Home Maintenance

Keeping Up the Value of Your Home

Keeping up your home is always in your best interest.  It's important to keep up the look inside and out, especially if there's a sell in your future. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

http://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice1/item/45117-20160608-4-tips-to-maintain-your-new-homes-value

source: realtytimes.com

Written by: Melissa Kennedy

...

Design Trends for 2016

With the new year almost to it's mid-point, a change in the weather triggers a desire to want to make some improvements around the home. Whatever an individual's taste in design and decor may be, there's something out there trending that is sure to fit your style. Or maybe there's been a longing to change up the kitchen or a bathroom, and your just not sure where to start. Here are some design trends for 2016 that are sure to suit a particular style or preference.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Houzz/10-home-design-trends-for_b_9043920.html

credit for article: Huffington Post

written by: Gillian Lazanik, Houzz Contributor

...

What Does My Insurance Cover

Do you know what your home insurance really covers?  Here is an interesting article by Bob Ratliff from Active Rain.

Check out his article here.

...

How Energy Efficient Are you?

Frost is on the pumpkins and it's the time of year when we are switching on our home heat and spending more time indoors.  It doesn't take much effort to learn how to use energy wisely.  Here are some tips provided by Louisville Gas & Electric that you might consider implementing this year. They encompass both winter and summer.  Even if you only incorporate a few of them into your daily rountine, you will be saving energy and money.  Take a look and see if you think you could try a few of these suggestions.

Lighting

  • To save up to $27 a year, change your five most-used light bulbs to energy-efficient compact florescent light  bulbs (CFL).  The more bulbs still you change, the more you'll save.
  • Use light-colored, loose-weave curtains on windows to allow daylight to filter in while maintaining privacy.
  • Three-way lamps make it easier to keep lighting levels low when brighter light is not necessary.
  • Use task lighting.  Focus the light where you need it so that you are not brightly lighting an entire room.
  • Turn off lights when they are not in use.  Consider using timers to reduce the amount of time your lights are on.
  • Use dimmers, motion sensors or occupancy sensors to automatically turn on or off lighting as needed.
  • Use ENERGY STAR qualified light fixtures and bulbs.
  • During sunny winter days, open the curtains on your south-facing windows to allow the sun to naturally heat your home.

Heating and Cooling

  • To save up to 12% on your energy bill, use a programmable thermostat.
  • Save up to $45 a year by adjusting your thermostat up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees in the winter.
  • Save $50 a year by having your HVAC system professionally inspected.
  • Clean or replace furnace filters every 30 days. (The day you receive your energy bill can serve as a good reminder that it's time to do this maintenance.)
  • Clean registers, baseboards, heaters and radiators regularly.  Be sure to move furniture, carpeting or drapes so they are not blocking these elements.
  • Your HVAC contractor should be able to provide fact sheets for various HVAC models so that you can compare energy usage.  While the national Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating is 78% for furnaces, some ENERGY STAR models exceed 90% AFUE.
  • Fans help circulate the air in your home.  Moving air makes you feel cooler, so you can set your thermostat at a higher temperature during the summer and still feel comfortable.
  • Turn off  fans in rooms when not in use.  Fans are effective at cooling you--not the room.  Shutting curtains and drapes at night will help to retain the cool air.
  • Use exhaust  or ventilation fans in your kitchen or bathroom for only as long as you need them.  Don't allow them to run for more than 20 minutes.
  • Insulate your hot water heater to prevent heat loss.  You may also want to insulate the hot water pipes in your home.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR label when replacing your HVAC equipment.

Appliances and Electronics

  • Most appliances continue to draw small amounts of power even when they are turned off.  This 'phantom' energy consumption occurs in almost all appliances that use electricity, such as VCR's, televisions, stereo equipment, computers, kitchen appliances and telephones with answering machines.  Avoid this 'phantom' energy drain by unplugging the appliance when it is not in use or by using a power strip to turn off the appliance(s) when not in use.
  • Screen savers on computer monitors are not energy savers.  The best energy-saving strategy is to set the computer to automatically switch to sleep mode or to manually turn off the computer and monitor when it's not in use.
  • Make sure the power management settings are activated on your computer(s).  ENERGY STAR qualified computers and monitors save energy only when the power management setting are on.
  • Unplug rechargeable battery and cell phone chargers when not in use.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR label when shopping for home appliances and electronics.  It's the government's seal of energy efficiency.
  • TVs and DVD players use energy even when in standby mode.  Plug these electronics into power strips and turn them on only when you plan to use them.
  • Air dry your dishes instead of using the diswasher's drying cycle.
  • Wash clothes in cold or warm water, and always rinse in cold water.  Line dry clothes or use drying racks.
  • Inspect your clothes dryer vent to ensure that it's not blocked.  You will save energy and possibly prevent a fire.
  • Clean the lint filter in your clothes dryer after every load.  This improves air circulation.
  • Wash and dry only full loads of clothes.  Don't forget to adjust your washer's water level if you wash smaller loads.
  • To prevent heat build up in your home, consider using your microwave, crock pot or outdoor grill to prepare meals instead of the oven or stove.

