Category: Helpful Hints

December 16, 2019


Rug Fibers Derived from Plants


Sisal is an extremely long, strong, and durable natural fiber harvested from the leaves of the agave plant. The stiff fibers of this eco-friendly option are spun into yarns, which are woven into rugs and carpets.

Naturally tan, beige, or cream-colored, sisal fiber readily absorbs dyes, resulting in rugs and carpets in nearly any color. However, this trait also means they can stain easily.

Tough? Yes! Soft? Not so much. Sisal isn’t the best choice for lounging on the floor or play-time for little ones, due to its scratchy, prickly texture.

Cat owners may find that their kitties like to sharpen their claws on this fabric, which will snag it.

Due to its strength and durability, sisal is an excellent choice for high-traffic areas, including halls, entrances, and commercial office spaces.


One of the most affordable natural options, jute is a soft fiber with extremely high tensile strength, natural luster, and uniformity. It is harvested from the tall stalks and outer layers of the fast-growing jute plant.

Also known as “burlap” or “gunny cloth,” jute is grown in many countries. However, most of the world’s supply originates in India and Bangladesh.

The long fibers (three to 13 feet) are strong, eco-friendly, biodegradable, and recyclable. Unlike some natural fibers like cotton, jute doesn’t require fertilizer or pesticides during cultivation.

Jute is also called “the golden fiber,” due to its natural shade of light tan. It can, however, be dyed into many other colors.

One of the softest natural fibers, jute is best suited for bedrooms, family rooms, and lighter traffic areas.

One potential negative is that jute fibers may shed. They’re also vulnerable to yellowing when exposed to direct sunlight.


Seagrass fiber is harvested from—you guessed it—grass planted in paddy fields flooded with seawater!

This fiber is naturally water-repellent but is susceptible to mold and mildew damage if used in damp areas like bathrooms or kitchens.

Seagrass is stain resistant, making it an excellent choice for spill-prone areas and for folks who are housetraining pets. Seagrass’ stain resistance also means it’s nearly impossible to dye and is only available in its natural light tan color.

Seagrass fibers won’t fade in direct sunlight. It’s anti-static and sturdy but offers minimal cushioning.


Coir is a natural fiber harvested from coconut husks. The longest fibers are selected, soaked (for months!), and eventually woven into yarn that is used to make rugs and carpet.

Rough and bristly, coir is not recommended for use in areas where people will sit on the floor, walk barefoot, or where children may be playing. Extremely durable and naturally insect repellant, coir is well suited to high-traffic areas.

Coir rugs are usually handmade and provide excellent noise insulation. They will, however, fade in direct sunlight and tend to shed over time.

Coir is not as mainstream as other natural carpet fibers, so it may not be easy to source.

Rug Fibers Originating from Animals


One of the most durable natural fibers, wool is harvested by shearing sheep.

Wool fiber is often chemically treated during manufacturing, so research your brand and check labels. Organic and chemical-free wool rugs and carpets are also available.

It’s an excellent insulator that limits the transfer of heat and cold from interiors to exteriors. Like your favorite pair of merino socks or base layer shirt, wool carpeting will help keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, naturally.

Wool can be dyed in an unlimited range of colors and shades. Because it’s easy to dye, it’s also easier to stain with dye-like substances (red wine, juice, tomato paste, etc.). Otherwise, wool is naturally soil resistant and repels the oily stains other fibers tend to attract.

Wool is also naturally flame retardant. However, it will fade in direct sunlight. Plus, it’s expensive and requires special handling. For instance, many cleaners are too harsh for wool and, since it retains water, wool is prone to mildew.

Aside from the cost, wool wears exceptionally well and resists “crushing.” With proper care, it will usually outlast its synthetic counterparts and look great for years—even decades!


Silk is a natural fiber harvested from the silkworm larva’s cocoon. This is the most expensive natural fiber used in rugs and carpets. Because it is so pricey, silk is sometimes woven with wool to lower the cost.

Pure, 100-percent silk carpets and rugs are luxury goods with a material-defining sheen, a delicious softness, and a delicate temperament.

Silk rugs can be damaged by hot water, detergents, steam cleaning, and vacuums that use revolving brush attachments.

Costly, delicate, and easily stained, silk rugs are best suited for low-traffic areas. They are often hung on walls rather than being placed underfoot.

