Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Replace or repair? That's the home improvement question



Maintenance and improvement are both essential realities of home ownership. From windows and skylights to gas ranges and front doors, everything in your home will eventually need some work. But how do you know when something simply needs repair, or merits being replaced?



Of course, each situation will be as unique as the home in which it occurs - and as individual as the homeowners themselves. A few good rules of thumb, however, do apply in most cases. When you're considering repair or replacement, ask yourself these questions:



* How old is the malfunctioning item?

* How extensive/pervasive is the problem?

* Will the cost of repair approach the cost of replacement?

* Which course - repair or replace - will yield the maximum energy efficiency?

* How does the cost of repair measure up to the value it will provide? How does replacement stack up using the same measure?



To help you get an idea of how these rules apply, here's what some experts have to say about home elements that frequently raise the repair/replace question:



Skylights



While many modern skylights are energy-efficient, qualify to use the Energy Star mark and are leak-free, if you have an older, plastic model it's probably a good idea to replace it. Not only are these older plastic bubble-type skylights often faded and unsightly, reducing visibility, they are not UV resistant, are not energy efficient, and are much more likely to leak.



"There are millions of those unattractive, cracked and yellowed plastic skylights still out there," says Ross Vandermark, national product manager of VELUX America, which markets the warranted "No-Leak Skylight." "Replacing them with new energy-efficient, double-pane (insulating) glass models is quick and easy. They don't leak, they look better, they reduce UV rays and provide substantial energy savings."



In fact, based on an estimate of 15 cents per kwh/hr, replacing an old plastic skylight with an Energy Star-qualified VELUX skylight can save a 2,000-square-foot home about $194 a year on cooling costs, a company study shows. Add skylight blinds - which are available in a variety of styles that can be remote-controlled, including blackout to block light, light filtering to diffuse light, or Venetian to adjust light - and the energy savings can be enhanced even more. And blinds in colors and patterns can add a fresh look to your room decor. What's more, depending on the age and condition of even older glass skylights, it's not a bad idea to consider a modern, more energy efficient model. To learn more about replacement skylights, visit www.veluxusa.com.



Windows



Recent research shows that skylights and vertical windows can work well together to effectively daylight a home while contributing to heating and cooling energy savings.



Like skylights, windows have vastly improved in energy efficiency over the past few decades. Leaky, inefficient windows can be a major source of heat loss in a home, boosting energy bills and decreasing the comfort level indoors. Window manufacturer Pella points to these signs that old windows need to be replaced:



* They're difficult to open or close.

* You can feel air leaking in or out around them.

* Condensation or fogging occurs on or between glass panes.

* You can see chipping, deterioration or water stains on the window or the wall around it.

* Cleaning is a major chore and you avoid it because of the difficulty.

* It's difficult or impossible to find replacement parts for the old windows.



The Efficient Windows Collaborative (www.efficientwindows.org) site also provides extensive information on selecting both windows and skylights, including fact sheets and computer simulations for typical houses using a variety of windows in a number of U.S. cities.



Heating, ventilation and air cooling



Furnaces and air conditioning units are among the most important parts of your home's infrastructure; they're directly responsible for the comfort level and air quality inside your home. They're also among the more costly items to repair or replace.



So how do you know when it's time to replace part of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system? EnergyStar.gov offers these guidelines:



* If your heat pump or air conditioner is older than 10 years.

* Your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old.

* Your energy bills are spiking.

* Equipment needs frequent repair.

* Some rooms are too hot while others are too cold.

* The HVAC system is very noisy.

* Your home is very dusty.



Replacing older HVAC systems with newer, Energy Star-qualified ones can significantly impact your heating and cooling costs, according to EnergyStar.gov. An Energy Star-qualified heat pump or AC unit can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs, the website says. You can learn more at www.energystar.gov.



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Service Animals and Housing in Florida

Service Animals and Housing in Florida
Your question about Florida service animal policies~

Florida laws prohibit discriminating against service animals. Service animals are defined as an animal that is trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability.

An emotional support animal is a companion animal that provides a therapeutic benefit to its owner through companionship but is not trained to perform a specific task.

Under the Federal Fair Housing Act. the law provides that property owners require reasonable accommodations for both service animals and emotional support animals. Landlords (and homeowners/condo associations) are unable to dictate no pet policies as landlords are required to accept service and emotional support animals. 

The FL statutes state, "An individual with a disability is entitled to rent, lease, or purchase, as other members of the general public, any housing accommodations offered for rent, lease, or other compensation in this state, subject to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons." 

What you can require:
-Statement from a medical professional documenting a disability (the disability does not need to be disclosed)
-Tenant to pay any damages animal may cause
-Current vaccination records
-Animal insurance

What you cannot require:
-Animal application fee
-Animal deposit (refundable or nonrefundable)
-Animal or pet rent

Most surprisingly to landlords, you can not place breed or size restrictions on service animals.  This applies even when a homeowners association dictates "no pets for tenants" and when property owners have severe allergies to animal dander.

