Real Estate

7 Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Home Cleaner Longer

7 Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Home Cleaner Longer

Use humidity, a car product, and more wow ideas to save cleaning time from Houselogic.

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When cleaning your home, why not do it in such a way that’ll keep your home cleaner with less effort?

Here are 7 ways to keep your spring-clean fresh all year long:

#1 Use Humidity to Defy Dust

Low humidity levels cause static electricity. Not only does static attract dust, it makes it stick, so it’s difficult to remove. High humidity causes problems, too — it’s an ideal environment for dust mites. These microscopic critters are a double threat: They’re a common allergen, and they contribute to dust production. There are as many as 19,000 dust mites in half a teaspoon of house dust, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Yuck!

What to do: Keep your home’s humidity level between 40% and 50%. That’ll eliminate static while decreasing dust mite growth. 

Tip: About 80% of dirt in homes walks in from the outside. Stop dirt with a bristly doormat before it’s tracked inside.

#2 Apply a Car Product to Keep Shower Doors Scum-Free

You can eliminate soap scum build-up by coating your glass shower doors with a rain-repellent product made for car windshields. When applied to glass, products like these create an invisible barrier that causes water, oils, and debris (like soap suds) to bead and roll off.

Image: unOriginal Mom    

What to do: Find this product anywhere that sells basic auto supplies. You’ll know it’s time to reapply when water stops beading on shower doors. Keep in mind, windshield rain repellents were made to treat glass, not plastic, so only use on glass door.

Another option: Automatic shower cleaners claim to let you clean your shower and tub less frequently — like every 30 days. After you finish bathing, the gadget will douse your shower and tub with a cleanser that prevents soap scum build-up while combating mold and mildew. You can buy automatic shower cleaners at most big-brand retailers, like Target and Walmart.

#3 Seal Your Stone Countertops

Natural stone countertops, including granite and marble, are porous, so if they’re not sealed, liquids like red wine, juice, or soy sauce can stain them. A countertop sealer repels stains by causing spills to bead instead of getting absorbed. Most countertops are sealed when installed, but the sealant does wear down.

What to do: To keep your countertops in tip-top shape, re-apply sealer twice a year. To see if you need a fresh coat, pour a tiny bit of water on your natural stone countertop. If the water doesn’t bead or doesn’t stay beaded for two to three minutes, it’s time to reseal.

Shopping for stone countertops? Slabs with lots of swirls or veins tend to be more porous, and, therefore harder to keep clean.

#4 Use Protectants on Furniture and Carpets

Protective furniture sprays and carpet sealants, like Scotchgard and Ultra-Guard, guard against inevitable spills by causing liquids to bead on the surface instead of being absorbed.

Some of these products also protect fabrics from fading and resist mold, mildew, and bacteria.

What to do: Apply the appropriate sealer once a year after a deep upholstery and carpet cleaning.

#5 Clean Your Oven the Old-Fashioned Way

Forget oven cleaners that promise an easy job. Most cleaners give off noxious fumes and make a horrible mess. The basic ingredient in many oven cleaners is lye, which can burn your eyes and your skin; it’s usually fatal if swallowed.

What to do: Use a wet pumice stone to scrape off dirt and grease. It’s faster than oven cleaner and toxin-free.

Tip: Need to wipe your range or anything else down? You can bust filth faster by heating up a clean, damp sponge or cloth in a microwave for 30 seconds before wiping with or without a cleaning product. Put on rubber gloves before you pick up that hot sponge.

#6 Do Quick Touch-Ups

Small cleaning projects prevent filth from building up. When you spot clean daily, you can prevent smudges from staining, banish dust bunnies, and even combat allergens.

What to do: Create a spot-cleaning kit so you can address small, dirty situations in minutes.

  • Cleaning pads are great for eradicating dirty fingerprints on walls and light switches. 

  • Damp micro-cloths can reduce airborne dander when used daily to wipe down pets.

  • Dry sweeper cloths can quickly pick up dust and dry dirt off floors, shelves, and electronics.

Tip: Keep stored items cleaner longer by shutting closets, cabinets, and drawers, so circulating dust and dirt can’t get in.

#7 Update Your Light Bulbs

Okay, It’s not really cleaning. But good lighting can make you and your home look and feel great — and help you spot that spill before it gets funky.

A room lit with low-wattage incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescents can look dark and dingy. “Daylight” bulbs brighten things up. These full-spectrum light bulbs mimic natural light, so they give better visual accuracy. Bonus: Like sunlight, these bulbs can boost your mood.

What to do: When shopping for bulbs, look for those marked “daylight” that have a range between 5,000 to 6,500 kelvins.

Copper Dwelling + Design's 2018 Year in Review

Copper Dwelling + Design's 2018 Year in Review

2018 has come to a close, and we’re so excited to see the changes 2019 will bring. There has been so much growth and development here at Copper Dwelling + Design in the past year alone. We wanted to take a moment to reflect on it all.

