Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Dec. 8, 2022

How to Make Your Home Safe for Senior Living


As there are a growing number of aged adults living independently, it’s ever important to be aware of the risks of daily living accidents such as falls and fire hazards and how to eliminate these to keep ourselves and loved ones safe. Whether a quick fix or a small renovation, the following are commonly recommended adjustments to help avoid potential risks.


Minimize trips and falls

Remove a loose rug or secure it with double-sided tape or a rug pad. For carpet tears, mend with carpet glue or staples. If you have a flight of stairs, use textured no-slip strips and ascertain that handrails are secure. Another consideration is a chair lift. For the bathroom, a rubber mat in the tub prevents slippage. Also, you can browse your local medical supply store for grab bars to install near the shower, bathtub, and toilet. You may also look for a toilet seat riser to ease getting up. Place electrical cords away from high traffic areas.

Remove obstacles

Clear the pathway of any chairs, appliances, bags, or boxes that can impede the walkway and cause someone to lose their footing. Add low-level shelving to store extra items that are lying around.

Secure, adjust, or replace faulty furniture

Fix or trade chairs with wobbly limbs for those with sturdy legs and arms. Ensure chairs and bedding are at a comfortable height to sit and rise from. Adjust the headboard or replace the mattress if it’s too high or low.

Improve lighting

Darkness in the home during the night is an accident waiting to happen while making one’s way to the bathroom. Nightlights, motion sensor lighting, or the clapper are helpful aids to increase visibility rather than risking a stumble. LED bulbs versus high bulb wattage are safer and save on energy.

Keep activities and large items on one level

Reduce the need to visit the basement or consider purchasing a ranch where you can access laundry, storage, and other items on the main floor. Create easy access to heavy objects, such as hanging pots and pans on the wall, to avoid heavy lifting.

Practice fire and burn prevention

Control temperatures by monitoring thermostats or installing lock-in switches to control furnace fires. Check that electrical cords are not frayed, and outlets aren’t overfilled to avoid shorts and overheating. Be careful of burns and scalding when near water or in the kitchen. The water-heater thermostat should be no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit and avoid wearing loose clothing while cooking on the stove. When using space heaters, ensure they are placed at least three feet away from furnishings.

Follow general safety and health measures

Everyone, including seniors, is vulnerable to smoke and toxic fumes. Change the smoke detector and carbon monoxide batteries twice per year and add a fire extinguisher to the kitchen and on each floor of the home. Keep a list of emergency numbers visible and handy. Hire a regular cleaning service and have the pharmacy attach large print labels to medication bottles. You don’t want to risk the possibility that seniors with mobility, hearing, and visual limitations, accidentally overmedicate or mix the wrong cleaning chemicals.

In addition, obtain a medical alert system for those prone to falls. If they don’t want to wear a device, they should always have a cordless phone handy. Finally, invest in a smart home security system to protect against home invasion if you can afford it.

As we and our loved ones age, we become increasingly vulnerable to accidents, crime, and health emergencies. Tragedies can cost us dearly if we don’t take the time to ensure our homes are safe. It’s just a matter of taking a few extra precautions and, if needed, investing in the necessary changes to provide the priceless protection and peace of mind that we all deserve.

Dec. 5, 2022

12 Tips to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient


Now that the winter months are upon us, do you once again dread another season of sky-high heating and electric bills? Although you may blame this on inflation and other factors that are out of your control, as a homeowner, you have control over how efficiently your home uses energy. To use power more efficiently to save yourself a bundle on your bills, you must be aware of your level of energy consumption. You have to examine your habits and the function of your appliances to figure out where and why the loss is happening. Whether you do it yourself, seek professional help, or a little of both, the following tips can significantly reduce your energy costs while making your home more comfortable and environmentally friendly.



Hire a professional to audit your energy consumption. This will enable you to understand your appliance usage and determine where the loss occurs.

Conserve Lighting. Turn off lights in rooms that are not in use. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs, and use a dimmer switch or motion sensors.

Reduce temperature setting. Lowering your thermostat even by one degree can make a difference. Experts recommend 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Control your heat use in each of your rooms with a programmable thermostat. If still drafty, hang drapes and blinds to retain heat. Use cold water for laundering whenever possible.

