The Value Of Landscape Improvements for Your Home

landscape-designThey say dress to impress and the same applies with your house! What do I mean? I mean making the outside of your house look as attractive as possible with landscaping improvements. Landscaping adds 5.5% to 12.7% value depending on the amount and quality of the work done. Here are some tips that will make sure that your landscaping plan achieves its goals and leaves your house as the nicest looking house on the block ensuring that potential home owners or renters will be excited to tour your house.

Have a Plan- Most homeowners don’t understand how important having a plan is. They haphazardly upgrade a few things here or there and they might get an “A” for effort, but will be shocked with disappointing results when potential buyers won’t commit to your house. Why is this happening? This is because these upgrades fail to work together as a whole package because the homeowner didn’t have a plan. You need to develop a budget, an idea of how all the new landscaping will work together, and a basic idea of what you want to do. That way when you need to go to Home Depot or Lowes to get all of your supplies, you can get in and get out, feel confident and not run over budget. Decide what needs to be spruced up and what needs to be replaced. Consider your yearly climate and what plants and wildlife thrives there. For example one wouldn’t put an outdoor pool in a home in northern Montana where it snows for much of the year. Also consider the style of your home. For example if you own a southwestern themed house in Arizona you wouldn’t plant pine or spruce trees. Rather plant cactus and yucca that works with the theme of the neighborhood and house. This way your house won’t stick out like a sore thumb that will turn potential customers away as most homeowners or renters just want to blend in with the neighborhood.

Know What Adds the Most Value-It’s a general consensus that the more you invest, the more return you will get. However, some investments are better than others. Especially if you are on a budget, this can be especially helpful to know. Some improvements include but aren’t limited to

  • Lawns and trees Cheapest and some of the most prominent improvements Appeals to those looking for an open canvas to make their own improvements
  • Fountains and garden displays Some of the most visually appealing but won’t appeal to those looking for a low maintenance yard
  • Patios, decks, or outdoor rooms Expensive but will entice and excite potential customers the most

Don’t Overdue It- You can do all of the landscaping in the world to where your grass would be good enough to play the PGA tour on however if your average price of the nearby houses is only $250k-300k then people likely won’t be willing to spend more than the average. Being simple-landscapingtasteful is very important. Also if the interior of your house is out of date you should consider doing similar upgrades as well to make sure that the new deck matches your couches and kitchen appliances.

Landscaping is the key to entice more buyers or renters AND increase the value of your home. However, it’s important to have a plan to make sure that you add the most value to your house without spending to much money or turning potential buyers away.

Plumbing Upgrades For Your Home

Perhaps one of the best improvements on your home you can make, but that is often overlooked has to do with plumbing! That’s right, upgrading your home’s plumbing system or even just the fixtures can not only add quite a bit to it’s resale value but also can aid in your family’s health and safety as well! Cure All Plumbing, a reputable plumbing company based out of Tempe, Arizona advised us on exactly what plumbing improvements can be made and how they bring value to your home. Check out our list of plumbing upgrades to see which ones your home may benefit from!

Plumbing Improvements & Upgrades 

  • Fixtures & Small Upgrades- Sometimes starting with the small things is exactly what you need. If you are looking to add small and somewhat inexpensive upgrades to youplimbing-upgradesr home start by replacing your plumbing fixtures.  We are talking about faucets, shower heads, sinks etc.  Updating the look of your fixtures or installing new and improved parts can really add a lot of value in a small way!
  • Low Flow Devices- Adding low flow devices to shower haeds and faucets can help save you water and money. It’s a win win situation. Also having a more energy efficient only save you as the homeowner on monthly bills it is also a great perk when placing your home on the market for potential buyers.
  • Toilets & Water Heaters- While a little more expensive than just installing low flow devices replacing your toilet or water heater with a more energy efficient model will help save you money and make your home more eco friendly. For example a more energywater-heater efficient toilet will use 1 ½ gallons of water to flush instead of the 5 gallons older models use. In the long run you recoup the money you spent on upgrading your toilet or water heater on your water bill alone.
  • Older Plumbing Piping Systems– Now we are getting to the big upgrades! However, these upgrades not only add value to your home but can often save you on costly repairs in the long run, as well as benefit your family’s health. Homes built before or during the 1970’s usually have galvanized piping that makes up their systems.  Because of the material that makes up these pipes internal corrosion is a common occurrence especially over a long period of time.  The debris from this corrosion can in turn get into your water and create many health concerns for those drinking water from out of these pipes.  Blockage and bursting of pipes can also occur from the long term effects of the corrosion and wear and tear.  If you should still have galvanized pipes making up your plumbing system it is best to have them replaced with copper piping.  It will save you a lot of money on future repairs and also ensure the health of those in the home.
  • Older Sewage Systems- Just as plumping systems were made of galvanized pipes in earlier times same goes for the material making up your sewage system. Older materials used for sewage systems such as cast iron, plastic and clay can cause issues within your plumbing system as well as future expensive repairs. It is best to upgrade sewage systems made from these outdated plumbing materials to PVC pipes.  The PVC pipes are a lot more durable and allow your sewage system to function not only more efficiently but also a lot more safely as well.  Plus the added value to your home is a great perk tool.

