Friday, November 30, 2012

Don't Forget These Yard and Fence Preparations for Winter

You might think there isn’t any yard tasks left to do before the nasty winter weather sets in, but for home owners with a yard and fence, there is always work to be done. From raking the yard to winterizing the deck and wooden fence to planting spring bulbs, there’s plenty to do in the month of November.

Here are a few tips on November preparations for your yard and fence:

1. Deck and Fence Preparations
Winter weather can not just wreak havoc on cedar decking, but on your wood fence as well. November is the perfect time for cleaning and prepping your deck and fence line for the coming cold. Make sure all yard debris is cleaned off the surface of the deck. Remove all flower planters, your grill, toys and patio furniture. Make sure the spaces between wooden fence boards are free of any leaves or debris to allow for maximum air flow. To keep the cement footing from cracking, remove any dirt, leaves or bark buildup.

2. Raking Your Yard
Now is the right time to give your yard a good raking, especially if you haven’t done so already. Piles of fallen leaves and debris will rot during the winter months and can ruin a carefully landscaped yard, garden or cedar deck surface. Getting out there now and taking care of those pesky leaves will mean less of a mess to clean up in the Spring.

3. Harvesting Fall Vegetables
If you’re a gardener, now is the time to start harvesting your fall and winter vegetables and herbs. Squash and brussel sprouts should be ready for picking, as well as horseradish, parsnips and certain types of artichokes. Now is also a good time to trim your broccoli plants and pack your herb gardens with a warm, insulating layer of hay or straw.

4. Planting Spring Flowers
If you want flowers like tulips, bluebells, or other annual bulbs to blossom in the Spring, get them in the ground now! Make sure you plant them low enough so they won’t freeze, but not so low that the stalks will not be able to make it to the surface in the Spring.

5. Cleaning Your Fence
A wooden fence is usually a bit more difficult to clean than a vinyl fence. Cleaning your fence may be a simple matter of spraying it with a water hose. Some fences may require a little more than that. Use a pale of warm soapy water and a scrub brush to clean it well. It may take some extra scrubbing to get stains off. To clean a chain link or aluminum fence the process is the same. Use warm soapy water and a scrub brush. Rinse with a garden hose.
There are beautiful Fall days left in the month of November– get out there and enjoy them while you can!

Author Bio:
Andy Olson is a fence installer in central Minnesota. For more information about yards and fencing visit his website at

Simple And Effective Ways To Make Your House Look Larger

When it comes to owning a home, some people find that they are not happy with the space at their disposal. If they wish to give the impression that a home or specific room is large, the information below may help.

Paint The Room - If a homeowner wishes to enhance the space available in a room, it is a terrific idea to consider adding a touch of color. Bright colors give the impression that a room is broad, and a person should consider choosing something that will adhere to this idea. Dark colors create a smaller atmosphere, and this should be kept in mind. There are countless color options on the market, and a person may easily receive help at a local hardware store. It is essential for people to select a color that makes them feel comfortable and happy.

Add Tall Bookshelves
- Some people do not wish to change the color of the room. It may be a brilliant idea to consider adding tall bookshelves. Bookshelves can hold several different items; a person does not have to use these distinctive shelves specifically for books. A person may place framed photos, vases, and other decorations in an area where a guest may spot them. The eye will move up to the ceiling, and the lack of clutter will give a family the freedom to take on various activities.

Open A Window
- This option may not occur to some people; however, this does not imply that the option is not valid. If a person wishes to enlarge a room, he or she may wish to open a window. An open window allows a person to feel agreeable and content. A guest may not notice the size of a room when a window is open. Tall windows also add a view of the landscape surrounding a home; a person may focus on the yard and atmosphere outside. It is also a smart idea to further arouse the senses by adding scented candles or a bowl of fruit.

