Are you ready for the next storm?

Hi!  My name is Gary, your local insurance broker with www.TulsaInsurance.com.

Do you recall the last catastrophic hailstorm?  I do!  It was 12 years ago… 2008 to be precise, and it took months to get all the roofing claims completed.  What a crazy time!

Is your homeowner insurance policy ready to help you during the next catastrophic hailstorm or tornado?  You should have your homeowner insurance policy reviewed at least every 3 years to ensure you are covered.  When is the last time you did that?

Specifically, you need to check your current roof coverage.  Insurers across the state may change your roof coverage from Replacement Cost Valuation (RCV) to Actual Cash Value (ACV) over time, which means you may not have enough insurance funds to replace 100% of your roof in a covered claim.  For a Free No Obligation Policy Review, please email gary@tulsainsurance.com or call 918.830.4294.

10 Winter Home Improvements That Are Worth The Investment

ChecklistWe hope everyone had a memorable Thanksgiving Day last week and enjoyed the long holiday weekend.

With December officially upon us, residents can expect temperatures to continue to dip as we head into the New Year.

So today, we wanted to share with you some relatively easy home improvements that you can make that will save you money during the winter months.

Home Tips for Saving Yourself Money This Winter

Here are 10 home improvements that you can make this winter that will save you both money and energy:

Caulk around windows and doors, making sure that all cracks and holes are sealed. This will keep the cold air out of your house, which will keep your heater from working overtime. If necessary, you might also consider adding or replacing weather stripping.

Add area rugs to your tile and wood floors. This creates an extra layer of insulation in your home and also makes it easier to walk around your home in bare feet during the winter time.

Install glass doors that close off your fireplace. This will not only keep cold air from coming down and through your house but it will also prevent warm air from escaping through the chimney. Also, if you use your fireplace, make sure to close the flue when you’re finished.

Insulate your attic door. For instance, you can buy covers for your attic staircases or openings. This will actually help you reduce energy costs all year long.

Cover your windows. Even if you don’t have storm windows, you can create your own with a window insulation kit. And inside your house, consider using insulated drapes.

Buy Insulated Garage Doors and Exterior Doors. Typically, the garage doors that come with most homes aren’t insulated. You can change that to save on energy costs.

Add insulation to your home throughout. This includes in the attic as well as the crawl space, garage and basement. Experts recommend that you add insulation if you haven’t done so in more than 20 years.

Reverse Ceiling fans. Some people may not be aware of this but you actually have the option of reversing your ceiling fans. Running them counterclockwise makes it cooler during the summer months but by making them clockwise, they will circulate warm air back into the room.

Replace your furnace filters. Just like with anything else, dirty furnace filters will make it work less efficiently. Generally speaking, filters should be changed every month during the heating season.

Replace your outdated furnace altogether. If your furnace is older, you might consider purchasing a newer unit that is going to produce more heat with less energy. Just make sure that you get the right size for the space you have.

If you want to take your home-savings even further this winter, you can check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s do-it-yourself energy audit on their website. Or you can call a contractor and request a professional audit.

Offering You National Home Advice You Won’t Find Anywhere Else

We hope you found this information helpful as a current home owner.

Please be sure to check back soon as we continue to provide you with useful and relevant real estate information!

Home Improvements That Pay Off When Selling Your Home

Home RemodelingNot all home remodeling projects are created equal – especially when you’re trying to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes time to sell your property.

So before you spend thousands of dollars on that home remodeling project you’ve been dreaming about, make sure that you’re armed with the facts first.

Today, we’re going to tell you which of the most common home renovation projects are worth the investment, and which ones you’re better off doing without. The answers may surprise you.

Roofs and New Siding: Not Very Glamorous but Quite Impactful

Remodeling Magazine reports that you’re more likely to recoup your investment on such features as your roof or your siding than you are on bathroom or kitchen remodels.

In fact, siding replacement recouped 92.8 percent of its investment while roof replacements recouped 90 percent or more at resale.

Roof replacement appears to be most important to buyers in the east, with home owners recouping an average 96.3 percent of the cost. In the Midwest, that average return was around 71.1 percent.

That’s because home buyers care more about the overall structure of the home than they do about an aesthetically pleasing kitchen.

What’s more, a recently replaced roof or new siding tells buyers that their maintenance costs are going to be low to non-existent for the first few years. And it’s impossible to understate how important that is to buyers.

Kitchens: A Sound Investment or Not?

The consensus is unanimous: Kitchen remodels are an excellent way to spend your home renovation dollars – but only if you don’t spend too much out the gate.

In fact, minor kitchen remodels (in the ballpark of $15,000 or less) returned 92.9 percent of the investment. That number dropped off on bigger remodeling projects in the kitchen.

Some features to focus on in the kitchen include all wood cabinets, commercial-looking appliances, stone floors and stone counter tops.

How About Bathrooms?

Bathrooms are also a fantastic place to invest your home remodeling dollars. Often, home owners are pleasantly surprised to discover that they get a 100 percent plus return on their investment.