Disconnect appliances not in use. Power, although at a lower level, still surges; thus, energy is still in use. Use a power strip that is easier to turn off when not in use. Unplug items not constantly in use, such as toasters, blenders, and blow dryers.

Avoid overcharging your electronic devices. When your phone is 100% charged yet still connected to the charger, the electricity is still running.

Keep appliances clean for better usage. Getting rid of dirt, dust, and grime can help them operate more effectively. Periodically update your refrigerator, microwave, and other equipment as needed.

Weather-proof your windows and doors. Check weather strips and sealing to prevent heat escape. Install storm doors for your front and back. Glass prevents thermal loss.

Use good insulation. It is especially important to use quality materials for your roof and heating ducts. Also, proper insulation of an attached garage will help keep heat from escaping. Air seal any cracks, gaps, and leaks. Provide extra insulation in older homes.

Pay attention to above and below you. Ceiling fans can ensure better air circulation in summer and winter, so that heat and cool air are evenly distributed. Providing suitable floorings, such as vinyl or carpeting, can help reduce heat loss.

Use energy-saving and low-usage technology and equipment. Use energy-saving modes when running your washing machine, dishwasher, and dryer. Turn off the heated dry setting on your dishwasher. Install low-water usage taps and showerheads. The less water you consume, the less energy you heat it. It’s also good practice to only run full loads, so you are not wasteful.

Look for alternatives to heat water. Solar or geothermal water heaters are the most economical.

Service your heating system. All systems accrue wear and tear with daily usage. Periodic servicing can keep them running efficiently. Clean and replace all filters.

Cut your energy costs and live more comfortably by taking some time to incorporate these adjustments. By carefully maintaining your household appliances, cutting waste, and consistently practicing conservative habits, you will see your energy usage and dollars well spent. You may have to incur some expenses to get there, but you will make your home more energy efficient in the long run.

Nov. 28, 2022

Economical Upgrades to Increase Your Home’s Value


Whether you are looking to move now or may consider it in the future, there are many affordable options for making significant changes to your home without having to do a major renovation. With low-cost purchases of supplies, DIY instructions or professional guidance, and time set aside, you can make improvements that will increase your home’s resale value, save you money on energy costs, and improve your quality of living. When considering improvements, consider what needs attention first, such as protection from the elements, mold removal, mobility safety, and energy efficiency. Once those are addressed, you should pay attention to enhancing the appearance to attract future buyers. Such consideration should include space, lighting, curb appeal, and interior decorum. The following upgrades can transform your home into a more comfortable and stylish environment without stretching your wallet.


Start simple with cleaning, painting, and other resurfacing

Always begin with sparkling up the floors, walls, fixtures, and cabinetry which you can easily do with minimal expense. Sanding and repainting, wallpaper, and retiling can give a new look to what has grown old and drabby. Also, replace old appliances and countertops when you can find items on sale. Another way to eliminate eyesores is to hide them with a photo or painting. You can also cheaply replace old handles, knobs, locks, and outlet plates with a newer style to create a unique look. If preferred, you can paint over these fixtures and tile and tubs. It’s important, though, to match the colors and style of your room, furniture, and appliances. Consult a professional to recoat ceramic, porcelain, or fiberglass.

Give the illusion of space, and don’t waste what you have

Do you have an unused room? Why not turn it into a functioning space, such as a comfortable den or extra bedroom? You can add new furniture, rugs, pillows, a TV, or a free-standing wardrobe closet. Add mirrors to a small area to make it appear more spacious. Install visible storage, such as floating shelves, to allow others to see the capacity. Rid your home of bulky furnishings to free up space.

Refurbishment instead of replacement

Re-stain or refinish old wood on decks, doors, and furniture. Update your windows by adding molding or painting the frames inside to make them appear bigger and more modern. If you need to replace, buy energy-efficient windows; vinyl ones are recommended. You can also add interior shutters for style and privacy.

Upgrade the lighting

You can improve the ambiance of a room with a different light fixture, such as a new dining room chandelier or a vintage lantern, to give a rustic charm to your entryway. Consider investing between $1000-$3000 to install a sliding glass door to bring in more natural lighting. In addition, choose neutral paint colors for a softer environment pleasing to the average eye.

