Welcome to the vipHome Podcast where real homeowners discuss homeownership. Find great content about home safety, expert advice and tips, design trends and much more!
While electricity powers many modern necessities – TVs, cell phones, home appliances – it also can present danger in a home. Between 2015 and 2019, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported there were an average of 46,700 home fires annually involving electrical failure or malfunction.
In honor of National Electrical Safety Month, we welcomed Corey Hannahs, electrical content specialist for NFPA. Corey is a third-generation master electrician and shared with us important electrical safety tips all homeowners need to know.
When you think about home value, what comes to mind?
“A home that not only functions well but nurtures,” says Laurie Smith, designer from the hit TV show Trading Spaces. “That’s a timeless goal in design, but people really embraced and craved that when they all of a sudden could not depart their walls.”
With the current real estate market leading to more home renovations and upgrades, we recently welcomed Laurie to the vipHome Podcast for tips on how to add value to your home – both in comfort and dollars.
Wildfires can happen almost anywhere in the U.S., and while you can lower your home’s risk of damage, wildfires are a community risk. What one homeowner does or doesn’t do can affect the entire neighborhood.
With Wildfire Community Preparedness Day (May 7th) right around the corner, Michele Steinberg, Wildfire Division Director for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), stopped by the vipHome Podcast to share important tips to reduce wildfire risks in your community!
If you’ve ever been stung by a bee, you know it can hurt and be deadly for those with an allergic reaction. Bees (and wasps) can also harm your house and bring unwanted pests. Coupled with the infamous “murder hornets,” these stinging insects may not be your favorite guests.
So what do you need to know about bees, wasps, and your home? Ian Williams, a technical services manager for Orkin Pest Control, recently stopped by the vipHome Podcast with important bee and wasp safety tips, so you and your loved ones can avoid these buzzing bugs at home!
The real estate market has been in flux since the pandemic hit last year. Home seekers flooded the market, wanting wide open spaces and larger living areas in incredible numbers. Though it has slowed, there’s still low inventory, low interest rates, and high prices.
How can you hope to navigate the intense landscape? We went to the experts to find out! Recently, Lisa Rome from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Chicago and Kyle Crawford from Century 21 New Millennium in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area stopped by the vipHome Podcast with tips to improve your chances of scoring a new home or selling your current one. Watch now!
Last year, California’s skies went red like a scene straight out of a post-apocalyptic movie. In August 2020 alone, four of California’s largest wildfires burned more than 2.1 million acres, destroyed more than 5,000 structures, and killed 22 people.
“The more you plan, prepare, and know what to do, the more peace of mind you will have when the moment comes, and the more ability you’ll have to be safe,” says Michele Steinberg, Director of Wildfire at the National Fire Protection Association.
Michele recently stopped by the vipHome Podcast to share essential wildfire home protection tips you can use to save your house and family. Watch now!
“Homeownership is not easy,” says Denise Click, Personal Lines Manager from LD&B Insurance and Financial Services, “and there are so many things that could happen.”
One in 20 homes typically has an insurance claim annually, so the odds are you will submit a claim for your home at least once. That’s why we welcomed Denise to the vipHome Podcast., to answer your FAQs about insurance claims and offer some quick tips to make the process as seamless as possible.
Explains Denise, “Documentation is key. We are going to ask the client to go ahead and take photos of the damage before any work or repairs begin.”
Learn why you need receipts for your large appliances, especially if your home sees frequent lightning storms, and just why ignoring home maintenance tasks can lead to your claim being denied. It’s all in this episode of the vipHome Podcast. Watch now!
Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. Unsurprisingly, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day are the peak days fire departments get called to home fires.
“On Thanksgiving Day you’re cooking probably more than you normally do,” says Andrea Vastis, Senior Director of Public Education at the National Fire Protection Association. “You have more going on around you. Sometimes more eyes mean less eyes on the cooking.”
Many of these home fires are preventable, so we asked Andrea to stop by the vipHome Podcast to dish some cooking safety tips to keep your holidays merry and bright – for all the right reasons. Watch now!
Home fires happen, and a startling number of them can be prevented. We know what you’re thinking – “It won’t happen to me” – but it happens to approximately 354,400 homes every year.
“Fire isn’t always top of mind for people anymore,” says Andrea Vastis, Senior Director of Public Education at the National Fire Protection Association. “We’ve done such a good job over the years through building codes, policies, education, to reduce the numbers of home fires. People aren’t thinking, ‘That’s the thing that’s going to get me tomorrow.’”
