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5 Things Homebuyers Should Consider

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In the market for a new home?

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking for another home that better suits your life, the homebuying process can be intimidating—and expensive. In some areas of the United States, homes are selling for more than $1 million over the asking price.

Other than finding a home that fits your budget, what are some things you should consider before placing a down payment?

1. Using a Realtor

It can be tempting to try keeping costs to a minimum during the homebuying process, and you may think about handling the process without a realtor. But remember, the seller covers the cost of the realtor’s fee. While that may drive up the overall price of the home, this cost will likely be included whether or not you use a realtor.

Especially in competitive housing markets, it can be a real advantage to get the help of a trusted realtor. They can handle price negotiations and use their expertise in analyzing the results of any inspection checks.

When searching for the right realtor, ask family and friends for recommendations. You should also be prepared to interview two or three prospective realtors to make sure you have someone who understands your goals and knows the area in and out.

2. Location

The exact location of your home can have a huge effect on your life. It affects things like your children’s school district, your commute times, the places you eat and shop, and your proximity to family and friends.

For your children’s education, use a service like greatschools.org to see academic ratings, equity standards, and demographics.

For commuting, seeing family, and getting to and from an airport, use Google Maps to see estimated travel times during busy sections of the day. If your commuting and travel will carry significant costs each year, you may want to add that into the overall price of one home versus another.

3. HVAC Systems

The heating, cooling, and fresh air systems in a home can greatly impact the level of comfort in that environment. Since you and your family will be spending years and possibly decades in your home, you want to make sure the HVAC is optimized.

One easy area to look out for during the inspection is clogged air filters. It’s possible for homeowners who have lived in a place for a long time to forget that they need to regularly change them. But when the air filters get dirty, it’s only a matter of time until the HVAC system breaks down or needs to be replaced.

Repairs can cost hundreds of dollars, while a replacement can be several thousand dollars. Before you agree to buy a home, have a trained inspector take a look at the ventilation, heating, air conditioning, and filtration systems to make sure they’re in good working order.

Once you’re in charge of the HVAC systems in your home, consult an Aprilaire Pro to optimize your home environment. And when it comes to replacing filters, it’s recommended to change standard 1-inch filters every 1-3 months and Aprilaire high-efficiency air filters every 6-12 months for peak performance.

4. Age and Style

In most areas, building a new home is difficult due to construction costs and the low availability of open land.

Older homes are a great option for most people, and can offer charm and character that new constructions can’t match. But as the decades add up, repairs and upgrades are increasingly necessary.

Plus, if your home is close to 100 years old or more, it was likely built in a time when building codes were drastically different and layouts were smaller. If it hasn’t been significantly upgraded in the intervening years, you could be on the hook for more costly upgrades.

So, make sure to factor in the cost of any needed renovations to things like electricity, plumbing, and the layout of the home when you’re looking to buy.

5. Number of Bathrooms

Depending on the size of the home and the size of your family, you may want multiple bathrooms and multiple showers or tubs.

Some older homes may have just one bathroom, no matter the size of the house. Or you may be stuck with one shower, which isn’t feasible for most families with multiple children.

If a home is perfect other than the number of bathrooms, ask your realtor what they think of adding more. And get the opinion of a plumber or general contractor on the cost of renovating current bathrooms or adding completely new ones.

 

 

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Home |

Home Trends That Will Likely Stick After the Pandemic

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How has your idea of home changed after the past year and a half living with the COVID-19 pandemic?

While most people have always spent the majority of their time indoors (90%, on average), the pandemic appears to have shifted the location of where that time is spent.

  • Instead of going into an office, some are working from home full-time or part-time.
  • Instead of going to bars and restaurants, some prefer to stay in to make their own food and drinks at home.
  • Instead of going to a gym, some have created their own workout space in a spare room or basement.

Many of these trends popped up at the start of the pandemic when there was no end in sight to social distancing and lockdowns. Now that widespread vaccinations have allowed some areas to start opening up, staying home is often a choice rather than a mandate.

Will all that time spent at home continue?

Home Buyers

The National Association of Realtors® publishes an annual report on key trends and demographics of homebuyers and sellers. The 2021 report reveals the desires of younger homebuyers in the wake of the pandemic, when many are looking to get out of small apartments and into their very own homes.

Millennials—people aged 22-40—make up the largest percentage of homebuyers in the United States. That group, along with older members of the following generation (Gen Z), represent a large portion of working professionals, many of whom are starting families and either starting to save or increasing their savings for retirement.

Home Must-Haves

While home supply is low and prices are high in many areas of the country, for those who can afford the investment, the wish list is long for space and amenities. Here are some examples of what younger homebuyers are looking for:

  • Investment opportunity, and a way to build wealth
  • Dedicated home offices free from other distractions
  • Fully equipped kitchens for those who picked up cooking as a hobby
  • Private outdoor space like a yard for pets or a place for lounging in the sun
  • Home workout space and fitness equipment
  • Play space for children, and enough room for a growing family

Maximizing Home Comfort

All these trends add up to more people spending more of their time at home. Beyond having more square footage to relax in, homebuyers should consider how to make their total home environment as comfortable as it can be.

