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Don’t Overlook This Simple Step To Protect Your Furnace

Don't Overlook This Simple Step To Protect Your Furnace

Wichita, KS November 7, 2017 (WICHITAKSREALTY.NEWS)  No one wants to come home or wake up to a furnace that isn’t heating.  One simple preventative maintenance can go extremely far in reducing stress on your furnace and air system.  Routine air filter replacement is the best preventative maintenance homeowners and even business owners can do.

An overly dirty air filter will restrict air flow into your blower and furnace system.  This causes an increase in stress on the system and makes it work harder.  Also, if, your filter is extremely dirty, they have a tendency of bending and then the dirt and other contaminants enter the system. This creates a harder environment for the furnace to run effectively.

So, replacing air filters actually do two things;

  1. They reduce the stress on your system
  2. Allow your system to run more efficiently thereby reducing energy needs

What is the recommended frequency for filter replacement?  It’s better to err on the side of caution here.  Isaac Gould, owner of Another Heating and Air says, “A good rule of thumb to follow is this.  For the cheaper paper filters, they need to be replaced every thirty days, for the higher quality filters, sixty to ninety days, and if you use reusable filters, they should be cleaned every thirty to forty-five days.”  As these are rule of thumb estimates, your specific needs can change due to things such as how frequently you open up your home.  “To properly maintain these systems, routine check-ups are highly recommended, too”, says Isaac.

So if you haven’t replaced your air filter in a while, now is a great time to do it while you’re thinking about it.  It is the easiest thing you can do to help prevent costly repairs.

 

 

 

Sleep Environment Choices for Sleep Improvement

Sleep Environment Choices for Sleep Improvement

Guest Article by Rest Right Mattress

Wichita, KS (WICHITASREALTY.NEWS) Sleep Environment; Sleep is essential for everyone from infants to the elderly, it allows the body to perform necessary functions such as storing memory and forming new cells.  In fact, there are many benefits of getting enough sleep.  The issue is that many Americans simply aren’t getting enough sleep.  Over 68% of respondents in a Consumer Reports survey indicated they struggle just getting to sleep at least once weekly.  There are of course many sleep aids on the market but there are several elements in the bedroom that can be addressed to provide you better sleep.  Factors in the sleep environment that can impact your ability to fall asleep, and stay asleep, include temperature, lighting, quality and material of your mattress, and even the smell in the room.  There are many ways you can improve your sleep environment within these aspects.

Lighting affects your body’s ability to fall asleep and also its ability to stay sleeping.  The body’s circadian rhythms are influenced by light.  Light signals that it is time to be awake and dark indicates that it is time to sleep.  When the light goes off, your body can continue to feel the ramifications of light exposed to you via electronics used prior to bedtime.  To lessen the affect, remove electronics from the bedroom environment and limit use of them in the evening.  Having a sleep partner who is on a different sleep schedule than you can also expose you to bright light as they come or go while you are asleep.  Some adjustable beds have lighting that illuminates the room sufficiently to allow a person to make their way through it, but that is also dim enough that it lessens the impact of the light on the person still sleeping.  If all else fails, try using a sleep mask to keep the light from waking you.

Just as reducing light can assist you in sleeping better, reducing noise or disguising it can as well.  Changing sounds in your sleep environment can wake you as they get louder or become articulated.  If eliminating noises cannot be avoided, disguising disruptive noise using white noise may work.  This works by providing a constant, even toned noise that covers the changing sounds around you.  You can create your own white noise by utilizing a fan, noise machine or even an air purifier that makes a low hum sound.

Creating a relaxing atmosphere in the bedroom is crucial to helping you achieve a higher quality of sleep.  Using ambient lighting and soothing sounds is a great start but employing scents will make the bedroom environment even that much more enjoyable.  The National Sleep Foundation suggests using lavender scents as they promote relaxation.  Ultimately it is your personal preference on scent that matters most.  Candles, oils or even the laundry soap used to wash your bedding can provide the smell you need to relax and enjoy your slumber.  Just like smells, temperature is a personal choice.  Making sure the temperature is comfortable for you will ensure that the bedroom environment is pleasant and conducive to sleep.

