Summer Home Safety Tips - Conduct a Home Safety Check

shutterstock_303594095.jpg

Summer is approaching and it's time to go around the home looking for potential safety hazards. Inside and outside are potential dangers that could cause harm.
It’s important to us all that our home be considered safe. Accidents happen all the time within the home, though. Listed below are several tips to follow to ensure safety in each room in your home.

In the Kitchen

* Keep flammable objects away from the stove. Do not let oven mitts, paper towels, etc. come into contact with the hot pots and pans or the burners.

* Use cleaning products with caution. Ensure that you do not put the cleaning products within reach of your children. Keep them out of reach so they cannot accidentally poison themselves.

* Never leave sharp objects and tools unattended in a place where little hands can reach them.

* Ensure that all electrical cords are kept away from water and flammable objects like curtains and hand towels. The cords could overheat and catch fire.

* Ensure that your appliances are getting the proper ventilation. You can do this by keeping them away from other objects and regularly vacuuming out the back of your appliances.

In the Bathroom

* Just like in the kitchen, ensure that all cords are kept away from water. Water and electricity does not mix and can cause an electrical fire.

* Use non-slip floor mats. The shower floor can be slippery when wet. By using a non-slip floor mat you are protecting yourself from slip and fall accidents.

* Like in the kitchen, keep cleaning supplies locked up and out of reach of small children to prevent accidental poisoning.  

In the Bedroom

* Never smoke in your bedroom, or anywhere in your home. Flammable objects could catch fire from your cigarette and destroy your home and belongings.

* Purchase a mattress that is flame resistant. If a fire breaks out in your bedroom, then you want to be protected and allow yourself the time you need to figure out your escape route and get out of your home.

* You’re most vulnerable when you sleep. To ensure your safety in case someone were to come into your home, keep a phone and light by your bed.

In Your Yard

* To ensure the safety of your pets and kids, surround your yard with a fence.

* If you have a pool, make sure that it’s covered and fenced in. This will protect your kids from any risk of falling in and drowning. Having an alarm on the fence or the door leading out to your pool will alert you of any possible security breaches by your children so you know where they are and can prevent accidents.

In Your Garage

* Keep any harmful substances you store in the garage out of the reach of your children and pets.

* Keep the space clean and organized. Ensure that there aren’t sharp objects that are out in the open and in easy reach of your children and pets.

Your home is a place to live and relax in, so you should feel safe there at all times. To ensure that you achieve the highest degree of safety within your home, follow these steps and do what you think is right for your home. All homes and families are different, so there will be different ways of keeping each other safe. There are companies that you can hire to come in and evaluate your home to make sure you don’t have any holes in your safety armor.  


   
 

4 Tips to Keep Your Community Beautiful This Summer

AMG BLOG 2.png

Everyone wants a beautiful looking community.  With this comes the responsibility and everyone working together to achieve this goal. A clean and tidy outdoor environment benefits everyone in the community.
 
Here are 4 tips every community resident can do to be a part of the community beautification effort this summer:

1. Littering

Everyone in the community can do their part to eliminate littering.  Whether on the street, sidewalks, common amenity areas and in our own yard. Everybody can pick up any litter that is seen.  

2. Recreational Items

All residents can work together to put bicycles, toys and other items in the garage or stored neatly in their place. This will keep each home from looking cluttered.

3. Lawn and Garden

All community residents can work together and make sure water hoses, sprinklers, lawn tools and other similar items are put away safely in the garage in thier storage space. This is also crucial from community safety.

A clean and beautiful community benefits all residents.  Having a sense of pride in your community plays a vital role in enjoying where you live.  

How to Handle Extreme Heat During The Peak of Summer

Depositphotos_66397511_l-2015.jpg

Every HOA is different and so are their covenants, conditions and restrictions. Some HOA regulations require homeowners to keep foliage alive and the color of the lawn to stay green through sufficient watering.

According to Virginia Tech's A Landscaping  Guide for  Homeowners  Associations (http://www.manassascity.org/DocumentCenter/View/3981):

Most plants need about one inch of water on a weekly basis. Normally, cool season grasses go dormant in the summer and only need water in cases of extreme drought.

Most of the time spent on lawn maintenance is spent mowing. Mowing correctly is one of the easiest things that can be done to help keep turf happy. Because mowing causes physical injury to grass, it is important that no more than 1/3rd of the total leaf height is cut at any one time. This allows the grass sufficient leaf area to photosynthesize the energy it needs to heal. When grass is very high due to wet weather, it needs to be cut in stages, taking 1/3rd off at a time and waiting until the clippings left on the ground disappear between cuttings. 

