All In, For Community Amid COVID-19

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Over the past few weeks, as the effects of COVID-19 have spread to everywhere Windermere has offices, we have seen an outpouring of support from our agents and offices in their local communities, embodying what it means to be All In, For You.  

 

The Bellevue, WA-based Windermere Real Estate East Inc. offices have been all in for their community in recent weeks by organizing “Feed the Front Lines.” This effort has raised upwards of $9,000, with many members volunteering their time to help pick-up and deliver much-needed meals to the medical professionals at a local hospital. So far, they have scheduled six shifts of lunch and dinner deliveries, totaling 415 meals. They have reached out further into the community, collecting donations for local small businesses that have been forced to close. 

 

A flyer for “Feed the Front Lines” 

 

Windermere agent Chris Gaines—based in Boise, Idaho with the Windermere Powerhouse Group—was inspired to deliver food and other necessities to the elderly in his neighborhood. Chris and his family spent the day visiting local grocery stores and gathering supplies to make care packages. After divvying everything up, they safely delivered the care packages to neighbors, who were sincerely grateful. “It was clear by the excitement of some of them that we were the first to have visited since all of this began,” said Chris of his neighbors. 

 

Chris’s daughters delivering supplies to a neighbor

 

In other cities where Windermere operates, such as Palm Springs, agents are volunteering to buy and deliver groceries for the local elderly population who are currently unable to leave home due to the threat of COVID-19. 

 

On Maui, the local Windermere office is routing Windermere Foundation donations to a local food bank. On top of that, they will provide that same food bank with a donation from each closed home sale over the next 60 days. Agents on Maui are also volunteering to prepare grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meals for kids at the Kihei Charter School.  

 

The team in Maui, HI

 

In Nevada, the mother-son team of Reba St. Clair & Devone Donley are providing delivery services free of charge to their neighbors throughout the Lake Las Vegas area. They are picking up prescriptions and performing food deliveries, making themselves a dependable resource to their community.  

 

Reba & Devone’s community flyer

 

The Seattle-area offices that make up Windermere Wall Street recently donated $2,000 to Refugee Artisan Initiative (RAI) to aid in the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as surgical masks. RAI’s mission is to transform the lives of refugee and immigrant women by providing sustainable work in sewing and handcrafting goods.

 

As our agents and offices have proven time and time again, together we can make a difference. We will continue to share these uplifting stories of support for our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

All In, For Community. All In, For You. 

What Does It Mean to Be All In?

What does it mean to be “All in”?

At Windermere, it means our agents love what they do, acting beyond themselves, and being there when it counts. During these uncertain times, we want you to know that our agents are more focused than ever on taking care of their clients and helping them move their dreams forward.

 

 

 

5 Small Things You Can Do to Improve Your Home Office

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Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, many of us now find ourselves working from home. While it’s hard to complain about the commute, working from home can be an adjustment. For example, you may find yourself doing tasks around the house and suddenly you’ve missed several important emails. If you feel like you need some help being more productive while working from home, here are five tips to improve your workflow. 

 

Add Light

The best kind of light is natural light. Try setting up your workspace by a window. If that’s not possible, add a desk lamp or floor lamp to brighten your space. Not only will it help with visibility; it brightens your mood, which helps you to be more productive. 

 

Declutter

Remove distracting clutter. Take everything off your desk that you don’t need. Store it elsewhere or use shelves on your wall to display it. 

If you find yourself cleaning throughout the day, set aside time specifically for these tasks. If you’re still waking up at the same time you did when working at the office—which studies show is a great strategy when working from home—using your would-be commute time to tidy up helps avoid those periodic distractions.

 

Bring the Outdoors In

Bringing plants into your home is beneficial for productivity and health alike. Greenery is a natural mood booster and gives life to a room. Plants naturally purify the air, helping you breathe easy as you make your way through the workday. Try arranging both hanging and potted plants to improve the mood around your workspace. 

 

Change Your Chair 

A chair that’s too tall, too short, or not comfortable is a fast track to back and shoulder problems that inhibit your workday and linger afterwards. Being in a stationary position for hours at a time requires the right kind of support to stay productive. Features to look for in a quality office chair include proper lumbar support, sturdy wheels, and an adjustable base that allows your shoulders to relax and your feet to rest flat on the floor. 

