Renovate Your Home AND Boost Resale Value!

imageAll homeowners want to do what they can to improve the value of their home. We found this article with ideas to cheaply and easily renovate your your home as well as boosting resale value. We hope it will make your creative juices flow!

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From the article:

  1. Hire a pro. Consider hiring a pro to take a look at your home and offer advice. One morning spent with a home inspector, a real estate agent or a local designer can give you insight into what potential buyers will see when they look at your home ??? and can save you money in the long run.
  2. Invest early in landscaping. A beautifully landscaped yard with gorgeous, mature shade trees can be a big selling point, but you’ll need to allow for at least several years of growth to make the most of your investment. Make planting a priority early on, and be sure to seek out expert advice on the proper placement and care of your trees and yard.
  3. Power wash paths and siding. Giving your home’s exterior and paved areas a power wash can be nearly as dramatic as repainting, for a much lower cost. Rent a machine from your local hardware store if you don’t have one.
  4. Maintain green lawns. Sad, neglected lawns are a major turnoff to potential buyers. Maintaining a healthy lawn from the beginning with regular care is the least expensive route, though laying new sod can be worth the dramatic improvement in curb appeal if you don’t have time to start from seed.
  5. Upgrade exterior doors. Curb appeal will help sell your house; it’s as simple as that. And the way your home looks from the outside depends a lot on the condition of your front door (and the garage door, if it’s visible from the street).
  6. Remove eyesores. Outdated wallpaper, tacky light fixtures, stained carpets and popcorn ceilings are all good candidates for updating. The replacements need not be high-end; just think clean, simple and contemporary.
  7. Minor kitchen renovations bank the biggest return. If your kitchen is fairly current, you may want to leave it alone ??? remodeling a kitchen comes with a hefty cost, and you may only be able to recoup around 65 percent of your investment. Smaller updates such as painting or refinishing cabinets that are still in good shape, or upgrading to Energy Star appliances, can refresh your kitchen’s look at a fraction of the cost.
  8. French doors add more than light. If you are looking for a special feature to add to your home, consider replacing a door or several windows with French doors. Not only will they let in more light, but the open feel they provide makes the whole space feel larger. Plus, they make for a romantic addition to your home’s sale ad. “French doors leading to the garden” ??? now that has a nice ring to it!
  9. Choose current paint colors. A fresh, crisp paint job in modern neutrals like gray and putty shows off your home to best advantage. Don’t feel you have to avoid all color; just be aware that the bolder your choice, the more likely it is that it won’t agree with someone. An overly bright or badly chipped exterior paint color may need refreshing too, so don’t stop with the indoors.
  10. Build in extra storage. Another great investment is to add built-in shelving or cabinets in halls, garages or anywhere you have the space. Buyers love seeing great storage, so this can add a lot of appeal ??? and if you are able to do some of the work yourself, you can keep costs reasonable.

Interested in more tips to increase the value of your home? Checkout this article for homeowners with more weekend home improvement projects that could be of interest to you.

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Looking to Allergy-Proof Your Home? Start Here!

1193877_clean_home_2Allergies are a pain in the butt. We found this article with a ton of ideas on how to allergy-proof your home. We hope it helps!

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From the article:

1. Stick to a regular cleaning schedule. Keeping dust and pet dander at bay is a continual process, and it’s especially important to stay on top of cleaning when allergies are a concern. Be sure to wipe surfaces with a damp rag rather than dry dusting, which often just brushes dust back into the air.

Ideally, members of the household without allergies would take on the dustiest jobs, but if you have bad allergies and must clean, wear a dust mask ??? or hire a cleaning service if you can.

2. Start a no-shoes policy and beef up doormats. Keep dust, pollen and more from entering your house in the first place by encouraging visitors to slip off their shoes at the door. Provide ample interior and exterior doormats to trap shoe muck and a basketful of slippers for guests.

3. Upgrade your vacuum cleaner. Get one with a HEPA filter to trap allergens ??? these filters work wonders. Also be sure to choose a vacuum cleaner with a bag that can be changed easily (that is, without spewing dust everywhere).

4. Swap out heavy drapes. Thick drapes with lots of folds and pleats are masters at trapping dust and other allergens. Instead choose blinds you can wipe down or machine-washable curtains.

5. Remove carpeting. Traditional wall-to-wall carpeting is notoriously difficult to get and keep clean. Whenever possible, go with hard flooring (wood, tile, linoleum) instead.

Did you know that Spring cleaning will help with your allergies? Checkout this article for homeowners with valuable information on Spring cleaning that could be of interest to you.

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Spring Cleaning – A Guide to Making it Easy

656146_cleaningSpring cleaning is something that most people would like to do whether or not they actually follow through and do it is another story. We found this article that we hope will make Spring cleaning go easier for you this year and for many years to come.

