Christmas Decorating Makes Us Happier

 Holiday Ornament

Holiday Ornament

It’s the week after Thanksgiving and I bet you can’t wait to put up your Holiday Decorations. Well go ahead; according to psychologists it makes us happier.

 Psychologist Deborah Serani explains, “Christmas decorating will spike dopamine, a feel-good hormone. For a lot of us, Christmas is a magical time, it’s a time of innocence, and it’s a time of joy.”

 And what an excuse to decorate your home without having a high remodeling cost. So get ready, bring out your Christmas lights and make this weekend a happy and memorable moment.

 

 

5 Essential Organization & Storage Tips for Small Spaces and Tight Wallets

 photo by:  DESIGNECOLOGIST

photo by: DESIGNECOLOGIST

Unless you have a massive home or apartment, chances are you never feel like you have enough space to store and organize everything you own. For those of us with small to midsize living spaces, keeping them neat and tidy is a daily battle. Here are some fairly inexpensive tips for making sure your smaller space can accommodate your life and possessions.

 

Incorporate Decluttering Into Your Daily Routine

It may sound obvious, but it’s hard to stay organized in a small space when you have a lot of stuff. Making decluttering a part of your daily cleaning routine is vital if you want to stay tidy. Kickstart your organizational journey with a massive decluttering effort. After that, institute some rules for yourself. For example, one item in, one item out. Any time you bring something new into your home, you must get rid of something else. Also, spend at least 10 minutes every day getting unneeded items out of your home. The best part is that it doesn’t cost you a thing to start decluttering and making your space more breathable.

Think Vertically

Architecturally, how does a big city pack so much stuff into a relatively smaller surface area? By going vertically, of course. This concept can also help you in your small space. Apartment Therapy suggests “filling the space on top of the refrigerator with wire bins, mounting baskets on the wall, or placing a shelf with baskets in a corner.” You can also install cheap shelves from floor to ceiling wherever you want. Stores like Bed, Bath, & Beyond have stylish bins, shelving, and baskets. As a bonus, you can regularly find coupons, sales, and cashback deals to minimize the investment.

 

Prioritize Built-In Storage Space

In a small space, any piece of furniture that doesn’t also offer some sort of storage is a waste. For example, a TV stand/entertainment center should have drawers and cabinets aplenty. Your bed should have pull-out drawers underneath. Your coffee table or ottoman should open up to reveal extra storage space for blankets or pillows. Look for discounts and savings at stores like Crate & Barrel when looking for smart furniture for your small space.

 

Load Up on Baskets

If clutter is contained, is it even really clutter anymore? Not really, according to most. A home will look and feel more organized if every item has a place -- even if that place is just a wicker basket or wooden bin. Bins and baskets are both cheap and stylish if you know where to look. Whether you want plastic, wood, clear, white, or metal -- there is something for you.

 

Invest in Hooks for Inside and Outside Your Closets

Combining the general principles of making sure everything has its own storage space and thinking vertically will lead you to one elegant, extremely low-cost solution: hooks. Wallspace -- both inside and outside of your closets and shelving -- is mostly unused real estate. While a framed photo next to your front door looks nice, some cool brass hooks to hang your coats, bags, and umbrella are more practical. Check out some decorative door hooks that can go anywhere. If you’re smart, you can be practical, savvy and stylish at the same time.

The smaller the home the more valuable every single square inch is when it comes to storage, organization, and living space. By investing in some inexpensive storage aides and being smart when selecting furniture and decorative items (emphasizing function just as much as form), you can truly maximize any space. But before you do that, remember this: there are no tricks or tips to make a super-cluttered home organized. You must first declutter, downsize, and make some tough but necessary choices about what you choose to hold on to.

7 Smart Ways to Save on Home Remodeling

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The home remodeling process is similar to a cross-country trip in your car.  Along the way, you'll face many decisions and obstacles. For example, dealing with unexpected weather or choosing flooring materials.

With proper planning, these problems won’t stand a chance. However, without a plan, chances of getting stranded or lost in the wilderness of home remodeling will soar.

One problem that many homeowners looking to remodel their homes often face is high budget costs. It’s not uncommon for renovation budgets to spiral out of control, especially without proper planning.

