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5 Simple Steps to Saving Energy

The average American household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy costs. You’d like to reduce that expense, but power is critical for safety and comfort. Fortunately, there are a variety of simple, low-cost measures you can take to save energy while still maintaining your comfortable lifestyle.

  1. Focus on lighting. Replace conventional incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR® certified light-emitting diodes (LEDs). These bulbs are at least 75 percent more efficient and last much longer.
  2. Adjust the thermostat. Raise or lower temperatures (depending on the season) at night and when you’re away from home. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to optimize savings while maintaining comfort.
  3. Go unplugged. Many electronic devices continue to use power when they’re turned off or not in use. Unplug battery chargers and any other devices when it’s convenient. Use a power strip as a central point to shut off power to clustered devices.
  4. Use window treatments. Close window treatments on south-facing windows in summer to keep out solar heat during the day. In the winter, open curtains or drapes during the day to let in the warmth of the sun; close them at night to retain heat.
  5. Seal air leaks. Do you have old, broken caulk around the outside of your windows or gaps around exterior doors? Seal those leaks by caulking windows and placing weatherstripping around the inside of door frames. See Air Sealing Your Home from the U.S. Department of Energy for more information.
Looking to save more? Hire a qualified professional to perform an energy audit or assessment of your home. Your auditor will find areas in your home where you’re wasting energy and suggest measures you can take to save money and improve comfort.

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Category : Blog &Latest News

12 Tips for Winter Lawn Maintenance

When winter arrives and the weather turns cold, many of us dread the thought of going outside, much less working out there! The frigid temperatures often lead to what we like to call the “Winter Blues” where we stay trapped inside our house or workplace, thus neglecting our lawn.

Now, you might be wondering what you could possibly do to help your landscaping at this point when all you see is brown grass and dead plants. I took the liberty of compiling a list of general lawn care tips that you should be doing now to ensure a beautiful spring yard.

  1. Cut back ornamental grass
  2. Mow over leaves to create mulch for grass
  3. Prune woody shrubs and trees
  4. Prune suckers from ornamental trees, roses, and shrubs
  5. Check perennials to make sure roots are not popping up, then add mulch
  6. Prune fruit trees
  7. Apply dormant oil spray to fruit trees after pruning
  8. Apply deer repellents
  9. Apply anti-desiccant spray to evergreens to avoid browning edges
  10. Clean up broken plants or branches in the yard
  11. Transplant trees or shrubs that outgrew their current location
  12. Apply pre-emergent herbicides

With these 12 tips for winter lawn care maintenance, you now have a starting guide to making your yard look fabulous come springtime!

Remax Report January News Letter

Category : Blog &Latest News

Crank up the Savings on Your Heating This Winter

Space heating is the largest single energy user in most homes, accounting for 42 percent of residential energy use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. While upgrading to a new, energy-efficient heating system is the best way to lower your winter heating bills, there are a number of things you can do to save money and improve the comfort of your family. Start here.

 

Remember, if you ever suspect major issues seek a qualified professional to do a more thorough inspection.

If you aren’t sure where to begin or want to find out how you can save even more, an energy audit is a great way to identify opportunities for improving the performance of your heating system and the energy efficiency of your entire home. The cost is minimal and it can save you big bucks in both the short and long term.

Category : Blog &Latest News

How to deal with frozen water pipes

When temperatures drop, pipes can freeze and burst, causing thousands of dollars in damage. Don’t let this happen in your home.

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, you could pay more than $5,000 to repair water damage caused by a frozen pipe. Save your checkbook—and your property—from the trouble.

Identify Freeze Risks

Plumbing runs throughout your home, but certain areas are exposed to a higher risk of freezing:

  • Outdoor plumbing: This includes garden hoses, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines and other pipes that are exposed to low temperatures.
  • Unheated areas: Check crawlspaces and attics for under insulated pipes or cold drafts. Pipes in your basement and garage, if those rooms are unheated, also can be vulnerable to freezing.
  • Exterior walls: Pipes that run along outside walls can freeze if they aren’t well insulated.

Also, pipes are more susceptible to freezing at certain times:

  • Extended absences: Leave your heat on and set it no lower than 65 degrees if you plan to be away from your home for a few days. Before longer absences, shut off your main water supply and drain the system.
  • Power outages: To prevent pipes from freezing when your home’s temperature drops if the power is out, let cold water faucets run at a trickle to keep the water moving. Never use automotive antifreeze to combat freezing, as it could contaminate drinking water.
  • Unexpected temperature drops: Even areas with temperate winters can experience unexpected cold snaps—and plumbing in those areas may not be cold-resistant. If you live in a warmer climate, it’s still important to check the condition of and insulate pipes before winter.

