Category Archives: Home Maintenance

Improve the Value of Your Home


Here are 8 easy ways to make your home more valuable:


To increase your home’s value, you’ll need to know where to start. A home inspection will uncover non-cosmetic improvements your home may need, such as a termite problem or outdated electrical system. A home inspector can tell you about any hidden issues you may have been unaware of and recommend solutions.


If you are looking to make cosmetic improvements to your home, we recommend starting with the outside. The street view of your home is it’s first chance to make a good impression. Of course, fixing any obvious defects is the first step, but there is more you can do to enhance your home’s value. The front door is often the focus point from the curb and is easily updated by putting on a fresh coat of paint or installing a new doorknob. A cheerful welcome mat and porch furniture are inviting. A mailbox can be upgraded for as low as $20. Adding complimentary house numbers and brighter exterior lighting will improve the overall look of your home while making it easier to locate. And of course…


Landscaping is a low-cost, high-return investment. Front yard greenery is an eye-catcher, so if your yard is lacking, plant a tree, shrubbery, or flowers. We recommend native and/or drought-resistant plants. These require less maintenance and expense. If you’ve already got plants, keeping them trimmed and tidy boosts appeal significantly.  An investment of around $400 or $500 dollars in landscaping can bring a return of four times that, according to a 2007 survey done by HomeGain.


Lighting is essential to your home’s appeal. There are many options for improving the lighting in your home. Dimmers are great for setting the mood. Sun tubes allow in natural light without the expense and exposure of skylights. Use high wattage bulbs to make small spaces feel larger and soft lights to make empty rooms feel warmer.


A simple and cost-effective improvement, painting is a go-to upgrade that any home can benefit from. Freshly painted walls make rooms look clean and updated, which is a huge boost to your home’s value. Painting also helps shield your home’s surfaces from wear and tear. We recommend neutrals because they are the most universally appealing and are the best choice if you intend on selling soon.


Improving the air quality in your home is a subtle but important task. Smell is one of our strongest senses and is directly tied to our subconscious. A pleasant smell can make all the difference in people’s impression of your home.

Carpets and rugs are infamous for trapping dirt and odors. To improve air quality, get your carpets professionally cleaned or replace them with hard flooring such as laminate, tile, or wood.


Of course square footage affects the value of a home, but did you know that the visual space, or how large the home feels, can too? We’ve got a few tricks for making small rooms appear larger and more spacious.

First, replace heavy curtains and drapes with blinds or shutters. Vertical blinds will make the room seem taller, and letting sunshine in makes any space feel more airy. Mirrors are also a great way to trick the eye into seeing more than is actually there. A single large mirror or a collection of mirrors on one wall does wonders. Last, but certainly not least, clear as much clutter as you can. The more stuff is in a room, the more cramped it feels. Installing shelving in an underused space is a great way to add value, since it both declutters and is valuable in itself.


Energy-efficiency is the “next big thing” in home updates. Not only are these updates environmentally-friendly, they save you a ton of money in utility costs and are a big draw for buyers. There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a green update. We recommend LED lights since they’re one of the easiest and most inexpensive boosts. If your heating or air-conditioning systems are old, then an upgrade to a newer model could save you up to 30% or 40% in electricity costs!


Paying for these updates is nothing to brush off. It’s important to consider your finances and future when investing in home improvement. Check out these options for financing your project. Your choice should also limit the amount of interest you’ll pay for your home improvements.

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Last Minute Halloween Tips

Welcome back!

You’ve probably seen and heard plenty of advice about how to trick-or-treat safely, but you may not have heard  how to make your home a safe place for trick-or-treaters. Halloween is only 5 days away (!) and we’re here with 3 easy, last-minute tips and ideas you for prepping your home for this evening holiday.

