7 Remodels You Always See on HGTV (and Why)

7 Remodels You Always See on HGTV (and Why)

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The home improvement revolution is here, and so it the desire to do things yourself, flip houses, and more. Entire television networks are dedicated to home improvement and beautification, and we watch religiously both to share in the success of others and to get ideas of our own.

To gather those ideas, here are seven of the most common remodels you see on HGTV and why.

Minor Bathroom Remodel

One of the primary reasons you often see a bathroom remodel on HGTV is the return you see on your investment. On average you recoup 103% of the cost of a bathroom remodel at the time of sale, and even if you are not selling, you see an great increase in livability.

How do you get even more return on your investment? Do the work yourself, reglaze or refinish your old tub, and use spray on texture to cover old wall damage before you paint.

A minor bathroom remodel is quite common and can quite simply transform your home.

Landscaping

Curb appeal is everything when it comes to selling your home, and even just making it look great from the outside. At the time of sale, most owners recoup 100% or more of their investment in landscaping, and are more likely to get full-price offers and sell quickly if they have great landscaping.

This can be as simple as hiring a lawn service and adding flowers, plants, and a few trees or trimming the bushes and trees you have now, weeding the flower beds and putting down fresh mulch, and fertilizing and aerating your lawn. Either way, landscaping is a common remodel that truly pays off.

Minor Kitchen Remodel

Fairly often, the only thing your kitchen really needs is a simple cosmetic refresh, not a drastic change to the floor plan. This type of remodel makes it easy to recoup the cost. What is involved in this type of remodel?

  • Counter Tops: Old counters can easily be replaced with more modern ones that are also more sanitary and better for your health.
  • Door and drawer fronts: These are also easily replaced, and refreshing the knobs and hardware often changes the look of your kitchen entirely.
  • Appliances and fixtures: replace that fridge from 1995, or that range with a much better gas one, and you will easily recoup the cost if you are selling, and have a much more comfortable home if you are staying.

This type of remodel can be done at a fairly low cost, and will totally change the way you look at your cooking space.

Exterior Improvements

There are a ton of improvements you can do to the exterior of your home to update the look. On many home improvement shows, they kick in the old door, and take it out. A new door is the first step to a more inviting entry. The second is to dress up the porch with plants or add a pergola.

Painting, new siding, and new shutters and trim also add a value you can easily get back out of the home if you sell it. Removing old awnings and other outdated items works well also. The more you upgrade siding or paint, the more likely you will get the best return for the home improvements you make.

Deck, Patio, or Porch Additions

If your back yard is not an appealing space, you may have more trouble selling your home, and it may just be a less comfortable place to live. Adding on a porch, deck or patio can transform that space from a useless one to a place you can use all the time.

This may mean adding a grill, a bar, and exploring creative seating options. This is one of the most common remodels you see on HGTV.

Replacement Windows

While there might be some debate about how much energy replacement windows will really save you, there is no doubt they add value to your home. The average homeowner gets all of the money they invested in the windows back at sale.

This project can be as simple as replacing the old windows with new ones of the same style or replacing a small window and wall with a patio sliding door or even a bay window. This is also a common remodel project on HGTV because it pays off and it is one of the easiest ways to transform your home with natural light.

Living Room Décor Updates

While it is easy to say you should not live in the past, there is a certain nostalgia associated with certain furniture, rugs, or décor.

Almost every time you see a show on HGTV, they work on changing the décor of the home. It is most often outdated or does not fit with the new look the homeowner is going for. This not only pays off when you are selling your home (a part of staging) but it can make your home feel fresh and new.

You see a ton of different remodels on HGTV, but these are seven of the most common, simply because they pay off and are affordable compared to major home restructures.

Tips to Ensure a Successful DIY Remodel

Tips to Ensure a Successful DIY Remodel

(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

When a homeowner decides to tackle a remodeling project, it’s understandable that he or she wants to start right away. However, failing to plan for the entire project often means disappointing results and spending much more than anticipated. Proper planning requires homeowners to create the following types of documentation:

  • Budget
  • Drawings
  • Materials list
  • Price quotes from several contractors
  • Proposed schedule

The next step is to ensure the availability of all items he or she wishes to use. It’s important to order them as soon as possible to prevent delays later if the items are no longer available. Homeowners should also plan to inspect all materials when they arrive.

