6 Valuable-Enhancing Renovations For Your Home

Just perusing through houses in your price range, even if you’re a complete novice to home buying, you’ll soon develop a checklist of home attributes that make a home appealing to you. These would-like-to-haves of a home are not only preferences but their absence can be a deal-breaker for potential buyers. In this piece, we’re going to look at a few zones in your home that you may consider renovating if you’d like to increase your house’s value

1. Bathroom

While it may have something to do with it being a place where you’re at your most vulnerable or possibly where quality is most evident, but the condition of a bathroom is incredibly important to potential buyers. Many homebuyers are always looking to upgrade their bathroom experience from one home to the next and may even want to feel pampered, making the need for bathroom facilities to be of a higher caliber than you’d expect. Don’t feel like you’re throwing your money away on bathroom renovations as you’re almost guaranteed to recoup nearly all of the necessary expenses.

2. Garage Door

More than just a device meant to close off the front of your garage, your garage door is also frequently one of the most prominent determiners of a house’s curb appeal. Not only will a new garage door make your home look great from the street, but the smooth operation of a recently-installed garage door can add a certain freshness to any home tour. This often overlooked renovation also happens to be one of the most affordable, considering its impact, usually ranging between $2,000-$4,000. According to one study, homeowners recouped as much as 98% of the price of the garage door replacement.

3. Kitchen Remodel (Even a Minor One)

While an extensive kitchen remodel can nearly break the bank, a minor renovation to your existing kitchen’s aesthetic is not only manageable but can add great appeal to your home. You don’t always have to install granite counters or completely install new cabinets as existing countertops can be resurfaced and kitchen cabinets can receive new life with new doors, paints, or stains. If your home is on the upper range ($500,000 in value or more), it is recommended to splurge on kitchen renovations in order to keep it competitive in the housing market, but even the most basic detail enhancements can make an average home feel slightly above average

4. Home Exteriors

Even if the inside of a home is incredible, the first impression of a home is often set by the home’s exterior. In order to make your money go further when it comes to attempting to sell your home, one place to definitely not overlook is your home’s siding and paint. Replacing the siding on a home or giving your home a new paint job is a fairly inexpensive way to breathe new life into what may feel like a dated residence. Some other exterior aesthetics to consider are a few landscaping features to make the outside of the home stand out. Landscaping requires a bit more maintenance but helps give the impression that homeowners are attentive to the house. Overall, you want to aim for a welcoming feeling to your home for prospective buyers instead of waiting to them impress on the inside.

5. Patio or Deck Renovations

Home buyers want to picture themselves living their lives in your home which is why helping them see the potential of the outdoor spaces is a must. Either renovating existing patios or even building new deck or patio structures can be a major selling feature for those who love to spend time outside. Renovating outdoor living spaces also helps any home feel larger as it provides another location for leisure on the property. Whether you want to build a firepit from pavers or overhaul an existing deck, this is money well spent when it comes to enhancing livable space on your property.

6. Replacing Windows

If your windows are dated, they not only look too hot to buyers, but they’re also grossly energy inefficient. Because most people are not incredibly selective when it comes to the brand or model of windows they want to use in a home, this allows you to make a renovation that will appeal to most every home buyer. Even if you’re not selling your home, the money you’ll save in energy bills will nearly pay for your window replacement. It’s best to stick to the following saying for window replacement: when in doubt, change it out.

4 Home Owner Fall & Winter Safety Tips

That brisk bite in the morning air can be a welcomed guest as the fall rolls in, but should also prompt us to stay safe when using different forms of indoor heating. The following are a few tips to help keep your family safe in your home this fall and winter season.

1. Check Your Heater For Safe Operation

If you haven’t kicked on your heater this season yet only for that fun burned smell on the first day, the days until you do are probably numbered. Even if you already have or you’re about to, it pays to check out the working condition of any heater for safe operation. If any components seem to function oddly or cause any particular smells out of the usual, notify a certified heat and air specialist. Also, make sure to change out the filters in any forced-air systems to keep your home fresh and safe.

