Home Blog

3 Tips for New Homeowners

    0
    3 Tips for New Homeowners

    You and your spouse have moved into your first home together, and you’re excited to get the next chapter of your life started. Home ownership comes with many benefits but there some items unique to owning a home that you need to watch out for. To help your future thrive read about these three tips for new homeowners thanks to The Wheaton Team.

    Start Your Rainy-Day Fund

    Right after you buy your home, you should start a rainy-day fund for unexpected accidents and other costly repairs that come from owning a home. When you own, you can’t call on your rental management office to fix everything for free. Even a new home could surprise you with a broken-down furnace or inefficient refrigerator, so you must be ready. You’ll have some money set aside for these emergencies or at least a good chunk before you move into your new home.

    Set Up Your Professional Services

    Your home is full of several appliances and units that must be maintained to remain at their strongest. One of the first moves to make as a new homeowner is setting yourself up for contractors and services you can call on as needed. This might include a plumber, electrician, roofer, HVAC service, and more. Setting yourself up with companies right away means you won’t have to research before hiring in case of an emergency or immediate need.

    Follow-Through on Tax Credits and Benefits

    First-time homeowners get many unique benefits that help encourage home ownership. It’s one thing to look at these benefits, and it’s another to see them through. After you buy your home talk to a financial professional like your accountant or lender about what you should do on your taxes after purchasing a new home for the first time. Failure to get the right benefits and credits could cost you hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars.

    Owning a new home is an exciting time, but you need to protect yourself as a new owner. This includes setting aside money for emergencies, setting up a network of helpful local contractors and services, and follow-through on any first-time homeowner benefits. With these tips and a solid real estate team you’ll be ready to take on your new home and life.

    4 Crazy Guitar Gadgets You Need

      0
      4 Crazy Guitar Gadgets You Need

      If you’re into guitars, you’re probably also into the things you can buy that make your guitar sound interesting. Think pedals, loopers, kill switches, and other doodads that you can add to your signal chain. Each one has an effect and vibe all its own.

      But then, there are the ‘crazy’ guitar gadgets. A lot of them are gimmicks, that’s for sure, but there are a few that are just so crazy they actually are worth having. So, if you’re looking for that next awesome guitar gizmo to get, check out this quick list of of the craziest among them.

      Crazy Guitar Gadget #1: The Gibson Memory Cable

      What if a guitar cable could actually do something more than just transmit the signal going from your guitar to your amplifier? Well, the Gibson Memory Cable is here to save the day. This curious little cable has a built-in solid-state recorder that makes a digital copy of whatever you play on your guitar, all with the push of a button.

      Do guitarists really need a recording utility on their guitar cable? Who knows? It’s just crazy enough to need!

      Crazy Guitar Gadget #2: The E-Bow

      The E-Bow has actually been around for more than 15 years, and it’s even been used during live performances to make some awesome sounds on the electric guitar. This small, handheld, battery-powered device generates an electromagnetic field that makes the strings resonate without needing to be plucked or strummed.

      The result is infinite sustain that sounds other-worldly. Crazy!

      Crazy Guitar Gadget #3: The Guitar Tuner/Capo Hybrid

      Ok, so you probably already know that a capo is a useful tool to change the key of your guitar on-the-fly. But, did you also know that some capos have a battery-powered guitar tuner built right in? It’s true! And, they’re not that much more expensive than buying both devices separately. We know what you’re thinking: that’s crazy!

      The only downside to the guitar tuner/capo hybrid is that if the battery does ever fail, you’re left with a needlessly clunky capo that just looks strange.

      Crazy Guitar Gadget #4: The Hammer Jammer

      The Hammer Jammer is a small, plastic device that installs on the guitar bridge and ‘taps’ each string on command, similar to how a piano works. The sound it produces definitely qualifies as bizarre, because the guitar wasn’t meant to sound like this!

      Now matter what kind of sound you’re trying to get out of your guitar, rest assured that experimenting with these four crazy guitar gadgets will give you limitless sonic possibilities!

      Why You Should Make Utah Your Next Vacation Destination

      0
      Welcome to Utah

      If you have never considered Utah for a vacation, you’re missing out. The 45th state into the union should be a contender in the race for your hard earned vacation dollars.

      Whether you are a die-hard adventurer or a take-it-all-in-leisurely kind of vacationer, Utah has something to offer to everyone. With its vast landscapes and diversity, it will not disappoint. Get your camera ready!

      The “Mighty Five”

      Did you know that Utah has five national parks? F-I-V-E. The “Mighty Five” are none other than Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands. Utah is also home to eight national monuments that will vie for your attention as well.

