08 November 2018

How To Be Proactive When It Comes To Maintaining Your Roof

Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home and it is crucial to keep it maintained. If you don't take care of your roof, it is going to start to leak and that is going to lead to a host of expensive problems. While you should have your roof inspected once a year so you can find out about any major problems, you should also inspect your roof regularly on your own. There are things you can do that are going to extend the life of your roof and save you thousands of dollars in the process. Read on to learn the top tips that are going to ensure that your roof is going to look its best.

Keep Tree Branches Away From Your Home
Tree branches can be a big problem since they can rub on your roof and damage your shingles. Tree branches can also provide a pathway for rodents and squirrels to get access to your roof where they can chew into the leaves and make a nest. Tree limbs can also drain water onto your roof and the shade from the branch can prevent the shingles from drying properly.

Keep The Flashing In Good Order
Most roof leaks happen around the chimneys and porch because the flashing has failed. Once the flashing has failed the roof is going to leak and you are going to end up with expensive damage. The damage can cause leaks inside of your home and it can also cause wall leaks which can be expensive to repair. If you notice that your flashing is damaged you are going to want to call a roofing company right away so you can get it repaired.

Inspect Your Skylight Seals
Having a skylight is a great addition to any home and the skylights allow a lot of light to enter your home which is very attractive. Skylights can also allow water to leak into your home since the skylight seals have a tendency to leak over time. It is important to check for leaks on a regular basis and you also want to look for evidence of leaking in the wall which will show up as bulging or discoloration.

Keep The Gutters Clean
Your gutter system is a major part of your roof and if you have old and leaking gutters, it can have a negative effect on your entire roofing system. The water can breed mosquitoes and it can also cause the eaves and fascia to start rotting which invites rodents and other pests into your home. If your gutters are not in great shape you might want to consider getting an estimate to replace them. A good gutter system is also going to prevent water from running into your foundation which can lead to settling and damage over time. Inspect your gutters once a year and if you notice any problems you are going to want to get your gutters repaired right away.

Keep Heavy Snow Off The Roof 
If you live in an area of the country where it snows on a regular basis you are going to want to avoid letting heavy snow pile up on the roof. Heavy snow can put excessive stress on the rafters which can lead to a catastrophic roof failure and lots of problems. You can invest in a special snow rake for your roof that can help you knock off all of the snow before it gets too bad. Make sure that you are very careful when you use the snow rake because a large amount of snow could end up falling on your head and you could be seriously injured or even killed.

Monitor Your Roof For Lifted Shingles
If you have experienced a bad windstorm, you are going to want to check your roof for lifted shingles. The force of the wind can cause your shingles to start to lift up and this can allow water into the roof. If you have a ladder and some roofing cement, you can glue the shingles back into place yourself. If you don't have access to this equipment you can hire a roofing company to repair your roof for you.

Replace Broken And Curled Shingles
Your roof is subject to heavy stress by the environment and all this stress is going to take a toll on your roof over time. When you notice that some of the shingles are missing or starting to curl up, you are going to want to make sure that you get the problem shingles replaced. A good roofing contractor can repair all of the problematic shingles for you so your roof is like new again. If you don't replace the damaged shingles, your roof is going to leak at some point which is going to cost you money. 

Keep Your Roof Clear Of Algae
If you live in a humid area, algae can easily start to grow on your roof and this can cause damage to your roof. The algae can eat away at the shingles which is going to cause expensive roof damage. Eventually you will have to replace the shingles. When you see that algae is growing on the roof you can spray it with a mix of bleach and water which will kill the fungus.

Once you have killed the algae and fungus install zinc strips at the edge of your roof which will act as a natural fungicide and ensure that the problem doesn't come back. You can do this yourself or have a roofing service do this for you. The roofing service is going to make all the needed repairs to your roof so you don't have to worry about any more problems.

Maintaining your roof is going to be easy when you follow these tips from Armor Services and you are going to have an easier time taking care of your roofing needs. Keeping your roof in good shape is crucial and will help you avoid making expensive roofing repairs that can cost you money.

02 November 2018

A Guide to Renting Out Your Holiday Property Abroad

In recent years, it has become exponentially more accessible to make a buck or two off renting out your living space. As more and more people have considered hosting or visiting a home, numerous more platforms have surfaced to aid each party in this endeavor.

But what about when the property you wish to rent out is overseas? Do you still have the same abilities you would in your home country? Well, some additional details come into play, but we’re here to break it down for you.

Find Out Who Can Help You

Due to the increase in demand for this type of exchange, there are plenty of companies and individuals alike who will assist you in all property rental ordeals. They are educated, reliable, and people who know the process well.

For instance, if you have considered leasing any kind of home in Thailand, a property agent for Hua Hin will have the necessary resources to better assist you in going about renting it out. These resources include but are not limited to offering multilingual capabilities, knowledge of the local market, and more. They are well aware of the ins and outs of their field as they specialize in its features. Thus, they can take full control of your leasing expedition without any worry at all.

Asking for help is a good idea no matter what the circumstances are. However, it’s even more important when you are consulting with people who have knowledge of local markets for foreign real estate.

