1. Maintain the Right Humidity Level
It’s important to maintain optimum humidity levels in your home. If the humidity is too low it results in static electricity. This is a problem because static electricity attracts dust and makes it hard to remove. If the humidity is too high, it creates the perfect environment for dust mites. Dust mites are an allergen and they promote dust production in the home. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, there are up to 19,000 dust mites in a half teaspoon of dust. To prevent static and keep dust mites to a minimum, keep the humidity in your home between 40% and 50%.
2. Protect Your Furniture and Carpets
To keep furniture and carpets clean, use protective furniture sprays and carpet sealants. Scotchgard and Ultra-Guard are two examples of effective brands. These products protect against liquid spills. When a liquid hits a protected surface, it beads up instead of absorbing into the fabric. These products can be multi-purpose, protecting against mold, mildew and bacteria as well. A good practice is to get a deep upholstery and carpet cleaning once a year, and then use a sealing product.
3. Use a Car Product to Prevent Soap Scum Buildup
A great way to prevent soap scum from building up on glass shower doors is to use a product made to protect car windshields. These rain-repellent products can be coated on glass shower doors. They form a barrier that makes water, oils, and soap suds bead up and roll away. You can find them at any store that sells auto supplies. When you notice that water is no longer beading on the shower door, it’s time to reapply the product. These products were made for glass, so they should not be used on plastic.
4. Use a Pumice Stone on Your Oven
Oven cleaners can be toxic and messy to use. Most oven cleaners contain lye, which is a dangerous substance that can burn your eyes and skin. The old fashioned approach to cleaning ovens is still your best bet. A wet pumice stone can be used to scrape your oven free of dirt and grease. Another trick for cleaning ovens is to put a clean, damp cloth or sponge in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then use it to wipe down your oven with or without cleaning products. It’s a good idea to use rubber gloves to do this.
5. Seal Your Stone Countertops
Granite, marble, and other stone countertops are porous, so colored liquids can be absorbed, causing stains. Use a sealer on your countertop that prevents stains by making the liquid bead up on the surface. Even though these countertops are usually sealed when they’re installed, the sealant can wear down and needs to be replaced. Twice a year, reseal your countertops. You can test them to see if they need new sealant by dropping a small amount of water on the countertop. If the water doesn’t bead and stay beaded for a few minutes, then it needs to be resealed.
6. Clean Your Toilet with Coca-Cola
Traditional toilet cleaners can contain lots of harsh chemicals. Avoid toxic fumes by using Coca-Cola to clean your toilet instead. Simply pour the beverage into your toilet and let it soak, then scrub with your toilet brush. After you flush, the Coca-Cola should leave your toilet sparkling clean.
7. Use Grapefruit and Salt on Your Bathtub
Similar to toilet cleaners, bathtub cleaners can contain harsh chemicals and scrubbing the bathtub tends to be an arduous task. Cleaning your tub can be less toxic and more pleasant with salt and a grapefruit. First, sprinkle coarse salt all over the bathtub. Then use a grapefruit that’s been cut in half to rub in and wipe up the salt. Finally, simply rinse the tub with water.
8. Use Coffee Filters to Clean Electronics
There’s no need to buy special cleaning cloths to clean your delicate computer screens and other electronic devices. A simple coffee filter is effective to clean dust and fingerprints off of these devices. Use it to clean screens on your TV, tablet, computer and phone without leaving a trace of fibers behind.
9. Use “Daylight”Light Bulbs
While it’s not exactly cleaning, making sure you have bright light bulbs will make your home look nicer and enable you to spot stains and other messes more quickly. “Daylight” bulbs are full-spectrum light bulbs designed to look like natural light. They actually positively affect your mood, just like sunlight does. These bulbs are usually labeled “daylight” and range between 5,000 to 6,5000 kelvins.
10. Spot Clean Everyday
Perhaps the best way to address deep cleaning is to spot clean on a daily basis to prevent dirt from building up and stains from forming. Cleaning regularly will also keep allergens at a minimum. Putting together a handy kit for spot cleaning makes it fast and easy to do.
