Home Maintenance to Prep for Winter

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Winter is fast approaching, and if you’re a homeowner, that usually means now’s the time to tackle key maintenance tasks — at least if you want to ensure a warm and comfortable season.

There are appliances to check, inspections to complete and exterior tasks to do. 

Are you ready for the incoming colder months? Want to make sure your home is too? Here are five steps to take ahead of the winter months. 

  • Weatherproof your doors and windows. Cracks and gaps can let in cold air. Reseal old caulking and fill in any holes, splits or openings you find.
  • Get a roof inspection. Replace any damaged or missing shingles. Also make sure your roof is protected from leaks that could result in moisture- or mold-related problems.
  • Tend to your yard. Heavy storms can weigh down branches, causing them to fall on your roof or car. Check that all trees and foliage are cared for and well-trimmed.
  • Insulate your attic, pipes and walls. Better insulation can mean lower energy bills and a more comfortable home. Take some time to evaluate yours, and consider adding extra if needed. 
  • Check the water heater. Make sure your water heater is operating effectively and efficiently. You might also want to flush the system to remove any sediment that may be at the bottom of the tank.

Completing this essential winter maintenance can set your family up for a cozy, relaxing season at home. It’ll also help you identify any potential issues before they have a chance to turn into costly repairs. To learn more home upkeep tips, reach out today.


Posted on November 24, 2020 at 3:07 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Home Maintenance Tips |

Your Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

It’s no secret that springtime can breathe new life into a home. And in many markets, spring is the most popular time to buy or sell. Freshly manicured lawns and immaculate interiors add a certain appeal that may not be there during other seasons. 

A property that’s in excellent condition is sure to catch the eye of a buyer. Even if your home isn’t currently on the market, it’s a good idea to make a habit of regular upkeep. 

Ready to tackle your home maintenance tasks? Here’s your spring to-do list.

Click here for the checklist.


Posted on March 10, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Home Maintenance Tips |

Annual Home Maintenance Checklist

If you’ve been a homeowner before, you know that just like your vehicle needs regular maintenance like
oil changes to run well—so does your home. It can be easy to ignore or put these things off, but a well-
maintained home will save you money from costly repairs in the long run, and make your home easier to

sell when the time comes.

While this list is comprehensive, it’s not a complete list of all the things your home needs.

Monthly

  •  Change HVAC or furnace filters. If your family is small and pet-free, simply inspect the filter and replace it every 2-3 months.
  •  Clean range hood filters. Mix a degreaser with hot water, let it soak, then rinse it off.
  •  Check water softener. Check the salt level, add some if needed, and read the display to make sure no error codes are displayed. You’ll usually only add salt a few times a year.

 

Biannually

  • Deep clean. Roll up your sleeves and deep clean appliances, windows, lighting, and every crevice and corner. Keeping a clean home and not letting dirt build-up will help keep it polished.
  • Test the pressure relief valve on the water heater. This prevents corrosion—protecting leaks and helping it run efficiently.
  • Replace batteries in smoke/carbon dioxide detectors. Make it a habit to change batteries every time you set the clocks for daylight savings time.
  • Vacuum refrigerator coils. The fridge can account for up to 15 percent of your home’s total power—keep it running efficiently.

 

Annually Organized by Season

Spring – There’s a reason it’s called “Spring Cleaning”

  • Service central air. Do this before it gets hot and you can often get this done at a discounted rate with enough time to spare before it gets sweltering hot.
  • Check gutters and drainage. When April showers start coming down, will the water flow away from your house? Keep gutters clear so the water can flow where it’s supposed to.
  • Test sump pump. You don’t want to wait until you need it to find out it’s not working!
  • Check grout in the bathroom and kitchen. Fix the grout where needed—This will extend the life of tiled surfaces and keep them looking new.
  • Check windows and screens. Clean window wells of fall and winter debris. 

