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Tips to help new homeowners

Become A Better Homeowner With These Tips

Becoming a homeowner can be a long process, becoming a good homeowner can be an even longer one. These tips from HouseLogic will help any homeowner become the best homeowner they can be. Once you read these tips, show off your skills to your close friends and family and become the envy of all the other homeowners in your neighborhood!

1. Showering Without Precautions

Spending 20 minutes in the steam may be good for your pores, but it’s also great for mold and mildew. Run the exhaust fan while you’re singing in the shower, squeegee the walls afterward, and scrub that grout every few months.

“Once you let the grout go, it gets worse and worse, and harder and harder to maintain,” says Mylène Merlo, a REALTOR® in San Diego. Grungy grout is a big turnoff for buyers. And redoing it is a pain and expensive to hire out.

2. Keeping Out the Sun

Shutting your shades on winter days might seem smart. More insulation from the chilly weather, right? Your energy bill disagrees. A sunny window can warm your home and lower your heating costs. And as a bonus, you could see a decrease in seasonal depression.

But your original idea wasn’t totally wrong. Closing those blinds at night can keep your home toasty.

Bad habits are the opposite of what makes you happy. They’re what make you miserable.
M.J. Ryan, author of “Habit Changers: 81 Game-Changing Mantras to Mindfully Realize Your Goals”

3. Compulsively Buying Bargains

Finding a deal feels so good, but cheaper isn’t always better. In fact, budget buys might cost you more in the long run. For instance, dollar paintbrushes will leave annoying streaks, requiring a costly re-do.

And when it comes to appliances, permit a little splurge — especially if selling your home is on the horizon.

“I always err with going for high-quality appliances,” Merlo says. “There is a noticeable difference between the cheapest and next-cheapest models. And buyers want to see stainless steel.”

4. Running a Half-Full Dishwasher

You get a gold star for always remembering to start your dishwasher before bed, right? Clean dishes every morning! Go you! Yeah, about that: Your dishwasher wastes water unless it’s completely full.

Dishwashers do save more water than washing by hand (just try telling that to your mom), but most machines use the same amount of water regardless of how many plates you’ve stuffed inside, making a half-empty cycle significantly less efficient. For a household of one or two, once a day can be overkill.

5. Mega-Mulching

A “tree volcano” might sound like a grand ol’ time, but it’s actually damaging your foliage. Too much mulch suffocates your tree, causing root rot and welcoming invasive insects. Your precious trees really are precious. Each one can add $2,000 or more to your home’s value while saving on energy costs.Read More In Plant Trees to Save Energy and Grow ValueProtect your precious trees by packing mulch loosely, letting water filter properly toward the trunk.

6. Going on a Remodeling Rampage

Don’t break out the sledgehammer for a demo three weeks after moving in unless your home needs serious, obvious work. Give yourself time to understand the home’s quirks before renovating.

“You don’t know what your needs are when you first move into a home,” says Merlo. “You should live there for at least six months to figure out the space you need. If you do too much too soon, you’ll regret it.”

For instance, you could dump $15,000 into a kitchen remodel — only to realize the original layout would have worked better for holiday parties. Or you paint a room your favorite color, Wild Plum, only to realize the natural light in the room makes it look more like Rotten Plum. Whoops.

7. Packratting

You know clutter is bad, but you just… can’t… help it. You had to put that unused exercise bike in the spare room instead of by the road as a freebie because what if? Plus, there’s so much in there already, and decluttering seems like such an insurmountable goal — even though every jam-packed square foot is space you can’t enjoy.

If the task seems impossible, Ryan recommends starting small.

“Do one small thing,” she says. “Clean out a drawer or reorganize your counter, and then you feel the satisfaction of having done it. It becomes easier to do the next small thing.”

Just remember: Breaking habits takes time and a lot of slip-ups. “It’s important to be kind to ourselves when we blow it,” Ryan says. “When we create new habits, we’re building new wiring, but it’s not like the old wiring disappears. Don’t turn goof-ups into give-ups.”

Content Sourced From HouseLogic 

Don’t Overlook These Minor Projects

Moving in to your new home can be both an exciting but also stressful time. There are so many projects to do that we often overlook some of the most important ones. At first glance, these tasks may seem unimportant and can easily be placed on hold, but look again, these are actually the projects you should take care of right away. Realtor.com has called out eight projects that you should take the time from unpacking and focus on. They may seem minor, but if not attended to could create larger problems later.

Change the locks

“Before moving even one tiny piece of furniture into your new home, change the locks—or at least have them re-keyed. It’s not that you don’t trust the sellers (who are, we’re sure, perfectly respectable and upstanding citizens). It’s that you shouldn’t trust everyone who’s had contact with those keys over the years, any of whom could have copied the keys for some unsavory purpose.”