Without our family and friends, we certainly couldn’t have done it all. Thank you to everyone who has been apart of our 2018!

Check out our 2018 year in review below:

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Copper Dwelling + Design: Interior Design

This year our Brittany and the interior design team finished 24 projects!

Copper Dwelling + Design: Real Estate

Michael sold 27 properties in the Rock Hill/Charlotte area.

The Mercantile

Brittany & Michael opened The Mercantile in downtown Rock Hill, SC!

We’re so proud of what we’ve accomplished this past year, and we couldn’t have done it without your help! Cheers to an amazing 2019!!

2019 Housing Forecast

I am excited to see what 2019 brings for our buyers & sellers. This report from Realtor.com gives some fantastic insights into the 2019 Real Estate market. Anyone interested in buying and/or selling their home should not delay in contact me today!
— Michael Kelly
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Forecast Highlights

  • Home price growth will continue to slow, with a forecasted increase of 2.2 percent

  • Inventory increases will remain moderate with less than a 7 percent increase

  • High-priced markets will buck the trend, with double-digit inventory gains

  • Millennials will account for 45 percent of mortgages in 2019 vs. 17 percent for Boomers

  • New tax plan will be good for renters, mixed for homeowners

Realtor.com® Forecast for Key Housing Indicators

“Housing IndicatorRealtor.com 2019 Forecast

  • Mortgage Rates Average 5.3% throughout the year, reaching 5.5% (30 year fixed) by year end

  • Existing Home Median Price Appreciation Up 2.2%

  • Existing Home SalesDown 2%

  • Single-Family Home Housing StartsUp 8%

  • Homeownership Rate 64.6%

Inventory will continue to increase next year, but unless there is a major shift in the economic trajectory, we don’t expect a buyer’s market on the horizon within the next five years. Unfortunately for buyers, it’s only going to get more costly to buy in 2019, especially the most-demanded entry level real estate. To be successful, buyers should think through how they’ll adapt to higher rates and prices.

What will 2019 be like for buyers?

Buying a home will be an even more expensive undertaking in 2019 as mortgage rates and home prices increase. Buyers who are able to stay in the market will find less competition as more buyers are priced out, but feel an increased sense of urgency to close before it gets even more expensive. Their largest struggle next year will be reconciling wants, needs and budget versus the heavy competition of 2018. 

Although the number of homes for sale is increasing, which is an improvement for buyers, the majority of new inventory is focused in the mid-to higher-end price tier, not entry-level. Rising mortgage rates and prices will keep a lot of new inventory out of their budget and make it especially tough for first time home buyers.

What will 2019 be like for sellers?

Although it remains a seller’s market, sellers will need to be mindful of their increasing competition and shouldn’t necessarily expect to name their price and get it in full — a change from the past few years. Above-median priced sellers, may find it will take longer to sell and require offering incentives, such as price cuts or other offerings.

With less demand in the market, there will be fewer bidding wars and multiple offers. However, with inventory expected to remain limited in most markets, sellers who price competitively can still walk away with a handsome amount of profit, but not the price jumps observed in previous years.

Four Housing Trends in 2019

1) Modest inventory gains continue; high-end inventory growth spreads

Inventory hit the lowest level in recorded history last winter, but finally bottomed out and reached positive territory in October. National inventory increases will remain low in 2019 at less than 7 percent. In the majority of markets, the number of homes being put on the market or newly constructed has increased slightly, while the pace of sales has slowed slightly, which has helped stop the inventory decline. But the inventory increases or slowing price increases necessary for a more widespread sales gain are not forecasted to happen in 2019. While the situation is not getting worse for buyers, it’s also not improving notably in the majority of markets.

High-priced markets are a different story. The majority of the inventory gains have been in upscale homes in high-growth markets, which suggests higher prices are incentivizing sellers. Next year, realtor.com® forecasts more high-end inventory growth in major metros with the largest increases expected in: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.; Seattle-Tacoma- Bellevue, Wash.; Worcester, Mass.-Conn.; Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H.; and Nashville-Davidson– Murfreesboro–Franklin, Tenn. all of which could see double digit gains in inventory in 2019.

2) Soft home sales continue

After the best sales year in a decade in 2017, home sales are on track for a mild year-over-year decline in 2018, which is likely to extend into 2019 with a 2.0 percent decline. Although long-term desire to own a home remains strong, especially among younger Gen-z and millennials, the market challenges that make owning a home difficult continue to keep out first-time buyers, locking them out not only of their home, but also of the wealth by equity generation that owning provides.

3) Millennials purchase the most homes

Millennials will continue to make up the largest segment of buyers next year, accounting for 45 percent of mortgages, compared to 17 percent of Boomers, and 37 percent of Gen Xers. While first-time buyers will struggle next year, older millennial move-up buyers will have more options in the mid-to upper-tier price point and will make up the majority of millennials who close in 2019.

