Home Burglary Statistics: How Safe Are You?

Do you feel safe in your home? What about when you’re not there? Home security is an everyday concern for many, so it’s important that you are taking the proper precautions to protect your valuables and loved ones. To help you understand the patterns and behavior of burglars, we have a guide on burglary statistics and how to safeguard your home.

Are people securing their homes?

We surveyed 1,000 Americans about their home security and found that:

  • 70 percent of people have security measures in place to keep their home from being burglarized
  • Almost as many people lock their doors and windows when they are home (40 percent) compared to when they aren’t (46 percent) home
  • Only 22 percent of respondents indicated that they use an alarm system and 22 percent said they use video cameras
  • 24 percent of respondents said they owned self-defense equipment

graphic that shows what americans do to protect their home from a burglarygraphic that shows what americans do to protect their home from a burglary

When it comes to securing their homes, respondents indicated that they are more likely to use old-fashioned techniques such as deadlocks (40 percent) on their doors rather than relying on technology such as alarm systems (22 percent) or video cameras (22 percent).

Seasonal break-in concerns

The majority of respondents (56 percent) were most worried about a home burglary in the summer. Half as many (26 percent) were concerned about winter and only 9 percent were worried about spring and 9 percent in the fall. These concerns align with seasonal burglary statistics. According to the FBI, burglaries are most likely to occur during the summer months, between noon and 4 p.m.

graphic that shows seasonal break-in concernsgraphic that shows seasonal break-in concerns

Despite the tendency for people to take precautions by having self-defense equipment and locking doors when they’re inside, a majority of break-ins happen when people are not there to protect the home.

Preventing a seasonal break-ins

The most break-ins occur in the summer months. This is when Americans are most likely to be on vacation or outside enjoying a sunny day. The second most popular season for break-ins is winter. During the holidays, people take trips to visit family and are away from their homes. This is also the time of year when they have valuable presents in their homes.

To prevent holiday break-ins this season:

  • Leave lights on a timer so it looks like you are home throughout the day. Break-ins are most likely to occur between noon and 4 p.m. If you aren’t home during those hours, leave lights or music on a timer so it seems like you are.
  • Don’t leave signs that you are gone such as mail piled up in the mailbox or garbage cans out in the street for too long. The average break-in lasts between eight to 10 minutes. Leaving signs you are gone lets a burglar know they have plenty of time to steal your belongings.
  • Don’t leave boxes from your holiday gifts on the curb. Forty-seven percent of burglaries aren’t planned. Someone might be passing by and see your new TV or PlayStation box on the curb which triggers them to try to break in.
  • Avoid posting that you are out of town on social media. Eighty-five percent of burglars know their victims so they could be following your public social media account.

Burglaries statistics by state

Wondering how your state compares? The FBI has a granular look at crime rates in your state. Below are the top 10 states with the most and least burglaries per hundred thousand residents in 2018.

states with the most and least break-ins per capitastates with the most and least break-ins per capita

Burglary vs. robbery

It is easy to misconstrue a burglary from a robbery. While they may seem similar, they are two very distinct crimes that have different implications and investigative processes.

Burglary is classified as a property crime, whereas a robbery is classified as a violent crime.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, a burglary is an “unlawful or forcible entry or attempted entry of a structure with the intent to commit a felony or theft.” The specifics of a burglary is relative based on your state laws.

On the other hand, a robbery is classified as “taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.”

Since robberies are classified as violent crimes, if someone is convicted of a robbery they will find that it carries a more severe sentence than a burglary.

Additional burglary statistics

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice reported that there were 1.3 million household burglaries, which was a 4.72 percent increase from the previous year. It’s important to be aware of when they happen so you can reduce your risk.

1. Burglaries are most likely to occur during the middle of the day

According to the FBI, in 2018 there were 346,312 daytime burglaries compared to 218,028 burglaries that occurred at night.

This is most likely because the daytime is when your home is left unoccupied. People have daily routines. Criminals are able to track this and take advantage of the times you aren’t home.

2. Burglaries are most likely to happen in the summer months

Seasonality can impact the number of burglaries that occur. These crimes are most likely to occur during the summer months. This is most likely due to a combination of good weather, longer days and an increase in vacations. With more daylight, there is a larger window of opportunity for burglars to break into homes.

We found that the majority of survey respondents (54 percent) indicated that they are most concerned about home burglaries during the summer months.

burglar climbing fenceburglar climbing fence

3 Burglaries are more likely to occur in rural states

According to the FBI, New Mexico, Mississippi and Oklahoma have the highest burglary rate per 100,000 residents. In contrast, Virginia, New York and New Hampshire have the lowest.

4. A burglary occurs every 23 seconds

According to burglary statistics from the FBI, burglaries happen every 23 seconds. This means, there are nearly three homes burglarized every minute and 3,757 burglaries each day.

burglar stealing jewelryburglar stealing jewelry

5. Your bedroom is most likely to be the target of a burglary

Burglars have to be strategic with their time, and this includes targeting the rooms that are most valuable. According to the American Society of Criminology, in two-story homes, burglars will bypass the living areas and head straight for the upstairs bedrooms where they will find the most coveted items.

When scouring the bedroom for your belongings, burglars gravitate toward small, valuable items. Rather than big bulky items like TVs that are difficult to carry, they steal small items that can fit into their pockets in order to avoid unwanted attention as they exit the home.

