Tag Archives: waterfront real estate

10 Best Beach Towns on the Jersey Shore

The Jersey Shore takes up about 140 miles of the Atlantic Ocean coast of the US. It is a favored vacation spot for the residents of New Jersey, as well as the neighboring states. Known to the New Jersey residents as simply ‘The Shore,’ it is famous for its boardwalks, amusement, and water parks. One of the particular perks of the Jersey Shore is that both sunrises and sunsets are visible over water from different parts because of its peculiar peninsular shape. All of this and more make it not only a great place to visit, but also to live in. The coast in general is rife with small towns, and here we provide you with a list of the best small towns in Jersey Shore. There is nothing quite like living the water view dream on an ocean coast.

Asbury Park

This town has been immortalized as the name of a Bruce Springsteen album, but that was the most exciting thing that happened to it for decades. However, it has recently gone through quite the transformation. It now attracts a more diverse and youthful crowd, both as visitors and as residents. The town has a very vibrant music scene with many festivals and events throughout the year. When it comes to the quality of living, the district boasts a steadily lowering crime rate. Even though it has become quite a hot spot in recent years, moving here is still as easy as ever with a company like Bluebell Relocation Services NJ. Its gay community has also been growing steadily since the 1950s. There is an LGBTQ-friendly beach and the Jersey Pride parade attracts a large number of visitors to the town each year.

Cape May

Cape May is not only one of the 10 most beautiful towns in New Jersey, but also the oldest seaside resort town in the country. Obviously, the leading industry in the town is tourism. However, just because the events and facilities are aimed at visitors doesn’t mean that residents can’t use them to their advantage as well. If you are a history nut, Cape May is surely one of the best small towns in Jersey Shore for you to move to as it is steeped in history. Just remember that planning your moving budget is the key. If you organize it well, you can be watching dolphins jumping out of the water at the Cove in no time.

Point Pleasant Beach

The name says it all. This small town of just around 4,500 residents offers a nice mix of suburbia tinged with the fresh ocean air. It has been voted one of the 10 best beach towns on the Jersey Shore for living. The schools are great and the crime rate low. Most residents own their homes even though housing can be quite expensive. If you end up buying a water view property, there are all kinds of fun activities available – arcades, amusement park, mini golf and even antiquing.

Wildwood

In many ways, this is another one of the 10 best beach towns on the Jersey Shore that has in many ways remained frozen in time. It’s the hometown of doo-wop, both the music genre and the architecture style. The aesthetic is that of a 1950s or 60s seaside town, which is a major draw for many people. There is a dreamy quality to it, perhaps because of the fact that it’s a look that you can indulge in yourself. The boardwalk makes it a quintessential small town on the Jersey Shore, and the adventure parks mean you will never have an idle day for as long as you live here.

Spring Lake

Spring Lake is definitely one of the 10 most beautiful towns in New Jersey, USA. Unlike the  resort towns on this list skewing predominantly towards tourists, Spring Lake has more of a suburban feel to it. The public schools are highly rated, it is very family-oriented, and the crime rates are quite low. The main drawback would be the cost of living, which is on the pricier side.

Ocean City

Ocean City is another typical Jersey Shore town, only this time bigger than most on this list. Much like Spring Lake, its schools rate very high in the nation and it is very family-friendly. One of its peculiarities is that it is a dry town: no alcohol is sold within its borders. However, there are all kinds of other fun activities you can partake in – the main ones being the boardwalk and amusement parks. Typically for this kind of town as well, the cost of housing and the cost of living are higher than most others on this list.

Stone Harbor

Perhaps the tiniest of the small towns on our list, Stone Harbor doesn’t fall behind the others when it comes to its nightlife. There are plenty of restaurants and bars to have fun in while still enjoying life in a tiny suburban waterfront community. As most towns here, the schools are great, the community family-friendly, but housing somewhat expensive.

Avalon

Not only is Avalon one of the best small towns to visit on the Jersey Shore, but it is also one of the best to live in if you favor a quiet suburban feel of your hometown. Many of its residents are retirees, but it also rates as great for families with its highly-rated public schools.

Belmar

Belmar is a possibly the smallest US town with such a huge party-town rep. Many of Belmar’s residents are young professionals, and there are plenty of bars and restaurants for them to enjoy on weekends. Its marina is also the home to the biggest party boat fleet. The nightlife and outdoor activities are what makes this town fun to move to. 

Long Branch

Long Branch is another one of the best small towns in Jersey Shore but it is on the pricier side. The boardwalk offerings can get quite decadent, though that is not all there is to life in this suburban town. Its housing, cost of living, and crime rates are the problem areas. On the other hand, it boasts quite a diverse population and an above-average school district.

How To Buy a Florida Waterfront Home

If your mind is currently set on buying a luxurious Florida waterfront home, you should know that there is a long, demanding, and highly stressful decision-making process ahead of you. There are numerous tasks you will need to complete before you eventually organize a housewarming party at the new address. As you might assume, professional ass

istance is a critical factor in this endeavor as a guarantee that your investment will not turn into a complete fiasco and a set of bad, unreasonable decisions. To help you understand what to expect once you set off on this mission, we offer you a brief guide to buying a luxurious Florida waterfront home.

Contact a lender first

When buying property, the first step is always to contact a respectable lender and prepare a pre-approval. The lender will help you understand the stages of the buying process and give you advice on how to select the best loan given your circumstances. Having a pre-approval is a sure sign for the sellers that you are serious about buying a waterfront property. Thus, you should receive preferred treatment over other potential buyers. On the other hand, a pre-approval shows clearly the price range you can afford and this significa

ntly restricts the list of properties you will be interested in. So, to conclude, before you even start looking for a luxurious Florida waterfront home of your dreams, consult a lender. 

Define the location you are interested in

When looking for a home in general, it is immensely important to find a balance between your requirements, needs, and wishes, and the reality of the real estate market. The sooner you realize you will have to compromise about certain elements the better. Make a list of top priorities you will not give up on, but also be aware of those qualities that are less important. 

When buying a luxurious Florida waterfront home is in question, there are a lot of options at your disposal. A growing number of people choose Hillsborough County as their new home location, not just due to its strengthening economy and continuous development but also 

because there are many Hillsborough County specialists to provide safe relocation of your household items. 

Hire a reputable realtor when buying a luxurious Florida waterfront home

Hiring an experienced and competent realtor is a crucial step in this process. Ideally, you need the assistance of a waterfront specialist who will be able to advise you on how to buy waterfront real estate that suits your needs and meets your expectations. Realtors who have spent years in this business are acquainted with the real estate market very well. They can suggest attractive areas and find a Florida waterfront home that will meet your needs and will be the best value for your investment.

When you meet your realtor for the first time, it is vital for you to define the main aspects of your cooperation. How often will you meet? How often will you get updated information on the real estate market and properties for sale? Request the information about the steps in the buying process, all the financing options available, and the necessary paperwork. Also, make your realtor well aware of what exactly you are looking for – the price range

, the size of the home, the locations that are acceptable, and your specific home feature requirements. This will significantly narrow down and shorten the search for your dream home.

Hire a professional to inspect the property you are interested in

Once you find a property that might be appropriate for you, we strongly advise you to hire a professional to inspect it thoroughly before you conduct the purchase and contact 

a business like bigmansmoving.com to relocate your possessions. Necessary repairs sometimes can add up a considerable amount to your expenses and be a very unpleasant surprise. When you get the inspection report, study it carefully with undivided attention, and make the final decision whether the property in question is the right choice for you. 

Do not neglect the importance of proper insurance

Waterfront homes are severely affected by the elements. Thus, under no circumstances 

should you neglect proper insurance of your new waterfront home. Make sure you have coverage for wind, flood, and general hazard insurance. Only this way will you be entitled to proper compensation in case your Florida waterfront home gets severely damaged.

What are you allowed to do with the property?

While it is true that you are purchasing a luxurious Florida waterfront home, chances are you will still want to introduce some changes and add a personal touch to your new living space. Hence, gather the information about what you can do with the property. For example, can you build a dock or a seawall? What kinds of alterations are allowed on the property you are considering? This will affect your purchasing decision and can add or detract substantially from the value of the home.

