Cynthia Owens - Five College REALTORS ®



Posted by Cynthia Owens on 10/15/2020

If security in your home is a concern, you can consider stepping things up a bit with steel entry doors. While you may think of steel doors as something that you’d find in an industrial type building, they’re not just for businesses anymore. Many homeowners are turning to steel entry doors in order to capitalize on their many benefits. 


You’d be surprised that many new construction homes can be found with steel entry doors, and the prices aren't bad. A basic door will run somewhere between $100-$150. You’ll still need to buy the installation hardware for the doors, but these prices are fairly reasonable. 


Benefits Of Steel Doors


There are many benefits to steel entry doors. The first of these perks is that they are incredibly secure. Break-ins generally occur either on lower level windows or through a front door. Thieves have a slim chance of getting into a steel door that has been properly installed. 

The next benefit of steel doors is that they’re very durable. Steel is known to be quite a weather resistant material. These doors are also energy efficient and help you to keep the cost of your utility bills down. 


Fire Resistant


Be careful when choosing your steel doors. Not all steel doors are fire resistant. A fire-resistant door can block high levels of heat and flames for about 20 minutes. You can check on your specific door of choice for how extensive the flame retardant material is and how long it will last. 


Maintenance 


Steel doors don’t require much maintenance. Because of their resistance to rust, cracking, and bending, these doors will last longer and keep your home looking sharp for longer periods of time. Steel doors are especially favorable if you live in an environment with high amounts of precipitation and humidity. The moisture won’t affect the condition of the door. If the doors happen to need any repairs, know that steel doors are just as easy to repair as a standard wooden door is. Your steel door will rarely require a replacement. 


Painting


When you think of a steel door, you may picture a cold, metal door that’s quite unwelcoming. This couldn’t be further from the truth! You’re able to paint these doors any color that you’d like. First, you’ll need to remove all of the hardware from the door. Then, you’ll need to sand and prime the door. Next, you can move into the painting phase. You can use many different methods to paint a steel door including brushing, rolling, or spraying the door.




Tags: Home Security   doors  
Categories: Home Security   Home Design  


Posted by Cynthia Owens on 12/20/2018

While there's a lot to be said for the value of high-tech home security systems, there are many basic, inexpensive things you can do to safeguard your home from intruders. Keeping your home secure begins with awareness, good communication, and positive habits.

Where does good communication come into play? One example is the need to have a trusted neighbor keep an eye on your home when you're out of town or away on vacation. Even if you've had the foresight to suspend your mail and newspaper deliveries during your absence, things don't always work out as planned!

When you factor in the possibility of human error, unplanned deliveries, or even power outages, it's a good idea to have a friend, relative, or neighbor check on your house when you're gone. Unexpected deliveries could run the gamut from free phonebooks left on your front steps to promotional literature placed on your doorknob or stuffed into your mailbox. And even if you don't subscribe to a newspaper, free sample issues may occasionally be left in your driveway -- often with an invitation to become a subscriber. An alert neighbor can clear away any telltale signs that no one's home. They can also notify you or the local authorities of any suspicious activity on your property.

A good rule of thumb when you're away for more than a few hours is to make your house look as if it's occupied. Even old-school techniques, like hooking up a couple indoor lights to automatic timers, can create the impression someone's home. If you happen to have outside lights on a timer or motion-detector floodlights, then that can help deter nighttime trespassers, too. Solar-powered lights which turn on when the sun goes down are another option.

In spite of good habits, like locking doors and staying in touch with neighbors, windows left open can be an overlooked security breach -- especially if you didn't leave them open, yourself! This can and often does happen in unexpected ways, like when your houseckeeper decides your home smells a little stale and needs an infusion of outside air to freshen things up! Although their intent is typically helpful and good, they may be solving one problem while creating another.

The same thing could happen if you have painters or other contractors doing interior work at your home. You can address that problem by reminding them to close windows when they're done for the day. You can also leave a note to that effect. Just in case they happen to be on the forgetful side, though, it's always a good idea to follow up your reminders with your own security checks! Since other people (especially those who don't live in your house) may not be nearly as security conscious as you, it's always better to err on the side of caution!





Posted by Cynthia Owens on 1/11/2018

Keeping your home secure is a lot like maintaining a healthy lifestyle: If you prioritize it and develop good daily habits, then your chances of staying safe and healthy are vastly improved.

While there's no ironclad security strategy that's absolutely fail-proof -- especially when you factor in the element of human error -- the following security tips will help make your home a safer and more secure place for you and your family.

  1. Awareness is the key. Don't be lulled into a false sense of complacency. Although your sense of well-being depends, in part, on having an inner feeling of safety and security, it's still necessary to lock your doors, be aware of your surroundings, exercise a moderate amount of caution, and follow a few commonsense guidelines. Even if you're fortunate enough to live in a "safe neighborhood", there's still an element of unpredictability that should always be kept in mind. In reality, it's not that unusual for a nice neighborhood to be targeted by burglars. Granted, it doesn't happen very often, but it only takes one incident for your belongings (and peace of mind) to be stolen by intruders. As the old expression goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
  2. A barking dog can often be an effective burglar deterrent. Since most dogs have a natural inclination to bark at strangers and intrusive noises, having a dog in the family can be a valuable part of your overall home security program. Any kind of effective alarm system, which can include a barking dog, will instantly make your home a less desirable target for burglars, con artists, and other miscreants.
  3. Flood lights also help deter residential crime. While burglars may not necessarily have a clear-cut plan for breaking into your house, garage, or storage shed, you can be sure they do not want to be noticed, observed, or paid attention to in any way. Motion-activated flood lights or other types of alarms can be especially effective, since these devices trigger an immediate response to an intruder's presence.
  4. Home security systems are worth researching. People come up with a lot of excuses for dismissing the idea of installing a home security system. Some say they can't afford it, while others claim they're hopeless technophobes, and couldn't possibly figure out how to program or operate a security system. At the very least, it's a good idea to educate yourself about the available options, prices, and technical support. Once you've taken the first step, proceeding forward will feel a lot easier and less intimidating.
One thing you don't want to be in the position of doing is "closing the stable door after the horse has bolted." While it would be a step in the wrong direction to put yourself and your family in a constant state of high alert, if you put a few basic safeguards into place, you'll be paving the way for a safer home and a more secure environment.





