Flood season is almost over here in the Pittsburgh area. While we had a rougher year than normal in the Steel City and surrounding areas, our summer floods paled in comparison to the tragic events in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Puerto Rico. We send our most heartfelt thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by these extreme weather events.
Seeing the damage and hearing the heartbreaking stories made me realize…I wouldn’t know what to do if I was faced with the horrendous storm. Or any storm, for that matter. I’m sure I’m not alone, either. Until we’re faced with such adversity, it’s hard to truly prepare for the unknown.
Flooding is a temporary overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry. Flooding may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop. There are many possible causes of floods including heavy rain or snowmelt, coastal storms and storm surge, waterway overflow from being blocked with debris or ice, or overflow of levees, dams, or waste water systems, Flooding can occur slowly over many days or happen very quickly with little or no warning, called flash floods.
Flooding can happen in any U.S. state or territory. It is particularly important to be prepared for flooding if you live in a low-lying area near a body of water, such as near a river, stream, or culvert; along a coast; or downstream from a dam or levee.
Flooding can occur during every season, but some areas of the country are at greater risk at certain times of the year. Coastal areas are at greater risk for flooding during hurricane season (i.e., June to November), while the Midwest is more at risk in the spring and during heavy summer rains. Ice jams occur in the spring in the Northeast and Northwest. Even the deserts of the Southwest are at risk during the late summer monsoon season.
BASIC SAFETY TIPS
Turn Around, Don’t Drown! ®
Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
Do not drive over bridges that are over fast-moving floodwaters. Floodwaters can scour foundation material from around the footings and make the bridge unstable.
Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground.
If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.
Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.
Flood Watch = “Be Aware.” (Conditions are right for flooding to occur in your area.)
Steps to Take
Turn on your TV/radio/phone. Sounds comical, but you will receive the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
Know where to go. You may need to reach higher ground quickly and on foot.
Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.Prepare Your Home
Bring in outdoor furniture and move important indoor items to the highest possible floor. This will help protect them from flood damage.
Disconnect electrical appliances and do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. You could be electrocuted.
If instructed, turn off your gas and electricity at the main switch or valve. This helps prevent fires and explosions.
Flood Warning = “Take Action!” (Flooding is either happening or will happen shortly.)
Steps to Take
Move immediately to higher ground or stay on high ground.
Evacuate if directed.
Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded and watch out for debris. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways.
Do not attempt to drive through areas that are still flooded.
Avoid standing water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.
Back in 1967, the March of the Penguins began. The NHL welcomed in a new team based right here in Pittsburgh, and one of the most storied franchises in hockey was born. The “first win” was inevitable, but the expansion Pens didn’t wait too long to net a victory. On October 13th, 1967, in their second NHL game, the Pens defeated the Blues 3-1.
Check out the Throwback Thursday write-up and box score above!
When the air becomes chilly and the leaves begin to turn, everyone knows it’s pumpkin time in Pittsburgh! While you were having fun during the summer, farmers in the area were tending to their patches to ensure a plentiful crop of pumpkins for you to enjoy this harvest season.
Whether you head east, west, north, or south of Pittsburgh, you will find a farm eager to provide you with the perfect pumpkin and fun visit to the farm. Below is a list of some of the places in our area where you can enjoy fall festivities.
The SpringHouse, Eighty Four
The SpringHouse is a family dairy farm and old-fashioned country store and restaurant in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, just five miles east of Washington, PA on Route 136. Family-recipe eats, old-tyme treats, and farm fresh milk and goodies can be enjoyed year round. Fall on the SpringHouse farm means tractor rides to the Pumpkin Patch and tons of old fashioned fun to go along with your pick of the pumpkin patch. Giant hay bales, baby animals, and a 125-character PumpkinLand are just some of the fun for your memory making experience on our three-generation family farm. For additional information, please visit: www.springhousemarket.com.
Gearhard Farms, Murrysville
Since 2000, Gearhard Farms has offered a corn maze that will knock the husks off your ears. They reconfigure the maze each year to challenge returning visitors. Check out their a-maze-ing designs at: www.gearhardfarms.com.
