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Understanding Termites & How To Repair Termite Damage


Termites cause somewhere between $1 - $1.5 billion worth of damage every year. That is a significant sum for insurance companies and homeowners to pay out simply replacing the wood that the termites have destroyed. Of course, in some cases, the termite destruction is so severe that the property has to be pulled down and rebuilt

That is a scenario that you would probably prefer to avoid and a great reason to learn how to control termites.

Termite Habits

The first step to preventing termite damage is to understand how they operate. Termites live in large colonies and are surprisingly organized. They have a queen and soldier termites, as well as those that hunt for food. 

They eat wood, often heading under your house through the soft soil that surrounds it. This gives them access to dark and damp conditions, along with plenty of wood.

Unfortunately, a colony of termites can eat through six inches of 2x4 in just five months. You can imagine the effect this could have on the stability of your home. The only question is what wood are they eating?

Repairing the Damage

In order to repair the damage, you need to locate it first. This is surprisingly easy! You need to look around your home to see if there are any small tunnels in the soil surrounding your home. This indicates the presence of termites.

You will then need to locate the termites in your home, this can be easier with professional help.  Before you can repair the damage they have caused you will need to eradicate the termites, or they will simply continue causing damage.

Fortunately, the professionals can help with this. They have special chemical treatments that will kill the termites and they will treat the nest directly.

Alongside this, you can use bait boxes to attract termites to food. Once they consider it safe you swap the food for poison and the termites will eat it, effectively killing themselves. 

As soon as the termites have been dealt with you can assess the damage. The simplest option is to insert a screwdriver into the wood. If it goes in easily, the wood is rotten because there are an array of tunnels inside it. 

You will need to cut the rotten piece out and then replace it with a new piece Naturally before you add fresh wood ensure the termites are all dead. 

Protecting Your Home

To help ensure that new termites don’t arrive and start eating your wood you will need to remove the soil from around your home. Replace it with concrete at least six inches wide. This will prevent the termites from being able to get to your foundations. 

You can also be vigilant for signs of termites, such as bubbling paint and pinholes in your wood. If you suspect you have a termite problem again take immediate action. The faster you respond the quicker you can eliminate them and reduce the amount of wood that needs to be repaired. 

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Understanding Carpet Tiles & How To Use them Practically In Your Home


Carpet tiles have been in existence for many years. It is believed the first carpet time was created in 1957. Of course, the original carpet tile was very different from the tiles you see today. It was a ten-inch square of felt with a bitumen backing and was designed for use in commercial properties. 

Fast-forward more than fifty years and you have a modern carpet tile which is essentially a small section of a piece of carpet. They are available in a wide variety of styles and colors, allowing you to create your perfect style in your home.

Modern carpet tiles are generally available in three different sizes, 50x50, 60x60, and 96x96. It is also possible to get hexagonal and other shaped carpet tiles. Of course, this does make it more complicated and potentially more expensive to install. 

Where To Use them

The best quality carpet tiles can be used anywhere in your home. If you would lay a carpet then you can lay carpet tiles. In fact, there are even specially formatted carpet tiles that can be used in your bathrooms and kitchens. 

The great thing about carpet tiles is that they are very easy to install. Because they are smaller than a piece of carpet you will find it much easier to transport them around and get them into the designated space. 

You can then cut individual ones to ensure you have the perfect fit for your room. But, perhaps the best feature of carpet tiles is the ability to remove and replace individual ones. While most carpet tiles have a stain-resistant coating, there are times when the stains and spills simply won’t come out. In this instance, you can lift the tie-up and replace it with one the same. 

Of course, that does mean buying a few spare when you purchase the carpet tiles. There is no guarantee that they will still be in production when you discover the stain.

Fitting Carpet Tiles

When you are installing carpet tiles you should always start from the center of the room.  This will ensure a nice symmetrical finish to the room and any cut ties are at the edge. It does mean measuring the room first to establish the center.

You can also add insulation under the tiles. However, this is not always necessary as some carpet tiles have insulation incorporated into them.

Don’t forget that you can also mix and match carpet tiles. If you like two different shades of tiles you can create your own pattern on the floor. In short, you can create a unique finish by choosing the carpet tiles and where you want to position them. It is even possible to remove some shades later and change the look without replacing all the tiles. You can embrace the seams or hide them completely, the choice is entirely yours.

This makes carpet tiles a cost-effective and attractive solution to your flooring needs. The fact that they are warm underneath is simply a bonus.

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Top Tips To Ensure You Choose the Ideal Balustrade For Your Home


Balustrades are an essential safety device that should be used on all raised platforms, balconies, and in other areas of your home. If you are considering installing a balustrade then you should first check your local regulations to ensure you will comply with their guidelines.

This will help to ensure you take all necessary factors into account when choosing your balustrades.

