Home Safety: How to Protect Your Family at Every Stage of Life


cute baby girl sleeping


We all want to keep our families as safe as possible, but home safety requirements change as your family grows and evolves. From newborns to pets, a variety of different strategies can ensure your home is as safe and accommodating as possible for your family. Here are some simple tips to help keep your family safe through every stage of life.


Getting your home ready for a new baby

Baby-proofing a home is largely about protecting them from their own curiosity. Once a baby learns to crawl, anything in reach is fair game to be grabbed, touched, or chewed on.

  1. Install baby gates to keep certain rooms off-limits. This is especially important near stairs.
  2. Fill unused electrical outlets with plastic plugs. Outlets are like magnets for babies.
  3. Store breakable items out of reach.
  4. Keep small items out of reach as well. Small objects that could be put into mouths are a major choking hazard. A good rule of thumb is if it can fit in an empty toilet paper roll, it is small enough for a baby to choke on.

Home safety for toddlers and elementary-age children

Toddler-proofing is a little different from baby-proofing in that a toddler is usually more resourceful about getting into things they shouldn’t be. Toddlers will climb, open doors and drawers, and generally get themselves into trouble.

  1. Move anything small or breakable up higher now that your child is walking and climbing. You’d be surprised at what they can reach.
  2. If you have a pool, build a fence around it. You’ll want a barrier at least a few feet high to make it harder for your toddler to climb over.
  3. Secure drawers and cabinets with childproof latches.
  4. Place safety locks on windows and doors to prevent them from being opened.
  5. If you don’t have a home security system, install one for added safety. Choosing a system with the right features, like motion sensors and security cameras, can help you know if your curious toddler runs out the door or it can help you keep tabs on things while the babysitter is over.

Safety during the teenage years

As your child grows into their teens, the focus moves further from physical safety and more towards online safety and general home security. Online safety is extremely important with teenagers in the house.

  1. Set clear boundaries and expectations with your teen regarding potentially dangerous situations. These could involve simple subjects like safe driving or complex topics like drinking and drugs.
  2. Keep alcohol, firearms, and any prescription or over-the-counter drugs locked up in a safe place.
  3. Educate your teen about safe internet usage. This includes avoiding malware, being smart on social media, and using privacy settings.

Pet-proofing your home

Pets make great additions to the family, but they come with their own safety needs. In many ways, pet-proofing is similar to baby-proofing. Pet-proofing involves keeping harmful items out of their reach and making sure that they can’t escape the house or yard and run off.

  1. Keep cleaning products, chemicals, and medications in high places or locked where pets can’t stumble upon them.
  2. If your pet likes to chew on (or eat!) household items, make sure that you don’t leave anything lying around. It can be helpful to do a quick walk-through of your home a couple times a day, such as when you leave and return from work.
  3. If you have a home security system, make sure the motion sensors are capable of detecting and ignoring your pets.
  4. If you have a fenced yard, check it for weaknesses or small gaps that a pet could squeeze through.

Getting your home ready for your parents to move in

As our parents get older, it’s not uncommon for them to move in with us. This can help ensure their safety and prevent the loneliness that often comes with old age. It can also present some unique challenges when it comes to home safety.

Depending on your parent’s age and their physical and mental well-being, you may need to make small home improvements for their convenience or physical safety. In general, you’ll want to try to minimize the potential for falls and make sure that help is always within reach.

  1. Install grab bars in the bathrooms near the toilet and shower. These bars can help support a person as they move in and out of the shower or tub, both making this task easier and helping prevent falls. Make sure they can support the weight of the person who’ll be using them.
  2. Walk through your home and check for objects that might make tripping hazards. Throw rugs, children’s toys, and pet toys can all be dangerous for people lacking the eyesight or reflexes to maneuver around them easily.
  3. Set up a medical alert system. This is a wearable device that essentially functions as a panic button—if a person falls or has a medical emergency, they can push the button to get instant access to help.
  4. Learn which foods are hazardous for senior health. As your parents age, their immune system weakens—making them more susceptible to food poisoning and health risks. Prepare meals at home that won’t threaten the health of your aging parents.

