Elaine McDonald

Top 10 Most Expensive Mistakes You Are Making on Your Home

Homes cost a lot of money to maintain. But are you spending extra money unnecessarily on upkeep? Here are the 10 most expensive mistakes you could be making in your home.

1. Using Traditional Light bulbs

If you still have incandescent light bulbs in your home, you could be throwing a lot of money away every month on inflated electric bills. Over its life span, an incandescent bulb can use $180 worth of electricity. A CFL will only use $41 worth of electricity over the same time period. Even better is the LED bulb, which only uses $30 per bulb. Think what replacing every light bulb in your home could do to your home's bottom line.

2. Ignoring a Leaky Faucet

A leaky faucet that drips one drop per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year, which is enough water to take more than 180 showers. Some of us live in areas where water is plentiful, but for those of us in areas plagued with drought, this could be costing you a fortune. Fix or replace your leaky faucet and save a ton on your water bill.

3. Using the Wrong Air Filter Size

We all sometimes forget to change out the air filters for our HVAC systems or accidentally buy the wrong size. But using the wrong filter or a dirty filter can increase your power bill and cause expensive problems for your furnace down the road. Use the correct filters for your system, and set a reminder to change them after the recommended amount of time. You won't regret it.

4. Not Customizing Temperature

Invest in a customizable thermostat. If you're away at the office all day, you can program your heater to shift down a few degrees while you're gone and then shift back up shortly before you return home. Heating or cooling an empty home wastes a lot of money in energy costs.

5. Not Adjusting Air Vents Properly

Is one room in your home hot, while the others are cold? Oftentimes homeowners will crank up the air conditioning in the whole house to combat hot temperatures in one area. Instead, adjust air vents to direct the flow of air more evenly throughout your entire home. Professionals will come regulate this to ensure that your entire home is receiving the same amount of air conditioning or heating.

6. Over Watering Lawn

Many homeowners have their sprinkler systems programmed to come on in the early morning hours for optimum lawn health. This can become a problem, however, if you're never around to see what you're actually watering. A broken sprinkler head could be causing a fountain, or the trajectory of your sprinkler may be directed at a fence instead of your lawn. Periodically run your sprinklers during the day so you can see how they are performing when you're not around.

7. Water Heater Temperature Set Too High

Unless you have a tankless water heater, your water heater is keeping the water in its tank hot 24/7. If you don't keep an eye on the temperature as each season changes, you may be paying too much to heat your water. Decrease the temperature in the summer, and bump it back up when winter comes.

8. Leaky Windows and Doors

Leaky windows and doors are great places for cold, winter winds to enter your home. Many homeowners simply ignore them and crank up their heaters. Caulk leaky windows and put rubber seal around doors to keep winter winds out and warmth in.

9. Paying a Handyman

Don't pay a handyman for a job that is simple enough to do yourself. If you're unsure of how to do something, look up video tutorials online. Doing simple tasks yourself can save you a lot of money.

10. Ignoring Curled Shingles

It may be easy to ignore problems on your roof, but it will only lead to bigger problems later. If you see any possible issues with your roof, repair them as soon as possible, as this will save you significant costs later.

Use these 10 tips to cut maintenance costs on your home today.

Originally Posted on Oct 25 2016 - 1:23pm by Housecall

Author: Cary Teller

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on October 25, 2016. Housecall continues to share this piece due to ongoing requests and reader interest.

Ten Things to Do Before You Sell Your House

10 Things to Do Before You Sell Your House

Before you put your house on the market, contact us for guidance on improving your home’s presentation. We can tell you what buyers expect in your particular market and at your home’s price point. The following 10 steps are a way to get a good head start on preparing to sell your home.

1. Welcome buyers - Make your front door visible and accessible to buyers. Paint the door, clear debris and clutter from the walkway and yard, mow the lawn and prune hedges. Pot or plant colorful annuals and perennials to attract attention from the street. Fix broken screens, doorbells, roof tiles, shingles, outdoor lighting, and replace your doormat. Exterior defects can make a poor first impression on buyers and will make them look for other potential problem areas.

2. Make it sparkle - Cleanliness implies a home has been well taken care of, so deep cleaning can win points with buyers. Buyers scrutinize homes, especially kitchens and bathrooms. Recaulk and repaint to give these grime-prone rooms a fresh and clean look. Clean rugs and carpets to eliminate unsightly stains or dinginess and eliminate odors. Tidy each room, including cabinets, closets and the garage, before showing. And if it seems daunting to do all that cleaning yourself, consider hiring a professional cleaning company to take care of all of it for you.