For instance, a $9,400 bathroom remodel in Baltimore recently recouped 182 percent of its cost at resale.

Some features that you may want to focus on during a bathroom remodel include floor-to-ceiling steam showers and walk-in showers.

And if you only have one bathroom in your home, spend your money on adding a second bathroom instead of remodeling the only bathroom you have.

Don’t Forget To Consider Your Home’s Curb Appeal!

People often focus their remodeling dollars on the inside of the home but the exterior is just as important – if not more so.

After all, a potential home buyer will form an opinion about your home before they ever step foot inside.

Perhaps that’s why adding siding is such a sound investment when you look at the return you could get at resale.

Another way to make sure your home has adequate curb appeal is by adding a front porch or other architectural features to make your home more inviting.

Give Buyers Extra Room to Grow

Finally, consider adding another room to your home during a remodeling project.

We’ve already talked about the benefits of adding a bathroom. But the same principles hold true for other room additions as well.

In fact, for every 1,000 square feet added to a home, your sales price will increase by more than 30 percent, according a 2005 National Association of Realtors study.

One caveat to this rule: Don’t add so much extra space that your home becomes the most expensive home in the neighborhood. That’s a sure way to turn off home buyers.

Just a Few More General Notes About Home Remodels

RS1551_shutterstock_983846-lprRegardless of what type of project you select, remember that the following factors will also help determine your return on investment:

  • The Value of Your Home
  • The Value of the Homes in Your Neighborhood
  • The Housing Market You’re Located In
  • How Soon You Sell Your Home After the Home Improvement Project
  • The Quality of the Home Improvement Project

Your #1 Resource for Real Estate Trends and News

Hopefully you learned something today about home remodeling projects and how much they really benefit you as a prospective home seller.

Make sure to follow our blog to receive the latest updates on real estate trends like these and how they may impact you.

Have a great day!

Spring Cleaning

Hello from Accent Realtors! We hope your year is off to a great start. Spring is here and now is the perfect time to start your big spring clean. To help you get a head start, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most important spring cleaning details.

Spring cleaningNew Paint, New Decor, New Look

Painting interior walls or even your home’s exterior can make all the difference. Whether you choose a whole new color or just choose to add a new coat to your current one, your house will look and feel like new. In addition to painting, sprucing up your home’s interior design can give it a fresh feel for spring, too. There are a ton of inexpensive, DIY ideas on Pinterest to get your interior decorating creativity flowing.

Take Care of Walls and Floors

Give your painted walls a light clean by wiping them down with a damp cloth. For dirtier walls, try dampening the cloth with both water and dish soap. Deep clean your carpet, steam those hardwood floors, and scrub that tile; it makes all the difference. We recommend Carpet Direct or Preferred Carpet Care, Inc for all your flooring and carpet needs.

Fix the yards

Whether it’s clearing the weeds out of the flower beds, mowing the lawn, or cleaning the lawn furniture, your outdoor space is just as important as the indoor space! With summer right around the corner, fixing up your yard now will make outdoor entertaining easier and less stressful later.

Clean the Kitchen

Spring CleaningThere are many elements of the kitchen that are often neglected. Your stove, counters, sink, and refrigerator may not be getting the love they need during your daily or weekly quick cleans. At least once a year, it’s a good idea to give these areas a thorough deep clean. When cleaning your stove, start by soaking the drip pans, stove burners, and dirty knobs in warm, soapy water. By the time you finish cleaning the stove counter, it will be easier to clean them.

Disinfect your disposal by tossing in a combo of cut up lemon, a small handful of salt, and a couple ice cubes. Or try baking soda and vinegar for an extra strong scent-buster and disinfectant.

When it comes to the fridge, it’s best to start by taking everything out. Separate what you have into categories such as veggies, lunch meat, etc. Wipe down any messy bottles or jars, throw away what you don’t use, and toss out anything that has expired. Then take out any drawers or shelves and soak them in soapy water. Finally, wipe out the entire fridge with a towel dipped in warm, soapy water. It’s also helpful to keep foods categorized as you place them back into the fridge.

In The Bathroom

Make your own scum-busting shower cleaner by using ¾ cup vinegar mixed with ¾ cup of Dawn dish detergent. It works great and can save you lots of money on expensive cleaners. Making your own toilet cleaner is easy and inexpensive too. Simply add 1 cup of vinegar and ¼ cup of baking soda to the bowl, let it sit for 15 minutes or more, scrub the bowl, flush, and you’re done!

Clear out the Closet

Get rid of any clothing in your closet that you bought last year and have never worn. Donate it or give it as a hand me down, just don’t let it continue to clutter your space. After you’ve removed all your unworn and unwanted clothes, place them back in the closet with the hanger facing the wrong way. After wearing that item place the hanger the right way. At the end of the year, get rid of all the items whose hangers never turned.

