7 Inexpensive Upgrades to Your Home

People spend thousands of dollars on home upgrades. They might be thinking of selling the home right now or are looking to sell the home in the future. They think they can get the money back when they sell the house, but they rarely do. Some renovations are not worth the money. For example, Readers Digest listed 32 home improvement ideas that are a huge waste of money.

Included on their list were items such as:

· New HVAC systems

· New decks

· Sunrooms

· Swimming pools

· New faucets and fixtures

· Built-in swimming pools and hot tubs

· Expensive, out of the ordinary landscaping

· Murals and wallpaper

· Built-in fishtanks

· Home gyms

· Saunas and steam rooms

· Fireplace mantles

· Solar panels

· Over renovating bathrooms and kitchens.

Many home improvements provide a rotten return on investment

For example, a basement renovation typically only returns less than half of the money spent on it. The same with a major kitchen remodel. They say kitchens sell homes, but what good is that if you only get back fifty percent of the money spent.

Seven things you can do inexpensively

There are several things you can do inexpensively: 1. For a few hundred dollars, companies such as Rustica can set you up with fabulous interior Dutch doors between your living room and the kitchen. For your front door, you can add a little paint, preferably black or smokey grey, the colors Zillow says to add to get the most return on investment, and you’ve made a terrific start. 2. Buy one quality appliance instead of remodeling. According to keenlykristin.com, buying one quality appliance makes a ton more sense than remodeling an entire kitchen and losing thousands of dollars in resale.

3. Use tile or high-grade linoleum over hardwood. Both tile and modern linoleum are fantastic choices over hardwood. They are infinitely cheaper, yet even linoleum looks terrific in the modern styles available.

4. Think about refinishing the deck. If you sand down your original deck and re-stain it, it will look like a million bucks for perhaps $200 or less.

5. Think about revamping your kitchen cabinets. If you sand and repaint your kitchen cabinets then repaint them, you’ll wonder if you are even in the same house. True, it takes some elbow grease and a creative touch, but you can have a completely new looking kitchen for around $100.

6. Repaint old faucet fixtures. Modern paint companies such as Rustoleum make modern spray paints in metallic look gold that looks fantastic and runs around $7 a can. This will save thousands on a bathroom remodel. Add a new rug and a shower curtain, and you are gold.

7. Consider stenciling a custom floor. You can give any room in your home a thousand dollar look with ordinary wall paint. Check out this YouTube video, Stenciling Floors, to learn how.

Saving money

Search the internet and you will find literally dozens of home remodeling sites. If you look further, you will see the vast majority of them treat home remodeling like money is no object.

While it’s true that if you plan on living in a house for another 20 or so years, a home remodeling project may make life more livable. People are moving out of their homes and relocating or staying in the same city, but they are either downsizing or upgrading at an increasing rate. The average is around 11 years in one home in most cities, but in that span of time, some people will have moved in and out of their home three or four times.

With rapid relocation, in many cases, it makes sense to do as little as possible to renovate your home. Instead, it makes financial sense to cut loose with the old and buy new. This is particularly important advice for those in transition periods such as when an elderly parent dies or their children grow up and go to college.

Still, to sell quickly and at a good price, a home needs to look modern. So it’s a great idea to investigate inexpensive ways to renovate a home.

Need For Home Security And Residential Locksmith

You are probably busy most of the day going to work and handling other responsibilities every day. While you might be capable enough to handle all the other chores around the house, it can be challenging to maintain the locks and security systems. These locks and other measures are what keep you and your family safe from intruders. It is better to have as much protection as possible than to regret it later. Here are five services a professional residential locksmith offers.

Rekeying Doors

One of the cheapest methods of safely moving into an apartment or house that has been home to many people previously is to get the locks rekeyed. You can hire any locksmith to come and change the springs and pins in all the locks. You will need a new key after this. It is better to get a professional locksmith than any regular one.

Repairs The Locks

Locks can get very difficult open when they get old and rusty. If any of the locks in your home is causing trouble while unlocking or locking, then you should hire a professional residential locksmith. It is better if someone experienced takes a go at it, doing it yourself could just make it worse.

