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Must-Have Tech Amenities Apartment Hunters Want

(NewsUSA) - Today’s Millennial and Gen Z apartment hunters are tech-savvy, smart and safety-conscious. That means they are seeking the best in high-tech features that make their lives easier, safer and more fun, and they are willing to pay more for it. Parks Associates’ research on multifamily property owners shows that a third of residents are willing to pay an additional 15% per month in rent for smart amenities.

Here are five of the top tech amenities renters want:

Keyless Entry

Keyless Entry

Smart locks are among the most-desired apartment amenities, and with good reason. Smart locks allow for keyless entry, and renters never have to fear being locked out because they have lost or forgotten a key. Many renters also prefer smart locks on shared amenity spaces for added security.

 

Know Your Guests

Renters want to know who is at the door, and they can benefit from the more secure, convenient and seamless access experience provided by a smart video intercom access system. Using an app like the myQ® Community app, residents can have access to one-way video calling, two-way video voice communication and a “press to unlock” feature that allows residents to easily unlock entrances with their smartphones.

Access from Afar

Access from Afar

More people are returning to work, and many renters seek a high-tech, safe, option to allow approved visitors remote access to their space when they are away. Users of the myQ® community app can provide access for guests or other trusted visitors, such as cleaners, repair people and dog walkers.

Package Protection Prowess

Package Protection Prowess

As more people than ever shop online, renters want 24/7 access to package pick-up, and a smartphone access management app allows residents to see who’s at the entrance. With the ability to send a time-limited, virtual entry pass, residents can manage deliveries from work or anywhere. An automated notification system alerts residents to a package, and a secure package room ensures that couriers can access the property and complete deliveries without risk of theft by “porch pirates.”

Hands-Free Homecoming

Hands-Free Homecoming

Renters today want less contact with frequently touched surfaces. Smart access control systems that work with voice control allow residents to open doors hands-free. Users of the myQ® Community app can use Siri Voice Control, a feature that is compatible with all LiftMaster Smart Video Intercoms. Residents can ask Siri to unlock doors, from elevators to parking garages, reducing contact with high-touch areas with touch- less entry.

Visit myq.com for more information about the myQ® Community app and other top high-tech amenities that renters want.

 

Must-Know Cleaning Tips for College Students

(NewsUSA) -  

Back to school season is a flurry of activity for college students and their families. From gathering and packing school supplies and dorm essentials to seeing friends and family one last time before heading to campus, it can be a hectic time. For many students, the last thing on their radar is learning what might be a new, and as you’ll see, a critical responsibility – cleaning.
As any college student and parent of a college student knows, germs can spread quickly across campus. However, proper cleaning and hygiene plays a critical role in protecting and maintaining the health and wellness. While data from a recent survey by the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) found nearly all college students recognize having a clean room helps them feel their best, both mentally and physically, nearly 3 in 4 were less than completely prepared to clean on their own once they got to school.

Don’t wait for “Parent’s Weekend” for some instruction on the cleaning front. Here is some important guidance from ACI’s Class of Clean program, which provides concise, step-by-step information and guidance to help college students stay clean, remove that WTF stain and maybe even land a date.

Packing 101: Grab Those Cleaning Essentials

You’ve got your bedding, new notebooks, and chargers, but what about those cleaning supplies? For some students, heading off to college marks the first time they are responsible for chores like cleaning and laundry. For 1 in 5 students, a lack of cleaning supplies and cleaning knowledge prevents them from keeping tidy. Parents – as your child gears up to leave the nest, make sure they have what they need to give their space a clean start, like an all-purpose cleaner and vacuum. Check out the “Move-In checklist” for more tips on cleaning once you’ve arrived on campus.

Packing 101: Grab Those Cleaning Essentials

Avoid an Avalanche of Chores by Cleaning Regularly

Trying to tackle all cleaning tasks at one time, like before a big date, can be time-consuming, exhausting, and stressful. According to ACI’s survey, when it comes to student dating, lack of cleaning and hygiene is like school on Saturday...NO CLASS! In fact, nearly half of college students would be very or somewhat likely to walk out if they saw their date’s room was a mess. Divide your cleaning chores into daily and weekly tasks to make cleaning manageable. Daily tasks could include cleaning up visible messes, vacuuming the floor of your bedroom, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, like doorknobs and light switches.

