Archive for Around The Home

Greenify Your Home with Our Guide to Conducting a DIY Energy Audit

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 24th, 2021

Greenify Your Home with Our Guide to Conducting a DIY Energy AuditThe idea of conducting an energy audit on your home might seem like something complicated that should be left to the experts, but there are ways for you to make your home a little greener without consulting anybody. Instead of having someone else do the work, here are a few simple ways for you to inspect your home and green up its energy use.

Do A Candle Test Of Exterior Walls

Since cold air coming in from outside your home can impact your energy use significantly, do the simple test of taking a candle on a tour of your home to determine if there are any drafts. Ensure that you check all of the windows, doors and exterior areas where outside air can gain access; if your candle blows out or wavers, this is a surefire sign that a fix-up is needed. If you’ve located an area where air is getting in, you may need to caulk it or add insulation to remedy the problem.

Carefully Inspect The Attic

Since we rarely venture up to the attic, it can be one of the last places that we would look for a draft, but it can be one of the most vulnerable areas when it comes to insulation. Before heading up, put on a mask and some work gloves to protect yourself from the dusty surfaces, and lift up the insulation to inspect for any spaces where air could be accessing your home. If you’ve noticed gaps or places that lack coverage, fill them with additional insulation and seal it with expanding insulation for added coverage.

Don’t Take Ducts For Granted

Since ducts are made of thin metal and can easily lose heat if they are damaged or unclean, it’s important to inspect them for holes and make sure they are joined sufficiently so air is not escaping. If you’ve found an issue, you will want to replace or insulate them more effectively so that energy loss can be prevented and does not impact energy use throughout your entire home.

There are plenty of ways that your home can lose energy – from the ducts through to the exterior walls – but there are simple things you can do to test its efficiency and improve your energy use. If you happen to be doing some minor renovations so you can put your home on the market soon, you may want to contact your trusted real estate agent for more information.

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Save Money on Your Home Energy Costs This Winter in Just Three Easy Steps

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

Save Money on Your Home Energy Costs This Winter in Just Three Easy Steps It doesn’t matter if you heat your home with electricity, natural gas or some other energy source; prices continue to rise and that means increased heating costs for most of us.

In today’s blog post we’ll share three easy ways that you can save money on your home energy costs this winter.

Install and Use Programmable Thermostats

Now that Nest and other companies have brought Wi-Fi enabled, programmable thermostats on the market there’s very few excuses to avoid using them. At bare minimum you’ll want a digital thermostat that can be programmed to turn on and off at certain hours of the day.

For example, you can shut your heat off after leaving for work and have it turn back on again a half-hour or so before you get home. You can do the same at night when you’re fast asleep under warm blankets. If possible, try to get a thermostat for each room so that rooms can be heated individually as needed.

Switch Up Your Ceiling Fans

If you have ceiling fans you may not know that by reversing their direction you can keep your rooms feeling much warmer. In the winter you’ll want your fans spinning in a clockwise direction, which will push warm air downward into the room where you’ll be able to feel it. In the summer you’ll want to switch the fans back to counter-clockwise as this will help move warm air towards the ceiling.

Check Your Insulation, Furnace and Ducts Now

Finally, you’ll want to check that your home heating system is operating at peak efficiency. If you can access your attic, check to ensure that your insulation is tightly packed and that it’s still in good condition. Clean or replace the air filter on your furnace, and check your ducts for any leaks that need to be repaired. If it has been a few years, consider having a professional furnace and duct cleaning to get all of the dust and debris out of the ductwork.

As you can see, a little time spent on home maintenance can end up saving quite a bit in energy costs when the temperatures drop. When you’re ready to look at buying a newer, more energy-efficient home, contact your local real estate agent and book a consultation where you can share your needs and price range.

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How To Interview An Architect When Building A New Home

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 9th, 2021

How To Interview An Architect When Building A New HomeMaking the decision to build a home might be one of the biggest you make in your life. You’ve found the perfect plot of land and have a vision of what type of home you want, but you need someone to bring your dream to life.