Check Legalities

Renting out your property, especially overseas, can be especially tricky when dealing with the law. Every country has its own legal system, and therefore, its own means of home owning and leasing structures.

Semantics such as insurance, liabilities, taxes (specifically for the nation in which the property resides), and more – these are key details to look into prior to putting your house or apartment up for lease. Always make sure you are doing the needed research depending upon the country of your abode. Failure to do so could end disastrously.

After all, you are no longer responsible just for your own dealings in your home country. Now your actions are overseas as well. This is one of the most imperative aspects, as it can land you in big trouble if you do not comply.

Clean Out Your Holiday Property If You Are Not There

Most likely you won’t know the individuals renting your space, and you will be miles away should anything go south. That’s why you want to make sure you clean out your home of any and all valuables well before anyone else arrives. Foreign real estate agents may be helpful in assisting you to lease the property, but once your renters are in, their actions are largely out of your hands.

Just as you would not leave expensive jewelry out in your hotel room or food in the fridge when you leave home for a while, be sure to avoid making similar trivial mistakes in your holiday property. If your belongings are stolen or used without your permission, it is a deed hard to undo. And if the food you left in the fridge rots only to be discovered by your new tenants, it is a discomfort that does not kick things off on the most positive terms.

Additionally, prepare to make some purchases for the home even when you’re away. Just like any good landlord, if something breaks or needs maintenance, it is up to you to handle it.

In Summation

There are numerous opportunities when it comes to renting out your holiday home. You can become prosperous while staying law-abiding and safe. Many nations account for property rental from abroad, and you should feel secure in your ability to lease your house so long as you follow the simple steps above.

Renting your home overseas can be a big responsibility, as you are preparing an entire space that is both your own and yet for the livelihood of another. However, it can be hugely beneficial financially and even result in making connections that transcend borders.

19 October 2018

Five useful tips to use in the kitchen


The kitchen is an area that we spend a big part of our lives, as it is the place where we prepare our daily meals. We, therefore, need all the help we can get, and that is exactly what Kitchen Guyd is here for, to provide all the tips and advice on all things kitchen related.  In addition to that, below are a few tips that can help you on the same.

1.    Use different boards for different ingredients

If you are cutting up some fruit for dessert or for a salad, then it is best to ensure that you use a specific board for that and use a different board for the other ingredients. For instance, you may have one specific board for items such as fruit and vegetables, another one for meat and another for bread and pastries. This helps to ensure that odours and tastes of various ingredients do not get mixed up and create weird tastes. For instance, garlic and onions have very strong flavours which get caught up in almost anything. It is thus best to have a variety of chopping boards.

2.    Know how to store foods in the fridge

Fridges are a great lifesaver as they enable us to store various leftovers and hence save on cooking time, for instance, after a long day. There is, however, a mechanism that should be adhered to when storing foods in the fridge. For instance, the bottom shelves are best for your meat and poultry, all of which should be kept in clean, sealed containers. Below that go your fruit and vegetables which should be sealed in clean bags for freshness. Avoid storing items such as tomatoes which easily go bad, or onions which create an odour in your entire fridge.

3.    Using olive oils properly

There are various types of olive oils, but they can all be generally categorized into the typical pure olive oils and extra virgin olive oils. The difference in the majority of these olive oils is the process used in developing them. For example, the extra virgin olive oil is unrefined and is made without any chemical processes as compared to the pure olive oil which is not refined. The extra virgin olive oil is thus much more expensive and contains a lot of flavours. While cooking, therefore, it is best to use the pure olive oil and save the extra virgin oil for dressing as it does change its flavour under a lot of heat.

4.    Save heat when boiling water

We are always in a rush while cooking to bring water quickly to the boil. One easy and fast way to do this is by covering the water after placing it on the stove. This reduces the time needed to bring it to a boil drastically and also enhances hygiene. The same works for when cooking a dish such as pasta or rice. It will reduce the cooking time and thus will save on heat.

5.    Have a meals menu

You can make a breakfast or a dinner menu which can help you avoid the stress of deciding what to cook every day. Such a list will help you avoid situations where you don’t have all the necessary ingredients required for a particular meal. It can also be really fun to make such a list with your kids.

10 October 2018

Six Preventive Maintenance Jobs in the Home That You Should be Doing

As a homeowner, you know better than anyone that things can go wrong when you least expect it. Whether through wear and tear, environmental factors, or even weather damage, home repairs are unfortunately just part of home ownership. With that said, there are a number of preventative maintenance steps and jobs that you can be taking on a regular basis that will help to cut down on the amount of issues you may experience. Not only that, but it can help you to identify possible problem areas before the issue gets too big and out of hand.

Here we’ll take a look at six preventive steps you should be taking in order to keep your home in tip top shape.

Schedule a Regular Furnace Tune-Up

Your furnace is easily one of the most important appliances in your entire home. Without the furnace, your house can become very cold, very fast during the winter months making it uncomfortable and putting the pipes at risk of freezing. Unfortunately, most people don’t tend to give their furnace much thought until there is an issue with it. At that point you are likely looking at a repair job, which can cost a fair amount of money, and possibly some downtime where you are without a furnace.

