12 Tips for a Safer Holiday Home

 

During the Holiday Season more than ever, our thoughts turn gratefully to those who have made our progress possible.  And in this spirit we say, simply but sincerely… Thank You and Best Wishes for the Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.

 

Our world is full of risk at every turn—from perilous jobs to dangerous driving conditions. That’s why we all love to get back to our homes and not worry about everyday safety hazards. It’s great to feel comfortable and safe at home, but is it as safe as it can be?

Your home should be your haven: the place where you will be protected from harm. It should be a top priority, and yet every year 1200 people or more visit the emergency room during the holiday months due to accidents and unintended injuries sustained from hidden dangers around the home.

With a sharp eye and preventive action you can reduce the chances of lurking safety dangers for everyone who visits your home.

The Top 12 Home Safety Tips

 

  1. GOOD LIGHTING – Adequate lighting reduces the risk of tripping and falling both inside and outside your home. This is especially important in winters when days are shorter. Critical areas that need to be illuminated are the stairs, outdoors, and foyers. Make sure your street number is well lit and visible from the street to aid first responders find your home. The fix: Make sure adequate wattage is utilized and long-life bulbs and motion detectors are in place.

  1. ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS? – Electrical issues, like a flickering light or a dead outlet, can be mild annoyances that actually signal serious dangers. If not addressed promptly, a faulty electrical system can result in house fires and shocks. The fix: If you’re experiencing any problems with your electricity, contact a professional right away. In your daily life, make sure electrical cords are not frayed or pierced and extension cords are securely connected. Do not run too many cords to a single outlet. Unplug small appliances, space heaters, and power tools when not in use.

  1. DO ROUTINE CLEANING – Not maintaining your appliances leads to a greater chance of accidental home fires. The fix: Do simple tasks regularly like cleaning grease off your stovetop, emptying the lint trap on your dryer, and keeping your chimney clean and clear.

  1. SMOKE AND GAS DETECTORS – Every home needs functional warning devices that detect smoke and gases. The fix: When purchasing smoke alarms, make sure they also detect carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that is especially dangerous because it is colorless and odorless. Replace the batteries every six months—or whenever you change your clocks. Create an emergency evacuation plan, build a preparedness kit, and practice regular safety drills with your family to ensure awareness of procedures.

  1. SECURE YOUR HOME- Many homes now have the latest technological advancements but still rely on locks and hardware from decades ago to keep you safe from intruders. The fix: Do an audit of all entry points to your home—doors and windows and screens. If any do not have secure screens, locks, and deadbolts, have them installed. For those entry points that do already have door knobs, handles, and locks, make sure that they are in good working condition.

  1. MAKE IT SAFE FOR VISITORS – If you are hosting friends and family, consider what additional safety challenges they may face. The fix: Put yourself in the shoes of a small child and look for low, hard edges, sharp objects, easy-to-open cabinets with chemicals and cleaning agents. Look for falling and tripping hazards that may fell seniors.
  1. WHEN YOU ARE AWAY – We all enjoy long weekends and out-of-town vacations, but unfortunately that leaves your home vulnerable to intruders. The fix: Create the illusion that someone may still be there. Leave a TV or stereo on in the room where a burglar would most likely break in. Have neighbor pick up mail and the daily paper. Turn down phone ringers, keep blinds drawn, and don’t leave unsecured valuables in the home even if you think they are well-hidden. Never hide keys around the home or garden, and don’t leave notes on the door that suggest you are out of town.

 

  1. HOUSEHOLD REPAIRS – Even if you are an expert and know your way around electrical, plumbing, car or other household repairs, proceed with caution. A poor repair could be a recipe for disaster. The fix: Call a professional or ask me for a referral from our trusted sources.

 

  1. VEHICLE CAUTION – Remember that there is danger even before you drive on the street. If you are backing your car up, watch out for children and pets on the sidewalk and road. The fix: Be cautious and proceed slowly when driving vehicles in or out of your driveway. If your driveway does not have good visibility in both directions, walk down and look in both directions before you get in your car.

 

  1. MAKE IT SAFE FOR VISITORS – If you are hosting friends and family, consider what additional safety challenges they may face. The fix: Put yourself in the shoes of a small child and look for low, hard edges, sharp objects, easy-to-open cabinets with chemicals and cleaning agents. Look for falling and tripping hazards that may fell seniors.