Consider Getting a Professional Opinion

Even homeowners who intend to complete the project themselves can benefit from the expertise of a professional designer or home inspector. A design consultant can point out potential issues with the homeowner’s plan while a home inspector can uncover safety issues that he or she might have overlooked.

Estimate Time to Complete the Home Improvement Project

While it can be challenging to know exactly how long each part of the project will take, creating a rough estimate is essential. Most homeowners, especially those with little or no experience with home improvement projects, tend to underestimate project length. A good rule is to add 20 percent to his or her best estimate. It’s also a good idea to add 20 percent to the budget. The danger of a project taking much longer than expected is that the homeowner may give up on it halfway through.

Don’t Forget About Safety

Some homeowners get so excited about tackling the project that they forget to invest in safety gear. This should include steel-toed boots, a hard hat, goggles, and work gloves at a minimum. Additionally, it’s important to avoid wearing baggy clothes that could become stuck in moving parts or tools and to make sure the work area remains free of clutter.

Avoid Fines for Building Violations

Homeowners sometimes feel tempted to skip applying for permits to save money and because they figure no one will know about their home improvement project. While it might seem like unnecessary bureaucracy and expense, safety is the real reason behind the permit requirements. A city building inspector will make sure the project meets compliance and that the homeowner and his or her family remain safe. Here are three common violations that anyone considering a do-it-yourself project should avoid:

  • Incorrect venting in the bathroom: Building codes require bathroom fans to vent humid air outside through a vent pipe four inches in diameter. Failing to follow this code results in rotting wood and mold in the attic.
  • Handrails at the wrong degree: When installing a wall-side handrail, it must create a 90-degree turn and a dead-end leading to a wall. This helps to prevent purses and clothing from snagging on the handrail and causing a fall.
  • Out-of-code junction boxes: All junction boxes for electrical outlets must be accessible and visible with a minimum wire length of six inches inside of the box. The wires entering a box must be clamped to prevent it from moving.

Additionally, taking care of construction debris removal on a regular basis will help prevent unwanted attention from neighbors. An unsightly pile of old drywall and/or appliances in the front yard is a sure-fire way to generate calls to the local building department.

As long as homeowners take the time to plan their project and learn local building codes, everything should go just fine.

Picking Out Your Christmas Cards

Picking Out Your Christmas Cards

When it comes to Christmas, one of the best ways to connect with people is through Christmas cards. However, finding the type that you want and ensuring that they bring joy into the lives of those you send them to can be more than a little complicated. Here are a few tips to pick out the best possible Christmas cards and to ensure that everyone who receives one feels loved and cared for.

1. Consider Photo Cards

Photo cards can be a great way to show people that you care and to keep them updated on your life as well. If you are sending out a large number, you can opt to get them specially printed. However, if you are only sending out a few, you might think about cards where you can put in your own photos. These also allow you to decorate and embellish the photos, personalising them for each person that you send them to. This is a great gift for your best friends or for your children to give to their friends.

2. Think About Classic Christmas Cheer

Things such as the lyrics to carols, Christmas villages, images of Santa, and so many other options evoke the idea of Christmas. If you want to go with a more classic and refined option, these are some of the best choices. If you are getting multiple packs of different cards, you might consider getting some of these for the people you work with or for older people you interact with on a regular basis.

3. Think About Sending Messages of Peace

While the season is often associated with cheer, it is also a time for peace and reflection. Consider sending cards with messages relating to peace, health, and other positive attributes. This can be a great way to show friends that you care about them and their lives.

4. Think about Cute Animals

Some of the best cards have cute animals on them. This can be anything from cute dogs to chubby birds on trees to sheep out in a field all wearing silly hats. There really is no limit to how silly these cards can be and they are sure to put a smile on the face of anyone who receives one. If you have a pet or know that your friends do, you can even match the card to the pet in question.

5. Think About Supporting A Charity

A number of different charities put out card sets during this time of the year. These cards help support the charities throughout the coming years and are usually cheaper than you would think. Give two gifts at once when you purchase charity cards.

6. Think about Making Your Own

There are a number of kits available to make your own cards and give them to friends. This is a great craft to do with your children once they are out of school.

