Posts Tagged ‘Home Improvement’

4 Surprising Things That Might Increase Your Home’s Value

May 29, 2020

4 Surprising Things That Might Increase Your Home's ValueYou’ve probably heard that living near excellent schools or having curb appeal can boost the value of your home. However, a home’s value is dependent upon a lot of different factors. Some of these things are more obvious than others. Things that might seem insignificant can have an impact on your home’s worth. Here are some surprising things that can affect the existing value of your home or how much a buyer is willing to pay for it.

#1 A Blue Kitchen or Bathroom

Painting your home is an easy and cost-effective way to update your home. Just make sure that you select the right colors. Based on recent research, walls that are painted cool neutral colors like blue are more likely to appeal to buyers. According to a 2017 study by Zillow, homes with blue bathrooms sell for an average of $5,500 more than expected. Houses that had blue kitchens sold for $1,809 more compared to similar homes that had a white kitchen.

#2 How Close You Are To A Supermarket

Being next to a well-known supermarket can increase the value of your home. If the supermarket is considered upmarket, then the increase in value is even higher. According to “Zillow Talk, The New Rules of Real Estate,”  homes that are near a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods grocery store appreciate up to 40 percent faster than other homes. The presence of a popular store like Trader Joe’s has a positive effect on market values over time.

#3 A Joanna Gaines’ Aesthetic

Joanna Gaines’s urban farmhouse aesthetic is more than just chic; it can have a surprisingly positive effect on the value of your home. According to a Zillow analysis of home sale descriptions from 2016, houses that had the keywords “farmhouse sink” and “barn door” sold quicker and at a premium compared to similar homes. Listings that had the words “barn door” sold 57 days quicker and for 13.4 percent more than similar homes. For sale listings that included a “farmhouse sink” sold for 8 percent more. So, if you plan to make interior updates in your home, you might want to watch a couple of episodes of “Fixer Upper” for inspiration.

#4 Your Proximity to Starbucks

Do you live within a quarter of a mile from a Starbucks? If so, then you are in luck? A study released by Zillow in 2015 found that homes that were within a quarter of a mile from the Seattle-based coffeehouse increased by 96 percent on average from 1997 to 2014. This number is well above the average of 65 percent of all U.S. homes.

Whether you are in the process of buying a new home or updating your existing home, think about the above factors as they may play a role in the value of your home.

Low Maintenance Landscaping To Improve Curb Appeal

May 22, 2020

Low Maintenance Landscaping To Improve Curb AppealAttractive landscaping is one of the first things that potential home buyers notice. They may see the landscaping in the photos of a home for sale or may even do a physical drive-by. The view of the property from the street is called “curb appeal.” It is important to make this be as nice as possible.

In many parts of the country, there are pressures on the water supply that make having a lush-green, living lawn very costly or even prohibited by the local regulations. Innovative technology and the use of natural ground covers, such as stone and rocks are replacing the green lawns that most people think of when considering landscaping a home properly.

Here is a guide to some landscaping that is attractive and worth considering to make a home look spectacular and require little maintenance:

Artificial Turf

Artificial turf has improved dramatically over the past few years. There is no longer the need to use the obvious green plastic covering of cheap fake grass. The newest artificial turf products look so much like real grass that it is nearly impossible to tell that they are not real. They can be installed over drainage rock and washed down with water like real grass.

Decorative Concrete

Molded concrete is now available in so many surface treatments, textures, and colors that it can represent almost any popular covering. For example, a nice European-style, cobbled-stone, street look is a popular choice for driveways and walkways. It is made out of molded, colored concrete, not stone, and installs easily.

Rock And Stone

Replacing areas of grass in the front yard with decorative rock and stone makes a nice look. It is better not to use wide swathes of this ground covering in big blocks. Instead, for a better aesthetic appeal, use natural rock and stone to create unique, eye-catching areas. For example, surrounding a wishing well with a nice circular area of rock pebbles creates a nice look.

