We all know that going green has benefits to the environment, but who has time to compost and the money to install solar panels? Well, guess what? Improving the environmentally friendly level of your home is actually simple and inexpensive! These 10 Easy Steps To Making Your Home Green include simple changes you can make, such as properly disposing of waste and skipping on unnecessary products full of chemicals. Follow these 10 easy steps to greening your home and you can save money, improve your health & help the environment.
From clothes folding tips to space maximizing secrets, this quick and informative video by howdini will have you organizing your dresser drawers like a pro in five minutes!
At Design Shop Build we’re focused on cutting edge, effective remodeling techniques that will help you maximize your life in your home. As our followers know, Green Remodeling is a large portion of what drives us to serve our customers. Not only does Green Remodeling make a huge difference for the environment and the efficiency of your home, it can play a large role in keeping your healthy as well. To find out how you can improve your health and your home’s appearance with green flooring and paint, check out these great tips courtesy of Howdini.
Renovation financing is a great option for any homeowner looking to upgrade or improve their home. Whether you’re looking to complete a minor home improvement project to make your home more marketable for re-sale or a major home remodel to make your home more suitable for your expanding family, renovation financing is one of the most affordable ways to borrow money and make your home dreams a reality.
Renovation Financing 101:
What are the benefits to renovation financing?
While you can always pay for home improvement projects with personal loans these types of loans often have higher interest rates, which can result in higher monthly payments and a larger total expenditure. On the other hand, paying with cash savings may seem appealing, but its important to take into account unexpected future emergencies, as well as the revenue you could generate with that money if it were invested or put into an interest bearing instrument.
What can renovation financing be used for?
Renovation financing can be used for almost any home upgrade, from a new appliance or kitchen upgrade to a new roof.
How does renovation financing work?
There are several loan options for renovation financing, including conventional loans and FHA 203 (k) loans. In both cases, an appraiser will review your contractor’s bid and evaluate your home and the work to be completed on it. With this in mind, the appraiser will provide the lender with an after-improved value for your home. FHA 203 (k) loans will require additional periodic inspections of the work being completed on your home prior to releasing funds.
Do I have to live in my home to be eligible for a renovation financing loan?
No, renovation financing can be used for investment properties and seconds homes, as well as your primary home.
Can I get renovation financing at the same time I purchase my home?
Yes, many lenders offer renovation financing options to buyers when they take out a home loan. For instance, Wells Fargo has a Purchase & Renovate Loan, which offers qualified homeowners renovation financing as low as 3.5% on FHA loans with a down payment (FHA loans are limited to owner-occupied borrowers).
How can I get started with renovation financing?
Shopping for renovation financing is similar to shopping for any type of loan. Never go with the first lender you talk to without shopping around. If you had a good experience with the lender you went through for your current home or previous home loan call and inquire what options they offer for renovation financing – and then call their top two competitors. If you are unsure of where to begin, call you’re local realtor. Real estate agents are terrific resources when it comes to finding the best lenders for home related loans.
While we’re big believers a great real estate agent is worth every penny of their commission, we’re also realist. There is no denying that in today’s economy a growing number of people are looking for secrets on how to successfully sell their home on their own. Ultimately, many of these same people end up hiring a realtor after a failed attempt to sell their home themselves.
Well, although there’s no surefire guarantee you’ll be able to sell your home on your own, there are some great marketing techniques the real estate pros utilize that can help. Follow these tips and your chances of creating an ad that will attract qualified buyers skyrocket!
10 Secrets To Marketing Your Home Like A Real Estate Pro:
- If you are creating flyers, or have a say in the layout of your ad, keep in mind most people read from the upper left to the lower right. Put an engaging headline and photo of the home in this upper area.
- Start you ad with a strong opening statement/heading, for example “Must See One of A Kind Remodeled Mountain Home”. Experts say 80% of your ad’s value comes from the heading, so take your time and make it count!
- Leaving white space around a heading or main point draws attention to key features you want to promote.
- A picture is worth a thousand words… Or is it thousands of dollars? The pictures you put in your ad will determine who responds. Rather than numerous small pictures, highlight one large photograph of your home. If space allows, several small additional pictures can be included as well. Images buyers are interested in seeing include pictures of the front of your home, main exterior features, quality interior features and views. Again, prioritize depending on space – it is not necessary to include them all!
