Category Archives: Bedford

Gifts for the new home owner | Bedford Real Estate

If someone on your list has just purchased their first home, there are all kinds of gifts that can make being a homeowner easier. Find the perfect gift for that new homeowner in our gift guide here!

A Shop Vacuum with Features Galore

A Shop Vacuum with Features Galore

Our editors here at TFH are great, but they can be messy. And I should know—I’m in charge of keeping our shop and studio clean. I run a wet/dry vacuum nearly every day, so I was pretty excited about the new 14-gallon Shop-Vac we just got. It has a flexible, crush-resistant hose and a hose storage system that actually works. Its 20-ft. cord is plenty long, and it has a hose accessory storage system that, again, actually works.The canister is clear, so you know when it needs emptying, and the kickstand holds the lid up, so you can change the filter without dragging dust all over the place. But I love the wheels best of all. This thing glides across the floor like a curling stone across the ice.

This new Shop-Vac (model No. 8891411) is available at Lowe’s for $199.

Josh Risberg, Lead Carpenter

It's a Utility Light, Lantern, Flashlight and More...

It’s a Utility Light, Lantern, Flashlight and More…

Here’s another product we received that initially elicited a shoulder shrug, this time from our senior editor, Travis Larson. His reaction changed once he started playing with it: ‘Hey, it can work as a flashlight or a lantern. Cool, it’s rechargeable and the cord stays attached so it doesn’t get lost. Wow, you can charge your phone with this thing. Neat, it has a magnet on the bottom as well as a hook.’ Needless to say, he was impressed.You can buy the Cat brand CT6515 Rechargeable Utility Light/Lantern for about $45 at some home centers, hardware stores and online retailers. You can also find them at truck stops (truckers love them). Turn on that light bulb thought bubble of yours with other work light solutions.

A Toilet Plunger to Love

A Toilet Plunger to Love

The basic plunger design hasn’t changed much in 100 years, but that’s not because there wasn’t room for improvement. Witness the Korky Beehive Max Toilet Plunger.First of all, the pliable rubber creates a better seal, so it clears clogs with no splash-back. Plus, more and more toilets have keyhole-shape rather than round discharge openings. Unlike conventional plungers, the Beehive reshapes itself to those keyholes, which also improves the seal.

Unlike many plungers, the water drains instantly because there’s no recess or lip to hold water or worse. The little T-handle at the top is a nice touch too. All of that plunging bliss will set you back only 14 bucks at The Home Depot.

Or if you’re toilet is running, find the fix for it.

One for All

One for All

Wandered down the caulking aisle in a home center lately? There are a dozen different construction adhesives to choose from: dedicated adhesives for masonry, wood, foam, decking, paneling, marble, mirrors, drywall—you name it. Multipurpose adhesives are available, which is great, but wouldn’t an all- purpose adhesive be even better?That’s exactly what Gorilla Construction Adhesive is: all-purpose and all-surface. It takes hold in as little as 30 seconds and works indoors and out. Buy a 9-oz. tube of Gorilla Construction Adhesive for $8 at a home center or hardware store.

Check out construction adhesives that won’t drool.

Traveling Doorbell

Traveling Doorbell

The Honeywell Wireless Doorbell Kit has six high-quality chimes to choose from, the volume is adjustable, and more than one doorbell and button can be used together. But what we love most is the fact that it can be lifted from the wall mount and brought with you into your shop, out in the backyard or wherever. So if you’re waiting on a pizza delivery or the cable guy, you don’t have to stay chained up inside the house. It has a 225-ft. range and a flashing icon to alert you in case you’re working with headphones.Learn to replace an exterior door if you want to upgrade your home.

Smarter Smart Bulbs

Smarter Smart Bulbs

The new line of LED lightbulbs from GE, simply called ‘C,’ can be directly controlled with a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth ? no central hub necessary. There are two types of bulbs in the ‘C’ line: The ‘C Life’ is an all-purpose light perfect for the kitchen, living room or office. The ‘C Sleep’ bulb has been designed to support the body’s natural circadian rhythms, which can help you sleep more soundly. It emits a traditional soft light for the day; a warm, calming light before bedtime; and a crisp, energizing light in the morning. Using an app, the lights can be dimmed and set to a timer as a group or individually. When run for three hours a day, the bulbs should last 20 years!You can start thinking about replacing lights in your new workshop area with LED lights.

Fast Fix for Pet Stains

Fast Fix for Pet Stains

I have a dog, a cat and carpeting, which is why the Bissell SpotBot is the best Internet purchase I’ve ever made. The SpotBot is a hands-free spot and stain cleaner. The coolest part about this thing is that it does all the work for you. Just fill it full of water and cleaning solution, park it over the stain, push the start button and walk away. It automatically squirts the special cleaner into the carpet, scrubs with a rotary brush, and rinses and sucks up all the mess. When it shuts itself off, the stain is gone, and I just empty the reservoir into the toilet. I love this thing! Search for the SpotBot 33N8A online or buy it at discount stores for $130.Be sure to have these pet cleaning tips in your backpocket as well.

Sam Larson, Field Editor

Eliminate Stinky Gasoline Smells

Eliminate Stinky Gasoline Smells

I actually love the smell of gasoline? except when it’s on me. If I spill a little on my hands when I’m at the pump or fueling my lawn mower, I have to wash right away. But even after a wash or two, the smell seems to stay with me for hours. Not long ago, I replaced the carb on my snow blower and my hand got soaked with fuel. Later that day, I was in my local home center sporting a powerful eau de petrol when I came across Gas Off wipes by Briggs & Stratton. I opened the package right then and there, and by the time I reached the checkout my hands smelled like fresh linen. On my next trip to the store, I bought another pack to keep in my truck. I bought the 15-wipe pack for $5, but Gas Off is also available in single packs and in 8-oz. spray bottles.Find out how to properly store gasoline.

Josh Risberg, Set Builder

Dissolve Mortar Like Magic

Dissolve Mortar Like Magic

When you’re pouring concrete near a house, it’s not uncommon for a bit to splash up onto the siding, garage door or window. It’s not a big deal if it gets washed off right away, but woe unto you if you let it dry. Removing cured concrete requires harsh chemicals or a whole lot of scrubbing and scraping.Sakrete has come to the rescue with a product called Concrete Mortar Dissolver. Just spray it on and watch concrete or mortar dissolve. Thick messes will take a couple applications, but it really works. We tried it on some vinyl siding, and it performed as advertised. The best part is that it’s safe; safe enough to apply without gloves. It also won’t harm sensitive surfaces like auto paint. Some pro masons use it to clean their tools. Visit a hardware store to buy a bottle for $13, or locate a retailer at sakrete.com.

Find out how to repair motar joints.

HDPE, a Fast and Maintenance-Free Storage Solution

HDPE, a Fast and Maintenance-Free Storage Solution

High-density polyethylene plastic (HDPE) is tough, lightweight and weather resistant. It won’t rot and never needs paint. If those qualities sound good to you and you need a fast storage solution, consider an HDPE shed.The 7×7 Rubbermaid Big Max storage shed shown here is big enough to store yard and garden tools, a pressure washer and a snow blower. And the sturdy floor can easily handle the weight of a riding lawn mower.

In just a few hours, and with the help of a buddy (who probably owes you anyway), you can build this maintenance-free shed. Assembly requires only a couple ladders, a few simple hand tools and afterward perhaps a cold beverage or two. The hardest part might be creating a flat spot in your yard.

The Big Max has lockable doors, and the HDPE panels are rugged enough to resist those wayward baseballs from the neighbor kid. It’s available at Home Depot and other retailers for about $600.

Find out how to fit everything into your shed.