That means it’s time to start interviewing architects.

Hiring an architect isn’t as simple as just calling up a few and seeing who might have the time.

You’ll want to ensure you choose a professional that understands your design aesthetic, communicates well, can design on budget and has an upstanding reputation.

Below are a few key questions to ask when deciding whom to hire.

Do You Have A Specific Design Style?

When interviewing architects, be sure to ask each one if they have a specific aesthetic and if you can see a portfolio of his or her work. While most are adaptable, they usually all have design themes that recur in their projects.

Whether you want a minimalist structure or LEED certified construction, you’ll want to know they have the experience.

What Is Your Fee?

You’ll need to inquire whether they charge a flat fee for their designs or a percentage of the total building cost. Most architects charge a percentage of the overall cost of your home, usually ranging from 5-20 percent.

This is important to know because it means that for every floorboard installed, you’ll need to add on the architect’s additional percentage.

Do You Provide Project Management Services?

There are many services that architects should include within their contract, such as checking the contractor’s work, making adjustments as the construction moves forward and obtaining lien waivers.

Get a list of what each architect you interview includes in his or her fee. Additional charges can add up and might play a part in who you choose.

Interviewing architects and finding the right professional can make all the difference when it comes to building exactly what you want. One you work well with can make the construction experience extremely pleasant, while a negative relationship can leave you hating your new home.

So do your research and be sure to get references.

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Five Unique Renovations That Can Make Small Living Spaces Feel Bigger

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 26th, 2021

Five Unique Renovations That Can Make Small Living Spaces Feel BiggerJust because you live in a small space doesn’t mean your home needs to feel cramped. There are several renovations that are popular among interior designers to make a space feel larger. Incorporate them into your own home to give it a more open, spacious feel.

1. Crystal Clear

Glass is an absolutely phenomenal way to make a small space feel larger as it removes visual barriers to show off additional square footage, making it seem as though it’s part of the room. Whether you choose a glass railing for a staircases or room divider or incorporate a glass shower into a small bathroom, glass can help your home feel more spacious.

2. Make The Most Of Mirrors

Similar to glass, mirrors can make a small space feel big as they add an illusion of depth to a room. Try installing a large mirror on a wall in lieu of paintings or other decor if you’d like to make a room seem larger than it is.

3. Goodbye Island

If it’s your kitchen that’s feeling cramped, consider removing the island. Islands can add value to a home, but if your kitchen is small enough that it shouldn’t have been there in the first place then getting rid of it will create a much more functional space. Consider whether you’d still have ample counter space and storage without your island, and if the answer is yes it may be time to say goodbye to your island.

4. Tear Down The Walls

Creating an open concept floor plan is a fantastic renovation for a small home as it removes barriers between several small spaces to create one larger open space. Do you really need a wall between your kitchen and dining room? How about between your dining room and living room? If there’s a wall that simply isn’t necessary, it may be time to tear it down.

5. Keep It Light

A very quick and easy renovation to help open up a small space is to paint the walls in a light color as it will reflect more light than a darker shade, making the room feel airy rather than cozy. If you’re considering re-doing the floors, choosing a lighter color can further contribute to the feeling of a larger space.

Small spaces don’t have to cramp your style. In fact, they offer unique design opportunities and can make wonderful living spaces. If you’re looking for more homeowner advice, get in touch with your local real estate professional today.

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Looking for an Eco-friendly Upgrade? Try These Easy Ways to Save Water Around the Home

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 7th, 2021

Looking for an Eco-friendly Upgrade? Try These Easy Ways to Save Water Around the HomeWith the impact we have on our environment becoming a matter of greater concern, it’s becoming more important for the average citizen to know they’re doing their part. While there are many simple tricks for saving water that will make you feel better about your environmental footprint, here are a few easy upgrades that will make that saving a little more automatic.