Your family grows and changes as time goes by, and so should your home safety plans. If you want to keep up with each of your family members, continually assess their needs. These tips should give you a great starting point towards building a safer home for your family.



Sage Singleton – RISmedia Housecall,  Jul 18 2017

Posted on July 24, 2017 at 3:42 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Home TIPS |

What’s on Home Shoppers’ Wish Lists



A new Realtor.com® survey reveals the top desires of home buyers today: Ranch-style homes, big backyards, and updated kitchens.





More than half of home buyers say they’re on the hunt for a three-bedroom home, and 75 percent want a two-bathroom home as well, according to Realtor.com®’s home buyer survey. The survey also showed a strong demand for townhouses and row homes among younger home shoppers, as 40 percent said they are looking for a townhome or row home to purchase. However, as home buyers age, single-family homes clearly are the top preference.

“The insights from our most recent consumer survey provide a glimpse into what buyers are looking at today,” says Sarah Staley, housing expert for realtor.com®. “While we often think of dream homes as being big and bold, that’s not what we’re hearing from potential buyers today. These insights can help guide potential sellers in deciding which rooms or features to invest in before listing their homes.”

Here’s an overview of some of the top features that emerged on buyers’ wish-lists, according to the survey:


The most-searched attributes at realtor.com®Large backyards, garages, and updated kitchens

These three attributes were popular across all age groups. That said, younger home buyers with young children showed the most desire for finding a large yard and the greatest interest in living near a good school district.

The least-searched features among buyers: a guesthouse, mother-in-law suite, solar panels, and a “man cave.”


The most desired home style: Ranch homes

Forty-two percent of home shoppers say they’re looking for a ranch home, the clear leader. The second most common home style was a contemporary home at 28 percent, followed by Craftsman and Colonial styles.


The favorite room in the home: Kitchens

Eighty percent of home buyers ranked the kitchen as one of their three favorite rooms in a home, followed by master bedroom (49 percent) and living room (42 percent). (However, shoppers over 55 years old preferred garages over living rooms.)


The top goal when searching for a home: Privacy

The majority of home buyers said privacy and having a space that was solely their own was a top goal when in house-hunting mode. Buyers between the ages of 45 and 64 years old tended to value privacy the most, with privacy in the home topping other preferences like stability, family needs, and financial investment among this age group.


What motivates millennial home buyers the most: Family needs

Most millennials surveyed cited life events like an increase in family size, getting married, or moving in with a partner, as what primarily motivated them to find a new home. Home purchasers age 35 to 44 also cited family needs as the top motivation to buy. The majority of this age group also said they wanted to find a better school districts or that changing family circumstances was their motivation to buy. Home buyers over the age of 45, on the other hand, cited a chief motive to move as they were looking to downsize as they plan ahead for retirement.





Posted on July 19, 2017 at 5:07 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Sellers |

What to Look for in a House if You Love to Entertain

These 10 things will smooth the way for bringing guests into your home and ensuring a good time


Feeling overwhelmed by the home-buying process? Don’t get swamped, get focused. Beyond the basics of location, price and condition, what do you really want from your home? In this series, we’re zeroing in on the top items to look for in a house based on your personal passions and lifestyle. Consider adding these 10 items to your home-buying wish list if you love entertaining.

Posted on July 17, 2017 at 9:21 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buyers |

Modifying Your House for Disabled Accessibility Without Compromising Home Value


While daily life can be challenging wheelchairwith a disability, innovations over the last few decades have made a new level of independence possible for
the disabled. Services and products now make it possible for such individuals to attend school, run daily errands, and live in private homes in ever increasing numbers. Being able to live independently also prevents depression, increases lifespans, and can even improve some conditions.