But it could be. Between 2013 and 2017, 79 percent of fire deaths and 73 percent of all reported fire injuries resulted from home structure fires.
Andrea recently stopped by the vipHome Podcast to share with us some fast home fire facts and important safety tips to prevent a home fire from happening to you. Watch now!
Moving into a new home or does your existing house need a refresh? Creating an inspired interior can be a daunting task, especially when you’re on a budget.
“You don’t have to have a lot of money to look like you have a lot of money,” says Designer Teggy French.
Teggy took the fashion world by storm with her flare for 1960s Palm Beach, which inspired both her clothing style and home décor. Hosts Caroline and Jacqueline recently welcomed Teggy to the vipHome Podcast for home decorating ideas on a budget and to learn Teggy’s method for tackling interior design.
“Now more than any other time, we’re realizing our homes are our sanctuaries,” says Teggy. “We have to create an environment that we really love.”
Laurie Smith from Trading Spaces stops by the vipHome Podcast! Listen as Laurie explores her journey from a journalism major to a world-renown designing star and dishes easy decorating tips and tricks that can help upgrade any space inside your home.
From house-hunting tips to house-selling tricks, Laurie offers helpful home ideas to help you find or create your dream house. Plus, designing on a budget? Find out how to give your home a makeover with dimmers, lampshades, and even wallpaper (it’s back!). It’s all here and more on this episode of the vipHome Podcast. Watch now!
The real estate market is heating up in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many first-time homebuyers are seeking a new place to call their own, but even seasoned homeowners can struggle with balancing their finances and all the expenses that come with owning a home.
“You need to be comfortable paying for your home,” says Sam Sharp, Executive Vice President of National Sales, Guaranteed Rate. “You don’t want to be in a position where you’ve compromised your lifestyle, and now you regret buying this home because you can’t do things that made you happy.’”
Whether you’re looking to move into your first home or your third, Sam has essential financial tips to help you afford a home (and be happy in it, too). Watch the latest episode of the vipHome Podcast now!
Home organization should always be a priority. From where you keep your deed to where you keep your forks, it’s a very personal thing that takes a concerted effort. And that’s where a professional organizer can help.
As owner of Home Perspective LLC, Ashley Ingraham helps clients to organize their home, downsize before a move, and even donate some of their items to charity. Hosts Caroline and Jacqueline recently welcomed Ashley to the show to discuss the pain points of home organization, tips for surviving a quarantine, and FAQs about packing for a move.
Plus – why should you always be nice to your movers, and what’s the last things you should pack and the first things you should unpack? It’s all in the latest episode of the vipHome Podcast. Watch now!
So much of our daily lives is dependent upon electricity – from our Wi-Fi routers to our cell phones to our power tools – so it’s important to practice good electrical safety precautions.
The Electrical Safety Foundation International knows this and provides homeowners with tips to help them complete diy electrical projects or simply go safely about their daily lives.
Host Jacqueline welcomes EFSI President Brett Brenner to the vipHome Podcast to discuss why you absolutely need to call 811 before you dig, how to successfully implement smart home technology, and why you need an evacuation plan because yes, you live in a tinderbox. Watch now!
As you increase your energy usage at home – whether remote working or charging your tablet – you’ve probably seen a rise in your energy bill. To help you learn new ways to increase your home energy efficiency (and lower your costs), Hosts Caroline and Jeff welcomed Megan Turner and Peter Seyfer of PowerHouse Presented by Alliant Energy to the vipHome Podcast.
Turner and Seyfer have been helping customers with energy conservation and safety for almost 25 years, and they bring incredible energy-saving tips to the podcast. Where should you start your efforts (from the top down), and just which way should your ceiling fan spin in order for you to feel that cool breeze?
Plus – we learn why you absolutely need to be careful while completing diy projects (or you just might find a boot through your ceiling – true story!), and what did Caroline’s parents find in their fireplace vent? It’s all in the latest episode of the vipHome Podcast. Listen now!
Shopping for a new home? Even before you can submit an offer, you must be preapproved for a mortgage, which is a process in and of itself.
Since Host Caroline and her fiancé, Thomas, are shopping for a home, we decided to learn more about the mortgage preapproval process and get answers to FAQs about home buying. Watch the latest episode of the vipHome Podcast now as 2020 LGAAR Realtor of the Year Rebecca Donatelli of McDowell Homes Real Estate Services joins the show!
Unwanted pests have a way of crashing inside your home’s crawl spaces, attic, and yard. From ticks to mice to even scorpions, you want to make sure your home is safe and pest-free. Glen Ramsey, Tech Services Senior Manager and board-certified entomologist for Orkin Pest Control, stops by the vipHome Podcast with DIY home pest control tips.
