After closing on a slightly “lived-in” home, you’re probably dying to renovate. But that Pinterest-fueled excitement might need to be tempered by the reality of your budget. There may not be a lot of money left in your bank account after dropping a down payment on that dreamy, antebellum-style home for sale in Nashville, TN, for instance. However, you don’t have to let your budget stop you from revealing your fixer-upper’s potential. Here are 18 small, under-$500 makeover ideas that will freshen up an entire room.
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What are some of the challenges homeowners face when it comes to managing their homes? What are the most overlooked spaces in houses when it comes to home maintenance and cleaning? These are a few of the questions answered to help homeowners understand what it means to focus on smart home management and how to make great decisions that effect our living arrangements. Our homes are often a large purchase that can increase in value however this value is only growing if the proper care for the home is taken. To learn the answers to these questions and more, please read here.
Elizabeth Dodson is the co-founder HomeZada where she manages the marketing and business development along with the customer experience. We recently talked to her about the common challenges homeowners face when maintaining their houses. Here’s what she had to say:
What are some of the challenges homeowners face when it comes to managing their homes?
Homeowners are challenged by understanding all the details of their homes and making the best decisions about their home. By overlooking these common details, homeowners become under insured because they do not have the details of the full contents in this home, spend too much money on fix-it costs due to challenges in managing maintenance tasks and go over budget on remodeling projects without the information needed to properly plan for projects.
What are the biggest oversights we make in caring for our homes?
The biggest oversight that most homeowners face in caring for their homes is not properly maintaining their home because they either do not know what tasks need to be completed or they do not remember when these tasks need to be completed. When homeowners are not properly maintaining their homes, then it can result in an inefficient, unhealthy and potentially unsafe home.
What are the most overlooked spaces in houses when it comes to home maintenance and/or cleaning?
The most overlooked spaces when maintaining and cleaning a home is the laundry room where dryer vents need to be cleaned and garages. Often times, garages house hot water heaters, potentially water filtration systems and central vacuum systems.
Additionally, most homeowners place a lot of equipment, lawn care tools and other items in their garage when the storage in their home is full. The equipment in the garage needs to be maintained and garage organization can help understand what is actually in the garage.
What are the risks of neglecting these spaces?
The risk of neglecting laundry rooms and garages is that inefficiencies can occur with the equipment and appliances found in these spaces. For instance, dryer vents that have not been cleaned can cause fires in addition to an inefficiently operating machine.
Most homes have plenty of nooks and crannies for dirt, dust and pests to hide out in.
What are the most common problems associated with crawl spaces you’ve heard about?
Faulty doors to access crawl spaces that do not properly close will allow access by small animals and other pests. These unwanted pests can cause problems to air conditioning ducts that may run through the crawl space. If improper grading exists in a home’s crawl space area then water can accumulate and cause damage to the structure of the home. Mold can also develop from excess water which can ultimately cause structural and health issues.
What advice can you offer homeowners on developing a good maintenance schedule for their home? What areas should they make sure to include on their list?
Creating a maintenance schedule can be simple by using tools to help identify when tasks need to be completed and how often. Changing your home’s air filters can keep your heating and air conditioning units running properly in addition to keeping the air clean.
It’s smart to get professional help twice a year to check that your heating and air conditioning units are functioning properly. Maintenance tasks like checking windows for potential leaks, cleaning out the ventilation hood in over your stove, cleaning out your refrigerator grills, and other tasks can create better functioning equipment and appliances. Making sure these tasks are performed on a regular schedule will be helpful in managing the home.
What are some good DIY home repair projects that even new homeowners should be able to tackle?
Home repair generally depends on a homeowner’s skill and comfort level. However, these simple home repair projects are easy for most homeowners.
To manage outdoor landscaping and manage water bills, fixing outdoor sprinkler systems can be done when testing the system. Replacing leaky faucets can be managed by a homeowner, however more intricate plumbing issues may require a licensed plumber. Changing door locks, caulking in bathrooms and around windows, cabinet repair or minor carpentry around the home are also home repair projects that homeowners can tackle on their home.
