LivingMalibu.com » Home Owner Reference Guide http://www.livingmalibu.com Malibu Real Estate-Malibu Homes For Sale Tue, 18 Jul 2017 20:51:46 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.2 How to Create Accessible Bathrooms For Your Malibu Home http://www.livingmalibu.com/how-to-create-accessible-bathrooms-for-your-malibu-home/ http://www.livingmalibu.com/how-to-create-accessible-bathrooms-for-your-malibu-home/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 18:25:17 +0000 ritasimpson http://www.livingmalibu.com/?p=3163

Tips for Designing Accessible Bathrooms- from Remodeling Magazine.

Having one in your Malibu home will increase  value and peace of mind.

Nowhere is the trend toward accessibility—design that takes into account the needs of everyone by fostering independence and safety—more necessary than in the bathroom, and it is typically one of the first rooms homeowners target for ...]]>

Tips for Designing Accessible Bathrooms- from Remodeling Magazine.

Having one in your Malibu home will increase  value and peace of mind.

Nowhere is the trend toward accessibility—design that takes into account the needs of everyone by fostering independence and safety—more necessary than in the bathroom, and it is typically one of the first rooms homeowners target for remodel when accessibility is on the table.

Remodelers can help their businesses prosper by educating themselves on accessible design and becoming a source of product knowledge for their customers.

Here are some of the features of the accessible bathroom that remodelers can bring to the attention of clients seeking more comfort and better function:

Walk-in showers. The walk-in shower has no step or edge to it, which removes a tripping hazard, and also opens the shower up to wheelchair users, who can roll in without help.

Hand-held showerheads and shower benches. Inside the shower, hand-held showerheads mounted on a vertical bar allow users of different heights to select the perfect height for them, or they can choose to use the fixture sans bar as a hand spray.

“We’re putting in more hand-held showers,” says Dan Bawden, owner of Legal Eagle Contractors Company in Houston, and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. “They’re handy for cleaning the inside of the shower or for washing off camping equipment—or the family pet. It would be remodeling malpractice not to put one of those in. They’re so functional.”

Bawden is also installing teak benches in showers. “If space is tight, we do a fold-down bench,” he says, “so you don’t have to keep yanking out a big plastic shower chair.” And for someone who doesn’t require a seated shower, it makes shaving one’s legs easier.

Hand holds. With the high incidence of bathroom falls, remodelers shouldn’t forget to add what Richard Duncan, executive director of the R.L. Mace Universal Design Institute in Chapel Hill, N.C., refers to as “hand holds” (as opposed to “grab bar,” which seems for many people to conjure up images of hospital rooms). “It could be built into a shower soap dish, towel bar, or a toilet paper holder,” Duncan says.

Sinks that offer seated access. Pedestal sinks or wall-mounted sinks have space for people who might need to be seated; plus there’s more space for maneuvering in the room. If the design calls for a vanity, Boston architect Deborah Pierce (author of The Accessible Home: Designing for All Ages and Abilities) suggests one with cabinets that can roll out if a wheelchair user will be utilizing the bathroom.

Shower Image
Walk-in showers do away with the curb, removing a tripping hazard, and make it possible for wheelchair users to roll in without help. Credit: Kathy Tarantola Photography from The Accessible Home: Designing for All Ages and Abilities

Remodelers should take note of Pierce’s suggestion for “measuring the frequent users” of a bathroom to get an idea of what works best for vanity and sink heights.

Multi-tasking toilets. There are new toilet/bidet combinations that wash the body and blow warm air for drying, features useful for anyone who might have difficulty managing personal hygiene, says Pierce.

Comfort height toilets, typically two inches taller than conventional toilets, can be a great boon to users with mobility issues who find the boost in height makes it much easier to rise from the toilet.

Wider doorways. Bathroom doorways in older homes are usually 24 inches, making it difficult for even an average size woman carrying a baby to walk through comfortably. Pocket doors are an option, although they add time and cost to a remodel. Widening the door to 32 or 34 inches makes a big difference.

Better lighting. Use a mix of lighting, including task lighting. Banish shadows by placing lights on either side of a mirror, or mirrored medicine cabinet, rather than above it.

Designers who specialize in accessibility highly recommend some form of daylight in the bathroom, which can be accomplished by adding a window, skylight, or solar tube. Also recommended are dimmer switches to control light levels, and rocker switches, which don’t require the fine motor skills needed to operate other types of switches.

Wayfinding lights recessed into the floor are also a useful option.

No-slip flooring. Slippery floors are the culprit in many falls, so choose flooring carefully. Tiles with texture provide a better grip surface, and cut down on glare as well.

