Aimee Siers' Blog
In a not-so-distant future, American homeowners may not have to worry about blackouts any longer. Tesla’s giant battery recently powered up Australia’s grid after a power outage in just milliseconds. And, with new, green technologies, constantly being pursued, it could be within reach to say goodbye to blackouts once and for all.
However, we’re not quite there yet. And, if you live in the colder areas of the country, you’re also at the beginning of the worst season for snow and ice that can wreak havoc on power lines.
So, to help get you prepared, I’ve written this list of things you can do to start preparing yourself, your family, and your home for your next power outage.
Read on for the list.
1. Emergency supplies list
It’s vital to have the supplies on hand before a power outage hits so that you don’t have to be wandering around your home in the dark fishing for things you might not even have.
To avoid this, it’s a good idea to keep a supplies bag packed and tucked away somewhere safe. It’s also important that your family knows where this bag is located in case you’re away when the power goes out.
Now, let’s make your list:
Flashlights and batteries - Two quality flashlights with batteries should be on everyone’s emergency list. Make sure your batteries were recently bought and that they are of high quality that won’t run out of juice in just a few minutes. Also, consider including a wind-up flashlight that doesn’t require batteries for use in case you forget to replace your old batteries.
Radio - Most of us keep our cell phones charged up, but we’ve all been guilty of letting them get too low on charge. In these situations, it’s good to have a battery-powered radio to listen to the news.
Power bank - Speaking of cell phones and their poor battery life, consider buying a power bank and keeping an extra charging cord in your bag. Make a note to charge up your power bank every few weeks to ensure it will be charged when you need it most.
Cash - If the blackout effects more than just your neighborhood, many stores’ ATM and credit card machines may be down. It’s a good idea to have a stash of cash for emergencies.
Optional: generator - while you don’t need to buy a generator for your average power outage, it can help if you live in an area that experiences them frequently.
2. Familiarize yourself with your home
Find out where the shutoff valves for water are, learn the layout of your circuit breaker, and learn how to use the manual release on your garage door.
If you have an electric stove, consider purchasing and learning how to use a small propane grill for emergencies.
3. Best practices during a blackout
If you have children, make sure they know what to do if the power goes out when you’re not home. Especially during the winter months, it gets dark out early enough that many parents haven’t even arrived home from work yet. So, be sure your kids know not to start lighting candles in dangerous places and keeping the refrigerator open for extended periods.
Finally, it’s a good idea to turn off power strips and unplug appliances that were turned on when the power went out. This can stop surges from damaging your appliances and save you money.
There's a cheap office supply product available almost anywhere that can improve your home organization, save you money, and help prevent food-borne illnesses: ordinary stickers.
By stocking up on a variety of blank stickers, you can boost your efficiency around the house, save time, and reduce confusion.
Here are a few examples of how this basic strategy can prevent problems and simplify your life:
- Leftover food: How many times have you looked at a container or package of leftover food in the refrigerator and wondered if it's still reasonably fresh and safe to eat? If you label it with the date, you'll never have to risk getting sick from food that's been sitting around in the fridge for weeks (or longer). "When in doubt, throw it out" is a good policy for dealing with perishable food items, but you also don't want to get in the habit of throwing out perfectly good food. Everyone has slightly different standards for how long food should be kept, but when leftovers are not labeled, your only option is to guess how long it's been there -- and that method isn't too accurate! As a side note, there are several government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that can advise you on recommended refrigeration storage times (and safe temperatures) for different types of food. Generally, it's three or four days, but it can be more or less, depending on how perishable it is, whether the package has been opened, and if it's cooked or raw. Frozen food has a much longer shelf life (usually one or two months in the freezer), but if you don't label it, you may have no idea what it is ("mystery meat?") or how long it's been in storage! Clearly labeling refrigerated and frozen food will give you peace of mind, help prevent you from throwing away food prematurely (saving you money), and reduce your chances of getting food-borne illnesses.
- Old keys: Did you ever stumble upon an old key and wonder which door, suitcase, file cabinet, or car it's meant for? You can always try it out on different locks, luggage, or vehicles, but it could easily be from a previous residence, an item you no longer own, or a vehicle you traded in years ago. A much more efficient method would be to place the key in a small envelope or zip-lock bag and label it with identifying information. Labeling the tag on the keychain is another option.