What are your go-to strategies for keeping everything clean and in order in your home? Tell us in the comments below!

Vendors We Love: Preferred Carpet Care, Inc.

Out of the many vendors we, at Accent Realtors, use, one of our favorites is Preferred Carpet Care, Inc. After being in business for over 21 years, these vendors know their stuff! They provide all kinds of carpet services such as a simple carpet cleaning or even a full carpet repair. At Preferred Carpet Care, Inc. the workers pledge to deliver actual, realistic and expected results without any false promises. This company is trustworthy and always does their best to impress their clients. They have never let us down! With an experienced staff who uses only the best cleaning agents and equipment, they ensure the best clean possible for your carpet! Specializing in residential, multi-family and commercial spaces all over Tulsa, this crew has a service for you! For more information call: 918-451-5957 or visit them on their website: http://www.preferredcarpetcareinc.org/

Vendors We Love: Carpet Direct

We at Accent Realtors use many vendors to improve our properties. This week, the vendor we love is Carpet Direct, an amazing flooring company who never fails to please! Mike Miles, of Carpet Direct, has been in the carpet and flooring business for nine years and we, at Accent Realtor’s, have been using his services for seven of those years! This is a company who knows their trade and delivers top-notch service every time! Mike Miles is a trusted vendor who has a great work ethic and enjoys what he does. The products that Mike, at Carpet Direct, offers include carpet, wood, tile, and vinyl flooring. The workers at Carpet Direct make their flooring affordable by selling name brand, quality floor coverings directly to you at savings of 30-50%. For more information regarding Carpet Direct, you can find them at http://www.carpetdirect.com/, their twitter account @CarpetDirectLLC, or their Carpet Direct page on Facebook!

Service Providers We Love!

Accent Realtors is always proud to share the “Service Providers We Love!”  These are companies that we have come to trust and rely on over the past 20 years to help us best serve our clients.  We believe that these service providers are the best at what they do.  In the following video Paul discusses how passionate he feels about these preferred service providers.   View the video now!

10 Tips To Lower your Summer Energy Bill

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that summer air-conditioning accounts for more than 16% of annual energy spending in the average home. The low-cost tips that follow will help you keep your home comfortable while lowering your energy bills:

1. Have your air-conditioner checked by a qualified professional. Servicing typically includes a check on refrigerant levels, the compressor, hoses, ductwork, and the thermostat.

2. Set your thermostat at 78°F when you are at home and turn it up to 85°F when you are away. A programmable thermostat is an excellent way to save energy and maintain year-around comfort.

3. Make sure your thermostat is not located near lamps or electronic appliances. It can sense heat from these devices, causing your air-conditioner to run longer.

4. Replace air conditioner filters at least once per month; dirty filters restrict airflow, causing your system to run longer.

5. Weather-strip, seal, and caulk leaks around doors and windows, and install foam gaskets behind outlet covers.

6. On warm, sunny days, keep window coverings closed to prevent solar heat gain.

7. Use ceiling or room fans in occupied areas to keep air moving and help to reduce the temperature.

8. Install window tinting to prevent the sun’s rays from reflecting through the windows.

9. Install a whole house fan. These devices circulate cool air throughout your house and exhaust hot air out of the attic.

10. If your air conditioning unit is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it with a newer, more efficient model. Purchase a unit that is ENERGY STAR rated for high efficiency performance.

Homeowners Insurance Basics

Homeowners insurance exists because a home is a huge investment, often one of the largest purchases many people make in their lifetimes. Naturally, people want to protect the value of their precious property. Homeowners insurance is a contract between a homeowner and an insurance company. As long as the owner pays the required premiums and meets the other policy requirements, the insurance company guarantees to reimburse the owner for any losses incurred due to natural disasters or human-caused damage.

What Does It Cover?

A basic homeowner’s insurance policy protects the owner against any property damage that results from things like fire, lightning, wind or hail storms. It will also provide for motel and food costs if you are forced to leave your home while such damages are repaired.

A typical policy, however, does not cover flood or earthquake damage. Because these issues are usually specific to certain regions of the country and can cause extreme damage, these can be purchased as separate policies. If you live in a flood zone or near an earthquake fault line you may be required by your mortgage company to carry these protections.

A basic policy will also cover homeowners against loss from theft or vandalism as well as reimbursement for personal property destroyed in natural disasters. It will also provide for something that many people may not normally associate with home protection – liability coverage for lawsuits brought against the owner by people who were injured on the property. This includes the cost of legal defense up to the allowed policy limit. Additionally, most policies will have a provision that will cover the basic medical expenses for the parties.

Is It Required?

Homeowners insurance is almost universally required by mortgage companies with the purchase of a home. This is because the investment is almost as big for them as it is for you. They want to make sure the property is protected from major damages so that if you are ever unable to keep up with your payments, the lender can then reclaim ownership and be able to sell it fairly easily. And even if you own your home outright, a good insurance policy is still the best way to protect the value of your home in the face of the unexpected.