But while this stay at home movement offers many benefits to the disabled and elderly, it is not without its costs.  Extensive modifications and renovations often have to be made to homes to accommodate disabled residents. Some of these renovations are fairly unintrusive (such as intercom and camera systems), but some accommodations require major renovations, such as the installation of chair lifts or elevators. If a homeowner considering such renovations is disabled, any associated costs are often accepted as part of the price of independent living. But what about a scenario in which a disabled individual resides in but doesn’t own a private home? This could be costly for a homeowner in more ways than one.

Disabled friendly renovations to a home can be expensive in a couple of ways. There is the cost of the renovations themselves, which can be an ongoing process. They can limit a home’s functionality and visual appeal for potential buyers, as well. On the other hand, there are a number of cost effective resources and techniques that both allow these renovations to be made and make such a home appealing to both disabled and able-bodied residents. Read on to learn more about increasing a home’s accessibility without sacrificing its value.

What Does Adapting a Home for the Disabled Involve?
Adaptations of this type to private homes vary greatly depending on conditions of disability. And it’s possible that these adaptations may have to change over time, just as disabilities do. The vast majority of disability adaptations that are installed in private homes are considered minor ones. This means that they are relatively inexpensive to install, relatively easy to uninstall, and don’t lessen the value of the home in question. Examples of this type of adaptation include:

  • installing portable ramps
  • lowering stair railings
  • physically rearranging interior and exterior areas for easier access
  • lowering the heights of doorknobs, window latches, and light switches to be accessed by wheelchair users
  • adding or relocating interior and exterior lighting
  • installing cameras, intercom systems, and adapted telephones
  • installing modified latches and lock systems to accommodate those who have difficulty using their hands, such as arthritis sufferers
  • installing lower storage areas in kitchens
  • installing lever faucets in both kitchens and bathrooms
  • installing no slip flooring, grip bars, and shower chairs in bathrooms

These types of changes often cost under $1,000 and generally can be done by amateurs. These alterations also don’t cause issues that can affect home values. Adaptations that are considered major alterations to a home include:

  • installation of elevators
  • installation of chair lifts on stairs
  • installation of ramping floors
  • new plumbing in kitchens and bathrooms, including lower sinks, showers, bathtubs, and higher toilets
  • accessible kitchens
  • adding accessible rooms to house

These types of changes generally cost well over $1,000. Unless homeowners possess various renovation skills, they should be made by professional contractors. And once such changes are made, they generally become a permanent part of the house. If such changes could limit future use by new owners, this could affect a home’s value.

Saving Money and a Home’s Value When Making Adaptations
Many individuals are unaware that federal grants are available for home modifications to assist the elderly and disabled. These modifications are also deductible at tax time. Such monies can certainly help to defray the cost of adaptations, even minor ones.

Sustaining a home’s worth is probably not uppermost in a homeowner’s thoughts when making changes to accommodate a disabled relative, but making intelligent and thoughtful changes when doing so can help to preserve home value. These include:

1. Not making permanent changes that impair or interfere with the house’s basic functioning. In other words, the house should continue to be comfortable and accessible to all who use it, regardless of ability levels.

2. Going with the professionals. Yes, that internet video made dismembering your house look like a snap, but unless you truly have the time and skills needed for major renovations, paying a professional contractor now will save you and future occupants much money and heartbreak later. And given our aging population, a professionally adapted house done now could be much in demand in years to come.



Isaac Christiansen – RIS Media Housecall,  Jul 7 2017 


Posted on July 12, 2017 at 10:49 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Home Design, Sellers |

What Color Should I Paint My Front Door?

Extend a standout greeting with a memorable hue at your home’s entry

Decisions, decisions. For your front door, do you go for classic black or shocking pink, calming blue or stately green? For inspiration on how to make your front door the star of the street, check out the choices below.
Susannah Hutchison, Houzz contributor   July 9, 2017

Posted on July 12, 2017 at 6:23 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Home Design, Sellers |

REALTORS®: Home Staging Cuts Time on Market

Home staging offers a distinct advantage for sellers: a speedy sale.


