Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Pool Safety Tips

by Carla Hill
Great summer memories are made in the backyard pool. Everyone, no matter their age, can enjoy cooling off and taking a dip.
Swimming is a great way to spend time together as a family and it's a perfect way to beat the heat. Precautions and care should be taken, however, to ensure all parties stay safe.

First, be sure your children (and any adults) know how to swim. Most community recreation centers and YMCA's offer swimming lessons. Parents who are proficient swimmers may even choose to become their children's swimming instructor at home. Making it a fun experience can take the pressure off the child. Everyone can learn how to swim, it just takes time and patience.
In the instance, though, that you have guests or children you can't swim, be sure they stay in the shallow end of the pool or that they wear a lifevest.
Remember, teaching children how to swim doesn't guarantee their safety. Children must be watched at all time when they are in a pool. Drownings and accidents can happen in a matter of minutes. Simply stepping inside to answer a phone call can be enough time for a child to slip into the pool and drown.

If an accident does occur, be sure that whoever is watching the children, be it a sitter or yourself, is trained in CPR. From the Red Cross to the American Heart Association, there are a number of organizations that offer certification classes.
For extra safety during any play-date or party, have an "on-duty" lifeguard at all times. That means at least one adult is in charge of watching the children at any given time. Consider taking shifts and sharing the responsibility with other parents at the gathering.

As a second line of safety, keep your pool area in tip-top shape. Toys should always be picked up, so as not to be a temptation for children. There are also numerous security features on the market. Many homeowners have security covers or fences installed to keep children and pets from entering the pool area. Fences should have gates that latch and are child proof. If you don't have pets that will trip them, alarms are a great way to keep track of who is in the pool area. Perimeter alarms can be set to sound when a subject is within a foot or so of the fence or pool. Motion detectors can be even more sensitive and will let you know when any child has made their way to the backyard.

Next, having a family discussion about pool safety is important. Talk about dangers of pools, what is off-limits and when, and what to do if someone is injured. You may even want to have practice drills. Children should always know how to call 9-1-1 if needed as well. There may come a time when it is the adult that needs help.

As the last stage of safety, be sure that you have the correct amounts of chemicals in your pool. Too much chlorine can injure your eyes and is hard on your body. Too few chemicals and you could have a breeding ground for bacteria. If you lack confidence in your own ability to maintain the pool, be sure to contract with a professional who can come weekly to clean the pool and adjust chemical levels.
The bottom line is accidents happen fast. Be sure to take all the necessary precautions that will make your summer fun ... and cool!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Choosing Your Dream Home

There's a lot to think about when it comes to buying your dream home. Every decision, small to large, is important! Let's look at a list of common issues that buyers face.

1. Neighborhood: Deciding on what neighborhood you desire is tricky. You must consider your wants and needs. They vary by person. Do you have children and need to live within the boundaries of a specific school district? You might want a short commute, a neighborhood with historic homes, or homes that are near night life and restaurants.

2. Square footage: What size of home fits your needs? The average home in the United States is 2,195 square feet. Thirty years ago the average size was just 1,645. The trend has been for larger and larger homes, with special purpose spaces, such as exercise rooms, offices, studies, and media rooms. This trend is now receding.

3. Floorplan: Architectural styles offer a wide range of choices! Open floor plans might appeal to you, with their great flow for entertaining. Or you may have a more traditional aesthetic, preferring cozy rooms. Think about how you live your life and what style best fits your needs.

4. Finishes: There are different grades of homes. Take your kitchen, for example. You can find a wide range of beautiful laminate counters, just as you can find a wide range of beautiful granite ones. These choices dramatically affect price. Think carefully about what you want in your dream home. Do you want stone floors or will ceramic suffice? Are you looking for green building materials, such as zero-voc paint, bamboo floors, and recycled counters?

5. Amenities: Our homes extend past the borders of our property. We live in the parks, shopping, and restaurants that surround us. Be sure to think outside the "box" of your house when you buy.

6. Landscaping: A large yard can mean lots of entertaining potential, but it can also mean a lot of work. Be sure to consider your needs now and down the road when it comes to yard maintenance. Many buyers prefer a townhouse or condo as their "dream home". These options afford buyers with much less responsibility when it comes to upkeep!

Be sure to discuss all of these topics with your real estate agent. They can help you decide on a happy compromise among the long list of choices. They'll also help you know what items on your wish list you can get in your price range. Good luck on your dream home search!

Written by Carla Hill

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


PERFECT HOUSE….You’ve been out looking at homes with your Real Estate Agent for several days. As you walk through the front door of the last house on your list, your mouth falls open.
Finally, you’ve found “The One.” You love the layout, the paint colors and the little half bath by the back door.
You make an offer and close the deal in a couple months. Its not until your all unpacked and things settle down that you discover that the roof leaks, the windows are old and drafty and there are several thousand dollars worth of repairs to be made.
Home buyers, especially first timers, often are caught up looking at the wrong things. They fall in love with the obvious and do not see the important clues that the house might have underlying issues that you do not see.
Six things to consider and do before buying that perfect home:
1. Get a home inspection, they will find things that you do not see.
2. Look at the house at least twice before deciding to purchase.
3. Make sure the HVAC equipment is in good working order
4. Make sure the electrical system is in good working order and no fire hazards.
5. Check for water damaged areas.
6. Have the foundation checked.
Shop around for a good inspector. Make sure he comes prepared for the inspection with all the tools he needs to do the job right. Feel free to be present at the inspection and ask question. A good home inspection can save you thousands in repairs later and could also give you a good bargaining tool.

Janie A Spires, Realtor
Clifford Realtors
6400 E Main St Suite 102
Reynoldsburg Ohio 43068
614-937-9803 cell
614-635-3473 fax