Episode 252 AskJasonGelios Show
Realtor Rant By Jason Gelios
Episode 251 AskJasonGelios Show
Article by Erik J. Martin | Bankrate
Featured Expertise by Jason Gelios | Realtor
Eager to sell your home before the end of the year but concerned about lower interest over the holidays? You’re not alone. Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day can be a challenging time to list, market, show and ultimately find a buyer for a home for sale.
But just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean your window of opportunity has slammed shut. By understanding the pros and cons of selling a house during the winter holidays and following some home selling tips, you can increase your odds of unloading that property without undue delay or a big ding to your net proceeds.
Holiday season real estate statisticsResearch reveals that historically, November, and December aren’t ideal times for home sellers. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, an analyst of real estate stats, for the last decade (2011- 2021), November has been the second worst month of the
Top 8 Places to Retire in the US
Article by Sally Norton
Image courtesy of Unsplash
There are many factors to consider when planning for retirement. However, one of the most important is where you want to settle down. After all, where you live will significantly affect your quality of life. You would most likely want to be comfortable during your golden years. That being said, it can be challenging to decide where to retire. There are simply too many good options. What makes it even worse is that so many retirement communities are out there. This makes it hard to know where to start your search. Furthermore, you should also remember some of the most common red flags if you plan to buy a house to retire to. Fortunately, we've done some work for you and compiled a list of the top eight places to retire in the US.
1. Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is an excellent place to retire if you enjoy visiting museums, relaxing in parks, and attending baseball games. (According to WalletHub's "activities" ranking, the city is sixth-best out of 182.) The world's busiest international airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, is also located there, so getting a direct trip to another country is a breeze. When you factor in the thriving new restaurant scene in the South, you have next to no excuse to be bored (or hungry). However, as the Atlanta housing market expands, so do home prices. In order to avoid paying too much, you should buy a house right away.
Image courtesy of Unsplash
Right now, if you buy a home in the Atlanta area, you'll be investing in one of
the best retirement markets in the United States.
2. Miami, Florida
Florida has long been a popular retirement destination. Mainly because of the state's warm climate and cheap taxes. However, Miami is a fantastic alternative for those searching for something beyond the state's traditional draws. The rent in Miami may be more than in some other cities, but the city's many cultural attractions – including its Cuban cuisine, museums, and art galleries – more than make up for it. In fact, according to 24/7 Logistics Services, the number of people moving to Florida in recent years has skyrocketed.
3. Cincinnati, Ohio
In terms of retirement-friendly activities, WalletHub rated Cincinnati third (out of 183). This may not be the first city that comes to mind when looking for places to retire in the US. However, it is among the best regarding health care, quality of life, and cost of living. Whether you're a die-hard fan of the Cincinnati Bengals or the Cincinnati Reds, you'll have no trouble finding other things to do in the city, such as visiting the many museums, botanical gardens, and parks. Additionally, if you are someone who enjoys snowy winters and hot summers, Cincinnati will be a better option than the southern states.
4. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale's beaches are still an important part of the city, but the city's allure has expanded well beyond the sandy shores in recent years. Condos on the water are plentiful, and retirees will enjoy living there. Furthermore, they won't be bored thanks to Flagler Village's art galleries, Sistrunk Market's cooking classes, and the city's never-ending stream of new restaurants. Moreover, if you need to scratch that trip itch, you can do it quickly and easily since there are several cruise ports and an international airport within easy driving distance. In fact, there has been a surge of people moving from Columbus to Florida in recent years. Therefore, if you want to leave the Midwest behind after retiring, Fort Lauderdale may be the perfect place.
Image courtesy of Unsplash
The endless beaches in Fort Lauderdale make it one of the best places to retire in the US.
5. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Although Minneapolis does not do well in the affordability category, it does manage to do great in the categories of activities and health care. If you can stand the bitter weather, retiring in Minneapolis will reward you with access to a wide variety of unique shops, museums, and restaurants beyond the city's signature tater to hot dish. In addition, it's one of the safest large cities in the country. Minneapolis is an excellent option for those looking for easy access to high-quality health care. The city has excellent medical facilities and plenty of options available for senior citizens. Whether you are looking for a full-service hospital or a smaller community clinic, there are plenty of options. Plus, there are several additional senior living options in the area, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
6. Denver, Colorado
What exactly makes Denver a perfect place to spend your retirement years? There are quite a few things that come to mind. The mountain air is clean, and there are many outdoor pursuits. Furthermore, it's a perfect place for a retirement project, like a garden or yard. The restaurant scene is one of the best in the country. In addition, the economy is in a stable state. There are also plenty of high-quality hospitals, an efficient transit system, and a thriving international airport.