Sixty-two percent of sellers’ agents believe staging a home cuts down the time it spends on-market, with the majority believing it “greatly” reduces the window, according to the new 2017 Profile of Home Staging from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Seventy-seven percent of buyers’ agents believe staging a home helps buyers envision themselves living in it, and 40 percent believe it prompts buyers who first saw the home online to visit it in person.

2017 Home Staging Report (PRNewsfoto/National Association of Realtors)

Staging can also have a positive effect on home value. Thirty-one percent of buyers’ agents and 29 percent of sellers’ agents believe it adds anywhere from 1 to 5 percent, while 13 percent of buyers’ agents believe 6 to 10 percent and 21 percent of sellers’ agents believe 8 to 10 percent. The cost of staging is often fronted by the seller or sellers’ agent.

Buyers’ agents caution, however, that staging is only beneficial if the home is staged to appeal to general, not specific, preferences. Most buyers’ and sellers’ agents believe the living room is a key space to stage, as well as the kitchen, the master bedroom and the yard. They also believe decluttering, depersonalizing and a deep clean—beyond staging—are essential for a show-ready home.

Thirty-eight percent of sellers’ agents stage all of their listings before placing them on the market, while 14 percent only stage listings that require it. A near-even 37 percent do not stage their listings at all.

“REALTORS® know how important it is for buyers to be able to picture themselves living in a home and, according to NAR’s most recent report, staging a home makes that process much easier for potential buyers,” says NAR President Bill Brown. “While all real estate is local, and many factors play into what a home is worth and how much buyers are willing to pay for it, staging can be the extra step sellers take to help sell their home more quickly and for a higher dollar value.”


2017 Home Staging Report (PRNewsfoto/National Association of Realtors)



Posted on July 10, 2017 at 6:51 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Sellers |

Single Family Homes by Area – SOLD in June 2017


Source:  iTech MLS

   Location # Homes Average Average Average Avg. Days
SOLD Square Ft. Price/SF List Price On Market SP % LP
La Canada 30 3774 $ 635 $ 2,354,730 43 96.62%
Montrose 0  —
La Crescenta 30 1604 $ 569 $ 822,163 44 102.13%
Tujunga  22 1446 $ 436 $ 559,165 41 103.00%
Sunland  29 1446 $ 444 $ 591,735 30 100.55%

Posted on July 5, 2017 at 7:20 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Market Stats |

Decor that Adds Value to Homes


A home’s price is based on many factors that can’t be changed, such as location, square footage, and age. While these fixed factors may seem like an end-all-be-all, you can present your home in other ways that may add perceived value for buyers. A full overhaul or shiny new kitchen are not the only options — choosing the right home decor can go a long way in bringing buyers.




Here’s a look at some top accessories and decor choices that are easy to snag and that just might help your clients reach that perfect selling price.



Ask any designer:  De-cluttering a home is one of the most effective ways to get it off the market and into the hands of a buyer. A cluttered, messy, cramped space can instantly detract potential home buyers.  After all, how can they visualize their family in this new home when all they can picture are piles of junk and countertops filled with toiletries?  Clutter may also send the message that the home does not provide enough room for the buyer’s needs.

Show buyers that your home offers plenty of space for all of their belongings.  External storage, like a pretty chest, a shelving unit, or an armoire is a great way to add a decorative element while allowing more room to store paperwork, movies, linens, desk supplies and other unattractive items that don’t add to the space.  Internal storage, like decorative metal bins or wicker baskets, are perfect for uncluttering bathroom cabinets and closets where buyers may sneak a peek.  Now you can present a more airy feel and cleaner sight lines in the home.