Other Considerations

Often, two or more natural fibers are combined in rug and carpet production, intended to deliver the best qualities of each strand or reduce costs. Online reviews for specific products may give you a better sense of buyer satisfaction.

If you are interested in natural fibers to avoid the toxic fumes that occur from the “off-gassing” of volatile organic compounds, make sure the manufacturing process does not introduce potentially dangerous dyes and chemical treatments. Also, be sure your installation uses non-toxic padding and non-toxic adhesives.

December 12, 2019


When you’re getting ready to list your home, it’s of the upmost importance to ensure you are showing it in the best light. Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells. Here are our top five recommended repairs to make before selling your home.

Repaint walls.

Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce it up, and generally, it can be a do-it-yourself project. Make sure cover any walls with scratches and chips and consider updating any accent walls with a more neutral coat.

Repair floors.

Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home, so you want to ensure they look their best by fixing scratches or dull areas. If your carpet is worn or stained, consider replacing them. And don’t forget the tile in your kitchen or bathrooms. Re-grouting can go a long way in making dingy tile work look brand new!

Refresh the landscaping.

Show buyers your home is the full package by dressing up the outside as well as the in. Clean walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim hedges and trees, install outdoor décor pieces and fill in mulch and gravel.

Fix your fixtures.

Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose drawer handle? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detailed-orientated minds. Improve your kitchen. An outdated kitchen can be a real eyesore in a home. Updating cabinetry, repairing or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment

November 15, 2019

25 Simple Ways To Recycle, Reduce, Reuse…and SAVE MONEY!

The three R’s—Recycle, Reduce, Reuse—all help cut down on waste. Here are 25 ways you can help keep garbage out of landfills, conserve natural resources, and save money in the process.