6. The average cost of a burglary is $2,799

The cost of a burglary is steep. At $2,799 this could set apartment renters back a couple months’ rent. Many renters get renters insurance so they can recoup these losses if burglary were to happen. While it is possible to get back your monetary loss, the feeling of security in your house is harder to recover.

breaking inbreaking in

7. White men are most likely to break into your home

According to the FBI, 80.4 percent of men are found to be the ones breaking in compared to only 19.6 percent of women.

When looking at race or ethnicity in 2018, the FBI found that 68.1 percent of all offenders were Caucasian, 29.4 percent were African American,1.2 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.1 percent were Asian and 0.2 percent were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

8. Only 23 percent of U.S. households are professionally monitored

According to senior analyst Dina Abdelrazik at Parks Associates, only 23 percent of all U.S. households with broadband internet have a professionally monitored security system and 2.5 percent have a self-monitored system.

person looking at home security systemperson looking at home security system

How to prevent a break-in

While thieves can be tricky, there are precautions you can take to prevent a break-in in your home. Here are some ways to prevent a break-in.

Install a home security system

The installation of a home security system not only will help secure your home, but it will also give you more peace of mind when you are away. Many systems include video cameras that allow you to see who is on your property at all times of the day.

Park your car in the driveway

This can be an indicator that you are home and burglars will be hesitant to break in fear that they will encounter someone. If you are on vacation, have your neighbor use your driveway as a parking spot to deter any possible burglars.

Lock doors and windows

Locking all points of entry will provide an additional layer of protection when you are away from your home. If you leave a door unlocked or window cracked it will be an invitation for any intruder looking for an easy target.

Install timers for your lights

Even if you are away from your home, putting your lights on timers can give the illusion that someone is home, which can deter an intruder from breaking in.

Be careful on social media

Social media can be a way that burglars track you. Posting that you are at a coffee shop or on vacation will let them know when your home is free to attack. Be cognizant of your social media use, especially when you are not home.

Advertise your dog

Your dog can deter a burglar even if it’s harmless. A simple “beware of dog” sign can make a burglar second guess if they should break-in.

Don’t let the mail build-up

Allowing your mail to pile up is a clear indicator that you have not been home for quite some time. This will make your home an easy target.

Hide ladders and tools

Don’t give burglars any accessories to break into your home. Hide or keep your tools in a safe place where no one can access them but you.

Now that you are more aware of the upward trend in home burglaries in the past years. Be sure to take the necessary precautions to better secure your home or apartment. It is always better to be prepared than to realize you have been the victim of a burglary.

infographicinfographic

Methodology

This study was conducted for Apartment Guide using Google Consumer Surveys. The sample consists of 1,000 respondents in the United States. The survey was conducted in November 2019.

References:

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Allergy-Proof Your Home: A Room-by-Room Guide

Allergies affect more than 50 million Americans every year, costing an estimated $18 billion and acting as a leading cause of chronic illness in the United States.

With symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, sniffing and sneezing, coughing and even asthma, allergies can leave everyone feeling miserable. That’s why it’s important to keep your home allergy-free and clean, especially if your symptoms are more severe.

Use this guide to allergy-proof your home or apartment. Click the links below to jump to a specific section:

Common allergens in the home

It’s important to know what you’re fighting when trying to allergy-proof your home. From dust mites to mold, these allergens can trigger symptoms of serious allergies and leave you feeling itchy, achy and congested.

Below are some of the most common household allergies:

Dust mites

These microscopic insects are some of the most common household allergens, thriving in warm, humid environments around the house.

  • Common symptoms: Asthma, headaches, itchy nose, throat and eyes

Mold and mildew

Mold is a fungus that grows best in damp, poorly ventilated environments that don’t receive a lot of sunlight. The most commonly affected areas include bathrooms, piping and kitchens. There are many common types of mold, including Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium and Stachybotrys (also known as black mold).

  • Common symptoms: Asthma, COPD (in those with preexisting conditions) and headaches

Animal allergens

Animal allergies are caused by reactions to the saliva and dead skin cells (dander) on your pet’s skin. As many as 30 percent of Americans have dog and cat allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

  • Common symptoms: Itchy or swollen eyes, stuffy nose and trouble breathing

Pollen

Many plants, including oak trees, ragweed and grass, create a fine powder called pollen when they begin to bloom. Over 25 million Americans are allergic to pollen of one kind or another.

  • Common symptoms: Itchy or watery eyes, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are chemical gases emitted by a wide array of products, including carpeting, perfumes, air fresheners, certain cleaning products, upholstered furniture, adhesive and office equipment like printers and copiers. The three most common VOCs are formaldehyde, ammonia and benzene.

  • Common symptoms: Itchy eyes, sore throat, headache, nausea, fatigue and dizziness

How to eliminate allergens in the home

Whether you live in a studio apartment or a five-bedroom home, you aren’t defenseless against allergens and toxins in the air. Use the following tips to protect yourself and your home from allergens like mold, dust mites and animal dander.

Removing kitchen allergens

woman getting food container out of pantrywoman getting food container out of pantry

One of the most heavily trafficked rooms in the home, it’s important to keep your kitchen allergy-free and clean. Use the tips below to allergy-proof your kitchen:

    • Check under the sink often. The combination of leaky pipes and dark space makes the perfect breeding ground for mold. If you find mold here, use a cleaning solution of baking soda, white vinegar and tea tree oil to scrub pesky mold away. Renters should contact their property manager to repair any leaking pipes.
    • Clean your fridge frequently. We’ve all come across moldy food in the fridge — the lack of ventilation in most fridges makes mold growth likely. Once a week, remove all produce from your fridge and wipe down surfaces to remove mold-causing moisture. When you’re finished cleaning, be sure to store all produce correctly to prevent further mold growth.
    • Maintain good ventilation. Use the vent hood when cooking, open a window or turn on a fan to encourage good airflow and keep the air from retaining too much moisture. Poor ventilation makes it easier for mold to grow.
    • Pest-proof everything. Did you know cockroaches carry allergens? Many people are allergic to their droppings and sheddings, which can trigger asthma attacks in severe cases. Seal all food in air-tight containers, never leave food out and wipe down surfaces frequently to remove food particles these pests are attracted to. If you live in an apartment, you can often submit a request for pest control services.

