Home repair http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1644/all en-US 5 Things to Do Now to Prepare Your Home for Summer http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-do-now-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-to-do-now-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_on_ladder_outside_house_doing_repairs.jpg" alt="Woman on ladder outside house doing repairs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With the summer season approaching, your mind may be on family vacations, lounging at the beach, hosting barbecues, and soaking up the sun as often as your day job will allow. But summer weather can be pretty extreme in many locations all over the country, and the world. Is your home ready for the heat? Get your home into tiptop shape before summer's arrival by following these five tips.</p> <h2>1. Tune up your air conditioner</h2> <p>Before the heat arrives, take time now to ensure that your air conditioner is in perfect working condition. You can start by replacing your air filter and cleaning the area around the air conditioning unit and vents. Try running your air conditioner to see if it is cooling your home effectively. If it isn't working efficiently, you will probably want to call in an HVAC professional. They can do a detailed check to look for any leaks or defects in your A/C unit.</p> <p>Now is also a great time to consider installing a programmable or <a href="https://amzn.to/2JXSRwz" target="_blank">smart thermostat</a>. Not only do they help you save energy, but also they can save you significant money down the road since you can program the A/C to run only when you want it to. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">34 Smart Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill</a>)</p> <h2>2. Safeguard against water damage</h2> <p>Along with the heat comes rain, and occasionally, rainstorms can turn dangerous and disastrous.</p> <p>Be sure to protect your home against flooding and storm damage by checking your home's foundation. Specifically, you'll want to check out your basement. Look for cracks or holes and seal accordingly. Make sure that your gutters are cleaned and that water is flowing away from your home, not to it. Finally, don't forget to inspect your roof to check for broken shingles, cracks, and warping. If you suspect your roof needs some repair, it's a good idea to call in the professionals and get quotes on how much it'll cost to fix the damage before it gets worse. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-home-maintenance-to-dos-for-spring?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Easy Home Maintenance To-Dos for Spring</a>)</p> <h2>3. Bug-proof your home</h2> <p>Nothing is worse than having a house infested with insects come summertime. Since bugs are trying to escape the heat themselves (or they're after the crumbs you leave on the counter), they often find comfort in your nice, cool home. It's also the time of year they enjoy the most, as many insects are unable to thrive during the cold winter months.</p> <p>You can work to prevent this by ensuring that your home is properly sealed. Take a look at your windows and doors to see if there are any gaps or cracks and caulk closed if necessary.</p> <p>You may also want to consider bringing in a pest control specialist to spray the outside of your home with insecticide. Many pest control companies offer natural solutions to safeguard your home against unwanted visitors. There are also many pest control products that you can use on your home, without having to hire a professional. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-get-rid-of-household-pests?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Cheap Ways to Get Rid of Household Pests</a>)</p> <h2>4. Dust and switch your ceiling fans</h2> <p>After winter, your ceiling fans have likely collected a considerable amount of dust. Take the time to dust and wash them. One trick to prevent dust from getting everywhere is to use an old pillowcase to clean the ceiling fan blades, which allows you to collect the dust inside the pillowcase.</p> <p>Further, consider switching the direction of your ceiling fans. Ceiling fans are actually created to spin in different directions depending on the season. During the summertime, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise to promote air movement.</p> <h2>5. Create a storm emergency kit</h2> <p>No matter where you live, you're probably at some risk for severe weather. Prepare yourself now by creating a storm emergency kit to have on hand in the event of dangerous conditions.</p> <p>Creating a storm kit doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Put a small plastic container together containing emergency items, such as a small <a href="https://amzn.to/2J5xDLK" target="_blank">first aid kit</a>, a <a href="https://amzn.to/2EZKqga" target="_blank">flashlight</a> and batteries, bottles of water, canned food and a <a href="https://amzn.to/2qNBjdN" target="_blank">can opener</a>, <a href="https://amzn.to/2HIbFyY" target="_blank">duct tape</a>, cellphone chargers, and a <a href="https://amzn.to/2JYaRXu" target="_blank">hand-held radio</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-essentials-every-emergency-bag-should-have?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Essentials Every Emergency Bag Should Have</a>)</p> <p>Hopefully, you won't have to use much of your kit, but the peace of mind it provides makes it worth every penny.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-things-to-do-now-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Things%2520to%2520Do%2520Now%2520to%2520Prepare%2520Your%2520Home%2520for%2520Summer.jpg&amp;description=5%20Things%20to%20Do%20Now%20to%20Prepare%20Your%20Home%20for%20Summer"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Things%20to%20Do%20Now%20to%20Prepare%20Your%20Home%20for%20Summer.jpg" alt="5 Things to Do Now to Prepare Your Home for Summer" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rachel-slifka">Rachel Slifka</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-do-now-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project">10 Things to Know Before You Start a Home Improvement Project</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-that-are-cheaper-to-replace-than-to-fix">8 Things That Are Cheaper to Replace Than to Fix</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-youre-wearing-out-your-furnace-too-soon">6 Ways You&#039;re Wearing Out Your Furnace Too Soon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-when-is-it-worth-hiring-household-help">We Do the Math: When Is It Worth Hiring Household Help?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Home heat wave home maintenance Home repair saving money summer summer tips summer weather Mon, 30 Apr 2018 08:00:13 +0000 Rachel Slifka 2135302 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Things That Are Cheaper to Replace Than to Fix http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-that-are-cheaper-to-replace-than-to-fix <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-that-are-cheaper-to-replace-than-to-fix" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/broken_fridge_902703032.jpg" alt="Finding things that are cheaper to replace than to fix" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Before you hire a handyperson to fix what's broken, consider the cost. The truth is, some things are cheaper to send to the scrap heap and replace with new or refurbished models, than to repair. From wonky TVs to cordless vacuum cleaners (and a few other everyday items), here are eight things you're better off parting with before it becomes a money pit.</p> <h2>1. Most appliances</h2> <p>On average, appliance repair services charge between&nbsp;<a href="https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/kitchens/repair-an-appliance/" target="_blank">$100 and $250 an hour for labor on major appliances</a>, according to HomeAdvisor, and that's before you factor in the price of parts and other service fees and taxes. Smaller appliances, like microwaves, can be repaired for around $70 an hour (plus the cost of parts), but when you consider the cost of a <a href="http://amzn.to/2Hhh6nI" target="_blank">new microwave</a> &mdash; most decent models of which fall in the $50 to $100 range &mdash; you'd be silly not to just update the broken machine. HouseLogic.com provides a tip on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/home-maintenance-tips/when-to-repair-or-replace-large-appliances/" target="_blank">how to decide to repair or replace</a>. It's called the 50-percent rule, and it suggests that if an appliance is more than 50 percent through its life span, and if the cost of one repair is more than 50 percent of the cost of buying new, then you should replace rather than repair.</p> <p>You could, of course, try to DIY the fix, like I did with a dishwasher that stopped draining water efficiently. I went online to research the problem, and I found a helpful YouTube video that walked me through how to remove the parts. Working through it, I discovered a rogue screw in the chopper element of the dishwasher, which was clogging it up. The 20-minute project from start to finish saved me a few hundred dollars.</p> <p>Before you take drastic measures, however, check to make sure the appliance is actually broken. Is it plugged in? Have circuit breakers tripped? Has flooring become uneven? (This can stop some appliances from turning on.) Are the vents and filters clear of lint, dust, and debris? Once you've assessed the situation appropriately, make your next move. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-help-your-appliances-retain-their-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Ways to Help Your Appliances Retain Their Value</a>)</p> <h2>2. Car parts</h2> <p>Across the board, it's almost always cheaper to replace a broken car part than repair it.</p> <p>&quot;Unless you're driving a much older car whose replacement parts are very hard to come by, parts are abundant for modern vehicles,&quot; says Richard Reina, product training director of CARiD.com, an online aftermarket auto retailer. &quot;In addition to being more readily available, new, mass-produced parts tend to cost less than more custom replacement parts of the past. Finally, repairing a broken element of your vehicle, no matter how simple, can come with incredibly high labor costs. It is not cost-efficient to pay a technician $40 an hour or more to spend four hours removing a component and rebuilding it, when the total cost of replacement is less. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</a>)</p> <h2>3. TVs</h2> <p>I never buy the warranty when I get a new television, because reliable brand-name TVs are relatively inexpensive these days, especially when they're on sale. I've never owned a TV that has malfunctioned in any way. That's probably because I tend to upgrade every five years or so (picture quality, sound, and size changes so drastically over that time that I can't help myself), but even if the TV did break somehow and it was out of warranty, I'd just replace it.</p> <h2>4. Coffee machines</h2> <p>At the high end of home or office coffee machines, you're looking at a $200 to $250 investment, but most in-the-middle models cost around $150. However, you can definitely get a perfectly fine coffee machine for around $20, which is why replacement over repair makes sense here.</p> <p>A friend told me a story of her work coffee machine breaking down, and since it was a crucial part of the office, they wanted it fixed ASAP. Initially, they researched if they could fix it themselves, but it became clear how expensive it would be. Since it was out of warranty, they would've had to buy replacement parts to try to fix it. After hopping on eBay and other local suppliers, they noticed that the prices were ridiculously high to buy new parts. There were also no guarantees that the machine would work after buying them. To save time and money, they decided to buy a brand-new coffee machine, which was cheaper than the individual parts collectively, plus it came with a brand-new two-year warranty &mdash; an added value you should always consider when contemplating a repair versus replacement.</p> <h2>5. Cordless vacuum cleaners</h2> <p>ModernCastle.com, a site dedicated to reviewing vacuum cleaners, recently did a test of cordless vacuums that it identified as more expensive to repair than replace. The most common issue is a dying battery, because most of the batteries are lithium ion, which only last two to three years.</p> <p>Editor-in-chief Derek Hales provided a few examples of the research.</p> <p>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2EF4c4G" target="_blank">Shark Pet Perfect 2</a> has a replacement battery that costs as much as a brand-new unit (about $50). The <a href="http://amzn.to/2HgzMUH" target="_blank">Black &amp; Decker V16 Cordless</a> and <a href="http://amzn.to/2CjjuXr" target="_blank">Bissell Pet Hair Cordless</a>, on the other hand, don't have replacement batteries available, forcing you to buy a new model every couple of years. Repair isn't even an option, and that's problematic for an appliance with such a short life span. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-long-these-6-appliances-should-last?ref=seealso" target="_blank">This Is How Long These 6 Appliances Should Last</a>)</p> <p>It's worth noting that some companies that sell battery-operated appliances will replace the battery for free if you reach out to customer service and explain your issue.</p> <h2>6. Clothing</h2> <p>If you have expensive designer pieces, especially handbags or shoes, repair is probably worth the investment, mostly because these accessories have a respectable resale value. Otherwise, the only thing I consider is how much I love a piece, which isn't much since I don't have any attachment to specific items in my closet, and I welcome the chance to buy new ones. For example, I had a few sweaters taken in a few years ago after I lost a bit of weight, and the bill was up there. Almost as much as buying the sweaters brand-new, and I would have if they were available in a smaller size, but they weren't. Everything else, I just toss, donate, or learn to love with its new imperfection. I buy everything on super sale anyway, so repair isn't worth the consideration.</p> <h2>7. Hot water heaters or boilers</h2> <p>Boilers pose a dilemma when it comes to replacing or repairing. It ultimately comes down to what the problem is (which will likely only be solved with a service call) and how badly the unit is affected.</p> <p>Older boilers that haven't had many issues are prime candidates for the scrap yard, especially if they haven't been serviced regularly. Older models also are likely to cost more to repair than their newer counterparts; newer models eventually become the standard to consider, as well as the age and pressure through the years.</p> <p>The initial costs of a repair won't match new installation. But while it may seem cheaper now, additional damages and inefficient running costs should be a consideration for boilers that are more than 10 years old.</p> <h2>8. Gaming consoles</h2> <p>You're more likely to spend more on repairing a PS4 or Xbox One than replacing. Repairs to these systems can take some time, and when you factor in shipping costs (because have you experienced shipping costs lately?), you're probably better off buying a new console altogether.