copper-plumbing-pipesIf you are unsure of what your homes plumbing system is actually comprised of or are in need of advice as to what upgrades to start with we advise you to contact a plumbing expert like those found at Cure All.  Plumbing systems are quite intricate and any issues or malfunctions with in them can not only be costly in repairs but can also cause a lot of damage to your home.  The added value upgrading your plumbing system brings to your home along with the money it can save you on water and utilities bills every month is a great home improvement investment!


Home Improvement Organizational Hacks

Home Improvements don’t just have to be big projects done to your home such as replacing your garage door, installing solar panels, repainting your house, or adding a room addition.  Sometimes just organizing your home can be one of the biggest improvements of all, especially for those living in it!  Check out this video on organization hacks for your home that make organizing everything from closets to added kitchen space so much easier!

Before Purchasing A Home…….

buying-a-homeWhen it comes to buying a home there are many things to consider. After all, it is a huge financial investment and one that you are locked into until you choose to sell.  While owning your own home can be great and often a lot more affordable than renting a home, there are also different expenses and financial obligations that come with being a homeowner.  Knowing a few things before setting out to purchase you first home can make all the difference. Check out our list of things to know before purchasing a home or property.

What You Need To Know Before Purchasing Your Home

  • Beware Of Fixer Uppers- While purchasing a fixer upper may seem like a good idea and may allow you to buy a home in area than otherwise may be a bit out of your price range, remember that some fixer uppers can turn into a money pit.  It is EXTREMELY important that you have a thorough inspection done of the house, plumbing and especially the foundation! If there should be something wrong with the foundation it is better to know beforehand and most times recommended to shy away from buying a home no matter the area should the foundation be compromised or have other issues.
  • Do Your Homework- should you find a home that you really like and are prepared to put down a deposit on or make an offer for you should ALWAYS dobecoming-a-homeowner your homework first.  This means you should check out how long the home has been on the market, if there have been previous offers since it has been on the market. What the cost of insurance , utilities, and HOA fees may be so you have a better idea of what it will cost to keep your home up and “running”.  You also want to make sure that the home is on the market for a fair price and that the asking price isn’t inflated. By doing a little research on the home/property you can save yourself a lot of money and headaches
  • Start Saving For That Down Payment- If you are looking to buy a home in the near or far off future it is best to start putting money away for a down payment.  While first time buyers especially have different percentage options for a down payment it is always recommended that you put down at least 20%.  This will help lower your interest rate, lower mortgage payments and also allow for other loans to be offered.
  • homeowners-infoDon’t Rush, take Your Time- Don’t allow realtors to make your feel rushed into a buying decision.  Or don’t put pressure on yourself to make a rushed decision. While you may like a home now if you feel like things are moving a little to fast pressed the brakes and take your time.  If the result is losing the home it may be for the better. With a financial decision this big you don’t want to feel rushed in to decision making or like you can’t completely get your thoughts, finances etc in order. Once you have signed the paperwork and are in the closing process there isn’t any turning back.  It’s best to take your time and not to rush into anything.

Purchasing a home can be somewhat of a stressful time but it should never be TOO stressful. Remember you are the buyer and  in control of how you let things proceed. Don’t allow yourself to feel pressured or bullied by a realtor or potential seller.  It’s best to get your ducks in a row and take your time before making any big decisions. You will definitely feel better about it in the end.