Image courtesy of Unsplash
The fresh mountain air and an excellent healthcare system make this a great place to retire.
7. Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale is one of the best places to retire in the United States, as evidenced by its high rankings in both costs of living and quality of life. The city is well-known as a golfer's paradise, but retirees of all stripes will find plenty to do here, including world-class spas, museums, and James Beard Award-winning restaurants. Summers will be extremely hot, so plan accordingly. However, there is plenty of variety in the winter, and the weather is less harsh than in many other US cities during the winter. Overall, Scottsdale offers a great combination of the low cost of living and great amenities that make it the ideal retirement destination.
8. Charleston, South Carolina
And last but certainly not least, Charleston is on our list of the top eight places to retire in the US. Charleston should be at the top of your list when considering where to spend your golden years. It has a laid-back coastal vibe, warm southern hospitality, and plenty to do. You can find beautiful mansions and cobblestone streets at every turn, and the city's cuisine consistently exceeds visitors' expectations. It's possible to spend your retirement savings on local specialties like barbecue, seafood, and Low country favorites because of the city's low cost of living compared to other major US cities.
Article by Carla Delgado | Apartment Therapy
Featured expertise by Jason Gelios
For decades, the American suburban landscape almost exclusively featured traditional grass lawns. Those green patches in front of houses never seemed to go out of style — until recently, that is. Grass lawns are undeniably high maintenance, which may partly explain why they’ve fallen out of favor in recent years.
Among the grass-free, low-maintenance front lawns trending with homeowners these days, the “clover lawn” is currently taking TikTok by storm. Here’s why an increasing number of people are making the switch.
They’re Easy to Care For
A clover lawn can either be a lawn with only clovers in it, or a combination of clover and the grass type that grows best in your region or
Article by Stacey Freed
It’s the spring cleaning of fall, so to speak.
With THE HOLIDAYS coming at you fast and furious, you want to be sure your home is cozy, but with that fresh-as-spring feel — as opposed to that musty-damp-winter feel.
Here’s how to make that happen (along with a few other timely tips):
#1 Wash Bed Pillows
You love your trusty, old, perfectly-snugged-to-your-head pillow. But guess what’s also snug against your head? Fungus — 4 to 16 species to be precise. Gross!
With fall being the height of guest season, you’ll want your pillows fresh, too. Pop them in the washing machine and dryer for an all-over clean feeling. (But check manufacturer advice, too. Some pillows shouldn’t be washed, but replaced instead.)
#2 Clean the Mattress, Too
Sleeping soundly gets even better when you know you’re lying on a clean and fresh mattress. The yuck factor: Skin cells and sweat get into the mattress, then dust mites show up for a dinner party featuring those tasty skin cell morsels.
You’ll want your mattress to be at it’s freshest. It’s easy to do: Vacuum it and then wipe it down with a cloth dampened with an upholstery shampoo. But be sure to let it dry; otherwise, you’re inviting mold. Also, be sure to rotate it 180 degrees to help keep it lump-free.
(Another option: If you’ve got a flippable mattress, go ahead and flip it. That, too, can help kill the yucky mites.)
#3 Insulate Windows
Bone-chilling drafts seriously detract from the cozy vibe you want. Keep it cozy by hanging drapes as close to your windows as possible to help you keep the heat inside.
You can even add clear Velcro strips or dots to the back of the drape and attach to fasteners on the wall to help insulate. Be sure to cross one drape over the other when you close up for the night. Insulating shades can do the trick, too.
#4 Stock Up on Snow Supplies
If snow is a given where you live and you’re lacking supplies, take advantage of seasonal sales now to make sure you’re not the one rushing to the hardware store at the last minute — only to find out they just sold out of ice melt.
If you have a snow blower, be sure to have it serviced and fueled up before the first winter storm arrives — and with it, price hikes on all the snow stuff.
#5 Trim Tree Branches
The last thing you need is a winter storm loosing the wrath of that mighty tree whose branches are angling over your roof. Long limbs invite pests to explore your roof and allow excess water to seep into cracks in the roof or siding.
Keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from the house. Plus it’s easier to trim branches after leaves have fallen. (If it’s an evergreen, well, sorry about that. It’ll be a prickly job, but the bonus is you’ll have greenery for the holidays!)
#6 Get a Chimney Sweep to Inspect the Fireplace
It’s time to dust off and sweep the chimney! Best to hire someone who knows wood-burning fireplaces. A professional chimney sweep will ensure your wood-burning fireplace burns more efficiently and will help prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter. So, yeah, it’s pretty important.
Tip: If you don’t already have a chimney cap, this is also the time to add one to stop wild outdoor critters from crawling down it — and (yikes!) into your house.
Article by Leanne Potts
Let more natural light shine indoors with these simple tips.
Fall and winter start cozy — who hasn’t used the colder temperatures as an excuse to binge-watch Netflix while swaddled in a couch blanket?
But come January, staying indoors can feel less like a treat and more like you’re living in a cave.
Here’s how to make your house lighter, brighter, and cheerier with more natural light indoors.
#1 Take the Screens Off Your Windows
You’ll get 30% more sunlight shining indoors without screens on your windows.
Here’s the best part: Sunlight warms your room and saves you money on your heating bill. It’s solar power — for you!
Be sure to store your screens in your garage or basement, where they won’t get damaged. In the spring you’ll want to put them back on so you can keep that 30% of the sun out and run your cooling system less.
#2 Hang Outdoor String Lights Indoors
They don’t give off a lot of light, but they’re cheerful as heck.
Drape them around a window or a mantel, or hang a string of LED glimmer lights in a tall potted plant. They’ll add a layer of soft light to your room and remind you of fireflies, flip-flops, and patio parties.
#3 Steal a Little Swedish Chic
Scandinavians excel at making a home light and airy because they’ve got places where the sun doesn’t rise at all from November to January.
And you thought you had it bad.
To adapt to weeks and weeks of polar night, Swedes keep interiors pale to reflect and amplify light.
Think white walls, light woods for furniture and floors, and light upholstery. To get the look without getting rid of your dark furniture and floors, put white or light gray slipcovers on your sofa and chairs, and put down light-colored rugs.
The fastest way to bring a little Sweden into your room is to paint it. Try creamy white, pale blue, or dove gray.
#4 Change Your Bulbs
Replace those incandescent bulbs and their yellowy light with LEDs, which produce a brighter, whiter light.
But get your bright right:
#5 Hang Mirrors
Make the most of that weak winter light by bouncing it around the room with mirrors.
If you don’t want the distraction of seeing your reflection all the time, use a large, convex one — also known as a fish-eye mirror. It will amplify light better than a flat one. Another option: Hang a gallery wall of small mirrors.
#6 Replace Heavy Curtains With Blinds or Roman Shades
Fabric curtains, while quite insulating, block light and make a room feel smaller and more cramped, especially if they’re a dark color or have a large print.
Try Roman shades or a simple valance paired with blinds to let in the maximum amount of natural light.
#7 Clean Your Windows
Dirty windows block a lot of natural light.
Admit it. Yours are kind of cruddy because who remembers to block out an afternoon to clean the windows?
So, get it on your list. Clean the glass inside at least once a month and the glass outside once a year. Your serotonin level will thank you.
#8 Swap Your Solid Front Door for One With Glass Inserts
A solid front door can make your house look and feel as dark as a dungeon.
Get rid of it and install a half-light or full-light door that lets the natural light stream in. For even more natural light, add glass sidelights and a glass transom.
A new entry security front door will cost about $250 in fiberglass and $975 in steel, including parts and installation. A a new door will add curb appeal, which equals higher resale value. And coming home in the evening to the warm glow of light radiating out the glass panels in your front door is an instant mood lifter.
#9 Add a Skylight
It’s the ultimate way to bring more natural light into your house. A window only catches sun for a couple of hours a day, but a skylight lets in the sun all day.
An indoor view of the sky makes deepest January more tolerable. And feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin, light streaming from above, is liberating. A skylight, installed, costs between $1,300 and $3,000. A cheaper alternative is a tubular skylight, which costs $500 to $950 including installation.
If you’re really good with tools, you can install a tubular skylight yourself. Don’t even think about installing a full-blown skylight yourself.
#10 Add Plants
Putting pots of plants around your room will remind you that spring and green will return.
Match plants to the amount of light you have, because dead and dying plants are depressing. Tropicals that thrive in indirect light are usually the best choice. If you have a sunny window you’ve got more plant options.