There are so many different ways that you can personalise the Christmas cards that you send. Choosing great cards can bring a smile to your friends’faces and show people you know that you are thinking of them during the holiday season.

JAC Interiors: Modern Eclectic Interior Design

JAC Interiors: Modern Eclectic Interior Design

Are you looking for a new style for your home? Are you tired of the traditional design methods that everyone else is using? If so, you may appreciate modern eclectic style for your next redecoration. Not only will it make your interior much more vibrant and noticeable, but it will make your house feel more like a home. Enlisting los angeles interior designers can also help bring your new, modern look to life.

What is Modern Eclectic?

One of the defining characteristics of this interior design style is the inclusion of a variety of different pieces. Rather than creating a single, homogenous appearance for your home, modern eclectic utilizes various colors, textures, and motifs to create something more unique.

Core Components of the Style

To better understand how this all comes together, it’s important to know what the core concepts are for modern eclectic. At first glance, it may seem like you’re just throwing a bunch of stuff together, but it’s so much more than that.

Curation

To really get into this type of design, you have to be able to bring elements that compliment each other instead of clashing. Also, everything should be part of the homeowner’s persona, so it’s a bit like combining different parts of a person’s personality. Curation is the key to making it work, which means that you can’t just go with anything.

Focus

One thing that can happen easily with modern eclectic is that the interior can feel cluttered or overwhelming. As such, it’s very important to create focal points in each room and have the additional pieces flow outward from it. This will ensure that the result is more refined and appealing.

Ergonomics

While decoration can enhance the feeling of a room, you don’t want to have an abundance of items for show purposes only. Instead, try to incorporate pieces that are both functional and aesthetic so that you get the best of both worlds.

Balance

Finally, the tricky thing about modern eclectic is that you need to have an overarching premise for everything. Randomness is not a design element, so it’s critical that you have a balance of eclectic and classical motifs.

If you’re interested in having the modern eclectic design for your home or business, contact interior design firms in Beverly Hills. We specialize in making this style blend seamlessly into your space.

Getting the Most Out of Your Central Heating

Getting the Most Out of Your Central Heating

We all like to be comfortable in our homes; unfortunately, constantly running heat and air conditioning can put a significant dent in our wallets. Many people think heating or cooling a house is an all-or-nothing game, but there are actually plenty of ways to make sure your house stays at a comfortable temperature without spending hundreds on your monthly heating bill.

Part of the process requires consistent maintenance of your heating system, but the other part is far easier—it involves simple choices you can make to save on your heating bill.

Routine Maintenance

Whether you’re talking about a car, a computer, or an HVAC system, nearly everything works better with consistent maintenance. There are plenty of steps you can take to maintain your central heating system, and many of them can save you money on your heating bill.

The first thing you should do is make sure you have a good air filter. The higher the MERV rating on your air filter, the more contaminants it’s trapping. This is essential to maintaining indoor air quality and a comfortable temperature.

Speaking of air filters, you should make sure you replace yours every 90 days. As more and more air passes through an air filter, contaminants get trapped and impede airflow. Keeping your filter clean not only allows for more air to pass through, it also keeps the air you breathe free of harmful irritants.

You should also make sure your outdoor units have space to breathe. Keep leaves, pollen and grass away from your outdoor units, and make sure they have a few feet of space around them for airflow. As the winter months approach and it’s time to shut off the A/C, you should replace the furnace humidifier filter and turn the water (which you should have turned off in the summer) back on.

Inspecting the condensate drain and clearing it every now and then will help prolong the life of your heating and cooling unit. Lastly, you should occasionally make sure your HVAC unit is on level ground to promote proper drainage. Although these tasks relate more to the A/C, they’re an important part of prolonging the life of your system in general. If you aren’t comfortable performing this maintenance yourself, get help from a trusted HVAC company.

Be Vigilant

One of the easiest ways to save big on your heating bill is to become more vigilant about when and how you heat your home. This includes letting the temperature drop a bit when you’re away from home and promoting proper airflow when the heater is on.