Avoid an Avalanche of Chores by Cleaning Regularly

Don’t Let Cleaning Be a Source of Tension with Roommates

Everyone wants to get along with their roommate, but a messy room can lead to problems. In fact, 71% of respondents with roommates say they argue over cleaning. When you arrive on campus, establish cleaning responsibilities and decide which chores need to be completed on a daily or weekly basis. Because germs can spread quickly in shared living spaces, if you or your roommate feel ill, increase your cleaning practices to keep germs from spreading. Read ACI’s “Good Roommate Checklist” and “Sick Roommate Guide” to help avoid conflict and keep each other healthy throughout the school year.

Don’t Let Cleaning Be a Source of Tension with Roommates

Tell Your Stains Who’s Boss

Don’t show up to a party with a stain on your shirt because you didn’t know how to wash it properly. If this will be your first time tackling the laundry since moving away from home, have no fear! Pay close attention to the fabric care instructions on your clothing labels and following a simple wash schedule to ensure you know when to wash different types of clothes.

This fall, make sure you are prepared with the cleaning products and resources you need to have a successful and healthy school year. For more information and on- campus cleaning tips, visit https://www.cleaninginstitute.org/classofclean

Tell Your Stains Who’s Boss

 

Create a Space for Chillin’ and Grillin’

(NewsUSA) - It’s outdoor living season and there’s nothing better than kicking back and enjoying some fun in the sun with family and friends. And whether you’re looking to build an open-air space to relax, or the outdoor kitchen of your dreams, natural materials like cypress canI make a bold design statement and withstand the elements.

“A recent report by Wakefield Research says homeowners are spending an average of seven hours per week outside—and they’re spending that time entertaining and grilling,” says Cassie Lewis of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association. “That’s why homeowners—especially Millennials—are investing in warm and welcoming outdoor spaces that are extensions of their indoor rooms. And for homeowners who value the look and feel of Real American Hardwood™ woodwork, cypress is the natural choice because it performs well in hot and humid climates, and is resistant to decay and insects.”

Custom home builder Brett Flanagan, president of Flanagan Development, LLC, based in Sea Island, Georgia, agrees and adds that durability and aesthetics are the two most important factors to consider when selecting building materials for the outdoors.

“Just because a product is durable doesn’t mean it looks pleasing, and just because it’s attractive doesn’t meant it will hold up well outside,” he explains. “And in my experience, cypress is a great choice for outdoor projects because it pairs natural durability with undeniable beauty.”

Flanagan says his team loves to use cypress in structural applications—like beams and columns for porches and pavilions—as well as for more functional projects—such as outdoor kitchens.

“We recently completed an outdoor kitchen for a homeowner who has a lot of cypress throughout their home’s interior,” he said. “The homeowner wanted to add a full outdoor kitchen and had several appliances to incorporate. We were able to blur the lines between indoors and out by designing the space with custom cabinetry wrapped in river-recovered cypress. And because the wood is so good-looking, we finished it with a clear sealer. That’s by far our favorite finish to apply because it protects and preserves the wood, while maintaining its inherent beauty.”

And when it comes to maintenance, Flanagan says real wood like cypress is easier to care for than you may think. “We recommend thoroughly cleaning cypress woodwork once a quarter, and applying a new coat of stain or sealer every other year,” he adds. “If properly maintained, cypress can truly provide a lifetime of service.”

If creating or renovating an outdoor space is part of your summer plans, get inspired at www.cypressinfo.org.

Photo courtesy of Flanagan Development, LLC.

Cypress beams add form and function to outdoor structures, such as pool pavilions and pergolas. Photo courtesy of Flanagan Development, LLC.

Photo courtesy of Flanagan Development, LLC.