Bonus points for adding a plant that blooms in the winter, like a kaffir lily or anthurium.
6 Ways You Can Protect Your Home
Episode 249 AskJasonGelios Show
Article by: Alanna Tweddale
1. Contractor House Calls
Think you need a pro to fix that leaky toilet? You’d be surprised how easy it can be to fix it yourself — and save the typical $70 to $120 per hour plumbers can charge (and don’t forget the boost in your can-do attitude). You can often find home remedies for small jobs like a leaky faucet or a broken garbage disposal on YouTube. Just make sure the source is reputable. And check out several videos on the same repair. That’ll help make sure you don’t miss a crucial step. “We save a couple hundred dollars per year by doing small home repairs ourselves,” says Lauren Greutman, frugal living expert and author of “The Recovering Spender: How to Live a Happy, Fulfilled, Debt-Free Life.” For those who prefer an expert, try smaller, local retail appliance stores, Greutman suggests. “It’s a little-known secret that they usually have repair people who are very inexpensive.”
2. Extended Warranties
It’s tempting to insure your new, big purchase, but according to “Consumer Reports,” you’re probably already as covered as you need to be. How’s that? Most major appliances come with at least a 90-day manufacturer’s warranty. Buy with a major credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express) and it will likely double that standard warranty. Combine that with the fact that “Consumer Reports” found most products don’t break during the standard two- or three-year service contract period. When they do, the repair cost is usually just a few dollars more than the cost of the warranty. Instead of paying for an extended warranty, stash the cash in a savings account earmarked for home repairs. When you need it, it’ll be there.
3. Flashy Feature Appliances
The newest appliances come with super fun features. Who wouldn’t want an oven that talks, remote access to your AC, or bottle jets in the dishwasher (hey, new parents)? Still, it may not be financially wise to replace a fully functioning older model just to gain modern perks. So says Arthur Teel, owner and operator of The Handyman Plan in Asheville, N.C. Circuit boards break, and energy efficiency numbers don’t always add up, he says. Yup. That’s even true for some energy-efficient appliances that boast cost savings. “Spend $1,000 on a new, energy-efficient stove, and it could take 10 years of energy savings to offset the cost of the new stove,” he says. “Unless you have a really old appliance, it’s probably efficient enough for your needs. Also, putting the appliance into the landfill isn’t exactly great for the environment.”
4. Budget Bulbs
Incandescents may be easy on your everyday household budget, but they’re tough on your energy bill. Start replacing them now with LEDs. To help swallow the initial costs, just replace them as they die out. A typical LED bulb can recoup its cost in less than six months. Even better, since LEDs can last a decade or more, you won’t have to buy bulbs as often, and your energy costs will be lower.
5. Commercial Cleaning Supplies
Even if you’re buying off-brand products to save costs, you’re still wasting money. You don’t have to spend anywhere near the cost of commercial products. “Vinegar will clean a lot of things, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than buying pricey cleaning supplies,” says Prettelt. She also likes baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, each of which can be found for just a fraction of the cost of their popular store-bought equivalents. “You can use these natural products in your dishwasher, in your garbage disposal, in your wash,” Prettelt adds. Easy peasy. And it’s super cheap. That’s right. You can make dishwasher soap from a cup each of borax and washing soda, a half-cup of kosher salt, and five packets of unsweetened lemonade mix.
By: Leanne Potts
Save your cash for more important things, like, you know, your mortgage. You can’t swing a tool belt without hitting a website or TV network offering tips on taking care of your digs. Save money by watering your lawn at night! No, water it in the morning! No, dig it up and replace it with a drought-hardy meadow! Throw in the info you pick up from well-meaning friends, and there’s a sea of home care truisms out there, some of which can sink your budget.
Myth 1: Stone Countertops Are Indestructible
Fact: Even rock can be damaged.
Marble, quartz, travertine, soapstone, and limestone can all be stained. Regular household cleaners can dull their surfaces over time. And marble is maddeningly fragile — it’s the prima donna of stone. Marble is easy to scratch. It’s easy to stain. Here’s the worst part: Mildly acidic substances like soda, coffee, lemon juice, even hard water will eat into marble, creating a cloudy, dull spot in a process known as etching. “Spill a glass of wine on a marble counter and go to bed without cleaning it. The next morning you’ll have a problem,” says Louwrens Mulder, owner of Superior Stone in Knoxville, Tenn. And while stone counters won’t crack under a hot pot, such direct heat can discolor quartz or marble, says Mulder. So be nice to your counters, no matter what they’re made of. And note that the best rock for your buck is granite. “It doesn’t stain or scratch. It’s tough because it’s volcanic rock,” Mulder says. Which means it can stand up to all the merlot and barbecue sauce you can spill on it.