Posted by Cynthia Owens on 3/30/2017

home security cameraIt's a good thing if you feel safe in your neighborhood. It shows that you trust your neighbors and that you have faith in the safety of your family. However, many of us grow so comfortable that we overlook simple security measures that will only improve the safety of your property and your family. Each year in the U.S. there are millions of property crimes carried out. Burglary accounts for a large amount of these crimes. People often say that if a burglar wants to gain entry to your home they'll find a way and determine not to take security measures seriously. If you're of the "it couldn't happen to me" mentality, read no further. But if you want to learn some basic tools and practices that will keep you and your family safer, read on.

Be the burglar

Not literally. But pretend to be. Go through the exterior of your house and think like a burglar. Check your windows. Especially the low-hanging ones. Are all of your locks secured? Do you make it a point to lock them nightly?   Test your locks.  Not all locks are created equal. Doorknob locks are often easily picked or forced open. Deadbolts are harder. However, none of these things matter if the integrity of your door is compromised. French doors, for example, are particularly easy to force open. If you're worried about your locks, consult a locksmith that can help you choose better options. Look inside your home from the sidewalk. Are there valuables within view from the street? Do you have a tendency to leave your garage door open, exposing expensive items like lawnmowers, grills, or even motorcycles? Burglars don't just target homes. Don't end your search with the house. Many items are stolen from sheds, backyards, and even off of porches, which happened to me as a child when a bicycle was taken from our porch in the night.

Tighten up security

The number of small steps we can take to improve security and mitigate risk of burglary is boundless. Here are some security tips that should be on every checklist for home safety:
  • Use a security mailbox and don't leave mail with personal information exposed in front of your home
  • Install a fireproof safe in your home. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. Keep your important documents in the safe, and better yet, keep them backed up in a secure file on the cloud like Google Drive or Dropbox.
  • Use motion light detectors. When calibrated correctly they won't go off for every car or cat that happens by and they're a great theft deterrent.
  • Tell your neighbors if you're going out of town, and have someone take in your mail/newspapers for you. Keep a kitchen light on and a car parked in the driveway if possible.
  • Don't leave spare keys under the rug or anywhere obvious. Also, keep tabs on all of the keys to your home. Know who has a copy and check up on the spare keys on occasion.




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Posted by Cynthia Owens on 3/9/2017

Trying to successfully manage the many demands of a growing family, a high maintenance home, and a stressful career is no easy task, but most of us seem to get the hang of it after a while! With so many priorities to handle, though, things don't always work out as planned. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to help smooth out the rough spots and avoid some of the pitfalls of modern life. Here are a few miscellaneous ideas to help you accomplish that.

  1. Be security conscious. Even if you live in what you consider to be a safe neighborhood, all it takes is one incident to rob you of your sense of security -- not to mention any valuables that might be lying around. While there are a handful of small, close-knit communities out there where folks feel comfortable leaving their doors unlocked, it's still better to exercise a little caution. Unless you can depend on your neighbors to keep a close eye on your house when you're not at home, locking doors and windows before you leave is a smart safety practice.
  2. Get at least three estimates. Whether you're planning on remodeling your kitchen, repaving your driveway, or having the exterior of your house painted, you can often save thousands of dollars by getting and comparing three written quotes. When you talk to contractors and other service providers, you'll also get a sense of how easy or difficult they are to work with. If they're impatient with your questions or slow to respond to emails and phone messages, then you're probably seeing a preview of what they'd be like on the job.
  3. Get a dehumidifier for your basement. If your basement is dry and you don't have any drainage issues outside your house, then this suggestion may not apply to you. However, if your basement humidity level is approaching 60%, a dehumidifier may be necessary to help prevent mold growth, indoor air quality problems, and other issues. (Monitoring tip: Inexpensive humidity gauges are available at hardware stores and online.) Preventing mold growth before it takes hold can potentially save you thousands of dollars in mold remediation costs. If your basement is wet, musty smelling, or has visible signs of mold or mildew, consulting with a certified mold assessor or a basement waterproofing company can help you identify the extent of the problem, as well as what to do about it.
  4. Research dog breeds before choosing a family pet. All dog breeds have different characteristics, personality traits, exercise needs, and training requirements. Unfortunately, some families choose a puppy based on how cute it is, rather than how well it will fit into their lifestyle. Dogs generally need a lot of attention, especially when they're being housebroken and acclimated to daily routines. To help ensure a successful relationship with your new dog, it's important that every member of the family understand the responsibility that comes with pet ownership: It's a labor of love and a long-term commitment.
Whether you're a first-time home buyer or a seasoned property owner, there's always something new learn. Stay tuned to this blog for more homeowner tips, helpful reminders, and money saving strategies!







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