Change the alarm batteries

“Making sure your fire and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries may not seemlike a pressing issue while you’re in the middle of a stressful move (and aren’t they all), but it’s the kind of thing that gets ignored and then forgotten. Better to deal with it now, when the home is empty and you can make a quick sweep of the house—without lugging a ladder around furniture.”

Review your home inspector’s report

“Can’t find your inspector’s report? Minto says reports are often filed with the escrow papers—but don’t wait until something goes wrong to pull them out. A good home inspector will outline the most important issues in their report, so use their expertise as a guide for your first few days of ownership. If they’ve marked anything as particularly pressing, make sure to handle it before moving in.”

Find the circuit breaker

“If you were there during inspection, you should know where your junction box is, but if you don’t, finding it “should be the first and foremost thing that should be attended to,” Minto says. During a move, when you’re plugging all sorts of electrical doodads into the wall, you don’t want to be lost in the dark hunting for that elusive metal box. (While you’re there, find the water shut-off, too.)”

“Then, get familiar: If it’s not already well-marked, have your spouse or another family member stand in different parts of the house while you flip different switches, and make a note of which ones handle different rooms.”

Deal with any water problems

“Looking at that inspector’s report? Deal with water-related issues immediately, says Minto. These tend to be troublesome because they’re so easily ignored—”out of sight, out of mind,” he says. A leaky toilet might seem minor, but the steady drip can damage internal structural components.”

“Check your roof, too: If the rubber vent boots on your roof are leaking, you might not know it for a while.”

“By the time they see it in a ceiling, there’s been a fair amount of water,” Minto says.”

Caulk everything

“This one isn’t mandatory, but caulking is a whole lot easier if you do it when the house is empty, letting you see all the nooks and crannies that might need a little sealing—and don’t forget the exterior. Minto says he sees caulking issues on “every home,” and while they might seem minor, it doesn’t take long before cracking gives way to leaks and even more water issues.”

Plan your emergency exits

“Before you begin bringing in furniture, walk through every room and decide how you would escape in an emergency. This can help you spot problem areas or rooms that need some adjustments—say, removing bars or adding egress windows to a basement.”

Clean your gutters

“BO-RING. Right? You can put this off until Day 2 of your big move, but don’t let the dullness of the task push you to procrastination: If the previous homeowners didn’t clean the gutters, you need to do so ASAP.”

Quoted Content Sourced From Realtor.com

Which Type of Window Is Right For Your Home?

Many homeowners don’t realize how many different window options there really are; and let us tell you, there’s a lot. Windows not only add a wow factor to any home, they can also add additional natural light to your home and make small spaces seem much larger when you choose the right window. What type of windows did you decide to put in your home or which type are you debating between for an upcoming renovation project? Check out a few of the different types of window variations below from Andersen Windows and Coldwell Banker. 

Awning Windows

“Awning windows are often used to provide extra ventilation higher on walls, promoting airflow within the home and limiting energy consumption. Due to their typical placement high on a wall, awning windows can provide light and ventilation while maintaining privacy and wall space for art or furniture. Awning windows are a popular choice in many contemporary American homes.”

Bay and Bow Windows

“Because they physically project outward from a room, bay and bow windows uniquely add interior space to the home. This also works to bring in light from different angles and provide a more panoramic view. These windows draw the eye as an architectural feature and often direct attention to a beautiful view. Bay and bow windows bring light in from different angles, while providing a panoramic view.”

Casement Windows

Casement windows offer maximum unobstructed visible glass opening while still providing ventilation to a home. Their glass opening promotes greater vertical airflow as the opening runs along the height of the unit rather than the width.  Casement windows are often used in places where opening a window with a crank operator is a more ergonomic friendly movement than lifting or sliding a window, like over a kitchen sink.”

Double-Hung Windows

Double-hung windows allow both top and bottom sash ventilation options. When opened strategically, these windows can promote air movement within the home to maximize fresh air. Double-hung windows with a tilt-wash feature are also the easiest to keep clean, ensuring a view unobstructed by dirty glass.”

Gliding Windows

Gliding windows can be wider than other types of windows. Since eyes naturally take in the world left to right rather than up and down, gliding windows allow for a large, natural view of the world. A large window also means more light and ventilation.”

Picture Windows

Picture windows are perhaps the most literal interpretation of a window style, framing the view in a wide expanse of glass. They are available in a variety of sizes and shapes and can therefore bring light into a home in unique ways. Picture windows can be paired with ventilating windows for the best of both worlds.”

Specialty Windows

Specialty windows fit the need you have in your home and can allow you to bring light into unexpected places or frame views in unique and stunning ways.”

