Electrical Hazards in Your Home

Our world is electric!! No, I mean, literally.

Electricity flows all around us, yet we are so inured to the wonders of electricity and the conveniences it brings that we too often take for granted the hazards of electricity. 

When we see a video of a lightning strike, we’re amazed, and maybe a little frightened.  But that very dangerous electrical connection that can cause bodily harm and property damage is literally all around us, everyday.

Here are five electrical hazards in your home to be aware of and to check and prevent against catastrophe.

  1. Extension Cords.  Electricity seems so safe as we go through our days using it.  We plug away with nary a thought of the dangers of electrical shock or fire.  Extension cords are the best, and worst, example of our thoughtlessness about electricity. 

    You find yourself in need of an outlet to plug in your phone charger, vacuum cleaner, a lamp, or cordless drill charger.  “Oh! There’s an extension cord right here!”   Never mind that cord is loaded with other plugs, and the cord is plugged into another extender from one to three outlets back at the wall plate.  So much electricity drawn through such a receptacle builds heat very quickly.  It’s the heat that causes the fire, not an electrical spark.
  2. Water Hazards.  We have electrical devices and connections we’re using very close to water sources all through our homes.  In the kitchen, the bathroom, laundry room, in work rooms, outlets and extension cords and appliances in close proximity to water is a recipe for disaster.  The Ground Fault Interrupt (GFI) outlet was designed to minimize these hazards.  This outlet has a tripping circuit breaker built into it so there is no delay from the moment a hazard/overload is detected and the source of electricity is shut off.  That could be the difference between life and death.
  3. Kids and Pets.  You can’t control either one. But you can take extraordinary precaution to prevent the hazards associated with rambunctious little ones.  Install tamper-resistant outlets and outlet covers to prevent children’s access with sharp point metal objects.  Secure extension cords in such a way to prevent pet nibbling access.  Use heavier duty extension cords.
  4. Coffee machines and similar appliances.  These devices use high heat to brew or cook.  Left unattended and with no beverage/food product left in the device can soon lead to overheating and burning and fire.  Be sure your coffee machines and other self-cooking appliances have automatic off features.
  5. Battery-Less Smoke Detectors.  Smoke detectors save lives!  We often recommend you check the batteries at least once a year and replace with fresh batteries.  But checking more often can’t hurt, either.

Please check out our other blogs on claim prevention tips. You can reach us by calling 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329 for a free, no-obligation annual review.

Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

Home Inspection for Your Condominium Purchase

Condominium Buyers often ask:

Should I have an inspection done by a Certified Home Inspection service? 

The answer is a definitive YES!

While a Condominium (Condo) typically features construction and/or maintenance features addressed by Condominium Management, the Buyer should conduct an inspection for two main reasons.

First, the interior of the Condo. This area is not the responsibility of Condo Management. A Buyer needs to be aware of concerns such as deferred maintenance for appliances, windows, bathroom fixtures and interior plumbing.  You want to avoid a costly repair in the first 3-5 years after your purchase.  Likewise, the Condo Buyer needs to be aware of potentially catastrophic issues that could cause reconsideration of the purchase.  Lastly, the inspection may reveal items that are of immediate concern, leading to a request for a repair or pricing credit from the Seller.

The second reason you want to complete an inspection is to determine the overall “physical health” of the Condo.  A roof in need of a future repair is as much of a concern to a Condominium Buyer as to a Home Buyer.  Any repairs to the common areas of a Condominium are paid for from the “Capital Expense Reserve” fund.  Should there be a major repair on the near horizon, such as a roof replacement, the Condo Buyer wants to determine there are sufficient funds in the Reserve Fund to cover the cost of repair.  Otherwise that Buyer, once they are an Owner, could be subject to an assessment or multiple assessments as well as an increase in the maintenance fee, resulting in an increase in their monthly payment.

The bottom line answer to the question posed by Condominium Buyers is a resounding yes when it comes to obtaining an inspection by a Certified Home Inspection service as part of the purchasing process.

Review your current insurance policy now to be 100% sure you have all the appropriate coverages before it’s too late. The review is free of charge. Call us now at 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329. Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

Preparing to Sell Your Home

If you’re thinking of leaving the Boston area, or if you’re just upgrading to a new home, you need to get your home ready for market. With the help of a top notch real estate professional, you can have your home ready to show off to potential buyers in no time. To start preparing a little early, use the following Realtor-approved tips:

  • Curb appeal is crucial – make sure that your lawn is manicured, and touch up paint if necessary. Outdoor furniture and windows should be clean, and shrubbery and flowers should be pruned.
  • You want to make sure that your home feels spacious, so put away clutter. If you’re planning on moving, you can start packing away anything that you won’t need in the near future so that your home feels roomier.
  • Are there any repairs that will need to be done before your home sells? Get a start on those now – some sellers won’t like the idea of buying a home that needs repairs. For an idea of what needs to be done, ask for the help of a licensed home inspector.
  • When buyers tour your home, they will need to be able to envision living there. Help this process by depersonalizing the space – remove family photos, toys, and pet items from view.

And remember, when you do sell your home, talk to your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent about how to cancel or transfer your existing Massachusetts home insurance policy. We are happy to answer any and all of your questions, and we will work hard to make the home insurance process as easy as possible for you and your family.

Must Have Apps for Real Estate Professionals

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A smartphone is a must in today’s world, especially for a Real Estate agent. You probably use yours several times a day to talk to clients and schedule showings, but are you using your phone to its fullest potential? Here are four areas where you may be able to leverage your app store to make your life easier:

  • Social Media – Social Media doesn’t rest, so you need to be prepared to post and interact with clients and followers at all times. Your phone is a key player in having your profiles at your fingertips. You obviously need Facebook, but also try apps like Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, HootSuite and (my favorite) Buffer
  • Organization – Staying organized on the go is a key trait for Realtor success. Apps like Dropbox, Tempo, and (my favorite) Evernote and more will help you have all of your documents and appointments at your fingertips, no matter where you are.
  • For Showings – Did you know that there are apps that you can use to help you with your listing appointments? Route 4 Me helps you determine an optimal route to get clients around town efficiently, and Supra eKey can turn your smartphone into a lockbox key!
  • For Listings – In addition to using your social media accounts to promote your listings, you can use apps like Camera+ to take and edit pictures of your listings for your social media posts, or you can use your iphone like I do.  There is also a DocuSign app to help you send, track, and sign documents digitally to help sales go through smoothly.

What are the apps that you can’t live without? Tell us about the apps that we missed, and we may use them for another app feature in the future! And, as always, stay tuned to the blog for more technology tips.