When you’re not at home, you don’t need to keep your house at a cozy 70 degrees F. Each morning before you leave for work, turn your thermostat down a few degrees for the duration of the day. When you get home, you can turn it back up to your desired temperature and relax. A smart thermostat that connects to your smartphone allows you to change the temperature when you’re not at home, which means you can set it to your desired temperature and let it heat up as you drive home. If you don’t mind bundling up, choosing a sweater over those extra few degrees of heat can provide significant savings, too.

Fans are one of the most overlooked money-saving tools when it comes to heating your home. Fans simply promote airflow—nothing more, nothing less. By turning a ceiling fan on (set to the winter setting), you can spread heat throughout your home and save on your heating bill. Heating a home is always going to cost you, but it doesn’t have to be a fortune. Follow these simple tips and you can significantly lower your heating bill.

Some of the Best Neighborhoods Found in Miami

Some of the Best Neighborhoods Found in Miami

Miami is an amazing city and it is no surprise, therefore, that property and neighborhood development company Terra Group is so focused on it. It is known as the “Magic City”, and it attracts people from all over the world. Because of that, however, space is running out and this has given rise to condos that are built vertically. For many, living in Miami is about living at the beach, but there are other neighborhoods as well. What the Terra Group wants to do, meanwhile, is build sustainable communities all across South Florida. Hence, they have developed a list of the best neighborhoods in Miami, in which they may be able to achieve that.

Miami’s Best Neighborhoods

Brickell is perhaps the best part of Miami. It is home to beautiful and luxurious towers, with chic condos like the Plaza, Icon Brickell, and the Santa Maria. Brickell is not found right on the beach, but it is just a few minutes’ drive away. What makes Brickell so interesting, however, is that it is an elegant and cosmopolitan area that is now seen by many as “Manhattan with better weather”. It is a trendy place, with equally trendy nightlife.

Then, there is downtown Miami. Only recently has this been redeveloped to include true high quality architecture. The Quantum on the Bay is one of the newest high rise buildings there, as is Ten Museum Park, One Miami condos, and 900 Biscayne Bay. Here, people can enjoy upscale living but in the heart of the city itself.

South Beach is also home to various luxury condos. The Murano, the Icon South Beach, and the Continuum are just some examples of this. The truly upmarket condos are close to the ocean and within walking distance of the restaurants and the famous nightlife. They all look over downtown Miami and/or the Biscayne Bay. People from all over the world try to get a second home here, not in the least because it is so pedestrianized as well.

Miami Beach is to the north. This is perhaps the best place for those who like to be on the oceanfront. The Bath Club and Mei Miami Beach are just two examples of fantastic opportunities that are available there. Close to the see, at Bay Harbour Island or Biscayne Points and other parts of North Miami Beach, you will find some of the most elegant homes.

Finally, there is Sunny Isles Beach, an upmarket oceanfront neighborhood. The luxury high rise buildings here, such as the Jade Beach and Jade Ocean, are famous the world over. It is incredibly luxurious, offering true five star living. It is home to Trump Royale, for instance. Beachfront properties here are within walking distance of shopping facilities such as the exclusive Bal Harbour Shops and the Aventura Mall. In fact, many consider it the best place to live in South Florida, and it is just a 20 minute community to downtown Miami and South Beach as well.

Things to consider when doing DIY

Things to consider when doing DIY

For some people, a DIY attitude comes naturally to them. They see a crack in their wall, or even their neighbours and they don’t hesitate to get their equipment ready and fix it themselves. If there is no problem then, they will come up with a new job to occupy themselves such as making a small vegetable garden or planning an extension to the house. A lot of the time these can become long, uncompleted tasks and simply turn into hobbies rather than necessary jobs, but for others they work out incredibly well. It is when you see these completed tasks that you become a little disappointed that you didn’t do it yourself. You lack the motivation, the know how or the time. There are many benefits to DIY, in either short or long projects and we are going to look at some of those here to give you that added motivation.

You are not alone:

When you start out on your project, remember you are not alone. Everyone started somewhere especially in fields they hadn’t a clue about. Plan, make sure the project isn’t too big and gather some equipment and knowledge online. You will learn what you are capable of and what you are not and then you can bring this into future projects.

Do a little research:

Before you carry out an DIY projects ensure you do a little research. On larger projects, especially around your property you must ensure that you can carry out the work that you want to and that it can be down in a safe manner. Possibly there are building restrictions in your area which means you can’t carry out work. There might be cables or pipes within your work area that could affect your project.