 

Summer – Shift your focus to the outdoors and enjoy the sunshine

  • Clean ducts, sweep the chimney and get heating systems ready. You’ll be turning these on at the first hint of crisp fall weather, so do this now.
  • Check and clean the clothes dryer vent. While running, check the exhaust for the smell of fresh laundry. If the exhaust is marginal, check for blockages. Also, vacuum the lint from the dryer hose.
  • Clean garage. The garage is easy to ignore, get out there while the weather is nice, and check garage door sensors are working while you’re in there.

Fall – prepare for winter during this in-between season

  • Winterize A/C systems. Store window units, and if you have central air, cover the outside unit with a tarp and fasten with bungee cords.
  • Flush and store hoses. Drain the water so it doesn’t freeze.

 

Winter – cozy up and stay warm

  • Break Icicles. As pretty as they look, don’t let them grow—they could fall unexpectedly and hurt someone and can get can cause damage from their weight. When they melt, they can cause water damage to the foundation.
  • Remove showerheads and clean deposits. This will keep your water pressure strong and keep them lasting long.
  • Check the foundation for cracks. Use caulk or silicone to repair any small cracks before the Spring thaw.

Posted on February 2, 2020 at 4:02 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Home Maintenance Tips |

14 Deep-Cleaning Tips for New Homeowners

If you’ve never owned a house before, then it’s entirely possible that you’ve never deep-cleaned a house. (Hey, no shame in that game.) But when the house is yours, the desire to see it as clean and sparkling as it can possibly be is strong — and you might have no idea where to start or how to go about getting your clean on.

Don’t panic! Take a deep breath and remind yourself that nobody knows how to do everything. Then follow these tips for new homeowners that will outline exactly how to go about deep-cleaning any home … and how to maintain it so that next time you don’t feel so overwhelmed.

MAKE A LIST, THEN DIVIDE AND CONQUER

The most overwhelming part of deep-cleaning is undeniably the moment when you start to realize just how much there is to do. Before you even let yourself go there, stop and make a list of everything you need to do.

Begin by listing all the rooms in your house. Include a space for your garage, the basement or the attic (if you have one) and for outdoor living spaces like porches, balconies or decks. You might even add a general “outdoor” category for tackling additional projects.

When you have your house more or less divided by space, start listing what needs to be done in each of those spaces. Before you know it, you’ll have a comprehensive list of absolutely everything that you need to do to get your house as clean as it’s ever been.

After you’ve got your master list, start dividing it up. You can assign different rooms to other household members who are helping with the massive clean, or divide it by day of the week so that you’re spacing out your deep cleaning in a way that doesn’t overwhelm you. 

START AT THE TOP

Gravity can be your friend or your enemy when you’re cleaning a house. You can avoid a lot of heartache by understanding this truth and beginning your work at the top of each room, moving your way down. That way any dust you’re knocking loose from high shelves or light fixtures will land on a floor that you haven’t yet cleaned instead of a floor you just finished mopping.

It might help to organize your list from literal top to bottom before you even walk into the room. That way you can easily run down the list in order without messing up an area you just cleaned.

DECLUTTER, DECLUTTER, DECLUTTER

When you have a lot of stuff — books, clothes, sports equipment, pots and pans, whatever — then cleaning around all of it becomes a challenge. The first step in any room should be a sweep to assess what you use and what you haven’t touched in a year or more. Anything that falls into the latter category should be considered for disposal — give it to a friend or donate it if you like, but if you haven’t used it or worn it in that long, then maybe you don’t really need it.

It may feel painful in the moment to part from your things, but keeping your house looking neat and clean will be so much easier if you can power through the hard part and let go. Get serious about decluttering now so that your home will look cleaner and more presentable forever.

CLEAN YOUR SCREENS AND WINDOWS

Let’s be honest: Cleaning screens and windows can be a real pain, which is probably why it doesn’t get done very often. But it makes a huge difference in the quality of light that pours through those windows, and it’s well worth addressing at least once a year.