Improve curb appeal

Although they shouldn’t, people will judge a book by its cover. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and that includes your home. You may only need to paint your front door and add a few plants or plant shrubs and perennials to populate a barren area. You’re not only beautifying your property but benefiting the environment. In addition, pay attention to the exterior material of your house. Worn siding and peeling shingles will immediately turn potential buyers off. You can remove dirt and stains by power washing, but if you need to replace siding, fiber-cement is recommended for its affordability and resistance to fire, rotting, and termites.

Compared to more extensive remodeling, these small home improvements are a more affordable and less laborious approach to giving your home the facelift it needs to be saleable. In addition, these upgrades allow you to enjoy the time you have in your home with the added comforts and conveniences they provide.

Nov. 17, 2022

Home Renovation on a Budget — You Got This!


Are you tired of looking at the drabby paint on your walls, the outdated cabinets, worn furniture, and stained carpets? Your home is overdue to be remodeled, which is on your wish list. However, you are afraid of what the cost might be. Unless you want a major overhaul, you can still spruce up your home and improve its appearance and functionality without going broke. The following are some budget-friendly ideas for renovating different rooms of your home.


Refurbish, Reupholster, and Refinish

You can minimize the cost with these suggestions — whether you want to change cabinets, furniture, flooring, or curtains. For cabinets in fairly good condition, you can opt to repaint, reface with a contemporary style, or add new doors. For furniture and curtains, trade the worn-out, faded material on your couches and chairs with a different texture and color. You can save additional money by using the same curtain rods and rings and finding fabric you can sew yourself. Refinish or recoat hardwood floors without replacing them. There are peel-and-stick flooring options that you can apply over the existing surface. The old carpeting can be removed to reveal useable hardware flooring you can restore cheaply.

Renew Kitchen Surfaces and Appliances

Usually, the messiest and grimiest area is where you cook and eat. Periodically you will need to replace appliances and refresh the overall appearance. There are many materials available to fit your budget. For essentials like refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers, it’s possible to replace them inexpensively with package offers or discounts on multiple purchases. You can also learn how to install an appliance to save an extra $100 to $500. If your oven is new or still in good condition, all you may need is to add a new backsplash. You may also want to consider new countertops since they are one of the most worked surfaces. Check on deals with your local store and tile companies.

Create More Open Space Without Increasing the Size

Increase efficiency without knocking out a wall to expand your home. You can replace bulky cabinetry and large shelves with vertical cabinets with pull-out drawers wide enough to store racks for pantry items. Need a kitchen island to prep meals? You can use a simple stand-alone table and add wheels for easy moveability.

Declutter, Add Color, Style, and Lighting

Improve the livability of smaller rooms, such as your bathroom, by adding a storage closet, vanity, or medicine cabinet. Peel and stick wallpaper can save time and labor if you’re not ready to paint. Add new hardware to give your room more of a modern flair, such as updating knobs and drawer handles. Save on cost by finding recycled fixtures. Brighten a windowless room with a light tube that funnels in natural light. Add wainscoting trim to dull walls and ceilings to add texture and detail.

A simple, cost-effective renovation can breathe new life into your living space and bring you a renewed sense of accomplishment without financial hardship. From your biggest, most lived-in rooms to your tucked-away areas, there is always an affordable solution to get your home in tip-top shape again.

Nov. 14, 2022

Make Sure Your Home Is Ready for Winter


If you do not live in a warm, tropical climate, the fall months are the best time to get your home ready for freezing temperatures, snowstorms, and icy conditions that lie ahead in the wintertime. Without the proper care and adherence to a maintenance routine, your living space and appliances are prone to damage that can lead to considerable costs for repair and high energy bills.



Protect your home and property by reserving some autumn weekends to check the interior and exterior space for proper drainage, protection from winds, and insulation from the cold. You also want to ascertain that all your heating appliances are in tip-top shape. Here is a checklist to help you get through your maintenance schedule in time for the onset of old man winter.

INSULATE PIPES. Pipes that run along unheated areas can freeze and burst when temperatures drop to 32F and below. Protect them with foam or blown-in insulation you can purchase at a hardware store.

CLEAN OUT GUTTERS. Avoid clogs that can damage your shingles or roof. Use a strong ladder or get a handyman to help. Use work gloves to scoop out leaves and other debris that can block proper drainage. You can also purchase gutters with leaf guards to keep maintenance minimal.

DRAIN SPRINKLERS, UNHOOK HOSING, AND TURN OFF EXTERIOR FAUCETS. Like pipes, these can expand and crack when frozen. Remove any residual water or get help from a contractor who can blow out the water with compressed air.

