home improvement http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/25/all en-US 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-12"> <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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes">Like DIY? Avoid These 10 Costly Mistakes</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/save-time-money-and-hassle-by-bundling-your-home-repairs">Save Time, Money, and Hassle by Bundling Your Home Repairs</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 How to Find and Hire a Reliable Contractor http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-and-hire-a-reliable-contractor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-find-and-hire-a-reliable-contractor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/smiling_construction_worker_at_work.jpg" alt="Smiling construction worker at work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hiring a contractor for a home improvement project can be among the biggest financial commitments you will make. Poor project execution by a contractor can result in years of frustration and unplanned expenses. Here are four steps you can take avoid headaches by getting the best contractor to work on your project. (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>Plan your project and your budget</h2> <p>Before you start looking for a contractor, you will need at least a basic plan for the work you want done so you'll know what type of contractor is needed. You may be able to save money by strategically combining projects. For example, I'm having a chimney rebuilt and bathroom roof vent added at the same time I'm having my roof reshingled.</p> <p>Home improvement projects can make your home more enjoyable and more valuable as well. In some cases, the return on investment can be more than the expense of doing the project.</p> <p>However, even if a project will <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-homes-value-with-these-5-projects?ref=internal" target="_blank">boost the value of your home</a>, it's important to make sure you can afford it. A home improvement loan or a home-equity loan from your bank or credit union may be less expensive than other forms of financing for a project. A loan officer can quickly give you a range for the line of credit that you could obtain and an idea of the repayment terms. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-renovations-that-almost-pay-for-themselves?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Home Renovations That Almost Pay for Themselves</a>)</p> <h2>Find contractors to bid on your project</h2> <p>When you have decided the scope of the project you want done, the next step is to contact contractors and get estimates. You will want to do some research and contact only highly-rated contractors who are qualified to do the kind of work that's needed.</p> <p>Here are some reliable places to find contractors:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Recommendations from neighbors who have done projects similar yours.</p> </li> <li> <p>Companies you see working in your neighborhood on projects that impress you.</p> </li> <li> <p>Contractors with good ratings on consumer review sites: Angie's List, the Better Business Bureau, and Yelp.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Keep in mind that it can take a few months from the time you start requesting estimates until work begins on your project. Most contractors schedule jobs in the order that they are signed up, and good contractors are often very busy, so be prepared to be patient.</p> <h2>Evaluate estimates before booking</h2> <p>It's good practice to get <em>three </em>estimates for your project before selecting a contractor. This will give you a good idea of the cost range for your project, and you'll have three expert opinions on what should be included. Some contractors will make verbal promises when they are talking to you about your project, but such statements can easily be forgotten later and you'll see that reflected on the estimate. Make sure to get any special requests and promises in writing &mdash; even if it is handwritten on the estimate as a note.</p> <p>When reviewing estimates, it might seem like choosing the low bidder would automatically be the smart way to go, but if one of the estimates is significantly lower than the others, you should find out why. The lower bidder may be cutting corners to save money by using lower quality materials or inexperienced laborers. Some low bids are &quot;bare-bones&quot; estimates that leave out work that will likely be needed, so the actual cost of completing the project will be higher than the estimate.</p> <p>For some projects, the grade of materials will be specified in the estimate, the type of shingles or siding that is included in the estimate, for example. Materials can make a big difference in the cost, and also to the quality of your project. Look at the labor portion of the estimate separately from the materials to compare costs. You can ask a contractor to update their estimate using different materials if that's what you prefer. This is your house, after all. (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> <h2>Ask all the questions you need</h2> <p>With your favorite estimate picked out, there are a few questions to ask before you pull the trigger and sign a contract. You want to make sure you are signing up with a contractor who will be able to complete a project for you without unpleasant surprises after the contract is signed.</p> <p>Questions to ask before signing a contract:</p> <ul> <li> <p>When will the work be scheduled?</p> </li> <li> <p>Can you provide references for similar projects?</p> </li> <li> <p>Can I visit a project in progress?</p> </li> <li> <p>Are you and your subcontractors insured?</p> </li> </ul> <p>Think twice before signing a contract if you discover any of these red flags:</p> <ul> <li> <p>The contract calls for a big payment in advance of any work being done.</p> </li> <li> <p>The contractor doesn't provide references you can contact.</p> </li> <li> <p>You are being asked to get required building permits.</p> </li> <li> <p>The company has not been in business long, or is using a new name.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Spending some time to plan your project, screen potential contractors before getting estimates, compare competitive estimates from several qualified bidders, and check out your contractor's work before signing a contract greatly increases your chances of having a good experience and a result you'll be pleased with.</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%2Fhow-to-find-and-hire-a-reliable-contractor&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Find%2520and%2520Hire%2520a%2520Reliable%2520Contractor.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Find%20and%20Hire%20a%20Reliable%20Contractor"></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/How%20to%20Find%20and%20Hire%20a%20Reliable%20Contractor.jpg" alt="How to Find and Hire a Reliable Contractor" 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/how-to-find-and-hire-a-reliable-contractor">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-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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-ways-to-keep-your-home-warm-this-winter">10 Frugal Ways to Keep Your Home Warm This Winter</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-home-improvement-10-free-options-for-training-and-advice">DIY Home Improvement: 10 Free Options for Training and Advice</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Home contractor handyman home improvement home repairs trustworthy contractor Tue, 19 Sep 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2022480 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/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/flashback-friday-38-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-celebrities">Flashback Friday: 38 Money Lessons We Can Learn From Celebrities</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/read-ageproof-living-longer-without-running-out-of-money-or-breaking-a-hip-to-live-your-best-life">Read &quot;AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip&quot; to Live Your Best Life</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/9-money-lessons-to-take-from-the-great-depression">9 Money Lessons to Take From the Great Depression</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-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</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 How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/backyard_party_78624345.jpg" alt="Family creating a dream backyard on a budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer has arrived, and your number one priority might be giving your backyard or other outdoor space a party-perfect makeover.&nbsp;We chatted with DIY and design experts Ben and Erin Napier&nbsp;to provide brilliant tips on how to make a dreamy outdoor space on the cheap. Ben and Erin approach their projects with a realistic and relatable point of view, because they want you to succeed without having to sacrifice. All of their projects are attainable &mdash; even by the newbiest of newbies. And what's better than that?</p> <p>Here are some of their best pearls of outdoor DIY wisdom.</p> <h2>Start With Seating and Lighting</h2> <p>If you're planning on hosting a summer soiree, you need the right seating and the right ambience to make it memorable. Erin Napier told us that she and Ben prefer to entertain at night, since it gets so hot during the day where they live. She also suggested stringing party lights around the yard to create a magical setting. For additional seating and decor, &quot;pull things from inside the house into the backyard. Bring rugs and lamps and the dinner table outside, and it makes great d├ęcor. Just make sure to bring them back inside before it rains!&quot; Erin said.</p> <p>Unfortunately, since mosquitoes and summer typically go hand in hand, do what you can to keep those pests away. Erin suggests going with citronella plants over the typical candles and sprays.&quot; If you can find citronella plants, buy all they have! Put them in pots and they keep away mosquitoes and bugs. Plants do an awesome job keeping bugs away naturally, and they are just as good as candles. You just need to have them strategically placed around your yard,&quot; she said. You can find these at Home Depot, or any major garden center.</p> <p>Just be careful if you're a dog owner, as they can be <a href="https://bonnieplants.com/growing/growing-mosquito-plants/">toxic to dogs</a>.</p> <h2>3 Yard Decor Choices Even the Pros Worry About</h2> <p>When it comes to DIYing, mistakes are part of the journey. But to avoid any missteps that can easily destroy your budget, Ben and Erin recommend being cautious in three areas: Lawn furniture, paint for your porch, and flowers.</p> <p>When asked what people typically overspend on, Ben told us, &quot;Lawn furniture that&rsquo;s not going to hold up and be durable. Be sure to look for metal that can be used year after year with a metal-bonding paint.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>Speaking of paint, don't waste your money on latex paint for your porch. Erin said, &quot;Painting a porch with latex paint is a bad idea. You'll need to redo it because it doesn't hide scratches. Only use old-ace enamel paint because will hold up for a few years.&quot;</p> <p>As for flowers, Erin is all about perennials. &quot;They bloom all year long, even in colder months, whereas annuals need to be replanted.&quot;</p> <p>When it comes to lawn care, Ben reminds us that timing is everything. &quot;It gets so hot in Mississippi, people water and mow their yards in brutal heat during the afternoon, which does more harm than good. Do the mowing and watering in the early morning, and cut your yard a little taller in order to create shade for the roots and allow for more water to be absorbed.&quot;</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WaYqp0rHhBA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <h2>Must-Have Tools</h2> <p>Not all tools are created equal, so make sure you have the right ones in your toolbox before you start redecorating. Ben's three must-haves are a drill, a hammer, and a pair of pliers. Erin added, &quot;And a caulk gun. That's worth spending money on. Tape measures are a must, too. We seem to have thousands of them.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>And in terms of splurging on the right tools, if you have a little wiggle room in your budget, and plan to do more DIY projects in the future, Ben recommends getting a skill saw, a miter saw, and a table saw.</p> <p>For more of Ben and Erin's home improvement tips, and some brilliant how-to videos, be sure to check out their blog at <a href="https://erinandben.co/">https://erinandben.co/</a>. They update it every day with more fun and creative ideas.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">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/25-beautiful-things-you-can-make-with-paint-sample-cards">25 Beautiful Things You Can Make With Paint Sample Cards</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-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-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/12-ideas-for-cheap-festive-fall-decor">12 Ideas for Cheap, Festive, Fall Decor</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-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting DIY Home decor design DIY diy projects gardening home improvement interview lifestyle outdoor decor party tips Thu, 23 Jun 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1737243 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_sitting_outside_000066201595.jpg" alt="Couple finding ways to improve curb appeal for almost nothing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're selling your home, or simply looking to spruce it up, improving your curb appeal is a great way to increase value. But it can be really expensive if you head off to your local home improvement warehouse and buy items at full retail. That said, with a little bit of planning and forethought, improving your curb appeal can be done for next to nothing. Here are six ways to make it happen.