Every season brings along its own difficulties and obstacles pertaining to keeping your house in good shape… especially summer. In NC the humidity is INSANE. I mean seriously, sometimes I feel like the outside is the equivalent of taking a shower. This heat, humidity & sun can lead to some drastic damage to your home and yard. Check out these few useful tips to keep your home in shape during the hottest time of the year.
1) Reverse Your Ceiling Fan(s)
In the winter & fall, your ceiling fan is supposed to turn clockwise –
in order to pull the cool air up to mix with the warm air above (because heat rises). When this happens, then the fan pushes that new warm air out of the sides of the blades keeping the temperature stable. In the summer, remember to reverse the direction of your fan (there should be a button on the side of the motor above the blades) - When you do this, the fan blades should then turn counter-clockwise, pushing the cool air back down creating a nice breeze.
2) Clean/Replace The AC Filter
This is a very crucial tip, not only to help keep your home cool, but keep your air clean. Every house with an Air Conditioner has a filter that should be replaced every month at the LEAST – especially if it is running at an all-time high. This is a super simple chore! All you have to do is purchase the new filter (around $6), then replace the old one with the new clean one. If you are lucky enough to have the nice filters that last longer, you may only need to replace it around every 3 months. Remember - replacing these filters in a timely manner not only keeps your house more clean but provides you with better quality air!
3) Examine The Washing Machine
I know what you’re thinking… yes, even your washing machine needs maintenance every now and then. When you have a break between loads of laundry or when your washer is not in use, do yourself a huge favor to your clothes and nose by inspecting the seal between the drum and door opening. In this area, it is super common for soil buildup and stains to spread without being seen. This gunk can start to smell really stinky and can even create dirty marks on your clothes from the dirt deposits. If you see any buildup of this sort, you can easily clean it with a gallon of warm water mixed with ¾ cup of chlorine bleach. Wipe the area with the solution after mixing & let it sit for about 5 minutes. After this, wipe dry with a paper towel or cloth, & let it air dry (leaving the washer door open for awhile). I can already smell the freshness!
4) Insect Prevention 101
Insects are COLD blooded. This means they can’t regulate their body temperatures on their own – that is why you don’t see many bugs out during the fall & winter. Some of the most common pests that thrive during the summer months are flies, mosquitos, bees, wasps & hornets.
There are actually many ways to prevent each of these pests, but I won’t go into too much detail – ill stick with the basics!
First things first, do the small things (to your actual home) to prevent the bugs from getting inside. These include:
Starting out with these 3 steps will help more than you know. When you inspect your house with the mind of an insect, you will be surprised at how many ways they are actually able to get inside!
Next, take these measures to bring prevention to the next level:Obvioulsy you can buy bug reppellents at a store that are targeted for specific pests, but here are some natural solutions which can be useful inside & outside the home. Pungent-smelling plants can ward off insects, like mint & rosemary. Also, lemongrass and geraniums contain Citronella Oil, which bugs despise! Use it to your advantage!
Have you ever heard of integrated pest management?! This concept refers to fighting insects with their natural enemies. Birds, spiders, bats & geckos are all natural enemies of insects. So keep this in mind next time you are trying to ‘shoo’ that songbird away from your flowers.
Last tip - insects thrive in dark, warm, damp areas - especially mosquitos. When you are trying to keep the bugs away, be sure to keep the moisture down as much as you can inside your home. This means keeping the counters wiped down, making sure leaks are fixed & clogged gutters are cleared. Also, make sure spare food particles are scarce by taking out the trash more frequently, cleaning dirty dishes right away & sweeping leftover crumbs off the floors to prevent bugs from finding food sources inside.
It is typically best to water in the early evening. This is the time when the plants & grass most likely are not in direct sunlight, and also allows enough time for the plants to soak up the water before nightfall. Also, less water is able to evaporate than during mid-day when it’s the hottest it will be outside. Plants can sufficiently be supplied with plenty of water before the next day’s heat. If you would rather water early in the morning, that is perfectly fine too - just make sure it is before sunrise or around that time because as soon as the sun goes up the water will start to evaporate in these hot summer days!http://theconversation.com/the-best-time-to-water-your-plants-during-a-heatwave-99244
6) Avoid Too Much Humidity
Humidity isn’t just outside, its inside too. Make it minimal by remembering to keep surfaces dry. For example, make sure to dry your sink & counter after washing dishes, brushing your teeth & showering. When left to ‘dry out’ sometimes this doesn’t happen and water droplets can turn to mold or residue which leaves nasty buildup between tiles and shower corners. If you already do this, but the buildup is still happening, there may be a problem with your AC unit. Typically AC units in homes have features to eliminate humidiy, but it could be possible these features are not working properly or even broken. If this is the case, call Palmetto and we can refer you for the best maintenance you can get!
Hoping these tips help keep your home dry and bug free during the summer. Many hot days are still to come!
