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Month: March 2015

Packing your emergency “Go Kit”

Packing your emergency “Go Kit”

If a natural (or unnatural) disaster happened today, would you be ready to vacate your home? Having a “go kit” on hand could be a literal life-saver.

The next time you get ready to donate your old clothes to charity, think about whether or not they are good candidates for your “Go Kit.”

A “Go Kit” is a backpack or duffle bag filled with the essentials you will need if you are forced to flee your home on short notice. Suggested contents include:

  • Change of clothes
  • Sturdy pair of shoes
  • Combo flashlight/radio
  • Whistle or signal light
  • List of key contacts
  • Cell phone charger
  • Bottled water
  • Protein bars/non-perishable food
  • Disposable rain poncho
  • Mylar “space” blanket
  • Copy of driver’s license/ID
  • Credit card numbers or cash
  • Medications/first aid supplies

Each member of your household should have their own go kit stashed beneath their bed, just in case the “unthinkable” happens.

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What’s trending in home improvements in 2015?

What’s trending in home improvements in 2015?

One of the fun parts of my job as a real estate broker is touring homes that are new on the market and seeing home improvement trends as they emerge and wane.

When it comes to spending money on home improvements I always encourage homeowners to try to imagine where they see themselves living in 10 years. If you have no intention of moving, then spend your remodeling dollars on features you will enjoy, regardless of whether or not they add resale value. If you anticipate a move in the next one to five years, use that money on the projects most likely to recoup your investment.

Here are six home improvements that currently rank high with buyers.

  1. Quartz countertops are overtaking granite countertops in popularity.
  2. “Smart Home” automation technology integrates home electrical devices.
  3. Stainless steel appliances. Apparently, they are here to stay.
  4. Backyard fire pits. Who doesn’t love the idea of making S’mores at home?
  5. Outdoor kitchens create great opportunities for outdoor entertaining.
  6. Free-standing tubs are replacing combination shower/tubs when space allows.

Generally speaking, bathrooms and kitchens are the rooms that give you the biggest bang for your remodeling buck.

Want to know more about how various home improvement projects stack up in terms of resale value? Check out Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report. Download it for free at

Posted 3/7/15