Myth 2: Your Smoke Detector’s Test Button Is Foolproof
Fact: The test button doesn’t tell you what you really need to know.
Yes, check your smoke detector twice a year. But all that test button will tell you is whether the alarm sound is working, not if the sensor that detects smoke is working. Pretty key difference there. The best way to check your device is with real smoke. Light a long, wooden kitchen match; blow it out; and hold it near the unit. If the smoke sets off the alarm, it’s working. Replace the batteries if the smoke doesn’t set off the alarm. If the smoke detector still doesn’t work after that, you need a new one. And replace those batteries once a year anyway, because dead batteries are the No. 1 reason smoke detectors fail.
Myth 3: Gutter Guards Are Maintenance-Free
Fact: You gotta clean gutter guards, too.
Gutter guards keep out leaves, but small debris like seeds, pine straw, and flower buds will still get through. Gutter guards can lessen your work, though — sometimes a lot. Instead of shoveling out wheelbarrow loads of leaves and other crap twice a year, you might just need to clean them every two years. But if there are lots of trees in your yard, once a year might be necessary.
Myth 4: A Lemon Is a Great Way to Clean a Disposal
Fact: While wanting to use natural cleaners is admirable, most of them will damage your disposal and pipes over time.
The lemon’s acidic juice will corrode the metal parts of your disposal. The mixture of salt and ice contains metal-eating acid, too. The coffee grounds are abrasive enough to clean the gunk off the blades and make it smell like a cup of Americano, but they’ll accumulate in pipes and clog them. The best natural cleaner for your disposal is good old baking soda. It’s mildly abrasive, so it will clean the blades. But it’s a base, not an acid, and won’t damage the metal. Best of all, a box with enough baking soda big enough to clean your disposal twice costs about a buck.
Myth 5: Mowing Your Lawn Super Short Means You’ll Mow Less Often
Fact: You might not have to mow as often, but your lawn will look like awful.
Cut that grass under an inch high, and you’ll never have to mow again because your grass will die. Mowing a lawn down to the root — a screwup known as scalping — is like cutting all the leaves off a plant. Grass blades make and store your lawn’s energy. Removing more than a third of the length of the blade will leave your grass too weak to withstand weeds and pests. It also exposes the roots to the sun, causing the lawn to dry out quickly. Leave one to three inches of grass above the roots to keep your lawn lush.
Myth 6: CFLs Cost Too Much and Are Dangerous
Fact: CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) have come down in price since they first hit the market and don’t contain enough mercury to cause any harm.
You can buy a package now for less than $3. And replacing one incandescent bulb with a CFL will save nearly $40 a year for the life of the bulb in replacement costs alone, says Save on Energy. The major benefits of an Energy Star-rated CFL include using about 75% less energy than a standard incandescent and lasting up to 10 times longer. And CFLs are a safe option. Using CFLs (and other fluorescent bulbs) instead of incandescent bulbs lowers your exposure to mercury indirectly, because they use less electricity than incandescent bulbs. That means the coal-fired power plants that spew mercury into the air each year won’t have to run as long to keep our houses lit. Fewer toxins, lower power bills. What’s not to love?
Myth 7: A Trendy Kitchen Redo Will Increase My Home’s Value
Fact: Décor trends come and go as fast as viral videos.
Remember those Tuscan-style kitchens with mustard gold walls, ornate cabinets, and medieval-looking light fixtures that were the must-have of the late ’90s and early aughts?
Today, they’re as dated as flip phones. Instead of remodeling in the latest look, which costs an average $45,000, according the the National Association of REALTORS® “Remodeling Impact Report,” try repainting in on-trend colors, which costs $600 to $1,320, according to FixR. If you do opt for a full remodel, choose elements like Shaker cabinets.
Jason Gelios is a Husband and Father. After that, a Top Producing REALTOR®, Author of the books 'Think like a REALTOR®' and 'Beating The Force Of Average', Creator of The AskJasonGelios Real Estate Show and Expert Media Contributor to media outlets across the country.