INSTALL INSULATION. Block drafts by stripping around windows and door frames. Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it is impervious to the elements. For baseboards, use paintable caulking.

GET YOUR FURNACE CHECKED. Hire an HVAC Contractor to inspect all parts and replace the filter with one that will easily trap particles. Ensure it is operating efficiently and that there is no carbon monoxide leakage.

FIREPLACE CLEANING AND INSPECTION. Gas fireplaces should be inspected every three years. However, wood-burning fireplaces require annual cleaning by a certified Chimney Sweep to prevent the ignition of soot build-up.

TEST YOUR SUMP PUMP. Slowly pour several gallons of water to check that it will turn one, especially during a previous dry season or before rainfall.

INSPECT YOUR ROOF. Check for damaged, loose, or missing shingles that could cause a leak from melting snow and storms. Hire a handyman for small repairs or a roofer for larger sections.

PREPARE FOR SNOW AND POWER OUTAGES. Be ready for an emergency and proper snow clearance. Restock rock salt and check that your snow removal tools are operational and in good condition. Have a generator handy in case you need a backup of power.

MAINTAIN OUTDOOR PLANTS AND TREES. Trim dead branches that could fall and cause major damage. Add mulch to insulate plant roots from low temperatures. Cut back perennials to eliminate harmful insects that may hibernate and resurface to impede spring growth.

Fall is fun for pumpkin carving, farm festivals, and comfortable, cool-weather hikes. Set some time to enjoy activities and appreciate nature. However, don’t put off the tasks needed to prepare and protect your greatest asset, your home. The fall months fly by, and before you know it, you are faced with the unforgiving harshness of mother nature. Be ready and armed with that first snowflake, a gust of wind, and a dangling icicle until you can let your guard down again in the spring.

Oct. 27, 2022

Choosing Better Paint Colours


Painting can be a great way to customize your house and make it into a home. Whether you’re just adding a splash of colour or redoing entire rooms to match your favorites, a fresh coat of paint is a great way to take a home that you bought and really make it yours. Unfortunately, not everyone is great at picking the best colours for their home. After some unfortunate paint jobs, some homeowners may even wonder why they were allowed to go near a paint store at all. This doesn’t have to be the case, however.



There are a number of things that you can do to find paint colours that better match your home. You can pick up paint swatches, get some small cans to test in different colours, or even use software to see how different colours will look in your rooms. The big thing is making sure that you know how to take what you’ve learned and make your rooms look their best. Here are a few tips that may help with that.


Things to Consider

There are several things that you should think about before picking out a specific paint. One of the big considerations that many people overlook is stopping to look at the colours of your existing décor. Even if you don’t have a specific theme to your furniture and decorations, there may be predominant colours that you should keep in mind when choosing paint. Even thinking about whether most of the décor is on the darker side or the lighter side can affect your colour decision.

You should also consider the type of finish you want on your walls. Depending on the paint options you’re considering, you might find colours in everything from flat and eggshell to the high-gloss paints that are typically used for trim and accents. The finish affects the shininess or flatness of the colours and can produce significantly different effects with similar colours. It can also affect how resistant the paint is to stains and dirt, with flatter colours being harder to clean while higher sheen paints are easier.

Finding the Right Colour

There are a few considerations to be mindful of when it comes to actually choosing a colour, too. Ideally, you should pick up swatches of multiple colours that you like and bring them home to see how each one looks with your lighting and home environment. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few, get a few samples of the colours you like the most and actually put some paint on the walls to see how each one looks once dried. Don’t put these sample bits too close together, though, as it might be harder to tell which you actually like when you’re distracted by a number of samples right next to each other. Larger areas are better than small spots, and if you’re doing the entire room, you should try different colours on different walls.

Bring Your Walls to Life

When it comes time to paint, it may be tempting to just grab a brush or roller and go for it. That may not be the best approach, however. First you should make sure that you have everything that you need, including enough paint to cover the entire area and tools of high enough quality that they aren’t going to leave streaks or fuzz in your paint as you go. You should also go over your plans one last time, especially if you’re doing one wall in a different colour as an offset or otherwise trying to use accent colours. A bit of prep time before you actually start painting can make a huge difference in the end result.