 

Add Decor

It’s important to keep your home office professional and dedicated to your work. However, adding personal touches to the space will help you feel at ease. Position your work computer and phone front and center with any related work tools close by and handy. Adding pictures of loved ones, artwork, and inspirational quotes will help inspire you to generate ideas while working productively.

Protecting Your Home’s Air Quality

 

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Most of us tend to think of air pollution as something that occurs outdoors where car exhaust and factory fumes proliferate, but there’s such a thing as indoor air pollution, too. Since the 1950s, the number of synthetic chemicals used in home products have increased drastically, while homes have become much tighter and better insulated. As a result, the EPA estimates that Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often two to five times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. 

 

Luckily, there are many ways to reduce indoor air pollution. We all know that buying organic and natural home materials and cleaning supplies can improve the air quality in our homes, but there are several other measures you can take as well. 

 

How pollutants get into our homes 

 

Potentially toxic ingredients are found in many materials throughout the home, and they leach out into the air as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. If you open a can of paint, you can probably smell those VOCs. Mold is a VOC that can build up in the dampest parts of your home like the laundry room or crawl spaces. Another example is the “new car smell” that seems to dissipate after a while, but VOCs can “off-gas” for a long time, even after a noticeable smell is gone. 

 

Many materials used to build a home contain chemicals like formaldehydetoluene, xylene, ethanol, and acetone, and even lead. VOCs can also be in the form of pet dander or dust. Fortunately, VOCs from building materials dissipate over time. For that reason, the highest levels of VOCs are usually found in new homes or remodels. If you are concerned about VOCs, there are several products you can buy that are either low- or no-VOC. You can also have your home professionally tested. 

 

How to reduce VOCs in your home 

 

Choose your building materials wisely  

 

  • – Use tile or solid wood for flooring—hardwood, bamboo, or cork
  • – Choose solid wood or outdoor-quality plywood that uses a less toxic form of formaldehyde.  
  • – Choose low-VOC or VOC-free paints and finishes 

 

Purify the air  

 

  • – Make sure your rooms have adequate ventilation, air out newly renovated areas for at least a week 

  • – Clean ductwork and furnace filters regularly 

  • – Install air cleaners if needed 

  • – Use only environmentally responsible cleaning chemicals 

  • – Plants are a natural solution to help clean the air 

  • – Air out freshly dry-cleaned clothes or choose a “green” cleaner 

  •  

Pick the right carpet 

 

  • – Choose “Green Label” carpeting or a natural fiber such as wool or sisal

  • – Use nails instead of glue to secure carpet 

  • – Install carpet LAST after completing painting projects or wall coverings

  • – Air out newly carpeted areas before using  

  • – Use a HEPA vacuum or a central vac system that vents outdoors

  •  

Prevent mold  

 

  • – Clean up water leaks fast 

  • – Keep humidity below 60 percent, using dehumidifiers if necessary 

  • – Refrain from carpeting rooms that stay damp 

  • – Insulate pipes, crawl spaces, and windows to eliminate condensation 

  • – Use one-half cup of bleach per gallon of water to kill mold in its early stages 

  •  

If you would like to learn more about VOCs and indoor air quality, please visit http://www.epa.gov/iaq/ 

Coronavirus Protections for Home Buyers

 

As the situation develops with the COVID-19 pandemic, Windermere Real Estate is dedicated to taking steps to reduce the spread of the virus while continuing to work with home buyers. To help with this process, here are some ways you as a home buyer can keep yourself and others safe during the buying process.

 

WHEN TOURING HOMES

❱ Only tour the property if you feel healthy.

❱ Ask your Windermere agent to show you the property instead of attending an open house.

❱ Drive separately from your agent to the property.

❱ Be considerate of the seller’s home and wash or sanitize your hands before entry, touching as little as necessary. While many sellers will likely provide it, bring your own hand sanitizer and use before and after you tour the home. You might also consider wearing disposable gloves for further safety.

❱ Ask your agent to confirm with the seller’s agent that they have not recently been sick or in contact with someone suspected of having COVID-19.

❱ Sellers often ask you to take off your shoes when you tour their home or wear protective booties that have been provided. Consider bringing your own booties and throwing them away when you’ve finished touring.

❱ Be mindful of how much you touch things in the home and minimize contact with doors and hand railings.

❱ Reduce the amount of time spent with other people in the same room. This “social distancing” practice can curb person-to-person spread.

DO NOT TOUR HOMES IF

❱ If you are currently self-quarantined because of illness or other reasons, you should not tour homes in person. Ask your Windermere agent to video chat with you while they tour the home so you can see it virtually.