- Mention the key one or two benefits your home offers in the first 10 words of the ad.
- Include the prominent facts about the home, such as the number of bathrooms, bedrooms and asking price.
- Don’t pretend your home is something its not. Always be accurate in your description. Nothing turns off prospective buyers faster than disappointment.
- Focus on the home’s strongest selling points (recently remodeled, open floor plant, hardwood floors, etc.) instead of packing your ad with every little detail.
- It’s great to do your homework, but assume the people reading your ad have not. Thus, avoid using abbreviations and real estate jargon that the average home buyer won’t understand.
- Remember people buy on emotion as fact. Use words that appeal to senses and emotions (feel, relaxing, see enjoy).
If you dread the change in seasons due to allergies, millions of others feel your pain. People all over the world fight terrible allergies with modern medicine. However, wouldn’t it be great if you could cut down on the pharmaceuticals? While allergies are typically thought of as primarily seasonal, many common allergies are found in the home. So by knowing what to look for you can combat home allergens before they start, creating an allergy free home haven.
When evaluating the status of allergens in your home, take the following steps to create an allergy free home environment:
Pet Dander – We love our four legged family members, but pet dander (composed of skin cells, similar to dandruff) can cause severe allergies. Combat this problem by brushing your dogs two-four times a week, bathing them at least once every three months and vacuuming twice per week. The intensity of pet dander is generally worse in drier environments, as well as older pets, and can vary by breed. Be sure to check with your vet for the best dander control plan for your pet.
Dust Mites – House dust mites are microscopic bugs that primarily live on dead skin cells that we humans shed regularly. Not exactly what you want to be breathing in daily, right? To control dust mites, dust with a damp cloth, rather than a feather duster that spreads dust around. Mites are often found in bedding, so be sure to use a mattress cover, as well as pillow covers, and wash ALL of your bedding every ten days (mattress and pillow covers can be found at your local surgical supply store). Additionally, dump clutter, which attracts these nasty critters and mop/swifter your floor at least once a week. Dust mites thrive in 75-80% relative humidity. So in warmer weather, use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier to bring the humidity levels down to 35-50%, the optimum range for a healthy environment.
Use A HEPA Filter When Vacuuming – HEPA filters are a great tool that will prevent your vacuum from spewing dust and dander back into your home when you are vacuuming. Additionally, these filters trap the smallest particles, ensuring dust mites, as well as all other undesirable material, is trapped and disposed of. You can find these filters by visiting your local vacuum store and looking for bags labeled with the words “allergens” or “microfiltration.
Mold & Mildew – Perhaps the best known home allergen, mold is a primary contributor to numerous illnesses. To stop mold and mildew before they form, utilize a dehumidifier. While several types of dehumidifiers exist, we recommend a dehumidifier with user definable setting, which will allow you to ensure the humidity stays in the optimal range of 35-50%. If you are in the process of building or remodeling your home, make sure to work with professionals that specialize in waterproofing to prevent future mold and mildew problems.
Use The Right Furnace Filter – Not all furnace filters are created equal. Use an allergen reduction filter, which will catch particles smaller than one micron. These small particles are crucial, as they comprise 99% of the particles in the air and can be breathed deep in the lungs. It is generally recommended that these high-efficiency pleated filters with a built-in electrostatic charge be changed every three months. If you are unsure of what type of filter you have or need, reach out to your local heating and air specialist.
Ventilation – A lack of proper ventilation can lead to issues with stale air, dust, mold and mildew. To combat these pollutants from building up, install an exhaust fan in your kitchen and bathroom.
Use Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products – Green cleaning products are so easy to find these days! From green cleaning leaders such as Seventh Generation, to mainstream store brands, such as Safeway’s Bright Green, environmentally friendly cleaning products are everywhere. Not only are these high quality products good for the environment and animals (unlike many traditional cleaning products, green products do not test on animals), they are also great for your health. By eliminating the majority of perfumes, chemicals and additives found in traditional brands, these products are gold for anyone with allergies.
While it’s next to impossible to catch every allergen in your home, you can come close by following these steps to create an allergy free haven within your home. Good luck!