We put this tip first on the list because it is probably the most important piece of advice we can offer this Halloween. Do your best to move your parked cars away from curbs. Four times as many children pedestrians are injured, and twice as many killed, on Halloween compared to a normal night. Cars parked in front of houses make it harder for parents to keep their kids in sight. They also block drivers’ view of the little ghosts, superheros, and ninjas running around in excitement. The simple act of moving your parked car to an alley or side yard can increase visibility and help keep our little ones safe.

Speaking of visibility…

Light it up on Halloween

In addition to letting people know you’re “open for business”, brighter lights illuminating your front porch and yard makes trick-or-treating safer all around. Temporarily replacing your regular bulbs with higher wattage is an easy way to make your home safer. Trick-or-treaters can see where they’re going and parents can more easily keep track of their children. As the night goes on, lights can also help protect your home from tricks like being toilet-papered or egged.

We also suggest using decorative lighting to make your front yard easier to navigate. You can use colorful floodlights, string lights in plastic pumpkins, or orange and purple lights in windows as spooky decorations. (Bonus tip: use LED lights in your pumpkin instead of candles. They’re not a fire hazard and will last longer anyway.)


Unfortunately, weather forecasts are telling us that this Halloween is going to be a wet one. We recommend applying friction tape to your stairs and sidewalk to prevent slips and falls. You can get a 240 inch roll for about $3 at Walmart.

We hope you have a wonderful and safe Halloween!

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Fall Maintenance Tips and Checklist

Welcome back!

It’s been about two weeks since Fall began and the weather is cooling off slowly but surely. Maintaining your home in the Fall consists of much more than turning down the A/C and raking some leaves (which isn’t always a good idea! But more on that soon). Click on any of the blue links for more information on any of these tips.

Here is a checklist, complete with tips, of ways you can care for your home’s Fall needs:

  • Fight off drafts by sealing your windows and doors. Sealing leaks with spray foam, caulk or weather stripping is a huge step towards a more comfortable and energy efficient home.
  • From 2010 to present, October has ranked second only to May in highest average rainfall in our area. Now is a great time to check your roof or hire a professional to do so.
  • When both leaves and rain are falling, it’s important to make sure your gutters are clean.
  • Daylight savings time is coming up on November 4th. Don’t forget to check your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms while you’re changing the clocks.
  • It may not seem like much, but a programmable thermostat can save a significant amount of energy and money by automatically adjusting your HVAC’s output.
  • Remember when we said that raking your leaves isn’t always a good idea? Turns out that leaves are one of the best natural, and free!, mulches available. For the first few weeks of the year, we suggest mulching your leaves with your lawn mower to keep your soil healthy. Relocate any excess leaves to garden areas to enhance the natural plant cycle.
  • Speaking of mowing, once you’re done mulching your leaves, you probably won’t have much use for your lawnmower until Spring. Empty unused gasoline from your lawn equipment or, even better, add a fuel stabilizer to keep it fresh.
  • If you have a fireplace, then now is the perfect time to prepare your chimney for all the cozy nights you’re soon to spend around the fire. Experts recommend having it swept when 1/8-inch of sooty buildup is present.
  • If you plan to store firewood this year, it should be kept at least 15 feet from your home. Don’t keep large amounts of wood inside, due to the risk of termite infestation. Keep an eye out for animals that may shelter in your wood pile when the temperature drops.
  • Prepare your sprinkler system for the cold nights ahead. Draining your irrigation system before the first freeze of the season can prevent burst pipes and a headache in the Spring.
  •  Even if you don’t have a sprinkler system, you probably have outdoor faucet and a garden hose or two. Attached hoses can cause water to back-up into the plumbing just inside your exterior walls. When the freezing temperature hits, this water could freeze and expand, cracking your pipes and fixtures. So detach your hoses and turn off any water supply lines that lead to exterior spigots.

Comment your Fall Maintenance Tips or any questions you have below!

Interested in more tips or don’t feel like reading? Check out this short video from American Home Shield:

[Videos like this are the closest we’ll ever get to advertising, and it’s only because we don’t make our own videos – yet.]

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