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-things-that-are-cheaper-to-replace-than-to-fix&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Things%2520That%2520Are%2520Cheaper%2520to%2520Replace%2520Than%2520to%2520Fix.jpg&amp;description=8%20Things%20That%20Are%20Cheaper%20to%20Replace%20Than%20to%20Fix"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Things%20That%20Are%20Cheaper%20to%20Replace%20Than%20to%20Fix.jpg" alt="8 Things That Are Cheaper to Replace Than to Fix" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-that-are-cheaper-to-replace-than-to-fix">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-6-shopping-challenges-will-keep-you-stylish-without-breaking-your-budget">These 6 Shopping Challenges Will Keep You Stylish Without Breaking Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-do-now-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer">5 Things to Do Now to Prepare Your Home for Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-big-on-indoor-and-outdoor-greenery">How to Save Big on Indoor and Outdoor Greenery</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-home-and-houseware-upgrades-that-prove-youre-finally-a-grownup">11 Home and Houseware Upgrades That Prove You&#039;re Finally a Grownup</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Shopping broken appliance car repair Home repair saving money shopping tips Mon, 19 Feb 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 2105464 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways You're Wearing Out Your Furnace Too Soon http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-youre-wearing-out-your-furnace-too-soon <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-youre-wearing-out-your-furnace-too-soon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/male_homowner_uses_smart_phone_to_control_thermostat.jpg" alt="Male homeowner uses smartphone to control thermostat" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This has been a brutally cold winter in many parts of the country, and furnaces from Maine all the way down to Florida have been working overtime. Having your furnace fail unexpectedly can be traumatic, leading to a night huddled under blankets, frozen and burst pipes, and even deadly house fires caused by using unsafe backup heating. It can also be traumatic for your wallet; HomeAdvisor puts the cost of a new furnace as high as $6,045, and repairs and part replacements can run up to $1,200.</p> <p>You might think having the furnace go out is out of your control. Sure, it could be bad luck, or the furnace might just be at the end of its life span. Or, you might be hastening its demise by doing one of these things.</p> <h2>1. Skipping the annual checkup</h2> <p>If you didn't call your local HVAC company to check out your furnace at the beginning of the season, do it now (or inspect it yourself; <a href="https://www.angieslist.com/research/hvac-maintenance/" target="_blank">Angie's List has DIY tips</a>). The main things to check are that the furnace is getting power, and that nothing is blocking the fresh air intake and exhaust. Running the furnace with these parts compromised could lead to a larger repair bill down the road, or worse, danger to the people in your home.</p> <h2>2. Using a dirty filter</h2> <p>If your furnace isn't too old, the only thing that actually gets replaced during the annual inspection may be the filter. But that doesn't mean you're taken care of for the whole year. Filters need to be replaced regularly, and the frequency depends on the type of filter, the frequency that you run the furnace, and on your home; houses with pets, cigarette smoke, or a lot of dust need more frequent changes. If you replace your own furnace filter, set a Subscribe &amp; Save order on Amazon to help remind you and save time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-always-order-on-amazon?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Things You Should Always Order on Amazon</a>)</p> <p>Experts say you should also periodically make sure the filter is securely in place and dust the area around it. If you run the furnace on a dirty filter, you are compromising your indoor air quality, and you're also making the furnace work harder, potentially shortening its life.</p> <h2>3. Running the furnace more than necessary</h2> <p>The less you run your furnace, the longer it (and its component parts) will last. You may not be able to control the temperature outside, but you can control your thermostat.</p> <p>One way to reduce how much the furnace runs is to turn down the temperature when you are out of the house or sleeping. My family sets the nighttime temperature to 60 degrees, and since we live in a moderate climate, that means that the furnace usually doesn't kick in at all at night. We have lots of blankets on our beds, and we find that we sleep better in cooler air and without the dryness and sound of the furnace blowing. If you have trouble remembering to turn down the heat before you leave or go to bed, get a programmable thermostat or a learning thermostat like the <a href="http://amzn.to/2BYzq1p" target="_blank">Nest Learning Thermostat</a>.</p> <p>Even if you work from home, you may be able to set the thermostat lower during your workday, since you are probably spending most of your time sitting in one place. <a href="http://amzn.to/2BYXykb" target="_blank">Space heaters</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/2GOI4Tw" target="_blank">electric blankets</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/2EHYI6N" target="_blank">heating pads</a>, or even a kitty in your lap can help keep your home office or even just your desk chair cozy.</p> <p>Even when you are using your whole house, you may find you can turn down the thermostat a couple of degrees and compensate by wearing a sweater. The lower the temperature, the less frequently the furnace will need to turn on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-help-your-appliances-retain-their-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Ways to Help Your Appliances Retain Their Value</a>)</p> <h2>4. Making the furnace work without help</h2> <p>Your dad said it best: &quot;I'm not paying to heat the whole neighborhood!&quot; If you leave the doors and windows open, or if your home doesn't have adequate insulation, the furnace is working harder than it needs to maintain the indoor temperature. Do your furnace &mdash; and your wallet &mdash; a favor and bundle up your house with additional insulation, higher-rated windows, and anything else you can do to keep the warm air in.</p> <p>If you're not sure if you are letting out too much of the heat, get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-a-home-energy-audit-will-save-you-money?ref=internal" target="_blank">home energy audit</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">34 Smart Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill</a>)</p> <h2>5. Trying to rush the furnace</h2> <p>We've all done it; you come home and the house is cold, so you set it to 80, hoping it wil warm the house up faster. The reality is, if you want your house to be 70 degrees, setting it to 80 won't get you there any faster. What it will do is force the furnace to keep running once it's achieved 70 degrees, leading to an overheated house and unnecessary wear and tear on the heater.</p> <h2>6. Blocking or closing vents</h2> <p>As a frugalista, I have often closed vents in unused rooms to save on heat. Little did I know I may have been wearing out or even damaging my furnace! It turns out, HVAC systems are set up to achieve optimal air pressure to heat the whole house. When you close vents, you raise the pressure in the system, forcing the blower to work harder, and wearing it out faster. The imbalance can even cause the heat exchanger to crack. Not only is this more costly in the long term, it's probably not even saving money in the short term, since closing vents can increase energy use rather than reducing it. If you really want to heat only certain areas of your home, look into getting a <a href="https://www.hvac.com/blog/smart-vents-vs-zoning-zoning-methods-best/" target="_blank">zoned system</a>.Placing furniture and rugs over vents can cause the same problems. If you have to place furniture over a vent, use a deflector to route the air away from it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-youre-wearing-out-your-furnace-too-soon&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520You%2527re%2520Wearing%2520Out%2520Your%2520Furnace%2520Too%2520Soon_0.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20You're%20Wearing%20Out%20Your%20Furnace%20Too%20Soon"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20You%27re%20Wearing%20Out%20Your%20Furnace%20Too%20Soon_0.jpg" alt="6 Ways You're Wearing Out Your Furnace Too Soon" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-youre-wearing-out-your-furnace-too-soon">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-lower-winter-energy-costs">7 Easy Ways to Lower Winter Energy Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-do-now-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer">5 Things to Do Now to Prepare Your Home for Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project">10 Things to Know Before You Start a Home Improvement Project</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-new-homeowners-can-furnish-their-place-on-a-budget">How New Homeowners Can Furnish Their Place on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Home fireplace furnace heater heating system home appliances Home repair winter winter essentials Thu, 08 Feb 2018 09:30:08 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2100155 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things to Know Before You Start a Home Improvement Project http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_couple_in_new_apartment_dream_and_plan_interior.jpg" alt="Happy couple in new apartment dream and plan interior" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When done properly, home improvement projects can add resale value to your home. In fact, Angie&rsquo;s List estimates the <a href="https://www.angieslist.com/articles/remodeling-projects-highest-roi.htm" target="_blank">return on investment for kitchen</a> and bath renovations to be as high as 85 percent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-home-improvements-that-add-thousands-to-your-listing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Easy Home Improvements That Add Thousands to Your Listing</a>)</p> <p>On the other hand, these projects can bust your budget if you fail to map out supply costs and get multiple quotes from contractors. Get the job done right the first time so you can cash in big later with these 10 tips for starting a home improvement project.</p> <h2>1. Before contracting anyone, consider the value added</h2> <p>No matter what project you plan to start around the house &mdash; from the bathroom to the backyard &mdash; it&rsquo;s important to ask two all-important questions: How much will this cost you, and how much value will this add to your home? For those answers, you&rsquo;ll need to talk to a couple people, mainly a contractor for the former and a realtor for the latter. If your project bumps up your home&rsquo;s value significantly, it&rsquo;s probably not a bad idea to dive in, especially if what you plan to upgrade is long overdue. If you&rsquo;ll only see a small return on investment, however, consider the consequences. There&rsquo;s nothing wrong with pursuing a vanity project if it&rsquo;ll make you happy in the long run, but you need to reconcile that with yourself and your wallet before you make any costly decisions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/architect-designer-or-contractor-who-should-you-hire-for-your-project?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Architect, Designer, or Contractor: Who Should You Hire for Your Project?</a>)</p> <h2>2. You will most likely be inconvenienced</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re planning a major renovation, you&rsquo;ll likely be inconvenienced by not being able to use those rooms while the project is ongoing, and that&rsquo;s something you need to think about before starting. Consider not only how you&rsquo;ll manage without these facilities, but also the time of year and how uncomfortable you may be during construction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-home-renovations-that-could-hurt-your-homes-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Home Renovations That Could Hurt Your Home's Value</a>)</p> <h2>3. Not all contractors are created equal</h2> <p>You won&rsquo;t have trouble finding a contractor to bid out your work, but finding the right contractor will take some time.</p> <p>&ldquo;In the planning stages, interview multiple contractors,&rdquo; says Kylee Della Volpe, an editor for Mortgages.com. &ldquo;Ask them about their costs, communication style, and to provide references. This will help you choose a professional who can help keep the project running smoothly for you.&rdquo;</p> <p>It&rsquo;s not a bad idea to ask your friends and family for recommendations, as well. Before I blindly search online for a contractor, I always consult those in my network whom I trust. Look at past results, too. Ask the contractor for photos and/or videos of recent projects. Those who know what they&rsquo;re doing and run a solid business will have no problem showing you what they&rsquo;re capable of. Experience counts here.</p> <p>The Better Business Bureau also advises that homeowners find out if a contractor is a member of a professional association, which has standards or a code of ethics.</p> <p>&ldquo;All BBB Accredited Businesses have agreed to uphold BBB standards for ethics in the marketplace,&rdquo; says Lisa Schiller, director of investigations and media relations for BBB serving Wisconsin. &ldquo;Homeowners also should check with BBB to learn how long a contractor has been in business and if the firm has been responsive to any complaints filed with BBB. In addition, BBB reports can tell you how long the company has been in business, show complaint detail, and show posted reviews &mdash; positive, negative, and neutral &mdash; as well as any known government action.&rdquo; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-and-hire-a-reliable-contractor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Find and Hire a Reliable Contractor</a>)</p> <h2>4. Original blueprints of your house will move the process along faster</h2> <p>If you have the original blueprints of your home, plus any plans that include home improvements and additions over the years, offer them to the contractor. You&rsquo;ll save time and possibly money if he or she doesn&rsquo;t have to start from scratch.</p> <h2>5. Make sure there&rsquo;s a contract that covers the scope of work</h2> <p>Before starting any kind of work that&rsquo;s going to impact your finances, you should have a contract in place. If the contractor is unwilling to provide one or acts shifty when it&rsquo;s suggested, you should absolutely consider this a red flag. Do not work with anyone who doesn&rsquo;t want to draw up a contract for your plans.</p> <p>The contract should include the company's name, address, and phone number, and have start and completion dates, plus estimated cost written into it.</p> <p>However, if you sign the contract away from the place of business, the Right of Rescission applies &mdash; which says you have three legal business days to cancel. If you enact this right, be sure to put the rescission in writing, mail it so that it&rsquo;s postmarked by the third business day, and make a copy for yourself. Also, keep a copy of the contract and the warranty for your records, as well.</p> <h2>6. Permits will most likely be required for major work</h2> <p>You may need permits for your work. The contractor should provide the costs for all permits in your estimate, and usually the contractor is responsible for pulling the permits from local offices unless you agree otherwise. Home improvements that may require permits include new windows, fences; structural changes, like building a deck; and plumbing and electrical work. Your city council office will have information for improvements and projects that require permits.</p> <h2>7. Get an itemized estimate to help you plan your budget</h2> <p>When a contractor bids out your work, ask for itemized billing opposed to a lump sum fee for the scope of work. The latter doesn't provide you with a transparent view of where you&rsquo;re money is going, but that&rsquo;s information you need to know in order to choose the right person for the job, or if the job is even worth it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-home-improvements-you-should-always-negotiate?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Home Improvements You Should Always Negotiate</a>)</p> <p>&ldquo;Before you start a project, you should be sure to get estimates on everything, including the permits and any money you spend if you can't use parts of your house, like the kitchen or bedrooms, then do some research to see how much that particular improvement adds to the value of the home,&rdquo; Della Volpe says. &ldquo;If it adds more value than it costs, go for it. If it doesn't, it's time to evaluate how much you'll lose in the process and whether that amount is worth it to you in terms of comfort in your home.&rdquo;</p> <h2>8. Never pay in full or up front</h2> <p>You should solicit at least three bids from prospective contractors based on the exact same specs of the full project, including materials, labor, and time needed to complete.</p> <p>&ldquo;Homeowners need to discuss bids in detail with each contractor, making certain they understand the reasons for any variations in the prices and not automatically making a decision based on lowest price,&rdquo; Schiller says. &ldquo;Cost differences may include issues such as material quality, craftsmanship, and subcontracting for specialized labor.