Remove screens and wipe them down and dry them, and make sure you’re washing both the inside and outside of the window. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the windows to minimize streaks — it also helps to wash windows on an overcast day, as bright sunlight can cause the cleaner to dry too quickly, leaving streaks.

While you’re washing the windows, make sure you’re paying some attention to the windowsills both inside and outside the house. These areas can be a magnet for dead flies, dirt or pollen, or other gross or gritty unwanted guests, and you’ll thank yourself for seeing and eliminating them in the moment.

DON’T FORGET THE LIGHT FIXTURES

Windows aren’t the only factors influencing the quality of light in your house. Your light fixtures might be dusty or dirty and you wouldn’t even notice because they’re so far above your head. Make sure that you’re removing and cleaning light fixtures in each room, drying them thoroughly before you replace them.

CLEAN OUT YOUR DRYER VENT

Despite the best effort of lint traps in dryers everywhere, quite a bit of lint still gets into many dryer vents. It’s not only a potential allergen, but also a possible fire hazard, so add “clean out the dryer vents” to any seasonal cleaning lists and make sure you’re paying attention to it at least semi-regularly.

You can find fixtures for your vacuum cleaner online that are supposed to help with this task, and make sure you give the outside vent a good look and clean-out while you’re tackling this job.

LOVE ON YOUR FLOORS

Different types of flooring are going to require different methods of care, and you may have more than one in your house. Steam-clean your carpeting and your tile floors, and also consider re-sealing tile floors — they’ve probably been through a lot, and it never hurts to give them a little sprucing up. Likewise, wood floors can usually use a decent waxing. Whatever your floors need, consider providing it to them on at least an annual basis; after all, they see wear and tear every day but usually don’t get any tender loving care.

ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE

If you just moved in, then the odds are good that you’ve still got a box or two packed up and stashed away in a closet. Deep cleaning means deep organization, so if the stray-box theory sounds a lot like you, then it’s time to finally finish the job.

Even if you’ve already unpacked absolutely everything, this is still a good time for you to figure out how you’re going to establish a place for everything and everything in its place. Once you have an organizational system that works, be it for your bookshelves or your toolshed, then all you have to do to keep everything spiffy is follow that system.

DON’T FORGET THE GARAGE, BASEMENT OR ATTIC

Out of sight can sometimes be out of mind, and it’s easy to dismiss areas like garages, basements and attics when you’re deep-cleaning … but don’t make that mistake. Messes have a tendency spread and multiply, so if your house is pristine but your garage is a mess, don’t be surprised when items from the garage disaster start manifesting suddenly in your perfectly clean home.

If you didn’t add the garage, basement or attic to your list of rooms to tackle, do it, and give yourself the same systems and tools in those areas that you’re using in the main house. It’ll keep everything under better control — promise.

VINEGAR-STEAM YOUR MICROWAVE

Microwaves can be beasts to clean well, but as long as you don’t mind the smell of vinegar lingering for a few minutes, there’s an easy way to get your microwave spotless. Put a cup of white vinegar and a cup of water in a microwave-safe container, crank up the power and nuke it for five to ten minutes. Then wipe it down and marvel at how easily all that crusted-on gunk comes off with a little help from chemistry.

TACKLE THE KITCHEN APPLIANCES

If your microwave is crusty, then odds are good that your other kitchen appliances could also use some attention. The oven, the stove and the refrigerator are usually the dirtiest appliances in the house, so make sure you’re putting them on your rotating “to clean” list — and stick to it.

Some newer refrigerators include easy-to-remove shelves and door inserts that you can clean in the dishwasher. If you’re due for a fridge upgrade soon, then look for a model that has some of those cleaning-friendly features.

PLANT PERENNIALS

Now that the inside of the house is spanking clean, it’s time to consider the outside. Apart from basics like mowing the lawn and weeding, you might also consider planting some perennials — plants that come back year after year, so you don’t need to keep replacing them.

