Category Archives: Home Improvement Ideas

Use Tax Refunds To Make Necessary Home Improvements

Financial analysts say that taking your tax refunds and investing them into home improvements is wise. Anyone with dependents has the ability to get a nice size refund. Many people struggle with the decision on what to do with those funds. Some take a nice vacation, others pay their bills, but what about taking the money to do long overdue home repairs?

 

Home improvements boost the value of the property. It is one way that your money can work for you. Depending on the size of the refund, it can accomplish things big and small. If you are having trouble deciding what repairs to tackle first, you need to work on the kitchen. You can make big changes by painting cabinets, adding new lighting and flooring, and doing some cosmetic upgrades. If your kitchen needs an overhaul, then you can get back 100 percent of your repairs if you decide to sell. The bathroom is another area that needs to be boosted. Adding some new fixtures and a fresh coast of paint can really brighten up any room.

 

If you have major repairs, like the HVAC unit or windows that need to be repaired, using tax funds can be a great way to accomplish household repairs without dipping into the operating expenses. Many people spend all of their tax returns on frivolous purchases and don’t have anything to show for them. At least by putting some of that money back into the home, it is adding to the home’s equity.

Simple Ways to Boost Your Home’s Resale Value

Whether you’re planning to put your home on the market or want to give it a makeover for your own enjoyment, we’ve got three good strategies for you to consider.

 

  1. Update the kitchen

 

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home. Potential buyers will focus more on the kitchen, so if yours is stuck in a time warp, buyers may walk away. For $10,000 to $15,000, you can paint walls, reface cabinets, replace the kitchen faucet set, update old lighting fixtures and upgrade the sink.

 

But if you have a slightly larger budget ($30,000+), you can install custom cabinets, granite counters, hardwood floors and high-end appliances.

 

  1. Buff up the bathroom

 

Just like the kitchen, the bathroom is also an important room in the home. You can update your bathroom without having to spend a lot of cash. Even doing simple things like installing a new toilet seat, re-caulking the tub, cleaning grout, and replacing an old-fashioned vanity for a granite version can make a big difference in the look of the bathroom.

 

  1. Refresh your entry

 

If you attracted potential home buyers with your wonderful landscaping, the next place their eye will reach is the entryway. In case you have a defective little knob on your main entry door, it is time to consider replacing it with a substantial-looking handle and lock set.

 

According to this report by Remodel, updating the front entrance can have one of the biggest returns of any home improvement homeowners can do themselves.

 

So, that’s it. These are just three of the numerous ways to add value to a property.

Problems Homeowners Face with Their Air Duct Systems

The air duct system in your home is crucial for bringing either cool or warm air to each and every room. Unfortunately, too many homeowners don’t have the duct work cleaned on a regular basis and run into problems. At worst, a dirty system can cause a fire or smoke hazard. At best, not cleaning your duct work can cause it to not work properly and you’ll find that the forced air in the home isn’t functioning the way that it should. This is why it is important that you call in the professionals to have these lines cleaned.

 

When you call in a professional air duct system company, they will bring all of their own tools to get the job done. They will do a great job of cleaning out the entire system and making sure that the lines are free of dust and debris. Also, they will be able to check for mold within the duct work to ensure that you and your family aren’t breathing this in. If it is found, they can work to get rid of it so that you and your loved ones can breathe easier while in the home.

 

It is important that you have your duct work cleaned every spring and before winter. This guarantees that the lines will be free and clear of any dirt before you get the system started for the new season. There are lots of companies that provide this service and can be contacted immediately to have the work done.

 

Does Going Tiny Have Big Perks?

Many people are trading in their sprawling 2,000-3,000 homes for an abode quite a bit smaller. A tiny home is a dwelling that has less than 550 square feet. Television has made this movement popular, but is the real estate market in trouble because people are tired of “big living?”

 

It seems that living for experiences rather than material possessions is the way of the millennial crowd. They are selling their big homes and opting for a smaller space. This eclectic group of people doesn’t focus a great deal of their energy on things. They need a place to cook, lay their head, and call home. Many of them like the fact that a tiny home can be towed back and forth. With the job market being so poor in many parts of the country, they can pick up their home and take it with them.

 

Several states have joined in the movement and have created tiny home parks. Think of it as an RV park or trailer park from the 1970’s with little houses. More than anything, it seems that people just don’t want the burden of being tied down. They can customize these tiny homes to fit their needs and character.