We suggest the following tips and tricks in order to maintain a healthy, intact lawn during the extreme heat of the summer. http://yardcare.toro.com/maintain/how-to-maintain-the-grass-in-extreme-heat/

 

Smoke Detectors Should Be Changed Every 10 Years… Is Yours Up-to-Date?

1.png

It is imperative that smoke detectors be changed once every 10 years as properly working smoke alarms are one of the biggest lifesaving tools in our homes today. However, ensuring these alarms are checked monthly tend to escape many people’s minds. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month by pressing the test button on the alarm and, again, should be changed every ten years. Keeping our families safe is one of the most important priorities in everyone’s life and by following these simple steps, we can help ensure their safety.

Facts about fires and smoke alarms: 

If a fire is spreading, keeping doors closed may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.

Smoke alarms should be installed inside and outside every bedroom, on every level of the home and near every heat source.

All smoke alarms within the home should be interconnected meaning when one sounds, they all sound.

When a smoke alarm sounds, quickly get outside and stay outside until the fire department arrives.

In response to a recent, tragic house fire that killed five children in Greensboro, WFMY News 2 released an article stating that, according to Consumer Reports, a dual sensor smoke detector is highly recommended for homes. The Photoelectric sensor is designed to detect smoky and slow burning fires while the Ionization sensor is designed to detect fast, flaming fires. Together, dual senor detectors can better save lives as they are typically interconnected.

According to a 2015 NFPA report, between 2009-2013, smoke alarms sounded in more than 53% of reported home fires. Three out of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (38%) or non-working alarms (21%).

By ensuring smoke detectors are working properly, checked at least monthly and replaced every ten years, we can not only help reduce the number of home fire deaths but can help ensure the safety of our loved ones.

 

MAY IS NATIONAL MOVING MONTH: HOW OFTEN DO AMERICANS MOVE AND WHY?

1.jpg

According to a survey by the Census Bureau, an American may move 11.4 times (on average) during his or her lifetime. This can be an inter-city, inter-county or inter-state relocation. There are also some people who choose to move outside the country.

American home owners sell and move, on average, every five to seven years. Why do home owners move?  There are many different reasons for moving from one place to another.

Here are a few major reasons people move.

1.    Going from renting to homeownership - Moving in with a partner or getting married can result in renters making the decision to purchase. Singles who are currently renting often find they would rather invest their rental dollars into the purchase of a home to gain equity.

2.    Career location – Whether across the state or across the country spending time commuting is a negative experience for people.  Relocation makes it necessary for many to pull up roots and move. If the commuting distance exceeds an hour, most people would prefer not to spend two hours in traffic every day. In many cases homeowners are forced to pack up and leave for a job transfer leaving their home behind to sell while they search for a new home in another state.

3.    To be closer to family members - Some people want to be closer to their family as they age and will move to be near relatives. Parents want to be near children and grand children. Adults with aging parents may decide to move closer to parents as they age so that they can care for them.

4.    Financial reasons upsizing or downsizing - Home is too small. First-time home buyers often outgrow their first home. As they start having children, increased family size is the main reason home owners say they need a larger home. Empty nesters or retirees who purchased a larger home now find they no longer need the additional space and costs that come with maintaining a large family home. As people earn more and their financial situation becomes better, they may decide to upsize. They want a bigger, more expensive and grander home. It's the American dream.

5.    Family illness or unforeseen life changing situation – Divorce, death of a spouse or family members, aging seniors, break-ups and a list of other personal life circumstances will force owners to sell. If a divorce happens one party may need to buy out the other. If one party retains the home, it may not be affordable to sustain on one person's income. 

April 26, 2018 — The U.S. Census Bureau announced the following residential vacancies and homeownership statistics for the first quarter 2018:

Approximately 87.5 percent of the housing units in the United States in the first quarter 2018 were occupied and 12.5 percent were vacant. Owner-occupied housing units made up 56.1 percent of total housing units, while renter-occupied units made up 31.4 percent of the inventory in the first quarter 2018.

Moving can cause emotional stress. The emotional impact of moving is in the top 5 most stressful situations we experience across a lifespan. It is a huge task for any family, especially when it involves uprooting children, packing years of family belongings, leaving behind a history and moving on to uncharted territory.