Take Preventive Measures

Insulating pipes can help reduce their risk of freezing, but you can take additional measures before winter hits:

  • Disconnect, drain and store garden hoses inside.
  • Caulk cold-air drafts near pipes.
  • Pad unheated areas, such as attics and crawlspaces, with extra insulation, if needed.

Act Quickly

Even if you’ve completed the necessary prep work, you can still be caught off guard if temperatures suddenly drop. Here are additional precautions you can take:

  • Set your thermostat to a constant temperature throughout the day and night.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to circulate warm air around plumbing.
  • If there are pipes in the garage, keep garage doors closed.

Know what to do in the event of frozen pipes.

Published by: Metlife Auto & Home Insurance

Category : Blog &Latest News

Tips for renting a safer place to live

Signing a lease legally locks you in to paying rent for a specific time, so make sure to search for a place that’s safe, secure and somewhere you’d enjoy living long-term. Follow these tips to ensure your safety:

Go with a friend. Have someone accompany you to tours or showings—especially if you found the apartment online.

Find the right neighborhood. Research online to get an idea of incidents in the area. You also can contact local police to inquire about the number and nature of calls in the neighborhood they’ve responded to.

Look for upper-floor units. Ground-floor apartments are easier targets for thieves. Other things to look for include operable screened windows that lock, and a fire escape that can be pulled off the ground when not in use.

Check for safety devices. Your apartment should have a solid wood or steel exterior door, with a keyless deadbolt and a peephole. (The landlord should have locks changed or rekeyed with each new renter.) The apartment also should have working smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and a carbon monoxide alarm—this is particularly important if gas appliances are installed.

Consider the apartment complex. In addition to the individual apartment, it’s important to look at safety measures in place throughout the entire community. Are main entry doors kept locked? Does the intercom work? Are there security cameras? Are common areas, including the parking lot, well-lit?

Pick a trustworthy landlord. Don’t be shy about asking questions. Landlords can tell you how long other tenants lived in the apartment, and other renters can provide insight about building management. It’s also a good sign if the landlord conducts a background check when you submit your application. That means other tenants have probably been just as carefully considered.

Make sure you’re covered. Your landlord’s insurance doesn’t protect your personal property, so invest in renters insurance. You can get loss and liability protection—including insurance coverage on items in your car.

Published by : Metlife Auto & Home Insurance

Category : Blog &Latest News

CrimeStoppers continues taking a big bite out of local crime

 

 

This was a banner year for CrimeStoppers, from a number of perspectives, and 2017 promises to be just as good.

 

The most important way to measure success for our organization, of course, lies in how information we receive helps solve felony cases. In that respect, 2016 set positive records. We showed these important increases over the year before, which itself was a good year:

 

* The number of arrests thanks to citizen tips is up more than 20%.

 

* The number of successful tips received (leading to an arrest or resolution of a case) is up 16%.

 

We also can measure CrimeStoppers success in other ways. After 10 years, the Trust Pays program in schools has now removed more than 170 guns, as well as dozens of other weapons like knives, razors and Tasers.

 

Our five websites and our Facebook page are checked out by scores of people every day. Our advertising efforts have helped increase calls to 528-CASH, our tips line. And late this year, the Millington CrimeStoppers program came under our umbrella, adding a major city in Shelby County to our efforts.

 

In one very public way, as our supporters surely know, the city’s crime rates took a bad turn: the city has set a record high for the number of homicide incidents in a 12-month period. As the year comes to a close, law enforcement has posted 223 deaths (as we go to press) due to guns and other forms of violence. In unincorporated Shelby County, 21 homicides have occurred, also a record.

 

Fortunately, those high numbers were offset by the fact that 70% of those cases have been successfully solved. Additionally, 21 homicide cases were cleared this year thanks to anonymous tips to CrimeStoppers (cases were not necessarily all from 2016).

 

As the community focuses more attention on the killings, and the root causes of the violence, we join in looking for a better new year when violence is not always the first response to differences or disputes.

