Archive | February 2014

The Best Times To Sell Your Home

Wholesome Homes

According to this Forbes article, there are 5 opportune times to list (or not) a home to get it viewed by the most buyers:

 
1. When the weather is good for viewing
When people can actually stroll outside comfortably. That means when it’s not rainy season in the South (during the summer), or in the Midwest and Northeast (during the spring). And when it’s not winter in any area.

 
2. When the kids are not in school
That means during summer break. Many families with school-aged children like to house hunt when the moving process is least disruptive for their children, so houses located nearby schools may have better prospects of selling during these times.

 
3. NOT during the holidays
When the kids are at home, many home buyers prefer to enjoy their company and that of other family member to viewing homes. This fact coupled with wintery weather during these months makes December and November the slowest times for home searches nationwide.

 
4.  Right after taxes are due
According to the article, mortgage interest deductions motivate buyers to search for homes right after paying their tax bills, to avoid paying the same amount the next year. Young professionals fresh out of college also seek to avoid larger tax bills by searching for homes between graduation day and the end of the tax season.

 
5.  Around New Year’s Day
New Year’s resolutions tend to include buying a home. Those looking to develop a relationship with a loved one, or improve family life, or relocate for career or any varieties of reasons may resolve to buy a new home near the beginning of the year.

List  your home when buyers are looking to get a better deal!

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Sources:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/trulia/2014/02/07/5-ways-to-pick-the-perfect-time-to-sell/

http://trends.truliablog.com/2013/01/seasonal-real-estate-search/

http://carollemacintosh.com/files/2011/06/Home-Sold.jpg

Keeping It Green With Pets

The fact of the matter is that pets leave a substantially larger environmental footprint than most would imagine. One of the biggest problems is the waste that they create. People, including I, are suckers for our furry, cuddly pets! While they’re great, there is no reason pets should be leaving such a negative impact on the environment if we can do something about it.

“The country’s 73 million dogs produce about 10 million tons of poo each year, while our 90 million cats cause about two million tons of cat litter to wind up in landfills. Add to that all the discarded plastic toys, the packaging for dog treats and food..” (Brite)

A)   Clean Up Their Poop!

Picking up your dog’s poop doesn’t have to be hazardous for the environment. You can use biodegradable bags or reuse plastic bags from your local grocery store. While this is a great last minute resort, you should aim for buying bio degradable bags. As for picking up cat litter, you should avoid clumping clay litter at all costs. The clay is bad for the cat’s lungs as well as being strip-mined which is bad for the planet.

B) Choose “Green” Pet Toys

Pet owners should think about the earth and the environment before choosing a pet toy. Pet toys are often made with plastic, mylar, and similar substances that do not break down easily when thrown out. Instead, keep a rotation of biodegradable toys to keep your pets entertained. Also, you can reuse things around your home as well. Find some knotted rope you no longer need from a tire swing for dogs or a closed medication bottle for cats. This will reduce the amount of waste they’re causing. Check out http://www.westpawdesign.com/ for great toys!

C) Use Eco Friendly Cleaner

Earth friendly cleaning solutions are offered for the variety of messes pets make! all of which are made with plant-based essential oils. The company sells dander remover, pet wipes, laundry detergent (specially designed for those with pets), aviary cage cleaner, kitty litter treatment, and general pet stain and odor remover, as well as skunk odor remover. 

dirty_dog_with_pail

http://barknatural.com/2013/04/1547/

D) Use A Sustainable Dog House 

It can be difficult to find a dog house that is both eco-friendly and affordable at the same time. However the option can be available. Construct it with  leftover wood chips and scraps that would otherwise have been wasted and/or scraps of aluminum  for the frame. Also, adding plants on the roof will balance the plants your pet is eating. There are many DIY projects to make this affordable and sustainable.

Read more:

Brite: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20207586,00.html

 http://www.care2.com/greenliving/how-to-be-an-eco-friendly-pet-owner.html#ixzz2serBiSjq

http://www.westpawdesign.com/

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4 Daily Tips That Will Keep Your Home In Order

Woman Dusting Clip Art

It’s that time of year to show that special someone just how much you care. And it’s that time of year to show your house just how much you care.

In fact, every time is that time of year to show your house how much you care. That is, if you want to keep your home clean enough to live in.

Which is not always easy to accomplish – unless you have a system.

Here is one that may work. Courtesy of The Inspired Room, here are four cleaning tips for your daily routine that just may do the trick:

1. A morning routine

Start with the self. Key to organization is keeping yourself in check. So start the day early, take a shower, and get dressed to the tee. Throw a few simple chores into your routine, like washing a load of laundry and picking up clothes strewn around the place.

2. Clean sinks everyday

Nothing promotes cleanliness like a clean sink; and nothing discourages it like a dirty one, agree? Keep sinks clean by rinsing them off after each use. Make sure the whole family participates in this effort.

