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Do's and Don'ts of Home Renovation When You're Moving In Together

Sharing a home is an exciting and monumental step for couples, especially when purchasing a house together. The appeal of buying an older home and altering it to meet your style can be very tempting, especially when pricing is considered.

However, undergoing home renovations is one of the most stressful experiences couples go through. Renovations require time and financial commitments, and often lead to stress from messy surroundings and ugly surprises about your home that come to light during the process.

So how can you ensure that your relationship will survive? Here are some of the essential Do’s and Don’ts of home renovation when you’re moving in together:

Do Set a Budget

Set a budget before diving into your home renovation project. To establish a budget, you will need to determine what needs to be done, research the process, and request quotes to determine what a reasonable budget will be. Once that is done, you can agree on a total number and break it down by room. You may decide to use gifts to contribute to your home renovation project-- you can find more details here.

To prevent arguments, you will want to not only determine the budget but determine who is paying for what. Frustration can arise when one person feels as though they have spent a greater portion of the budget than the other person unless this divide is determined beforehand. For example, if one half of the partnership makes more money than the other, they may take...

Guide to Gutters and Downspouts

Every homeowner, landlord or property management company knows how significant it is to have gutters and downspouts defending their properties from water damage. Without them, rainwater can collect on the roof of the building or pool around the foundation of the building. Eventually, creating the possibility of severe damage to concrete, drywall and roofing materials. Considering that water damage can cost property managers and owners thousands of dollars, having the right gutters and downspouts on a property is more than a good investment — it’s just good sense.

Yet with so many materials and styles available for gutters and downspouts, property managers and owners might be left wondering what’s best for their properties. Although the differences might appear to be simply cosmetic, choosing materials for gutters and downspouts can make a significant difference in terms of the work they require for maintenance, how much it costs to install them, and how much it will cost to maintain them over the life of the property.

For example, vinyl gutters may be the most inexpensive option, but they come with some disadvantages that should make property managers think twice about installing them. Their affordability might make them seem attractive originally, but their weaker construction means they won’t stand up to heftier loads. They also tend to become brittle after extended exposure to heat and cold. Meaning, property managers may need to replace them more regularly than other types of gutters.

On the opposite end of the price spectrum, property managers may be attracted to copper gutters because of their rust-free construction, their attractive look and their strength. However, they require professional installation in order to weld the joints together — making them even more expensive than the cost of materials.

Choosing the correct...

Easy Ways To Enhance Your Home's Exterior

Many homeowners put a great deal of time into designing the inside of their houses to appear welcoming, charming, and comfortable. There is no end to the amount of decor and design ideas out there, and this surplus of resources makes it easy to create your home to be an extension of your personality. Whether you want a laid back bohemian sort of vibe or a sophisticated and classic one, you can create your living space to be exactly what you desire.

Home Exterior Enhancements

The same rings true for the exterior of your home, and because this is what visitors and onlookers see first, it’s important to not overlook this part of the design process. Besides creating a strong first impression, dressing up the outside view of your house can help add curb appeal, therefore helping your home increase in value.

If you’re looking for a few simple ways to enhance your home’s exterior, here are a few easy ideas to help you get started:

Add Focus to Your Windows

If eyes are the windows of the soul, then windows are the eyes of your home. They provide a glimpse of your private life to the outside world, and likewise, they allow you to peek out at the great big world when you don’t feel like jumping all of the way in.

By adding more detail to your windows, you can immediately create an eye-catching element to your home, and there are many ways to do this successfully.

  • Window awnings come in all different styles and colors, so you can easily find a match for your personal taste. They help keep your home shaded and protected from strong...

Choosing The Right Lighting For Your Home

Home Lighting

What's the first thing you see when you walk into a home? Well, that depends entirely on how good the lighting is. Although lighting isn't at the forefront of everyone's minds, it can play a major role in the presentation of your home. It's not just about brightness, either – depending on the location inside your home, the type and style of bulb you choose will determine its usefulness. 