This is exactly why it’s so important to schedule regular furnace tune-ups. This is a preventative maintenance step that will help to keep your furnace chugging along smoothly. It can also identify areas of concern before they become huge problems.

The experts at Action Furnace in Calgary AB suggest scheduling an appointment during the spring or summer months, before you are using your furnace. The last thing you want to do is fire it up for the winter only to discover it's not working properly, or at all.

You should also ask about the furnace filter as part of the tune-up, as it should at the very least be inspected if not changed out completely.

Stay on Top of Leaks

One thing that can cause significant damage to the interior and exterior of your home is water. Water damage tends to cause more issues than anything else as it can lead to rot, mildew, insect issues, and mold. The sooner you spot the issue, the faster you can get it fixed and then prevent any of those more serious issues from occurring.

So, what can you do to prevent this damage? Well the best thing to do is be wary of your home. Make sure you take regular walks around the interior and exterior specifically looking for areas of water damage. Some specific areas that you should be looking at include under pipes inside your cabinets, dripping from the toilet, a toilet that seems a bit wobbly, any dark stains on ceilings, etc.

Keep Gutters Clean and Clear

It's also important that you ensure gutters are kept clean and clear. This is especially important during the fall and spring. Build-up of leaves and debris in the gutters means the water can't follow its intended run-off path, which means it will find other areas to drip and drain into. This can end up causing water damage. Also, during the summer, the dried-up leaves can act as a fire hazard.

Test Your Smoke Alarms

This is another task that not everyone remembers but the fact is that your smoke alarm can protect your home and your family. Ideally you want to be testing your smoke alarms once a month making sure that they work. You will also want to replace the batteries in each smoke alarm twice a year just to be on the safe side. The spring and fall can be the perfect time to do this.

Check Seals on Windows and Doors

The seal on your windows and doors is what ensures that air doesn’t escape through your home and enter into it. If the seal breaks down or is damaged, you’ll need to use a lot more energy in order to keep your home cool or warm, as so much air will be escaping. Checking doors and windows a couple of times of year will help to identify if any areas need attention.

Keep the Garden Trimmed and Well Maintained When Bordering the Foundation

You will also want to be sure that you keep all your bushes and shrubs clipped and well maintained if they are bordering the foundation of your home. If there are any cracks or holes in the foundation, plants can start to grow into these areas and create a real problem. It’s wise to give things a good trimming in the spring and fall.

Simple Tasks that Can Prevent Big Issues from Occurring

By following this checklist of preventive maintenance steps around the home, you’ll be preventing some rather large and usually costly issues from happening.

03 October 2018

How To Make Your Kitchen More Glamorous

Many people want to make their home look glamorous but struggle when it comes to designing their kitchen, even woodworking artists who design their own simple furniture, need some help. Finding the right mix of practical and glamorous can be difficult but the good news is that it is possible to achieve this. You can add things like some vinyl plank flooring that will work well in your kitchen or even swap out your worktops for a newer sparkly version. In this article, we are going to give you some tips on how you can make your kitchen more glamorous. Make sure to keep reading if you’d like to find out more about turning your kitchen into the best room in your home.

Install Chandeliers

One of the best ways that you can add some glamour to your kitchen is to add some chandeliers. You will love seeing these hang above your head as they light up your room. You don’t need to have crystal chandeliers if you can’t afford it, there are plenty of other glamorous options for those with a limited budget. If you have an island in your kitchen then you should think about installing these above it as this will make it stand out even more.

Add A Sparkly Worktop

If you are trying to recreate a glamorous kitchen then you need to think about where you are going to add some sparkle. One of the best ways to add some sparkle is to get yourself one of the Black Glam sparkle laminate kitchen worktops. These worktops are easy to clean, and they will add total glamour to your kitchen. It is probably a good idea to change all of your worktops to this sparkly surface but if you want to make your island stand out then you could just make this the sparkling centerpiece. Don’t be afraid to add a bit of sparkle as this is only going to make your kitchen more glamorous.

Vinyl Plank Flooring

Everyone wants to have a nice wooden floor in their kitchen for that perfect glamorous look, but it is pretty impractical to get one of these installed. This is why you should think about getting some vinyl plank flooring which will work very well and won’t be affected by the conditions that your kitchen will create. You’ll love how glamorous your kitchen looks with your brand new vinyl plank flooring.

Golden Faucets And Handles

Our next tip for those who want to make their kitchen more glamorous is to get some golden faucets installed. Think about how glam your kitchen sink would be with a nice faucet that leans over your sink and oozes class. On top of this, you should also think about changing up your handles on the cupboards and drawers and making them match the golden faucet. The more gold the better as this is the sign that something is in fact glamorous.

Open Shelving

Our final tip for transforming your kitchen into something glamorous is to add some open shelving. This is great for those who already have some nice dishes that they would like to show off to their guests. All you need to do is to install some shelving around your kitchen and place your favourite dishes on them. Make sure that you don’t fill your whole kitchen up with these shelves as you might find that having totally open shelving might make the place look a little too cluttered. You are trying to add glamour, so you need to choose the pieces that are going to stand out on your open shelves.