In 2016, homeowners aged 55 years and over spent an average of $73,100 on renovations, according to this report.  Now, that’s a tidy sum of money!

Fortunately, there are ways that can ensure you keep more cash in your pocket. Dave from State Property Management, a property management company in Orlando, shared some of them with us:

1.  Use less expensive material that looks rich

You can give your home a luxury look without spending huge sums of money. For example, instead of solid wood cupboards in the kitchen and bath, select painted lower cost particleboard cupboards.

For your flooring, instead of solid hardwood flooring, select engineered wood. Or, rather than buy an expensive carpet, select a carpet in the middle-price range, then add an underpad for more cushioning.

2.  Repaint and repurpose

Who says that remodeling or renovating requires everything to be new?

To keep your remodeling budget under control, you want to save every penny you can. While it is tempting to replace old items with brand new ones, repurposing them can save you plenty of cash.

Repainting and repurposing is a good option especially for things that are outdated but still in good quality and condition.

This works best for things like bathroom vanities and kitchen cabinetry.

3.  Avoid costly design changes

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Major design changes can quickly spiral the cost of your home remodeling project. So, avoid them as much as you can. Moving the gas lines, electrical, and/or the plumbing can quickly lead to additional costs due to the additional supplies and labor.

For instance, if your kitchen has a functional layout that is in sync with the workflow of the stove, fridge, and sink, don't change it. By doing this, you’ll avoid the added cost of rerouting plumbing lines.

4.  Buy used building and renovation materials

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Many people have heard about used furniture and appliances, but few know that used building and renovation materials also exist.

You can find gently used flooring, windows, lumber, and other materials online. Habitat.org should get you started in this regard. You might find good prices on interior doors, windows, vanities, toilets, sinks, and kitchen and bath cabinetry.

Usually, contractors will donate the leftover supplies on subdivisions or custom jobs. As such, the materials will often be of high quality.

Aside from Habitat.org, you could also look online at sites like Greendemolitions.com. Here, you stand a chance of buying items at half the price of retail. Generally, you’ll find items like kitchen and bath cabinetry.

But, bear in mind that determining the quality of items you buy online can be a bit harder.

5.  Repurpose your old furniture into new built-ins

Here, creativity is vital. In addition, the more creative you are, the more savings you’ll get. You can repurpose your old kitchen into new built-ins to be used in various rooms around your home.

For instance, you can create a built-in family breakfast area by using the solid pine base of a round kitchen to anchor an extension on your kitchen counter. You could also refinish and repurpose an old desk into a front hall table for your entryway.

6.  Shop for the returned paint

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A lick of paint, if it’s the right paint, can do wonders. It’s an inexpensive way to revitalize your home’s look. But your costs may add up quickly, especially with paint prices ranging between $17 and $105 per gallon.

To save some money, consider purchasing “mistint” – the returned paint. This is the paint that a buyer bought but had second thoughts on. Or, one where there was an error in mixing.

However, bear in mind that returned paint or mistints come in limited quantities. As such, it may not be suitable for large spaces.

7.  Hire professional services

First up, outsource any big jobs. From a financial and legal perspective, hiring a professional makes the most sense. This is especially true if the work involves structural, electrical and plumbing work.

In addition, you’ll avoid any unexpected and unnecessary outgoings caused by DIY catastrophes.

Before you lock anyone in, it pays to do your research. Check up their certifications and professional experience. Do they measure up? Next, get several quotes per work to assist you to weigh up timeline and cost options.  

 If you are on a tight budget, these cost-cutting tips will help you stay one step ahead and still ensure a good ROI on your investment. Not all home remodels have to be expensive just like not all have to be dramatic.

 

6 Backyard DIY Remodeling Ideas

Summer is officially here and BBQ season is in full force. You may enjoy your patio by having family over on the weekends or entertaining friends or just simply relish a good book and a cocktail. Your backyard is in need of some love and care, but keeping it simple. Here are some meek and easy ideas to revamp your backyard.