Oct. 18, 2022

Evicting Animals From Your Chimney


Having a mouse in the house can be a real pain. The little thing runs around, gets into everything, and generally causes chaos. And that’s just one little mouse. What happens when you have a much larger animal, or a nest of animals, in a harder-to-control area like a chimney?



Unfortunately, unwanted animals in chimneys are a pretty common problem for homeowners, especially if the chimney isn’t used often. Some are difficult to evict because they’re very dug in once you notice them, others because there are specific laws about how and when they can be removed.


What Kinds of Animals Enter Chimneys?

When it comes to chimneys, there are a whole host of creatures that might come inside. Generally, you’re going to encounter animals that aren’t terribly afraid of people and that are either very good at climbing or very good at flying. For example, birds often make nests in unused chimneys.

Other animals commonly found in chimneys include raccoons, squirrels, and bats. If your chimney has a damper (most modern chimneys do, but older chimneys may not), you may not even know they’re in there, since the damper should be creating a tight seal that would minimize noise. However, if you open the damper, evidence of the animals may fall down into your fireplace, as well as any animals (often babies) that were hanging out on top of the damper at that moment.

Evicting Animals From Your Chimney

Although some people still suggest smoking out animals that are in your chimney, we live in far more enlightened times. Smoking out animals is a great way to ultimately smoke yourself out, or even start a flu fire. Rather than trying this method, you can do a few different things to encourage the animals to move along.

Remember that if the animals have young that are too small to carry themselves out of your chimney, they may not be able to leave just yet, no matter how annoying you get. Check for breeding seasons for the animals you suspect are your problem before proceeding. A few are federally or locally protected, in which case your window for eviction is limited.

For most animals, chimneys are nice places to raise a family because they’re quiet, dark, and safe. Your goal is going to be to disrupt this. You can turn the lights on by dropping a caged work light attached to an extension cord about half way down your chimney. Leave it on all the time until the animal is gone. Often, lighting the place is plenty of motivation to convince an animal to leave.

If they need more motivation, play loud music into the chimney from below for prolonged periods. Again, if they have young babies, this is unlikely to work simply because the babies can’t be moved yet. Time your eviction and rave accordingly.

Preventing Chimney Animals

Once you’ve got the animals out of your chimney, you have to make sure they don’t come back. Usually, this means repairing or replacing your chimney cap, if you had one to begin with. Over time, chimney caps can take damage from bad weather, high winds, activities of animals, and even DIY chimney repair.

Because animals will likely continue to seek your home out, since something about it was pretty appealing to the first batch that moved in, also check that your attic is secured with screens, caulk, and expanding foam. Without the chimney available, those same animals will seek alternative routes, and attics are awfully cozy spots.

In addition, you can help yourself with bird or bat problems by installing appropriate housing nearby. Bat houses, for example, don’t attract bats, but they will house bats in your area and prevent them from seeking your home instead.

Cleaning Up After Animals in Your Chimney

Evicting animals from your chimney is not the end of the story, unfortunately. You also need to clean the chimney to eradicate any sources of parasites or disease that might be present. This is not difficult to do, but it can be hard to know if you’ve really cleaned the whole chimney without professional help.

Many pros recommend starting a big fire in the fireplace, if your chimney is safe to build a fire under. A very hot fire can raise the temperatures in the chimney high enough to destroy any potential parasites, as well as disease-causing microbes, that may be present from the animal’s occupancy.

If you can’t start a fire, hire a chimney sweep. Make sure they know the reason that you need your chimney cleaned so they can ensure that they don’t blow bits of detritus into your home, putting you at risk of disease.

Need a Hand With Those Pests?

Don’t sweat it. Just reach out to The One Oak Team! We'll help you find all the best pest control specialists, as well as chimney experts.

Oct. 3, 2022

Buying a Home With a Rental Unit


Buying a home can be full of difficult decisions, and as housing prices climb, maybe even more difficult financial planning. For people looking for a different way to help pay for their mortgage every month, choosing a home with an attached rental unit might just provide the monthly bump that makes that payment a little easier to accomplish.


What Is an Attached Rental Unit?

An attached rental unit, formally called an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), is typically a smaller living space adjacent to a main home. It might be a tiny house in the backyard, or something more like self-contained mother-in-law quarters attached to the house. It can even be a small apartment over the garage. There aren’t a lot of rules about what an ADU has to be, except that it should be fully autonomous.