&rdquo;</p> <p>Never pay in full or up front. Any contractor who requires this is most likely scamming you. Only pay the balance once the work is completed and to your satisfaction. One-third down payment should be sufficient to start &mdash; if you must put anything down. Then pay one-third when the project is underway, and the balance upon completion. Don't pay in cash, either; BBB suggests paying with a credit card whenever possible.</p> <h2>9. Your contractors must be insured</h2> <p>God forbid something happens to one of your contractors on the job and you&rsquo;re held liable or just plain S.O.L. You don&rsquo;t want that headache, which is why their company should be bonded and insured against worker&rsquo;s comp claims, property damage, and personal liability in case of accidents. Don&rsquo;t just take the contractor&rsquo;s word for it, either. Ask for proof or call to verify insurance coverage by asking for the name of the agency and carrier.</p> <h2>10. Don&rsquo;t bite off more than you can chew if you&rsquo;re DIYing</h2> <p>If you think you&rsquo;re handy enough to handle a home improvement project yourself, more power to you. Just be realistic in your capabilities and what you can handle given the scope of work. You don&rsquo;t want to bite off more than you can chew, which in the long run will not only inconvenience you, but could end up being costlier than if you&rsquo;d have hired a contractor from the beginning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Top 10 DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Things%2520to%2520Know%2520Before%2520You%2520Start%2520a%2520Home%2520Improvement%2520Project_0.jpg&amp;description=10%20Things%20to%20Know%20Before%20You%20Start%20a%20Home%20Improvement%20Project"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Things%20to%20Know%20Before%20You%20Start%20a%20Home%20Improvement%20Project_0.jpg" alt="10 Things to Know Before You Start a Home Improvement Project" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-new-homeowners-can-furnish-their-place-on-a-budget">How New Homeowners Can Furnish Their Place on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-do-now-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer">5 Things to Do Now to Prepare Your Home for Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home">19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-youre-wearing-out-your-furnace-too-soon">6 Ways You&#039;re Wearing Out Your Furnace Too Soon</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Home contractors home decor home improvement home improvement projects Home repair renovation Tue, 10 Oct 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 2033607 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Problems You Can Solve With Duct Tape http://www.wisebread.com/13-problems-you-can-solve-with-duct-tape <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-problems-you-can-solve-with-duct-tape" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/recycling_wellington_boots_and_duct_tape_dog_sculpture.jpg" alt="Recycling Wellington boots and duct tape dog sculpture" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When Johnson &amp; Johnson first developed duct tape in the early 1940s, it was used in the military to keep boxes of weapons sealed. It would later be used by soldiers to repair just about everything, before becoming commercially available and marketed for household repairs postwar. Today, the miracle adhesive has innumerable uses, but here are a baker's dozen that save money, time, and even lives. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/27-things-you-should-have-in-your-utility-drawer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">27 Things You Should Have in Your Utility Drawer</a>)</p> <h2>1. Hide holes in your porch or mobile home skirting</h2> <p>Duct tape comes in a rainbow of colors and patterns these days, but you'll most likely require the white version to hide holes or cracks in the skirting around your porch or mobile home. This quick fix is a much cheaper alternative to replacing the damaged panels, especially since the skirting never gets a close look by anyone.</p> <h2>2. Reattach side-view mirrors if they get knocked off</h2> <p>City dwellers know all too well how easy it is to have a side-view mirror knocked off overnight. Sure, you can call your insurance company when it happens, but then you're faced with paying the high deductible and a potential fee increase to your policy. If you don't have the money to handle the situation yourself, consider reattaching the mirror with duct tape. The hack won't pass inspection in all states, so if you encounter this crisis, investigate with your state motor vehicle department before making the fix a long-term solution.</p> <h2>3. Help senior citizens navigate stairs better</h2> <p>A strip of duct tape on the stairs can potentially save a life, according to the caregivers at SYNERGY HomeCare, who use the technique in clients' homes.</p> <p>&quot;A simple strip of colorful duct tape on the edges of stair steps makes it easier for seniors to judge the depth and distance to keep from tripping and falling,&quot; says a spokesperson for the organization.</p> <p>Staircases and stairway accidents are one of the leading causes of accidental injuries &mdash; second only to motor vehicle accidents. Each year 12,000 people die from stairway accidental deaths, many of whom are seniors. This is an easy, cheap way to prevent accidents and possibly save lives.</p> <h2>4. Keep strips of sandpaper from tearing</h2> <p>To keep strips of sandpaper from tearing when sanding rounded surfaces, apply duct tape to the back of the sandpaper before cutting it into strips.</p> <h2>5. Ward off scuff marks on your floors</h2> <p>If you have chairs or other furniture scratching your floors, wrap the feet in small strips of duct tape. This works particularly well for furniture on wheels, since you can't buy pads for these items like you can for your flat-footed furniture.</p> <h2>6. Open tightly closed jars</h2> <p>If you have a stubborn jar whose lid won't open easily, create a simple solution with about a foot of duct tape. Fold three or four inches of it around half of the lid then use the remaining eight inches to pull the lid counterclockwise. The gripping action of the duct tape should open it right up.</p> <h2>7. Clean up pet hair with a paint roller</h2> <p>I have a hypoallergenic dog specifically because I can't stand pet hair. It's bad enough when it's on my clothes, but it really grosses me out when it's all over my bed. If you have either of these problems, an easy way to remove the pet hair quickly and efficiently is to apply duct tape to a paint roller with the sticky side facing out. It's bigger than a regular lint roller, so it's great for large surfaces. Of course, you can spot clean the pet hair by hand with duct tape, but you'll cover much more surface area in less time with the roller.</p> <h2>8. Stop a hose leak</h2> <p>Small leaks in hoses &mdash; indoor and outdoor &mdash; can be stopped with duct tape. Don't, however, take this advice to mean that you can solve all plumbing problems with duct tape. That's not a good idea. If you have a major leak or other plumbing issue, contact a professional.</p> <h2>9. Close a hole in an air duct</h2> <p>Unlike repairing plumbing pipes, you can probably successfully plug a hole in your ductwork with duct tape. At least in this case, you have the advantage of only spilling air, whereas a water leak can become a real disaster.</p> <h2>10. Repair a cracked trash can</h2> <p>Why buy a new trash can if all you're putting in it is rubbish? Granted, duct tape probably won't prevent squirrels from getting into your trash bins &mdash; they've eaten holes straight through the very hard plastic my garbage cans are made of. I'm all ears to your solutions to that problem.</p> <h2>11. Waterproof your tennis shoes</h2> <p>A friend of mine does a lot of walks for cancer research &mdash; often dozens of miles over the course of a few days &mdash; and she told me that she covers her shoes in duct tape, around the sides and over the top &ndash; to keep them from getting wet and uncomfortable in inclement weather. Smart idea.</p> <h2>12. Pick up shards of glass or metal</h2> <p>Small shards of glass and metal are hard to see and sweep. To ensure the complete cleanup of the debris, do a thorough sweep or vacuum then pick up any remaining bits with a strip of duct tape.</p> <h2>13. Save your life or someone else's</h2> <p>Out of all duct tape's problem-solving uses, first-aid is the most important. Duct tape can <a href="http://www.rd.com/health/conditions/duct-tape-first-aid/" target="_blank">stop bleeding, clean wounds</a>, close wounds, keep wounds dry, and even prevent a collapsed lung. Certainly it's not the ideal method of care, but if it's the only thing you have on hand in a life-or-death situation, you'd better reach for it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-problems-you-can-solve-with-duct-tape">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try">17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing (and 3 You Shouldn&#039;t Try)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/colorstrology-and-3-modern-d-cor-trends-that-will-fit-any-budget">Colorstrology and 3 Modern D├ęcor Trends That Will Fit Any Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-already-own-that-can-be-turned-into-a-tote-bag">10 Things You Already Own That Can Be Turned Into a Tote Bag</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home DIY diy projects duct tape home goods home projects Home repair solving problems Wed, 31 May 2017 08:00:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 1955701 at http://www.wisebread.com Architect, Designer, or Contractor: Who Should You Hire for Your Project? http://www.wisebread.com/architect-designer-or-contractor-who-should-you-hire-for-your-project <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/architect-designer-or-contractor-who-should-you-hire-for-your-project" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-538862504.jpg" alt="Couple deciding if they need an architect, contractor, or designer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'd like to add a bathroom to my home, but my budget will be limited. One thing I've been wondering: What professionals will I need to hire to do the job? Should I spend money on a designer or architect to plan the space out? Or should I just hire a contractor and tell them where I want the toilet, sink, and shower?</p> <p>Researching this question, I learned that it's important to understand the difference between these professionals and what they do.</p> <h2>The architect</h2> <p>An architect comes to your home and listens to your hopes and dreams for the remodeling project, talks about your budget, then draws up a plan to make it happen. An architect's involvement could stop there, or you could hire them to manage the project, selecting and checking up on the contractor.</p> <h3>An architect's qualifications</h3> <p>Architects are state-licensed, a process that requires a degree in architecture, an apprenticeship, and an exam to prove their mastery of building technologies, structural safety, and regulations.</p> <h3>What an architect costs</h3> <p>The standard cost is $50 to $200 per hour, or a 5 percent to 20 percent project fee if overseeing the whole thing.</p> <h2>The designer</h2> <p>A designer will use their expertise to come up with appealing ideas for carrying out your desires, give budget estimates, and draw plans. A basic design would include the floor plan and built-in features such as cupboards, while a full-service designer might include color and material ideas, and even shopping for fixtures. Designers are less likely to manage the whole project than architects are, but some do.</p> <h3>A designer's qualifications</h3> <p>Some states license designers, while others don't. They don't generally need to have a degree, but you can find out if they've done good work by asking for customer references.</p> <h3>What a designer costs</h3> <p>Their rates are typically $50 to $200 per hour &mdash; yes, a similar range as an architect &mdash; although architects tend to charge more than designers. Some designers have a minimum project fee of, say, $5,000. One design firm recommends that you <a href="http://carlaaston.com/designed/" target="_blank">budget 8 percent to 12 percent of your project</a> for design.</p> <h2>The contractor</h2> <p>Generally, the contractor will oversee the entire project and make sure everything is done according to your expectations. They will determine the cost and give you a contract, design it, provide the carpenter, plumber, and other workers, and supervise the work. The contractor may have a designer or architect in-house that they partner with, or they may be open to working with a professional of your choice. Many contractors are quite willing to do the design themselves, if given the opportunity.</p> <h3>A contractor's qualifications</h3> <p>Contractors must pass exams to become licensed, and without that license, they won't be able to pull permits with local authorities to get your job done on the up and up.</p> <h3>What a contractor costs</h3> <p>Instead of charging you an hourly rate, contractors generally pay themselves on a &quot;cost plus&quot; basis &mdash; that is, they take the amount they expect the project to cost to complete, then add a markup, often 50 percent. So, if they estimate that the labor and materials for your job will cost $20,000, they'll charge $30,000. That extra $10,000 isn't pure profit, though, since they'll have to pay overhead out of it.</p> <h2>So, which one should you hire?</h2> <p>Experts say it depends on the scope of the job.</p> <p>&quot;Many experienced contractors are as well equipped to deal with a simple remodel as an architect,&quot; writes Bob Vila. Because of minimum per-project fees, designer Carla Aston recommends doing the design yourself, with your contractor, if the project is under $10,000. If you want some design advice for small projects, you could hire a designer for a consultation, or work with someone who does online-only plans without physically visiting your space.</p> <p>Another way to look at the size of the project is to compare it to the value of your home. A project costing more than 5 percent of a home's value calls for an architect, Stamford, Connecticut, construction manager William Harke told Houselogic. So, if your home is worth $500,000, and you have a $25,000 budget for a kitchen update, get an architect.</p> <p>Personally, I let the contractor do the design for a $15,000 bathroom remodel, and while it worked out fine, I wished I'd had a little more input on ideas for, say, improving storage.</p> <p>With projects that cost more, who you hire depends on how much structural change you're looking at. While both a designer and an architect may have plans checked by an engineer to avoid safety problems, you're better off with an architect if your project involves expanding the footprint of your home, moving walls, or adding a level. Designers should be able to create a room's floor plans and suggest finishes. An architect's strength tends to lean toward the structural, a designer's skews toward the aesthetic &mdash; although both will certainly consider both aspects of a plan.</p> <p>Where I live, adding a bathroom will probably cost at least $25,000. Because that's more than $10,000, but less than 5 percent of my home value, because I won't need to change the structure of my home, and because I need ideas about how to fold as much storage as possible into a tight space, I plan to hire a designer &mdash; not an architect &mdash; for a consultation, and possibly to draw up the plan. I'll budget $2,500 of my $25,000 budget to pay this professional.