Final Verdict

If you want to add a bit more glamour to your kitchen then you are going to need to follow some of the tips that we have given you in this article. You should think about the different parts of your kitchen that you would like to make stand out and you can work from there when it comes to adding new features. If you have a kitchen island, then you should try to make this the focal point of the room. Think about highlighting the island using a beautiful chandelier or even changing the worktop to a sparkly one to make it stand out from the rest.

Adding glamour to your kitchen doesn’t have to stop there as you can always change the flooring to make it more aesthetically pleasing without getting rid of the practical elements that a kitchen floor requires. We think that open shelving can work really well if you do it right so make sure not to overload your kitchen with all of your things if you want to keep that glamour. Make sure that you take all of our advice on board in order to make your kitchen as glamorous as possible.

25 September 2018

Drain Clogs 101

I live in an older home and for the most part, when things are working around here I don’t pay too much attention to them. However, one of the charms of living in an older home is that the line between working quietly in the background and catastrophic failure can be a painfully thin one.

This house has been added onto at least three times in the last 50 years and with each addition, the already stretched-thin plumbing system has been stretched even thinner. When someone’s undertaking a major renovation, it’s easy to try to save money on the parts no one can see. Parts like drain lines.

While I understand the motive, I hate that I have to live with the results of someone else’s long ago decisions.

We have to have our drains cleaned professionally about once every two years. It’s expensive and disruptive while it’s happening of course but the lead up to needing it is no fun either. Our drains slow down months ahead of that point and I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks over the years that help extend the time between professional cleanings.

The first thing I’ve learned is to keep things out of the drains in the first place. Buy a decent strainer and get into the habit of using it.

Keeping things out of the drain in the first place has increased the interval of our required draining cleanings from once every nine months or so to once every year and a half. But then again, I live in an older home and we have some issues related to the drain lines themselves.

Since the last time we had our drains done I’ve been using Roto-Rooter Gel Clog Remover on a monthly basis and it really has keep them running and draining the way they’re supposed to.

Our house has iron waste lines, they’re the actual root of our problem and for most of you, they’re something you won’t ever have to deal with. Iron waste lines aren’t used in homes anymore for a very good reason --they degrade and rust from the inside out over time. We haven’t replaced them yet because the two lines that drain this whole house meet under a slab in our den and continue under that slab through the laundry room and garage and then they run under the driveway until they meet the city sewer line in the street.

Replacing our iron drain lines will entail jackhammering them out and in that process, we’ll have to replace the floors in the bottom third of our house and we’ll have to replace a pretty long driveway. It’s not my idea of a good time and I shudder when I think about it. In the meantime, I’m keeping those lines as clean as I can and Roto-Rooter is helping me do that.

Because our drain lines are corroding on the inside and they’re too far gone to reline, ours have to be replaced eventually. You see, corroded iron pipes develop a pitted rusted interior that catches just about anything that flows over them. I actually have video of our pipes in action and they look like the aorta of someone with a cholesterol problem.

Photo credit: Blogspot.com

Acids further corrode iron so anything I put in there has to run on the opposite end of the Ph scale --I need a good alkali and Roto-Rooter is that and more. Roto-Rooter Gel Clog Remover has 25% more active ingredients than its competitors and it’s thick enough to stay together until it does its job.

As Roto-Rooter Gel Clog remover works its way through my iron lines it dissolves what it comes across; be it food particles, congealed oils, hair and all of the rest of the things that get hung up in drain lines.

It’s working for me and it’s saving me from the need for yet another $700 professional clean. It’s extending the life of my pipes too. I know that I’ll still need professional cleanings and I know we have to bit the bullet and replace those iron pipes eventually. But for now I can buy some time and that’s due in a large part to some extra vigilance about sink drain hygiene and my periodic use of Roto-Rooter Gel Clog Remover. Give it a shot!

The power of Mean Green

Mean Green has been a part of my life for nine months already and I have to say that in all honesty, it’s become one of my go to products for cleaning up around the house. It gets used all over the place but the place where it gets used more than anywhere else is my kitchen.

I’ve been baking and cooking instructor for three years now and as culinary instruction has taken over a larger portion of my professional life, so has the amount of time I spend in our kitchen.

It seems that I’m forever testing out new recipes, developing new courses of study and prepping for classes. For example, I have a class of 20 students this week and I’m teaching them the fine art of laminating pastry dough for croissants. What this means is that I’ve spent the last two days cranking out 20 batches of croissant dough my students will later use to roll out and shape croissants. It’s a lot of fun and the expression on my students’ faces when they pull off something as deceptively complicated as a croissant makes my exploits as an instructor worth it.

In the meantime, my kitchen at home just cranked out 20 batches of dough and looks like a bomb went off in it. Baking for a household generates a mess as it is but baking for multitudes while at the same time keeping Frank and me fed leaves me with a kitchen that has to be cleaned up and cleaned up properly.

Enter Mean Green. Nothing I’ve ever used gets my granite counters so clean so quickly. My stainless cooktop stays looking new(ish) and I’ve ever started using it on my floors. I add about a quarter cup to hot mop water and my travertine floors look like something you’d find in the home of someone who doesn’t cook at all.