The Style of Your Home

The first thing you should consider when looking at the different balustrades available is the style of your home. For example, if you have a Victorian-style home and need a balustrade for a balcony, a modern metal option may not be the right choice.

Whatever balustrade you choose must go with the look of your home. If you are not sure what looks right check out the other homes in the area or look at pictures online. It will help you to narrow down your choices.

Types Of Balustrade

There are many different types of balustrades on the market, ranging from smart glass balustrades Sydney to steel, wood, or even concrete. Almost any material can be used to create a balustrade, providing it is strong enough to prevent a person from falling over and potentially injuring or killing themselves.

You need to familiarize yourself with the different types, which means looking at them in-situ. It will help you to choose the perfect one for your home.

Your Preference

Of course, once you have looked at all the different styles your choice should be guided by the one you prefer, or desire the most.

It is important to note that this is a personal opinion and there is no wrong answer, providing it goes with the style of your home.


When you are considering a balustrade you need to take a moment to look at your current view. In some cases, you have a great view and you don’t want to ruin it. In other cases, such as balustrades around a swimming pool, you need to be able to see the pool and what is happening there.

In these cases, you will want a balustrade that provides good visibility and still protects people from injury.

Alongside the view, you should consider the amount of wind you are exposed to. If you find that the raised area is prone to be windy but you want the view then the glass balustrade really is the best option.


Finally, you should also consider how much maintenance the balustrade requires and how much you like doing maintenance work. For example, wooden balustrades need to be checked and possibly treated every year to keep them in perfect condition. In contrast, glass balustrades need virtually no maintenance, other than cleaning dirty fingerprints off them.

Of course, you will also need to spare a few moments to consider the cost of the balustrade. But, this shouldn’t be a deciding factor, it merely gives you a timeline regarding how long it is before you can afford the balcony you desire.

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Different Types of Neighborhoods


Every person needs to know some important information about their community. People can easily classify their location through larger categories such as states, cities, and counties. Then there are districts or neighborhoods where you can locate a person’s detailed address. A person declares the details of their address for his mailing purposes and other legal identification requirements. 

There are other popular urban, suburban, and special areas that make up a distinct neighborhood. Read on to identify the different types of neighborhoods that you may not know of.

Master-planned Communities

If you live in a largely residential neighborhood that may have several zip codes, then you are in a master-planned community. This type of neighborhood has strategic planning that involves people’s needs, such as shops, parks, restaurants, and grocery stores. It also has recreational amenities like golf courses, basketball and tennis courts, swimming pools, trails, and gyms.

Urban Neighborhood

Urban neighborhoods are communities that are near the core downtown of a city. This type of neighborhood features a walkable environment, with easy access to public transports and major roadways. It also has tall condominium buildings that are home to a high volume of people. Urban neighborhoods have a fast-paced area, where almost everyone works for a living and does not mind living in condos.

Suburban Neighborhood

Suburban neighborhoods are communities that are much farther out away from the city. Often, they are more scattered rather than compressed in a location. Plus, they have more open space for greens and a larger area for single-family homes.

Today, many suburban neighborhoods now have downtown shopping centers. Shops are now moving closer to people’s residences for easier accessibility. There are also suburban neighborhoods close to public transportation access that leads to major thoroughfares and into the city.

Pocket Neighborhood

A pocket neighborhood has small clusters of cottages with an open garden or courtyard in the middle that creates a small community. Architect Ross Chapin’s concept was to build a pocket neighborhood in 1996, which features simplicity and low maintenance for each home. This type of neighborhood is usually known as tucked away in the corner of an unassuming neighborhood inside a larger one. However, pocket neighborhoods differ from each other with the green space that the city misses.

Historic Neighborhood

These neighborhoods are often designated by the local or national government as protected enclaves to help preserve the culture and architecture of a place. While people are still allowed in historic neighborhoods, there are some restrictions on what improvements they can make in their homes should they decide to renovate. 

Take note that the designation of a historic neighborhood is more than just about its age; officials also factor in the storied past or its links to a particular event in history.

Active Adult Community

Due to the increasing number of baby boomers aging, there has been an incidental increase in active adult communities. They are highly similar to a master-planned enclave with all their offerings. However, the main difference is that people living in these neighborhoods are typically aged 55 and above. They should not be confused with assisted living communities as residents of an active adult neighborhood do not generally need assistance as many of them are still very much active, planning travels, going to golf courses, and even hosting wine tasting events.

Unincorporated Areas

Unincorporated areas are generally not neighborhoods, but they still take up many parts of the living areas in the US. These areas are made up of cities, which aren’t governed by a local administration. They are often part of a much larger municipality. 

Now that you have an idea of the different types of communities that exist, have you found the perfect neighborhood for your future home? 

