Posted by Betsy Graziano on 3/20/2017

By the year 2030, the last members of the "Baby Boomer" generation will be turning 65 -- a milestone traditionally associated with retirement, senior citizen discounts, and living life at a slower pace. The Institute on Aging is predicting that one out of every five Americans (20%) will be 65 or older by then.

While many people continue working and staying active well into their senior years, adjustments are eventually necessary. To ease the transition into post retirement, some homeowners are making remodeling or home buying decisions based on expected lifestyle changes.

Simple Adjustments Can Go a Long Way

One of the most basic accommodations you can make to improve accessibility is to replace door knobs, especially outside ones, with straight handles. If arthritis or other conditions make it difficult for you or your spouse to grip a round door knob and turn it to the right, a horizontal lever can be much less of a hassle. Water faucets that have handles instead of round knobs can also provide similar benefits. (If you really want to go for ease of use, there's always the option of installing motion-activated sink faucets!) Elderly parents who visit frequently -- or who may even be joining your household -- will also appreciate accommodations that make daily tasks less difficult.

There are a couple sound reasons to replace old, inefficient toilets with taller units, including the fact that they are easier and more comfortable for older people to use. Some of the newer models are a few inches higher and are noticeably more convenient than standard toilets. An additional benefit worth mentioning is that EPA-certified toilets conserve water and can save you money. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recent advancements in toilet design now allow consumers to use less water and save money on their water bills -- up to $110 a year for the average family. Although a retired couple may not flush that much money down the drain (in the form of wasted water), an updated toilet can still save money on utility bills and conserve natural resources (The "WaterSense" label certifies that it meets EPA standards).

A few other features to keep in mind for more comfortable senior living may include choosing a wall oven instead of a harder-to-reach floor version, and getting other appliances that don't require bending down. Lots of natural light and a sufficient amount of artificial light are also desirable features for a senior-occupied home. For shower safety, grab bars are another modification that can provide extra support without costing a lot of money.

Whether you're planning on buying a new home or doing updates and renovations on your existing home, there are a lot of ideas to consider. Since aging and climbing stairs don't usually go together, many people set their sights on a one-story ranch house for their retirement years. If you now own a multi-story house and want to stay put, there are a variety of stair lifts, elevators, and other mobility aids that may be worth looking into.





Posted by Betsy Graziano on 3/13/2017

If your household is like most homes in America, mornings are a hectic, harried time with everyone rushing about, frantic to get ready for work and school: anxious to get out the door and about their day. Arguably, when the bathroom is in a chaotic state, so often are those persons using it. Nothing can get everyone’s day off to a bad start like wanting to use the sink to shave or wash your face, only to find the sink clogged, or to jump in the shower and find there are no clean towels handy. Maintaining a clean and functional bathroom helps everyone in the household have a functional day. Setting aside a few minutes daily to maintain order in the bathroom will help clear the chaos. Whatever gets done in the time you can allocate is enough for today. Tomorrow’s time can include other tasks. What’s That Odor? Focus on anything that may have an unpleasant smell. Does the trash bin need to be emptied or damp towels put in the laundry? Is a toilet clogged or a drain sluggish? Locate the smell and enact a solution. Turn On The Fan Operate the bathroom exhaust fan while you are giving the bathroom a quick tidy up. The fan will remove excess moisture in the air and help prevent mold and mildew. Clear The Clutter Remove anything that doesn’t belong in the bathroom. Sort miscellaneous items and put them in their right place. De-cluttering will help clear vanity, cabinet tops, and the floor. This task includes picking up all the dirty laundry and putting it in the hamper. Put Bathroom Items Back Where They Belong Put the cap back on the toothpaste and return grooming tools and cosmetics to their spot in drawers or baskets. Whatever it may be, ensure each item is returned to its proper place. Tomorrow’s routine will be a lot smoother if you don’t have to waste time looking for your hairbrush. Put A Shine On Keep a bottle of organic bathroom cleaner under the sink. Use a sponge or disposable wipes to give a quick “lick and a promise” to shower/tub, bathroom sink and counter tops. You can do a detailed cleaning of all bathroom surfaces another day. Swish And Sweep Grab the toilet bowl brush and cleanser and do a quick swish of the bowl. Use a handful of disinfect wipes to clean outer toilet surfaces. Sweep the floor to remove debris and dust. Replenish And Replace Take a moment to replenish a fresh supply of towels. Replace toiletries and tissue. Sparkle And Shine Use disposable glass cleaning wipes to give mirrors and faucets a fast once over to restore sparkle and shine while disinfecting to remove germs and bacteria.




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Posted by Betsy Graziano on 3/6/2017

Getting married could easily set you back tens of thousands of dollars, especially if you pay for a large or extravagant wedding. To save money after you get married, you could be tempted to move in with your parents. But, that would cramp your style and put a dent in your romantic life. Fortunately, you have options.

Renting your way into a great starter home

A good first step to getting your own house right after you marry is to rent a house. Renting a house is a good way to ease into homeownership. It's also a way to live in your own home without taking on the costs of repairs or homeowner's association fees.

If you take this route, each time something needs to be fixed at the property, ask the landlord or homeowner to tell you how much repairs on the house cost. This will give you an idea of how much it really cost to own a home.

Fall in love with the house? Ask the landlord if you can enter a rent-to-own agreement. Try to get the rent that you have already paid on the house taken off the total cost of the house.