Efficient Bike Storage

Efficient Bike Storage

Hanging bicycles from the rafters is a great way to save garage space. But even hanging bikes can take up a bunch of room. Here’s a cool space-saving product that puts a new twist on the humble bike hook. The Saris Cycle Glide is a system of hooks mounted on glides. Once the bikes are on the hooks, they can be slid closer to the wall on the glides that mount perpendicular to the wall. And because the hooks slide back and forth on the lower set of glides, the bikes can be nestled neatly together, taking up a lot less space.This system also makes it easier to take down the bikes when they’re hanging over a parked car, a boat or a big mess like in my garage. That’s because you can pull or push the bikes clear of the obstruction before you lower it. I’ve been using mine for almost a year now, and I love it. You can buy a Saris Cycle Glide for $245 at bike stores or online.

If this style isn’t to your liking check out other bike storage ideas.

Jeff Gorton, Associate Editor

A Better Toilet Paper Holder

A Better Toilet Paper Holder

My wife recently brought home a pivoting toilet paper holder, which reaffirmed my long-held belief that it’s the little things in life that make us happy. The holder has a pivoting arm that lifts up but stays attached. That means no more chasing spring-loaded rollers around the bathroom floor. Buy this type of paper holder, made by a variety of manufacturers, at home centers or online. The Moen model we bought cost $26 at Home Depot.If you’re having problems with your toilet flushing, check out our repair tips.

Mark Petersen, Associate Editor

Magnetic Showerhead

Magnetic Showerhead

The Moen Magnetix handheld shower is secured to the shower arm with a magnet rather than a clip. That’s quick and slick for me, but even better for my daughter, who can’t reach quite high enough to remove a standard shower wand. Aside from allowing her to shower ‘like a grown-up,’ the Magnetix line offers adjustable spray patterns and water-saving engineering. We’ve had ours for a year and wouldn’t give it up. Magnetix handheld showers are available in stores and online, starting at about $65.Keep your showerhead clean for a strong flow.

Gary Wentz, Editor-in-Chief

Snap-On USB Outlets

Snap-On USB Outlets

This outlet cover plate with a built-in USB charger is as easy to install as a regular cover plate. You just shut down the power, unscrew the old plate and screw on the new one. No receptacle replacement required. The USB port gets its power from two prongs that contact the screws on the sides of the receptacle.Step up your technology game but updating your home with smart appliances.

Good-bye, Funnels

Good-bye, Funnels

Sure, a funnel works great at keeping fluids from spilling all over, but when you’re done pouring and pull it out of the hole, the fluid leftover in the funnel drips all over the place. I use this Hopkins FloTool On-Off Refill Spout (No. 10101) to keep that from happening. I have one on my windshield washer fluid and antifreeze containers and one on my gallon jug of chain saw bar oil. There’s no mess and no cap to fumble around with?just twist and pour.Hopkins FloTool also makes a Spill Saver Oil Spout (No. 10107) that fits quarts of oil. I’m not sure I know where my funnels are anymore.

Checkout a flexible funnel for working on vehicles and lawn mowers.

Mark Petersen, Associate Editor

The Only Tool Set You Need

The Only Tool Set You Need

You probably don’t have a complete set of sockets and wrenches in your tool bag or the emergency vehicle kit under your truck seat. And you don’t have to if it contains the new Crescent Pass-Thru Adjustable Wrench Set. This compact tool kit features 10 spline-style sockets that work with hex, square and external Torx fasteners, from 10mm to 19mm and 3/8 to 23/32 in.The pass-through sockets fit over protruding bolt threads and nuts mounted on studs, eliminating the need to carry deep sockets. For more grabbing power, simply replace the smooth jaw with the serrated side, and you’ve got yourself a pipe wrench, perfect for stripped bolt heads and pipes up to 1 in. You can purchase the kit at The Home Depot and other retailers.

Learn some tricks to loosen nuts, bolts and screws that are tricky.

 

Temporary wallpaper

Temporary wallpaper

Creating an accent wall with a stylish wallpaper is a great way to update a room, but it’s amazing how fast ‘trendy’ can become just plain weird. And if you’ve ever had to remove stubbornly stuck wallpaper, you won’t want to repeat the experience.Enter Tempaper, a removable wallpaper that sticks to any smooth, painted or primed surface. When you’re tired of the pattern or you’re trying to sell your house without frightening prospective buyers, simply peel it off. It won’t damage the drywall or leave messy glue behind. It’s also a perfect option for apartment residents who want to decorate without losing their damage deposit. One roll costs $35 to $125. Check out the 90 patterns and watch the installation video at tempaperdesigns.com.

Learn how to remove wallpaper if there’s some in your new house you don’t like.

Better Than a Broom

Better Than a Broom

Construction projects create an abundance of all sorts of filth: sawdust, insulation fibers, drywall dust, shingle grit, dirt. It’s everywhere. Sure, you’ll always have to keep a broom and dustpan in your truck, but consider adding a blower to your cleaning arsenal. It’s great for clearing floors during rough framing, blowing shingle grit or slippery sawdust off a roof, cleaning up that miter saw before packing up, blowing out the inside of your work truck…you could even use it to dust yourself off before heading home for the day.

If you’re already running the Milwaukee’s M18 battery platform, check out the new M18 Compact Blower. It has three speed settings, a max airflow of 100 cfm and air speeds up to 160 mph!

Monitor Your Grill From Your Smartphone or Tablet

Monitor Your Grill From Your Smartphone or Tablet

It’s billed as a grilling thermometer, but it works in your kitchen oven as well. The iGrill2 comes with a controller and two temperature probes but will accept up to four (additional probes are sold separately), so you can track the temperatures of different food items that you’re grilling at the same time. Or use one of the probes to remotely track the temperature inside the grill when you’re slow roasting, smoking or using the rotisserie.Just download the app for your Apple or Android phone. Then insert the probes into the chow and route the cables so they won’t be exposed to flames. Set the app for the desired temperature and activate the alarm. Then walk away. Monitor the progress on your phone from up to 150 ft. The iGrill2 app will let you know when you’ve reached the set temperature. Buy the iGrill2 and accessories from the manufacturer, online stores and discount stores.

Know how to tune up your grill before you fire up.

Super-Fast Wi-Fi Router

Super-Fast Wi-Fi Router

If you’re into wireless home video streaming or gaming, or home automation, you need a Wi-Fi router with the best range and fastest speed. Most Wi-Fi routers have a hard time delivering all the available bandwidth when multiple users are online. That’s because they deliver data to only one device at a time. So everyone’s speed is based on the speed of the oldest and slowest device in use at the time. The Netgear Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band Wireless Router solves that problem by adding an extra traffic lane. When the router sees a slowpoke device come online, it diverts the faster devices to the new traffic lane, so everybody gets the fastest possible speed.The Nighthawk router also uses six antennas and Beamforming software to locate and direct the signal toward each device. Together with a fast dual-core processor and a powerful amplifier, this Wi-Fi router gets you the strongest signal at almost every spot in your house.

Find out other ways to get faster internet for your wireless network.

Control Your Tools With Your Phone

Control Your Tools With Your Phone

Milwaukee’s ONE-KEY line of tools is a new generation of ‘connected tools’ that can be programmed to suit the job.Let’s say you’re installing metal vent using self-drilling screws. Just use the Milwaukee app to find the setting for the gauge and type of metal and the size of the screw. Then program the drill or impact driver using your phone’s Bluetooth. When you squeeze the trigger, the tool will start at a low rpm to prevent the tip from walking across the metal. The electronic torque monitoring senses when the screw bites in and boosts the speed to drive the screw in. Then it’ll slow down and cut off power when the screw reaches the programmed torque—all with a single trigger pull.

The ONE-KEY system also has an inventory management and tool reporting feature for pros to keep track of tools and monitor their workers’ productivity.

Find some handy apps for DIY work.

Vacuum Dustpan Saves Your Back

Vacuum Dustpan Saves Your Back

You may think this Crowley Jones EV1850 Eye-Vac Pro Electric Dustpan represents the ultimate in laziness. But if you have back issues, this smart vacuum/dustpan is for you. Just set the unit to automatic mode and sweep the debris toward it. The motion sensor detects when your broom is within range and starts up the vacuum. Aim the dirt pile toward the suction port and the vacuum will suck it up. If you have pets, they may activate the motion detector when they walk by. That’s why there’s a switched manual mode to activate the vacuum.Discover vacuum attachment uses for dust collection in the workshop.

