The Best States for Single Parents

By Susanne Dwyer

Parents raising children solo have unique needs. A recent study by GOBankingRates identifies the states with the most favorable conditions for meeting those needs, including an ideal median income:

  1. New Jersey
    Median Household Income: $72,093
    State Support: Expanded Medicaid, earned-income tax credit and paid family leave program
  1. Rhode Island
    Median Household Income: $56,852
    State Support: Expanded Medicaid, earned-income tax credit and paid family leave program
  1. Michigan
    State Support: Expanded Medicaid and earned-income tax credit
    Bonus: The average grocery cost and home list price in Michigan are among the lowest in the nation.
  1. Washington
    State Support: Expanded Medicaid, earned-income tax credit and paid family leave program (effective 2019)
    Bonus: There is no state income tax in Washington.
  1. Illinois
    State Support: Expanded Medicaid and earned-income tax credit
    Bonus: Illinois has the fourth-lowest employee contribution amount for employer-sponsored family health coverage.

Source: GOBankingRates

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post The Best States for Single Parents appeared first on RISMedia.

From: Consumer News and Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

5 Reasons Why Your HVAC Systems Aren’t Working Right

By Susanne Dwyer

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

The wind is howling outside, and you’re curled up under four blankets. “It’s freezing in here!” you mutter as you push the up button on the thermostat yet again.

At times like this, you know your HVAC system isn’t working right, but you have no idea why. Here’s a little insight into what might be going on, and when it’s time to call an HVAC technician in for a little help.

Clogged Filters
If it seems like you’re turning the heat up, up, up or the air conditioning down, down, down but nothing seems to be happening, a clogged filter could be your culprit. Lack of proper air flow caused by clogged filters is the No. 1 cause of inefficient HVAC systems.

To keep clogged filters from becoming an issue, check your filter once a month and plan on replacing it once every 90 days. If you have pets in your home, you may need to replace the filter a little more often.

Worn Parts
Just like everything else, the parts of your heating system can wear out. Things like belts and motors can become worn and cause your system to work poorly. This problem can be hard to diagnose without a qualified HVAC tech to come in and check things out.

If your system seems like it’s just not working the way it used to, it’s probably time to call in the pros. The upfront cost might seem a little high, but if your system continues to work highly efficiently to heat and cool your home, you’ll save money in the long run.

Leaks in the System
Leaks in your HVAC system can be easy to diagnose but a little harder to fix. Still, it’s great information to give your tech before he gets started.

To diagnose a leak in the system, start with the obvious. Look for liquid coming from anywhere other than the condenser pipe (that’s the part where the water normally leaks from).

Check your filter for ice. Leaking refrigerant will cause your filter to freeze the moisture it catches, turning the filter into a popsicle.

If a pipe is leaking at a junction, a seal could be dry-rotted or corroded. Be sure to pass on the information to your HVAC technician before he or she comes out so he or she can be better prepared to help you.

Electrical Issues
Even if you have a gas or oil-powered HVAC unit, it still has electrical components. If these components are not working correctly, they can cause your system to waste fuel, not work correctly, or not work at all.

The biggest problem seen on the electrical side is with the ignition system. If your unit clicks a lot before it ignites or continues to click without igniting, this is a problem with the electrical igniter.

Age of the Unit
Even with regular maintenance and care, older units are going to start to fail. According to ENERGY STAR, replacing a unit that is 10-15 years old can save you up to 20 percent on your heating and air conditioning costs.

If you are unsure how old your unit is, you can use the serial number to figure out when your unit was made.

Leaks, clogged filters, and the age of your unit can all cause problems with your HVAC unit. Having a qualified technician come out and repair or replace your unit will save you money on your fuel bills and reduce your impact on the environment.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post 5 Reasons Why Your HVAC Systems Aren’t Working Right appeared first on RISMedia.

From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

WalletHub: 10 Best Housing Markets

By Susanne Dwyer

What makes for an attractive housing market? Analysts at WalletHub recently identified several indicators of desirability, using a 100-point scoring system in 300 markets to rank the top 10 in the nation:

  1. Frisco, Texas
  2. McKinney, Texas
  3. Allen, Texas
  4. Cary, N.C.
  5. Richardson, Texas
  6. Seattle, Wash.
  7. Bellevue, Wash.
  8. Carrollton, Texas
  9. Nashville, Tenn.
  10. Denver, Colo.

The indicators applied in the ranking included average days on market, median home price appreciation, the share of homes selling for a gain, and the share of underwater homes.

Five of the top 10 markets are in Texas, which also dominates as the state home to four of the top five in the ranking. No. 1 Frisco boasts the second-lowest home maintenance costs of the 300 markets evaluated, while No. 3 Allen has the third-lowest and No. 4 Cary has the fourth-lowest. No. 6 Seattle is tied for first for the lowest average days on market, while No. 7 Bellevue has the fourth-lowest foreclosure rate.

View the complete ranking and methodology.

Source: WalletHub

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post WalletHub: 10 Best Housing Markets appeared first on RISMedia.

From: Consumer News and Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Research: Gardening Knows No Borders

By Susanne Dwyer

Homeowners the world over get down and dirty in the garden, according to recently released findings by market researcher GfK, with outdoor grooming most common Down Under. Forty-five percent of Australians spend time in the garden daily or weekly—the most of the 17 countries surveyed. Gardening is also popular in China, Mexico, the U.S. and Germany, where one-third or more of those surveyed get out in the yard daily or weekly.

Green-thumbing is a chore in some countries, however, especially in Argentina, Japan, Russia, Spain and South Korea, where most of those surveyed do not garden at all.

Twenty-four percent of survey respondents across all the countries surveyed garden at least once per week, while 7 percent garden “every day” or “most days.” Thirty-six percent of those aged 60 or older garden daily or weekly—on par with the 35 percent of those in their 30s who do the same.

Unsurprisingly, homeowners are twice as likely to garden daily or weekly than renters.

Source: GfK

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Research: Gardening Knows No Borders appeared first on RISMedia.

From: Consumer News and Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893