A year ago we replaced our dying double wall ovens with a new model from Fisher Paykel Professional and honestly, it’s the best oven I’ve ever worked with. One of the features that drew me to it in the first place is its full extension oven racks. They're great and they make using my ovens a lot easier. However, they have one design flaw and they have it in common with all oven racks. They can’t be left in the oven during the self cleaning cycle. Due to their bearings they can’t be immersed in water either.

This leaves me with a great appliance but dirty oven racks and that makes me crazy.

Again, enter Mean Green. I sit my racks in the sink, spray them with Mean Green, let them sit for five minutes and then wipe them down with a paper towel. They look brand new.

This is not some half baked endorsement of a product in exchange for a sample. Although Mean Green did send me samples I have to say that the stuff works to keep my kitchen ship shape. And given the amount of mileage I put on my kitchen that’s really saying something.

21 September 2018

5 Ways to Make Your Rooms Lighter and More Spacious

When designing a new kitchen, or indeed a house as a whole, it's essential that it's functional, of course, but also that it's spacious, stylish, and welcoming. It may be, however, that you're looking to remodel, renovate or redesign existing rooms; if so, making them appear lighter and larger can be easier than you think, and it can cost you much less than you imagine too. Here are five simple tips to help you change your rooms for the better, giving you modern kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms without losing any of their functionality.

1. Adopt a Minimalist Style

We live in an age of rapid technological advancement and innovation, and we all love a new gadget, but this and the increasingly consumer-oriented nature of society can easily lead to cluttered rooms if left unchecked. Minimalist design is the perfect antidote to this, and it's not only the height of fashion, but it will also give you rooms that have lots more space to walk around in. Minimalist design and décor can be used in every room of your house, and at its heart is the importance of space and clean lines. White and silver are the perfect minimalist colours, and these also create the impression of lighter rooms that are still warm.

2. Replace Curtains with Stylish Blinds

Curtains are very effective at blocking out light but they're not so great at letting light flood into a room, and if not carefully chosen, they can also give a room an old-fashioned feel. That's one reason that more and more people are choosing blinds for their window coverings, allowing them to regulate the amount of light entering a room with ease and precision. Elegant blinds come in many styles, designs and colours, meaning that you can easily coordinate them with your soft furnishings and walls, and expert soft furnishing companies such as freshideas.co.uk can help you find blinds that perfectly meet your requirements. They have a wide variety of blinds from the traditional roller and vertical options to motorised and child safe products. 

3. Add Up-lighting

Lighting is one of the most important aspects to consider in kitchen and interior design, as the correct lighting can show your rooms off at their very best, while understated lighting can create a less than thrilling experience. This is especially important if you like to entertain guests, and one easy way to make your home more welcoming is to install carefully positioned up-lights. Commercial and retail properties have long known the importance of up-lighting, but it can make an invaluable addition to a domestic property as well. They help to create extra light in the areas that need it most, so that they can be used to negate naturally darker areas of a room, or as feature lighting to pick out pictures or other items of décor.

4. Use the Illusion of Mirrors

There often comes a time when we feel we need just a little more space in our rooms, but moving house can be costly and expensive, and is one of the most stressful things we can do in our lives. There's another solution, however, that is much more practical and much less stressful, and that's to install beautiful mirrors in your rooms. High-quality mirrors are not only an exciting design feature in their own right, but they also create an illusion of more space in your room, which can, in turn, make them feel a more relaxing environment to live in. There are mirrors in many styles, shapes and sizes, so take the time to find a mirror or mirrors that are perfect for your home; long and wide mirrors can be particularly effective with regards to making rooms look and feel more spacious.

5. Favour Brighter Colours

Scientists have shown what artists have long known, that colours can have a massive impact on how we feel. That's why it's so important to get colours that make us feel happy and contented when we're in our own home, and the way to do this is to favour brighter colours such as yellows and light blues. We can all react differently to individual colours, however, so study colour charts and think about the effect they're having on you and your mood. Brighter colours can also make a room seem much lighter, and that can be particularly helpful when the dark, gloomy months of winter make their appearance.

These five tips can all be acted upon without having to break the bank, and yet they can have a significant transformational effect on the way your rooms look, and just as importantly on how they feel. When you remove clutter, install beautiful blinds with matching soft furnishings, adopt brighter colour schemes and add up-lighting and mirrors, you'll have rooms that seem bigger, bolder and brighter. It's a quick and easy way to turn your house into a home, and whether you're entertaining guests or just relaxing with those you love, you're sure to feel the benefits.

11 September 2018

How New Cabinets Can Highlight a Reborn Kitchen

According to the poet/philosopher Robert Bannister, there is no single more effective contrivance, which an incompliant husband can wield, for saving a failing marriage, than an extensive kitchen remodel.  And criteria for the use of the word ‘extensive’ certainly includes a complete refitment of all the countertops with some material like ‘Brazilian Granite’, or at least the fiscal equivalent.

Rather than see kitchen remodeling as a ridiculously expensive chore that is not only going to disrupt your home life for a couple of months, but also as a means for hemorrhaging cash at an astonishing rate, you should consider the benefits.  More than any other home improvement, kitchen remodeling is one of the best means to enhance your home’s value, and increase its salability.

