Archive for Around The Home

Looking for a Fun DIY Project This Spring? How to Plant Your Own Vegetable Garden

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 6th, 2021

Looking for a Fun DIY Project This Spring? How to Plant Your Own Vegetable GardenWhen spring arrives, many people want to spend more time outdoors enjoying the fresh air and warmer temperatures. While you could lounge in a chair with a good book, you may find it more enjoyable to plant your own vegetable garden. This is an on-going project that will require you to spend time outdoors regularly, and it can be quite enjoyable to watch the fruits of your labor spring to life. More than that, you may love to sample and even share the tasty treats that you have grown on your own. If you are ready to get started planning and planting your vegetable garden, follow these preliminary steps.

Choose the Plants That You Want to Grow

As a first step, think about the types of plants that you want to grow in your garden. These should ideally produce vegetables that you and your family will enjoy eating. They also ideally will be suitable for growing in your climate and with the type of soil that is present on your property. Additionally, enough space should be available to accommodate the full grown size of the plants. This up-front effort is critical for the next few steps in the planning and preparation process.

Select a Suitable Space in Your Yard

Each plant species will have special growing requirements. Some plants may prefer to be in full sunlight, and others may prefer partial sunlight or mostly shaded areas. Some may prefer soil that is mostly dry or that is regularly moist and wet. Different areas of your yard may be more accommodating for some plant species than others. For example, plants that prefer more moist soil may thrive in a lower area of your yard that receives more runoff when it rains and that takes longer to dry out after a shower.

Choose the Best Time to Plant

A final point to consider is the best time to plant your crops. Some will thrive when cooler temps in early spring are still common, but others may not tolerate a freeze at all. These may need to be planted after the risk for a late spring freeze is gone. Think about how long it takes plants to grow and what the temperatures in your area may be when the plants are fully grown and ready to produce vegetables for you.

You may be able to complete much of this preliminary planning and research during the last few weeks of winter from the comfort of your own home. Keep in mind that you can get outdoors and begin to prepare your garden area before you are ready to plant your crops. These steps will pave the way for a truly enjoyable do-it-yourself project this spring.

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Five Places Mold Could Be Hiding In Your Home

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 31st, 2021

Five Places Mold Could Be Hiding in Your HomeEven the most aesthetically pleasing homes can have mold issues. A type of fungus that thrives on moisture, mold can trigger symptoms such as itching eyes, asthma attacks and bouts of sneezing or coughing.

As a result of the possible health issues, mold is the sort of problem that should be dealt with prior to listing a home, and people who are in the market to buy a home would do well to have a licensed professional conduct a mold test on any home they’re seriously interested in buying.

What follows is a rundown of five places in the home where mold could be hiding.

The Unwanted Basement Tenant

If climate control measures are not implemented, basements can end up becoming breeding grounds for mold. Most basements get little or no direct sunlight, are often more humid than other areas of the house, and get scant ventilation, which can pose a problem should water somehow get into the basement.

Mold can go undetected for years in such spaces since it can grow behind walls, baseboards and insulation. Fortunately, detecting mold is possible not only by sight, but also by scent. A moldy or musty smell should not be ignored since it could be evidence that there is a mold problem.

The Air Conditioner’s Chilly Reception

Unfortunately, mold can take root in places that people cannot easily access and monitor such as on the inside of their air conditioner units. Mold can grow on the coils and, when moisture enters into the picture, a small problem can become a big one quickly.

People who find themselves coughing or sneezing whenever they turn on their air conditioners ought to be suspicious since mold could be the culprit.

Not On The Kitchen Menu

Leaving leftovers in the fridge for too long can create conditions where mold thrives. The mold can then get into crevices where it will have even more places to grow. The problem can become even more serious if contaminated food and appliances transfer the mold to other areas in the kitchen.

Furthermore, kitchens that are insufficiently ventilated can also have negative implications as far as food safety is concerned,

The Chimney: Where There’s Smoke…

Leaky chimneys can cause mold problems that, if not fixed, may end up infecting other areas of the house. In a leaky chimney, moisture can seep into crevices and create mold areas that may eventually make their way down to the walls. Therefore chimneys that are in need of repair should be fixed promptly so that problems don’t pop up later.