      Arches and Canyonlands are located in the Moab area along with Dead Horse Point State Park, which is a must see as well. Moab is a mecca for hiking, climbing, and biking enthusiasts alike. From the Delicate Arch to the bottom of Horseshoe Canyon where the mighty Colorado River resides, there is a raw beauty here that will surely capture your heart.

      If you travel further west, you can hit Zion, Bryce, and Capitol Reef in the same trip. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Bears Ears National Monument are also located in this area. Being able to experience “The Narrows” of Zion is definitely worth the trouble of the permit process, and you will be left speechless at the way the sunlight plays off of the red walls in the slot canyons of Escalante.
      Even More to Explore

      Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and Rainbow Bridge National Monument are all extremely beautiful places to consider in your planning. Rent a houseboat at one of the local marinas for the week along with a couple of kayaks in tow, and explore away. Fish a little, swim or sunbathe a little, and then take the kayaks into some of the slot canyons for a bit of adventure. Rainbow Bridge boasts some of the darkest skies in the U.S., so don’t forget to look up.

      Utah has mountains – gorgeous ones that beckon to the John Muir in all of us. These mountain ranges offer a plethora of adventure and leisure options. Camping, hiking, backpacking, fishing, and skiing; it’s your choice. You can make one of the mountain towns your home-base, and go from there. Park City, site of the 2002 Winter Olympics, should be a consideration for downhill skiing and offers a wide variety of city-type fun as well.

      Utah has the perfect balance of beauty and fun. Don’t overlook this gem for your next vacation!

      3 Tips for Hiring a Local Roofer in Colorado

      0
      Working on a roof

      Colorado is in a band of the U.S. known as hail alley which means Colorado roofs are subjected to more damaging storms and hail than homes in other parts of the country. When you live in hail alley, you need a go-to roofer that you can call when hail or other issues happen. Here are some tips for hiring a roofer in Colorado.

      Tips for Hiring a Roofer in Colorado

      Always Choose Local (And Local Experience)

      If you’re hiring a roofer in Colorado, hire a roofer that operates out of Colorado like A to Z Roofing. Colorado is known for storm-chasing roofing Denver companies and fly-by-night roofers, but you can avoid these types of companies by choosing a Colorado roofer that operates out of Colorado and has done so for several years.

      Look for Registrations in Colorado Consumer Guides or Your Local BBB Chapter

      Most towns in Colorado have some local consumer resource guides that advertise local and reputable companies including Colorado-based roofers. Examples of consumer guides in Colorado include TeamDaveLogan.com or the Springs Guide. The companies in these guides have been pre-screened, so you know they have a solid reputation.

      Always check to see if any potential roofer is registered with your local chapter of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and what their grade is. Only hire roofers that have an A or A+ rating. You can also find how long the business has been operating and if they have had complaints lodged against them.

      Make Sure to Read Reviews and Referrals

      The last of the tips is to do your homework. Make a short list of local and reputable roofing companies and go online to look at reviews of those companies on reputable sites like Angie’s List or Google Reviews. Read individual reviews to get the most accurate judgment of a company and if they are a good fit for your project. One company may have better reviews, but upon reviewing them, you could realize another company with slightly worse reviews is a better fit for your job.

      Once you have your final three potential roofers narrowed down, it’s time to ask for references. A good roofing company will be more than happy to turn over a list of personal references that you can call. Don’t just set the list on your kitchen counter, call at the least three people on it. They can offer an insight into the roofer that you won’t get from online reviews.

      By keeping your search confined to local contractors with local experience, looking for registrations or certifications in local Colorado resource guides, and doing a thorough examination of a company’s reviews and referrals you’ll be sure to nab an excellent Colorado roofer. When it comes to something as important as your roof, you only want the best.

      4 Tips on DIY Outdoor Privacy Screens

      0
      Family roasting marshmallows around a fire pit

      Do-it-yourselfers are always looking for new projects and ways to spruce up their home or make things better than before. If you like using your outdoor area with a fire pit but are often a little shy due to crowded neighbors, a great solution can be found in an outdoor privacy screen. Rather than setting up a little barrier between you, your fire pit, and your neighbors, an outdoor privacy screen can also make outdoor space more livable by providing shade and protection from the elements. Let’s get some more info on a DIY outdoor privacy screen thanks to the experts at Firepit Outfitter.

      Tips on DIY Privacy Screens for Your Fire Pit

      Living or Non-Living?

      You have three main options when building yourself an outdoor privacy screen, do you want to use living materials such as plants, trees, and barrier shrubs or do you want to non-living materials such as brick, wood or vinyl? You don’t have to pick one. Many people use a combination of living and non-living materials such as a wooden lattice with vines growing through it. Living materials will need more care, but they provide a certain atmosphere and character that you won’t get on vinyl or wood alone.