Allergy-proofing the bathroom

bathroom with green fernbathroom with green fern

The bathroom is one of the most mold-friendly rooms in the house. Use these tips to combat mold and keep your bathroom spotless!

    • Use a ventilation fan. Especially in small bathrooms, airflow is critical. In fact, the Mayo Clinic recommends an exhaust fan to reduce moisture build-up. If your bathroom doesn’t have a ventilation fan installed, ask your property manager to install one. Otherwise, keeping a window or door cracked can prevent moisture from building up.
    • Skip the plug-in air freshener. While keeping the air smelling nice is important, plug-in fresheners emit VOCs that can cause allergic reactions, exacerbate respiratory problems and trigger headaches. As an alternative to a plug-in air freshener, use a candle or air-filtering houseplant to keep the air clean.
    • Choose your shower curtain carefully. Vinyl shower curtains emit VOCs, which could contribute to your allergies. Instead, opt for a nylon curtain that is better for your health and for the environment.
    • Use mold-resistant paint enamel. If your bathroom has wallpaper, consider switching it out for paint or tile. Use a mold-resistant top coat to protect your paint and discourage mold growth. Be sure to check with your property manager before making any changes if you rent an apartment.

Eliminating bedroom allergies

couple folding laundry in bedroomcouple folding laundry in bedroom

Your bedroom is your sanctuary –– use these tips to keep it free from allergens.

    • Use dust mite-proof coverings. Up to 10 percent of the weight of a two-year-old pillow can be composed of dead mites and their droppings. To keep these tiny creatures at bay, use microfiber covers on mattresses, box springs, comforters and pillows.
    • Do the laundry consistently. Wash your bedsheets at least once per week using water that is 130ºF or hotter to kill dust mites. Alternatively, 15 minutes in a dryer at 130ºF will also kill dust mites and remove allergens from your bedding.
    • Keep pets off your bed. Dander and saliva produced by animals can trigger allergic reactions. If your allergies are serious, consider declaring the entire bedroom a pet-free zone to keep your symptoms at bay.
    • Replace your mattress. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends replacing mattresses every 10 years and pillows every five years. Mattresses and pillows can house mold spores, which can trigger asthma attacks and other allergy symptoms.

Keeping the living room clean

woman relaxing on couchwoman relaxing on couch

Another heavily trafficked room in the home, your living room could be harboring unwanted allergens like dust mites, mold and pollen.

    • Use allergy-friendly window coverings. Curtains are a breeding ground for dust mites. They should be laundered and even vacuumed at least every two weeks. Choose washable fabrics like cotton or linen, or use blinds that can easily be wiped down.
    • Opt for leather furniture. While plush, upholstered seating is great for comfort, it isn’t so good for allergies. Choose leather seating to reduce the possibility of dust mites, or use washable slipcovers.
    • Skip the carpet and area rug. Dust mites love carpeting, so consider replacing any carpet you may have in your living room with vinyl, tile, or hardwood flooring. If you’re renting, look for apartments that offer carpet-free living.
    • Wipe down surfaces often. Use a solution of white vinegar, olive oil and warm water to wipe down surfaces, including coffee tables, end tables, fireplace mantles and windowsills. This will remove any dust buildup and keep your furniture in good condition.

Other ways to allergy-proof your home

There are plenty of other ways to continue allergy-proofing your home. Using the right cleaners and equipment goes a long way to reducing allergens.

Natural cleansers

When cleaning, opt for natural solutions over chemical-based cleaners and disinfectants. Many household cleaners, including those with chlorine bleach, have been found to emit VOCs.

In fact, studies have found that “a higher frequency of using spray products during household cleaning (especially glass-cleaning and furniture sprays and air freshening sprays) was associated with a 40 percent increase in wheeze, a 50 percent increase in asthma symptoms or medication use and approximately a 100 percent increase in incidence in physician-diagnosed asthma.”

HEPA filter vacuums

To remove dust and dirt from your home, consider investing in a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter vacuum. Regular vacuums can push allergens back into the air, but HEPA filter vacuums prevent this re-spreading of allergens.

According to Consumer Reports, the best allergy-proofing HEPA filter vacuum cleaners are:

  • Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly Bagged Vacuum
  • Miele Dynamic U1 Cat and Dog
  • Miele Dynamic U1 Maverick
  • Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly UltraPlush 81714
  • Kenmore 81614
  • Miele Complete C3 Marin
  • Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly Bagged Upright Vacuum

Air filtration

Use a portable air purifier to reduce unwanted allergens in your home. There are many different types of air purifiers available, so consider choosing one based on the size of the room you’ll use it in.

The clean air delivery rate (CADR) determines how many particles and square feet an air purifier can reach. To determine the best CADR rating for your room’s square footage, use the following equations:

  • Room size (sq ft.) = (CADR rating x 1.55) or CADR rating = (Room size (sq ft.) / 1.55)

For example, if you see an air purifier at the store with a CADR rating of 100, it will be able to clean a room that is 155 square feet.

  • (100 CADR x 1.55) = 155 sq ft.

