How to Increase the Value of Your Home in the New Year

The New Year season is a time of resolutions. As you’re thinking about your waistline or your bank account, don’t neglect to make a resolution for your most important investment – your home. Whether you’re thinking of selling soon or simply want to improve your home’s function, the right renovations and upgrades can make your home more functional and more valuable. Here are some ways you can add value to your home this New Year.

1. Add a Fence

Surprisingly, a fence is a great investment, both for the function of your home and it’s potential value. People with pets and people with kids like fences because they keep little ones contained. Others like fences because they provide a measure of privacy and define the limits of their outdoor living spaces. When it comes to selling your home, a fenced-in yard increases the number of potential buyers you will appeal to significantly.

2. Add a Mudroom

Whether you transform an existing laundry room or entryway into a mudroom or add on to your home to create one, this particular addition will add value and function to your space. Make sure the mudroom is filled with creative storage to make it as appealing as possible.

3. Wood Floors, Original if Possible

If there are wood floors hiding underneath your carpeting, take the time to have them restored and repaired. Wood floors are one of the best flooring types in the minds of modern home buyers, and original wood floors add value and character to the space. With gleaming floors, you will see your home’s value go up.

4. Add a Fireplace

Adding a fireplace isn’t the easiest upgrade, but it will bring a high return. You can cheat a bit by adding a gas-powered one instead of a wood burning one, but make sure the mantle is attractive and in line with the architecture and decor of the home. You’ll see that the addition makes the home distinctive and more valuable to potential buyers.

5. Smart Home Features

The modern home buyer is tech-savvy. Adding smart home features and security will increase your home’s value. In fact, people are often willing to spend several thousands more for a “smart” home than one that does not include this technology.

Remember, the New Year is a great time to think about upgrading and updating your home. With this list, you can focus on those improvements that add value, so your home will get top dollar should you choose to sell.

10 Simple Tips to Level up your Tiling Skills

DIY projects are definitely popular today. One of the most common DIY assignments revolves around tiling projects. It’s easy to get into such activities since the outcome is definitely favorable. For instance, adding a set of wall and floor tiling on your kitchen is not only functional but also appealing. It can visually enhance the area and can add depth to the overall look of the place. If you want to step up your tiling skills, these guidelines can surely help you generally. Here are 10 simple tips that you can try on your next tiling project:

Tip #1: Measure in Advance

Pick a pattern first then proceed to lay the tiles on your chosen design and start measuring each tile according to its arrangement. Doing this can save you more time and possible errors.

Tip #2: Clean your Tiles

Before sticking your tiles, it’s best that you clean them first. Doing so will make your work more professional looking.

Tip #3: Remove Obstacles

These obstacles can be anything. Always clear out the place before starting by removing power outlets, light switches, towels bars, doors, or anything that could hamper your workflow.

Tip #4: Mix your Adhesives by Batches

This tip can help you save your adhesives from drying up. Thus, when you are about to stick your tiles, only prepare a small about of cement paste and grout.

Tip #5: Start on the Center

This is a very important tip when you want your final outcome to be on point. Before sticking your tiles, find the center of the area by using a measuring tape. After locating the center, use this as your intersecting point as you divide the area into 4 quadrants.

Tip #6: Apply Moderate Adhesive

Apply the ideal amount of adhesive. This will need some practice initially, but you’ll find your own style of applying adhesives after some time. Just make sure that you’re not adding so much that it’ll end up leaking on your tiles.

Tip #7: Apply “Open Time”

Before applying your paste, read the open time directions on your adhesives. This is the allocated duration needed before you stick your tiles on the paste.

Tip #8: Check the Wall of Floor Level

Although the area may look perfectly even, there is a high chance that it isn’t. Thus, use an evenness measuring device so that you can apply a thicker layer of adhesive on the uneven areas.

Tip #9: Wait Before Applying Grout

After adding your tiles, it’s tempting to immediately apply the grout just to complete the job. However, being impatient can only ruin your tiling project. When the adhesive is still wet, there’s a high chance that your tile will move as you force your grout into it.

