Secret Weapons to Help You with DIY Projects

Do you have a long to-do list of maintenance projects for your home? Maybe your list is long because you dread taking a trip to the craft or hardware store. Well, there’s a good chance that you can take care of some of those projects by simply using items you have in your home already. Below are five items that can help you tackle many projects in your home.

  1. Baking soda: yes, it is useful for more than just baking in your home. In fact, baking soda is great for cleaning your kitchen and bathrooms when you mix it with vinegar. It is also wonderful in the home for odor absorption.
  2. Vinegar: it is very likely that you already have a jug of vinegar in your home. If you need to remove mineral deposits off items such as your showerhead, try soaking the items in vinegar. If you need to remove odors from your microwave, boil vinegar in it to make it easier to wipe clean.
  3. Soda: many surfaces can be cleaned with a can of Pepsi or Coke. Surfaces include chrome fixtures, porcelain toilets, and glass windows. Be careful using soda on metal surfaces, though, because it can be corrosive.
  4. Butter knife: it can be easy to misplace a screwdriver. If you find yourself needing a screwdriver, though, and can’t find one, a butter knife can do the trick. Of course, it is best to use a butter knife you no longer need to set your table. A butter knife can work on flat- and Phillips-head screws.
  5. Toothpaste: do you have a scratch on your bicycle or car? Toothpaste can make a great scratch remover thanks to the grit in the tarter-control brands. Simply clean off the scratched area, apply your toothpaste, allow it to stay on a few minutes, then use a paper towel to buff it out.

It is always great to find that you have what you need already to take care of your to-do list. Use the items above to get working on yours today.

Making Plans to Upsize Your Home

As your family grows over the years, your home doesn’t always grow with you, unfortunately. You may have started off with a home for you as a single person, with a starter home as a young couple, or with a small family home when you had your first child. Any of those homes can quickly become too small as your family grows or as you have multiple generations living together under your roof.

Of course, one option is to remodel and add on to your home to create more space, but you may not have the property to do so, and it can be costly. If you find yourself in that situation, you may need to consider simply moving to a bigger home. When looking for a home to hold your growing family, there are things to consider.

Where is the Space Needed?

When you upsize your home, do not simply focus on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need or the square footage of the home. Those things are important, of course, but you need to decide how the space within the home will be utilized. If your children are younger, having a focus on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms makes sense, but if they are older and close to ready for college or to start their own families, think about prioritizing other spaces. Consider having larger spaces for groups, such as your living room, dining room, kitchen or outdoor spaces. That will help tremendously when you have big gatherings for the holidays or other special times.

Move Further Out

If you are wanting a home around the same price you have now but larger, you should look outside of your area. You will likely get a bigger house for the same money if you move further from the city. Of course, a dense city neighborhood comes with many perks such as a shorter commute and the ability to walk places, but you may need to leave those perks behind for the sake of more space. Moving to the suburbs may give you the perfect home for hosting parties, barbecues, and holiday celebrations. It can also mean not spending more money on another home.

If you are outgrowing your home, it is certainly important to consider upsizing by finding a larger home that fits your family.

Creating a Pet Evacuation Plan

Every home needs to have an evacuation plan, but especially so if you are living in an area where disasters such as flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, or fires are frequent. Homeowners will typically create an evacuation plan for the home and practice it regularly with the entire family. Many families, though, neglect to make an evacuation plan for their pets. Below are some steps you can take to add your pets to the family evacuation plan.

  • Assign an adult to evacuate pets: everyone in the home needs to know how they should act in the case of an evacuation. Decide on one adult to be responsible for evacuating the pets. That will allow other family members to focus on their evacuation responsibilities, so everyone knows where they should be when the moment is stressful and potentially confusing.
  • Create an evacuation map: if you ever need to evacuate, it is imperative to know where all the important items are located. If your pets will need a carrier, make sure everyone knows where they are always and keep them there in case of an emergency.
  • Regularly practice the plan: when you have an evacuation drill for your home, include the pets. That way you will know if you need to change your plan in any way. You never know but getting your dog to exit through an open window may be more challenging than you expect.
  • Make plans if you are separated from pets: regardless of how often you practice your evacuation plan, your pet may still take off in the heat of the moment while you are focused on the safety of your family. The best plans include a GPS-compatible tag or a microchip in your pet to find them if that happens.

Your pets are part of your family, so it only makes sense to include them in your home evacuation plan in the case of an emergency.

Tools Every Homeowner Should Have

When you are a homeowner, you must deal with things breaking. You don’t want to have to always depend on your neighbors to rescue you or hire a handyman and spend your hard-earned money for a basic repair. Luckily, there’s no need to own a full arsenal of tools to keep your home in good shape. In fact, the five tools listed below will be handy in almost any situation when you need basic repairs on your home.