When should homeowners make sure to call in professional help?
Engaging a professional will generally occur when homeowners either do not have the time or skill to accomplish the tasks. Electrical and plumbing tasks may require professionals. Replacing appliances or installing new smart home technology will require professionals.
How has technology changed the way we care for our homes?
Technology can enhance the way we care about our homes. Using technology to manage our schedules, time and funds to care for our homes can make homeowners more aware and more productive when caring for their homes. Technology helps us identify what we own within our homes and helps us document these details to create a full picture of how our homes operate.
Posted on HomeZada
Whether you’re downsizing before a move or just unloading some unwanted goods, make your next yard sale a smashing success with this expert advice.
At some point, nearly all of us will organize or assist with a yard sale, garage sale, or estate sale. Whether you’re planning your own yard sale, or are pitching in to help run one, the key to yard sale success is drawing a crowd.
Some people make “yard sale-ing” the main activity of their Saturday morning. What entices them to stop their car and jump out to cruise a collection of used stuff? Understanding this will help you get traffic to your sale so people will snap up your unwanted items.
The three keys to a yard sale people can’t help stopping for are:
- Stellar signage
- Personalized presentation
- Interesting inventory
Over the years, the quality of yard sales has diminished. Many folks simply open the garage door, lay a sheet on the ground and drag out dusty, cobwebbed items stored in the corners of the garage and attic for way too long. They stick a sign marked “Yard Sale” in the ground and hope for the best.
While that approach can work, it won’t give you top dollar, says author and garage sale expert Ava Seavey.
As long as you’re taking time out of your life to sell your used furniture, nearly new kitchen appliances, and sports equipment, why not try to get as much as you can for those items? A little class and some effort will definitely make the difference.
Keys to success
Here are Ava’s 10 tips for a successful yard sale:
- Offer at least 100 items or more for sale. People tend to drive on by when they don’t see enough inventory.
- Present an array of goods. All clothes and shoes or just kids’ items won’t give you the kind of traffic you need to generate cash. Get more people by supplying an interesting inventory.
- Use tables and tablecloths to display your more expensive items. The easier it is for your customers to shop, the more you will sell — and the classier your wares look, the more you can charge.
- Create tags or labels to individually price all items. This allows your yard sale helpers to actually help you without having to turn around and ask you for the price on every item. This personalized presentation makes it easier for buyers to make decisions and add up the purchases in their heads as they shop.
- Choose your sale’s date wisely. The majority of yard sales and garage sales are held in the spring, and the best day of the week for a sale is Friday. Be sure, however, to avoid holidays and holiday weekends.
- Make sure you have outstanding signage. Signs should be double-sided to catch people driving in both directions. Write in big letters, and use as few words as possible. Always have an arrow on the sign pointing in the direction of the sale. The better the signs, the better the turn out.
- Wear an apron. It will help you stand out so buyers know who’s in charge when they want to negotiate prices or request that items be held for pick up at a later time.
- Stock your cash box. Take a trip to the bank in advance of the sale and get plenty of coins and dollar bills for change.
- Provide a way to carry items off. Declutter your closets and donate all the plastic bags and empty boxes to your yard sale. This has two advantages: It creates even more space in your home, and helps your customers carry their purchases to their car more easily.
- Prepare for leftovers to move on. At the end of the sale, be ready to take all leftover items to a charitable group, or arrange to have them picked up. The point of a yard sale is usually to declutter and make some money — not to bring back in the very items you’ve already determined could be let go.
No matter if it were the golden age of rock and roll with Elvis at the helm, or Nirvana’s discordant outbreak of teenage angst and grunge, or the groovy disco hype of Kool & the Gang, Boney M, and Earth, Wind & Fire; each decade has that defining moment which has caused a boom in style, fashion, and design. Frankly, this is what pop culture is all about. However, there are so many new trends nowadays, it is sometimes hard to keep up, but you can always look back at the legends of music and the sensibility of the era during their reign to draw inspiration for your home decoration.