Consider a Cistern Device

With outhouses a thing of the past, flushing the toilet has become one of the ways in which household water is being overused the most, but flushing less simply isn’t a viable option. Instead of wasting water in this way, purchase a displacement device and place it in your toilet’s cistern. Without you having to do anything at all, it will instantly reduce the volume of water that is used with each flush.

Learn to Work a Water Meter

It’s ideal to help the environment by saving water, but it’s even better if you can save yourself money at the same time. If you happen to be among those who pay for their water, installing a water meter will enable you to take a closer look at where your water use is going, and can assist you in helping to trim down this expense.

Drain It From the Rain

In the event of an intense downpour, there’s often a lot of water that runs off into the gutter and can’t be absorbed by the grass or the trees. Instead of letting it go to waste, install a water butt to your drainpipe so that you can use the runoff when it’s dry outside to water your plants or even wash your car. There’s no reason that any of the moisture from a good rainfall should have to go to waste.

Invest in Water Efficient Items

From showerheads to washing machines, going energy efficient with your household appliances is becoming quite popular. The next time you have to replace a small appliance or there’s a leak with a household item, consider heading down to the drugstore to look for environmentally friendly options that will instantly reduce your footprint.

With so many options for environmentally friendly items on the market these days, there’s no reason you can’t save water at home with a few easy changes. From making use of the rain that falls to learning to work with a water meter, some simple shifts may make your house the most environmentally friendly one on the block.

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3 Autumn-inspired Decor Ideas That Will Spice Up Your Home

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 1st, 2021

3 Autumn-inspired Decor Ideas That Will Spice Up Your HomeWith the season of jack-o-lanterns and crunchy leaves under foot, there can’t help but be plenty of ways to integrate the loveliness of autumn into your home decorations. Whether you’re looking for a simple touch or a statement that will completely define a room, here are a few ideas for highlighting the best the fall has to offer.

Showcase a Seasonal Bouquet

A vase full of flowers can add a lot to any room in the house, but a great way to integrate the season outside with your home is to make a bouquet that will utilize the best of fall’s vegetation. Instead of opting for the usual bright colors, gather an array of colored leaves that strike your fancy and add a collection of branches to a vase that suits the purpose. If arranged right, this can be a striking and unique embellishment to your front entrance.

Carve Out a Candle Holder

An easy way to join the cooler weather with your inside atmosphere is to utilize the help of the season’s most familiar vegetable, the pumpkin. Instead of going for the typical Halloween carving, cut the top off of a small pumpkin, clear away all of the seeds and let it dry out. Once this is complete, you can put a candle in the pumpkin, and create a unique lighting look for your home. If you like it enough, you may want to consider doing it with several pumpkins for an even more festive display.

A Falling Light Fixture

Instead of making something from scratch, you might want to consider using the pieces you have in your home and switching them up to complement the changing season. If you happen to have a chandelier in your dining room and you also have kids who like to craft, have them put together some papier-mâché leaves and pumpkins so you can hang them decoratively from the chandelier. While this is a look that will take more work, it will be a particularly striking way to illuminate your chandelier – and your dining area!

Adding some fall inspiration into the mix for your home decorating can be a great way to better enjoy the season and have some fun with your family. From a festive chandelier to a striking autumn bouquet, there are plenty of ways to become crafty for the fair season. If autumn is making you contemplate your neighborhood and your home, you may want to contact your local real estate agent for more information.

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Where To Find Inspiration For Your Home Decor

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

Where To Find Inspiration For Your Home DecorAre you working on decorating your home? Perhaps you want to spruce up your decor, but you aren’t sure where to start. Where can you find inspiration for your home decor, besides the obvious home decor magazines and websites?

Here are some fun and creative ideas that will inspire you when designing your decor:

Luxury Hotels

The next time you go on a vacation, you can find decor inspiration at your hotel. Most hotel rooms in mid-range to luxury hotels have beautiful, comforting and understated designs, so take photos if you find something that you like.