Category : Blog &Latest News

Chairman Kemp Conrad’s Final Council Recap for 2016

Today was our final Council meeting of 2016, and I truly believe it’s been a productive year at City Council. It’s been an honor to serve as Chairman. Just a few highlights to recap the year of which I’m most proud:

  • Strong, Positive Relationship between Council and Administration: We started the year with six new members and a new mayor, and we’ve all worked together to keep the best interests of Memphians at the heart of our work
  • Smooth Budgeting: Those strong relationships translated into a collaborative budgeting process, moving from the Administration through the Council at an unprecedented pace so that we could return our focus to the work of City Government and serving the people of Memphis.
  • Keeping Money in Memphis: Speaking of the budget, we also worked hard to make sure Memphis got its fair share of the MLGW PILOT payment each year, bringing an extra $5 million into the General Fund and doing our part to ensure the long-term fiscal health of the City
  • Focus on Public Safety: With the administration, we increased funding for officers, neighborhood watch grants, and police vehicles, not to mention Councilman Spinosa’s neighborhood camera Sentinel program to promote safe neighborhoods
  • Cutting Red Tape: In regulating airbnb and other short-term rental properties—where other cities created burdensome permitting processes—we worked together to simplify our legislation, garnering praise nationally for how we handled this regulation. We’re taking the same approach now for the sale of city property, and we’ll continue to keep government as efficient as possible.
  • Communication: The final key focus of my chairmanship has been keeping you informed. Through Facebook, Twitter, Nextdoor, and this Recap, we now reach more than 50,000 citizens with all our updates on Council Tuesdays and throughout the week. Government should be open and transparent, and I believe we’ve made great strides in that regard.

We move into 2017 with over $9 billion in ongoing development projects across the Memphis metro area. I’m honored to pass the gavel to my friend Chairman-elect Berlin Boyd, who I know will do great things, and I look forward to the year to come.

Sharing the Pennies: One last major achievement moving into the New Year—as winter sets in and Memphians crank up the heat, some of Memphis’ most vulnerable are forced to spend more than 25% of their incomes on utilities alone. This energy burden perpetuates the poverty and impacts low-income children the hardest, affecting their health and education. I’m honored to support Councilwoman Robinson’s bold suggestion to expand MLGW’s Share the Pennies program—for an average of $6 each year, with easy options for not participating, MLGW customers can come together in helping their neighbors with a home weatherization fund taking in $1.5-2.5 million each year, increasing the impact of an existing, successful program more than 30-fold.

Councilwoman Patrice Robinson in the holiday spirit, holding a jar of $11.88 of pennies, the maximum any MLGW customer would contribute to Share the Pennies each year

Memphis Championship Celebration Week, Part II: After honoring Trezevant, East, and Whitehaven last meeting, we were proud to welcome Lausanne, Memphis’ fourth high school championship team this season. We’re so proud of our student athletes, and we’re looking forward to basketball season next!

Councilwoman Frank Colvett, Jr. honors Lausanne High School’s football seniors and coach on a 14-0 State Championship season

All the best for a wonderful holiday season and may 2017 be your best year ever.

Category : Blog &Latest News

Cold Weather Tips for your home

Water Pipes:
Water pipes can burst anytime temperatures are below freezing. A burst water pipe or water heater is considered to be an emergency situation and could pose a danger of flooding the building.

  • Customers should open cabinet doors and turn water to a slow drip to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Customers can also wrap pipes either in pipe insulation (available at hardware stores) or with towels, clothes, etc… to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • If your pipes freeze, turn off the main valve inside your house (if possible) and call MLGW’s emergency contact number at 528-4465.

Space Heaters and Gas Appliances:
To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home, make sure that all natural gas appliances, such as your water heater, furnace and space heaters, are vented outside. Keep chimneys and flues clear of all debris, and use gas space heaters only according to manufacturers’ instructions. We also recommend that you have your gas appliances inspected annually by a licensed professional.

  • Do not use space heaters overnight and when no one is home. Position space heaters so they are not positioned near flammable objects.

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, seek medical assistance immediately and move the victim, if possible, to a well-ventilated area, then call our 24-hour emergency number, 528-4465.

For additional safety and energy-saving tips, visit mlgw.com

MLGW is the largest three-service public power utility in the nation, serving more than 420,000 customers in Memphis and Shelby County.