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/architect-designer-or-contractor-who-should-you-hire-for-your-project">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you">Is DIY Home Renovating for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-do-now-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer">5 Things to Do Now to Prepare Your Home for Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-and-easy-diy-kitchen-improvements">20 Cheap and Easy DIY Kitchen Improvements</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-spruce-up-your-unfinished-basement-for-under-100">10 Ways to Spruce Up Your Unfinished Basement for Under $100</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home architect contractor designer home design home renovation Home repair projects renovation tips Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:30:37 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1913751 at http://www.wisebread.com How Much Are Pricey Home Upgrades Really Worth? http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-are-pricey-home-upgrades-really-worth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-much-are-pricey-home-upgrades-really-worth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/modern_house_ocean_93000781.jpg" alt="Learning how much pricey home upgrades are worth" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Real estate investing, even on a very small scale, remains a tried and true means of building an individual's cash flow and wealth,&quot; writes Robert Kiyosaki author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1612680011/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1612680011&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NPDRUSEI6ILRUE7S">Rich Dad, Poor Dad</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-classic-personal-finance-books-you-must-read">The 8 Classic Personal Finance Books You Must Read</a>)</p> <p>But like with any other type of investment, you need to know what you're doing, or you'll end up eating your shirt. For example, you may think that some high-end projects, such as adding a deck that offers a majestic view or doing an upscale bathroom remodel, may provide you a great return on your real estate investment. However, the evidence from the <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2016/trends">2016 Remodeling Cost vs. Value report from the National Association of Realtors</a> (NAR) shows the contrary.</p> <p>By taking a look at the project costs in 102 U.S. real estate markets, the NAR report provides a comprehensive review of what features provide you the best bang for your real estate buck. Let's round up a handful of &quot;features&quot; that can really boost the cost of a home, but may not actually deliver a lot of value. And we'll look at the projects you should take on, instead.</p> <h2>1. Bathroom Addition</h2> <p>The idea of having an extra bathroom so that your family members don't have to sit around for others to get ready for the day may sound like a great idea. But adding a full 6-by-8-foot midrange bathroom to your home only recoups just <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/bathroom-addition?y=2016">under 60%</a> of your total cost, on average. In 2016, the national average cost for a midrange bathroom addition was $42,333, but offers only $23,727 in actual value &mdash; in other words, a net loss. Even worse, the NAR reported that only one out of the 102 U.S. markets provided a 100% return on this project on that year.</p> <p>Going &quot;upscale&quot; on a bathroom addition doesn't fare well either. In 2016, the national average resale value for an upscale bathroom addition was only 0.5% better than that for a midrange bathroom addition.</p> <p><strong>What to Do Instead:</strong> Keep it simple and midrange. A bathroom remodel provides a better resale value than an addition. A midrange bathroom addition and a midrange bathroom remodel recoup 56.2% and 65.7%, respectively. Doing an upscale bathroom remodel only improves the resale value by 1% over the one offered by an upscale bathroom addition. Also, the cost advantage of midrange bathroom remodel ($24,000) over an addition allows you to pay back any financing more quickly.</p> <h2>2. Composite Deck Addition</h2> <p>Enjoying a hot cup of coffee by a bonfire during the fall, or reading an intriguing novel while getting a tan during the summer out on your deck sounds like it's worth every penny. But, the financial math doesn't add up.</p> <p>Adding a 16-by-20-foot deck using pressure-treated joists supported by 4x4 posts anchored to concrete piers would run you a national average between <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2016/west-south-central/">$16,798 to $37,943</a>, depending on the scope of your project. The resale value of a composite deck addition would only recoup $10,819 to $21,877, according to national averages.</p> <p><strong>What to Do Instead: </strong>If you really want to have that deck, go with wood instead of composite. Adding a midrange deck made out of wood provides a resale value over 10% higher than that of composite.</p> <h2>3. Backup Power Generator</h2> <p>We all want to be prepared for disaster, but the addition of backup power generator runs at $12,712, according to national averages. Worse, this project only recouped an average of <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/backup-power-generator?y=2016">59.4%</a> of its cost in 2016.</p> <p><strong>What to Do Instead: </strong>Forget about backing up your power and focus on replacing your entry door. Replacing the entry door to your home is a good idea because it can improve the security and ability to withstand the elements (and zombies!) from your home. Additionally, the right door can enhance the look of your home. While the in 2016, the cost of a midrange entry door replacement recouped <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/entry-door-replacement-steel?y=2016">91.1%</a> of its cost, in past years this project has recouped up to 128.9% of its cost! In the 2015 edition of the NAR report, entry door replacement received the top rank nationally in terms of cost recouped (<a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/cost-vs-value/article/2015/01/2015-remodeling-cost-vs-value-less-more">101.8%</a>). That year' survey revealed that a new steel door was the least expensive project and provided the best payback out of all projects across the nation.</p> <p>Additionally, eligible ENERGY STAR doors can qualify you for up<a href="http://www.energystar.gov/products/building_products/residential_windows_doors_and_skylights/tax_credit"> to $500 in energy efficiency tax credits</a>.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line: The Simpler the Project, the Bigger the Return</h2> <p>Currently in its tenth year, the <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2016/trends">2016 NAR report</a> indicates that &quot;the simpler and lower-cost the project, the bigger its cost-value ratio.&quot;</p> <p>In 2016, four out of the top five projects that ranked best for cost recouped had a total cost under $5,000. These costs estimates were made assuming that you hired a professional contractor to complete the projects. Regardless of your budget, you'd be better off tackling two or more affordable projects that recoup at least 90% of their value, than just one high-end one with a recoup value under 60%. If you have great DIY handyman or negotiation skills, you could improve your investment return even further. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-you-should-splurge-and-hire-a-pro">4 Times You Should Splurge and Hire a Pro</a>)</p> <p>As you can see from these sample projects, replacements cost less than alternative home renovation projects, such as a kitchen or bathroom renovation, and provide the best bang for your buck. Another home renovation project that can be completed within three days and that provides a high return on investment is garage door replacement. In 2016, a midrange garage door replacement would recoup about 91.5% of its cost.</p> <p><em>How are you improving the market value of your property?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-are-pricey-home-upgrades-really-worth">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-estate-investing-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-you-think">Real Estate Investing Is Cheaper and Easier Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-paying-off-your-mortgage-early-costing-you-money">Is Paying Off Your Mortgage Early Costing You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-7-diy-fails-that-will-inspire-you-to-call-an-expert">WATCH: 7 DIY Fails That Will Inspire You to Call an Expert</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-time-to-purchase-like-its-1999">It&#039;s Time to Purchase Like It&#039;s 1999</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/root-cause-of-the-financial-crisis">Root cause of the financial crisis</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing DIY home renovation Home repair investing real estate Mon, 03 Oct 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Damian Davila 1802138 at http://www.wisebread.com 19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_74322623_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="frugal ways to update an old home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even though I have a tight budget for home improvement, my wife and I have been able to make cheap changes that have the neighbors complimenting us on how nice the house looks, and in one case even asking if we replaced the siding and the roof! The truth is that we spent nowhere near the cost of big projects like new siding or a new roof. We spent only a few dollars to make some highly visible changes that made a big impact.</p> <p>So what are these cheap upgrades you can do yourself to make your house look so much better? Here are some of the cheap upgrades I did at my 1980s house over the past two years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget?ref=seealso">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</a>)</p> <h2>1. Add an Architectural Mailbox</h2> <p>Our house is at the end of a street with the mailbox right out front. Unfortunately, our faded old mailbox made a terrible first impression with its wasp nests in the newspaper slot, battle scars from having trellis nailed to it, and being overgrown with vines over the years. My wife found a black steel &quot;architectural&quot; mailbox set on clearance and we decided to upgrade. Now we have the fanciest mailbox in the neighborhood for only a few dollars more than the standard plastic mailbox kit that everyone else seems to have.</p> <h2>2. Paint the Front Door</h2> <p>A new front door can cost a few hundred dollars or more. Painting the front door you already have costs about $30. You can add some color to your exterior, and painting your front door can protect it from the elements and make it last longer as well.</p> <h2>3. Paint Shutters</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/painted_shutters.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>My house has vinyl decorative shutters on each side of the windows, but they were looking faded. We were able to easily take them down, paint them, and replace them since they are attached with screws. We painted the shutters a bold color to add some interest and make the windows more prominent.</p> <h2>4. Hide Ugly Utilities</h2> <p>The central air conditioning unit, gas regulator, and other utilities are installed right at the front of our house, probably because it is at the end of a street. My wife built a low fence about eight feet wide out of cedar pickets in front of the utility stuff, and stained it a nice golden color. She hung some flower baskets on the fence posts and installed some nice black steel house numbers on the new fence that match the mailbox. Now instead of seeing ugly utility equipment, you see a nice feature that is coordinated with the house.</p> <h2>5. Replace Front Porch Light</h2> <p>I removed the faded and out-of-style early 1980s porch light next to the front door and replaced it with a modern unit for about $30.</p> <h2>6. Housewash</h2> <p>A neighbor generously offered to let us borrow their power washer for an afternoon, and my wife happily signed me up to take advantage of this offer! We washed the moss, mold, and mildew off of the vinyl siding &mdash; making it look almost new again.</p> <h2>7. Slash and Burn</h2> <p>While doing the other exterior projects, we gathered up several truckloads of clutter from the yard. We hauled the stuff that someone might want to the auction house and hauled the junk to the landfill. The yard had a number of overgrown bushes and flower beds filled with weeds. We pruned back the bushes, weeded the flower beds, and added fresh mulch. Finally, we had a huge bonfire to finish clearing the yard.</p> <h2>8. Install Bathroom Floor Tile</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/bathroom_tile.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>An inexpensive upgrade to the bathroom was to install a porcelain tile floor. We got some tiles on clearance at the local carpet warehouse and installed these on top of cement board that went down right over the old vinyl bathroom floor.</p> <h2>9. Install a One-Piece Toilet</h2> <p>We decided to replace the leaky old toilet with a new one since we had to take it out to install the tile floor anyway. Much like the architectural mailbox, a one-piece toilet is not the cheapest way to go, but it sure adds a lot of style for a few extra dollars.</p> <h2>10. Replace Light Switch Plates</h2> <p>We went around and replaced all of the old faded plastic light switch plates and outlet plates with nice brushed nickel ones. This cost about $5 per plate, but this is a cheap upgrade that adds style and consistency throughout the house.</p> <h2>11. Replace Bathroom Vanity</h2> <p>We found a deal on Craigslist for a bathroom vanity with solid surface top and a built-in sink. It even included the faucet with the sink. This is just what we needed to replace the old bathroom vanity set and provide a nearly instant upgrade. We also installed a new mirror and light above the sink.</p> <h2>12. Install LED Recessed Lights</h2> <p>The old recessed spotlights that are used as primary lighting in much of the house were hot and used a lot of electricity. I replaced all of them with LED recessed light fixtures that will last thousands of hours and use a fraction of the electricity.</p> <h2>13. Replace Light Fixture in Entryway</h2> <p>The old light fixture in the entryway was one of the first things to catch your eye when you walked in the front door. We replaced this with a nice new light fixture that has a glass shade that looks like tile for about $50.</p> <h2>14. Paint Old Light Fixture</h2> <p>In the dining room, we decided to keep the old light fixture, but painted it black with spray paint to make it look more modern. This project cost about $5 for a can of spray paint. This light fixture was installed on an adjustable track, so it could be easily unplugged and taken down for painting. If your fixture is wired-in, you will need to turn power off at the circuit breaker in order to disconnect the wire nuts and take it down safely for painting.</p> <h2>15. Install New Kitchen Sink, Faucet</h2> <p>We picked up a kit at the home improvement store that included a heavy-duty two bowl stainless steel kitchen sink and faucet for under $200. Replacing the stained porcelain sink and leaky faucet fixtures was a great upgrade.</p> <h2>16. Paint Subfloor With Porch Paint</h2> <p>The carpets were stained and worn out, so we removed them and found raw subfloor underneath. Ideally, we would have installed hardwood flooring, but this is quite expensive. Instead, we painted the subfloor with a $30 can of brown porch paint. This was a quick and easy project, and it is easy to touch up any scrapes or scratches that may occur with a bit of porch paint.</p> <h2>17. Paint Tub and Shower Surround</h2> <p>Replacing a bathtub and shower surround would be a big, expensive ordeal. We decided to apply some white epoxy tub paint to our old fiberglass bathtub and surround instead of replacing it. This project cost about $60. I must say that painting the tub and surround with the sticky epoxy paint was a lot of work, and the strong chemical odor of this paint was unpleasant. But hauling out the old bathtub and shower surround and replacing it would have been much more difficult and expensive.</p> <p>We found a replacement kit and installed a new shower faucet and bathtub spout. We also upgraded the shower head with one that provides a bit more pressure. The shiny new plumbing fixtures look sharp against the freshly painted bright white tub and shower surround.</p> <h2>18. Paint Interior Walls</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/painted_walls_0.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>My wife led the charge in painting the interior walls. The walls were a faded off-white color. now they are several colors including a modern light gray, dark blue, green, and orange. Putting some modern color on the walls is a cheap way to make an older house look more modern.