  1. Cordless drill: these have many uses in a home. You can use a cordless drill to hang hooks, shelves, and picture frames or to put on hinges, drawer pulls, or install cabinets. Whether you are making repairs or working on your to-do list, it is likely you will use your cordless drill quite often.
  2. Drain cleaners: thanks to the daily buildup of whisker clippings and hair falling out, your bathroom sink and shower drains are susceptible to regularly clogging. Most people turn to a liquid clog remover such as Drano, but the chemicals are not safe for your pets or children, and they leave an unpleasant chemical scent in your home. Rather than using a liquid drain cleaner, you can purchase a plastic drain cleaner that can reach way down into the drain and pull up all the gunk clogging it up. Check your local hardware store or Amazon to find the best price on these.
  3. Flashlight: when you must go into your crawlspace to make repairs, you will want something more powerful than your cell phone flashlight to see all the creepy crawlies and to better see what you are doing.
  4. Loppers: loppers come in quite handy for most of your landscaping needs. You may need to chop down unruly plants or remove vines, thick weeds, or damaged branches in your yard. Loppers will make it faster and easier work.
  5. Shop-vac: regardless of how careful your family is, there will be accidents and spills that occur that can’t simply be cleaned with your vacuum or paper towels. A shop vac can handle almost any mess, including broken glass.

If you are a homeowner, make sure you keep these basic tools in your home so you will be ready for any maintenance repairs or DIY project.

Locating the Best Mattress for You

If you have been mattress shopping lately, you may have noticed that there are more options than ever available to you. There is no shortage of online or brick and mortar retailers for you to shop with. There are many factors to consider, though, before you make a mattress purchase in hope of getting a good night’s sleep. We will cover what you need to seek out in your pursuit of the perfect mattress.

  1. Construction of mattress: pay attention to how the mattress is constructed. An innerspring mattress is one of the most popular types, but you also have adjustable air mattresses and memory foam mattresses to consider. When it comes to your customized comfort and mattress durability, each type has its own pros and cons.
  2. Mattress firmness: how firm the mattress is will play a significant role in your sleep quality. When your mattress is too soft or too firm, you may begin feeling aches and pains, especially after a long day of working in commercial lawn care. It is recommended that you try out a mattress for ten to fifteen minutes in the store before you make your final decision. Of course, that can be a challenge if you buy your mattress online.
  3. Consider your sleep position: it is best to find a mattress that matches the way you sleep. Whether you sleep on your stomach, back, or side, you need a mattress that will help you keep your spine properly aligned. Some mattresses are best for back sleepers while others are better for side sleepers, for example.
  4. Mattress size: this isn’t limited to whether you want to buy a queen- or king-sized mattress. Your height needs to be considered also. Some mattresses fit tall people better because they are longer, while other mattresses work best for shorter people.
  5. Mattress stability: this is especially important if more than one person will be sleeping on the mattress. You don’t want your sleep disturbed when the other person moves around in their sleep.

As you can see, there are many things to consider when purchasing a new mattress. The next time you are ready to purchase, keep these tips in mind.

Dispelling Myths about Refinancing

To many, refinancing is a scary thought. That should not be the case for you, though. When many homeowners refinance, they find that their monthly payments decrease. This can help you save every month on your budget and save you several thousand dollars over the span of your mortgage. Below are some myths that many believe about refinancing:

It’s Too Late

For several years, we have been hearing that the interest rates on homes will go up. We have seen a few small increases over that time, but even now is a great time to refinance to lower the interest rate on your home. In general, the rule states that you should consider refinancing if your mortgage interest rate is greater than a percent over the market rate currently.

It Takes Too Much Time

If refinancing seems like a long and daunting process, that’s no reason to put it off. You simply need to talk with a lender to get the information you need to compare the available rates. There are even streamlining programs to help simplify the application process. Besides, if you can save thousands of dollars over time, isn’t is worth your effort and time?

ARMs Can’t be Refinanced

It can be rather stressful watching your ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage) increase after your introductory period. You may begin feeling a squeeze within your budget. Though a number of people believe they are stuck in their ARM, take heart that they can be refinanced. It is possible to even switch to a fixed-rate mortgage that is a shorter term. In fact, if you are looking to stay in your home for many years, you should certainly investigate refinancing your ARM.

As you can see, it is well worth the time and effort to consider refinancing your home. Don’t let the above myths hold you back from a better rate.

Negotiating Your Home

It is said that in real estate, negotiation is a subtle art. A negotiator who is skill can satisfy all parties involved, though, by finding some common ground. On the other side of that coin, when you use the wrong type of tactics in a negotiation, you can quickly sink a good deal. Below are some tactics that buyers and their real estate professionals should not use when negotiating:

  1. Constantly asking for more from the seller: many times, the buyer will ask the seller to throw in different add-ons not originally listed in the listing, such as appliances or furniture. This can make you seem greedy and cause the seller to begin resenting you.
  2. Lowball offers: if you try to make an offer way below the market value, you can damage your credibility as a buyer. It can also be an insult to the seller. Before the house is listed, the seller has a price range in mind they are willing to consider. If your offer isn’t within that range, they likely won’t even consider your offer.
  3. Negotiating in increments: during negotiations, don’t go back to the seller with an increase of less than $1000. It can become rather tiresome going back and forth and may cause the seller to investigate other offers besides yours.
  4. Being nitpicky after the inspection: of course, if major issues show up in the inspection, they should be dealt with by the seller or considered in the final sale price. If you begin insisting that the seller lower the price for all the minor repairs, though, the negotiations may be left in a stalemate.
  5. An attitude of “take it or leave it”: if you are putting in your initial offer, don’t draw a line in the sand. Otherwise, the seller may become defensive and go with a different offer since you are not willing to budge. Even if you won’t consider another offer, don’t tell the seller.

If you are looking to purchase a home, avoid the above negotiation tactics. Lean on your real estate professional to help you find and purchase the property you desire.