Bawden says he steers clients from the Carrara high gloss marble they sometimes ask for. “We’re doing a lot of 12×24-inch tiles in various patterns,” he says. “They have fewer grout lines, and we make sure it has a no-slip texture.”

Other accessibility features:

  • Point-of-use storage
  • Soft-close drawer mechanisms, which can be operated with a push, or D-ring or loop pulls on cabinets and drawers
  • Lever handles instead of door knobs
  • Hands-free faucets that work with sensors, or touch faucets that require only a tap to operate—Stacey Freed

 


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Improvement Projects For Your Malibu Home That Pay Back http://www.livingmalibu.com/improvement-projects-for-your-malibu-home-that-pay-back/ http://www.livingmalibu.com/improvement-projects-for-your-malibu-home-that-pay-back/#comments Sat, 15 Feb 2014 18:16:44 +0000 ritasimpson http://www.livingmalibu.com/?p=3068

​Before you spend money on remodeling your home either to prepare it for resale or to maximize your own enjoyment try to balance your wishes with the concerns a next owner may have, and don’t underestimate the power of the garden. Gardens expand your enjoyment and are powerful spaces that trigger emotional responses to the property, ...]]>

​Before you spend money on remodeling your home either to prepare it for resale or to maximize your own enjoyment try to balance your wishes with the concerns a next owner may have, and don’t underestimate the power of the garden. Gardens expand your enjoyment and are powerful spaces that trigger emotional responses to the property, and that might be the thing to bring it to the next level at a much lower cost than other projects.
Find ways to integrate the outdoor into your living spaces and the house will expand in an astonishing way. If you can’t imagine it, hire a design consultant to walk you through the possibilities and implement the ones that are reasonable to you. Do not overlook curb appeal. That is how your house greets you and everyone that comes to see you.
 Moving to the house itself, the trend is focused on Energy Efficiency, Low Maintenance features, and well-used space.

 1- ​Maintenance-free Exteriors

Fi​ber-cement siding is one of the fastest-growing products on the siding market. It’s a combination of cement, sand, and cellulosic fibers but looks like wood. It won’t rot, combust, or become prey to termites and other wood-boring insects.

Fiber-cement siding is more expensive than paint-grade wood, vinyl, and aluminum siding, $5 to $9 per sq. ft., installed. It returns 80% of investment, the highest return of any upscale project on Remodeling magazine’s latest Cost vs. Value Report. Maintenance is limited to a cleaning and some caulking each spring. Repaint every 7 to 15 years. Wood requires repainting every 4 to 7 years.

2- ​Kitchens are the Heart of the Home

According to the American Institute of Architects’ Home Design Trends Survey houses are getting smaller but kitchens are getting bigger.

The best kitchen remodels have open space, maybe incorporating the rarely used dining room, and feature recycling centers, large pantries, and recharging stations.
Modern is in, with white or gray cabinetry, simple countertops, glossy finishes and minimalist designs.  Appliances are more likely to be blended into the design or hidden away from view entirely to give the kitchen a sleeker appearance.​ Prep space is important as well as hard-working storage solutions like cabinet organizers.

Remodel

3. Updated Bathrooms

In the Hanley Wood survey, bathrooms came in second to the kitchen with 58 percent of remodelers planning to do bathroom remodels in 2014. As far as style,  resort-style bathrooms that feature amenities such as large walk-in showers with multiple shower heads, heated floors or towel racks, and jetted bathtubs are in.​

For coloring and style, glass tiles will be a popular feature as well as neutral and cool colors like ash gray, light blue and off-white.

 

Remodel 2

4. Vibrant Colors

While the kitchen may be getting the modern single-shade treatment ​in 2014,  designers have a different idea for other rooms. According to Pantone, the international authority on color,​ designers will start featuring vibrant accent walls, main paint colors and flooring throughout bedrooms and main living spaces.

5. Sustainable Materials

Going green is nothing new and builders are getting greener including more renewable materials such as bamboo, energy-efficient appliances and additional designs that incorporate the local climate.

 

 

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More Smart Apps To Manage Your Malibu Home http://www.livingmalibu.com/more-smart-apps-to-manage-your-malibu-home/ http://www.livingmalibu.com/more-smart-apps-to-manage-your-malibu-home/#comments Fri, 31 Jan 2014 16:46:31 +0000 ritasimpson http://www.livingmalibu.com/?p=3013

Many of the Malibu homes already have an amazing array of smart home features, but for those that don’t, here are some of the newer options, and they are coming with reduced prices…

New technologies, which include such devices as voice-controlled thermostats, toothbrushes that can tell you whether or not you’re doing a good job on ...]]>

Many of the Malibu homes already have an amazing array of smart home features, but for those that don’t, here are some of the newer options, and they are coming with reduced prices…

New technologies, which include such devices as voice-controlled thermostats, toothbrushes that can tell you whether or not you’re doing a good job on your teeth, and refrigerators that play music will soon, if not already, help you manage your Malibu home.