Quoted Content and Images Sourced From Andersen Windows & Coldwell Banker

Home Security Tips

When it comes to home security and safety you always want to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. By doing this it ensures you’ll be ready in the event of something bad occurring to you or your home. Check out this blog for our partner, Vivint, to see how to be best prepared for situations that could potentially occur. You may have already thought of the basics, but here are additional items you should be prepared for:

The experts say you should test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors as often as once a month. testing accomplishes 3 goals in your home.

  1. it will teach your household what the alarms sound like. knowing what an alarm sounds like can help you prepare in an emergency. you won’t have to wonder what’s going on.
  2. in the event that a device is malfunctioning you have time to get it resolved before an emergency situation arises.
  3. you will have peace of mind knowing your home is always protected.

Changing the Batteries

Changing the batteries in your life saving devices such as smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors is as important as regular checks for those devices. yes, it’s true – those devices will alert you when the batteries are running low, but keeping a regular change schedule helps you stay ahead of the game. it is recommended you change the batteries twice a year.

Having A Plan

“it’ll all work out” is a great way to stay positive and optimistic in an emergency situation, but having a plan before an emergency situation occurs can add tremendously to it “all working out.”

  • have a plan of where to meet up if you get separated from your loved ones.
  • practice drills for different emergency scenarios. whether it be fire, tornado, hurricane, etc., knowing what to do before an emergency situation happens will help make decisions easier if stressful times come.
  • regularly review emergency phone numbers/contact information and have them easily accessible. these can and should include the neighbors next door, family/friends, poison control, 911, etc.

 

How Should You Design Your Pool Deck?

Temperatures are starting to rise, which means summer is fast approaching and pool season is set to begin. Are you hoping to make some upgrades to your pool area before it’s too late? Check out these 3 design considerations courtesy of our client, Presidential Pools & Spas!

SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOUR POOL DECK

“The deck around a pool should provide enough space for people to move around the pool without risk of falling in. Generally, this means a 4- to 5-foot perimeter, especially when children will be present.

You should also choose pool deck materials with safety in mind. There are many beautiful deck paver and stone options. You want to choose something that will be soft enough to walk on comfortably, but with enough texture to avoid slipping when you step out of the pool. Additionally, a pool deck material should be porous enough that water splashed out from the pool doesn’t become standing water.

With the Arizona desert sun, you may also want to consider how you will keep your deck cool. Some overhead structures can be built into the deck to provide an “outdoor room” look and feel.”

DAILY LIFE CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOUR POOL DECK

“You should think through how and when you plan to use your backyard. Will you be outside while kids (or grandkids) have endless cannonball contests? If so, you will likely want a lounge area. These days, lounge areas are often raised, which can provide great sight lines into the pool, or slightly submerged in water, which can provide easy access to a cool splash of water when you’ve had too much sun.

There are also details to consider in how the pool edge is designed. For instance, if you’re someone who likes to sit on the edge in dip your feet in the water, a raised edge can create bench seating.

Other considerations include how you plan to light your deck area, deck upkeep (varies by materials used), and how many people will congregate around it (may necessitate wider deck areas).”

ENTERTAINMENT CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOUR POOL DECK

“If you plan to entertain, is there room for a dining table and grill near the pool area (both for convenience and safety)? Oftentimes entertaining space can be accommodated by extending the deck area on one side or corner of the pool.

You can also consider the “wow” factors you want to add to transform your backyard into a true oasis for entertaining friends and family. These may include fountains (useful in masking noise, too), incorporation of landscaping, and more.”

 

Quoted Content Sourced From Presidential Pools & Spas

Items Every New Homeowner Should Have

Becoming a new homeowner is an exciting moment in anyone’s life. Lots of planning and preparation goes into the process from buying to moving in. Once moved in though, it’s essential to be fully prepared for whatever home ownership throws at your. According to HouseLogic, here are several items they say every homeowner should own. Do you agree with the below list? What items would you also add as must-owns? Check out the list below courtesy of HouseLogic:

1.  Wet-Dry Vacuum

You’re gonna be spilling stuff. Look for a wet-dry vacuum that can handle everything from paint to nails and small stones.

2.  (The Right) Fire Extinguisher
Before going out and buying the first extinguisher you see, check out the U.S. Fire Administration’s guide. There are five different types of fire extinguishers with different uses, from extinguishing cooking oils to wood and paper. Choose the best type or types for your home.

3.  Extension Cord Organizer

Home ownership seems to breed extension cords that grow into a tangled nest. Save yourself time and hassle, and splurge on one of several cord management devices. Or make your own with a pegboard, hooks, and velcro straps to keep each cord loop secure. Either way, your cords will be knot-free and easy to find. And be sure to include a heavy-duty extension cord in your organizer that’s outdoor-worthy. You don’t want to really have to use that fire extinguisher.