Understand a waterfront homeowner’s responsibilities

Finally, having a waterfront property comes along with a set of responsibilities on behal

f of homeowners. If you are a member of the Homeowners’ Association, you will have to gather enough information about the type of upkeep and maintenance that is required from you. Your realtor can provide you with more details on the subject and you can consult relevant websites.

A few more suggestions

Buying a luxurious Florida waterfront home is a serious investment and your chance to live the water view dream. When examining properties you like, remember to consider the whole property and not just the house built on it. For example, is the water is good for swimming? Do you like the views? Is the property secluded or might it lack privacy? What is the access to the water? Take your time and do not rush your decision. Then, you can be sure you will make the right choice.

5 Reasons Why You Should Choose a Beach House for Self-isolation

All over the world, different measures have been put into place in an effort to curb the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. People have been self-isolating or quarantining for weeks now. No matter how necessary, the isolation has started taking its toll on individuals and families alike. People are trying to come up with inventive ways of easing their experience while remaining cautious and sensible. Most will have to satisfy themselves with conference calls with their loved ones and an hour or two outside from time to time, while others will be able to “go the extra mile”. Access to a beach house would be a good investment in the best of times, but right now, it may well be the golden ticket. However, if you are uncertain about heading for the coast, here are 5 reasons why you should choose a beach house for self-isolation.

The fresh air

The number one reason why you should opt for a beachfront home for self-isolation is obviously the ability to spend time outdoors more easily. Most of the advice on social distancing states the necessity of getting at least some fresh air. For most people living in cities, this means just going to the store a couple of times a week. Others will venture so far as to walk their pets or take a jog.

Having a yard is true luxury at this time, and having a waterfront property even more so. Simply imagine not being encumbered by wearing a mask and gloves or worrying about coming into contact with someone who could be infected. You could pretty much spend entire days outside. You’ll enjoy yourself however you choose – barbecuing, working out or simply lying on the beach with a good book. Getting some sun could also do wonders for your immunity. Finally, healthy ocean air will invigorate and refresh you.

Physical activity

Another obvious reason why you should choose a beach house for self-isolation is the myriad opportunities for being active. Not only will you be able to work out in the fresh air, but you will be able to do so whenever and however long you want. It could be the perfect time to develop some healthy habits. You could start a jogging routine or simply go outside for early morning stretching to start your day off right. In certain parts of the US, swimming will also be on the table. What better way to spend your days self-isolating than by doing what you would do on vacation?

Great for kids and pets

If you have children, you are probably at the end of your tether at this point in the pandemic. Even if schools and kindergartens are still open, it is hard to find ways to fill up your kids’ days. Once you are all together 24/7, it becomes almost impossible. In addition, getting used to spending so much time indoors will be quite an adjustment for most children. This is one of the top reasons why you should choose a beach house for self-isolation. It will provide you with an opportunity to let your children roam freely outside without too much supervision, assuming they are swimmers and old enough to be safely left alone. It will be much easier to organize their days if you can fill that time with outdoor activities.

Furthermore, if you have a dog, spending time at the beach would be perfect for your pooch. You could take your pet on runs with you, or enjoy a fun game of fetch whenever you want to. Your dog will feel much better if it could go in and out of your beach home instead of being holed up inside for hours on end.

Get some work done on your property

One of the reasons why you should choose a beach house for self-isolation is that you can find useful ways to fill your time. While not going to work may have felt nice at first, the novelty of it wears off fast. Usually, when you have a lot of time on your hands, you are able to fill it with pleasant activities like meeting friends for coffee or drinks. This is virtually impossible when everyone is self-isolating. We all end up with hours and hours of time on our hands. One of the ways to feel productive is to get some work done on your property.

For the majority of people, a beach house is a place they visit at weekends during summer and perhaps a couple of times in the off-season. When you do get to use your beach house, you want to use it to enjoy yourself and do something fun. However, waiting out the quarantine in your beach house would be a great opportunity to make it more valuable. The sky is the limit when it comes to the things you can get accomplished. Some people will keep themselves busy by making small improvements – a squeaky door here, a leaky tap there, maybe even pressure washing the house. Others will be more ambitious and take on projects like changing all of the light fixtures or doing a paint job.

A chance to unplug

The never-ending news cycle and the constant worrying about physical health take their toll on our mental health as well. Not having anything better to do, many people spend their days watching the news and checking social media. This creates a lot of noise that can cause anxiety, even if you are not someone who easily panics. 

Limiting your media intake is hard to do when you are holed up in your apartment. Things are quite different when you are at the beach and have some healthier options. Just being able to be outside for extended periods of time will unglue you from your phone and TV. This, in turn, will let your mind quiet down. As we mostly associate spending time at the beach with vacations, it will be easy for you to at least pretend everything is fine and enjoy yourself and your family!

Tips for Painting the Coastal Home

Rollers on coastal home siding

Painting wood siding on coastal home

Painting the coastal home poses a unique set of challenges for homeowners. Waterfront homes have to endure extreme conditions, such as high humidity, strong winds, high content of salt, and intense ultraviolet sun rays. A lasting coastal paint job requires thorough preparation and high-quality products. Otherwise, you can’t expect your home exterior to withstand the brunt of the intense summer sun, salt spray, and other harmful impacts.

Find the best products for painting a coastal home

Painting is part of regular home maintenance. Like everything else, paint needs to be redone after a certain period. Obviously, you want that period to be as long as possible. How soon you’ll have to repaint your home depends heavily on the quality of paint you pick. As mentioned, coastal homes are subject to conditions that most inland homeowners don’t need to worry about. That is why buying quality paints for your home’s exterior is crucial. Have in mind that they cost more than standard paints but they’re worth their price. Don’t choose economy- or contractor-grade paint if you want to achieve maximum paint durability.

Experts recommend acrylic latex paints

A few decades ago, oil-based topcoats had a long lifespan. Painting contractors who specialize in painting coastal homes rarely used anything but oil-based paint because it provided better protection compared to latex paint. Nowadays, people complain that oil-based paints don’t last nearly as long. Unlike oil-based paints, acrylic latex paints have improved over the years. Not only do latex paints do a better job, but they also last longer and look better. They have improved so much that a touch-up won’t be necessary for about 5 years.

Visit a local paint store

Usually, local paint stores offer better quality than department stores and home improvement stores. Also, their personnel often have more knowledge of paint products since that is the only type of product they sell. So, when you go to a paint store, ask for professional assistance. Discuss your needs and follow their advice for picking the most suitable products. They can help you choose the right paint color, too. If you’re not happy with the available choice of colors, they can mix colors for you. With a fresh, unique color, you’ll make your waterfront home sparkle and stand out from the rest.

Do the prep work before painting the coastal home

No matter how good the paint is, it won’t last long unless you properly prepare the surface. Prep work is key to a paint job well done. Improper prepping can significantly shorten the lifespan of the paint job, no matter where the home is located. This part of the job can be demanding and time-consuming but it is necessary, especially when painting the coastal home. When it comes to coastal homes, the prep work requires special attention and includes more steps than it does inland

Before painting the inside of your coastal home, you need to get your belongings out of the way. prtabox.com can help you find the best storage solutions. Then, protect the floor and other surfaces you can’t move with drop cloths and tape. 

Paint durability and the amount of prep work depend on the wood choice, among other factors. A lot of water view homes are made with pine or cedar. Cedar is becoming a more popular choice because it stands up to the elements and holds paint better than pine. 

Wash the surface

First, you need to get rid of the mildew and dried salt that constantly attack the exterior of coastal homes. High winds that come from every direction leave a film of dry salt. Applying paint over dry salt is not a good idea because it won’t adhere well, nor will it last long. Fortunately, salt can be removed easily with a good wash. Coastal homes are also more susceptible to mildew, as it thrives in high-humidity areas. If you have irrigated lawns or bushes planted close to the house, controlling humidity and mold is even harder. Sometimes, using acrylic with a mildewcide additive isn’t enough. 