Do you have stainless steel appliances in the kitchen? Bright, overhead lights will make them shine like the masterpieces they are. Want to create a relaxed ambience in your bathroom or media room? Warm, dimmable lights will give you the mood and versatility you're looking for. The examples go on and on.

To help you find the perfect lighting for each part of your home, we're going to discuss each type of light, what they're capable of (and not capable of), and where each is best suited.

Types of lights

Thomas Edison first invented the incandescent light bulb in 1879. While this was the standard for light for many years, the energy consumption of incandescent light has phased these bulbs out in favor of more energy-efficient options.

Halogen incandescents

Halogen incandescents are the new and improved version of Mr. Edison’s original creation. With 25% better energy efficiency, these bulbs last around 1,000 hours and are known for their warmer coloring (they range from orange to yellowish white in appearance). They provide instant light when you turn them on, and they are fully capable of being used with dimmers.

Compact fluorescents (CFLs)


Easy Improvements That May Boost The Value of Your Home

Guest post by John Miller. Contact John at

When homeowners think of home improvements, they may see the task as something terribly challenging and expensive that may take weeks to finish. However, for simple projects around the home, this is not the case. The following is a list of jobs that you can tackle in a few days that will increase its value and not break the bank.


An easy way to freshen up the look of your kitchen is to make sure your appliances match. While getting all new appliances can be a strain on your pocketbook, the manufacturer may be able to provide a new front that you can apply on your own. Whether you have stainless steel, black or white items, getting everything to mesh can add value to your dwelling. You can also head to your local home improvement store and change the fixtures on your cabinets and drawers.


The bathroom is another critical area of a home for home buyers. If you’re looking to boost your house value without having to spend a lot of time or money, you want to try sprucing up your hardware. This means replacing faucets, toilet seats, showerheads and door knobs. Towel racks, toilet paper holders and shower bars when replaced can also capture the attention of a buyer.

Master Bedroom

When you’re looking for easy fixes that will improve a home’s value, sometimes a fresh coat of paint to the master bedroom can brighten a room. While you may love purples, browns and burgundy, neutral colors are light, bright and simple to decorate. You can also replace your worn rug with something new and plush....

7 Simple Upgrades To Help You Love Your Bathroom Forever

Bathrooms are often forgotten spaces in homes. Maybe you decorated it once when you moved into your home, but never really loved that checkered tile or dated wallpaper. There are lots of simple upgrades that can be completed to transform your space at little cost and with only a bit of labor involved.

1. Update the Hardware

The clear knobs and glossy metal finish to your sink faucet may be dating your bathroom by a decade. Replace your faucet with a new one, finished with a brushed metal or copper plated look for an updated motif. Hand towel holders, shower faucets, and towel racks can all be replaced with a matching finish to immediately modernize the space.

Bathroom Renovation

2. Stain the Cabinets

While wood, regardless of the shade, will likely never go out of style, sometimes a deeper tone can reinvigorate a room. Use a gel stain to deepen the finish on your wooden cabinets for a sleek, refined bathroom. For that extra little touch, replace the handle pulls on your cabinets and drawers to match your newly updated sink faucet.

3. Install a Backsplash

Adding a backsplash on the wall behind your bathroom faucet will give the room a whole new look. Ranging from different styles and colors, an etched glass backsplash, in particular, brightens the sink area and gives the bathroom a clean, refreshed style. For you have more of a rustic, woodlands type of home, consider a wood backsplash to connect your bathroom with your home's motif. Yet...

3 Features Americans Want In Their Dream Homes

Via Most Americans have a clear idea of their dream home — and it doesn’t involve living large. Fewer people think owning their own home is part of the “American Dream” in 2015 than they did five years ago (71% in 2015 versus 77% in 2010), according to a survey of 2,000 adults carried out by Harris Poll on behalf of real estate site Trulia. Homeownership has become as much of a lifestyle choice than an obligatory milestone, says Selma Hepp, chief economist with Trulia; 75% of married people with kids under the age of 18 say they plan to buy a home to be their primary residence versus 69% of single people with no kids. Read more.