</p> <h2>1. Score Free Mulch</h2> <p>Having a fresh layer of mulch or bark in your flower and planting beds is a fantastic way to improve your curb appeal. But buying individual bags can be darn expensive, especially if you're doing a large area. So instead, try calling a local tree trimming service and ask if they have any free mulch available. After all, many such businesses have excess woods chips available and are happy to find ways to get rid of it. Often they'll even deliver a truck load to your home if they happen to be doing a job in your general vicinity.</p> <p>Worst case scenario, you might have to swing by their work yard and shovel up a truck load. But you can't beat the free price tag, and your plants and flowers will thrive with the new mulch. Plus, it will help keep down weeds and give your yard a fresh new look.</p> <h2>2. Find Great Deals on Paint</h2> <p>Another cheap way to effectively spruce up the front of your home is with a fresh coat of paint on your front door, shutters, or moldings. While the job itself can be fairly inexpensive if you can tackle it yourself, a great way to save even more is to look for &quot;whoops&quot; paint at Home Depot, Lowe's, or even from your local paint store. These are the paints that were either incorrectly tinted or were rejected by the customer and are being sold at a big discount.</p> <p>Simply ask an employee where their &quot;whoops&quot; shelf is located and check out the colors they currently have available. You can typically get paint for 50%&ndash;75% off the original price. Surprisingly, many of the colors you'll find are quite neutral in color and would look beautiful on your home as either a main or accent color.</p> <h2>3. Hide Garbage Cans and A/C Unit</h2> <p>If you have garbage cans or an A/C unit that can be seen from your front yard, consider building an inexpensive <a href="http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/outdoor-projects/how-to/a9248/hide-those-ugly-garbage-cans-with-a-diy-privacy-screen-15710370/">lattice screen</a> to hide them. In a few short hours, you can hide these big eye sores. Lattice screens can be made of either wood or vinyl. The vinyl option will cost more upfront but will require less maintenance in the long-run.</p> <h2>4. Big Discounts on Plants</h2> <p>Surprisingly, one of the single best ways to score deals on plants, shrubs, and flowers to beautify your front yard is at your local nursery &mdash; but only on specific days. Almost every nursery across the country has two big sales per year. One is in the fall when they clear out a large chunk of their inventory before winter, and the other is in early spring when they offer discounts to entice shoppers to start planting for the warmer months. These two sales often see discounts in the 50% off range making them no-brainers for those looking to improve their home's curb appeal.</p> <p>Be on the lookout for sales flyers from local nurseries and score savings that will typically beat the big-box stores, plus the quality of the plants and trees is typically much higher.</p> <h2>5. Add Garage Door Hardware for Updated Look</h2> <p>A really cheap way to spruce up an otherwise ordinary garage door is to add new hardware to give it a terrific new look. For less than $35, and 30 minutes of your time, you can upgrade your door with inexpensive hardware. The new hardware will really make your garage door a focal point rather than an eyesore.</p> <h2>6. Find Deals on Exterior Lighting</h2> <p>New exterior lights can really improve the look of your home, but if you've ever priced them, you know they can be expensive. But having worked at The Home Depot, I have a tip that can save you a lot of money &mdash; they almost always have floor model light fixtures for sale at a steep discount.</p> <p>Due to a large and ever-changing inventory, they're constantly updating their stock with new lighting fixtures, which gives you ample opportunity to save on floor models. Simply ask an employee what floor models they are trying to get rid of and they'll point you to the best deals &mdash; deals that can light up the front of your home, and beautify it in the process, at 50% to 75% off the original price.</p> <p><em>How do you improve your home's curb appeal without breaking the bank?</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%2F6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520to%2520Improve%2520Your%2520Curb%2520Appeal%2520for%2520Next%2520to%2520Nothing.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20to%20Improve%20Your%20Curb%20Appeal%20for%20Next%20to%20Nothing"></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/u5180/6%20Ways%20to%20Improve%20Your%20Curb%20Appeal%20for%20Next%20to%20Nothing.jpg" alt="6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing" 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/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">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/9-easy-home-improvements-that-add-thousands-to-your-listing">9 Easy Home Improvements That Add Thousands to Your Listing</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/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less">15 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $50 or Less</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/4-paint-colors-that-can-boost-your-homes-value">4 Paint Colors That Can Boost Your Home&#039;s Value</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/sell-your-house-faster-with-these-6-house-flipping-tricks">Sell Your House Faster With These 6 House Flipping Tricks</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-stage-your-home-without-hiring-a-pro">8 Ways to Stage Your Home Without Hiring a Pro</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing cheap fixes curb appeal home improvement landscaping painting renovations Tue, 22 Mar 2016 09:30:35 +0000 Kyle James 1677207 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Surprising Ways to Maximize Your Savings at Home Depot http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-ways-to-maximize-your-savings-at-home-depot <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-surprising-ways-to-maximize-your-savings-at-home-depot" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/the_home_depot_000016789311.jpg" alt="Learning surprising ways to maximize savings at home depot" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's no arguing the fact that Home Depot can be a great place to save money on hardware and building supplies. And having worked at Home Depot fairly recently, I have the inside scoop on how to best take advantage of the savings opportunities. Here are a few tips to maximize your savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ikea-shopping-tricks">8 IKEA Shopping Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>1. Don't Ignore the Cents in the Price</h2> <p>I recently had a former Home Depot employee, who used to perform all of the price changes in his store, inform me of how their pricing system works. Use this information to determine what items are clearance price, and if they might go even cheaper.</p> <h3>Price Ending in .06</h3> <p>If you see an item with an ending price of .06, you know it's a clearance item. These price stickers will typically be printed on a yellow tag. The &quot;6&quot; means that after six weeks, if the item has not sold-out, the price will be lowered again. Look for a date printed on the price tag, as that indicates the date the tag was printed. If the date is close to six weeks ago, you know the item is about to get marked down again. If they still have plenty in stock, it's worth waiting in order to get it cheaper in the near future.</p> <h3>Price Ending in .03</h3> <p>Any price ending in .03 is a clearance item that has been marked down from .06. This means that after three weeks, the item will be removed from the store if not sold-out. Typically, when you see an item ending in .03, printed on a yellow tag, it's the rock-bottom price and your best opportunity for a deal. Again, examine the date on the price tag to determine how close the item is to being liquidated.</p> <h2>2. Negotiate the Price on Damaged Stuff</h2> <p>The Home Depot is notorious for slashing the price on any visible imperfections or damage on either the product's packaging, or the item itself. When I worked in the warehouse, we were actually given the authority to knock 15% off the price on damaged products without any managerial approval required. Use this insider information to your advantage, and look for items that have cosmetic damage. Then, ask an associate if a discount is available.</p> <p>Your chances of success increase greatly if you're polite and ask in a conversational tone. Also, if the item is the last one on the shelf, and shows even the slightest evidence of damage or wear, your success rate will increase substantially as employees want to clear it out of the store, since they know they'll have trouble selling it at full price. As a general rule of thumb, I like to start by asking for a 25% discount, knowing that I will probably settle for 15% off.</p> <h2>3. Score a Deal on Products Wrongly Stocked</h2> <p>This tip is not for everyone, but I saw it work several times during my employment at Home Depot. The average store stocks thousands of products, and every once in a while, a product is put back in the wrong spot or simply mis-stocked by the overnight crew. If you notice that a product is incorrectly stocked, and has a lower shelf price tag then it should, you can politely ask for the lower price.</p> <p>According to Consumer Reports, the store does not have to <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/shopping/december-2009/the-savvy-shopper/know-your-consumer-rights/the-savvy-shopper-consumer-rights.htm">honor the lower price</a>, but in many cases, Home Depot will give you the lower price if the price difference is not outrageous. I saw this work for a customer that found a $25 Purdy paint brush stocked with the $5 cheap brushes. The assistant manager immediately gave him the $20 discount rather than argue with the man and create a scene.</p> <h2>4. Buy &quot;Oops&quot; Paint for Cheap</h2> <p>The next time you need to paint a room, or even an entire house, always check the &quot;oops&quot; paint rack in the Home Depot paint department. You'll find it next to the paint mixing station and it's where they sell highly discounted paint that was either mistinted by the paint machine, or simply not the color the customer requested. Having worked in the paint department in my younger days, I can tell you that you'll find some amazing hidden gems. This is especially true if you're not picky about paint color and simply looking for something neutral. Examples include one-gallon cans of Behr paint for $5&ndash;$8, and five-gallon buckets of paint, which typically sell for $125, can often be had for under $50.</p> <p>A word of caution: Always ask to see the actual paint color, and never trust the color swatch on top of the can. To foil customers trying to scam the system by intentionally rejecting a color so they can come back and buy it from the &quot;oops&quot; rack, employees will sometimes add bright colors to the cans and change the color intentionally. Make sure the color you think you're getting is the actual color.</p> <h2>5. Buy Paint on a Holiday Weekend</h2> <p>Sticking with the paint theme, another insider tip I learned while working in the paint department involves the rare days of the year when paint actually goes on sale. The best days of the year to buy paint are on holiday weekends when the weather is warm. These include Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July, and Labor Day weekend. The discount is usually a $5 rebate on one-gallon cans and a $25 rebate on five-gallon buckets. These holiday sales are typically good for both major brands of paint (Behr and Glidden) that Home Depot stocks. So, if you're thinking of doing a large painting project in the near future, it may very well be worth the money to wait, and buy, on one of these sale weekends.</p> <h2>6. Buy a Gift Card for Less Than Face Value</h2> <p>If you have a large remodel or DIY project in your future plans, you should definitely consider buying a discounted Home Depot gift card and easily save 7%&ndash;10% off your purchases. This is done by taking advantage of websites like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.giftcardgranny.com/store/home-depot/">Gift Card Granny</a> and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.raise.com/buy-home-depot-gift-cards">Raise</a>, which sell unwanted gift cards at less than face value. Typically, the higher the gift card balance, the larger the discount. For example, right now you can buy a $100 Home Depot gift card on Gift Card Granny for $90 with free delivery.</p> <p>By knowing some of the inner-workings of Home Depot, you can definitely learn to save money &mdash; money that can easily be used to make your next DIY or home remodel project a little more affordable. Whether it's knowing how they price clearance items, or how willing they might be to negotiate the price of an item, it's all information you can use to become a smarter consumer.