Alternatively, if you are looking for an air purifier that will clean your 250 square foot room, you can determine that you’ll need an air purifier with a score of 160 or higher.

  • (250 sq ft. / 1.55) = 161 CADR 

According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, you should use the smoke CADR score when doing these calculations, as this is the smallest particle size and will be the most difficult to clean from the air.

For more allergy-proofing hacks, check out the infographic below. 

Whether your allergies include a runny nose or trouble breathing, it’s important to keep your home as free of allergens as possible. A clean, dust-free environment goes a long way to reducing allergies and consistent maintenance will help to prevent the spread of mold.

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Sources

AAFA 1, 2 | EPA | Mayo Clinic | American Lung Association | WebMD 1, 2 | Berkeley Lab | Today | Everyday Health | American Home Shield | AdvantaClean | Hunker | The Thrifty Couple | One Good Little Thing by Jillee | Organic Lesson | Pure Living Space | Oransi

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How Much Apartment Can You Really Afford?

Woman sits at desk in window area of loft apartmentMuch has been made in today’s media outlets about the affordability of apartments. And, while the cost of renting is still lower than the cost of owning in most cities, the truth is that many apartment residents are struggling to pay their monthly bills. Despite what is often reported in the news, there are still plenty of affordable apartments in every city in the U.S. The two challenges are first finding them and second knowing how much apartment you really can afford.

Location vs. Lifestyle
If we all had our wish, we would live in the nicest apartment in our favorite part of town, close to all of the things we love and need to do. But where you rent an apartment is just as important as which apartment community you choose. Downtown high-rise and mid-rise apartment communities will cost you much more than their counterparts in a more suburban or rural setting. Ask yourself which is more important: living close to the action or saving more money to enjoy your lifestyle? To lead the life you choose, it might be necessary to either commute or moderate your apartment expectations.

Does Size Really Matter?
When you are searching for a new apartment for yourself (and those who live with you), ask yourself how big or small of a place you truly need. The bigger the apartment, the more space you have —but also the more you are going to pay. For people who seek more play than possessions, a micro-apartment may be a great way to save a few dollars on rent. But, if space is a necessity for you and your family, you might need to give up some luxury in order to afford the space you crave.

How Old (New) is Too Old (New)
In a perfect scenario, you will spend less than 20% of your take-home income on rent. Depending on the job that you have and the lifestyle you desire, you are going to have to make some choices when it comes to how old your new apartment community is. The newer the community, the more it will cost. With a new community, you get a newer fitness center, outdoor recreations, and some other community amenities. This enables you to save a few bucks on a gym membership and other things you would normally venture outside your home to do. But the real savings come when you find an older, established community that still meets your basic lifestyle needs. It may not have all the trappings of the newly-opened place up the street; but, for the money you will pay, it is hard to beat the savings you will find at an established community.

Once you have determined just how much you are able to spend, the next step is finding the apartment for rent that best meets your budget while appealing to your lifestyle. Instead of spending hours of legwork to discover the best options, head over to www.apartmentseach.com. There, you will find the nation’s only free apartment locating service that actually pays you (up to $200) for using it. Enter the criteria that you are looking for and ApartmentSearch’s comprehensive marketplace listings will match you with the apartments that are best for you. That is time and money well saved and one step closer to moving into a great apartment you can really afford.

Keep Reading!

  • How to Budget for Your First Apartment
  • Why Paying More for Rent Can Be a Good Thing

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Apartment Safety: Fall Prevention

For seniors aged 65 and older, falls are the top cause of death due to injury. Falling is also the number one cause of non-fatal injuries in this age group, which can often translate into a threat to independence, as well as overall mobility and safety.

One in four seniors falls at least once every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and one out of five falls among seniors results in a serious injury, such as head injuries, broken bones or internal bleeding.

This is why it’s important to do everything possible to minimize the risk of falling for seniors living in apartments on their own.

Injuries and risks of falls

injured senior after a fallinjured senior after a fall

Falls can be extremely dangerous to anyone, but senior adults are particularly vulnerable. Men are more likely to die as a result of a fall, while women have a greater risk of being seriously injured.

Some of the most common injuries seniors experience as a result of falls are hip fractures, hip lacerations and head trauma. Other injuries that often occur as a result of falls include fractures of the spine, legs, ankles, pelvis, arms and hands.

There are several reasons why seniors are at a particularly high risk of falling. As we age, difficulty with balance and walking can create more risk. The body’s balancing capability and lower-body strength begin to weaken, and illnesses like Parkinson’s disease can also contribute to an increased fall risk. Those with osteoporosis are especially vulnerable to bone fractures since this disease thins and weakens the bones.

How to handle a fall

If you or a loved one has fallen, the first thing to remember is not to panic. Using a medical alert device is highly recommended, as it will allow you to easily alert the authorities to send medical assistance.

If you’re unable to get up after a fall, don’t force yourself to get up. This can cause further injury. If you feel that you might be able to get up, slowly roll over to one side and pull yourself up onto your hands and knees. Use a sturdy piece of furniture or another nearby object for support, and try to get into a seated position.

Stay seated until you’re medically treated or until you’re positive you’ll be able to stand up without falling again. Always consult your doctor after a fall so they can assess you for any injuries.

Preventing falls in your apartment

hand rail in apartmenthand rail in apartment

Make sure you have good lighting both inside and outside the apartment so you can clearly see walkways, entryways and hallways. Create a clear path inside your apartment, moving any furniture out of the way.

Tape your rugs down with double-sided tape on hardwood or vinyl floors so that you won’t trip over them and the rugs won’t slip out of place. Keep all cords and plugs close to the wall, and tie them together so they don’t get in the way of where you need to walk.

