Home Improvements – HomeownersInsurance.org http://www.homeownersinsurance.org Homeowners Insurance Tips and News Fri, 28 Jun 2013 15:01:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 10 Inexpensive Ways to Enhance Your Home’s Facade http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/10-inexpensive-ways-to-enhance-your-homes-facade/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/10-inexpensive-ways-to-enhance-your-homes-facade/#respond Tue, 15 May 2012 20:21:17 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=1492 Whether you’re ready to sell your home or just want to boost its curb appeal, the front facade of your home is a very important element that should receive regular upkeep and attention. Sometimes a first impression of a home makes all the difference when it comes time to sell or lease your property. If you’re not selling, the facade is likely to add to the value of your property, transforming it into your dream home. Enhancing the facade of your home is relatively inexpensive, and there’s much creativity involved in picking out materials. Here are 10 cost-effective ways to spruce up the front appearance of your home.

  1. Clean the Windows

    When windows start to get dirty, have saggy window frames, or get damaged with cracks, it’s time for some general remodeling. Remove any rotten window frames and replace windows if you have to for a cleaner, more modern look. You may even consider getting some double-sided windows for more insulation, as older homes probably didn’t come with energy-efficient windows. You may even want to consider painting them a different color as a contrast to the rest of the house. Bear in mind the prominent color of your home’s brick, stone work, and other features before choosing a different color. Finally, large windows may enable outsiders to see your blinds, curtains, or drapes, so also be sure those are in good condition and also follow similar color schemes.

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  3. Highlight the Approach to the Front Door

    The path leading up to your front door is a prominent feature of the facade, as it is well traversed and is usually a focal point. The steps, driveway, and/or pathway should be swept of leaves and free from unnecessary clutter. You want to keep these pathways leading to the front of your door as orderly as possible — this includes trimming overgrown grass or plants from the walkway. Power-washing dirty driveways or pathways will also instantly enhance the overall appearance of your home

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  5. Touch up on Paint

    Peeling paint is just not a good look, and takes away from the initial impression of a home. While a fresh coat of paint may not always be necessary, it’s a good idea to touch up on any peeling spots until you do decide to repaint entirely. Always buy one or two extra cans of paint to save for future touch-ups.

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  7. Consider Large, Visible Address Numbering

    The numbers on your home provide another outlet for you to be creative and customize the look of the front facade. However, number plaques can easily go wrong — hard-to-read numerals, hard-to-read painted numbers, or plaques with pictures generally should be avoided. Consider numbers that are large, easy to read, and have a simple design. Not only is this more practical and attractive, but it’s also a matter of safety. Emergency services can locate your house much faster if it the numbering is clearly marked.

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  9. Create Visual Interest Through Landscaping

    A front facade is greatly enhanced with flowering trees, plants, and evergreens. No matter how small of a space you may have, try to add some greenery to liven up the space. Houses look even more beautiful with plant trails and landscaping leading up to the home. If you have no space in the front, you can be creative with window planter boxes or potted plants.

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  11. Get Creative with Lighting

    Lighting is an essential component to the overall look of your home. It doesn’t always have to be symmetrical, either. Consider lighting key paths (the pathway leading to the front door) and lining the sides of driveways or entrances to the garden with walkway lights. These come in easy-to-assemble kits and in many designs. There are even solar-powered lights that don’t require any electricity, making them easily movable if you want to change up the look. You can also choose a new light fixture for porch areas and entrances. Even a small wall-mounted, battery-powered fixture can do wonders.

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  13. Upgrade Your Mailbox

    Mailboxes come in so many shapes, sizes, and types. If your mailbox is looking a bit sad, it may need some sprucing up. You can invest in a new mailbox, or make your own. Creative mailboxes mimic the look and style of your home, or stand out for being unique and modern. You want your mailbox to catch the eye of passersby, but not for the wrong reasons.

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  15. Fertilize Your Lawn

    Homes in especially dry and arid climates should pay extra attention to the maintenance of the front lawn. Lush green lawns truly contribute to the look of your front facade, and you don’t want dying, yellow grass to make your home seem untidy and sad. Invest in a sprinkler system or fertilize your lawn every month to keep grass healthy and growing.

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  17. Replace Old Cladding

    Many old homes from the 1950s to 1970s were built using cheap bricks or pebbledash cladding, which don’t do much in terms of aesthetics for the facade of a home. One of the best ways to truly transform the look of your home is to change the cladding. There are so many options to explore here — painting over ugly brickwork, completely or partially changing cladding, or only replacing certain decaying pieces. Nowadays, so many innovations have led to affordable and durable new materials. Concrete tiles, timber, PVCu, softwood, and hybrid bricks are just a few options you can explore.