</p> <h2>19. Install Closet Organizers</h2> <p>We installed closet organizer kits in all of the bedroom closets, adding more places to hang clothes and additional shelves to amplify storage. I changed the light bulbs in the closets to cool white LED bulbs to better show the color of clothes and avoid the possibility of something falling against a hot incandescent light bulb and catching on fire.</p> <p><em>What are the best frugal home upgrades that you have done? Share with us!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F19%2520Frugal%2520%2528And%2520Easy%2529%2520Ways%2520to%2520Update%2520an%2520Old%2520Home.jpg&amp;description=19%20Frugal%20(And%20Easy)%20Ways%20to%20Update%20an%20Old%20Home"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/19%20Frugal%20%28And%20Easy%29%20Ways%20to%20Update%20an%20Old%20Home.jpg" alt="19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-at-the-post-office">How to Save Money at the Post Office</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project">10 Things to Know Before You Start a Home Improvement Project</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-simple-household-repairs-every-frugal-person-should-master">10 Simple Household Repairs Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-lessons-on-how-to-be-a-financial-grownup-from-bobbi-rebell">6 Lessons on How to Be a Financial Grownup From Bobbi Rebell</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Home budgeting decor frugal living frugal repairs home improvement Home repair home updates Wed, 17 Aug 2016 10:30:18 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1773895 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Simple Household Repairs Every Frugal Person Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/10-simple-household-repairs-every-frugal-person-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-simple-household-repairs-every-frugal-person-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000057954298_Large.jpg" alt="doing easy and frugal home repairs themselves" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're a homeowner or a renter, sooner or later, something is going to break. And when that time comes, you'll have two options: fix it yourself, or get someone else to fix it. The latter usually costs money &mdash; unless you happen to know someone who'll help for free &mdash; and yet, so many of these repairs require minimal skill and effort to get the job done. Here are 10 of the easiest household repairs every frugal person should have under their belt.</p> <h2>1. Changing a Faucet Washer</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/15A0V7lj_Lo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Drip. Drip. Drip. It can be the annoying sound that wakes you up at night, or one that constantly bothers you in the kitchen. You have a leaky faucet. The most likely cause of that leak is a worn washer, and they are very easy to replace. No need to call a plumber, because all you need are a few basic tools and a new washer.</p> <p>Turn off the water supply, remove the faucet cap, unscrew the handle, and unscrew the nut. You'll reveal the valve stem, which you remove, and voila&hellip; the old washer is revealed. Replace it, and then do everything in reverse. Here's an instructional video that explains a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15A0V7lj_Lo">basic washer change</a> in just a few minutes. You'll save water, and a lot of money on a plumbing charge.</p> <h2>2. Replacing a Furnace Filter</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SGYrVgFSzV4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>It's amazing that some people still hire someone to come and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGYrVgFSzV4">replace the filter</a> on their furnace. This is literally a job that takes less than a minute to do, and anyone can do it. What you need to do is find the correct size of filter, which will be written somewhere on the furnace. When you have the dimensions, you can go to a hardware store for replacements or order online. Don't go for the cheapest type; you want one that traps not just dirt, but allergens and other air hazards. Remove the furnace door &mdash; this will almost always deactivate the furnace, but if not, turn it off at the switch. Slide out the dirty filter, and replace it with the new one, making sure to insert it with the arrows pointing in the direction of the airflow. Then, close up the furnace. It's that easy.</p> <h2>3. Unblocking a Drain</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YwANFKK__kk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>So, simple blocked drains on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwANFKK__kk">sinks are easy to unclog</a>. Get out the plunger, and go to work. It should clear in seconds. If it doesn't, don't run to the phone to call a plumber, because 99% of the time, you can do this yourself. There are various tools available for this, including snakes, liquid plumber, and even wire coathangers. In all instances, most of these clogs or blocks are caused by old hair, debris, grease, and food. So, you may want to invest in a pair of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BE02FH6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00BE02FH6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=IBAELM4ETCRRSBVG">rubber gloves</a>. Here are a few videos showing some basic drain unblocking; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF2RAJUye58">clearing the trap</a>; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKZjQxabLjA">using a snake</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains?ref=seealso">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a>)</p> <h2>4. Painting a Room</h2> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jFVYvSxLawg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Some home repair jobs can actually be a lot of fun, and this is one of them. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFVYvSxLawg">Painting a room</a>, especially a kid's room or playroom, can be creative and fulfilling. But whether it's a bedroom, living room, or kitchen, you'll need some basic tools and a few tips before you start. Get a variety of paintbrushes; you'll need some for small, fiddly areas, others for big areas like doors and walls. You will also need a paint roller and tray, or a paint pad. Plus, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010O5HZVW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B010O5HZVW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5EH4DIPGUM5KIWPB">dropcloths</a>, painter's tape (Frog is excellent), paint, a stepladder, and some clothes you don't mind getting dirty. Make sure to block off any areas you don't want paint to land on &mdash; including the ceiling lines, window trim, door frames, and baseboards. Paint around those areas first, then fill in with your roller or paint pad. You will usually need to do two coats, and maybe more if a light color is going over a dark one.</p> <h2>5. Changing the Locks</h2> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/48SrVmlbZpQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Walk down the Locks and Doors aisle in any hardware store and you'll be greeted with a plethora of different options. You have so many choices here, and it takes very little time to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48SrVmlbZpQ">change out a door lock</a>. (However, installing a lock from scratch is a lot more involved). The hardest part of all this is making sure you get the right replacement lock to fit the one you're swapping out. Take a look at it first, remove it, take photos, write down model numbers, etc. Take that information to the hardware store, and they can guide you to the correct one. Then, with just a few screws, and you're good to go.</p> <h2>6. Sewing<strong> </strong></h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9XHRaym3qLQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Never let it be said that <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XHRaym3qLQ">sewing</a> is a hobby. It's something we should all know how to do, because it can save us a lot of money on clothing and other repairs around the home. From torn curtains and sofa cushions, to holes in jeans and shirts, some basic sewing repair skills are essential. You don't need to be a master tailor, but having a grasp on the basics &mdash; such as sewing on a button, darning a sock, or patching jeans &mdash; will really help you out in the long run. You don't even need a sewing machine. Just a very simple <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00V8BH8VE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00V8BH8VE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QJ57PPNDY43EBD2C">sewing kit</a> will do, for under $10.</p> <h2>7. Unclogging the Garbage Disposal</h2> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qC8LN32ep_Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>You flick the switch, and you hear one of two things: complete silence, or a faint buzz. Either way, it's not the growl of the motor and the blades that you were expecting. When this happens, your <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC8LN32ep_Q">garbage disposal is clogged</a>. You may be tempted to call a plumber, who will either fix it for you, or suggest an often unnecessary replacement. But this is a job you can do easily yourself.</p> <p>First, it may have stopped working due to a jam. Unplug it, and reach in there to see if something is stopping the blades. Fish it out, if that's the case. If not, you will still want to go underneath the disposal and turn the blades using the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0025ZA3EQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0025ZA3EQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CHUBCDBFY2TKT2G7">Allen wrench</a> that came with it. After turning it several times, you should feel the blades loosen. Hit the reset button on the base, plug it back in, and hit the main switch. Your disposal should now be working again.</p> <h2>8. Replacing Screen Door Mesh</h2> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1vBS-UP37fI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>So many people I have talked to, including family members, have bought a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vBS-UP37fI">new screen door</a> when the mesh has ripped or worn out. This is a huge waste of money. If the screen door itself is in great condition, you only need to replace the mesh, and that's a job most people can do in less than 30 minutes. You'll need to buy replacement screen mesh and a screen door spline roller. The pair will cost between $20-$30 depending on the store you buy them at, and the type of screen mesh you opt for. The hardest part is actually removing the screen door from the track. Once that's done, you remove the old rubber cord and mesh, place the new one on the door, roll in the new rubber cord, and trim the excess. It's that simple.</p> <h2>9. Recaulking Sinks and Tubs</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nHwmqkoz1tE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Over time, the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHwmqkoz1tE">caulk surrounding bathtubs and sinks</a> will need to be replaced. Sometimes it gets discolored or moldy. Sometimes, it can actually begin to peel away, and start causing issues with leaks or water damage. In that case, you need to replace the caulk. And the good news is, it's really easy.</p> <p>All you need is a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CSR5PS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000CSR5PS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ATGFIZOB5GKODBHF">caulking gun</a> and caulk, which comes in a wide variety of colors and types. Talk to an expert in your hardware store about your needs. Clear out any of the old caulk, which can be done using a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002X201/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00002X201&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=AC2E7BTPBV6EJWB6">Stanley knife</a> and a scraping tool. Make sure the area to be caulked is clean and dry. Then, apply a thin bead using the caulking gun, and with a wet finger, swipe away the excess to form a beautiful new seal.</p> <h2>10. Banishing Squeaks</h2> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3iAseVZZKlY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Squeaky doors, windows, stairs, and floorboards are more an annoyance than anything else, but they don't have to be. They are usually a very simple fix. For squeaking doors and windows, some spray lube, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000JCGU8U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000JCGU8U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NMR24HOGV5D3R6Y4">WD-40</a>, or white lithium grease will usually eliminate the problem. If none of those are available, even a little olive oil or Vaseline can work. You are simply looking for a way to reduce the friction. For <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iAseVZZKlY">floorboards</a>, it's a little more involved. Most of the time, it happens because the floorboard has raised up from the main floor joists or the subfloor. In that case, a shim can eliminate that gap, and thus, the squeak.</p> <p><em>What other home repair should every frugal person learn? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-simple-household-repairs-every-frugal-person-should-master&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%20Simple%20Household%20Repairs%20Every%20Frugal%20Person%20Should%20Master.jpg&amp;description=10%20Simple%20Household%20Repairs%20Every%20Frugal%20Person%20Should%20Master" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Simple%20Household%20Repairs%20Every%20Frugal%20Person%20Should%20Master.jpg" alt="10 Simple Household Repairs Every Frugal Person Should Master" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-simple-household-repairs-every-frugal-person-should-master">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home">19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-problems-you-can-solve-with-duct-tape">13 Problems You Can Solve With Duct Tape</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-some-cash-with-these-6-clever-cleaning-hacks">Save Some Cash With These 6 Clever Cleaning Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try">17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing (and 3 You Shouldn&#039;t Try)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-fun-and-frugal-things-to-do-with-origami">8 Fun and Frugal Things to Do with Origami</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Home DIY diy repairs frugal Home repair household repairs Fri, 25 Mar 2016 10:00:16 +0000 Paul Michael 1678795 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing (and 3 You Shouldn't Try) http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-painting-86495282-small.jpg" alt="couple painting" title="couple painting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When my husband and I bought our first home, I was glued to all those television DIY shows. There were so many things we wanted to do to our starter space, and the Internet hadn't yet exploded with tutorials and inspiration boards. Now? Any and every project you could ever want to do can be found with a quick search. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing?ref=related">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Great</a>)</p> <p>Here are some of the best home and decor improvements even novices can tackle.</p> <h2>1. Leather Refinishing</h2> <p>Have an old, worn leather couch smelling up the place? You can totally revitalize it on the cheap with these <a href="http://knoxvilleflowerpot.blogspot.com/2013/08/how-to-dye-or-stain-leather-furniture.html">easy instructions</a>. You'll need leather cleaner, a good quality dye, and some type of finish coat &mdash; but all the supplies should come in less than $100, depending on the size of your sofa.</p> <h2>2. Blinds Revival</h2> <p>I dream of gorgeous plantation shutters in my home. Thing is, I'm on a plastic blinds sort of budget, so I love this idea to dress them up <a href="http://www.home-dzine.co.za/crafts/craft-sprayblinds.htm">using spray paint</a>. The possibilities are endless! (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-ways-to-use-spray-paint-for-cheap-and-easy-decorating?ref=related">40 Ways to Use Spray Paint for Cheap and Easy Decorating</a>)</p> <h2>3. Fireplace Makeover</h2> <p>Neutralize the dated aspects of your home with &mdash; again &mdash; our friend, spray paint. Those brassy accents disappear with a nice coat of black or, in for a more refined color, &quot;oil-rubbed bronze.