1.    Clear the Clutter

 Clear the Clutter

Clear the Clutter

You’ll be surprised what a big difference you’ll see just by throwing out what you don’t use.  Or you may just find that some items just don’t belong in that space.  Once you are done with this process you’ll probably notice your backyard space looks just a little bigger too.

2.    Container Gardening

 Potted Plants

Potted Plants

The idea of using container gardening creates an all year round colorful design. Dress up your garden with gorgeous potted plants.

3.    Add a Swing

 Swing to your health

Swing to your health

Think swings are just for kids? Think again. A swing will not only add a beautiful touch to your patio but it will add health benefits as well. Swinging is good for your mental health, balance, muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and it helps to burn calories. So have that glass of wine and swing away.

4.    Paint the Fence

 Welcome to our backyard

Welcome to our backyard

Add curb appeal to your backyard by painting the fence. Shades of blues look beautiful all year round.

5.    A Bird Feeder

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Adding a bird feeder to your backyard has a lot more benefits than just feeding birds, it’s relaxing.  Choose a bird feeder that best fits your style and remember the food you purchase is the birds you’ll attract.

6.    Lights

 Backyard rustic chandelier

Backyard rustic chandelier

Don’t forget that lighting is the magic to the show. Adding string lights or a simple chandelier will add the last sparkle your backyard needs to welcome your guests and start the show.

 

 

Four Color Trends to Watch in 2018

 Behr's 2018 Color Trends

Behr's 2018 Color Trends

 

By now, most homeowners know how important color is to the overall look, feel, and style of your home. The predominant colors can impact, soften, and even outright change the mood of the inhabitants of a room.

Fortunately, it’s easy to change or refine your home’s color palette. Paint is relatively inexpensive, and you don’t even need to paint all four walls in a room to inject a new hue into its decor.

Are you planning a paint makeover for a room in your home next year? Consider boosting your home’s on-trend factor by implementing any of these color design trends. We think you’ll be seeing a lot of them next year.

1. Intense Over Soft

Well-known color space company Pantone has picked eight palettes it thinks will dominate home decor in 2018, emphasizing the allure of bold, intense colors.

One of Behr’s chosen trendy palettes also focuses on bold and beautiful tones. From a bright yet deep blue to a nearly saffron yellow, these shades would work beautifully together or on their own, perhaps on a single accent wall to avoid overpowering the room itself.

These shades aren’t for shy, retiring types … or maybe they are! After all, home decor color palettes are a safe, fun way to explore different sides to your personality. Experiment with bold, intense shades on your walls and in accent pieces to see what you think. If it doesn’t work for you, you can always change it later with a minimum of expense and effort.

2. Energizing Yellows and Oranges

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Yellows and oranges help energize and pump up the volume of any room. If you want to feel awake, alive, and alert, sunny yellows and citrusy orange tones can help.

However, these colors can also be a bit overwhelming. You may not want an entire room covered in bright yellow or orange paint. Additionally, they’re not always flattering to every human complexion, or design scheme for that matter.

Instead, try using bright sunny colors like lemon and saffron in more controlled, concentrated ways to add a small pop of color in a room. Use paint to freshen up a piece of wood furniture, or integrate these bright sunny shades in accent pieces such as throw pillows, rugs, and artwork.

3. Bold, Fresh Combinations

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Leave the boring tone-on-tone, “soft grey and white trim” combos in 2017. Step outside your color-wheel comfort zone by pairing hues you wouldn’t otherwise consider.

For example, chocolate brown and a stormy dark grey might strike you as a bad combination initially. But in practice, it can absolutely work, if you choose the right specific shades and use them in an appropriate design scheme. The same is true of navy blue with a pale, grown-up pink.

If you’re not sure whether a specific combo would look good on your walls, buy a flat piece of plywood that’s at least a few feet square and use it as a test canvas. Most paint stores will sell you small quantities of any shade they offer for testing purposes.

4. Go Royal With Regal Purple and Bright Blues

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Pantone’s color of the year for 2018 is Ultra Violet, a deep, inspirational shade of purple that brings to mind the creativity of musician Prince, sumptuous royal robes, and deep twilight skies. In announcing its choice, Pantone had this to say:

Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.