Check out these other great starter homes

Renting a house is a great starter home for newly married couples because it gives couples a time to learn without forcing newlyweds to take on debt. Other great starter home options for newlyweds include:

  • Small house - Tiny houses are trending. You could save big with a small house. As with any house, get the home inspected, price compare and make sure that the house has enough space to accommodate your personal needs and likes.
  • Foreclosed home - Partner with a realtor who has bought and sold more than a dozen foreclosed homes. Ask realtors what to expect from the process before you get started. As a tip, you generally won't get to negotiate the price on the house. You'll also be responsible for repairs, so get the house inspected.
  • Buy a house from someone you know - If a relative, friend or colleague is selling their home, see if they will give you a deal. For example, they might let you keep the refrigerator and stove and oven or the washer and dryer for free.
  • Older house - Be open to buying an older home. You could get lots of space at a lower price.

Depending on where you live, there could be more than four to five different ways to buy a house as a newlywed. If you work for a financial services company, check with your people manager or human resources specialist to see if you can get a mortgage through them at a reduced rate. Also, check with your lender to see if you can get a reduced rate mortgage if you have current or prior military service.

Be honest about your finances. Avoid taking on more mortgage than you can afford. After all, you want to enjoy your first home. As newlyweds, you also want to enjoy deepening your relationship. The last thing that you want is to take on too much debt, exposing your new marriage to undue stress.




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Posted by Betsy Graziano on 2/27/2017

Move to anew house and you could step into job security. Relocating when the division you work with moves to a new city or state can signal to your employer that you're dedicated, loyal and steadfast. But, buying a new house solely because your employer is relocating comes with risks. These three points can help to reduce risks associated with buying a new house that's directly linked to a job move.

Job move could lead to a new house

Employment contract - Many jobs are at will, meaning that you can leave the job at anytime. With an at-will job, an employer can also bring your job to an end for any reason, as long as the reason does not violate employment laws. Before you move and buy a new house to follow an employer to another town, check your employment contract. See if your employer will offer you a written, guaranteed bonus if you move. If the bonus covers three months or more of your annual salary, it could give you time to find new employment should you get laid off after you relocate.

Housing assistance - Check with your human resources representative to see if you'll receive housing assistance if you relocate. Generally, the employer must ask you to relocate to get housing assistance. You also may have to move 50 or more miles one way to receive housing assistance. Housing assistance can cover closing costs, transporting your household goods to your new home, temporary housing costs and fees associated with selling your current home. The amount of housing assistance that an employer offers varies. Get a good housing assistance package with your relocation and you could significantly trim the amount of money you spend out-of-pocket on your move. Get all housing assistance agreements in writing.

Buying a new house due to a job move requires honesty

Ripple effects of moving to a new house - Move to a new house and you're children could be forced to go to a new school, you could put hundreds of miles between your family and you could have to learn a new culture. You could also have to get accustomed to a new climate. Reduce the risks of moving to a new house during a job relocation by talking openly with your family, including your young children, about the move. Get everyone in your family's buy-in. Also, ask your employer and human resources representative how your role will change after you relocate. If possible, negotiate a move when interest rates are low and the costs of houses in the area you're moving to are low to competitive.

Pack and move when your employer ask you to work in a division that's moving to a different region of the country and you could forego a layoff. The fact that your employer ask you to move is a sign that your employer values your talent.Another way that your employer values your talent is to offer you relocation assistance. Accept this assistance before you agree to move. It could save you closing costs, equity and help with your down payment.




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Posted by Betsy Graziano on 2/20/2017

Every so often, every homeowner faces the big problem of having a mouse in the house. These rodents can cause a lot of inconveniences. Beware that they make more than noise, they make a mess. They’ll cause safety hazards by chewing through cables and wires, even causing a fire hazard. Mice also cause a huge health hazard with the spread of disease. So once you know you have a rodent in the house, consider the following tips:


Put All Food Away


To avoid an infestation of mice, you need to stop feeding them. Make sure all of your food is sealed in plastic. Don’t feed your pets in between meal times, so no food is around unsupervised. 


Clean Your House Often


In order to get rid of the mice that are in your home, you can’t give them anything to stay for. Even small spills may attract mice. Clothes piled up is a breeding ground for mice to nest in. This is why cleanliness is so important to ward off mice.


Try Natural Cures For Mice 


The smell of peppermint is too much for mice. To keep mice out of the house, soak up some cotton balls with peppermint oil and place it near anywhere that mice might be able to get in. You can also place peppermint plants near the entrance of your home to get the same effect. 


Patch Up Any Holes


You’ll need to close up all the holes that lead in and out of your home to keep out mice. It can be hard to find how these mice get in and out of the whole, so check places that you wouldn’t think to check like corners, under cabinets and near the bathtub. This way, the only mice that will be in the home are there, you won’t have a continual infestation.


Use Poison And Traps 


This is one of the more helpful methods in getting rid of mice. This is not a good idea if you have pets in your home, as it is a very harmful substance. Choose appropriate traps for mice. There are a variety of options available including snap traps, glue traps and humane traps. You’ll need to get the type of trap that will work for you. If you don’t want to deal with mice corpses, you’ll need to get the humane traps that allow the mouse to stay alive and be trapped in an enclosed box. 


Get A Cat


There’s no better rodent control than a feline! Cats tend to love to catch mice and protect your home from infestation. Mice will generally stay away from a home where cats are present.  


It may be a bother to discover that you have a mouse in your house. There’s plenty of things that can be done to help you get rid of your pest and bring your home back to order.




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