The reason for autonomy is that this is what it takes to really have solid rental income potential from a secondary dwelling on a regular lot. Imagine if you were renting an apartment somewhere, you’d certainly want to have your own kitchen and bathroom, wouldn’t you? It’s difficult to rent units without these features, so typically, they’re part of any successful ADU.

Benefits to Having an ADU

Having a rental can be a lot of work, but there are also a lot of benefits to having an ADU on your lot. Not only does the rent from an ADU help pay the mortgage every month, it can also act as flexible space for whatever life might throw at you down the way.

For example, when you first buy your home, maybe you really need help with the mortgage payment, so you use the ADU as a long-term rental unit with a tenant who has signed a year-long lease. This tenant not only pays the utilities for that unit, but they also help out with the mortgage by paying rent. It’s a great situation while you’re trying to pay down your mortgage and ramp up your income.

As time goes by, you might get tired of dealing with a long-term tenant, but you can still use that unit for short-term tenancy, if allowed by your neighborhood and city. Airbnb, for example, gives you the option to rent by the day or week, so you never have to stick with a tenant for too long. You can turn off being a landlord for a few weeks and go on vacation yourself without having to worry.

If AirBnB isn’t your thing, your ADU can still be used by your college-aged child or aging family member. Remember, these are essentially self-contained apartments, so they should provide a great deal of privacy and autonomy to anyone living inside. ADUs have long been favored by people with aging parents, hence the former popular nickname “mother-in-law quarters.”

Financing a Home With a Rental Unit

If you’re looking for a house with a rental unit, you may also wonder how you’re going to finance it. Do you need a special kind of loan or is this edging into the realm of commercial financing? Not at all. Most mortgages will allow you to purchase a property that has up to four units on it. That’s a lot to handle if you’ve never had a rental, but a single ADU is pretty easy upkeep.

All you need to do is choose a property that you like and ensure that it will pass any requirements from your lender (your Realtor can help with this). Certain programs may have specific inspections, such as FHA, VA, or USDA, so you definitely want to let your lender know that you’re looking for a property with an ADU before you commit to your loan.

Ready to Finance Your Home and ADU?

Well, you’re going to need a good lender who isn’t shy about writing loans on properties that might be a little less than typical. The One Oak Group can help you find them! Just ask for a recommendation for the best lenders in our area and before you know it, you’ll have a home of your own, and a small rental unit to help pay the extra bills.

Posted in Buyers, Home Owners
Sept. 29, 2022

Lightning Proofing Your Home


Big storms can be scary. With the wind, heavy rain, and the threat of even more extreme weather, they can also bring with them a lot of damage. While a lot of people make plans on how to react to some of the big dangers associated with storms, there’s one more common threat that often goes overlooked: lightning strikes.



To be fair, there’s a lot of folk wisdom about how unlikely it is to be struck by lightning (less than a 1 in 15,000 chance) and about how lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice (though it does). What this leaves out is that there’s a 1 in 200 chance that your home will be struck be lightning, or the amount of damage that one of these strikes can do. If you really want to protect your home and your belongings from the dangers of lightning, there are a few things you’ll need to do.


Protecting Your Home

The most well-known way to protect your home from a lightning strike is the installation of a lightning rod. These devices provide a simple but effective means of attracting lightning strikes and then diverting it to the ground instead of allowing it to strike and damage other parts of your home. They are an effective solution when it comes to direct lightning strikes, but you may be surprised to learn that even with a lightning rod in place your home can still suffer significant damage from lightning.

The problem is that lightning from nearby strikes can also damage your home as they gets conducted through wires, pipes, and other materials in your house. Unfortunately, a lightning rod isn’t going to help with this. Instead, it’s recommended that you have a whole-home lightning protection system that includes lightning rods as well as protection on main conductors, grounds, and other elements that can divert and redirect lightning electricity even if it isn’t coming from a direct strike.

Protecting Your Belongings

Another big issue with lightning strikes is that they can cause damage to a wide range of electronic devices in your home. Computers, televisions, and any other electronic device that’s plugged in can be irreparably damaged by a lightning strike and will have to be replaced. This is one reason that surge protectors and similar devices are so highly recommended, as they can help protect the devices that are plugged into them.