Focus On the Hallway - The hallway outside of a small room plays a prominent role in the overall mood of a home. A person may use the hallway as a way to advertise what a home has to offer. The hallway removes attention from the tiny room and allows a person to focus on a grand painting or other decoration. During certain months of the year, it may also be possible to use holiday decorations. It is up to the homeowner and other inhabitants to choose a theme that works.

Some people are unable to purchase large homes. These individuals may feel frustrated and angry about the limitations associated with a smaller home. However, the information above may help a family give the illusion that a home is spacious. It is crucial to work hard and use common sense in the long run. If a person requires further help, he or she may wish to look on the Internet or ask around the community.

Sally writes for Cove Cottages who are lucky enough to be based in St Agnes, Cornwall and have a selection of cosy cottages by the sea available to rent.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to Decide Whether to Rent or Buy

Many people in today’s economy face the question of whether they should rent or buy their home. The housing market is still considered by many to be a buyer’s market, which is great if you want to purchase your home. However, you need to think long-term when considering whether buying or renting makes more sense. That buyer’s market that would work in your favor today would work against you if you needed to sell your home in a year.

When determining whether to rent or buy, consider the following factors:

Planting roots

One of the most important questions you need to ask yourself is: “Do I plan on staying here for a long time?" If you are going to move in the next five to seven years, then you should probably just rent your home because you most likely won’t be able to pay off your mortgage or have monthly payments low enough to make buying a home worth it. Not to mention, the quick turnaround means that you have to sell your home in what may still be a buyer’s market.

Long-term savings

For some, purchasing a house just makes more sense financially. If you are committed to living in one spot for a while and building equity in your home, you’re actually making a sound investment in buying a home. Renters don’t enjoy that advantage. Use financial tools that can help you estimate how much each option would cost you and what would the financial benefits be of one option over the other.

Consider your debt

As you try and make the financially responsible decision of buying or renting your home, you need to consider all of your debt. Do you have a lot of credit card debt? Are you still paying off student loans? Maybe you just recently purchased a brand new car. All of these affect the types of loans you can get from lenders when purchasing a home. If you have a lot of debt, then your interest rate for your mortgage is probably going to be high, which can cause you to pay much more for your home in the long run. However, when you rent a home, your debt has little to no effect on your monthly rent payments. You just have to decide if saving a little money while renting make the most sense.

The process

When you purchase a home there are several steps that need to be completed before you can actually move in. However, when renting your home, you simply need to fill out an application and wait for approval. If the process of buying a home is enough to sway you away, then renting is probably your best option. However, if you have done the research and are willing to go through the processes, then by all means go for it!
Deciding whether to rent or buy can be difficult. There are certainly pros and cons of both choices, but ultimately it’s up to you decide which is choice is best. Just remember to consider all of your financial obligations and whether your choice is a sound investment before becoming a homeowner.

Matt Herndon loves spending as much time as possible with his wife and three kids. When he’s not rushing from football games to riding lessons and volleyball games, he’s busy checking things off his honey-do list. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Top Tips for Improving Your Home on a Shoestring