Here are some essential items:
For several years, some of the residents in the Massanutten area have been working towards making the community an incorporated town. The movement has largely been headed by Gene Hauze who has been canvassing the area collecting signatures for the petition to incorporate Massanutten. Ultimately, Del. Tony Wilt and Sen. Emmett Hanger both felt that without more support, it would not be possible to incorporate during the 2020 General Assembly. Massanutten remains unincorporated at this time but Hauze feels it is a matter of when, not if, the community of Massanutten becomes a town.
Proponents of incorporating argue that over the past decade, as Massanutten Resort expands and gains popularity, the number of timeshares (and areas that are zoned for timeshares) have outpaced single family homes. The company managing these timeshares, Great Eastern Resort Management, has recently withdrawn from the Massanutten Property Owners Association (MPOA) which in turn will result in a loss of $420,000 annual funding for the association. This means that HOA rates increase for the residents while visitors continue to enjoy the services and amenities Massanutten provides.
Hauze has outlined how incorporating could benefit the residents. According to Lowell Barb, the commissioner of revenue for Rockingham County, if Massanutten were to become a town, it would keep the roughly $1.2 million in meal tax and short-term rental fees that are otherwise paid to the county. If these taxes were then modestly increased, Hauze argues, Massanutten as a town could then have enough money for a town police force, town administration, plus mortgage payments for a town hall. It would also significantly reduce the HOA fees and allow the town to determine its own zoning and ordinances.
Those against incorporating feel that MPOA has proved their value and continues to provide good service. In particular, Basil Hangemanole, a long-time resident of Massanutten, feels that people who have property in the area, while not being primary residents, could be disenfranchised. Additionally, Rockingham County has confirmed that they are looking into providing water and sewer services (which some residents feel has become disproportionately expensive with their current provider) and having county deputies assigned to the area. The county has also been in communication with VDOT about turning over some of the roads in Massanutten to the state. Wilt believes that these measures could rectify many of the issues and that incorporating would put an end to negotiations or could adversely affect negotiations in the future if incorporating through legislation fails.
Whether these measures are a temporary fix or provide lasting solutions for the residents of Massanutten remains to be seen. As for incorporation, the Legal Standard for Incorporation requires that the court must find that: the incorporation will be in the best interest of the inhabitants of the proposed town; and, the general good of the community will be promoted by the incorporation (amongst other things). This will likely remain a topic of debate for the residents of Massanutten in the foreseeable future.
1. Hire a Professional
While it’s great to be handy around the house, it’s important to assess the potential risks of taking on a project before you take the DIY approach. When in doubt, hire a professional. Two situations where this is particularly true are plumbing issues and tree removal. In both cases, the potential damage to your property is just not worth the risk.
2. Research and Get Multiple Bids
In the event that you decide to hire a professional for a project or repair, make sure to get multiple bids before you decide which service to go with. Prices can vary a lot, but remember that the lowest price is not necessarily the best option. Try to get recommendations from friends or check a service like Angie’s List.
3. Don’t Drill Random Holes
Artwork, shelves, and other items hung on the walls are part of what makes a home your own. But be cautious about where you drill holes. The walls of your home contain wires and cables as well as plumbing pipes and ductwork. A stud sensor can locate cables, studs, and ducts. It’s a battery-operated tool that costs about $25, making it a worthwhile investment for any homeowner. Some additional rules of thumb for drilling holes- avoid drilling holes that are deeper than 1 ¼ inches and avoid areas that are 8 inches to 2 feet from the floor, as they are full of wires. Also avoid the spaces that are directly above or below wall switches.
4. Find the Main Water Shutoff Valve
A burst or broken plumbing pipe can be a major disaster for your home. In the event of such an emergency, you will need to act quickly to prevent extensive water damage to your home. Water damage is a very common problem for homeowners, so every homeowner should know the location of the main water shutoff valve. It can be found where a water main comes into your home. It’s worthwhile to make sure everyone in your home knows where to find it and how to turn it off. If the valve is difficult to operate, use some penetrating oil on it to make it work more smoothly.