It may seem like history is repeating itself, but consider it to be an upgrade of sorts, an old-school feel with a modern touch. Take, for instance, Amy Winehouse. Besides her alluring deep contralto voice, she is also known for sporting an exaggerated beehive, which, in fact, was a symbol of the 60’s fashion kitsch. The same goes with décor. Combinations that were once used can be refurbished and even repurposed, thus creating a blend of the old and new. Let’s see what decade can also make our homes both vintage and contemporary.
This was the time were America’s economy grew and consequently music started to flourish. During that time a young blonde lad, fresh from the US Navy, dyed his hair black, sang like angels, busted some moves and became a legend. Elvis Presley was revered as the godfather of rock and roll and with him, the term “pop culture” became a worldwide phenomenon. So, if you want your home to have that 50’s vibe, think about hanging that vinyl on the wall, head down to a pawn shop and get yourself a jukebox, think about rock and roll paper lanterns or table runners, chrome tables, black and white square tiles, exhibit your acoustic guitar as if it is a holy relic, and finish it all off with a picture of either Marilyn Monroe, or a Hollywood sign.
The flower power era was one of the most musically prolific. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, the Who, Carlos Santana, Jefferson Airplane; they all emerged during this decade to name a few. The hippie movement was on the rise, people protested against the government and war, and cult songs were pouring like crazy in people’s ears. If you opt to revive that 60’s sentiment in your home, think about shaggy or lurid carpets, floral wallpapers, psychedelic artwork, plastic chairs, open shelving, and don’t forget to hang a photo of the Volkswagen Type 2 or Andy Warhol’s pop art.
To some, this decade is known for the domination of almost godlike rock music, but there was also a counter-reaction to that dominance. Containing elements of funk, pop, soul, and salsa, this slick body-moving genre came to be known as disco. There were basically two major groups. People who were either Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, David Bowie fans, inspired by their lives and work where everything was about sex, drugs, power chords and spirituality, while, on the other hand, there were smooth brothers and sisters who just want to get their groove on. Translate this to décor and you’ve got: beanbag chairs, floor pillows, built-in desks/beds, disco balls, wallpapers in a sunshine yellow, orange, red, brown, and white color combination, geometry symbols, and lava lamps.
This is when music became industrialized, mass-production was slowly becoming a household term, heavy metal just exploded, and computers were being incorporated to create all manner of genres ranging from synth pop to industrial. Bands like Depeche Mode, the Cure, Kiss, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Metallica, Guns’n’Roses reigned the scene, however, mainstream culture even produced individuals who will be dubbed as the king and queen of pop – Michael Jackson and Madonna. Well, in terms of décor, everything pastel was in, also reflective surfaces, contemporary LED wall lights, rough geometric motifs, rounded furniture, circular mirrors, and any fearless colour and form in general. As long as it is bold, it is good.
When Seattle took over the mainstream scene with grunge rock, bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots, Bush and many others became worldwide sensations. MTV was at its peak, and more and more subgenres emerged out of nowhere. So what was crazy about décor back then? Well, inflatable furniture, fake silk flowers, Hollywood lighting, carpeted bathrooms, band posters, beer signs, and certain degree of minimalism for starters.
This is where our journey stops. As the overwhelming numbers of new trends rush to meet us, we start swaying from genre to genre searching for that band or singer that will define us. Enjoy your music and try to channel some of it into your decor. Make it your own.
About Author: Derek is a hopeless romantic and awkward situation enthusiast. He strives to find a perfect home. In his pursuit, he has gained the knowledge he is eager to share.You can find him blogging regularly at Smooth Decorator.
Posted on HomeZada
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the size of the foreclosure inventory in the nation. There has been some speculation that distressed property inventories are about to skyrocket. Today, we want to reveal what is actually taking place in this segment of the housing market.