Without proper management, even the best properties can turn rotten
quick& because of this, it can’t be neglected. Obviously, you can attempt to be your own property manager, but this could easily come at a cost to you not only from your pockets but take a toll on your energy as well (& sometimes even your sanity). If you are debating which road to take; doing it yourself VS having a property management company… well here is how Palmetto Equity Group just may in fact be the better choice.There’s infrastructure already in placeAt our property management company, well, we do property management. We KNOW what we are doing and have the structure [already] in place for every aspect you can think of. From tenant payment, to rules and restrictions, and even every single question and detail that needs to be asked to potential clients and future tenants. These take years to get structured. So, to find a company that already has this key ingredient in what you need is a huge load off your shoulders. Ability to save timeMany people think property management is easy. In some cases, it can be, but most of the time it takes some tough decision making and negotiation. There are several mistakes that people make when trying to be 'DIY' on their home and end up spending more money and time because they weren’t able to foresee these bumps in the road. You may think you are saving money by doing it yourself – but in the long run you probably aren’t.It’s pretty much like having a mentor. Especially when you hire a trusted company that will work their butt off to help save you money and not over spend on things that aren’t absolutely necessary. The experience with anything and everything –“Oh my walls are molding”, “There’s a pork chop bone stuck in the toilet”, “My kids kicked their soccer ball through the wall and busted a pipe”, “Our ceiling fan in the master is spinning slower than the one in the den”, “So, the roof worker fell through my ceiling this morning”, …we have been through it all… One thing our company really aids with is having a reliable maintenance department that can trouble shoot people through the phone. Knowing preventatives, what doesn’t work vs. what works to save service calls, time & money is a big key in successful growth. Palmetto has trusted vendor relationships with people that not only we RELY on, but that they know will get the job done satisfactory. AND we don't add any fees on top of what the vendors charge for their business or on top of our application fees. Our number one priorities are you as clients. We pass the savings to you - and that’s how it should be! Marketing channels & networking skillsHaving smart and experienced Real Estate agents are really what can set apart a fabulous property management company. Good thing we have multiple of them! Knowing the market trends, not only for the Real Estate Market, but for the online Media Markets, is crucial. Typically, people that want to do their own management really don’t understand how much time and effort it takes to get a property rented out and maintenance properly to pass inspections. Not only will you have to fix everything yourself, but you would have to figure out lockboxes for your properties, market them, schedule tenant tours, figure out applications, and deal with regulated showings (and this is all before it even gets rented out). Then when there is an actual tenant living in the property, there WILL at some point be maintenance issues. Palmetto Equity acts as a buffer between the landlord and tenant so that things can get fixed and issues get resolved without the landlord breaking a sweat. THEN, when the tenant ultimately moves out at some point, we take the reins to schedule another tenant to move in as soon as possible after that previous tenant leaves. In summary, having us as your property management company can really make your life easier if you are deciding to rent out your home or property. Should the need arise – I think you now know what to do.
& because of this, it can’t be neglected.
Obviously, you can attempt to be your own property manager, but this could easily come at a cost to you not only from your pockets but take a toll on your energy as well (& sometimes even your sanity).
If you are debating which road to take; doing it yourself VS having a property management company… well here is how Palmetto Equity Group just may in fact be the better choice.
At our property management company, well, we do property management. We KNOW what we are doing and have the structure [already] in place for every aspect you can think of. From tenant payment, to rules and restrictions, and even every single question and detail that needs to be asked to potential clients and future tenants. These take years to get structured. So, to find a company that already has this key ingredient in what you need is a huge load off your shoulders.
Many people think property management is easy. In some cases, it can be, but most of the time it takes some tough decision making and negotiation. There are several mistakes that people make when trying to be 'DIY' on their home and end up spending more money and time because they weren’t able to foresee these bumps in the road. You may think you are saving money by doing it yourself – but in the long run you probably aren’t.
It’s pretty much like having a mentor. Especially when you hire a trusted company that will work their butt off to help save you money and not over spend on things that aren’t absolutely necessary.
“Oh my walls are molding”, “There’s a pork chop bone stuck in the toilet”, “My kids kicked their soccer ball through the wall and busted a pipe”, “Our ceiling fan in the master is spinning slower than the one in the den”, “So, the roof worker fell through my ceiling this morning”, …we have been through it all… One thing our company really aids with is having a reliable maintenance department that can trouble shoot people through the phone. Knowing preventatives, what doesn’t work vs. what works to save service calls, time & money is a big key in successful growth. Palmetto has trusted vendor relationships with people that not only we RELY on, but that they know will get the job done satisfactory. AND we don't add any fees on top of what the vendors charge for their business or on top of our application fees. Our number one priorities are you as clients. We pass the savings to you - and that’s how it should be!
Having smart and experienced Real Estate agents are really what can set apart a fabulous property management company. Good thing we have multiple of them! Knowing the market trends, not only for the Real Estate Market, but for the online Media Markets, is crucial. Typically, people that want to do their own management really don’t understand how much time and effort it takes to get a property rented out and maintenance properly to pass inspections. Not only will you have to fix everything yourself, but you would have to figure out lockboxes for your properties, market them, schedule tenant tours, figure out applications, and deal with regulated showings (and this is all before it even gets rented out). Then when there is an actual tenant living in the property, there WILL at some point be maintenance issues. Palmetto Equity acts as a buffer between the landlord and tenant so that things can get fixed and issues get resolved without the landlord breaking a sweat. THEN, when the tenant ultimately moves out at some point, we take the reins to schedule another tenant to move in as soon as possible after that previous tenant leaves.
In summary, having us as your property management company can really make your life easier if you are deciding to rent out your home or property. Should the need arise – I think you now know what to do.
First things first,
In pretty much every circumstance, smart homebuyers will always have a property professionally inspected before purchasing... EVEN in a seller’s market.
Buyers nowadays are really quite savvy, according to Robin Kencel, associate broker with the Robin Kencel Group of Compass Real Estate in Connecticut. This is why it’s critical for sellers to get their own home inspection before putting their house on the market – so they know where it may fall short of buyer’s expectations. “The more we can head off anything that can be a negotiation point, the better”, claims Kencel.