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Seven Ways To Revamp The Exterior Of Your House For A Modern Look


Are you thinking of adding more curb appeal to your house? Your home’s exterior is just like a book’s cover. It sets the stage for what is present inside. That said, whether you want to give your home’s exterior a much-needed refresh or you want to increase its overall value, revamping its exterior is usually a cost-effective and easy way to achieve such a feat. Not to mention, you'll have a massive smile on your face when you return from work and your home in all its glory. Now, who wouldn’t want to experience such a thing, right? 

On a lighter note, exterior improvements usually include things such as a fresh coat of paint, updating your windows, giving your garage door a fresh coat of paint, and much more. However, if you’re after something more substantial, you might be looking at changing your roof’s design, landscaping your entire front lawn for a more impactful difference.

As with any significant exterior remodeling procedure, you must incorporate architectural changes that play well with your home’s current design and style. Keep on scrolling till the end to find ideas that will allow you to revamp the exterior of your house for a modern look.

Add greenery.

One of the easiest ways to revamp your home’s exterior is to add some fresh flowers and greenery. that said, do not worry if you cannot invest money and time on maintaining a garden. You can achieve the same effect by adding window boxes and planters. 

Utilize plants to frame the key visual aspect of your house, such as the entryway or your windows. And, if you don’t have the space necessary to house a standing planter, install a hanging one. Something as small as a hanging plant or flower pot will add a significant modern touch to its exterior.

Replace your windows.

According to permitted development rights, you can go right ahead and replace your windows, alter their shape and size, or install new ones without acquiring planning permission. First, however, go ahead and choose windows that match well with your house’s current design. Otherwise, everything will look out of place. 

That said, if youre after a more contemporary style, go for period-correct metal-framed windows. For example, renovators who want to leave a statement go for Crittall-style window designs. Moreover, hiring a Window Installation Company would be wiser if you don’t know how to remove old windows and install new ones. Doing so will allow you to save money while avoiding tons of headaches in the process. 

Give your mailbox a makeover.

Usually, your mailbox is the most unappealing aspect of your homes exterior. But, instead of neglecting it, giving it a much-needed makeover is a good idea. Putting a small flower garden or landscaping timbers will add tons of natural beauty to your mailbox and make it less of an eyesore. 

When selecting flowers for this small garden, try to go with smaller ones that contain bold colors. Also, ensure that you install some plastic sheeting before putting potting soil around the base of the mailbox to avoid weed growth. 

Properly illuminate your home's exterior.

Investing in exterior lighting will highlight your home’s architectural features and also increase security simultaneously. That said, the first thing you need to decide is whether to go for solar-powered or electricity-powered exterior lighting. If you're using the city power, consider hiring a professional electrician to install the necessary wires and cabling. 

Doing so will allow you to avoid the risks of short circuits that might occur in the future. In addition, ensuring that all of your homes pathways are well-lit adds a touch of aesthetic appeal to its exterior while also eliminating any risk of accidents such as slips and falls. 

Upgrade your front door.

Does your front door look a little drab and outdated? If yes, replacing your old, unappealing door with a new, period-appropriate one will make your home look more modern and up-to-date. However, before you go on and rip your front door apart, consider its existing color scheme. With such information in hand, youll have a better idea of what type of door you should buy. 

In most cases, instead of replacing your entire door, you can get away by upgrading your doors existing hardware to make it look more appealing. However, if you aren't sure what route to take, consult a professional home designer or decorator for a better idea. 

Install pavers on your patio.

Typically, the type of material used to construct home patios is concrete. While poured concrete is highly durable and long-lasting, it can be very unappealing to the human eye. Moreover, most homeowners don't know that tons of materials other than concrete are a far better option when constructing a home’s patio.

For many decades, pavers have been top-rated amongst homeowners searching for ways to add more life into a traffic-dense area like their patio. Typically, these pavers come in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes. It means that you won't have any problems finding a style that fulfills your creative vision.

Give your front deck some love.

If your home has a front deck, you mightve used it to entertain your friends and family or enjoy the outdoors. However, as time passes by, your front deck might show some signs of wear and tear. The first area on your patio where wear and tear occurs is its railing. To ensure your decks railings look as good as new, replace your old, damaged railing with deck cable railings. 

Such a type of railing lasts longer than a typical steel railing and ensures that your homes exterior looks more modern than before. That said, if you want your decks railings to have a drastic visual effect, it is vital you hire experienced professionals to install them. A do-it-yourself approach can lead to improper installation and unwanted problems. 


If you’re tired of how your house’s exterior design looks and feels, now is the time to think about improving its appeal externally. The money you spend and the time you put into your exterior improvement projects will pay dividends in the end. 