Ask the experts at your local nursery about the perennials that grow well in your area and how much care they need. A couple of well-placed rose bushes or a lavender hedge can make your curb appeal pop like never before.

POWER WASH

While you’re sprucing up the outside, rent or borrow (or buy) a power washer and tackle the house itself. You will be amazed how much dust and dirt accrues on the outside of your house, the deck and porch, and other areas — washing it off can make your house look like it’s got a brand-new paint job, plus you’ll be eliminating any cobwebs in the bargain.

MAKE IT A HABIT

If you only do all of these things to your house once a year, then it’s not going to stay clean for very long. Keep your list of rooms and think about your daily and weekly schedule, then try to squeeze in some deep-cleaning work every now and again. You’ll find that your entire house stays cleaner for longer, and any special-event deep cleaning that you might have to do will be much easier when you have a plan for upkeep.


Posted on October 3, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Home Maintenance Tips |

DIY Doesn’t Mean Doing It All Yourself

How handy would you say you are? Can you fix a leaking faucet or install a new backsplash? Do you own all the drills, power saws and sanders used by the pros?

It can be tempting to DIY it all — especially if you’re on a budget. After all, you can have an active role in improving your home, and save cash to put toward other things. Why wouldn’t you want to?

The truth is not all projects are suited for a DIYer — no matter how much of a shiplap expert you might be. 

If you’re considering a few renovations, here’s when to put on your toolbelt and when you might want to call a pro: 

In the Kitchen: You can probably replace a sink, reface your cabinets or install a new dishwasher. 

Want to move the sink or add recessed lighting? You’ll want a pro.

In the Bathroom: Installing new floor tiles, upgrading your toilet seat or changing your showerhead are all tasks you can do. 

If you want in-floor radiant heating or to install a tub where there isn’t one, bring in a pro.

On the Exterior: Looking for more curb appeal with a new garden bed and a fresh coat of paint on your front door? Have at it. 

Substantial upgrades like installing a skylight, repairing your roof or repaving your driveway are better suited for a professional.

Structural Changes: If you’re super handy, you can probably install drywall or relocate a door. 

But if you’re changing an area that’s load-bearing? Definitely call a pro.

Remember, DIY doesn’t mean doing everything yourself. You’ll want to hire a professional for anything that requires specialized knowledge. There’s no shame in asking for help from an expert. 

Want to discuss what home renovations might improve your property’s value? Get in touch today.


Posted on June 25, 2019 at 6:57 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Home Maintenance Tips |

18 Tips For Winterizing Your Home

Winter is coming. Well, maybe not immediately, but the season that can be the hardest on our homes is nonetheless approaching. 

Winterizing your house might seem complicated, especially if you’ve never done it before. But if you follow these tips, you’ll be ready for snow, sleet, or hail before you know it (or at least before the inclement weather actually arrives).

Start now!

Even though winter isn’t technically happening for several more weeks, it’s a smart move to start thinking about your winterizing needs and working on them right now. By the time the first cold snap hits, everyone is going to realize that they need to get moving on the winterizing, and that’s not a good time to book appointments to replace insulation or manage any repairs that might be needed.

On the other hand, if you start early, you’ll be able to book all the professional help you need — and the supplies you’ll require will be on hand and available at the hardware store. So even if you skip some of the items on this list, make sure that starting early isn’t one of them.

Inspect your roof

Your roof gets a lot of battering from Mother Nature, whether that’s in the form of precipitation, intense sunlight, or a mixture of both. And fixing any issues with your roof (or replacing it entirely) are much, much easier and cheaper to do in the summertime than in the wintertime, when you’ll be battling the elements to get the job done.

Instead, get your roof inspected as soon as possible, and ask the roofing expert for specific suggestions about what needs to be done (if anything) before winter hits. It’s always a good idea to choose an inspector you trust, so talk to your neighbors and your real estate agent to get referrals for a good roof inspector.