Your mattress is a significant part of your sleep environment and as such should be chosen with care.  Not all mattresses are made of the same materials and not all are made with the same level of quality.  Research the many available mattresses, their materials, their sizes and their levels of firmness.  This will help you find the one mattress that will be most comfortable and in turn help you to create an ideal sleep environment for you.

 

Sources:

Sleepfoundation.org

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3027693

Livestrong.com/article/155363-sleep-muscle-recovery

Wellnessmama.com/55821/perfect-sleep-environment

Consumerreports.org/sleep/why-americans-cant-sleep

Tax Reform; Koch Backed Group Creates Ad Campaign Targets NAR And Other Special Interest Groups

Tax Reform Koch Backed Group Creates Ad Campaign Targeted at NAR And Other Special Interest Groups

WASHINGTON, D.C, October 12, 2017 (WICHITAKSREALTY.NEWS)
With its mission to reduce and even remove what they claim as “corporate welfare” from the federal tax code, Koch backed Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce has announced an ad campaign backing tax reform measures in the administration’s current proposal. The move pits the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce against the National Association of Realtors (NAR), who believes that the proposed increase in the standard deduction will reduce the value of the home mortgage deduction and have a negative effect on home purchases and ownership.

The National Association of Realtors opposes the current tax proposal due to how the increase in the standard deduction would reduce the number of homeowners that would benefit from the home mortgage deduction. This, in turn they say, would have a negative effect on housing prices. Current data suggests that roughly only 20 percent of homeowners are in a position to take advantage of the home mortgage deduction. The NAR has consistently announced that this deduction is a large incentive which facilitates home ownership.

The White House has claimed their tax plan would simplify the current tax code and make it easier for many Americans to file their taxes through the increase of the standard deduction and the elimination of itemized state and local taxes.

In their current ad campaign, The Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce doesn’t agree or disagree nor offer any empirical evidence against the claims made by the NAR; only that special interests are standing in the way of tax reform and that special interest influence needs to be removed from the tax code. The ad campaign will be focused on the Washington area, so those outside the beltway won’t be seeing the ad on television.

The Freedom Partners press release and ad can be viewed here.

Article was written for WICHITAKSREALTY.NEWS by Nth Degree Media, LLC and STL Media, LLC

Is Avocado Toast Getting A Bad Rap?

Avocado Toast is Trending

WICHITA, KS:  (Wichta KS Realty News)  Why is is Avocado Toast getting a bad wrap tonight?  Well,  it is like this; Tim Gurner,  an Australian property mogul used Avocado Toast and Coffee as poster children of bad spending habits for millenials.  And it has gone viral.  Twitter #AvocadoToast is trending with many people taken issue with the example.  But let’s step back a second and take a breath before we retweet and share this obvious assault on our beloved avocado toast!

Ok, now take another breath.  And another.  And another.  What is being overlooked is what Mr. Gurner is saying.  To paraphrase, he is using Avocado Toast and Coffee as an example of priorities.  When we are younger, with limited income (relative to when we get older, hopefully), but we choose to spend those dollars in a less than thrifty way, we make affording a home, which should be an equity, more difficult.  And yes, before you start, times are harder after the financial crisis in 2008.  Lending institutions have tightened requirements and incomes haven’t risen alongside the current surge in housing prices.  Nonetheless, you as a possible borrower CAN’T control these issues, but you CAN control your spending.  This is his point, and he is right.  The blow up and viral move surrounding Avocado Toast is picking at words, acting triggered, and doesn’t help anyone unless they are looking for a great snack choice.  YUM.

And just for good measure, #avocadotoast!

Getting In-Home Estimates is Time Well Spent

Getting In Home Estimates is Time Well Spent,Ricks Professional Carpet Cleaning

Rick with Ricks Professional Carpet Cleaning shares his thoughts on getting job estimates for your home.