Today’s outdoor kitchens are more than just a space to grill. Homeowners are outfitting them with a full set of appliances and custom cabinetry made with durable wood like cypress. Photo courtesy of Flanagan Development, LLC. 

Smart Strategies for Choosing Your First Apartment

(NewsUSA) - Whether you are a recent college graduate, a grad student in a new city or a young professional shifting gears into a new job, finding your first home as an independent adult can seem daunting, but a few key points can put you on the path to your own place.         

Pick a location. If you are in graduate school or have taken a new job, your location may already be predetermined. For those looking to move for a fresh start, mid-sized cities such as Colorado Springs, Boston, Seattle and Milwaukee have been gaining traction among young professionals for their blend of affordable housing, diverse social life and variety of entertainment options.     

Determine wants vs. needs. How much space do you need? Will you have roommates or pets? Think about what suits your lifestyle. Would you like to live in a high-rise building that includes amenities such as a gym, or a pool, or would you like to live in a three-flat apartment that’s on a quiet neighborhood street? Make a checklist of must-haves and nice-to-haves before your start your search.     

Make safety a priority. Being new to a city or area can make you feel vulnerable, which is why knowing what security measures a building uses can go a long way toward feeling safe and comfortable at home.     

Since safety and security start at the front door, check to see what type of entryway system the building has. The latest systems feature intuitive technology that provide residents with the ability to open the door from an app on their smartphone and the ability to visually confirm who’s requesting access, such as a friend, delivery driver or service worker..     

One example of this technology is the award-winning LiftMaster Smart Video Intercom powered by myQ.® With a smart video intercom such as LiftMaster at the property’s entrance, residents can safely unlock the door or gate from the myQ Community app and verify guests’ identities before granting them entry to the building or community from their smartphone. You can rest easy knowing that all visitors who enter your building are logged and accounted for.     

When choosing your apartment, ask about security. It’s as important as asking about parking, pets and plumbing features.     

For more information, visit myq.com/community/resident about keeping your home safe and secure.

Reissue: June 15, 2022

Instead of Moving, Consider Improving Your Home

(NewsUSA) - (NewsUSA) -Right now, moving may be a little challenging as property value has gone up tremendously and the number of homes on the market is low. The next best option is to remodel and expand your home office, home gym, or add a patio for outdoor gatherings.

If you own your home and have a mortgage, a cash-out refinancing option may be an easy way to have the money to tackle your home improvement project. Since interest rates are still quite low now may be a good time to tap into your home's equity. Many homeowners may not realize that cash-out refinancing can help fund these projects. A cash-out refinance is not a second mortgage. It is borrowing against the equity in your home or money you have already paid towards your mortgage. A cash-out refinance will require that you refinance your home most likely at a lower rate. The new loan amount will be slightly more than the remaining balance of your home because it will include the amount of cash you take out for you or your family.

Cash-out refinancing is beneficial because it can increase monthly cash flow and allow you to make good use of the funds you take out, according to Freedom Mortgage, one of the nation's full-service mortgage lending company and a leader in FHA and VA loans according to Inside Mortgage Finance, 2020.

The benefits of cash-out refinancing aren't limited to home improvements. Funds from a cash-out refinancing also can be used to pay for a college education or to consolidate high-interest debts at a lower interest rate. Homeowners can typically borrow up to 80% of the value of their homes without paying the private mortgage insurance (PMI) required by some lending situations. That means if you have more than 20% equity in your home, you can use that equity to get cash now.

To help homeowners explore their options and determine how much cash they can obtain, Freedom Mortgage offers a free cash-out refinancing calculator that enables the user to determine what makes sense and the amount of their new monthly payment.

For more information, visit https://www.freedommortgage.com/cash-out-refinance.

 

Families Discover Advanced Home Purification 2,400x Faster Than HEPA Filtration

(NewsUSA) - Puradigm, a global leader in a new category of product, -- simultaneous air and surface purification -- has launched a residential version of their robust charged particle purification technology. Health-conscious families are taking notice.