2. Exercise Space Heater Safety

Sometimes, there’s nothing quite like a strategically-located space heater just to keep your toeies toasty or to keep a garage warm while working. Though this is true, the improper use of a space heater can result in tripped breaker switches, blown fuses, or even fires. Inspect your space heater’s power cables for any damage. If any damage is spotted, the space heater should not be used until professionally repaired. Also, never leave space heaters running when they’re out of sight and never use extension cords, as they are not equipped to handle the kind of power required by space heaters. Exercising intense space heater safety is the key to a safe winter. 

3. Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Smoke Detectors

The more sources of heat inside also mean the increased chance of either a carbon monoxide leak or fire from a faulty heater or fireplace. Change out the batteries for both of these devices, test them using the appropriate buttons, and make sure they are both appropriately located in your home.

4. Make Sure the Outside Of Your Home Isn’t a Slipping Hazard

As the temperatures begin to cool outside, there is an increased chance of slipping on ice and other moisture outside of your home. Make regular checks of your property to spot ice and slippery services where they may appear. Treat hazardous areas with salt to melt the ice for a safe pathway.

For some, fall and winter are definitely the most wonderful times of the year and they can be for your family with these helpful tips for the winter homeowner. What other tips would you add to our list?

6 Home Maintenance Tasks To Do Before It’s Too Late

You’ve already sunk untold sums of money into making your home a great place to live so maintenance of your home should be a no-brainer. With this being said, many easily-treatable problems could have been prevented and helped you save thousands or even tens of thousands on extensive damages. In this piece, we’re going to give you the beginnings of a checklist to help prevent these damages to your house.

1. Periodically Checking For Termites

Nobody likes to think about termites because, frankly, they’re icky and the damage they can cause makes us plug our ears with our fingers and go to our happy place. As much as you’d prefer to not think about what damage they may be doing to your property, it pays to make it a regular home maintenance habit to check for any termites. We would rather not imagine our precious home investment being little chewed to pieces, but stopping them before they do too much damage can save thousands in exterminations and repairs. It may not be a bad idea to schedule a routine inspection with a termite professional.

2. Using Caulk To Seal Up Problem Areas

Not only is caulking up drafty window openings a great way to make your home more energy efficient but doing so can also reduce moisture damage within your home. Taking a walk around your house with a caulking gun to fill up problem areas fairly straightforward, doesn’t take a lot of time, and is a cheap preventative tip against mold.

3. Inspect Pipes & Plumbing

Whether it is a pipe getting slowly clogged or a bursting, plumbing issues can be a messy and expensive fix on any budget. Penciling in some time on your calendar semi-annually can be a great prevention against a disgusting and pricey call to the plumber. In the case of the plumbing of your home, you can’t afford to ignore the signs that you may be destined for a plumbing disaster.

4. Inspect & Test Sump Pumps

Typically found in basements and other high-humidity areas of houses, sump pumps are your first line of defense against flooding in your home and potential damage to your house. Make a point to periodically inspect and test your sump pump to make sure that it will be up to the task of protecting your investment when the time comes.

5. Clean Our Your Rain Gutters & Downspouts

If the gutters on your home or the downspouts running down your home become clogged, they’re not only rendered ineffective for properly draining rain from your roof, but can actually be damaged by debris buildup. Make it a seasonal point to clean debris out of your gutters for an easy drainage of water. Don’t forget to also check out your downspouts for clogging or you may wind up with an expensive mess on your hands down the road…perhaps literally.

6. Check Your Roof Before Problems Get Worse

“A roof over my head” is the common phraseology for being thankful for a home, but we typically don’t pay our roof much mind until it’s too late. With semi-annual roof inspections as well as roof inspections following severe weather can help us assess problem areas before they add up. Even just a small amount of damage to your roof can lead to extremely costly water damage to the rest of your home. Nip it in the bud with the occasional roof inspection.