We recommend dissolving powdered TSP (trisodium phosphate) in a mixture of household bleach and water (50:50) to take care of mildew. This solution also removes salt from the home’s exterior. How much TSP you’ll need depends on how dirty the surface you’re cleaning is. It is advisable to begin with a smaller amount and add more if necessary.

Apply the primer

As soon as the wait is over and the washing is dry, you can apply the primer, which serves as an undercoat – a preparatory coat applied before painting the coastal home. Primer should smooth out wood grain on new wood and help with imperfections on older wood. You can apply an oil-based primer the day after washing if the wood is new. In case it’s a second or third coat of acrylic latex paint, start to paint an hour or so after the wash. 

Extra tips

To prevent moisture from getting into the wood, back-prime all trim boards and apply a coat of finish paint on the back of them as well. The end grain can also be a problematic area. The wood easily soaks up moisture, which causes the trim boards to rot near the end grain. You should seal the end grain with a marine-grade epoxy to keep the wood from soaking up water. It is also important to sand every surface between two coats of paint to help paint adhere to it.

Remember to watch the weather forecast. A single storm can cover the entire coastal home in salt. If necessary, store the equipment in a safe unit and wait for the right weather conditions. If there is a blow between two coats, wash the surface before adding the second coat.

All these steps may add more time and expenses, but for a very good reason. Fixing a poorly done paint job will cost you even more. In conclusion, if you invest more money and effort the first time you’re painting the coastal home, you will reduce costs in the long run. 

12 Things to Consider When Buying a Lakefront Home

Buying a lake property does sound like a dream come true to a vast majority of people, but the process of choosing and eventually completing the purchase is often far from enjoyable. It involves a lot of calculations, conducting a serious search for the property that meets all your needs and requirements, multiple decisions, and analyzing the pros and cons of making this decision in the first place. If you still realize that you have made the right choice, here is a comprehensive list of things to consider when buying a lake property. Hopefully, it will not take ages to organize a housewarming party for your waterfront home from the moment you set off on your purchasing mission.

First, define the purpose of your purchase

Purchase-related decisions you make will depend on the reasons for buying the lake property you have in mind. For example, if you want it to be your primary home then you will need to hire top-quality movers like those at mod-movers.com to relocate your belongings as soon as possible, and you will analyze different parameters than when it is meant to be a vacation home or a rental property. However, certain factors are always important regardless of the purpose of your purchase. The lake property should be in the vicinity of a grocery store, a post office, and, ideally, a medical clinic as well. Otherwise, if you choose a remote, secluded location, you might get your privacy and peace, but spending time at your lake property may become stressful at times rather than relaxing and joyful.

Define your budget in the initial stages

Accurately determining the financial means at your disposal before buying a lake property is one of the critical factors in this process. The amount you are willing to spend will further influence the manner in which you prioritize the requirements. Bear in mind that this type of real estate is usually available at a higher price than the land-locked property. Also, know that the commission paid to a real estate agent is generally covered by the seller, but will be added to the asking price.  So, perform these calculations before you start and eliminate any doubt whether you can afford this investment.

Hiring a real estate agent is a must

You need an expert in the lakefront property market who can give you some useful advice and introduce you to all the crucial things you need to know when buying a lake property. An expert should help you buy waterfront real estate so that you can get the best value for your money, something that suits your needs and expectations. Also, this professional will provide you with an insight into the traits of the local area, water quality, lot characteristics, flood history, expansion possibilities and many more useful pieces of information you need to consider when making the final decision. Knowing how complex legal matters in a purchase of this kind can be, hiring a respectable real estate agent is surely an additional investment worth making.

Hire a professional to conduct a detailed inspection of the property you are considering

A detailed inspection of a lake property by a team of professionals is a must before buying it. The property that seems perfect on the outside can hide problems with mold and mildew or water intrusion inside. Also, it is important to check the quality of water, inspect elevation certificates, corrosion on your exterior and all those factors that might cause you problems or further expenses later on. 

Make sure you find out all about the hidden costs

Hidden costs can harm your budget considerably as soon as they emerge. Experts do not call them hidden without a good reason, because you become aware of them only after the purchase process has come to its end. Here is what you have to focus on:

Buying a lake property on a leased lot

It may happen that the lake and the shoreline that your lake property is situated on are owned by the local municipality, a public utility, or the state or federal government. What this means to your finances is that you will have to pay per month for the lease. Moreover, the lease can last from 20 to 100 years depending on the area you are considering. Understandably, these expenses can be a significant burden on your budget. 

High property taxes

Yes, your lake property will be subject to property taxes which can be sky-high if this is your second home. Furthermore, if your plan involves renting your lake home any time soon, bear in mind that then the rent becomes subject to income tax as well. Hence, it is of great importance to study all the local, state, and federal tax rules, or simply ask your real estate agent for an explanation, prior to completing the purchase.

How about insurance?

Considering the exposure to elements and various structures that can be present on your lake property, homeowner’s insurance can be very expensive. Do not forget to consider this factor as well when weighing the pros and cons of buying a particular lake property.

Repairs to HVAC and septic systems

These hidden costs can be avoided easily and completely if you conduct the above-mentioned thorough inspection before the purchase. You can also request that your real estate agent include a Homeowner Warranty as part of the closing costs so that your first year will be covered for certain repairs. Otherwise, you might suffer serious consequences in the form of costly repairs. 

Paying utilities at your lake home

Utilities at your vacation lake home can reach a very high price. If you want to avoid these expenses at least during a certain part of the year, “winterizing” your lake home during the winter months is prudent.

Homeowner’s Association dues

These are compulsory and are varying prices. Thus, it is a good idea to gather the necessary information on this topic in advance, either by using relevant sources online or asking the realtor for the details.

Final words

If buying a lake property has your unreserved attention and you follow the above-mentioned tips, you will be able to make the right investment, fix up your waterfront home before you move in if necessary and then finally relax and enjoy. While it is true that the whole process may stress you out, do not feel pressured and make the wrong choice or decision. Once the purchase is over, you will get the rightful satisfaction you deserve!

Seven Tips for Buying Water View Real Estate

Buying a waterfront property isn’t just like buying a land-locked property. Owning a waterfront property has its perks but it also involves a set of unique requirements and responsibilities. Living in one comes with a unique lifestyle, too. We have seven useful tips that will help you decide whether waterfront property buying is the right thing to do, and prepare you for the process if you choose to go through with it. 

1 Come up with a financial plan early on

Getting a mortgage pre-approval is of the utmost importance when buying a waterfront property — or any property, for that matter. Many real estate agents advise their clients (sellers) to accept offers from pre-approved home buyers exclusively.

This leads us to the second important reason to make a financial plan as early as possible: there is a lot of competition involved The number of waterfront properties you can choose from is traditionally much lower than the number of non-waterfront properties. Due to fierce competition, when there are multiple offers, you may end up losing a property unless you have your financing in order. 

Other things to take into consideration before waterfront property buying include property inspection costs, insurance costs, renovation costs, relocation costs, etc. If you wish to secure yourself during relocation and be safe and comfortable in your new home, this is not the time to cut corners. 

2 Choose the right body of water

Remember that you’re not just buying a piece of real estate – you’re buying the water view, too. Waterfront properties can differ greatly depending on the body of water they overlook. Some buyers are only interested in lakefront properties, while others prefer the ocean, a river or pond. What do you prefer?

Some buyers are so enchanted by the spectacular view that they disregard other factors, such as ease of access to the water and privacy. Perhaps you’re already picturing yourself and your partner watching the sun sink into the deep, blue ocean every evening, not counting on the noisy powerboats and hordes of tourists passing by. And just like that, your romantic dream turns into a nightmare. Therefore, research the body of water thoroughly before making an offer. 

Water bodies come in different sizes, depths, etc. If you plan on using a boat, find out about the water depth requirements for different types of boats. The quality of water is another important thing to check before buying a waterfront property, especially if you like to swim. The water could be polluted, or full of weeds or dangerous creatures you should know about. 

Additionally, bear in mind that shores gradually move over time. Hence, learning about the shoreline’s history and future erosion should be on your to-do list. 