Affordable Inspection Cameras

Affordable Inspection Cameras

Not so long ago, video borescopes were for pros only—nobody else could justify the high cost. But over the past couple of years, many manufacturers have jumped into the market with reasonably priced models. So peeking inside walls, appliances and engine compartments isn’t just for pros anymore.The model shown (the General Tools iBorescope) is unique: Instead of having a small video screen mounted on the tool, it sends a wireless signal to your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet. Visit the manufacturer’s site to learn more, purchase it or check out other models. To shop for other brands, search for ‘borescope’ or ‘inspection camera.’

Investigate how to home inspect.

Automatic Water Shutoff

Automatic Water Shutoff

A little leak can lead to huge costs and headaches. That’s why there are water shutoff systems like the WaterCop control valve. Install it right after your main shutoff valve, then locate water sensors (sold separately) near the most likely leaks (water heater, toilets, dishwasher, etc.). If a sensor detects water, it wirelessly signals the valve to shut off. You can also install a temperature sensor that shuts off the water when indoor temperatures fall to 38 degrees F. That won’t prevent the pipes from bursting if they freeze, but it will prevent a flood. Visit the manufacturer’s site for more information.Find you water main and gas shut off when you move in to a first home or new home.

URPOWER 2-in-1 Waterproof 4 LED Solar Spotlight

URPOWER 2-in-1 Waterproof 4 LED Solar Spotlight

These solar lights are a great addition to any home and can be helpful for new homeowner eager to show off their backyard patio into the evening. These lights are powered by a rechargeable lithium battery and can light up to six to nine hours once fully charged.Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Akro-Mils Hardware and Craft Cabinet

Akro-Mils Hardware and Craft Cabinet

A cabinet like this can meet the needs for a lot of items including hardware and crafts. This model is 20 inches by 16 inches and has 36 drawers to store all sorts of goods. The drawers can be rearranged and the unit can be mounted all the wall. Check it out at Amazon for about $32.If you anticipate storage issues as you look for a house, check out some of these storage solutions.

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

The American Red Cross Blackout Buddy

The American Red Cross Blackout Buddy

In the event of a blackout, the American Red Cross has a device that will ease your worries. The Blackout Buddy is an emergency LED flashlight, blackout alert and nightlight all rolled into one. It can be used as a flashlight at any time and its battery will run for up to four ours. It lights up automatically in the event of a power outage. You can pick up two for around $20 at Amazon.Check out tips to survive a blackout as well.

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

SentrySafe Fire and Water Safe

SentrySafe Fire and Water Safe

Give new homeowners piece of mind that important papers will be safe in case of an emergency. The SentrySafe Fire and Water Safe offers advanced fire protection, it’s verified at 1,550 degrees F for a 1/2 hour. It’s also water resistant and tested up to 72 hours of water submersion. The safe also comes with an after fire replacement guarantee that SentrySafe will replace your fire resistant safe following a fire. Check it out at Amazon.Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

AccuSharp Knife Sharpener

AccuSharp Knife Sharpener

A knife sharpener can be an overlooked item for new homeowners until they suddenly discover that recently purchased knife set no longer cuts as well as it used to slice and dice. Nip it in the bud buy buying a knife sharpener like this one from AccuSharp. For $9.95 you might look like a cheapskate but who are the new homeowners going to think of every time they have to sharpen a knife to prepare a meal?Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Post Protector

Post Protector

Lawn mowers and string trimmers can really beat up the bottom of wooden fence and mailbox posts. And that exposed bare wood can deteriorate faster and attract hungry insects. Now you can protect your 4×4 posts (3-1/2 x 3-1/2 in. actual size) with Post Shield rugged plastic sleeves. If your posts have already taken a beating, you can use the sleeves to cover the damage.The four pieces are easy to install and are available in black, white and bronze. The sleeves are sold individually or in a package of six.

Photos: Post Shield

Gas Can That's Easy to Use

Gas Can That’s Easy to Use

When gas container safety regulations changed in 2009, many gas-can manufacturers produced nozzle mechanisms that were anything but user-friendly. But fortunately for consumers, the folks at No-Spill came up with a gas container that meets the new standards, is easy to use and includes features you’ve always wanted in a gas can.First, the can has an auto-stop nozzle. Just lower the nozzle into your lawn mower tank and press the button. The flow stops when the tank is full. No more gas spills. Brilliant! And the nozzle is self-venting, so the tank fills much faster and without the gurgle-gurgle of other cans. Plus, no more guessing how much gas is left in the can. You can see the level through the viewing stripes on the container.

The No-Spill can is available in 1.25-, 2.5- and 5-gallon sizes.

Mountain-Climbing Mower

Mountain-Climbing Mower

Self-propelled mowers handle gentle slopes just fine. But if your yard has some serious inclines, you’ve probably experienced this: The mower climbs partway up the hill then slows to a crawl as the tires dig in and chew up your turf.Husqvarna’s HU800AWD solves this problem the same way your SUV does: with four-wheel drive (or ‘all-wheel drive,’ as they call it). Aside from hill-climbing traction, this 22-in. self-propelled gas mower has a powerful 190cc Honda engine and variable drive speed. There’s a water port for easy cleaning—you just hook up your garden hose and start the engine to blast-clean the underside of the deck.

 

Worx Aerocart

Worx Aerocart

The Worx Aerocart manages to achieve several nearly impossible goals. It’s a powerful two-wheel wheelbarrow with enough strength to carry 200 pounds. Its highly advanced design helps to automatically center the load, making it easier to haul. You can also convert it to a dolly, add an accessory for hauling chopped wood and extend an arm to carry odd-shaped objects. This wheelbarrow will come in handy for almost any landscaping job.Plus: Easy Garage Storage Solutions

Photo courtesy The Home Depot

No More Knots

No More Knots

Ropes work great to secure tarps, but tying secure knots with the right tension can be tricky. The CamJams from Nite Ize have come to the rescue. Now all you have to do is anchor one end of the cord, run the other end through the CamJam; clip the CamJam to a grommet, and pull the cord—nothing could be easier!

FOM Tablet Stand

FOM Tablet Stand

Find a place to rest that tablet with the FOM Tablet Stand. The pillow will fit a tablet perfect and let anyone relax with their favorite TV show or movie. Find it on Amazon for $5.99 and create some instant comfort in the new home for the new homeowners.Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

BugZooka Bug Catcher Vacuum

BugZooka Bug Catcher Vacuum

Have some conversation fodder at the house warming party by announcing you’ve brought a bugzooka with you. You’ll be the hit of the party and allow the new homeowners a reasonable way to remove bugs with the BugZooka Bug Catcher Vacuum.Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Occidental Leather Electrician’s Tool Pouch

Occidental Leather Electrician’s Tool Pouch

This leather tool pouch has a pocket for just about everything. With 15 pockets, there’s not much you’ll have to return to the garage to dig out for a project. The leatherwork is meant to last and makes this a perfect gift.Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Renaissance Chalk Furniture Paint Deluxe Starter Kit

Renaissance Chalk Furniture Paint Deluxe Starter Kit

Jumpstart some refurbishing projects for the new homeowners with some chalk furniture paint. Chalk furniture paint is a great way to mix up the style in your house without having to buy new furniture. Plus, you can transform it into a distressed look with a little additional effort.Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Louisville Ladder

Louisville Ladder

The Louisville Ladder is among the best rated ladders on the market and will be a welcomed tool for any new homeowner. This 6-foot model is rated to handle 300 pounds and features slip-resistant rubber feet.Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

SEGMART Camping Hammock

SEGMART Camping Hammock

When everything is done around the house, give the new homeowners something to relax in. This SEGMART camping hammock is just fine for the backyard after a hard day of housework. It’s ideal for two people as well, it’s rated to hold 600 pounds. Plus, it’s easy to lug around on camping trips since it weighs just 2 pounds.Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Patio Watcher Fire Pit Fire Table

Patio Watcher Fire Pit Fire Table

The new homeowners can cozy up together for a nice outdoor fire and watch the stars together. Or, they can entertain guests around the fire with s’mores. This fire pit table has a natural slate top and can be transported to different sites.Later on you can upgrade with a DIY fire pit.

