5 Home Buying Mistakes Scarier Than Friday the 13th

Superstitions are a funny thing. Who hasn’t felt a little concerned when walking under a ladder or after accidentally breaking a mirror? At Housefax, we actually like black cats (all cats!), but more than one of us refuses to open an umbrella indoors.

So it’s no surprise that even the non-superstitious among us are likely to feel a bit squeamish on Friday the 13th. According to behavioral scientist Jane Risen, just being aware of the cultural significance of the day (Friday the 13th = bad luck) can make people feel wary. In fact, some people avoid traveling, buying a home, or doing business as they normally would, says historian Donald Dossey, resulting in an estimated $800-$900 million loss in business every time Friday the 13th rolls around.

Ironically, there are things we do all year long that actually can result in “bad luck” no matter what day it is. When it comes to buying a home, there are many mistakes to be made that can turn the house hunting process into a nightmare. Here are five things that can bring home buyers bad luck. Continue reading

Every Second Counts, Plan Two Ways Out [Fire Prevention Week]

Fire Prevention Week (October 8-14, 2017) has been commemorated since 1922, making it the longest running public health observance in the U.S. The week always includes the date of October 9, in remembrance of the Great Chicago Fire that destroyed more than 17,400 structures, left 100,000 homeless, and killed 250.

While legend has it that “Mrs. O’Leary’s cow” started the blaze by knocking over a lantern in a barn, a Chicago Tribune reporter later admitted that he had made the story up. The real origin of the fire is still unknown, although there are a number of theories, including a meteorite.

Few fires today, if any, are started by careless bovine or falling space debris. Cooking equipment is by far the most common culprit, followed by heating equipment, electrical faults, intentional fires and smoking.

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3 Things You Need to Do to Prepare Your Home and Yard for Fall

Don’t let a late summer/early fall warm-up fool you. Cooler temperatures are on the way, and you cannot wait to prepare your home and yard for the changing seasons. Cleaning and maintenance tasks both inside and outside your home should top your to-do list before the first hard freeze.

1. Take Care of the Basics in Your Garden, Landscaped Areas, and Yard

Image via Pixabay by 12019

As your trees and bushes become bare and your annuals die, your garden and yard become devoid of lush foliage. Take advantage of the open areas and walk through your yard to assess your landscaping, garden, and grass to see what you need to do.

Determine whether any plants have overgrown their space; divide those that have and plant them in bare areas. Check for diseased or damaged plants and bushes and cut off those areas or dig them out entirely.

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REALTOR Safety Month: 5 Tips for Agents

Personal safety is something all real estate agents must keep top of mind. September is Realtor® Safety Month, and it’s a good time to review your procedures and make sure that you aren’t taking unnecessary chances when showing a house, working late, or even marketing yourself online. When it comes to protecting yourself and your team, there’s a lot to keep in mind. We’ve gathered some of our favorite safety tips below. Feel free to share your tips or stories in the comments.

Note: Housefax isn’t affiliated with any of the products or websites mentioned below.

55455461 - stay safe phrase made from metallic letterpress type on wooden tray

Don’t share personal information in ads or on social media

Remove your personal information from anything available to the public. Use a Google Voice number instead of your personal cell phone number. Use general email addresses like “info@yourdomain.com” or even generate a specific email address for a home (i.e., 1234MainStreet@gmail.com) that you could use for marketing materials and give to clients.
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Who Needs Flood Insurance? The Answer May Surprise You

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is shaping up to be one of the worst seasons in over a decade. Earlier this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecast up to 17 named storms for the season, and Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) predicted three major storms rating Category 3 or higher.

A motel demolished by Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, TX. (Photo Credit: The Texas Tribune)

On August 25, Hurricane Harvey became the first major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. since 2005. As a Category 4 storm, with sustained wind speeds up to 130 miles per hour, Harvey battered the Texas Gulf Coast, causing significant structural damage in the Rockport and Fulton area and several other coastal towns. As the storm moved inland, the winds subsided to tropical storm levels, but record-breaking rainfall (more than 50 inches in 48 hours in some cases) caused historic flooding in Houston and other South Texas cities. (For perspective, the storms that caused historic flooding in the Midwest earlier this year delivered 10-15 inches of rain in a week.)

Harvey could end up being the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. At least 60 deaths have been attributed to the storm and related complications. Some 200,000 homes were damaged, leaving more than 1 million people displaced. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has estimated the damage at $150 – $180 billion.

>> Fast Fact: In 2012, Superstorm Sandy caused 150 deaths in the U.S. and $71 billion in damages.

Now a second major storm, Hurricane Irma, is barreling through the Caribbean with the potential to make landfall in Florida, including Miami and the Keys. Already a Category 5—and the strongest storm ever recorded outside the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico—if Irma does strike the U.S. as a Category 3 or higher, it will be the first time two major storms have struck the U.S. in the same hurricane season. Continue reading

Celebrity Housefax: Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey, Cersei Lannister [PHOTOS & HOUSEFAX REPORT]

Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Game of Thrones, (Photo Credit: HBO)

Lena Headey may not be a household name (yet), but she’s certainly recognizable. In addition to starring in the 2008 TV series “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” the Emmy-nominated actress has appeared in a number of films including “The Brothers Grimm” and “300.” But her most recognizable – and infamous – role to date is as the conniving and power-hungry Cersei Lannister on HBO’s mega-hit “Game of Thrones.”

Now Headey is taking on yet another role — as a luxury home seller, having just listed her Southern California home for $1.9 million.

Lena Headey’s Sherman Oaks home is for sale (Photo Credit: aaroe.com)

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Texas Braces for Hurricane Harvey. 10 Tips for Flood Insurance Claims

 

Flood Insurance

The warnings are urgent. Hurricane Harvey has strengthened to a Category 2 storm and could hit land with up to 3 feet of rain, 125 mph winds and 12-foot storm surges. As heavy rain and gusty winds move in over Texas, coastal residents are deciding whether to flee their homes or to stay put and brace for a potentially life-threatening hurricane. Regardless of your decision, there are some things you can do to prepare your home for potential flooding.

Hurricanes of this magnitude not only cause catastrophic flooding but also catastrophic losses for homeowners. Some people have found themselves underinsured, or sometimes with no flood insurance at all. Did you know, flood insurance is not typically part of your home insurance policy? If you are not in a flood zone you can still purchase flood insurance. But even those homeowners with proper levels of flood insurance coverage, find themselves going through the often frustrating experience of filing claims and getting their lives back to normal. Though this process can be slow and confusing, findlaw.com recommends ten important steps when dealing with storm-related damage that can help take away some of the pain. Stay safe, Texas!

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How Safe is the Water in Your Home?

Is my water safe? That’s the question asked by many Americans these days. After a number of highly publicized water quality issues around the country,  a recent Gallup poll showed that 63 percent of the population is concerned a “great deal” about water drinking quality, with many rating it a higher worry than air quality and climate change.

water quality report

While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains that America’s drinking water remains “among the safest in the world,” a recent report shows that it’s not without issues. In an extensive effort, News21 – an investigative journalism project backed by the Carnegie Corporation and the James L. Knight Foundation – analyzed 680,000 EPA violations from the last 10 years to discover if U.S.-based water treatment facilities were falling short of protecting the nation’s water supply. The findings weren’t good. Continue reading