3 Inspect the waterfront property

Another obvious tip on waterfront property buying is having a property inspection prior to making an offer. Spending some time on the water as well as the property itself is crucial, but you should also have professionals take a look at the property. Inspection costs are minimal compared to the peace of mind they provide. 

Since the property you are interested in is located near or on a body of water, an inspector should make sure there are no water intrusion issues. Another important inspection to conduct is a septic inspection. Repairing or replacing a faulty septic system could cost you thousands of dollars, so definitely have it inspected beforehand. 

4 Talk to the locals

People who live in waterfront communities are often very close with one another, which means your neighbors will probably be a big part of your life should you decide to occupy the property full-time. 

Having conversations with the local residents is a great way to get some first-hand information on the area. Talk to your potential neighbors and ask them everything you want to know. The locals will help you make a list of pros and cons in no time. They should give you their honest opinion that will help you form yours. 

5 Learn about the maintenance of waterfront properties

When it comes to its maintenance, a waterfront home is not just like any other home. Waterfront property buying comes with specific maintenance responsibilities. You must maintain both the condition of your home and the surrounding land. Unfortunately, waterfront real estate is generally more susceptible to damage caused by weather conditions than other types of real estate. 

By taking care of trees and shrubbery growth, you’re not only making your property look better, but you’re also protecting its structure as well as land. Maintaining the frontage of your property is one of the most important maintenance requirements. Your home’s break wall or docks can suffer serious damage, especially if it is located near a body of water that tends to have rough waters. Other important maintenance tasks include roof, deck, and siding maintenance.

You must make sure your waterfront property can withstand the harsh conditions it faces. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with expensive repairs all the time. If the property you buy is durable, you won’t have to worry too much about rain, seawater or wind, and frequent repairs won’t be necessary. 

6 Learn about flood insurance requirements

Flooding is a common cause of damage to waterfront properties. Therefore, one of your insurance requirements may be obtaining a flood insurance policy. Since not all waterfront properties face the same level of risk, the cost of flood insurance varies. Naturally, if your home has a higher risk of potential flooding, the insurance cost will be higher. 

7 Hire an agent to help you with waterfront property buying

The number of real estate agents who can help you through the process of waterfront property buying is limited. Only agents who specialize in waterfront properties should be taken into consideration. Experienced agents know exactly which questions to ask and whom to include in the transaction. When interviewing potential agents, in addition to asking about their experience, ask them to provide client testimonials. 

Best Beach View Real Estate Investments for 2020

When you decide to invest in a waterfront vacation property, there are plenty of factors to take into account. But don’t worry – beachfront properties never go out of style, as everyone likes being near the ocean. Even if it turns out that you don’t like staying there, you’ll still be able to get a return on your investment through renting. With that in mind; we’ll take a look at the best places for such real estate investments in 2020.

Myrtle Beach, SC

While considering the best place for real estate investments in 2020, you’ll obviously have quite a lot on your mind. For example, if you want to have a valuable waterfront property that’s near an urban center, moving somewhere in Baltimore area may be what you want. On the other hand, if you want a true vacation home; have a look at this gem on the Atlantic coast – Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.

This place provides you with ample natural beauty, as well as a wide variety of different activities. Regardless of whether you want to go swimming with dolphins, do some deep-sea fishing, build sandcastles, or just relax on the beach; having a home here will do just fine. And if you choose greenery over sand – there are quite a few nice golf courses around. Plus, for those looking to invest in rental properties – there are great oceanfront homes here that will quickly net you sizable returns.

Panama City Beach, FL

Even if you’re not looking to buy waterfront real estate solely for rental profits, you will still want to consider places that are great vacation spots. After all, at the end of the day, the places where a lot of people go are the places that you will probably enjoy the most while on a vacation of your own.

With that in mind, we’re going to show you this huge stretch of pearl-white beaches – Panama City Beach, found in Northwest Florida. This is actually one of the most visited vacation spots by people from the Midwest and the South. And once you visit this place, you’ll realize that it’s one of the greatest areas for real estate investments in 2020, especially when it comes to waterfront properties. This area lends itself to both classic, historic appeal and an abundance of nature. If you’re looking for the quintessential American family coastal experience – buy a home here!

Gulf Shores, AL

Sure, there are plenty of reasons why Florida beach property is a good investment, there are also areas that are less obvious; like Gulf Shores on the Alabama/Florida state line! You’ll find that this place offers all the amenities vacation-goers need in order to be completely satisfied; in addition, it’s one of the best areas for real estate investments in 2020, at least among vacation home real estate. 

Many great day-trip destinations are situated within a couple of miles from this area, some of which offer unique family activities. Apart from that, there are numerous food festivals, concerts, and other interesting events that attract people to Gulf Shores; basically, it’s an all-year-round destination. And if you’re looking to invest in a rental property, that means one crucial thing – demand for bookings will stay high throughout the whole year. That’s something not a lot of shoreline properties can boast. The average home price is around $400k here, so take a look at all of the options.

Galveston Island, Texas

If you’re thinking of buying a home on Galveston Island, one thing is certain: you’d do well to learn the local lingo. There are IBC residents, or “islanders by choice”, and those Born On the Island – BOI. However, don’t worry – this is an extremely welcoming community, and while the locals have a lot of pride, they’re very pleasant to tourists and newcomers alike. 

While there are a few hotels in the area, most of the island is dominated by vacation rentals. And the local home prices are not so steep; meaning that this is a good investment regardless of whether you want to purchase a rental or a vacation home for yourself. 

Kauai, HI

Obviously, the merits of a vacation home in Hawaii aren’t such a huge mystery. This isn’t just a premier vacation spot for Americans; people from all over the globe flock here to experience the natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, along with the plentiful sightseeing opportunities and myriad fun activities. 

Indeed, the Aloha State is pretty much a dream come true for someone looking for a vacation home. But not many places on this island are quite affordable in terms of real estate; which is where Kauai shines. Especially if you intend on renting out your vacation home, you’ll find that the cap rates here are a little less than 5.5%. And sure, there are a few regulations to take into account; but you’re certain to attain a piece of real estate you’ll enjoy, and others will be happy to rent out if you want them to. 

Conclusion

As you can see, if you look hard enough; there are quite a few great opportunities for real estate investments in 2020, especially when it comes to waterfront areas. However, we advise you to take all the necessary precautions before investing some of your hard-earned money. Remember – regardless of how small the house is, you’ll find that real estate represents quite a sizable investment for any personal budget; something you don’t want to do on a whim. Do all the needed research to make an informed decision!

Natural Mosquito Repellents: What works best?

Reclaiming Your Backyard: Reviewing the Efficacy of 20 Popular Natural Mosquito Repellents

Mosquitoes can be a big problem for travelers, outdoor enthusiasts, and even homeowners. Once they get settled, they breed very quickly. Killing insects that only live for a week or two may feel like rearranging chairs on a sinking ship. However, mosquitoes are not just an annoyance. Their bites can cause significant short-term discomfort, and spread diseases that could turn into chronic conditions.

Adequate protection from mosquitoes is an important part of life during the summer in many areas, and year-round for people living in regions that do not dip below freezing. People can cut down on their exposure by wearing protective clothing and hats, but this can only be so practical in the heat. Most people turn to insect repellents as a way to enjoy the outdoors without all the bugs. Fortunately – since mosquitoes have been around for millions of years – humans have had a lot of time to test different options and see how well they work out.

Some plants have a long history as effective mosquito repellents. Sometimes it can be difficult to verify how useful they are and separate the myths from science. Looking at research helps homeowners to decide which natural repellents might be best for them. Many of the most popular known repellents feature in studies, particularly concerning the use of the essential oils. The results typically vary based on the concentration, and whether or not they are used with other oils. People who are starting to learn about essential oil benefits may want to start with tested products to ensure they achieve a safe/effective concentration and application. If you’ve just bought a waterfront home and want to find new and interesting ways to keep your backyard mosquito-free, the following plants and oils may help.