Perhaps you can invest in plush throw pillows for your bed, a sleek bed table lamp or thick white towels for your bathroom to recreate the look of a luxury hotel.

Art Galleries

Take a walk around your local art gallery and see if you can find some inspiration there. Perhaps the harmonious colors of Impressionist paintings or the angular shapes of Cubism will inspire you to add visual interest to your decor.

You might not be able to afford an original Picasso or Monet, but you can always order prints of your favourite artists online and add art to your home on a budget.

The Beauty Of Nature

Another place to find beauty and inspiration is from Mother Nature herself. Take a walk outside in the country and take some photos of what you encounter.

Perhaps you will be inspired to paint your walls a shade of green just like the spring leaves, or create a centrepiece for your table made from pinecones.

Fashion Design

You can also find inspiration from the colors, textures and patterns that are popular in the world of fashion design. Look at magazines, fashion shows and advertisements to see what colors and styles are popular at the moment.

If you love the look of a certain item of clothing, think about how you can incorporate that color, texture or pattern into your decor.

If you have an open mind, you can find inspiration for your home decor all around you. These are just a few ideas to get you started, but of course there are many other sources of inspiration out there.

For more info and tips regarding your home, contact your trusted real estate profesional.

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Tiny, but Cozy: 3 Ways to Furnish Small Spaces to Make Them Feel Much Larger

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 20th, 2021

Tiny, but Cozy: 3 Ways to Furnish Small Spaces to Make Them Feel Much LargerWhen decorating a small space, there is a general desire to make the space look and feel larger than it is while also meeting basic functional needs in the room. For example, there may be a need to accommodate seating for a group of people in a living room, but there also may be a desire to provide ample space for foot traffic so the area does not feel cramped. By following a few important tips, it is possible to furnish smaller spaces so that they are functional and do not feel cramped.

Think About Decorative Storage Solutions

One of the most common factors that will make a small space seem cramped and uncomfortable relates to clutter, and because of this, focusing on storage solutions can go a long way toward making the space feel larger than it is. Storage solutions can be decorative, and they can be a true benefit to the décor in the room. Think about functional storage features like an ottoman with hidden storage features, an entertainment center with cabinets and shelves or a tall bookshelf that can hold many of the items that are needed in the room.

Decorate The Space Vertically

For most people, there is a general inclination to decorate a room horizontally and to fill the floor space with furnishings, but this can be detrimental when decorating a smaller room. In a smaller space, decorating the space vertically by using bookshelves, storage cabinets and other features that rise above the ground rather than that sprawl across the ground can be beneficial. The goal should be to decorate the room fully while leaving ample space for foot traffic to maneuver through the room comfortably.

Use Lighter Colors

Darker colors used in a smaller room can make the space feel closed off and cramped. Using lighter colors can brighten the space and make it seem more airy. While using shades of white and beige throughout a space may not be ideal in all rooms, these can be incorporated into various aspects of the décor to improve the spacious feel of the room.

Smaller spaces can be challenging to decorate, but there are different tips and tricks that can be used to make the space look and feel larger than it is. Some tips help improve the functional use of the space, while others simply play tricks and create the illusion of space. All can be used together to create the feeling of a larger, more inviting room.

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How to Improve Your Landscape and Gardens Before Showing Your Home

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 17th, 2021

Staging 101: How to Improve Your Landscape and Gardens Before Showing Your HomeCurb appeal is often neglected by sellers. So much attention is spent getting the inside of a home cleaned up that the outside is left until last. This is a mistake. Landscaping and gardens are the first things a prospective buyer sees. Following these tips ensures homes look their best and give a positive first impression.

Spruce Up Mulch

A fresh layer of mulch brings out the color in a garden and makes gardens look well-tended. Homes on the market in the spring, summer, or fall benefit from a fresh application of mulch prior to putting a home on the market.