2018 include notable purples and blues, as well. Shades range from the light and lively to the dark and mystical. Darker blues and purples are beautiful choices to add a touch of the dramatic and mysterious to your walls. On the other hand, lighter shades of blue and purple are perfect when you want to create a more relaxing, restorative environment, such as a bedroom.

Where Will You Use Color in 2018?

Color can change so much about your home -- not just its look, but the mood, vibe, and even the way you use a space.

If you’re ready to recharge and revitalize your home with color in 2018, why not give us a call? We’ll be happy to consult with you on your painting and design projects.

 

4 tips to make your backyard safe for kids and pets

 photo credit:   Unsplash

photo credit: Unsplash

With the end of winter in sight, there’s never been a better time to start preparing for the advent of spring. Packing away your sweaters and planning for days in the park are two things most people think of when it comes to spring prep. However, there’s one consideration that should be at the top of every parent and pet owner’s spring to-do list: making your backyard kid and pet safe. It sounds like a big task, but doing so will give you the peace of mind to enjoy spring.

Here are four tips that will help transform your backyard into a childproof and pet-friendly area this spring.

1. Conduct a plant audit

You wouldn’t think that the plants in your backyard could pose a danger to both your children and pets. However, there are several common backyard plants and weeds that are poisonous, and if ingested could result in a trip to the hospital or vet.

For example, azalea, daffodils and kalanchoe are just a few of the many popular plants that cause vomiting, diarrhea and other side effects in cats and dogs. Rashes, upset stomachs, and even death can result if your child ingests plants like aster, juniper and boster. 

Conduct a plant audit to see if there are any plants that pose a risk to your pets and kids. Don’t forget to include weeds that have naturally popped up in your garden in your audit.

While you’re at it, take the time to clean up debris and hazards like old pieces of wood or brush piles. Mowing your lawn regularly is also a good idea to prevent any nasty weeds from cropping up and pest infestations.

2. Add fencing and alarms to your pool

Make necessary additions or modifications to ensure your pool area is safe. The unfortunate reality is that drowning is one of the leading causes of injury death in the US, and its children aged 14 and under who account for two of the 10 people who die every day from drowning. In fact, most drownings involving children occur in the pool when in the care of one or both parents at home at the same time.

The good news is that there are simple and proven measures you can take that will help prevent any accidents from occurring. In addition to constant adult supervision, you should install a pool fence that is at least 4 feet tall, has self-closing and self-latching gates with latches that are out of reach of children and should separate the pool from the house.

Another addition is to attach alarms to the pool door and side of the pool. Alarms are highly effective in alerting parents to any unusual activity in the pool area. These measures also protect your pets from pool incidents.

3. Safely secure, build, and maintain play structures

Taking the time to secure any play structures is a crucial step to make your backyard secure. One of the simplest ways to reduce injuries is to place play structures on a proper playground surface that is durable to soften the impact of a child's fall. Other considerations include choosing an area that is flat and free of hazards including water, rocks and debris.

When it comes to building play structures, always follow instructions to a tee. Don’t try to cut corners or rewrite the book – the specific instructions which come with each structure are tested to uphold safety standards so making any alterations will compromise them. 

You should also regularly inspect and conduct maintenance of all play structures in your backyard. Be sure to look out for any loose screws, broken or cracked areas, or unstable structures and immediately repair, replace, or stow away any unfit for play.

4. Store away dangerous objects

When you look at the gardening and entertainment items you keep stored in your backyard, most may seem innocuous. But through the eyes of a curious child or pet eager to explore, even the most harmless items can pose a danger. Stow all electrical equipment such as lawnmowers and pruning tools in a locked shed. Barbecues also pose a risk of burning or electrocution, so be sure to pack them away from any little ones’ reach once you’re done entertaining. The same goes for non-electrical items such as hedge trimmers, rakes and brooms.

With children and pets in tow, it’s always good to follow the mantra, “Better safe than sorry.” Always looking at your garden through a child or pet’s perspective will give you insight that will help you transform your backyard into a kid and pet-friendly environment.

Make Over Your Home with These Five Interior Design Trends for 2018

 Embrace the comfort

Embrace the comfort

Are you interested in sprucing up your home’s interior in 2018? Consider utilizing one or more of the trends in interior design that we’ve identified below.