These are just a few home maintenance tips for you. What home maintenance tips would you add to a home maintenance checklist for homeowners? Let us know!

4 House Hunting Deal Breakers You Can’t Afford To Ignore

Shopping for a new home can be a very exciting time – a very exciting, nerve-racking time. Whether you’re in the market for your first house or you’re looking for the home you will end up retiring to, there are some home buying deal breakers to consider when shopping for a new house.

1. Home Value of Surrounding Houses

In order to gauge the true value of a home, it pays to take into consideration where the neighborhood is going. If the house seems like a steal but is still one of the more expensive homes in the neighborhood, take this into consideration.

2. How the School District is Ranked

While we’d all love to be able to help support lower-performing schools, the sad truth is that these underperforming schools will impact the resale value of your home. Before pulling the trigger, you check out the ranking of your school district with a tool such as Niche

3. Flood Risk

It is true that there’s no place like home – a feeling the imbues us with sincerity. What doesn’t fill us with sincerity is when our backyard turns into a pond. That incredible deal of a home may very well be built in a flood zone. In order to gauge the likelihood of your investment washing away, FEMA has put together a very handy Flood Map Service Center.

4. Structural Damage

If the floors of the home you’re visiting don’t seem quite level or you notice actual cracks in the base of the house you’re thinking about making an offer on, definitely bring this up to the realtor. When touring the house, check to see if the doors open and close easily as this can be impacted by structural damage to a home – one of the most frustratingly expensive fixes to houses, if fixable at all. In the end, it pays to have any home professionally inspected for structural damage.

While these are just a handful of home buying deal breakers to consider, there are many others that you will want to discuss with your realtor and home inspector. Buying a home is an investment – an investment you want to last with a great possible resale value. In these instances, you cannot afford to avoid the home buying deal breakers.

What are some house hunting deal breakers you would add to this list?

4 Tips For Halloween Homeowner Safety

As the days grow shorter, the leaves start to change colors, and we begin to reach for our sweaters, that can only mean that Halloween is right around the corner! While this is a time for spooktacular fun, it’s also time for homeowners to make sure that their properties are safe for trick-or-treaters to enjoy. Here are four simple tips to ensure that the outside of your home is scary for the appropriate reasons.

1. Keep Your Storm Door Open

If you live in a residential neighborhood, there’s a good chance you’re going to be getting a lot of adorably spooky visitors to your door in search of goodies. In order to save a lot of frustration as well as to keep the kiddos safe, you may want to consider propping open any extra storm doors or screen doors for the evening. Not only will this save you a lot of extra hassle when lugging your bowl of candy to the door, but it will reduce the likelihood of swinging your door open into children who may already have limited visibility due to Halloween masks and darkness. To be even safer, many suggest setting up shop with a patio chair and staying out on your porch, but if you’d rather stay indoors, take note of how your screen door can hinder traffic.

2. Secure Loose Railings and Steps

While keeping the entryway to your home safe is a good idea all year round, the likelihood of someone being injured on Halloween goes up significantly with the increased traffic, darkness, and visibility-limiting costumes. A few nights before, test the safety of your home’s entrance by approaching it after dark as any child would. Check to see if any steps are loose while making sure to test the load-bearing nature of any railings. Be sure to perform the appropriate maintenance on your entryway well before any trick-or-treaters arrive.

3. Ditch Fire For LED Lights

Traditionally, the illumination of candle-light would bring Jack-o’-lanterns to life with festive fright, but then again, traditionally, paint contained lead and Coca-Cola contained actual cocaine. The point is that times have changed and so should the safety of your illumination! Placing LED candles in your pumpkins this year is not only safe and fairly reminiscent of flickering candlelight but LED tea lights can be reused year after year. LED lights are also dirt-cheap – most can be found at a dollar store. Most importantly, there is no fire danger with these modern marvels of radiance.

