16 August 2018

Six Home Improvement Jobs to do Before You Sell


When the time finally comes to sell your home, you want it to be worth as much as possible. For this to happen, you’re likely going to need to make some improvements. But where to begin? Which areas of your home will return the most value? To help you out, here are six home improvement jobs that you should look into doing before you sell your home.

Paint the Inside

One of the first things you should do is paint the inside of your home. When prospective home buyers come in, a good paint job will leave a better impression. You don’t want the paint on your walls to be faded or chipped, or to not match other things in the room. Even if the new owners plan on painting their new home, the house will look much better as you’re trying to sell it. Painting the inside of your home is a lot of work, so if you don’t want to do it yourself, consider hiring some interior painters.

Redo the Kitchen and Bathrooms

Next, a home’s value is largely impacted by the state of the kitchen and the bathrooms. If these are out of date, or look beaten up, it will lower what you can get for your home. So, take a look around your kitchen first and see what you can do to improve it. New appliances? New countertops? New floors? All of these will help improve the value and will help you enjoy your home while you’re still in it.

After that, move onto the bathroom. You’ll want to do the same thing here, seeing if things like your toilet, sink, or shower could use an upgrade. You don’t have to go crazy with the latest and greatest equipment – just bring it up to date.

Improve the Lighting

Lighting plays a large role in the look of a home. Soft lighting can set a mood in one room, while bright lighting can set another mood elsewhere. When prospective buyers are walking through your home, you want everything to not only be well lit, but to be lit correctly. Some simple upgrades you can make are installing dimmer switches, adding more lamps to a room, or installing lights in hard to see places – such as closets or stairs.

Replace the Carpets and Floors

Now that you’re done looking up, turn your eyes downward. How do your floors look? Are your carpets faded or ripped? Are you missing tiles in your bathroom? Are your hardwood floors scratched up? We may not realize it, but flooring plays a large role in the feel of a room. A beat-up floor gives the impression of a beat-up room. Think about replacing your floors, or installing a new type of flooring, before you sell the home. The less work any new owners will have to do, the more they might be willing to pay for the home.

Landscape the Yard

That about covers it for the inside of the home, so now it’s time to turn your attention outdoors. The first thing you should look at is your yard. When a new buyer approaches your home, the outside of it leaves a lasting impression on their minds. A simple landscaping job can put them in a better frame of mind before they even step through your front door. So, plant some colorful bushes, mow the lawn, and trim back some dead tree branches. You can even do things like install a pond in the backyard or build a patio so that you have a nice place to sit outside.

Fix the Driveway and Sidewalks

Finally, consider the state of your driveway and sidewalks. Over time these can become cracked or faded and replacing them can greatly improve your curb appeal. This likely isn’t a job you can do on your own, so find a local contractor who can handle the job for you. Repave that driveway so it’s nice and smooth, then replace the sidewalk so you have a nice pathway leading up to your home. It may seem like a small thing, but it can make a big difference.

Little Things Add Up

Each item above on its own might not make a big difference to prospective home buyers. But if you combine them all, you’ll have a house that looks great, and is very enticing to people in the market. Take some time to examine your home, see which areas need the most work, and then make a list. Before you put your home on the market you should check off as many of those items as you can to get as much as possible for your home.

02 August 2018

Modern Home Office Design: 5 Ideas for Your Inspiration

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You don't have the daily routine of commuting to a corporate office, which is great. But is your office up to standards and does it make you feel welcome? In this article, I will give some trendy tips and latest interior design fashion for your work space.

It is true that the office has expanded beyond the cubicle as the number of telecommuter and freelance workers continue to grow. This can be attributed to new technologies that are changing family demographics as well as an increasing number of employers that allow telecommuting for flexibility and to cut costs associated with a centralized office.

Gone are the days when the only form of improvement to your house was renovating the kitchen or refurbishing the bathroom. It is now time think about designing your home office to make it stylish and organized so that working from home becomes comfortable, comfortable and enjoyable. In this case, you will need some home office design inspirations to help you come up with one of your own.

1. Squeezing into the living space

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Squeezing a home office into a living space is the most common way of establishing a home office when there is no spare room. The first step is to identify a corner, bare wall or nook where you can outfit with well-styled office space. Here, you might think of using recessed shelving with a wall-mounted desk design while keeping the floor clear.

Another way is to install decorative shelving behind the sofa together with a slim home office desk with a span that matches the length of the sofa. The decorative shelving will go a long way in doubling as office storage.