Glen explores why you shouldn’t vacuum a stink bug, forget to cut your grass, or pick up a scorpion by its tail. Also, hairspray may be every homeowner’s best friend, and just what pest made a home in Caroline’s arm? Watch the latest episode to find out!
In our first realtor spotlight, vipHomeLink Founder and CEO Alfred Bentley and VP of Marketing Jacqueline Joyner welcomed Liz Novello of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, to talk about all things real estate.
“I’m so excited working with buyers who are going to start a whole new life,” says Liz.
Learn from a veteran of the real estate industry how to pivot in the market, how to stay top of mind with clients, and how to connect with every seller and buyer, and exceed their expectations.
In the first episode of the vipHome Podcast: “Quarantine Edition”, Hosts Caroline and Jeff welcome Don Anfuso, vice president of Homeland Lending, to the show. Anfuso answers many of the pertinent questions you have regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
Spoiler alert: Hit those realtor websites.
Hosts Caroline and Jeff welcome Erik Maietta, of Country Mile Gardens, to the show. Maietta answers many of the pertinent questions you have regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, including – how to start your victory garden, and how to avoid common landscaping mistakes. So get your green thumb on and check out Eriks landscaping tips!
Watch the latest episode of the vipHome Podcast now!
When it comes to homeowners insurance, you probably have a lot of questions. How much do you need? What’s covered in a standard policy? What should your deductible be, and even if you’re not near a lake or river, do you still need flood insurance? (Spoiler alert: You might.)
Michelle O’Connor of O’Connor Insurance Associates Inc. stops by the vipHome Podcast to explain the complexities of homeowners insurance and what you need to know, whether you’re buying your first home or renovating your current one. Plus – Michelle has a homeowner horror story where something might have literally hit the fan. Find out how to prevent that from happening in your house by listening now!
This is an extra special episode of the vipHome Podcast! Lindsey Wolko from the Center for Pet Safety joins Hosts Caroline and Jeff to help fur-parents keep their dogs, cats, and even fish safe in their new home. Guest Host Zoey, Caroline’s Aussie Labradoodle puppy, also joins the show – for the first of many times, we’re sure!
Lindsey discusses essential pet safety in the home, including why a bag of chips may be a threat to your dog. (We’re not joking.) Also, Lindsay shares her own experiences as to why regular home maintenance is super important to keeping every pet safe, especially when you’re not home.
And just what everyday items in your home might be poisonous to your dog? Some of them might shock you. Listen now!
Is your closet like Monica’s in Friends? Has social distancing forced you to take a long look at your organizational system? Hosts Caroline and Jeff welcome Personal Organizer Betsy Marsala of NEAT Method Chicago to help you simplify your home and your life.
Marsala has the secrets to organizing your home (labels, labels, labels), and just when is it time to hire a personal organizer? (Spoiler alert: Following life events, such as a wedding or a move.) Plus – Caroline and Jeff share their own home organization struggles, including a daybed that hordes laundry and a closet not built for two. Listen now!
During these unprecedented times, the real estate industry has evolved. Virtual open houses, digital closings, and appointment-only town hall visits have impacted the market during its usual high time.
vipHomeLink Founder and CEO Alfred Bentley and VP of Marketing Jacqueline Joyner welcomed a panel of real estate agents to discuss the industry’s biggest challenges and its emerging solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meet our panelists:
Debra Bednarski specializes in residential real estate in Morris and Somerset counties with The Bednarski Group at Weichert Realtors, Bernardsville, New Jersey.
Stuart DeVault specializes in residential real estate for Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties with The DeVault Team, Carolina One Real Estate, in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Eric Godoy specializes in residential real estate in Somerset and Morris counties with RE/MAX Premiere in Warren, New Jersey.
Kevin Moran specializes in vacation houses in Manchester, Dorset and the ski towns of Bromley, Stratton and Magic Mountains with Four Seasons Sotheby’s The Vermont Sales Group in Stratton and Manchester, Vermont
A professional home inspector can provide perspective by examining and highlighting parts of the home that could haunt you post-closing. Learn answers to home inspection FAQs – what they cover, how to get one, and who pays for it – from a Certified Master Inspector!
Host Jacqueline welcomes Alan Grubb from 4U Inspection Services to help home buyers and sellers learn everything they need to know about home inspections. Listen now!