      Style of Outdoor Privacy Screen

      You don’t want your outdoor privacy screen to stand out over the rest of your outdoor living space so choose a style that fits in with your décor. If your patio is made up of flagstone, try to pick a material that will flow with it. Not much sense in having a privacy screen if everyone’s eyes are drawn to it.

      Plan Your Job

      Proper preparation prevents poor performance, and that rings especially true with DIY projects, especially when using a fire pit. Safety is paramount. So, plan out your materials, what tools you will need, how much time you think it will take and what you want it to look like before taking your first trip to the hardware store. You’ll be glad you did.

      Resources

      The internet is full of interesting ideas and themes for a variety of DIY projects including outdoor privacy screens. Use sites like Pinterest or other DIY websites to search what other people have done. You can get a variety of visual and structural ideas for your outdoor privacy screen.

      If you feel like grilling in your underwear, but your neighbor is nosy, you should think about a DIY outdoor privacy screen. The value it can add to the look of your property is worth it alone.

      Why Africa Holds More Promise for the World

      0
      Giraffes

      From rapid urbanization and technological growth to industrial development, Africa is fast developing at a rate that seems to rival nearly all other continents in the world. Until recently, there have been many arguments and concerns about the continent’s economy as it approaches a technical recession.

      However, at the forefront of the harnessing its resources, Africa has shown its resilience over the years and appears to be one of the continents pushing the world towards a revolution. Here, we will be pointing out some of the reasons why Africa looks more promising for the world economy.

      Tech Policies

      The world today appears to be fast moving due to the rapid advancement of technology. To this effect, tech policies are fast becoming a dominant feature in the rapid development of Africa. Today, we’ve seen the Eastern and Southern part of Africa employ innovative technologies in advancing their place in the world.

      The world has seen an influx of technologies such as Blockchain technology and Artificial Intelligence Technology. This, for an economy all geared up for innovative adoptions, means rapid infrastructural and industrial development.

      Already technology is cutting across various industries including agriculture, construction, manufacturing and so on, which sees Africa pushing towards rapid industrialization and mass employment.

      This does bode well for a developing economy which, in the future, could set about a revolution in the world’s economy as a whole.

      Tourism

      Africa boasts a cultural existence and history that sets it apart from other continents and gives it an edge when it comes to tourism. Today, due to this, Africa has witnessed an influx of tourists, and this sector holds a significant percentage in the continent’s economy.

      This significant role-play of tourism has, in turn, advanced Africa’s position in the world and could in the future advance and stabilize the world’s economy.

      The Promise of Rare Earth Metals

      With a portfolio of rare earth metals, Africa could be described as the proverbial land of providence flowing with milk and honey. Africa joined the rare earth metals race in 2017 and is admittedly making moves to becoming a dominant force in the global market.

      The application of rare earth metals including neodymium and dysprosium in functional products such as smartphones, batteries, wind turbines and a variety of electronic consumer products already has manufacturers scouring the market for suppliers.

      Already, Steenkampskraal Mine in the Western Cape province of South Africa is laying claim to one of the world’s highest grade of rare earth metals, getting Africa all geared up to become one of the key players in the market.

      Looking at how far the law of supply and demand goes, the demand for these metals will become a dominant factor as Africa’s role as a supplier does bode well for its economy.

      Landscaping Experts Offer Tips on Tackling a New Home’s Landscaping

      0
      Landscapers

      Moving to a new home or building a home is an exciting time. Not only because you get to choose new carpet, paint, and anything else you want to make the home your own, but also because you have a new space for gardening and landscaping. Some could care less what’s planted on their property while others spend every nice day outside weeding, pruning, and keeping their landscaping beautiful.

      Landscaping

      We chatted with landscaping experts in Denver about the steps to take on a new home including one helpful tip that most homeowners don’t think of until its too late. According to some experts one of the first things to do to your landscaping when moving to a new residence is – nothing. Landscapers want to work, they like to work, but they give valid reasons for waiting a full calendar year before tackling a large-scale landscaping installation.

      The strongest reason for waiting a year? You just don’t know what to expect from a landscape or lawn unless you’ve seen it throughout different periods in a year. Think it about this way. If you move to your new home during fall you may point out a couple sickly looking bushes that you want to replace but by spring you’re surprised to find that those bushes have grown and are blooming beautifully. If you had decided to tackle that shrub right away, you’d be missing out on the blooms. You might think you have a perfect area for annual flowers in the spring but when the summer rains come and create massive puddles in that prospective planting area you’ll know you were right to wait.