</p> <p><em>How do you maximize your savings when shopping at Home Depot?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-ways-to-maximize-your-savings-at-home-depot">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/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy">Save on Christmas Shopping With This Clever Gift Card Strategy</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/11-retailers-where-you-can-negotiate-a-lower-price">11 Retailers Where You Can Negotiate a Lower Price</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/6-genius-ways-to-save-on-cyber-monday">6 Genius Ways to Save on Cyber Monday</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/never-order-fish-on-mondays-and-7-other-bad-days-to-buy-stuff">Never Order Fish on Mondays and 7 Other Bad Days to Buy Stuff</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-things-you-should-always-buy-at-department-stores">6 Things You Should Always Buy at Department Stores</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping discounts gift cards Home Depot home improvement negotiating price tags sales Fri, 13 Nov 2015 09:15:50 +0000 Kyle James 1593639 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_diy_painting_000017057578.jpg" alt="Woman doing best DIY improvements for less than $20" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have an extra weekend and $20 burning a hole in your pocket, then a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money">DIY home improvement project</a> may be just what the doctor ordered. We've compiled a list of some of the best DIY home improvement projects that can give your home a facelift, without making a dent in your pocketbook. These affordable upgrades can add curb appeal and even value to your property, without requiring a large investment of time or money.</p> <h2>1. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint</h2> <p>A fresh coat of paint can completely transform a room or piece of furniture. Experiment with different colors and trims to update any room in your home. If you don't feel like painting the whole room, consider adding an accent window frame or accent wall by choosing one or two walls to paint. You can even add stripes or dots to any wall for a unique, sophisticated touch. While you're at it, add a fresh coat of paint or spray paint to your air vent covers.</p> <p>Total cost for a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005NHJEYI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005NHJEYI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RZU323EML5VOYX56">quart of interior paint</a>: $18.95</p> <h2>2. Paint the Front Door</h2> <p>Adding new paint to the front door will make it feel and look completely fresh and renewed as soon as you or a guest drives up. Often, a door can become covered in scuff marks, signs of weather changes, and other exterior damage. A fresh coat of paint can help cover that damage and make your door look like new again. While you're at it, consider painting the inside of the door as well, which can add an exciting accent to your home. It should only cost you about $15 for the paint and supplies.</p> <p>Total cost for a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00291RKCE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00291RKCE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=LJPC5OUAMCCGU6YM">quart of exterior paint</a>: $17.07</p> <h2>3. Change a Window Treatment</h2> <p>Choose an inexpensive fabric treatment to update the window in your kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom. Drapes and window coverings are available in all different colors, designs, and price ranges, so you can find the perfect fit for any room. You can even use fabric remnants on small windows.</p> <p>Total cost for a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0041HYB7Q/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0041HYB7Q&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QFGMNB5Y5AOEOUF4">new window shade</a>: $9.38<br /> Total cost for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E18ZE5I/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00E18ZE5I&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=3BCJU4Y3WOB2336N">new window panels</a>: $5.00</p> <h2>4. Install a Message Center</h2> <p>A message center can help you get organized and allow you to leave notes and reminders for your family. There are several possible message center options for your home, including:</p> <ul> <li>Install a premade magnetic, cork, or dry erase message board on any wall.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Buy chalkboard paint and paint any surface you like for an instant chalkboard message center anywhere. You can even add chalkboard paint to your cabinets to draw or write inspirational words.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use an inexpensive glass panel to create a DIY dry erase board. You can then paint the back of the glass panel to match your kitchen or office decor and color scheme, and frame the glass panel to complete the look.</li> </ul> <p>Total cost for a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00114ZT78/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00114ZT78&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HK4XNHOQNGCDN5D2">magnetic dry erase/cork combo board</a>: $12.99</p> <p>Total cost for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000RMPLJ6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000RMPLJ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=JNVEI2FVGXNQVHY2">spray-on chalkboard paint</a>: $3.74</p> <h2>5. Add a Wall Decal</h2> <p>Wall decals are extremely affordable, simple to install (they work like a sticker), and can completely change the look of any room. They can be applied in an office, bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom, and are available in a variety of colors and designs. You can also use self-adhesive and repositionable wallpaper to create a unique accent on any wall. You can experiment with different patterns, colors, or even shapes!</p> <p>Total cost for a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C3UOKOM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00C3UOKOM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=XEBD5DTDCICJRTBB">vinyl wall decal</a>: $3.99</p> <h2>6. Upgrade Doorknobs and Handles</h2> <p>Installing new doorknobs or spray-painting old ones can transform the look of any door, making it look more polished. The same can be done for the handles and drawer pulls on any of your cabinetry. These are simple projects that won't cost much and can make old doors and furniture feel like new.</p> <p>Total cost for a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003F3FBQC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003F3FBQC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OVE2672B37KKZRPG">new privacy doorknob</a>: $10.50</p> <p>Total cost for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009PXR85S/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009PXR85S&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=PLVHKTDZVVVMDFOO">10 decorative cabinet handles</a>: $11.15</p> <h2>7. Add Hooks, Shelving, and Storage</h2> <p>Hooks can be easily added to any room to increase space and allow you to hang up things like your bathroom towels and robes. Consider adding hooks or shelving to your closet for an instant storage upgrade. You can also install floating shelves in your bedroom, office, or bathroom. This can add the extra storage you need to better organize any room. You can also use them to display unique artwork, vintage finds, and other decorative items that display your personal style.</p> <p>Adding labels, dividers, and clear plastic bins can help instantly organize things and make it easier for you to locate all of your items at a glance. If you decide to add more storage, keep your eyes open for used or refurbished furniture that you can use around your home. With the right paint and handles, any furniture can be transformed.</p> <p>Total cost for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FSORW4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000FSORW4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=XW2PWQXDNUHQE5QP">six medium hooks</a>: $7.07</p> <p>Total cost for a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008AD0JAA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008AD0JAA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=54SM6C2A2DS5MGAP">set of three floating shelves</a>: $19.95</p> <p>Total cost for a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000XJKD9G/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000XJKD9G&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=L53BQVM4DNN7FLCE">12-drawer plastic storage bin</a>: $17.99</p> <h2>8. Change Electrical Plate Covers and Wall Outlets</h2> <p>Whether we like it or not, electrical plate covers and wall outlets are in every room of the house. Take a look at yours and replace any that are cracked, stained, or just need an upgrade. There are a variety of affordable electrical plate covers to choose from, or you can paint your current switch plate and install an affordable frame around it for a decorative flair. While you're at it, consider also replacing your wall outlets or upgrading to USB wall outlets, which can also charge your mobile device.</p> <p>Total cost for an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002NARM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00002NARM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=C5C4BSGZPN2THFWJ">electrical plate cover</a>: $1.18</p> <p>Total cost for a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0065KWUCK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0065KWUCK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WNVM5GIMGPCESZZG">three-outlet wall mount with USB ports</a>: $14.99</p> <h2>9. Upgrade the House Numbers and Doorbell</h2> <p>The numbers in the front of your home are the first things a guest will look for as they're driving by looking for your home address. You can easily and affordably install new metal or wooden house numbers or simply add a fresh coat of spray paint to your current ones. You can also install a new doorbell for under $20, adding a modern, vintage, or retro flare to your home.</p> <p>Total cost for each <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005AZK4GK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005AZK4GK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QXGN3D3WQEBDTGVP">brushed nickel house number</a>: $5.98</p> <p>Total cost for a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001PO7I4G/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001PO7I4G&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5AOFNDJ6NRZB4SCI">satin nickel doorbell</a>: $7.00</p> <h2>10. Take Up Gardening</h2> <p>Decorating with potted plants, hanging plants, and flowers is a home improvement project that will continue to provide benefits to your home over time. Visit your local nursery to speak with someone about what plants may be right for you, based on how often you want to garden, your budget, and the look you are trying to achieve. With the right plants and flowers, you can add a decorative touch that welcomes you and your guests.</p> <p>Total cost for a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000DZH3XO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000DZH3XO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BL2YS6CXQWXIJF5D">gardening tool set</a>: $15.02</p> <h2>Bonus: Clean Up and Get Organized</h2> <p>Nothing transforms a home like getting rid of clutter and giving the place a good cleaning. Give your home a spring cleaning by shampooing the carpets, cleaning the furniture and upholstery &mdash; and don't forget about your filters and vents. Get rid of what you aren't using and donate what you can. This will instantly make your home feel bigger and can even help clear allergens.</p> <p>Total cost for a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00W1UVZVA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00W1UVZVA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VKXO2OHQ3R3SQAZL">spring cleaning kit</a>: $19.99</p> <p><em>What are your some of your favorite DIY projects under $20? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden">17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden</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/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</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/diy-home-improvement-10-free-options-for-training-and-advice">DIY Home Improvement: 10 Free Options for Training and Advice</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home decorating gardening home improvement painting value Wed, 02 Sep 2015 21:00:35 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1544911 at http://www.wisebread.com Boost Your Home's Value With These 5 Projects http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-homes-value-with-these-5-projects <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/boost-your-homes-value-with-these-5-projects" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-home-improvement-453244095-small.jpg" alt="woman home improvement" title="woman home improvement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you've lived in your home for decades or just moved in, ROI's something to consider when thinking about home improvement projects.</p> <p>A good first step &mdash; especially if you plan to sell in the near future &mdash; is to invite a trusted agent over to evaluate your home's features in relation to other houses in the neighborhood and market. You can get a solid idea of which projects are getting the biggest payoffs and, alternatively, which are better left undone. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/recoup-more-of-your-investment-8-home-improvements-that-add-the-most-value?ref=seealso">Recoup More of Your Investment: 8 Improvements that Add the Most Value</a>)</p> <p>That said, there are some universal improvements that can help you better enjoy your space today and gain property value down the line.</p> <h2>1. Bathrooms</h2> <p>When we put our house on the market earlier this year, the biggest detriment to sale ended up being our lonely single bathroom. We lived in a 1940s kit house that was identical to our neighbors' digs, and most of them had gone ahead and squeezed in a toilet and sink into the downstairs closet for a couple grand. Recent data from the American Housing Survey indicates that adding a half bath can add <a href="http://www.nahb.org/generic.aspx?genericContentID=62422">10.5%</a> to a home's value while a full bath adds closer to 20%. Plus, living with more than one toilet or shower is a huge convenience if you plan to stick around.</p> <h2>2. Exterior</h2> <p>Any improvements to curb appeal will instantly garner your home listing more views. We tried selling our house a few years ago, but after the initial rush &mdash; we weren't getting any foot traffic. A couple years later, we switched out the old front door for an energy efficient one with decorative glass. We also got our house professionally painted and put up new shutters. Guess what happened! Yeah &mdash; we sold within a couple months and had lots of &quot;cute house&quot; comments after showings. The <a href="http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2012/10/Exterior-Replacement-Projects-Yield-Best-ROI">ROI is in your favor</a> for projects that involve siding, doors, windows, etc. They can gain back more than 70% of their cost at resale.</p> <h2>3. Kitchen</h2> <p>If you've ever watched a marathon of those house hunter shows, you know that people of all ages are obsessed with kitchens. Thankfully, the <a href="http://www.hgtvremodels.com/kitchens/tips-for-remodeling-a-kitchen-for-resale/index.html">kitchen is one of your best bets</a> when it comes to house improvements that pay off. Energy savvy appliances and upgraded finishes like solid surface countertops can &mdash; again &mdash; get back up to 70% of their original costs at resale. But don't order fancy granite just yet! Consider neighborhood comps when it comes to planning any upgrades. Sometimes simple stuff, like painting kitchen cabinets, will get more value via sweat equity.</p> <h2>4. Space</h2> <p>Need more space in your home? Rather than draft up blueprints for an addition or plan a move across town, consider transforming unfinished basement area into living space. The national average for <a href="http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/basements/return-basement-remodel/">ROI on finished basements is nearly 80 percent</a>. And if you're on the fence about selling or staying due to space, some extra square footage could save you some major moving costs. Those of you with notoriously wet or damp basements, however, need to consider any remediation costs that could total thousands and cut into your bottom line.</p> <h2>5. Bedrooms</h2> <p>Much like with a basement remodel, an attic bedroom transformation can get you some big bucks back at sale. Also: I loved my big room in the attic as a kid. The national average for a <a href="http://advice.porch.com/attic-bedroom-best-return-investment/">return on an attic bedroom conversion</a> is a little over 70%. Beware, however, since the actual return can vary significantly between cities. In San Francisco and Honolulu, for example, you can get up to 114% back for this upgrade. Where I live in upstate New York, that number is more like 47%. Think this type of project might be for you? Bounce the idea off a real estate agent to get some constructive feedback before signing on the dotted line.</p> <p><em>Have you made a big home improvement recently? Did it pay off?</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/boost-your-homes-value-with-these-5-projects">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/10-surprising-things-that-lower-the-value-of-a-home">10 Surprising Things That Lower the Value of a 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/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</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/home-improvements-that-pay-off">Home Improvements That Pay Off</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/weak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards">Weak Credit? You Can Still Get a Mortgage Despite Tough Lending Standards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing buying a home home improvement home sale Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1246351 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Ways to Make Your Yard Look Awesome for Under $100 http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-make-your-yard-look-awesome-for-under-100 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-ways-to-make-your-yard-look-awesome-for-under-100" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-playing-yard-80380384-small.jpg" alt="family playing yard" title="family playing yard" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Owning a home can be a lot of work, and it can be costly, especially when you have a sizable property. But there are some basic things you can do to keep your yard looking awesome without spending a ton of cash.</p> <p>Here are 14 things you can do to keep your yard in tip-top shape while spending less than $100.</p> <h2>1. Plant Stuff</h2> <p>A good-looking yard is full of life. Plant some shrubs in your front yard, perhaps even a couple tall bushes to frame your doorway. Buy some different types of flowers and plant them in spots that get good sunlight, and water them frequently. (Consider planting perennials, like roses and mums, which can bloom for multiple seasons.) To get started, you'll want to invest in some decent soil, which can be purchased relatively cheaply at your local home improvement store.</p> <h2>2. Trim Stuff</h2> <p>It's great to have trees, bushes, and plants to give life to your yard, but things can get overgrown if you don't keep an eye on them. Trim any tree branches that are close to your house or over your neighbor's yard. Keep your hedges at a nice, consistent height. Cut away any vines creeping over your fences. You can handle most trimming work with a decent pair of long clippers and a band saw. Cordless, rechargeable hedge trimmers can also be useful and are often available for under $100.</p> <h2>3. Pull Weeds</h2> <p>If you have plants, you will have weeds. And weeds are your enemy. Luckily, they are easy to spot, and usually easily pulled out of flower beds. Use RoundUp or a similar product to kill any weeds in stubborn areas, like along the cracks in your sidewalk and driveway.</p> <h2>4. Rake</h2> <p>Get those leaves up! Leaves on the yard can look pretty for a while, but after a short time they start to block any sun from reaching your grass. A couple good days of raking will do the trick, but you could also blow those leaves away with a gas or battery powered blower.</p> <h2>5. Lay Down Mulch</h2> <p>Putting some mulch in your gardens serves several purposes. A thick layer of mulch makes it harder for weeds to grow, and also protects plant roots from getting scorched by the sun in the summer. Moreover, a good, dark mulch can help make the color from flowers petals really pop. You can get a bag of mulch for just a few bucks, so it's one of the best investments for your yard. Tip: Always buy a bag or two more than you think you might need.</p> <h2>6. Edge</h2> <p>To make things look extra-nice, you'll want to sharpen things up by creating a hard edge between your lawn and garden beds, and along any sidewalks or driveways. You can do this by hand in small areas using a trowel, but it's also worth investing less than $100 in a cordless or gas-powered edger. (Some edgers have replaceable heads that allow you to turn the machine into a weed-wacker or other tool.)</p> <h2>7. Put Up Some Lattice</h2> <p>Some white crisscross lattice can be a good way to cover up unsightly areas. At my house, we had lattice installed near the outdoor steps to my basement, and it has the added effect of preventing small kids from falling over into the stairwell. Vinyl lattice is virtually maintenance-free, and can be purchased for less than $1 per square foot.</p> <h2>8. Power Wash Your House</h2> <p>What's the point of sprucing up your yard if the house looks filthy? After enduring heavy rain, intense sun and other assaults, the exterior of your house is bound to get dirty. Vinyl siding might get stained or discolored, brick and stone walls look dingy, and the roof looks grimey. You can blast your house clean by investing in a good gas-powered washer. It's possible to buy one for under $100, or you could rent one a couple times a year to keep your house looking spiffy.</p> <h2>9. Paint</h2> <p>Look around your house for any faded or peeling spots, and get to work with a few gallons of paint. This won't set you back much, and it's a job most people can do themselves. Pay special attention to things like front doors, window ledges, deck railings, and shutters.</p> <h2>10. Tend to Your Lawn</h2> <p>It's easy to just mow the lawn and forget about it, but if you want one of the nicest yards in the neighborhood, you'll have to do some extra work. Each fall, you'll want to spend some time thatching out any dead stuff &mdash; there are special rakes you can buy at a low price, or even machines to rent. Once that's done, lay down new seed. This may mean you'll have to buy or rent a spreader, but those are usually available for under $100. Bags of seed will run you about $50 each. Water your lawn and feed it fertilizer in the spring. This will ensure your lawn comes up nice, healthy and green.</p> <h2>11. Get an Old Bench</h2> <p>It's amazing how something like a bench can transform a space in someone's yard. It's not too hard to procure an old bench from yard sales and antique shops, and you can spruce it up by sanding out any rough edges and giving it a new paint job. Place the bench under a tree or next to a flower bed to create an awesome sense of place.</p> <h2>12. Get a Birdbath</h2> <p>A birdbath has a similar effect as a bench. They look great when placed next to trees, and it's fun to see how they can attract various species of birds. You can buy a solid birdbath for under $50 at many stores.</p> <h2>13. Build a Firepit</h2> <p>It's really fun to sit out back and enjoy the warmth of a fire on a cool night, and a firepit can be a great accent to any yard. Top-of-the-line firepits can be expensive to install, but you can easily make one yourself using some flat stones and cement or mortar on a gravel surface. (Here's one person who claims to have <a href="http://sharpecreations.blogspot.ca/2011/05/fire-pit.html?m=1" style="text-decoration:none;">built a firepit for only $8</a>.)</p> <h2>14. Dig a Pond</h2> <p>This can be a wonderful addition to any garden, and they aren't too difficult to construct. You can get a small polyethylene liner for less than $100. Just dig and install. (Okay, it's not quite that easy. But it's not a big chore, either.) Over time, you can add some surrounding flowers, lilypads, and fish. You may even attract some frogs and turtles. Those with bigger budgets may want to consider a fountain or waterfall.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your yard looking great, for cheap? 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%2F14-ways-to-make-your-yard-look-awesome-for-under-100&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F14%2520Ways%2520to%2520Make%2520Your%2520Yard%2520Look%2520Awesome%2520for%2520Under%2520%2524100.jpg&amp;description=14%20Ways%20to%20Make%20Your%20Yard%20Look%20Awesome%20for%20Under%20%24100"></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/u5180/14%20Ways%20to%20Make%20Your%20Yard%20Look%20Awesome%20for%20Under%20%24100.jpg" alt="14 Ways to Make Your Yard Look Awesome for Under $100" 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/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-make-your-yard-look-awesome-for-under-100">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/screwdrivers-to-saws-stocking-your-first-toolbox">Screwdrivers to Saws: Stocking Your First Toolbox</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/3-ways-to-prevent-brown-lawn-spots-from-dog-urine">3 Ways to Prevent Brown Lawn Spots From Dog Urine</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-frugal-ways-to-keep-your-home-warm-this-winter">10 Frugal Ways to Keep Your Home Warm This Winter</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-to-find-and-hire-a-reliable-contractor">How to Find and Hire a Reliable Contractor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home home improvement lawn care tools yardwork Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 1221879 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Cheap and Easy DIY Home Improvement Projects http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-cheap-and-easy-diy-home-improvement-projects <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-cheap-and-easy-diy-home-improvement-projects" 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-4857262-small.jpg" alt="home repair" title="home repair" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on cheap and easy DIY home improvement projects, jobs to satisfy your wander lust, and putting your tax refund to work.