Insulation and Air Sealing

  • Caulk and weather strip your doors and windows to help keep the warm or cool air that you've paid for inside your home.   This saves energy and money.
  • Caulking should be soft and crack free for optimum performance.
  • Use trees, shrubs or awnings at your windows to shade from the heat of the day in summer.  In winter, remove awnings and trim shrubs and trees to take advantage of the suns warming rays.
  • Use draft stoppers at doors and windows.
  • Improve your home's energy performance by installing new energy-efficient windows.  You may realize personal benefits from improved aestherics and comfort, even though it may take years to pay off the financial investment in overall energy savings.
  • If you do replace your windows, make sure they are installed correctly by a qualified professional.
  • In the summer, close curtains on the south and west facing windows during the hottest part of the day.  Consider applying sun-control or reflective film to prevent the intense summer heat from entering your home.
  • Reflect heat away from your house by installing white window shades, drapes or blinds.
  • If  you are unable to replace your  windows,  make any necessary repairs  windows to improve their efficiency.
  • Install tight-fitting window shades on drafty windows, once you have weatherized them.  A low cost measure is to use heavy duty, clear plastic sheeting on the window frames during the winter.  Tightly sealed plastic will reduce air infiltration.
  • Get an energy audit.  Find out where the common sources of air leaks are within your home.
  • To test for air leaks on your own, hold a burning candle near your windws and doors on a windy day.  If the flame flickers, you have an air leak that needs to be addressed.
  • Make sure that you have adequate insulation in your home.
  • Close fireplace dampers when not in use.
  • Put extra blankets on your bed.
  •  Warm air rises, so cooler air will be at ground level.  Wear socks and shoes to keep your feet warm.

Water

  • Take short showers instead of baths.
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees F. 
  • Buy a new energy-efficient water heater.  It make cost more initially, but the energy savings will...

Cut Your Chances of Being Burglarized

Do you remember taking quizzes in those teenaged glamour magazines when you were a kid? Well, here is a quiz to take as a homeowner to help you cut your chances of being burglarized.  

Where do you live?

a) Downtown, where there are lots witnesses (3 points)

b) In the burbs, where privacy is paramount (0 points)

c) In an affluent neighborhood that borders a bad one (-10 points)

d) In the big yellow farmhouse 12 miles past the general store (30 points)

Your windows are...

a) Open for fresh air circulation even when nobody is at home (-10 points)

b) Overgrown with bushes that could hide an intruder (-5 points)

c) Latched shut whenever we go out or hit the sack (5 points)

d) We've planted razor-sharp pyracantha, holly or rose bushes under them (5 points)

What kind of burglar alarm do you have?

a) A state of the art $2000 sysytem for which we pay $35 a month in monitoring (20 points)

b) The same system above that we don't really turn on very often (-5 points)

c) None, but we've posted alarm signs that I bought for $20 at mysecuritysign.com (15 points)

d) Alarm? What alaram? We don't even lock the house (-10 points)

Do you have a dog?

a) Yes, a Napoleonic shih Tzu who barks at everyone (20 points)

b) Yes, a Rottweiler with attitude (30 points)

c) No, but I bought a $4 BEWARE OF DOG sign at petco.com (5 points)

Where is your spare key? 

a) Under the welcome mat, of course (-10 points)

b) Inside a none-too-convincing 'hide-a-key' rock (-5 points)

c) With a trusted neighbor (5 points)

If you scored...

10 or under: Use the details in this quiz as a blueprint for securing your home. Now!
11 to 24: You're somewhate vulnerable.  Lower your risk with the tricks above.

25-39: Breath easily.  Your house is probably a tougher target than your neighbor's.

40 or over: Your insurance agent should buy you a steak! 

Summertime is the prime-time for breaking and entering.  However, anytime is a good time to make your house look like a difficult target! Visit the National Crime Prevention Council's Web site at www.ncpc.org for all kinds of information on preventing crime.