In a University of Florida study, Puradigm proved to be more than 2,400x faster than traditional HEPA filtration when eliminating SARS-CoV-2 (COVIDd-19). Extrapolating from this study, a typical HEPA filter could take 40 minutes to remove the number of harmful pathogens from an average cough size. Puradigm purified the same amount of pathogens in less than a second.

In another study in hospital patient rooms, Puradigm was shown to be up to 8x more effective at reducing pathogens than manual cleaning of contaminated surfaces.

A growing number of families have found a way to keep safe in the wake of COVID-19 and mutating coronaviruses with Puradigm's offering of HOME and HOME+ purifiers. By installing Puradigm, they are also investing in their good health by using the technology to reduce mold, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), viruses and bacteria, as well as harmful chemical off-gassing from synthetic household items. Puradigm has been certified as an organic product.

"The Puradigm HOME was an absolute game changer for our family! Our son had suffered for over a decade from environmental irritants, and within 30 minutes of setting up the Puradigm HOME, he felt better. This product really works, and we are so grateful," says Robert M., a Puradigm customer and father of two in Southern California.

Puradigm purification is trusted by major clients around the world to protect their workers and customers, including the Vatican, United Airlines, Lockheed Martin, and the Texas State Capitol building. Dr. Jawad Shah, MD, a neurosurgeon for Insight Surgical Hospital, utilizes Puradigm in his surgical suites and patient rooms and has seen tremendous success in reducing hospital-acquired infections. Puradigm has now made this amazing technology available for home use.

Puradigm technology works by converting air and water vapor into charged particles. These charged particles are distributed throughout the home environment, attacking hard-to-reach pathogens simultaneously in the air and on surfaces, and continuously around the clock. This natural, safe and effective purification process has been proven to work thousands of times faster than conventional air filter systems for easy and complete protection throughout the home.

The Puradigm system is quiet and non-invasive, as well as energy efficient, with an estimated power consumption of less than $0.05 per day. The system is easy to use via in-home touch panel controls or remotely, with options for wall mounting or free-standing installation. Systems are available to suit a range of indoor living spaces, including single-family homes, apartments and garages so families can enjoy peace of mind in any setting.

To celebrate their new residential purification option, Puradigm is currently offering 25% off of its HOME and HOME+ products. Just mention this article with promo code NEWS25 during checkout.

For more information and test results, visit https://www.puradigm.com/product/home/.

Divvy Homes Is on a Mission to Make Homeownership More Accessible

(NewsUSA) - Recent inflationary pressure, challenging financial circumstances and a looming rise in interest rates have made aspiring homeowners across the country feel like the dream of owning their home is slipping away from them. This situation may seem bleak, but San Francisco-based start-up, Divvy Homes offers aspiring homeowners another option to make their dreams a reality.

Divvy Homes is dedicated to making homeownership more accessible to American families. The company has designed a program for would-be homeowners who don't quite qualify for a traditional mortgage because of tighter lender requirements, not quite enough savings or a range of other reasons.

Divvy helps by offering a program that allows customers to build savings with their Divvy payment, boost their credit score through free credit counseling and ultimately position themselves to qualify for a traditional mortgage at the end of their three-year lease. If a customer is ahead of schedule and wants to purchase before their lease ends, they can buy their home from Divvy whenever they are ready.

Here's how it works:

- Qualify. The process starts when buyers complete a five-minute online application. Divvy requires a minimum household income of $2,500 per month and proof of three months of income. It will then run a soft credit check, complete a background check and ask for a government-issued ID. Once approved, the customer receives a home-buying budget and pairs up with a real estate agent to start shopping. Already have an agent? Not a problem. Divvy knows the homefinding process is personal and will work with the agent of the customer's choice.

- Buy. Once the customer finds their dream home, Divvy bids to purchase the property. When a bid is successful, customers can expect a quick closing process so they can get the keys and move in.

- Save. The customer contributes a payment of one to two percent of the home's value at the beginning of the lease. That money is held on behalf of the customer to be used toward a down payment when the customer is ready to purchase the home. In addition to the initial payment, up to 25 percent of each monthly payment goes toward saving for a down payment. It's a plan that combines the flexibility of renting with the benefit of a savings program that prepares customers for the wealth-building power of homeownership when they are ready.