If Walls Could Talk

One of the most common places for mold to form and grow is behind walls. Humid air behind the walls can be problematic, particularly if water finds its way back there as a result of things like flooding.

It’s also possible for mold to form behind wallpaper. People can determine whether or not they have mold behind their walls by having an inspector come in and check.

Mold is no laughing matter. Before listing, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to address any mold issues. People who are planning to buy a home should have an inspector conduct a test to ascertain if there are any problems.

Taking the proper steps will help to remedy any mold situation that may be present. Whether you’re looking to sell or looking to buy, the right real estate agent can make all the difference. Call your trusted real estate professional today for more information on how to deal with mold when buying or selling a home.

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It’s Almost Spring Cleaning Time! Kick Clutter To The Curb With These Home Cleaning Tips

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 18th, 2021

It's Almost Spring Cleaning Time! Kick Clutter to the Curb With These Home Cleaning TipsSpring is around the corner, and it’s time to get your home in order!

Spring cleaning can be fun and easy if you follow some general guidelines, which are sure to get your home ready for the nice weather and looking as beautiful as the weather is about to. Kick the winter clutter to the curb with these spring cleaning tips.

Start With The Closets

Spring is here, and winter wear is no longer needed! It’s time to box up all of the winter boots, jackets, gloves, and scarfs until next season.

Starting your spring clean with your closets is a good tip, and will get you prepared for the rest of the process while creating more space and organization in the bedrooms of the house. This is also the perfect opportunity to create a “giveaway” box full of clothes that are no longer being worn.

Reorganize: Bookshelves, Countertops, And Desks

Reorganizing is the perfect way to prepare your home for the spring and summer. Good clutter is common in many homes, like useful books that are interesting for guests to read or decorations that offer a sense of warmth and character to the home.

So pick up the fallen and leaning books on the bookshelf, reorganize your kitchen countertops, and de-clutter your home office. For busy home offices, purchase organizational tools like additional shelving units, compile and file away old bills and receipts, and toss anything else that is no longer needed or of any use.

Get Scrubbing: Removing Stains And Odors

Getting ready for spring means removing the stains, dirt, and odors that accumulated in your home over the colder months. First, you should start with wiping your painted walls with a wet cloth to remove scuffmarks and dust.

If the water doesn’t do the trick, you can try mixing a little dishwashing soap in with the bucket of warm water. You may even want to repaint certain high-traffic areas, like entrance halls and the baseboards around the front door.

Next, you can go for the floors. Having a fresh carpet cleaning is sure to kick-start your spring cleaning; this may be something that you wish to have done by a professional. To make the most out of your carpet cleaning, have it scheduled for when the kids are out of the house for a while, and wait until the worst of the weather is over.

Make sure the kids take their shoes off inside, but get them to leave their socks on to avoid natural oils from getting into your freshly cleaned carpet. Vacuum area rugs in the same fashion, and mop the kitchen and bathroom floors at the same time you clean your hardwood floors.

Give the showers, bathtubs, and toilets in the house a good scrub. In the kitchen, empty the fridge and freezer of their contents, and give the inside a good scrub down as well.

Once the tidying, de-cluttering, and scrubbing are done, you will get to enjoy the fun part of spring cleaning: spring decorating! And while you’re at it, why not buy yourself and your home some spring flowers for a job well done.

If you’re doing a big spring clean this year because you’re looking to sell your home, these tips will get your home ready for any buyer’s eyes. Contact your real estate professional today to get more tips on buying or selling a home.

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DIY Lovers: ‘Greenify’ Your Home with These Three Eco-Friendly Home Improvement Projects

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 11th, 2021

DIY Lovers: 'Greenify' Your Home with These Three Eco-friendly Home Improvement ProjectsAre you a homeowner who is searching for ways to make your home a bit more eco-friendly? Equipping your home with “green” improvements can save a substantial amount of energy and money, especially over the long term.

In today’s post we’ll explore a few projects that handy do-it-yourselfers can undertake in order to make a home a bit friendlier to the local environment.

#1: Focus on the Windows

Depending upon the time of year, windows have an impact on both heating and cooling costs. In the summer, older windows can drastically heat up a home causing cooling costs to skyrocket. In the winter, older windows can leak cold air within the home and let out the heat, which causes the heating costs to rise as well.

