Category Archives: Home

Should You Rent or Should You Buy?

Making the decision to rent a house or to buy one can keep you up at night, but taking the time to examine your situation can make the decision easier. Will you need to move within the next few years? Are you earning enough to take on a home loan? Are you ready for the responsibility of owning a home? Answering these few questions can help you see the way forward.

Settling Down

If you know that you will need to move in the near future, renting is probably the better option for you. If you will need to relocate for a job or school, renting gives you flexibility,  but if you are ready to settle down, buying may be a possibility. Real estate professionals recommend staying in a property for a minimum of five years in order to recoup your investment–of course, this depends upon market fluctuations–but even while you are renting, you can take steps to make buying a home in the future much easier. Be sure to always pay your rent and bills on time. This will help you establish good credit and this will be important when you are in a more stable situation and ready to buy.

Examining Your Finances

The money you pay in rent is essentially gone, but house payments build equity and are an investment. Take a look at your monthly income and expenses, or debt-to-income ratio (DTI), an important consideration when applying for a home loan. To calculate your DTI, add up all of your recurring, regular monthly payments for things that are considered debt, like car loans, student loans, credit card payments or mortgage payments. Then divide this figure by your total monthly income calculated before taxes–also known as monthly gross income. A DTI under 50 percent is acceptable, but a DTI of 20 percent or less will give you more financing options. A Sun West Mortgage representative can help you find financing that works with your situation.

Taking on the Responsibility

When you rent, the landlord takes care of maintenance and repairs on your home, or you hope that is the case. When you own a house, that responsibility falls to you. But you also have the flexibility to choose how your home will look: you can decorate it how you like, decide on your landscaping or paint it whatever color you choose. You can make your home a true reflection of your style, which is not always possible with a rental property.

Once you have examined your living situation, finances and desired level of responsibility, you can make an informed decision about renting or buying a home. No more sleepless nights!

Building a House Cleaning Kit

Most people don’t enjoy household chores like cleaning toilets, dusting furniture, mopping floors or washing windows. Unfortunately, these are necessities of having your own home to live in. Since you have to do the job, why not make sure you have the tools to do it right? As you embark on building the perfect cleaning kit for your home, here are some essential tools you’ll need for each job.

Cleaning Floors

Clean floors make a huge impact on the perception of your home’s overall cleanliness. If there are stains in the carpet, crumbs on the floor or dirty footprints on your tile, your whole house will seem dirty. Fortunately, cleaning the floors is the easiest on your list of chores. If you have carpet, start with a good vacuum cleaner. Make sure you buy a more powerful vacuum if you have furry pets. The vacuum can also serve double-duty for your hard floors. A good mop is also important. Just note that the type of mop you need will differ depending on the flooring you have in your home. Reach out to a company that sells cleaning products in Canada to help you pick the right tools.

Cleaning Bathrooms

Having to clean bathrooms is the bane of most homeowner’s existence but since it is so prone to germs, it’s essential that they are cleaned well. Your vacuum and mop from above will see use in the bathroom to clean up the floors. A high-quality cleaning solution will make sure you kill germs. Use something with antibacterial disinfectants or bleach to make sure nothing harmful remains. A good toilet scrubber will help get the bowl clean. Then use a soft cloth and your cleaning solution for surfaces and fixtures.

Cleaning Furniture

With the right vacuum, some of your furniture cleaning can be made easier. An upholstery attachment will allow you to vacuum your couches, chairs, mattresses, and sofas to remove dust and crumbs. The right attachments for your vacuum can also help with blinds, vents and baseboards. A nice feather duster can help remove light surface dust on shelves and cabinets.

Cleaning Windows

Windows and mirrors with streaks, smears or water spots leave the impression of a dirty house. Fortunately, cleaning these surfaces isn’t too difficult. Find a cleaning product specific to windows, spray it on and scrub it off. Sometimes, especially outside your house, you can utilize a brush and squeegee to clean large areas at a time.

While cleaning the house can be a chore, having the right tools will make it easier. Go through this list and make sure the next time you have to clean, you have exactly what you need to get the job done.

The Types of Repair Work That Can Be Done by a Handyman

The term handyman is often thrown around and has become synonymous with the phrase jack of all trades, and that is for a good reason. Handymen are capable professionals that perform several small and odd jobs. They are perfect contractors for that small bathroom remodel or the porch repair you just haven’t had time to get to. However, there are several other jobs professional handymen are recommended for.