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Water Fountain

Water Fountain

The hard part of buying of buying the home is over for the first time homebuyers so let them bask in the serenity that is their home. They can enjoy the outdoors and listen to the soothing sound of water with this outdoor water fountain. Easy to use, it is powered by a 110V outlet and is just under 3 feet tall.Find some more contentment by learning how to build a backyard water feature.

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Stihl BG 86 Blower

Stihl BG 86 Blower

A leaf blower is going to be clutch for fall yardwork for a new homeowner. Give them a leg up with this Stihl BG 86 leafblower. It’s a fairly light weight model at 10 pounds and has some power. Pick up a vacuum accessory and a gutter kit to tackle just about everything.Photo: Courtesy of World of Power

Echo Chainsaw

Echo Chainsaw

This Echo Chainsaw is going to handle just about everything a backyard is going to throw at a new homeowner. This chainsaw will cut logs up to 3 feet in diameter and is backed by a five-year consumer warranty. The chainsaw has a 18-inch chain and includes an anti-vibration handle.Make sure you sharpen up on chainsaw safety before using one though.

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https://www.familyhandyman.com/stuff-we-love/45-brilliant-gifts-for-new-homeowners/view-all/

Housing starts rise | Bedford Real Estate

Total housing starts increased in October, with solid readings from the single-family sector. Total starts increased 13.7% to a 1.29 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to the joint data release from the Census Bureau and HUD. A jump in multifamily construction also increased the headline rate.

Single-family starts increased for the month, rising to an 877,000 seasonally adjusted rate in October. This monthly annualized rate matches the post-recession high pace set in February of this year. However, the three month-moving average for single-family starts is at a post-recession high (860,000). Single-family starts are up more than 8% year-to-date compared to 2016 as limited existing inventory and solid builder confidence make for positive market conditions.

Single-family permits, a reasonable indicator of future construction conditions, are running 10% higher on a year-to-date basis. Part of the gain for single-family construction in October was a rebound in Florida and Texas after project delays in September. Single-family starts in the South were up 17% compared to September.

Multifamily starts rebounded in October, as the market seeks a balance between supply and demand. Multifamily starts increased 37%, after a soft September reading. On a more stable three-month moving average basis, multifamily development continues a leveling off process begun in 2015.

With respect to housing’s economic impact, 56% of homes under construction in October were multifamily (610,000). As noted in the graph above, with recent production declines for apartments, the current count of multifamily units is effectively unchanged from a year ago. There were 486,000 single-family units under construction, a gain of 10% from this time in 2016.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/11/housing-starts-rise-in-october/

Products Are Getting Pricier. Raise Your Estimates Now | Bedford Real Estate

Hurricanes and fires are putting pressures on supply, and thus prices

Here in Washington, D.C., a client of one of my favorite remodelers recently asked the remodeler to travel 1,000 miles to south Florida to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Irma. In Louisiana, lumberyard owners told me two weeks after Hurricane Harvey struck that they expected to see trucks show up at their stores soon, driven by people who hoped to buy all the drywall they could and tote it back to Houston for sale.

Winds of change, indeed. Those disasters, in addition to the wildfires on the West Coast, are likely to rattle your remodeling business even if you’re not located near the damage zones. Expectations run wild that prices for both products and labor will rise. Drywall, framing lumber, sheet goods, and asphalt shingles will see some of the biggest increases.

Odds are good that you are behind the eight ball already if you haven’t been updating the core data you use to build your estimates. We recently received the numbers for the cost half of our 2018 Cost vs. Value report. They show that, from mid-2016 to mid-2017, the amount a client should be expected to pay for 20 common professional remodeling projects had risen no less than 2.7% and as much as 6.5%. Note that the materials and people costs that went into this data were collected before the hurricanes arrived.

You should already have been raising your prices to meet the pre-hurricane cost increases. Now, for projects that won’t start until November, December, or early next year, expect that you’ll need to shell out even more money for materials and workers by the time those jobs begin.

But wait, there’s more: Texas and Florida could end up needing so much material that vendors and dealers will limit the amount they’ll sell to any one customer there. Those allocations usually are based on relationships that stem from how much you’ve bought from that vendor in recent years and how quickly you’ve paid your bill.

Graybeards who suffered through the 1970s’ double-digit inflation rates may remember how to operate in an era of constant price increases, even if it has been decades since they last used those skills. For the rest, prepare for an escalator ride that could be uncomfortably fast.

by Craig Webb

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http://www.remodeling.hw.net/products/products-are-getting-pricier-raise-your-estimates-now_o?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=Opinion&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=REM_102017%20(1)&he=bd1fdc24fd8e2adb3989dffba484790dcdb46483

Crowdfunding your home purchase deposit | Bedford Real Estate

Crowdfunding your way into home ownership. Here's how

Crowdfunding your way into home ownership. Here’s how  

You can crowdfund your business, your charity, your product, your vacation — and now you can crowdfund your home.

CMG Financial, a mortgage lender, just launched HomeFundMe, the first online platform that allows borrowers to crowdfund the down payment on a home purchase without fees and with the backing of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The majority of millennials today may say they want to be homeowners, but that claim nearly always comes with the caveat…if I can afford the down payment. High levels of student loan debt, high rent and underemployment during the recession have left the largest generation with little savings and diminished hopes of home ownership.

“This allows you to tell your story. It allows for folks to be able to buy into the story of what it is you have, your loan story, your home story,” said Christopher George, CEO of CMG Financial and vice chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association. “Our tag line is, ‘Fund your way home.’ We think homeownership still is very sensible and, done correctly, is a good idea to step forward toward wealth, stability and quality of life.”

Until now, borrowers could receive down-payment assistance from their close family members, employers, community nonprofits and their churches, all with significant documentation. This was so lenders could be sure they weren’t borrowing the down payment, adding debt on top of the mortgage. Lenders also wanted to be sure borrowers were able to make the monthly mortgage payments.

A home for sale in Miami.

Getty Images
A home for sale in Miami.

Most business crowdfunding platforms offer returns on the investment, but this has none — it is simply a gift. George said the individual gifts will be small, in the $50 to $250 range. The platform can be linked to wedding and baby registries.

“You’re going to spend $250 on a coffee making machine? If that $250 goes to a down payment of your home, at the very least, I improve your quality of life and the second thing I do is I give you some, today, some tax deductibility,” George added.

As an incentive for encouraging prospective homeowners to attend credit education courses and counseling, borrowers can also receive grants of up to $2,500 once they’ve completed the free classes. After that, the platform will match donations at $2 for every $1 raised, up to $2,500.

“Folks that go to counseling tend to be more informed, and they also tend to be better borrowers,” George said. “We’ve looked at this as advertising dollars and have said, listen we think this promotes homeownership, we think it’s something that we would otherwise spend either through the internet or through social media. We’ve put our money here where we think it has its best use.”

On the other side, contributors are also assured that the money will in fact go to fund the home purchase and can make their gift conditional on that.

The idea is not just to raise money for the down payment but to add to the borrower’s existing funds. This can help eliminate the need for mortgage insurance, which is required on very low down payment loans. Fannie Mae is calling it a “pilot project,” and will be watching the results closely.

“What we’re doing today is we’re trying to test and learn a variety of solutions because the preferences for today’s homebuyers have changed significantly, and there is no silver bullet to solving a problem that’s as hard as how do you find a down payment,” said Jonathan Lawless at Fannie Mae. “What we prefer to do is source ideas from all sorts of different places. Our customers are a major one, lenders who are dealing every day with people trying to buy homes, and instead of trying to take those ideas and spend three years trying to roll out a major change, we’d rather test and learn.”