Check windows, doors, and vents for air leaks

When a house feels drafty or too cold in the winter, it’s almost always because the windows, doors, or air vents aren’t well-sealed and are leaking all your warm air outside while allowing cold air inside. Before that winter wind really starts blowing, check all your openings to the outside for leaks and seal them up.

Replacing doors and windows especially can be pretty expensive. If you’ve got an older house with a lot of drafty windows, hanging plastic sheeting over those windows can seal them up and prevent leaks without sacrificing any sunlight in the process. You can buy kits to plastic-seal your windows at home improvement and hardware stores.

Caulk and weatherstrip

Once you have an idea of where the drafts are around your windows and doors, one way to postpone replacing the window or door is by reinforcing the caulking or adding weatherstripping. Both help seal the portal to the outside, keeping the warm air in your house inside and preventing the cold outside air from seeping through.

Whether you want to caulk or weatherstrip will depend on both your doors and your own comfort levels. Weatherstripping tends to be simpler; caulking certainly isn’t hard, but if it’s intimidating, don’t hesitate to watch a few hundred YouTube videos or hire a helper to assist you.

Clean (and consider sealing) your chimney

If you have a chimney connected to a fireplace, then cleaning it out before winter can really improve the air flow throughout your entire home, especially if it’s a chimney for a wood fireplace. 

Of course, improving the air flow might make the chimney more useful on a day-to-day basis, but it also is another way for drafts to enter your house. To prevent this, if you aren’t going to use your fireplace in the winter, use a chimney balloon to seal the leak.

Clear your gutters

Full gutters and a rain or snowstorm add up to a really great way to damage your roof. After most of the leaves have fallen off any nearby trees, but before winter really sets in, grab a ladder and spend a weekend afternoon clearing out any debris from your gutters so that rain and snowmelt will have an exit path from your roof.

You can also hire contractors that will do this job for you — and their ladders may reach higher than yours, so it’s definitely worth considering if you’re uncomfortable with heights or don’t have the equipment.

Protect your plants

Depending on the local climate, some plants are going to fare better outside in the wintertime than others. Even some perennial bulbs are so sensitive to the cold that you need to dig them up and bring them inside in the wintertime or they’ll die.

You know better than anyone else what kinds of plants are in your garden and what you need to do to prepare them. Some might need to be potted up and brought inside, while some might be perfectly happy spending the winter under a thick blanket of snow. Whatever the case, do a little bit of research around what the plants in your garden prefer, and then treat them accordingly.

Prep your pipes

In areas where winter temperatures are typically below freezing, there’s a risk of frozen pipes. Water expands when it freezes, so frozen pipes can present a huge problem because the pipes can easily burst, resulting in an unwelcome flood when the freeze thaws.

If you have a sprinkler system and the winters are cold where you live, it’s a good idea to get it blown out with air in the wintertime so there’s nothing in the pipes to freeze.

Inside the house, the pipes most at risk are ones that run along exterior walls where there is little or no insulation. You can insulate individual pipes or add more insulation to the walls; another solution is to let any faucets connected to these pipes run at a very slow drip, which can help prevent freezing. And check all your faucets, inside and outside, throughout the winter (weekly is a good rule of thumb) to make sure they’re running.

Change your furnace filters

When was the last time you replaced your furnace filter? Depending on how many animals you have in the house, it’s probably been two long — most furnace filters should be replaced at least twice a year, and some of them as often as six times a year.

The arrival of winter is always a good time to make sure your furnace is operating at peak capacity, so it’s especially important to remember to change your filter.

Drain and store garden hoses

Like pipes, garden hoses with water inside them can freeze and burst. When you’re finished with the garden hoses for the season, disconnect them, drain them, and store them somewhere safe until you’re ready to break them out again in the springtime.

Drain and store any window A/C units

If you use a window air conditioning unit, you’ll definitely want to put it away before winter arrives in force. They’re lovely for cooling your house down, but they let in an awful lot of outside air when you aren’t using them. Unplug the unit, drain it (there will be water inside it), and stash it in a storage space until you’re ready to re-install it next spring.