CoreLogic, in their most recent National Foreclosure Report, reported that foreclosure inventory has decreased by 23.2% since this time last year. The report also showed that foreclosure inventory has decreased in 49 of the 50 states and that 45 states have posted a year-over-year, double-digit decline (see chart below).
Other findings in the report:
- The Seriously Delinquent Rate (homeowners more than 90 days behind in their mortgage payment) is 3.1% which is the lowest level since November 2007
- The Foreclosure Rate is 1.1% which is also the lowest level since November 2007
- This was the 53rd consecutive month that showed a decline in the Foreclosure Rate
Though foreclosures do remain in the market, the number is dramatically decreasing. The fact that mortgage delinquency rates are also decreasing means the worst of the foreclosure crisis is in the rearview mirror.
Posted by The KCM Crew
You’ve kept a collection of houseplants alive. Congratulations! Now this is how you can make them thrive.
There are no one-size-fits-all answers when it comes to houseplants, and a plant tag can only tell you so much. Each species is unique, hailing from climates ranging from dry deserts to Mediterranean landscapes to tropical rainforests, and even two plants of the same species can have totally different needs depending on a number of factors. Fertilizing depends on the type of plant and the label instructions, while pruning times and methods rely on a plant’s blooming time and growth pattern.
Grow a lush and flourishing indoor garden filled with a variety of plants by following this three-step program. Start with a good reference, and inspect for problems every time you water. Finally, fill out a maintenance checklist for each plant in your collection to provide the most personalized and accurate care possible.
Find a reference
Since each plant has entirely different needs, it’s essential to find trustworthy references that will tell you everything you need to know about each specific plant.
While you can find info on any plant with a quick Internet search, you’ll find that some sites have more information on certain plants than others. If you own a collection of houseplants, I highly recommend picking up a book such as “The House Plant Expert” by D. G. Hessayon.
Inspect while you water
Even with all the knowledge in the world at your fingertips, your senses are the best tools in your arsenal. Every time you water, inspect each plant for problems such as pests, yellowed leaves or slow, lanky growth.
Refer to the list below to help you narrow down problems, or check out this info on troubleshooting houseplant problems.
A plant needs to be watered more if:
- The top inch of potting mix is dry
- Leaves are wilting (unless soil is moist)
- Water runs over the soil and drains along the sides
- The plant feels lighter than usual
A plant needs to be watered less if:
- The soil feels more soggy than moist
- The roots are beginning to rot
- You see fungus gnats every time you water
A plant needs fertilizer if:
- It has been over a few months since purchasing the plant
- The time-release fertilizer pellets or fertilizer spikes are spent
- The palm fronds are yellowed
- The plant is growing at a glacial pace
- It’s been over a year since you fertilized
- You can’t remember the last time you fertilized
A plant needs to be repotted if:
- The existing potting mix drains too quickly or slowly
- The plant’s roots coil tightly together in the pot, forming a solid mass
- The potting mix is practically older than dirt
A plant is getting too much sun if:
- The exposed leaves are getting scorched and bronzy
- It’s a shade-loving plant but is receiving direct rays of sunlight
A plant isn’t getting enough sun if:
- Its new growth is spindly and stretched out
- The plant actually appears to reach for more light
- The leaves are very dark green
- It’s in a room without a window, such as a bathroom
Create a care sheet for each plant
You can solve a lot of problems with a good reference and eye for detail, but it can be difficult to keep track of an entire collection of plants around the house. For example, two rubber trees (Ficus elastica) in the same house require different care depending on a number of factors: the brightness of the room, your home’s heating system, the type of potting soil, the overall health of the plants and even the type of fertilizer being used.
Instead, create care sheets for each plant. (We have one you can download and use.) Print one sheet for every houseplant in your collection, or keep notes on your computer, tablet or phone if that’s more convenient for you.
Fill in the basic needs and take notes whenever you feed, repot, move and prune plants, so that it will be easier to diagnose problems that arise. Place the worksheets in a folder and use them to pencil in dates on the calendar to remind you when it’s time to fertilize or prune.
Posted by Steve Asbell on Zillow