If you’re able to install one, consider adding a walk-in tub to the bathroom to help you easily get in and out of the bath. (Be sure to ask your landlord before making any major modifications to your apartment.) Install or check handrails on the stairs and in the bathroom, ensuring that they are all securely attached.

Fix any loose or uneven steps, and ask your landlord if they can come to take a look to ensure that all interior and exterior steps are secure. Keep all of your cooking items easily within reach in the kitchen. If you absolutely must use a step stool, make sure it’s completely stable before you use it.

Use night lights in the bedroom and hallway and throughout your apartment to help you get around safely during the evening.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Don’t Forget These Apartment Cleaning Spots

Cleaning. Nobody is a big fan. Especially when it comes to all those hard-to-reach spots in your apartment, you’d probably rather do anything else than tidy up. Yet, you don’t want a messy home, so what are you forgetting in your regular apartment cleaning routine?

“Whether we deep-clean periodically or do more frequent light cleaning, what’s most important is that we keep our families safer and healthier by removing germs, dirt and allergens that can build up,” says American Cleaning Institute Vice President of Communication Brian Sansoni.

A recent survey showed that 74 percent of Americans are more likely to do light apartment cleaning. Everyday surfaces like sinks, countertops, toilets and floors usually fall into this category. This is good because it keeps your apartment sanitary, but what about the areas you’ve forgotten? The chance that they’re building up dust and allergens, dirt or mold is pretty good.

While there’s no set time frame for cleaning, it’s important to know when each item in your home requires attention.

1. Baseboards

cleaning baseboardscleaning baseboards

Running along the bottom of almost every wall in your apartment, baseboards collect a lot of dust. They can also get scuffed from regular foot traffic. Tackle this area in your home every month or so to keep it clean.

The brush attachment on your vacuum or a duster with an extendable handle can collect the dust. Even a broom will work in a pinch if you don’t have anything else to manage debris. Remove scuff marks with a damp sponge or some all-purpose cleaner.

2. Ceiling fans and light fixtures

ceiling fans and light fixturesceiling fans and light fixtures

Often considered a single piece, ceiling fans and light fixtures need cleaning only a few times a year. Ceiling fan blades are the primary collector of dust. You can address the buildup with this special trick. Rather than fling dust around the room with a rag, use a pillowcase on the fan blades.

With this method, dust stays inside the pillowcase. When you’re done, toss it into the washing machine. For the fan motor, pull chain and any other parts, use a microfiber cloth to remove dust.

Light fixtures may need a little disassembling to get clean. Glass coverings especially should get washed in warm, soapy water. Wipe down any parts you can’t remove with a damp cloth. Wait for the glass fixtures to dry completely before re-attaching them.

3. Curtains and blinds

cleaning blindscleaning blinds

The first thing to check with curtains is whether they can go in the washing machine. If not, you may be able to dry clean them or keep them clean with the brush extension of your vacuum. If they can go into the laundry, avoid the dryer. The best way to dry is by hanging them outside, out of direct sunlight. Vacuuming curtains should be in your regular cleaning routine to avoid dust buildup. Wash them maybe once a year.

Blinds are a little different but should get cleaned in your regular rotation, as well. Open them up and use a duster between each slat. For other residues, a dry sponge, available at most hardware stores, can remove any buildup. You can also spot clean binds with an all-purpose cleaner and a dry cloth. It’s important to remember to move downward when cleaning blinds to keep them intact. Cleaning upward can cause blinds to unhook.

Curtains and blinds are a prime spot for allergens to collect, according to The Mayo Clinic. If you’re an allergy sufferer, it’s important to keep them free from dust.

4. Behind the toilet

cleaning toiletcleaning toilet

The toilet bowl isn’t the only place where bacteria can grow. Often forgotten, because it’s hard to reach, is the area behind the toilet. Bathrooms should receive a deep cleaning every few months. This includes the never seen space behind the toilet. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not getting nasty. Mold can accumulate back there, along with dust, dirt and bacteria.

An extendable scrubbing brush will make short work of this tough spot. Add in a little all-purpose cleaner or a homemade solution of warm water, vinegar and dish soap to make this often-ignored spot fresh and clean.

Why apartment cleaning is important

About half of those surveyed by The Cleaning Authority say they skip over curtains, blinds and behind the toilet because cleaning them is too difficult or not a priority. “It’s easy to forget to clean these areas where the buildup is less obvious unless you know to look for it,” says Leanne Stapf, chief operating officer.

Neglecting these areas can have consequences, affecting your health and your wallet. Most of these forgotten areas in your home accumulate a lot of dust which can irritate allergies. Additionally, moving out of an unclean apartment means your landlord may withhold some of your security deposit. Consider adding these areas in your home to your cleaning routine to make sure no spot gets ignored.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

3 Simple Mortgage Tricks Can Save You Over $5000/year

July 8, 2019 Posted By: growth-rapidly Tag: Buying a house

If you’re ready to refinance your mortgage loan, and speed up the process of being debt free, then you’ve come to the right place. The following mortgage tricks can save you several thousands of dollars.

As a homeowner, it’s probably been a while since you last checked and compared home loan rates to see if if your current loan rate is still a good deal. If you haven’t done so in a while, then you’re making a big mistake. Indeed, this mistake could be costing you a lot of money in interest every year, given that there are relatively low home loan rates out there.

3 Simple Mortgage Tricks Can Save You Over $5000/year:

These 3 simple mortgage tricks can help you get rid of your debt sooner, save on interest, and allow you to live in a house that is actually and really your own without worrying about monthly mortgage payment ever again. Who wouldn’t want that!?