Tip #10: Prepare Extra Tiles

It’s possible that you’ll break one or two tiles during the installation process; that’s why purchasing extra tiles is a good practice when you are into tiling projects.

Just because you are the one who is doing the tiling job, this doesn’t mean that you are not capable of making a perfect outcome. With these simple tips alone, you can already see an improvement in your next tiling project.

Tips in Looking for Foreclosed Homes and Properties for Sale

It might sound absurd, but you can actually benefit from the misfortune of others in the form of foreclosed properties. According to the US Real Estate Trends & Market Info, 1 out of 1903 residents has his property foreclosed.

With such number, people have found a way to gain profits by investing in foreclosed houses and bargaining them later. The problem is: it’s not always that easy to come across foreclosure listings for a list of available foreclosed properties to bid on.

To help you with the process, here are some tips you can consider:

#1: Look for Online Listings

The internet is your friend when it comes to searching for available foreclosed properties to bid on. There are several websites that provide foreclosure listings at a very affordable price. Of course, you have to pay for the service. After all, looking for a comprehensive list of foreclosed properties is not that simple.

Most of these services will provide you with several useful information such as the name, address, amount owned, outstanding loans, and more. There are even a select few that also provide you with contact numbers.

#2: Contact a Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are knowledgeable when it comes to local properties that are at risk of foreclosure. It is because they network with other real estate agents and are quite familiar with the local market. With a real estate agent, he will help you search for foreclosure listings within the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Ideally, you need to choose an agent with adequate experience when it comes to foreclosures.

#3: Check out Government-Owned Listings

You can also look for listings from a government agency such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development. You can check the list from its website and make offers through an agent that represents the property you want.

#4: Take Advantage of Traditional Resources

Newspapers still remain as one of the most reliable sources of information for foreclosed properties. Since it is required to publish a Notice of Sale in a local newspaper when filing a foreclosure, you can take advantage of this when looking for foreclosed homes to invest in. Aside from local newspapers, you can also search for information from real estate newsletters, business journals, and other publications.

#5: Look for Public Records in Your Local Area

Throughout the foreclosure process, notices and foreclosure information are recorded in your County Recorder’s Office. By visiting your local office, you can gain access to this information for free. To do so, simply visit a local county’s office then look for a Notice of Default (NOD) or Notice of Sale. There are also cases where they post this information online.

The Bottom Line

The process of looking for a foreclosed property listing is difficult if you don’t know the right places to look. By keeping these tips in mind, you can have insights on where to look for foreclosure information. With such information from either online or offline sources, you can finally start making profits from your investments.

7 Safety Tips for Home Repair Workers

According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are over 6.5 million people working in a construction site daily. That means over 6.5 million people continually face the hazards of working with sharp tools and heavy materials. Objects can fall, workers can trip and fall, scaffolds can collapse, and more. One wrong move can end a repairman’s life. That’s why you can never be too careful when you are making home repairs.

To avoid any kind of accidents, you might want to diligently follow the tips below:

  1. Train Yourself

You can’t handle a professional job without a professional training. You can only get the skills you need to perform a successful home renovation project through training. You need to practice using different tools and equipment. You must also know the basic safety protocols and follow the rules. If you’re working with other people, you need to master proper communication skills.

  1. Wear Protective Gear

Whatever home repair job you are doing, you can’t do it in your shirt and pants. Wear your safety workwear, which includes earmuffs, protective gloves, safety vests, glasses, hard hats, and more. Though these gears can hinder your movement a little and make you feel uncomfortable, you don’t want to remove them. They will protect you when things go wrong.

  1. Be Alert

While you need to focus on the task at hand, you shouldn’t remove yourself from your environment completely. You can’t, for example, wear earphones and listen to music while at work. Also, if you find that anyone in the home build site is violating any safety rule, you might want to report it.

  1. Ventilate the Area

If you’re working indoors, then you might have suffered from slight suffocation. When you work with drills, it’s easy to fill the area with dirt and dust. If uncontrolled, they become unfriendly particles. Aside from wearing a mask, you can avoid getting asthma by creating a good ventilation system. You can open the windows and doors to let the air in. You can also install a good HVAC system.