So, ensure that you follow the steps mentioned in this article, as they will provide you with a starting point to launch your home’s exterior remodeling project. With the help of an effective plan, the right mindset, and professional help, you too can have a home exterior that looks professionally designed and appealing to any potential buyer, renter, or as a matter of fact, your eyes. 

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What is Japanese Knotweed, and Why Is It So Dangerous? 

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Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast or not, the chances are that you’ve heard of Japanese knotweed thanks to the reputation it has as a notoriously invasive plant. Knotweed can become a danger to both natural and manmade structures. Learning how to spot the plant, as well as the risks it has if you find it on your property, will help you deal with the invasive species safely, without causing any further disruption to your premises.

What is Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese knotweed is an invasive vegetation species that can grow extremely quickly.  Rather than spreading through seeds like many other native plants, Japanese knotweed can regrow through roots and rhizomes. Rhizomes are tiny fragments of the plant; this means that any disruption to the area can cause them to easily transfer, and spread through the local area quickly. Because of this, it’s important to contact an invasive vegetation specialist like Ebsford Environmental as soon as you spot the plant on your property.

The plant dies back in the winter but can be recognised in the summertime by bamboo-like stems, large, shovel-shaped leaves and small white flowers. As the plant grows so quickly, it’s rare to spot it alone; usually, you’ll see Japanese knotweed in a thicket of several plants and stems together.

Where did the plant come from?

Native to Japan, Japanese knotweed arrived in England in the 1800s, as part of a drive to collect and study flora and fauna from around the globe. At this time, the plant was used as an ornamental feature in gardens, as well as feed for farmed animals. Unfortunately, by the time the destructive nature of the plant was realised, it had already spread.

Today, Japanese knotweed can be found all over Britain. You’re likely to spot the weed on verges by the side of the road, but it has spread so far, so quickly, that it crops up all over the country, in gardens and commercial premises as well as in the wild.

What are the dangers for homeowners?

Since it was made illegal to dispose of Japanese knotweed in England in the 1980s, it has become considerably more difficult for homeowners with the plant on their land to sell their homes. It’s common for mortgage lenders to refuse to offer a mortgage if Japanese knotweed is found on your potential new premises. As the responsibility for dealing with the plant lies with the person who owns the premises it is found on, homeowners can face hefty bills and a long eradication process in order to remove Japanese knotweed safely and permanently.

Knotweed’s roots can grow up to 3m long and are able to grow through concrete, tarmac and the foundations of most buildings. This makes them a real threat to the structural integrity of building premises, as well as your insurance premiums and so can be very dangerous for any inhabitants living there, as well as an expensive issue to fix.

What are the dangers for the local environment?

Japanese knotweed grows in harmony with other plants in its native environment. However, it can cause serious issues for local flora and fauna in the UK, as well as the habitat it is growing within.

Because the plant’s thick roots can grow very quickly, they pose particular risks for riverbanks, as well as fish and animals that rely on the water source. If left unattended, Japanese knotweed can even redirect the natural path of brooks and streams, and its thick leaves can create shade, stopping other plants from getting the sunlight they need to grow further.

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3 Most Popular Home Designs Today and Their Features


With more than enough home designs today, homeowners have trouble settling on a plan for their homes. It is essential to understand the main home designs and their features before deciding on the best plan for your space and style.

With the industry flooded with many choices, knowledge of what each design entails is crucial. It helps to write the features you want and compare them to known house designs to pick a name for your design. Let’s look at some of the home designs making headlines today.

Farmhouse Home Design

The most prominent feature about farmhouse home designs is ample space both indoors and outdoors. Unlike other plans, this one eludes a homely feel for families yearning for a suburban lifestyle. Anyone going for a farmhouse home plan wants some or all of the following features:

  • Woodsy decorative details
  • A few stories
  • Extended porches
  • Ample space
  • Open-plan kitchen
  • Fireplace
  • Wide footprint

Other home details depend on your specific taste and preference. The features are pretty flexible in modern farmhouse home plans, with constant features being the space and porches. You can incorporate other features like sliding barn door hardware into the design to make it personal and in line with what you had envisioned for your home.

Modern farmhouse plans today also have large windows, sleek lines, wrap-around porches, gables for additional light, and flexible layouts. Most people going for farmhouse home designs want a peaceful and spacious environment to live with loved ones. A beautiful landscape is often the best part of living in a farmhouse.

Cottage Home Design

Cottages are often referred to as tiny, cozy houses in semi-urban or rural areas. For that reason, most people will build cottage homes as holiday homes and not their leading houses. However, modern architecture has allowed people to live in any place they want.

