Things You Can Do To Make Your Home Safer Now

Most of us lock our doors and secure our windows, but that’s the extent of our home security. However, Jordan Frankel of Global Security Experts says stopping there is a mistake. “Think of home security as though you’re putting on layers of clothing to protect your body from harsh weather… Because burglars determine their targets through risk vs. reward scenarios, the more security measures you put in place to increase the risk and lessen the reward for would-be intruders, the less likely your home will be viewed as an easy target.”

So what kinds of layers is Jordan talking about? Well, it does start with the door, as that is how a third of burglars enter homes. Make sure you have a deadbolt, a peephole, and that if you have a mail slot, you can’t reach through it to unlock the door from the inside. Along this same line, make sure your window latches are up to date and haven’t succumbed to lose-wiggling with old age.

Next, make sure your home is well lit – it’s a simple way to intimidate would-be thieves from skulking around your property. Motion activated lighting is the perfect way to advertise to unwanted lurkers that you take home security seriously, and up-lighting the front of your home will also add to its curb appeal! Right along with this is installing a camera system and/or an alarm system. Being able to monitor your home when you’re away and having an alarm company on call will add to your peace of mind and make monitoring your home a breeze!

Finally, the last step is getting to know your neighbors. It’s old-fashioned, but it works: if you know everyone in the neighborhood, it’ll be that much easier for you (or your community) to spot someone who doesn’t belong. Follow these steps and your home will be more secure, and you’ll feel more at home!

Is a Dual Master Suite on Your Must-Have List? Maybe it Should Be!

There’s a new trend in the housing market, ladies and gents, and we love it! We know you’ve heard of a master suite, that luxurious combination of master bedroom/large personal bathroom/walk-in closet, but have you ever seen a house with two of these glorious sets of rooms? Apparently, if you haven’t yet, you will soon, because the idea of dual master suites is having a moment.

Source: Design Build Remodeling Group

This is because it’s becoming more and more common for households to contain more adults, whether they be grandparents, adult children, guests, or even friends who buy a home together. Either way, neither set of adults wants to sacrifice privacy or luxury to the other. Both suites will have equal amenities, and Builder Magazine’s Aurora Zeledon says they will be legit. “We’re talking more than just a guest room with a bath. These are large bedrooms with walk-in closets, separate tubs and showers, and other amenities that make guests staying there feel at home.”

The idea has caught on so much that last year there was a 50% increase in the number of homes sold with dual master suites, and there’s evidence that some of them were used by only one couple! 26% of Americans get a better night’s sleep when sleeping alone, and 60% actually prefer to sleep apart! This could be for a variety of reasons, including difference in schedule, snoring or medical conditions, or even plain restlessness.

Source: Home Stratosphere

Though dual master suites are met with enthusiasm from a number of home buyers, they’re not for everyone, meaning you may have a hard time finding a home for sale with them, or selling your home for the appropriate amount once you have them. Real estate is all about convincing buyers that you have what they’re looking for, and this is a trend that’s only just now catching on.

House Flipping is Making a Come Back

More than 6% of houses sold last year were “flips,” meaning that house flipping is making a comeback. The practice of purchasing a cheaper home, renovating it quickly, and then reselling it for a profit had dropped off since the housing bubble burst in 2008, after which it became hard to turn a profit on any housing in the United States.

Source: Rehab Financial Group

However, this resurgence might not be a good thing, Trulia’s Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin says. “When you see flipping reach ten-year highs, economists like us tend to worry a little bit.” He does admit that the situation may not be the same as before the market crashed. These days, people are taking cues from the myriad of DIY shows on TV right now and making significant improvements to the houses they’re flipping, instead of just adding a coat of paint and sitting on the property until the value jumps.

Source: Erice Goetz, Diana Olick, CNBC

Not that that isn’t still the case. 2016 saw the highest jump in housing prices in the past four years, which means that even if flippers bought a bad investment and spent more money than they budgeted for to fix up a home, they’re more likely to make a profit anyways. However, the process takes months, and if the market were to take another turn like it did nine years ago, house flippers could find themselves in dire financial straits. But sometimes, the lure of large returns (and a chance to see some really satisfying results) is just too great to pull people away from this lucrative hobby.

Old Building Technology Can Help Combat Climate Change

Climate change and major deforestation has transformed the already-dry Sahel region of Sub-Saharan Africa into a desert where building materials are scarce and the people are extremely poor. Most cannot afford the imported sheet metal to make roofs and walls for their houses, and the material itself is ill suited for the extreme changes in temperature the region experiences.

Source: La Voute Nubienne

Thankfully a solution has been found, though it isn’t a new one. NGO La Voute Nubienne (Nubian Vault) has began using a technique of making bricks from mud and earth that was perfected nearly 3,000 years ago. An entire home can be built in half a month, and the bricks can be used for other structures as well. The company has built over 20,000 homes so far, across five countries in West Africa, and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing.

Source: La Voute Nubienne

The Nubian homes are in such high demand not only because of their affordability, but also because they repel the warmth of the blistering sun in the daytime, and trap it at night – a valuable asset for a dwelling in an African desert. Another benefit of using the NGO is their willingness to allow homeowners to work with them, as well as training masons to be autonomous. Spreading the knowledge of how to create these bricks and homes means more Africans can have sustainable, insulated homes faster, and that’s what the company is all about.

Source: La Voute Nubienne

Environmentalists are also on board. Because the process involves no wood or straw, it has the potential to dramatically curb deforestation in the region. The bricks are build on site, which means that with almost no transportation cost, they also cut back on CO2 during construction! La Voute Nubienne has big plans for expansion, and so far there seems to be no downside for Africa!