When sellers have their own inspections to prepare, this gives them the forefront of any house problems that would be an issue in the future sale. It also gives an opportunity to make any inexpensive repairs to avoid unpleasant surprises during buyers inspections. I can be the first to tell you that when you own a home, you soon become blind by small insignificant issues that guests would notice right when they come in. Like small cracks in the caulking on walls or gradual stains that have popped up on the wood panels of your home.
For first-time homebuyers, inspections can be life-savers. As a crucial part of the buying process, it allows people to see flaws and potentially back out of a sale if needed. Your real estate broker is most likely able to make recommendations for trusted home inspectors, but if not, look for an experienced professional that has a good score with Better Business Bureau, has great reviews & positive references. Also, make sure to ask for a copy of their inspection form to see what items are covered in their inspection.
Inspectors do provide extraordinary service that is very important, however, they do not have the ability to upgrade a house. They just make sure everything in the house is working properly.
With that in mind – here is a preparation checklist to do before an inspection that will ultimately help you get your home ready to put on the market...
Make sure switches are covered and lights are working –
In a typical home inspection, it includes a visual review of the electrical system. Apparently it is a pretty common problem to have non-working lights during a home inspection. The inspector will make sure all the wiring underneath the covers meets industry & state standards and will ultimately decide if you need a licensed electrician to come for further review. Another small but important thing – if you have any cracked or missing covers for your electrical outlets, it only cost 49 cents to buy a new one at the hardware store and takes less than 3 minutes to replace. This will save you from another mark on the inspection report!
Routine maintenance tasks are YOURS –
It’s the simple things you need to focus on first. Make sure carbon monoxide detectors are in working order with fresh batteries (along with smoke alarms). Also, replace filters on furnaces & air conditioning units.
When buyers come to look at the home, if they see these ‘small’ maintenance tasks ignored, they will only be brought to the assumption or question of what else has been ignored in keeping up the house. Also keep in mind that inspectors will be checking built-in appliances to make sure they are in working order and take note of any obvious maintenance defects in their report.
Clean out the mechanical room –
According to J.B. Sassano, president of home improvement firm Mr. Handyman, a Neighborly Company, it’s important to clean out your mechanical room as well as check for any problems or leaks with your HVAC system. “Inspectors are going to look for the big-dollar items”, Sassano says. It’s easier for inspectors to get a clear look at the system if you keep up with it and keep it clean.
Make sure fireplaces & appliances can be tested -
Like I said before, it’s the little things. The inspector won’t be able to test your washer and dryer if there are clothes all over the place. They will also want to see if a gas fireplace is in working order alright so in that case make sure the pilot is lit. Inspectors will not go and light a pilot.
If for some reason, an inspector isn’t able to test an appliance or fireplace, it is a possibility they may note for the seller to demonstrate it to the buyers. AKA one more thing on your to-do list before closing, so its best to make sure and get it prepared so you don’t have to worry about ‘working order’ when there is a possible buyer in the home.
Walk around the exterior -
Important things to look out for on exteriors are peeling paint, hanging gutters or even loose siding. According to Deborah Savoie, a realtor with Long and Foster Real Estate, Inc. in Maryland, buyers “need to look at their house like they are going to buy it again.” Which is soo true. THEN, correct the problems before they become that potential problem for the actual buyer! Inspectors and buyers will both be wary of crumbling foundation or standing pools of water… wouldn’t you?
Check windows and doors –
This can be a sticky topic for homes older than 30 or 40 years old… literally and metaphorically. The vinyl windows can actually become sticky and difficult to open, especially if they haven’t been opened in quite some time. An easy fix for that is simply getting some inexpensive silicone spray from a home improvement store to help all windows be able to open and close.
It is also recommended to check all interior and exterior doors in that they open and close easily too. Lubricate if needed, and clear out tracks of sliding doors. If by some chance you have wood-framed windows, make sure they don’t have any rotten or soft spots. Inspectors will also be keeping an eye out for gaps in the window framing – to fix this you should be able to just caulk it up to close the gaps.
Old water stains need to go – CHECK OUT THIS BEFORE AND AFTER ^
A stain in your home, no matter on a wall, ceiling or floor, leads to questions and uncertainty. With any stain, an inspector will use a moisture meter to determine if it is recent. Depending on the outcome, he or she will then make note and recommend a professional to handle the cause of the stain. If it is simply just an old stain, it is still crucial to cover it up with paint because who wants a leery stain hindering the sale of their home?
Look for mold! –
Mold has become very scary and will certainly ward off potential buyers. Fortunately, most mold can be killed off with a fungicide found at home improvement stores. Also try adding a dehumidifier to a room to dry it out and take moisture out of the air. This will also help prevent future mold from growing. (Make sure to check attics, basements, garages & bathrooms).
Declutter, declutter, declutter! –
Okay, an inspector doesn’t keep note on how your home is staged, but keeping it clean really helps the process. Even if you are nervous that cleaning and decluttering will uncover undesireable elements, Savoie claims there are often simple and inexpensive ways to address the questionable area. For example, she says “you don’t have to re-stain your floor. You just have to clean it (with the cleaning product) Old English.” Use your connections with your real estate agent (AKA Palmetto Equity Group) to determine the best ways to not break the bank & address unsightly features.