Help With Home Security Systems

A residential locksmith can understand how trying it is to leave your home empty when you go away for a few days or even during work hours. You may have had a top of the line system installed a few years ago, but it might have some vulnerabilities in it now. Professionals know about all the new equipment trending in the markets. They can even help you install some of these gear. Having a sound home security system is essential to keep your family and valuables safe from criminals.

Safe Sales And Service

Safes have become really important in today’s world. You probably have valuable or sentimental items around your home, they will be vulnerable in case someone decides to break in. That is why it is essential to have a safe. You should also keep all the important documentsin it. A locksmith can help determine which would be best suitable for your needs. You might even need one for any licensed weapons in the house, to keep them away from your kids.

Smart Lock Installation

While you are upgrading security systems, fixing up locks, or getting them changed, it might be useful to take a look at a piece of smart technology. Smart locks are becoming increasingly popular for numerous reasons. It can be connected to your mobile, and let you know if it is lock or not. It will make it possible to lock the door with just a touch of a button on a connected device.

Some can be controlled by AI voice command gear, like Amazon’s Alexa. To take it even further, you can even get a smart lock that has a camera. Those devices can also be connected to your mobile, and they allow you to watch whoever is at your door at any time of the day.

4 Things To Look For In A Potential Rental Property

Buying to rent is an attractive proposition for many reasons. Perhaps you’re looking to begin earning a more passive income, maybe you want to take the first step in starting your own business, or perhaps you’re simply looking ahead and thinking about ways to increase your assets for when you reach retirement age. Whatever it is driving you to purchase your first buy to let property, you need to make sure it’s a wise investment, so here are 4 things to look out for. 

  1. The cost
    Perhaps unsurprisingly one of the main things to consider when looking at potential properties is how much initial investment you will need to make and what potential return you could see. In terms of the initial investment, you may already have an amount of money saved up to buy the property outright or you may be looking at taking out a rental loan from a company such as Visio Lending to cover the cost of your mortgage. Either way, the price needs to be right and ideally, you’ll be looking at properties selling for below market value. When it comes to potential rental returns you’ll want to ensure that you can make a profit after making your mortgage repayments and putting money aside for maintenance and agency fees. The maintenance aspect of the property is often what is most overlooked, so when choosing the property to buy remember to check the quality of the roof, heating system and major appliances that will cost you the most to replace.

  2. The location
    The location of your property can make a big difference in the amount of rent you can charge your tenants. If you are looking to cater to families then an important factor to consider is being close to or in the catchment area for a good school. If you are looking to cater to young professionals then a location with good transport links is advisable to help them with their commute. Whoever your target tenant is, do a little research into the kinds of things that they typically look for in a property to help you decide on the best location for you to buy in.

  3. The condition
    More often than not, the properties that are below market value and represent a good investment opportunity require a little bit of work so it’s important to be clear about what jobs you are comfortable doing and which you will need to hire in professional help for. Most of the time a fresh carpet, a lick of paint and a general clean can do wonders for a run-down house, but on occasion, you may need to consider larger-scale improvements such as installing a new kitchen, bathroom or heating system. Remember that the improvements you make to the property before being able to let it out will need to come out of your total budget.

  4. The current real estate market
    The real estate market can be influenced by many factors causing property prices to rise and fall. Keep one eye on the market at all times to see if its a good time to be buying or selling.  

Don’t Believe TV: Real Tips for Home Renos

Renovating a home is a lot like biting into a jalapeno pepper. You might like it. But it can also make you cry. To turn your home renovation into an Instagram-worthy success story, read on about how to do it all without too many tears. From staying on budget to opening small spaces and cozying up large ones, here’s to realizing your real-life home reno dreams.

Stay on Budget

Many home renovators are tempted to go all in too quickly, but resist the urge. The truth is, research and patience are your best defenses against turning your fixer-upper into a real money pit. First, create a master plan of all the renovations you want done, then get bids from several general contractors. These will give you an idea of the max you’ll spend. From there you can pare down on the list of projects, do some things yourself and/or wait to do others for some time down the road.

Open Up Small Spaces

To revamp a small space, the first trick is to empty the space of every piece of furniture and decoration. And we mean Every. Single. Piece. Paint the walls, doors, trim, moldings and even light switch and outlet covers the same color for a seamless look. Install recessed lighting if possible so that every corner of the space is bright and usable, or use a combination of accent lighting like wall sconces, under-the-cabinet lights and table lamps. A large mirror and other shiny fixtures will reflect light and make the room seem larger. Then, return only the furniture you love to the room. For the pieces you don’t want to use but don’t want to part with, Austin storage units let you keep valuables safe while still freeing up the space.