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Related Resources

1. Compare mortgage rates.

Even if you think your home loan was a pretty good deal, you still need to compare home loans to see what rates are available.

LendingTree mortgage loans comparison can help you find the best mortgage loan rates for your needs and situation. With LendingTree, you can compare several mortgage lenders for home loan rates and fees side by side at one place and at the same time. It’s easy, fast, and free.

Head over to LendingTree now to compare low rate home loans.

2. Establish your credit score.

Before you can get the best home loan, you will need to establish and maintain a good credit score. In fact, a good credit score is one of the most important factors to determine whether you will get a good rate.

The first step then is to get a copy of your credit report for free online. Check for any mistakes and address them immediately. And if you find any red flags, contact the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Transunion, Experian). If your credit score is below 730, take steps to raise it.

One of the ways to raise your credit score is to pay your bill on time. In fact, payment history accounts for 35% of your total credit score. Another way to improve your credit score is keep your credit card utilization rate below 30 percent of your total balance. For more information, check out: How To Raise Your Credit Score To 850.

3. Refinance your mortgage.

After comparing home loans, you need to refinance it with a lender. Refinancing your loan simply means that you take a new loan to replace the one you currently have, in the hope that you get a lower interest rate, so you can same money on interest. Or that you get a shorter term on your mortgage.

Refinancing can save you over $5000 a year in interest and fees.

Want to compare home loans? Check out the latest mortgage rates through LendingTree. It’s completely FREE.

Not only that, it will allow you to pay your mortgage sooner. Let’s take an example. Let’s say you have a 30 year, $400,000 mortgage with an interest rate of 4.04%. If you were to refinance the loan with a rate of 3.34%, you’d be able to pay off the loan 4 years earlier.

So, if you’d like to pay off your loan sooner, check out some current rates now.

Related Articles

3 Signs You’re Not Ready To Refinance Your 30-year Mortgage

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

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Not All Mortgage Lenders Are Created Equally

When it comes to getting a mortgage, rates and fees vary. LendingTree allows you to view and compare multiple mortgage rates from multiple mortgage lenders all in one place and at the same time, so you can choose the best rates for your needs. LendingTree makes getting a loan faster, simpler, and better. >> (opens in a new tab)”>Get started today >>>

Source: growthrapidly.com

8 Low Cost Ways To Improve Your Home’s Appearance

If you’ve been in your house a few years, you may notice that its original luster is wearing.

When you first buy a house, the previous owners will likely have spent a lot of time and energy making the house look as appealing as possible.

Just a few years after living in the house, however, you’ll likely find the time has come to make improvements and bump up the home’s visual appeal.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money making your home look spic and span and real-estate-listing ready (even if you have no intention of selling your home).

In fact, there are several low-cost ways that you can make your home look like it did when you first bought it.

ways to improve your home's appearance

ways to improve your home's appearance

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to simply declutter.  You might even be able to make a little money with your extra stuff!

Wash The Walls

If you haven’t washed the walls, that may be an easy (and free) first step to improve the interior of your home.

I noticed certain areas of our walls, usually on corners, about shin high that were much darker than the rest of the wall.  I wiped them down, and the walls looked much better.

I later found that they were in spots where our cat would rub his face on the corner.

Paint With Neutral Colors

ways to improve your home's appearance - neutral color paint

ways to improve your home's appearance - neutral color paintIf washing the walls doesn’t improve the look of your home as much as you would like, consider a fresh coat of paint.  However, if you’re going to go through the hassle of painting your walls to improve your interior, why not choose neutral colors?

Often you don’t know when you’ll move; sometimes you unexpectedly have to move due to a job loss or family illness.  If you choose neutral colors, you will likely be helping yourself when it’s time to sell.

My friend recently tried to sell her house, and doing so took her much longer than expected.  Although her house looked nice inside, I can’t help but wonder if the electric blue walls she had throughout the home discouraged potential buyers.

Clean Up The Landscaping

In as little as a year or two, without regular attention, your landscaping can look overrun. Bushes become too big for the yard, trees have overhanging branches that need to be trimmed.

Improve the curb appeal of your home by trimming bushes, taking care of dead leaves, and putting down new rocks or grass.

Power Wash

Likewise, you don’t notice how grimy your exterior is until you clean it.

Borrow or rent a power washer to remove the built-up grime from your sidewalks and cement porches, the exterior walls of your home, and your deck.

You’ll be shocked how much dirt you remove and how much better your home looks after you’re done. Maintaining your home by doing things like washing it can greatly add to it’s appeal.

Replace Outdoor Welcome Mats

If you have outdoor welcome mats, they’re subject to wind, rain, snow and sun damage.

Under these circumstances, they turn shabby rather quickly, so make sure to replace them at least once a year.  Your home will look that much more inviting.

Paint Kitchen Cabinets And Bathroom Cabinets

Are your cabinets from the 80s?

If so, you can improve them for a little cash and a lot of elbow grease by painting them yourself.

We have blond kitchen cabinets that are so old, the paint has worn completely through in some places.  This winter when it’s cooler, we plan to sand and repaint them.  Doing so will vastly improve the look of our kitchen.

If you’re repainting the cabinets, don’t forget to add stylish handles and knobs to complete the look.

Update Light Fixtures

Light fixtures can make a room look dated.  Both of our bathrooms have dressing room type lighting strips, which I hate.  We also plan to replace these.

We’ll buy the fixtures ourselves and hire an electrician to actually replace them.

If your home is looking a little worn and dated, these low-cost improvements can give it a whole new look.