But kitchen refurbishing doesn’t necessarily need to break the bank, if you just take a few precautionary measures in the early stages of planning your modifications so that you can step, incrementally, into the makeover pool – before you get to the deep end.

Some Simple First Steps

The easiest way to change the look of your kitchen is by simple, but thorough, cleaning and decluttering of it.  Strip it down to the basics so you can see what you really have here.  Once you do that, you might notice that some of the cabinet and drawer handles, along with other basic hardware don’t match.

If this is the case, why not strip off all this dissimilar hardware and replace it with high quality cabinet pulls and hinges that all match.  Get a design theme going here. 

Then step back and take a long, critical look at these appurtenances and seriously evaluate the result.  This simple step, along with the cleaning and decluttering, might just be enough to satisfy stage one of your kitchen disquiet?

If you feel that handles and pulls are not quite enough to float your improvement boat, consider taking the next step in kitchen conversion upgrades – the refacing of your drawers and cabinets.  This is not as expensive and extensive of a remodeling chore as you might think. 

Many cabinetmakers now have clever estimating applications right on line at their websites.  These days, you can routinely get a cabinet refacing estimate by just measuring your kitchen and a tapping those dimensions into the database. 

The entire catalogue of different woods, faces and textures is often right online along with the estimating functions and with a few simple clicks you can choose which faces you prefer, ending up with a very good idea of how much it’s all going to cost and how long it will take to upgrade.

In a matter of minutes you have enhanced the potential look and style of your kitchen considerably, with hardly any effort at all.  And it could very well be much cheaper to do than you would have ever thought.

Taking the Next Step

But maybe your kitchen improvement needs just a little more boost, and that probably means tearing out the countertops and replacing them with expensive granite, right?  Not necessarily.

There is an extraordinary new product where you can simply refinish the countertops you already have, by yourself, and make them look just like they came from the depths of some remote Amazon, rainforest quarry.

It’s called Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformation Premix Kit and comes in all sorts of colors and stone-like textures.  The application process is not that hard at all.  Just mask-off your sink and sideboards, paint on the base coat.  Let it dry.  And then apply the texturing coat and finally the sealer and you’ll have tough, stain-resistant countertops that look brand new and will last a long time – at a fraction of the cost of new granite countertops.

Going for Broke

But maybe, once you see how great those new cabinets look; you’ve just got to go for the whole gestalt.  Nothing but genuine granite countertops, maybe even with double bevel edges, will do for your kitchen masterpiece. 

Actually, if you’re going to go for it; why not Carrara marble countertops with a stunning, sky’s-the-limit ‘waterfall’ edge?  And if you’re going Carrara, you might as well custom-cut the matching back splashes – giving your kitchen that elusive ‘je ne sais quoi’ that qualifies for the pages of Architectural Digest.

And while you’re at it, why not replace those old, dreary appliances with the latest, restaurant-grade kitchen equipment, just like the homes guest chefs visit on the Food Channel?

You could even knock out the wall separating the kitchen from the dining room and create one, fabulous culinary space.  Shoot the moon.  Why not?  You only live once and you aren’t taking that money with you.

29 August 2018

How to Choose the Right Kitchen Countertops

Did you know a major kitchen remodel, including new countertops, can give you an average return of 91% at resale? In fact, homes with kitchens that are updated sell faster and the home dramatically increases in value. When it comes to homes, kitchens rule the roost. That’s because we spend so much of our lives in that room. And whether or not you’re planning to sell your home, a beautiful kitchen remodel will make your life better.

When remodeling, make sure you pay special attention to the countertops. The countertops hold all of our secrets, hopes, and frustrations. From grumbling children frustrated with homework, to neighbors’ elbows resting during a gathering, to the place where we dump all of our mail, to the countless meals that are prepped there, the countertop is a critical component of your kitchen.

Keep these four things in mind as you select your new kitchen countertops.


Budget is almost always the most important factor in any home upgrade, and kitchen countertops don’t get to escape that consideration. As in everything, prices range dramatically, with materials like laminate and tile on the low end to granite and marble on the high end. But don’t despair if your budget is small, and laminate is where you end up. These days, some laminate options can mimic the higher-end stone materials. Of course, if you have some wiggle room in your budget, you’ll probably want to opt for a mid- to higher-end material.


No matter what your budget, you want to get your money’s worth. And a countertop in poor quality that falls apart within the year simply isn’t worth it. But do you need the most durable of the durable? Or will you be safe with something in the middle somewhere? It all depends on how you use your kitchen.

Do you order take-out more nights than not? Spend most of your time in the living room? Or do you  prepare two or more meals each day in your kitchen? Do you have children running through, spilling juice, and leaving items everywhere? Do you host people for meals or parties often?

These are the questions you need to ask yourself to determine how durable you need to go on your countertops.

If you rarely use your kitchen, laminate countertops may be the right way to go. If you’re in the kitchen for hours each day, subjecting your countertops to spills, heat, abrasions, and impact, you’ll do better with natural or engineered stone. Good choices for durability are quartz/silestone, granite, butcher block, marble, and solid surfacing.


How much are you willing to do to maintain your countertops? Are you willing to fix nicks and scratches? Reseal? Are you willing to be extra careful in everything you do?