What You Need To Know As a Homeowner

homeowner-checklistOwning your home is not only a great investment financially, it is also a great investment for your family.  Although owning a home gives you freedom in making any home improvements you desire, as well as a great way to put your monthly house payment into a long term investment and not in someone else’s pocket, there are also the times when owning your home can cost a lot of money too.  When your AC unit goes out and it needs to be replaced, or perhaps your water heater is having issues etc. While homeowners can’t completely control the repairs and issues that may happen in their home, being aware and knowing what to look for can make all the difference. Check out our list of things every homeowner should be aware of and no how to handle should any of these issues occur.

What Every Homeowner Should Know


  • AC/Furnace- As a homeowner you want to keep both of these units in the best condition possible.  When one has an issue it can often lead to costly repairs or even more expensive replacements.  By changing their filters regularly you help to keep them in the best working condition possible. Mark your calendar or set an alert on your smartphone for when a filter change is needed.  Some benefit from being replaced monthly while other systems can be changed every 3 months. Do a little bit or research on your unit and determine the best schedule.
  • Monitor Your Water Heater- By performing a monthly check on your water heater you are helping yourself to stay ahead of any repairs or issues that may occur.  Often times water heaters can start to leak from normal wear and tear especially the drain or relief valves. These tend to leak over time and are an easy fix.  If your actual water tank is leaking however, you have a much bigger problem. If the leak goes unattended it can often lead to flooding and water damage which can be extremely expensive to repair.  By monitoring your water heater you can help to prevent bigger problems before they happen and catch leaks when they are small.
  • Galvanized Pipes- Galvanized pipes in your home tend to clog over time due togalavnized-pipes mineral build up.  If you notice that your faucet isn’t producing a sufficient water stream chances are your piping is to blame.  While it’s best to replace galvanized piping there are a few other tactics you can try to help minimize mineral build up.  
  • Caulking Issues- This one goes hand in hand with home improvements and caulking repairs.  Whenever setting out to caulk something avoid using a squeeze tube which will lead to messy looking uneven caulking.  Instead get the job done efficiently and right the first time by investing in a caulking gun. It will save you a mess and also help to make your caulking flawless!

While there are numerous other things to be aware of or monitor as a homeowner in the end the more you know the better you will be.  Learn new homeowner tips each week, take a look at your property and assess things. Afterall now that you own your home the only person to call when something breaks or needs replacing is yourself and your chosen repairman.  By maintaining your home and it’s appliances you will set yourself up to combat expensive repairs and replacements before they actually occur.

Is Solar Power Right For Your Home?

solar-powered-energyMany homeowners are jumping on the solar energy wagon and having solar panels installed in their homes, in hopes of saving money on utilities, earning that solar power tax break, and making their homes more energy efficient.  What many homeowners also want to know is what are the advantages and disadvantages of installing solar panels and is it worth the cost? We got the lowdown on both the pros and cons of installing solar power panels and if they fit certain areas better than others. Big Island Solar, a solar panel installation company on the Big Island of Hawaii, was our go to for the most sound solar advice out there.  Why? These guys are based in a state that perhaps receives more sunshine every year than Florida which is actually nicknamed the Sunshine State. They not only are fair business people, they also believe in it making complete sense for the homeowner to install solar paneling. Although solar energy is great for a lot of people it may not be the right for fit others. See If solar power is right for your next home improvement!

Advantages Of Solar Power For Your Home

  • Save On Energy Bills- This is probably the top reason many people obtain a solar power system for their home.  Depending on the size and amount of solar panels installed and the amount of electricity and heat you use in your home, solar systems aid in providing energy thus lowering your utility bills.  What’s also great is should you produce more solar energy then you use you can sell the energy back to the grid system should you have on grid solar power. Seems like a win win situation right!
  • Renewable Energy- Although some areas in the world are better than others duesolar-panel-installation to the amount of sunshine verses rain and cloud coverage they recieve, pretty much anyone can benefit from solar energy.  Not only is it a renewable energy source the sun isn’t going anywhere for a long time and thus a natural form of power that can be utilized while saving other energy sources.
  • Minimal Upkeep/Maintenance Costs- Many solar company manufacturers offer a long term warranty plan of up to 25 years should you have any issues etc with your panels.  Also maintenance is relatively easy and panels only need to be cleaned a few times of year. There are generally no parts that need to be changed regularly or that suffer wear and tear that will aid in slower performance.
  • Tax Break- a tax break is available to those who qualify and go about the tax break procedures.  Check with your states criteria and also ask your solar panel company the ins and out and they will help point you in the right direction