What can these apps or devices do for your home? Will they enable your bed to make itself and leave a chocolate on your pillow? Not quite, but some of the new features are pretty handy. Here’s a roundup of some of the new and upcoming products :

Connected Appliances

Samsung is a player in the smart home arena. The company’s platform, called “Samsung Smart Home,” debuted at CES and the roll-out along with pricing is planned during the first half of the year.

The initial platform consists of three main services: Device Control, Home View, and Smart Customer Service. With Device Control you can access customized settings for all of your devices from your smartphone—while you’re out of the house—or on your Smart TV when you’re at home. You have the ability to control multiple devices at once, no matter how far you travel. The service will also allow you to use voice commands with your Galaxy Gear or Smart TV remote. You can tell your device that you’re “going out,” for example, and your connected lights and appliances of choice will turn off as you leave. Smart!

Whirlpool® debuted a line of Smart Appliances that give you the option of checking to see that everything is running smoothly at home, even when you’re far away. There is a washer/dryer pair called the “Duet.” You can monitor energy usage and access certain settings when you’re out, but you can’t get it to suck the laundry from the floor and wash it while you’re gone. Each one runs you approximately $1,700.

The refrigerator keeps you up-to-date on temperature settings, and power outages and allows you to manage other features such as your drinking water. This retails for about $2,000.

The $949 smart dishwasher, allows you to monitor energy use and lets you know when certain parts need replacing.

Robotic Vacuums
Robotic vacuums are nothing new, but now they are getting more affordable. Neato Robotics already has a robotic vacuum, but this year they’re launching one that’s more affordable to the masses. In March, you’ll be able to pick up the Neato XV Essential for $379 at Walmart.com

The iRobot Roomba has a new version out as well. It boasts 60 percent more storage space and greater cleaning capacity than the former version and retails for $699.

The company also makes a robotic pool cleaner!

A Smart Crockpot?
It doesn’t get much better than this. A slow cooker that you can control from your smart phone, so your pork ribs are falling perfectly off the bone by the time you arrive home. This is a product from Belkin that launches sometime this spring and is set to retail for $99.99.

Control Your Climate & Beyond
Trane, Herman Miller, and Nest are a sampling of companies who want to help you control the climate of your home from afar. These devices not only adjust your temperature, but look better on your wall than their old counterparts.

Nest also made the recent leap to the connected smoke detector. The sleek, round-edged square has a pale blue light glowing at its center which acts as a motion detector night light, to help guide your way through a dark hallway. This smart smoke alarm will also alert you to any smoke or fire problems at home when you’re not there.

A Smart Toothbrush?
The perfect gift for your kids. Now you can see if they actually brushed their teeth and if they did a thorough job! The Kolibree toothbrush claims to be the first “connected toothbrush” that improves your brushing habits. Not only does it track how often your brush your teeth (or not), it claims to know what parts of your mouth you missed or didn’t pay enough attention to.

Wifi Lightbulbs
Controlling your lights while away is another feature of the connected home. Forgot to turn on lights to scare away the burglars? Not a problem. Do it with your smartphone.

An Intelligent Lock
Another connected home feature of note at CES was the Goji Smartlock. The lock takes a picture of visitors at your front door and can be accessed via your smartphone.

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Greening Your Malibu Home http://www.livingmalibu.com/greening-your-malibu-home/ http://www.livingmalibu.com/greening-your-malibu-home/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 00:58:11 +0000 ritasimpson http://www.livingmalibu.com/?p=3003

Making your house a cleaner, greener space will save energy and resources, create a healthier, safer home environment, and save you money. You’ll be helping out in the big picture too. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, houses account for 20 percent of all energy used in the U.S., are responsible for 20 percent ...]]>

Making your house a cleaner, greener space will save energy and resources, create a healthier, safer home environment, and save you money. You’ll be helping out in the big picture too. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, houses account for 20 percent of all energy used in the U.S., are responsible for 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and use more water than other kinds of buildings.

As you start making your home greener, you can do as little or a much as you’d like, going deeper as you go along. Taking a green action can be something as easy and inexpensive as opening a window to improve indoor air quality to a more elaborate project like installing a gray water collection system for recycling household water. Here are some ideas for getting started:

Heating and cooling:

• Figure out where energy is being wasted by having a professional energy audit, using an inexpensive radiometer to do an infrared scan of your house to reveal hot/cold air leaks, or do your own inspection for drafts under doors, and leaks and cracks around windows. Pile on the insulation in walls, under floors, and in the roof and attic, using organic and/or recycled options where possible. Upgrading insulation to R-50 standard can save up to $900 a year. Replace energy-leaking single paned windows with double paned or high-tech triple-paned glass with uber-tight seals and insulating gas between the panes.