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://livingonthecheap.com/10-cheap-easy-diy-home-improvement-projects/">10 cheap and easy D-I-Y home improvement projects</a> &mdash; Painting and replacing your shower head are just a couple cheap and easy DIY home improvement projects you can do! [Living on the Cheap]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Jobs-Require-Travel-3204508">13 Jobs to Satisfy Your Wanderlust</a> &mdash; Sales jobs and travel industry jobs can satisfy your wanderlust.[PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stretcher.com/stories/13/13apr15h.cfm">10 Ways to Put Your Tax Refund to Work</a> &mdash; To put your tax refund to work, invest in your health or buy an IRA. [TheDollarStretcher.com]</p> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/6-things-you-can-buy-that-will-pay-for-themselves-in-a-year/">6 Things You Can Buy That Will Pay For Themselves In A Year</a> &mdash; A battery charger and a programmable thermostat are just a couple things you can buy that will pay for themselves in a year. [Christian PF]</p> <p><a href="http://financialhighway.com/get-best-gas-mileage-buck/">How to Get the Best Gas Mileage for Your Buck</a> &mdash; Avoiding aggressive driving and reducing your drag can get you better gas mileage. [Financial Highway]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.goodfinancialcents.com/irs-gifting-rules/">IRS Gifting Rules for 2014</a> &mdash; Did you know you can gift up to $14,000 to one person in a calendar year and not have to pay taxes on it? [Good Financial Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://www.narrowbridge.net/save-for-retirement-budget/">3 Simple Ways to Save for Retirement on a Budget</a> &mdash; Save for retirement by canceling your subscriptions. [NarrowBridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/your-second-car-should-be-a-beater-car/">Why Your Second Car Should Be a Beater Car</a> &mdash; Your second car should be a beater car so you pay less in insurance. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/make-most-underemployment/">How to Make the Most of Underemployment</a> &mdash; To make the most of underemployment, start a side-gig. [Money Smart Life]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/5-reasons-why-paternity-leave-is-crucial-for-fathers-and-families">5 Reasons Why Paternity Leave is Crucial for Fathers and Families</a> &mdash; Paternity leave gives fathers a chance to bond with the baby too. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-cheap-and-easy-diy-home-improvement-projects">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-common-household-leaks-you-can-fix-without-a-plumber">4 Common Household Leaks You Can Fix Without a Plumber</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/the-5-best-air-fresheners">The 5 Best Air Fresheners</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-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-allergen-sprays">The 5 Best Allergen Sprays</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home best money tips DIY home home improvement improvement Tue, 22 Apr 2014 09:00:20 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1136236 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Home Renovations That Almost Pay for Themselves http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-renovations-that-almost-pay-for-themselves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-home-renovations-that-almost-pay-for-themselves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-508689-small.jpg" alt="home renovation" title="home renovation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We'd like to think that the improvements we make to our homes will result in an increase in resale value. The unfortunate reality is that, according to Remodeling magazine, the average return on projects is really only about 60.6%. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-home-improvement-10-free-options-for-training-and-advice">DIY Home Improvement: 10 Free Options for Training and Advice</a>)</p> <p>Most of the time, you aren't going to increase your home's resale value, dollar for dollar, with any remodeling project. You can make your home more comfortable to live in, and you can boost the resale value a little bit, but you're just not going to get what you put in.</p> <p>Every year, Remodeling magazine offers a <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/2013/costvsvalue/national.aspx">&quot;Cost vs. Value&quot; report</a>. For 2013, the renovations that will <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-improvements-that-pay-off">earn you the most return</a> (at least in the mid-range cost) are entry doors and deck additions. The worst renovations? Bathroom additions and backup power. OK, let's get to the count down!</p> <h2>10. Major Kitchen Remodel</h2> <p>If you are willing to remodel your kitchen, you can see a fairly decent return. However, a major kitchen remodel is expensive. It will cost you about $53,931 and return about $37,139 in the dollar increase for your home's resale value. This is a recoup of 68.9%.</p> <h2>9. Basement Remodel</h2> <p>A basement remodel is even more expensive than a major kitchen remodel. It costs about $61,303 to remodel a basement. However, you'll see better results, with a $43,095 increase in your home's resale value, for a recoup of 70.3% of the cost.</p> <h2>8. Window Replacement (Vinyl)</h2> <p>The way your windows look can have an impact on the resale value of your home, and replacing your old windows with new vinyl surrounded windows can result in a $6,961 increase in the value of your home. It'll cost you $9,770, though, which amounts to a recoup value of 71.2%.</p> <p>It might be worth it to check with your locality for information on financing programs. Some cities will finance your window replacement, if you choose energy efficient replacement windows, and do it for a very low rate, or even no rate. Additionally, there is an <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/?c=windows_doors.pr_taxcredits">energy tax credit offered</a> at the federal level for windows replaced through December 31, 2013.</p> <h2>7. Siding Replacement (Vinyl)</h2> <p>Add siding to your home, and you could see an improvement in the resale value. Siding replacement will cost you about $11,192 and return $8,154 in the resale value of your home. This represents a cost recoup of 72.9%.</p> <h2>6. Attic Bedroom</h2> <p>Are you willing to turn your attic into a bedroom? If so, you could see a return of 72.9% in your efforts. It will cost you $47,919 to turn your attic into a comfortable bedroom, and your home's resale value will improve by about $34,916.</p> <p>However, your attic bedroom could provide you with a better return if you are willing to rent it out. For those who are looking for a way to earn a little extra income each month, you can rent out the attic bedroom to a boarder. That will improve your return, and provide you with a little cash flow to help pay for the cost of the renovation.</p> <h2>5. Window Replacement (Wood)</h2> <p>Vinyl windows can provide you with a solid enough return, but wood window replacement is even better. It costs about $10,708 to replace windows at this rate, and you see an increase in your home's resale value of $7,852. That's means you recoup 73.3% of the cost.</p> <p>Again, consider tax credits and other programs to help you offset some of the cost of your renovation.</p> <h2>4. Minor Kitchen Remodel</h2> <p>If you don't have the money for a major kitchen remodel, that might be a blessing in disguise. As much as you might want to completely overhaul the kitchen, the reality is that a minor remodel will give you more bang for your buck &mdash; at least when it comes time to sell your home.</p> <p>A minor kitchen remodel will cost about $18,527 and return about $13,977 in an increase to your home's resale value. That means you recoup 75.4% of the cost.</p> <h2>3. Garage Door Replacement</h2> <p>Increase the curb appeal of your home and get a reasonable value for your home improvement dollar with a garage door replacement. You'll pay about $1,496 for a new garage door, but your home's resale value will increase by about $1,132, for a recoup rate of 75.7%.</p> <h2>2. Deck Addition (Wood)</h2> <p>Have you dreamed of having a nice wood deck out back? If that is your dream, this might be the year to make it come true. A nice wood deck provides a decent value for your money. You'll recoup about 77.3% of your $9,327 outlay on a deck, increasing your home's resale value by about $7,213. Plus, you'll have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/garden-ideas-for-small-spaces">a great place to relax all summer</a>. Just make sure that you maintain the deck so that it still looks nice when the time comes to sell your home.</p> <h2>1. Entry Door Replacement (Steel)</h2> <p>Another way to increase the curb appeal of your home is to replace your front door. This is a fairly cost-efficient measure that can help you recoup 85.6% of your cost. You'll pay about $1,137 and get $974 back in the increased resale value of your home.</p> <h2>Worst Renovations to Make to Your Home</h2> <p>Before you add that sunroom or remodel your home office, think twice about whether or not you want to bear the expense. Some of the worst renovations, in terms of recouping your outlay, include:</p> <ul> <li>Home Office Remodel: 43.6%</li> <li>Sunroom Addition: 46.5%</li> <li>Master Suite Addition: 52.1%</li> <li>Backup Power Generator: 52.7%</li> <li>Bathroom Addition: 54.8%</li> </ul> <p>Of course, there are trade offs when you make these renovations to your home. A bathroom or master suite addition can add dramatically to your comfort, so you might not care that you won't recoup as much of the cost. Additionally, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-things-to-have-on-hand-for-power-outages">a backup power generator</a> might be worth the $11,410 cost, even though it only adds about $6,014 to your home's resale value. You can't put a price on peace of mind.</p> <h2>Bottom Line</h2> <p>Chances are that your home's resale value won't improve dramatically with any renovations you make, especially if you engage in upscale projects. However, you can recoup some of your costs in terms of resale value if you carefully choose which projects you undertake &mdash; and consider whether or not the emotional benefits are worth the financial costs.</p> <p><em>Have you done any significant home improvement or renovation projects? Did potential return on your investment influence your decision?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miranda-marquit">Miranda Marquit</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-renovations-that-almost-pay-for-themselves">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/7-secrets-to-refinancing-an-underwater-mortgage">7 Secrets to Refinancing an Underwater Mortgage</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/how-to-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor">How to Make Ends Meet When You&#039;re House Poor</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/buy-the-same-house-twice-for-less-than-buying-it-once">Buy the Same House Twice for Less Than Buying It Once</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/should-we-all-just-stop-paying-the-mortgage">Should We All Just Stop Paying the Mortgage?</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-to-make-your-bathroom-look-awesome-for-under-100">How to Make Your Bathroom Look Awesome for Under $100</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Real Estate and Housing home improvement mortgage refinance remodel renovation Wed, 19 Jun 2013 10:24:32 +0000 Miranda Marquit 979261 at http://www.wisebread.com The Top 10 DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-tools-3760668-small.jpg" alt="home repair" title="home repair" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Doing it yourself is a great way to save money. Home improvements and repairs can be costly, and any contractor you hire to do the job will mark-up prices on materials and labor. Some will also charge for an estimate, although that is rare these days.</p> <p>So, with that in mind, and with the Internet being such a vast resource of free information, it's very easy to be tempted to do a lot of these expensive jobs yourself. However, you can soon find yourself out of your depth and spending even more money than the initial job would have cost to correct your own mistakes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for" target="_blank">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a>)</p> <p>I talked to several professionals over the last few weeks, some of whom I have hired to work on my own home. They outlined a list of jobs that you should think twice about attempting. Of course, if you're a skilled handyman or handywoman, or have experience doing particular repairs, go ahead and do your thing. But if in doubt, get a professional out.</p> <h2>1. Roof Repair</h2> <p>We recently had to replace the whole roof due to hail damage. Insurance picked up the $12,000 tab, but there's a reason it costs a lot of money to repair or replace a roof. It's time-consuming, it's labor-intensive, it takes a lot of people, it's dangerous, and it can mess up your whole house if you do it wrong. If it's replacing one or two shingles, and you are confident you can do the job well, that's one thing. But any major repairs you should leave to the pros. A roof should last 20 years or more; it's worth the investment.</p> <h2>2. Tree Removal</h2> <p>Big, bad tree taking up too much of your yard? Well, think twice before pulling that sucker out.