Category: Homeownership

2 Sep 2016

Get the Most Bang for Your Renovation Buck #FlashbackFriday

Perhaps you just purchased an older home for a too-good-to-be-true type deal. The good news: It’s in a fabulous location, in an “up-and-coming” neighborhood. The bad news: You’re now walking on shag carpet anytime you step into your bathroom. Before you swing the sledgehammer, it’s important to know the facts–because not all renovation projects are created equal. Read below to learn which home improvement projects yield the best return. Outdoor Enhancements Curb appeal is like a first impression—there are no do-overs. And when it comes to maximizing your potential return on investment, enhancing your front door and garage door prove to be two of the best investments. A new front door can refresh the overall look and feel of your house and won’t set...
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29 Aug 2016

Unique, Different and Creative Home Improvements

Would you like to make some changes around the house, but want something different that makes your space special? Check out these products, DIY ideas and projects for some different and creative improvements around the house. The difference is in the details. Consider your gutters. Boring. Consider the area where the water runs out and ruts your yard. Irritating. Add a splash of panache with a decorative splash block and make it interesting while solving a problem. Add architectural detail and interest in an instant with decorative molding on an accent wall. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, take a hard look at your staircase handrail. Is it just like everyone else’s? Is it big, without making a big statement? There are so many new options and...
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12 Aug 2016

Back to School: Lessons in Organization

It’s that time of year again - the start of the craziness known as the school year. Yellow buses are on the road and the kids are on their way back to classes. While summer days seem endless, the season is always over before you expect it. So it begins – the yearly run to get everything purchased, packed, sorted and signed. Whether you’re a parent or perhaps returning to school yourself, the new school year offers a fresh start, a new beginning. And a perfect time to get organized. Weekdays are so much easier if you and the kids are not running around looking for that special red shirt, left sneaker or math worksheet. So what’s the best approach? Consider these tips...
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1 Jul 2016

Permit Protection #FlashbackFriday

Have you been thinking about a remodeling project or considering significant upgrades to your home? If so, don’t forget to check into which building permits you’ll need. Generally, permits are required for the installation, extension, alteration or general repair of electrical, mechanical or plumbing systems. The cost of each permit will depend on the scope of the project and can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The permitting process will vary depending on your project and where you live. An in-ground swimming pool, for example, will have different requirements than a kitchen remodel. Simple cosmetic changes, such as switching out a faucet, likely won’t require a permit, but changing a sink might. Sometimes a municipality won’t require a permit if the amount...
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29 Jun 2016

Predicting the unpredictable

If you’ve ever heard a summer weather forecast – sunny, highs in the mid-80s, chance of late afternoon thundershowers – you might decide that it’s not too hard to be a meteorologist. But when it comes to predicting hurricanes, the process is highly scientific, utilizing analog data, statistical models, atmospheric conditions and ocean temperatures. According to the pros, Hurricane Season 2016 might be a big one. Each year, Duke Energy professionals study historical data and weather conditions to help crews prepare for potential power outages and destruction. Duke Energy meteorologists Max Thompson and Stanton Lanham predict that 2016 could bring 17 named storms, including eight hurricanes, with three of them major. That’s because warmer-than-average ocean temperatures in the Central Atlantic, caused...
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20 May 2016

A Coat of Many Colors #FlashbackFriday

If you had only a small amount – say $50 or $100 – to invest in improving your home, how would you spend it? By and large, experts agree that a fresh coat of paint is one of the quickest, easiest and least expensive ways to spruce up a room. In just a day or two, you can transform a space and create a mood simply by painting the walls. Think of paint on walls as a backdrop for your home’s color palate. It’s kind of like an artist’s canvas; it sets the stage for furnishings and accessories that reflect your unique tastes and preferences. Light or white paint adds brightness and makes small rooms and spaces appear larger. Brightly colored paint...
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13 May 2016

Neighbors Behaving Badly #FlashbackFriday

If you have not had the misfortune of living next to bad neighbors, then consider yourself lucky. I remember my experience quite well. It was early morning, and I was going on no sleep. My baby had a double ear infection and my daughter had a cold. As I waited impatiently for the doctor’s office to open, my upstairs neighbor came to the door. “Did you know that your son has been crying all morning?” she said. “No, I had no idea,” I responded. To which she says, “Can you like hold him or something?” As I glared alternately at her and my son on my hip, she adds “Well … try to get him to stop.” The next weekend, the same neighbor...
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8 Apr 2016

The smarter the better when it comes to appliances

We’d all like to be smarter, but how about letting someone, or rather, something do the thinking for us? Smart home technology is one of the fastest growing trends with more homeowners jumping on board faster than predicted. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show was chock-full of smart stuff – we’re talking robotic washing machines, smart doorbells, locks, thermostats, coffee makers and more. Security and temperature control panels are still the most popular areas in smart home technology, but appliances are the next big trend. Whirlpool just introduced the Smart Top Load washer and dryer. You can put it in quiet mode and control it from anywhere using an app. You can also use a special EcoBoost mode, saving energy – and cash. There’s an...
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30 Mar 2016

5 ways buying a house helps build a financial foundation.

What does homeownership mean in terms of helping build a financial foundation for now and the future? The Annie E. Casey Foundation says that your assets—emergency savings, a college fund and homeownership—provide the financial stability we should strive to build. The New York Times says that “the housing market has made a strong recovery, not only in sales and prices, but also in the confidence of consumers and experts as an investment.” Jonathan Smoke,®’s chief economist lists 5 ways buying a house helps build a financial foundation: 1) It teaches you to be a saver. Buying a home through a mortgage means you’ll learn to save in the form of the monthly payments. That discipline will carry through and you’ll understand better how...
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