Painting and Drywall

Many people look for handyman services Columbus to help with drywall repairs and painting. For example, as any family with children know, wall damage can be a common occurrence. Whether caused by roughhousing or creative expeditions, a handyman will be able to take care of these small repairs quickly, often in a day or two.

Installing Light Fixtures

Sometimes homeowners require assistance in replacing old light fixtures or ceiling fans. While some may call an electrician, it may be expensive to hire such a specialized professional for this type of work. A handyman is capable of performing this type of replacement and can likely perform the task for a fraction of the cost of an electrician.

Gutter Cleaning and Repair

Additionally, some homeowners are no longer capable of maintaining the exterior of their property, which can lead to gutters overflowing. If gutters are not regularly cleaned, then water can begin to back up, getting under shingles and infiltrating the structure of the home, which can result in rot and even mold. A handyman can take care of this issue and also schedule multiple visits to maintain the gutter system.

Exterior Repairs

Other exterior repairs include siding and window repair as well as deck and porch repair. Windstorms or age can lead to failing shingles and siding. Also, neglect can cause the wood of porches and decks to rot. When these issues occur, a handyman is more than capable of replacing the shingles, siding and rotted boards. Also, a professional laborer can restain and finish your deck and porch to make sure that it lasts for years to come.

Minor Plumbing and Electrical Work

While not every handyman is a certified electrician or plumber, they can perform small tasks. For instance, they can perform small bathroom renovations. They can replace appliances and fixtures. Also, many handymen are likely certified as such which means they are capable of working on minor plumbing and electrical issues.

While many people often overlook the skills of a professional handyman, they are capable, and they can save you a lot of money. Not every task requires the expense and labor of highly specialized professionals. Therefore, why not hire a jack of all trades and save a few bucks.

Tips For Installing a New Sod Lawn

The advent of spring with its warmer temperatures gives rise to the traditional start of home improvement season. It is the perfect time to assess what projects you would like to accomplish by the summer months.

If installing a new turf grass lawn is on your project list, late spring or early summer is the optimal season for laying sod. Depending on where you live, St Augustine sod for sale in Jacksonville FL is a very popular turf option.

St. Augustine grass is one of the more widely used lawn grasses in the South, especially in the warm coastal areas of Florida and the Gulf states. Its popularity is based largely on its ability to tolerate the heat and humidity found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the United States. St. Augustine sod is characterized by a high density that takes root quickly and easily while crowding out most other grasses and weeds and a toleration for salt which makes it a great choice for ocean-facing yards.

No matter which turf grass you choose, here are some tips for installing a new sod lawn.

Calculate the Lawn Area

The first step is to measure the area that needs turf. The measurements can then be used to calculate the square footage of new sod you will need. Special care should be taken when doing the area calculation if your lawn is an odd shape that is neither a true square nor a rectangle.

Prepare the Underlying Soil

You can use a rototiller or a spade to turn the soil over down to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Once tilled, you should remove any obvious impediments (rocks, roots, etc.) and also bust up any large clods of dirt.

Grade and Water the Surface

The tilled area should then be graded and leveled out with a rake, thereby making the soil as smooth as possible before receiving the new sod. The goal is to create an even, firm surface.  You should liberally water the area the night before the new sod is installed.

Sod Installation

You should install the new sod immediately upon delivery. Do not overlap or leave gaps when rolling out the turf. Stagger the seams as the turf is unrolled so that they do not all line up. You can use a cutting tool to trim around bushes, trees, sidewalks, and other objects.

Roll the New Lawn

Once installed, you should use a roller on the newly laid sod to ensure good contact with the pre-existing soil. Then water the entire lawn again.

Following these tips should help make installing your new sod a snap.

6 Tips for Preparing for a Big Move

Moving is stressful. In fact, it’s safe to say that a big move is one of the most stressful things we go through in life. There are a lot of things to consider when preparing for a major move. The next time you’re ready to pack up and move out, consider these six tips to help make the transition easier.

Plan Ahead

Think about everything you need to do in order to orchestrate a successful move. Write down all of those tasks to create a checklist. You’ll want to consider everything from going to the store to collect boxes and packing tape to finding the contacting the moving professionals of movinglocal.org to help you with the details. Once you create the checklist, you’ll have a better understanding of everything that needs to be done. Chances are you’ll want to start sooner than later. When it pertains to packing an entire home, it’s a good idea to start at least six weeks in advance.