&quot; With the fireplace, you'll want to choose a formula specifically <a href="http://www.creationsbykara.com/2011/06/fireplace-makeover-spray-paint-magic.html/">designed for high heat</a>.</p> <h2>4. Like-New Appliances</h2> <p>Our new home has a great, spacious kitchen, but the appliances don't match. Since they're all in good working order, we're considering <a href="http://cozycrookedcottage.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/diy-painted-refrigerator/">painting the refrigerator</a> versus buying a new one. You can use special appliance paint or kits, but the tutorial makes use of standard semi-gloss paint.</p> <h2>5. Light Fixture</h2> <p>Though I don't recommend doing your own electrical work, you can <a href="http://www.lowes.com/cd_Change+a+Light+Fixture_279093251_">replace ceiling light fixtures</a> without much trouble. Just be sure to turn out the power to the room you're working in and connect the wires according to your new light's instruction pamphlet.</p> <h2>6. Board and Batten</h2> <p>Adding architectural detail to a room is simple with this detailed <a href="http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2013/07/home-improvement-diy-board-and-batten.html">board and batten tutorial</a>. You need boards, construction adhesive, nails, and a few other supplies. If you aren't handy with a saw, you might even consider asking the folks at your local lumber supply to do the cuts for you at an extra charge to speed up the process.</p> <h2>7. Television Hide-and-Seek</h2> <p>I drool over media cabinets from those expensive home decor stores. Then I found this <a href="http://dixiedelights.blogspot.com/2013/01/honey-does-diy-flat-screen-tv-cabinet.html">smart solution</a> online &mdash; and I can't wait to get my hands on some 2x4s. This project isn't well detailed, but if you have a somewhat experienced woodworker in the family, the concept is easy to follow. For my &quot;doors&quot; I might use (or create) a piece of artwork that comes in two pieces.</p> <h2>8. Tile Re-Grouting</h2> <p>If you have a section &mdash; or entire room &mdash; of tile that looks dingy and old, consider whether the tile itself really needs fixing, or if you can just fix the grout. You can pick up the supplies to add some new life to those dirty grout lines for very little money &mdash; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTddQ-4EVl8">here's how</a> you do it!</p> <h2>9. Rustic Accent Wall</h2> <p>When I came across this <a href="http://www.bowerpowerblog.com/2010/02/nursery-news-accent-wall/">cozy pallet wall</a>, my jaw literally dropped. It takes some skill, but once you hang the underlayment, it's mostly a puzzle of what pieces look good and where. The author installed it in her son's nursery, but I'd love to put one in my basement recreation room!</p> <h2>10. Custom Built-Ins</h2> <p>When I first came across these <a href="http://thriftydecorchick.blogspot.com/2013/07/dining-room-pretty-organization.html">dining room built-ins</a>, I knew they'd be perfect for almost any room in the house. The author gives <a href="http://thriftydecorchick.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-to-build-built-ins.html">step-by-step instructions</a> for how to select the right cabinets, cut the wood, paint for more artistic flair, etc. &mdash; just note that this project isn't done in a day. However, the time involved is worth it!</p> <h2>11. Smart Shelving</h2> <p>If you're looking to add some unique flair to a room, look outside the home decor department. This <a href="http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/02/nesting-ladder-display-makeover.html">ladder turned shelf</a> could hold anything from plants to books, and it's a great way to turn something old into something treasured. All you need are some planks of wood and wood glue! Leave your ladder unpainted for a most rustic look or use a bright color for some cheer. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-cheap-and-attractive-ideas-for-bookshelves?ref=related">18 Cheap and Attractive Ideas for Bookshelves</a>)</p> <h2>12. Shaker Cabinets</h2> <p>I'm hoping to complete this next project by the end of the summer. Trim out your plain kitchen cabinets <a href="http://www.beautifulmatters.com/2013/02/diy-inexpensive-cabinet-updates/">using yard sticks</a> (or standard trim) for that Shaker look. A little grain filler and paint, and your kitchen will look entirely different for pennies on the dollar.</p> <h2>13. Revived Tub</h2> <p>You can shine up your bathtub without replacing or covering it. Just follow these <a href="http://www.beautifulmatters.com/2013/01/diy-bathtub-refinishing/">simple instructions</a> that explain how everyday products and a tub refinishing kit can take your soaking place from freaky to fab in no time at all.</p> <h2>14. Plywood Planks</h2> <p>Looking for an inexpensive wood flooring solution? These <a href="http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2014/03/diy-wide-plank-floors-made-from-plywood.html">plywood plank floors</a> can be painted or stained and seem pretty darned easy to install. Just be sure to start with a solid, level subfloor and measure twice, cut once. This is another project where you can take advantage of low-cost cuts made at your hardware store.</p> <h2>15. Distressed Look</h2> <p>I'd file this one under <em>Proceed With Caution</em>, but if you like that distressed leather look, <a href="http://desertwillowlaneblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/distressing-new-leather-furniture-diy.html">this tutorial</a> is for you. Even a shiny, brand new piece can turn into that &quot;old favorite&quot; with some sandpaper, rubbing alcohol, a blow dryer, and a few rags.</p> <h2>16. Console Table</h2> <p>Sometimes the furniture you need can't be found at the store. Or maybe what you see in catalogs and online is outrageously expensive. Either way, this <a href="http://somethingisdone.com/diy-behind-the-sofa-table/">behind-the-sofa table</a> appears to be beginner-friendly. Just assemble a few 2x4s and 1x4s, and you're set to paint or stain it anyway you prefer.</p> <h2>17. Shutter Install</h2> <p>Plantation shutters are one of my favorite design elements because they are both beautiful and functional. They are also quite costly, so if you can order online at a discount and then <a href="http://foxhollowcottage.com/2014/04/easy-diy-plantation-shutter-installation.html">install them yourself</a>, it's worth your while.</p> <h2>And Three Things You Should Hire the Pros to Do</h2> <p>It's true that you can do a lot to improve your home and decor (and have a lot of fun doing it). However, it's also important to know and obey your limits, and we all have our limits. Here are a few projects you <em>shouldn't</em> tackle on your own.</p> <h3>Asbestos Removal</h3> <p>A lot of us have those 9x9 titles in our basements and kitchens, but if you suspect your flooring might contain asbestos, it's best to have it tested before doing any DIY demolition. When in good condition, asbestos tiles doesn't pose much threat. When damaged, the fibers become <a href="http://www2.epa.gov/asbestos/protect-your-family">airborne and crumble easily</a>, so it's best to leave the work to experts or leave it alone entirely.</p> <h3>Amateur Handyman</h3> <p>If your local municipality requires a permit for something &mdash; like <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/property/house-and-home/tradesmen/diy-electrical-work-an-experts-opinion-8548135.html">electrical work</a>, plumbing, or knocking down walls, etc. &mdash; you might not have the skills to tackle it on your own. Rather than search around for a quick fix, you'll probably save more money (and your health and safety) in the long run by calling in a professional.</p> <h3>Roofing Repairs</h3> <p>My neighbor recently tore off and re-installed roofing on his garage. A project lower to the ground might be okay, but if you're going to go on a super tall ladder, you should leave it to the professionals. That goes for anything up high, as falls from ladders sent <a href="http://health.yahoo.net/articles/emergency/do-it-yourself-projects-that-lead-to-the-most-er-visits">246,733 Americans</a> to hospital ERs back in 2009. Don't become a statistic!</p> <p><em>Have you tackled any DIY home projects lately? How'd it come out? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-problems-you-can-solve-with-duct-tape">13 Problems You Can Solve With Duct Tape</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-tips-to-winterize-your-home-for-cheap">7 DIY Tips to Winterize Your Home for Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-do-now-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer">5 Things to Do Now to Prepare Your Home for Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-paint-colors-that-can-boost-your-homes-value">4 Paint Colors That Can Boost Your Home&#039;s Value</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home DIY home maintenance home projects Home repair Tue, 24 Jun 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1146613 at http://www.wisebread.com Selling Your Home: 17 Ways to Prepare Your House for Inspection Success http://www.wisebread.com/selling-your-home-17-ways-to-prepare-your-house-for-inspection-success <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/selling-your-home-17-ways-to-prepare-your-house-for-inspection-success" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-inspection-78751705-small.jpg" alt="inspection" title="inspection" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Congrats! You've received an offer on your home and agreed upon a sale price. The papers are signed, and the next step in the process is your home inspection. Chances are that a satisfactory report is the last major hurdle toward sale &mdash; so it's important you put your best foot forward. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing?ref=seealso">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</a>)</p> <p>I recently accompanied a home inspector on a 3-&frac12; hour tour of a home we were considering purchasing, and these were some major points I picked up along the way. In general, it's good to have intimate knowledge of your house's nooks, crannies, and weak spots. The following items are things you should consider before the inspector visits your home, possibly bringing up major and minor issues that could cost you money off your sales price or worse &mdash; the deal itself.</p> <h2>1. Clear Access</h2> <p>Ensure access to critical areas of your house are clear. Think about your electrical box, furnace, hot water heater, and air conditioning units, attic door, and any other possible locked spaces. Also make it easier to access under sink plumbing work and back access, as well as any areas blocked off by storage, etc. If the inspector cannot gain access, he or she will be unable to include them in the report, raising questions for your buyers.</p> <h2>2. Banish Clogs</h2> <p>Go through your entire house to all the sinks drains &mdash; one by one &mdash; and run the water. If you notice a slow drain, you can try using store-bought clog removers (consult with staff to find the right one). For very slow or even totally clogged drains, call in a plumber. Same goes with any slow flow or blockage at the water source.</p> <h2>3. Replace Bulbs</h2> <p>Examine your attached light fixtures. Make sure all the light bulbs are working. Inspectors only get an overhead view and cannot determine if the bulb itself is out or if there's possibly an underlying electrical problem.</p> <h2>4. Filter Out</h2> <p>Replace your furnace return air filters. Not only do dirty filters impact the efficiency of your overall HVAC system, they also show neglect, which isn't the type of impression you want to leave with your inspector.</p> <h2>5. Mind Your Monitors</h2> <p>Be sure to have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Test before inspection day and look at the expiration dates. You should have a smoke alarm on <a href="http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/alarms/">every level of your home</a> &mdash; including the basement. As for carbon monoxide detectors, there should be <a href="http://www.kidde.com/SafetyMadeSimple/Pages/FrequentlyAskedQuestions.aspx#.U4XECNxofwI">at least one</a> in your home, in the sleeping area.</p> <h2>6. Observe Grading</h2> <p>Check to see that the earth slopes away from your home versus toward it to avoid basement water issues. Even if there's no evidence of water entering your home, it's a good idea to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hYIda7tWqA">slope dirt away</a> in flowerbeds and other areas that come in contact with your foundation.</p> <h2>7. Check Cracks</h2> <p>If your home has any cracked windows or broken screens, you may want to fix them before the inspector comes. Even if a crack isn't a big issue on some basement window, it will still show up in your report.</p> <h2>8. Get the Bugs Out</h2> <p>Do you see a lot of carpenter bees hanging around? Or perhaps a steady line of ants near your home? Any sort of infestation &mdash; especially of wood destroying insects like termites &mdash; will show up on your inspection report. It's best to take care of it proactively.</p> <h2>9. Cap It Off</h2> <p>Any sort of caps needed in and around your home should be there. Any unused gas lines &mdash; even if shut off &mdash; should be capped. As well, any chimneys or flues should be capped to prevent debris, including leaves and animals, from clogging off critical vents. For example, a home we recently had inspected had a clog in the water heater flue creating a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.</p> <h2>10. Trim Your Trees</h2> <p>Or at least take a look at any overhanging vegetation at your property. Trees that are over roofs can prematurely shorten roof life by inviting moss and lichen to take hold. Rodents can gain easy access to your chimney and other openings. And the obvious: If there's a low-hanging or unhealthy branch, it could always fall onto the roof.</p> <h2>11. Think Big</h2> <p>If you know you have asbestos, lead, or other health and safety issues in your home, it's good to disclose this information before embarking on the sale process to begin with. Otherwise, be prepared for these items to show up in a report. Though they are usually not confirmed without further testing, &quot;suspected&quot; hazards could certainly scare away potential buyers.</p> <h2>12. Go With the Flow</h2> <p>Flush your toilets to see if any aren't performing as they should. Sometimes a fix is as easy as adjusting <a href="http://www.home-repair-central.com/slow-flushing-toilet-introduction.html">the water level</a> in your tank. Other times, a clog or hard water (creating sediment) might be to blame &mdash; or perhaps a faulty design.</p> <h2>13. Spark Interest</h2> <p>Go to each outlet in your home to see if any aren't working. It's also a good idea to note any weird issues with your electrical system that you have observed and lived with in your time at the home. Any flickering light fixtures or slow switches, etc., can be signs of a problem for an electrician to investigate.</p> <h2>14. Crack It Open</h2> <p>Many older homes, especially those with plaster walls, have hairline cracks. Many of these cracks are not concerning, as they mostly indicate the expansion and contraction of the wall material with normal house settling and temperature fluctuations. If you have <a href="http://realestate.msn.com/is-that-crack-serious-foundation-issues-101">cracks in your foundation</a>&nbsp;or&nbsp;exterior, or your doors and windows aren't closing from misalignment, you may want to have them checked before inspection.</p> <h2>15. Swing Around</h2> <p>While you're at it, open and close all your windows and doors to look for anything that's creaking, loose, or otherwise not functioning properly. Look at hinge pins, door knobs, and anything else that seems amiss.</p> <h2>16. Address the Issues</h2> <p>If you bought your house only a few years ago, chances are you still have a copy of your old home inspection from purchase. Go through the report and look for any unaddressed issues you've come to live with over the years. It's almost like having a cheat sheet.</p> <h2>17. Hire a Professional</h2> <p>If there are any issues in this list that you're not familiar with fixing, it's best to call a certified professional before your inspection date to do the work. Not only will amateur fixes not fare well on inspection reports, but you could also put yourself in harms way, say, if you've never climbed onto your roof or trimmed a tree before. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-money-and-hassle-by-bundling-your-home-repairs?ref=seealso">Save Time, Money, and Hassle by Bundling Home Repairs</a>)</p> <p><em>Do you have any items to add to this list? Please share in comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fselling-your-home-17-ways-to-prepare-your-house-for-inspection-success&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FSelling%2520Your%2520Home-%252017%2520Ways%2520to%2520Prepare%2520Your%2520House%2520for%2520Inspection%2520Success.jpg&amp;description=Selling%20Your%20Home%3A%2017%20Ways%20to%20Prepare%20Your%20House%20for%20Inspection%20Success"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Selling%20Your%20Home-%2017%20Ways%20to%20Prepare%20Your%20House%20for%20Inspection%20Success.jpg" alt="Selling Your Home: 17 Ways to Prepare Your House for Inspection Success" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/selling-your-home-17-ways-to-prepare-your-house-for-inspection-success">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-maintenance-and-repair-whats-an-emergency-and-what-can-wait">Home Maintenance and Repair: What&#039;s an Emergency and What Can Wait?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-do-now-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer">5 Things to Do Now to Prepare Your Home for Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-homebuying-questions-youre-embarrassed-to-ask">5 Homebuying Questions You&#039;re Embarrassed to Ask</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing home inspection home maintenance Home repair Thu, 05 Jun 2014 09:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1141614 at http://www.wisebread.com WATCH: 7 DIY Fails That Will Inspire You to Call an Expert http://www.wisebread.com/watch-7-diy-fails-that-will-inspire-you-to-call-an-expert <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/watch-7-diy-fails-that-will-inspire-you-to-call-an-expert" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-462144225.jpg" alt="demolition" title="demolition" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What makes a project a good Do-it-yourself candidate? Low-risk, for one: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-diy-ideas-for-creating-inexpensive-art">making a collage</a> isn&rsquo;t going to implode your roof, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans">cutting up your old denim</a> to make a quilt isn&rsquo;t going to result in a trip to the emergency room. (Unless of course you forget to take the jeans off before starting&hellip;)</p> <p>But some home projects just <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid">shouldn&rsquo;t be attempted</a> by anyone other than a professional. Don&rsquo;t believe it? Just watch these crazy DIY fails.</p> <p>1. Starting with the most obvious potential no-no: demolition. If it involves knocking out support beams, call a contractor and avoid demolishing yourself.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/lOoD-KWNREM"></iframe></p> <p>2. If a tree falls on an ill-advised DIY project, does 911 hear it?</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/UXjjqEX80Q4" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>3. And for exhibit B that massive trees (especially those next to your lovely house) should be cut down by an expert:</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/JteV8r8YnN0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>4. Think interior construction is safe? Then check out the results of poor bathroom design in possibly the scariest video yet.</p> <p><iframe width="480" height="360" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/jEBp5cUJi20" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>5. What&rsquo;s worse, not being able to reach the toilet paper, or this painful home improvement fail?</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ww3ZxHMwG7Q" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>6. Contractors aren&rsquo;t the only pros you should consider calling for home jobs. Furniture movers can be a solid call too, just ask the guy in this video, as soon as he digs himself out&hellip;</p> <p><iframe width="480" height="360" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/KCRPphWMREc" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>7. And finally, a fail for possibly the simplest task in home maintenance as a reminder that anything can be risky when done carelessly. How many dumb DIYers does it take to screw in a lightbulb anyway?</p> <p><iframe width="480" height="360" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Xl-SajEV14M" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joe-epstein">Joe Epstein</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-7-diy-fails-that-will-inspire-you-to-call-an-expert">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-4-get-free-stuff">Getting by without a job, part 4--get free stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-problems-you-can-solve-with-duct-tape">13 Problems You Can Solve With Duct Tape</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-use-pool-noodles">20 Ways to Use Pool Noodles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try">17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing (and 3 You Shouldn&#039;t Try)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY General Tips Real Estate and Housing DIY Home repair Mon, 19 May 2014 15:04:32 +0000 Joe Epstein 1139271 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-5268659-small.jpg" alt="home" title="home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm currently in the process of selling my house, and it's been quite an ordeal getting it up to snuff for listing. Over the six years my family has lived here, we've surely settled in. Things like dirty baseboards, slow draining tubs, and a rogue dead outlet didn't seem so horrible; we got used to all these little inconveniences because our minds were elsewhere. When it came time to fix everything, however, we were quite overwhelmed with our to-do list. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-stage-your-home-in-a-buyers-market?ref=seealso">Cheap Ways to Stage Your Home</a>)</p> <p>Now that we've finished going through our house from head to toe, I can surely tell you &mdash; tiny changes add up to something big &mdash; mammoth, actually. And you don't need to put your house on the market to improve your habitat and your life. Even if you are living in your forever home, there are 25 super easy projects you can do inexpensively or even for free to really put some extra shine to your house that you didn't know you could get back!</p> <h2>1. Deep Clean</h2> <p>We all try to keep our homes tidy and clean, but when's the last time you lifted all your carpets and vacuumed the floor underneath them? What about scrubbing behind your toilet? Dusting off the blades of your ceiling fans and blinds? Think of all those dark corners and slowly chip away at dusting and scrubbing them. Once they're totally clean, it's amazing the difference you'll feel. I like to start with one room or floor at a time and plow right through. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-one-month-guide-to-spring-cleaning?ref=seealso">One-Month Guide to Spring Cleaning</a>)</p> <h2>2. Toss and Donate</h2> <p>Then comes clutter. Spring is a great time to go through your hoard and see what you want to keep, to toss, and to donate to local thrift shops and charities. I always start with my closet and then work my way through the rest of the house. Old pots and pans or anything I haven't actually used in the last six months are up for debate. I'd rather have open spaces than store stuff I may never use again anyway. If you are questioning if you should purge something, put it (and like-items) in a box to store in your basement or attic for three months. If you don't miss it, clear it out of your house.</p> <h2>3. Scrub Appliances</h2> <p>&quot;Our refrigerator isn't too bad,&quot; I told my husband. And then I moved the food around and saw lots of drips and spills that had hardened into quite a sticky mess. I took a couple hours one day and set the oven to self clean, took all the food out of the fridge and freezer and scrubbed it with an all-purpose cleaner, and then finished off with cleaning out the filter in the dishwasher. They're like new again! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-fridge-last-almost-forever-with-these-8-tips?ref=seealso">8 Tips to Make Your Fridge Last Forever</a>)</p> <h2>4. Rummage Through Your Pantry</h2> <p>While you're at it, go through your food to see what's stale, expired, or might be headed that way soon. You'd be surprised how much space you gain by taking stock, and you might actually find foods you didn't know you had. I have definitely saved some grocery dollars by using up ingredients instead of letting them go to waste in the back of a cabinet.</p> <h2>5. Oil Your Hinges</h2> <p>Open all your doors and hinges and spray a little WD-40 to get those suckers sliding quietly. If you don't feel like running to the store, you can also use three different <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-silence-16316">household items</a> &mdash; soap, petroleum jelly, and paraffin wax &mdash; for the same silencing effect.</p> <h2>6. Wipe Down Trim and Molding</h2> <p>I don't know about you, but I never wash my door jams or baseboards. I didn't think they were too dirty until I looked closer. Coffee splashes, fingerprints, dust, and other (toddler) messes were very apparent on ours, so a little elbow grease (and a few <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001339ZMW/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001339ZMW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Magic Erasers</a>) got them bright white again.</p> <h2>7. Or Even Paint Them</h2> <p>Beyond the general cleaning, some of our molding was actually dinged up from years of moving furniture, accidental kicks and scrapes, and even damage from that time when we hung a doorway pull-up bar. I went to our local hardware store and got some paint samples to find a glossy off-white that matched closely and then got a sample size can of paint. I took an artist's paintbrush around and blended them back in again.</p> <h2>8. Safeguard</h2> <p>Take a tour of your home's fire alarms, extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors. If they need new batteries, get new batteries today. If they are expired, broken, or are missing entirely &mdash; buy new today. Safety is one area not to skimp on or leave until tomorrow.</p> <h2>9. Filter and Maintain</h2> <p>As a first-time homeowner, I didn't really know we needed to maintain our furnace every single year. Now, that's not a hard and fast rule, but it's certainly a good idea. At the very least, we put in a new filter each year and make sure to call in help if we suspect there might be an issue. Keeping a furnace, water heater, air conditioning unit, or whatever else in working order is much cheaper than buying a new one. All it takes is a quick call to make an appointment, and be sure to check websites of bigger companies for coupons.</p> <h2>10. Clean Windows</h2> <p>On the inside and out, our windows are exposed to a vast number of icky things. Whether it's handprints, dirt, bugs, or whatever else that's obscuring your view, all it takes is some glass cleaner and time to get them clear again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-all-purpose-cleaners?ref=seealso">The Best All-Purpose Cleaners</a>)</p> <h2>11. Shine Up Floors</h2> <p>We have gorgeous wood floors that we clean with basic water and vinegar, but we called in the big guns with some store-bought <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005V9Z9NI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005V9Z9NI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Orange Glo cleaner</a> to get them gleaming. It's something I'd love to start doing once a month, as it helps condition the wood beyond my basic washing. One bottle was only about $6, but I think it will last four or five applications in our small home.</p> <h2>12. Freshen Linens</h2> <p>I'll just come out and admit that we don't make our beds every day. So, doing so has majorly changed how we feel upstairs. Beyond that, we try to change our sheets more frequently these days to keep everything fluffy and smelling great. Be sure to add towels, shower curtains, bath rugs, curtains, and any other cloth item to this list.</p> <h2>13. Caulk Around</h2> <p>Our bathroom caulking had seen better days. Instead of scrubbing the mold and mildew, we decided to start with a fresh application. It sounds more complicated than it actually is. Simply rip out, re-do, and let dry &mdash; <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-re-caulk-a-bathtub/index.html">here's how</a>.</p> <h2>14. Repurpose and Reimagine</h2> <p>Have a hall closet continually crammed with random junk? Follow the steps above to clean and perhaps clear out and then try to come up with a purpose for that space so it doesn't become a catch-all. We have a small closet near our kitchen that we hung some cheap shelving in and we now use as a pantry. It's actually &quot;supposed&quot; to be a coat closet, but that just didn't work for our family. Give spaces jobs to do, and you'll maximize your living spaces. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too?ref=seealso">How to Declutter and Keep Your Stuff Too</a>)</p> <h2>15. Focus on Window Treatments</h2> <p>I'm sure we all have a few curtain rods, panels, blinds we bought long ago but haven't yet taken the time to hang. Why not skip the sitcom tonight and take that half an hour and finish that project today? It's incredible how simple window treatments can change the feel (and function) of a whole room. Plus, you'll gain back some storage space.</p> <h2>16. Patch and Paint Walls</h2> <p>I love the deep grey color of our living and dining room walls. However, if you look closely, you'll see some thin spots where the light blue beneath is still peeking through. Beyond that, you can see some holes from where we moved artwork or other nailed or screwed in decorative items. A container of lightweight patching is only a few dollars (and some people just use toothpaste!). If you don't have leftover paint, just head to the store and get a sample sized can in a matching color.</p> <h2>17. De-Clog and Decide About Hiring a Plumber</h2> <p>There's a quick and easy way to determine if your slow-draining tub or sink is a plumbing issue or not: Buy a container of de-clogger and follow its instructions. If you get things moving again &mdash; great! If not, call in a professional. Letting clogs go untreated can cause bigger issues in the long run.</p> <h2>18. Rearrange Furniture</h2> <p>Staging is something I'm no good at, but it makes a huge difference in the flow and feel of a house's interior. Why wait for potential buyers to do something like this? Consider moving around your couches, tables, and chairs to a new style that works well for you. And feel free to change your floor plan a million times until you get it just right.</p> <h2>19. Shine Some Light</h2> <p>Check out all your light fixtures to see where new lightbulbs are needed. Consider investing a little extra money in the energy efficient compact varieties. Not only do they use less power, they also purportedly last longer &mdash; which I have learned from experience. We didn't replace our overhead light in our bedroom for several months. Ridiculous, but it made such a difference to get it working again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-energy-efficient-light-bulbs?ref=seealso">Best Energy Efficient Light Bulbs</a>)</p> <h2>20. Match Your Outlet Plates</h2> <p>I surveyed our interior and discovered that most of our light switch and outlet plates didn't match. Now, this isn't an issue beyond surface aesthetics, but new plates need not be expensive. If you can, try to get consistency going in your house. It's a subtle detail, but every corner counts.</p> <h2>21. Head Outside</h2> <p>Taking care of our spaces isn't limited to the indoors, unfortunately. Look around your yard to find any debris. Rake up any leaves or brush away any dirt that's on your patios or decks. Consider planting a few low maintenance flowers or shrubs to spruce things up a bit. No need for heavy landscaping, which might just require more work to maintain.</p> <h2>22. Tackle Simple DIY</h2> <p>One of my favorite cheap projects is to use vinyl tile ($1 a square foot where we live) to refresh an old floor. Painting a room a new hue can have big impact, too. Hanging smart shelving is another project most novices can undertake in an afternoon. Make a list of items you'd like to undertake and be realistic about your expectations. For example, if you've never tried your hand at plumbing, you could cause more harm than good.