Published By Memphis Light Gas and Water

http://www.mlgw.com/home/homewintertips

Category : Blog &Latest News

Here’s a checklist of things to remember to do to keep pets –indoor or outdoor pets– safe during the frigid weather:

1.  Although some pets are conditioned to cold weather, veterinary experts agree that you should bring outdoor pets indoors if the temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  Puppies, kittens, and short-haired pets should come inside anytime the temperature goes below 40 degrees. They should also be protected when they go outdoors. Consider getting your pet a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck. They should be covered from the base of the tail to the belly. If your puppy is sensitive to the cold consider using indoor training pads. If your dog is sensitive due to age, illness or breed type, take your pet outdoors only to relieve himself.  If it’s too cold outside for you, it probably is too cold for the pet to stay out as well.

3.  For pets with long hair, proper grooming is essential to help them maintain a layer of warming air within their coat. Pets who are heavily matted cannot keep themselves as warm.

4.  If your pet must stay outdoors, be sure to provide adequate shelter for your pet. An acceptable house will have three enclosed sides, elevated off the ground, and contain generous amounts of bedding such as straw or hay.

5.  In cold weather, bigger is not always better.  A house just big enough for your pet will warm up faster and retain heat better than something that is too big.

6.  Animals need access to fresh water. Use heated water bowls so that their water does not freeze, and replenish them frequently. Lack of enough water can cause dehydration which can lead to kidney failure.

7.  Antifreeze is a common and deadly pet poison during colder months. It has a sweet taste to pets, so they will readily lap up any spilled material.  If you spill antifreeze, dilute the area well with water and sweep excess water into a rocky or sandy area.  Cover area with soil to keep pets from licking at the rocks. If you suspect your pet has consumed any antifreeze at all, contact a veterinarian immediately.

8.  Always wipe the paws of your pets if they have been exposed to areas with ice melts.  This can cause blistering on their paws and contains chemicals which are dangerous for pets to ingest.  Keep an eye out for limping, excessive licking of their feet and redness to the skin areas between pads.

9.  Cats should be kept inside in extreme cold.  Also, feral cats love to warm up underneath car hoods. If your car is kept outdoors, or if cats have access to your garage, be sure to pound on the hood of the car prior to starting it.  Many cats are killed or severely injured by fan belts and moving engine parts.

10.  Animals suffer from frostbite and hypothermia just like humans.  Consider keeping dogs on a leash when they go outside and make sure they are wearing ID tags.  Curious dogs off leash may explore frozen retention ponds, lakes or streams, and fall through the ice into frigid water.

11.  Pets should NEVER be left alone in vehicles.  Leaving a pet in a vehicle is always dangerous, and in cold weather it increases the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning or hypothermia.

12.  Older pets may suffer more from arthritis during these months. Outdoor exposure should be limited during extreme weather.

13.  Monitor all pets around wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, electric blankets and space heaters.  These can cause severe burns.

 

Category : Blog &Latest News

It’s time to change your batteries!

smoke-alarm-2016

Category : Blog &Latest News

Crime Stoppers News

Copperheads, take heed…

 

Here’s an all-too familiar scenario for area property owners, managers and investors in many zip codes of Memphis and Shelby County:

 

  1. A tenant moves out of a rental house.
  1. The house is renovated for the next lease, including new appliances.
  1. Thieves case the neighborhood, looking for empty, renovated homes.
  1. They pick a house and break in after dark, strip copper wiring and piping from walls, cabinets and various appliances to later sell. They may also remove new appliances.
  1. Result: thousands of dollars in damage and stolen metal, lost revenues, more blight, fewer tax dollars available for collection … and one more eyesore in a neighborhood that doesn’t need it.

 

Copperstoppers is a program created under the auspices of CrimeStoppers to help stop the thieves. Although already a few arrests and one conviction have occurred, it is going to take a lot of work – and neighbor and citizen cooperation – to be fully successful against the thieves, called “copperheads.”

 

An education and awareness campaign is planned for the community – to get people with first-hand knowledge of copper thefts to call CrimeStoppers with tips and to get awards – and various stakeholders are discussing other ways to fight the spread of the problem.

 

How bad does it get when an empty, renovated house is invaded?

 

One property manager reported to CrimeStoppers in late August:

 

“The last house (of ours) to really get hit was one off Tchulahoma. Basically, they stole EVERYTHING, and we now have it listed as a “down” unit. In other words, not worth the money to fix up because of the damage.”

 

That’s exactly the worst scenario for Memphis, according to Buddy Chapman, CrimeStoppers executive director.