4.  Big-Kid Tools

Odds are you already own a bunch of the basics: drill, screwdriver, hammer, level, tape measure, wrench, pliers, staple gun, utility knife, etc. But home ownership may require a few new ones you might not have needed before, including a:

  • Stud finder. You can make as many holes in the walls as you want now. Use the stud finder to figure out where to hang those heavy shelves so they’re safely anchored.
  • Hand saw. Much easier than a power saw, you can get a good cross-cut saw for smooth edges on small DIY projects.
  • Ratchet set. Every bolt in your new house belongs to you, so you’d better be able to loosen and tighten them when needed. Crank that ratchet to get to spots where you can’t turn a wrench all the way around. Great for when you’re stuck in a corner.
  • Pry bar. Get one with a clawed end to pull nails and a flat end to separate drywall, remove trim or molding, and separate tile.

5.  Tool Kit

You’ll need something to carry all those tools around from project to project. Create a tool carrier using a tool bucket liner and an old 5-gallon bucket. Or invest in a handyman belt filled with the basics to keep on hand in the kitchen.

6.  Headlamp

Take that flashlight out of your mouth and work hands-free. From switching out a faucet to figuring out what’s making that clicking noise behind the washer, there are plenty of homeowner tasks that require both hands and a little artificial light.

7.  Emergency Preparedness Kit

FEMA has a great list of supplies you should have in your kit, including cash, food, water, infant formula and diapers, medications, a flashlight, batteries, first aid kit, matches, sleeping bags, and a change of clothing. The agency recommends you stock enough for every member of your household, including pets, for at least 72 hours.

8.  Ladder

But not just any old ladder. Consider:

  • How high you need to go. If you use an extension ladder for a sky-high job, school yourself on safety tips, such as not standing above the support point.
  • Where you’ll use it. Make sure all four legs on a stepladder rest safely on a flat area. A straight ladder must be set up at a safe angle, so if a ceiling is too low, it might be too long for the room.
  • How heavy-duty it is. Check the ladder’s duty rating so you know how much weight (you, your tools, paint cans, etc.) it’ll support.

And don’t forget about the all-important escape ladder. The Red Cross recommends them for sleeping areas in multistory homes.

4 Bathroom Designs You Should Have In Your Home

When you think of the bathroom of your dreams, what features does it have? Does it have a huge walk-in shower and a soaking tub right beside it? Does it have a large double vanity? Here are four current bathroom designs that we are loving.

This design screams luxury all across the board. Double vanity, huge walk-in shower and gorgeous lighting fixtures.

 

We’re a big fan of having both a large walk-in shower with rainfall shower and a soaking tub in the same bathroom space.

 

The mirror, chandelier and beautiful window make this a wonderful quaint bathroom.

 

Any time you can put a soaking tub next to a window with a gorgeous view, we’ll be on board. Not to mention this bathroom has a double vanity and a huge walk-in shower.

9 Scents That Will Make Your Home Smell Amazing

Have you ever thought about which wonderful scents can make your home a happier one? The answer should be a resounding YES! The better your home smells, the happier that will make you and ultimately will make your home a happier place to be. Check out these nine scents from Country Living that are sure to bring a smile to both you, your guests and your home.

  1. Citrus
  2. Vanilla
  3. Cinnamon
  4. Coffee
  5. Jasmine
  6. Freshly Cut Grass
  7. Holiday Themed Smells
  8. Lavender
  9. Mint

There you have it, the nine scents that will make your home happier. For more information on what items you could purchase with those scents, visit Country Living’s blog to see exactly what you can buy for your home.

In addition, our friends at The Odor Dude have created a blog post for 20 common household odors and how you can remove them! Check out that blog post by clicking HERE and start eliminating those unpleasant odors today!

Save This Holiday With These 8 Tips To Cutting Your Energy Bill

Holiday time means lots of family and lots of energy usage. This list from HouseLogic provides tips and tricks to help keep your energy bill low around holiday time!

Are you guilty of committing any of these energy wasting crimes? We can see a lot of hungry holiday visitors committing energy crime #3.

1.  Set time on your side

Set timers for your holiday displays to turn off before bedtime so you don’t accidentally leave the lights on all night.

Home Winterization Tips For Homeowners

As winter fast approaches and the temperature begins to drop, it’s never too late to make sure you and your home are prepared for winter weather. This insightful infographic from Runyon goes into detail giving tips and tricks every homeowner can use to ensure your home is prepared. Whether you’ve been a homeowner for a long time or are a first time homeowner, follow these steps to be prepared!

To see in the infographic larger, simply click on the image below and then you can click again to zoom in even more.

 

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