5. Call 811 Before Digging a Hole
When warm weather hits, resist the urge to start digging up your new yard to plant flowers. Before you dig any holes in your yard, be sure to call 811, the national dig-safely hotline. The hotline is a free service that will get in touch with all your utility providers, who will come to inspect your yard and locate underground pipes, wires, and cables. Once these items are safely identified and marked, you can be sure that you won’t cause any problems with your gardening ambitions. In some states, it’s the law that you must call 811 before digging on your property, so it’s definitely the best way to go.
6. Check the Slope of Your Foundation Soil
Water from rain and melting snow can saturate the soil surrounding your foundation. As the pressure builds up over time, it can cause leaks and even crack your foundation, which results in the need for extensive repairs. You can prevent this from happening by making sure that the ground around your foundation slopes downward from your home about 6 inches over 10 feet of ground. Another way to avoid damage to the foundation is to ensure that your downspouts take water about 5 feet away from your home.
7. Know Your Attic
First, make sure you know the location of your attic. Most attics are accessed by a ceiling hatch, which is usually a square or rectangle area with molding around it, located in the ceiling of a hallway or closet. The hatch can be pushed straight up, and you can access the attic with a ladder. Second, you’ll want to make sure your attic has adequate insulation. Measure your insulation to make sure it’s deep enough. Typically, the recommended insulation is R-38, or about 10 to 14 inches deep. You’ll want your hatch to be insulated as well. If it isn’t already, you can use a 4-inch-thick foam board glued onto it.
8. Replace Your Filters
Filters in your AC and furnace need to be replaced on a regular basis. It’s best to check what the manufacturer recommends to know how often they need to be replaced. Also be sure that you use the right size filter when you buy replacements.
9. Check Smoke Detectors
Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly to make sure that they work properly. These detectors can actually save your life, so it’s of utmost importance for homeowners to check them regularly. Even though some models will sound an alarm when the battery is low, it’s best to make a habit of testing them yourself on a regular basis.
10. Get an Annual HVAC Inspection
Be sure to have an air conditioning maintenance appointment once a year. This way you will be able to make sure that your cooling and heating systems are functioning well and at ultimate efficiency, which will save you money on heating and cooling in the long run.
On January 27th, 2020, Rockingham County Schools voted to enact a redistricting proposal with the hopes of alleviating overcrowding at two schools. The following changes will take effect this summer:
1. Students from South River Elementary School will now attend Elkton Middle School (instead of Montevideo Middle School).
2. Students from Montevideo Middle School who live in the South River Elementary School district will attend East Rockingham High School (as opposed to Spotswood High School).
3. A grandfathering rule allows will students already at these schools to stay until it is naturally time for them to switch; 5th graders will attend their newly designated middle school and 8th graders will attend their newly grandfathered high school.
4. Another grandfathering rule allows a current Montevideo middle schooler (who lives in the South River Elementary School district) to attend Spotswood High School through graduation if they have an older sibling at that high school who has decided to stay at the school.
The Rockingham County School Board is also considering a pilot program to test new start times for some county schools. The proposed changes, if passed, would affect Turner Ashby High School, Wilbur S. Pence Middle School, John Wayland Elementary, Pleasant Valley, Mountain View Elementary and Ottobine Elementary. Middle and high school students would attend school from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm while elementary school students would attend school from 8:00 am until 2:00 pm. Superintendent Dr. Oskar Scheikl acknowledges that it is difficult to project how many families will need after-school care that didn’t before which is why the changes would be tested on certain schools at first.
The School Board will approve or reject the proposal to close Linville-Edom Elementary School by the end of this current school year as well. If approved, the school would close after the next school year.
Winter time and cold weather bring with them added responsibilities for homeowners. Winterization can be especially challenging for new homeowners, who are used to landlords taking care of things. It’s best to start preparing your home for winter in the fall. One important maintenance challenge is to prevent your pipes from freezing when the temperatures dip. Here are 7 steps to take to care for your pipes in cold weather.
1. Turn the Faucets On
You should turn your faucets on whenever the temperatures drop to freezing.