We think these five trends will dominate the decor field throughout next year. In combination or alone, they can radically alter and enhance the aesthetic and personal value you perceive in your home’s rooms.

Whether you try one, a combination, or all five, these trends can be easily tailored and customized to express your own design principles and preferences.

Design, both in 2018 and beyond, should always be more about creating an interior space that is a more perfect expression of your tastes, needs, and preferences -- a place that both comforts and energizes you and your family. Use these trends to enhance and refine your own home space.

1. Embrace the Comfort

Cozy, comfy … the words we associate with home will receive special emphasis next year. With the high conflict and sociopolitical drama of 2017 hopefully behind us -- but also even if it continues (maybe especially then) -- homeowners will crave a safe, comfortable space that feels like a physical embrace.

The worldwide embrace of the Danish concept of hygge is one example of this continuing trend.

Reading nooks

Carving up larger spaces into smaller ones using furniture groupings, color, and textiles to create more intimate areas based on use

2. Experiment with Warm Materials and Colors

Color trends for 2018 include utilizing bold, bright hues to create drama and interest in a cost-effective, easily-managed way. You can also use colors as well as materials to create a warmer, cozier environment for your home.

Consider the difference between stainless steel and bronze. Immediately, one feels cooler, more industrial, more logical, and less emotional, while the other conjures up images of a farm kitchen, a warm “hearth and home” feeling. Other useful, warmer materials include cork and wood.

This extends to fabrics as well. Swap out textured choices such as burlap and pure cotton for more sophisticated choices. Breathable, natural textiles will create a cozier look and feel in most rooms.

3. Simple, Clean, Modern Lines

On the other hand, you’ll also see a return to simpler lines and construction when it comes to furniture and furnishings. Geometrically oriented designs and shapes will prevail over more ornate, rococo, and Baroque stylistic approaches.

You can experiment with this look in an interesting way by mixing it with the trend towards comfort and warmth, if you’d like to keep it from becoming too industrial in tone.

4. Upcycling and Recycling

Make the most of what you’ve already got by using recycled material wherever possible.

Another great trend to watch is upcycling: taking basic shapes and products and turning them into something new and fresh. For example, an old door can become a headboard. An interesting, solidly thrown pottery bowl can be transformed into a sink basin. Or a large tree stump can metamorphose into a beautiful coffee table.

Both upcycling and recycling signal a return to frugality and simplicity, which are themselves cultural and design trends we’ll see more of in the New Year. Simpler, unfussy, uncomplicated -- these are watchwords for interior design in 2018.

5. Luxe Touches

Of course, not everything in 2018 will be austerity and starkness. Experimenting with special touches, albeit in small and controlled ways, is a great way to add a touch of luxury to your home.

One way to do this is to swap out twill or blend fabric throw pillows for pillow covers in materials like velvet and suede. These fabrics convey luxury and richness, while still maintaining a pleasing textural look and feel for visual interest and comfort.

You can also add smaller pieces upholstered in leather, or with leather accents. The same principles apply here: rich, luxurious design values married with a more rustic, warm aesthetic.

Working With Design Trends

As with fashion, working with home design trends can help open up your design horizons, or it can force you to adopt a persona that doesn’t feel authentic. The trick to working with trends, then, is to curate them carefully and adopt them to your tastes and preferences, not the other way around.

And if you’d like some professional guidance on home interior makeovers next year, let us know. We’d love to help you refine and execute your vision.

Fresh Bathroom Caulk

Got brown or cracked caulk around your tub?  This is a sign you have aging caulk, which if not replaced will lead to mildew and if water leaks through; it will ruin your drywall.  Caulk is inexpensive and easy to install.  In about an hour, you’re bathroom will look refreshed.

 Fresh Bathroom Caulk Application

Fresh Bathroom Caulk Application

 

 

The Top 7 Home Renovations for the Money

If you’re going to go to the expense and effort of hiring a contractor, drawing up plans, and embarking on any substantial home improvement project, it’s completely understandable to be concerned about your ROI - that is, your return on investment.