We, at Julie Pogue Properties, always want our families, friends and clients to be safe rather than sorry! 

Hope you all have a terrific week!

...

Thinking of Remodeling?

Are you wondering what value you might recoup on your remodeling projects? The 2010-2011 Cost vs Value Report has just been released by Remodeling Magazine.  They have data specific to the Louisville, KY area by project type.

Perusing the data, there are not projects at this time will recapture 100% of your job costs in the Louisville, Kentucky area or Kentucky region and only ONE that will capture more than 10%.  Want to know what it is? It is replacing your entry door--as long as it is a steel door.  National job cost is $1,218 with a $1,243 resale value for 102.1% cost recouped.  For any other remodeling project, statistically, you cannot expect to recoup your costs in resale value at this time.

Just so you know, the top four returns in the midrange project types are as follows:

Job Cost  Resale Value Cost Recouped

Attic Bedroom Remodel $47,540 $37,537 79.0%

Entry Door Replacement (Steel)    1,176       964 82.0%

Garage Door Replacement    1,248      1019 81.5%

 

Top two returns in the upscale project types are as follows:

Siding Replacement (fiber-cement) $13,161 $10,543 80.0%

Siding Replacement (foam-backed vinyl)   13,213  10,543 79.8%

 

Other projects that might be of interest were as follows:

Major Kitchen Remodel (upscale) $111,127 $70,886 63.8%

Major Kitchen Remodel (midrange)     55,972       41,143 73.5%

Bathroom Remodel (upscale)     15,533    11,093 64.7%

Bathroom Remodel (midrange)      15,533        11,093 64.7%

Window Replacement (vinyl & upscale)       17,251      12,295 71.3%

Window Replacement (vinyl & midrange)       10,373      7,483 72.1%

All this information and more can be found on the web at www.remodeling.hw.net.  Don't discount the value to yourself for enjoying the rewards of these projects as a family. Keeping your home in good repair and up-to-date will improve your resale value.  Besides, you don't want to end up fixing up your home for someone else.  You should be enjoying it all along! After all, your home should rise up to greet you every day.  Take steps to ensure it does!

Remember, we are always here to assist you, your family and friends when you are ready to sell your home or make that purchase.

Have a terrific week!

...

Can you say 'saturated'?

I hope everyone had a blessed Easter weekend.  While Easter comes each Spring, so does Spring weather.  This past week has been extremely wet and windy.  Be sure to check your home for water damage.  The first indications may seem trivial but don't be fooled.  A telltale sign, such as a water stain on the ceiling, can lead to real problems like collapsing drywall or a weakened roof.  Learn where your home is most likely to suffer outside water damage and what you can do to help prevent it.

Roof

  • Keep the roof free from leaves, twigs and other litter to allow for proper drainage.
  • Make sure the air can flow freely through all soffit and roof vents.  This will reduce the buildup of heat and moisture and help extend the life of the roof.
  • Consult a professional on using a preservative or cleaner (depending on the type of roof you have) to help limit the weathering effects of moisture and remove the growth of molds and mosses.
  • Keep trees trimmed to prevent them from rubbing against the roof or providing excess shade.
  • Replace missing, curling, cupping, broken or cracked shingles.
  • Watch for damage in valley areas of the roof and around the flashing at chimneys, vents and other junctions.
  • Check your attic around flues, plumbing vents and chimneys for roof leaks, especially if you've noticed water stains on the ceilings.

From the Gutters to the Ground

  • Clean debris from your gutters and downspouts and inspect them regularly.  Think about installing gutter shields if your gutters frequently fill with debris.
  • Place splash blocks at the end of downspouts to carry water away from the foundation or add an extra length of downspout if necessary.
  • Every spring, have the air condition (A/C) system inspected by a qualified contractor.  Make sure their service includes inspecting and cleaning the A/C condensation pan drain line.  Change the filter on regular basis.
  • Before winter starts, disconnect garden hoses from all spigots and turn off each spigot's water supply. 
  • Replace any damaged caulk around windows or doors.
  • Repaint wood siding as needed.
  • Fill in any low spots next to the house to help water drain away from the foundation.

Even after taking the preventative measures we've discussed here, check frequently around the house for signs of leaks.  It's important to find them before they cause serious damage.  Simply by keeping an eye out for problems, you could save your possessions from damage, spare yourself costly repairs and even keep your insurance premiums low.  And preventions such as these protect the value of your home.  

Hope you all have a great week!

...