Cozy-fy Large Spaces

To keep a large space from feeling cavernous, carve out smaller zones. In a large living room, some built-in bookshelves and window seats will add some extra magic. Lighting is also key, so add more accent lighting in every corner to keep the creep factor to a minimum. To create a comfortable conversation zone, consider adding a large area rug and floating the furniture close together in the middle of the room. For walls, you can afford to be bold with a large space. Try a glamorous wallpaper, install crown molding or paint the walls a dramatic jewel tone like navy blue.

Restore Original Flooring A home renovation isn’t complete without restoring some glory to original floors. Older homes often have beautiful heartwood covered up by layers of ill-advised carpeting or linoleum. Remove those layers, strip it down and refinish the wood underneath. Or, if you’re lucky enough to find them intact, restore historic ceramic tile floors.

Invest in the Right Upgrades

Don’t go overboard on the fancy upgrades. Vinyl window, siding and garage door replacements have a much higher return on investment than a major kitchen remodel, according to real estate professionals. But if you must add a little frosting, opt for new cabinet knobs and drawer pulls in brushed nickel or bronze for an updated look.

Keep Everything Organized

If you’re undergoing a whole house makeover, things will be in disarray. You’re likely to find a box of stray screws in the bathroom cabinet and drop cloths in the linen closet. If that is the case, your first line of defense is movable storage. Invest in several transparent storage boxes with lids to organize materials by project — paint pans with rollers and tape, tile with grout and calk, etc. Next, get a couple of five-gallon buckets with aprons to organize tools. Add a sharpie and painters tape for labeling and you’re good to go.

Have Courage

No one ever said it was easy, but it doesn’t have to be difficult, either. Armed with a little savvy to tackle the budget and organization woes, and with a few ideas on maximizing the space and making it all cozy, you can conquer your home renovation with as little pain as possible.

How to deal with termite infiltration in your home?

If you are having issues with pests at home, there is no need to worry because you are not alone. You may not need to worry about being alone in misery, but you do need to worry about the problem of pests because of the inconspicuous nature of these various types of assailants.

One can easily be fooled into oblivion because of the tiny size of pests, but in reality, smaller they are, harder they hit. Resultantly, termites being minuscule, have the potential to pose the biggest threat to homeowners, because they silently eat up all the valuable furniture and other wooden structures.

Therefore, in the face of this threat, you must be aware of all the necessary strategies required to deal with termite infiltration in your home.

1. Be Proactive

Do not wait for termites to eat away at your woody valuables; in fact, hound for these little naggers in every nook and corner of your home. Check out the hollowness of different wooden structures and test their strength by pushing the screwdriver into the wood. You can also physically see the termites by shining a torchlight on the potentially hazardous areas.

2. Find out the type of termites:

There are mainly two types of termites; one is subterranean, and the other one is dry wood. It is vital to identify their type because each of these species requires different exterminating treatments.

3. Create a cardboard trap:

Once you have identified an affected area, get a couple of pieces of cardboard, soak them in water, and place them adjacent to the affected area. It is a perfect trap for termites because they feed on cellulose. Moreover, when the adjoining cardboard gets infected, take it out and set it on fire. Repeat the whole procedure again and again so that all the termites are exterminated from the affected area.

4. Give your infected furniture a sunbath:

Like vampires, termites love to stay in the dark, therefore, take your furniture out of the house for sunbathing that should last ideally for at least two to three days. Coupling this process with cardboard traps can prove to be considerably useful in the extermination of termites.

5. Freeze your infected pieces of furniture:

Termites are unable to stay alive in extreme temperatures and therefore, can be frozen to death by keeping the pieces of furniture in the freezer. Although it can get tricky to put large pieces of furniture in the freezer, this method works fine with the smaller pieces.

6. Use Boric Acid:

Boric acid attacks the nervous system of termites and therefore acts as the most popular pesticide to kill termites. To apply, spray or spread the boric acid on the affected areas of the wooden bodies and let it do its job.

7. Hire a professional:

If you are finding it challenging to handle a termite infestation on your own, you can seek help from a competent professional to get O’fallon termite services.