Sellers used to be able to assist buyers with the down payment, but that was prohibited following the financial crisis. No-down payment loans are also largely gone since then, except for high net worth individuals in private lender programs not backed by the government.

One of the biggest criticisms of lending during the housing boom and ensuing bust was that homeowners were able to finance their properties so easily, with little to no money up front, so they had no “skin in the game.” They therefore found it much easier to default on the loans when home prices crashed and walk away from the homes altogether.

This program walks a fine line between gift and equity. Some borrowers will add the crowdfunded equity to their own cash while others may not, depending on how much they get.

“Skin in the game is a little bit of a confusing concept. If you pay for your closing costs, is that skin in the game? Is it really down payment?” asked Lawless. “Would you rather have somebody have a lot of money in the bank after they buy the home and no down payment or the opposite? And so we still have a lot of questions and a lot to learn when it comes to the role of down payment.”

Lawless says it is all about savings — helping the homeowner avoid becoming house poor after their purchase. He says that makes the consumer safer than someone who is unable to generate any savings. Others argue that if you can’t save enough for a down payment in the first place, then you probably shouldn’t be buying the house.

read more…

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/05/a-new-way-to-buy-a-home-crowdfunding-the-down-payment.html

Bedford town news | Bedford Real Estate

September 15, 2017

NEW POSTS
 

TODAY, SEPTEMBER 15, IS NATIONAL POW/MIA RECOGNITION DAY IN THE UNITED STATES
“The United States’ National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed across the nation on the third Friday of September each year. Many Americans take the time to remember those who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action (MIA), as well as their families.”

 

NEW! TOWN COMPOST FACILITY OPEN THIS WEEKEND; SHREDDER DAY AT RECYCLING CENTER
The Town is pleased to announce extended hours at the Beaver Dam compost facility this Saturday September 16 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, in response to resident requests for weekend access. Residents can dispose of recyclable wood waste (logs and branches up to 6″ diameter, brush, and leaves), as well as pick up wood mulch and leaf compost. This service is free to Town of Bedford residents. The facility is located on Beaver Dam Road north of Harris Road, adjacent to the Bedford Dog Park.

Also this Saturday September 16, the Town is providing a mobile paper shredder event at the Town Recycling Center at 343 Railroad Avenue, Bedford Hills from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. At the event, a Mobile Shredding Trucks will securely destroy documents. The company’s customer service professionals never physically touch your documents so the entire process is “touch-free”. The company can shred paper, paper clips, rubber bands, staples and even the black clips. They cannot shred 3-ring binders, or anything that is non paper (CDs, tapes, DVDs, hard drives, etc.).
 
COMMUNITY COMPOST BINS ARE HERE!
Bedford 2020 now has compost bins available for Town residents who want to collect organic kitchen waste and take it to the Town Recycling Center.  For $25 you can purchase 2 bins and a roll of compostable bag liners for $5. Click here for a brief instructional video and more information http://bedford2020.org/community-compost-video/
 
PLEASE NOTE: PUBLIC WORKS PROJECT IN BEDFORD VILLAGE; TEMPORARY CHANGE IN PARKING RULES
 
The Town of Bedford Public Works Department is replacing the crosswalk in front of the Bedford Village Post Office with another constructed of masonry pavers. It will be a raised crosswalk intended to increase visibility and reduce vehicle speed.  The Contractor that the Town is employing expects to begin work on the project on Monday, September 18, 2017. It is estimated that the project will last until October 18, 2017 (Depending on weather conditions.)
 
We hope to begin work at 7:00 AM and stop work at 3:30 PM each day (Mon-Fri).  The Town of Bedford expects to keep two lanes of traffic open at this location for the strong majority of the project. If only one lane is open, this will not occur during rush hour and will be managed by flaggers to allow for alternating traffic. The work will be staged to start on the side of the street by the fire house and end at the Green, with approximately one third of the street closed at a time. The sidewalk will remain open.
 
In order to facilitate the maximum flow of traffic for the duration of the project, the town will need to utilize 13 curbside parking spaces both near and in front of the Bedford Village Post Office and across the street at the Village Green. Additional parking will be provided in the Presbyterian Church Parking Lot to mitigate the loss of spots. Signs will be in place informing people that the parking at the Church Parking Lot is available.
 
Parking rules will be changed as follows: a reduction from one hour to thirty minutes in parking from Court Road towards the entrance to the fire house for eight spots, and from one hour to two hours for the next three spots.  These measures are being taken to better accommodate needs of the businesses during the construction period.
 
YOUR PATIENCE IS GREATLY APPRECIATED. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT BEDFORD DPW AT 914-666-7669.
 
SEWER PROJECT STATUS UPDATE
Click here
 
FOR THE TOWN BOARD SEPTEMBER 19 TOWN BOARD AGENDA

  1. 2018 Budget Work Session   The Board will be continuing work on the 2018 budget meeting in work session with Public Works Commission Kevin Winn and with Building Inspector Alberto Ciraco.  The Board also will be discussing updates to the capital plan.
  2. Proposed Northern Westchester Office for Victims of Domestic Violence The Town of Bedford is considering entering into an inter-municipal agreement with Pound Ridge, Lewisboro, North Salem and Somers to establish a northern Westchester office for victims of domestic abuse.  We will hear a presentation from Pound Supervisor Dick Lyman on the proposal which entails a two year pilot program and special funding.  Each town would be contributing $5,000 per year for the two year period.
  3. Bedford Hills Train Station Lease   The Board will be considering entering into a lease with the MTA which would continue the present Town use of the station for town purposes, civic organizations and community events.  The proposed lease is for a term of 25 years with a rent of $1 per year (waived).
  4. Municipal Solar – I am asking the Board for approval to re-issue Request for Proposals for solar installations/power purchase agreement for various Town of Bedford sites and re-issue bid requests for carports (Police Station renovation project)
  5. Bedford Village Parking   I will be asking the Board to approve a consultant’s proposal for a Phase II environmental site assessment of vacant property owned by the Bedford Presbyterian Church (off Court Road) to be utilized for free municipal parking.
For the agenda: click here
 
FIRST HALF 2017-2018 SCHOOL TAX REMINDER
The last day to pay your first half 2017-2018 school tax without penalty is October 2, 2017.
The Tax Office will be accepting payments between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. For on-line payment options please visit our website. www.bedfordny.gov
 
2017-2018 ADULT SEASONAL INFLUENZA & VACCINATION INFORMATION
Fall is right around the corner and with it the unofficial start of the flu season.  Attached you will find information on the 2017-2018 influenza vaccine.  Please follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations for flu prevention and treatment:
1)      GET VACCINATED
2)      IF YOU DO CONTRACT THE FLU, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT ANTIVIRALS
3)      TAKE THESE EVERYDAY STEPS TO PROTECT YOUR HEALTH:
a.  Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.  Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
b.  Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.  Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
c.   Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.  Germs spread this way.
d.   Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
4)     STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100 degrees+) or signs of a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicine).
Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
For more information on seasonal flu, you can go to the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu .
PUBLIC NOTICE
During the period beginning Monday, September 18 and ending Friday, September 22, the Bedford Water District will flush water mains in the Katonah, Bedford Village, Bedford Hills and Stanwood/Cedar Downs areas.
Flushing will take place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Discoloration of water may be apparent at any time during that period. The discoloration should not reduce the safety of the water for domestic use, but customers are advised to exercise caution in laundering clothes in order to avoid staining during the above hours. Customers may experience short-term localized reduction in water pressure.
For additional information, customers may call the Water Department at 914-666-7855 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

COMMUNITY EVENTS CALENDAR click here (please note that the calendar is posted on the Town’s website home page usually before the distribution of the e-news and also posted on the Supervisor’s Facebook page, click here

FOR THE TOWN OF BEDFORD SENIOR ADULT CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER
click here
TOWN CALENDAR
  CONTINUING POSTS

