Show Notes: Outdoor Kitchens and More
The kitchen have moved outdoors! If you have outgrown “just grilling” in your yard and are planning a move that to a full outdoor kitchen, we have some simple planning tips you will want to use.
Thank you to our guest:
Frank Lesh, Executive Director, American Society of Home Inspectors: www.homeinspector.org
The State of the Nations Housing 2015
Cambridge, MA – The fledgling U.S. housing recovery lost momentum last year as homeownership rates continued to fall, single-family construction remained near historic lows, and existing home sales cooled, concludes The State of the Nation’s Housing report to be released by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University in a live webcastnext Wednesday, June 24. In contrast, rental markets continued to grow, fueled by another large increase in the number of renter households. However, with rents rising and incomes well below pre-recession levels, the U.S. is also seeing record numbers of cost-burdened renters, including more renter households higher up the income scale.
“Perhaps the most telling indicator of the state of the nation’s housing is the drop in the homeownership rate to just 64.5 percent last year,” says Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “This erases nearly all of the increase from the previous two decades. In fact, the number of homeowners fell for the eighth straight year, and the trend does not appear to be abating.”
The flip side of falling homeownership rates has been exceptionally strong demand for rental housing, with the 2010s on pace to be the strongest decade for renter growth in history. While soaring demand is often attributed to the millennials’ preference to rent, households aged 45–64 in fact accounted for about twice the share of renter growth as households under the age of 35. Similarly, households in the top half of the income distribution, although generally more likely to own, contributed 43 percent of the growth in renters.
The other byproduct of this surge in rental demand is that the national vacancy rate fell to its lowest point in nearly 20 years. Given the limited supply of rental units, rents rose at a 3.2 percent rate last year—twice the pace of overall inflation. “To meet this demand, construction started on more multifamily units in 2014 than in any year since 1989,” says Daniel McCue, a senior research associate at the Joint Center. “And if job growth continues to pick up, we could see even more demand, as young adults increasingly move out of their parents’ homes and into their own apartments.”
Even before the Great Recession, the number of cost-burdened households (those paying more than 30 percent of income for housing) was on the rise. But while the cost-burdened share of homeowners began to recede in 2010 (because some homes were lost to foreclosure, and low interest rates helped other homeowners reduce their monthly costs), the cost-burdened share of renters has held near record highs. In 2013, almost half of all renters had housing cost burdens, including more than a quarter with severe burdens (paying more than 50 percent of income for housing).
But perhaps most troubling, cost burdens are climbing the income ladder, affecting growing shares of not just low-income renters but moderate- and middle-income renters as well. The cost-burdened share of renters with incomes in the $30,000–45,000 range rose to 45 percent between 2003 and 2013, while one in five renters earning $45,000–75,000 are now cost-burdened as well. “While affordability for moderate income renters is hitting some cities and regions harder than others, an acute shortage of affordable housing for lowest-income renters is being felt everywhere,” says Herbert. “Between the record level of rent burdens and the plunging homeownership rate, there is a pressing need to prioritize the nation’s housing challenges in policy debates over the coming year if the country is to make progress toward the national goal of secure, decent, and affordable housing for all.”
What Would You Give Up To Avoid DIY Projects?
A new survey suggests that the DIY boom may be waning as the “Do It for Me” generation steps in.
What if it meant you could get all your home improvement chores done by a competent pro instead of doing them yourself?
If you answer sign me up, you’re hardly alone — even though the legion of popular DIY home bloggers out there would indicate we’re DIYing like crazy. Apparently, 20% of American homeowners would be so grateful to have trustworthy pros do all the work that they’d give up a year’s worth of nooky for the privilege.
Even more shocking: More than half — 54% — would give up social media for a year.
So says a recent survey from Redbeacon.com, a service that helps people find competent, local service professionals to complete jobs around the house.
“We wanted to measure the impact of DIY on today’s consumers,” says Redbeacon CEO Anthony Rodio, who was looking for some insights on the latest trend in home management: DIFM – Do It For Me.
Rodio says he thought of the survey approach when he heard the rumor that female friends were trading certain favors (wink, wink) with their husbands to make sure household projects got done.
“I thought if that’s really going on, this could be an interesting survey,” says Rodio.
Is it ever. Here’s what else the survey’s 1,000 respondents said they’d sacrifice in order to skip out on home improvement:
36% would quit watching their favorite pro sport.
35% would stop dining out.
23% would give up vacation days.12% of those who tried DIY projects said they were swearing off DIY
So what does all this mean for the American can-do spirit?
A shift in cultural demographics. The era of the tackle-anything boomer is on the wane, replaced by a younger, time-strapped generation who’d rather manage a home project than actually pick up a hammer.