If you want to live every day of your life in a picturesque house, the cottage home design is your go-to house plan. The small space allows you to experience a warm and neat environment in the home. Some of the defining features for this home plan are:

  • Magnificent views
  • Outdoor living space
  • Stone, wood, or brick construction
  • Overhanging roofs
  • Irregular layout
  • Small footprint
  • Smaller, cozy interiors
  • Arched doorways
  • Wide front porches

The cottage home plan is economical and has a somewhat traditional style focusing on breathtaking views.

Craftsman Home Design

Craftsman home designs are popular for individualism. The idea behind the homes is that the homeowners build the houses to their liking, and, therefore, no one home should look like the other.

However, in modern-day architecture, architects have adopted and documented these designs with a few similar features, as seen below. The modern home designs also include very appealing front yards to complement the houses.

  • Bungalow
  • Overhanging eaves
  • Pillars at the entrance
  • Single protruding dormers
  • Windows with separate panes of glass on top and at the bottom
  • Gable style, low-pitched roofs
  • Exposed rafters
  • Built-in storage
  • Natural construction materials
  • Conspicuous fireplaces
  • Window seats and nooks

Fireplaces are the focal points of the living room in the craftsman bungalows. Other interior decorations in a classic craftsman home are bookcases next to the fireplace. Today, we find the bookcases have been replaced with artsy items or other pieces of décor to improve the aesthetic value of the living room.

Home plans often depend on the homeowners’ taste. Whether you are building a home with a loan from the housing authority or without it, choose a design that works best for you. The craftsman home design is embraced more by ordinary people who want a house representing every design aspect they want without attracting too much attention. In short, it is a simple design with more focus on functionality than appeal.

The farmhouse design is ideal for families that want to settle in the rural area with enough space for outdoor activities and lots of room inside the house. The beautiful landscape on the property is the selling point for such homes.

Last but not least, the cottage home design is perfect for vacation homes with splendid views and cozy interiors. The beauty of a picturesque home is to have it as a getaway home and not a regular place to stay. Most people build cottages like guest houses or vacation homes.

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5 Smart Tips to Boost Your Home’s Resale Value


The housing market is always brimming with options for all kinds of buyers. Any good house rarely stays in the market for long, but the real deal is when the house sells for more than its original value. Many factors affect the resale value of your house, such as home appreciation, inflation, demand for property, and so on. However, these factors are uncontrollable and may negatively or positively impact your property’s value. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to boost your home’s resale value without breaking the bank. If you want to inch up that sale price, take a look at the following simple tips to make your house worth top dollar.

1. Work on the appearance

Undeniably, you want potential buyers to get hooked to your house right away. According to experts, essential upgrades to your house’s exterior and sprucing up the curb appeal can improve your house’s resale value by 7% to 14%. So, start by giving your house’s exterior a paint job in neutral tones. Similarly, if you have a wooden door, paint it with bold colors such as forest green or buttery yellow for an aesthetic appeal. According to many real estate agents, curb appeal ranks as the number one way to increase a home’s resale value. Therefore, meticulously clean the outside of the house, mow the lawn, plant fresh flowers, and so forth.

2. Focus on your home’s efficiency: 

Who wouldn’t love a smart thermostat or LED lights around the house? Fortunately, you can get the LED Recessed Lighting Retrofit in your humble abode through professionals. You’ll be surprised to know that more than 70% of real estate professionals say that making your home energy-efficient adds significantly to your house’s sale value. Take a look at the following home efficiency improvement features which homebuyers value the most:  

  • Energy-efficient lighting such as Retrofit LED lights 
  • Adequate HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems 
  • A smart thermostat for managing energy costs 
  • Adding doors, windows, and siding installations
  • Solar panels for the entire house

Making your home energy efficient may cause you to spend a few thousand bucks. However, upgrading your house can boost your home’s value by thousands of dollars.

3. Add usable space

Focusing on this tip can boost your house’s resale value if you sell in areas with finite space and land. Since homebuyers prefer as many livable square feet as possible, it’s evident that adding extra usable space or storage makes sense. Buyers also prefer when every inch of space outside can be used for storing equipment like mowers or gardening tools. 

Therefore, knock out some walls and throw in an extra room wherever sufficient space is available. People can even use this extra room as their home office, storage room, or an accessible laundry room. Don’t forget to make the outside space count as well by adding a gazebo or a deck. People love a comfy outdoor space where they can spend time or have weekend hangouts. However, you should know that you won’t always earn back all the money you invest in this kind of home renovations. Nonetheless, it still adds handsomely to the overall value of your house.

4. Deep clean and declutter

It is entirely understandable if you think, how would cleaning add to your house’s resale value? But statistics say otherwise. According to a 2019 Home Light report, you can add more than $4000 to your house’s resale value by decluttering and deep cleaning it. Isn’t it obvious? No one prefers to purchase real estate having mounds of dirt, mold, and pests crawling everywhere. According to a NARs (National Association of Realtors) study in 2017, 89% recommend deep cleaning houses before listing, and 93% recommend decluttering. 

