Dana Claflin - ERA Key Realty Services



Posted by Dana Claflin on 10/8/2020

If you intend to list your house in the weeks to come, you may want to complete a wide range of home improvements. That way, you can transform your ordinary house into an awe-inspiring residence, increasing the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

Although you may have lofty expectations for your home improvement projects, it is important to note that performing myriad home repairs can be costly. And if you're not careful, you risk overspending to upgrade your residence.

Fortunately, it can be easy to establish a home improvement budget – here are three tips to help you develop an effective home improvement budget.

1. Determine Which Areas of Your House That You Want to Improve

When it comes to crafting a home improvement budget, it is important to differentiate between major and minor home repairs. By doing so, you'll be better equipped than ever before to budget for assorted home maintenance projects.

A kitchen overhaul or bathroom renovation may be considered a major home improvement. Conversely, updating the color of your bedroom may be a minor home improvement. If you assess the major and minor home improvements that you want to perform, you can put together an appropriate budget.

Of course, you should take an objective look at you house to decide which areas that you want to improve. With an objective view, you can identify various home issues, determine how much money will be required to fix these problems and budget accordingly.

2. Examine the Home Improvement Funds at Your Disposal

In all likelihood, you only have a finite amount of money at your disposal. Luckily, regardless of how much money you have, you should be able to establish an effective home improvement budget.

Oftentimes, it helps to get multiple quotes from home improvement professionals. If you receive a variety of quotes, you may find that you can save money on home repairs, as well as stick to a tight home improvement budget.

It also may be cost-effective to complete simple home improvement projects on your own. If you possess the skills and know-how to perform quick, easy home repairs, you may be able to enhance your house without putting a dent in your home improvement budget.

3. Set Home Improvement Priorities

Priorities are important, particularly if you need to put together a home improvement budget. It generally is a good idea to set priorities for different home improvement projects. Then, you can allocate the necessary time and resources to complete home improvement tasks in order of priority.

If you plan to list your house soon, home improvements may prove to be exceedingly valuable. Home upgrades can help you differentiate your residence from the competition and enable you to achieve the optimal home selling results.

Lastly, if you need extra help prior to listing your residence, it may be beneficial to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with top-notch home improvement professionals, offer home improvement tips and insights and much more.





Posted by Dana Claflin on 9/17/2020

Image by Malachi Witt from Pixabay

You might think renovating a home is simple when budget isn't a factor, but when there are no limits, it's deceptively easy to become side railed. Getting off-track on a home renovation can be disastrous. You may end up with rooms that feel cavernous and impossible to fill or hallways that meander on, seemingly for miles. Worse, you might find yourself stuck in the middle of a renovation that never seems to end. You'll need focus and a plan to keep these situations from happening. 

Have a Definite Plan Before You Begin

It's important to have a plan and to stick closely to it throughout your renovation. This doesn't mean you won't opt for an alternate style of sink or choose different flooring. It means deciding what you're going to renovate and how long you want it to take. Have an overall design and a timeline for each element. And have an overall timeframe of when the work will be completed. Keep the momentum of the project going with incremental goals so you can measure progress. 

Act as Though You Have a Budget, Even if You Don't

It may sound unnecessary, but setting a budget is actually vital. Even if funds are unlimited, you should set a target for your contractors to operate within. The professionals who are working to help you with your remodel -- your designer, your contractor, and more -- need to have real, physical limits on spending. If you want to go all-in, that's fine. But you should still declare financial limits, even if it's only for your own peace of mind. 

Narrow Your Choices

When you can have everything your heart desires, it's easy to become overwhelmed with options. Sit down with anyone else who will be living in the house and talk through which features are needs and which are wants. It's great to incorporate both, but needs should always take precedence so that the final result serves you well. While you may have the budget for a home movie theater, do you have the space? And if not, where will you make the space? Will you sacrifice your finished basement, or will you add on a new level? Once you have an exact idea of what everyone wants and how you'll achieve it, it's time to approach a designer and a contractor. 

Exercising a little caution during an upscale home renovation will keep things moving along at an acceptable pace. It will also help keep you and your design team from becoming lost along the way. 




Tags: budgeting   planning   Renovation  
Categories: Home improvement  


Posted by Dana Claflin on 5/14/2020

Photo by Halfpoint via Shutterstock

When it comes to conserving energy, homeowners wanting to go green often spare no expense. Here are a few ways to upgrade your home without lightening your wallet.

Smart Thermostat

A powerful method to control your power use while saving money on your air conditioning bills in the summer and heating bills each winter is by installing a smart thermostat. Utilizing a system that monitors the indoor and outdoor humidity and temperatures to adjust your system keeps your home on an even keel and your bills steady. Choose one with multiple sensors so that you don’t end up with hot spots or cold rooms around your home. You can adjust your thermostat manually, but the best way to make it smart is to connect it to a smartphone or voice-controlled device.

Motion Sensing Dimmers

You try your best, but there’s always one room where it seems the lights get left on more often than you’d like. The challenge is, it’s the same room that’s often empty most of the day, so no one even notices the lights burning. To combat this issue, replace the standard light switch with a sensing dimmer switch. That way, if someone’s in the room, the light turns on, but when there’s no one moving around, off it goes. And, when daylight comes in the windows, the sensor knows to keep the light off.