  1. Avoid the use of disposable goods such as lighters, paper cups and plastics. Throwing these objects contribute to greater problems and they have to be replaced over and over again. Once these goods are disposed off in the landfills, there is the probability that they may form breeding sites for diseases. Besides, once these materials are used there is need to replace them each time which is very expensive and costly.
  2. Purchase products made from recycled materials. A product that has the recycled symbol means that either it has been made from recycled material or it can be recycled. This is common in plastics that have this recycling symbol usually with a numbered code which shows the type of plastic resin that this container really is made of. Recycled timber can be used for functions such as making furniture.
  3. Use cloth bags when buying groceries or reuse grocery bags. Only take a bag from the grocery store if you need it.
  4. Instead of using plastic wraps use resalable containers. When the plastic bags are used once there is need to acquire new ones over and over again however resalable containers can be used only once and reused. This cuts on costs a lot.
  5. Donate to charity or sell old clothes, furniture, toys or appliances. Most especially, the furniture can be sold in garage ads and sales. There are times when one needs to change their furniture. Instead of throwing away this furniture which can be useful to another person, it can instead be sold to those willing to buy or donated to various institutions or individuals who require them most.
  6. Instead of using paper cups or bottled water, use coffee mugs or personal water bottle. The coffee mugs and personal water bottles are portable and can be reused every time. However the plastic cups/bottled water have to be thrown away after each use thus increasing the amount of waste to be disposed off.
  7. Adopt the use of recycled paper for copier paper, letterhead and newsletters. With recycled paper there is reduced waste, they are cheaper, and are even with high quality.
  8. Ensure you buy products in bulk. Purchasing products in large quantities or economy sized ones usually use less packaging and even cost less per amount. Once a person purchases goods in bulk it will take long before they buy new ones. Besides, lee packaging will be used as it is only packaged once.
  9. Avoid those goods that are over packaged. There are some goods that are packed with so much material such as plastic, foil and paper. While these materials may be best for their use one has to pay more for these packages which is so expensive.
  10. Encourage people to buy products that are made from material which is collected particularly for recycling from the community. If the community has decided to recycle some objects so that they can be reused by people, it is right that people are informed about these products to increase their awareness about these products and use them more.
  11. Learn to reuse products in different ways. For example plastic microwave dinner trays can be used as picnic dishes. Similarly coffee cans can be used to pack lunch. When an object can be used for one function or purpose, it can similarly be used to perform other functions. This helps save on the costs of purchasing another material to perform other functions.
  12. Products can be reused for the same purpose. Broken furniture’s, appliances and toys can be repaired. We can also save on plastic bags and paper. A person can carry their own water bottle or even reuse water bottles.
  13. Instead of using paper napkins cloth napkins can be used. Additionally, people can use refillable form of products such as the cleaning products, body sprays and even foodstuffs like juices.
  14. Use electronic mails instead of using papers and envelopes. When conveying some information to someone at work or out of the office papers may be used especially when writing the notes manually. So much paper is used, instead of such wastage electronic mails may be used which does not involve any wastage or something that may destroy the environment.
  15. Use dish cloths instead of using paper towels. Paper towels cannot be reused as they may soak wet. However, dish cloths can be used over and over until it is dirty and thus requires cleaning. When it comes to paper towels there is a lot of wastage of resources as one has to use more than one each time which is unlike the dish towels that can be used once in every session.
  16. Instead of using several files for various individuals adopt central files. When making files for each individual a lot of paper is involved unlike when a central file is used. Here all the information in regards to the individuals is located at one central place and thus not so much paper is used.
  17. In the work place, instead of making one sided copies, one can use two sided copies. If one sided copies are made there will be more use of the papers which is a wastage of resources when one sided copies can be used which are less.
  18. Goods that are durable should be preferred. Durable goods with warranties tend to last long thus a person saves money in the long run and also saves landfill space. It takes very long for well built products to be broken thus there is reduced disposal of the items.
  19. One can wear clothes that do not require dry-cleaning. This practice saves on money and also cuts down on toxic chemical use.
  20. The local government can be asked to set up an electronics recycling and hazardous waste collection session. During this time the used electronic materials are donated or even sold to people who can reuse them instead of buying new ones.
  21. The plastic soda bottle once used can be reused to make disposable funnels from the half of the bottle. The bottom half can be used as plant greenhouse and similarly a scoop from the bottom half can be made.
  22. Old newspapers can be reused in a number of ways. Firstly, they can be used as wrap packages in food stores. Secondly, it can be used in shoes that are large to make them tight. Thirdly, old newspapers can be used protect wet clothing and even muddy car seats. Old newspapers can also be used to firstly dry and then polish windows after washing. They can also be used to start fires.
  23. One can check various collection centers and even pickup services so as to see what they accept and also commence collecting those materials. Among the materials that can be collected includes newspapers, plastics, paper products and even oil.
  24. At the work places one should speak with the managers and ask them to purchase products that can help cut down on waste like products that are not over packaged or even recycled products. Recycle products are cheaper as compared to the ones that are not even though the quality is still high. When products are over packaged, their costs reflect in the final cost of the product. The customer therefore is the only one who bears this cost.
  25. Recycle the small used materials. Small patches of used soaps can be collected and reused for other activities so that they are not thrown away.
October 23, 2015

How to Renovate Your Home without Exceeding Neighborhood Value

by Courtney Soinski

Before you decide to renovate your home, it’s important to understand that not all renovations will increase the value. It is certainly possible to over-remodel, and you don’t want it to exceed the value of your neighbors’ homes. Here are some ways to get the highest return on investment (ROI) possible when the time comes to sell your home.

Projects always worth your while

shutterstock_138891047There are specific renovation projects that can deliver the greatest effect on your ROI, regardless of the real estate market’s current state or the value of surrounding homes. According to real estate expert Robert Stammers in a recent article in Investopedia, these can be projects such as an addition of a wood deck, kitchen and bathroom upgrades as well as window replacements.

shutterstock_117312145Factor in location

A common mistake that homeowner tend to make is renovating their homes to the point where it exceeds the value of surrounding homes. The fact of the matter is that people look in a specific neighborhood because of its proximity to nearby businesses or recreation and it’s in their price range. If improvements done to your home are much higher than homes around you, it’s unlikely that they’ll want to pay more for those improvements, even if they’re interested.

Make improvements that will add value over time

Some home improvements, like upgrading the technological features of a home, will not have a lasting impact, and may even bring down the home value. These types of renovations are at a higher risk of becoming obsolete and outdated as years pass. Technology and styles change all the time, so focus on improvements that are less likely to be impacted by time and are worth your investment.