3. Go on a cleaning frenzy

Everyday, focus on cleaning up for at least 10 minutes at a time. Organize the living room, clean all the toilets, dust all the furniture, anything at all, for at least 10 minutes everyday. If it takes longer, no prob and all the better, but make it at least ten minutes – it makes a difference!

4. Never leave the kitchen dirty

Wake up to a fresh start by washing the dishes, wiping down the counters, and polishing off the sink every night. There’s something about a clean kitchen that makes the whole house feel cleaner – and there;s nothing like a dirty kitchen to make it feel the opposite.

Stick to this routine and have your home loving you back, clean enough to live in.

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DDIY: Don’t Do It Yourself

When remodeling your home, the way to save is by doing a lot of the work yourself.  However, there are some things you should leave to the pros.  Here are 6 projects you should not DIY:

Plumbing

There are some plumbing projects you could DIY like changing a faucet, however, if you are modifying your plumbing system it is best to leave that to the experts.  Small mistakes can lead to large and expensive problems, for example, a small leak can lead to a massive mold problem.

Electrical

electricians

There are many codes to follow when it comes to electrical to ensure safety.  One wrong move can burn your entire house down and put everyone in the home at risk.  Even during installation, a shock could cause serious injury or even death.

Roofing

The dummy hanging from the Charlotte home on Wednesday morning. (Source: WBTV's Brad Stafford)

Not only is the risk of falling off of your roof high, the slightest mistake could lead to expensive problems.  Improperly installed shingles can cause leaks and ultimately cause problems like mold.

Asbestos Removal

mold-removal-safety-gear

Asbestos is highly toxic and dangerous to those in close proximity, so there are laws and regulations governing the removal and it should only be done by professionals.  Mold removal should be treated the same way.

Structural Changes

Professionals should be the only ones dealing with the structural integrity of your home.  It requires the knowledge of an engineer to ensure a strong structure.  So when you decide to turn your home into an open concept, consult a contractor or an architect first to avoid potentially dangerous situations.

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Unique Ways To Increase Space In Your Home

Most homeowners are wasting space, and they don’t even know it!  The space next to the stove and even inside your walls, are great for storage you just need a little creativity.

Closet Door Storage

Great for storing shoes, purses and other accessories!  Even add hooks to the shelves for jewelry.  Door storage is also great for your pantry!

Not great with building things?  That’s okay, try buying premade shelves!

Book rack holder shelf low profile wall mount 20 inches long pine/pg for kids books

Sliding Pantry Storage

Closet roll out shelving. What a useful, inexpensive idea...

Most of us are not blessed with huge walk-in pantries, a wire shelving rack on wheels is a great way to use every inch of your pantry!

Sliding Spice Rack

Many kitchens have wasted space next to the stove, so why not utilize that space by building a sliding spice rack?

Modern  Cabinet Pull out Spice Rack

Between the Studs Shelving

between-wall-stud shelving

Built-in shelving between the studs is a great way to utilize that wasted space in your walls.  Dress it up with molding and you have a great area to display pictures or store small items!

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How To Make Your Home Smart

According to smarthomeusa.com, ’Smart Home’ is the term commonly used to define a residence that has appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet.

Many people are transforming their homes to smart homes and taking advantage of the new technology our country has to offer. Having a smart home makes life at home easier, as well as life away from home.

Picture this, you’re a busy parent that planned a family trip. You planned to leave at 8 am but you’re rushing out around 9:30. You’re almost to the airport when you realize you left everything on. Then you remember you installed all of your smart home technology a few weeks ago. You get your cell phone out, click on your new app, and hit the buttons to turn the lights and tv off. You’re all set and can now leave for your vacation on time.

How convenient right?

How about this scenario: you’re on your trip and you realize you forgot to leave food for your cat. You call your friend up and ask them to run by your house and give your cat some food. They text you when they leave. You lock the door and turn the alarm on. All through your phone. Amazing, right?

These are just some ways that having a “smart house” can come in handy. Not to mention these systems are completely do it yourself and energy efficient.

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What Makes Energy Efficient Windows Better?

Going green is becoming a must and individuals are taking the step to save energy within their homes.

Energy efficient windows are treated and constructed to maintain a comfortable temperature in a room or building, according to experts.  Unique ratings are applied to the windows to identify them and its importance. Experts say, the U-Value shows “the rate of non-solar heat flow through a window or skylight”, therefore the best option should be less than 0.5. The R-Value is opposite to the U-Value and the air leakage rating shows how tight a window is from the air.

It brings about an attractive and affordable home. In the cold seasons or homes in colder environments, it holds warm air within the house and blocks cold breeze from entering the house. The energy efficient windows are also beneficial for homes in warmer environment. The windows can be opened to allow air into the rooms without having to turn the air conditioner on. This helps save energy and thereby cost. Leakages are reduced. The windows are durable and they last longer.