Be sure to turn on both indoor and outdoor faucets. This prevents freezing by keeping the water in the pipes moving. You don’t need a lot of water flowing, five drips a minute is sufficient to keep pipes from freezing
2. Keep Cabinet Doors Open
Keeping cabinet doors under sinks open will help the warm air better circulate to those pipes. This obviously does not help pipes in the walls but it can help keep warm water running in the pipes.
3. Wrap Pipes with Towels
In the event that your pipes are already starting to freeze, wrap them in towels soaked with hot water. You can either wrap the pipes first and pour boiling water over the towels, or soak the towels in hot water and then wrap them around the pipes. You may want to use gloves for this process. This will help melt the ice in the pipes and get the water moving.
4. Use a Hair Dryer or Heat Gun
Blowing hot air onto the pipes can help if wrapping them in towels doesn’t work. Don’t use anything that creates a flame, such as a blowtorch, as this will damage your pipes.
5. Maintain Your Home’s Temperature
Keep the temperature inside your home above 32 degrees, especially in the areas where there are water lines I would recommend at least 50 degrees to help avoid cold spots in the house reaching below freezing.
6. Use Heat Tape
You can apply a product called heat tape to your pipes to keep them warm. You can do this yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.
7. If Pipes Freeze, Turn Water Off
In the event that your pipes have already frozen, turn the water off. Make sure you know where to find the master shut-off valve. Also disconnect outdoor hoses from their faucets. This will help prevent your pipes from bursting, which can ultimately happen if they freeze.
As a follow up to the 2017 Blog, the Eastern Mennonite Elementary School (EMES) is now open!
Eastern Mennonite School (EMS) welcomes you to a celebration and to a dedication of their newly-renovated elementary building on Tuesday, Jan. 28 from 4 to 6 p.m.. The gathering begins at 4 p.m. with comments, recognitions, dedication prayers, ribbon cutting with the Chamber of Commerce, and self-guided building tours and refreshments.
Guests are invited to park in the gym lot at 801 Parkwood Drive and cross the new footbridge to the outdoor gathering. Limited spaces are available for accessible parking directly off of Route 42. Call 540-236-6000 with questions.
EMS is a faith-based private school located in Harrisonburg, VA. With just over 350 students in grades K-12, the school is large enough to offer AP courses as well as photography and robotics, yet the school is small enough for teachers to know and mentor each student.
A hands-on approach to learning is the hallmark of EMS. Also, integral to the EMS educational philosophy: Critical thinking, the integration of the arts, and following the ethical and spiritual example of Jesus. Founded in 1917 by the Mennonite Church, the school is now a community encompassing people of many faiths and traditions.
The school’s newly renovated elementary building features classrooms with natural light, offices, play areas, and green spaces. There is also an exciting addition of a teaching kitchen where children can learn cooking skills. The building is located on Rt 42 with a bridge connecting the elementary building to the middle school and high school campus. The elementary school is a little over 14 years old and currently has 94 students enrolled in grades K-5. This new building will be a permanent home for the program, which was housed in several locations in past years.
In addition, the building is imbued with spiritual significance. Blessings and thanksgiving have both been incorporated into the building process. Before officially moving into the building to begin classes on December 10th, the school hosted a special chapel to thank God and acknowledge all those who contributed to the construction of the building, including donors, vendors, and tradespeople.
Prayers were offered and contributors were brought on stage for special recognition. In order to bless the space, visitors also wrote prayers and blessings on panels which were encased within the drywall. Eastern Mennonite School has created a space especially to educate and enrich the whole person, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
For more information about Eastern Mennonite School, please visit easternmennonite.org.
About 59% of homeowners have a mortgage that they are still paying off, according to research done by Zillow. What happens to this mortgage when a homeowner sells their home? In this post we will look at a detailed account of what can happen when you sell your home with a mortgage.
The ideal scenario is to sell your home with enough equity to cover the loan balance and closing costs, and then have a profit leftover. During closing on a new home, the buyer’s money pays for the loan balance and closing costs, then the seller gets the remainder. As a seller, you should be aware that you may have to pay your lender a prepayment penalty if you are selling your home close to the time you purchased it.