To ensure buyers see most of the house and don’t hesitate from paying a little extra, declutter and throw away any unnecessary item. Remove items that make the interior look congested and pay extra attention to cleaning out the storage spaces. Scrub away the mold, especially in the bathrooms, add some shine, improve indoor air quality, and organize. Even though decluttering and cleaning are inexpensive ways to add to your house’s value, you can always hire a cleaning service for top-notch results.

5. Make your home smart

The largest group of buyers in 2020 are millennials, who represent 38% of all homebuyers. Therefore, you have to appeal to the demographics and add features in your house that they feel best adds convenience to their lives. Making your house innovative by adding advanced systems is one way to do it. Home gadgets appeal to tech geeks and a large number of people who love the convenience they offer. Therefore, hit the electronic store and grab a few things like smart fire detectors, thermostats, advanced lighting systems, door locks, smart cameras, etc. These upgrades can tremendously enhance your house’s value.


You don’t need to wait for the market to shift or the inflation to decrease to get a lucrative resale value of your house. With some simple and budget-friendly ways, you can easily appeal to the right buyers. For starters, you can work on your house’s curb appeal, add sufficient space where possible, work on the outdoors and exterior, and fix in advanced systems. Similarly, upgrade appliances, and finish it off with energy-efficient technology. Within no time, potential buyers will be flocking near your property.

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How to Use Your AC and Save Electricity During Summer


Summer is the best time for fun activities such as outdoor games, pool parties, backyard cookout, road trips, and more. However, too much exposure to the sun is dangerous, as our climate has drastically changed over the decades. These days, an increasing number of people prefer to stay indoors to keep themselves protected from the scorching heat of the sun. 

With the intense heat, homeowners are now using their air conditioners for longer periods than usual, which leads to these units expending more energy to regulate the temperature. If you’re seeing a surge in your electric bill, here are some ideas for how to save electricity during summer.

Get a Smart Thermostat

One of the best upgrades that you can get for your air conditioner system is a smart thermostat. It helps reduce the energy costs from the heating and cooling process during the dry season. A smart thermostat can regulate your home’s temperature and it allows you to adjust the settings with the use of your mobile device.

Using a smart thermostat will let you switch the AC on or off automatically. It also keeps your house with a steady temperature throughout the day, which can also help you save energy by avoiding power surges from abrupt adjustments in temperature.

Install a Ceiling Fan

Installing a ceiling fan inside your home is a great alternative to using your AC. It has the ability to reduce the temperature up to 10 degrees, provided that there are enough openings to achieve better circulation.

When you use your ceiling fan together with your AC, it can reduce the thermostat setting to plus four degrees Celsius, making it more efficient and providing the same comfort. However, you need to switch off your fan if not in use. This helps with regards to global energy conservation initiatives.

Door and Window Tightness

If you want your AC unit to function properly, you need to check that the openings of your house have the proper insulation and sealants. The insulation works to prevent heat from penetrating your house, while the sealants will make sure that no cold air will escape.

Attach Window Shades

To be able to achieve the output of your AC, make sure that your windows have shades to prevent the sun’s heat from going inside your house. Direct sunlight can increase the temperature in your house, which makes your AC system work harder and makes you pay extra.

Perform Maintenance Works

You need to perform routine maintenance such as cleaning and replacing filters every month to help your AC unit achieve optimum performance. The importance of clean air ducts for your AC unit is also vital to know in order to prolong its lifespan. A healthy system will provide you comfort and energy savings at the same time.

Prevent Heat Buildup

The summer heat will make you feel uncomfortable inside your house due to the increased temperature. While it’s the best season for outdoor activities, it would be better to avoid exposing yourself to the sun’s harmful rays as much as you can. There are also other factors that contribute to the heat inside your house, such as using the clothes dryer, cooking on your stove or oven, and using your dishwasher.

To prevent your AC from working harder, try decreasing the use of other appliances that generate heat. You may want to consider grilling your food or using the microwave. You may also do the dishes by hand and let them dry on a rack. Hang your washed clothes on a clothesline instead of using the clothes dryer. These simple changes will help you manage your energy consumption.

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How to Increase Your Home’s Value Without Hurting Your Pocket


During home renovations and remodeling, the main goal is to increase the value of your home without overspending on your budget. While this may seem impossible, you just need to be creative in order to achieve it. Here are some cost-effective ways of increasing your home’s value:

Work on Interiors

One good way to bring value is to work on your home’s interiors by:

Freshening-up Walls

A home’s value can significantly dip if the walls look old and worn out. Chipped paint, scratched walls, fading wallpaper, and even dated colors can lower the value of your home. Try to give it new life with a fresh coat of paint. If you plan to sell it, a neutral color is a good way to maximize its value. Neutral colors can unify the entire look of the home since they are easy to pair up with any decoration.