 

The best thing about going tiny is the price. The average tiny home costs just $40,000. The median home price in this country is a whopping $188,900. It is easy to see that going small has some big perks. Still, there are some who are not sold on this new type of dwelling. It’s an acquired taste for sure.

 

Granite: A 2017 Trend to Watch in Michigan

At the Novi Home and Garden Show near Detroit this year, vendors are hoping that the recovering housing market will mean increased business for 2017. Representatives from the regional Home Builders Association proudly announced that the number of exhibitors participating this year had climbed to 270, a figure that had not been reached since 2004.

 

According to a late April article published by The Detroit News, one of the exhibitors getting significant attention was the Eco Granite Group, a company that specializes in recycled granite solutions that can be used for interior and exterior purposes. Recycled granite tends to be slightly uneven, and thus many homeowners choose it for summer kitchens and fire pits. This year, however, the Eco Granite Group introduced a novel back splash for kitchens or wet bars. What makes this back splash unique is that it incorporates decorative LED lighting with color changing options that can be selected via remote control.

 

The granite vendors reminded visitors that once professional installers complete a project involving natural stone materials, they will immediately proceed to clean, seal and polish the surfaces. Once this initial treatment is completed, homeowners should focus on cleaning frequently; this is what will help keep the sealing and polished finish for as long as possible.

 

The idea of cleaning granite surfaces is to avoid leaving particles and spilled substances from breaking down the sealant. Cleaning should take place immediately in case of spills. A granite kitchen counter, for example, should be immediately wiped down if a soft drink spills onto the surface. Dust, dirt and food particles left on the surface of tiles could eventually wear down the seal and create a permanent stain.

 

In general, clean tap water and a mild detergent applied with a non-abrasive sponge will be sufficient for periodic maintenance. For heavier spills and stubborn stains, you may want to add baking soda.

 

 

Checking The House After Winter

Spring cleaning is more than just cleaning the inside of the home after the long winter months. It also means performing a few home improvements that have probably been neglected since the previous summer. As the salt that is used on the ground and the sidewalk goes away and the temperatures begin to rise, you’ll start to see where any cracks will appear and if there is any damage to the home. You want to scrub the salt off of as many items as possible, but if it’s rusted or just can’t come clean, then it’s best to throw the items away as the salt left behind will begin to damage the surface. Walk around the exterior of the home to see what needs the most attention before focusing your efforts on the smaller areas that could go untouched until warmer weather.

 

One of the first home improvement areas of spring that you need to examine is the roof. Look for any loose shingles or areas where there is damage done by excess leaking of snow, ice or rain. While you’re on the roof, look at the gutters to see that they are still attached. You also want to clean them to keep rain water moving freely as spring often brings some severe weather with torrential downpours.

 

Check the vents outside the house to see that they aren’t clogged. You also need to look at the filters to the HVAC unit as this is a time of the year that they need to be replaced. Examine the system itself to see if there is any damage from heavy snow and ice. The windows are another area of the home where you want to focus home improvement efforts as there could be cracks that develop from the colder temperatures and the warming of the air during the spring.

 

Excellent Tips for Making Any Room Seem Bigger

If you’ve been looking for ways to make a small room seem bigger, you’ve come to the right place. This article will present you with the top tips for making any space look bigger, and that’s true even if it’s about as big as a closet to start with.

 

  1. Choose the right furniture.

 

The first thing that you need to do is to choose the right furniture. Not all furniture is created equally, which means that some looks better than others in small spaces. A great place to check out for small space furniture is Pottery Barn because they only recently released a line of this type of furniture.

 

  1. Use mirrors to your advantage.

 

Mirrors can be great for small spaces because they open them up by reflecting the opposite side of the room. Aim for big mirrors because small ones just won’t do the trick unless you have a lot of them.

 

  1. Open up the room with light.

 

There are techniques ways that always open up a space, and light is one of them. If you have windows in the room, don’t cover them with blinds or curtains all of the time. Instead, keep them as open as possible. If you must have curtains, use sheer curtains that still let some light in. Additionally, try to have as many lamps as you can in the room. Candles can help make the space seem cozier as well.