Before we examine the home renovations with the best ROIs, it’s important to realize that there is no “one size fits all” answer to this question. What plays in Peoria -- or earns a great resale value in Virginia City -- may not work that well in another region of the country.

In fact, many factors can affect your resale value and how much of the cost of your project you can expect to recoup when you sell your house: climate and weather, your specific neighborhood, the housing market in general, local events and economic factors, and more.

Additionally, resale value should never be your only consideration when deciding whether to go forward with any kind of home improvement project. If you’re planning to continue living in your home, your future enjoyment of the improvement and your house in general should also be considered.

That being said, it’s definitely a good idea to include your potential return on such a substantial investment in the mix when you’re making home improvement decisions. So let’s take a look at the 7 projects that earn back the most in resale value for savvy homeowners.

1. Fix Up the Attic

 Attic Insulation

Attic Insulation

Surprised? The champion home renovation project where ROI is concerned is fixing up your attic. Whether it’s simply adding fiberglass insulation to your home’s attic (108% of the cost recouped on resale) or converting the entire space to an additional bedroom (93.5%), attic improvements bear great dividends.

And remember, this is just about resale value and cost recoupment. It doesn’t include additional energy savings (in the case of installing insulation) or the significant increase in usable square feet in your home.

2. Mini-Makeover on a Bathroom

 Bathroom Retile

Bathroom Retile

At 102% of its cost recouped on resale, a minor bathroom improvement project can more than earn back the project costs.

Here, we’re talking about smaller projects -- replacing a fixture, for example, or swapping out old, tired flooring for a new set of tiles.

You don’t have to replace the tub to spruce it up, though. Re-caulking and re-glazing for a new finish can also freshen up your bathroom’s look, as can a fresh coat of paint or wallpaper.

3. Improve Your Landscaping

 Home Landscaping

Home Landscaping

Don’t neglect your yard! An overhaul of your home’s landscaping can earn back the full cost of the project at 100%.

With costs ranging anywhere from a few hundred for plants from your local garden center to $3000 or more for a full-blown professional landscape design, there’s a wide range of improving you can do to your great outdoors.

If you’re not the outdoors-y type, and don’t have the budget for a professional designer, start with your favorite big-box garden center or local nursery. They’ll often sponsor free workshops and design services.

4. Improve Your Home’s Exterior

 Exterior Home Painting

Exterior Home Painting

While we’re thinking outside the box, take a look at your home’s facade, as well. Repairing or replacing old, worn-out vinyl siding or chipping paint, updating your porch and outdoor entry space, and freshening up the shingles can all greatly increase your home’s curb appeal

And at an average return on resale of 95.5%, it’s a sound investment in your home.

Just plan carefully before you begin, and explore new materials for even better results. For example, wrought-iron railings make for a more attractive entryway than boring old wood supports.

5. Tweak Your Kitchen

 New Kitchen Backsplash

New Kitchen Backsplash

Great news: if you want to give your kitchen a new look, but aren’t interested in a complete overhaul, even a minor tweak to the busiest room in your house can earn you up to 98% on resale.

New countertops, re-facing for your old cabinets, and swapping out old, clunky appliances for more energy-efficient models will all help you recoup the cost of improvement, and perhaps even save you additional money in electricity costs going forward.

You can also give your kitchen a budget-friendly makeover with new flooring and improved lighting fixtures.

6. Overhaul a Bathroom

 Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom Remodel

If your bathroom needs more than a simple spruce-up job, a major renovation can earn you 93% on resale.

Relocate or replace your major fixtures, or swap out an open or curbless shower for an old-fashioned tub. Upgrade to a ceramic tile floor and replace the exhaust fan.  Swap out old counters for a cleaner one to give your old vanity a whole new, more contemporary look.

7. Swap Out Front Door for Steel

 Steel Double Doors

Steel Double Doors

For a low-cost improvement with a high-sale recoupment percentage of almost 91%, consider swapping out your old, existing door for a steel model, perhaps with decorative window panels at the top for added visual appeal.

Doors like this will cost around $1000-1500, and earn back about $900-1200 on average, so they almost pay for themselves.