WICHITA, KS:  (Wichita KS Realty News)  Why do you want to come out to measure and  do in home estimates, can’t it just be done over the phone?  We hear this quite a bit, and it’s worth talking about, really.  When you as a home owner are calling or emailing companies to estimate work, it really is the best practice to have them come out and look over the job.  The reasons are plenty, so here’s the top reasons for taking the time to have us come out;

  • We can truly judge the scope of the work–  This help both of us, we will be better prepared and if special equipment is needed this gives us the opportunity to find out.
  • We can understand better what your expectations are– Really, because your expectation and our meeting/exceeding it versus not attaining it will decide if you are satisfied with the work completed.
  • We can see problems that might not be noticed by the homeowner–  We are professionals, whether it is carpet, tile, granite counter tops, or any other work, as tradesman we should know our stuff, and typically  we can give you some insight about what you want from our professional perspective.
  • You get to meet who will be responsible for doing the work–  Putting a face with a name can make you feel better about having the work done.
  • You will get a better understanding of the process and what to expect–  Sometimes, remodeling and maintenance work at your home can be messy.  If you are made aware of this and to the scope which it might occur, you may be better prepared when it happens.

This is why we think in home estimates are the way to go.  All in all, the benefits outweigh the effort and time to have us come out.  Rick’s Professional Carpet Cleaning only bid jobs this way.  And you will meet me, the owner, Rick.   This is one of the reasons we feel that we get such high online ratings.  For more insight about our work and philosophy you can read more on our blog here.

 

Big Question Concerning Wichita’s Gander Mountain

Wichita's Gander Mountain Future is in flux

WICHITA, KS:  (Wichita KS Realty News)  Wichita’s Gander Mountain location, ownership, and future has become a common topic here around the city, such as, what should be done with the property if it closes?  The bigger question isn’t what should happen to it but who will blink first.  There is big money and big players involved with this one. And as Wichita’s core is in the middle of a rebirth, a lot of attention is being focused on what happens with this location.

There are big players in this game.  Here is who is to watch regarding Wichita’s Gander Mountain Location;

  • Marcus Lemonis, the chairman and CEO of Camping World.  Camping World stepped in and bought assets of Gander Mountain (not inventory, which is why there is still a “Going out of Business” sign above the store).  Of course he wants concessions.  Understandably, he would like to be able to leverage the location for both Gander Mountain and Camping World so he would want space for RV’s and other assets of Camping World, and it has been reported that he would like a reduced lease rate from…
  • Jack DeBoer-  One of Wichita’ pioneering real estate icons, Deboer owns the property on which Gander Mountain sits.  And with the growth in Downtown one would imagine that Mr. Deboer is astute enough to see the value of this asset.  In other words, now probably isn’t the best of times to be arguing for a decrease in rent.
  • The City of Wichita-  With its propensity of getting involved with private projects, think the downtown Hyatt and even Century II, you can be assured that some form of tax consideration or abatement might be thrown on the table for Lemonis to chomp on.

Keep watching, the parts of this one will be moving around pretty fast.

Century II; What’s the City to do

Century II in Wichita KS

WICHITA, KS:  (Wichita KS Realty News)  With its one of  kind space saucer design, Century II arena has been an iconic structure in downtown Wichita for nearly 50 years, it first opened its doors in January of 1969.  You truly can’t think of one with thinking of the other.  But are it’s days numbered?  The city has agreed to a nearly three hundred thousand (let that number sink in…) consulting contract with Arup Advisory Inc. to assess issues such as best use and efficient operations.  As with most things, time will tell, and as an anchor for the performing arts, there is much reason to keep the feel, look, and functionality in place.

Wichita is reinventing itself.  A simple drive down Douglas St will show that.  We have grown past the revamping of Old Town.  An urban renewal is happening, and it has legs this time.  Even with questions swirling about the future of Gander Mountain, the core of the city is growing.  Developers have been doing nice job of blending new architecture with the existing, and it is exciting.

With that being said, changes are coming.  Century II is still an anchor, one which its time is not up.  Will there be changes like a private/public partnership involving the space?  Probably.   But this space still pulls its own weight and its value as a convention center, and the only one of its size for our city, is a very important factor for an urban area to attract business and visitors from outside our city.