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  19. Invest in a Nice Front Door

    It sounds obvious, but the first thing visitors are going to look at (after the initial overall impression of the facade) is your front door. While you can choose to replace your front door with a grand-looking one, you can also enhance old doors by painting them, installing glass, changing handles or glossing them. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh coat of paint — get creative with the color theme or go for a more contemporary look with matte, muted, or washed out colors.

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Cool Things to Add to Your Home Which May Cost You Big Time http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/cool-things-to-add-to-your-home-which-may-cost-you-big-time/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/cool-things-to-add-to-your-home-which-may-cost-you-big-time/#respond Tue, 09 Nov 2010 18:06:38 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=1266

You’ve dreamt all your life of owning your own home, and now you do. Congratulations. But before you start adding all of those features you’ve always wanted to have in your house and yard, consider the fact that some of them are going to cost you extra when it comes time to write out your check for homeowners insurance.

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t add anything you want to add. We’re just saying that you need to consider the ongoing costs before you do. With that said, here are some of the coolest things you can add to your home or yard that might cost you a bit extra on your homeowners insurance policy:

  • A water feature. Whether it’s a small water garden, a waterfall, or a big pond, you can expect to shell out extra money anytime you add anything that involves water. You save some money if you put a fence around your water feature, but who really wants a chain link fence surrounding their waterfall?
  • A trampoline. If you have kids, a trampoline is a lot of fun. Heck, even if you don’t have kids yet, a trampoline is a lot of fun. Unfortunately, they’re one of the main things insurance companies look for when determining how much of a risk your property represents. As with most hazards, you are much better off if your trampoline is fenced in.
  • A tree house. Who hasn’t wanted a tree house since they were little kids? We recently heard of a man who built a $600,000 dream home which included two tree houses, one of which was to be used strictly for having Chardonnay and Brie with his buddies. We’re all in favor of tree houses. Insurance companies? Not so much.
  • A pool. The deeper they are, the cooler they are. And the more they’ll cost you on your insurance policy. Make sure you put a fence with a locked gate around your pool or your insurance company may refuse to carry you altogether.
  • A fireplace. There’s nothing better than curling up with someone you love next to a roaring fire. But while you see the potential for romantic evenings, your insurance agent sees the potential for a big payout after your house goes down in flames.
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Must-Have Tools for Home Improvements http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/must-have-tools-for-home-improvements/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/must-have-tools-for-home-improvements/#respond Wed, 31 Mar 2010 14:52:43 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=275 Many people who go from renting to owning a home are shocked at the sheer amount of time and energy they wind up having to put into home improvements. The fact of the matter is that there is a lot more upkeep on a home than there is on an apartment. It makes sense, because so many things that used to be the responsibility of the landlord are now your responsibility.

You may not even know where to start. The more you try to do, the more you’ll find you need tools. Here are some of the most common tools you’re going to need as a homeowner to do basic home improvements:

  • An electric drill. Cordless is best and most convenient. Make sure to get one that’s reversible, has variable speed and is 3/8″.
  • Plenty of drill and screwdriver bits. Keep them together in a bag that you can seal so they don’t get lost.
  • A claw hammer.
  • Plenty of screwdrivers of all sizes and types.
  • Needle-nose pliers.
  • Channel-lock pliers.
  • A level. Laser levels are especially inexpensive today and very useful.
  • A utility knife. Don’t skimp here. Cheap utility knives lead to lost fingers.
  • A hand plane.
  • A wood chisel.
  • A magnetic stud finder. (Single ladies, insert your own joke here.)
  • A Tape measure. Try to get one that’s at least 25 feet long.
  • A T-square.
  • A container of screws, nails, and bolts of various sizes.

In addition to those tools, there are other tools that aren’t must-haves, but are nice to have. They include:

  • A Jigsaw to cut curves, wood or drywall.
  • Clamps to help any time you need to glue.
  • A torpedo level to line up cabinets, shelves or pictures.
  • A power miter box. This lets you make accurate crosscuts and angled cuts.
  • A circular saw. This is particularly handy if you need to cut plywood.
  • An orbital sander. This kind of sander is better than a belt sander because it’s less likely to gouge, cheaper and lighter.

Finally, before you start any home improvement project, make sure your homeowners insurance is current. You don’t want to have an accident and only find out after the fact that the damage isn’t covered.

Photo via fotographix.ca

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