Whether you’re looking to sell your property or just make it more homely, a lick of paint and some home improvements can really transform a room.
We’ve spent a long time tightening our proverbial belts and letting things like DIY fall by the wayside. But as the economic climate looks up, renovating your home can finally become a priority again. But you can still breathe new life into your home without breaking the bank.
Here, are 10 top tips for home improvement and decorating on a shoestring:
1. A Lick of Paint
A splash of color and a lick of paint can really transform a room. Whether you paint or paper the whole room in a new style, or just create a feature wall, this is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to improve your home on the cheap. You could just paint doors and skirting boards if you were after a quick fix.
2. Shine a Light
Lighting can completely transform the look and feel of a room. You can create a bright a fresh feel, or a warm cosy one depending on what lighting you choose. Lamp shades are also a great way to incorporate a little color into a room. You should also consider how your curtains and blinds affect the amount of natural light let into your room.
3. Handmade Touches
If you’re looking for a really affordable addition to your home, why not get crafty? DIY and handmade features can really transform a room and they don’t cost much at all. Why not use wrapping paper to decorate a photo frame? Or stencil a pattern on a plain lampshade? Cheap, simple and effective – what could be better?
4. Fix Up Your Floors
A drab floor and worn carpet can really ruin the feel of your rooms. Fix them up with a lick of paint or coat of varnish to bring them back to life. It’s amazing how a small touch like this can change the whole look of your room.
You can also add a whole new dimension to any room by throwing down a great rug. Pick one with vibrant colors and a great texture to make it a focal point in the room.
5. Thrift Some Pieces
If you’re after a new piece of furniture, you should definitely check out your local thrift stores. Vintage pieces can really improve a room, and can cost very little. Some may need a lick of paint or cost of varnish to spruce up, but this too is inexpensive.
You should also look for rugs, cushions and throws in thrift stores. Small pieces like this can make a huge difference and don’t break the bank.
6. Bring the Outside In
Another affordable way to spruce up your living space is by bringing in some plants and flowers. Not only do they look nice, they also appeal to the senses. Beautiful smelling plants can really freshen up a room, and help create a great ambiance. Why not pick flowers and plants that are seasonal to really enhance your rooms?
7. Add Shelves to De-clutter
A simple and hassle-free way to improve your home is to clear the clutter. It’s amazing how a few shelves and storage solutions can enhance a room. Make sure you pick some that fit with your existing decor, and cater for your belongings. Don’t overcrowd shelves so they look messy. Keep them well organized and you’ll have a welcomed addition to your rooms.
8. Have a Focal Point
A great way to improve your home on a shoestring budget is to incorporate a focal point to your rooms. Whether that is a statement fire place, feature wall, vintage chest of draws, or paintings on the wall; drawing attention here is a great way to redecorate cheaply. Keep the rest of the room simple and free from clutter to really draw the eye here.
9. Keep Things Versatile
If you’re fickle and redecorate a lot, a great tip for saving money is to keep your main pieces of furniture neutral. Cream and beige colors may look bland on their own, but will work with just about any color scheme. By investing in versatile furniture, you can change the colorful decor as often as you change your mind.
10. Move it All Around
Simple and no-cost, moving your furniture around can really transform a room. Something as simple as switching a few chairs around can open up some extra space. By moving everything around, you change the look and feel of a room without spending a penny. This is the perfect way to change it up without spending anything.
Improving your home on a shoestring then, is not only possible but also really easy. Why not try out some of these top tips today and see how much you can change your home today?

This guest post has been supplied by Walton Homes, a website that showcases the best of the homes for sale in the UK. To find out more, visit their website.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pros and Cons of Window Coverings