Artificial Trees And Bushes

Advancements in the manufacturing of artificial bushes and trees developed very convincing products that are durable enough for exterior installation. Some best looking ones are the evergreen bushes.

They come in perfect heights of various sizes. They never need watering or trimming to make them look attractive. The only maintenance that they need is the occasional spray washing to remove dust and things that might fall on them like leaves from neighbor?s trees.

There are many to choose from. The modest-sized bushes are very inexpensive and usually less than $50 each. At the other end of the spectrum, are the exotic 11-feet tall artificial cheery trees that have built-in LED illumination. These are very dramatic and cost many thousands.

Summary

With these interesting ideas to consider, take a look at landscaping in a new way. Even though artificial landscaping requires an upfront investment, it can last for many years and may reduce overall maintenance costs significantly. If you ever want to sell the home, there will be much less landscaping needed to get it ready for sale.

3 Ways To Make Your Home Safer

May 19, 2020

3 Ways To Make Your Home SaferIn the wake of the recent news reports, you might be looking for ways to make your home safer. Some of the most common accidents and events that take place in homes include poisoning events, falls, and even burglaries. The good news is that there are ways to improve the safety of your home. You might even be rewarded with a lower home insurance premium!

Invest In An Alarm System

It is not easy to figure out exactly how many burglaries are prevented every year by having an alarm system; however, even having a sign in the front yard could be enough to scare off potential intruders. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to make your home safer, invest in a home alarm system. 

The price of a home alarm system from vary from provider to provider. Homeowners can tailor their security services to meet their needs. This is a great way to keep burglars at bay.

Purchase A Video Doorbell System

There has even been a rise in the frequency of porch pirates, or those who steal the packages of others from their front door! If you are someone who buys a lot of stuff online, then you should get a video doorbell to watch your packages when they get dropped off.

Furthermore, you can even use this video doorbell system to see who ringing your doorbell when you aren’t home. In some cases, you can even communicate with them, providing them instructions, or asking them to leave when necessary.

Buy Automatic Outdoor Lighting Systems

Lights are often enough to scare people away. There are plenty of motion sensor lights that you can purchase for your driveway, porch, and front door. These lights can even be set to turn off when the sun comes up to save energy. 

Keep Your Home Safe

These are a few of the easiest ways that you can make your home safer. If you take steps to keep burglars at bay, not only will you protect your home but you might even save some money on home insurance! 

Home Maintenance Projects That Could Save You Thousands On Repairs

May 12, 2020

Home Maintenance Projects That Could Save You Thousands On RepairsOwning a house comes with major responsibilities and one of the most important is routine maintenance. While many people like to skip routine maintenance in an effort to save money, the reality is that these routine maintenance is going to save people down the road. The reality is that maintenance is a homeowner’s first line of defense when it comes to protecting their most valuable investment, which is their home.

There are a few projects that may save homeowners thousands of dollars down the road.

Inspect The Plumbing Connections

It is easy to forget about the plumbing system because many people don’t even see their pipes until problems arise. The idea behind expecting the plumbing system is that problems can be spotted before they cause a house to flood. Some of the appliances that people need to think about include refrigerators, faucets, dishwashers, and washing machines. All of these devices have hoses that connect to the water supply.

If these hoses tart to crack, leaks can develop slowly. Eventually, this water is going to get behind the walls, causing mold to grow, and it may also get underneath the floors, causing them to warp. It is important for people to take a look at these pipes from time to time. If leaks are identified, they can be repaired.

Clean The Dryer Ducts And Vents

Many homeowners overlook their ductwork; however, people need to take the time open up their dryers and change their filters between every load. The vents that people use to remove lint from their clothes will clog up quickly. If the dryer is unable to suck air through this vent, it is going to have to work harder to dry the clothes. This is going to cause the dryer to overheat. It might even lead to a housefire. In order to prevent this from happening, homeowners should change their dryer lint filters after every load.