Everyone agrees that moving is stressful. Even if you and your family have moved too many times to count. Moving is also emotionally stressful when you add the extra burdens of a major life change, such as a divorce, death or a lost job.

In closing here are a few tips to help make your move easier.

1.    Plan ahead - Make all arrangements necessary to eliminate last minute surprises and chaos.

2.    Minimize and de-clutter – As you move forward minimizing is always a good practice.

3.    Look ahead for entertainment and places to meet people before the move. Check out your new community.

4.    Organize your packing so the transition is easier when you arrive in your new home. Have the movers or helpers in place and organize their efforts to make it less stressful on everyone.

5.    Save a little cash for the new place. Extra cash is great for purchasing things you may need in the new home or for enjoyment as you get situated. Moving into a new home strapped and broke can cause more stress.

Good luck with your move.

Happy National Moving Month.

Sources:

Census Bureau

Trulia

How Transforming Your Front Door Can Increase The Value of Your Home

agent-crate-front-door-960x640.jpg

The front door is the first thing visitors see when they arrive at your house. A beautiful entrance can transform the look of the entire home and is an essential component to creating curb appeal. Doors provide the opportunity for you to express your unique taste and style by allowing you to customize the entrance to your home.

Remodeling Projects With The Highest ROI

Even on a budget, you can give your entrance a makeover and transform an ordinary front door into something which welcomes guests from the moment they walk up.

The truth is, an entry door replacement is one of the most affordable and important investments you can make in your home — one that will pay for itself many times over throughout the life of the door.

• Replace – While certainly the most expensive option, an elegant front door can set the tone for the home. Options from beautiful wood to industrial steel doors compliment the home’s architecture.

• Use Color – A dark, dingy front door doesn’t create a welcoming feel. Feel free to experiment with color and don’t shy away from bright or bold colors.

• Frame the Entrance – Use planters and rugs to frame your front door. Spring blooms and bright accents freshen up any entrance.

• Light it up – Beautiful sconces or lanterns can add interest as well as provide lighting. These design elements may be thoughtfully added to any entrance to replace old, glaring lights.

• Accessorize – The front door is the perfect place to hang the seasonal decorations. Don’t neglect your door throughout the rest of the year. The front door sets the tone for the home. If your door is showing its age or just boring, a simple makeover can add interest to any home. From color to staging, this weekend project will make any home more inviting.

Check with your HOA as to permitted paint colors on doors and if there are any rules regarding types of doors.

 

To Paint or Not to Paint Before Selling Your Home. Consider Your HOA First

Paint.JPG

If you're planning some renovations before you sell your home, you're probably trying to determine what will boost its value best so you can get out the money you're putting in. Pulling out the paint for some touch-ups may be one of the most common things you'll hear about, but before taking on such a sizeable job, it's worth considering the needs of your home and what you'll have the ability to do before it goes on the market.

Here are 4 important factors to consider before painting you home.

Your HOA Approval

Some HOAs will require you to hire an approved, HOA-contracted painting company. Others give you a variety of acceptable color choices. If you desire a different color, like a creamy yellow, you must go through the proper approval channel: submit paint swatches, list manufacturer guarantees, attend board meetings, etc.

The State Of Your Paint

To brighten a room and instantly improve the look of a space, there are a few things that will do the trick like paint. Often, a poor paint job will be one of the first things potential buyers notice when they visit your home, whether the color is dull or there are cracks showing. If your home's paint job is neither impressive nor out-of-date, you may not want to take on such a big project. However, if these issues will negatively impact your home sale, it may be worth the effort.

What Is Your Timeline?

There are many easy home fix-ups that can improve your home, but painting is one of few things that can take a lot of time. It's unlikely you'll want to shell out for a professional painter if you've already decided on a renovations budget, but if you don't have the time you may want to decide on a few problematic areas to paint. If the bathroom or the kitchen are looking weathered, focus on those areas instead of taking on the whole house.

What Buyers Will Change

When potential homebuyers are looking at your home, they'll not only be thinking about what they love, they'll be considering what they want to upgrade down the road. Unfortunately, painting is not one of the projects that buyers will want to spend time on as soon as they move in. While it may not be worth their time to move into a house that needs to be painted right away, it just might be worth yours to get out the roller.

There are several home renovations that can improve your home's value, but painting may be a necessity if your walls are dull and showing signs of age. If you're currently preparing to put your home on the market.