If you don’t have a background in the field there are plenty of online resources and books which you can use as guides. Ensure they are from reputable sources and this will make your project easier to organise and carry out in a much faster manner.

There is always professional help:

There is always a possibly that you won’t have the skills to carry out the project to its completion or the time. It is then always important to remember that you can call on professionals to help. Companies such as Gordon powers can come in at any time and help with your electrical issues and then you can continue with you project. If you don’t feel up to it any more then there are a host of other that you can hire in to do the job.

Carrying out your own personal DIY project is always a great way to stay motivated and keep yourself busy when you are at home or in an otherwise boring situation. You get to learn some new skills, have the satisfaction of completing the job your side and you won’t be able to blame anybody else for the failures. Remember to always, research carry it out in a safe manner and call on the professionals when necessary.

Easy home improvements for DIY novices

Easy home improvements for DIY novices

Home refurbishments are a great way to give your home a new lease on life, but the expense of hiring decorators can be a huge turn-off. For many, the idea of DIY as an alternative is just as unappealing.

Thankfully, there is a way to get the best of both worlds. Following these simple guidelines, you can transform your home at minimal expense with some DIY that even the biggest novice will find easy and enjoyable: 

Mood lighting

Adding a couple of free-standing lighting fixtures can help turn any room into a new space or at least one that looks new.

Budget versions of stylish floor uplighters and lamps can be picked up from “big box” home decor stores. The best part is, there is absolutely zero effort or electrical knowledge required to install them. Simply unbox, assemble and plug into the wall.

These simple and affordable lighting fixtures can be a great addition to a room that doesn’t get much natural light. They can also be moved around the room to ensure that they have the optimal desired effect with no electrician’s bill in sight. 

Repainting

There’s no end to the benefits that a new coat of paint can bring to a room. While professional painters will surely disagree, it’s a job that can be done well by simply following a few simple guidelines, so there really isn’t any excuse for putting up with drab or worn-out paint jobs.

The key to selecting an appropriate color is to go for a neutral shade. While it may be tempting to add in a feature wall, you may regret this at a later date if fashions change or you decide to change your furniture. So, opt for a gray, off-white or perhaps a “fashion-neutral” navy (be sure to only use dark neutrals such as charcoal and navy in rooms with plenty of natural light).

Hanging pictures

Does your home look like you live in it, or does it just look like somebody lives in it? The key to making any space your own is to include plenty of personal photos of loved ones or artwork that means something to you.

Hanging photos of friends, family and places that you’ve traveled to is a simple and cheap way to bring a room to life. The best part is, it requires no DIY skills whatsoever.

Choose some sentimental photographs from Facebook and print them out on high-quality black-and-white photographic paper. This can be done cheaply at any copy shop and at many “big box” department stores. Because black and white are neutral colors, your photos will have a classic look that complements any room.

The frames are an easy win, too. Just look out for the correct-sized frames at yard sales and charity stores. Remember to stick with frames that are neutral in color and simple in design.

Ladder shelving units

Ladder shelving units are on-trend at the moment. This is why you’ll see them in stylish city cafes and restaurants and in virtually every home décor store.

If you want to get in on the trend, then consider adding a set of ladder shelves to your bedroom, living room or dining room. Assembly is as simple as putting up a normal ladder, which virtually anyone can do, and you can include ornaments on the shelves themselves to suit any room.

The DIY versions of shelving ladder units require a little more assembly but will spare you the inflated fees that boutique stores often charge for very similar items.

Be aware that these units will have their own shelf life, so may start to look a little dated in a few years’ time.

Window shutters

Shutters may not be the first thing that come to mind when thinking of easy DIY projects. but there are DIY shutters available that won’t break the bank. They also look great and take no time to install.

Most importantly, a new set of window shutters will give any room in your home a fresh new exotic feel. On a practical level, they’re ideal for keeping out the summer sun.

Get back to nature

Greenery is always in fashion. So, why not add some to your home? Aside from the mental and physical health benefits that plants can bring to a home, they can also change the look and feel of a room entirely. They can also be picked up from a garden store relatively inexpensively and require no DIY skills at all.