Clean Up

Cluttered yards full of toys and tools are unattractive. Pick up any clutter and place it out of sight of prospective buyers.

Branches, leaves, and other debris are equally unsightly. Rake leaves and eliminate brush to give lawns a clean, manicured appeal. This is important year round.

Renting a power washer to clean driveways and walkways is also advisable. A clean driveway and gleaming walkways invite prospective buyers to picture themselves strolling through the yard.

Trim Grass And Shrubs

Overgrown grass and shrubs look unkempt. Take the time to cut the grass and sweep or blow the clippings off of driveways and walkways. Trim shrubs and trees to desired shape and height, and clean up all trimmings.

Don’t worry about trimming out of season. Well-manicured landscapes suggest that the rest of the house is equally well maintained.

Fresh Plantings

Add a little color in the garden to increase its appeal with some fresh flowers. A new planting ensures blooms look their best, especially against that new application of mulch.

Tend To All Garden Beds

This is the time to spruce up all garden beds. Remove weeds and trim up perennials to create a well-maintained appearance. Remove or trim back any plants that look dead or otherwise unhealthy.

Address Water Issues

Yards with fountains, faucets, pools, and irrigation systems require additional care. The time to fix issues is before the showing.

Resolve any issues with irrigation systems. Clean fountains and pools of algae and leaves. Fix leaky faucets as they suggest issues elsewhere with plumbing.

Fixing up the outside is just as important as a clean interior. Making gardens, lawns, and landscaping appear attractive and well maintained gives prospective buyers a positive first impression.

Don’t wait until the day of the showing. Start working on landscape staging a month before putting a home on the market. Call your trusted real estate agent today for more staging tips.

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Preparing for a House Fire – What to Do if One Breaks Out

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

Safety Tips: 5 Ways to Prepare for a House Fire - and What to Do if One Breaks Out House fires can break out for a wide range of reasons, and these include everything from grease fires while cooking in the kitchen to lightning striking the home. They can cause a significant amount of property damage as well as personal injury or even loss of life, so preventing them and knowing how to properly respond if a fire does break out are important. Whether buying a new home or residing in an existing home, everyone can benefit from learning more about fire safety rules.

Have An Exit Strategy

Fires can break out whether residents are awake in the living room or kitchen, taking a bath or sleeping in the bedrooms. It is important to have a fire exit strategy for every floor of the home and every room of the home. In addition, it is equally important that all residents in the home understand the strategies and know how to get out.

Invest In Fire Safety Ladders

Fire safety ladders are designed to give residents a safe escape route from second story windows, and they should be placed in a convenient location in every second floor room in the home. Residents should know how to attach them securely to the window as well as how to get down the ladder safely.

Purchase A Fire Extinguisher

Generally, it is safer for residents to get out of the home in the event of a fire rather than to attempt to put the fire out, and personal safety should also come before thoughts about saving the property. However, in the event a very small fire has broken out, a fire extinguisher can provide a homeowner with a safe way to put the fire out. It is best to keep a fire extinguisher in a convenient location on each floor of the home.

Place Fire Detectors In Strategic Locations

There are codes regarding the placement of fire detectors in a home, and your trusted real estate agent can provideyou with more information about this. In many cases, homeowners may benefit from having additional fire detectors placed in strategic locations throughout the home in addition to the locations required by code.

Check Fire Safety Equipment Regularly

Fire safety and prevention equipment is only useful if it works, so it is important to test the equipment and supplies regularly. For example, a homeowner may test the batteries in a fire detector monthly and may take extinguishers to the local fire department for testing annually. These steps will help to ensure that residents have access to functional safety equipment regularly.

Residents should also know what to do if a fire breaks out in a home, and in most cases, the answer is to get out of the home quickly and to call the fire department. Attempts to save personal belongings should not be made, and all residents should know where the family will meet outside of the home in the event of a fire. Those who want to learn more about safety features in a home or about the required placement of smoke detectors can contact your trusted real estate professional for further assistance.

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