Change Fixtures

You can give your home a new look by simply replacing the fixtures. If you are up for it, you can even scour thrift shops to find the best hardware that would match your home’s aesthetics. If you are on the creative side, you can paint your switch plates with matte paint.

Focus on Windows

Do away with window treatments that don’t provide value to your home. Go for classic looks that blend well with your home. If there are chipped parts or broken glass, replace them. If they need to be replaced entirely, invest in energy-efficient windows. Add some window treatments such as wooden blinds, premium drapes, or plantation shutters. Make sure it is tied to the home’s overall look. Add a security screen if necessary.

Ditch the Carpet

If at all possible, ditch your carpet. In most older homes, floors are usually made with hardwood but are covered with carpets. If you notice that your floor is squeaking, chances are you have a hardwood floor. Reveal its natural beauty by removing the carpets and work on refinishing the floor. It will be a lot of work, but it would definitely add to the value of your home.

Attract from the Outside

Of course, you should not forget to attract potential buyers by increasing your home’s curb appeal.

Check the Roof and Gutters

One of the first things you have to check on the exterior of your home is your roof. See if there are areas that need to be replaced. Inspect the gutters and clean them if necessary. You’ll notice the advantages of quality gutters when you inspect them after a careful inspection of your roofing system. Quality gutters will take years before they would need any repairs. In comparison, cheap ones will cost you more. In the long run, good ones actually help you save money.

Maintain Lawn and Garden

If you have an outdoor space, trim the grass and make sure that you take care of your outdoor plants. If you have a bigger budget, try installing a pergola to give your home a cozy feeling. Get yourself solar-powered outdoor lighting, and you’ll have an extended living space in your home.

Increasing your home’s value doesn’t have to be expensive. The important thing is that you carefully plan it. Set a budget for yourself, and don’t go overboard. Don’t do everything in one go. Try to start small, and before you know it, you’ll have a wonderful home.

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Making a Home More Accessible for Those with Limited Mobility


Disabilities can alter the way we move through our lives on a day-to-day basis, even when we’re in such familiar places as our homes. The home itself can actually be a challenging place that’s chock full of obstacles if the disabilities are new occurrences. Things like doorknobs, bathrooms, stairs and even a variety of surfaces can be hazardous, and learning to adapt can be overwhelming. Let’s explore a few ways to make the home more easily accessible for those with limited mobility.


For many people, the bathroom can present quite a few obstacles. Whether your disability stems from birth and genetics or you’re off your feet during post-surgical treatment, it’s easy to imagine the calamity that can ensue when slick tile gets soapy.

Countertops and tubs aren’t great surfaces for able-bodied people to fall on, let alone those with physical difficulties. Aside from that, tubs have tall sides that can be difficult to get over. Replace that old tub with one that has a step-in feature and make sure your tub also has a surface that’s slip-resistant.

Some people suffer from things like being prone to falls or have poor balance. Others just need a bit of help to get into and out of bathrooms, beds, and chairs. For these people, handrails that are well-placed can be life changers. Grab rails in bathrooms can especially decrease risk for falling while assisting users to lift themselves up on their own. They can both create peace of mind and increase independence.


As with the other rooms in a home, the most critical aspect of a kitchen is its functionality. If you have limited mobility, the layout of your kitchen is even more critical and must be taken into account when being designed. When things are stored where they can’t be reached, this can become an issue that can lead to frustration and even the occurrence of accidents.

If you have mobility that’s decreased, accessible storage via the use of adjustable wall apparatuses, magnetized storage units, and even baskets can assist with the creation of a space that’s both functional and safe. Also, consider adding features like SMART light fixtures, outlets that are well placed, and tools and appliances that are designed specifically for people with limited mobility. You want to make it as easy as possible to do ordinary tasks.


Did you know that according to the Census Bureau, mobility is the most common disability among seniors? If someone in your household finds the stairs to be an obstacle because of this, consider installing a stairlift. These are available in a multitude of styles and can be either a permanent solution or, if you get a portable stair climber, can be used anywhere.


There are quite a few styles of doorknobs out there that are both difficult to use and cumbersome for people who have difficulty gripping things. Replacing these with bars for pushing or pulling, handles with press levers, or even doors that are automatic can tremendously increase the accessibility of your home.

There are quite a few things that you can do in order to make your home one that’s more accessible for people with limited mobility. So many, in fact, that it can easily become an overwhelming, seemingly Herculean task. The good news is that there are people out there who can help with this – from ideas gotten from medical professionals to the designers that can turn those ideas into reality. Just remember that just because you add a few safety features, that doesn’t necessarily mean your home is becoming less homey, just more user-friendly.

partnered post • cc-licensed photo by Fairfax County

7 Ways to Soundproof Your Walls


Living in row houses and condos has become a popular housing option for many people in Australia. But often in this type of housing, the units are mostly adjacent to each other and the wall system is not particularly soundproofed which results in a noisy occurrence in the tower. 