 

  1. BRACE YOURSELF – Heavy objects are rarely braced in the home. Appliances, artwork, televisions, and aquariums present real hazards if they are knocked down by a person or a natural disaster. The fix: Strap and brace heavy objects and use security hardware for large artwork.

 

  1. UNCOVER HIDDEN DANGERS – If your home was built before the late seventies, there’s likely lead in the paint under the top coats on your walls and windows, and there might be traces in the varnish used on many hardwood floors. In addition, asbestos often can be found in insulation and “popcorn” ceiling textures. The fix: Hire a licensed contractor to test for possible contaminants and remove them safely, especially prior to a remodel.

 

  1. MOTHER NATURE – Your homeowners insurance will cover you in many instances, but did you know that you may not be insured against natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes? They typically require an additional policy. The fix: Contact your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate replacement coverage as home values escalate and coverage amounts can stay static. Discuss costs for adding disaster policies for the natural disaster most likely to hit your area. Finally, having a disaster and communication plan can minimize the risks.

 

Safety Dangers to Kids You May Not Think About

Do you have small children who live with you? Even if you don’t, with the holiday season rapidly approaching, your home may welcome friends with young children and older family members. This makes now the ideal time to survey home your home for potential safety problems.

OPEN WATER

Did you know that as little as an inch of water can be a major hazard? A pail of water in the yard, large puddles from a storm, even a washing machine can induce a small child to trip or fall into and become at risk. The fix: Watch for open ice chests and other standing water, and don’t leave toilet seats open.

SMALL BATTERIES

Button-sized lithium batteries power small electronic devices, including remote controls, watches, musical greeting cards, and ornaments. When accidently swallowed, they can get stuck in the esophagus and generate an electrical current that can cause severe chemical burns and tissue damage. The fix: Only let small children play with mechnical devices and toys under supervision, and make sure to put these items away when not in use.

WINDOWS AND STAIRS

Every year, more than 5,000 kids end up in the emergency room after tumbling out of a window. Combat that by installing window guards or window stops so kids can’t fall out. Stairs are another potential hazard for youngsters with less-than-perfect balance. The fix: Baby gates can prevent young kids from venturing up or down. Steps should always have firm footing and be clear of objects as even older people can slip and fall or trip on items left on the stairs.

FAMILY PETS

Cats can scratch a child not used to playing with finicky felines. The family dog may be big and loving but can outweigh a child by five times. Children can be easily knocked down, nipped, or even bitten by a dog not used to the activity of small children. The fix: Monitor play activity and make sure your pet is not getting anxious or annoyed.

CORDS

Babies can be strangled by cords on blinds and shades. The fix: Excessive cords of all types should be removed or secured down. Always keep cribs away from windows with loose cords.

Now’s the Time

With the upcoming holidays at hand, now is the perfect time to survey your home and address potential safety hazards to yourselves, your family, and your friends. It doesn’t take long, most fixes are very inexpensive and simple to do, and your efforts will pay dividends in peace of mind for years to come.

Call us today! Buying, selling, leasing, or just some questions.

We’re always here to help.

 

Cordially,

Scott Myers, GRI
Broker-Owner
Century 21 Scott Myers, Realtors – 2015 Fast Track winner as voted by the San Antonio Business Journal
11830 Wurzbach Rd. (The Elms)
San Antonio, Tx. 78230
Phone # 210-479-1222
Fax # 210-479-1981
Toll free Phone # 1-888-868-1222
Scott.Myers@Century21.com
Download our mobile app http://app.c21.com/C21215455
Find us: Web Site | Facebook | Twitter | ReachFactor | Google +
Check out our Blog: Living in San Antonio
http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/blog/2015/06/fasttrack-winners-announced-in-under-10m-category.html

 

 

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Update Your Home

Hello Everyone,

I came across some great Ideas To Improve your home without having to do major renovations. Here are a few to consider :

 1) Create Open Space In Your Home

According to a Bankrate Study, open floor plans are on the top of the list when it comes to home buying and home ownership. Homeowners want an open floor plan where the kitchen, family room and dining room share one vast open space. Also, formal dining rooms seem to be going out of style.

Here is your opportunity to create space in your home, making  it more appealing to you and to your visitors. How can you do this without tearing out walls, you ask? Actually, making your home seem open and airy can be easier than you think. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting rid of bigger, bulkier furnishings, or moving furnishings around the room to see what placement gives the most open space. If you are attached to the huge armoire, cabinet or other bulky furnishing that is taking up a lot of space, then consider painting it a warm off-white color— this will help it “disappear” into the room, tricking the eye to think the space is more airy and open.