What exactly is a window covering? It seems rather broad, but basically it’s anything that covers a window. Pretty self-explanatory, right?  The more difficult part is identifying the different types of coverings. It comes down to three types; blinds and shutters, drapes and shrink film. For those who don’t know, shrink film is a plastic covering that is taped along the border of the window. Once in place, a blow dryer goes across the plastic covering and tightens it up, allowing it to be more energy efficient.
Although people typically only have positive things to say about window coverings, believe it or not, negative consequences do exist.
Less Energy Consumption
One of the great things about window coverings, no matter what kind, is the ability to cut back on a household’s energy consumption.  Shrink film is your best option here, since it completely blocks air from coming in and going out. All sorts of blinds, shutters and draperies exist that work differently when it comes to energy efficiency.
Money Savers
The savings from less energy consumption gives people a chance to save money, too, sometimes a lot of money. Over time these savings can add up.
Affordable Investments
Another great benefit to window coverings is their affordability. You can buy a pack of shrink film for around $15. Shutters, blinds and draperies will be more expensive, but it also depends on the quality, the appeal and the size. Shrink film is cheaper and more efficient. If you don’t want shrink film to be seen on your windows, then hang some blinds or drapes over the window, covering the film. Not only will this make the aesthetics of the household look better, but it’ll add more insulation to your windows.
It may seem like the pros of window coverings are vast compared to the cons, but the cons can still have a huge impact on someone’s life, especially in an emergency.
Fire Hazards
Draperies are easy targets for fires. If a drapery gets caught in the flames of a fire, this could spread the fire quickly, resulting in a significant amount fire damage. In order to avoid fire damage altogether, it’s important to know how to decorate your home safely. Find out more on how to decorate your home safely with these decoration safety tips.
No Smoke Ventilation
Shrink film is a wonderful resource for cutting back on energy and money. However, it does come with a side effect. Since this plastic covering blocks air ventilation and circulation from windows, this can be very detrimental when it comes to a loose house fire, which can cause more smoke damage due to the poor ventilation. Some of the smoke will not be able to ventilate with the shrink film covering the windows. So, if you’re trapped in a room and can’t open a window in time, then the smoke can cause suffocation or lung damage. This shouldn’t prevent you from using shrink film, but help you be more prepared in dealing with a fire. On the bright side, if you escape a house fire fast enough, then the shrink film will trap all the smoke in the house, suffocating the fire and reducing the overall fire damage done to the house.
Lastly, this is by no means a life threatening problem, but nonetheless it is still a hassle. Shutters and blinds require quite a bit of upkeep. They collect dust and dirt and, if not cleaned on a regular basis, will ruin the overall aesthetics of your household.
Overall, the pros certainly outweigh the cons of window coverings. Saving energy is great! Saving money is also great! Fir damage is not. However, smoke and fire damage shouldn’t be a probably as long as YOU fireproof your house and live safely. Other than the upkeep, window coverings are nothing, but positive.

About the author
Sammy Jo writes for Paul Davis Restoration of Kansas City, fire damage restoration experts for more than 45 years and responsible for restoring over 2 million homes.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Buying vs. Building: Which is Best for You

When you finally decide to stop renting and invest into your own home, deciding if you are going to buy your first home or build your first home can be a very challenging decision. Young families, single individuals, or other people who have never owned a home will have little experience in knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each of these choices. Deciding to buy or build your first home is a difficult choice, but there are some things to consider with both of these options.

Buying a home

Buying a home is a choice that many first time homeowners choose. With buying a home, the purchaser does not have to deal with contractors, locating a home site, or the other necessities that come with building a home. Also, since the home is already built, most likely there will be other houses already built in the neighborhood. Therefore, the purchaser will know how the houses in his or her neighborhood will look. A pre-existing home already has a landscaped yard that a new home will not have. Finally, with a pre-existing home, the purchaser will be able to move in much quicker after closing because the house is already built.

There are disadvantages of buying a pre-existing home. The most obvious disadvantage is the homeowner will have to customize the home to fit his or her preference. This will include painting, removing wallpaper, or cutting trees in the yard. The purchaser also does not have any choice in the layout of the home.

Building a home

While some may think that building a home is much more expensive as compared to buying a home, this is not always the case. Many times an individual can build his or her own home in an affordable price range. Some of the advantages of building a home include working with the builder to tailor the home to fit the purchaser’s preference, getting building discounts from the builder, and getting a brand new home that no one else has ever owned.

One of the biggest disadvantages of building a home is the time it takes to build the home. The purchaser may have to find temporary housing until the home is built. Also, working out contracts with the builder can be burdensome.
First time homeowners have lots of things to consider before deciding to build or buy. Since this is the largest investment of anyone’s lifetime, it is important to choose wisely.

Author Bio
Melisa Cammack is a full-time mother of three growing boys, and loves freelance writing for parenting blogs. She and her husband recently did some home renovations, and looked into general contractors in Montana. When looking for advice, the experts and industrial contractors in North Dakota were extremely knowledgeable.