Be aware of how the different materials need to be maintained:

Marble: Marble can scratch easily and can be damaged by heat, so you need to be extra careful in your food preparation.

Granite: Granite needs to be resealed periodically to keep from staining. It can also be chipped on the edges. It does a good job of withstanding heat, cuts, and scratches, however.

Quartz: It needs less maintenance than stone countertops. Plus, heat and abrasions don’t affect quartz. But like granite, it can chip on the edges.

Solid Surfacing: It’s resistant to most stains, and you can easily repair small scratches. However, it does scratch easily, so using a cutting board is important.

Butcher Block: Varnish will help with stain resistance. It’s also a sturdy material. It’s very easy to scratch and nick, but you can sand those out.

Laminate: It can be cut very easily, so a cutting board is always necessary.


Why save appearance for last? It’s the most exciting factor in choosing a new countertop, after all!

Because once you have taken the time to get a firm grasp of your budget, understand your needs for durability in a kitchen, and think about what sort of maintenance you’re willing to do, you’ll already have weeded out certain materials. At this point, it’s about selecting the color, pattern, style, veining, and more that appeals to you.

Think about the style of your kitchen, and find a material that matches it. Make sure your countertop colors compliment your floors and cabinets. And enjoy! This truly is the fun part. Just remember -- visit a showroom before fully committing so you can see how the material looks in a full-size kitchen, what it feels like, and how you feel about it.

Chuck Winkles is the president of New Life Bath & Kitchen, a bath and kitchen remodeling company serving California’s Central Coast. Chuck was born in Southern California and currently resides in Santa Maria. He's been married to his wife Shelley for thirty-eight years and has two sons, Nathan and Noah.

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


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.   


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.


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 décor 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.

05 July 2018

Landlord Success Tips


When you’ve invested in a rental property, you want to make sure you get your investment back. Being a landlord can be tricky business, but these tips will get your business running more smoothly than ever. From lease targeting to landlord software, these simple suggestions will help you take a decent business and polish it into a thriving one. In the rental property world, each day comes with new challenges, so make sure you meet your issues with a clear head.

Stick to a Business Mindset

With any business, it’s important to stick to best business practices. If you landlord part-time, you may be tempted to wiggle your records around. Remember that your business is, in fact, a business, even if it’s on the side. Keep your receipts, payment history, and all other financial information handy and organized. Not only will you want it for taxes, it can help you make better decisions later. 

Use Lease Targeting

Since it’s easy to lose money between tenants, a good landlord trick is to try lease targeting. Lease targeting is the practice of including a clause in your lease that prevents tenants from vacating at a certain time. June 1st is the prime move-in day for apartments, so try to angle your leases around early summer, if you can.

Screen Your Tenants

When tenants are unruly, you run into all kinds of problems. Some tenants may complain about noise. Other tenants may no longer feel safe in your building and start looking elsewhere. A negligent tenant may fail to pay his or her utility bills and damage your appliances by having their electricity shut off by the city. As a landlord, it’s important to run a background check on tenants, check for past eviction history, and see their criminal record. You can do that using landlord software.

Never Discriminate

While you can screen your tenants beforehand, you’re not legally allowed to turn someone away based on sex, race, color, religion, familial status, or disability. The Fair Housing Act protects anyone in this category, and some states also prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, marital status, and age. Additionally, discriminating is simply the wrong thing to do.

Make Repairs ASAP

Any landlord loses money in between tenants, unless they’re lucky enough to get new tenants the day after the old ones move out. Realistically, a landlord can expect a month or two of vacant units between leases. That’s income lost, so it’s always better to retain the tenants you have. Happy tenants mean a longer lease in most cases, so respond promptly to repairs. The better you treat your tenants, the more inclined they’ll be to stay.

Inspect Before and After

Legally, you’re allowed to charge a tenant for any damages the unit suffered during their residence. It’s written right into the lease. The problem is that damages might not be apparent, and if a tenant protests, you’ll need proof that the unit has gone down in condition. Take before and after videos of a unit, making note of the damages that exist before a tenant comes in and the damages that exist after.

03 July 2018

How to Keep Your Appliances in Good Condition

Household appliances save us time and effort. Imagine life without a washing machine or dishwasher. It wouldn’t be much fun. Unfortunately, many household appliances don’t last more than a few years. A cynic might argue that manufacturers deliberately build appliances with a limited lifespan, so they can sell you a new one after five years. We don’t know if this is true, but one thing is certain: if you look after your appliances, they will almost certainly last longer.

If your dishwasher, fridge, oven, or other appliance is faulty, check whether it is under warranty. And if your washing machine is faulty and you need washing machine repair and maintenance advice from Hotpoint, give them a call.

Here are some helpful tips to ensure you get the maximum life possible out of your appliances. Ignore them at your peril!


A shiny new fridge is a joy. It’s clean and hygienic inside with no mouldy mushrooms lurking in the vegetable tray and the shelves are just begging to be filled with food. But, as proud as you may be with your new fridge, it is essential that you don’t switch it on for 24 hours when you first bring it home.