A simple replacement of older windows can save a homeowner as much as 30 percent on annual energy costs, as newer windows are more efficient at insulating the home against the weather conditions outside.

Combining a window upgrade with other energy-related changes can lead to even greater savings. For example, consider installing a ceiling fan in rooms that are generally occupied – such as the living room or family room – as these can circulate cool and warm air and help to reduce energy use.

During the colder months, use as much solar heating as possible. Open up curtains, and trim trees to allow for natural light to enter the home. The sun heats up the home through radiant heating, which is an effective and essentially free source of energy.

#2: Improve Your Insulation

A home that is properly insulated will help to preserve its heat and cool air. Heat can leak out from the home through cracks, but it can also occur through convection heating. The air within the home will eventually cool down from a steady decline of heat when the heat is transferred outside through the walls.

Beyond hot and cool air leaking out from the home, each room within the home can indirectly influence the temperature in adjoining rooms. This is especially true for the garage and any room that shares common walls. By using insulation in the garage, the home may cool down by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

#3: Install Smart Thermostats

Some green options simply mean a change in which type of appliances are used. In terms of a thermostat, a “smart” one like the Nest Thermostat can be installed. Use of one can cut energy costs by 20 percent, at minimum, by simply adjusting to the homeowners’ schedule.

To discover the numerous benefits green home improvements offer, talk with your trusted real estate agent today.

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Moving In: Our Ultimate Guide to Unpacking Will Help You Maximize Your Space

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 3rd, 2021

Moving In: Our Ultimate Guide to Unpacking Will Help You Maximize Your Space Many buyers anticipate the day they drive to their new home. Then it happens: the movers pull up. It’s time to move everything in. This can be a daunting task, but following a few steps will break down the work and careful planning will maximize space in the years ahead.

Clear Your Space

Go through each room to make sure the seller removed all belongings. Contact the real estate agent if the seller did not do this. Check the condition of all surfaces to determine how much preparation may be required.

Place Boxes In Correct Rooms

Boxes should be marked by room and either carry a label detailing what’s inside or be matched to a list showing what’s inside. Put each box in the correct room.

Place Boxes In Order Of Need

In each room, place boxes that will not be immediately needed against the far wall. Place boxes needed sooner in front of or on top of those boxes.

Eliminate Excess Items

If this wasn’t done while packing, buyers should stop any unwanted belongings from being taken into the house.

Create A Strategy

Unpacking does not have to be done in one day. Create a strategy for unpacking in three steps: immediate, secondary, and long-term needs.

Immediate Unpacking

Unpack what you need in the next couple of days. This will include bedding, toiletries, basic cooking equipment, and a few changes of clothing.

Secondary Unpacking

In the first week, unpack secondary items. Each day, unpack these items for one or two rooms. In the bedroom, for example, unpack your clothing and accessories. In the kitchen, unpack the rest of what you use for everyday cooking and eating. Do the same for other rooms.

Long-term Unpacking

By the end of the first month, decide what you are going to do with items you don’t use every day. Use extra closets, cupboards, basement or storage rooms, outdoor sheds, and the like. Remember where you put things so you can find them later.

Organize as You Go

Put items away in an organized fashion. Don’t just haphazardly unpack and toss things. It’s better to unpack more slowly and take time to put things away thoughtfully.

Call your real estate agent for moving-in tips and lists to track belongings. Take your time with unpacking and you will create a home where you can find things easily, maintain livable spaces, and enjoy a spacious environment.

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Let There Be Light! 3 Easy Ways To Make Over A Room By Adding New Light Fixtures

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 2nd, 2021

Let There Be Light! 3 Easy Ways to Make over a Room by Adding New Light Fixtures Light is an important design element that can be used to influence your interior decor in a number of ways. In fact, you can experience a major transformative change on the overall style and ambiance of a room by making a few simple lighting changes. Consider how these ideas can help you to improve the look of your space with great results, and think about ways that you can improve your space by making a few changes.

The Addition of Spotlights

If you have fine pieces of artwork, decorative display areas or other features that you want to illustrate with beautiful clarity, the addition of spotlights is a great idea. You can shine light on these special features in your home by installing a single, bright fixture with a focused beam overhead, or you can use track lighting to highlight larger features. In some cases, the design or layout of your room may be sufficient to allow lighting to be placed at eye-level or even below the fixture to shine upward at it.