Playground Safety In Your HOA - National Playground Safety Week 2018 is April 23-27.

Depositphotos_46879651_l-2015.jpg

National Playground Safety Week 2018 is April 23-27. National Playground Safety Week is a time to focus on children's outdoor play environments. 

State laws and regulations addressing playground safety. 

Nearly 80 percent of playground injuries are caused by falls. Some of the top equipment associated with injuries are climbers, swings, slides climbing bars and jungle gyms, according to the National Program for Playground Safety.

  • It is estimated that close to 220,000 children 14 or under went to the ER for injuries associated with playground equipment in 2011.
  • 57% of estimated playground-related injuries treated in ERs occurred at either schools or parks.
  • Falls account for over 75% of all playground-related injuries.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has come up with playground hazards you should watch out for when taking your kids to the park. SOURCE  Click here to see the details.

Summer is on the way and so is outdoor play activity.  The sound of children playing outside is one of the many joys of the warm weather months.

Many HOA's have community amenities and offer community playgrounds which can be a liability. Every HOA board should consult a professional equipment installer to ensure that playgrounds are built according to safety standards and maintained properly. Inspections should be scheduled yearly to keep your playground safe and free from equipment failures that can cause accidents. 

HOA's should have proper Liability insurance for amenities including playgrounds, covering construction, maintenance and liability issues.  It is important when there are accidents or injuries that occur on common property. For example, if playground equipment breaks and isn't repaired, resulting in a child getting hurt.

If you are in a community and see problems with playground equipment or if a playground is unsafe, report the equipment to the HOA so they can repair it quickly. And remember, there is no substitute for parental supervision.

From the smallest condominium to the largest lifestyle community, resident amenities are a fundamental advantage to living in a community Association. These amenities may be as grand as golf courses, lakes and pools or as humble as a unique sitting area. No matter how large or small the amenities, prompt, proper and cost-effective operations are vital to that community.

 

4 Tips To Keep Your HOA Community Safe For Residents

safety_first_sign_1.jpg

 

The safety and well being of community members is highly important to your HOA. Associations should take every measure possible to adhere to all procedures and policies that keep communities safe.

Every association wants to make sure that the best quality services are being provided to the residents to ensure maximum protection for them.  The safety and security of the homeowners’ community is in the hands of the HOA or the management company..

If your HOA is being managed by a management company there are procedures in place for the prevention of unplanned accidents on the property as well as procedures on how to respond to accidents, fires, adverse weather contitions and other unforeseen situations that may arise.  Here are a few steps to consider to ensure safety and security for the community.

Revise and update security procedures

Devise a comprehensive security policy in collaboration with board members and make it mandatory that the terms and procedures are followed to ensure maximum protection for residents. Perform an annual review of the current and past safety and security policies and identify the areas for improvement.

Investigate the areas that may be vulerable to danger or damage and take any necessary action on what needs to be changed.

Collaborate with law enforcement agencies

It is vital to have open lines of communication with local municipalities, law enforcement, fire and medical emergency personel. Communication with local municipalities is important when your association needs to report street light outages or road and sidewalk problems.

Your HOA may need local police and law enforcement agencies to provide security during threats, events or just patrolling the community. Each board member should know the procedures for contacting emergency personel in case of emergencies or security issues.

Establish a close-knit community

Encourage residents to look out for each other and develop a supportive community.  A friendly neighborhood learns to look after each other, and reports to the proper authorities whenever they notice any suspicious activity happening in the community.  Neighbors should be wary of whatever is happening in the community.

A well managed Neighborhood Watch program is an important part of maintaing a safe and secure community. Your Association should actively recruit volunteers and hold informational meetings and special events focusing on community safety.

Give tips to the community

This also comes with keeping the community informed about the latest procedures, devices and looming threats. A community nesletter is a great way to communicate. The use of technology, such as email is a fast way to notify residents on impending adverse weather threats, road closures, ice removal and other important notices that need to reach residents in an expedited manner. Regular monthly published updates along with security tips, such as securing  the doors and windows, not letting children walk out alone at night, not letting strangers into the house and not giving away their house security codes to others.

Here is a list of reminders your Association can publish to your community members to assist the board and management in keeping your community safe.

1.    Is the garage door closed?

2.    Are all car windows up?

3.    Are the car doors locked?

4.    If you have a garage remote in your car, remove it.

5.    Are all items in your car removed? Remember, it might be only an empty store bag, but the thief sees a bag that “might” contain something valuable. Those cheap sunglasses looked expensive in the dark through the car window.