Note: Although essential oils are often marketed as totally natural and may seem to be perfectly safe, they are not appropriate for everyone. Applying undiluted oils directly to the skin can cause irritation, allergic reactions, or other significant effects. Some may choose to apply small amounts to see how their skin reacts before attempting a full application. Parents should consult with a doctor knowledgeable about these oils before using them on infants or children.

 

First Things First: DEET Has Its Place

Diethyltoluamide (DEET) is a manmade solution that has been used widely as an insecticide and repellent since the 1940s. It remains one of the most effective options people can use to protect themselves against mosquito exposure. Since its origin, people have wondered about the long-term effects of DEET exposure. This has led them to pursue natural repellents with variable results. At times, DEET may be the best option on the table. This is particularly true in areas where serious diseases run rampant and are quickly spread by mosquitoes. It may also be the best choice for older infants, children, and those who cannot use particular kinds of essential oils.

The most common side effect of DEET is skin irritation, not unlike many essential oils in higher concentrations. With prolonged or heavy exposure, DEET is associated with headaches, nausea, or dizziness. People may want to discuss the matter with their doctors to get relevant information based on their personal risk. For people who only need to minimize the annoyance of mosquitoes outside their homes for an hour or two at a time, natural repellents may be a viable alternative to try.

Citronella

 

When people look for natural mosquito protection, citronella is one of the most common choices. Citronella is a combination of oils from different types of grasses. It can repel insects in a few ways. Most typically, its strong scent masks the location of certain foods pests might seek out. Unlike many components of insecticides, it does not kill mosquitoes.

As a popular part of insect prevention, citronella comes in a variety of products. These may include:

  • candles
  • sprays
  • pellets
  • lotions (often containing sunscreen)
  • products for pets

Some homeowners grow citronella grasses in the yard (typically more successful in warmer climates). People should keep in mind that proximity is key for citronella’s use. Burning a candle or placing pellets nearby might be effective in areas with low insect activity, but less so in regions with heavy insect involvement.

The length of time citronella lasts depends on its application. In some cases, people can buy a natural repellent spray with a concentration of oil of citronella that they can apply directly to the skin. Studies suggest that putting a small amount of citronella oil on human skin can be highly effective for about 1-2 hours. It is important to follow manufacturer guidance on application. Sprays may not be appropriate for infants, young children, or other vulnerable populations.

Sources:

Comparative mosquito repellency of essential oils against Aedes aegypti (Linn.), Anopheles dirus (Peyton and Harrison) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say)

Repellent activity of herbal essential oils against Aedes aegypti (Linn.) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say.)

Essential Oil Repellents- A short Review

Clove

Cloves come from a tree that is often grown in Indonesia. The flower buds give off a scent that repels certain types of mosquitoes. Although the living plant has benefits as a natural repellent, it cannot thrive outside in any area that drops below freezing. Homeowners in moderate areas may be able to sustain it in a pot that can be brought inside for colder weather. Otherwise, the dried buds, known as whole cloves, and an oil made from them are widely available.

Clove oil is very strongly scented. Most of the time, people suspend clove oil in olive oil or coconut oil before putting it on their skin. Efficacy depends greatly on the concentration. Research suggests that clove oil is most effective as a 100 percent essential oil applied directly to the skin. This practice may act as a repellant for up to four hours. It is still highly useful at a concentration of around 50 percent, with the other half being geranium or thyme oil. One study showed that this combination lasted as long as 2.5 hours. However, people should take care of using clove oil at this level. They may find that concentrations above 25 percent could irritate the skin.

Sources:

Comparative mosquito repellency of essential oils against Aedes aegypti (Linn.), Anopheles dirus (Peyton and Harrison) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say)

Repellent activity of herbal essential oils against Aedes aegypti (Linn.) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say.)

Repellency of Essential Oils to Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae)

Lemon Grass

 

Lemongrass is an herb that many homeowners like to grow in their gardens. It can only be grown as an annual in most regions of the United States. As a plant or oil, lemongrass may be a functional way to distract mosquitoes. Lemongrass and citronella oils are closely related, coming from the same family of grasses known as Cymbopogon.

Most research covering the efficacy of lemongrass relies on oil, not the whole plant. Specifically, people typically need to place the oil on their skin in some form to receive the benefit. One study noted that lemongrass in coconut oil was effective at preventing mosquito bites for up to two hours. There is evidence to suggest that combining lemongrass oil with other essential oils known for their repellent qualities may provide the best overall protection.

As with citronella, proximity, and quantity makes a significant difference. Many homeowners in the southeastern U.S. could grow lemongrass in their yards. When planted directly into the ground, it can reach a full height of 3-6 feet and offer a natural hedge against insects in the area. Generally, experts believe that the living plant is more appropriate for culinary use than mosquito prevention.

Sources:

Comparative mosquito repellency of essential oils against Aedes aegypti (Linn.), Anopheles dirus (Peyton and Harrison) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say)

Repellent activity of herbal essential oils against Aedes aegypti (Linn.) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say.)

Lavender

Lavender is an herb that has lots of possible uses, among them fragrant, culinary, and medical. Lavender may also be an effective insect repellent. Similar to other herbs, it can grow a few feet tall. When planted heavily and strategically, lavender can provide natural protection for homeowners’ yards and patios. The plant can be grown in almost any part of the U.S., but most varieties thrive best in a low humidity environment. This means that people who live in regions with high humidity may want to keep the lavender in a pot indoors or use lavender oil instead.

As a way to block mosquitoes specifically, people might consider a combination of oils in a spray or other direct application. Lavender oil is extracted from the pale purple flowers and is widely available at a variety of concentrations. The right concentration creates a notable difference in efficacy. Some research indicates that lavender oil with a low concentration (i.e. 5-10 percent) may not be effective against mosquitoes at all. At a 100 percent concentration level, however, it could repel certain types of mosquitoes for more than an hour.

People should remember that a widely-accepted and natural ingredient of many foods and health treatments may not always be safe. Lavender oil is generally regarded as safe diluted in another oil but can be a skin irritant at high concentrations. Consumption of lavender oil could be poisonous.

Sources:

Laboratory Evaluation of Mosquito Repellents Against Aedes albopictus, Culex nigripalpus, and Ochlerotatus triseriatus (Diptera: Culicidae)

Essential Oil Repellents- A short Review

Thyme

 

Thyme is another herb popular in cuisine that has certain properties to repel insects. People often plant thyme in the garden as a way to prevent specific types of insects (e.g. cabbage worms) from infesting their vegetable gardens. The thyme emits a toxic aroma that deters pests. For humans, thyme oil at a higher concentration can be very effective at repelling various species of mosquitoes.

Thyme is most useful as an oil applied to the skin. Specifically, 100 percent essential thyme oil garners the greatest benefit. Protection at this concentration could last up to four hours, depending on the type of mosquito. Homeowners might want to research the most common varieties near their homes, as this difference varies from 105-225 minutes. Using oil at less than 50 percent may not be particularly effective unless it is part of a combination of other natural repellents. Burning thyme can also provide a degree of protection nearly equal to oil, but only lasts up to 90 minutes.

Fresh thyme can be somewhat difficult to grow, especially from seeds. Homeowners may prefer to buy a plant to put in their gardens. The small shrubs can reach a maximum height of one foot. The soil temperature needs to be about 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the thyme to thrive, making it a seasonal or temperate climate plant.

Sources:

Repellency of Essential Oils to Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae)

Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing

Catnip

A member of the mint family, catnip has multiple uses for humans and pets. People may be familiar with catnip as a way to attract cats. Its strong scent can also work to repel mosquitoes and cockroaches. Some research indicates that catnip can be exceptionally effective at blocking mosquitoes. However, it is more useful as a spatial repellent than a contact repellent. Evidence suggests that catnip may outpace DEET with this approach. This means that catnip may be better for homeowners to grow and use as a proximity-based repellent in their yards.

Catnip oil is widely available for people to buy. However, researchers struggle to find ways to make the oil useful as a contact repellent. The natural chemical, nepetalactone, is very good at repelling mosquitoes. In a controlled environment, the plant may minimize mosquito bites for up to eight hours. Once converted into an oil applied directly to the skin, efficacy only lasts 1-2 hours. One study noted that catnip oil could be a practical topical repellent, but only in a specific combination with other oils.