When it comes to choosing the colors in your home many people automatically think of aesthetically pleasing neutrals. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with a neutral beige or bone, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to change your mood with a splash of color if you don’t at least consider other options. As young children we learn certain colors have certain meanings. For instance, we associate black with death or mourning and white with peace. However, did you know that colors also have a subconscious affect on your emotions and attitude? It’s true! The colors you choose to decorate your home with will play a large role in determining how you feel. Given you have this great piece of knowledge, why not make the most of it? When decorating your home, consider the purpose of each room and the energy you’d like the room to omit. By considering this ahead of time, you’ll avoid pitfalls like an overly dark study area, which could lead toward tiredness rather than attention and focus.
Warm colors such as red orange and yellow can be cheerful and energizing. If you are looking to create a dynamic, warm atmosphere, explore these boundless colors!
From a cherry red accent wall in the dining room to a more subdued yellow entryway with warm undertones, there is a perfect color for every desired emotion and every person.
In contrast to warm colors, greens, blues and violets are considered cool colors and provoke a much different emotional reaction. Cool colors tend to be relaxing and passive.
A calming blue or green can be a great choice for a bedroom, as it promotes tranquility.
Of course with both warm and cool color groups the shade you choose makes all the difference when it comes to perfecting the look and feel you want to promote. Take your time when selecting your colors. Paint stores offer free color swatches – take them up on these! While paint is not permanent, it is a commitment, so be sure to explore a variety of shades in whatever color palette you’re interested in. A home that has a well though out color scheme is well worth the effort – take the plunge and find out how great you’ll feel!
Your reservations are made, your bags are packed, your ready to go on vacation – or so you think. When preparing to leave town, a crucial element often overlooked is how to protect your home while on vacation. Those of us who do consider this issue, often focus on one major problem – theft prevention. While preventing break-ins is crucial to your home’s safety, it’s not the only issue. In order to help you cover all the factors necessary to keep protect your home safe this vacation season we’ve prepared a handy checklist of eight safeguards to take when leaving your home unattended:
8 Easy Tips To Protect Your Home While On Vacation
Make It Look Occupied – Whenever possible, have a house sitter stay at your home while your away. If you don’t have friends or family available to stay, ask a neighbor to check in on your home daily. This is an important step regardless of the length of time you’re away. You never know when an unexpected issue such as a water leak can occur. Additionally, it helps give the appearance that someone is staying at the home.
Don’t Advertise Your Vacation – While you’re stoked to be heading out of town, don’t advertise it on Facebook or share it at the next party you attend. Even if everyone you know is on the up and up, you never know who they could mention it to…
Double Check Your Alarm System – If you have an alarm system, always arm it when you’re out of town. For an alarm to be effective it should be set up to detect any entrance through both windows and doors. Prior to leaving town call your alarm company and give them an alternate number where you or an emergency contact can be reached in case there is a problem.
Never Let Your Mail Pile Up – Another piece of basic advice, right? Well, you’d be surprised at how many people neglect to ask their neighbor to pick up their mail and newspaper. Thieves scout out neighborhoods during vacation season for telltale signs such as mail or newspaper pile up. Save yourself from falling prey to this scheme by asking your neighbor for help or submitting a form to the post office to hold your mail and calling your newspaper to temporarily suspend service.
Lower Your Thermostat – Rather than turning your thermostat off, turn it down and keep it around 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent your pipes from freezing.
Conserve Energy – Unplug commonly used appliances such as your toaster, TV and computer and lower the temperature on your water heater.
Time It Right – Timers are one of the all time best inventions when it comes to protecting your home while you’re on vacation. Not only are timers great when it comes to outdoor and indoor lighting, they also work to protect the functionality of your home.
- Automatic sprinklers should be set up to mimic your daily watering schedule. If you don’t have automatic sprinklers, considering hiring a neighbor or landscaping service to care for your plants. It’s much more expensive to put in new plants, than it is to save the ones you have!
- A home without light is a dead give away that the home is unoccupied. If you have lights on a timer system set them up so that the lighting in any room visible from the street comes on around sunset and goes off around 10pm. Outdoor lighting should come on around sunset and stay on until sunrise. If you do not have a timer system for your lights, make sure at least one light is left on in room that is visible from the street and invest in motion detector lighting above your back and front doors.
Prepare For The Worst – Have a plan set up in case a massive storm or power outage hits. Make sure you have a point person who is responsible to check on your home, turn the power back on, or remove debris or snow.