New Duplexes Being Built Near Derby

New Duplexes in South Wichita, Derby Schols For Rent

WICHITA, KS:  (Wichita KS Realty News)  The back of brand new duplexes can be seen just south of 63rd Street South and Clifton.  These new 3 bedroom 2 bath duplexes are giving renters an opportunity to lease new properties in an area which hasn’t seen new construction for renters in some time.  The duplexes are brick fronted and the units that back to 63rd St are being privacy fenced.  All of the units appear to feature two car garages.  On the inside, there is slightly over one thousand square feet of living space,  not overly spacious but they do feature higher end finishes such as solid surface counter tops.  In the Derby school system, these rentals have gone up rather quickly on this once vacant land.

Offered for lease by Real Estate Management Group,  it appears small dogs and cats are welcome.  This is not something that tends to be allowed in new properties and may be a strong drawing card for some people with pets looking for a new or newer place to rent.  It is nice to see these built as an alternative to the ongoing apartment build out we are seeing on the far east and west side of Wichita and the downtown renovations and new construction.  A quick review of the management company’s website shows these leasing at $1095 per month.  Contact Real Estate Management Group at 316-833-2806 for more information.

Rise in Mortgage Applications

Mortgage application Wichita KS Realty News

WICHITA, KS:  (Wichita KS Realty News)  A 2.4 percent week over week increase for mortgage applications has been reported in the current Mortgage Bankers Association weekly survey.  Even seasonally adjusted figure are showing an increase, which is a good sign for buyers and sellers alike.  With what feels like a trickle of new listings hitting the market and many people interested in buying, this uptick is welcome news.

Along with the slight increase in week over week mortgage applications, the refinance share of mortgages also increased .3 percent from the previous week to 41.9 percent.  And in what can be seen as the consumer’s belief that rates may continue to rise, there was a 8.2 percent decrease in in the amount ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) in those figures.  With traditional 30 year fixed rate mortgages slightly above 4 percent, the overall affordability of the  interest rate component of buying a home is not keeping potential buyers away.  Many areas are still reporting anemic listings in relation to interested buyers.

At the time of the writing of this article, here are the rates quoted by a couple of our local lenders on their websites;

Capitol Federal 30 year fixed rate mortgage- 4.125 percent*

Credit Union Of America 30 year fixed rate mortgage- 4.246 percent*

* Please visit their sites for the details, limitations, and other restriction on their quoted rates

With spring buying in full swing, Wichita’s residential real estate market is dealing with many of the issues we are seeing in other parts of the country.  Inventories are low and prices are rising.  Homes are going under contract relatively quickly.  As always, time will tell as to the long term health of our real estate market, but in the short term, the trend seems to already be established.  We will be looking into the new home market and will be talking to builders to find out what they are seeing, soon.

 

Wichita Gets First Bike Share Station

Wichita's First Bike Ride Station at The ICT Pop-Up Park in downtown Wichita

First bike share station is in front of the popular ICT Pop-Up Park.

WICHITA, KS (Wichita KS Realty News):  Wichita now has its First Bike Share Station.

Located in front of the ICT Pop Up Park, is a row of new bikes for residents to use.  Popular in many urban cities and seen as a way to ease parking and traffic concerns, these programs allow riders to sign up and use the bikes to move around the city.  The city has taken no time in implementing the program.  Working with Zagster,  this program brings technology to the forefront of need based utilization and makes this type of program even possible.  Utilizing a mobile app, which can be downloaded off of their website, they can identify the user and type of ride they need.  Getting started is easy; First, you need to download the app and register. Secondly, pick the plan that works for you.  A quick review of their mobile app shows they have three payment options;

  1. Student Annual Membership- $20.00 per year.  You get an hour free trip, $2.00 per hour overtime and  $30.00 late charge.  This is valid for students, faculty and staff of eligible universities.  Just enter your school email address when you register to see if your school is currently eligible.
  2. Hourly Hourly Membership- $3.00 per hour and a $30.00 late charge.
  3. Annual Membership- 1 hour free trip, $2.00 per hour overtime and a $30.00 late charge.
    Wichita's Bike Share Station

    New Bikes lined up for their first use in downtown Wichita

Each bike is equipped with a box to type in your code that you get from the mobile app to access a key free the lock and use the bike.

Details of the program and information on the sponsors and how it works can be found on the placard at the station. Many pop up park attendees were checking out the bikes and the program, so I imagine it won’t be long before we see them all over the streets of Wichita.