At Aprilaire, we believe this starts with Healthy Air. So we created the Aprilaire Healthy Air System to provide a blueprint for creating a Healthy Home environment in three key areas: fresh air ventilation, air filtration, and humidity control.

Invest in greater health, virus protection, fewer allergens, more productivity, and better sleep.

Learn More

Here’s why those matter.

When exercising at home, you want to breathe in filtered air and be able to remove the humidity you create during your sweat session. Ideally, the humidity in your home should be between 40% and 60% for maximum health and comfort.

For home cooks, fresh air ventilation is key. The same goes for when you’re cleaning or doing renovations in your home. Proper ventilation lets your home inhale fresh air and exhale stagnant, polluted indoor air.

And when it comes time to sell your home and move on to a place that better suits your needs, keep in mind that Healthy Air can increase your resale value.

When you’ve made the investment in a new home, complete the space of your dreams by talking with an Aprilaire Healthy Air Pro about our Indoor Air Quality solutions to fit your needs.

Healthy Air Is on the Way

Find an Aprilaire professional near you.

Replace Your Furnace

Healthy Home |

Think in Advance: 6 Things to Consider When Planning to Replace Your Furnace

2 minute read

Chances are your HVAC system or furnace isn’t at the top of your mind. But maybe it should be. While many people find themselves faced with unplanned issues, there are lots of ways to be an educated consumer and keep your system running smoothly.

Here are 6 ways to be proactive and know when it’s time to replace your furnace before it goes out unexpectedly.

When to Replace Your Furnace

Old System

While some may last longer than others, a furnace should realistically be replaced every 15-30 years. While it may seem like it’s still working effectively, there can be issues internally that could lead to health hazards attributed to old furnaces such as dry skin, irritated asthma and allergies, or potentially even more serious conditions. It’s important to be aware of your furnace’s age and replace it before any health issues arise.

Strange Noises

If your furnace is making unusual noises during standard operation, there could be something wrong. You should be familiar with the noise it makes as it begins a heating cycle, and maybe you’ll hear a pop or click here and there. But new or troubling noises such as squealing, thumping, banging, or repeated clicking could be cause for concern.

Temperature Fluctuations

One obvious sign of a working furnace is if your home is a consistent, comfortable temperature. If you begin to experience temperature fluctuations throughout your home, that is a sure sign that your furnace needs to be replaced or repaired.

Dirty Furnace Register

Properly placed and sized furnace registers are crucial to an efficient HVAC system. If you notice that yours is dirty, collecting soot, or not filtering properly, that could be indicative of a larger problem. If these problems persist, you should prioritize getting your system checked or replaced.

High Costs

We like to think of energy bills as a furnace’s trusty fortune teller. Over time, your furnace may lose its efficiency and, as a result, your gas bills may skyrocket. You should keep track of your bills and the work you put into your system to assess when you may need to make repairs or replace your furnace.

Furnace Flames

The actual flames inside your furnace could tell you when it’s time for a replacement. A steady blue flame is normal and a sign that your furnace’s combustion is operating normally. If the flame is yellow or orange, this usually indicates incomplete combustion. This is often a sign that your furnace does not have much time left and will need to be replaced almost immediately.

Find A Healthy Air Pro to Replace Your Furnace

It can be hard to decide when to replace your furnace or HVAC system, but it is so important to get ahead of any potential issues that could lead to unexpected costs and more work. If you plan for anything that could arise, you will be in a better position down the road.

Contact an Aprilaire Healthy Air Professional to address any of these issues and find out how we design and build whole-home solutions to help you manage air purity, temperature, humidity, and fresh air supply for your home, no matter the location or environment.

While you’re at it, consider Aprilaire’s Indoor Air Quality solutions for your home and tackle everything at once with your Pro. Find a pro today!

St. Vincent de Paul

AA Homepage Articles | News |

2021: Aprilaire’s Good Neighbor Values

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We take the importance of caring for others to heart at Aprilaire. We believe we have a purpose beyond the individual work we do and that being a successful company also means “Being a Good Neighbor.” It’s one of our core values, and something we put into action each year.

We remain committed to helping our local communities in a number of ways, including financial contributions and volunteering. In the past, we’ve raised funds to provide pack-n-plays to mothers in need, volunteered at local blood drives, and held various donation drives throughout the year.

While our partnership opportunities may look different in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re excited to continue our work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, whose mission statement reads:

“A membership organization, the Society began working in Madison in 1925 with two parish-based groups of members serving their neighbors in need. Today, programs the Society operates in Dane County include a large customer-choice food pantry, a charitable pharmacy, storage for the goods of persons who are homeless, seven thrift stores offering direct charity, housing at Port St. Vincent de Paul and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton House, and several other forms of assistance for people struggling with poverty.”

We’ve been working with St. Vincent de Paul – Madison since 2014, giving us a number of incredible opportunities to give back and live out our mission of being Good Neighbors.