Renovations that will pay you back


Regardless of whether a homeowner is planning to sell or not, the ultimate objective of taking on a renovation is to revel in the enjoyment you get from living in an updated home while gaining considerable profit from that investment. There are many tools out there that show the kind of profit you can expect from specific home remodels. A perfect example of this is Remodeling magazine’s “Cost vs. Value” annual report.

Here are some of the findings from the 2015 Remodeling Cost Vs. Value report:

Projects that deliver the highest percentage of return on investment

  • Entry door replacement (steel): 101.8%
  • Garage door replacement: 88.4%
  • Siding replacement (fiber-cement): 84.3%
  • Siding replacement (vinyl): 80.7%
  • Deck addition (wood): 80.5%

Renovation projects that deliver the lowest percentage of return on investment 

  • Sunroom addition: 48.5%
  • Home office remodel: 48.7%
  • Master suite addition: 53.7%
  • Garage addition: 54.7%
  • Bathroom addition: 57.8%


September 29, 2015

Consumers Beginning to Embrace Smart-Home Technology

shutterstock_180292502From wireless speakers to automated vacuum cleaners, advanced “smart” devices are becoming increasingly common in the homes of Americans, aiming to make life simpler for all. However, language counts for a great deal when it comes to consumer attitudes and familiarity; nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Americans say they don’t know much about smart-home technology, while Nielsen’s Connected Life Report—a bi-annual study of consumer needs, preferences, attitudes, and behaviors around new and emerging technologies related to connected cars, homes, and wearables—finds that just over half of household decision makers (53 percent) say they know what connected home technology does.

This confusion may, however, be rooted in category headings more than in specific products. When asked generically about smart-home technology, just 7 percent of Americans say they own such a device; however, when presented more specifically with a list of devices from the smart-home category, 34 percent of Americans—nearly five times as many—indicate they already have at least one in their home. This disconnect signals a need for consumer engagement and education in this budding industry.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,225 adults surveyed online between May 20 and 26, 2015. Full results of the study, including data tables, can be found here.

Self-described early adopters are more likely than their counterparts to have one or more devices in their homes (59 percent vs. 37 percent mid-adopters and 20 percent late adopters).

The most popular devices currently owned are wireless speaker systems (17 percent), smart thermostats (11 percent), and smart/wireless home security and monitoring systems (9 percent), with many of the same devices making repeat appearances atop the list of devices Americans would consider for future purchases: smart thermostats (40 percent), smart lighting (37 percent), wireless speaker systems (35 percent) and smart/wireless home security and monitoring systems (35 percent).

Consumers appear hesitant to purchase certain devices despite respectable awareness levels, indicating there may be ample room to better communicate the benefits of these devices. Nearly half (48 percent) say they’ve heard of smart-home security systems and don’t want one, while nearly six in ten (58 percent) say the same about domestic robots and 46 percent say the same for smart/connected refrigerators.

On the other hand, for several devices, the largest barrier appears to be awareness itself. Over half (51 percent) have never heard of water detectors that connect to Wi-Fi and 42 percent say the same for smart/connected laundry machines.

With 88 percent of Americans believing these devices are too expensive, it should come as no surprise that, when probed on potential “tipping points” when they will be likely to consider purchasing such technology, the highest percentage by a wide margin (37 percent) say they will consider purchasing smart-home technology when it drops to a price they think is reasonable. Another 9 percent will wait until the “bugs” have been worked out and 12 percent will never consider buying smart home technology.

Matures and Baby Boomers are more likely to say they’ll never consider buying smart-home technology compared to their younger counterparts (20 percent Matures and 17 percent Baby Boomers vs. 10 percent Gen Xers & 6 percent Millennials).

Notably, two in 10 (21 percent) Americans are not sure at what point they would consider purchasing this kind of technology—further signaling confusion in this still-new market segment.

Potential Perks

A majority of Americans believe there are perks for homeowners in smart-home technology, with over six in ten (61 percent) saying household devices that can connect to the Internet are good for homeowners.

Vast majorities of adults feel it’s important that smart-home technology saves money (91 percent), conserves energy (90 percent), helps keep them and/or their family safe (89 percent), and protects property from theft/vandalism (88 percent).