UPDATE ON THIS YEAR’S I-684 PAVING PROJECT
We’re pleased that the paving of a portion of I-684 running through Bedford (from 172 to Harris Road) is proceeding on schedule and is going well.   As you may know, we are pressing for funding to put in place for paving the remaining Bedford portion in 2018.   Here’s the schedule for this year’s paving project over the next two weeks:
9/17/17 – 9/21/17 
9/17-9/21: Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards will continue The hours are 9:00 pm to 6:00 AM. Work will continue in the right and left shoulders northbound and southbound.
I684 NB:  milling and paving complete.  Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards, shoulder backup, striping will continue
I684 SB:  milling and paving complete.  Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards, shoulder backup, striping will continue
9/24/17 – 9/28/17
9/24-9/28: Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards will continue The hours are 9:00 pm to 6:00 AM. Work will continue in the right and left shoulders northbound and southbound.
I684 NB:  milling and paving complete.  Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards, shoulder backup, striping will continue
I684 SB:  milling and paving complete.  Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards, shoulder backup, striping will continue
BEDFORD HELPING VICTIMS OF HURRICANE HARVEY
Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on Houston and its surrounding communities last week, leaving thousands of people stranded and devastated. I have been asked how we might help.  And, now, Irma a hurricane that is devastating many areas on its path.  We’ve heard from news reports that money has been pouring into the large, well-known national relief organizations, such as the Red Cross and United Way.   We’ve researched to identify reputable, local organizations which provide the most direct relief to the victims.   Please understand that this is by no means exclusive and can’t possibly be complete, nor intended to dissuade you from donating to other organizations involved in the relief efforts.   There are literally hundreds of ways to assist the victims, and, of course, you’ll want to direct any assistance you can offer to the organization of your choice.  The article, Where to Donate to Harvey Victims (and How to Avoid Scams), lists several links you may find useful.    Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Hurricane Harvey and those who have been hit and may be hit by Hurricane Irma.
 
“TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT” EVENT – COURTESY OF BEDFORD 2020   The Board approved a Take It or Leave it event in Parking Lot 8 in Bedford Hills from 9 AM to 12 PM every other Saturday between the months of May and October each year, starting as early as this October. The event is modeled after similar programs in other communities, and allows residents to drop off unwanted household items that are still in good/working condition, or pick up and repurpose some. B2020 is providing a 12′ x 16′ shed in the corner of Lot 8 for this purpose. The location will not eliminate any parking spots.  Volunteers organized and managed by B2020 will run the program. The event is an excellent way to recycle and reuse items, and reduce consumption and waste. This program will preserve natural resources, reduce waste, and save residents money.  This is another example of a well thought out program by B2020.  Our thanks to Bedford 2020’s Peter Kuniholm who worked with Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn to make this a reality.   
UPDATE ON POLICE STATION RENOVATION PROJECT   We are continuing to make excellent progress on the police station project – the gut renovation of the existing police station building with two additions.   The timetable for completion is mid-2018.  We are pleased with the work of our contractors and construction manager.  Click here for the August report of our construction manager.
UPDATE ON THE SEWER PROJECT
And about the Sewer Project, what’s with the soil testing in Katonah?  The Town’s engineering firm, Woodard & Curran, is working on the design of the sewer system which will be serving the neighborhood business districts (not 117 corridor) of Bedford Hills and Katonah, as well as Katonah Elementary School, property of St. Mary’s, Bedford Park Apartments in Bedford Hills and the correctional facilities in Bedford Hills. As part of the design, soil borings and surveying is being conducted.
PARKING ENFORCEMENT IN COMMUTER LOTS SUSPENDED FOR ROSH HASHANAH AND YOM KIPPUR
 
SUSTAINABLE WESTCHESTER’S CLEAN TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM would like to alert you to another opportunity to go electric. There are a limited number of vehicles left at this huge bulk discount (total of $19,200 off including $10,000 Sustainable Westchester discount plus State/Federal tax credits), so don’t miss this opportunity!  Sustainable Westchester’s Clean Transportation Project designs programs to accelerate transportation electrification, reduce greenhouse gases and costs for the residents, businesses, and non-profit institutions in our communities. Contact program director Ron Kamen at ron.kamen@earthkindenergy.com, or the Sustainable Westchester office for more information.
FOR THE SUPERVISOR’S AUGUST MONTHLY REPORT
click here
COLLECTION OF SCHOOL TAXES FOR THE 2017-2018 SCHOOL YEAR
The Receiver of Taxes for the Town of Bedford Amy M. Pectol  gives notice that she has received the warrant for the Collection Of School Taxes For The 2017-2018 School Year
The Tax Receiver’s Office will be open 8:30 to 4:30 each day, Monday thru Friday At the Town Hall 321 Bedford Rd.-Bedford Hills-New York.  If you do not receive your bill by 9/5/2017 please contact this office at 914-666-4475. Click 
here for the notice
 
BEAR SIGHTINGS
A number of residents have reported bear sightings.  “Wow, a bear!” may be our first reaction, but here are some safety tips, click here.  And click here to see a picture of a bear that was taken and shared with us by a resident.
MOTORISTS
I wish to augment the below information (e-news 8/25) with the following request for motorists:
Sharing the road d with bicyclists
When parked on the street, check for bicyclists approaching from behind you before opening your car door.
Always exercise due care to avoid colliding with any person walking or bicycling.
Always be vigilant when pedestrians are present, especially those with visual or physical impairments.
Bicyclists are fully entitled to use the road and have the right to “take the lane” by positioning themselves at or near the center of the lane when needed to avoid hazards or if the lane is too narrow  to safely travel side by side with motorists.
Pass bicycles only when necessary and safe: pass to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance until safely clear. When in doubt, wait until you can pass at a safe speed. Before making a right turn, let bicyclists clear the intersection. When turning left or entering a roadway, yield to oncoming bicyclists as you would to any vehicle.
RULES OF THE ROAD FOR CYCLISTS; SAFETY TIPS FOR WALKERS; TIPS FOR CROSSING THE STREET
 Some of you may have heard of the tragic death earlier this month of a cyclist in Stony Point.  Another was killed yesterday.  We also are concerned about the safety of walkers and pedestrians.  While we implore drivers to observe speed limits and other rules of the road, we also wish to share with you rules and tips for cyclists and pedestrians some of which a Bedford resident compiled and sent to me. 
 
CYCLISTS 
New York State law mandates the following related to cyclists:
  1. Travel WITH traffic (i.e. on the same side of the road) and obey all vehicle laws (stop at stop lights, etc.)
  2. Are not allowed on sidewalks
  3. Helmets (protective head gear) are required
  4. No headphones, ear buds, or other noise cancelling devices are allowed in more than 1 ear.
  5.  Horn/bell audible for 100 feet
  6. Lighting required a half hour before dusk until a half hour after dawn.
  7. Cyclists are required to use appropriate hand signals.

    SAFETY TIPS FOR WALKERS

  1. Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk always walk facing traffic.
  2. Dress to be seen. Brightly colored clothing makes it easier for drivers to see you during the daytime. At night, wear special reflective material on your shoes, cap or jacket to reflect the headlights of cars coming towards you.

    TIPS FOR CROSSING THE STREET

  1.  Cross only at corners or marked crosswalks.
  2. top at the curb, or the edge of the road.
  3. Stop and look left, then right, then left again, before you step into the street.
  4. If you see a car, wait until it goes by. Then look left, right and left again until no cars are coming.
  5. Keep looking for cars while you are crossing, and remember, Walk. Don’t run.
  6.  If a car is parked where you are crossing, make sure there is no driver in the car. Then go to the edge of the car and look left-right-left until no cars are coming.
SEPTIC SYSTEM REPAIR AND REPLACEMENT PROGRAM ~ WITH FALL NEAR AND WINTER NOT FAR BEHIND PLEASE CONSIDER ATTENDING TO YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM
Septic pump out – if you haven’t done it within the last five years, the law requires you do so. And, if you have a problem with your system, please check out the Town’s Septic System Repair and Replacement program to deal with failing septic systems. The program allows Bedford property owners in the Croton Watershed (about 85% of the Town’s land area) for a 50% reimbursement of repair/replacement costs. If you have a failing septic system, contact the Planning Department at 666-4434 for further information or visit our website.

