Linda Raymond Real Estate Blog, Fairfield, Westport & More

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Financial Stress: 6 Strategies Seniors Can Use to Find Relief

Thank you to our guest writer, Jim Vogel from eldersinaction.org for this article!

Photo by Unsplash

Financial stress is a never-ending problem that can lead to physical and mental health challenges for older adults. While research shows seniors aren’t the group most stressed by finances, they often have unique challenges when it comes to money. Mainly, they have fewer options for finding relief.

If you or a senior loved one is experiencing financial stress, there are some big and small ways to manage the situation. 

1. Get better healthcare and insurance rates.

Now is the time to shop around for your insurance options. You may be paying more than you should or for services you don’t need. Healthcare is a complicated system and can be challenging to navigate alone. You may find ways to save money by talking to an agent. 

We also recommend looking at the costs of other kinds of insurance, like life and homeowners insurance, to see if there are more affordable options out there.

2. Downsize.

The costs of maintaining a larger home can add up. If you’ve got sky-high utility bills and more space than you need, it may be time to consider downsizing. By selling your current home, you may be able to purchase a new home outright and use the remaining money to help fund your retirement. Before putting your home on the market, research how much you can expect to earn from a sale, and make sure you consult an experienced realtor in your area. 

3. Explore alternative transportation.

If you are a senior who is driving less and less, you might be able to save money by changing your transportation methods. If driving isn’t necessary, consider selling your car. This will not only give you quick cash on hand but also save you monthly car insurance payments, as well as routine car maintenance and upkeep. 

Senior support website Daily Caring notes that seniors have many transportation options — some can get everywhere they need to by bus or through a family member, while others take advantage of rideshares or senior-specific public transportation options.

4. Shop at secondhand stores.

Seniors can save a great deal of money by purchasing gently-used items at secondhand stores. There are many upper-end consignment stores that allow seniors to purchase high-quality clothes, furniture, appliances, kitchenware, and other household goods at even greater discounts. Be sure to look and see if there is a certain day or time of day where seniors can take advantage of additional discounts. There are even online secondhand options like Thred-Up and Poshmark. 

5. Take advantage of senior deals and discounts.

Many businesses offer seniors special deals and discounts to help make their goods and services more accessible and affordable. People over 65 can get anything from meals to groceries, entertainment to investments, at special rates and discounts. The Senior List provides one of the most comprehensive lists of senior deals and discounts. These deals can help you enjoy a quality of life that is fun and exciting without worrying excessively about costs.

6. Share meals with neighbors and friends.

Senior isolation can be a serious health condition for people over 65, especially those concerned with finances. They may go out less for fear of spending too much money. However, sharing meals with neighbors and friends can relieve both burdens. You’ll share the financial cost of cooking, while also spending quality, social time with loved ones. Even cooking together can be a social occasion. Seniors who share meals two or three times a week often report a social and financial benefit.

Any health issue can be exacerbated by financial stress and strain, which makes seniors particularly at risk. That’s why exploring these free or low-cost activities can help both the mind and body cope with financial hardships. 

If I can be of assistance to you, please feel free to reach out.


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Happy Holidays from My Family to Yours!

(Blooper photo below)

Reach out to me anytime using the form below or via phone at 203.912.4440 or on my website.  Feel free to set up your own home search in the MLS here.
Happy Holidays! 🤗🎉❤️


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When’s the Last Time You Had Your Dryer Vent Cleaned?

Raise your hand if the last time you had your dryer vent cleaned was… never!  I would be raising my hand if it weren’t for the call I finally made last week.  Little did I know I was taking a key step in home fire safety and prevention.

Does your dryer take too long to get a load of towels dry, or even require more than one cycle?  Is there more lint around the lint filter compartment than there used to be?  If you go outside and look at the vent while the dryer is on, are the flaps barely open?  Any of these signs can mean that your dryer vent is long past due for a cleaning!

Firesaft Chimney Service

After seeing excessive loose lint around the lint filter, I began to worry that more lint must be collecting somewhere else behind the scenes. I started thinking this was a fire waiting to happen. Our dryer is upstairs near the bedrooms which made me especially concerned about fire risk. So I called Firesafe Chimney Service to ask if they clean dryer vents, and sure enough, this is one of their standard services. So they came out the next day to take a look.

Tom Butkier, the business owner and licensed servicer for the company was on the job.  Firesafe Chimney ServiceFirst, he checked the hose attachment behind the dryer, and then cleaned the lint from the dryer hose to the wall. He removed a good amount of lint there. Next, he turned the dryer onto the air-fluff setting to send air circulating outward and went to check the vent outside.  He Tom Butkier of Firesafe Chimney Serviceclimbed up with a ladder and took the vent cover off to look inside. To my disbelief, not only was the vent jam-packed with a trash-bag full of lint, there was also an entire old bird’s nest in there!  Clogged Dryer VentIt’s amazing that any air was venting through the system at all!

According to the U.S. Fire Administration,

  • 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.
  • Failure to clean the dryer (34 percent) is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires.
  • More home clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months, peaking in January.

