Babyproofing Your Home on a Budget

Babyproofing your home is a constantly evolving process. As the wee ones gain experience, they learn to find the weakest link in your strategy. This stage can lead to a “How did they do that?” question on a daily basis.

Our nine tips for babyproofing your home on a budget will help you stay ahead of the curve. You can also take these suggestions on the road because you’ll eventually visit a hotel or relative’s house that does not have the standard safety applications in place.

1. Before bath time, put a laundry basket in the bathtub, insert the baby and then turn on the water. The basket will keep your tadpole safe from potential slipping injuries. Laundry baskets also make marvelous toy transporters while traveling.

2. Use a chalkboard as a fireplace cover. Toddlers instinctively gravitate to the most dangerous areas of the house, so cut them off at the pass with constructive use of their curiosity. If you have a hearth, make sure to cover the sharp edges with a guard.

3. Cover a doorknob with a sock and secure the foot-warmer with a rubber band. This is an instant safety mechanism as well as a use for that one rogue sock that has lost its mate.

4. Adhesive hangers are your friend. Install one on your wall by the curtain or blind pulls. Save your toddler from the temptation to pull on window treatment cords.

5. Hang dish towels on a wall or the underside of cabinets, not over the door. Youngsters can open oven doors with the help of a towel or two.

6. Plastic cookie cutters work as cabinet locks if you have two cabinet door pulls close together. Another solution is a magnetized lock and key system for cabinets. The magnetic locking part goes on the inside of the door, and a key turns the lock from the outside. No unsightly zip ties with this solution.

7. While we’re on the topic of magnets, replace small refrigerator magnets with big magnetized clips or remove them altogether as they can slide down to grabbing height.

8. Outlet covers can be tricky, but they are a necessary safety feature for your home. We did find one by Guardian Angel that is more expensive but claims to be shockproof and allows access to sockets without hassle.

9. Drawers on dressers are fun to pull and push if you’re a curious child, not to mention the sheer joy of slinging all the contents on the floor, right after you match, fold and put away all the socks. Adjustable lock straps that you can use in your kitchen to keep the knife drawer secure will also work on a dresser drawer.

What are some of your favorite childproofing tips? We love to hear creative solutions to child safety concerns.

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The Ultimate Guide to Painting Everything

It’s that time of the year for you to start your DIY projects. The first thing on the list is painting. You want to do something different than just splash the walls. There are many fixtures and objects in the home that can be jazzed up with paint.

Just look around — you can pick almost anything. But not all paints are the same and neither are all surfaces. Prepare before you start dipping the brush into the paint can.

#1: Concrete: Concrete is a surface that is often overlooked when it comes to painting. But don’t count it out! Concrete walls and floors can be painted. Painting concrete does require a few more steps than your average paint job. However, the job is easy to do and inexpensive.

Before painting concrete, the surface must be clean and completely dry. When working on floors they must be sanded and primed. It is best to use floor, acrylic or epoxy paint to cover the surface.

#2: Metal: When painting metal, you want to make sure that all rust has been removed. If necessary, rust can be removed using sandpaper or a wire brush. Next, prime the metal; it helps protect the surface and provides a good base.

Use paint with rust inhibitors or spray paint to coat the surface. Multiple layers will need to be applied. A layer of gloss or satin is generally applied last if you want a shiny finish.

#3: Wood: Wood is one of the easiest surfaces to paint. Wood is extremely absorbent and will easily soak up paint. Clean the surface and remove any buildup first. It is best to sand any rough or jagged areas before continuing.

A primer can be applied but is not required. It is most common to use an eggshell paint instead of semigloss on interior wood surfaces. Eggshell is more durable and has a slight sheen.

#4: Drywall: Drywall must be clean and smooth before painting. Otherwise, it should be sanded. Primers are not required but are recommended. Latex, high-sheen and satin finishesare more commonly used on drywall. Each paint type offers a different finish, so which one you choose will depend on the area or room you are painting and the effect that you are going for.

#5: Tile: Painting tile can be fun. Tile can be very glossy and resistant to most common paints like latex. The tile must be cleaned with sugar soap and white spirit to remove soap scum. It is important that you use a special glass or tile paint. Otherwise, the paint may slide right off.

Almost anything can be painted! However, there are a few places that you may want to leave off the list. Kitchen sinks and countertops are not the best places to paint. The consistent moisture doesn’t make these areas a good canvas. This goes for the bathtub as well. Some surfaces may require special chemicals, so leave them to the professionals.

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On-Air Today! Herman Calzadillas with Washington Business – KKOL 1300AM from 3-4pm

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Listen on-air today as Herman Calzadillas with Washington Business Week talks about preparing high school students to successfully enter the workforce by giving them the skills, confidence and values to succeed in life. Tuesday August 23rd 3-4pm

 

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What exactly is a “Reverse Mortgage”? – KKOL 1300AM Tuesday’s 3-4pm

Home Reverse Mortgage money concept as gold house symbol

On last week’s show, our guest Blake Pavlich from Evolve Bank & Trust explains how reverse mortgages work, and what they can do for you. Also featured are current market stats, announcements in the bond market, and tips on raising your credit score.

Listen to the show Tuesday’s at 3pm on KKOL 1300AM where you can stream it live.  Be sure to send us your questions at info@teamreba.com before the episode. Or call us during the show at 1-866-712-1300 if you want to participate

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Have a Love / Hate Relationship with Rental Property? There is Hope!

Please join my friend Tamara Simon next Thursday for “Landlord 101”. Learn how to attract and keep quality tenants, demystify Landlord Tenant Law, and increase your bottom line.