 

  1. Get rid of clutter where you can.

 

Last but not least, get rid of all of that clutter in your small space. It can’t handle it! You’ll want to pick pieces of furniture that have storage space inside so that you can put some of the knickknacks away once in a while. Similarly, try not to keep lots of figurines, vases, books and picture frames on the tops of tables. Put them on the wall or don’t put them up at all.

 

Using these tips and tricks will surely open up any small space. Try them in your home to see how they work!

 

How to Get Your Home Ready for Winter

The wintertime is especially harsh for most areas of the country. Frigid temperatures, heavy snow and high winds can wreak havoc on the comfort and stability of your home. Before those cold months come crashing down on you, it’s crucial that you ready your home for the brutal weather.

The first thing you need to do to prepare for the winter is have your heating system checked and maintained. Whether you are using a wood burning stove with a chimney or you have a gas-powered furnace, your system needs to be manually checked by a professional before it can be turned on for the season. Fires and insufficient heating are two problems caused by a heater that hasn’t been fully maintained and checked before being turned on. If you know how to check the heating system yourself, this can save you a lot of money every year. If you aren’t sure of how to maintain your heater, you need to get an expert in to do the work for you. During the maintenance check, filters and air flow valves can be changed to improve the efficiency of your system.

Apart from your home’s heating system, you should consider having your driveway sealed before the ice covers every part of it. Asphalt is notoriously unpredictable during the cold months because it shifts and contracts when weather patterns change. You might have entered the winter with a beautiful smooth driveway but it turned into a cracked mess when everything outside thawed and melted away. Sealing your driveway can be an investment, but it is well worth it because you’ll keep your driveway looking its best for decades by preventing cracking. You should expect to have your driveway sealed professionally at least once a year and the best time to do it is at the end of the summer well before winter hits your area.

How to Tell If Your Home Has Pests and What to Do

Having a pest infestation in your home can be frustrating and scary. The problem with most pest issues is that they go undetected for long periods of time before you realize there is an issue. Once the infestation is able to grow and thrive within your home, it is more difficult to get rid of the bugs, rodents or fungus infiltrating the house. It is crucial that homeowners do a self-check of their homes several times a year to inspect for any signs of an infestation.

With bug infestations, you should look inside cabinets that you might not necessarily use on a regular basis. Look for dead bugs in inconspicuous areas or wings that might have come off of flying creatures like termites. With rodents, you’ll notice droppings and urine stains where the animals are living. Rodents like to live in warm and dark areas like basements and attics. If you have pets in the house, you might notice that they go after the pests from time to time, so this is a great way to be alerted of a problem.

For mold and mildew growth, look in areas where water might be present such as a crawlspace, basement or around plumbing inside the home. Mold likes to grow in dark and humid areas, so it’s possible there is mold underneath kitchen cabinets without you even knowing it. When doing a pest inspection, look in areas that you normally wouldn’t look because this is typically where you’d find the culprit. If you sense that there is an issue in the home, don’t hesitate to contact a local pest control company to rid your property of the infestation. It is better to nip the problem in the butt before it gets out of hand and costs a lot of money to obtain remediation.

How to Know if a Home is Secure Enough to Buy

When you’re in the process of house hunting, you probably have a list of things you want in a potential home. This might include multiple bedrooms, multiple bathrooms or a swimming pool in the backyard. What you might not have at the top of your list is how secure, stable and sound the home’s structure is so that it’ll last for years without having to be fully repaired. Sure, as a homeowner, you should expect to do some minor maintenance from time to time to keep the property looking its best, but if the home has an infestation or a driveway that is old and crumbling, this is a more major investment that will affect you sooner rather than later.

Before buying any house and closing the deal, have a qualified inspector go in and do a thorough evaluation of the home. The inspector will evaluate the roof, basement, substructure, foundation, walls, septic system and driveway of the home to give you an estimate of future repair work. While hiring one of these professionals costs a fee, you can add in the cost to the closing of the home or take it as a minor investment into the security of your future. After all, having a simple inspection that costs a few hundred dollars is nothing compared to the thousands you’d spend repairing damage that you didn’t see before making your purchase.

Buying a brand new home is the largest investment you’ll ever make in your life, so you need to know that your hard-earned money is going into a property that will last for years before it has to have any major work done on it. Another aspect of a home to look for is a warranty that guarantees that any found work will be covered by the warranty company.