- Own. The potential homeowner builds up to 10 percent of the home's value over their three-year lease, but they can elect to obtain a mortgage and buy the home at any time. Change of heart? Customers can walk away from the arrangement and cash out their savings, net of a relisting fee.

Divvy has a consistent and growing record of creating new homeowners across the country. It has closed more homes in 2021 alone than in the past four years and doubled their market share since the beginning of 2021. Divvy customers have exercised their option to purchase their homes at a rate of nearly 50 percent -- well above the conversion rates of industry competitors.

The Divvy Homes program is currently available in 16 metropolitan areas across the United States: Atlanta, GA; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Ft Lauderdale, FL; Houston, TX; Jacksonville, FL; Memphis, TN; Minneapolis, MN; Miami, FL; Orlando, FL; Phoenix, AZ; San Antonio, TX; St. Louis, MO; and Tampa, FL.

Visit divvyhomes.com for more information.

 

Cleaning Your Home Made Simple

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(NewsUSA) - Good housecleaning has never gone out of style, but it has taken on a new priority in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Whether you are spending more time at home or have returned part-time to in-person work or school, smart, effective cleaning strategies can help keep your home and family safe and healthy.

Safe and simple are key criteria for choosing from among the wide variety of today's home cleaning products. However, consumers also want cleaners that are tough and effective, that don't just eliminate stains and spots, but also kill germs, viruses, and bacteria.

To that point, many people want to make cleaning easier, and that includes one-stop shopping.

One such product, all-n-all, tackles cleaning, stain removal and deodorizing in one single step.

The multipurpose cleanser contains ingredients derived from renewable resources, natural products including hydrogen peroxide and plant derived essential oils. It is designed to deliver a tough cleaning punch throughout the home, and the formula kills 99 percent of germs, bacteria, and viruses on hard, porous/non-porous surfaces when used correctly.

"Added surfactants help to break down those stubborn stains, giving you a one-step cleaning solution for your whole home," says Jason Bailey, president of all-n-all.

To that end, all-n-all is engineered to clean the entire house:

  • Kitchen: all-n-all can help keep countertops and floors germ-free while tackling kitchen appliance cleaning from the sink, refrigerator, to tough stove top grease and grime.
  • Living room: Stain-removal properties can take on challenges such as wine, coffee and pet stains from carpet, clean light switches, remotes, and tables.
  • Bathroom: Remove iron deposits, hard water and calcium deposits from faucets and shower fixtures, clean sinks, bathtubs and countertops in one simple step.
  • Nursery: It's safe and gentle enough to use on children's highchairs, furniture, toys, and game controllers.

All-n-all contains no dyes, phosphates, bleach, chlorine, or sodium lauryl sulfate, and is manufactured in the USA, with no harsh or abrasive chemicals.

Visit Lowes.com for more information and to purchase all-n-all natural cleaner.

Six Inspiring Farmhouse-Style Ideas Using Natural Wood

(NewsUSA) - (NewsUSA)

Farmhouse-style interiors have been popular for the last few years and the look remains as sought after as ever. There are enough iterations of the style (modern, industrial, French, rustic, and more) to suit most tastes. Signature elements include open shelving, shiplap, apron sinks, and a preference for natural, honest materials-stone, metal, and above all wood, new and reclaimed. "When it comes to farm-style decor, most of us think of the kitchen first," says Linda Jovanovich, of the American Hardwood Information Center. "But it can work equally well in bedrooms, living areas, even bathrooms. Incorporating natural hardwood into the design is a great way to achieve the look without going overboard into kitsch." Here are six inspiring uses of the perennial style.

1. A warm contemporary farmhouse kitchen

Photograph by Caitlin Murray

Photograph by Caitlin Murray

A large apron sink in cream-color cast concrete sets up a warm and sophisticated country tone in this Portland, Oregon kitchen by Emerick Architects. The island's black-walnut-slab top is complemented by open shelving and undercounter cabinetry in honey-stained maple, gray quartz counters, stainless-steel appliances, and a handmade ceramic-tile backsplash.