Window treatments

Whether it was in our first college apartment or an old family vacation rental, we’ve all experienced just how uncomfortable it is to be in a space with dusty, weathered, outdated window treatments.  Next to decluttering, window treatments can make a big difference in breathing new life into a home. The right window treatments can highlight and complement the home’s best features — from its natural light to backyard views — and can offer the top selling points of built-in privacy and improved energy efficiency (high on the list of many potential buyers).


Good idea to replace broken and outdated blinds with new blinds, cellular shades or roman shades.  They’re easy to install, and with a wide variety of finishes available, they’re a versatile and functional choice.  Drapes are also a quick fix, especially in living and dining rooms.  They add vertical interest and cohesiveness to a room, showing buyers a refined space.



It’s important to make the home appealing and cozy to visitors, but with a polished look that gives buyers something to aspire to.  Replace any well-loved duvet covers, bath towels, rugs, pillows or throws with fresh ones.  Swap out overstuffed bookcases with carefully placed books, baubles, and a piece of art or two.  Tuck away stacks of old magazines and remotes, and adorn tables with a chic tray and a few coffee table books.


It’s all about introducing fun yet neutral accessories that add to the overall theme of the house without filling the space with too much clutter. Show buyers how their new home could be a showpiece, and it’s sure to add to their perceived value.



Posted on June 26, 2017 at 7:54 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Sellers |

10 Best Ways to Get Organized for a Big Move

Make your next move smooth, short and sweet with these tips for preparing, organizing and packing

Whether you are going across town or across the country, moving an entire household can bring on meltdowns, even among the best of us. But by beginning the planning process as soon as you know you will be moving, you can minimize stress and increase the likelihood that everything will go smoothly on moving day and afterward. Read on for 10 sanity-saving ways to get ready for the big move.

Posted on June 20, 2017 at 7:56 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buying and Selling |

5 Tips for Buyers in a Tight Housing Market




WASHINGTON (May 12, 2017) – When inventory is low, home prices tend to go up. Attempting to purchase a house in this type of market can make the already complex process of buying a home even more overwhelming. To help buyers successfully get through the buying process in a tight inventory market with as little stress and difficulty as possible, the National Association of Realtors® has these five suggestions:



1. Determine and stick to a budget. Before beginning the house hunting process, prospective homebuyers should receive preapproval from one or more lenders to verify the amount of money they are qualified to borrow. Then, after taking into account additional costs of ownership such as taxes, utilities and insurance, buyers should determine a final budget they can comfortably afford. When listings are scarce, bidding wars can drive up prices, so buyers must be prepared to walk away if the asking price surpasses their budget.


2. Identify desired neighborhoods and home wants versus needs. When housing inventory is tight, buyers may need to compromise on what they believe they want from a home. Certain wants, such as stainless appliances or hardwood floors, can be added later. However, if a buyer wants to be in a specific school district or have a decent sized backyard, those cannot be addressed later and must be taken into account during the house hunting process.


3. Be ready to make a decision quickly. In a seller’s market, homes rarely stay on the market long, so when a house that is in their budget and checks off all of their needs come along, buyers should not hesitate. Buyers should be ready to submit an offer quickly, or they may risk missing out on the home altogether.


4. Bid competitively and limit contingencies. It is tempting to submit a low offer as a starting bid, but in a seller’s market buyers need to put forward their highest offer from the very beginning or they are likely to lose out on the home. It is also important to remember that in multiple bidding situations it is not always the highest offer that is most attractive to the seller but the one with the fewest contingencies. Removing restrictions related to the sale of a current home and being flexible with things like the move-in date can make a bid stand out to a seller.


5. Work with a Realtor®. All real estate is local, so it is important to work with an agent who is a Realtor®, a member of the National Association of Realtors®, and who is familiar with the areas and neighborhoods the homebuyers are considering. Realtors® are the most trusted resource for real estate information and have unparalleled knowledge of their communities; they can give buyers the competitive advantage needed in a tight market.



The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Posted on June 12, 2017 at 3:37 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buyers |