4. Turn Your Lights Back On After The Treaters Are Gone

You probably modified your porch lighting a bit to bring out a scary ambiance, but the real fright is what can happen after the little ones are gone – vandals. Crime statistics show that property crimes increase by as much as 24% on Halloween, including vandalism, malicious mischief and theft. You can protect your property and belongings by keeping your home well-lit after trick-or-treating hours are over and keeping your car parked in the garage. Bring in any decorations or other easily movable items. The following morning, make sure to inspect the outside of your property for any damage or theft.

Halloween is meant to be a delightfully frightening time of year for kids and kids at heart, but by abiding by your own common sense and these tips, you can ensure that the delight overcomes any actual fright.

 

How to Build Equity in Your Home

home equity

Home equity refers to how much of your home’s value you actually own, as opposed to how much the bank owns. Building more home equity is one of the best ways to grow your personal wealth and remain financially stable. You’ll naturally increase your home equity just by making your monthly mortgage payments, but there are a few ways to speed up the process.

Add Value

Homes that are built in desirable areas will inherently appreciate in value over time, but if you really want to increase value, a renovation project is a great idea. Redoing the bathroom or kitchen can add a ton of extra value to your home, and the best part is that you own all that newly created equity. When done correctly, spending $5,000 on a renovation project can add $10,000 in value over time.

Down Payment

This might sound obvious, but the bigger down payment you make, the more equity you’ll have. Saving up for a bigger down payment will also keep your mortgage payments to a lower and more manageable level, so do your best to save up!

13 Payments

Instead of making payments once a month, make them every two weeks. This will add up to 13 payments a year, which can pay off a 30-year note five to six years faster. It’s best to talk this idea over with your lender first so they know what you’re doing.

Just Throw Money at It

Next time you get an expected bonus or cash gift, put it toward your mortgage. It’s not a super exciting option, but it will help you build your home equity.

When Home Equity Loans Make Sense

 

A home equity loan can be a great way to leverage your home’s value and get a little extra cash when you need it. However, just because you can qualify for a home equity loan doesn’t mean you should get one. Home equity loans, also called a second mortgage, allow you to borrow against your home’s value. Given that you’re risking your stake in your most expensive purchase, it’s important to understand when home equity loans make sense and when they don’t

Below are a few examples of when home equity loans can be a good idea.

Remodeling

One of the best uses of a home equity loan is to pay for projects that add value to your home. While there is still risk anytime you borrow money, getting a $5,000 loan to add $10,000 of value to your home is a pretty safe bet. Just make sure you can afford the payment plan.

Debt Consolidation

If you owe money to multiple lenders, using a home equity loan to pay off all your small debts and consolidate everything into one larger debt can actually save you some money on interest. However, it does defeat the point of consolidation if you go rack more debt on your freshly paid off lines of credit.

Now let’s look at an example of when it’s not a good idea to use a home equity loan.

New Toys

Boats, cars, RVs, and other fun toys are not a good use of a home equity loan. Using the money for none essential items that will depreciate in value is a good way to lose a lot of money. Keep in mind the bank is only giving you this money because you’re willing to potentially give up some of the value of your home. So using home equity to buy a boat is like trading an asset that will appreciate in value for one that will depreciate.

Dealing with Common House Pests

According to the experts, the most common house pests are rodents, cockroaches, and ants. Each kind of pest comes with its own set of problems to deal with, and none of them are a homeowner’s idea of a friendly visitor. When you’re dealing with these pests, the first step is to find out how they’re getting in and close off the points of entry to prevent more unwelcomed house guests. Next you need to figure out how to get rid of the pests that already found a way in.

Let’s take a look at specific ways to deal with these three pests.