We believe the work they’re doing to provide assistance for our community is more important than ever right now, which is why it’s our honor to be a 2021 Platinum Sponsor for St. Vincent de Paul’s 6th Annual Care Café fundraising breakfast on May, 5th 2021. The theme is “Love Made Visible.”

They’re going virtual this year, which means they have unlimited capacity to reach their goal of $140,000. If you live in Dane County, we encourage you to attend the virtual event and support our neighbors in need through your contributions to the food pantry, free pharmacy, and housing programs.

 Click here for more information on St. Vincent de Paul – Madison to see how you can get involved.

Or find a charity in your area that you may be able to connect with to make an impact.

AA Homepage Articles | News |

Experiencing the Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

Before the Fight For Air Climb

Entering the US Bank Center for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb was a rush of energy.

This seemed less like an arduous trek up 1,000 stairs and more of an indoor festival. There were volunteers ready to greet you and pump you up for the ensuing climb and people from different companies sitting at tables ready to hand out souvenirs.

They were probably also there to distract you after you just got done instinctively looking up toward the top of the 47-story US Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee becoming a little uneasy at the prospect of your journey upward.

Before you made your climb, you gathered as a team and took several escalators down to the basement level before getting warmed up with a quick aerobic routine. Then you took a long and winding tunnel where you greeted by more volunteers who were cheering you on. It was hard not to feel inspired and excited.

During the Fight For Air Climb

One-by-one people took off up toward the top of the US Bank Center to begin their Fight For Air Climb. I, like most, started off confidently and quickly. I took the first six flights easily, but then by flight eight, I began to fight for air. I now understand why they title this climb just that. My mind and my body were at odds. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to continue at the same pace to get it over with as quickly as possible or to slow down and feel better. I went with the former.

Everyone in the stairwell was trudging onward with the same dilemma. We all were gasping for air as we kept pushing up each step and each flight toward the top of the Fight For Air Climb. At several points, I wondered if I was actually making any progress.

Every 10 flights there was a group of volunteers handing out cups of water and words of encouragement. Both were sorely needed to help push me along.

With each passing flight, I kept a tally of how many flights I had left. Twenty flights down, 27 more flights to go; 30 flights down, 17 flights to go; Ok, 40 flights down, 7 to go. By the time I got to the 40th floor, I knew I could make the last push to make it to the top of my Fight For Air Climb journey.

After the Fight For Air Climb

Eventually, I reached the top after 9 minutes and 31 seconds. At the top of the stairwell, I was met by volunteers who were cheering me on and by other climbers who were also catching their breath and taking in the picturesque views of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan afforded to us by the tallest building in Wisconsin.

As I grabbed a water and walked around soaking in both the views of the city and my accomplishment, it was really cool to watch teams taking pictures together or greeting other climbers with high-fives and smiles. There was a certain camaraderie found in a common struggle.

Despite the lingering soreness, I cannot wait for next year’s climb. No matter if I beat my time from this year or not, it’s about fighting for air together and helping those impacted with lung disease.

To join an upcoming climb in a city near you, visit www.lung.org/aprilaire.

flights

AA Homepage Articles | News |

Experts Say Flights Can Resume, But Bring Increased Risks

2 minute read

Air quality experts say that it is safe to resume flying, but travelers must take advanced precautions before traveling like taking shorter flights when possible, wearing masks, and social distancing. 

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Joseph Allen, an assistant professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, makes the case that airplanes do not make you sick. In fact, airplanes have comparable levels of air filtration and fresh air ventilation to a health care facility

Flights May Be Less Comfortable With Recommendations

He argues that airlines should continue disinfecting high-touch areas such as armrests and tray tables, stop in-flight food service, mandate mask-wearing, and ask patrons to keep their above ventilation fan on throughout the flight. While these adjustments make flying less enjoyable, they can help reduce in-flight virus transmission. Masks are currently required on public transportation. 

Allen is not the only one saying it is safe to resume flying. 

‘Safer Than Eating At A Restaurant’

Linsey Marr, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech, in a CNN article writes, “When HEPA ventilation systems are running on a plane and everyone is masked, the risk of Covid-19 is greatly reduced and makes air travel on a big jet safer than eating at a restaurant.”

Activities Create Biggest Risks

She and Allen argue that the biggest risks in airline travel stem from activities like the pre-flight boarding process or when a flight is delayed and people are stuck on the plane. Marr, who has been wearing an air quality monitor when she travels, said CO2 levels are elevated during these aforementioned activities and are indicative of a lack of fresh air ventilation. 

Marr told CNN that “A CO2 (carbon dioxide) level of 3,000 ppm means that for every breath I take in, about 7% of the air is other people’s exhaled breath…like drinking someone else’s backwash!”

The airport also presents other problems for travelers.

Allen suggests airports create more touchless experiences, upgrade their HVAC system, and require masks. Some updates have already been implemented in some airports or will be implemented in the future. 

Other experts suggest carrying your own personal hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and sticking to shorter flights

Even though there are risks to flying, Marr and Allen say you are clear for takeoff this summer