However, far fewer Americans believe the technology currently offers these benefits. Just half (50 percent) believe the technology currently helps save money, while six in ten or fewer say smart home technology currently conserves energy (59 percent), helps keep them and/or their family safe (55 percent), and protects property from theft/vandalism (57 percent).

Three quarters of Americans also feel it is important that this technology save them time (78 percent) and offer the ability to adjust to their preferences and behaviors (74 percent), while just 42 percent each say the technology currently offers these benefits. Americans are nearly split on whether it’s important that the technology enable them to better care for pets (55 percent important vs. 45 percent not important) and reducing the likelihood of running out of household products (53 percent important vs. 47 percent not important), which is good considering less than two in ten feel the technology offers these benefits (17 percent and 18 percent, respectively).

Among pet owners, 71 percent feel it’s important that smart-home technology enable them to better care for their furry, scaly or feathery friends while only 22 percent believe the technology currently offers this benefit.

Regardless of the status of these current and potential benefits, many Americans believe smart-home technology will start to have an impact on them within the next five years. Over half (51 percent) say smart-home technology will improve their quality of life within the next five years and 43 percent say it will have a big impact on how they manage their home within the next five years. Education efforts focused on more clearly communicating and demonstrating the benefits of these devices may help to drive further consumer excitement.

Remaining Questions and Concerns

While it may be clear what the expected and perceived benefits are, with 78 percent of Americans saying they expect newly built homes to include smart-home technology within the next five years, it’s no surprise that some concerns still remain. Seven in ten Americans believe smart-home technology makes it easier to steal personal information/data (71 percent) and wonder whether smart-home devices will perform basic functions as well as their traditional counterparts do (70 percent).

Despite the concerns and questions that exist, most Americans clearly believe this technology is on its way and here to stay, with less than three in ten (27 percent) doubting that smart technology will catch on.


September 23, 2015

What to Do Before the Appraiser Arrives


Are you ready to refinance or sell your home? If you answered yes, then it’s time to get your home appraised in order to define its true value in the current real estate market.

How does a home appraisal work?

On the day of your scheduled visit, a licensed home appraiser will evaluate your home by going from room to room, assessing its condition. He will also take upgrades into account and do a comparison of other homes in your neighborhood. In the end, you’ll get an appraiser’s report. If you’re selling, you can use this document to decide your asking price. If you’re refinancing, you’ll now be able to determine how much equity you have.

Before the appraiser comes knocking at your door, however, you need to be prepared. The higher your appraisal value the better, so we have put together a list of tasks to complete beforehand.

Make any repairs necessary

If your home needs any small repairs at the time of the appraisal, that will have a negative impact on your outcome. Make sure all door latches and handles work properly, carpet does not look worn out (replace if necessary), plumbing is operable, and all windows work effectively. Not fixing these can make your home look older than it really is, so do everything you can to avoid that.

Update light fixtures

If the light fixtures throughout your home are worn and outdated, then it’s a good idea to update them before the appraiser arrives. Don’t spend too much in this category, though!

Freshen up walls

Depending on how long you’ve lived in your current home, there are probably some chips and holes in your walls. They may also be a little faded. Freshen up these areas with some spackle and a new coat of paint.

Enhance curb appeal

The front of your house is the first thing the appraiser will see when pulling into the driveway, so it should be dressed to impress. First, look at the outside of your home as a whole – do you see any peeling paint, damaged gutters, siding, bricks, or mortar? Address all these issues. Then tackle the lawn by mowing, trimming, and cleaning up and weeds or dead plants. Make sure all tools or equipment are out of sight. The front porch and driveway should also be free of any debris like leaves and sticks.

Prepare your home for an appraiser like you would for an interested buyer. Make any updates or repairs necessary, clean everything, and keep track of all the updates that you’ve made. A licensed appraiser will take everything into consideration in determining your home’s true market value.


September 21, 2015

Is It Time for a New Water Heater?

Water heaters are energy-intensive appliances. In fact, they are the second largest energy user in the home, and as they age, they become less efficient, according to the Propane Education & Research Council.


If you don’t know the age of your current water heater, or think it may be reaching the end of its lifespan, it may be time to replace it, says home improvement expert Danny Lipford, host of “Today’s Homeowner.” Lipford advises keeping these three factors in mind when evaluating your water heater:

1. Cost

According to U.S. Department of Energy estimates, the average family spends $400 to $600 each year on water heating costs, and as an older unit ages, its efficiency continues to erode. Rising water heating costs year after year could be a sign that it’s time to replace your unit. By switching to a new energy-efficient water heater or a new energy source, you could save hundreds of dollars each year.