6.    Is the door between your house and garage locked?

7.    Are all home windows closed and locked?

8.    Are all doors locked?  

As a community member know who is on your HOA Board and who should be contacted. In the event of a true emergency calling 911 as your first step.

Each Board Member should know the policies and procedures set up by the Association or managment company and they should be followed precisely to avoid liability on the part of the Association or management company.

Association Management Group handles all of this for communities as your HOA Management Company. AMG also provides training for HOA's.

Happy National Pet Day! Your Pets Living in Your HOA

Paul Pet Blog.png

April 11 is National Pet Day. While loving our pets is something we do every day, National Pet Day encourages us to pay special attention to pets. It is also a day to commemorate everything that our pets do for us on a daily basis. So if you have a pet, you can do something special for them on this day.

Here are 5 things you can do for your pets:

1. Take them for a long walk.

2. Buy them a special treat or new toy.

3. Spend a little bit of extra time with them. 

4. Give them a back scratch or tummy rub.

5. Take them to the groomer and give them a bath or haircut. 

After all, don’t they deserve it?

Let's look at your pets living in an HOA

It has been proven by studies that most homeowners select a home with their pets in mind. They are seeking homes that are suitable for pets and having nearby dog parks are a highly sought after community amenity. If the community does not have a designated dog park, a local nearby dog park is desired.

If you live in an HOA community, you have rules pertaining to pets. Many community associations institute rules governing the size of dogs, and some even ban certain breeds for safety and liability.  Each HOA has different pet regulations. Some have designated pet walking areas to keep waste in  a confined common area. If your community has dog walking areas, you may notice a waste recepticle and plastic litter bags. 

If you are a pet owner or plan to get a pet after you move into an HOA community, it is wise to read the rules in your HOA documents regarding pet restrictions. Pet related issues such as barking dogs, permitting pets in other resident's yards and  owners not picking up after their pooches' are just some of the most common complaints with Homeowners Associations.

Reading your HOA documents regaring pet ownership may keep you out of an HOA related complaint issue and keep you from receiving notices, or worse, a fine for a violation. Associations often don't have to deal with the homeowner about pet pooping because angry homeowners feel free to  confront culprit owners themselves instead of reporting it. In either case, it should be common courtesy for responsible pet owners to pick up after their own pets.

If you are buying into an HOA community, you can ask your Real Estate agent to do the preliminary work for you. He or she may already know which communities will be best suited for you and your pet. Most realtors are well versed in homeowners’ association laws, so they can quickly detect an issue for you. Ask your realtor to contact each HOA to verify breed restriction laws beforehand. It’s not worth falling in love with a home where your dog isn’t welcome. Once you’ve selected a home, ask your realtor for a copy of the HOA bylaws. Read through your documents carefully, and clearly understand pet restrictions. Many HOAs have  leash laws.

For more information on pet rules, implementation and management, contacct AMG. Ask about our HOA board training.

    AMG NEWS: Postal Service Offering High-Tech Way To Preview Your Mail. Letters & Packages

    shutterstock_192851687 APP.jpg

    At Association Management Group, the well-being and safety of community residents is a high priority. Additionally, technology and government services that provide tools can positively impact communities nationwide.

    Association Management group would like to share this new technology tool provided by the United State Postal Service (USPS).

    Recently, the USPS released an online software application called Informed Delivery.  Informed Delivery is a free and optional notification service that gives residential consumers the ability to digitally preview their letter-sized mailpieces and manage their packages scheduled to arrive soon. The feature is provided at no additional cost for all Informed Delivery users.

    Find more detail here:

    https://informeddelivery.usps.com/box/pages/intro/start.action?&iom=B807-82ID-USRS-PS-USP-GO-XXX-AW-XX-X-INF&utm_source=google&utm_medium=search&utm_content=b807_82id&utm_campaign=informeddelivery2018

     

    Homeowners: 3 DIY Projects That Will Keep You Busy Until the Weather Warms Up

    3 DIY Projects That Will Keep You Busy Until the Weather Warms Up.png

    Do you find yourself staring out the window, longing for an early sunrise, hot days and late evenings? With spring just around the corner, it might feel like summer is a lifetime away. However, the good news is that you can be productive around the home while you wait for summer to arrive. Let's take a quick look at three easy do-it-yourself projects that will keep you busy until the summer sun is shining.