  1. Get the Necessary Permit

If you’re doing big home renovation projects, you need to inform the authorities of your plan. If your plan is not approved, there might be a good reason for it. You will not get a permit if the project is proven to be too dangerous.

  1. Use Ergonomic Lifting Techniques

Gone are the days when people have to manually lift heavy objects. Now, you can use the latest technologies to do the most difficult and dangerous jobs. Ergonomic lifting techniques must be used to lift heavy objects and transfer them from one place to another.

  1. Don’t Work in the Dark

So the sun has set, and you’re eager to leave work. However, you still have some work left unfinished. No matter how much in a hurry you are, don’t attempt to work in the dark. You’ll only end up with one or two possibilities. One is where you end up hurt, and the other is where you destroy your current work.

Conclusion

You can’t renovate or rebuild your house if you are injured. Thus, it’s best that you stay safe and follow the tips above.

Increasing Your Home’s Value With HVAC Upgrades

One of the biggest expenses in the upkeep of your home is the HVAC system. Outdated systems are not only subject to breakdowns and constant repairs but also dangerous. When someone is looking to buy a home, one of the things they will check is the HVAC system. If your home’s system is not updated and well maintained, it can drag down your home’s value or at least what buyers will be willing to pay for it. So, if you want to add to your home’s value by doing something that will also benefit you while you are still living in the home, then you should consider HVAC upgrades.

Simple Changes

One of the keys to improving the value of your home by doing HVAC upgrades is to keep things simple. You don’t have to do a complete overhaul and install a new furnace, new AC, and new ductwork. If your current system has been well-maintained or is new, then there is no need to go to extremes. There are simple changes that you can make that will have a big impact.

Programmable Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat is probably one of the easiest changes you can make. However, it can have an amazing impact. These thermostats allow you to have more control over energy use. With a programmable thermostat, you can change the settings automatically through preset settings. They are easy to install. You may be able to do it on your own if you are handy. Otherwise, Wagner household repairs can handle it in a quick visit.

Air Sealing

Air leakage is costing you a lot of money. If you have areas of your home that are chilly or where you can feel air leakage, then they need to be fixed. By sealing up the gaps and leaks in your home, you can save a lot of money on heating and cooling. In addition, it will help your HVAC system work better. When you have air leakage, your system has to work harder to keep your home warm or cool. This leads to it working harder and more wear and tear. So sealing air leaks will save you money on monthly energy costs and overall HVAC system maintenance, along with making your home more comfortable.

In this same vein, if your insulation is lacking, then you should consider getting that taken care of. There are plenty of options today that can make insulating your home much easier without the need to completely tear out walls and turn your home into a construction zone.

Energy Efficiency

If you haven’t had an upgrade to your system recently, it is well worth it to check out energy efficient options. You don’t have to get a whole new furnace or AC. You can simply add in components that will boost efficiency. For example, a variable speed blower, a heat pump or efficient compressors can all be added to boost your current system.

Sometimes all you need to do is make small changes to get bug results. Whether you are selling your home soon or you just want to increase your equity, making HVAC system changes is going to be beneficial.

Know How to Prepare Your House for Sale: The Cheapest and Quickest Ways

A lot of homeowners are worried that they have to do major renovations before they can put their house for sale. Repairs already cost tons of dollars; full-blown renovation will be too expensive. However, is it really necessary to spend a lot before you can gain profits from your property?

Real estate agents give you some pieces of advice on how to prepare your house the cheapest and quickest ways possible. Here’s how you do it:

1. Remove all your personal things.

Move all your personal items like photographs to your new place. Remember, it would not be your home anymore once you found the perfect buyer. Give enough space for the buyer to imagine the house from his own perspective. Being unable to remove your personal stuff would create an impression that you are not yet ready to give your home to a new owner.

2. The less furniture you have, the better.

Show everyone the beauty of your home with less furniture. It will also add space to the whole area, thus making it look larger. Do not let anything block the view of the potential buyer. It can also allow the buyer to visualize if he or she likes the look of your house when he or she starts putting in things they like.