The first step in selling a home with a mortgage is to find out your mortgage payoff amount, because it will give you the most accurate picture of what you owe on your mortgage. You can get in touch with your lender to find out the mortgage payoff amount. It’s not the same as the loan balance on your monthly mortgage statement because it also takes into consideration the interest you have paid off since the closing date of the original purchase of your home. Keep in mind that a payoff quote is only good for a limited amount of time, usually 10 to 30 days. Still, it’s good to get a payoff quote early on so you have an idea of what you need to make on the sale of your home.
You will also need to look at your mortgage paperwork for due-on-sale clauses. These are clauses that protect the lender by stipulating that the homeowner has to pay the full amount of the mortgage upon the sale of the home and transfer of the deed to a new owner. Next, make sure there are no problems with the title on your home. You may need to hire a title agent to look into this. You just need to give them your mortgage payoff amount and your account number.
Equity is the amount of money you have invested in your home, it’s the amount you will get from selling your home once your loan is paid off and other selling expenses are covered. Figuring your equity will be more complex if you have a home equity line of credit (HELOC), or a home equity loan on the home, or unpaid liens.
There are two types of equity, one is home investment equity, which is the equity built up by the money you put into your home, such as the down payment, monthly mortgage principal payments, and renovations. The other type of equity is earned equity. It is the profit you get after selling your home due to market changes increasing the value of your home. Earned equity can come from a rise in home values in your area or as increased return on investment from renovations.
Equity and the Sale of Your Home
Upon selling your home, the money the buyer pays goes to your mortgage lender and also pays transaction costs. Any money leftover after that is profit for you. This profit can then be used as
a down payment for a new home.This is how it all works out; first the money goes to your mortgage lender to repay your loan, then additional loans are repaid, next, the closing costs are paid, and finally, the seller keeps any remaining profit. If your home has increased in value since your purchase of it, you should make a profit on its sale, but don’t forget that you will need to cover transaction and closing costs
When Equity Doesn’t Cover the Mortgage
If your equity isn’t enough to pay your loan, that’s called negative equity, also known as “being underwater”. If you sell your home in this condition, you have to options.
The first option is to provide extra money to cover what’s leftover after your equity is applied. The second option is to sell as a short sale. In a short sale, the bank agrees to let you sell your home for less than what you owe for it. The downsides to this solution are that it can make it harder for you to buy a new home in the future and it will have a negative impact on your credit score.
How Selling Your Home and Buying Another Affects Your Mortgage
Typically, 61 percent of sellers are buying and selling at the same time.
How selling and buying a home at the same time affects your mortgage depends on which transaction closes first.
This is easier because you don’t have to pay two mortgages and your equity is available for a down payment on the new home. For more on this, see this previous blog post:
This is more complicated, because you have to figure out how to pay for the down payment and
your equity is not available yet to put towards the down payment.
There are options, however, to help you: cover the cost of a down payment. They include a contingent sale, a bridge loan, a HELOC, and a Piggyback Loan.
A contingent sale occurs when you put in offers on a new home and make them contingency offers.This means that you can’t close on the deal until you sell your current home. You may have trouble getting a contingency offer accepted in a competitive market, but it’s not impossible to sell buy under this condition.
A bridge loan is a temporary loan to help you cover the down payment on a new home while you wait for your current home to sell. You will need to make payments on both the bridge loan and the mortgage until you sell your current home.This can become expensive if your home takes a long time to sell.
A HELOC is a line of credit guaranteed by equity in your current home. It can be used to cover a down payment on a new home. However, there will be fees associated with the HELOC and it can be difficult to get if your house is currently on the market.
A piggyback mortgage is also known as an 80-10-10. With this type of mortgage you can finance 80% of the loan, then put down 10% in cash.
The additional 10% is financed by a second mortgage, which is actually a HELOC. This way you can put down less than 20% without having to pay private mortgage insurance
For more on this, see previous blog post:
Selling a House with A HELOC
It’s very common for homeowners to take out a HELOC for repairs or other home expenses.