As service animals increase in popularity, several online websites have begun offering emotional support certificates for animals.  These certificates often come with a service animal vest and claim to add your animal to the "Service Dog Registry."  These certificates cost around $100 and are not legitimate documentation for a service animal. 

We have seen several pet owners with aggressive breed dogs trying to use online support animal certificates to bypass breed restrictions and increased pet fees. As more people try to use the internet to certify their dogs as service animals, it takes away from the real mission and purpose of service animals and emotional support animals.

Service animal policies are regulated by the Americans with Disability Act, Fair Housing, and your states local statutes.  Specific laws apply to public accommodations and housing. You can read Florida's statutes regarding service animals and housing here.

The Fair Housing Act applies to the sale and rental of most single family housing including apartments, condos and homes with a few exceptions.

Of course, I'm not an attorney, so please do not consider this legal advice and consult your attorney or the ADA with any further questions! Call their ADA Information line at 800-514-0301 (Voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY).

Thanks and have a great day,
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
Realty Masters of FL~ #1 in Pensacola Rentals!
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
Call us at (850) 473-3983

Over 45 Pensacola Rental Homes at www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com

Revive your bathroom quickly, easily and affordably



Remodeling projects have increased in popularity over the past few years as homeowners have decided to improve on what they have, rather than take a risk in the real estate market. Whether you're hoping to sell your home or create a more enjoyable living space, tackle home improvement projects that make a big impact and add value.



One of the top return-on-investment remodeling projects is updating a bathroom. Bathroom updates even outweigh kitchen projects in terms of getting back what you spend, according to CNN Money. And, if you take a cost-conscious approach and do the project yourself, your investment return will be even better. Renting tools is a key way you can cut costs and bring new life into your bathroom.

There are plenty of remodeling tasks that are easily accomplished by renting tools, versus the cost of buying expensive tools or hiring someone else to do the work. Visit www.rentalhq.com to find an American Rental Association member rental store in your area.

Bring new life to your bath with these tips:
  • Replace old tile. Outdated tile is a common problem that makes bathrooms look old. Replacing it with fresh new tile that is in style will instantly give the room a modern look. Tiling is a DIY project that anyone can tackle, with the right tools. Rent the necessary items like a tile stripper, a tile saw and a mortar mixer to keep your project costs down.


Revive%20your%20bathroom%20quickly%2C%20easily%20and%20affordably Refresh the ceiling. Ceilings can become dingy over time, and you might not suspect them as the culprit that's making your room feel dull. You'll notice a dramatic change if you liven it up with fresh new texture and paint. Texture sprayers are an unusual tool for most DIY warriors to own, but you can easily rent one to make the job quick and inexpensive.
  • Add personality with paint. Another simple fix that can be done is adding a new paint color. It's an easy, quick, and cheap project and can totally change the look and feel of the room. Opt for one of your favorite colors or scour interior design websites and magazines to find a trendy color that gets your attention.
  • Change hardware. Some faucets and cabinet hardware clearly show their decade of origin. Switching out old hardware is relatively simple and a great way to make a dramatic change in the look of your room.


These projects set the stage for creating a new feel for your bathroom. Make the revived space a reality by choosing a decorating theme and accessories that complement it. Items like window treatments, throw rugs, and wall art make the room feel more complete and stylish. To get your project started, visit www.rentalhq.com.



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Ideas for flooring in your home



Your home is your paradise and if you are planning to renovate your home, go for the changes that are not only eye-catching but also comfortable for you and your family. If you are going to change the flooring in your home, here are some tips for flooring the different parts of your house.



Bedroom flooring:



There are plenty options when it comes to flooring in your bedroom. Being the most private and personalized part of your home, your bedroom is the place which grabs a big part of your budget whenever you are remodeling. You can use carpet, tile, hardwood, bamboo, cork or laminate. Play with different materials in different rooms. You can opt for striped light and dark shades in your boy's room so that if your son is going to create mess, which is unavoidable, the flooring can withstand the burden. Also the flooring can bear heavy traffic of the folks coming in the bedroom. For more powerful scratch and water resistant flooring you can choose laminate.



Living room flooring:



It is the most used area and withstands most of the traffic coming in and out of the house. It is highly recommended that the flooring should be strong enough that it can endure all such amendments done with your furniture or to the increasing and decreasing ratio of visitors. For this purpose you can opt for hardwood flooring. Being classy and sophisticated in look it is the perfect choice for your living room whenever you are remodeling your home.



Kitchen flooring:



Design the floor of your kitchen in such a way that it not only looks pretty but also gives a practical impression. You can choose from vinyl, tile, natural stone, wood, cork or laminate. A floor covering that is water resistant and durable such as tile is a best choice to protect against potential water damage. Make sure when you choose your floor to order a little extra of the product in the event that you drop something like a pot on your floor. If the flooring material is damaged, you will be sure to have enough to repair the floor because often floor manufacturers have high turnover of their products to insure a continual buying cycle. Most flooring contractors add 5-10% additional square footage of the flooring product to their purchase order to insure they have enough for the project and to provide the client with a little extra flooring for future use.