Hozak Farms, Clinton
Hozak Farms celebrates autumn with pumpkins, hayrides and face painting. While you are there, keep your eye out for an evergreen tree, because later in the year, they also sell Christmas trees. Visit their website at: www.hozakfarms.com.
Kerber’s Dairy, North Huntingdon
Kerber’s hosts Pumpkin Days in October, when visitors can pick pumpkins, enjoy hayrides, and even play a round of mini-golf. Their website is: www.kerbers.com.
Rich Farms, Smithfield
Rich Farms has a “Kids Day at the Farm” running through the end of October, featuring train rides, pumpkin patches, games, and more. For those who dare, “Fright Farm” is back, boasting four different attractions in one location: The Hayride of No Return, Hallow Grounds, Frightmare Mansion, and Terror Maze. For more information, visit their website at: www.richfarms.com and click the “entertainment” tab.
Schramm Farms and Orchards, Jeanette
Fall would not be complete without a trip to Schramm’s, which hosts their Fall Festival in October, providing hayrides and scores of pumpkins to peruse. They even have hybrid white pumpkins. Check out their fall festivities at: www.schrammfarms.com.
Shenot Farm & Market, Wexford
Shenot’s offers hayrides to their 10-acre pumpkin patch. They also have a corn maze for those who like a challenge. For more information on Shenot’s, visit their website at: www.shenotfarm.com.
Simmons Farm, McMurray
Simmons Farm starts their festivities at the end of September, and in addition to hayrides to the pumpkin patch, the farm has a petting zoo, pumpkin carving displays, and a butterfly house. To learn more, visit: www.simmonsfarm.com.
Mold spores can be frustrating to homeowners, renters, and investment property buyers. From potential health issues to property damage, mold is often one of the most overlooked pain points for any property. Here is a list of tips and tricks to help reduce exposure and minimize growth inside your home and property. Some are common sense, some are things we all overlook. Whether you’re sensitive to mold spores and want to protect your health, or you simply want to protect your home or investment, check out the compiled list below!
Avoid outdoor places where mold is likely to be in high concentration.These include shady areas, compost piles, kennels, and piles of leaves, grass, or straw.
Promptly repair and seal leaky pipes and roofs.
Have the yard mowed and raked regularly.
Keep rain gutters clean. Clear leaves and debris from drainage areas around your home and yard.
Store firewood away from the house.
Cleaning your house regularly and properly can help reduce mold. Clean with a commercial anti mold product.
Choose a product containing a mixture of bleach and detergent or make your own anti mold cleaner. Mix 1 tablespoon chlorine bleach and 1 quart of water.
Clean carefully, especially in areas where mold is likely to grow, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements.
Empty refrigerator drip pans and thoroughly clean them with a commercial anti mold product.
Keep garbage cans and trash compactors clean and free of mildew.
Store things carefully. Don’t store newspaper, clothes, and other items in damp areas because they can become moldy. Store only completely clean and dry clothing and shoes. Even small amounts of grime can stimulate mold growth.
Throw away any moldy foods lurking in your refrigerator and cupboards.
Use a fan in the bathroom to remove damp air. If you don’t have a fan, open a window and consider having a fan installed. In bathrooms without windows, open a door when you’re finished, and consider using a dehumidifier.
Use a dehumidifier to dry out a damp basement, but be sure to empty the water from it and clean it regularly. Water left in dehumidifiers allows mold to grow.
Don’t use humidifiers or vaporizers. Putting extra moisture into the air encourages mold growth. If you choose to use these appliances, follow the manufacturer’s instructions about regular cleaning. Even special humidifiers designed to lessen mold growth require regular and thorough cleaning.
Ventilate closed rooms by opening doors and installing fans.
Avoid sleeping in areas of the house that are below ground level.
Don’t put carpeting directly on concrete or damp floors. The carpet may become moldy.
When painting damp areas, choose mold-inhibiting paints. They can be found at most paint stores.
Remove all carpets and wallpaper with visible mold or mildew.
Don’t over-water plants. A few household plants probably will not cause problems if you’re mold-sensitive, but standing water promotes mold growth.
Keep windows sealed tightly. You may need to replace weather stripping on older windows.