As a highly-invasive species, catnip is relatively easy to grow but can be difficult to maintain. Planting in pots may help homeowners control its growth. Catnip naturally attracts cats, so people should factor this into the placement of the plant.

Sources:

Repellency effect of forty-one essential oils against Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes

Comparison of Contact and Spatial Repellency of Catnip Oil and N,N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (Deet) Against Mosquitoes

Lemon Eucalyptus

 

Lemon eucalyptus has a reputation for repelling mosquitoes, but in a way people might not expect. The plant itself, though technically an herb, can grow up to 60 feet tall. This growth is ideal in its native Australia. The fresh scent makes the leaf and the oil a mainstay in many cosmetic and cleaning products. Homeowners can grow it outside if they live in the southern half of the United States, or otherwise keep it as an annual. The plant can serve as an effective spatial repellent, but the byproduct of the essential oil distillation is much more useful.

People may be aware that lemon eucalyptus oil is not known as a particularly ideal preventive for mosquito bites. This is because the oil only lasts for about an hour. However, researchers discovered that the leftovers from the oil’s manufacturing were far more effective. In fact, at a 50 percent concentration, PMD (the acronym for the byproduct) can provide 100 percent protection for 6-7 hours for one type of mosquito. For other species, a topical application could last 11 hours.

Keeping the plant in the yard gives up to 75 percent protection, particularly from occasional burning of the leaves. Homeowners who want to use PMD will likely notice a greater effect. They should confirm that they are applying the byproduct and not the oil itself, which has a much lower efficacy.

Sources:

Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing

Peppermint

Like catnip, peppermint oil seems to be more effective as a spatial repellent than a topical one. As a moderately invasive species, peppermint can thrive almost anywhere. Homeowners should take care in placing it as it can take over other plants and herbs in the same area. Some people prefer to plant it using a wood mulch to minimize its growth or put it into a pot. When planted in full sun, the living peppermint retains most of its repellent qualities.

Although peppermint oil is widely available, it is not particularly useful on its own to block mosquito bites. Part of the problem is that peppermint as a contact repellent appears to be most effective at 100 percent concentration, but most people cannot tolerate it at that strength. When applied directly to the skin at this level, the oil can cause skin irritation. In addition, peppermint only prevents mosquito contact for about 45 minutes.

Peppermint oil does pose some interesting ideas for people who want to inhibit the spread of mosquitoes where they live. Mosquitoes naturally thrive near areas with standing water. This is the spot larvae grow into adult insects. Placing a small amount of peppermint essential oil into this standing water may prevent the larvae from hatching, and stop many adult mosquitoes from breeding in the area.

Sources:

Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing

Larvicidal and mosquito repellent action of peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil

Essential Oil Repellents- A short Review

Neem

 

Oil from the neem tree can be particularly viable as a mosquito repellent and insecticide, but it may not be as available for planting. Neem grows naturally in India and reaches an average height of about 45-60 feet. The oil comes from the seeds and is quite bitter with a heavy scent of garlic.

Studies performed in India indicate that a low concentration of neem oil burned in a kerosene lamp can repel many types of insects. As an oil applied to the skin, it may be less effective but could last as long as four hours. Neem remains a questionable choice due to the lack of concrete evidence. People have been using neem for centuries as a natural repellent, but it has been more difficult for researchers to establish precisely how effective it is. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allows 100 percent cold-pressed neem oil for food uses, due to its generally low toxicity. However, application to the skin in undiluted form may cause contact dermatitis.

If homeowners can locate the seeds, they may be able to grow neem trees inside or outside. Neem oil is also available for purchase. Neem trees prefer a warmer climate that does not drop below freezing for extended periods of time. It grows best in regions with moderate humidity and regular watering and can be grown indoors.

Sources:

Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing

Essential Oil Repellents- A short Review

Basil

Basil is an American staple herb, with a variety of subspecies that look, smell, taste, and function differently from one another. The essential oil of several different kinds of basil can provide adequate or even ideal protection as a spatial or contact repellent to mosquitoes and other pests. Both the plant and the oil are reasonably accessible.

Using basil oil offers the best protection against mosquitoes. Some studies suggest that 100 percent basil oil used with vanillin can provide several hours of mosquito repellent. In other studies, a lower concentration of oil seems to block mosquitoes for 1.5-2.5 hours. People might want to consider purchasing a natural repellent product to minimize health effects from the undiluted oil. Basil oil may contain natural carcinogens that could be harmful in excess quantities.

Basil is relatively easy to grow almost anywhere in the U.S. Although it prefers a warmer climate to thrive outdoors, homeowners often can grow it indoors with a great deal of success. The fully-grown herb can reach about 24” in height, depending on the type. It needs plenty of sun and well-drained soil. In certain areas, it may regrow from one year to the next. Otherwise, people can grow it readily from seeds or cuttings.

Sources:

Comparative mosquito repellency of essential oils against Aedes aegypti (Linn.), Anopheles dirus (Peyton and Harrison) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say)

Repellent Activities of the Essential Oils of Four Sudanese Accessions of Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) Against Anopheles Mosquito

Litsea

Evidence to establish the repellent ability of litsea is somewhat scant. As part of a combination of other oils, it may be helpful as a spatial or topical repellent. Drawn from the leaves and flowers of the litsea plant, litsea oil is widely available by itself or with other essential oils.

Research showing litsea’s effectiveness often relies on several oils, which may make it harder to discern its individual efficacy. One study noted that oil of litsea used with other oils provided 100 percent protection for up to eight hours, but was difficult to apply to the skin. Another claimed that low or moderate concentrations of litsea oil could serve as a very effective repellent placed near people.

Litsea oil comes from a shrub that can grow to be about 23’ tall. This shrub is found almost exclusively in East Asia. There is evidence to suggest that homeowners in mild climates with a sandy or loamy soil that is properly watered and drains could possibly grow litsea in their yards. It is not particular to the amount of sun required and could thrive in both full sun or part shade.

Sources:

Repellency effect of forty-one essential oils against Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes

Excito-repellency properties of essential oils from Melaleuca leucadendron L., Litsea cubeba (Lour.) Persoon, and Litsea salicifolia (Nees) on Aedes aegypti (L.) mosquitoes

Geranium

 

Geraniums are a lovely flowering plant that many homeowners like to keep in their yards. Geranium oil has noted abilities to repel several different kinds of mosquitoes. In most cases, it is the oil that can block mosquito bites, not the plant itself. However, there are many types of geraniums. Certain kinds, such as the lemon-scented geranium, give off a citronella scent that might serve as a minimal spatial repellent.

One problem that a lot of essential oils have for repellency is how quickly they evaporate off the skin. At high concentrations, geranium oil has some staying power. One study reflected two-hour protection for geranium oil at 75 percent concentration. When combined with clove oil, other research indicates that geranium oil at 50 percent concentration could act as a repellent for 1.25-2.5 hours. Geranium oil can irritate the skin in higher quantities, but possibly less so than other oils like clove or peppermint.

Although geraniums function largely as an annual in many growing zones of the U.S., people could bring them indoors in the fall and replant outside in the spring. This is likely to serve more of a design function than as part of a broader plan to prevent insects from invading the space.

Sources:

Laboratory Evaluation of Mosquito Repellents Against Aedes albopictus, Culex nigripalpus, and Ochlerotatus triseriatus (Diptera: Culicidae)

Repellency of Essential Oils to Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae)

Cajeput

Anyone who is familiar with the strong scent of tea tree oil can appreciate the benefits of a close relative, the cajeput tree. Cajeput trees are natives to Australia and come from the Meleleuca genus. The essential oil is made from the twigs and leaves of the tree and is known to have numerous health properties. Cajeput oil is similar to niaouli oil because they come from the same genus, but they are not the same. People looking to buy these oils should confirm that they understand the difference between tea tree, cajeput, and niaouli oils.

Many mosquitoes are simply a nuisance, but others carry diseases that could harm or even kill humans. One study considered different oil combinations’ ability to repel mosquitoes carrying yellow fever, malaria, and encephalitis. Cajeput oil was one of the most effective and could last about eight hours if properly placed on the skin.