Declutter Your Home

Over the years, we tend to accumulate clutter. It happens, and it’s the stress of that clutter that can be so overwhelming when it comes time to move. Even if you’ve skipped over spring cleaning the last few years, decluttering is possible. Give yourself time, starting a few weeks before your moving day. Take on one room of your house at a time, focusing on decluttering and tidying up.

Once you declutter, create piles for different purposes. Create a pile that goes directly to the recycling bin. Another pile can go to friends and family members who might find some of the items useful. You can donate items to charity. However, make sure you get rid of the items you don’t use.

Consider Your Expenses

Take a look at your finances. Factor in where you’d like to spend money and where you’d like to save money. Figure out where you can save money. One of the best ways to save money involves moving boxes. You’ll probably need a lot of boxes when you’re preparing to move. If you go to any supply store, you can easily spend up to $20 on garment boxes and more. Instead, it’s a great idea to reach out to the local grocery stores. Ask when they’ll be receiving their next shipments. Usually, they receive shipments on a weekly basis. Ask them if they can set aside a certain number of boxes for you. Be ready to pick them up when they ask you to retrieve them. That’s one way to keep lots of money in your pocket.

Plan Your Meals

While you’re going to be really busy during a move, it’s not a good idea to solely rely on fast food to feed your family. Instead, it’s a wise idea to set up meal plans. You can prepare the meals for your family at the beginning of the week. You can make a few casseroles, place them in the freezer and pull them out whenever you’re ready for a dish to feed your family. Print out a few coupons so that you can enjoy one night off with pizza or takeout for the family. However, don’t make it a nightly practice. You’ll waste so much money.

Pack Strategically

You already know that your family needs to eat. Knowing this, make sure that the kitchen is one of the last places you pack up. It’s a good idea to pack up the items you don’t use first. Always label all of the boxes. Instead of solely labeling the items based on what’s inside, take it a step further. Create a color-coding system. Put a large red sticker on each box that’s supposed to go to the master bedroom. Put a large blue sticker on each box that’s designated for one of the children’s bedrooms. This will help the movers understand where to put items when it’s time to unpack.

Create Diversions for Children

Especially if you have young children, it’s easier to have them out of your hair when you’re in the middle of packing. Ask family members and friends if they’d be able to help out with babysitting. Make sure they have activities to engage in while you’re working.

How to Start Successfully Flipping Houses

There is a lot of money to be made in flipping houses. However, this is not the right job for everyone. The following tips can help individuals who want to make a success of flipping houses.

One of the very first things that you need to be able to do in order to flip houses successfully is to determine the true cost of everything. This is going to require quite a bit of work on your part. If you already have some experience buying real estate or doing home repairs, this will work to your advantage.

When you look at a house, you need to be able to take the price of the house and combine it with the costs of repairing the home and compare that to what the house is likely to sell for. The problem that many individuals run into is that they underestimate how much repairs will actually cost.

While your goal is to save as much money as you can on repairing the home, there are times when it is best to spend money on professional help. For example, if you do not have a trained eye, you may end up making a judgment that a roof only needs a couple of repairs when in reality it needs to be completely replaced. The difference in how much these things will cost is usually quite substantial. The same is true when it comes to Chicago garage flooring. Does the garage floor just need to have a few repairs done, or does it need to be completely replaced? Working with professionals at the beginning of the project is going to save you a lot of money and heartache along the way.

One of the ways that many individuals have had success flipping homes is by doing a lot of the repairs themselves. They can save a ton of money on labor if they already have some construction experience or are willing to take the time to learn how to do different projects around the home.

Flipping houses is a great option for individuals who are willing to work hard and take some risks. It takes a lot of research and time, though, to make it a success.

Home Maintenance Tasks: DIY or Seek a Professional?

Completing DIY household maintenance tasks can save you a lot of money. Some projects, however, are best left to the professionals for safety and cost purposes. When should you do it yourself versus calling in a professional for your home maintenance tasks?

Plumbing Maintenance

Many homeowners do not realize the cost of a single plumbing problem. While dumping some drain cleaner into the basement toilet that keeps backing up might fix the problem temporarily, it could end up costing you thousands of dollars later. Of course, you could take a DIY approach to minor plumbing problems like a leaky faucet or a slow draining toilet. But any plumbing problems that could indicate larger plumbing problems require a professional. Otherwise, you risk damage to your floors, walls, and even furniture.