Disadvantages Of Solar Power For Your Home


  • Initial Cost- the upfront cost of purchasing your solar system and having it installed can be quite daunting to people.  The costs include the purchase of the solar panels themselves, wiring, the inverter(part that converts the sun into solar energy) batteries, and the installation fees.   While it may seem a huge initial cost over time it will eventually pay for itself in the form of lower energy bills and even the selling of unused power like we mentioned above.
  • renewable-energy-sourceWeather Dependency- The weather that you associate with the area you live in is of great importance when making the decision to convert to solar power.  Even a few rainy days in an usually sunny place cab alter the amount of energy you are able to collect. Also no solar power can be collected at night. If you live in a rainy place like seattle a few solar panels may be beneficial in aiing your usual power supply but wont’ be as effective if you had solar panels and lived in say, Hawaii.
  • Pollution?- Many people are baffled to hear that solar panels can be associated with pollution when they are helping to save other sources of energy that is not naturally renewable.  However, the installation of solar panels is associated with the letting off of greenhouse gases which we know can definitely affect the earth and our environment.

There are a few more advantages and disadvantages to choosing to go the solar energy route. In the end it depends on the individuals needs, budget, and investment purposes.  It is best to schedule a consultation with a reputable solar panel expert in your area and weigh out all of your pros and cons before making your final decision.


Home Improvement Do’s & Don’ts

Starting your home improvement journey can be somewhat daunting especially when taking on a lot of the tasks yourselves.  That is why we have compiled a guide on some of the Do’s & Don’ts when it comes to home improvements. Check out our guidelines before you begin and it just might save you time, money, and A LOT of frustration!

The Do’s & Don’ts Of Home Improvements

the-dos-home-improvementsThe Do’s-

  • Pay attention to details even the small ones.  While you don’t want to get completely caught up in all of the small things it is important to pay attention to details.  For example, putting in new bathroom fixtures opt for the slightly upgraded ones. Why? Small details like this go along way when a potential buyer is looking at your home.
  • Be Prepared! Although the world would be a much easier place if everything went according to plan that is often times not the case. Expecting the unexpected will help save you a lot of headache and won’t come as such a surprise should something go wrong or not according to plan
  • Have a Plan! That being said have a plan.  Put a budget & timeline in place.  Home improvements are often time consuming (say goodbye to weekends and down time) and can end up being more expensive than budgeted.  Having a little breathing room when it comes to expense and a general idea of when you want to complete the project but will give you better structure when starting any project.
  • Be Ready to Eat Expenses- Sometimes your vision of home improvements might not be true for others.  Say you add a pool and the new buyers rather not have one with small children in the home.  They might opt to have it removed. Don’t get frustrated! Either hold true to your asking price if you are selling, eat the mall difference in their offer because of the pool removal or hold out until a pool friendly family comes along.
  • Know when to seek professional help! This can often be hard to admit to or really know when you are in over your head.  When it comes to plumbing, electrical issues, or even garage door repair or installation it is very important that you consult a professional and seek their help before things get out of hand or someone gets injured.  This falls into having a safety net for unexpected costs.



donts-of-home-improvementsThe Don’ts-


  • Don’t Cut Corners- While it may seem easier and to save time to cut a few corners this undoubtedly will come back to bite you in the butt!  Certain things when it comes to home improvements just can’t be simplified no matter how much it would benefit you. Stick to the plan or modified plan and stay strong, we promise you will get through this!
  • Don’t Go The Cheap Route-  While this is similar to cutting corners, opting for cheaper light fixtures and what not might just end up costing you more money in the long run.  Thing quality and durability!
  • Seek just any help- Don’t just pick any contractor, plumber or electrician etc from the phone book.  Look for reputable referrals or do your research before choosing a company. This goes back to quality and not cutting corners.  If you are paying to have the job done you want quality time withstanding work by an experienced professional.


Sticking to these Do’s & Don’ts guidelines will help to ensure your home improvement projects go as smoothly as possible.  Always remember that frustration and fatigue might most often occur. Take a break when necessary and reassess the situation once you have had time to cool off and think level headedly.


Benefits Of Replacing Your Garage Door

Another aspect to consider when making improvements to your home is replacing your garage door.  Aside from the fact that your garage door makes up about one third of your homes exterior, there are numerous other benefits to replacing or upgrading your garage door.

