• How To Tackle Roof Damage

    by Patrick Redmond | Mar 02, 2015
    RoofYour new dream home can quickly become a nightmare if you suddenly find your roof collapsing in around you. Roof inspections are one of those things that should always go on your home inspection checklist, long before you sign the papers or hire a moving company to help you relocate. Not only they are one of the most costly types of home improvements (a new roof usually comes in at around 3 percent of your total house price), but it also has a way of impeding your day-to-day life, which means you might end up spending a few nights at a hotel while the roofers do their work.

    But don’t fret! If it turns out your inspector missed some major roof damage, or if you recently experienced a storm that wreaked havoc overhead, there are steps you can take to minimize the impact.

    > Make a New Roof Part of the Deal: If you become aware of faulty roof issues before you buy the house, make a new roof part of your contract. You can either negotiate to have the seller fix the roof before you move in, or you can have them build in a discount (usually around that 3 percent mark) to cover the cost you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket to have it repaired.

    > Contact Your Insurance Company: Your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover a roof that was already damaged when you bought the house, but they may cover storm damage (especially of the hail or wind variety). While it’s never ideal to start making claims as soon as the insurance policy is taken out, this could save you money in the long run.

    > Discover the Extent of the Damage: Most roofing companies will provide a free or discounted quote without requiring you to sign up for repairs right away. Get a few estimates from local companies and discover what kind of price tag you’ll be looking at overall. You can also hire a specialty roof inspector who will create the most detailed overview of your needs.

    > DIY Repairs: When damage is minor (a few shingles blown off in a windstorm), you may be able to head up to the roof and repair them yourself. For more intensive damage, though, or if parts of the roof are unsound, it’s better to leave it to the professionals. (You can also do smaller parts of the repairs yourself to lower costs, including things like cleaning up the debris afterward or prepping the roof by removing old roofing).

    > Consider Additional Changes: If a roof’s damage goes deeper than the surface, you may want to look at other home repairs (like changing a bathroom/kitchen vent, updating a chimney, installing new attic insulation, etc). Oftentimes, these types of repairs require the roof to be opened up in places anyway, so you might as well take advantage of the current state of affairs.

    Above all else, don’t panic. A damaged roof can be an inconvenience (and an expensive one), but once it’s done, you rarely have to worry about it again for as long as you plan to live in your new home.

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  • Green Cleaning

    by Ryan Cox | Mar 02, 2015

    Of all the factors that come to mind when you think of “going green,” taking on your spring cleaning may not be one of them. However, you may be surprised to know that there are a substantial number of ways to “greenify” your home cleaning process, cutting down on the use of everything from hazardous chemical materials to giving existing chores a more “natural” spin.

    Below, you can review just a few of the proven ways to clean your home or business while avoiding adverse long term effects, unhealthy solutions, and more. Keep your home clean in more ways than one!

     Avoid Toxins

    When choosing your cleaning products, be sure to keep an eye on those that may include toxic or non-biodegradable chemicals. Many heavy duty chemical cleaners are more appropriate when used in industrial settings or the like, and when used inside your home and lead to toxic buildup, long-term damage to hardwood or linoleum, damage air quality, etc.

    Natural home solutions can include common household materials like baking soda, vinegar, and even small amounts of bleach when disinfecting surfaces in a pinch (though be careful to avoid its use near dyed fabrics, carpets and the like). In addition, many home cleaning brands offer green or healthy-focused products that will provide an effective cleaning without the potential for environmental harm.

    Air It Out

    An underrated factor in keeping a home fresh can be the overall air quality that persists throughout. Is your home’s air stale and potentially harboring allergens, bacteria, or worse? Based on how often you ventilate your home with a steady supply of outside air, this may be much more likely of a problem than you realize.

    Make it a point to open as many windows as possible whenever time and weather permits—flushing out poor-quality air and having it be cycled with a fresher equivalent benefits everything from your respiratory system to your central heating and cooling –home air filters will accumulate dust and toxins much faster when cycling the same stale air over time.

    Form Good Habits

    Do you bother recycling? Cutting up soda can rings? Using ceiling fans in lieu of extra AC? While there are a countless number of little ways to lead a greener life (that may seem completely inconsequential), you should keep in mind that these little things add up to a lot when combined into a steady effort, and add up a lot more when made into long-term home living habits.

    Taking baby steps here and there to improve your home’s overall standing in terms of non-toxicity, freshness and cleanliness will steadily improve the quality of life for not only you, your family or roommates, but of the world as a whole. Don’t underestimate yourself! Making the extra bit of effort is always worth it.
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  • How to Stay Energy Efficient in Your New Home

    by Ryan Cox | Mar 01, 2015
    Are you hoping to improve the energy efficiency in your new home? Getting a fresh start in more ways than one can be a great way to drive home the notion of new beginnings—while your old home may have been a notorious energy hog (or even just a reminder of bad habits), getting the jump on efficient energy practices in your new place will provide a great way to start off on the right foot and save yourself thousands of dollars in the years to come.

    Below, you’ll find our rundown on all things energy efficient, from summer home cooling tips to the pros and cons of updating your light fixtures. And remember— minor home improvements go a long way over time!

    If your home rests on the newer side of the real estate spectrum, there’s a good chance it may already be host to many of these smart technologies. Oftentimes, however, you’ll find yourself in a home that can stand to benefit from a great deal of minor fixes and upgrades. Knock these out before you’ve fully moved in and save yourself a great deal of hassle!

    Fluorescent Bulbs

    Dropping the dough on a handful of modern fluorescent bulbs to replace your old-school yellow glow bulbs will not only save you a lot on electricity over time, but they generally last many extra years before burning out as well.

