It’s that time of year in Hawaii; time to make sure you have a Hurricane Survival Kit. Of course this is assuming you are in an area where you won’t have to evacuate and can stay put. We’ll talk about putting together a “Bug Out Bag” in another post.
This batch of goodies is a great way to not only be prepared for a major catastrophe, but also helps during those longer than expected power outages.
Why do they name us after women? Does this wind make my butt look big?
A couple of cases of bottled water are great, but you also need a 5-gallon water keg. Fill it full before the storm and use it first. You can never have too much potable water. If you have a bathtub, fill it with water at the first storm watch notification. Remember, you not only need to drink the stuff, but you also have to flush that toilet!
Spam. It’s what’s for breakfast. And lunch and dinner, too. Well, here in Hawaii we eat a lot of the stuff. Add canned soups and other easy to heat or eat cold foods. I actually ordered supplies from Wise Foods and the meals are really very good. They also come in containers you can take with you to a shelter if you have to Bug Out.
Grab a small camping grill and a few small cylinders of propane. Unless you already have a backyard Man Cave BBQ set up, these are a must. Oh, and don’t fire up anything, charcoal or propane indoors. The idea is to live through the hurricane, not die of stupidity.
Not only do you need full tanks in all your vehicles, but also for the grill and generator, if you have one. Get this stuff ahead of time; don’t wait to sit in line with other procrastinators at the pump at 3 AM once the storm is inevitable. I work at filling it up as soon as I’m down to a half tank. Not only for storm preparedness, but also because we have the worst drivers here on Oahu and either roads get closed due to accidents all the time, or the commute time turns H1 into a parking lot.
Flashlights, camping lanterns and other lighting to keep the scary monsters away from you in the dark.
Buy the old fashioned disposable kind. Yea, the granola eaters will gripe, but what good are rechargeable batteries when you don’t have power?
Can you survive without one? Yes, but it makes things way easier. Pick up a small 2000watt portable generator. They run around $1,000 or so and it’ll power what you need, run quiet and has a very small footprint. Don’t forget to run it outdoors not in the living room. And don’t forget the fuel…
I don't know what it is, but it's got Bacon. So all is well!
These plug into your car’s cigarette lighter or power port as the politically correct call them now, and covert alternating current into direct current. With the right size converter you can run just about anything short term. Just keep the car running. Remember that Fuel thing?
Portable Television and Radio
A small, portable, battery powered TV is a must for keeping your eye on the storm. Of course, if the TV stations are down, make sure you have a radio.
This is one of those things you really need. And I do pay for a landline, even though I use my cell 99.999% of the time. But cells go down in big storms, and I want my family to know I’m ok.
No power, no phone, no way to process credit cards, no service. Everyone takes cash; so make sure you have a stash while the ATM is still working. Because what do ATMs run on? Electricity!
You can get these up to 10 inches, and move a lot of air for a long period of time. It’s enough to keep you cool over night.
Get a stovetop percolator you can use on the grill.
Portable DVD Player
Bored? Pop in a movie to pass the time. These things are designed to run a couple of movies on a single charge. You’ll thank me later.
No DVD Player?
Stock up on some good old-fashioned paperbacks. I loves me my Kindle, but without a way to charge it up it’s not the first round draft choice…
Here are some guidelines for getting the exterior of your home in market-ready condition. Potential buyers are going to see the exterior of your home before they even consider going inside. I have actually driven up to homes listed For Sale with buyers and turned around without even getting out of the car.
Some of these tips are geared for Hawaii Homeowners, but they are appropriate for almost all areas. I didn’t include winterizing for cold weather for obvious reasons. And it’s 90 degrees in the shade today and I’m sweating like a horse.
A Gardeners Delight!
1. Clean the gutters.
Depending on how much foliage you have surrounding your home, gutter cleaning will be necessary a couple of times a year or even monthly. Stuff grows fast here in the tropics. (Tip: Having gutter covers installed does prevent a great deal of maintenance!)