What other frugal home improvements do you recommend to improve the look of your home?

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

Homie’s Arizona Housing Market Update September 2020

The real estate market in the greater Phoenix metro area is booming. Prices continue to rise and homes continue to sell faster and faster. Here’s your monthly update on what’s happening.

Monthly Sales

According to data from the ARMLS® from September 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020 the Phoenix metro area saw 9,305 total sales in the month of September. This is a +4.8% from the previous month. Looking at the year-over-year comparison, the jump is even higher. September 2020’s monthly sales are +18.5% higher than monthly sales in September 2019.

chart showing monthly sales for 2020 at 9305 vs 7850 in 2019.

Data via ARMLS® September 2020.

List Price

September list prices saw a +11.1% year-over-year increase, landing at $458.8K. At 335K, an +11.7% increase from September 2019, median list prices are also high.

Chart showing list price for 2020 at 458.

Data via ARMLS® September 2020.

Sale Price

At $410.9K, sale prices are rising. This is a +23.1% increase from last September and a +3% increase from August of this year. At $329K, median sale prices also rose with +17.5% increase from September 2019.

Both the average and median sale prices are rising quicker and quicker. September’s +23.1% year-over-year increase in average sale price is a jump up from August’s +17.7% year-over-year comparison. Before that, July’s increase was +14.6%, while June only had a year-over-year increase of +1.4%. The median sale price is following a similar upward trend. If you’re looking to invest in a home in this market, buying sooner may be better than later.

sales price chart comparing 2020 average at 410.9k vs 329k in 2019

Data via ARMLS® September 2020.

Days on Market (DOM)

The Average Cumulative Days on Market continues to drop. Homes are selling faster and faster every month. The average DOM for September 2020 was 46, which is a 5-day decrease from August 2020 and a 13-day decrease from September 2019.

Average days on market 2020 46 vs. 59 in 2019.

Data via ARMLS® September 2020.

A Message From Sales and Operations Manager, Wayne Graham

There is no doubt about it, the Phoenix market is not slowing down. After another record-setting month of September and October is already shaping up to do the same. Despite our depressed economy due to Covid-19, the Phoenix real estate market will continue to surpass all expectations for 2020.

Want to Know Your Home’s Value?

Are you thinking about taking advantage of how hot the market is by selling your home? Click here to get your free home value report.

Turn to a Homie

Homie has local real estate agents with years of experience and an unrivaled knowledge of the local Arizona market. Click to start selling or buying with your dedicated Homie agent.

All data retrieved from ARMLS®.

Source: homie.com

Where Should You Live: Top Floor or Ground Floor Apartment

Smiling woman in beige shirt and large fedora sitting on balcony of an apartment typing on computer. Trying to decide whether you should live upstairs or downstairs in an apartment building can feel like a weighty decision — because it is! After all, this choice will affect you for the next year or more, depending on your lease’s length.

Before you start pulling your hair out, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons for each unit type. That way, you can narrow down your apartment search to what suits you best!

Should You Live in a Top Floor or Ground Floor Apartment?

The Benefits of Living in a Top Floor Apartment

  • Spectacular Views: Whether your apartment complex is two stories high or thirty — the views are better the higher up you go. Opting for a top-floor apartment can make you feel like you’re living in the clouds. Enjoy those pretty views outside while you’re sipping your coffee in the morning.
  • More Privacy: It’s harder to peer into windows when they’re 20+ feet off the ground! Enjoy more solitude (and fewer looky-loos) in your high-rise home.
  • Peace and Quiet: Avoid the daily hustle — and the noises that go along with it — when you’re removed from street-level happenings. You’re less likely to notice voices of passersby, construction sounds, and cars wheezing by when you’re a few stories removed.
  • Fewer Pests: Because of the sheer climb, creepy crawlies are less likely to make it to the top floor. Enjoy a bug-free home when you live on the top floor.
  • More Secure: Break-ins are less common on top floor apartments, as thieves tend to choose places with a quick getaway. Stairs, elevators, and high windows help prevent burglars from targeting your top-floor home.

The Cons of Living in a Top Floor Apartment

  • Daily Inconveniences: Living on the top floor means lugging up groceries, shopping bags, and other bulky or heavy items up the stairs or elevator — especially in a highrise. However, some apartment communities provide parking structures that easily connect to your level, alleviating this pain! Keep this in mind when searching for your next apartment.
  • Higher A/C Bills: Heat rises. So if you live on the top floor in a warmer climate, this can result in higher A/C bills or even complications with your air conditioning inside your apartment.
  • Longer Emergency Exits: In case of an emergency, it can be more difficult to evacuate your building when you live on the upper stories of your building. If you ultimately decide that a top-floor unit is best, make sure you’re aware of escape routes near you.
  • Increased Rent: Top floor apartments tend to be in higher demand, so expect to pay a bit more every month for this luxury.

The Pros of Living in a Ground Floor Apartment

  • Outdoor Living Space: One of the main luxuries of living downstairs is having an outdoor living space! This is especially favorable if you’re a pet owner and need extra room for Rufus to stretch his legs.
  • Accessibility: Unlike your top-floor neighbors, you’ll find sweet satisfaction in avoiding the stairs and elevators when bringing in groceries and other heavy loads!
  • Fewer Noise Complaints: Because nobody lives below you, you’re less likely to have noise complaints filed against you when you live on the bottom floor of an apartment.
  • Cheaper Rent: Since more renters tend to want a top-floor apartment, you may find that bottom-floor apartments cost a bit less! If you don’t notice a price difference, you could try negotiating rent with your leasing agent.
  • Higher-Grade Amenities: In addition to lower rent, some communities install higher-grade appliances in bottom floor apartments to entice renters who may prefer an upper-level unit.
  • Cooler Temps in the Summer: Living in a downstairs apartment can be like living in a cool cave during the summer. Since heat rises, you’ll find your home is naturally cooler compared to units above you.

