Pre-Curb Appeal

So you want to improve your home for sale but are on a budget? Use curb appeal!

I love curb appeal because this is one of the quickest and easiest things you can do on the cheap. Plus it will get people into view your home. Obviously the more people who see your home, the better chance you’ll get an offer.

So what should you do? What area should you focus on? After all, you have a lot of choices. Should you plant a tree? Flowers? Landscape? Paint? A porch swing? What? Well, start here.

green-shutter-homeFirst, go take a few pictures of your home because most likely people are going to find you online. So before they even do a drive by, they’ll be looking, and you want to know what the first picture impression will be. So do your homework and walk out front and take a few shots. Better yet, drive up to your home and snap a shot because this is what most realtors will do (which is a huge mistake and I’ll tell you why in a minute).

They typical shot of homes for sale is from the road right in front of the garage/driveway. Look at that picture. How does it look to you? Probably like a big garage and a house behind it, right? Not the best view. So now move around and take some more shots. Go to the other side of the yard. Make sure you’ve got good lighting. Double check it’s not being blocked by a tree. Try a night shot w/all of the lights on (& a ‘star’ style filter or effect for the lights will make a BIG impression).

Now look at those shots, which one stands out? Choose that one.

Time for a little work because up to now all we’ve done is frame a picture. Looking at the one you chose, what could be done to improve the home and make it look nicer? Is it showing off the front door? Paint it red! Is it highlighting the yard? Put up a tree-swing! Are your windows and inside the home the focus? Take a night show w/the lights on? It really all depends on what you have highlighted in the picture, then (and this is the key) IMPROVE THAT, and have the picture retaken (professionally).

This simple step above will get you loads of views and interest for people to actually come see your home.

Questions? Feel free to get in touch or leave a comment for me.

rennovation debris

How to Get Rid of Your Home Renovation Debris

How to Get Rid of Your Home Renovation Debris

When tackling a major renovation project for your home, a major issue is how to dispose of all the construction debris left behind. So how exactly do you get rid of all that demolition waste?
There are several methods, each with pros and cons. Weigh each option to find the most cost effective solution.

Do It Yourself
If you own a pickup truck with a reasonably sized bed, you can dump and haul the remodeling waste yourself. You may need to make several trips to the landfill since demolition debris usually needs several loads. Landfills will also require you to separate different materials and have many restrictions on hazardous wastes.

Use a Local Hauling Company
You can arrange with a local hauler will come pick up your waste. It is best to put the debris close to the street to facilitate curb side pickup, although some haulers can pick up your debris from inside the house or the yard for an additional fee.

With local haulers, you don’t need to worry about any special permits needed for a roll off dumpster and you are not bound by rental time. You simply contact a hauler, and they will come over to do the pickup. However, estimating the cost is difficult until the actual pick up is done. So you will need to negotiate with the hauler to get a good price.

Since there is no measurable container, your waste can add up rather quickly and you can lose sight of how much waste is generated.

Rent a Roll off Bin
Roll offs are a convenient neat way to dispose your remodeling waste. You can easily see how much debris is in the container and the debris is neatly contained in one area. Depending on your project size, you can select from several bin sizes ranging from 10 cubic yards for small kitchen or bathroom renovations up to 40 cubic yards for a major home remodeling.

Most dumpster companies such as our good friends at Disposabins dumpsters will offer special bins for heavy debris such as concrete, masonry, steel and tiling. Special arrangements may be required for other materials such as old carpeting, appliances, and insulation.

As with all good things, you will face some cons. Your neighbours might use your roll off secretively to dump their waste. You will need a permit from your local parking enforcement authorities to park the dumpster on the street. You also need to make sure there are no height or width restrictions to prevent delivery or pick up of the bin. Items such as narrow driveways, or low overhanging power lines could pose a problem. Make sure you check the height and width requirements with your dumpster provider first before placing an order.

Roll offs can be rented for one day or several. Remember you are paying for rental time weather you utilize the dumpster or not, so plan accordingly.

Use Your Residential Trash bin
Although this option is free, it is the least practical since residential trash bins offer very limited space.

Extending the Life of Your Water Heater

It’s pretty much a general rule of thumb these days that you can expect to get about 10 years of solid, problem-free use from your average water heater before unexpected problems start to pop up. Because of this fact, it’s one of those household items that’s easy to forget about and neglect because we tend to take it for granted that it will always be there for us, running quietly in the background.

A technician is performing maintenance on a residential water heaterTake it from the Water Heater Pros, just a few minutes of attention one time per year could extend the life expectancy of your unit by several years. The first thing you’ll want to do is to check the pressure releasing valve that sits either on top of the tank, or on the side of it. This little guy’s job is to open automatically once pressure inside of the unit gets to be too excessive. When you open the valve with your hands, if some water isn’t released, you’ll have to swap out the valve for a new one. You can find these for really cheap at Lowe’s or Home Depot. To replace, you’ll have to drain all of the water out of the tank, take off the discharging pipe, and then follow up by removing the bad valve. It’s a good idea to wrap the inside of the new valve with plumber’s tape before you screw it back on. Just reverse the steps to put everything back in order.

The next step would be to turn off the cold water pipe that leads into the hot water heater. Then, go to any sink in the house and flip on the hot water only. This will help release pressure from inside the tank. Don’t turn the sink off until you’re finished with everything. For safety purposes, turn off the electricity to the unit by flipping the breaker on your circuit panel if you have an electric unit. If you have a gas unit, you’ll want to make sure you flip the burner into the off position.

Next up, you’ll need to drain the tank in order to discharge all of the build-up, rust, and impurities that have gathered in the tank from over the years. Having too much of this sediment can reduce the efficiency of your water heater by half, resulting in a larger electricity bill every month. When you start to drain the tank, it may not be necessary to drain all of the water. Only continue to drain as long as you see sediment flowing out. Most of it should have settled at the bottom of the tank, so it will be the first to get pushed out from the water on top of it.

Once you’ve allowed the tank to fill back up by turning on the cold water supply, you’ll need to turn power back on to the unit. Now you’re all set to go! All of this shouldn’t take more than one short afternoon of work, and it will pay off big in the long-run.

The Water Heater Pros
10 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 875
Chicago, IL 60606

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