Keep Your Home Free of Summer Pests without Pesticides

Summer temperatures can be pleasant, but the warm weather is also attractive to insects and rodents. This is the time of year when pests make their way into your home, especially if they find the right living conditions. All they really need to get comfortable is water, food and a place where they can hide.

You can fight these pests without pesticides if you follow these suggestions:

Restrict access to food sources
• Tightly close any food packaging, like boxes and bags of cookies, chips, cereals or candy.
• Store items such as flour, sugar, rice or pasta in airtight bags or plastic containers.
• Clean any food spills or stains off the countertop, floor, and other areas throughout the kitchen.
• Do not let crumbs sit in pet dishes.
• Remember to take out the kitchen trash frequently, preferably every night.

Limit access to sources of water or liquids
• Try not to leave water drops or other liquids in the kitchen or anywhere else around the house.
• Wash and dry your dishes immediately after each meal.
• Repair leaky faucets or pipes in the bathroom, kitchen, backyard and any other area of the house.
• When gardening or watering plants, don’t leave puddles or excess water.
• Open the bathroom window after bathing to clear out the steam.

Limit entry access to your home
• Seal cracks around pipes, doors and windows.
• Repair holes or tears on screen doors and windows.
• Close off the spaces underneath doors.
• Throw away or recycle unwanted boxes or wrappers.
• Put mouse traps inside and outside the home in areas where children or pets can’t access.

Source: USA.gov

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

Q: How much, on average, can I expect to spend on home maintenance?

A: Expect to spend one percent of the purchase price of your home every year to handle a myriad of tasks, including painting, tree trimming, repairing gutters, caulking windows, and routine system repairs and maintenance.

An older home will usually require more maintenance, although a lot will depend on how well it has been maintained over the years.

Tell yourself that the upkeep of your home is mandatory, and budget accordingly. Otherwise, your home’s value will suffer if you allow it to fall into a state of disrepair. Remember, there is usually a direct link between a property’s condition and its market value: The better its condition, the more a buyer will likely pay for it down the road.

Also, adopt the attitude that the cost of good home maintenance is usually minor compared to what it will cost to remedy a situation that you allowed to get out of hand. For example, unclogging and sealing gutters may cost a few hundred dollars. But repairing damage to a corner of your home where gutters have leaked can potentially cost several thousands dollars.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

U.S. Employee Confidence Level Reaches Seven-Year High

Reports of positive economic indicators during the past several months have resonated with U.S. workers, whose confidence levels in the job market, economy and their personal employment situations all rebounded to multi-year highs. In June, the Randstad U.S. Employee Confidence Index rose 2.6 points to 58.1, the highest level on record since August of 2007 before the start of the recession. Meanwhile, the Randstad macroeconomic confidence index rose to 46.7, an increase of 2.1 points from 44.6 last month and its highest level in nearly a year.

The study, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Randstad among 1,126 employed U.S. adults ages 18 and older, also shows workers’ confidence in their personal employment situation jumped in June, reaching 69.4 from 66.4 in May and its highest level since September 2008. Contributing to the uptick is workers’ improved outlook on their own job prospects and also their current employers’ future. Half of all workers feel confident in their ability to find a job, up from 47 percent last month, and more than six-in-10 (61 percent) are confident in the future of their current employer.

"We’ve seen many months of reserved and cautious optimism regarding the sustainability of an economic recovery, but our findings suggest workers now have sufficient evidence to feel the nation is on the right track," says Jim Link, Chief HR Officer, Randstad North America. "Uncertainty regarding employees’ job security levels is truly diminishing, with 75 percent of the U.S. workers indicating it’s unlikely they will lose their job in the next 12 months. Furthermore, less than 30 percent of the workforce now believes the economy is getting weaker—which is an improved statistic in the past several months."
In line with the Randstad Employee Confidence Index, findings from The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index continue to improve. The Index now stands at 85.2, up from 82.2 last month, and marks its highest level since January 2008. June’s increase was driven primarily by improved current conditions and consumers’ assessment of business conditions. In fact, consumers stating jobs are ‘plentiful’ edged up to 14.7 percent from 14.2 percent in May, while those claiming jobs are ‘hard to get’ declined to 31.8 percent from 32.2 percent.

"The positive reports that moved the dial on employee confidence levels have also influenced U.S. employers to loosen the reins on budgets," says Link. "We see organizations taking a more aggressive approach to hiring as they move out of a recession mindset to one of growth and market expansion."

While the upturn in the economy is good news, it generates greater competition for talent. According to Link: "In our improved economy, workforce planning takes on greater importance to ensure the right talent is in the right position at the right time to help drive innovation and meet revenue goals."

Randstad, the second largest staffing and HR services firm in the world, has been tracking workforce trends and publishing the U.S. Employee Confidence Index since 2004.

Source: Randstad US

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

Vacaville Market Update

feb_graph

Curnt vs. Prev Month Curnt vs. 13 Months Ago Curnt vs. Same Month 1 Yr Ago
Feb. 14 Jan. 14 % Change Feb. 14 Feb. 13 % Change Feb. 14 Feb. 13 % Change
For Sale 94 113 -16.8%  94 64 46.9%  94 64 46.9% 
Sold 59 83 -28.9%  59 77 -23.4%  59 77 -23.4% 
Pended 91 83 9.6%  91 91 0% 91 91 0%
Date 2/13 3/13 4/13 5/13 6/13 7/13 8/13 9/13 10/13 11/13 12/13 1/14 2/14
For Sale 64 67 73 76 81 91 118 130 132 111 78 113 94
New Listing 94 126 118 130 117 127 134 126 104 84 63 115 65
Sold 77 96 111 105 124 106 108 92 130 85 92 83 59
Pended 91 117 122 133 102 118 104 115 108 93 84 83 91
Months of Inventory (Closed Sales) 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.9 1.1 1.4 1 1.3 0.8 1.4 1.6
Months of Inventory (Pended Sales) 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.8 0.8 1.1 1.1 1.2 1.2 0.9 1.4 1
Absorption Rate (Closed Sales) % 120.3 143.3 152.1 138.2 153.1 116.5 91.5 70.8 98.5 76.6 117.9 73.5 62.8
Absorption Rate (Pended Sales) % 142.2 174.6 167.1 175 125.9 129.7 88.1 88.5 81.8 83.8 107.7 73.5 96.8
Avg. Active Price 429 471 452 520 495 450 432 485 484 509 530 428 457
Avg. Sold Price 270 282 294 295 314 324 323 307 321 337 316 344 332
Avg. Sq. Ft. Price 155 154 164 158 173 178 188 181 180 177 177 184 190
Sold/List Diff. % 101 100 102 101 102 101 101 102 100 99 100 99 99
Sold/Orig LP Diff. % 99 101 101 100 102 102 100 101 100 98 99 98 98
Days on Market 67 67 50 47 58 42 41 43 60 51 50 55 47
Median 250 270 280 290 300 311 305 288 310 331 300 325 313