• Take advantage of passive solar energy with design and planting choices. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, passive solar energy design can reduce heating and cooling bills by 50 percent. Planting deciduous trees by south, east, and west-facing windows will let sunshine in during winter and the leaves will provide shade during summer. Keep an air conditioner unit cool by shading it with a (non-messy) plant or tree. In summer, open windows during cool nights and circulate air with box and ceiling fans. On hot days, close blinds or curtains and shut windows to keep cool air in and warming sunlight out. In warmer climates, wide roof overhangs and covered porches will keep a house cooler and painting the roof a light color will reflect sunlight instead of absorbing it. In cooler climates, pine trees can create a windbreak and building materials like concrete, brick, stone, and tile will retain the heat of sunlight and radiate it back out slowly.

• Keep heating and cooling systems regularly serviced and make sure ducts are in good repair and filters are clean. When purchasing new units, look for Energy Star-rated models to save 10-50 percent more energy. Keep thermostat above 78 degrees in summer and below 68 degrees in winter and use a programmable thermostat. Lowering your thermostat two degrees will save $23-$38 a year.

Water:

• Install low-flow toilets to use less than half the water of older models or re-jigger the float valve in an existing toilet so that less water enters the tank. Fixing a leaky toilet will save you about $100 a year. Install aerators in faucets and low-flow showerheads to cut your water consumption by 50 percent—just one low-flow showerhead can save $32.50 per person, per year.

• Outside, opt for native plants and low-water use landscaping. Water gardens with a drip hose and do watering during cool early morning hours. Consider a rain barrel system to collect rainwater for watering to save $100-$300 a year.

Improve indoor air quality:

• When a house is sealed tight for maximum energy savings, it can create a new problem—poor indoor air quality that can be 10 times worse than the air outside. One of the easiest ways to combat the problem is to simply open some windows and air out the house. Houseplants can also improve indoor quality naturally. According to NASA, the best plants for filtering indoor air include: peace lilies, spider plants, rubber plants, bamboo palms, and English ivy.

• Reduce sources of indoor air pollution by using non-toxic and renewable materials. Use flooring made from a renewable resource like bamboo, low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, and choose new furniture, textiles, and building materials that don’t emit harmful materials like formaldehyde.

• Use natural cleaning materials, opting for plant-oil based disinfectants and detergents. Or make your own with simple recipes using common and safer household materials like vinegar, baking soda, borax, lemon juice, and washing soda.

Power down

• Replace incandescent light bulbs with halogen incandescent bulbs (25 percent energy savings), CFLs (75 percent savings), or LEDs (75-80 percent savings). Changing out just 15 bulbs could save you $50 a year, according to the Department of Energy. Use lights on dimmer settings, put lights on timers and/or install motion sensor switches that turn lights off when a room is empty. A light tube, a small, cylindrical skylight, is an option for adding natural lighting to closets or dark hallways.

• Water heaters are one of the largest energy expenses in the home, generally running $100-$200 a year. . Set the water temperature to 120 degree to save 6-10 percent a year. Insulating an older water heater with a heater blanket (look for one with an R-value of 8 or higher) will save you $5 to $20 per year. When buying a new heater, opt for tank-less or solar models.

• Installing an 8 kilowatt solar power system will give you 90-100 percent of the power you need, and with state and federal incentives can cost less than $10,000. Solar panels work best on south-facing rooftops that get all day sun exposure. If panels are out of your budget range, some power companies offer customers the option of purchasing green power created from renewable resources.

• Consider solar options for outdoor lighting, water heaters, and indoor fans.

• Plug electronics into power strips, then turn them off at night to save up to $100 a year on “phantom electricity,” the power used to keep electronics ready to power up instantly,

Whatever you choose to do, a well-planned green home will do its good work on its own, while you can sit back and enjoy the financial and energy-saving benefits.

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Energy Audit For Your Home http://www.livingmalibu.com/energy-audit-for-your-home/ http://www.livingmalibu.com/energy-audit-for-your-home/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 00:07:22 +0000 ritasimpson http://www.livingmalibu.com/?p=3000

Saving energy is not only good for the earth; it’s good for your pocketbook. A professional energy audit is the best way to go, but you can also conduct a DIY audit that may reveal the main areas of your home where energy efficiency can be improved.

Regardless of if your home was built in the ...]]>

Saving energy is not only good for the earth; it’s good for your pocketbook. A professional energy audit is the best way to go, but you can also conduct a DIY audit that may reveal the main areas of your home where energy efficiency can be improved.