If you’re retrofitting an older home, replace pull-chain lights in basements and utility rooms with a motion-sensing light so that you never have to stumble around waving your arms in front of you trying to grab the string to the pull-chain.

Adjustable LEDs

On the subject of lights, Take it up (or down) a notch with a 3-way LED. The equivalent of a 60-watt bulb can adjust from soft, warm light to bright, daylight with built-in wireless technology at the sound of your voice when connected to your smartphone or smart home.

If you’re looking for ways to make your home appeal to a more energy-conscious set of buyers, try utilizing these inexpensive, smart home technologies.




Categories: Home improvement   homeowner  


Posted by Dana Claflin on 4/9/2020

Image by Alex Qian from Pexels


 

Even higher-end homes need renovation after so many years. Fashions go out of style and things get worn out. If money is not an object and the sky is the limit, you can do beautiful things with a remodel. However, if you are remodeling because you are ready to sell your home, it’s better to keep colors neutral and update carpets and flooring with easy to clean materials that will match several styles and colors. It is easier to sell a home when people can picture their personal items in the house, and they match with the current updated color scheme.

Full Kitchen Update

If it’s been some time since you updated the kitchen, start your remodel project there. Both bamboo flooring and natural stone are popular products that will last and that clean easily. Choose neutral colors if you are selling your home or go bold with your favorite colors if you are updating everything for yourself.

Update the appliances to energy-saving appliances. For a larger kitchen or a kitchen that you will be enlarging, consider a French door fridge with a double freezer drawer and a gas stove with six or eight burners and a double oven. If you must go with electric, consider a stovetop and purchase a double oven that is built into the wall. Add an island that also functions as a bar.

When looking at new cabinets, you might consider upper cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling. However, keep in mind that the top shelves are harder to reach, especially for people who aren't vertically gifted. Light-colored woods, such as maple, are in and dark-colored woods are out. For the bottom cabinets, choose a set with drawers. Some manufacturers are making cabinets without drawers, which leads to a ton of wasted space and no place to store smaller items. While they may look great, they aren’t the best use of space.

Full Bathroom Update

If your bathrooms are small and cramped, consider enlarging them. Use adjoining closet space or add on to the house so that you can redesign the layout for the bedrooms and bathrooms. If you’re adding on, consider combining two small bedrooms into one large bedroom, den or office space with its own bathroom.

Choose natural stone tiles for the showers. They last for a long time, and if you choose neutral colors or even browns, they’ll match many color schemes and stay in fashion longer. Update the toilets to water-saving, high-pressure flush toilets. Update the vanities to something decorative instead of the typical square vanity with a single sink and cabinet, especially if you are enlarging your bathroom.

Consider adding a stand-alone shower in the master bathroom and adding a jetted tub. Large 5-foot showers with two or even three shower heads are popular. When you choose flooring, go with a natural stone tile that will withstand the humidity better. Add an exhaust fan with heat built into the fan. These are perfect for the winter months when the bathrooms always feel cooler than the rest of the house.




Categories: Home improvement  


Posted by Dana Claflin on 12/4/2019

Image by Breadmaker from Shutterstock

A fireplace is a cozy addition for a home that can add aesthetic value as well as warmth to your space. Whether you’re building new, retrofitting, or shopping for the perfect home there are options for most situations. You’ll find many design options as you start to shop but the initial consideration should be to determine a fuel source.

Wood fireplace

Wood-burning fireplaces offer the crackle of the fire, the fragrance of pitch, and the soft glow of coals. For some, there's nothing better than a perfectly lit wood fire. But along with the cozy flames and the perfect scent come some considerations. 

Potential for smoke: If the flue does not open correctly or if there is a blockage within the chimney, you may find smoke coming into your room instead of out the flue.

Chimney maintenance: The wood you burn and the temperature of your fire determines how clean your chimney stays. At least annually, have your chimney professional swept to remove the buildup of creosote that can cause house fires.

Ashes: You will need a plan for disposing of the ashes once the fire is out.

Natural gas

A fireplace that burns natural gas can either be open or closed. An open hearth appears to be the same as a wood-burning fireplace and requires a chimney. These are called "vented" fireplaces. You can easily convert a wood-burning fireplace to a vented gas fireplace if you have access to a gas line. 

An enclosed gas fireplace is a “ventless” unit. These require more intensive construction but are great to give you the “look” of an open fire without access to the flames. These can either operate on natural gas or propane.

Gel system

A gel fireplace doesn't require specialized installation. Canned gel burns in a special unit that does not need ventilation. Often available in modern, minimalist designs, these fireplaces do not need access to gas lines or electricity. They can be installed anywhere on any wall.

Electric

Outside of the gel unit, the most effortless option to incorporate is an electric fireplace. Rather than flame, they use heated coils to provide warmth and a fan to project the air into the room. They often include flickering lights and simulated flames. Electric fireplaces require no vents and can install anywhere within proximity to an electrical outlet.

No matter which fireplace you select, take care to install it properly and operate it by the manufacturer's instructions. If a fireplace is an important feature to you, make sure your real estate agent knows it's on your "must-have" list.







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