Another trick of the eye that gives the illusion of open space, is mirrors. Mirrors when placed opposite windows reflect light into the room and make the room seem more open. If you have a formal dining room that you really don’t use, then consider turning it into a cozy den, home office, crafting room or library with a reading nook. This will make the current space you have more usable, and creates a whole new room in your home that you never had before (without any messy renovations!).

2) Add New Lighting To Your Home

Proper lighting can truly bring a room to life.  A poorly lit room looks small, dark and cramped, while a brightly lit room appears open, airy and welcoming. There are numerous ways to brighten up your home with lights. Some of the easier methods are as simple as buying table lamps and floor lamps for your home.

Strategically place a couple tall floor lamps in dark corners and watch your room come alive. Layer this lighting with lamps on side tables, making the room feel welcoming and cozy.  Then, if you want to get adventurous, you can replace all those out-dated ceiling fixtures with the stunning modern masterpieces that are available on the market.

Of course, this last part may require you to hire an electrician for installation, but if you’re handy, replacing a ceiling fixture is something that is not too complicated.  Whether you keep it simple with floor lamps, or go all out and replace all your ceiling fixtures —modernize your home with plenty of bright lights.

3) Cabinetry: Update Drawer Pulls and Door Handles

Nothing dates your kitchen and bathrooms more than old-fashioned, worn and dirty handle pulls and knobs. There is no excuse not to update all your cabinet and door handles when it is really so simple to do, and there are so many ways to update your cabinetry.

There are numerous finishes to choose from such as bronze, brushed nickel, aged copper, and shiny stainless.  With so many modern choices on the market it may be hard to decide what best suits your home. Don’t stress too much about the plethora of options, after all, you could always buy one or two different styles to see what works best in the room.

Plus, there are not really any steadfast rules to choosing cabinet pulls and knobs. Essentially, a country kitchen can look chic and updated with very modern stainless knobs, while a modern kitchen can look cool and eclectic with more vintage-style knobs. The design choice is up to you, so get out there and start updating your kitchen and bathroom cupboards today.

4) Update Window Treatments

Windows seem to be overlooked a lot of the time. Homeowners struggle to decide what style would suit the room best, leading them to give up and leave the windows bare or just install simple blinds for privacy.

Here’s the thing— windows beg to be dressed! By leaving your windows bare, you are missing out on a whole spectacular layer of decorating.  While those who are lucky enough to enjoy ocean or mountain views may argue this fact, but even the best of views could be framed by stylish window panels. Windows can be dressed to perfectly suit your style and taste.

You can go bold and graphic with geometric curtain panels, or beachy with gauzy white sheers, or minimalist with bamboo shades—-the options are endless. If you are stressing about all the possibilities, then take a cue from the color schemes that you already have in place. Sometimes the easiest option is to simply match curtain panels to the color of your walls— doing this creates a look that goes with any style.

5) Create An Outdoor Room

Sometimes we forget to look outside our very own doors for unused space. Even if your home doesn’t have a large front porch or amazing backyard patio—there is still space to be used. You just need to be inventive.

You can create an amazing outdoor space by starting with an outdoor rug to define a “room” outdoors. Then add a couple comfortable outdoor chairs and throw cushions, a small fire pit, some dangling string lights — Voila! You have a added a new “room” to your home.

If you want to get fancier you could put down some brick pavers or flagstones, then layer it with the outdoor rugs, chairs etc… Or you could go all out and install a large pergola, drape the sides with privacy curtains, add an outdoor heater, some music, some wine….yes, this sounds like a great outdoor escape. The pergola install may take the weekend to accomplish, but it would be worth it come Sunday evening when you unwind outdoors with your glass of wine.

6) Landscape Your Yard

Landscaping is too often overlooked.  We plant one or two trees and assume we are done. However, curb appeal is greatly affected by  the design of your landscaping. While not all of us have a green thumb, it can be easy to make a couple raised garden beds, or plant more trees and flowering shrubs.

Begin with a visit to your local greenhouse. Staff at these stores are full of advice and knowledge about local plant life. Ask them what plants thrive best in your area and, more importantly, what plants are the easiest to care for. Most of these garden centers have a landscape architect on staff who can design a landscaping plan for you, as well.