Routine Maintenance Is Critical

These are a few of the most important points that homeowners need to remember when it comes to routine maintenance. Homeowners need to have a regular schedule that they follow to ensure that none of these tasks are overlooked. It can prevent disaster from happening.

The 5 Best Power Tools For Home Improvement On The Market Today

May 8, 2020

The 5 Best Power Tools For Home Improvement On The Market TodayFor most people, their home is the most valuable investment they are ever going to make. Therefore, it should make sense that people will want to improve its value over time. In this case, people are going to need to invest in power tools. Those who are interested in home improvement projects need to know about the five most important power tools available in today’s market.

A Power Drill

While this might seem obvious, many people do not own a power drill. This is almost always at the top of the list of the best power tools on the market. It is a versatile tool that can handle everything from hanging pictures to putting in a fence. People need to make sure they know about the various options for drills on the market and find the one that is right for their needs.

A Jigsaw

A jigsaw is a unique but versatile saw that can help people with a variety of home improvement projects. This type of saw is great for helping people cut shapes and curves as well as straight lines. Try to find a jigsaw that has a variety of orbital settings. This will provide the user with added accuracy and speed.

A Circular Saw

This is another saw that is important for homeowners to have. This is great for heavier cutting jobs. They have the ability to cut through thick materials easily. There are both cordless and corded options and they pack a punch. Cordless varieties are a bit heavier but they provide the user with access to tight spaces

A Cordless Screwdriver

Traditional screwdrivers can pose a bit of a challenge and get uncomfortable over time. This is where a cordless screwdriver is helpful. This removes a significant amount of effort and makes projects go by more quickly. These screws can be used to both tighten and loosen screws.

A Rotary Tool

Finally, a great power rotary tool is a must. This is used to help people with cutting, grinding, sanding, and more. This is great for performing a variety of tasks around the home and can help people with numerous accessories. Do not overlook the value of a powerful rotary tool.

How To Save Big Money On Your Next Home Renovation Project

May 5, 2020

Every year, homeowners spend billions of dollars renovating their homes. It almost seems expected that homeowners are going to end up going over budget on any project. On the other hand, this doesn’t have to be the case. In reality, there are a few tips and tricks that homeowners can follow to help them save big money on that next home renovation project.

Serve As The General Contractor

Many homeowners hire a general contractor to control the staffing of each individual project. While this might reduce stress levels, it also costs more money. Hiring a general contractor adds an additional middle man to the project who might charge a premium for each individual project.

Homeowners that need to renovate the kitchen, replace the roof, and find a new water heater should hire professionals to handle these individual projects; however, they don’t necessarily need to hire a general contractor. Skipping this step can save money.

Seek Out Multiple Bids On Each Project

Some homeowners don’t like making phone calls and filling out paperwork to collect bids for various projects; however, collecting multiple bids can help homeowners save money. On any given home renovation project, try to collect at least three bids. For larger projects, it is better to collect even more. 

Then, once all the bids are collected, they can be leveraged against each other for a lower price. Homeowners are often surprised by the wide range of bids on a project. Some proposals might even be thousands of dollars apart.

Take Advantage Of Sales

Just as food goes on sale at the grocery store, the materials needed to complete a home renovation project might go on sale from time to time as well. Taking advantage of sales at department stores can be a great way to reduce overhead costs. There might even be cheaper options online. 

Reduce Home Renovation Costs

These are a few of the most important tips for reducing the cost of that next big home renovation project. Home renovation projects don’t have to break the bank! Be sure to collect multiple bids and leverage inventory sales. 

Home Improvements For A New Home Or When Getting Ready To Sell

April 14, 2020

Home Improvements For A New Home Or When Getting Ready To SellWith time on our hands, many of us are busying ourselves with home improvement projects. Some simple changes can increase the attractiveness of a home and may help with a sale. If you are getting ready to sell your home or if you just want to beautify it a little, here are some low-cost tips for home improvements to consider.