Planning Your Outdoor Kitchen
The kitchen have moved outdoors! Here are some tips for planning your perfect open-air kitchen:
Planning is the most important phase before you even consider digging that first shovel of dirt. Treat your new outdoor kitchen just as if you were remodeling your indoor kitchen. Do your homework and think about how you will use the new kitchen and what items are high on your priority list of “must haves” and what you want to invest.
There are a so many “pretty” pictures of outdoor kitchens that lead us to believe we need more and better grills and accessories. Stop looking and ask yourself these questions:
Where will I put it in my backyard?
How much space do I have?
Will that space accommodate the kitchen I want?
What do I want in my kitchen?
What type of grill will I use: natural gas, propane, charcoal?
Do I want a sink for prep and cleanup?
Do I need a refrigerator?
Do I need storage?
Now that you have answers, move on to the serious planning:
Can you run a gas line?
Will your current electrical service accommodate new appliances for an outdoor kitchen?
Do I need a cover for shade?
Do I want seating?
How about adding accessories:
Stovetop-style burners, griddles, roasting spits, sinks, refrigerators, storage space for dishes and cooking gear, low counters for prep work, bar-height counters for guests, stereo systems and more.
Here a some costs for building an outdoor kitchens from the Landscaping Network:
General construction $5,000 to $12,000
Cost and installation of appliances $2,000 to $5,000
Cost of an outdoor kitchen with brick or masonry $400 to $600 per linear foot
Cost of an outdoor kitchen with prefab framework $300 to $500 per linear foot
June is National Safety Month
June is the the perfect time to talk about often overlooked aspects of home safety, including garage and deck safety, as well as chemical presence. As we approach the heart of summer, homeowners should take steps to ensure their homes are safe, and I have few tips to help them do so:
For 70% of homeowners, the garage door is the main entry to the home. It’s not just a parking spot for the car – it’s a front door and major hub of activity in the modern household.
Though the garage is an everyday part of our lives, we often overlook it as a potentially serious safety hazard if not properly maintained. In fact, an estimated 1 in 15 garage doors throughout the US lack the latest safety features or may not be operating properly.
In honor of National Safety Month, I am partnering with LiftMaster – the number one brand of professionally installed garage door openers – as one of their Champions of Safety to share their “Don’t Chance It. Check It.” safety initiative. The initiative raises garage safety awareness and provides vital resources, such as the 3-Step-Safety-Check – a quick and easy test that homeowners can perform to make sure their garage door is safe.
Homeowners can learn more about garage safety, as well as how to perform the 3-Step-Safety-Check at www.liftmaster.com. If your garage fails any of the 3 steps, you should call a LiftMaster certified dealer to help resolve the issue.
Decks are an essential part of the home during the summer months – they are a great place to host a barbecue or just enjoy the warm weather.
There are more than 40 million decks attached to American homes, but if they aren’t structurally sound, they can be very dangerous. They can collapse within just a few seconds, but the good news is that most collapses are preventable.
A safe deck should generally display a few key elements –
Railings should be between 36 to 42 inches high, and vertical rails should also be in place to help prevent objects from falling over the side.
Decks should be fastened to the adjacent building with bolts – nails should never be used.
Finally, the joist systems that support the structure of a deck should be installed with steel supports and ties.
A professional home inspector can help you determine if your deck is safe. And since decks are exposed to the elements year-round, they should be inspected at least once every three years.
Chemicals In The Home
Homeowners are usually good about installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but there are many chemicals and potential hazards within the home that can easily go undetected.
One example is radon gas, which results from the natural breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. Both invisible and odorless, radon gas can develop in any type of home and pose serious health risks.
Professional testing is the only way to know if your home has high radon levels. A professional home inspector can assist you with this important task.
Force Fleas to Flee
If you’ve got pets that play outdoors, fleas can be a problem. When these little pests come calling, the best way to combat them is to attack on three fronts at once. These three steps will keep the fleas at bay.
First, treat your yard wherever fleas hide. Spray fences, trees, bushes and buildings from waist-high down, with a liquid insecticide made for fleas. Second, de-bug Fido or Fluffy with products made for pets, or let the vet do it. Third, spray or bomb the whole house with products for flea control in living quarters. For best results, repeat the process three weeks in a row. And if you can, or if fleas persist, get neighbors together and do the block all at once. Get rid of rats and mice. They carry fleas. Read and follow all product directions.
Finally, here’s a quickie homespun solution: Put a bunch of banana peels in your yard overnight. In the morning, they’ll have hundreds of fleas. Put them in a plastic bag, toss them out, and say goodbye to the bunch. But watch your step.
Parkinson’s Network Mt. Diablo: pnmd.net