Regardless of if your home was built in the 1960s or within the last five years, energy-saving technology has evolved so rapidly that it’s worth the time to do a walk through and make any necessary improvements.

Here are some steps you can take on your own:

• Locate and seal air leaks:

The potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home may range from 5 percent to 30 percent per year, and the home is generally much more comfortable afterward.

Check for indoor air leaks, such as gaps along the baseboard or edge of the flooring and at junctures of the walls and ceiling. Also check for leaks on the outside of your home, especially in areas where two different building materials meet. Look for cracks and holes in the mortar, foundation, and siding, and look for leaks around windows and doors.

Once you’ve found the leaks, you should plug and caulk holes and seal gaps or cracks with the appropriate materials, typically found at your local hardware store or home improvement store.

Make sure you don’t seal up the house too tightly. When sealing any home, you always must be aware of the danger of indoor air pollution and combustion appliance “backdrafts.” Backdrafting is when the various combustion appliances and exhaust fans in the home compete for air. An exhaust fan may pull the combustion gases back into the living space. This obviously can create a very dangerous and unhealthy situation in the home.

In homes where a fuel is burned (i.e., natural gas, fuel oil, propane, or wood) for heating, be certain the appliance has an adequate air supply. Burn marks or soot around the appliance burner or at the vent collar, or visible smoke anywhere in the utility room while the appliance is operating, indicate poor draft. When in doubt, contact your local utility company, energy professional, or ventilation contractor. Learn more about proper

• Check your insulation!

If you’re in an older home, the level of ventilation is likely inadequate. The heat and air loss via the ceilings and walls in your home could be very large, depending on when the home was built and what the insulation requirements were at the time.

Make sure the floor of your attic, including the hatch, is insulated, and that the material isn’t crumbling or compacted, which means it has lost its effectiveness. Similarly, check your basement ceiling, as well as basement walls. Hot water pipes and furnace ducts should be insulated, as should exterior walls (determine this by carefully removing the cover from a power plug, or drill a small hole in the back of a closet).

If you live in snow country, an easy check for insulation is comparing how fast the snow melts on your roof compared with the neighbor’s. If it melts quickly, you have poor insulation.

• Check your heating and cooling equipment

Heating and cooling usually account for the biggest home energy loads. To reduce waste, check to see if your furnace filters look dirty. If so, swap them out (usually needed every month or two during the heating season). Or invest in an electrostatic permanent filter, which cuts down on waste and does a much better job of cleaning the air.

If you have central air conditioning, check the coils both inside (usually in the basement) and outside. If they have dirt on them, carefully vacuum it off (you may need to first remove the protective grilles).
Make sure all your vents are open in rooms you want cooled, but close the ones in rooms you hardly use. Ensure vents are clean and unobstructed. Vacuum away any dust.
Examine ductwork for dirt streaks, a signal that you’ll find a leak. You can often fix problems with duct tape or insulation. If your ducts look very dirty or worn, call a professional to get an estimate on a thorough cleaning or replacement.

• Switch to energy-efficient lighting

Energy for lighting accounts for about 10 percent of your electric bill. Examine the light bulbs in your house and consider replacing inefficient bulbs with incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Your electric utility may offer rebates or other incentives for purchasing energy-efficient lamps.

• Upgrade appliances and electronics

The appliances and electronics you choose and how you use them affect your energy use and costs. Upgrade to energy-efficient items when old ones need replacing. Unplug appliances that aren’t in use to prevent phantom loads.

The The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®  has a Energy Audit Program called R.E.A.P.  which provides rebates of up to $250 on a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) home energy audit conducted by a certified HERS rater.

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Home Maintenance Schedule http://www.livingmalibu.com/home-maintenance-schedule/ http://www.livingmalibu.com/home-maintenance-schedule/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 00:01:01 +0000 ritasimpson http://www.livingmalibu.com/?p=2947

Homeowners know the satisfying, deep pleasure of a house that’s in good order—a house where appliances are working, the paint is not chipped, and that dust under the refrigerator is gone (at least temporarily).

A regular home maintenance program will keep your house fresh and clean, help prevent expensive repairs and ensure your house is as ...]]>

Homeowners know the satisfying, deep pleasure of a house that’s in good order—a house where appliances are working, the paint is not chipped, and that dust under the refrigerator is gone (at least temporarily).

A regular home maintenance program will keep your house fresh and clean, help prevent expensive repairs and ensure your house is as safe as possible, For a newbie, it can be a steep learning curve figuring out when to clean which filter, how often you’re supposed to clean out a chimney and what, exactly, a sump pump is. Sticking to a year-round home maintenance schedule will break the tasks up and will keep you on track with repairs and upkeep. Since most of the big jobs have to be tackled one, two or four times a year, grouping task by season is a good way to create a maintenance routine.