</p> <p>If it's a large tree, you need to know exactly how to make it fall in the right direction. One false move and you have a tree in your bedroom. If you do manage to plan it correctly, and it falls just where you want, you now have a stump to remove. A huge, heavy stump with a root system that could spread 20 to 40 feet. After all that heaving and pulling, probably with a truck, you now have a very heavy stump to haul away, plus the rest of the tree. Is it worth it? Nope. Hire a tree service; they do this daily and they're reasonably priced.</p> <h2>3. Structural Improvements</h2> <p>Most people know about load bearing walls. They may not know exactly how to handle them though, and if you don't do it right, your whole house is at risk. But even if you avoid the load bearing walls, you still have other walls to deal with that contain water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, and ductwork for the HVAC system. If you're planning on taking out a wall or two, plan to bring in the professionals.</p> <h2>4. Major Plumbing or Electrical Work</h2> <p>If you have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-repair-a-dripping-faucet" target="_blank">a blocked toilet or a leaky faucet</a>, don't pay big money on a contractor when you can do the job in a few minutes. Similarly, installing a new ceiling fan or light is no big deal either. But when it comes to anything that involves rerouting pipe work or significant rewiring, don't save a buck and do it yourself. This requires the work of professionals, and when you consider the house could burn down or be flooded by your actions (not to mention you could kill yourself in the process) it's not worth the risk.</p> <h2>5. Installing New Windows</h2> <p>My wife wants a new window in our bathroom. Well, she wants a window in our bathroom period. There isn't one in there right now. I'm tempted to do it myself; it would be so much cheaper. You may feel the same way, too. But when you consider you are literally cutting a huge hole in the side of your house and have to make sure it is safe and watertight, is it worth saving the money? What if you don't get it quite right, and the window falls out? It could kill someone. Even a small mistake could result in serious damage to your home and the contents. Hire a contractor.</p> <h2>6. Attic Insulation</h2> <p>What? Just throwing a bit of insulation in the attic? No worries. Well, think again. If you don't know <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-tips-to-winterize-your-home-for-cheap" target="_blank">which type of insulation to use</a>, how much to use, and where to put it, you can actually create new problems. These include improper ventilation, home overheating, and even wood rot from moisture buildup. And if you don't watch your step, you could come right through the ceiling. If you feel confident and have done your research, you could give it a try. But I would recommend a professional service.</p> <h2>7. Replacing Exterior Siding</h2> <p>A little piece here or there, well, that's something you could attempt to do if you consider yourself handy. But the whole house? If the siding on your abode is looking past its prime, it will take a serious amount of time and knowledge to replace it. This is what is considered a major DIY task, and one most homeowners know better than to take on. Remember, this is not just making your home look good; it is protecting it from the elements. Mess this one up and you can severely impact the value of your home and its ability to stand up to the elements.</p> <h2>8. Gutter Repair or Replacement</h2> <p>At first glance, it seems easy enough. A few screws here and there and you're done. Easy. But consider this&nbsp;&mdash; the guttering system is directly linked to the roof, and it is virtually impossible to repair it without impacting that roof. It's also tricky work, done on a long ladder with limited stability. It should certainly not be attempted alone. But save yourself the headache and the risk of injury to yourself and damage to the roof. Call the pros.</p> <h2>9. Basement Finishing</h2> <p>If you have an unfinished basement, you have probably already thought about the option of getting it transformed into a livable space. No doubt you have even looked into the costs and cried a little. It is expensive. And there's a reason for that. It takes time, planning, and a lot of experience.</p> <p>I have a friend who just finished his basement remodel. He started it five years ago. He said he's probably spent twice what it would have cost to get it done by a professional firm, taking into account his own time, the amount of mess-ups he had to replace, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes" target="_blank">the &quot;money&quot; he spent learning on the job</a>. This is a massive undertaking. Some call it an adventure, others, a potential nightmare. And if you do it wrong, you may have to pay someone to rip it out and redo it. Unless you have some major DIY chops, a stockpile of equipment, and a lot of friends who can help, give this one a very wide berth.</p> <h2>10. HVAC Systems</h2> <p>HVAC, if you don't already know, stands for Heating, Ventilation &amp; Air Conditioning. This is complicated stuff. Your air conditioner, your furnace, your boiler, the ductwork, the electrics, the pipe work&nbsp;&mdash; it goes on and on and on. You may know a few things about HVAC, but certainly not enough to rival the professionals who do this for a living. This is what makes your home livable. It keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer, and if it's done wrong, it can seriously mess up your home's value. This is not something you want to tackle, even if you consider yourself fairly handy.</p> <p><em>That's my top 10 DIY jobs homeowners should avoid. Did I miss anything? Is something on this list that you believe is easier than I've made it sound? Let us know in comments!</em></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/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid">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-10"> <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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes">Like DIY? Avoid These 10 Costly Mistakes</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/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-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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY home improvement home maintenance Home repair Mistakes Thu, 23 May 2013 10:38:36 +0000 Paul Michael 974180 at http://www.wisebread.com 52 Great Weekend Projects to Improve Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/52-great-weekend-projects-to-improve-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/52-great-weekend-projects-to-improve-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5007894802_797ecc6472_z.jpg" alt="cooking class" title="cooking class" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For this list, I&rsquo;ve come up with not 20, not 30, not 40, but 52 weekend projects! That&rsquo;s one project per weekend all year; no reason to complain about Saturday afternoon boredom anymore. All can help you identify a small problem or an unaccomplished goal and help you fix it or reach it. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-perfect-no-spend-weekend">How to Have a Perfect No-Spend Weekend!</a>)</p> <p>Let&rsquo;s get started.</p> <h3>1. Create a Monthly Budget</h3> <p>Get your finances back on track by creating a monthly budget that details all your expenses.</p> <p>In listing your expenses, especially if they exceed the amount of money you make per month, identify items you can reduce or cut out altogether. Do you really need those premium cable channels (or cable TV at all)? Can you live without Internet? Can you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-seal-leaks-and-reduce-your-winter-heating-bill">cut back on heating</a> and cooling somehow? Think of every possibility of whittling down your expenses so you can start saving more than you spend.</p> <h3>2. Do a Deep Clean of Your Home</h3> <p>You can do a deep clean of your home any time of year &mdash; it doesn&rsquo;t have to be springtime &mdash; which will improve your life in many ways, from freeing up space that clutter used to occupy to providing a general feeling of happiness when you come home to a fresh, clean space.</p> <h3>3. Learn How to Change Your Oil</h3> <p>Learn how to change your own oil by finding a how-to video online or ask an in-the-know friend or family member. This valuable skill that can be accomplished in one weekend day will save you tons of money over your lifetime.</p> <h3>4. Take a Basic Cooking Class</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;ve always wanted to learn how to cook, now&rsquo;s the time. Find a local class for beginners and enroll. To become a decent cook, all you really need are the basics. After you&rsquo;ve got those down, the rest comes naturally.</p> <h3>5. Organize Your Inbox</h3> <p>You&rsquo;ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief with a clutter-free inbox because you&rsquo;ll no longer feel guilty for putting off replies and and avoiding projects that need to be completed. Delete expired messages, file away messages that need saving, and respond to outstanding queries. You can almost feel the weight being lifted, can&rsquo;t you?</p> <h3>6. Try a No-Waste Weekend</h3> <p>This won&rsquo;t be easy to do &mdash; and it&rsquo;s something you&rsquo;ll really have to think about &mdash; but it can be done. From paper and plastic to the food you eat, try to make it the entire weekend without wasting anything.</p> <h3>7. Purge Unwanted Clothes From Your Closet</h3> <p>Go through your closet this weekend and get rid of anything that doesn&rsquo;t fit or that you don&rsquo;t (or know you probably won&rsquo;t) wear anymore. When you have a pile, go through the items and decide what you can sell (brand-name accessories can do well on eBay) and what you will give away to a donation center.</p> <h3>8. Update Your Resume and Cover Letter</h3> <p>Even if you&rsquo;re not actively seeking a new job, it&rsquo;s never a bad idea to have your resume and cover letter up to date &mdash; just in case. Standards have changed a bit over the years, so it may be wise to research what&rsquo;s acceptable and what&rsquo;s not before you get started.</p> <h3>9. Start an Exercise Program</h3> <p>Get your bum off the couch and start sweating. Whether it&rsquo;s indoors to an aerobics video or outdoors on your own accord, get back on the track to fitness.</p> <h3>10. Make a Monthly Meal Schedule</h3> <p>I started doing this in the middle of last year and it&rsquo;s improved my life in two ways:</p> <ol> <li>I save a bundle at the grocery store because I only put on my list the ingredients I need to make the recipes I&rsquo;ve chosen for the month.</li> <p></p> <li>With my meals on paper, I don&rsquo;t have to wonder what&rsquo;s for dinner (a problem that leads many of us to eat out or order in unhealthy and expensive food).</li> </ol> <p>I use a combination of recipes from Pinterest and photos from digital magazines to come up with interesting meals on a regular basis.</p> <h3>11. Attack Your Desk Clutter</h3> <p>Recycle unneeded papers, organize your rubber bands and paper clips, and hit your monitor and keyboard with liquid cleaner. The better your work area looks, the better you&rsquo;ll feel working in it.</p> <h3>12. Learn How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint</h3> <p>Recycling is just the first step. Detail other ways you can reduce your carbon footprint &mdash; from the laundry detergent you use to the transportation you take to how many appliances and electronic devices you keep plugged in. There are likely lots of ways to cut back on waste that you&rsquo;re overlooking.</p> <h3>13. Embark on a Mini Road Trip</h3> <p>Sometimes all you need to have a better outlook on life is a quick getaway. Plan a mini road trip with a friend or two and drive off into the sunset for a weekend away from your regular lives.</p> <h3>14. Host a Potluck</h3> <p>Invite a few friends over for good conversation and even better food. Suggest that everyone brings a dish for the party to share. Come up with a theme or theme ingredient to keep everyone on their potluck toes.</p> <h3>15. Find Ways to Maximize Storage at Home</h3> <p>Most of us are already maximizing our space, but there may be areas that you&rsquo;ve missed &mdash; like space under the couch, an area at the top of your closet, or a corner of your pantry. A lot of times, just a new shelf or two can provide many square feet of extra storage.</p> <h3>16. Declutter Your Wallet or Purse</h3> <p>If your wallet looks anything like mine, it could use a good cleaning. Toss out expired cards, reduce the number of savings and loyalty cards (you probably don&rsquo;t use them all), and file receipts.</p> <h3>17. Plan to Go Paperless</h3> <p>Going paperless is more than refraining from using your computer&rsquo;s printer. Cancel catalog subscriptions, sign up for online bill pay, and find other ways to reduce the amount of paper products that come your way on a daily basis.</p> <h3>18. Join a Public Speaking Group</h3> <p>Afraid of public speaking? Master the art by joining a public-speaking group, like Toastmasters International, or enrolling in a course nearby.</p> <h3>19. Learn How to Play an Instrument</h3> <p>It&rsquo;ll take more than a weekend to become proficient with the instrument of your choice, but it&rsquo;s not a bad idea to make this a weekend project so you can devote a few hours to it in the beginning.</p> <h3>20. Give Yourself a Makeover</h3> <p>Do something different to your appearance that will make you feel better. Perhaps it&rsquo;s shaving off your beard if you have one, buying a new outfit, getting a spray tan, or cutting your long hair short. If you&rsquo;ve been thinking of making a change to your physical appearance, take the plunge.