Reverse your ceiling fans

You may have learned in science class that hot air rises. And you can take advantage of that fact in the wintertime by reversing your ceiling fans, if you have them, so that they spin the opposite direction. This will push the warm air close to your ceiling down, where you can actually feel it and enjoy it, instead of keeping it up against the ceiling and away from you, which is better during summer months.

Change your thermostat (and keep it there)

If possible, it’s a good idea to keep your house at more or less the same temperature throughout the winter. Big fluctuations up and down increase the chance that you might experience a problem like the pipe freezing. So set the thermostat at a reasonable level and do your best to ensure it stays there.

Flush your water heater

Water heaters can accumulate sediment over time, and the sediment can interfere with the heater’s operation. If you haven’t flushed your water heater, think about doing so before winter hits so that your heater is operating at peak condition once the cold is here and you really want a hot bath.

Increase your insulation

If you’re starting the winterizing process early enough, it might be a good idea to assess your current level of insulation and beef it up if you think it’s inadequate. Depending on when your house was built and what kind of insulation was used, this can make a big difference in how warm it stays during the winter; well-insulated houses won’t let warm air escape, keeping things nice and cozy inside.

Insulate your pipes and/or your water heater

One way to increase your home’s efficiency and keep pipes from freezing is to insulate them. This can be a smart thing to do for pipes that travel along outside walls if your house isn’t well-insulated and the winters are very cold in your area. You can also get blanket insulation for your water heater that fits over the heater and will help keep the water hot for longer. If frozen pipes or lukewarm winter water are a challenge for you, insulation could be the solution.

Add storm doors

A storm door provides a buffer from the cold outside in a couple of ways — first, by serving as an additional barrier between the front door and Mother Nature, and second, by allowing less warm air to escape when you enter or leave the house. These can be expensive, depending on your needs, but they are very effective at eliminating drafts and air seepage from your home’s main entry.

Check your toolbox

Before you settle in to enjoy winter, check to make sure you have everything you’ll need when it arrives. Is your snow shovel in good shape? How about snow brushes or ice scrapers for your cars? Are there gloves, hats, and scarves easily accessible so you can grab them before you go? What else might you need to deal with the weather ahead?

By taking an inventory of your tools before you need them, you won’t be unpleasantly surprised by a shovel handle snapping off right when you need it most, or trying to scrape ice off your windshield with a credit card.

Winterizing isn’t as challenging as it might seem; one of the hardest parts is figuring out what to do (and skip) for your own home. If you aren’t sure whether one of these tips is worth it, talk to your neighbors or ask your real estate agent what they do and what’s typical for the area, so you don’t miss anything critical.


Posted on April 18, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Home Maintenance Tips |

Make The Most Of Your Hamilton County Kitchen Space! 7 Time-Tested Organizing Tips

Out of all the rooms in your home, your kitchen gets the most traffic. Whether you’re getting ready to stage and sell your Indianapolis home, or you’re unpacking kitchen items into your new home, you’ll want to have it perfectly organized to suite your life.

Here are some smart and simple tips to get the most out of your kitchen organization:

  1. Declutter. If the contents of your kitchen are overflowing, the first thing to do is get rid of what you don’t need. The best way to figure out what stays and what goes? Empty the contents of your kitchen drawers into a storage bin. If you use an item from the bin, it goes back in the drawer. After about a month, donate what’s left in the box to charity.
  2. The perfect pantry. Organize your pantry based on how frequently you use each item. Things like your slow cooker or roasting pan can stay on the top or bottom shelf, while you’ll want to have easy access to everyday items. Purchase a single brand of airtight clear containers to hold dry goods like pasta, grains, and cereal, so you can easily see what you have on hand. If you have children, place snacks at a kid-friendly height. Also, store canned goods with the labels facing outwards, with the nearest expiration dates at the front.
  3. Kitchen counters. Counters are your workspace, and when you’re showing your home, they need to be completely clear-yes, this means nothing should be stored on your countertops. If you’re not selling your home anytime soon, your counters should still be kept clean. Keep small appliances out and ready that you use daily like the coffee maker or toaster but stow away items you use less frequently such as a food processor or stand mixer.
  4. Dishes and cutlery. Think of your kitchen in terms of workstations. If you usually plate your food straight from the stove or oven, storing plates, bowls, and utensils nearby will save you time. Serveware and dishes that you only use a few times a year, can be stored out of the way in cabinets or in your pantry.
  5. Pots and pans. You can save money instead of purchasing that pot rack that displays your pots and pans for all your company. This is generally a no-no. Potential buyers don’t need to see your used pots and pans. For easy cooking, store pots and pans in lower cabinets near the stove, and use the cabinet door space, or a magazine holder to keep lids in order.
  6. Spices. Similar to your pantry, store spices according to the ones you use most often. The best place for spices is a drawer near the stove (but not right next to it, because heat can spoil them). Keep the spices you use frequently near the front of the drawer and label the tops with their contents for quick cooking.
  7. Refrigerator. There are ideal spots for each kind of food. Store meat at the bottom, where it’s coldest, so leaks can stay contained. Keep dairy products on the upper shelves where the temperature is most constant, and stow bottles in the doors where it’s not as cold. Keep items that need to be eaten first near the front of the fridge, so you can enjoy these before they spoil.

Not sure where to start? For more storage or organization questions, get in touch with your local realty expert!


Posted on January 22, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Home Maintenance Tips |

5 DIYS That You Can Do

Many DIY projects are unsuccessful when it comes to adding value to your home. Unfortunately, most homeowners are not expert craftsmen.  Sure you know how to use a hammer and a saw and have been known to hook a tape measure to your belt, but when it comes to the fine, finishing details, you just don’t have the skill or practice to make it look professional.  There is a reason why you became an accountant, lawyer, or doctor and not a finish carpenter, plumber, or electrician. And for the same reason, the finish carpenter didn’t choose your career.

I would never even consider working on my $30,000 car myself, yet everyday people take it upon themselves to perform major DIY projects on their $300,000 home.  From rewiring electrical to running new plumbing lines, people educated with little more than a YouTube video think they are instant experts. While the major work should be performed by professionals, there are some simple projects that even the most amateur of DIYers can tackle.

Instead of tiling your own shower or adding a new gas line for your stove, here are five projects that you could (and probably should) take on:

  1. Paint your front door. Every 4-6 years you should pull out the paint can and enhance your front door. If your home faces east or west, your door takes a daily beating from the sun causing the paint to fade.  You may also want to consider changing out the hardware on the door too.
  2. Hang new ceiling fans or light fixtures. As times change, so do the popular styles. Many homes boast the same fans and lights from the year they were built. It’s hard to believe but 1994 was over 20 years ago, and while that doesn’t seem that long in some ways, check out pictures from around that date and see what you were wearing.  Yep, a house built in 1994 looks like that too.
  3. Install new door knobs and hinges. Brass is out. Brushed nickel and aged bronze are in.  While changing knobs and hinges may cost about $20 – $40 per door, it’s a simple DIY project that can easily upgrade the look of your home.
  4. Upgrade faucets. Just like door knobs, brass faucets are no longer complimentary to your home.  New faucets can be a quick, inexpensive upgrade to a bathroom, which might eliminate the need to update counter tops and cabinetry.
  5. Change your light bulbs. I promise this is something you can do yourself. It may sound ridiculous, but properly lit rooms can make a home sparkle. Under lit rooms are gloomy. So, unless the Addams Family look is your goal, bump up the wattage or add a lamp. Guests will love seeing the new ceiling fans, door knobs, and faucets.  Add some exterior lighting and that front door will pop too.