With every season change
Change or clean filters on the air conditioner or heater unit. Vacuum or dust indoor vents.

Clean and freshen the kitchen garbage disposal using ice cubes or small bits of lemon peel. Running a few small ice cubes through the disposal will knock debris from blades and a few small pieces of citrus peel will keep it smelling fresh. For maximum results, make ice cubes with pure lemon juice and run them though the machine.

Test fire extinguishers to check their pressure and inspect to make sure they’re accessible and not broken or missing parts.

Wipe down the washing machine and clean the interior by running an empty load with a cup of bleach, a cup of white vinegar OR laundry detergent. Use the machine’s hottest setting.

Test all ground-fault circuit interrupters.

Every spring and fall
Clean and repair roof gutters. Make sure downspouts are in good repair and aiming at least 2 feet away from your home’s foundation.

Change smoke detector batteries.

Flush out the water heater. Remove sediment that has collected by opening the drain valve and letting water run until clear.

Wipe down refrigerator inside and out. Clean drawers and shelves with hot soapy water and dry thoroughly. Toss mystery freezer items and expired condiments. Sweep underneath and vacuum condenser coils.

Wash windows and screens.

Check drains and clear of debris. To clean a drain, pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse with a pot of boiling water.
Clean faucet aerators and shower heads. To remove mineral deposits from shower heads, detach and submerge them in white vinegar for a few hours.

Clean the inside of the dishwasher with hot soapy water and a scrub brush. Clear the drain bin of debris and rinse it off. Run the machine empty on the hottest setting with a cup of white vinegar on the top rack. (You can also put a pack of unsweetened lemonade mix in the soap cup or sprinkle a cup of baking soda on the over the bottom of the tub and run empty.)

Clean the grills and coils on air conditioning units and clear the surroundings of debris and overgrown plants.

Give your grill a thorough cleaning. Soak the grates in soapy water and scrub with steel wool. Check hoses, hinges, and knobs, and remove rust with a wire brush.

Fall
Take a walk around the exterior of the house and give it a thorough visual inspection. Look for leaks, termite damage, rodent nests, cracks in the foundation and rot. Seal cracks and gaps in siding and around windows. Repair siding where necessary. Touch up paint on exterior and trim.

Power-wash the exterior of the house.

Clear lint from dryer hose. Use a vacuum or long flexible brush.

Clean carpets and have floors re-polished or sealed.

Check electrical cords and make sure they’re in good repair.

Check door and window locks, door knobs and handles and cabinet hardware. Tighten, replace or repair as needed.

Check indoor and outdoor air vents and make sure they are not blocked by debris.

Trim back trees and shrubs and make sure they aren’t touching the house, roof or gutters.

Spring
Dust blinds and vacuum or wash curtains.

Replace storm windows with screens. Repair damaged screens.

Clean kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans.

Clean light fixtures and ceiling fans.

Inspect your chimney and fireplace, looking for obvious cracks or leaks. Check the chimney cap or spark arrester to make sure it’s intact and free of nests or other blockage. Spring is a good time for a professional chimney cleaning because it’s off-season. You’ll need a cleaning every 2-3 years or after a burning a cord of wood.

Go through kitchen and bathroom cabinets and clear out expired foods, cosmetics and medications.

Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles and worn or exposed areas. Make repairs immediately to avoid messy and expensive damage.

Reseal wooden decking and outdoor furniture with UV-resistant sealer.

Test pressure relief valve on water heater.

Examine your bath and shower areas and re-caulk as needed.

Lubricate garage door springs

If your house has a sump pump, make sure there aren’t any leaks and remove any debris. To test to see if it’s functioning property, pour about five gallons of water into it and make sure it turns on.

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Check Your Home Insurance I. Q. http://www.livingmalibu.com/check-your-home-insurance-i-q/ http://www.livingmalibu.com/check-your-home-insurance-i-q/#comments Fri, 25 Oct 2013 18:04:43 +0000 ritasimpson http://www.livingmalibu.com/?p=2903

You’d be surprised at what your home insurance policy doesn’t cover. Here’s what is and isn’t covered by your insurance.

 

Fire Lightning Windstorm (unless you live in a hurricane zone) Hail (not available everywhere) Explosion Riots Civil commotion Aircraft  (and things falling from aircraft) Vehicles (and things thrown from vehicles) Smoke Vandalism (although some policies exclude this) Malicious mischief Theft Volcanic eruption

But many states don’t allow this basic policy ...]]>

You’d be surprised at what your home insurance policy doesn’t cover. Here’s what is and isn’t covered by your insurance.