Go Green

Adding indoor plants is nice and improves interior air quality. If you have the room for it, consider a vertical garden. A vertical garden may use the entire ceiling-to-floor area of one wall. With the proper type of grow lights, it is possible to create the feeling of a lush tropical forest inside the home.

You can grow a herb garden in a window box, so you always have fresh herbs for cooking. Flowers, which make a lovely fragrance, are wonderful for aromatherapy to create positive feelings. Hang a sprig of fresh eucalyptus in the shower for a spa-like experience.

Water Elements

A water fountain or birdbath in the garden is a pleasant touch. Use a solar-powered water pump so there is no need to connect it to electricity. It will attract birds that are enjoyable to watch.

A small fountain in the home will have a soothing effect from the sound of the falling water. The Chinese art of Feng Shui recommends having some water elements in the home for a more peaceful living space. It can be something as simple as a desk or tabletop water fountain to have a nice effect.

Wall Decor

To spice up a room and give it a fresh look, consider changing the wall decor. Give the wall a fresh coat of paint or new wallpaper and hang new things on it in an attractive way.

Throw Rugs

Colorful throw rugs are helpful to cover a worn area of old carpet. Rugs improve the look of a room without the expense of replacing the carpet. In a larger room, a throw rug may create a space for a certain use, such as a sitting or dining area.

Add Some Color to the Front Door

One quick and easy technique to give a dreary home exterior a bit of curb appeal is to power wash the siding on the front and then paint the front door a dramatic contrasting color. A superbly-colorful front door is very attractive and welcoming.

Summary

With a little imagination and a modest budget, it is possible to make attractive home improvements that have appeal. Just try some of our suggestions and make improvements that you enjoy.

When It Makes Sense To DIY

March 27, 2020

When It Makes Sense To DIYMany homeowners enjoy DIY, or Do-it-Yourself, home improvement projects. There’s nothing quite like the pride of knowing you used your own hands to put together or improve something.

With the explosion of social media sites such as YouTube, Pinterest,and TikTok, spending a weekend on DIY projects seems easier than ever before. After just a couple of minutes spent searching, you can find a step-by-step tutorial, before and after photos, or a time-lapse video of any project imaginable. Anyone can do this! Right?

Not so fast. In some cases, it may not make sense to DIY. How do you decide whether it will be worth the elbow grease or if you should leave it to the professionals?

To DIY Or Not To DIY

Building, fixing, painting, or any other -ing isn’t always easier or more affordable, despite what HGTV would have you believe. As you consider whether or not to take a project on yourself, here are some things to consider. 

  • Cost – Calculate the cost of materials you’ll need for your project, factoring in tools and equipment. If the job requires some you don’t already own, you’ll have to rent or buy them, which can be quite costly. However, if you already have some of the necessary materials or you can borrow tools from someone, going the DIY route may make sense. 
  • Time – As Greek philosopher Theophrastus said, “Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” Even if a DIY project offers substantial cost savings, it’s important to factor in the time you’ll have to spend on it. Consider whether saving money is a worthwhile trade-off for your time.
  • Skill level – No matter how many tutorials you study, some things are better left to truly skilled professionals. If you don’t have any experience working in electrical, you shouldn’t attempt to do a project that requires running wires. Knowing your limitations and when to hire someone can save you time, money, and stress.

Potentially saving money is certainly not the only thing to consider when it comes to DIY projects. Before deciding to take it on, ask yourself if you’ll truly enjoy the project and whether or not you have the necessary skills. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

Home Improvement Projects For The Quarantined

March 26, 2020

Home Improvement Projects For The QuarantinedIf you have paid attention to the news recently, you have probably heard about the coronavirus pandemic which also goes by the name COVID-19. Those who are exposed to the virus might be asked to place themselves in quarantine. Some states have even told their residents to shelter in place. While this infection has forced everyone to change the way they live their lives, there are still some home improvement projects you can tackle during quarantine to put your free time to use.