Eliminate dark areas. Most mold needs darkness to grow. In the basement or in closets that tend to be damp, install a light on a timer. Add windows or skylights to dark rooms.
(Editor’s Note: These are suggestions and tips gathered from experts. We are not mold experts. Results may vary.)
At DHRE we love working with investors and most of our agents invest in real estate as well, here are our 7 steps for getting started in investing:
Step 1 Build your team:
Having a team of professionals is a vital part to investing in real estate, you should have the following professionals that know about investing in real estate:
Attorney, Realtor, CPA, Lender, Title agent, Contractors.
That is a good start on building a team, visit our home page for a list of our team that we trust to help you get deals done.
Step 2 Get pre-approved or proof of funds:
To purchase real estate you will need to show the seller that you are ready willing and able to purchase, this happens buy working with a lender to get a pre-approval or showing proof of funds if you are buying with cash.
Step 3 Education:
If you choose an investor friendly agent who actually knows what a good investment is they will help educate you however it is always a good idea to self educate, please listen to our podcasts and feel free to join our meetups. You can also visit our store for in-depth educating content from our team of investor friendly agents and staff including Alex Deacon who has over 25 years of knowledge and owns over 100 rentals in the Pittsburgh area.
We also look forward to connecting with you on BiggerPockets
Step 4 Set Goals:
Goal setting is very important in just about any business and investing in real estate is now a business for you, we recommend you set a first year goal along with a 5 year goal to get started. You can have more goals but a 1 and 5 year is a good start, make sure you write these goals down and evaluate the goals on a regular basis. Making changes to your goals as you go is important to keeping your goals realistic and obtainable, share your goals with your loved ones and anyone else who will listen to help you stay on track.
Step 5 Criteria:
You and your agent will sit down and start a criteria for your first purchase, your agent will then set you up on the MLS for a search that does the work for you. You should narrow your list down to your top 5-10 properties and that will be a good start to go look at properties.
Here is a tip, ask your DHRE agent for a list of off market properties only we have access to.
Step 6 Take action:
The difference between people who are successful and the people who aren’t is taking action, if you find a deal that is what you are looking for and is a solid investment take action! Worst case you will learn from the experience of entering into a contract and getting a home inspection, best case you are on your way to building a portfolio and have your first cash flowing property.
Step 7 Keep learning:
While you are on the way to becoming a successful investor you should always keep learning, here are some of our favorite ways to keep learning:
Read/Listen to books and podcasts, attend networking events, take webinars, make friends with likeminded people, attend open showings, collaborate on sites like BiggerPockets and Facebook groups.
Good job on starting to invest in real estate! Contact us with any questions 412-939-SOLD or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are thinking about listing your property for sale here are the 7 steps for a successful listing:
Step 1 Fresh:
Anything you can do to make your home feel fresh is a good idea, decluttering your home of photos & knickknacks is a good place to start followed by a good deep cleaning and maybe a fresh coat of paint to a room that could use a more neutral color. Hiring a company to shampoo any carpets and clean ducts can help as well especially if you have pets, you really want to make your home clean and fresh for the potential buyers who will be visiting.
Step 2 Agent:
Choosing the right agent is very important, most agents will tell you want they think you want to hear to “win” your business but make sure they know the market and are not overpricing the home. This agent should be able to tell you a figure based on the condition and size of your home and be able to tell you what your home has or does not have compared to the comps that have sold, choosing the wrong agent can set you back on the goal to sell your home.
Please visit www.dhrea.com/agents to view a list of our highly trained agents who we know can get the job done.
Step 3 Staging & Pre-inspection :
It doesn’t matter if you live in the home or have moves out already we always recommend a bit of light staging to help the potential buyer envision what it would be like to live in your home, it’s the little things that will set you apart from the competition.
It is never a bad idea to get your home inspected before you list it and using that report to make necessary repairs, you should also make the report and invoices for repairs available for the buyers to see and your agent can add it to the MLS for other agents to download.