Choosing A Home Improvement Service

Choosing a home improvement service

Home Improvement Service

After moving into your home there will most likely be a list of changes you want to make. This could be changing the interior décor in the kitchen, adding a conservatory or maybe carrying out some general repairs. However, if you don’t have any experience with DIY then why struggle with the work yourself when you can get a professional to do it for you?

Here is a list of qualities you should expect from a reputable home improvement service:

  • Quick turnaround time: the last thing you want after moving into a new home is to turn it into a construction site for months at a time. Therefore, hire a home improvement service that can get work done quickly.
  • Competitive pricing: with so many home improvement companies out there you can negotiate on the price. The competition factor for your business ensures that you should be able to find a good price for your needs. 
  • Reputation: one of the first things to look out for is the kind of reputation a company has before hiring them. In the building trade reputation is one of the most valuable assets a company can have.

Author Bio

This post was written by Stefanos Anastasiadis on behalf of Hurford Salvi Carr.


Are These 7 Home Remodeling Projects Worth The Money?

(From When I remodeled my house, I knew what I wanted: a bigger kitchen with room for two refrigerators, more family space and another bedroom. But there are dreams and then there’s reality. My husband and I began wondering not only how much we could afford, but how much was wise to spend. So we called our real-estate agent and explained our plans, with hopes she could help us set a budget. Read more.


2013-2014 Cost vs. Value: Remodeling Pays Off Big Time

As existing-home sales and home prices make remarkable strides upward nationwide, remodeling projects are also continuing to make a comeback in a big way. This is the second year in a row that all 35 projects in Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report saw more home improvement dollars recouped upon resale of a home than the previous year. Existing-home sales reached 5.02 million in 2013, a 9.1 percent increase from 2012, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Home prices also rose in 2013: Existing homes commanded a median price of $197,100, up 11.5 percent from the 2012 median price of $176,800. This is the largest price gain since 2005. Also for 2013, the cost-value ratio of remodeling projects nationwide averaged 66.1 percent, up 5.5 points over the previous year — which is, like median price, the largest increase since 2005. Read more.


5 Ways To Decorate Your New Home On A Budget

Guest Post by Doug Chapman,

Most of the stress is in the rear view mirror now that you finally have the keys to your new home. You’ve made everything happen, from signing the paperwork to getting financial details under wrap. Now it is time to move it and officially make it your own new home!

Many times people start thinking about how am I going to pay for this? How am I going to pay for that? Well when you start having these feelings about furnishing your home, don’t fret. Everyone seems to go through these emotions. The key is, how do you manage it?

Good news – there are many ways to decorate your new dream home while being on a budget. There are so many options to spruce up the house without crushing your bank account. The key is – find the right ideas!

Here are five suggestions to decorate your new home while keeping within your budget:

  • One of the simplest ways to add flavor to your new home while being on a budget is to look at the flooring. You don’t have automatically put new flooring in – whether it is carpet or hardwood floors – you could also add a special little touch with an area rug. It may sound like a band-aid to your new home before you can actually put forth the money to go all out, but in the short term it is a great idea and you can adjust as needed.
  • Another key is to make sure that you don’t use all of your financial resources in just one room of the house. You know the most-used places are typically the kitchen and living room – so make sure that you spread your finances out and focus more on those. However, the key is to not pull all your marbles in those two baskets –...

Simple Steps To Prepare For A Natural Disaster

Guest post by Angelo DiGangi of Home Depot

Residents of the mid-Atlantic and Gulf coasts are fluent in hurricane preparation. Cities and towns along major rivers are well-versed on flooding, and those living in Oklahoma know a thing or two about tornadoes. But Superstorm Sandy's attack on the northeast last year proved that no region is safe from a natural disaster, despite past natural trends.