Background Illumination

While spotlights can shine a focused beam of light on fixtures, you can also use background lighting for ambiance. Consider how you can incorporate background lighting with under-cabinet kitchen lighting, dimmer recessed lighting placed behind a sofa or other features. Generally, these are lights that do not provide direct lighting, and the light may not be the main source of light in the room. It may even have a hint of color to it for a dramatic flair that further establishes ambiance.

Beautiful Lamps

Another idea is to use beautiful or decorative lamps in your room. These may be smaller desk lamps, towering floor lamps or table top lamps. There are lamps available in a wide range of colors, sizes and styles. The lighting from the lamps may influence ambiance and provide functional lighting, but the decorative nature of the lamps themselves can enhance the décor even when the lights are not turned on.

There are many different types of lighting that can influence your home’s décor, and in many cases, it makes sense to incorporate each of these styles of lighting in a single room to enjoy different benefits. You can study your rooms’ layouts and designs today to learn more about how the existing light fixtures influence decor, and you can make a few appropriate changes to enjoy better overall results for your space.

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Inspect And Maintain Your Garage

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 27th, 2021

Inspect And Maintain Your GarageIn most parts of the country, garages are especially appreciated at this time of year. Even if you don’t live in a colder climate, it’s important to do an annual inspection and routine maintenance to keep everything in working order.

Make sure yours is doing its job well by following the care tips below.

Check The Tracks

You’ll want to make sure the garage door can go up and down smoothly. Get your leaf blower and blow any cobwebs, bugs or leaves from the track.

With older doors, you’ll also need to oil the metal rollers, hinges and tracks in order to keep everything moving easily.

Inspect For Pests

This time of year, pests are searching for a warm place to take shelter and find food. Look along the walls where they meet the foundation and double-check any spots where you’ve had moisture problems.

If you see chewed wood or trails of sawdust, call an exterminator because they could be signs of termites or carpenter ants.

Insulate Your Garage

If you have a workshop or gym located out in the garage, then insulating this space is a must for colder climates. Not only will it make your home warmer, but also it will reduce your electricity bills. You can buy DIY kits for under $100.

However, be careful if your door is over nine feet wide, because the extra weight can be too much for some opening mechanisms.

Spend Time On The Floor

Don’t actually get down on the floor, but definitely give it some care. Move everything out and hose down the entire surface. Patch any gaps to prevent tripping. Then give the foundation a good inspection.

If you notice mold or major cracks, call a contractor to come take a look and see if you have settling or water drainage issues.

Consider Replacing The Doors

You’ll know it’s time to replace your door when the panels are rusted and scratched or there are wooden ones that are warped. There are many decent replacement options, including wood, steel or aluminum.

The prices can range from high to reasonable depending on the quality of the material. If you decide to do a replacement, talk to an expert and take your climate into account.

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Three Hot Renovations That Will Boost Your Home’s Value Without Breaking the Bank

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 14th, 2021

Three Hot Renovations That Will Boost Your Home's Value Without Breaking the BankAre you feeling the “renovation itch” or perhaps looking for a fun project that you can take on which will provide you with a return on your investment? There are numerous home upgrades and renovations that can add value to a home without costing a large sum of money to complete.

Let’s take a look at three popular home renovations that can increase your home equity without draining your bank account.

Paint Your Home Inside and Out

Painting the interior or exterior of your home costs very little when compared to how much it can freshen up your home’s appearance and increase its value. Painting is also an excellent time to get rid of any old wallpaper or other decor touches that are outdated. Spend some time browsing through Pinterest or through home improvement websites in order to choose a color palette that is warm and inviting without being too bold. Remember, if the goal is to increase your home’s value you’ll need to paint using colors that buyers will find attractive.

Upgrading Your Windows

If your local environment is cold or wet during parts of the year you may find that upgrading your windows improves your home’s appearance and provides you with some additional savings in the form of reduced energy costs. Look for windows that are energy-efficient and that are guaranteed to eliminate drafts. Depending on the area of the country that you reside in, you may find that windows that are insulated with vinyl or aluminum are your best bet.