Step 4 Pricing:
The number one most important thing in listing your home on the market is pricing it right, the home down the street might have sold for $200k but how does your house really compare. Things like size of the home, finishes and the size and shape of your yard can either add or subtract value from your home. Other things like time of year and average days on market should play a part in where you decide to list the property, overpricing a home is one of the largest pitfalls for a potential seller.
Step 5 Marketing:
Your agent now has your home listed on the market and traffic should be coming, in our market the average new listing should get 3-5 showings each week for the first 3 weeks. Make sure you are making your home available for showings whenever they might pop up and we recommend you don’t set a “24 hour notice” or “no showings on” rules that will impede the traffic coming to view your home, you will need to make sacrifices to give your home the best chance of selling.
Step 6 Offers:
If you get multiple offers that is great! Make sure your sending out a multiple offers notice to all agents with offers in and make sure your agent is posting a multiple offers notice on the MLS with a due time and day to try to get more offers in on the property. If you are just getting a single offer you should always counter the offer to make sure you are getting the best offer the buyer is willing to give and before you reject an offer remember the rule of thumb is the first offer you get will be the best offer you will probably receive.
7 Getting to closing:
Your agent will help you through the process but the most important thing is the home inspection period, hopefully you opted for the pre-inspection so you have a good idea of what will come up on any report. If you didn’t then you will be getting a reply to inspection with random items that need to be addressed, this is a negotiable period so you can counter their request with a smaller list of items just make sure you are working with them to keep the deal moving forward.
If the buyer is using a government financing (FHA, USDA, VA) you will be getting a list of items that need to be addressed in order for the buyer to get their loan, we recommend you take care of them but if you really can’t these can be passed onto the buyer or the buyer will have the chance to back out and keep their earnest money deposit.
At closing show up on time with photo ID and it is always nice to bring extra keys and invoices or warranty info for anything you have in the home.
Contact us if you have any questions about this process or if you are interested in hiring one of our agents to sell your home.
If you are thinking about jumping into the world of home ownership but don’t know what the process will be like here is a quick guide to set expectations:
#1 – Start with the basics:
You will need to decide on how large you want the home to be along with any other features you desire, we recommend coming up with a wants vs needs list. This list should break down the things you want in a home but are not deal breakers if you don’t get them and the things you need in a home that you can’t live without.
#2- Know your budget:
Before you speak to a lender you should have a good idea of how much you would like to pay per month including taxes and insurance, this will help your lender come up with a good amount to start with on your pre-approval.
#3 Choose an agent:
Obviously we hope you will choose one of our highly trained agents to assist you but you should probably have an agent in mind that you want to work with at this point, make sure your agent has experience in the area’s you are looking to buy and has the time to work with your schedule.
To view a list of all our agents visit: https://dhrea.com/agents/
#4 Choose a lender:
Having a knowledgeable lender is very important, we also recommend choosing someone local so you always have somewhere to go if you need to sit face to face with someone. Your agent should be able to teach you the difference between a mortgage broker and a banker, the difference between them could help you narrow it down. Your agent and lender hopefully know each other and will work together to guide you through the process.
#5 Home inspection:
Once you find the perfect home you will need to get a home inspection done on the property, look for someone who has years of experience and has good reviews. I am sure your agent will have a few people you can call as well.
The home inspection is your way of knowing the flaws in the property you are buying and hopefully get those flaws addressed by the seller before closing.
#6 Appraisal & Underwriting:
Your lender will help you order an appraisal on the property to ensure the home is worth what you are purchasing the home for, you will receive a copy of the appraisal before closing so you can be even more confident you are making the right move.
Once the appraisal is complete your lender will put you into final underwriting for the loan and get a final approval.
You have arrived to the end of the transaction, at this point your agent should be walking you through the home one last time to ensure everything is correct. After the final walk you will attend the closing where you will sign the documents to complete your purchase, this should take roughly 45 minutes to complete.
You will now be a home owner!
Please reach out to us if you have any further questions:
It is our mission to build a real estate company that gets the job done, we don’t just hire any agent we hire agents who are motivated to negotiate and sell. Our agents will be trained, developed and lead by Alex Deacon & Ian Hoover who have a combined 30+ years in the business and have sold thousands of properties from single family homes to large commercial buildings.