such as Trulia, Zillow, and RealBird to allow them to get an idea of whether or not they think a certain home would be a good fit for them. If a buyer can’t even get a tiny idea of what your home looks like, without actually driving all the way out there and setting up a showing, chances are they’re going to scroll right by it.
  • No fish eyes: When you’re choosing pictures for your listing, you need to make sure that you don’t have pictures that appear warped or stretched. Buyers aren’t going to buy a home based on pictures alone; they’re going to come see your house in person as well. So, if you posted distorted and misleading pictures of your home online, the buyer is going to be aggravated that the house isn’t what he or she expected. Most of the time, that’s enough for the buyer to write off the home. When you’re choosing pictures of your home to put on a listing website, make sure that the pictures are accurate and realistic looking.
  • No Furniture or Toilet Pictures: Buyers are also often aggravated when they Picture4come across a listing with useless pictures, such as pictures of your kid’s craft area or pictures of your beautiful dining room set. Unless you’re including those possessions in the price of your home, you don’t need to advertise these things. Buyers want your pictures to give them an idea about what the house itself is like, not what you’ve chosen to decorate it with.

Showings

  • Don’t make it difficult: We know certain situations come up where you might have to turn down a showing or two. Keep in mind, if the buyer can not get into your home to see it they will probably not be interested in buying it. Make it easy for buyers to schedule a showing to see your home.
  • Be Honest: Most buyers will commission a home inspection before actually purchasing the home, so you should be upfront and honest about any work your home may need. If you try to conceal any issues your home may have, the buyer will almost always discover the issues before closing, and may even cancel the sale based solely on your dishonesty. By being honest about work that the house needs, before you try to go into closing, you’ll have a better chance of finding a buyer who is serious about the purchase.
  • Chaos Free: Make sure that during the showing, your home is free of unruly pets and/or children (arrange for them to stay somewhere during showings), as well as other people. Buyers will be put off if they can’t see half of the rooms in your home because people are sleeping, changing, or showering. If you’re serious about selling your home, you should try your best to accommodate buyers during the showing.

To read more on things buyers hate, click here.

10 Things To Do Before Selling Your Home

Before you’re ready to list and sell your home, you need to make sure that the functionality and appearance of your home is top notch. It’s important that, when preparing your home to sell, you think like a buyer; turn your home into a home that you’d want to buy. Here are 10 things you need to do before you sell your home.

Outside of your home (exterior of the home (paint/ siding), lawn, flower beds, backyard, driveway, walkways, etc.). Curb appeal is key when trying to sell your home; it’s the first thing buyers will see when they look at your property, so it’s important to make a good impression with the outside of your home.

  1. Cut the grass at least once a week, and be sure to water your lawn and plants regularly to keep them looking lively and beautiful
  2. Depending on the season: rake up any leaves that have fallen, or clear your driveway and walkway of snow and ice
  3. Add potted plants and flowers near the entrance of your home to make the property seem more inviting to potential buyers; look for seasonally appropriate flowers for your area, i.e. ones that will survive the outside weather, to be sure that your plants will enhance the look of your home
  4. De-clutter your yard and driveway by removing cars and toys from the area. You want your property to appear clean and well-kept
  5. Be sure to repaint, or replace if necessary, any outside trim or siding that looks old or worn

Inside of your home (flooring, walls, systems, etc.). Once buyers are drawn in by your curb appeal, you need to keep them interested and show them the beauty of your interior.

  1. Clean all of your carpets and hardwood floors, in every room. Stained carpet and dull or scratched wood flooring are a turnoff for most buyers who are looking for a “move-in ready” home
  2. Clean all furniture and fixtures in your home, including chairs, tables, beds, couches, lamps, and ceiling fans
  3. Repaint your walls and ceilings, especially if any of the paint is chipping or wearing away. If your walls and ceilings don’t require fresh paint, make sure you still wash them down with a soap water mixture to remove fingerprints or other smudges.
  4. Fix any non-working home systems (plumbing, electric, heating/cooling), and update older systems that aren’t as cost-effective or don’t work as well (we’re all about being green and efficient these days!)
  5. Make sure your home is well lit for pictures and showings. If you don’t have a lot of windows, add lights under cabinets and in dark corners; this will increase the inviting-ness of your home.