It is also possible to tuck a round table into an alcove or just let your home office desk fill the space on one side of the fireplace. Try to creatively paint one corner of the living room or use artwork to visually separate the office space from the rest of the living room. If you have a large living room, you can just carve out space and place a desk on its own to just float in front of a credenza or wall with a small rug to characterize it.

2. Using the space under the staircase

The space under the staircase can be cleverly designed in different ways including turning it into a small home office. This is a perfect space if you cannot afford an entire room since it is usually left empty without serving any purpose.

There are many ways to design such a space, and the obvious way to start is to create built-in shelves just under the staircase. For unique looks, you can use an arch as the ceiling and place a window at the center of the wall. Even without a window, you can redesign it to create different themes including classical, simple but beautiful, natural, shabby, modern, functional, formal, eclectic or distressed among many others.

3. The mezzanine home office

The mezzanine area can be an ideal place to squeeze your home office since they are versatile and functional spaces that help light up your home. It offers you a perfect gift of working from the expansive views of the surroundings.

You can uniquely design it with wooden insertions throughout or add a floating staircase while at the same time connecting it visually with the rest of the living space. Extensive use of glass railings also helps to make your mezzanine office space futuristic especially if you creatively guide natural light inside. You can also incorporate an open floor plan and then combine white spaces with your favorite colors in the furnishings for a simple but beautiful home office.

4. Using a spare room

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If you work from home on a regular basis, then you need a spacious home office that can accommodate more than one person usually from an existing room. In this case, there is a myriad of designs to think about from creating a personalized corner that is ideal for form and function to coloring the walls with contrasting colors in careful combination with furnishings to get a sophisticated look.

Stay connected with the outdoors by letting the natural light in and this will fill your room with life especially if you add the green touch of a lovely plant. You can decorate the walls with either vibrant art for additional energy and motivation or hang a gallery wall against a neutral backdrop.

5. Using partitions

Sometimes you need to cut off visual distractions by partitioning your space. There are many ways to do this, and one way is to use an integrated wall shelving unit that allows your home office to flow into the next area through the open walkways. Another way is to hide behind translucent doors where you can both work and still keep an eye on the kids.

You may also like to bring the outdoors inside by using a glass window that allows you to enjoy the panoramic view of the elegant exterior. An alternative to a translucent wall would be a retractable wall that you can completely open or close to the home depending on the amount of your workload.
Sliding walls provide an excellent barrier to a home office, and in this case, you will have to maintain a continuous color palette throughout the design so that each section melts smoothly into the next when the doors are drawn back.

Conclusion

Home offices are now very popular, and it is important that you begin planning for your next home office design strategy just like you would for your living room or kitchen. There are many places that you can fit your home office around your home, and you should do it in a way that will enhance your existing home design and also make your work comfortable and fun. It doesn’t matter whether you use an extra room, place it under the staircase, squeeze it in the mezzanine or create it behind the sofa right in the living room; you just need to think like a designer.

18 July 2018

Save or Splurge: Make the Most of Your Money with Home Improvement


Home improvement projects can be fun as they allow you to be hands-on when you update or redecorate your home. You can change wall colors, add new appliances, and just be creative with your project. While this is often exciting for many, it also comes with a few challenges. One of the most daunting aspects of it is the budget. Overspending can be easy to do and it can be difficult to find the best product for your project at a good price.

This article will help with this challenging aspect. It will explore some great and useful ways you can make the most of your money when it comes to home improvement. Keep reading to find out more about them.

Tips for Home Improvement Budgeting
Plan Things Out

One of the best ways you can tell whether or not to save or splurge on a project is by planning it out. You can make a list of the absolute things you need and one of some things that might not be as important. You can determine which objects are vital and then search for some deals on them. It will help you to make sure you don’t overspend or buy unnecessary things. This can also help to keep you organized and save money along the way.

Consider the Places that Need Help

To make sure you make the most of your money with home improvement, you need to consider the rooms and areas in your home that really need help. If things are falling apart or look dingy, that’s one thing you’ll definitely want to remodel.

You’ll also want to check your appliances. These are often the most important things to replace in a home improvement project. If your appliances aren’t working well, it’s a good idea to first invest in new ones.

Try to Remodel the Kitchen First

Unless another area needs to be fixed immediately, it’s often recommended that the kitchen be the first place for home improvement projects. A kitchen remodel cost isn’t necessarily as high as some other room remodels might be. It also is more beneficial because it’s a room that everyone uses often in the living space. This means your investment will be worthwhile. When you remodel your kitchen be sure to keep things like the appliance life in mind as well as the cabinets. These are the two most important aspects of a kitchen.