Finishing Your Basement into a Suite

If you have an unfinished basement which has a lot of space and running water you may want to consider finishing it in to a full basement suite. Some buyers will be enticed by the additional rental income that can come from a suite, while others will be excited at the opportunity to provide an older child or family member with their own suite inside of the same home.

You’ll find that investing a little time and money in your home now can pay huge dividends later when it’s time to sell and move on.

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Build A Home Gym For Your New Year’s Resolution

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 12th, 2021

Build A Home Gym For Your New Year's ResolutionWhile many people claim every January that they are going to exercise more, a lot of them give up after the first couple of months. It takes a great deal of effort to make it to the gym before work or have the energy to go afterward.

So don’t make a New Year’s resolution you know you won’t keep. Set yourself up for success by bringing the workout to you. Build your own home gym.

Designate A Space

The ideal situation would be to dedicate an entire room to your new home gym. That way you can close the door, crank up the music, block out the children arguing and focus on you.

However, a section of your garage or the back of your basement will also work. You just need enough room for a set of weights, a mat, a bench and a cardio machine, if you have one.

Prepare The Area

Put down a rubberized floor, especially if you’re in a basement or garage with concrete surfaces. You can purchase them pretty cheaply in foot-by-foot interlocking squares. Then hang mirrors.

This is important so you can watch your form when lifting weights. Also, you might want to put in a stereo system and TV for when you want to listen to music or watch instructional videos.

Decide How Much To Spend On Cardio Equipment

Cardio machines can get expensive and there are many types to choose amongst. If you’re a marathon runner, then you’ll probably want a treadmill. However, you can choose as many or as few as you want, such as an elliptical, stair stepper or stationary bike.

If you don’t want to break the bank for a fancy machine, then a good old jump rope will do the trick.

Choose Your Weights

You can go with a barbell weight system with resistance pulleys or just a set of dumbbells. Make sure you get a bench, so you can vary your lifting routine and properly stabilize yourself for certain exercises.

Make Space For Your Yoga Mat

Yoga mats are great for padding your knees, hands and back when doing abs and stretching — or for actually practicing yoga.

Many people don’t take the time to stretch after a workout, but it’s extremely important in order to improve flexibility, correct posture and prevent injuries. If you create a defined plan to limber up, then it’s more likely to become a regular part of your routine.

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Prevent Icy Drafts with Our Easy Three-Step Guide to Weatherizing Your Windows

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 8th, 2021

Prevent Icy Drafts with Our Easy Three-step Guide to Weatherizing Your WindowsIn the cold winter months, you’ll probably want to be outside enjoying the snow when you get a chance – perhaps building a snowman or having a snowball fight with the kids. However, you’ll get cold, and you’ll want to come inside to your well-heated home.

While you may have dealt with insulating your attic, walls and other areas of your home, if you’ve neglected your windows you may find that they become a source of very cold drafts.

In today’s blog post we’ll share a quick three-step guide to weatherizing your windows which will keep you warmer and help to prevent wasted energy and high heating bills.

Between Window Frames and Walls

The first step to weatherizing your windows is to check for spaces in between the window frames and the windows. You can often see any gaps clearly as they will allow you to see straight outside. If you’re dealing with small gaps you can use caulking as a temporary solution.

If you’re dealing with larger gaps, you’ll want to have professionals come in to repair or rebuild the wall.

Between Window Frames and Windows

If you have windows that can be open and closed, you’re going to need to check these to ensure they seal tightly and that the weather-stripping hasn’t worn away. Weather-stripping is typically sold in rolls, and most types have at least one adhesive side so that you can quickly apply it to your windows and frames. Note that there are different types of weather-stripping on the market, so be sure to purchase a type that will work with your windows.

The Window Panes

The window panes themselves can be used to your advantage. On sunny winter days, you can open the windows and let the sunshine in to warm up your home. At night, close the curtains or blinds to help make a sort of insulation to keep out the cold. The thicker the curtains or drapes are, the more they will help insulate your home and prevent heat loss through your windows.

The benefits of weatherizing your windows will serve you well past this winter if done right. Don’t forget that doing the opposite with curtains or blinds in the summer will help keep your home cool, and the value of a house goes up when these kinds of details are covered. When you’re ready to sell your home, be sure to contact your local real estate agent and they’ll be happy to assist.

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