FOR WEATHER ALERTS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
Click here and enter location you would like information about.

HURRICANE/TROPICAL STORM SEASON UPON US ~ SOME WEATHER-RELATED TIPS
Hurricanes and Tropical storms can wreak havoc in many ways, with lashing winds, torrential rains, and inundating storm surges.
Prepare for a hurricane by stocking up on food, water, protective clothing, medications, batteries, flashlights, important documents, road maps, and a full tank of gasoline.
As a storm unfolds listen to local authorities on radio or television (battery operated in the event of an outage). Evacuation routes often close as a storm develops. Dedicated professionals and improved technology have made hurricane forecasting more accurate than ever before-but it’s far from precise.
If forced to weather a storm, get inside the most secure building possible and stay away from windows.
Avoid downed wires – they can be live.  Report downed wires to your local utilities.  In the case of an emergency call 911. Click here for more information regarding hurricane and tropical storm preparedness.
 
PLEASE CONSIDER HELPING OUR TOWN 
Vacancies on Boards and Committees (updated 9/6/17)
There is one vacancy on the Recreation and Parks Advisory (RPAC) Committee; must be a Bedford Hills resident.  For more information on the Committee, please click here.
There is one vacancy on the Tree Advisory Board (TAB). The ideal candidate would be a certified arborist. For more information on the Board, please click here.
There are two vacancies on Committee on Seniors. For more information on the committee, please click here.
There is one vacancy on the Open Space Acquisition Committee. For more information on the committee, please click here.
If you are interested in serving, please e-mail your resume with a cover letter to supervisor@bedfordny.gov.
NOTES FROM THE AUGUST 15, 2017 TOWN BOARD MEETING
 
2018 BUDGET WORK SESSIONS BEGIN (See schedule below)
Comptroller Abraham Zambrano provided highlights of the 2018 budget at this early point, emphasizing that the budget will continue to be very tight due to several factors including:
  • NYS Property Tax Cap of 2.68% which we are committed to stay within
  • Contractual obligations
  • Health insurance
  • Workers compensation
  • Increase in debt service (principally the Police Station renovation project).
  • Lower than anticipated building permits
On the positive side, Mr. Zambrano reported that 2017 year to date overall results of operations have been positive and some of the contributions to the positive position will recur in 2018.
He also explained that the Board will need to get started with the 2018 Capital Plan.
 
PRESENTATION NORTHERN WESTCHESTER HOSPITAL
Mr. John Payne, Physician Practice Manager at NWH, and Mr. Cliff Bernelli, a Veteran who works in recovery at NWH spoke about an upcoming business workshop on October 23, from 2:00 to 4:30 PM at the hospital. The workshop also teaches skills such as interviewing, dressing for an interview/job, etc. The hospital hopes to hire 1000 veterans this year.
The committee is working on programs designed to help veterans in and around Mount Kisco. The Committee is comprised of both vets and non-vets, the goal is to benefit both and allow for communication between both parties.
Committee works with P.F.C. Dwyer foundation to assist veterans in finding jobs and aid post-service. A fundraiser is being planned with a bicycle ride from West Point to the WTC. 
We will post relevant information on the website and also include events in the weekly e-news.
REPLACEMENT AND UPGRADE OF ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS
The Town will be updating their Electric Vehicle charging stations as they are outdated and will install an additional charging station in Bedford Village Memorial Park. They will also be entering into an agreement with ChargePoint.  The Town appreciates members of the community and Bedford 2020 for supporting the Town’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.  The Town is grateful for all the work done by Town resident Andrew Kohler toward this effort for the last six months.  The Town also thanks Ellen Calves of Bedford 2020 for the organizations efforts towards reducing carbon emissions and supporting the use of electric vehicles. The charging stations will be serviced by ChargePoint, a global organization dedicated to servicing the chargers.   Comptroller Abraham Zambrano gave the locations of the stations and also gave two price quotes, one for the replacement of the existing five charging stations, and one for the installment of the new one. The total project is budgeted at $100,140. The Town will use $30,000 of an existing 2016 fund earmarked for the repair of the stations and $70,140 out of the general fund for the remainder of the funding. The details of how the Town will charge for the use of the electricity and as well as timed use of the stations are still being worked out as well as parking costs. A profit and loss (PNL) report will be provided by the end of September.
 
SIDEWALK REPLACEMENT ON COURT ROAD
The sidewalk on Court Road will be replaced.  The sidewalk is 30 years old and has deteriorated over time.  The new sidewalk will also be wider. The sidewalk will run from Route 22 to the elementary school. The sidewalk will be replaced with the same brick and concrete pattern that currently exists. The low bidder, Lascon Inc., is familiar with the scope and has provided good references for similar projects. The contract value will be the base bid of $55,150 plus a not to exceed value of $12,750, for a total not to exceed value of $67,900.
 
HAMLET RECYCLING AND WASTE RECEPTACLES
The Town will be purchasing 30 cluster replacement recycling and waste receptacles from Kettle Creek Corporation, 18 stainless steel tops for existing Victor Stanley Receptacles and labels for stainless tops.  The existing receptacles are 20 years old and have been durable and have stood the test of time. The total projected expenditure is $52,128.80. Funds are proposed to be drawn the Capital budget ($40,000) line and from the General Fund balance ($12,128.80).
 
STOP SIGN – WOODFIELD ROAD AT THE INTERSECTION OF OAK ROAD
A resident has requested that a stop sign be installed on Woodfield Road at the intersection of Oak Road. Commissioner Kevin Winn concurred with the request due to limited sight distance.
A public hearing was re-set for September 19 at 8 PM.
 
RESCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 19
Northern Westchester Office for Victims of Domestic Abuse:  Pound Ridge Supervisor Dick Lyman will present to the Town Board a proposal for an inter-municipal agreement among Pound Ridge, Lewisboro, Bedford, North Salem and Somers for office space for Office for Women, Hope’s Door, The Pace Women’s Law Center and the Family Justice Center to serve our residents who are victims of domestic abuse. 
 
UPDATE ON BEDFORD VILLAGE PROJECTS
Gateway signs – the signs and poles have been received and the sign company is making up an adapter for the post hole size issue that occurred during fabrication. It is anticipated that the signs will be installed in September.
Traffic Calming
  • The raised crosswalk is planned for September. Acocella contracting will be performing the work. DPW will communicate with store owners, the Chamber, and BVHDRC before the work occurs.
  • Paving of the Village Green and installation of the speed hump will occur in October or November.
Street Lights – 11 have been ordered and are expected to be delivered by the end of September. DPW plans to replace all of the ones in the brick sidewalk between Court Road and 172, and then several on the Village Green this year. Another 11 +/- have been included in the capital plan for next year, and can be scheduled once the plan is approved
 
Court Road Sidewalk – Replacement is planned to start by the end of August. DPW will communicate with store owners, the Chamber, and BVHDRC before the work occurs.
 
Route 22 Sidewalk north of Court Road – likely to be budgeted for and replaced in 2018.

 

Mortgage rates average 3.88% | Bedford Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQBFMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing the 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropping to a new 2017 low.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.88 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending June 29, 2017, down from last week when it averaged 3.90 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.48 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.17 percent with an average 0.5 point, the same as last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.78 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.17 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.14 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.70 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.
“The 30-year mortgage rate fell 2 basis points to 3.88 percent this week. However, the majority of our survey was conducted prior to Tuesday’s sell-off in the bond market which drove Treasury yields higher. Mortgage rates may increase in next week’s survey if Treasury yields continue to rise.”

Why homeownership is near 50-year low | Bedford Real Estate

The job market continues to show improvement, and interest rates remain historically low, yet the homeownership rate in the U.S. remains near a 50-year low.

The National Association of Realtors released a new white paper titled, “Hurdles to Homeownership: Understanding the Barriers” which lays out five reasons for the low homeownership rate. NAR released its paper in recognition of National Homeownership month at the Sustainable Homeownership Conference at the University of California, Berkeley.