    Add A Splash Of Spring-y Color

    As long as you are willing to do the prep work, painting is one of the most straightforward home improvement projects you can undertake. It is also the best way to put your own personal touch in each room in your home.

    If you haven't painted before, it is best to start with a single room. Spend an hour or two watching instructional videos on YouTube before you head out and begin buying supplies. The colors that you choose are up to you, but if you are going for a 'spring' look, consider pastel colors including soft greens, powder blues and creamy whites.

    New Planters For The Garden

    If you have a flower or vegetable garden, building new planters is a fun weekend DIY project. You can make planters out of wood, but a more durable option is to use granite, marble or another hard stone. Simply buy four slabs of stone and a tube or two of stone adhesive. Line up the slabs together and, using a ruler, ensure they are at 90-degree angles. Caulk or glue the slabs on the inside of where they meet and then tape them together on the outside to hold them until the glue cures.

    Bird Seed Rings For Your Feathered Friends

    Do you enjoy the sound of birds around your home? If so, bird seed rings are the perfect treat to attract them. Creating these delicious treats is easy. Combine gelatin, corn syrup and flour into a thick paste. Mix this paste with a bag of bird seed, ensuring that it is fully combined. Then mold the rings together using a donut pan. Hang these tasty treats outside for your feathered friends to enjoy.

    Investing your time in home improvement projects is an excellent way to wait out the sunny days of summer. If you decide that it's too much work to renovate and that you would rather explore a new home, give us a call. Our friendly real estate team is happy to show you some beautiful new homes in the local area.

    TIP OF THE MONTH

    Depositphotos_95723066_m-2015.jpg

    - TIP OF THE MONTH -

    With freezing temps and burst pipes happening with regularity, it’s a good time to encourage owners to acquire a homeowner’s insurance policy (“HO6 policy”) which would cover their portion of the master policy deductible after a loss.  If your docs do not require owners to obtain HO6 policies, you should consider an insurance resolution to modernize the insurance provisions.  

    MEEBpc Blog

    https://meebpc.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/condominium-insider-march-2018/

    Going Green(er): 3 Common Waste Items You Had No Idea You Can Recycle

    Trash-types-D-segregation.jpg

    Going green is not just for plastic, glass and newspapers. There are many items people use everyday that they don't know they can recycle.

    It has never been more popular to abide by a green lifestyle and develop sustainable living practices that will help the planet. Fortunately, while you may be used to recycling cardboard boxes and giving away your clothes, there are probably a few household items you didn't even know you could recycle! If you're wondering what to do with some of your old, used items, here are a few things that may be ready for re-use.

    Re-constituting Your Lenses

    It's common to think your eyeglass prescription only works for you, but an easy way to re-use old eyeglasses is to take them to your local eye glass store or even to the doctor's office so that they can make use of them. Not only will someone in need be able to use the frames that you've provided, your lenses may be donated to another person with a similar prescription who will truly appreciate what they've been given!

    Old Phones & Electronics

    It can be tempting to throw out an old phone with a shattered screen or an aging laptop that no longer turns on properly; however, with technology being obsolete as soon as it hits the market, it's more important than ever to recycle these items. Old technology like iPods, iPhones, cell phones, chargers and digital cameras can be taken to your local Staples and recycled as part of their e-waste program. Before discarding any electronics, you may want to consider other local places that offer recycling for your old toys.

    Improving Your Oil Change

    While there are many renewable solutions on the market, oil is still the most common resource when it comes to powering the transportation of the world. Fortunately, while an oil change may be necessary maintenance on your car now and then, you can be more environmentally friendly by going to an auto repair place that recycles and re-refines your oil. Before you make a trip to your old auto body shop, look at Motor Oil Recycling Locations on Earth911 for some options in your area.

    It's easy enough to compost food and throw your cardboard boxes in the bin, but there are many common waste items that can be re-used in your local community. If you're looking for ways to go green contact your HOA and request community events and public informatioon regarding recycling in your mero area.

    Spring Cleaning: 3 Weekend Cleaning Projects That Will Transform Your Home

    spring (1).png

    The season of spring may be a time for blooming flowers and warmer weather, but it's also synonymous with the idea of spring-cleaning. Whether you clean out your house every year or you haven't seen the back of your closets in years, here are a few springtime projects that will instantly change your home – and clean up your life!

