A Few Small Changes

Simple and easy home remodeling projects can have a big impact on the functionality, appearance, and value of your home.

Consider The Kitchen
You may be dreaming of a major remodeling project and new appliances, but the budget doesn’t allow. Take a long look at your kitchen. A fresh coat of a paint in a bright and cheerful color and new curtains or window treatments are relatively inexpensive and easy to accomplish, but can add a whole new look to your kitchen.

Many older homes have solid and serviceable kitchen cabinets that may now appear old and dated. Rather than replacing the cabinets, consider refinishing or repainting and replacing hardware for a quick and easy new appearance. Old, dark and dreary cabinetry makes the room look smaller and less inviting. Refinishing your old dark wood cabinets in a bright color or a white-washed finish reflects light and makes the kitchen, the “heart-of-the-home” appear warm and inviting.

If you are considering putting your home on the market in the near future, a bit of paint may be all it takes to give the kitchen a fresh and inviting look without making a major investment that you may not re-coop at the time of sale.

Let In Some Light
Visit your local glass contractor’s showroom for inspiration and innovative ways to let more light into your home. You may want to add a skylight or install additional windows. If your home windows are dated and let in drafts and dust, think about replacing old windows with new energy-efficient windows with built-in UV filtering which allows in light but blocks the rays that fade carpets and damage furniture finishes.

Energy efficient replacement windows add a bright and “well-cared-for” appearance to the exterior of the home, save energy and lower utility bills.

Insulating And Weather Stripping
Adding additional insulation to an attic or weather-stripping all your windows and doors is an easy and inexpensive way to save energy while keeping out winter’s chill; an easy do-it-yourself weekend project that saves energy and enhances the value of your home.

Freshen Up The Entryway
The front door and exterior entryway of a home reflects its personality. Make sure your entryway makes a statement that reflects your personality, not the previous owner. Replacing or refinishing the front door adds visual appeal and replace the hardware will give the door a brand new appearance.

Is your front porch lighting fixture old and dated? Consider installing a new fixture to provide adequate lighting for safety and security. Inexpensive individual solar lights, installed along the pathway or walkway to your front door enhances the exterior appearance of the property while adding light for safety.

Minor Maintenance
Minor repairs about the house can make a huge difference. Do an inspection of your home, inside and out while creating a list of all of the little repairs that need to be taken care of. A loose shutter, cracks in the driveway, a wobbly porch handrail, or a hanging gutter are simple and inexpensive to repair, but left unattended, make a property appear neglected.

How to Maintain Your Home The Easy Way

In order for your home to maintain value and to remain in great condition, you must consistently keep up with home repairs. There are several choices you, as a homeowner, will face in regard to these tasks. While small repairs or jobs may not require extensive knowledge and know-how, be sure to use a professional when it comes to more complex home-maintenance work.

Whether your priorities are focused on the interior or exterior, siding your house, roof repair, or leaking faucets in the kitchen, yhough it may seem costly, hiring professionals ensures the job will only need to be done once and done the right way. Ask for references and take the time to find a reputable professional so that you can feel comfortable putting your money in the hands of someone with experience and service-specific knowledge.

Paying a professional to fix a leak may save you money in the long run when you won’t be facing water damage during those rainy seasons. Another great example of spending money in order to save money can be relayed to replacing your windows. Updating your windows keeps your home insulated from the heat and cold, which in turn can save you a lot of money on energy bills down the road.

Repairs negate the possibility of future damage-related bills and also can add value to your home, which, in today’s housing market, is important. Set goals for yourself, as well as a fixed budget. Focus on fixing up one room at a time or completing one project each year and be sure to consider all of the benefits of not only maintaining your home, but utilizing trained professionals.

Home Maintenance Checklist

We think of the spring and fall as home clean up time but taking advantage of the warmer weather and time off from work makes summer the perfect time to do a home maintenance checkup.

Get Ready for Cooler Weather

Do an Energy Audit
Take a walk around your home and take an inventory of gaps and cracks. Plugging leaks can save you 20% on heating and cooling bills. Look for gaps under switch plates. If you find gaps install foam inserts. Make sure to turn off the electricity at the circuit box before doing this.

Don’t forget to check where windows meet walls, walls meet floors and pipes and wires enter the home. Plug all gaps with caulk. Other places to find leaks are fireplace dampers, mail slots, air conditioners, attic doors, baseboards and the weather stripping surrounding doors. Look for daylight, feel for drafts and listen for rattles; all clues to escaping heat.

Now look outside the house. Look for gaps or damage where pipes, vents or wiring enter. Also check siding for gaps or damage, pay attention to corners where the material joins and where it meets other materials, like chimneys, windows or the foundation.

Save Money on Heat and Hot Water
Save on heating costs next winter by insulating the hot-water pipes in the basement or crawl space. Insulating pipes is easy; all you need to do is snap foam jackets (called sleeves) around the pipes. Make sure you know the pipe’s diameter to get the correct fit.

Get the Outside in Tip-Top Shape

Pretty the Patio
There is nothing more uninviting than dirty patio furniture. Mix up a bucketful of soapy bleach solution to keep your patio furniture squeaky clean. Mix 2/3 cup trisodium phosphate (TSP), 1/3 cup laundry soap powder, a quart of bleach and three quarts of warm water. Use a rag and soft-bristle brush to remove embedded dirt on synthetic coverings, metal and wood furniture. Rinse thoroughly and let dry.

Don’t destroy the deck
Don’t let your pretty deck flowers rot your wood deck. Make drainage room in your potted plants by setting pots on pot “feet”. For a frugal solution; just prop bricks under the pots.

Look out for tree trouble
Trees that hang over your roof, rub against gutters or dropping loads of leaves and sticks onto the roof should be pruned. Overhanging branches can provide a ladder for rats and squirrels, and diseased or damaged trees may fall on your home in a storm.

Fix the fence
Look for damage along the fence line. Mow the grass next to the fence low so you can get good visibility. Keep your fence in tip-top shape by make prompt repairs. Check fence posts for signs of rot (poke soft spots in the wood for crumbling or decay). Remove and replace the damaged areas. Keep fences painted or stained to protect the wood. If dogs or other animals are tunneling under the fence attach a 2-foot-wide apron of wire mesh around the inside perimeter of the fence.