If you are planning to stay in your home for several years, not every upgrade is necessary. To enjoy your home, you don’t have to have the latest in brushed nickel or aged bronze, but it’s best to stay up with some of the trends so you don’t get too far behind and later have a massive renovation project. In addition, when the day comes to sell, these simple and fairly low cost projects could be the difference in finding or losing a buyer.


Posted on August 14, 2018 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Home Maintenance Tips, Home Ownership |

Adding Value To Your Home

Are you selling your home and looking for a way to add value to your home? You can’t live in your home for 15 years, place it on the market and expect premium dollar without replacing your carpet! So start with replacing your carpet.

I was at a new construction home the other day and one of the reasons people buy a new construction home is just so they do not have to worry about toe nail clippings in pre-existing carpet. My recommendation to people who are selling their homes is to REPLACE your carpet and buy a nice pad! When you ask potential buyers to take off their shoes and walk through your home, you want to make sure you have carpet they feel comfortable stepping on! Even if you don’t buy top of the line carpet, please buy a good pad.

4 years ago my husband and I started paying cash for everything and it was HARD! Yet, don’t go out to dinner, don’t buy that extra fancy bottle of wine (unless you have set aside the money), and set aside the cash to invest in those things that can ultimately bring you a return in your investment. You can’t improve your  home all at once. So, I recommend a project a year. I reach out to contractors and I tell them we have started to pay cash for everything so I need a price for a remodel. Then, I can save up for the remodel and pay them. Yet, I need to know the exact cost. If they can’t help me, I move on and find someone who can.

Last year we bought new carpet for our home. Our home was built in 2002 and the carpet was original. We investigated every option and ultimately decided to use Home Depot. They are a company that stands behind their product and they have done good work at multiple homes we have sold. You know you have a guarantee when you use a box store. Yes, I’m sure there can be horror stories. Yet, for us this seemed like the right option.

We used Trendy Threads II and we bought the premium pad. Go to home depot and price out what it would cost for your home. Save and upgrade your carpet prior to selling.

If you would like to know the value of your home or are looking to purchase a home in Central Indiana (Carmel, Fishers. Zionsville, Westfield, Fortville, McCordsville, Indianapolis, Avon etc…) please reach out to us at 317-572-5033 or 317-995-1128.


Posted on April 29, 2017 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Home Maintenance Tips, Selling |

Upgrade Your Flooring To Attract Buyers

I recently showed a client a house that was a little dated in its appearance but overall a nice place.  It needed a little cleaning or sprucing up, but it had a good floorplan, a lot of interior space, and a huge fenced backyard.  Unfortunately, my clients couldn’t see the potential.  Instead they saw a lot of dollar signs.

There was a strong pet smell, wearing carpet on the stairs, and kitchen cabinets that were fading with doors askew.  But the greatest offense were the five different types of flooring on the main level.  As we entered the house there was a cream colored tile that appeared to be original to the house.  It was in good condition if not a little dated.  In the study to the left was brand new dark laminate which was very nice.  To the right of the entry was a newly carpeted dining room. Enter the family room and there was a tired blonde colored laminate. A couple steps away, the kitchen featured vinyl tile squares that had seen better days.

That’s right. Before even going upstairs, which was all carpeted, this home offered ceramic tile, two types of laminate, carpet, and vinly tiles on the first floor. This probably saved the home owner money and worked for their lifestyle, but a hodge podge of flooring will only scare the buyers away. While one room may really need help, enhancing only that room may highlight the negative features of the other rooms.

While new flooring isn’t cheap, it is a simple upgrade that can pay huge dividends.  It can help you hold your price, entice buyers to make an offer, modernize a house, and eliminate offputting odors. With a little elbow grease and a vision for a consistent flooring theme throughout the main floor and the home, the sellers would increase their chance of selling quickly and for top dollar.

Spending a little extra to continue your flooring theme can pay dividends literally and figuratively.


Posted on September 23, 2015 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Posted in Home Maintenance Tips, Selling |