Smart home tech has been around since the motion lights, but recently it’s become ubiquitous. The National Council of Home Safety and Security found that more than 47% of Millennial homeowners have smart devices in their homes, and 81% of home buyers say they’d be more apt to buy a home with smart devices already installed.
That’s why Hosts Jeff and Caroline welcomed Smart Home Specialist Kris Sparks of 10X Smart Home onto the show. Kris dives into the first steps of starting your smart home journey, including gateway devices like a digital doorbell and outside cameras, and even explores other uses for them. You might want to watch the deer outside your home (#TrueStory) or even stop your dog sitter from hosting a rave in your home while you’re in Hawaii. (That’s a homeowner horror story to be sure!)
And just what’s in store for your smart home? Kris gives us a sneak peek. Listen now!
Your doorbell, lights, even refrigerator may be smart tech. It’s time to get smart about your water usage, too! Hosts Caroline and Jeff speak with Jason Rosenthal of Phyn, a leak detection and auto water shut-off solution, to learn about the next generation of water monitoring. Not only will Phyn help to prevent water damage in your home while you’re not home, but it can also monitor the pressure in your pipes to make sure you don’t have a leak or “vacation flush.”
“This way, you never have to worry about coming home to a foot of water,” says Jason. We’re looking at you, Megan!
Water damage can destroy a home and cost you thousands of dollars in damages, which insurance doesn’t always cover. But in today’s smart home world, there’s an app (and smart device) for that, which can save your home and your bank account.
Hosts Caroline and Jeff welcome Paul Bentivegna from StreamLabs to the show to discuss smart water devices that help you to manage water usage and curb those 20-minute showers. (Are baths still fair game?) And if your child leaves the faucet on for the entire day (true story), you can now shut off your water main from the palm of your hand. Listen now!
This summer, your backyard pool might be more important than ever, but pools require daily, monthly, and seasonal maintenance. So we went to the experts! Host (and Founder) Alfred welcomes Jeremy Johnson of America’s Swimming Pool Company of the Greater Charleston Area to the podcast to discuss the ins and outs of pool maintenance.
What is the fifth chemical you’re leaving out of your routine maintenance, and do you need to upgrade your pool pump? Jeremy also explores the new developments in pool tech. (Dare we say “smart pools”?) Hear a homeowner horror story you won’t believe, and should you go all in with a saltwater pool?
Watch the latest episode of the vipHome Podcast now!
You can never truly fireproof your home, but you can take steps to prevent a home fire. A few you probably already know – installing smoke detectors, keeping close watch while cooking, and “get out, stay out” if a home fire does occur. But have you ever thought about spiders in your grill? How about a nest? And do you have two exits out of every room? (You should.)
Hosts Caroline and Jeff welcome Susan McKelvey of the National Fire Prevention Association to talk about general fire safety in the home and new UL considerations for smoke alarms that may have you cooking more. Plus – should you consider sprinklers in your home (absolutely), and will Jeff ever invite the whole team over for steaks? (I haven’t received my invite.) Listen now!
What do you do with water, water, everywhere? “Insurance Paul” knows. Our VP of Ecosystem Development owned an independent insurance agency for more than 26 years. Listen as Paul takes Hosts Jeff and Caroline through the nuances of filing an insurance claim and provides a few quick tips to prevent unnecessary water issues, such as the dreaded “vacation bathroom flush.”
Plus, did you know that by taking preventive measures, you may earn some serious discounts on your insurance premiums? Paul tells us (and you) how to score those!
Perhaps you’re a millennial home buyer considering a move to the suburbs. Or maybe you’re a real estate agent looking to boost your game. In this week’s episode, we have something for every segment of the real estate market.
Hosts Caroline and Jacqueline welcome Jack Shoptaw of Century 21 New Millennium, who discusses the nuances of the real estate market, what new buyers can expect during their home search, and how realtors get personal (but not too personal) to match buyers with their dream home.
Plus, just when should you get a home inspection, and what do you need to know when bidding above asking price? Jack tells you. Listen now!
Water damage is one of the worst issues your home can have. Unfortunately, Host Megan returned from vacation to find her entire basement flooded due to a hot water heater malfunction. Host Jeff’s home barely avoided disaster thanks to quick thinking and a blowdryer. And Host Caroline now knows what a sump pump is – which we know half of you were wondering as well.
To find out more tips to prevent water damage and near misses, we welcomed Jeff Hoffman from Schaible’s Plumbing & Heating Inc into the vipHome Podcast Studio in Morristown, New Jersey. Guest Jeff introduces us to an auto-water shut-off valve, which helps homeowners to detect water where it shouldn’t be and may prevent your home from suffering a flood.