    Clearing Up The Garage

    There are few things that manage to attract excess stuff like the garage, and leftover junk can be an even bigger problem in a 2-car space. Fortunately, spring can be a good time to get rid of the excess and improve the look of your home from one of its main access points. By making a 'throw away', 'give away' and 'keep' pile, you'll be able to whittle down the amount of stuff in your garage and find a new place for it when you're done tidying up. It may be a bit of work, but it will be worth the effort.

    Re-Envision The Living Room

    For most families, the living room is the place where they spend a lot of time, and that can mean that it easily gets covered in a lot of paper and the furniture's a little worse for wear. Take a weekend day to clear away the excess, vacuum the floors and wash the walls. Change the layout for an instantly updated look. If you're really invested in a renovation, you may even want to reupholster a couch or armchair that's seen better days.

    Tackle The Yard

    The yard may not be a room in your home, but it is one of the first things that will make an impression on visitors and passerby's so it's important to keep it looking good. It's a good start if your yard is already clutter free, but spring is a good time to clear away the flower boxes and pluck the weeds, as well as cutting back any overgrown hedges. If you're feeling ambitious, you may even want to clean out your shed or renovate your patio for an improved exterior look.

    Spring-cleaning may be a dreaded term, but it can be a good opportunity to clear away some of the stuff you haven't used and instantly improve your home's appearance.
     

    AMG President Paul Mengert To Compete In “Dancing With The Carolina Stars:” Charity Competition Feb. 10 Raises Money For Operation Smile 

    charity dance 3.jpg
    charity dance1.jpg

     

    GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Paul K. Mengert, president and CEO of Association Management Group, Inc., will put on his dancing shoes Saturday, February 10, to compete in the 10th annual “Dancing With The Carolina Stars” competition to benefit Operation Smile. The pro-am event will be held at the Empire Room in Downtown Greensboro. 

    For more than 30 years, Paul and his wife, May Gayle, have regularly dedicated a considerable amount of their time to philanthropy and charity work across the globe. Operation Smile is an international medical charity that provides cleft lip and palate repair surgeries to children worldwide.  

    “I have been paired with a professional dancer in a routine called ‘Come Fly With Me,’ Mengert said. “I must say we have been practicing, and it should be a very fun evening.” 

    “I am excited to deliver a great performance, but what really matters is helping Operation Smile raise money to help children with cleft lip and palate deformities receive the care they need through life-changing surgeries,” Mengert said. 

    Mengert noted that every three minutes, a child somewhere in the world is born with this disfiguring condition. For every $1,000 raised, approximately four children with cleft conditions will receive life-saving surgery. 

    To donate to Operation Smile’s fundraising efforts through Dancing with the Carolina Stars, please visit http://bit.do/mengertsmile

    For more information, please visit www.operationsmile.org

     

     

    Homeowner Tips: Baby on the Way? Learn How to Child-proof Your Home so Your Baby Is Safe From Harm

    Depositphotos_76787507_original.jpg

    Do you have a baby on the way? If so, you are likely already wondering how you are supposed to make your home safe from harm. The good news is that with a little work, you'll be able to make your house or apartment that much safer. Let's take a look at how you can child-proof your home in under a few hours.

    Start With The Baby's Bedroom

    For the first few months, your baby will be spending a lot of time either sleeping or resting in their crib. You'll want to keep the crib away from any cords, blinds, drapes or other items the baby might get their hands on. The crib itself should meet federal safety regulations and should be comfortable without being too restrictive.

    Keep a watchful eye out for anything loose that the baby might be able to put in its mouth. All choking hazards should be kept well away from a crib.

    Baby-Proofing The Halls And Stairs

    Next, it's time to take a quick sweep through your halls and stairways. Once your baby starts crawling, they're at risk for falls and other issues. Go through your hallways and look for any items that the child might pull over. For example, if you have hall tables with plants or pictures on them, are there any fabric items which the baby might be able to reach?

    Your stairways should have some sort of baby guards placed in front of them at all times. If possible, you'll also want your stairs to be carpeted. This can help to reduce injury if your child takes a tumble down the stairs.

    Keeping The Kitchen Safe

    Finally, don't forget the kitchen. There are all sorts of dangerous items in the average kitchen, from heavy appliances with loose cords to tablecloths that can lead to utensils on the floor. In short, everything should be kept in drawers and out of a child's reach. Cupboards should be secured so that a baby can't open them. If you want to go a bit further, consider installing some padding on the legs of hard kitchen furniture and on corners where a baby could bump their head.