In a nutshell, never take termites for granted because they can eat your household’s valuables inside out, and in case of termite emergency, use the strategies mentioned above to save your home from the wrath of these buggers.

3 Tips to Keep Your Home Well-Maintained this Winter

Winter might be the best time of the year, but it can be very harsh, especially where the temperature can reach below zero degrees. For homeowners, it is the time of the year to step up their home maintenance game as there is a lot to do in this brutal season. Even a single storm can cause over $1 billion in damages. If you want to avoid any expensive repairs, make sure you are all geared up for winters. However, it is not easy to figure out what exactly you can do to prepare and protect your house from cold weather. If you are here to learn about that, then don’t worry, we have got you covered. To protect and maintain your home, heed these tips mentioned below in this article.

Check Your Gutter and Drainage

Winter always comes with substantial rainfall, so you want to be prepared. While cleaning out gutters might not seem like a fun job, but it is definitely a must-do task as it can save you money in the long run. When you are keeping the gutter maintained, you are making sure that you don’t have to spend money again and again to replace them. Plus, well-maintained gutters also reduce the chance of roof damage. It is because a clogged gutters can overflow and sometimes break, which also puts the strain. Therefore, it is essential to clean and maintain gutters in winters so no ice is filled in them or they are not clogged.

Watch Out for Snow Accumulation

In winters, snow accumulation is one of the many problems homeowners have to face. If the snow is not removed quickly after the storm or when it builds on the roof, it is easy to lose control of your property. Residential snow removal service comes recommended as it can clear up snow build-up to the front of the house, exhaust vents, all air intakes, and any electrical appliance located outside. In addition to the removal of snow from your home, you need to make sure that you are removing snow from the sidewalks as well. For this particular task, you can call any Sidewalk Snow Removal service as they get the job done faster and easier.

Seal Leaky Windows and Doors

You want to ensure that all the leaking doors and windows are adequately sealed. For checking whether or not they are sealed, you need to close and open them. If you notice any gap between the seals while closing the lock, then you know that they need to be repaired or replaced. For old windows and doors, you can add new weather-stripping, and the best one to choose out of other options is the bronze one.

Once you have done that, now you need to look for air leaks. If there are leaks, you can choose foam tape, felt, tubular rubber, vinyl, or silicone to ensure a maximum seal.

5 Safety Tips for First-Time Parents

When you become a parent for the first time, it’s as if the world suddenly becomes a terrifying place. In one moment, everything is normal. But when you see that line on a pregnancy test, it’s as if the world around you changes.

So, what do you do to protect your children from this increasingly scary world?

Making sure your home is safe is a priority.

Well, here are five safety tips for first-time parents to get you started and set your mind at ease.

1. Baby-Proof Your Home

This is a basic first line of safety for any parent, but it’s an important one. And in all honesty, there’s not a lot of baby-proofing you need to do when you first bring your bundle of joy home from the hospital. It’s when they start crawling that you have to get to work on the baby-proofing. Round out any sharp edges, give the baby a safe space to crawl and explore, and get locks for the cabinets. You don’t want baby to get into anything that could be harmful.

2. Get Safe Crib Bedding

Much like car seats, trends in crib bedding have changed quite a bit in the past few years. Today, experts recommend that you either avoid bumpers or use mesh ones. Avoid blankets, pillows, and any other items in your baby’s crib. These measures are in an attempt to reduce your child’s chances of SIDS. Also, when it comes to your baby’s mattress, try to avoid anything that’s very plush. You want your baby to be comfortable, but a firm mattress is best.

3. Get a New Car Seat

There are many items we can accept as hand-me-downs. Car seats typically aren’t one of them, and there are two reasons for this. First, a car seat does expire. If you are using an older car seat, flip it over to check the expiration date. The expiration date will vary based on the manufacturer, but they typically last about 7 years. The second reason you should get a new car seat is that you can’t really know how that seat has been handled. For example, if the car seat was installed and the driver had a car accident, it’s integrity may have been compromised. Or, if the car seat was checked as baggage on a flight, it was likely compromised.

4. Set Your Water Heater to 120 Degrees

Bath temperature is something new parents stress about, and fortunately, this can be an easy fix. If you have access to your water heater, set the temperature to 120 degrees to prevent accidental scalding. You’ll certainly be careful, but this tip can set your mind at ease.