Landlord 101

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4 Real Estate Trends to Watch

Last year was one of the strongest years for the real estate market. Experts predict that this strong real estate market will continue for a while. Unemployment is steadily declining and consumers are continuing to buy more, giving the real estate market the boost it needs to continue being successful. 

Take a look at these four real estate trends to watch.

Rising Inventory

There are fewer distressed properties in the housing market and single-family home median sales are growing. In 2016, buyers will have a huge inventory of quality houses to choose from in their search for their next home. To stay on top of this trend, zero in on exactly what your client is looking for, to avoid wasting time touring homes that may not meet all of their needs or expectations.

Millennials, Millennials, Millennials

Millennials are officially the biggest generation in the workforce, and experts predict that a good number of these millennials will begin investing in real estate. Realtor.com suggests that millennials will purchase one out of three homes on the market in 2016. Smart real estate agents will be focusing specifically on tailoring the buying process for this younger generation. Increasingly, agents will need to have a steady online presence and be willing to work with technology. Millennials are always researching and finding out information online before purchasing anything.

Mortgage Rate Increase

Late last year, the Federal Reserve increased interest rates, which is expected to lead to higher mortgage rates. This will increase the amount of monthly payments and also affects the debt-to-income ratio, making it harder for buyers to afford homes. Current homeowners will likely choose to expand or remodel their homes with home equity loans, rather than buying a new home.

Buying Is More Affordable Than Renting

Rental prices are increasing across the country, and this trend is going to continue in 2016. Vacancy rates are low, because would-be buyers in the past few years chose to rent long-term rather than buy. Property owners and landlords can increase rent prices, often to amounts that are higher than a mortgage. Purchased homes are more affordable than renting in many markets, and many people will choose to purchase a home and invest in a property.

Of course, these are national trends. Every region is different. Give us a call and we’ll help you decide what might be best in your particular area, and assist you in making the next property transition in your life.

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Tuesday August 16 Dine out for Students – KKOL 1300AM Tuesday 3-4pm

Do you love food and want to support education?  RTC’s Dine out If you eat out at any of the participating restaurants on Tuesday, August 16th, all proceeds will go to benefit Renton Technical College’s scholarships.

Listen to the show Tuesday at 3pm on KKOL 1300AM where you can stream it live.  Be sure to send us your questions at info@teamreba.com before the episode. Or call us during the show at 1-866-712-1300 if you want to participate

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Carrie Shaw and guests will be joining us on-air today at KKOL 1300AM from 3-4pm to talk about RTC’s Dine Out for Students event

Listen on-air today as Carrie Shaw talks about RTC’s Dine out for Students event on Tuesday August 16th.  Also, on-air will be Deba Wegner who will let us know the latest restaurant trends in our area and what makes our region unique & Jim Berrios, the owner of the Golden Steer Restaurant, who will talk about how restaurants are important to downtown cores and revitalization.

Listen to the show every Tuesday at 3pm on KKOL 1300AM where you can stream it live.  Be sure to send us your questions at info@teamreba.com before the episode. Or call us during the show at 1-866-712-1300 if you want to participate.

 

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How’s your housing and lending market doing? KKOL 1300AM Tuesday 3-4pm

This week Reba and Eric went over how the housing and lending market are doing in our area.  Listen below to hear current market information for our Puget Sound area.

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Seafair is upon us this weekend.  Did you know that HomeStreet Bank has a hydroplane.  Driver Jimmy Shane and Miss HomeStreet are excited to move forward and give it their all at this weekend’s Seafair Cup in Seattle.

Listen to the show Tuesday at 3pm on KKOL 1300AM where you can stream it live.  Be sure to send us your questions at info@teamreba.com before the episode. Or call us during the show at 1-866-712-1300 if you want to participate

 

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How to Pay Off Your Mortgage at Lightning Speed

Did you know that less than 20 percent of U.S. homeowners have 50 percent equity or more in their homes? After reviewing the terms of your mortgage, it may seem like it will take forever to pay it off. But paying off your mortgage early is not impossible. By making a few simple changes you will soon be on the road to becoming mortgage-free!

#1 Set Attainable Goals

Decide how fast you want pay off your mortgage. Keep in mind that most mortgages are based on a 30-year repayment plan. How soon can you afford to pay it off? Maybe five or 10 years early? Knowing how soon you want to pay it off will allow you to figure out how much money to add to your monthly payment to accomplish that goal.

#2 Create a Detailed Budget

Now that you have set a goal, you can begin planning your budget. Calculate your monthly income against your monthly expenses. If you already have a budget, this is the perfect time to review it. See where you can free up money by reallocating some things. Then, figure out how much more you can add to your monthly mortgage payment.

#3 Cutbacks

Everybody hates it, but if you are serious about paying off that mortgage fast, you are going to have to cut back on buying things that you don’t need. Whether it’s your morning coffee or new shoes, there are probably a few things you could cut back on to free up some cash.

#4 Large Payments

Throughout the year many people receive bonuses, tax refunds, settlements, etc. You may want to consider making a large one-time payment from a windfall or bonus. These large chunks will visibly decrease your monthly payments and/or put you ahead of schedule for your loan payoff date.

#5 Refinance

Refinancing gives you the ability to obtain a better interest rate. If you are approved, refinancing provides you with better alternatives like converting your variable rate mortgage to a fixed rate mortgage.

Ask for Help

Speaking to a professional is very important when you have questions. He or she can inform you of things you may have missed or forgotten in your mortgage agreement, like prepayment penalties. Hidden fees can cause additional costs and need to be included in the total amount owed for your mortgage when you are planning to pay it off fast.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek help when you need it. If your goal is to pay off your mortgage with lightning speed, I can show you how. These tips and tricks are just a start. Have more questions? I am happy to help! Feel free to contact me with your questions.

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