It is recommended by the USFA and FEMA to clean your lint filter after every dryer use and to have your dryer vent ductwork cleaned every year.  Lint Alert Pro

Tom also told me about an excellent wifi-enabled product now available that can alert you via an app on your phone and also send an alert to Firesafe Chimney when your dryer venting is showing signs of being clogged. It can also send alerts for dangers from your washing machine.  This is a key tool for added safety and peace of mind, especially for anyone with rental properties or vacation homes. Simply contact Firesafe Chimney to find out more, then just order it, plug it in, and download the app!

And now that ‘after shot’ I’m sure you’ve been waiting for- Here it is, a spic-and-span dryer duct!Clean Dryer Vent

So, if it’s been more than a year… (or 10!) since you’ve had your dryer ductwork cleaned, and assuming you do laundry, I suggest you wait no longer. Free your dryer ducts from the debris accumulation that’s sure to be stuck in there, and eliminate this fire risk from your home.

Give Tom at Firesafe Chimney a call to clean your dryer vents and your chimney as well, (203) 270-9400 and tell him Linda sent you. You’ll be happy you did! 🙂

Tom Butkier of Firesafe Chimney

For questions about this article, properties, or any real estate needs, feel free to send me a note using the form below, and I will get right back to you.

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Homeowner Use of Social Media: Lifeline or Liability?

Most of us use social media networks like Facebook as a convenient go-to tool for fun, entertainment, communication, sharing, advice and recommendations.  And it’s a great way to get some instant gratification for all of these things.    Buyers Browse Facebook

But most of us also know there can be a dark side to these perks. We’ve all heard about the folks who’ve shared embarassing moments and pictures online that they’ve since regretted.  Once it’s out there on the web, it’s likely to always be out there on the web… somewhere.

Well, if you are a homeowner seeking advice or recommendations for repairs to your home, remember the point above.  If you illustrate a leak in your dining room ceiling in a photograph on the world wide web, remember that it will still be out there when you ultimately decide to sell your home.  Not that there is any harm done here.  However, if you present an important issue with your house online such as a leak, or a mold problem, etc., be sure to disclose it when you sell.   In Connecticut the Department of Consumer Protection requires sellers to complete a residential property disclosure report for potential buyers or pay a penalty of $500 at closing.

Buyers are excited, curious, nervous and saavy people… as well as frequent users of the internet. They might just be browsing your social networks.  If your leaky ceiling issue is disclosed on Facebook, but not on the required property disclosure when you sell, you could heading for trouble.  If you try to conceal an existing issue with your house, there is risk for liability.

So think about what you post online when it comes to your home repairs, and remember what you posted when it’s time to sell your house.  If the problem has been repaired, that’s great, your buyers will be happy to know about it!

Feel free to contact me any time with questions about buying or selling a home!   -Linda

 


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Dust and Pet Allergies? You Better Clean Your HVAC System!

I moved into my house 10 years ago and was wondering if getting all the dust and dirt out of the air ducts right out of the gate would be a good idea.  I always had allergies to dust and animals, and the previous owners had a cat.   After finding cat hair in the refrigerator, I figured there must be plenty in the air ducts!

But the days turned into months…. and 10 years later I’ve been thinking that cleaning my HVAC system is surely well past-due.   Then just as I was about to take action, I heard someone say that duct cleaning can actually loosen dust and make air quality worse.  I wanted to do whatever was likely to keep my surrounding air clean while spending as little money possible.  This article from House Logic had some helpful information that allowed me to be more comfortable with my decision to hold off again.

DUCTS

However, after several lousy nights of interrupted sleep due to clogged sinuses, I had to do something!

Air vent returns Before & After cleaning

Air vent returns Before & After cleaning

So I started by taking a quick look at the air vents and returns and the air filter even though it had been changed two month prior.  I was appauled by what I saw!  Filthy returns and a black air filter! No wonder dust was accumulating daily on every surface!  So I immediately changed the air filter and got on a ladder with my vacuum. What a difference this made!  Without cleaning my air ducts, the surfaces actually stayed clean, the air was cleaner, the furnace surely was running much more efficiently and as you may have expected, I had a great night’s sleep!

Feel free to comment or ask a question below.


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Remember the New Law for Smoke and CO Detectors

If you are in the process of buying or selling real estate, remember that the new law in support of adequate smoke and carbon dioxide detectors went into effect January 1st this year.

CO detector

smoke detector

Sellers will be required to provide an affidavit confirming that the required working detectors have been installed or pay the buyer $250 at closing. Here is a brochure explaining the regulation as well as the exact language of the new law.

Although the attorneys handle the affidavit during the closing process, it is best for the parties to be proactive.  If you are the seller, put the required detectors in place when you put your house on the market.  If you are the buyer, make sure your inspector looks for the detectors and includes his findings and recommendations in his report.  If there are missing detectors, ask that they be installed during your inspection contingency period so that there is no misunderstanding about it as the closing approaches and the attorneys raise the issue.

This way all the necessary detection devices will be in place, and there will be no delay in having a completed affidavit in time for your closing!

-Linda

Contact me any time with your real estate questions and for help with your plans.
203-912-4440, Linda.Raymond@raveis.com