- House paint: Paint cans that have been around for years can often be difficult to identify, especially if the original product label is obscured by paint spills. By adding a descriptive label displaying the date, the room it was used on, and the color, it will be much easier to organize and find the paint you need when you want touch up your walls or baseboards.
After you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your house, it may be only a few weeks until you finalize your home sale. However, problems may arise that slow down the home selling process. And if these problems linger, they may stop your home sale altogether.
As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to ensure the home selling journey is quick and seamless. If you know what to expect after you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your residence, you can prepare accordingly.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you wrap up a home sale.
1. Negotiate with a Homebuyer As Necessary
Typically, a homebuyer will request a house inspection after his or her offer to purchase your residence is accepted. This appraisal will enable a buyer to identify any underlying problems with your home. It also may lead a buyer to request a price reduction or property repairs in order to finalize a home sale.
Although you may have allocated significant time and resources to upgrade your residence before you listed it, a home inspector still might identify assorted house issues. In this scenario, you should be ready to negotiate with a homebuyer to find a solution that satisfies the needs of all parties involved in a home transaction.
2. Remain Patient
Ultimately, the period between when you accept an offer to purchase your house and closing day may seem endless. At this time, try to remain patient and focus on the big picture, and you may be better equipped than ever before to limit problems that could slow down your house sale.
It generally is a good idea to be open to communication with a homebuyer as well. If you keep the lines of communication open with a buyer, both parties can work together to ensure a home sale goes according to plan.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
For those who are stressed out about the home selling journey, there is no need to worry. In fact, if you work with a real estate agent, you can receive expert guidance at each stage of the home selling journey.
A real estate agent is committed to helping you achieve the best-possible results. He or she will collaborate with you throughout the home selling journey and help you identify and address any potential home selling hurdles.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides after you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about a home inspection request and the final results of an inspection. Plus, as closing day approaches, a real estate agent will help you get ready for the big day.
Take the guesswork out of selling your house – use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble wrapping up a home sale.
If you’re in the process of selling your home, your agent will most likely be making calls to you relating that she will be showing your home to potential buyers. While you’re probably excited to sell your home, there’s no doubt that home showings can happen at the worst possible times! Here’s some tips to help you prepare for any home showing in a hurry:
Sweep up your kitchen and bathrooms Spot clean in any necessary areas to remove stains.
Get Out Your Duster
Quickly wipe down any of your furniture, televisions, screens and other objects that really show dust in your home. You don’t need to go crazy, just make sure that everything is clean.
Don’t leave tons of stuff hanging around on your counters. Your counters should be wiped down and clear of clutter for your home showing.
Make Your Bed
Heed your mother’s advice and make your bed. There’s nothing more unattractive at a home showing than beds that haven’t been made or items strewn across the bedroom. If you have some time, take a look at your bedding and see if it looks presentable, as in free from rips and stains. If not, consider replacing the existing bedding for an even better impression.
Give your carpets a once over with the vacuum cleaner. This will pick up any surface dirt and make the carpets look, smell and feel fresher.
Empty The Trash
Empty all of your trash cans. Spray them down with a disinfectant spray so that there’s no lingering odors.
Brighten It Up
When your home is being shown, the lights should be on. A bright home is an attractive home!
Clean Your Dishes
Put all of your dirty dishes in the dishwasher. There shouldn’t be any dirty dishes left out and around during a home showing. Also, you don’t want any of your appliances running while potential buyers are visiting.
Put Clothes Away
Your clothes should be loaded into the washer and dryer as well. No dirty (or clean) clothes should be lingering around the house. Potential buyers don’t need to see the latest styles that you’re wearing!
Put Your Stuff Away
Every room should be given a once over. Everything should be off of the floors, counters and furniture. This will make your home look very presentable and attractive to buyers.
Although a home showing may seem overwhelming, buyers like to picture what your home will look like once they’re the new occupants. The short amount of time that you spend on making your home look tidy can make a big difference in finding the right buyer for your property.