    It's almost impossible to fully baby-proof a home, but the above checklist is a good start. 

     

    Downsizing? Here's What You Can Expect When You Move From a House to a Condo

    houses-street.jpg

    Whether the kids have moved out or you just aren't using the extra bedrooms, having a house that feels 'too big' is rarely fun. In today's post, we will share a few changes you can expect when you downsize from a large house to a smaller apartment or condo.

    Why Downsize At All?

    As you might imagine, having too much space is the primary reason that couples and families downsize. Larger homes cost more to maintain and can feel empty if it's just one or two people living there. In many cases, old items and clutter tend to build up as there is so much storage space. Downsizing to a smaller home helps to maintain a lifestyle that is more efficient but no less luxurious.

    Ask Yourself: Are You Ready?

    Another consideration that you will need to make: are you ready to move? If you are retired from work, then you likely have enough time on your hands to manage a move. Conversely, if you and your spouse are both working full-time and live near your workplace, you may want to source a smaller home nearby.

    Don't forget that if you own the house you are living in now, this might mean having to list and sell it while buying your new home. This is a common situation and isn't a significant problem, but it will require a bit of scheduling and financial planning.

    The Hardest Part: Choosing What To Keep

    Ask any couple or family that has downsized their home about the toughest part, and many will share that it was choosing what stays and what goes. When space is at a premium, everything from shoes to appliances needs to be considered.

    Spend some time going through each room in your house, taking an inventory of what you have. Are there any family heirlooms or other emotional items that you can't part ways with? After that, is there anything that will be usable in your new home? Everything else should be considered fair game. Sell it, donate it or toss it out.

    Moving to a smaller home can seem challenging at first, but it is a lifestyle choice that can pay significant dividends. When you are ready to make a move, contact our professional real estate team. After discussing your wants and needs, we will be happy to recommend some perfect local listings.

    3 Easy Ways to Make Your Home More 'Pet Friendly'

    Depositphotos_12848412_original.jpg

    Whether you're moving to a new home or you have a new family pet, it can be a struggle to make the place a little friendlier for them. From the garbage can to the cupboards and doors, there can be a lot of dangers that have the ability to hurt your furry friend you might not be aware of. If you're looking for some simple ways to make their life a little easier, here are a few things you can do.

    Take Care Of The Trash

    The image of dogs sifting through the trash is common for a reason, so it's important to guard your animal against the dangers of the dustbin. In addition to taking out any perishable goods on a consistent basis, it's a worthwhile investment to purchase a tougher trash bin that your animal can't get into. This will insure they won't be able to get at foods like fruit pits, coffee grounds and chocolate, which can be very harmful to their system.

    Pick The Right Flooring

    If you have the choice, ceramic tile or hardwood can be a great way to alleviate the tidy-up of having a live-in pet since you can easily wipe or sweep away the damage. If this isn't possible and carpet is your only option, stick with something that closely matches the color of your pet. As well, if you're letting your pet on the furniture, it's worth investing in materials like leather and suede that are more durable and easy to clean.

    Give Them Their 'Space'

    You may not have to worry about cleaning up after your pet as much if you can provide them with a space that's all their own. While it doesn't have to be anything fancy or sprawling, providing a comfortable bed where they like to nap and a water bowl or selection of toys will do the trick in making them feel right at home. It may also have the added benefit of keeping them away from the family couch!

    Many homeowners are so pre-occupied with making themselves comfortable in their family home that they forget about the animal in the family. While it won't necessarily take much to please your pet, watching the waste and giving them their own comfortable area can go a long way in making your home pet-friendly.

    TIP OF THE MONTH - ORDINANCE AND LAW COVERAGE

    real_estate_laws (1).jpg

    TIP OF THE MONTH 

     

    ORDINANCE AND LAW COVERAGE

    As we start this New Year it is imperative that every association check the master insurance policy to ensure adequate coverage is in place.  Full replacement cost coverage sounds great but doesn’t mean your association is fully insured – especially older buildings -- which may require code upgrades following a casualty.  All coverages – including the often neglected Ordinance or Law coverage which is needed for code upgrades to be funded – must be adequate.  When in doubt, call your attorney and insurance agent and make sure your insurance is adequate so your Association will have a Happy New Year -  even if disaster does strike.

    Source: MEEB (Marcus, Errico, Emmer & Brooks)