HVAC Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is extremely important to maintaining the quality and efficiency of your HVAC unit. The homeowner should complete some of the necessary maintenance tasks such as changing the air filter regularly. Other tasks, such as inspections, tune-ups, and duct cleaning, should be left to someone who is knowledgeable about your HVAC system. Proper maintenance on a routine schedule can extend the life of your system while also offering you comfortable and efficient heating and cooling.

Landscaping

You have a folder full of dream backyard pictures. Now what? Depending on the complexity of your project and your comfort with landscaping tools, you might be able to handle your project alone. More extensive landscaping projects, including those involving retaining walls or outdoor kitchens, might require the services of a professional. Tree removal should also be completed by a professional with the right tools. Consider your skills, your project budget, and your comfort level when deciding whether to bring in a pro.

Painting Projects

There are many reasons you might choose to paint your home, including chipped paint or simply a design refresh. Although you could hire a professional to paint, this can be expensive, and most people are capable of doing it on their own. Stock up on all the necessary paint supplies, grab a friend, and get to work. You might even find it somewhat enjoyable. Besides, the worst that could happen is that you might need to touch up places or repaint the room.

Roof Maintenance

Your roof is very important to your home, and it requires routine maintenance. While major roof repairs should be left to the professionals, homeowners can handle other tasks related to the roof, such as keeping the gutters cleaned. Some homeowners might be comfortable with replacing single shingles on the roof, but it’s important to have the appropriate safety precautions in place. Roofing contractors are used to scaling high heights and are insured.

It’s important to keep in mind that while many DIY projects can save you money, some can end up costing you more. Additionally, taking on a household project that’s best left to the professionals can put you in a dangerous situation. Always weigh the pros and cons before jumping into a DIY household project.

Creating Your Home Utility Emergency Plan

Most homeowners rely on the comforts of their home utilities. When your HVAC system, electrical wiring, plumbing, and other utilities are running smoothly, it’s easy to take them for granted. When a problem does occur, you’ll want to be able to solve it as quickly as possible. By putting a home utility emergency plan in place that addresses the following issues, you’ll have a shorter downtime when essential systems in your house experience problems.

Keep a List of Contacts

When a problem occurs with one of your utilities, you don’t want to waste precious time looking up phone numbers and comparing companies to find the best service for your needs. Instead, look up reviews and get recommendations for companies and technicians you can trust to take care of repairs before you need them. In addition, note the contact numbers for your utility providers. Your list of emergency utility contacts should include:

  • 24-hour plumber
  • 24-hour HVAC service
  • Water company
  • Gas company
  • Electric company

Post this list in an easily accessible place (such as on the fridge) so you can quickly make a call in an emergency.

Locate Your Utility Controls

If an emergency does occur, you might need to shut off your utilities as quickly as possible to avoid damage to your home or for the safety of your family. That’s why it’s critical to know the locations of each of the following utility controls:

  • Breaker box/electrical fuse box
  • Heating fuel shut-off
  • Main water shut-off
  • Individual shut-off valves for toilets, sinks, and washing machine

Know how to use each of these controls. If any tools are required to operate them, such as a wrench, keep one nearby.

Create a Maintenance Schedule

One of the best ways to avoid sudden problems with your utilities is to have the main systems in your household maintained routinely. By checking for problems regularly and taking steps to improve efficiency, you’ll reduce the risk of more serious breakdowns later on.

Schedule biannual maintenance for your HVAC system to make sure it’s ready for the winter and summer seasons. This is one of the utilities you’ll want to have checked more frequently since it directly affects your comfort at home. Periodically, you might also want to hire a plumber and electrician to inspect the utilities for potential issues. There are also several home maintenance tasks you can handle yourself, such as keeping drains and gutters clear of debris, trimming trees away from the house, and replacing or cleaning air filters.

Set Aside Funds for Repairs

Home repairs can happen at unexpected times, and many are inevitable. Part of being a homeowner is dealing with repairs and replacements as the systems and materials as your home ages. Make sure you’re ready when the time comes by saving money in a fund specifically set aside for home repairs. You’ll be happy when you have money available to pay for a utility emergency rather than having to use credit or dip into other savings.

Don’t let a home utility emergency catch you off guard. Prepare for the unexpected with this list of planning tips.

Surface Protection in Home Projects: Cover Things Up the Right Way, Right From the Start

Whether an area is being washed, painted, stained, sanded, or any other such messy task is being performed, most often these will be in areas in the vicinity of the work area that will need to be covered up and protected. Before the job even gets underway, task performers should be equipped with an ample supply of Surface protection products to make sure all areas that can be affected by the job being done have proper coverage.