The 4th of July is an all time favorite American holiday. It’s a day we relax, give thanks we are Americans and enjoy our friends and family. Thinking back to your favorite 4th of July, ask yourself what made it so special. Chances are it was a one of a kind 4th of July backyard party or celebration. Want to re-create the same feeling for the people in your life? Great news – it’s not that hard! Follow our 13 easy tips below to ensure your 4th of July celebration is a memorable occasion that goes unmatched this summer!
13 Easy Tips to Create The Perfect 4th of July Backyard Party:
- Embrace The Theme – Unlike most parties, a 4th of July celebration comes with a clear theme and color scheme. Use this to your advantage with red, white and blue accents (napkins, cups & plates) and decorations (streamers, lanterns, etc.). Dollar stores are a great place to find 4th of July party accents, decorations and favors without shelling out a small fortune.
- Let There Be Light! – Light is crucial to any 4th of July celebration that carries into the late afternoon of evening. If your backyard is not wired for lighting, consider adding lanterns or decorate your trellis or overhang with white Christmas lights.
- Brighten Up – Humans are visual creatures – we love beautiful, bright environments. If your yard is lacking in colorful flowers, purchase several hanging pots and hang them within eyesight of the entrance to the backyard. Adding vases of freshly cut flowers on table surfaces will help improve the illusion of brightness. This doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking. Many nurseries have 4th of July sales and you can pick up inexpensive cut flowers at your local Safeway.
- Seating – Any great party atmosphere provides both sitting and standing areas that are conducive to mingling. Don’t make the common mistake of skimping on the seating! Seating doesn’t need to be elaborate, but it should be reasonably comfortable and can range from patio furniture and picnic tables to rented chairs and blankets on the ground. If you choose to incorporate seating on the ground, dress up your blanket with some large red, white and blue throw pillows.
- Fire – Nothing creates a great party environment like fire (safely contained fire that is). If you have a fire pit, this is the time to use it! If not, strategically placed tiki torches (and even candles if you’re in a pinch) make a huge impact, without breaking the bank.
- Music – Music is an important part of setting the tone to any party. Unless there is dancing, it should be set an audible level, but be low enough not to disrupt conversation. While music should be upbeat, consider your crowd when selecting what you play. As many 4th of July parties are family friendly, making your own soundtrack of favorite songs or looking on iTunes for a pre-made 4th of July soundtracks is a safe bet for finding perfect party music.
- Activities – No 4th of July celebration is complete without some fun and healthy competition. Activities can range from dancing to volleyball and even a limbo competition. After all, if you can’t let loose on 4th of July when can you?
- Guest List – As many of today’s parties are announced via Evite or Facebook, RSVPs are not always clear or timely. If there are size or age limitations to your party, let people know RSVPs are mandatory. On the other hand, if you are open to your guests bringing friends, share that as well. For best results, be overly clear in your invitations and think BIG!
- Food For Everyone – Food is tricky these days, as your guest will probably have diets from every end of the spectrum from carnivore to vegan to gluten free. It’s always great to provide options for EVERYONE, but this can be a big challenge! An easy way around this is to invite your guest to bring their favorite dish. This way, not only do people have at least one dish they can eat, but they also may find a new favorite brought by someone else.
- Bug Repellent & Sun Block – Depending on where you live, the 4th of July can be a challenge if you’re not prepared. Make sure to have sun block and bug repellent on hand as a courtesy to you guests. Citronella candles are another handy (not to mention sneaky) way to keep the buys away.
- Waste Management – Make it easy for your guests to dispose of their garbage and food by having several clearly labeled “Recycle” and “Garbage” cans. If you compost (way to go!), provide a clearly labeled “Compost” bin for guests a well.
- Where’s The Bathroom? – Avoid this constant question from guests and provide a clearly labeled sign pointing to the specific bathroom you would like them to use. Ideally, this is the bathroom most easily accessed from your backyard in order to avoid excessive foot traffic through your home.
- Safety – One of the most important elements to any successful 4th of July party is safety. A few basic rules of thumb: make sure your pool is never unsupervised (particularly if children or inebriated adults are present), never under any condition let an intoxicated guest drive home (if you served them alcohol you could be held responsible in the case of an accident), ensure fire and sharp objects are out of the reach of children, if using fireworks ensure they are only handled by designated adults and always have a fully stocked first aid kit readily available.
Now that you’ve got your checklist, it’s time to party – be safe and have fun!