Rodents

Rats and mice are pretty smart and nimble creatures when it comes to getting into your home. Some rodents can come through a hole as small as an eraser. To find these points of entry, look for any holes along the baseboard or cracks under exterior doors. These holes need to be sealed with wire mesh or steel wool depending on the size of the hole. Next, traps should be laid to get rid of existing rodents. The type of trap you get is up to you, but know it’s best to use peanut butter instead of cheese.

Cockroaches

These little (or sometimes not so little) guys love dark, warm, and moist places. Cockroaches will leave a distinct musty smell behind, so it’s pretty easy to know if they’re in your home. Apart from killing them with bug spray as you find them, calling a professional exterminator will be your best bet to kill them. Food crumbs can be a big attraction for roaches, so tidying up after meals will help keep them at bay.

Ants

Like roaches, messy kitchens are a favorite spot among ants. The availability of food scraps and crumbs can make your kitchen a buffet for a colony of ants. Given their small size, it doesn’t take much for ants to make their way inside. An old and weathered seal around a window can be a wide-open gateway for ants. Mounting a physical defense against ants may be futile, so chemical warfare might be the better option.

Mastering Long-Distance House Hunting

Buying your most expensive asset is hard enough when you have the opportunity to see the house in person. Put a few hundred or even a few thousand miles between you and the houses you’re interested in, and this equation becomes a lot more complicated. To get the perfect house when you’re shopping remotely, it’s important to have a game plan and know what you’re up against.

You’re Buying More Than a House

It’s not hard to find lots of photos or even videos of houses you’re interested in. While this will give you a good idea of the house itself, house hunting needs to consider more than just the appearance and layout of the home. Factors like local crime rates, proximity to dining and entertainment, and the quality of schools should also be in your research checklist. Even if some of those factors aren’t important to you, they’ll likely be important to other buyers when it comes time to resell the home.

Do You Want it or Need it?

Knowing the difference between what you want and what you need will serve you very well when house hunting long distance. Start by looking at a few homes in the area you’re looking at so you know what’s available, and then make a list of all your desired features. Once you have that list you can prioritize it by features you absolutely need and features that would be nice to have.

Plan a Trip

You won’t always have the opportunity to see your top 5 or so favorite homes before you buy; sometimes buying sight unseen is unavoidable. However, planning a trip to see the houses that made the final cut is ideal. Assuming schedules allow for this, be sure to add the price of travel (plane tickets and lodging) into your house hunting budget.

Go with a Pro

Buying a house in a new and unfamiliar area can be a stressful process. But by buying a new construction home from Perry Hood Properties, you can rest assured that you’ll get a high-quality home in a great neighborhood. We’re one of the most experienced home builders in the Tulsa area and we can help you make this difficult transition.

How to Declutter Your Kitchen

how to declutter your kitchen

Between all the utensils, pots, pans, gadgets, and décor, it’s easy for kitchens to get a bit crowded. This can be problematic, because your kitchen needs to be one of the most functional rooms in the house so you can cook and clean easily. If your cabinets are overflowing, try these tips to declutter your kitchen.

Go on a Cleanse

The first step is to go through your entire kitchen and donate anything you don’t use. Odds are you have a lot of stuff in there that you haven’t used more than twice or may have never used at all. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that you’ll start using it now that you remember you have it. Just get rid of it.

Use All the Space

One often overlooked storage spot is the space above the cabinets. This is a great place to tuck away large bulky items that won’t fit into cabinets or items you don’t use every day. Using a pot rack is also a good idea if you’re short on cabinet space. There are plenty of kitchen storage hacks out there, so don’t be afraid to get creative.

Labels Are Your Friend

When it comes to things like ingredients and food, there’s not a better organizational tool than a label. This will force you to group like items together and find a logical place to put them. Then you can label the storage section so you’ll always know where to find what you need. This will also come in handy when other people are in the kitchen helping you cook.

Change Up Storage

Don’t just stick with one kind of storage container. There are lots of different storage needs when it comes to food; some need to be airtight and some need to be cold. Having a wide range of containers will help you meet all the different requirements of your kitchen items.