Avoiding a Foreclosure Through Forbearance – Pros and Cons

Avoiding a Foreclosure Through Forbearance – Pros and Cons

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A lot of people hope that a forbearance agreement can help them to avoid foreclosure, and it often can. However, it should not be seen as an easy way out of a difficult situation. In fact, if you are facing foreclosure and you want to consider a forbearance agreement, do make sure you speak to a specialist like Stephen Buzzi first, so that you increase your understanding of what it is, whether it is right for you, and whether or not you can comply with the terms.

How Can a Forbearance Agreement Help?

Essentially, under this agreement, you will be able to receive special terms on your loan for a set period of time, usually no more than three months (although extenuating circumstances can increase this to a year). After that period of time, your normal payments will return, with an increase to pay back the payments you have missed.

Essentially, this agreement gives you a little bit of breathing space to your finances back in order. At the same time, however, it is very risky because, once your term is up, your payments will increase, and often substantially so. If, once your forbearance agreement is up, you cannot make the new repayments at any point, the lender will be able to proceed with foreclosure.

Another issue that you have to be aware of, is that your foreclosure agreement will be reported to the credit bureaus, and it will look as if you have been delinquent on your payments. Hence, your credit score will be negatively affected. Should your rating already be less than perfect, you could find yourself in a high risk category. While this may not seem so big of an issue now, if you were to find yourself with further difficulties at a later stage, you will struggle to find any help suitable for you, including foreclosure prevention.

Furthermore, forbearance agreements impact your escrow. This means it also impacts your property taxes and your insurance. Every installment, some money is placed into escrow to ensure annual expenses are met. Should you have a forbearance agreement in place, no money will be able to go into escrow and this means that you could end up not having enough money to pay taxes and insurance. When that happens, the forbearance agreement can be voided, and foreclosure can commence.

Should You Avoid Forbearance?

The above makes it sound as if forbearance should be avoided at all costs, which is definitely not the case. It is an excellent option for people who find themselves in a short-term difficult situation and who want to avoid foreclosure. It is simply very important that you are fully aware of all the risks that are out there, and what these types of agreements really mean. Naturally, if you speak to Stephen R Buzzi first, he will assist you in making sure that you know exactly what the agreement means, and that you are sure that it is a suitable solution for your particular situation.

Key Components For a House Extension

Key Components For a House Extension

If you have decided that the time is right to look for more space within your home then a home extension is the course of action which I would recommend. This was a dilemma that I was faced with some years ago and the idea of moving home for more space just seemed too much work, too problematic and, with a volatile housing market, potentially too expensive.

I decided therefore that I would extend my home so that we could gain the additional space that we were looking for and if you are considering doing the same thing, I wanted to use my experience to give you an idea of the things that you are going to need to work out.

Budget

Your budget is key to the speed and quality of the extension and whilst you should of course make it as large as possible, don’t forget that you will not money in reserve. These things always run over budget and there is always something that you will have to pay extra for. An example of this was the additional money I had to pay for the brickwork for the house, the original bricks had been discontinued and the guys down at David Montoya stonemakers were able to custom make them for me, an expense which I had not considered. Rsememrb that you’ll also need money for decorations and furnishings once the job is complete so do not go all in.

Planning Permission

Until you are sure that you have the planning permission for your project, the only person that you should have contracted is an architect. The architect will need to be there to plot the design and to tweak and change it so that it is granted permission from the local government. Without this you cannot build so make sure that you invest a lot of time and energy in gaining your permission.

Construction Firm

You should spend a lot of time when making the decision as to which construction firm you will use to carry out the project. Essentially what you are looking for here is a company with an excellent track record for speed an quality, a leader who will regularly inform of you of what is going on and who is always available and a construction firm which charge a fair price for their work. Use reviews from others, personal recommendations and meetings to decipher which is the best.

Stay or Go

Finally you need to consider whether you will stay at home whilst the work is being undertaken or go to a hotel or a family member’s home during this time. There are benefits and disadvantages to both options and it will vary from job to job. My recommendation would be to move out if it is possible, the job will get done quicker and you won’t have to live on a construction site for the duration of the job. The choice is your but decide as early as possible to cause as little upheaval as you can.