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From the article:

Spring cleaning will never be effortless, but you can take the guesswork out of what to do in each room with these helpful checklists. Download each checklist to take with you as you work your way around the house. Each list is organized by what to de-clutter, clean, dust and update in each room. Customize the list to fit your individual needs by adding your own cleaning to-do’s in the notes column.

Don’t fret over how long it will take to get the task done — these lists can help create a realistic timeframe for your spring cleaning project. Each list can be broken up over several days and accomplished in smaller chunks.

Make sure to get family members involved with spring cleaning. Print off separate bedroom and bathroom checklists to give to older children and ask them to pitch in. Each family member can be responsible for clearing personal items from public areas like the kitchen and living room.

And while spring may be the traditional time of year to deep-clean, these spring cleaning checklists can also come in handy any time you want to freshen up your home throughout the year.

Worried about cleaning your dryer vent? Checkout this article about why dryer vent cleaning is a must for homeowners that could be of interest to you.

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From NBC News – Learn Why Dryer Cleaning is Must!

In this video you’ll learn why cleaning out your dryer vents is a must.

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Cleaning on the brain? What about Spring cleaning? Checkout this article about how to make Spring cleaning easier for homeowners that could be of interest to you.

Learn How to Get Rid of Mold Here!

891489_abstract_headstones_1Mold can grow almost anywhere but do you know how to safely get rid of it? Read this article and then proceed with caution.

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From the article:

The following steps, which can be adapted to fit within your company’s policy, serve as a basic process for quickly remediating mold problems.


Step 1: Learn about moisture

Assessing mold growth involves more than just looking at what’s visibly growing on the walls or in a corner. Mold can be an invisible intruder, growing behind and around what you first see. Such devious behavior requires inquisitive thinking. First, understand that behind all mold growth is a water or moisture problem. Second, become a master of moisture ??? know where moisture comes from and how it gets into the home. The ultimate goal of these two steps is for warranty representatives to identify a moisture source and use its location to help locate all mold growth, not just what’s immediately visible.


Step 2: Document the mold problem and create a remediation plan

Before you begin remediation, document the mold situation with writing, photos and video. The warranty team supervisor will use the documentation to develop a remediation plan, which typically answers questions like when work is slated to begin, when that work is scheduled to be completed, who will be performing the remediation, any testing that should be done, and if homeowners will be temporarily relocated. In the longer term, the documentation can help manage liability for your company or point to larger trends in mold growth.


Step 3: Calculate the extent of the contamination

Mold may not always grow in one area, so you need to figure out how much contamination you’re really looking at. Calculating the extent of the contamination will impact how you approach mold removal and clean up. The goal of mold remediation is to clean up mold growing within the home, and to avoid exposing homeowners to large amounts of mold. The New York City Department of Health (NYC DOH) has developed guidelines for cleaning up mold contamination. These guidelines are widely used in the construction industry and recommend six levels of mold remediation based on the square footage of the mold and whether or not the mold is located within the home’s HVAC system. Following the NYC DOH’s guidelines, available online at??, calculate the remediation level needed.

Need to file a claim with your insurance company for water damage? Not sure how they will respond? Checkout this article about how the insurance company will respond for homeowners that could be of interest to you.

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Enjoy All the Family Fun Baton Rouge Has to Offer!

1191413_fun_in_the_waterpark_iLooking to have fun right here in Baton Rouge? Checkout these places for family fun!

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From the article:

Fun things for the whole family to enjoy regardless of age. We have a wide variety of activities that anyone can enjoy in Baton Rouge. Sometimes they’re not the easiest thing to find so here we list what we find in the family section.


  • Big Leagues of Baton Rouge – Do you love batting cages? Softball or hardball batting cages that’re great fun. They do birthday parties.
  • Cajun Country Corn Maze – A yearly fall fun event for the whole family. Great for halloween since they haunt the maze.
  • Celebration Station – A large entertainment complex offering go karts, miniature gulf, food, games and more.
  • Circle Bowl Baton Rouge – Great bowling action good for the whole family. Bowling leagues, special events and more on 25 lanes.
  • Gymboree Play and Music – Offers a wide variety of learning classes for children. They also have birthday parties.
  • Highland Road Park Observatory – Learn about the stars at this educational research facility. Great educational programs for adults and kids every weekend.
  • Jambalaya Park In Gonzales – Includes a kids sprayground, pool and amphitheater. Very clean and fun area.

Worried about keeping your kids safe this summer? Checkout this article aboutsummer safety for kids for parents that could be of interest to you.

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Learn Laundry Room Maintenance

In this video you’ll learn how to maintain your dryer to keep it running for many years to come.