Although the oil may be useful for preventing mosquitoes from establishing a home in the yard or biting humans, evidence of the tree’s use as a spatial repellent is limited. Those who live in dry, desert conditions could possibly grow the cajeput tree. It features a spongy bark that comes off in sheets and may be considered an invasive species in parts of the U.S. Cajeput reaches an adult height of 20’-40’ and will grow quickly in almost any kind of soil.

Sources:

Repellency effect of forty-one essential oils against Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes

Niaouli (Paper Bark Tea Tree)

Many people who were irritated when using tea tree oil to treat a sore or insect bite might want to try its gentler cousin, niaouli. Niaouli oil comes from the paperbark tea tree, from the Meleleuca genus that also includes tea trees and cajeput trees. This oil is fairly easily accessible and has some promising effects in the prevention of mosquito bites.

Since oils from Meleleuca trees are so closely related, studies often look at them together for efficacy. One study showed that niaouli oil ranked one of the highest in long-term mosquito repellent. Another compared a variety of related oils at a lower concentration, around 5-10 percent. When first applied or used as a spatial repellent, the oils were almost 100 percent effective. However, the benefits wore off rapidly after the first hour, as the oils evaporated. This may indicate that the method of topical application makes a significant difference in its overall usefulness. Since Meleleuca is a common allergen, people may want to test their reaction to it before planting it or using the oil regularly.

Originally found in Australia, the paperbark tea tree also grows very well in Florida. There, it is considered an invasive species. The paperbark tea tree can thrive in many parts of the southern U.S. It grows best in moist regions where homeowners can achieve a good balance of watering. Planted in full sun, it can grow over 40 feet.

Sources:

Repellency effect of forty-one essential oils against Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes

Development of Melaleuca oils as effective natural‐based personal insect repellents

Violet

 

Essential oil derived from the violet flowering plant may be a useful mosquito repellent, but the plant itself might not. Some evidence suggests that the plant acts as a ground cover providing necessary protection for mosquitoes to thrive. As such, homeowners may want to take care when planting violets outside in large quantities.

Violet oil is easy to locate and buy in the U.S., but its repellent qualities have not been studied very heavily. A 2006 study showed that violet oil was one of the most effective essential oils used as a contact repellent, providing 100 percent efficacy for about eight hours. The oil may offer adequate protection, particularly when used in conjunction with other oils. This use may require a higher concentration, which could irritate the skin. Homeowners may want to seek out a skilled aromatherapist or ask their doctor about violet oil.

There are dozens of varieties of violets, and some may be more attractive to mosquitoes than others. Homeowners often like to grow violets indoors, largely because they need warm soil in which to thrive. Violets prefer lower or indirect lighting, making them ideal for an indoor or shady area.

Sources:

Repellency effect of forty-one essential oils against Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes

Patchouli

When people think of patchouli, they may already have a memory of its unique scent. For centuries, cultures have used patchouli as incense, perfume, and an effective insect repellent. The strong, earthy smell is unlike any other and goes a long way. Using patchouli oil may be the most practical application, but the plant is also known to discourage mosquitoes from lingering.

Undiluted, patchouli oil alone may provide up to two hours of mosquito protection when applied to the skin. When compared to lower concentrations such as 10 percent or 50 percent, the 100 percent concentration lasted much longer. One study yielded a result longer than five hours for patchouli mixed with turmeric and Zanthoxylum limonella oils. However, patchouli even in very small quantities can be overwhelming. People should take care when putting it on, as the scent will carry some distance.

Fortunately, patchouli as a flowering herb can also function partly as a spatial insect repellent. Native to East Asia, it can grow to 2-3 feet with fuzzy leaves and violet-colored flowers. A member of the mint family, it needs plenty of space to spread out. It can thrive in a pot or anywhere in the garden that receives partial sun exposure.

Sources:

Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing

Comparative repellency of 38 essential oils against mosquito bites.

Synergistic mosquito-repellent activity of Curcuma longa, Pogostemon heyneanus and Zanthoxylum limonella essential oils.

Palmarosa

The technical classification of palmarosa is Cymbopogon martinii, making it a close relative of lemongrass and citronella. As such, it may not be surprising that palmarosa is useful as a mosquito repellent like its cousins. Its sweet, rosy scent makes it an ideal perfume or spray. The oil from the plant offers the best protection against mosquitoes.

Research is beginning to show that palmarosa can be effective against mosquitoes for hours longer than most oils or oil blends. One study resulted in 100 percent protection for up to 12 hours, far exceeding many other options. The efficacy seems to rely on a 100 percent concentration. This situates the lemon grasses as the most complete and longest-running protection that homeowners can use as an oil or spray. Some research indicates that palmarosa may be safer for human use at a higher concentration than other grass oils, and most essential oils in general.

Growing palmarosa at home may not be much more difficult than growing other types of lemongrass. It needs a mild, humid climate, but can thrive in a variety of soil types. Homeowners might like to grow palmarosa along with other grasses to act as a privacy screen or protection against insect infestation.

Sources:

Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing

Zanthoxylum Limonella (Makaen)

 

Zanthoxylum limonella, more commonly known as makaen, is a tree that grows in various parts of Southeast Asia. Trees from this genus have many uses, among them spices and oils. Essential oil from the makaen tree could provide useful protection against certain kinds of mosquitoes for moderate periods of time.

Studies show that Zanthoxylum limonella oil can block mosquitoes for a variable amount of time, depending on its concentration and combination with other oils. For example, one study indicated that the undiluted oil provided 100 percent protection for almost three hours. Another study established complete protection at 20 percent concentration for about an hour and a half. When combined with turmeric and patchouli oils, it lasted more than five hours.

It is difficult to prove the effectiveness of the makaen tree’s efficacy as an insect repellent. However, it is a pleasing shrub that is relatively simple to grow inside or outside in a mild climate. Many people keep it indoors as a small shrub. The essential oil comes from the seeds. The berries can be dried and crushed to create the popular Sichuan pepper spice.

Sources:

Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing

Comparative repellency of 38 essential oils against mosquito bites.

Synergistic mosquito-repellent activity of Curcuma longa, Pogostemon heyneanus and Zanthoxylum limonella essential oils.

Vanillin

It makes sense that vanillin is a major component of vanilla extract. It is only one component and can be somewhat difficult to derive from the vanilla bean. When used as a conveyance for essential oils known to function as a mosquito repellent, vanillin can make the effects last hours longer.

The major problem with a lot of essential oils that repel insects is that they do not tend to last very long. Once applied to the skin, they evaporate relatively quickly, leaving the wearer unprotected. In addition, undiluted essential oils pose a host of potential health risks, especially for people who are not very skilled or knowledgeable about safe applications. Vanillin can provide a viable solution. The size of the vanillin molecules requires longer to break down, allowing the solution to release the potent oils over a longer period of time. Depending on the oil used, vanillin can increase an oil’s efficacy from less than two hours to more than eight hours.

The availability and price of products containing vanillin tend to wax and wane based on demand for the vanilla bean. Vanilla beans are difficult to harvest and take years to cultivate. Recent shortages have driven vanilla prices up, affecting vanillin as well. As such, homeowners may not have a difficult time locating natural mosquito repellents using vanillin as a carrier, but they may have to pay more for it.

Sources:

Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing

Coffee Grounds

 

Coffee can act a little like a sneak attack for mosquitoes. The brownish water looks somewhat like a leaf infusion, which can attract female mosquitoes looking to lay eggs. However, in strong quantities, coffee extract in water could actually repel mosquitoes or make the larvae less likely to develop. Burning coffee grounds could also work as a simple spatial insect repellent.

One study looked at coffee’s effects on mosquitoes that often carry dengue fever. Water sources that contained higher concentrations of coffee were less attractive to the female mosquitoes, and they were less likely to lay eggs there. Since coffee generates a significant amount of waste, this might pose possible solutions for people living in regions where mosquito breeding could spread serious or fatal diseases.

