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Archive for the ‘Curb Appeal’ Category

heatingNow that temperatures are dropping across the country, its time to think about how you can slash your heating bills for the season. Here are five low-cost and/or no-cost moves to help you save money while staying comfortable at the same time.

1. Add insulation. Adding insulation and weather stripping can slash your annual energy costs up to 30% by keeping out the cold or heat and minimizing the stack effect. Start by sealing large gaps around the chimney, furnace flue, plumbing pipes, ductwork, light fixtures, and soffits in your attic. Then lay insulation between attic-floor joists and on the hatch or door, or add more if it’s already there. Look for insulation that’s become dirty, a sign of air movement that reveals other gaps you must fill. Also, insulate ducts running through the attic.

2. Seal up the leaks. Caulking and weather-stripping cracks and gaps around your home are some of the most cost-effective steps you can take to conserve heat. Focus on the attic, basement, windows, and doorways. Also. check near pipes, vents, or electrical conduits that go through the wall, ceiling, or floor. When sealing leaks, use “no-VOC” or “low-VOC” caulking to minimize potentially harmful indoor gases. Look for these products at your hardware store or online.

3. Program thermostats for savings. Shave up to 20% off your heating costs by lowering the thermostat 5 degrees F at night and 10 degrees F during the day if no one is home. Most electronic setback thermostats let you set different schedules for weekdays and weekends. Some automatically switch from heating to cooling, and many tell you when it’s time to change your furnace or air-conditioner filter.

4. Save money on hot water. Insulating hot-water pipes and lowering the temperature on your water heater from 130 degrees to 120 degrees can help you save up to 5% on your energy bills.

5. Shorten showers. Showers account for two-thirds of your water-heating costs, so even shaving off a few minutes can help. Replacing a showerhead that’s more than 12 years old with a low-flow model can save up to half the hot water used for showering.

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Saving for a home

Selling your home for more money is always top importance for sellers. However, sometimes they don’t know how to add value to their home. Not all remodeling and maintenance projects increase the value of your home. Some may not even provide equal return on investment, at least not initially. Think solar. That may take a while to recoup the expense of the installation.

The following are remodeling and maintenance projects that tend to increase not only the value of your home but also its mass appeal to buyers:

1. Updating electrical and plumbing,
2.Bathroom remodel,
3. Kitchen remodel,
4. Painting,
5. Outside maintenance.

When you think about what buyers are looking for, it’s easy to understand why improving these areas would bring increased value. Moving into a home that has major, or even minor, electrical and plumbing issues can be a real headache. Electricity and plumbing are two major necessary conveniences in the home. When they’re malfunctioning it’s often not only time consuming to fix but possibly costly. Take time to note the areas of your home that have electrical and plumbing issues. It may just be a minor issue such as an electrical outlet needs fixing. If that’s the case, fix it before you have buyers coming through your home.

During home inspections, many things are noted. Then the buyer studies that report and often wants to have the seller fix the issues and/or take money off the sale price. Be a step ahead by taking care of the issues you know are problems. Better to cross them off the list rather than wait for the buyer to discover them and add them to their list of reasons the home should have a lower price.

Bathroom remodels are projects that are often long overdue. It may be that a bathroom is very tiny and an expansion is desperately needed. Or it might be that there’s mold behind the shower walls and must be properly removed, cleaned, and replaced with better products, or, maybe, the bathroom simply needs an updated look, or just a maintenance repair such as fixing a leaky faucet or toilet. I recognize that most people don;t want to remodel their bathroom only to turn around and sell their home. However, fixing problem issues is always a good idea. And, if you’re planning to stay in our home for a few years, then giving some thought to a bathroom renovation might be to your benefit. That way you can enjoy it for the time that you remain in the home and then recoup the expense when you do decide to sell. Be careful not to go for extreme trendy materials and patterns that will give the bathroom a dated look in the years to come.

Kitchen remodel. This is attractive to nearly everyone, even those who don’t cook! There’s something really appealing about a beautifully remodeled kitchen. Again, remodeling an entire kitchen to then immediately sell isn’t in the budget for most sellers.

But simple things can help like new paint on the kitchen walls and throughout the house. It can brighten and freshen up even a very old home. Resurfacing the cabinets or giving them a good cleaning can also make a big difference. Then clearing clutter from the shelves, cabinets, inside the pantry and refrigerator will help make the kitchen feel cleaner and look bigger.

Outside maintenance is one of those areas that is a must do. Why? Because it’s outside and it’s often the largest and first area buyers see. Yes, curb appeal matters. If your home doesn’t look inviting from the outside, chances are, no matter how cute it is on the inside, buyers won’t look at it. Call it unfair, but that’s the way it goes. First impressions count. So, make your home as charming as possible from the outside in.

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Your homes curb appeal is a buyer’s first impression.  75% of home buyers drive by the homes that they are interested in after first viewing it online.

Even if you’re not considering putting your home on the market, it never hurts to enhance and improve your property.   Make your home the talk of the neighborhood and your property value with these simple tips.

The Lawn & Landscapingcurbappeal

  • Mow your lawn twice a week, pull weeds and rake up your leaves
  • Trim hedges and shrubs, as well as tree limbs that are near your roof
  • Sweep your walkways
  • Plant a variety of colorful flowers & plants that flourish in all the seasons
  • Weed and mulch your flower beds

The Homes Exterior

  • Front door,porchClean your windows, gutters, and pressure wash your siding and decks
  • Freshen up the exterior of your home with a coat of paint
  • Update your front door.  Try new hardware, or a new paint color
  • Install new accents like house numbers, doorbell buttons, or mail slots
  • Check and replace your roof if necessary
  • Add an awning or covered patio to enjoy the outdoors year round

Landscaping doesn’t have to be expensive; only well-thought-out, interesting, and cohesive.  Plan a week or a couple of weekends to get your curb appeal up to par so that you can make the best first impression on future buyers.

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