2. Live upcountry Maui or Big Island? Have your chimneys inspected and cleaned.
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and we do have cold nights and even snow here in Hawaii. Before even thinking about building a fire in your wood-burning fireplace as the weather cools down, be sure to have your chimney professionally checked and cleaned if necessary.
3. Seal any cracks and crevices in the home’s exterior envelope.
Various circumstances can cause gaps or cracks around exterior windows, trim, doors, and numerous other locations. If it’s a major problem, call a contractor to take the appropriate course of action. For minor non-structural issues, use the correct caulking or expanding spray foam and do it yourself.
4. Have the Air Conditioning system inspected and tuned.
An annual tune-up will help keep your AC operating at peak efficiency and help prevent major breakdowns.
5. Do a foundation walk-around.
This should only take a minute or two, but could be vitally important. Inspect your home’s foundation to look for any new cracks. If you see anything out of the ordinary, call a pro to address the situation before the problem gets worse.
6. Trim the trees.
See # 1. Whether it’s from storm damage, natural process, tree disease, or critters causing damage, trees do need to be pruned of any troublesome branches on a regular basis. And remember, if your coconut tree drops coconuts on somebody else’s property and a car windshield is broken, guess who pays?
Which one would you like buyers to see? You have three guesses and the first two don't count...
7. Inspect windows and screens.
You want to make sure these are in good shape and your windows are sparkling clean for showing. I’ve heard some agents say remove screens so windows shine even more, but I would want to know if I was buying a house the screens are intact. Hawaii mosquitoes are the size of Labrador Retrievers…
8. Consider adding more insulation.
Even if your home is properly insulated, it’s not a bad idea to take a peak in the attic and other visible locations to make sure cellulose or fiberglass insulation isn’t smashed down or blown away in any places-this significantly reduces its efficiency. Good insulation will help your AC system run more efficiently and save on the electricity bills.
9. Paint unfinished exterior surfaces.
A fresh coat of paint will help your home sell. But don’t use it to hide termite or structural damage; you need to disclose this. Or the Lawyers will come back and bite you…
10. Waterproof decking surfaces.
Exterior wooden decks especially should be treated with a water sealant or seal & stain product at least every couple of years or so. Check into how to properly maintain non-wooden surfaces as well, they can sometimes require treatment too.
11. Lawn care and landscaping tune up.
Remember, a lawn that’s well maintained will help your home sell. Plant new landscaping features and trim back the gnarly ones.
12. Pool cues.
If you have a pool or fountain make sure the lining is not cracked, tiles are not missing and the water is sparkling clean. Nothing says, “Don’t Buy Me” faster than a dirty pool.
13. Repair and seal cracked or loose concrete.
A common problem on driveways, garage floors, and on patios; chipped or cracked concrete should be repaired and sealed before putting your home on the market.Potential buyers are going to notice a driveway that is in disrepair and assume the rest of your home is as well. Remember those first 90 seconds and a good first impression?
I could probably think of a few more but like I said, it’s 90 degrees in the shade today and I am going to go wallow in my pool with just my eyes above water to cool down.
On average, buyers make a decision about your home within the first 90 seconds – that first impression is critical to selling your home. How’s your home’s first impression?
You won’t clean up the yard. The inside is cluttered, smells like wet dog and stale greasy food. You will only allow the home to be shown on Sundays from 2PM-5PM. You won’t let me put my Sentrilock Lockbox on the door so we can keep track of who is showing the property.
Oh, and that wet dog smell? You insist on leaving the dogs in the house when it is being shown.
Agents Advertising: "Needs TLC!"
Oh, you don’t want pictures of the house on the Internet or in the Multiple Listing Service? (MLS)
According to NAR (National Association of Realtors), 90% of potential homebuyers start their search on the Internet before ever even contacting a Realtor. No photos? No problem, no buyers!
Buyers view a clean and organized home as well maintained making it more desirable, and homes in good condition are more likely to get close to their asking price.
Oh, and about that price you want me to put your home on the market for? Nowhere near the reality of what similar homes have sold for.
So Mr. and Mrs. Seller, I’m just going to walk away from this one…