Redo the Flooring

Besides the kitchen, another one of the best places in your home to put your money is on flooring. Floors can go through quite a bit and that can show. You’ll be able to replace worn out flooring easily and which often comes with a good price tag. There are usually flooring deals that can be combined with other things. This can help you to save a significant amount of money on your project.

Home improvement projects don’t have to be challenging or daunting. It can be easy to overspend or not even know where to start. However, with the tips above, you can be sure that your project will be well-planned out and budgeted. They will keep you on track without fear of overspending or wasting money.

The ideas mentioned in this article will help to ensure you save money when you embark on your home improvement adventure. By doing things like making a detailed plan and considering the type of room you need to fix, your living space will be transformed without hassles. So, if you’re looking to make the most of your money during your home improvement project, definitely keep the information above in mind.

09 July 2018

8 Appliances That Are Driving Up Your Electricity Costs


We use them every day to wash our clothes, cool our houses, and cook our food. Appliances. And for all that they do for us, operating them can come at a heavy cost. While the frequency and duration of their use largely dictates their expense, some appliances just happen to require more energy than others. These devices are not confined to one area and located all around homes, both in places that can be seen and in other that cannot. Though there are a number of energy drainers that could qualify, there are eight appliances that are particularly draining and will drive up your electricity cost.

Refrigerator

There are few devices in homes that require energy twenty-four hours a day all year round, but the refrigerator is among them. Tasked with the job of keeping perishable items cool and frozen items intact, the fridge accounts for roughly four percent of the energy used within the home each year. The impact of this appliances consumption can be minimized by investing in a new refrigerator, as manufacturers are beginning to focus more and more on energy efficiency in appliances. Keeping the internal temperature of the fridge cooler than necessary will also contribute to the electricity it requires, so consider changing things up. Maintaining a temperature of 36 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit should be optimal and help you further reduce your costs.

Water Heater

The water heater of the house is used every day by homeowners and is one of the most significant contributors to the total cost of home energy. This is the machine that warms the water in your shower, sink, and even in your washer. All of the times you left the sink running to let the water warm up or took a long shower, this machine was working overtime to provide the heat required. Much like the refrigerator, adjusting the water heater is a two-pronged approach that can involve trading in for a new, more energy efficient model or simply decreasing its overall temperature. Most water heaters remain somewhere around 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but this can be adjusted down to the 120-125 degrees range to avoid unnecessary energy waste.

Washer and Dryer

With a need for electricity and heat, washers and dryers have their own part to play in the amount people are charged for energy each and every month. Due to the many moving parts and separate components of the machines, there are a few ways to reduce their cost. For the washer, consider forgoing the use or warm water and instead just wash all of your things using cold water. When it comes time to dry, know that the dryer requires more energy to be operated. You can make the machine’s performance more efficient by cleaning out the lint trap before beginning or you could consider hanging your clothes on a line. By doing that, you’ll completely eliminate the need for the dryer as well as cut off its energy usage.

Computer

Computers make up around one percent of the energy bill, but that amount can be even further reduced in a number of easy ways. If you’re in the market for a new computer, consider purchasing a laptop instead of a standard desktop. The choice will demand less energy and have the added bonus of being transportable. A bad habit that many people share is leaving their computer in sleep mode rather than turning it off completely, which also contributes. Unless you expect to use your computer shortly after putting it to sleep, be sure to power it down. This will conserve energy and have you plugging in your laptop to charge less than you would have the other way.

Electric Oven

One of the main methods by which people prepare food is the oven. Equipped with multiple cooking settings, built in timers, and even self-cleaning capabilities, ovens are tools that make cooking a bit easier. But to allow for their capabilities, a sizeable amount of energy is required. A side effect of oven use that further drives up electricity costs is the heat that is generated from them. It tends to raise the overall temperature of the house and often results in homeowners using the air conditioning to reduce the heat, undermining attempts at saving. To counteract this, as well as save on the costs of operating an electric oven, be sure to use you microwave when you. Often there are oven and microwave instructions on boxes and microwaves will not only use less energy, they will also have your meal done faster.

Thermostat(Heating)

The fluctuation of the temperature within homes often causes the thermostat to be used as a means of regulating the climate. Due to the changes brought about by the turn of the seasons, there are peak months for their use. One of the best methods for lowering the cost of your thermostat is to use the natural cooling that you keep out every day. That means you should open up doors and windows when you can to allow for the breeze to come through. Especially at night, when the temperature is naturally cooler, don’t be afraid to open your window instead of turning on the air conditioning. The help of smart devices can also be enlisted as programmable thermostats that learn your temperature preferences and act to reduce costs can be installed.   