3. Remove items that you don’t want to sell along with the house.

Items such as appliances, artworks, and displays are usually chosen according to your taste. However, you have to remove them before the buyer comes for the ocular. A lot of buyers expect to get some freebies when buying a new house as they see that these will make the purchase even more worth it. If there are things you don’t wish to part with, it’s best if you keep them in advance.

4. Make your house look brand new.

Make the buyer feel that the house has just undergone a total renovation. Simple repainting can already improve the ambiance of your house. Small repairs can also make a difference. You might want to replace some fixtures and cracked tiles, fix faucets, repair doors, replace light bulbs and other inexpensive items that will add up to the “newly-renovated” feel. These can help you sell your property quickly.

You don’t have to make any major renovation. You can leave that to the new homeowners if they wish to restructure the house.

5. Cleaning is inexpensive, but it works wonders.

Cleaning will give your home a fresh look. Scrutinize every nook and corner of your house and make sure that no speck of dust is left. The buyer must feel welcomed just by the sight of your house. So, make sure that you’ve taken a good look at the rooms before you open your doors for the ocular.

Conclusion

You do not need to spend a lot of money to improve the look of your house. You just have to carefully examine the things that might catch the attention of your future buyer and do something about it in the cheapest and fastest possible way.

Top Ways of Adding Value and Space to Your Home

There are many ways in which you can enhance space throughout your home and increase the property value. A conservatory or orangery extension can add up to 10% of a home’s value, that’s £30,000 on a £300,000 property! Although there are some obvious high contenders for adding value to a property such as a loft conversion and room extension, there are not so many features which add space in a cost-effective way. Bi-fold doors and skylights are valuable features to increase space and light in your home without blowing the budget. We’ve listed some of the top ways that you can improve your home to benefit your lifestyle and impress guests.

Conservatories & orangeries

With the highest quality materials and designers, a conservatory can dramatically increase the value of your home. More and more people are choosing to invest in a conservatory or orangery extension to improve their property and create an open living space to enjoy. Conservatories and orangeries let in an abundance of natural sunlight to the home, providing a number of health benefits and improving the overall look of the property. You can enjoy the additional room all year round which enhances your lifestyle and offers a place to relax with family and friends.

Many property buyers will look for an orangery extension within a home due to their popular appeal and increasing demand. Orangeries UK design and manufacture luxury and bespoke orangeries made from high-quality hardwood such as oak, sapele and idigbo to suit the style of your home seamlessly. An orangery brings the outdoors into your home and is particularly beneficial during the winter months when you may not be spending enough time out in the fresh air. You can look out to your garden space and enjoy the outdoor views which is particularly advantageous if you have a beautiful landscape garden.

Roof lanterns & skylights

Roof lanterns and skylights are another fantastic way of increasing the illusion of space, light and enhancing the value of a property. Loft conversions are the perfect opportunity for the addition of a skylight to increase natural light flow and gaze up at the stars at night. Skylights are a good way to get children to spend time in their room, enjoy an airy space and get them to sleep better at night. Roof lanterns are larger versions of skylights and can completely transform the look of a room. They significantly enhance space and encourage emotional and lifestyle benefits. Roof lanterns are particularly popular in kitchens as the natural sunlight increases motivation and productivity, a fantastic way to start the day. Roof lanterns from Prestige Roof Lanterns UK are made with high levels of thermal insulation which helps the energy efficiency of your home, even throughout the winter months. As the season becomes darker, it’s extremely beneficial to reap the rewards from that extra sunlight.

Windows & doors

Replacing your windows and doors is one of the simplest solutions to increasing the value of your home. Not only will replacing your windows and doors enhance the aesthetics of your home, but it will also increase levels of home security and insulation. Secure and efficient doors will lower your energy bills by trapping in heat and offering a high-quality finish. Durable, double glazed replacement windows will also conserve heat energy and withstand different types of weather. Windows & Doors UK manufacture a whole range of window and door options from large, modern oak French doors to traditional looking casement windows. There are so many ways that windows and doors can complement your home, dramatically open up space and increase the look and worth of your home, from internal to external.