Jump On Spring Cleaning

One of the first home improvement projects people need to tackle is spring cleaning. Spring is right around the corner so it is time to sort through items that aren’t needed anymore. Start with the wardrobe closet and figure out what is going to be worn during the warmer months, what can be put into storage, and what can be donated. Then, move to the kitchen. Take a look at the drawers and see if there is anything that can be put away. Try to pull out the separators can clean the drawers as well. Finally, move to the living room and declutter anything that isn’t needed anymore. This is going to make the home feel more open, which is important during quarantine.

Repurpose A Room In The Home For A Gym

If you or your family are going to miss going to the gym, it is time to repurpose a room to act as an indoor space to exercise. Think about using the bonus room or basement as an athletic area. Furthermore, you can even save money on gym costs. Try to move chairs and coffee tables out of the way. If possible, put down some rubber flooring, an old mat, or even a few towels to prevent from staining the rug. If you are going to use a jump rope, make sure that nothing valuable is in the way. Try to shift items to make plenty of space for push-ups, sit-ups, jump rope, and free weights.

Home Improvement During Quarantine

It is important for people to follow the advice of medical professionals during the pandemic. Being quarantined is not an ideal situation, but these are only a few of many home improvement projects that can be accomplished during your time at home. 

Turn Your Yard Into An All-Seasons Living Space

March 25, 2020

Turn Your Yard Into An All-Seasons Living SpaceThink of backyard space as “in-between” or transitional space that is a bit like being inside while being outside. Sunrooms, screened-in covered patios, outdoor kitchens, spas, fire pits and more, are all becoming very popular ways to make more use of the backyard. Making use of the outside area is not limited to only the times of the year that have nice, warm weather.

Sitting around a fire pit, with a blazing fire in it, is a perfect way to spend a chilly winter evening under the stars. This is a bit like camping out, without having to leave the comfort of your home.

Here are some tips about how to turn your backyard space into a comfortable and functional transitional area.

Landscaping

Install shade trees, cobbled paths that invite exploration, and water features that are mixed in with attractive landscaping to make your backyard more inviting. Add some inexpensive solar-powered lights to line the walkways for a nice nighttime look.

This can be a labor of love that you take your time doing without having to rush the end result. It is healthy for you to do a bit of gardening, to get some fresh air and light exercise.

Outdoor Cooking

There are many ways to enjoy outdoor cooking such as simply taking a hibachi grill out to cook on a patio. You can cook hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken, shish kebab, and more. You can even grill vegetables, like delicious slices of eggplant or corn on the cob, for your vegetarian friends on a separate grill reserved for that use.

Pizza Oven

If you really want to impress your guests, then put in a wood-burning pizza oven. Pizza made this way tastes delicious. There are dozens of pizza recipes you can try from thin crust to deep dish.

You can also make loaves of bread and other types of oven-baked foods. When you get a wood-burning pizza oven hot enough to cook properly, you will want to cook plenty of things so be sure to invite over lots of friends and neighbors.

Gourmet Kitchen

Taking the outdoor cooking one step further, some people like to install a full gourmet kitchen and spend lots of time cooking outside. There are many stainless steel grills to choose from that go along well with matching stainless steel appliances, which are strong enough for exposure to the elements.

Temperature Control

When desiring to have some control over the temperature outside, it is best to think of creating usable areas. When it is cold outside, you can use patio heaters that burn propane to make warmer areas for sitting. Another popular idea is to put in a fire pit to sit around.

During warmer times, you will want to have shaded areas and patio covers with ceiling fans. In the hot summers, you might enjoy a misting system that sprays a fine mist of cool water vapor in the air.

Summary

Many neglect their backyards, which is a shame because they can be lovely places to hang out. Rather than investing in an expensive room addition, start thinking about how you can make your backyard more enjoyable as a transitional space between the interior living area and the outside.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.