TV

For generations, televisions have provided a level of comfort to homes, often being left on to fill spaces with noise. When people are in rooms, even briefly, the tv still manages to find a way to be turned on and use a bit of electricity. For television, electricity usage does in large part stem from being turned on, but tvs also use energy when turned off. It is called the phantom load and it occurs when electronic devices are powered off, but left plugged in. During this time, devices are on standby mode but still burning through electricity and as a result, running up electricity costs. An easy stop to this, can come about by unplugging devices or turning off the power strip they’re plugged into. There are even special power strips available for purchase that cut off the flow of electricity when devices are turned off.

Dishwasher

The conclusion of most meals is marked by the clearing of tables and the loading of dishwashers. Varying slightly from model to model, this appliance rinses dishes using water of particularly high temperatures, then undergoes of a drying process. The cost of utilizing this machine, along with the others involved in making it run, make up a fair bit of the utility bill. Though operating the dishwasher will always bear and expense, the cost can be diminished and in relatively simple ways. For nights where there are not many things to wash, consider doing the dishes by hand. This will completely take the dishwasher out of the equation and save you on a load. In the event you do want to use the appliance, wait until you have filled it up completely before washing, as using the dishwasher with a full or light load used the same amount of energy.


Bio: Douglas Keller has been a financial expert for 20 years, helping people reach financial stability. He now provides personal finance tips for Payless Power, where he helps people save money on their bills every month.

Professional Tips for Restoring Furniture After a Flood

Floods can be one of the most unpredictable natural disasters out there, taking over your home and everything in it, sometimes without the slightest warning.

Even if you successfully save yourself and your family, they still wreak havoc in people’s lives because the damage floods can leave behind is often extensive and irreparable. As we all know, furniture can be expensive, especially whole rooms of it, and that’s why you’ve got to know how to recover your furniture if ever subjected to a flood.

So, to that end, following are some basic steps you should take to salvage your furniture and belongings should you ever be subjected to flood damage.


1. Assess the Damage

The first thing you should always do is take note of the damage. Before entering the room, shut off the electricity to ensure that there will be no electrical charge in the water. Then, get the furniture out of the flooded rooms and into a dry area as soon as you can—this includes even the furniture not touching the floor. Mass amounts of water can evaporate into the air and damage wall or ceiling d├ęcor just as well as if it were sitting in the water itself.

It’s important to note that if you are at all prone to flooding of any kind, be sure to invest in flood insurance and/or Act of God insurance, which is insurance that covers natural disasters including but not limited to floods.

If you already have the proper insurance, take pictures of your damaged furniture in order to document the impairment that needs to be compensated for.

Also, it is imperative that you stay away from electrical plugs or utilities until given absolute confirmation of its safety by a professional. Water is a very effective conductor of electricity and could cause serious harm or even death to those directly exposed to it.

2. Salvage What You Can

Furniture made out of more solid material such as wood is far more likely to be salvageable than anything upholstered or fabric-based. Furniture of the latter may not be able to be recovered, so be sure that if flooding is a likelihood you can expect (i.e. there’s an incoming hurricane) that you preserve the furniture ahead of time if possible.

If furniture was not preserved prior to its exposure to water, there are several things you can do to prevent further damage: For items that you can remove from the flooded room, do so. For others that will cannot be removed from a flooded area, lift them out of the water onto wooden blocks so they can begin drying. You can also cover said items in aluminum foil to keep out extra dampness. The key here is to make sure that your furniture is removed from the water and exposed to as little dampness as possible after it has been removed.

Another tip would be to turn on any ceiling fans to promote drying, but this is only if the ceilings themselves are not damaged as well. Standing fans or hair driers are highly discouraged as their use of outlets is dangerous in the presence of water.

3. Call in a Professional

Despite these tips being of extra use, it is highly recommended that when dealing with water damage, you reach out to the experts such as companies like All Dry US or other water restoration services. With the help of alldryus.com (specifically in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida region) your furniture can be restored in no time at all.

Restoration professionals can strip furniture down to its base in an effort to replace the water damaged spots, but this process can be expensive, so be sure that those decisions are cost effective before you make the commitment.

Family antiques or anything of sentimental value should take priority in salvaging, and professionals should be made aware of such items as should your insurance company. In those cases, it may very well be cost effective to reach out to water damage experts, as water damage can often be permanent and facilitate health complications due to its fostering of mold and mildew.

Furniture can often be hundreds of dollars, and significantly more in large house-size quantities. Therefore, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to prepare for flooding, acquire the knowledge so you know what to do in case of experiencing flooding, and remember who to reach out to if the circumstances call for it.

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