Bi-fold doors offer the ultimate in luxury décor for your home. Not only will bi-fold doors impress guests and open up your living space, but they also add significant value to your home. Bi-fold doors are not just limited to family properties and homes but also open up the interior of small apartments and flats. Folding doors look particularly good in conservatories and kitchens that open up onto a patio or garden as well as to partition rooms within the property. Bifold Doors UK offer high quality bi-fold doors to suit all types of properties with different sizing, colours and bespoke options. They have a range of ironmongery options to choose from as well as door and glass panel configurations.

If you’re seeking home improvement options that give you flexibility and suit the style of your property, investing in new windows and doors may be the simplest solution. However, if you’re focused on significantly increasing the value of your home and opening up your indoor space, then a roof lantern or an orangery build may be a beneficial investment. Come rain or shine, letting an abundance of light into your home can have a number of valuable benefits.

Clean Out & Clean Up: Creative Ideas For Sorting Your Stuff

Whether you’re anticipating visitors by cleaning up your home or resolved to be neater in the new year, getting organized can feel like an overwhelming task. But it doesn’t have to be.

If you have a clear plan and creative solutions, organizing can be downright fun. Here’s how to approach the process for maximum organizing success.

1. Break Down The Job

An entire single room, never mind your whole house, rarely goes from cluttered to clean in a day. Expecting this to happen is a recipe for failure. Instead, make sure you leave yourself enough time to deal with each area.

This may mean focusing on only the bedroom closet rather than your whole bedroom, or even just on your sweaters rather than all the clothes. If you’ve got a day to yourself, you might be able to take on a bigger task, but if all you have is your toddler’s naptime, then you make sure you narrow down the task to something more manageable.

2. Divide And Organize With Tension Rods

Tension rods aren’t just for curtains anymore. With a creative eye, you’ll find there are many other uses for these handy items.

Take out all those spray bottles from under the sink, for example; a tension bar installed down there makes a perfect hanging rack. Just balance the spray nozzles over the rod, which creates more space on the shelf below.

Another great way to use tension rods is to turn them on their side and use them as cabinet dividers. By placing a pair of tension rods side by side, you can slip larger items such as platters and serving trays in between. This creates a neat, divided space where there was only room for a cluttered stack.

3. Hide It In Plain Sight

Getting your home organized doesn’t mean you have to put everything out of sight. There classy and decorative ways to display small possessions.

According to a blog post fromTiny Prints, small stacks of books make a great platform for displayingtrinkets. You can also employ wood or acrylic trays to display writing paper and pens in your home office.

One way to enhance the effect of these displays is to complement them with coordinated planters: a matching wood planter with a low-maintenance succulent, for example, makes a great office detail.

By matching these to your trays, pen cups, or other organizers, you add a little natural flair to the room.

4. UpcycleFor Storage

Old leather suitcases make great tables – just add legs and you’re ready to go. That may sound easier said than done; if you’re not an experienced DIY-er, you can achieve this effect simply by attaching a suitcase rack — the kind you would find in a hotel or guest room.

The other advantage of recycling old suitcases into tables is that they come with automatic storage. Don’t know what to do with all that junk on the table right before company comes over? Just open the suitcase and stick it inside for the moment.

That’s the kind of organization that even the laziest homemaker can get behind.

5. Use Forgotten Spaces

There are probably lots of underutilized spaces in your home that you can use for cleaning up, get to work. Consider the space under your bed: You may have shoved some boxes under there, but imagine what you could do with a full set of drawers.

By installing drawers under the bed, you’ll have a much easier time organizing out-of-season clothing. This is also a smart strategy for other small spaces where dressers might not fit.

Homeowners also frequently overlook the area under stairways. Some people use this space as a small closet, but that’s inefficient. Instead, try installing a series of drawers under the stairs.

This easy-to-use and capacious option is great for homes with small children. You can encourage them to put their things away and you can easily get everything out of sight.

If your stairs are situated in a corner of your home, you might open up the space and turn it into a small office. By installing a desk and some shelves, you create a cozy study nook for your kids or an all-family email and message station … a perfect solution for otherwise wasted space.