Depending on where you live and how often you use your water heater, a tankless water heater could drastically lower your annual water heating costs compared with electric storage tank models, which are working to heat water even when it’s not needed. In comparison tests with electric units, propane-powered tankless water heaters saved more than $300 annually.

2. Lifespan

Most water heaters should be replaced every 10 to 12 years. To make the right choice for replacement, you should factor in the annual cost of ownership, which is the cost of original equipment, installation and expected annual energy costs divided over the unit’s lifetime.

Both high-efficiency propane storage tank heaters and tankless models deliver lower annual ownership costs than electric or heating oil. At the same time, tankless water heaters also have a much longer lifespan than storage models — they can last 5 to 10 years longer than storage water heaters.

3. Carbon Footprint

Upgrading to a newer, more efficient model means reducing your carbon footprint. Compared with standard efficiency electric storage tank models, propane produces two times fewer emissions. The difference amounts to about 1,300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, the equivalent of driving a car more than 18,000 miles.


September 16, 2015

8 Ways to Allergy Proof Your Home

Whether you have a pet or not, there is dust-free light at the end of the tunnel! You’re not alone, either – allergies affect more than 20% of Americans. In this post, we’ll go over specific ways to free your home of allergens so you and your family can finally breathe cleaner air. Here are some trusty guidelines to get the allergy proofing started.


1. Lay down doormats.

In each entryway of your home, lay down two doormats – one on the inside and one on the outside. This helps prevent allergens from being tracked inside. Another alternative is to have your family and guests remove their shoes when they enter your home. Otherwise, allergens are just spread around.

2. Upgrade your vacuum cleaner

If you don’t have one already, make sure your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter. These are specifically made to trap particles as small as 0.3 microns. Basically, they’ll be able to capture the majority of allergens.

3. Replace air filters

Remember to always clean or replace the air filters in your heating or cooling system as often as required. You can refer to the manufacturers’ instructions regarding when to change them and how often.


4. Beware of mold

Minimizing mold, especially in your bathroom, is one of the most effective ways to lessen allergens. With more than 100,000 species of mold in the world, the last thing you want is for your bathroom to turn into a war zone. Clean regularly and remind yourself to dry off surfaces that collect standing water. Also, it’s important that your bathroom has good ventilation. Every few years, you should replace any broken tiles and re-caulk sinks and tubs. This keep mold from growing behind the walls.

5. Say bye-bye to drapes

Consider switching from curtains to blinds or shades because they hold much fewer allergens. However, if you insist on having drapes, make sure they’re machine washable since those are easier to keep dust-free.

6. Get an air purifier filter

From cooking fumes and cleaning vapors to dust and pet dander, there are so many different types of particles that can pollute the air inside your home. Air purifiers can be very effective in helping reduce allergens in the air, but just make sure you stay away from those producing ozone. We recommend using one with a HEPA filter.

7. Use a hygrometer to measure humidity levels

By investing in a hygrometer, you’ll discover the exact moisture levels in your home. Take a measurement in each room and if the reading is above 60 percent, you may consider using a dehumidifier. High humidity can lead to mold growth, so this is your best tactic to prevent that.

8. Ditch the carpet

Carpet does a great job of trapping in countless allergens, so it’s a good idea to replace your carpeting with hardwood or linoleum flooring. If that’s not an option, use low-pile carpeting instead of high-pile. Be sure to vacuum at least once a week and shampoo your carpet frequently.


Source: Mayo Clinic, This Old House

September 14, 2015

Avoid Homebuyer’s Remorse in 5 Steps


Have you ever bought something but then later on, found yourself regretting that purchase decision? Well, it’s no big deal when you can easily return or exchange something like a pair of pants or even a designer purse. A house, on the other hand, is much more permanent. It’s not only the largest investment you’ll ever make, but it’s also the place you’ll come home to every day, and where you’ll spend years making life memories as your family grows.