Top Reasons You Should Not Live in a Bottom Floor Apartment

  • More Overall Noise: While you’re less likely to have a noise complaint filed against you, you may find yourself bothered by your neighbor stomping around upstairs. Plus, bottom-floor apartments are closer to ground-level noises such as chatty pedestrians, ambulance wails, and dogs barking.
  • Less Secure: It’s true that bottom-floor apartments are more susceptible to break-ins. However, talk to your leasing manager to understand what kind of security is in place to mitigate these risks.
  • Pesky Pests: A major drawback from living on the ground level — bugs! It’s easier to crawl through cracks in bottom-floor apartments than scale steep walls and creep into upper levels.

Top floor, ground floor, and everything in between — ApartmentSearch helps you sift through available rental units near you to find your diamond in the rough!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Your Holiday Dinner

The year has flown by, and somehow we’ve already stored our skeletons and pumpkins, and we’re ready for Thanksgiving. Time to order those stretchy pants as you bring together family and friends over one table.

But with every large event, there are safety issues that occur as you cook a big feast in your kitchen.

Did you know Thanksgiving is the No. 1 day for home cooking fires in the country, followed by Christmas? Yes, that’s more than three times as many as a regular day. Unattended cooking is the culprit for the rise in kitchen fires.

Sure, smart stove apps can help keep an eye on things and alert you, but not everyone has those on hand.

If you’re thinking of hosting this year, read on for Thanksgiving safety tips for this holiday season.

Before dinner

turkey in the oventurkey in the oven

Preparing a large feast for your family and friends isn’t an easy feat, but it can be enjoyed with some pre-planning to save money and time. Check your smoke detectors, switch out the batteries if needed and make your grocery list.

1. Turkey safety

Timing is everything when purchasing the best turkey and the ingredients for all of your sides. If you’re buying a fresh turkey, wait until two days before Thanksgiving. We know it’s not ideal for your busy schedule, but this helps keep it fresh for your meal.

Move your frozen turkey to the refrigerator prior to the big day. The general rule of thumb is to give it about 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey to thaw it completely. Place a tray under it to catch any juices and never let the turkey thaw out on the kitchen counter — frozen meat can start to grow bacteria after only two hours outside.

2. At the grocery

Start filling your shopping cart with grocery shelf items before reaching for the refrigerated perishables and frozen foods. After you’ve picked out your groceries, make sure to come straight home to make sure nothing thaws out.

As you go down your grocery list, keep all of your guests’ dietary restrictions in mind. For example, pre-basted or self-basting turkeys often contain soy, wheat or dairy, so be sure to read the labels.

3. Keep an eye for cross-contamination

Use different utensils and cutting boards when preparing meat and produce and thoroughly wash them between each use. We know it’s an extra step, but it keeps all bacteria off your prep area. Skip rinsing the turkey — it’s not necessary.

Be sure to keep the meat thermometer out to check that the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature of 164 degrees Fahrenheit. With a different thermometer, check that all hot side items reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

4. Don’t forget about the stove

With everyone catching up about this year’s work and life milestones, you can quickly get distracted and walk away from the kitchen. A fire can start in the blink of an eye.

Set a timer on your home assistant like the Amazon Echo, your smartphone or walk away with a potholder. Any of these will jolt you right out of conversation and back to the kitchen.

5. Set the table

So, it’s time to dig in — do you set up the table with name tags and formal place settings or a casual buffet? We think both a formal table and buffet are good options.

If you have room for a buffet, make sure that you set out the cold food first, so it’s the right temperature when the guests grab it. Also, set up sauces and gravy near their corresponding dishes for easy access.

If you have a formal setup, designate your turkey carver and set all sides on easy to grab platters with serving spoons.

While you eat

turkey being served on thanksgivingturkey being served on thanksgiving

First things first — as you start plating sides for the table and putting the turkey on a platter, make sure that you check every stove burner and the oven. Turn everything off.

Move all things away from the burners to make sure nothing catches on fire, and check that the oven is empty. Don’t leave anything still cooking, simmering or boiling.

After the feast

Leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving. But every year, one in six people get sick from contaminated food. Bacteria grow fast. But if you don’t want your Thanksgiving feast to become the infamous story told again and again at parties, make sure to keep an eye on your food preparation and storage.

As people start to slow down over their meals, start wrapping all leftovers, taking them to the kitchen and placing them in the refrigerator. While a few of you clean, have someone in your family be in charge of entertaining the kids so everything will go faster.

Avoid storing the stuffing inside the turkey. They should remain separate. No food should stay out for more than two hours. Skip any leftovers on plates touched by your guests.

Once everyone is headed home, pack up the leftovers in small, shallow containers. Let them know to refrigerate them as soon as they get back. Store the turkey in the freezer.

You have up to four days to make all the turkey sandwiches and fried mashed potatoes you want, then you have to toss them.

turkey safety infographicturkey safety infographic

Source: Fightbac.org

Enjoy your Thanksgiving day

Thanksgiving kicks off the ever-tiring holiday season, but with good food and people to surround you, you’ll have a good time. Cook everything at the right temperature, keep your kitchen clean, be careful when handling produce and store leftovers within two hours.

Don’t miss a good meal due to a dangerous kitchen fire. Stay safe in the kitchen this coming season.

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Source: apartmentguide.com