Homeowners looking for a way to discourage mosquitoes or other insects from building homes in the yard might consider placing coffee grounds around the garden. Coffee grounds are a natural byproduct of the coffee-making process, so they are usually easy to obtain for those who drink it. Using the grounds as a topping for the garden is safe for many plants. It creates a strong scent that discourages mosquitoes, ants, and slugs. Burning the coffee grounds should be done with care, but may also be effective. The smoke acts as its own repellent to mosquitoes, flies, and wasps. Burning increases the strength and the duration of the scent, which may keep insects at bay while people are enjoying time outside.

Sources:

Coffee and its waste repel gravid Aedes albopictus females and inhibit the development of their embryos

Other Helpful Tips for Reducing Mosquito Populations Around the Home

Dealing with mosquitoes is a common problem for many homeowners, especially during the warmer months of the year. It may be less of an issue for some condo owners, but – even then – this knowledge can come in handy at some point in the future. Many mosquitoes are little more than a nuisance, but it is difficult to tell the difference between a mosquito carrying nothing and one carrying Zika or malaria. A few extra precautions can make a big improvement.

Homeowners should know that mosquitoes breed in standing water. Standing water means water that is not moving or filtered in some way. This means that people should try to avoid leaving standing water on their properties, especially in the summer. Standing water might include:

  • ponds without an effective filtration system
  • puddles after a rainstorm
  • wading pools and children’s water toys
  • open rain barrels
  • buckets used for watering or washing

Residents may not be able to eliminate these sources entirely, but they can minimize them. People can tightly seal water containers that they need to use on a regular basis.

Once the mosquitoes have established themselves in an area, homeowners might have to work a little harder to get rid of them. Most insect repellents operate by discouraging mosquitoes from coming near. Few natural options also function as an insecticide. Cinnamon oil may hold some promise to kill mosquito larvae before they hatch, but can be toxic at a high concentration. Products marketed as insecticides often contain artificial ingredients and poisons that could be harmful to humans as well as insects. People should take care when handling and applying them, especially around surfaces they use regularly.

Keeping mosquitoes outside mostly calls for attention to the home’s openings. Making sure there are no air gaps around doors and windows makes it harder for insects to sneak inside. Closing doors and windows allow the home’s cooling system to work more effectively. When windows and doors must be kept open for a time, homeowners can reduce their exposure by confirming that screens are in good condition.

As people explore the vast quantities of research out there about natural insect repellents, they may discover many more options not included on this list. Some claims may be harder to substantiate, even if certain cultures have been using them to prevent mosquitoes for thousands of years. As such, homeowners should take care to do their own research before assuming that any suggestions are either safe or particularly useful. Some of the most popular options to use as natural repellents, such as clove oil, require a concentration high enough that they could cause problems if applied incorrectly.

Products on the market can make it seem easy to use undiluted essential oils for a variety of purposes. However, people need to be wary of the way they use oils. Some options that are safe for humans may repel pets as well as insects. Others are only appropriate for uses that do not require direct contact with human skin. By gaining necessary information about the various oils’ efficacy and benefits, homeowners can find multiple possible routes they can take to cut down on mosquito bites and keep the pests off their properties.

How To Make your Waterfront Property Accessible

by Lucy Hudson

The total value of waterfront homes was $134 billion in June 2018, according to an article in Forbes. The same article indicates that due to changing climate conditions, changing tastes, and bounce back of non-waterfront homes, the overall average sales price of homes has gone down. However, waterfront homes are still the epitome of luxury and an enjoyable holiday retreat for people on vacation. So focus should be on making your waterfront home climate change proof and accessible so that it can be more comfortable for both you and potential tenants.

IoT technology for convenience

The easiest way to explain the Internet of Things (IoT) is that it involves smart devices communicating with each other in a network. Smart home devices come in the form of appliances, electronics, and speakers, which enhance independent living — especially for people with mobility problems and disabled people. For example, there are smart coffee makers that automatically start making coffee every morning, and window blinds that open and close themselves. There are also thermostats that adjust themselves automatically and learn your routines, and lights that go on and off without you touching a light switch. You can take control of these devices with an app on your phone, or simply use voice control to turn them on and off.  Personal assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home allow you to control various devices using voice control.

An entryway that is friendly to everyone

Placing a mat that says “welcome” at your front door will do nothing to help people with mobility problems get to your door or through it any easier. If a person using a wheelchair cannot access your home via the stairs, then ramps are a great solution. A modular ramp is great for all types of stairs and entrances. These ramps are usually made of high-grade aluminum, are semi-permanent, durable, and easy to maintain. However, if you want to make a ramp one of the primary features of your home, you can opt for a permanent wooden ramp. A permanent ramp is a better option for beachfront elevated homes. The ramps make it easier to get to the door but the entryway should have door frames that are at least 32 inches wide. If not, use offset hinges on the door to allow it to open wide enough to fit a wheelchair.

Don’t forget the bathroom

Accessible features that you can add to your bathroom include showers with rolling seats for people who cannot stand, and grab bars for balance. The shower should also be well lit and have a hand-held shower head with a 60-inch hose. To reduce the risk of slipping in the shower, install a non-slip floor and a walk-in tub. The soap, lotions and other stuff you use in the bathroom should be placed in an area that is easy to reach. In addition, install a riser on a toilet to make it easy for people to use who have trouble bending.

There are many other things that you can install or add into a waterfront home to make it accessible. However, it’s best to start by adding features that make movement in your waterfront home easy for people who are disabled or have mobility problems as they are the most in need of improvements.

An Office Desk With A Calming Water View

by Lucy Hudson

Stress is a significant problem in the modern workplace, and mounting evidence points towards thoughtful office design as the key to keeping workers relaxed, while enhancing productivity. The WELL building standard is created from the concept that the work environment itself can contribute towards stress, but by building an office with plenty of natural light, adequate air flow, green plants, and a pleasant view, this can enhance the mental health of employees. For those lucky enough to live on the waterfront, setting up a stress-free home office in such a peaceful location requires just a little effort.

A Dedicated Office

Separating work from home life can be a challenge, whether you live alone or with pets and kids seeking your attention. A stress-free remote work environment should allow you to take advantage of the benefits of flexible working, without succumbing to any overlaps with your personal life. Begin by setting aside a dedicated room in your home, preferably with that relaxing water view, which can be used solely for work. If you try “hotdesking” from your kitchen table to your living room couch, then you’re bound to run into difficulties.

Choosing Ergonomic Furniture

With this in mind, it’s important to invest in furniture for your home office that provides the best support for your posture as you work. As workers often sit for 8 hours of the day at their desk, the possibility of adopting a hunched position is high. Take care to put your health first and choose a desk and chair arrangement, such as a standing desk that reduces the physical stress on your spine and frame.

Securing Your Home Network

Few things cause as much anxiety in the workplace as the idea of a cyber attack. When you’re setting up your homework environment, you may not have access to an IT department in the same way that dedicated office workers do. Along with keeping your anti-virus up-to-date and following best practices for changing your passwords, take steps to secure your home network by installing a virtual private network connection to reduce the threat of potential vulnerabilities. You should also review your back-up strategy, whether to the cloud or to an external storage device to ensure that your sensitive data is kept 100% secure.

Establishing Boundaries

Make your family members aware of your working hours so that they understand the boundaries and know when you shouldn’t be disturbed. Equally, to prevent clients and other contacts from getting in touch outside of your regular work hours, you may consider using a separate cell phone for business purposes or even installing a business line.

Take Regular Breaks

Regular breaks are essential in relieving stress in any role, but some types of downtime are more effective than others. For example, snacking on unhealthy foods or using the time to vent about a work-related problem can contribute towards further fatigue. Conversely, an effective strategy is to carry out an activity that allows you to mentally disengage from your work-related tasks. As a homeowner with waterfront property, you have the perfect setting to help you enjoy a positive psychological break during the working day. You could choose to meditate, or simply take a walk outside to catch the breeze.

Your water view property is the perfect place to set up a home office. Put some planning into the initial set-up and all that’s left to do is to start working at your own leisure and connecting with nature during those relaxing breaks.