3. Start packing - Cramped and cluttered rooms turn buyers off and make your house look smaller. A home packed with your personal belongings also makes it difficult for others to envision living there. Start by storing away excess furniture, toys and personal decorations, such as family photos. Pack up things you don’t use on a daily basis, and put them in storage or ask a friend to hold onto them. Decluttering your house also gives you a head start on your move, making things easier for you.

4. Paint wisely - A well-done, no-frills paint job is all you need. Put a fresh coat of paint on white or beige walls, and repaint walls that have eccentric or unconventional colors. Nature- and spa-inspired neutral colors, such as taupe and subtle gray, are the best choices. Definitely don’t forget the trim and molding either. And a fresh paint job on outdated or worn cabinetry goes a long way, too.

5. Fix the small stuff - Repair or replace broken or outdated hardware throughout your home. You can install new door handles, faucets, towel bars and curtain rods – fixtures that are readily visible to homebuyers – rather inexpensively. New hardware in the bathroom, kitchen and on windows and doors also improves the functionality and safety of these components.

6. Update lighting - Replace decorative light fixtures that no longer fit your home’s cleaner, fresher look. Install new bulbs with the appropriate lighting for specific areas of your home. For example, ambient, low-key lighting fills a room, whereas directional or task lighting works better in areas like a reading nook. Use accent lighting to highlight focal points in a room, such as the artwork above a mantle, to draw buyers’ attention to certain selling points.

7. Frame windows - Ensure you have the right window treatments, which enhance natural brightness and boost the appearance of a home. Window treatments also can impact a room’s temperature because they reduce or increase the amount of light entering the space. Adjust window treatments appropriately when showing your home in the mornings, afternoon and evenings to give the right feel in your home.

8. Set the table - Fresh, decorative flowers in the kitchen or on the dining room table are always a nice touch. Also, keep place settings handy for your tables so you can quickly set them out right before showings or an open house. Pull out all the formal stops for a dining room, and keep the table casual in the kitchen.

9. Hide unsightly everyday items - Don’t leave children’s toys and pet belongings out in the open during showings and open houses. Move litter boxes, pet dishes, toys, animal crates and kids’ entertainment to less conspicuous areas of the home, such as an outdoor storage unit or garage before each showing. Also think about where you can store things like dirty laundry and dirty kitchen sponges.

10. Don’t forget the back - Keep your backyard looking spacious and functional. Plant or pot colorful flowers and keep the landscaping trimmed and neat. Consistently pick up after your pets so buyers feel comfortable touring the yard. Making your backyard feel like an outdoor living space is always a plus and attracts buyers.

7 Tips for Using Flowers to Boost Curb Appeal

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Flowers can be a powerful tool for increasing your home's curb appeal.  Follow these simple tips to really make your property bloom.

1. Buy a color wheel
Spend a few bucks at your local paint or art supply store on a color wheel to help you understand how different colors relate to one another. Choose flowers with colors close to one another on the wheel for a more harmonious scheme, or colors on opposite sides of the wheel for a complementary color theme. To really mix things up, choose three colors that are equidistant from each other on the wheel for a contrasting affect.

2. Use color to give the feeling of a larger yard or garden bed
A monochromatic color scheme can help create a feeling of spaciousness because the eye is not interrupted by other colors. To mix things up, add lighter and darker versions of the same color flowers to create various shades and give interest in your yard.

3. Highlight favorite features
Love your front door or another aspect of your home.  Draw your eyes to it by planting brightly colored or white flowers around the area either in the ground or with container plants. Flowers can be an effective way to accent the architectural features you – and prospective buyers – love.

4. Use white
White can be the most attention-grabbing color in landscaping. White flowers and foliage serve as terrific focal points, make other colors look richer and create a sense of depth in a garden.  They can also highlight darker colors for a greater contrast.

5. Don't forget green
There are so many vivid shades of green to use when highlighting your home. Combining different shades and a variety of foliage textures can add depth and excitement to your flower/garden bed.

6. Anticipate changing seasons 
In New England it is important to remember to plan for how the colors of the plants you choose will change with the seasons. Add in some year-round perennials so your yard is still vibrant when flowers wilt in cooler seasons.

Need help locally with ideas on how to professionally landscape your hard.  Feel free to reach out to our trusted local area experts for help by clicking here

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7 Tax Benefits of Owning a Home

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There are a multitude of reasons why owning a home has it's advantages, from providing family gathering spaces to giving a sense of worth.  In today's society we not only look at the emotional and physical reasons for owning a home, but also the financial benefits.  Click HERE to find out seven tax benefits of owning a home that you won't want to miss!

 

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