 

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Windstorm (unless you live in a hurricane zone)
  • Hail (not available everywhere)
  • Explosion
  • Riots
  • Civil commotion
  • Aircraft  (and things falling from aircraft)
  • Vehicles (and things thrown from vehicles)
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism (although some policies exclude this)
  • Malicious mischief
  • Theft
  • Volcanic eruption

But many states don’t allow this basic policy to be sold. Instead, you have to buy an upgraded policy that covers more perils.

Upgraded Homeowners Insurance

That upgraded policy (called HO-2) adds protection to your home and possessions from even more perils. You get protection from everything on the HO-1 list (above) plus:

  • Falling objects
  • The weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  • Flooding from your appliances, plumbing, HVAC, or fire-protection sprinkler system
  • Damage to electrical parts caused by artificially generated electrical currents (such as a power surge not caused by lightning). But damaged electronics such as computers aren’t covered.
  • Glass breakage
  • Abrupt collapse (say from termite damage)

That same list applies to the homeowners insurance you buy for a condominium or co-op (except then it’s called HO-6 instead of HO-2).

With HO-1, HO-2, and HO-6, what you see is what you get. So if zombies attacked your home, your HO-1 or HO-2 wouldn’t cover the damage because zombies aren’t on the list of specific things those policies cover.

The Most Complete Homeowners Insurance

The most complete and protective form of homeowners insurance (called HO-3) covers you for all perils except some specific ones like:

  • Floods
  • Earthquakes
  • Wars
  • Nuclear accidents
  • Landslides
  • Mudslides
  • Sinkholes

With this policy, if zombies attacked, you’d be covered because zombies weren’t specifically excluded by your HO-3 policy.

What Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover
No matter which basic policy you get, it’s not going to cover everything than can damage or destroy your home. Typical homeowners policies don’t cover:

  • Bad things that happen because you failed to maintain your home (like mold)
  • Hurricanes
  • Floods
  • Earthquakes
  • Mudslides
  • Landslides
  • Sinkholes
  • War
  • Nuclear accidents
  • Sewer backups
  • Sump pump failure
  • Ground movement and holes caused by mining (known as mine subsidence insurance)
  • Pollution

You can buy additional policies to cover some but not all of those perils (a quick Google search didn’t turn up any nuclear accident coverage).

Related:
About Hurricane Insurance | Should You Get Flood Insurance? | Is Terrorism Covered by Home Insurance? | Should You Get Sinkhole Insurance? | About Earthquake Insurance

And even if insurance is available for the most common natural disaster in your area, you may not be able to buy it if your home has features that make it vulnerable. For example, a home with unrated wood shake roof shingles may be tough to insure in an area where wildfires are common.

Other Things Homeowners Insurance Covers

In addition to covering your home, homeowners insurance also covers four more things:

1. Your outbuildings, landscaping, and hardscaping. If you have outbuildings (like a barn), landscaping, or hardscaping (like fences), your homeowners policy most likely covers those for up to 10% of your policy amount (5% for plants).

For example, if you have $100,000 in homeowners insurance and someone drives into your fence, the policy would cover 10%, or $10,000 in repairs.

Sometimes policies exclude damage to outbuildings, landscaping, or hardscaping caused by a particular peril (like wind).

2. Damage or loss of your personal belongings. Your homeowners policy covers your family’s belongings, even when you take them out of the house. If your child heads to college with a laptop and it’s stolen, that’s probably covered by your homeowners insurance policy.

A home insurance policy covers a lot of your personal belongings, but not necessarily everything.

You’ll need additional insurance if you have many expensive items like jewelry, furs, or antiques.
Policies will either state that your personal belongings are insured for replacement cost or cash value.

Replacement cost means that the insurance company will pay the full cost of replacing an item (such as the laptop mentioned above, or a sofa damaged in a fire) once you show a receipt. Cash value means the insurance company will issue you a check for the amount that the laptop or sofa would have been worth when it was stolen or destroyed.

3. Temporary living expenses if your home is so damaged you can’t live in it. When you can’t live in your home, your homeowners insurance covers your living expenses, including hotel bills and meals. But, you can’t live in the hotel forever and eat lobster every night on the insurance company’s tab. Your policy will have limits on how long you stay and how much you can spend.

4. Injuries or accidents at your house. Homeowners insurance coverage includes liability – meaning it covers you when you or your family members cause injuries or damage. This coverage also pays when your dog bites someone (medical payments) or someone falls and injures themselves.

Add an umbrella policy to boost your liability coverage into the millions.

Homeowners Insurance for Older Homes

There’s another kind of homeowners insurance (HO-8) used when your home is so old it would be impossible to replace. It couldn’t be built like the original — that is, new electrical code wouldn’t permit the same electrical, etc.