Bonus: This is a simple job that won’t take a lot of time to accomplish, and if you select the right color, it can add an eye-catching visual element to your home’s exterior as well.

Ready … Set … Renovate!

If you’d like to spruce up your home, but aren’t sure which project to start with, why not consult with a qualified, experienced home contractor in your area today?

Home Inspections Help You Keep Your New Home Safe

While a home inspection will usually cost a prospective buyer several hundred dollars, it’s an investment that you should definitely make.

Here’s why. Once your realtor has helped you locate a home you’re interested in purchasing and after you’ve made an offer which the owner has accepted, you’ll sign a contract that should include a contingency clause.

This clause simply provides that if inspection reveals a serious problem within a specified period of time, you can cancel or void your purchase contract without having to pay any penalty. However, inspections will also point out the areas that might not be quite that serious, but still need to be addressed to make your new home safe for you and your family.

While the idea of a home inspection might seem to associated with older homes, you should also plan to have a thorough inspection of newly built homes before purchase. Even recently completed construction can reveal design and construction defects, which might result in serious damage and pose health risks for years.

Home Inspections for New Home Purchases

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The quality of your inspection will depend in large part on the inspector you select.

You’ll undoubtedly find a wide range of levels of experience, skill, and attention to detail in your area’s inspectors so it pays to get recommendations from people who have recently purchased similar types of property in your area. If you can find an inspector who has reviewed homes in your specific neighborhood, so much the better!

Once your inspector concludes the inspection, they’ll prepare a written report outlining the results.

A helpful inspection report should specify whether the issue noted is a safety issue or a major defect, as opposed to a minor one. It should also distinguish between items that need to be replaced versus items that can be safely repaired instead. Ideally, it will also note any items that may be acceptable for the immediate future, but which should be monitored over time.

Plumbing, Leaks, and Mold

A primary area of concern for new home buyers is the potential for home water damage and resulting mold. You might be able to see external water damage fairly easily -- water spots on the ceiling, for example, or pooling water near exterior walls or the foundation.

But moisture can also cause damage in places that aren’t so easy to see, such as inside your walls. And if that’s not spotted and properly cleaned up in short order, the result will be dangerous mold. Mold resistant drywall can help reduce this risk but an inspector will be able to spot problems, using tools like infrared cameras when necessary.

Another spot that can signal current or future damage is the gutter and spout system for your home. If these aren’t channeling water freely and smoothly away from your roof, walls, and foundation, the result will be a damaged foundation or leaky roof. Loose or missing roof shingles can mean that water intrusion has occurred underneath.

Finally, the home’s plumbing system should be checked thoroughly for any sign of leaks or water pressure problems. If your home is “of a certain age” and so are the pipes, your inspector might recommend a more detailed review to estimate if replacement needs to take place and how soon. Specific points of investigation include visible lines, faucets, showers/tubs and their drains, and toilets.

Electrical Wiring, Appliances, and Other Fire Risks

Another potential health hazard in a house is the risk of fire from improper wiring, malfunctioning appliances or old panels. Depending on the age of the home and whether the wiring has been upgraded since construction, that could add a significant cost to your overall investment if you move forward with the purchase -- but you definitely don’t want to ignore problems in this area.

Other specific area of concerns include checking to make sure the laundry room is well ventilated, since a blocked exhaust on your dryer can present a significant risk of fire.

Your inspector will also inspect an attached garage, if there is one, as well as testing the house’s smoke detectors to make sure they’re functional.

HVAC and Asbestos

Your home inspector should also take a close look at your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The report should note how old the furnace and other HVAC elements are, whether they function properly, and to what extent any repairs or maintenance are needed or warranted.

Your inspector should also take a look at the ductwork and insulation in your home. Looking at these elements can help reveal whether there’s any asbestos that needs to be removed or whether there are any leaks that must be addressed.

What to Do After Your Inspection Report is Delivered

While an inspection might cost you more money, it’s money very well spent. If your report shows serious problems, you can walk away (assuming you have a contingency clause in your contract).

Alternatively, you can get quotes from qualified home contractors to fix the problems.

Whichever option you choose, a good home inspector is a smart investment to make in your future home’s safety!