 

“If the thieves do so much damage that it costs more to fix than the building is worth, that’s one more piece of property going to waste in our community and one more neighborhood reduced from what it once was and what it could be.”

 

Another property manager in southeast Memphis shared the photo,the inside of a nice-looking home after thieves pulled copper from walls, floors and appliances.

This damage was done by copper thieves to a recently-remodeled home in the Hickory Hill area.

 

To help spread information and to educate the public, CrimeStoppers has created a Facebook page. (Please visit and “like” the page so that its presence grows.) One thing the page hopes to do is collect information about specific thefts so that the problem can be mapped to inform police where the thieves are concentrating their crimes.

 

 

Category : Blog &Latest News

A Daily News Article about Leco Realty -By Madeline Faber

Leco Realty credits Success to Hands-On approach

Over the past 33 years, Bert Less has weathered many financial storms with his property management company Leco Realty Inc.

“The rental business is risky, and you need to know what you’re getting,” he said. “You need to know there’s going to be good times, but there will be some bad times as well.” He’s presently welcoming an uptick in the market, but his dedication to hands-on management hasn’t changed.

The first thing Less learned in his real estate career was to remain flexible with economic factors. With a degree in real estate from then-Memphis State University, Less found himself entering a housing market with astronomically high interest rates. Instead of entering sales, Less worked for his uncle’s insurance agency.

Bert Less is president of Leco Realty, which manages over 1,500 multifamily and commercial units in the Memphis area, with holdings focused in southeast Memphis and Hickory Hill.

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

“My uncle gave me an opportunity to start a management company by calling his clients that he was writing insurance for on different rentals and see if we could couple that with property management,” Less said. “We just built from there.”

In 1988, four years into his uncle’s tutelage, Leco Realty was incorporated.

Less now manages 1,200 rental houses and six multifamily buildings across the Memphis area, with holdings focused in southeast Memphis and the Hickory Hill, Berclair and University of Memphis areas.

The backbone of Leco Realty is third-party property management, and Less is always looking to grow his business through investor sales.

“We do turn-key,” he said. “In other words, we find them the property, we handle the negotiations of that, we do the remodeling for them, and then we manage it. We’re not just going to hit your for a commission and say good luck. We’re going to see you all the way through. That’s the most rewarding – to really make some money for an investor.”

Leco Realty’s recent investors hail from Miami, San Francisco, New York and Boston, and some clients have been with Less for nearly 30 years.

He attributes those repeat business successes to his hands-on management style and “33 years of dirt-under-the-fingernail experience.”

Last year, Leco Realty moved from its Union Avenue office to a freestanding building at 3707 Macon Road, but Less is hardly at his desk.

“I’m out in my car every morning for hours,” he said. “I don’t care how many computers or websites you have, you still have to get out and go look at properties, call tenants, check on maintenance guys and make sure the painter is doing what he’s supposed to do. You just flat-out cannot sit in your office and manage properties and be successful.”

“You just flat-out cannot sit in your office and manage properties and be successful.”

–Bert Less
Leco Realty Inc.

September 2008 was Leco’s greatest challenge, but his business emerged from the Great Recession relatively unscathed.

“I recognized what was coming,” he said. “It wasn’t just that one month; it was going to be a pretty long haul until the economy turned around and people got their jobs back. We did not really suffer. There were a lot of companies that went under, and we held it together. That was a rough time.”

Less did everything he could to gain some stability from meeting with troubled tenants to better understand their situation to offering specials on lowered rents.

“Rentals in general are so economically driven,” he said. “If unemployment goes up, rentals suffer as well. When good times come and rates are down, we lose some of our tenants to home buying, but our hope is that we can replace them with others.”

Present economic factors are looking favorable for Leco. Less has been able to raise his prices across his portfolio, but not as much as the 10 to 15 percent increases he’s seen in other neighborhoods.

Chandler Reports reported that construction is down 53 percent from last year with only 55 new home permits filed for June, so inventory is tightening. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Memphis’ unemployment rate has been on the decline since 2009, and that has also been a boon to Leco’s business.

“I’m in touch with all the aspects of the business,” he said. “We try to stick to what we’re good at.”

 

Category : Blog &Latest News

About Us

Founded in 1988 by Bert A. less, Leco Realty has a staff of seven full time employees and a full complement of crafts and maintenance vendors. Still a family owned operation, the company manages over 1,500 units in the Memphis metropolitan area. Read More

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