An HO-8 policy covers the same perils as the basic HO-1, but will only pay you the repair cost or market value instead of the replacement value.

If your home is old, but not so old that it’s historic, you might want another homeowners insurance coverage. A “law and ordinance” policy covers the cost of rebuilding using today’s building codes. It’s good to have if the building codes have changed a lot (for example, in Florida) since your home was built.

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Uncovering Potential Toxic Conditions http://www.livingmalibu.com/uncovering-potential-toxic-conditions/ http://www.livingmalibu.com/uncovering-potential-toxic-conditions/#comments Thu, 03 Jan 2013 16:35:03 +0000 ritasimpson http://www.livingmalibu.com/?p=2587

Uncovering potential toxic conditions that may affect a home you’re buying. The Solution: Search Envirofacts (http://www.epa.gov/enviro/), a free database from the Environmental Protection Agency, searchable by ZIP Code, that contains information about environmental conditions, such as chemicals, radiation, and hazardous waste, that could affect a community. Also visit Scorecard, (www.scorecard.org), a free service that integrates environmental ...]]>

Uncovering potential toxic conditions that may affect a home you’re buying.
The Solution: Search Envirofacts (http://www.epa.gov/enviro/), a free database from the Environmental Protection Agency, searchable by ZIP Code, that contains information about environmental conditions, such as chemicals, radiation, and hazardous waste, that could affect a community. Also visit Scorecard, (www.scorecard.org), a free service that integrates environmental information from hundreds of databases and compares the safety of communities with others in the U.S. Ask if your home inspector can order a Neighborhood Environmental Report from Environmental Data Resources Inc. in Milford, Conn., ($100 to $150, www.edrnet.com) which includes environmental details from federal, state and local public records.
The Caveat: Many environmental databases are at least one year behind and not all incidents are reported to authorities. Search local newspapers and ask residents about current events.

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Tips For Using The Landscape For Your Malibu Home Energy Efficiency Plan http://www.livingmalibu.com/tips-for-using-the-landscape-for-your-malibu-home-energy-efficiency-plan/ http://www.livingmalibu.com/tips-for-using-the-landscape-for-your-malibu-home-energy-efficiency-plan/#comments Tue, 06 Nov 2012 16:53:04 +0000 ritasimpson http://www.livingmalibu.com/?p=2485

Use these tips for your Malibu Home. While homeowners can take low-cost steps to make the inside of their homes better insulated and therefore more energy efficient, the landscape isn’t often seen as a part of the problem… or the solution. Basic green technologies like smart tree placement and green roofs and walls can be ...]]>

Use these tips for your Malibu Home. While homeowners can take low-cost steps to make the inside of their homes better insulated and therefore more energy efficient, the landscape isn’t often seen as a part of the problem… or the solution. Basic green technologies like smart tree placement and green roofs and walls can be used to dramatically reduce energy usage inside homes. If placed strategically, trees can reduce summertime cooling energy needs by 7-47 percent and wintertime heating needs by 2-8 percent.

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Principal Relief http://www.livingmalibu.com/principal-relief/ http://www.livingmalibu.com/principal-relief/#comments Sun, 04 Nov 2012 00:05:18 +0000 ritasimpson http://www.livingmalibu.com/?p=2480

Principal relief for stressed homeowners A limited number of underwater homeowners in California will soon be able to get principal reductions of up to $100,000 apiece on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans through the federally funded Keep Your Home California program.

Making sense of the story

Although the federal agency that oversees Fannie and Freddie had previously ...]]>

Principal relief for stressed homeowners
A limited number of underwater homeowners in California will soon be able to get principal reductions of up to $100,000 apiece on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans through the federally funded Keep Your Home California program.

Making sense of the story

  • Although the federal agency that oversees Fannie and Freddie had previously refused to allow permanent principal reduction on loans they own or guarantee, in mid-September, the Federal Housing Finance Agency told servicers they could immediately begin accepting money for principal reductions from programs financed by the U.S. Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund, including Keep Your Home California.
  • The California Housing Finance Agency set up four programs under the Keep Your Home name to distribute California’s Share of the funds — $1.9 billion.  It allocated $772 million to principal reduction – enough to help an estimated 9,000 borrowers.
  • To qualify for the principal reduction in California, homeowners must live in the home, owe more than it is worth, be of low-to-moderate income, and be delinquent or have some hardship that puts them in imminent risk of default.
  • The balance on the first mortgage cannot exceed $729,750.  Other rules apply, but there is no asset limitation.  The maximum reduction is $100,000 per homeowner.
  • For more information on the Keep Your Home programs, visithttp://keepyourhomecalifornia.org/.
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