</p> <h2>23. Hire Help for the Rest</h2> <p>Then make a list of things you <em>don't</em> have the ability to do (whether for time or safety reasons). We had a light switch that was giving us trouble and a toilet that was leaking and our fix wouldn't hold. Calling the neighborhood handyman once versus multiple times can actually save you money. Many charge a flat rate just to come to your home, so it's best to get your money's worth while you can!</p> <h2>24. Nest</h2> <p>Sometimes all you need for renewed pride in your house is something homey. Slap an inexpensive wreath on your front door or add a flag pole with a festive banner. Hang a picture. Get a couple new throw pillows or even a new rug. We waited to do these things until our house was listed, but once we did &mdash; we were surely sad we didn't do it sooner.</p> <h2>25. Live Like You're Listed</h2> <p>From there, it's just a matter of keeping things clean and tidy, which is much more difficult in practice than it sounds in theory. I suggest following the 5- or 10-minute rule. If you can pick up, clean, or fix something in less than 5 or 10 minutes, do it right away. You'll keep up your spaces easily this way. Leave bigger projects to the weekend, but make a running list so you don't forget anything.</p> <p><em>Anything I've missed? Please tell us in comments your best, low-effort, high-impact home care projects!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/selling-your-home-17-ways-to-prepare-your-house-for-inspection-success">Selling Your Home: 17 Ways to Prepare Your House for Inspection Success</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-do-now-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer">5 Things to Do Now to Prepare Your Home for Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-homes-value-with-these-5-projects">Boost Your Home&#039;s Value With These 5 Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try">17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing (and 3 You Shouldn&#039;t Try)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing home maintenance Home repair home sale Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:48:21 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1135888 at http://www.wisebread.com Save Time, Money, and Hassle by Bundling Your Home Repairs http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-money-and-hassle-by-bundling-your-home-repairs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-time-money-and-hassle-by-bundling-your-home-repairs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-repair-3778626-small.jpg" alt="man holding drill" title="man holding drill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My family spent most of this year with work crews roaming around our house. The month of March began with the construction of a family room and August concluded with a repaired and refurbished basement. In between, we had a number of smaller repair jobs taken care of. It was stressful and expensive, but we're certain we saved hundreds of dollars in the long run by getting multiple projects done at once. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-maintenance-and-repair-whats-an-emergency-and-what-can-wait">Home Maintenance to Do ASAP</a>)</p> <p>We love our contractor, Steve. He and his cronies have built or repaired things all around our house for years, and we almost always find that he'll discount the price of his work if we ask him to do several jobs during each visit. I suppose it's possible that Steve is just a nice guy and appreciates the business we give him. But my sense is that combining jobs also allows him to buy more materials at a lower bulk price and lets him to coordinate jobs in an efficient way, thus saving costs in the long run.</p> <h2>Never Do One Job at a Time</h2> <p>Everyone has a list of things they need done around the house, but aren't sure where to begin. I would suggest hiring a contractor to handle the biggest job, but also asking if he or she will do some smaller jobs while they're there. Looking to build a backyard deck? Ask about power washing your siding, too. Getting new windows installed? See if crews will replace the gutters while they are on site. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid">Top DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid</a>)</p> <p>Our contractor is usually so pleased to be working on the big and expensive job that he'll consider doing the small jobs for little or no charge. When he built our family room, for instance, he installed motion-detector lights and extra electrical outlets for free. When he refurbished our basement, he patched up a large piece of damaged drywall and put in new light bulbs, and that work never showed up in the final invoice.</p> <p>Combining jobs also allows contractors to keep working if there is bad weather. A rainy day might prevent workers from installing a roof, but they can always come inside and fix your closet door.</p> <h2>Everything in Your House Has a Lifespan</h2> <p>A typical roof will last about 20 to 25 years before it starts to wear out. Carpeting can go about seven years before it starts to get shabby. If you know when something was first installed, you can effectively plan when it might need to be replaced, and possibly combine the project with other jobs on your list. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for">Costly Things New Homeowners Don't Prepare For</a>)</p> <p>When our basement recently flooded, it required us to get new downstairs carpeting. But we also knew the carpet on the upper story was getting old, so we went ahead and asked Steve to arrange for that to be replaced as well. By combining the jobs into a single project, we saved time and some money on a square-foot basis. Steve also agreed to paint our large basement stairwell at a 25% discount while he was there and replaced some light bulbs for free.</p> <h2>Where Do You Find A Good Contractor?</h2> <p>Hiring a contractor can feel like a leap of faith, but there are easy ways you can check on their quality of work and what they charge. We found our contractor through the website of the <a href="http://www.bbb.org/">Better Business Bureau</a> (look for a business with no complaints). <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-10461305" target="_blank">Angie's List</a> is a good way to get customer reviews, but it costs $3.50 per month or $8.99 per year. Community news sites and message boards may also be a great place to look.</p> <p>Perhaps the best resource may be your friends and neighbors. Look on your street for contractors at work and ask the homeowner their opinion, or even ask to see the finished work. Generally speaking, once people find a contractor they like, they are not shy about touting their services.</p> <h2>Find a Contractor Who Can Do It All (Or Knows Someone Who Can)</h2> <p>It's tempting to simply call a plumber when you have a leaky faucet or to just call an electrician when you have a faulty switch. But you will find it easier to combine jobs by instead working directly with a residential contractor with his or her own network of tradesmen.</p> <p>Our contractor does a lot of building construction himself but has relationships with folks ranging from roofers to carpet installers to HVAC experts and even tree removal specialists. He stands behind the quality and speed of their work and ensures we get a fair price. We pay him directly, and he's the only person we ever have to call. This makes it easy for us to bundle jobs together, because he'll coordinate to make sure everyone's working at the same time.</p> <h2>Where Else Can You &quot;Bundle&quot; Services?</h2> <p>Home contractors aren't the only ones who will offer discounts if you ask for more than one job or service. Auto mechanics may also do this. Telecom companies are experts at bundling phone, internet, and television services for less than if you paid separately (just read the fine print). Caterers might offer a discount if you able to book more than one job at a time. Day care centers offer &quot;multi-child&quot; discounts, and you may be able to get similar breaks on babysitting services. It never hurts to ask. And even if you don't get a break on price, combining jobs will at least save time and spare you some hassle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-teeny-tiny-ways-to-save">Save Money By Bundling</a>)</p> <p><em>Have you bundled services for a discount with a home repair contractor &mdash; or any other contractor? How much did you save?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-money-and-hassle-by-bundling-your-home-repairs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project">10 Things to Know Before You Start a Home Improvement Project</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-do-now-to-prepare-your-home-for-summer">5 Things to Do Now to Prepare Your Home for Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/architect-designer-or-contractor-who-should-you-hire-for-your-project">Architect, Designer, or Contractor: Who Should You Hire for Your Project?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-home-improvements-you-should-always-negotiate">9 Home Improvements You Should Always Negotiate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home contractors Home repair negotiation Fri, 13 Sep 2013 10:00:04 +0000 Tim Lemke 982668 at http://www.wisebread.com Home Maintenance and Repair: What's an Emergency and What Can Wait? http://www.wisebread.com/home-maintenance-and-repair-whats-an-emergency-and-what-can-wait <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-maintenance-and-repair-whats-an-emergency-and-what-can-wait" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-repair-5230053-small.jpg" alt="man with wrench" title="man with wrench" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When money's tight, even a minor home repair takes on a new and stressful dimension. But when you're looking a laundry list of things that need to be done with limited funds, it can be overwhelming. If home repairs have you longing for the days of apartment life, don't despair. Here's how to take a step back, prioritize what needs to be done, and embrace a slow, steady, and budget-friendly approach to home maintenance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-it-really-costs-to-own-a-home">What It Actually Costs to Own a Home</a>)</p> <h2>1. Electrical and Wiring</h2> <p>Safety comes first. Wiring and electrical problems can damage sensitive electronics, and lead to fires and even electrocution, so it's best to address them head-on and with the help of a licensed professional. If the lights in your home dim when you turn on multiple appliances, if your circuit breakers trip frequently, or if your outlets are hot to the touch, it may be time to call an electrician. The cost of rewiring a house varies based on the size of the home, but typically ranges between <a href="http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/electrical/do-you-need-electrical-service-upgrade/#.">$3,500&ndash;$8,000</a>, according to houselogic.com. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid">10 DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid</a>)</p> <h2>2. Roof</h2> <p>Water intrusion is one of the quickest ways to rack up big-dollar expenses. Rot, mold, insect infestation, and electrical problems can all result from even small leaks in your roof. Be aware of dank or damp smells in your home, stains on drywall, and damaged shingles, algae growth, or pooling water on the roof.</p> <p>Because roof problems usually progress quickly, if you notice an issue, contact a roofer right away. An initial inspection is usually free of charge. Again, roof replacement costs depend on the size of your home and can <a href="http://www.ehow.com/facts_4870641_typical-cost-roof-replacement.html">run anywhere from $2,000 to $25,000</a>.</p> <h2>3. Basement and Foundation</h2> <p>A solid footing supports (literally and figuratively) everything else in your home. Protect it.</p> <p>As homes settle naturally or shift due to extreme rain or flooding, structural problems can occur. If you notice sagging beams, large cracks in the masonry, or floors that develop a new dip or slant, it might indicate a larger problem. Hire a contractor to inspect your home and if there are significant issues, retain a home inspection engineer to get an accurate picture of the solutions and the associated costs. You can search for a qualified home inspection engineer by visiting the National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers website at <a href="http://www.nabie.org/">NABIE.org</a>.</p> <h2>4. Gutters and Drainage</h2> <p>Gutters help your roof do its job and without good drainage, even the highest quality roof can't protect your home from water damage. Look for dented, damaged, or split gutters and downspouts that don't connect properly. Also, survey your home immediately after a rainstorm; look for clogs, leaks, or pooling water that may indicate larger problems with your gutter system. The cost of new gutters varies depending on the size of your home and the complexity of roofline. For a handy calculator on the price of seamless gutters, try <a href="http://www.homewyse.com/services/cost_to_install_seamless_gutters.html">this calculator</a> from homewyse.com.</p> <h2>5. Exterior Paint</h2> <p>Paint does more than beautify your home &mdash; it provides protection from the elements that damage wood and other siding products and helps discourage boring insects. Look over areas with cracked, flaking, or blistering paint. Small areas can usually be sanded and repainted without hiring a professional. A full paint job usually runs <a href="http://home.costhelper.com/painting-exterior.html">between $3,000 and $5,000</a> according to costhelper.com (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-diy-projects-you-can-do-in-one-day">Home DIY Projects You Can Do in One Day</a>)</p> <h2>6. Heating and Cooling Systems</h2> <p>Upgrading the heating and cooling systems in your home can help reduce energy costs and minimize the chances of a malfunction that could lead to frozen and burst pipes in winter.</p> <p>If your system is working properly, replacement is, of course, elective. But if you're not sure how well your system is performing, keep an eye out for frequent on/off cycles that may indicate a bad thermostat or equipment that's struggling to regulate temperature. Call in an expert if you have other concerns or would like an estimate on the price of new equipment. Typically the price of a new HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system runs between <a href="http://www.realestate.com/advice/heating-and-cooling-systems/">$5,000 and $7,000</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-seal-leaks-and-reduce-your-winter-heating-bill">9 Ways to Seal Leaks and Reduce Your Winter Heating Bill</a>)</p> <p>For broader information on how to plan for and buy a new heating and cooling system, check out from HomeAdvisor's <a href="http://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/heating-and-cooling/#closing-article">Heating and Cooling Cost Guide</a>.</p> <p>Although we can't always predict when home repair or maintenance issues will arise, we can plan for them and be strategic in how we react to them. By understanding that not all issues are emergencies, we can leverage our resources to take care of what's essential first and phase in less urgent repairs over time. As with any expense, it always helps to anticipate likely repairs based on the condition and age of your home and begin to set aside funds for those inevitable expenses before they become critical.</p> <p><em>Have you prioritized your home maintenance to-do list?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-maintenance-and-repair-whats-an-emergency-and-what-can-wait">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/selling-your-home-17-ways-to-prepare-your-house-for-inspection-success">Selling Your Home: 17 Ways to Prepare Your House for Inspection Success</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-reduce-mortgage-closing-costs">8 Ways to Reduce Mortgage Closing Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-the-right-mortgage-loan-15-or-30-years">Choosing the Right Mortgage Loan: 15 or 30 Years?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-boost-your-neighborhood-and-your-homes-value">8 Ways to Boost Your Neighborhood and Your Home&#039;s Value</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing first time home buyer home maintenance Home repair refinancing Tue, 03 Sep 2013 10:24:28 +0000 Kentin Waits 981652 at http://www.wisebread.com