</p> <h3>21. Host a Yard Sale</h3> <p>Gather all that junk that you don&rsquo;t want anymore and pawn it off on someone else. Set up a yard sale one weekend to help you <em>make</em> money instead of <em>spend</em> it.</p> <h3>22. Pick Up a Few Motivational Books</h3> <p>Having a hard time staying motivated lately? Find out why and how you can address it by picking up a few motivational books at your local library.</p> <h3>23. Learn How to Make a Daily To-Do List</h3> <p>I have a to-do list of projects that I need to complete every weekday. If I didn&rsquo;t, I wouldn&rsquo;t get anything done. It&rsquo;s hard to remember so much. If you&rsquo;re experiencing a similar problem, start listing out your tasks so you have a guideline to follow moving forward.</p> <h3>24. Optimize Your Home for Productivity</h3> <p>Are there things in your home that are distracting? A noisy ceiling fan? A TV that&rsquo;s constantly calling your name? Whatever it is, try to get these distractions under control so you can be more productive in your own home.</p> <h3>25. Volunteer to Help Clean Up Your Neighborhood</h3> <p>How does your neighborhood stay so clean? It&rsquo;s not just the fine folks at the sanitation department doing all the work. Your neighbors are pitching in to do their part, which is why you might also want to lend a helping hand by joining local volunteer efforts. No local volunteer efforts? Start one!</p> <h3>26. Plant a Vegetable Garden</h3> <p>Planting a vegetable garden is not only a lot of fun, but it will give you a constant source of fresh, healthy, free food. There are few weekend projects that continue to improve your life and provide a source of satisfaction on a consistent basis as a vegetable garden.</p> <h3>27. Cut Down Your Devices</h3> <p>We&rsquo;re all incredibly connected these days, but do we need so many devices? If you&rsquo;re feeling overwhelmed, try to cut out one to two devices &mdash; like your iPad, for instance &mdash; and be content with only your computer and your phone. Make some extra cash along the way by selling your unwanted devices on Craigslist or eBay.</p> <h3>28. Finish Projects You&rsquo;ve Neglected</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;ve started a project (or two or three) over the past few weeks and months, revisit them and complete them for peace of mind.</p> <h3>29. Replace Batteries in Smoke Detectors</h3> <p>Been a while since you&rsquo;ve changed the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? Change the batteries this weekend so you can be sure that they&rsquo;re working properly.</p> <h3>30. Make Thank You Gifts</h3> <p>People always appreciate being appreciated. If there are friends, family members, or coworkers who have done something nice for you lately, thank them with a homemade gift to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-say-thanks">show your gratitude</a>.</p> <h3>31. Learn a New Language</h3> <p>Like learning to play an instrument, learning a new language won&rsquo;t be accomplished in one sitting. But it makes for a good weekend project so you can give it your undivided attention in the beginning.</p> <h3>32. Set New Short- and Long-Term Goals</h3> <p>Everybody should have both short- and long-term goals to work toward. If you already have a few in place, reevaluate those goals to make sure you&rsquo;re on track. If you&rsquo;re not, get back on track or create new goals to achieve.</p> <h3>33. Abstain From Alcohol</h3> <p>There&rsquo;s nothing wrong with a 72 hour self-imposed ban on drinking. Just think of all the things you can get done when you&rsquo;re not hungover.</p> <h3>34. Eliminate Negativity From Your Life</h3> <p>Start with unfriending negative people from Facebook and take it from there. Surrounding yourself with negativity will only put you in a bad mood &mdash; and ain&rsquo;t nobody got time for that.</p> <h3>35. Join a Meetup Group or Other Social Gathering</h3> <p>Increase your social circle by joining a weekend social group &mdash; like a brunch club from Meetup. You never know who you&rsquo;ll meet and what kind of opportunities might come your way.</p> <h3>36. Interpret Your Dreams</h3> <p>Visit your local library and pick up a book or two on dream interpretation. Having insight into your dreams might help you feel less anxiety about your life and help you think of ways to eliminate that anxiety altogether.</p> <h3>37. Create a Disaster Preparedness Kit</h3> <p>Some people think I&rsquo;m crazy for my disaster preparedness efforts. I&rsquo;m not as serious as the people on TV, but I&rsquo;d rather be safe than sorry. To make sure you&rsquo;re prepared for a catastrophe, start stockpiling necessary supplies like food, water, and first-aid materials so you can ride out a disaster safely should one strike.</p> <h3>38. Consider Adopting a Pet</h3> <p>A pet is expensive to keep, so if your budget doesn&rsquo;t allow this addition it&rsquo;s not a good idea. On the other hand, if you can afford it, a pet can bring lots of joy to your life, especially if you&rsquo;re a single person living alone.</p> <h3>39. Start a Blog</h3> <p>Like detailing your vacations or musing on the weird things that happen to you from day to day? Start a blog and entertain the world with your quirky take on life. If you stick to it and gain a following, a blog could possibly turn into an additional source of income.</p> <h3>40. Practice Yoga at Home</h3> <p>If you don&rsquo;t have the extra cash for a yoga class, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/half-moon-full-wallet-free-online-yoga-videos">practice the art in the comfort of your own home</a> by queuing up a video online or finding one on TV.</p> <h3>41. Let Yourself Nap</h3> <p>Some people might not think of this as a project, but I do. I have a very hard time napping in the middle of the day &mdash; even when I don&rsquo;t have anything else to do &mdash; because I tend to feel guilty. Don&rsquo;t feel guilty. We all deserve a nap now and then. So take one.</p> <h3>42. Wean Yourself Off Processed Foods</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;d like to eat healthier, start by cutting out processed foods. It&rsquo;ll be hard &mdash; everywhere you look there&rsquo;s junk food &mdash; but it can be done. Toss out what you have now so you&rsquo;re not tempted to eat it, and stick to a list of healthy, raw foods the next time you go to the market.</p> <h3>43. Bike to Your Errands</h3> <p>Instead of starting your engine to run your weekend errands, map them out so they&rsquo;re easy to achieve by bike. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, but you&rsquo;ll also save money on gas and get a workout in at the same time.</p> <h3>44. Try a Detox Regimen</h3> <p>If too much junk food and alcohol are making you irritable and lazy, it may be time for a detox. Choose a weekend to cleanse so you can start Monday with a fresh slate and a clean system.</p> <h3>45. Spend a Few Hours Networking</h3> <p>Whether it's online via LinkedIn or Facebook or in person at a networking event, put in the time to get your professional skills and accomplishments noticed. If you're networking in person, be sure to have professional business cards &mdash; even if you don't have a job &mdash; so your new contacts will take you seriously right from the start.</p> <h3>46. Reduce Your Social Networks</h3> <p>There is such a thing as too much. If you&rsquo;re feeling overwhelmed by all the social networks in which you take part &mdash; Facebook, Foursquare, Reddit, MySpace, Digg, LinkedIn &mdash; consider exiting a few of them. If you have friends on one but not the others, be sure to inform them that you&rsquo;re leaving the network if you&rsquo;d like to stay in touch.</p> <h3>47. Think of Ways to Be Kind to Others</h3> <p>One way to do this is to create a list &mdash; like many of the ones you find on Wise Bread &mdash; on ways you can show someone else kindness. After the first few, the ideas will start flowing.</p> <h3>48. Hydrate More Throughout the Day</h3> <p>Drink more water, and you&rsquo;ll feel and look better. The old eight glasses a day advice is not exactly scientific, but it's only half a gallon, which is totally doable.</p> <h3>49. Register to Be a Mentor</h3> <p>Look into local organizations &mdash; like Big Brothers Big Sisters &mdash; and start making the necessary strides to become part of the program. There are few things more rewarding than being a positive role model for a young person.</p> <h3>50. Get Back to Nature</h3> <p>Take a day to enjoy the outdoors. Listen to the sounds. Smell the scents. Become whole again. You&rsquo;ll probably sleep better that night, too.</p> <h3>51. Brainstorm Ways to Make More Money</h3> <p>Wish you had more cash? Make your dreams a reality by thinking of real ways you can make more money by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-great-side-jobs">picking up a part-time job</a>, accepting one-off gigs, promoting your special skills, or selling unwanted-but-still-valuable items in your possession.</p> <h3>52. Do Something &mdash; Anything! &mdash; Besides What You Normally Do</h3> <p>Break out of your cycle. This weekend do something that you haven&rsquo;t done before. There&rsquo;s absolutely no better way to improve your life than to try something new. The world awaits.</p> <p><em>What are you doing this weekend?</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%2F52-great-weekend-projects-to-improve-your-life&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F52%2520Great%2520Weekend%2520Projects%2520to%2520Improve%2520Your%2520Life.jpg&amp;description=52%20Great%20Weekend%20Projects%20to%20Improve%20Your%20Life"></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/u5180/52%20Great%20Weekend%20Projects%20to%20Improve%20Your%20Life.jpg" alt="52 Great Weekend Projects to Improve Your Life" 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/52-great-weekend-projects-to-improve-your-life">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/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</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/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</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-ways-to-improve-your-decision-making-skills">10 Ways to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills</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/7-easy-ways-to-have-energy-after-work">7 Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work</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/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals">Get It Done: How to Measure Your Goals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Productivity home improvement self help projects weekend projects Fri, 22 Feb 2013 11:24:32 +0000 Mikey Rox 967829 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Look for in a Fixer-Upper http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-look-for-in-a-fixer-upper <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-look-for-in-a-fixer-upper" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3139490667_aafe34aa01_z.jpg" alt="fixer upper" title="fixer upper" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The housing market is definitely improving, and many of my friends are looking to purchase a new house. The problem is that in many areas inventory is quite low, and it is getting difficult to snatch a perfect house at a great price. However, if buyers are willing to put in some time and work, they are still able to find fixer-uppers that are worthwhile. Here are some tips on what to look for in a fixer-upper. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for">9 Costly Things New Homeowners Don't Prepare For</a>)</p> <h2>Location</h2> <p>Location is extremely important in choosing a house. It is better to buy a fixer-upper in a nice neighborhood rather than a pristine and perfect house in a war zone area riddled with crime. Generally, houses in nicer neighborhoods have greater value to begin with, and whatever improvements you make will give you more return on your money. You should also look at the neighbors' houses on the same street and see how much you need to improve the house to make it fit in.</p> <h2>Age of House</h2> <p>Generally, newer homes have certain features that are more updated. For example, plumbing and electrical systems are usually better, and newer homes are up-to-date with modern building codes. From what I've seen, newer homes also have better insulation and are more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-americans-can-learn-from-how-the-rest-of-the-world-saves-energy">energy efficient</a>. These features may not be so visible, but they can be very expensive for you to fix. If you do buy an older home, you should check if these major systems have been updated. If you need to upgrade a house's infrastructure to comply with current laws or insurance requirements, then it can be quite expensive.</p> <h2>Costs and Savings</h2> <p>One reason to buy a fixer-upper is to save a little bit of money. To do that you need to assess how much the repairs will cost and have a reserve fund of cash to pay for those fixes. You should definitely get a professional home inspection and also estimate how much cosmetic repairs would cost. If there are major structural issues that cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix, it may not be worthwhile to purchase the house.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-improvements-that-pay-off">fixes that get you the most bang for the buck</a> are really the cosmetic ones, and that is why the best fixer-uppers are the ones that have great &quot;guts and bones&quot; but need a fresh coat of paint and some new flooring. The cost of paint and flooring is usually pretty easy to figure out, but major structural changes to the foundation and walls may become a real money pit.