2. Corral-inspired stair railings and balustrades

Photograph by Spacecrafting

Photograph by Spacecrafting

Rift-sawn white oak with a custom whitewash stain forms the handrails and posts of the main staircase in a Stillwater, Minnesota house by Home Design by Annie. An elegant reinterpretation of the traditional wooden-rail fences found throughout rural America, the stair gets a high-tech twist in the form of stainless-steel guard wires.

3. A characterful rustic kitchen

Photograph by Scott DW Smith

Photograph by Scott DW Smith

Charming rusticity is the name of the game in this Hesperus, Colorado kitchen remodel by Veritas Fine Homes. Existing beams and columns and a new oak floor-all in a dark finish-are joined by knotty-alder cabinetry and floating shelves stained a similar color to the island's honey-tone maple butcher-block top.

4. A cool western ranch-style bedroom

Photograph by Rikki Snyder

Photograph by Rikki Snyder

As this bedroom in Sag Harbor, New York designed by Timothy Godbold shows, the classic look of Southwestern ranches-pared down and sun scorched-adapts well to a modern interior. The aesthetic is evoked with minimalist means: simple bone-white accessories set against an expanse of white-oak boards that clad the walls like barn siding. 

5. The industrial-farmhouse look in a loft

Photograph by Manolo Langis

Photograph by Manolo Langis

Reclaimed hardwood is a beautiful, sustainable material that can be used in a farmhouse-style kitchen to create a sense of warmth, age, and texture. In this Santa Monica, California loft conversion, SUBU Design Architecture juxtaposes recycled wood with plumbing pipes and similar machine-age elements that nod to the building's industrial heritage.

6. Open-shelf wet bar with a rural-art vibe

Photograph by Rikki Snyder

Photograph by Rikki Snyder

Timothy Godbold conjures another variant of that farmhouse staple, open shelving, with this wet bar cunningly tucked under the open stairs in a North Haven, New York residence. Stocked neatly with interesting glassware and bottles, the floating slabs of white oak and the gray honed-granite countertop become an art installation in their own right. Visit www.hardwoodinfo.com for more about farmhouse style with American hardwoods.

 

Instead of Moving, Consider Improving Your Home

(NewsUSA) - (NewsUSA) -Right now, moving may be a little challenging as property value has gone up tremendously and the number of homes on the market is low. The next best option is to remodel and expand your home office, home gym, or add a patio for outdoor gatherings.

If you own your home and have a mortgage, a cash-out refinancing option may be an easy way to have the money to tackle your home improvement project. Since interest rates are still quite low now may be a good time to tap into your home's equity. Many homeowners may not realize that cash-out refinancing can help fund these projects. A cash-out refinance is not a second mortgage. It is borrowing against the equity in your home or money you have already paid towards your mortgage. A cash-out refinance will require that you refinance your home most likely at a lower rate. The new loan amount will be slightly more than the remaining balance of your home because it will include the amount of cash you take out for you or your family.

Cash-out refinancing is beneficial because it can increase monthly cash flow and allow you to make good use of the funds you take out, according to Freedom Mortgage, one of the nation's full-service mortgage lending company and a leader in FHA and VA loans according to Inside Mortgage Finance, 2020.

The benefits of cash-out refinancing aren't limited to home improvements. Funds from a cash-out refinancing also can be used to pay for a college education or to consolidate high-interest debts at a lower interest rate. Homeowners can typically borrow up to 80% of the value of their homes without paying the private mortgage insurance (PMI) required by some lending situations. That means if you have more than 20% equity in your home, you can use that equity to get cash now.

To help homeowners explore their options and determine how much cash they can obtain, Freedom Mortgage offers a free cash-out refinancing calculator that enables the user to determine what makes sense and the amount of their new monthly payment.

For more information, visit https://www.freedommortgage.com/cash-out-refinance.

 

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