Bringing a new baby home is exciting, fulfilling, and nerve-wracking at the same time. But just remember that you aren’t the first parents to do it and you won’t be the last. With a few safety precautions, you can keep that bundle of joy safe and healthy. Whether you’ll get any sleep is another thing entirely — but as everyone always says, it really is all worthwhile.

8 Features Homes Need When Selling

When people are buying a new home, they focus on a lot of things that determine how much they are willing to pay for the house. To make sure that your house can fetch good value in the market, you need to make sure that your home has some key features present. In this article, eight features that new homes should have in order to have a high selling price are discussed.

Work on your kitchen

You would need to focus on your kitchen if you want to make sure that you can fetch a nice price for your home. Many people who are looking for a new home check the kitchen first. It is helpful if your kitchen is spacious and well furnished. You can apply fresh paint to the wall of your kitchen to make your home look more modern. Add bypass door hardware along with interior bypass barn doors in your house to change the look in your home and make it more inviting. You can also make changes to your kitchen door using the hardware to make it look more stylish and elegant.

Provide the buyers with a home warranty

Providing buyers with a home warranty can increase the price of the home significantly. It is important to lay out the terms of the home warranty to the buyers properly so they have a clear understanding of what kind of free repairs they would get and what they won’t get. It provides buyers with a lot of conveniences. A home warranty is different from home insurance as it provides protection against any damage to the home appliances.

Work on minute small details

If you want to sell your house and attract the best buyers, you need to do some work on it that won’t cost much but would need a lot of effort from you. Clean the house properly and make sure that all the different furniture is placed properly in the house. You can keep the decor simple and elegant so people are more interested in buying the house.

Improve the look of the house

Make sure that there are no personal items in your home while you are showing the clients your house and also make sure that your house has enough lighting. You can also get rid of the furniture that is gigantic and bulky. Keep your closets organized. Make the bathroom look like a spa for the guests.

Make sure that your home runs on less electricity

Electric bills are a big concern for the buyers and all the buyers want to make sure that they buy a house the electricity consumption is very low. Keeping the electricity cost of your home low is a major selling point for your house. It has been found that the homes which have a higher cost of electricity might drive people away who are interested in buying the home. You can use LED

lights in your home to save electricity and smart appliances that run on lower power and have the ability to save electric energy. It is also helpful for the environment as well if you can reduce the use of electricity.

Work on the outdoors

Make sure that the outdoor area is used as well. Many people forget to make use of the outdoor area they have at their home. Even if there is little space outside, you can make good use of that space. You can make a nice area by adding some chairs and tables for the guests to have a conversation. Add some lighting to the outdoor as well to make it look nicer and more elegant. You might want to throw in an outdoor heater or fire pit.

Use smart technology in your house

Add smart appliances in your home to make your home look more attractive. Smart appliances can replace the old and bulky appliances that are now outdated and old. The smart appliances take up a lot less space and can provide a modern look for your house. The smart appliances are also more useful and add a lot of value in the life of the people.

Paint is important

It is important to paint your house before you can show it to the clients. Paint makes the house look new and fresh and can attract the customers to buy your house at a higher price. Choose colors that are modern and elegant.

Top Tips for Staying Healthy and Fit Throughout Winter

Winter can be a very difficult time when it comes to keeping fit and healthy, especially over the festive period, but it’s important to try and keep certain elements of health and fitness going even when you break for Christmas. Finding the motivation to be active when it’s dark can be a nightmare, just as eating fresh fruit and veg can be hard when there’s warmer, comforting temptations out there. Continue reading to find out how you can maintain a healthy, happy and active lifestyle throughout the winter.

Kick the Carb Cravings

Trying to ignore carbs in winter is almost impossible, with so many comfort foods, treats and gifts packed full of them, but it is possible to try to kick the cravings slightly. Try to start your day with plenty of protein to keep your body going and prevent you from craving unnecessary foods, as this will keep you going until lunchtime and stop you from snacking in-between. Similarly, when you start to crave chocolate or sweet treats, try to switch your focus to something slightly healthier such as fruit or herbal tea, as this will tide you over until your dinner and stop you from consuming too many extra carbs.