</p> <h2>Your Time</h2> <p>If you want to deal with a fixer-upper, then you really need to figure out how much time you have to devote to it. If you don't do the work yourself, then you will need to research which contractors to use, and for cosmetic changes you will need to pick out all the colors and styles. Depending on how much work there is to be done, it may take weeks to months before you can actually move into the house.</p> <p>Some people love customizing their homes, but some really just want a move-in-ready house. If you do not have a lot of time to deal with a project, then it might be better to just pay a little more for a pristine house.</p> <p>While the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-housing-market-is-finally-rebounding">market is tightening</a>, I think that it is still possible to get a deal on fixer uppers if you are willing to do the research and follow up work. However, it may not be a great idea for those who do not have a decent cash reserve and the time to do the legwork. I've only purchased houses that needed cosmetic fixes, and that is because I don't have a lot of time and money to devote to major fixer uppers.</p> <p>One last consideration &mdash; it is better to get a house at a lower price because your tax basis will be lower, and that may save you money for many years to come.</p> <p><em>Have you purchased a fixer upper?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-look-for-in-a-fixer-upper">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/is-a-buying-a-foreclosed-home-ever-a-good-idea">Is Buying a Foreclosed Home Ever a Good Idea?</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/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway">What Is Private Mortgage Insurance, Anyway?</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/why-you-should-be-saving-big-with-bi-weekly-mortgage-payments">Why You Should Be Saving Big With Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments</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/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house">23 Hidden Costs of Buying an Old House</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-to-get-into-a-good-school-district-for-less">How to Get Into a Good School District for Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing buying a house fixer upper home improvement Tue, 01 Jan 2013 10:30:20 +0000 Xin Lu 961639 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Costly Things New Homeowners Don't Prepare For http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new-homeowners.jpg" alt="New homeowners" title="New homeowners" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you&rsquo;re buying a new home (and that could be a new build or a used home that&rsquo;s new to you) you are caught up in a whirlwind of things to do, people to see, papers to sign, and plans to make.</p> <p>Most of all, you&rsquo;re excited. And rightly so.</p> <p>Then, moving day comes. Once all the boxes are unloaded, and the furniture is shoved roughly into the right rooms, you grab a coffee and take a breather. And that&rsquo;s when it dawns on you. This is only just the beginning.</p> <p>As a new homeowner, there are whole lists of things you need to take care of, and almost all of them cost money. Sometimes, a lot of money.</p> <p>So, if you&rsquo;re planning to buy a new home, have just signed the paperwork, or are moving in next week, this list is for you. And if you know someone who's moving in, be a buddy and warn him or her as well.</p> <p>Note: The figures next to the titles are rough guides based on an average sized U.S. home (2,700 sq. ft.) with a typical yard (1/5<sup>th</sup> of an acre), but obviously they could be much higher or lower depending on the size of your home, its location, and the condition it&rsquo;s in.</p> <h3>1. Window Coverings and Treatments &ndash; Up to $2,000</h3> <p>&ldquo;Oh, look at all the windows! It&rsquo;s so bright, so spacious, the views are lovely!&rdquo; Well, yes they are. But you don&rsquo;t want people viewing you at night, or looking in whenever they want, so all those windows need coverings. If it&rsquo;s a new home, you&rsquo;re going to be spending hundreds (and probably thousands) of dollars on blinds, curtains, curtain rods, tie backs, valances, and shades (even more if you're not too handy and have to have someone come and fit them for you). If it&rsquo;s an old home, you may be fine for a year or two, but you&rsquo;ll need to decide if you want to live with the old owner&rsquo;s treatments or have your own. To offset the high costs, remember to look for deals on blinds and other window coverings long before you move in.</p> <h3>2. Landscaping and Groundskeeping &ndash; Up to $30,000</h3> <p>Walking around new neighborhoods, you see all sorts of beautiful landscapes. And often, on new builds, the landscaping at the front of the house is included in the price. Hurray! Oh, but then there&rsquo;s the back. And there, almost always, you&rsquo;re on your own. Depending on the size of the yard and the HOA rules and restrictions, you could be looking at $10,000 - $30,000 worth of landscaping materials and labor. Want a deck or a patio? That&rsquo;s even more money. And then you may need sprinklers, irrigation, and other services. If you move into an old home, that&rsquo;s no guarantee of a great yard. Many foreclosed homes may have been left vacant for a long time, and a once attractive yard could be a wreck, if it was even finished in the first place. So, do your homework. See if you can hustle the homebuilder for a finished back yard too, or ask the seller to drop the price to cover landscaping. If it's foreclosed, a short sale, or some other kind of repo, guess what? Yep, you&rsquo;re on your own. Time to dig into the savings.</p> <h3>3. Major Appliances &ndash; Up to $10,000</h3> <p>New home builds usually include a dishwasher, microwave, and stove, with the option of a fridge/freezer, washer, and dryer. They are basic, unless you opt for the upgrades in your contract, but if you do, they could add a chunk to your monthly mortgage payment. If you buy a used home, you may not have any appliances included, especially on a repossession, short sale, or foreclosure. You could always hunt around on Craigslist for used appliances, but they won&rsquo;t come with a warranty. So figure on spending a nice chunk of change when the time comes to upgrade.</p> <h3>4. HOA Fees &ndash; Up to $700 a Month</h3> <p>Many new homes come with a Home Owners Association, and most used homes have HOAs as well. In theory, they&rsquo;re a sound idea. They are there to keep the neighborhood looking great, and deal with trash collection, playgrounds, community pools, street lighting, common areas, snow removal, and so on. Of course, in practice many people hate the HOA because they extend their reach far beyond what most people consider fair. They can tell you what colors you can and can&rsquo;t paint your house, what type of blinds and window treatments are allowed, what you can and can&rsquo;t put in your yard, and the list goes on. Oh, and it costs you. A typical HOA can run $100 a month. Some are just a few hundred a year, while in the higher-end neighborhoods, you may not see much change out of $1,000 every month! Did you see that one coming? Before you buy, make sure you know what the HOA dues are, but remember, they can go up annually and you have little say in the matter.</p> <h3>5. Furniture &ndash; Up to $20,000</h3> <p>That&rsquo;s a very rough estimate. Clearly your particular tastes can range from Ikea to custom-built furniture, but what you need to know is that most homeowners completely underestimate the amount of furniture they&rsquo;ll need. This is especially true when moving into a bigger home. You may now have two areas for relaxing, a living room and family room. You could also have a den, a library, a nook or study, extra bedrooms, guest rooms, or even a game room. Depending on what you&rsquo;re moving into, you could have a very empty-looking house that needs to be filled. Get ready to go shopping.</p> <h3>6. Insurance &ndash; Up to $2,000 Annually</h3> <p>There are a few different types of insurance you need to have when buying a home. First, you must have homeowners insurance. The average cost of this is around $700 annually, but this again varies by state. If you live in a duplex or other type of connected building, the insurance may be covered in your HOA dues or your monthly escrow. You should also have contents insurance, based on the value of your possessions. You could, of course, skip this payment. But if tragedy does strike, you could lose everything.</p> <h3>7. Property Tax &ndash; Up to $10,000 &nbsp;</h3> <p>When it comes to property tax, a lot of people get sticker shock a year after they move into a new construction. The reason for this is simple; the taxes are based on the empty lot the home was built on. But a year later, the assessors come around and put a new valuation on the lot, which now has a beautiful home sitting on it. Many people see their initial tax payment double, or even triple, in just one year. You can also face much higher taxes based on the particular school district you live in. And of course, taxes vary greatly by state. The average property taxes paid in New Jersey are almost $8,000, as opposed to $2,000 in Colorado.</p> <h3>8. Utilities &ndash; Up to $400 Monthly</h3> <p>Again, if you live in the Playboy mansion that figure will be greater. And in a new one-bedroom apartment, much less. But on average, when moving into a new home, you will see utility bills in the hundreds of dollars. This can be quite a shock, especially if you were formerly in a small apartment or even living with your parents. And what&rsquo;s worse, depending on when you move in, you could really get a wake-up call. Bills in the summer months can come with higher rates, so you may budget based on the winter bills, only to be unprepared for summer. The best thing you can do to prepare is ask the utility companies for the history of the property, if it&rsquo;s used. If it&rsquo;s new, ask neighbors who have already moved in what they&rsquo;re paying. If you're first on the block&hellip;good luck!</p> <h3>9. Repairs and Maintenance &ndash; Who Knows!</h3> <p>I saved the worst till last. One of the biggest unknown expenses of owning a home is the repairs and maintenance costs that can hit you out of nowhere. If you were formerly renting, that was all taken care of. Now it&rsquo;s all on you. If the boiler blows up, you pay. If the roof leaks, you pay. If strong winds blow your fence down, you pay. If vandals put rocks through your windows, you pay.</p> <p>Basically, you pay. And these bills can be steep. You&rsquo;ll soon find out that hourly labor costs for plumbers, electricians, and builders are usually a lot more than the hourly wage you get paid. There are standard call-out charges, which you pay before they even look at the problem. It can be a nightmare. You can, of course, buy insurance to cover appliances, boilers, A/C units, and so on, but there are deductibles to pay. And like any insurance, the small print can really bite you.</p> <p>Are you a new homeowner? Did a situation or expense recently pop up that you were not planning for? Let us know.</p> <p><i>This article was made possible by the support and inspiration of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.genworth.com/content/products/home_ownership.html" target="_blank">Genworth Financial</a>, a S&amp;P 500 insurance&nbsp;company with more than $100 billion in assets</i><em>. Check out Genworth's website for more information on their&nbsp;<a href="http://www.genworth.com/content/products/home_ownership/mortgage_insurance.html">mortgage insurance</a> and <a href="http://www.genworth.com/content/products/home_ownership/reverse_mortgage.html">reverse mortgages</a>&nbsp;products.</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.genworth.com/content/products/home_ownership.html"><img width="605" height="454" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/genworth-ad-605.jpg" /></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" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F9%2520Costly%2520Things%2520New%2520Homeowners%2520Dont%2520Prepare%2520For.jpg&amp;description=9%20Costly%20Things%20New%20Homeowners%20Dont%20Prepare%20For"></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/u5180/9%20Costly%20Things%20New%20Homeowners%20Dont%20Prepare%20For.jpg" alt="9 Costly Things New Homeowners Don't Prepare For" 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/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for">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/what-it-really-costs-to-own-a-home">What It Really Costs to Own a 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/home-details-i-overlooked-the-first-time">Home Details I Overlooked the First Time</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/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</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-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house">6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House</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/why-you-should-ask-for-a-clue-report-before-buying-a-home">Why You Should Ask for a CLUE Report Before Buying a Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing cost of homeownership first time home buyer furniture home improvement homeowners insurance new homes Fri, 18 May 2012 10:36:08 +0000 Paul Michael 929147 at http://www.wisebread.com