      This doesn’t mean you can’t do any landscaping to a new home, far from it. Small installations, small removals, and other bits of work around the property are perfectly fine, you just don’t want to make any large-scale applications until you know exactly how your property works during different parts of the year.

      Your best move when deciding on your landscaping project is to meet with a local landscaping firm to discuss a master plan and the steps to take to watch your lawn and garden. After a year you’ll know what areas bloom in the spring, what areas don’t get enough sun in the summer, and other facts that could make or break any future landscaping projects. It can be tough to wait but after a year you and your landscapers can start the perfect plan fully armed with all the information about the property.

      Denver Based Injury Law Firm Offers Advice on Hiring Attorney

      0
      Auto accident

      The time after an auto accident can be a hurricane of emotion, paperwork, legal professionals, health professionals, and other headaches that can be worse than any injuries you’ve received from the accident. The key in getting your life back on track is hiring an injury attorney who will help make sure you’re treated fairly. We sat down with Attorney Mitchel S. Drantch of Denver-based Auto Injury Law Offices to discuss what people should look for when hiring an attorney after an auto accident.

      Look for Specialization

      Car accident

      There are many subsets of law but if you’re hiring an attorney you want to be certain they specialize in the type of case you’re bringing to them. You wouldn’t go to a cardiologist for your broken leg so you don’t need to go to a corporate lawyer if you need help with injury case. Look for both specialization and experience in any law firm for your injury case.

      Bigger Isn’t Better

      Your first instinct is probably to take your case to a large law firm with dozens of attorney – the more attorneys there are, the more resources you can get right? Yes and no. Drantch warns those looking for an attorney that bigger isn’t necessarily better. The bigger the law firm is, the smaller the chances are you will get any face time with the actual attorney representing your case. Look for local help to get direct handling of your case. Ideally, your case will be managed by the attorney whose name is on the firm and not from a nameless inexperienced attorney fresh out of law school.

      Settlement vs. Trial

      Ask any potential law firm or attorney if they tend to settle their cases or if they like to take their cases to trial. Law firms who prefer settlement means that the law firm is more about quantity than quality, and they won’t always do everything in their power to get you the best possible outcome. Drantch recommends looking for law firms with successful trial cases and not settlements only. The more successful the attorney is at trial, the more likely the insurance will meet you with a better settlement right away.

      The auto injury attorney team behind Drantch has managed hundreds of injury law cases directly and knows what it takes for anyone to get the best outcome in their case. Mitch Drantch recommends hiring local, specialization, and firms that have a successful trial track record. These tips and more can help you get the best settlement or outcome for your case.

      Canadian Researcher Finds Faults in Seniors’ Fall Detection Devices

      0
      Office with technology

      Seniors want to remain in their homes as long as they can and live independent lives, and devices like fall detectors and fall alert systems help both seniors and their loved ones make that a reality. Fall detection devices can alert first-responders or caretakers when they’ve detected a fall and make for a quick response. Unfortunately, those fall devices have several faults and may not be as effective as we believe according to a Canadian research team.

      The conclusion of their study is that further testing and calibration is needed on the devices, so they respond better to real world actions and stimuli. The study targets wearable fall detection like watches, or pendants. “There seems to be a knowledge gap between fall detection technology and the use of it,” said study co-author Lili Liu, a professor in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. The review was written be co-written by researchers from the University of Alberta, the University of Montreal, and the University of Rosario.

      Office tech

      Researchers noted that though the market is flooded with these devices, their levels of effectiveness varied and some of the products were unreliable. 85% of hospital visits by seniors in Canada result from a fall or fall-related injuries. 20% of serious falls result in death.

      The team combed through 118 different peer-reviewed studies from across the world. While there was ample research on ten different types of fall detection devices, the research only went so far and was lacking in real-world simulation and testing. “Most of the studies didn’t describe whether the technologies were ready for use in the real world,” Liu added. Instead most of the devices were tested in lab environments by interns and lab students. The study also found that there were other gaps for fall detection devices in response to real-world customer feedback. The companies producing these devices simply weren’t modifying and re-testing.

      There may also be psychological gaps as 80% of seniors surveyed stated they would be reluctant to push their alert device after a fall for fear of disturbing someone or not being able to properly activate it. From the study it’s easy to conclude that there some real gaps to fill in to allow for better and more effective use of these technologies.

      “There are too many devices available in the market that are sitting on shelves collecting dust because they did not address the varying wants and needs of the consumer, and caregivers are often the ones who purchase these technologies to assist in their duties,” said PhD student Noelannah Neubauer.