These noises become way more prevalent when you have noisy neighbors, loud music, and kids. If this has become a serious issue for you then fortunately you don’t have to put up with the noise anymore.

For determining which type of soundproofing is needed you have to do two things. 

First, identify what type of noise you’re hearing. Is it the neighbor's dog, highway traffic, tv noise, etc? After that, identify the source of the noise or where it is exactly coming from. It might be coming from the bedroom to the front door. After identifying the part of the house, focus on soundproofing that part.

In this article, we will see the best ways to soundproof your condo and row house walls.

1. Add Dense Sheets

Although this won’t look good and you might not stand the way your house will look after adding dense mass like this but it does seem to work. So if you’re looking for a cheap way to resolve this you can opt for this method.

2. Focus on Specific Areas

If you’re tight on budget then lookout for the most specific area of your house from where the noise is coming in and try to block it out by applying soundproofing wallpaper or duct tape or sealant.

3. Insulate Interior Walls.

Insulation not only makes your house soundproof but will help lower your electricity bills as well. There are a lot of soundproofing materials in the market and you can choose the one which is perfect for your condo.

4. Add an Extra Layer of Drywall

Although it is a bit expensive, it is deemed to be a long-term solution. You can create a layer of double drywall all around your room as this will create a barrier and will make it hard for the sound to leave through.

5. Add an Audio Blanket or Soundproof Blanket

These are easy to block noises as you have to just simply hang them over the unit or the walls for soundproofing. Although a bit expensive these serve as a great option for condos or rowhouses. 

One thing you have to keep in mind is that you might need to cover these blankets with something else or hang something beautiful on them to cover them up as they are not aesthetically beautiful.

6. Damping

Damping reduces the vibrations of sound by absorption and helps reduce the overall sound level. Sound damping and soundproofing may seem the same and they are but one difference is that sound damping just involves dissipating vibrational energy before it can build up and radiate sound whereas soundproofing involves various techniques and different means to achieve the goal of reducing the noise.

7. Decoupling the Wall

The decoupling technique is a simple procedure but would require tearing down the walls and involves separating the two sides of the wall into two different sections. This technique helps as it makes it harder for the sound to pass through the wall and helps in reducing the noise overall.

Take Away

These are some methods you can use to soundproof your condo or rowhouse. You can use any of these methods to soundproof your wall. 

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Aaron Parker

Why Should You Never Ignore Home Inspections Before Buying a Property?


Home inspections should be a part of your home buying routine, and having a professional home inspector for the purpose is the best way to protect your investment. While a property might look flawless when you glance over the various areas, a detailed home inspection might reveal some underlying issues you can insist on resolving before making the payment. This will save you a lot of unnecessary expenses later. 

If you were ever wondering what do home inspectors look for, here are some of the areas they take heed of: 

  • Finding Out about Costs

A property might come with several attractive features, and you perhaps would not mind paying for them at the time of purchase. However, what will it cost you to maintain those features in the long run? Moreover, are those features essential? Do you need a sauna and a Jacuzzi on the property? Is there a canopy over the swimming pool? 

If yes, will you schedule a pool clean-up every other week, and will it be feasible? A home inspection can help you ask pertinent questions about the property on issues you might not have had even noticed before.

  • Safety Features

A home inspection allows you to check all the safety features that are promised in the house. Are all the CCTV cameras working, recording and filing everything properly? Is the electrical circuit flawlessly set up? Is the HVAC free of all issues and does not release any carbon monoxide.

Do all the rooms with fireplaces have adequate ventilation? There are also other safety features that a home inspector will draw your attention to anything out of place.

  • Checking for Damage 

Unless and until a property is brand new and recently constructed, there is always a chance that the house might have undergone some damage over time. A transparent seller will try to fix these issues, but they might have missed it too. A home inspector will check for water damages and structural damages.

Damp patches under the ceiling or wet drywall in the basement can indicate water damage, and the seller should fix them before selling. There could be fungal growth and pest infestation in your home due to the damage as well. The inspector will also check for faulty faucets or clogged drains, as all of these issues could lead to water damage at some point.

Renovating such damages can be costly, and you do not want to deal with the mess or the expenses after moving into a new home. If the seller refuses to comply and repair the damages, you can choose to look for another property.

Now that you know an answer to the question, what do home inspectors look for? You will understand how crucial home inspection is. You will never be able to spot all the major issues with the property unless you have a detailed eye and know what to look for. A home inspector will make the task easier for you and make sure your money is well spent.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Chris Potter