There may be increasing pressure to make a quick decision in today’s fast-paced and competitive real estate market, but it’s important to stay grounded throughout the home buying process. Before you try to compete with other interested buyers and snag that “hot listing”, take a breath and follow these steps.

1. Stick to your home requirements.

Before you even start your search, make a list of your “must-haves” in your new home. If having a 2-car garage is on the list but the house you’re looking at only has a 1-car garage, move on. Don’t let yourself settle for something less and then end up making expensive renovations because it’s not exactly what you wanted.

2. Know where you’ll compromise.

Note any items that are on your home wish-list, but you could live without. There should be at least a couple home features that you and your partner or spouse can compromise on.

3. Stand your ground.

Even after you have made the decision to buy a specific home, don’t let yourself overlook major issues. For example, if the inspector finds a cracked foundation or dry rot in the floor joists, you should either back out of the deal or get the price lowered to reflect the cost of the repairs.

4. Keep a clear head.

If you get stuck in a bidding war with another buyer, you need to ask yourself if you really want the house or if you just want to win the fight. The last thing you want to do is end up overpaying for a house that doesn’t completely satisfy all your needs.

5. Love the home’s proximity.

You can change many things about a home, but you can’t change the location. Think about what you do everyday in regards to where you live. This includes where you work, where you have to take the kids to school, and where you do things for fun.

These are all very important factors to consider when buying a home and most importantly, they’ll help you avoid homebuyer’s remorse at all costs. Find a home you’ll love living in every day. The less you want to change, the better!


August 26, 2015

Top 8 Reasons Homeowners Choose a Metal Roof

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about metal roofs and their manifold benefits. And why not? As one of the most durable roofing materials available on the market, metal roofs have outshined the famous asphalt shingles, slates, and other composite roofing materials. Here are eight reasons why homeowners choose a metal roof:

1. Durability

Everyone wants a strong roof that can shield the family and the home from windblown debris and unfriendly weathers. Unfortunately, many roofing materials do not have the strength to withstand against aggressive wind and temperature change. Metal roofs, on the other hand, are fire-retardant and impervious to rust, mildew and mold. They are great for coastal homes and areas with wind that travels up to 140 mph.

2. Longevity

The fact that metal roofs do not succumb to many of the common roof plagues makes them not only durable, but also lasting. They do not experience extreme thermal expansion and contraction, making them even less likely to break, chip, crack, or become loose over time. According to the Metal Roofing Alliance, a metal roof can live between 40 to 60 plus years, which is two to three times longer than a well-maintained asphalt roof.

3. Convenient Upkeep

If your metal roof has been properly installed, then maintenance on your part is virtually zero. Unlike other roofing materials, metal roofs do not absorb water and can rid snow easily from its surface. These two factors alone greatly reduce the chance of having a damaged roofing structure and gutter system.

4. Energy Efficiency

Metal roofs have high solar reflectance and thermal emissivity, which means that they can efficiently reflect solar heat right back to the atmosphere. Depending on where you live, a metal roof can keep its surface approximately 100-degree Fahrenheit cooler than any conventional roof.

5. Eco-friendly

Unlike an asphalt shingle roof that needs to be replaced every 15 to 20 years, metal roofs can live beyond age 50 without any sign of decay. Additionally, metal roofs are 100 percent recyclable. Whereas more than 13 billion pounds of asphalt shingles lay uselessly in landfills, retired metal roofs are reused and contribute to at least 25 percent of a newly constructed metal roof.

6. Customization Flexibility

Metal roofs can not only be painted in hundreds of colors, but can also be coated to emulate textures of other roofing materials. They are excellent for various residential buildings, especially historic homes that need a strong roof to protect the building structure and still maintain its cosmetic integrity.

7. Resale Value

There are many factors a buyer considers when looking for a new home. Because metal roofs require virtually no upkeep, are durable, and last for decades, homes with a metal roof generally enjoy a 1-6 percent increase in resale value when compared to an asphalt-shingle home.

8. Great Return on Investment

Although slightly hefty in its upfront cost, metal roofs are a true energy saver in both summer and winter. Known to reduce your cooling costs by as much as 40 percent, Home Guides reports that a metal roof helps homeowners recoup an average of 85.9 percent in their investment. In the meantime, homeowners living in the eastern regions of the U.S. have been found to recoup up to 95.5 percent of costs on average for their metal roofs.