Covering and protecting furniture, counters, equipment, flooring, and other areas should not be a more-or-less afterthought in this job. Improper planning and preparation in this regard could result in quite a mess later on in the project. The extra time in cleaning up unprotected areas, not to mention additional expenses that may be incurred in any unnecessary extra cleanup, can be avoided if the proper steps are taken to cover things up the right way, right from the start.

Consumers that are unsure about what their coverage needs may be, and what materials would be best for their job, should look to a company, like Trimaco, that specializes in an extensive array of job site protection products sales. Companies that focus only on selling such products carry the most superior products for all the needs the customer may have, all across the spectrum of personal and job site protection coverage.

Highly respected, leading companies in this industry feature their supreme products prominently on their easy to use website, with live chat help right there in the event any questions arise while customers look products over.

In order to make product selection very clear and easy, online catalogs should be featured on the company’s homepage. With a simple click, consumers should be able to view wide varieties of products to look at within moments. Such online catalogs should feature such needed items as:

  • Heavy-duty protection for surfaces
  • Heavy duty tapes
  • Masking tapes
  • Masking products
  • Protective films
  • Rags and Wipers
  • Dropcloths
  • Protective wear
  • Flooring paper
  • Masking paper
  • Gloves
  • Paint strainers
  • Dust containment
  • Envirosolutions Envirowash System
  • Various miscellaneous other items

Comprehensive websites, in addition to providing specific product descriptions and specs, will enable the user to download their catalog to conveniently always have right on hand. Users should be able to simply flip through the catalog online. Brochures and additional details about specific individual protection products should be provided through sales sheets. And to really aid the customer, videos that showcase provided products in the catalog should be able to be viewed right then and there.

Preventative Maintenance and Your HVAC System

In order for your home to maintain a welcoming atmosphere, you need to dedicate time to specific tasks. Your HVAC system, for example, plays a pivotal part in providing the right temperature for your space. When you want your family members and guests to feel comfortable while in your residence, the HVAC system is the most important component to pay attention to. Of course, there are going to come times when your units are not performing in the way you’ve come to expect. To keep control over the situation, you need to perform regular HVAC maintenance.

Taking care of your HVAC system and all associated equipment can be a great way to protect your home from disaster. Give yourself a moment to explore these tips on how to best maintain your system. With a little bit of help, you will have no trouble putting in the effort to protect your HVAC system and keep it running in an optimal way.

Clear Away Junk

Some tasks associated with keeping your HVAC system functional will be easier than others. In the summer, you want to keep your home nice and cool. This means you are going to rely on your air conditioning units to help you cultivate an inviting atmosphere inside your residence. As air conditioning units draw in air for reticulation, the units often wind up collecting nearby dirt and debris. When leaves or dust start to collect in a unit, it can lead to all kinds of complicated problems.

To avoid a total malfunction with your unit, you want to dedicate a certain amount of time to keeping your air conditioners clean. Set aside some room in your schedule each week and focus on cleaning each unit of anything that might have gotten sucked in while the air conditioner was running. Should problems persist, take time to contact NATE-certified experts to come and take a look at your system. Learn more about what NATE-certified means by reaching out to local professionals who have experience with keeping HVAC systems in excellent condition

Examine the Unit

Preventative steps can get you far, but there are going to be some issues that are more difficult to solve. When you notice your air conditioner is not running the way it used to, it can be a good idea to take a closer look. Examine the unit for any glaring problems. You might want to look at the refrigerant lines, coils, and filters to begin. Any breaks or fissures in the refrigerant lines, for example, can be a big cause for concern. A leak prevents the coolant from flowing around the unit, stopping cool air from being produced.

Should you not be able to discover the source of the problem, you might want to reach out to those who can help you. Experts in the HVAC industry have seen all kinds of problems before. Contact professional assistance and find a solution to your issue as soon as possible.

Replace Filters

Finally, you definitely want to focus on the filters of your air conditioning unit. These fixtures are responsible for keeping recirculated air clean. When the filter clogs, it can lead to more serious problems for the entire HVAC system. Avoid these problems by taking time to change the filters roughly every ninety days. Some filters need to be changed more frequently than others, so be sure to check the specs on your unit to know the exact duration you should wait.

There are many different ways to go about maintaining your HVAC system. As long as you take your time and focus on a few basic tasks, you are going to be able to get more from your system. Contact professionals for additional assistance and give your home a feeling of comfort at all times.