❱ Do not view homes when you’re sick, feeling like you’re about to be sick, or getting over an illness.

❱ We do not recommend touring homes after returning from international travel or travel that exposed you to a large group of people in close quarters, like large events.

 

Find our Coronavirus Protections for Home Sellers here:

Coronavirus Protections for Home Sellers

 

Before you decide to sell, be sure to seriously consider the risks of putting your home on the market right now. Talk with your Windermere agent to discuss your options.

 

❱ While open houses generate interest and traffic, groups are hard to control, and we want to practice “social distancing” when we can. We recommend only allowing showings by appointment; this ensures that only serious buyers enter your home, reducing possible spreading of the virus.

 

❱ Consider vacating the property from list date to offer review date by staying with family or friends or at a short-term rental.

 

❱ Wipe down surfaces following every showing of your home.

 

❱ If you start to feel sick or have knowledge that you have been in contact with someone suspected to have COVID-19, take your home off the market immediately.

 

❱ Ask your agent to pre-screen buyers before they enter your home to ensure they aren’t ill and have not potentially been exposed to the virus.

 

❱ Place a placard in the entry of your home requesting that any person who has recently been ill or may have been in the company of someone who is suspected to have COVID-19 to not enter your home.

 

❱ Provide hand sanitizer throughout your home.

 

❱ It’s common for sellers to provide protective booties for buyers who tour the home; consider also providing disposable gloves.

 

❱ Leave interior doors open so that buyers who tour the home don’t have to touch the handles when entering rooms.

 

❱ Disinfect your home with proper cleaning supplies after every open house.

 

Find our Coronavirus Protections for Home Buyers here:

The Life Expectancy of Your Home

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Every component of your home has a lifespan. Common questions asked by homeowners include when to replace the flooring or how long to expect their siding to last. This information can help when budgeting for improvements or deciding between repairing and replacing when the time comes. We’re all familiar with the cliché: They just don’t build things like they used to. And while this may be true when it comes to brick siding or slate roofing, lifespans of other household components have increased in recent years. Here are the life expectancies of the most common household items (courtesy of NAHB):

 

Appliances: Among major appliances, gas ranges have a longer life expectancy than things like dishwashers and microwaves.  

Appliance 

Life Expectancy 

 Oil-burning Furnace 

 20 years 

 Heat Pump 

 16 years 

 Gas Range 

 15 years 

 Electric range / Refrigerator / Dryer 

 13 years 

 Electric / Gas Water Heater 

 10 years 

 Garbage disposal 

 10 years 

 Dishwasher / Microwave / Mini Fridge 

  9 years

 

Kitchen & Bath: When choosing your countertops, factor in the life expectancies of different materials.  

Kitchen / Bath Item  

Life Expectancy 

 Wood / Tile / Natural Stone Countertops 

 Lifetime 

 Toilets (parts will require maintenance) 

 50+ years 

 Stainless steel sink 

 30+ years 

 Bathroom faucet 

 20+ years 

 Cultured marble countertops 

 20 years 

 Kitchen faucet 

 15 years 

 

Flooring: If you’re looking for longevity, wood floors are the way to go. Certain rooms in your home will be better suited for carpeting, but you can expect they’ll need replacing within a decade.  

Flooring Material 

Life Expectancy 

 Wood / Bamboo 

 Lifetime 

 Brick Pavers / Granite / Marble / Slate 

 100+ years 

 Linoleum 

 25 years 

 Carpet 

 8 – 10 years 

 

Siding & Roofing: When choosing roofing and siding for your home, climate and maintenance level factor into the life expectancy of the material. However, brick siding and slate roofing are known to be dependable for decades.  

Siding / Roofing Material  

Life Expectancy 

 Brick Siding 

 100+ years 

 Aluminum Siding 

 80 years 

 Slate / Tile Roofing 

 50+ years 

 Wood Shingles 

 30 years 

 Wood Siding

 10 – 100 years (depending on climate)

 

Are extended warranties warranted? 

Extended warranties, also known as service contracts or service agreements, are sold for all types of household items from appliances to electronics. They cover service calls and repairs for a specified time beyond the manufacturer’s standard warranty. 

You will have to consider whether the cost is worth it to you. For some, it brings a much-needed peace of mind when making such a large purchase. Also consider if the cost outweighs the value of the item. In some cases it may be less expensive to replace a broken appliance than to pay for insurance or a warranty.