If your home has issues.. be upfront -
If by some chance, you have a difficult review to deal with and can’t easily be fixed, go ahead and notify a prospective buyer. The last thing you want is for the buyer to be suspicious of you hiding flaws or being dishonest about the quality of your home. It’s not always possible to fix all problems before an inspection or even after, so it definitely is always an option to offer a credit at closing so the buyers can make whatever updates they need themselves.
When buyers receive the inspection report, they most likely will connect with their broker. Ultimately, they will decide on overlooking certain defects (if there are any), and going ahead with the purchase, OR taking a step back to the negotiating table because they weren’t impressed.
So, impress them!Source: https://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/a-checklist-for-home-inspections
Splitting chores, figuring out parking spaces, claiming closets & letting your significant other down easy on their bad taste in décor.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2017, more than 7.3 million homes were inhabited by unmarried partners. Combined with the astounding 61 million married households in the U.S. in 2018, well, there are plenty of people living together with their significant other. The process of combining 2 worlds into 1 is much harder than you think, whether you are a boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé or spouse. The minimum requires ENDLESS patience and planning and of course an open mind.
Here are 7 tips to help make moving in together a success.
1 – Talk TOGETHER about location and cost. There are tons of options for living arrangements - live in the current house or apartment, move into the others place or find a new place to call ‘home’. There are plenty of aspects that come into play here. Make sure you and your partner are on the same or similar pages regarding proximity to work locations & even distance from frequent or popular spots.
Often times, people find it best for both sides to move into a completely new home or apartment in order for both partners to start with a clean slate. This way the decorating can be done by both partners & also new memories are able to be made + shared together. It’s important to feel equal ownership to the place you inhabit so that there is a strong identity between your lives together and your home together.
2 - ESTABLISH FORMAL RESIDENCYOkay obviously not everyone can afford to buy a home early on in a relationship, so renting a home is a fabulous option too. In whichever case you choose, it is important to establish residency for future endeavors. Check out this link for requirements in establishing residency:https://www.wikihow.com/Establish-ResidencyIf you’re renting a home, make sure both names are on the lease agreement (which is usually a priority from the rental company anyway). A good way to stay on track with utilities or rent Is to have a set date for each month that money is deposited or collected to put towards those payments.
3 - WHAT YOU HAVE VS. WHAT YOU NEED
Make sure to discuss what you need vs. what you already have. When combining two households into one, you’ll soon realize there wasn’t as much space as you thought. With 2 of many things, don’t feel the need to hang on to things that aren’t a necessity. And with things you don’t have but need (like a small dining table for example) try using Facebook Marketplace or some other second-hand app to buy what you need until you save up for something new. You would be surprised of the great deals you can find on already used items!
4 - STORE OR GIVE AWAY DUPLICATES & UNEEDED ITEMS
There are bound to be items you and your partner won’t want anymore…like that old shower curtain that doesn’t match the new bathroom or that floor mat that now has hair all over it and smells like wet dog. SO either donate it to Goodwill or you can always sell your things if they are in decent condition. Here is a list of Apps that you can sell your items on:
POSHMARK – clothes, shoes & accessories
FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE - anything
LET GO – anything
MERCARI – clothes, shoes & accessories
5 MILES – (local) anything
CAROUSELL – anything
OFFERUP – anything
VINTED – clothes
DEPOP – clothing, accessories & similar items
NEXTDOOR – this app is mainly for keeping up with your community, but you can also sell pretty much anything on it
If you have items you simply don’t have space for but absolutely don’t want to give them away, rent a storage unit! They really aren’t as expensive as you think. Just do your research and compare quotes to find the best space.
5 - COMPROMISE ON DÉCOR
“Sorry honey, but that couch from the Frat days has got to go.”
Often times, couples can get a little heated with their preferred ‘design aesthetic’. Keep communication open and also have an open mind for your new space together. Maybe one partner takes more control of the living spaces and the other is able to put their taste into the bedroom or the game room. There is always a solution to every problem. Even when that problem is that your partner has not-that-great taste. With compromise you both will be able to design your home together and ultimately be satisfied with the decisions.
6 - DIVIDE CLEANING & MAINTENENACE
It’s all fun and games until you actually have to vacuum, mop and take out the trash. It’s not exactly the first thing couples think about, but once you finally move in together, choirs become super relevant super fast. To keep smooth sailing, try having a conversation beforehand regarding which choirs you don’t mind vs. which one’s your partner prefers. For example, I actually sort of kind of like cleaning the bathrooms (or shall I say don’t mind it that much) and my partner feels the same about vacuuming & mopping… which works perfect.
One thing that is very important is to make sure the division of labor is split evenly. It is critical to have clear conversations in dialogue of which jobs each partner is doing and how much of a toll it takes from your free time. For example, one partner may work from home and the other may work a 60-hour week and have to commute. It’s healthy at this point to rebalance tasks so both people are pulling the similar weight and also have the ability to relax at home after work as well.
7 - REMEMBER ITS OKAY TO HIRE PROFESSIONAL HELP
I know this isn’t the most popular or inexpensive option, but it can really help if there is a constant struggle in the living arrangements. If you and your partner feel you could genuinely benefit from a 3rd party’s unbiased opinion in order to help make living together a success, go for it!
Even a financial advisor could really help counsel you and your partner to make smart decisions. According to Joyce Marter, licensed psychotherapist with Refresh Mental Health in the Chicago area, “The two main reasons people come into couple’s counseling are issues about finances and issues about communication.” This is so true.
Efficient communication is imperative for success in any and all relationships. This includes financial talk. Sometimes it isn’t the funnest conversation, especially if one side is struggling more than the other… but just communicate and make goals with each other so you can be successful as one in your financial situation and ultimately your relationship living together.
Everyone (almost), gets the idea in their head at some point that they can take on a home improvement project by themselves. I know I have… and I also know that I can be a bit over-confident sometimes. In some cases, fixing something yourself can honestly be a great way to cut costs on a project. BUT, often times, this over-confidence can just lead to putting yourself in a dangerous situation or even setting you back further than when starting. No matter how many YouTube videos you watch on ‘DIY how to’ do this or that, there are some home projects that are just a “DIY Don’t.”
DON’T SKIP THE PERMIT PART
Did you know that there are permit regulations when conducting electrical, heating, air work or plumbing? Depending on the location, there are requirements needing to be met about standards of quality, according to Michael Flanagan- heating, ventilation, and air conditioning manager for Michael & Son Services in Richmond, VA. Typically to get the permits there is a fee, but it is worth the small price rather than risking getting caught doing it without a permit or even doing the work wrong (which is something I would do). ______________________________________________________________
EXPOSED WIRES = NOT GOOD
Obviously, exposed wires are not a good thing. At all. At my home we recently had an issue with our dryer – it stopped working unexpectedly. We had no idea how old it was or why it wasn’t working so we scheduled a professional to come look at it just in case. You would be amazed at what was found underneath the machine! Apparently, the people that lived there before tried to solve a dryer issue themselves (most likely) & had an issue with the duct connection so LEFT it unconnected to the base of the dryer underneath. Not only that, but once inside the bottom of the machine, there were tons of exposed wires, lint & dirt all over. It was filthy, and we were shocked at how nasty it was. The man taking it apart literally stopped during this process, looked up and said, “You are SO lucky this hasn’t caught on fire… I don’t know HOW it hasn’t caught fire…” Wow… that’s settling. Do yourself and the next person a favor and get your improvement projects done right! It’s worth it. Especially ones involving wires.
_______________________________________________________________ ELECTRICAL FIXES ARE HARDER THAN YOU THINK
When I have seen people come put light fixtures up in our home, I remember thinking… ‘that looks kinda easy I bet I could of done it.’ HA. There are so many dangers to working with circuits. The main worry being blowing a fuse. Dave Geradine, the owner of Expert Home Repairs in Hollywood, FL, says electrical work is most sensitive because of all the variations a connection can have. The flaws may not be apparent until it’s too late. He says, “If you don’t make your connections properly, you can have…an electrical fire caused by an arcing of the two wires that aren’t tightly connected.”_____________________________________________________________________
DON’T CLOSE THE VENTS
Okay am I the only one that has closed vents in my house to make the air go to a different room? Oops. Apparently this is a huge No-No. Closing vents to force more air to a different part of the house actually slowly but surely destroys the efficiency and shortens the life of the equipment dramatically. _______________________________________________________________
NEW FLOORING ON-TOP OF THE OLD ONE
I love a brand spankin’ new floor. It’s a fabulous way to freshen up a room and make it feel new again. However, you should always always remove the old material, such as linoleum or tile, before starting on the new flooring. If you choose not to, you will most likely run into problems like an uneven surface, or problems under the original flooring that will be even more difficult to get to. Then you will have to go through the process and replace it yet again. “You always want to go down to the bare wood or concrete surface when you do new flooring,” says Geradine… and if you don’t, “What’s underneath your new flooring fails, & then your tile comes up.” __________________________________________________
PLACING OUTLETS NEAR A SINK OR TUB
You don’t have to be a genius to know that water and electricity don’t mix. When you are remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, it is crucial to use the ground-fault circuit interrupter near any area with water. A GFCI is that funky outlet with the buttons on it that you have to press in order to make your blow-dryer turn back on when it’s not working. If your appliance is plugged into the GFCI outlet and falls into water, the outlet will trip the electricity, so it cuts off. This is such a great invention. I’m all for preventing electrocution so I highly recommend these outlets. ________________________________________________________________
USING TAPES AND ‘ALL PURPOSE’ GLUES
Unfortunately, duct tape isn’t as effective as most people think it is, and neither are the fancy glues and tapes that supposedly will make your boat still float when its cracked in half (yeah right). Flanagan claims that when it comes to gluing or taping something together, there’s typically a specific adhesive needed that will be most effective and least likely to cause problems in the future. For example, he says air and heating professionals use foil tape. _________________________________________________________________
NAILS ON DECK
Did you know that when you are building a deck, you are supposed to use sturdier & bigger bolts depending on how many people the deck will be holding? Home inspectors frequently see decks attached to homes with nails, when the builder SHOULD have secured the wood with specific bolts. Frank Lesh, the executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors, claims “every year a deck collapses because a guy just used a whole bunch of nails to attach it to the house."______________________________________________
PAINTING WALLS PREVIOUSLY PAINTED OR WALL PAPERED
If you take on this project at home, you surely want to take all the right steps. It is a popular idea that simply painting several coats of paint over a wall can have it looking brand new, but it is super important to get the surface clean and smooth before starting these steps. This is especially for getting rid of old wallpaper or chipped paint. If wallpaper is left on the wall before a paint job, the wallpaper will moisten and start to bubble. Then you will have to deal with this whole other issue of popping bubbles on your wall and I don’t think anyone wants to do that. Instead of having to re-trace your steps, just take the extra time to do it right and get the surface smooth and clean first.
REPLACING OLD PIPES WITHOUT HAVING THEM CHECKED FIRST
Okay this one was a shocker for me. TLC is greatly needed for many older homes out there, but it is super critical to be on your toes about the dangers lurking beneath the surface. Especially with piping. There is a chance that old plumbing materials could contain asbestos. Obviously, that’s not good. You don’t want asbestos to get into the air because it could contain hazardous material. And no, a dust mask won’t help. The fibers are microscopic and can SERIOUSLY injure you long term. With this job, you should seek an experienced professional to make sure particles aren’t left in the air when the job is finished.
In summary, if you are *at all* unsure about a project, don’t hesitate to just call a professional for advice, if not to do the job for you. “With the trades- plumbing, heating, air and electrical – there may be five ways to do it right, but there’s a thousand ways to do it wrong. And people tend to find those thousand ways before they find the five ways. So if you’re not quite confident and competent in what you’re doing, you should just call a professional.” Flanagan says.
If you own a home, you surely know the overwhelming commitment it takes to keep it in good shape. There is ALWAYS a never-ending list of home improvement projects… I constantly find myself saying “It’s always something!” in frustration while cleaning up paint chips coming off the windows or finding a tiny leak coming from who-knows-where onto the kitchen floor. Not only is it difficult keeping up with everything that needs fixing up but knowing when to do it usually ends up being the lingering question.
Ultimately, the best time to start a home improvement project is when you actually have the time. But if you want to set yourself up for success by planning ahead, read on for some great timing tips.
1 | PAINTING INTERIORS Best time: Winter
The nice thing about painting interiors is that you have heating and air conditioning. The main concern in this environment however, is the humidity. Moisture in the air will cause the paint to dry slower and also effect the texture of how it dries (It won’t be even). This means summer probably isn’t the best time to start a paint job on the interior of your home. Save that project for the winter when the air is at its driest.
2 | ELECTRICAL UPDATES:Best time: Winter
Obviously electrical work isn’t recommended around rain or thunderstorms… but honestly, this type of project can really happen just about any time of the year. BUT, according to Dennis Burke, owner of Mr. Electric of Southeast New Hampshire, doing these updates in the winter will actually help you avoid the influx of homeowners doing the same thing during late spring and early summer. He claims “Labor Day to Thanksgiving is also really busy.”
3 | BUILDING A DECKBest time: Winter
Okay okay… I know winter doesn’t seem like the BEST time of year to be outside building a deck, but it’s actually the best time of year for the wood! It is reported by deck builders and contractors that “pressure-treated wood” (best for deck building), stabilizes the best when humidity is super low. Plus, don’t forget about how easily that scorching sun can either crack the wood or make it bend with added moisture in the air.
4 | BATHROOM REMODELBest time: Winter or Spring
Bathroom remodeling can occur successfully during any month. But if you want to avoid the other 48% of homeowners apparently wanting to do the same thing, avoid the rush during summer and start this project earlier in the year. HomeAdvisor reports that the busiest month for bathroom remodel requests is in July!
5 | CLEANING OUT GUTTERSBest time: Early Spring & Fall
The gutters are easily forgotten about. These babies can really do some damage to a house if they aren’t properly attended to. They collect leaves and whatever else draining off your roof, and if they get too full without being cleaned out, the drains can clog and ultimately lead to the gunk soaking into your house. The best time to clean them out is in the fall when most leaves are being collected, then again in early spring before April showers begin.
Remember: you always have the option of hiring professionals to properly clean your gutters if you simply don’t feel comfortable with high roof lines or ladders!
6 | NEW FLOORINGBest time: Spring or Fall
Least extreme conditions = best time to install wood flooring. If you take this project on during fall or spring, you will avoid dry air & peak humidity which are both harmful to wood. Also, you are able to open windows with some fresh cool air to help ventilate the smells of adhesive or wood stain. Ew.
7 | EXTERIOR PAINTBest time: Later Spring, Summer, Early Fall
It takes a decent chunk of the year to fully repaint a house, but it’s totally doable! You would be amazed at how a simple new coat of paint can completely transform the look of your home. It’s important for temperatures to stay above 35 degrees for exterior painting. If you are planning on doing it during spring or fall, be prepared for delays due to rain and temperature decreases.
8 | HOME ADDITIONBest time: Late Spring, Summer, Early Fall
For obvious reasons, when doing exterior work, it is recommended avoiding seasons that bring about inclement weather which delay projects. Plan the beginning to start after all snow chances pass for your region and make it a goal to get it completed before the frost comes back the next fall. This will more than help reduce chances of delays! *remember to schedule all professionals well in advance*
9 | ROOF REPLACEMENT/REPAIRSBest time: Summer, Early Fall
People working on a rooftop in icy or wet conditions is just a disaster waiting to happen. This project is definitely for the time of year with the best weather, which unfortunately is also the busiest time for the professionals. Make sure to schedule at least a month or two in advance for this project.
10 | NEW APPLIANCESBest time: Fall
Who doesn’t love fall deals?!?! Leading up to the holidays, there are soooo many discounts going on, it’s definitely worth buying an expensive item on sale even if you aren’t going to use it for 6 more months. Stores that sell appliances like Lowe’s, Home Depot and Sears are known to offer holiday weekend deals regularly, so keep an eye out for that new washer and dryer you have been dying to get!
First off, trends are supposedly getting a ‘longer shelf life’. By definition in my own words, an interior design trend is the popularity of an approach to décor as of the style, color, or pattern that is typically temporary. The past few years, the idea of simply updating your home has gone from easily do-able to I don’t think I can afford that for another year or so. Ultimately, the cost of homes and renovation increasing has led to trends being able to stick around longer.
I’m pretty happy this is becoming a ‘thing’ because let’s be real, nobody can afford (nor has the time) to redecorate every 6 months. Unless of course you have no kids, no budget, and a lot of spare time on your hands. HA!
The next trend is actually quite interesting. The past few years in the U.S., the Danish concept of Hygge (being cozy and content) has become increasingly popular - mainly in the cold winter months when people feel the need to bundle up and stay warm. Anna Starmer, U.K. based author of Love Color: Choosing Colors to Live With, suggests that people are low-key being encouraged to make their home a comfortable safe haven of sorts due to the current political and social moods. She states, “(I)t is no surprise that in recent times of uncertainties in the world, we are all starting to favour comforting shades and warming colours in the home.” This also includes rich comforting scents like citrus or cinnamon & softer textures in blankets, furniture and pillows. All in all – a setup that highly encourages you to R E L A X.
Not everyone has a bold, energetic personality. And not everyone has the same interests in design. BUT, if you are willing, you should totally embrace your bold side and strive for an eclectic look for your home. You can do this in many ways. With a bright and happening wallpaper, or even some accented blue or orange pillows. Look for jewel tones and colors that contrast. If you aren’t the type to get bold wallpaper or do anything too drastic, but still want to make a statement, try painting an accent wall and getting other elements to match. Or simply adding some layers with throw pillows and blankets that have contrasting colors in order to create a new focal point in the room.
Green is Happening. Apparently.
Nature is becoming more and more influential every year. In 2019, expect even more inspiration from the lovely greens of the world. According to author Anna Starmer mentioned earlier, different shades of green are predicted to be much more prevalent this year in interior design AND fashion. Although, you do need to keep in mind that when you choose a color to help bring a space to life, be conscious of the textures and light in that space because it can alter the look indefinitely.
Neutrals Are Getting Even Hotter.
Everyone knows the neutrals. And if you don’t, you should! Stark white, greys, and the “greige” gray-beige combo have always been a way to play it safe with interiors. This year people are actually looking to these colors as more of a warm shade to evoke the feeling of being in a more natural setting. In relation to these colors, décor like real stones, wood, ceramic pieces and even glass help counteract / mix the colors, shapes and textures.
‘Natural’ is Even Inspiring Floor Color.
Dark wood floors have been decreasing popularity in 2018 according to Lee Crowder, design gallery and model branding manager for Darling Homes based in DFW, TX. In 2019, the wood floors will continue to stay more on the lighter side and even increase in the ‘matte finish’ style which is quickly gaining popularity because of its naturalistic look. Manufacturers have even increased their product spectrum including varieties of vinyl or tile floors that look super close to real wood. Food for thought – engineered and recycled wood still remain a more sustainable alternative to the usual wooden floor.
Mixed Metals Have Made Their Mark.
A few years ago, people would have thought you had slight to no taste having different metal finishes in one room. Especially a kitchen. But it’s actually becoming such a catchy trend. Mainly because finding every piece of hardware to match ‘exactly’ is difficult and a bit over-rated. Not only is it convenient, but mixing metals with the right balance can really give the space a glamourous, rich look. Feeling of metals can even be portrayed with wall colors and geometric shapes which can also be tied into other parts of the room.
Comfort is Key.In a grand overview, it seems trends are becoming extremely focused and influenced by comfort levels. It can definitely vary however, depending on the person. From soft, romantic pastels, to textured palettes, or even bold jewel tones/ metals. 2019 will also greatly be influenced by people’s state of ‘being different’. Acceptance of uniqueness has widely increased and gained popularity in 2018 and in 2019 it will become even more popular. This gives you a perfect platform of having the opportunity to express yourself in your interior designs. Embrace what works for you instead of focusing on one widely excepted trend. If you aren’t even sure what that is, go take a look in your closet! Your wardrobe can really say a lot about you and help influence your approach to design. For example, if you are really into wearing solids and natural colors, implementing that same natural feel into your interior design can really make you feel at home.
Anna Starmer, U.K.- based author of “Love Color: Choosing Colors to Live With”
One in 3 people have had a package stolen. The amount of American’s that have had a package stolen off their front porch is astonishing. According to an analysis done by InsuranceQuotes in 2017, 25.9 million Americans have had their package stolen from their doorstep or front porch JUST during the holiday season. And that’s an increase from the 23.5 million during the holidays in a 2015 study. With online shopping rising, so is the amount of theft.
I don’t know about you, but package thieves really irk me to a degree that nothing else can match. People work their butts off ALL year round to be able to afford gifts (especially for their children) and these porch pirates think it’s okay to just walk up and take these hard-earned gifts…with no remorse I might ad.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to predict when the thieves will come sneaking up your door steps, BUT there are many ways to prevent it.
In the past few years, in order to combat package confusion and theft, delivery services and startups have been working to find and create alternative ways to prevent porch pirates from getting packages and to help make the delivery process safer.
For example, UPS has created the My Choice program. With this feature that was created in 2011, customers are offered updates on their packages and are able to view estimated delivery times & even CHANGE the delivery address prior to the scheduled drop off time to prevent the package sitting outside.
However, if alternate delivery addresses aren’t relevant to help protect your package, UPS Access Point is another free feature allowing customers to choose a local public location for delivery (like a local bank or drugstore).
If you live in an apartment or condo, there is another system available called Package Concierge that is a system of lockers which are typically installed near resident mailboxes. When the packages get delivered to the locker, the residents are notified via the app or email code and use this to unlock the right locker. Cool right?
They even snap dated, time-stamped photos of each retrieval and delivery!
Here are a few key tips for helping protect your beloved holiday packages:
1 – Get some cameras!
My family and I recently bought Nest Cameras for our driveway and front door and let me tell you…I think they are the best investments we have made this year. Not only do you feel the safety of knowing your property is under surveillance, but you also will have proof if anything bad were to ever happen. AKA a package pirate. If a thief is smart enough, they will see the camera and hopefully be scared off (not that any thief is smart…).
Can’t afford the nice ones?? Get a fake one! We had this camera for a while too and it looks SO real it’s unbelievable. (& cheap)!https://www.amazon.com/WALI-Surveillance-Security-Outdoor-Warning-x/dp/B01940JPLQ/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1544642367&sr=1-3&keywords=fake+camera
Or this one is a goody too >
https://www.amazon.com/Security-Realistic-Recording-Business-Armo/dp/B07F2XC89F/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1544642367&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=fake+camera&psc=1These are so easy to set up - all you do is put some batteries in and pin them on a wall. The lights continuously blink making it look like it is capturing film... quite impressive.
2 - Porch coverage to block the packages.
What better way to lure in a porch pirate than to have a pretty fresh package sitting on your porch in the wide open. Get smart about your receiving tactics and put something on or around your front porch to hide deliveries. This can include a chair, a planter, a thick column, or a decorative ceramic piece. Simply leave a small note for the courier to leave the package wherever you prefer.
3 – Have packages delivered to a different location.
If you have a package being delivered with valuable items, or just don’t want it waiting on your porch regardless, you can always request it to be held at the delivery facility until you are able to pick it up yourself. Or you can have it delivered to a secure location via UPS Access Point, Amazon Locker Delivery & Package Concierge. This helps with not having to travel super far out of your way to pick it up. Many online retailers actually offer free shipping to close-by stores, so customers can pick them up safely.
Keep in mind – the best way to protect your packages is to simply stay proactive about its delivery (time and place)!
"Fall is more than a season – it's a smell, it's a feeling, and it’s nostalgic." - Mojgan Jordan
It’s a comforting cozy sensation you get every time you step out into the crisp, cool air to smell the scent of fire burning, and see the beautiful rainbow-colored leaves. Well, guess what? You can also get that feeling inside your own home with this DIY guide to fall decor.
Just like every other season, fall has its specific & unique scents, color palettes and styles that you are able to incorporate all over your home!
Here’s how to do it:
Start with the Colors >
When the fall weather finally hits, it really does evoke fuzzy warm feelings (at least for most people unless you aren’t human) jk. But seriously, who doesn’t like fall?!
These fuzzy feels are mostly represented or reflected with fall’s signature colors - burgundy, tan, orange, yellow, rust, brown, gold, reds.. basically warm tones that create that inviting & toasty feeling.
When thinking about the interiors of your home… the color integration is limitless. Think of simple changes first - like adding a few burnt orange colored feather pillows on the sofa or adding a tan throw across an ottoman. One thing we like to do in our office is add a few small pumpkins and even a trendy vase full of wheat, which I am typing by right now as I drink my under-rated Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte - (pictured below).
You could even add some gold colored tins in the kitchen along with some burgundy or maroon towels on handles of drawers/dishwasher or oven.
Always remember, just a few changes, additions or adjustments go a long way!If you are the type of person that just wants the fall feels ALL year round, well why not just give a room in your home an updated coat of paint?! This could ultimately create a fantastic fall feel all year round - like this one! Check out Sherwin William's 2019 color of the year that is sure to get your fall-ish gears going >It's called
Next is the Scents >
I believe the sense of smell can sometimes be the strongest trigger of nostalgia. What better way to enhance these great memories than with some fun fall candles?! Like burgundy or evergreen colored ones smelling of cinnamon (or whatever fall specifically smells like to you). Check out this link for some AMAZING smelling fall candles from one of our favorite brands, Wood Wick (duh.) - Some of the favorites are pine & fireside… but theres TONS to choose from!
Or you could take the more difficult route and just bake a pumpkin pie every day to leave your house smelling warm and sweet… ha! If only I had all the time in the world…. Here’s a to DIE FOR semi-simple Pumpkin Pie recipe from the delicious Preppy Kitchen. Let’s get cookin’!
Final Touch of Simple Accents >
Pumpkins are so handy. I mean between Halloween and Thanksgiving, they are a perfect decorating tool because they apply to both holidays. They look fabulous when done right & especially when using varying colors. For example, the white pumpkins add an elegant touch to front entry ways, the porch and even the fireplace mantle as shown below:
The idea however, is not to overwhelm a room or space with too many pumpkins. Use them more as a subtle addition to a room with other decor like candles, leaves or wheat vases. Many people wander… ‘how early is it to start decorating my house for the season?’… okay first of all, it's your home! Do what you want! Second.. did you know it’s scientifically proven that decorating your home for a season makes you happier?! Yep. It’s true. Especially for Christmas time! Check out this link to read about it!!
We think its never too early to start prepping your home for your favorite season.
Bring out the decor! And most importantly, have FUN with it.