This is a different type of loan than a HELOC for a down payment on a home.
If you have a HELOC, upon selling your home, you will have to pay off the HELOC as well as the mortgage. There shouldn’t be any problem with selling if you have enough equity in the home to cover both. When you sell, first the primary mortgage lender gets paid, then the HELOC lender gets paid, and then you will get any profit left over after closing costs.
Selling a home with a mortgage can be a confusing process, but this guide will give you a sense of what to expect in different scenarios.
Congratulations, you’ve just moved into your new home! But now what? You’ll need to be prepared for the unexpected when it comes to maintaining your new home. Here is our guide to the 12 key items you’ll need in your arsenal to care for and maintain your new home.
1. Specialized Tools
Many people own basic tools, like a hammer, screwdriver, drill, level, tape measure, wrench, pliers, staple gun, and utility knife. However, there are some other tools that are specifically useful for a homeowner. For example:
2. Tool Kit
You’ll want one of these to organize and carry your new tools in. There are a variety of good options. You can put tool bucket liner in a 5 gallon bucket, buy a handyman belt, or opt for an old school metal tool box.
3. Extension Cord Organizer
Avoid getting your extension cords tangled up and impossible to unravel with an organizational device. You can buy a cord management device or you can make your own. One method is to use pegboard, loops, and velcro straps to create an organizational system. Don’t forget to buy a heavy-duty extension cord that can be used outdoors.
4. Wet-dry Vacuum
These come in handy for spills of all kinds. You’ll want one that can pick up liquids, dirt and small objects such as rocks. They come in handy for vacuuming the car, and cleaning every room in the house. These are definitely keepers when it’s time to move again.
5. Fire Extinguisher
An essential safety item to have on hand for any home. Fire can cause a panic, and you don’t want to have to come up with a make-shift solution in an emergency. The U.S. Fire Administration has a guide to all the different types of fire extinguishers. There are five for different situations, including ones specialized for cooking oils, wood, and paper. Choose which extinguisher or extinguishers are best for your home.
6. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Part of the responsibility of homeownership is the duty to keep everyone in your new home safe.
You will want to immediately have working smoke detectors on each floor of the house.
A carbon monoxide detector is also essential, as CO can be a more common threat than a fire.
There are even devices that can detect both smoke and carbon monoxide, so you’ll only have to make one purchase.
7. Emergency Prep kit
FEMA has a comprehensive list of supplies needed for emergencies.
Some of the items you’ll want to have on hand include cash, food, water, infant supplies, and medications. You’ll need to stock supplies for every household member, pets, too, for up to 3 days.
There are many different types of ladders to choose from depending on the type of space and usage that you need the ladder for. Here are some specifications to be aware of when choosing ladders.
This becomes essential when you need your hands free to work and you also need a light source.
Headlamps are useful for many tasks, particularly working on the faucet and other plumbing related tasks.
You don’t want to have to wait until you absolutely need one to get one.
Always have a plunger ready in case of emergency. You can get a standard heavy duty one, though it may be too large for newer, smaller toilets. Simple Human makes a chrome and white toilet plunger that is convenient and attractive.
11. New Door Lock
In most cases you will not be the first person to live in your home, and there’s no way of knowing how many people have a set of keys to the house. Within the first week of owning a new home, you should get all the locks replaced and make copies of the new keys. To make things simpler, you can use the same key for all the locks. You can opt for a standard lock, add a deadbolt, or switch to an electronic keyless lock.
12. Security System
Having peace of mind that your home is safe and protected is invaluable. Even safe neighborhoods can have burglaries from time to time, making a security system a wise investment. It’s especially important for people who spend large amounts of time away from home. There are many options to choose from, so any homeowner should be able to find one that’s affordable. Here is a convenient guide for choosing a security system.
You’ve got all your bases covered and now your prepared to run a safe, well-stocked home. Now, add a final touch, a doormat! This will give you the opportunity to add your personality to your home and it’s a great finishing touch to welcome guests. It’s also practical, keeping mud and dirt from getting into your home. Just use rug pads or grippers to hold it in place. Now enjoy your new home!