    Low-Flow Water Fixtures

    A lesser-known way to improve the energy flow in your home is to install “low-flow” or similar water fixtures that essentially perform the same while using substantially less water. Some report on saving on water by as much as 50 percent!

    Water Heaters

    Newer-model water heaters have come a surprisingly long way in saving on your utilities in a variety of ways. Not only are more up to date heaters able to do more with less heat, but some models even do away with the water tank entirely, saving you a ton on water over time.

    Dishwashers

    Along similar lines, newer model dishwashers have the propensity to be substantially smarter and more efficient when it comes to using your water—a more rigorous washing using less water is win-win.

    Insulation

    A great deal of your home’s heating and cooling efforts may be due in part to insufficient insulation throughout your home causing energy to be squandered. With the right insulation upgrades, your home may require phenomenally less energy to stay hot/cool.

    Thermostat

    A “smart” thermostat has the potential to make just as much of a difference in efficient heating/cooling as your system itself—many newer thermostats have the ability to only run when needed, automatically shut themselves off when the house is unoccupied, and more.

    Double-Pane Windows

    Although a technology of some contention, there’s no argument that newer double-paned window models insulate much more efficiently than their older single-pane counterparts. If you have the money to spare, these window upgrades can save you a great deal of energy hassle over time.
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  • Brooklyn vs. Manhattan

    by Patrick Redmond | Feb 25, 2015

    New YorkHiring a moving company and heading to NYC to try your luck in the city that never sleeps is a dream come true for many people. After all, this is a place where life happens in a big way—and there are over 8.4 million people living within the city boundaries to prove it. However, what you’ll experience when you get here depends on where you’re living. Because New York is made up of five distinct boroughs, there are essentially five different towns to choose from.

    Which is the best of those five boroughs? Well, that depends on who you ask…but for most people, it all boils down to a fight between Brooklyn and Manhattan.

    > Who Needs a Backyard: One aspect of New York living everyone can agree on—space is limited. Apartments come in at around $1,363 per square foot, and outdoor living space is a joke. Unless, of course, you live in Brooklyn. Although you aren’t going to find a spacious, rolling lawn, you will find private patches of greenery you can call your own. If you have kids or want to spend more time entertaining at home, this can make Brooklyn highly appealing.

    > Life is an Island: There are people who live and die by the idea that everything they want from life can be found on the island of Manhattan—and they aren’t wrong. With just 22.7 square miles of space, Manhattan isn’t the largest of the NYC boroughs, but it’s by far the most active. If you want a faster pace of life where everything you need is within walking distance, Manhattan is ideal.

    > Commutes Mean Almost Nothing: One aspect that puts potential residents off Brooklyn is the lengthy commute into Manhattan. However, most people will tell you that the commute from Brooklyn is actually shorter than a cross-Manhattan trek, making this a moot point.

    > Tourists Don’t Flock to Brooklyn: New York is filled with a mixture of people from all over the world, many of whom live there, many of whom are visiting as tourists. For residents, tourists can be off-putting, since they don’t follow many of the “rules” of sidewalk transit and NYC culture. Since Brooklyn is hardly a tourist mecca of the same caliber, residents find it much more restful on weekends and during high-traffic vacation times.

    > Your Age Matters: It’s impossible to break New York living down into age demographics, but for the most part, Manhattan appeals more to young, childless professionals who want to take advantage of the opportunities and nightlife. Brooklyn is better suited for families, retirees, and those who might not be up to going out seven nights a week.

    One thing you probably won’t have to choose between is the cost of living in Brooklyn versus Manhattan. Although home prices are a little lower in Brooklyn, the relative price of everything (from groceries and transportation to entertainment) tends to be fairly similar. In the debate of Brooklyn versus Manhattan, it usually all boils down to lifestyle.
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  • Spring Home Improvement Projects

    by Ryan Cox | Feb 23, 2015
    Putting your best foot forward after a long and dreary winter season often means you’ll need to kick the warmer weather off with a round or two of extreme spring cleaning. While not everyone is the biggest fan of the rush of chores that come with the blooming blossoms, most will agree that the sunnier season is a great time to spruce up your pad—but should you go above and beyond the conventional Swiffer sweep?

    There are a number of home improvement and home maintenance projects that might be perfect for your foray into a rejuvenated and refreshed spring season home. The improved weather can make it a great time to make the rounds on the exterior of your house, inspecting a variety of facets to gain an idea of what might benefit from being improved, remodeled, or even replaced entirely.

    Fixer-Uppers

    Oftentimes, inclement weather throughout the winter months can give rise to an unpredictable level of roof damage—older roofs are notorious for welcoming the spring sun with damaged shingles, deteriorated granules, and more. These problems will only get worse if they’ve begun—hot summer weather has the propensity to exacerbate shingle damage caused by winter storms, so the two seasons working together to destroy your roof are not something that you’ll want to ignore!

    Additionally, be sure to inspect and carefully consider the current state of your patio, especially those that are comprised of older stone or concrete that have the potential to crack—these can crumble over time if you don’t nip them in the bud.

    Outdoor Forays

    Beyond the arena of simple exterior tune-ups, however, you may find it much more rewarding (and interesting) to look into new projects—spring is the perfect time to create a welcoming environment across your deck or patio if you haven’t done so already. Interested in trying your hand at home gardening? There’s no better time to try than spring. Take advantage of the fact that winter’s gone, or you may be cursing yourself in the months to come when the weather starts getting chilly again.

    Spring Cleaning and Beyond

    A lesser-known fact of spring cleaning is that cleaning and remodeling tend to go hand in hand better than lemon and lime—take full advantage of the uprooted state of rooms in the midst of a cleaning overhaul, and run through a review of potential furniture upgrades, simple remodeling “hacks” (such as repainting an older table) and more –the possibilities of giving rooms in your home a facelift are only limited by what you truly want to do with them.
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