Looking forward, 2020 is expected to be the peak millennial home buying year with the largest cohort of millennials turning 30 years old. Millennials are also likely to make up the largest share of home buyers for the next decade as their housing needs adjust over time.

4) Tax plan remains a wild card for housing

In April 2019, taxpayers will go through the income tax process for the first time since the new tax plan. For most renters, the results will be good: lower rates and a higher standard deduction should amount to lower tax bills. For homeowners, it’s a mixed bag. Some will benefit from lower rates and a higher standard deduction, but many others will find limited itemized deductions and personal exemptions mean a higher tax bill.

Despite the fact that 2017 home sales were the highest they’ve been in over a decade, sales in 2018 started to decline immediately following the tax plan. While many factors influence home sales, it could be the case that without homeownership incentives some renters are holding off on buying. How the market will react in 2019 remains a wildcard for housing.”


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This Is How The Government Shutdown Is Impacting Your Home Loan

This Is How The Government Shutdown Is Impacting Your Home Loan

Government Shutdown 2018-2019

Thanks to Congress and the other powers-that-be, December 2018’s budget resolution could not be resolved, which means that the government’s spending authority expired at midnight on December 21, 2018. As a home buyer, the government shut down may have you worried, and rightfully so. The government shutdown is impacting home loans in a few key ways.

 
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The National Association of Realtors® has the following to say regarding the government shutdown:

Flood Insurance 

An extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is currently attached to the CR. Without an extension, NFIP cannot sell flood insurance policies after midnight on December 21. Existing policies will not be affected until 30 days after their renewal date. Homebuyers will be able to assume existing policies and claims will continue to be processed and paid as usual. For more information, click here to read NAR’s answers to frequently asked questions about NFIP. 

Federal Housing Administration

HUD’s Contingency Plan states that FHA will endorse new loans in the Single Family Mortgage Loan Program except for HECM loans. It would not make new commitments in the Multi-family Program during the shutdown. FHA will maintain operational activities including paying claims and collecting premiums. FHA Contractors managing the REO/HUD Homes portfolio can continue to operate. Some delays with FHA processing may occur due to short staffing (click here for more info).

Internal Revenue Service 

The IRS will close and suspend the processing of all forms, including requests for tax return transcripts (Form 4506T). While FHA and VA do not require these transcripts, they are required by many lenders for many kinds of loans, including FHA and VA, so delays can be expected if the shutdown is protracted. Some loan originators may adopt revised policies during the shutdown, such as allowing for processing and closings with income verification to follow, as long as the borrower has signed a Form 4506T requesting IRS tax transcripts. On loans requiring a Form 4506T Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may adopt relaxed provisions allowing closings but subject to tax transcript verification before the GSE’s purchase the loans.

Government Sponsored Enterprises

During previous shutdowns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have continued normal operations, similar to their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, since they are not reliant on appropriated funds. Fannie and Freddie may announce relaxed procedures that would permit closings to go forward without federal verification of Social Security numbers and IRS tax transcripts. However, lenders would still have to obtain federal verification of both before the GSE’s will accept loans for purchase. Any relaxed requirements would not apply to loan modification re-financings.

Rural Housing Programs 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture would not issue new rural housing Direct Loans or Guaranteed Loans. Scheduled closings of Direct Loans will not occur. Scheduled closings of Guaranteed Loans without the guarantee previously issued would be closed at the lender’s own risk. 

Social Security Administration 

The Social Security Administration will close, but checks will still be processed and distributed. According to the SSA Contingency Plan, verifying Social Security numbers through the Consent Based SSN Verification Service would be suspended. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expected to adopt policies to allow for closing subject to subsequent verification and before GSE purchase of the loan.

 
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Allen Tate Mortgage’s team noted that the four types of government funded loans are impacted in the following ways:

  • USDA (Rural Housing Loans) – USDA will not issue any new rural housing Direct Loans or Guaranteed Loans. Scheduled closings of Direct Loans will not occur. All Guaranteed USDA loans must receive a commitment by USDA prior to closing. Lenders will be unable to close Guaranteed USDA loans during the shutdown, unless the lender has already received the commitment from USDA.

  • FHA Loans – FHA’s automated system is continuing to allow lenders to order case numbers, which are required for appraisals. In addition, FHA has a small team working to answer questions but there may be some delays due to short staffing.

  • VA Loans – VA loans are not impacted at this time. Veterans are encouraged to apply for their loan with an approved lender of their choosing.

  • Conventional Loans (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) – We have been advised that loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which make up the majority of the current mortgage market, are not affected directly.

Aside from home loans, there are 38 government departments affected. Unfortunately one of the most necessary government agencies is severly understaffed; the IRS is involved in verifying information needed for many home loans is severly understaffed. The IRS is said to have 1 out of 8 workers on staff during the government shutdown.