Get into the Garden

It may be cold and often wet outside during the winter, but your garden still needs a little TLC at times. We’re not suggesting you head out with the lawnmower and get to work on the grass, but there are certain tasks that you can do (which will keep you active at the same time) that you’ll be grateful for in the new year. One of the easiest tasks to carry out in the garden during the winter months is to simply rake away any unwanted leaves that are gathering up and causing slippery, cluttered paths and walkways. Invest in some quality garden tools to help make the job slightly easier and dedicate an hour a week to tidying up your garden, as being outdoors is also great for keeping your healthier!

Eat the Right Things

There are certain foods that you can add to your diet during the winter to ensure you stay healthier and keep your immune system strong. One of the best foods to eat throughout the winter is mushrooms. Mushrooms are packed full of immune-boosting health benefits that will see you through the cold, wet months. Mushrooms will help you to fight off certain types of illnesses, as well as provide you with plenty of nutrition at the same time.

Try Home Workouts

Getting out of bed in the dark, putting your gym clothes on and heading out in the cold to the gym is never a motivating experience, but what if you could work out from the comfort of your own home? Trying a home workout routine could revolutionise your fitness regime, with so many options available to keep you active and healthy whilst at home. It’s a win win situation!

7 Things to Make Your Home a Peaceful Retreat

When it comes to our homes, most of us are always looking for ways to improve the functionality of our most treasured space. However, functional doesn’t always equal comfortable and that’s where these items step in to help. Whether you are looking to spend a lot or a little, these simple items are sure to turn your home into somewhere you can truly relax.

Dreamy Master Bedroom

Your Mattress

According to researchers, the average person spends about 26 years of their life in bed. That is by far the most amount of our life we spend in any one place. This is why it is so important that your master bedroom be as comfortable and peaceful as possible. The most obvious way to achieve that is to ensure you have a comfortable mattress. Like many things in our life, everyone has their own opinion on what makes a mattress comfortable, or what is the best mattress. Knowing the key factors to determine what you will find comfortable is imperative when selecting a mattress.

Mood Lighting

While the master bedroom is definitely used for sleeping, we also use it for other relaxing activities as well such as reading and watching television. Each of these activities requires a different light preference which is why lighting is such an important aspect in making our master bedroom more comfortable. Bright lights are often brash and are not needed for a task such as reading. Instead, consider investing in a lamp that has different brightness levels that you can adjust to your needs.

Comfy Seating Another option to consider is seating in the bedroom. This is important if you don’t like to sit in bed while relaxing. Some seating such as bench seats can also serve as storage which can help in reducing clutter and improving relaxation in your home.

A Soothing Environment

White Noise Machines

White noise machines are often thought of as being helpful to only children or people who live in noisy cities. However, all of us can benefit from a white noise machine. Not only can these machines improve our sleep, but they can also improve our mood when used as background noise when you’re unwinding from a long day at work. Most white noise machines include pre-loaded sounds such as a river flowing, rain, static, or a quiet night with insects chirping. Choose the noise that best suits your mood and don’t be afraid to play around and try out different noise options. You might be surprised by the sound that is most relaxing for you.

Oil Diffusers

Although they have become more popular in recent years, essential oils have been used for hundreds of years. There are many different uses for essential oils, but their effectiveness is often questioned. Whether you believe that essential oils can heal ailments or not, studies prove that certain scents such as lavender can reduce the production of stress hormones thereby allowing your brain to relax. If you are completely skeptical of essential oils and diffusers, you can always invest in a traditional candle. When selecting a candle to help you relax, it is important to ensure that it is created with true lavender.

House Plants

Another item that can dramatically increase the mood in your home is a houseplant. Not only do houseplants create a relaxing atmosphere in a decor sense, but they also have health benefits as well such as dramatically improving the air quality in your home while also reducing stress levels. Worried about your not-so-green thumb? Faux houseplants can have the same relaxing and soothing effect albeit without the air improvement qualities. Another option is succulents or even air plants if you prefer a plant that is low maintenance but still cleanses the air.

Paint Colors

Last but certainly not least, change the paint colors in your home. Natural tones such as beige, grey, and brown can dramatically increase the mood and relaxation quality in your home. Brighter colors such as red, yellow, and green can be hectic and thus make it hard to relax or focus. Some popular neutral colors are Repose Grey and Perfect Greige by Sherwin Williams, and Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore.