Scan the photos on any online real estate listings board and you’ll see that certain homes stand out as more beautifully kept than others. These homes have what is known as curb appeal — and if you want your home to sell quickly and for a good price, then you’d better make sure it has curb appeal as well. Here are some areas to examine and correct as needed.
Painting and Lighting
A bright, clean-looking home is a welcoming home — and one more likely to sell. But no matter how careful you are to sweep the front porch and wash your windows, you could suffer from a dilapidated exterior simply due to the age of the paint. Sun and other weather can cause paint colors to fade or the paint itself to crack and peel. A fresh coat of new paint might be just the thing to liven up your front . . .
Summer is the season for fun times in the great outdoors — but when the temperature gets too unbearable, you’d better have a cool, comfortable home at the ready. If you can’t maintain acceptable indoor temperatures without breaking the bank, you may have numerous inefficiencies around the house that require correction. Energy reviews can point out these problems so you can enjoy a cooler home without heating up your electric bill.
Hidden Contributors to Hot Homes
While you’re quite right to remind occupants to keep doors and windows closed on hot days to prevent the cool air from leaking out, you may be completely unaware of other, smaller leaks that are constantly undermining your ability to regulate your home’s temperature. That’s because most homes are riddled with little holes that allow cooled air to escape, including plumbing vents, soffits enveloping recessed lights, wiring holes, and wall openings for ductwork. If you have . . .
Sometimes April showers bring May flowers — but they’re just as likely to cause serious damage to your roof and landscaping. If you’re not sure whether your home is ready for the onslaught, make sure you understand what’s at stake and what you can do to optimize your odds for a happier spring (and summer).
Heavy Rains Mean Roof Repairs
You’ve no doubt seen bits of dark-colored grit in your gutters from time to time. Those specks are granules that have worn off of your asphalt shingles. This is a normal phenomenon that occurs over time as the elements rub against the shingles to cause erosion. Rain, of course, is a leading cause of shingle erosion — and when the spring storms gather, the process can get speeded up dramatically. Take a close look at your gutters — and your shingles — after the next rainstorm to see whether you’ve got a . . .
“It’s just a roof” can be a very misleading notion when it comes time to perform much-needed work on shingles, tiles, flashing or other components. Taking the time to search for fully qualified roofers can save you a great deal of money and frustration down the road. Here are four considerations to keep in mind when deciding who should work on your roof.
1. Roofing Requires Skill and Experience
Too many things can go wrong even on a “simple” roof repair, to trust the job to an unqualified individual (including yourself). For instance, shingles must be overhung and aligned perfectly, with the requisite five inches of exposure, or they won’t last long — and depending on the slop of your roof, you may be well advised to go with some other product entirely when installing a new roof. Inaccurate nailing, venting, or flashing can create serious problems with the roof over time. . . .
There are plenty of sound reasons for regular gutter cleaning, from preventing ice dams to maintaining a neater, more attractive home exterior. But one reason in particular should jump out at you if you suffer from pest problems: When you keep your gutters clean, you’ll have fewer of these unwanted guests taking up residence on your property. Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between pests and gutter debris.
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Organic debris is like a welcome mat to pests.[/caption]
Who’s Up There, and Why?
Gutters attract all kinds of junk in the course of their work diverting rainwater from your roof to your downspout. This debris may range from specks of dust to larger pieces of organic matter, such as leaves and twigs. The latter are especially troublesome, and not only because solid matter is so good at blocking . . .
The decision to undertake a larger home improvement project is never an easy one. Your life will be disrupted, you will have to raid your bank account and you can never be sure you’ll get the quality workmanship you hope for.
There is so much more that can go wrong. If hiring builders, how do you know you’ve chosen an honest builder who will complete the job with due diligence, and not just do a half-baked job?
If you’re new at this, your predicament can be even worse. For a noob, decision-making can be a nerve-wracking time. Ultimately you know you’ll have to live with the choices you make and all that responsibility will lie with you.
However, once you have your mind set on proceeding with the work, there are a few things you should always keep . . .
If you’ve been hearing talk about energy reviews, you may be wondering exactly what goes into one of these evaluations, what kinds of changes you might need to make to reduce energy consumption, or whether the effort is even worth it for your budget’s bottom line. A skillfully performed review can reveal things you never knew about your home’s energy efficiency, allowing you to make the right corrections for optimal savings on your monthly utility bills. Here are four things every homeowner should know about this useful procedure.
1. Why Energy Reviews Matter
An energy review, also known as an energy audit or energy assessment, is a top-to-bottom evaluation of how much value you’re receiving from your home’s heating, cooling, and electrical systems. Many homes burn more energy than they should due to inefficient lighting, inadequate insulation, air leaks and drafts, outmoded HVAC systems, and other issues that may go undetected for . . .
The “money pit” — a home that looks like a winner but eventually comes down with expensive problem after expensive problem — is every homeowner’s nightmare. Fortunately, you can keep your home from developing budget-busting problems by taking a few wise precautions and making some minor repairs. Let’s look at some examples.
A plumbing problem doesn’t always make itself evident until you lose water pressure or major flooding occurs in your home, by which point you’ve bought yourself major repairs or renovations. Preventive maintenance can help detect small plumbing issues before they can turn into large ones. In the spring months, for instance, you’re well advised to have your sewer line inspected for possible cracks or blockages in the making. Periodic inspections of the pipes and lines within your home enable you to correct small leaks or other component failures before they lead to serious water damage, termite infestation, and . . .
Warmer weather means greener weather for homeowners across the U.S. Lawns go from sparse to lush to overgrown as grass tangles with weeds for supremacy, flowers bloom in garden lots and pots, and trees and shrubs fill out to the point where they demand pruning. But none of this can happen without water — which is why rain water harvesting just might prove your secret weapon in the battle for a beautiful home.
Mowing the lawn or weeding the garden is nobody’s idea of fun, but they make all the difference between being the envy of the neighborhood and receiving nasty letters from your homeowners’ association. Raking up those piles of cut grass can be a hassle too, but it’s important — not only for aesthetic reasons, but also because fleas and ticks love to breed in them. While you’re huffing and puffing away at these activities, think about the exercise . . .
“Water, water everywhere,” begins the famous quote — and there is indeed water everywhere, in the form of rain. But whether your part of the country receives regular downpours or just the occasional treasured trickle, you can get the most of that atmospheric bounty through the simple technique of rain water harvesting. Let’s look at why you should bother — and how to get started.
Benefits of Rain Water Harvesting
You may be thinking, “Why do I want to collect rain water? I can get all the water I need out of my tap.” That’s true, you can — but you’ll pay for it. Think about the volume of water you use every day for everything from washing the car to washing the dog, from watering the plants to watering yourself in the shower. All those gallons can either come from the water company for a price, or you can grab them . . .