Fridges are often transported flat. The oil in the compressor needs time to settle before you switch the fridge on for the first time. Otherwise, the oil may end up in the refrigerant lines rather than the pump, which will lead to the pump wearing out much sooner than it should.
It is also a good idea to vacuum the coils at the back of the fridge from time to time. This helps to keep them dust-free. If dust is allowed to settle and form an insulating layer, the fridge will need to work harder to maintain the correct temperature.

If you take good care of your fridge, it should easily last 15+ years.


Freezers generally last a long time and require very little maintenance. If you have a frost-free freezer, it doesn’t need to de-frosted. Older models don’t have this facility, so you need to defrost your freezer when ice begins to build up. To do this safely, empty the freezer and switch it off for 24 hours, or as long as it takes to defrost.

Frost-free freezers have a drain pan. Clean it out from time to time or mould will build up. A solution of bleach and water is fine.

Washing Machines

Washing machines don’t usually last more than five years, but with some care and attention, you can keep your washing machine in perfect working order for longer.

Always empty pockets before you place garments in the machine. Coins and other metal objects cause untold damage to a washing machine drum. Foreign objects can also get caught between the door seal, which will damage it and cause a leak. Smaller objects can get stuck in the drain hose, which is equally damaging.

Prop the door open after you empty the washing machine. This allows the drum and other components to dry out. If the machine is left closed and wet, mould might build up inside, which is a health issue.


Make sure you clean out the drain filter regularly. This is where food waste ends up. If it is allowed to build up, the dishwasher won’t drain properly. You probably use your dishwasher daily, but if you don’t use it that often, pour some mineral oil and water into the bottom of the machine to keep the seals moisturized. Otherwise, they will dry out and the next time you run a load, water will leak out everywhere.

Hard water can cause numerous problems with household appliances, so pop a hard water tablet into your washing machine or dishwater every week or so. It is possible to keep your appliances in good working order for longer than you would expect using the tips discussed above.

30 June 2018

6 Signs That Your Kitchen Needs Some Updating

Your kitchen is one of the most valued rooms in your house. It is the central place where people tend to gather, share meals, entertain, and catch up with family members. For many, a total remodel is financially out of the question. However, there are times when you really have no choice but to do some updating, especially when something is either broken or so out-of-date it is no longer serving its purpose. Below are six signs that your kitchen needs to be updated.

Leaking or Slow-to-Drain Kitchen Sink

When you turn off your kitchen sink and it doesn't turn off completely, besides getting annoyed, you realize that it needs to be repaired. It is important that you fix it correctly or you can end up in a worse situation. The most critical first step is to find out where the leak is coming from, be it the faucet or the handle.

Both of these could actually be signs of more serious underlying problems. These plumbers in Melbourne point out that “if your sink is slow to drain after doing the dishes, it could be a sign of a blocked drain as they are frequently attached to the overflow”. If you are hoping it will clear up on its own, the chances are very slim that it will. If the blockage is severe, it will become increasingly more difficult to clean it. It’s best to have a professional take a look at it and get it fixed.

Outdated Appliances

New appliances will make any kitchen look nicer. But there are other more practical reasons why updating your appliances is a good idea.

Usually older appliances use more energy than the newer models and can increase your utility bills. There is also a chance that old wiring can cause a fire. If your safety is in jeopardy, it is time to replace that older appliance.

Wear and Tear

Nothing stays new forever no matter how well it is maintained. Normal wear and tear is expected, but when the damage is more extensive, you need to do something. For instance, if your dishwasher or refrigerator is leaking, it can cause water damage. Water damage can cause your floor to peel or buckle and it can also lead to mold growth.

Chipped or cracked floors and countertops can cause dangerous bacteria to grow. When you replace them, not only will they look nicer, you will be protecting your family from mold and bacteria that can make you sick.

Your Cabinets are a Mess

It is not uncommon a cabinet doors to fall off its hinges. This is a simple fix as all you have to do is replace the hinge. Re-painting or staining your cabinets can go a long way in making something old look fresh and new. However, if your cabinets are literally falling apart and no longer useful, you should look into replacing them.

Not Enough Storage

Older homes were usually built with an insufficient amount of storage space in the kitchen to store all your pots, pans, dishes, and all the other modern things you use. This tends to lead to crowded countertops and cabinets and makes it difficult to find anything. You might want to consider investing in some updates like adding hidden storage areas, a pantry, or a movable island to add more storage space and improve your kitchen's functionality.

Increase the Value of Your Home

If you are looking to sell your home, the best investment you can make to get a competitive price for it and to sell it faster is to put some money into updating your kitchen. Kitchens that are dated (bathrooms too) are a significant barrier for resale. 

It isn’t necessary to completely remodel your kitchen to make it more marketable. As a matter of fact, homeowners who do minor kitchen remodels usually get an 81% return on their investment, while major high-end remodels only see a 59% return.The reason for this is that not every potential buyer likes the latest expensive trend. Many are only interested in shiny and new fixtures and appliances.

It is your kitchen and you know best when something old just isn't working for you anymore. It is good to know that there are many things beside a total and expensive remodel that can help your kitchen give you the look, feel, and functionality you want.

Related Posts with Thumbnails