If you do not have energy efficient windows yet don’t worry, it is not only for new buildings. You can fix them in your homes even though it is not a new construction. A double glazing procedure further traps air between the glass panes. This helps trap warm air within the house during the winter season. The initial construction and fixing of the energy efficient windows may be high but the long term advantages are more. The energy consumption of your home will reduce drastically and the family may retrieve all the initial cost that went into the windows. Therefore, go green and help conserve energy.

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Wood Pallet Housing

Wood Pallet housing has recently been common in competitions for alternative housing.

To make a 10 by 20 foot home, you will need 80 pallets and this costs around $500. There are 700 million wood pallets produced each year in the United States and 150 million end up in landfills. So not only would building houses out of wood pallets be good for the environment, it would be recycling products that would otherwise be in the landfill. Since there are so many available pallets and they are easy to transfer, it is possible for many of these houses to be built.

These wood pallet houses would produce natural ventilation by filtering the air as well as natural shade. These houses are fully functional. They can be constructed very easily and quickly. Minimal work is needed and minimal help.

These houses are built by nailing and/or strapping the pallets together. Then the builders will put tarpaulin, heavy-duty waterproof cloth over the pallets to prevent water from coming in. The spaces in the wood can be filled with stone, mud, metal, or other forms of wood. Styrofoam can also be used to keep the building strong and safe, especially against harsher weather.

Not only are the wood-pallet homes green and convenient but they are beautiful. Not to mention you can make the features and furniture in the house out of the pallets.

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Sources:

dornob.com

dailymail.co.uk

The Truth About Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Pt. 2

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs. (Part 2 of 2)

For once you actually get your new CFLs, let’s go over the do’s and don’t’s of installing and handling them.

Installation Location

Remember how in Part One of this post I said that you can install CFLs almost anywhere you can install incandescents? Well, these new CFLs need some tender loving care, and some caution about where they go.

Don’t just install all old CFL into a fixture that has a dimmer switch or a three-way light (eg. a lamp that has a dim, regular and bright setting.) Your bulb will burn out quicker and and you’ll be kicking yourself.

Do read the labels and buy CFLs specifically designed for these kinds of light settings.

Eek, water! Don’t install any CFLs outside that could be exposed to rain, sprinklers or other water sources.

Do make sure that any outside CFLs are fully protected, such as inside a glass lantern under an awning by the door.

What’s this I hear about mercury?

Upon hearing that CFLs contain some mercury, you might be shaking your head and dismissing the whole CFL idea. But hear me out! The mercury levels in CFLs are very low – less than what’s inside a can of tuna. There are just a few simple precautions you should take.

It broke! What do I do? Even the best of us can have butter fingers sometimes. If you accidentally break a CFL…

Don’t vacuum it up and throw it away.

Do leave it alone for a minute or two. Turn on a fan and/or open a window to let it air out. Then clean it up with a paper towel and put it in a plastic bag. And then…

I need to dispose of my broken/burnt-out CFL!

Don’t throw it away! Whether it breaks or just burns out (which shouldn’t happen for about 10 years) don’t just toss your CFL into the trash. Because CFLs contain that small amount of mercury we talked about, if thrown out they can leak mercury into landfills and the soil. In fact, it’s illegal in many states to throw them in the trash.

Do dispose of them properly at a participating store, such as Target or Home Depot.

So there you have it! Those are the do’s and don’t’s for having CFLs in your home.

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Sources:

https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls_about

http://www.earthsfriends.com/cfl-vs-incandescent

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-tech/sustainable/cfl-bulb.htm

http://www.greenlightneworleans.org/greenfacts.html

5 Edible, Old-Fashioned, & Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Clean like grandma did! Here are 5 edible, old-fashioned products that are great at keeping your cleaning regimen eco-friendly.

White Vinegar

The obvious for some, but still news-worthy. White vinegar cuts grease, removes stains and soap scum, and (with baking soda), and can be used to clean toilets. And ,when mixed with water, it can be used to kill mold and mildew.

Grapefruit Seed-Extract

This can also be used to kill mold and mildew, but in an odorless way.

Lemon Juice

Another fruit worthy of cleaning with is the lemon! Apply to stove and countertops to remove grease stains. You can also use it as a bleaching agent for stains on clothing! With lemon oil (10 drops to 2Tbsp lemon juice) and a few drops of jojoba oil, you can even use lemon juice to clean and polish wood furniture!

Olive Oil

Speaking of polishing wood furniture, olive oil can be used for the same purpose, with a bit of vinegar (three parts olive oil to one part vinegar), or lemon juice (two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice). Olive oil can also be used to lubricate wood furniture.

Potatoes

A bit different from furniture, baking pans and tinware can be taken care of with potatoes. Dipped in a bit of salt (or you can do the salt scrub later), a potato cut in half can be used to remove rust from baking pans and tinware.

So clean green, like grandma did, with tasty products!

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Sources:

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00580/natural-household-cleaning-products.html

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