It is best to start slowly by adding a couple flowering shrubs to your front yard, and then add a small raised bed around a walkway or front door. Remember to layer the heights of plants with the tallest in back, and read the planting directions for spacing and projected heights. With time and patience, you will have a beautifully landscaped yard.

7) Add Easy to Install (And Remove) Wallpaper

This is not your Grandmother’s wallpaper. No, we are talking about all of the amazing new removable wallpapers that are currently hitting the market. We are also not talking about those tacky wall decals that say, “Always Kiss me Goodnight”.

Rather, the new lines of removable wallpaper come in amazing patterns and graphics that will make your room look like you hired an interior designer (and spent a fortune). These wallpapers are easily removed by simply peeling them off (without harm to the wall underneath) and most can be reused.

For an easy weekend project, consider covering the main wall of your bedroom with a peaceful pattern, or consider a living room update by covering one wall with a funky geometric patterned paper. There are numerous online stores where this wonderful wallpaper can be purchased. Just be sure to read the fine print and buy the brands that are top-of-the-line and remove easily.

 8) Spruce-Up Your Bathroom

Bathrooms get dirty and dingy quite quickly. Begin a bathroom overhaul with a thorough cleaning. Yes, not a lot of fun, but the shiny result will give you new motivation to spruce-up the rest of the bathroom.

Once the room is clean, look to the outdated knobs, light fixtures, vanity, faucets, and shower curtains. By simply changing out one or two of the most outdated items, you can make your bathroom look modern and new. A coat of paint can really go far in a bathroom, as well.

Look to the bathroom below and notice all the shiny white painted trim and blue walls; the modern cabinet pulls; the cool lantern light fixture; the modern faucet; the plush towels, and  the pretty plants—-these all add up to a brand-new bathroom, without  tearing out cabinets, walls or sinks.

9) Make a Man Cave

Men are uniting everywhere— in their man caves. While some of us girls don’t get it, men really like to have a man-cave to escape in, a room to call their own, a room to drink with the guys and watch the game in peace. Who can blame them? It really does sound like a great escape.

Men, here are some tips to creating the ultimate man-cave. First, find a space in your home that you can use, whether it is the basement, the garage, or an outdoor room or outbuilding such as a shed. Then you need to decorate it and make it  your ultimate escape. Add a TV, a pool table, a fridge, a bar, some darts, comfortable chairs, rugs, pillows, music…etc Getting the picture? Make it home.

There are a lot of companies that customize garages into amazing man-caves. They install flooring, wall units, and sound systems, essentially turning the garage into a new room in your home. Ladies, maybe we can do the same with a craft room?

10) When In Doubt Just Clean and Paint

Does this list have you exhausted? Is your home overwhelming you? Maybe you should just start by simply cleaning-up your main living space. A deep-clean can enhance our mood and make our home more livable (and more importantly inspire us to do more).

It seems obvious but a clean coat of paint can take a room from drab to fab. Consider adding a punch of color on a accent wall, or just touch up  your trim with a clean coat of white paint. If your home already has a fresh coat of paint, then look to other things that could use a touch-up.  Maybe paint your ceiling a cool blue, or bring new life to an outdated piece of furniture with a new coat of paint.

A deep clean and a new coat of paint can go a long way when it comes to revamping our rooms without major renovations.

As you can see, there are a lot of ways to update your home without the messy overhaul or huge expense of remodeling. Study this list and the rooms in your home , then ask yourself what is the most outdated feature(s) in your home? Then it’s time to get to work!

Change out old cabinetry knobs, light fixtures, faucets, window treatments and faded paint. Or look outside the typical rooms in your home by creating an amazing outdoor landscape, outdoor room, or garage man-cave. All of these small updates go a long way to renewing your home, your spirit and your sense of well-being.

 

Give us a call today to answer any questions or to speak to one of our Realtors  today!

Cordially,

Scott Myers, GRI
Broker-Owner
Century 21 Scott Myers, Realtors – 2015 Fast Track winner as voted by the San Antonio Business Journal
11830 Wurzbach Rd. (The Elms)
San Antonio, Tx. 78230
Phone # 210-479-1222
Fax # 210-479-1981
Toll free Phone # 1-888-868-1222
Scott.Myers@Century21.com
Download our mobile app http://app.c21.com/C21215455
Find us: Web Site | Facebook | Twitter | ReachFactor | Google +
Check out our Blog: Living in San Antonio
http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/blog/2015/06/fasttrack-winners-announced-in-under-10m-category.html