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Still have questions about caring for your dryer? Checkout this article about troubleshooting your dryer for homeowners that could be of interest to you.

Thinking of Buying a Home Without a Realtor? Read this First!

139445633_e2fabef491With so many different ways to buy a home some people might be considering going the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route in order to save money. As a buyer you should be wary of entering into a deal with no Realtor. Read this article and then decide for yourself.

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From the article:

It’s not surprising that real-estate agents and FSBO experts don’t see eye to eye on the issue. Both have a vested interest in it.


Fear that a FSBO transaction may not go as smoothly as one handled by a seller’s agent doesn’t mean you should avoid a home you’d like to own because it’s being sold directly by the owners. You might find one while surfing the Internet or driving through a neighborhood you’d like to live in. Or you might find one through a buyer’s agent — a representative for the buyer who casts a wide net to find appropriate homes for sale — regardless of whether a real-estate agent or owner is selling it. Buyer’s agents often research homes using FSBO magazines or Web sites and other channels beyond the MLS, where real-estate agents (but not owners) can list homes they represent.


Professionals They’re Not
Buyer’s agents say that not all FSBO homes are overpriced or sold by owners who plan to conceal problems. Most FSBO sellers, however, share a few psychological traits that demand extra tire-kicking from a buyer or buyer’s agent.

FSBO owners have a reputation among agents for being tight with a buck: They’re generally trying to sell a home themselves to avoid paying commission fees to a real-estate broker. Further, they may have an emotional and personal attachment to their property. They can take it personally when buyers or their agents want to negotiate.

Logistically speaking, they may also do paperwork at the last minute or lack housing data — like exact square footage or full zoning details — that a real-estate agent would get from a local jurisdiction before listing a home.


Under state law, sellers must provide disclosure forms that detail the condition of the home. Adorna Carroll, a buyer’s agent at Realty 3 Carroll & Agostini in Berlin, Conn., urges buyers to secure these forms from sellers, so that negotiations will proceed more smoothly.


“Every state has different disclosure requirements,” Ms. Carroll says. Buyers of FSBOs should learn what those requirements are and demand the most extensive disclosure.

“Buyer’s agents have a lot more work to do when the home is a FSBO,” says Ms. Carroll. “Every FSBO transaction is unique.”


What You Need to Know
Buyers can take several steps to minimize potential problems when evaluating a FSBO home. Perhaps the most important is to make sure you have a mortgage pre-approval before you put in an offer. FSBO sellers may be trying to sell the home fast and entertaining multiple bids, and you may have to act quickly, says Terry Watson, a buyer’s agent in Chicago-based GM King Realty.

Another critical measure is to arrange for a bank or other neutral entity to manage the escrow or “earnest money” applied to the down payment on the home, something a licensed real-estate agent would normally do, he says. Don’t let the seller hold the money in escrow.


Additional precautions that buyers should take (or make sure that their agents take) before buying a FSBO home include:


1. Secure a seller’s permission to buy what’s known as a “C.L.U.E. report” — a five-year insurance claims history of a particular property.
C.L.U.E. stands for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange. A C.L.U.E. report is similar to a credit report, but with insurance-claims data. The reports require seller permission, but cost only $13 and are available online from a company called Choice Trust.


“The big thing to look for is a water-related claim??? and the possibility of mold,” Mr. Watson says. “Sellers don’t always tell buyers about this.”


Mr. Watson says that C.L.U.E. reports will reveal any claims that sellers haven’t mentioned. But, equally important, they will help buyers who have become owners. Many buyers purchase a one-year initial insurance policy when closing on a home. Most insurers will, at renewal, look at a C.L.U.E. report to evaluate recalibrating rates and coverage. If a C.L.U.E. report wasn’t used initially, he says, owners may get a rude awakening upon learning their own ??? or their home’s ??? insurance history is damaging.


2. Get a competitive market analysis (CMA) for the neighborhood where the home is located.
Real-estate agents — even if not involved in the transaction ??? may be willing to provide them. This is a document that outlines selling prices on homes of varying sizes in different neighborhoods. Separately, Choice Trust will, for $9.95, sell property-value data gathered from tax assessors’ offices ??? at either the street address or ZIP code level.


Fred Turner, vice president and co-owner of Homes for Sale By Owner Inc., a Chicago-based producer of FSBO magazines and seminars, says that he encourages owners to do this research on the assumption that their prospective buyers may be doing it. For instance, he recommends that FSBO sellers get three separate real-estate agents to provide CMA quotes — if they can locate willing agents — or go to the city’s deeds office to look at “green sheet” data used to determine property taxes. In major markets, some limited home-price data are available online at no charge at and

Looking to sell your home? Checkout this article with weekend project ideas to get the most out of your home for homeowners that could be of interest to you.

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