“The decline and stagnation in the homeownership rate is a trend that’s pointing in the wrong direction, and must be reversed given the many benefits of homeownership to individuals, communities and the nation’s economy,” NAR President William Brown said. “Those who are financially capable and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the opportunity to pursue that dream.”

The research, commissioned by NAR, was prepared by Rosen Consulting Group, and jointly released by the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business.

“Low mortgage rates and a healthy job market for college-educated adults should have translated to more home sales and upward movement in the homeownership rate in recent years,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “Sadly, this has not been the case.”

“Obtaining a mortgage has been tough for those with good credit, savings for a down payment are instead going towards steeper rents and student loans, and first-time buyers are finding that listings in their price range are severely inadequate,” Yun said.

Here are what NAR says are the five main barriers to homeownership:

Post-foreclosure stress disorder:

There are long-lasting psychological changes in financial decision-making, including housing tenure choice, for the 9 million homeowners who experienced foreclosure, the 8.7 million people who lost their jobs and the young adults who witnessed the hardships of their family and friends, NAR explained.

Mortgage availability:

Credit standards did not normalize after the Great Recession, NAR’s study showed. Borrowers with good-to-excellent credit scores are not getting approved at the rate they were in 2003, prior to the period of excessively lax lending standards.

The growing burden of student loan debt:

Young households are repaying an increasing level of student loan debt that makes it extremely difficult to save for a down payment, qualify for a mortgage and afford a mortgage payment, especially in areas with high rents and home prices. NAR found in a survey released last year, student loan debt is delaying purchases from Millennials and over half expect to be delayed by at least five years.

Single-family housing affordability:

Lack of inventory, higher rents and home prices, difficulty saving for a down payment and investors weighing on supply levels by scooping up single-family homes have all lead to many markets experiencing decaying affordability conditions, the study showed. Unless these challenges subside, RCG forecasts that affordability will fall by an average of nearly nine percentage points across all 75 major markets between 2016 and 2019, with approximately 5 million fewer households able to afford the local median-priced home by 2019.

Single-family housing supply shortages:

Fewer property lots at higher prices, difficulty finding skilled labor and higher construction costs are among the reasons cited by RCG for why housing starts are not ramping up to meet the growing demand for new supply.

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https://www.housingwire.com/articles/40385-nar-here-are-5-reasons-for-low-homeownership-rate?eid=311691494&bid=1783075

Home prices jumped the most in these 10 housing markets | Bedford Real Estate

Home prices increased in March to a new peak, according to the latest Home Prices Index from Black Knight Financial Services.

Home prices rose to a median $272,000 in March, the report showed. This represents a new peak in home prices, and a rise of 2.3% from the start of the year.

And the Case-Shiller index, put out by CoreLogic and S&P Dow Jones Indices, showed home prices increased 5.8% annually in March, a pace which experts say is good news for sellers, but not so great for home buyers.

But some metropolitan areas saw home prices moving faster than others, as the fastest metro saw an increase that was double that of the national average. Month-over-month, home prices increased 1.3% nationally.

Here are the top ten housing metros with the highest increase in home prices in March, and the percent increase from the previous month. Using data from Trulia, HousingWire analyzed the median home price in each metro.

10. Bloomington, Illinois – Home prices up 2%

Median home price: $157,000

IllinoisFlagPhoto.jpg

9. Boulder, Colorado – Home prices up 2%

Median home price: $625,000

8. Sacramento, California – Home prices up 2%

Median home price: $280,000

California

7. Spokane, Washington – Home prices up 2%

Median home price: $180,325

6. Kankakee, Illinois – Home prices up 2.2%

Median home price: $86,000

5. San Francisco, California – Home prices up 2.2%

Median home price: $1,205,000

san francisco houses

4. Walla Walla, Washington – Home prices up 2.2%

Median home price: $218,750

3. Bellingham, Washington – Home prices up 2.3%

Median home price: $335,709

2. Seattle, Washington – Home prices up 2.4%

Median home price: $625,000

Side shot

1. San Jose, California – Home prices up 2.6%

Median home price: $835,000

San Jose

 

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https://www.housingwire.com/articles/40278-home-prices-jumped-the-most-in-these-10-housing-markets?eid=311691494&bid=1771046

Decline for Single-Family Built-for-Rent Construction | Bedford Real Estate

The number of single-family homes built-for-rent fell slightly at the start of 2017, falling to 6,000 for the quarter. Over the last four quarters, total production of this type of housing was 33,000 homes.

According to data from the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis, the market share of single-family homes built-for-rent, as measured on a one-year moving average, stood at 4.1% of total starts as of the first quarter of 2017.

Given the small size of the market segment, the quarter-to-quarter movements are not typically statistically significant. The current market share remains higher than the historical average of 2.8% but is down from the 5.8% reading registered at the start of 2013. This class of single-family construction excludes homes that are sold to another party for rental purposes. It only includes homes built and held for rental purposes.

With the onset of the Great Recession and the ongoing declines in the homeownership rate, the share of built-for-rent homes rose. Despite the current elevated market concentration, the total number of single-family starts built-for-rent remains low in terms of the total building market.

Of course, the built-for-rent share of single-family homes is considerably smaller than the single-family home portion of the rental housing stock, which is 35% according to the 2015 American Community Survey. As homes age, they are more likely to be rented. Thus, the primary source of single-family rental homes is not construction but the existing housing stock. In fact, from 2005 to 2015, 56% of the gains in the rental housing stock were due to single-family homes.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/05/decline-for-single-family-built-for-rent-construction/

March Sales: New Listings Were Off to the Races | Bedford Real Estate

March buyers blew the roof off housing markets as they heeded warnings about the limited supplies of home for sale and found houses in record time.  National monthly market reports on March transactions chronicled surge of sales as the spring season kicked off and tens of thousands of new listings turned over in a matter of days.

“We expected a seasonal uptick in sales this time of year and March certainly met and somewhat exceeded that expectation,” said RE/MAX CEO Dave Liniger as the months supply in RE/MAX’s latest National Housing Report fell below 3 months in March for the first time in history.

“Calendars might say spring is only a week old but we’re already in the thick of the most frenzied home buyer season on record,” concurred realtor.com’s Javier Vivas. Redfin reported its fastest March on record for home sales since it began tracking this data in 2010.

Every report told the same story.  The plunge in days on market was breathtaking as buyers gobbled up new listings as fast as they hit MLSs. In NAR’s existing home sales report, days on market fell from 45 days in February to 34 days in March, on realtor.com from 90 to 68,, on RE/MAX from 71 to 64, on Redfin from 60 top 49.

Prices Outpace Incomes’

The three year inventory drought coupled with the spring surge in demand pushed prices even ither than

109.1 million full-time wage and salary workers were $830 in

the first quarter of 2016 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

This was 2.7 percent higher than a year earlier

 

 

March Market Reports at a Glance

Source

Monthly Sales Trend

Annual Sales Trend

Monthly Price Trend

Annual Price Trend

Median Sale Price

Median Days on Market

Comments

NAR

  4.4%

5.9%

-2.18%

6.8%

$236,400

34

There was enough of a monthly increase in listings in March for sales to muster a strong gain. Sales will go up as long as inventory does.
Realtor.com

NA

NA

4%

8%

$260,000

68

The typical spring upswing in sales has come about a month earlier than usual.
Redfin

 

42.7%

 

8.9%

 

4.6%

 

7.5%

 

$273,000

 

49

Spring 2017 shapes up to be the fastest and most competitive housing market in recent years,
RE/MAX

-0.2%

6.6%

7.1%

11%

$225,000

64

Prices hit a new high due steady demand and record low inventory.
Zillow

N/A

N/A

0.4%*

6.8%*

$196,500*

N/A

Five percent fewer homes on the market now than a year ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*These data are not sales but valuations for all homes based on Zillow’s AVM.

 

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http://www.realestateeconomywatch.com/2017/05/march-sales-new-listings-were-off-to-the-races/