Unlike hurricanes, some natural events – like earthquakes and tornadoes – give little notice before striking; however, in all cases, it is possible to emerge from a disaster more quickly and easily with proper preparation.

Following are basic steps that homeowners can take to prepare for a natural disaster.

Prepare to Be Powerless 
You never realize how dependent you are on electricity until you are without it. Power outages happen frequently and can be caused by seemingly insignificant events, like innocent summer storms, although larger scale catastrophes can leave the power out for days and even weeks. Whether you live in an apartment or on an estate, it pays to prepare for when the power to goes out.

  • Consider candles: Candles are compact, easy to store, and may provide the light you need during a power outage. You will be able to find your way around your home, complete any necessary tasks, and even read the kids a book to calm them while the storm passes. Remember that you will need a flame to light the candles, so store matches or a lighter where you keep them.
  • Flashlights and Headlamps: Similar to candles, flashlights will allow you to navigate a pitch-black house with ease. The benefit here, though, is that flashlights won't blow out, particularly if you need light to secure a busted window or venture into the basement to pump out any water that may be leaking. Keep a cache of batteries, and if you are entering the time of year when disasters are...

Tips For Staging Your Home

By Guest Blogger Doug Chapman at

Selling your house is a process that not only will cause tense moments, but it will also make you do things that you haven’t done since you moved in – CLEAN THE ENTIRE HOUSE! That was a joke, sort of.

Regardless, when you are getting ready to stage your house, you want it to be in tip-top shape so that the prospective buyer can walk right in and feel like it is their home right from the start. There are many things you can do to make it a neutral house, and most of them just take a little elbow grease or some light lifting to accomplish.

 Here are four ideas to take into consideration when you are about to put your house on the market:

Upgrade The Fireplace

You need to get rid of the ragged, old brass screen that probably has kinks all through it. Replacing it is inexpensive, but it will go a long way when potential buyers come through the living room. Make sure you also give the entire fireplace a makeover, you know cleaning it entirely like you probably haven’t done since you moved in the house! Polish it all so that it lights up the room, and it will make your living room that much more appealing than you ever imagined.

 Light The House

When buyers come into the house, the last thing they want to see are dark rooms. Even if they are coming at night, make sure to open the curtains and let the light come through the windows. Feel free to add additional lighting fixtures throughout each room and make sure the bulbs on each lamp are new so they don’t start flickering during the tour! Increase the watts on your light ...

Easy Ways To Freshen Up Any Space

Spice up a space with a rug, whether a large rug that gives definition to a living room area or a carpet runner that enhances an otherwise dull hallway. Rugs can be a great, low-cost lifesaver when staging properties. You can use a rug over any type of flooring–tile, hardwood, laminate, slate, and, yes, even carpeting. A rug can add pops of color or pattern to make a room more visually interesting (even if it’s otherwise vacant) and provide definition to a large room. Read more.


6 DIY Updates That Can Increase Your Home's Value By More Than $10,000

Simple, affordable do-it-yourself projects such as cleaning and decluttering and just adding lighting can help increase a home’s resale value, according to HomeGain’s annual home improvement and staging survey. HomeGain, an online real estate marketing resource, surveyed nearly 600 real estate professionals in creating a list of the top do-it-yourself home improvement projects that offer the biggest return for your buck. Read more.


FHA and Fannie Mae Offer Loans for Home Energy Improvements

If you've been looking for a way to pay for energy improvements to your house, two little-publicized new mortgage programs could provide the cash you need. Both the Federal Housing Administration and mortgage investor Fannie Mae recently have launched options in the energy conservation arena. Here's a quick overview, with some pros and cons: The FHA's PowerSaver program allows eligible owners to borrow up to $25,000 at fixed rates between 5% and 7% for as long as 20 years to finance high-efficiency windows and doors, heating and ventilating systems, solar panels, geothermal systems, insulation and duct sealing, among other retrofits. Read more.


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