Garage Door Replacement Benefits

Curb Appeal: First things first a nice, new garage door will help add to the curb appeal new-garage-doorof your home.  This in helps add value to the overall value of your home. However, a few things to keep in mind when choosing new garage doors is that you pick one that also compliments your homes structure and design.  You also want to make sure to choose one that has a great durability and will help increase energy efficiency.

energy-efficiencyEnergy Efficiency: Speaking of energy efficiency choosing a garage door that offers a high level of insulation can increase your home value by up to 4%. A good thing to keep in mind when shopping around for a new garage door is that those with high R values tend to have better insulation.  Insulation is indeed very important when it comes to energy savings especially if the garage is attached to your home.

Safety & Security:  Many home buyers are looking for a home that is safe and offers a good level of security.  Believe it or not your garage door can play a big role in this. With newer technology garage doors have better safety mechanisms then those of older models which can help keep you and your family safe.  With sensors that detect movement newer garage doors will not allow the door to open or shut should there be anyone of anything in there opening/closing path. The security aspect is very important as well.  The safer and more secure your garage door is the better it is in aiding to keep intruders out. With smart technology you are now able to instal garage door opening systems that can be controlled from your smartphone anywhere in the world!

Convenience: Convenience is a very big factor as well when it comes to replacingsmart-garage-door your existing garage door.  Older doors tend to be slower and can often have a lot more malfunctioning problems or overall problems with their opening systems.  Older doors tend to be louder and can become squeaky from dust and normal wear and tear over time. Upgrading to a newer model with better insulation and technology can make for a lot more convenient garage door and opening system.  The last thing you want is for your door to get stuck mid way and not being able to close. That would lessen the safety aspect and if it doesn’t open at all and it’s pouring rain so much for convenience and getting into your home dry!

All and all replacing your garage door is a sound investment in more ways than one.  It will help to increase the resale value of your home should you be looking to sell it, or it can help to lower your energy bills and keep your family feeling a lot  or e safe and secure. The fact that it adds to the curb appeal of your home as well is just another great added benefit!

The Importance Of Paint Colors~


Making improvements to your home is always refreshing and can often add or decrease overall value of your home.  One of the simplest forms of home improvement is painting! However what most don’t necessarily know is that the color you choose is very important, especially if you are looking to put your home back on the market. Not only is the exterior color of your home important but the interior colors as well!  We have created a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to both interior & exterior paint colors.

The Best & Worst Colors For Home Resale Value

Interior Walls- It is best to go with neutral colors such as pale blue or gray when painting the interior walls of your home.  These lighter color more versatile colors help to open up your home and make it appear larger. These colors are also neutral enough to allow prospective buyers to visualize themselves in the home.

Kitchen-  Your goal is to keep your kitchen looking open and clean.  Colors such askitchen-paint soft gray or light blue help achieve this goal.  While some think yellow hues will add the effect of fresh sunlight this is not the case.   In fact those homes with kitchens done in yellow hues often sold for much less on average than those with soft & light blue or gray hues.

interior-home-paintBathrooms- To follow the neutral pale blue or gray hues suggested for interior walls bathrooms over a lot more value to your home when done in light powder blue or periwinkle.  Many people leave their bathrooms eggshell or off white which in fact does nothing to add value to your home. Instead it can actually help to bring down the value of your home.

Living Room- Our favorite word when it comes to interior paint is neutral!  Neutral living-roomtones like light beige or an oatmeal type color sound blah and boring but in actuality painting your living room in these colors can add a lot of value to your overall homes worth.  Colors such as gray and blue are not suggested for the living rooms spaces. The beige colors help to coordinate with different types and colors of furniture.

exterior-paint-homeExterior Colors- The perfect color for the outside of your home is a new found color to the color spectrum simply called greige.  Think gray mixed with a bit of blue. Again these colors are soft and help to make the home appear pleasing to a variety of potential buyers eyes.  They also help to blend well with the landscape and other yard features. Colors in hues of brown or even stucco homes have shown to sell for a lot less than those done in the more neutral tones of greige!

Your home is your sanctuary and in the end the color schemes and choices you go with are entirely yours!  If you plan on staying in your current home for some time go wild with your colors and really paint your rooms what you envision.  However, when selling your home to maximize your return on investment and really get top value from your home it will benefit you greatly to follow these color guidelines!