Whole-home surge protection systems are also recommended, as they can prevent a lightning surge from even reaching your outlets, preventing possible damage to your home’s wiring, and greatly reducing the likelihood that your devices will be damaged by a power surge before a power strip surge protector can trip its breaker. You should also take the time to unplug unnecessary devices during storms just in case, and to make sure that the surge protectors you connect your electronics up to feature transient voltage surge protection that place a hard limit of 1.5 times the normal voltage range, so that your belongings are protected against even non-lightning spikes and surges.

Overcoming the Threat of Lightning

One big thing that you should do to help protect your home and your belongings is to check your homeowner’s policy to make sure that it features protection from lightning-related damage both to the structure of your home and to the items within. While this is common in a lot of policies, this sort of protection isn’t always there, and it’s better to know what coverage you have before you need it. If you don’t have sufficient coverage, you should talk to your insurance agent to see what’s needed to increase the coverage your policy provides.

It’s also a good idea to talk to an electrician or other pro to get a lightning protection system professionally installed to make sure that it’s set up correctly. They can ensure that your system has everything you need to keep you safe in the event of lightning strikes on or near your home. The One Oak Real Estate Group can help connect you with pros in your area to get you set up, give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help.

Posted in Home Owners, Home Tech
Sept. 22, 2022

Trellising 101: Climb, Plant, Climb!


Growing a garden is the ultimate act of faith. After all, you never know if your plants will thrive or if they will cease to be long before reaching their full potential. Hopefully, with diligent care, and a little luck, your plants will grow big, strong, and glorious. When it comes to growing climbing plants (often referred to as “vines,” “climbers,” or “lianas”), two of the most important parts of their success are having the right kinds of things to climb and the right help to get started on their way up.


What Is a Climbing Plant?

The term “climbing plant” is kind of a giant catch-all term that includes a range of plants with long, flexible stems, and some mechanism that allows them to reach great heights in their native environments. However, some climbing plants will also just become shrubs if they have nothing to climb, and others will climb for a while, then set roots where they land before shedding their climbing tools all together.

But in most cases, when people think of climbing plants, they think of plants that are vining. These plants climb over structures and other plants using several different mechanisms. This can include stems that twist around supports, leaves that twist around objects or one another, curly tendrils that wrap around supports, long roots that help them cling to solid surfaces, or hooks like thorns that help them move upward.

Although it’s common to see vines sold as ornamentals, there are also a number of climbing plants that are part of the vegetable garden. For example, cucumbers and tomatoes are both vining plants, which makes them perfect for vertical gardening.

Trellising Vining Plants

Climbing plants can be easy to grow, if you give them appropriate things to climb and help them get a foothold when needed. Trellising a plant isn’t difficult, but choosing the right trellis can be sometimes. Not every plant will respond to every trellis, so it’s very important to consider the method by which your plant climbs before choosing a trellis for it.

For example, if your plant climbs with tendrils, it will do best with a wire trellis with frequent horizontal cross pieces. Because it needs to be able to reach up and wrap the tendrils around something substantial but narrow, the thick, flat trellises can be difficult for this type of vine to climb. On the other hand, if you’re trying to grow something that uses its roots to climb, like Virginia creeper, you need those trellises with the wide, flat components. It’s very difficult for this kind of plant to climb up narrow trellis material because it has to have some significant space and texture to allow it to really grab on with its roots.

So, whether you choose your trellis first (maybe you already have one in mind) or you choose your plant first, they need to be compatible. For many climbing plants, something as simple as mesh fencing can make a magnificent trellis.

How to Train Your Vines

Training vines to their appropriate trellises is surprisingly simple most of the time. As long as your trellis is close enough to the ground that your vine can reach it quickly in its growing process, often all you have to do is wait and let the plant do its own thing. If your plant is a bit more resistant, that’s ok, there are ways to encourage it to grow up.

A common technique for training vines onto a trellis is simply to wait for it to grow long enough for you to start winding it through the trellis material. Be very gentle, as you’ll need those delicate growing tips to remain undamaged, but loosely weaving it through the trellis as it grows will help it establish a framework for where it should be hanging out, so to speak.

With vines that need to attach to flat areas using their roots, you may be able to tie them on loosely until the root has firmly secured the plant. Use a cloth tie if at all possible to reduce the risk of damage to your plant. Before you know it, you’ll be able to untie the plant and let it get on with growing.

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