They say it’s a silent killer. Odorless, colorless, toxic fumes with symptoms similar to those of having the flu. It can kill you and your loved ones without you even knowing its there. Are you safeguarding your home against this deadly threat?

Step one is knowing where the threat comes from. The United States Environmental Protection Agency states carbon monoxide can come from “unvented kerosene and gas space heaters; leaking chimneys and furnaces; back-drafting from furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces; gas stoves; generators and other gasoline powered equipment; automobile exhaust from attached garages; and tobacco smoke.” (http://www.epa.gov/iaq/co.html)

With winter upon us, and the possibility of power outages during large winter storms a reality, many homes have generators to help in these situations. But improper installation can cause carbon monoxide levels to rise, putting your family at risk. Ensure that generators are installed outside, away from your home, to ensure fumes aren’t entering your home. Never install generators in your home, including your garage or basement.

Another winter threat is fireplaces, wood or gas, and wood stoves. As you are snuggling up during a long winter night, you need to ensure that ventilation is sufficient. It’s always best to have a trained professional inspect and clean your fireplaces and wood stoves on a yearly basis.

So what else can you do? Buying a carbon monoxide detector is a cheap and easy way to ensure you are safe. For as little as $20, you can purchase detectors that will alert you if carbon monoxide levels get too high. And if they do, you can quickly evacuate the house and call the fire department for inspection of your home. Most states now require that when you sell your home, these detectors are already installed, just like fire and smoke alarms have been required for years.

So be safe this winter season and take precautions as needed. It really could save your life!

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Buying a home is an important decision. That decision can often be an emotional and confusing time. While buying a home is not always about the numbers a little market knowledge can go a long way. Market statistics are also helpful for home sellers to place their home competitively in the marketplace. Here are some helpful stats every buyer (and seller) should know:

1. What kind of market it is
There are typically three kinds of markets, a buyer’s market, a seller’s market and a normal or balanced market. Remember all real estate is local so if you have a question about what kind of market it is in your area be sure to consult with a real estate professional who can help give you the local information and statistics.

2. Average home prices
Having a good grasp on the average sales price in your marketplace will help you know the pool of buyers you have to compete with when buying a home. If you are selling you will know if you have large or small pool of buyers. A home above the average will have a smaller pool and a home below will have a bigger pool of buyers who can afford the property.

3. Absorption rate
The absorption rate is also known as the amount of inventory. The absorption rate calculates the amount of time a home is likely to sell in. To figure out the absorption rate divide the total number of available homes by the average number of sales per month. A high absorption rate (5 months or less) indicates a homeowner should sell in a shorter period of time. A low absorption rate (7 months or more) indicates a homeowner should sell in a longer period of time. A normal or balanced market has an absorption rate between 5 and 7 months.

4. Mortgage rates                                                                                                                    
Mortgage rates vary depending on the type of loan, your credit and other factors. You should at least have knowledge of what the going rate is for mortgages. You may want to get more than one opinion on a mortgage.

All of this information is readily available when working with a real estate professional. Remember to always use a trusted professional when making large financial decisions.

 

When searching for a home you may want to first consider if you are looking to purchase a new or an existing home. This is a common questions that many home buyers  consider during the early stages of their home search.

Some of the advantages home buyers cite as reasons to buy a brand-new house or condominium are: energy-efficiency, open layout, a warranty, the selection of appliances, flooring, paint colors and other design elements.

There are advantages to purchasing both new and existing homes. The National Association of Home Builders(NAHB) has created a list of the advantages of buying a newly built home.

New homes are often built in communities of new homes. When this happens all the neighbors are new to the neighborhood. This can help families form bonds of friendship that can last a lifetime.

Newer homes offer more open floor plans making entertaining easier. New-home layouts often feature great rooms, higher ceilings and additional windows that bringing in more light than you would find in an older home.

The appeal of owning something new can be a strong draw. Some buyers like the thought of being the first to cook a dinner in a brand-new kitchen. While others don’t like the idea of having to repaint or update an older home. A new home allows a buyer to create their own home décor from the beginning.

Newer homes are built for today’s high-definition televisions, DVRs, computers and other electronic needs. New homes can be tailored to meet an individual home owner’s needs.

There is little to no cost associated with home repair on a new home. Buyers pick the features, appliances and modern features to suit your needs.  When purchasing a new home it is truly built to the buyer’s liking.

Newly constructed homes are more energy efficient. They often include energy saving features such as double-pane windows, insulation and appliances which can reduce energy costs.

Have you ever considered buying a newly constructed home, if so, why?

Cold and flu season are here, there are some ways to prevent getting sick and they can come from simply changing your diet. It may not be an apple a day keeps the doctor away but there are some foods you can add to your diet to keep the cold bugs at bay.

Acai Berry

Acai berry’s dark color signals that it is high in antioxidants called anthocyanins. Antioxidants help your body fight aging and disease. Acai berries are usually found in juice or smoothie form, or dried and mixed with granola.

Almonds

Just 1/4 cup of Almonds has almost 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin E. Vitamin E helps boost the immune system. Almonds also contain riboflavin and niacin; B vitamins that may help you bounce back from the effects of stress.

Grapefruit

If you are looking to boost your vitamin C intake, grapefruits are a great way to fights off colds and flu. Grapefruit is also packed with flavonoids. Flavonoids are natural chemical compounds that have been shown to increase immune system activation.

Wheat Germ

Wheat germ contains zinc, antioxidants, and B vitamins among other vital vitamins and minerals. Wheat germ has fiber, protein, and good fat. You can substitute wheat germ for some part of regular flour in baked goods and other recipes. You can also mix it in with breadcrumbs in meatballs or meatloaf.

Oysters

When you hear oyster you think aphrodisiac but oysters are also known as immune boosters. Oysters contain the mineral zinc. Zinc has an antiviral effect, which aids in healing wounds.

Cabbage

Cabbage is a fantastic source of immune-strengthening glutamine.  It is easy to add cabbage to soups and stews to boost nutritional value.

Watermelon

Also containing the powerful antioxidant glutathione is watermelon. Glutathione is found in the red pulpy flesh near the rind.

Elderberry

Rich in antioxidants, elderberry is thought to fight inflammation. The extract from these dark berries appears to block flu viruses in test tube studies.

Button Mushrooms

Mushrooms boast the mineral selenium and antioxidants. Boosting selenium levels help to fight off severe flu symptoms. The B vitamins riboflavin and niacin, also found in these mushrooms, play a role in a healthy immune system.

 

 

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