Tuesday, April 14, 2015

6 Summer home maintenance items you shouldn't miss

Ready to entertain guests for a summer barbecue? Get your home looking and feeling great for entertaining with these six home maintenance tips.

6 Summer home maintenance items you shouldn't miss

Air conditioning tune up

The number one priority for your summer home maintenance checklist is to have your air conditioning (AC) unit tuned up. As important as getting your car tuned, your AC needs to be tuned to inspect and prevent unwanted emergencies. The tune up is used to inspect refrigerant levels, which is important for your AC to keep running cool and keep your summer electric bills low, as well as to ensure your fan is functioning well, your coils are thoroughly cleaned and there are no potential fire hazards with faulty wiring.
Homeowner tip: You can keep your AC bill running smoothly by changing out your air filters often. Experts advise changing them once a month when using your unit on a daily basis.

Roof check

Your roof should be inspected annually to ensure that you don't have any problems. Whether you have just ended your rainy season or are about to begin it, checking your roof regularly will assist in finding a small problem before it becomes a large, leaky one. Contingent on the type of roof, you may also want to clean your roof to avoid any permanent water damage.
Homeowner tip: Find out about care for your specific roof at RoofCare.us.

Clean gutters

Cleaning gutters regularly will help prevent clogging and unnecessary leaks. It is recommended that gutters are cleaned twice a year: once at late fall/early winter, after all of the leaves have fallen and prior to the first snowfall, and once at late spring/early summer after flowers, seeds and blossoms are done blowing off.
Homeowner tip: Find out how you can clean your gutters before they clean you with this Lowe's DIY video.

Window check

Ensure that the hot summer heat stays outside by checking and maintaining your home's windows. One of the key items in window maintenance is routinely checking the sealants. Ensure that both inside and out are secured, and caulk any open areas in between. Also, check weather-stripping for any faults and replace it immediately if there is an issue. Taking care of windows will keep your home looking and feeling good.
Homeowner tip: Use a small paintbrush or toothbrush when cleaning windows to get to hard-to-reach areas.

Pressure wash the exterior

An important element of maintaining your home's exterior is to routinely clean it, and the easiest way to do so is to pressure wash the walls. Do it to remove dirt, stains and mildew, especially prior to painting. Before you wash, just ensure that you cover plants, electrical outlets, windows and doors to avoid any DIY mishaps.
Homeowner tip: For a step-by-step guide on how to pressure wash your home, check out this MSN Real Estate video.

Pool maintenance

Depending on where you live, it's probably been a good six months since your pool has been used for swimming. Get it ready for summer by cleaning it up, leveling the water, ensuring that your pumps are working and balancing your chemicals. Start at least a week prior to swim season to ensure that the water and your new bathing suit are safe from chemical harm.
Homeowner tip: Look into an energy-efficient pool pump to help keep your electric bill down during the summer months.

More tips for homeowners

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6 Cheap renovations to make your home more sellable
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A Homeowner Guide to Summer Energy Saving Tips


Yes, summer is upon us. Almost everyone looks forward to the summer, at least until we open our utility bills. When the humidity and thermometer rise in warm coastal states such as Florida, Alabama and South Carolina, air conditioners work overtime and utility bills often skyrocket.
You will reduce your energy costs significantly, according to Consumer Energy Center in California, if you follow a few tips.

-When you leave home, set your thermostat to 82 degrees. If you are gone for an extended length of time, do not turn off your air. This can lead to mold growth in humid coastal regions.

-Set your hot water temperature to around 120 degrees. The U.S. Department of Energy says this will save consumers around $7 per month.

-Replace your air conditioner filter about once a month. Even filters that claim to be good for three months may need more frequent replacement, depending on your air conditioner use.

-The dishwasher can save you money. You can save a bundle on your water bill if you skip the pre-rinse stage for your dishes. Dishwashers are powerful enough to clean almost all items, as long as you scrape off the plate before loading it into the machine. Turning off the dry cycle at the end of the wash can also save you money.

-Everyone wants the pool to be clean year round. However, try to cap the pool pump time to a maximum of five or six hours per day during the summer.

-The microwave can equal macro savings. Microwave ovens use less energy than stoves. When possible, zap your food.

-Buy a clothesline. It may seem “old school,” but drying your clothes can save you a nice chunk of change.

-Unplug your cell phone. Charging your cell phone uses a lot of energy. In addition, it is not good for the device to charge it so frequently. Let the charge drop under 20 percent before recharging.
Consider a whole house fan. Installed in the attic, a whole house fan cools the home by blowing out the hot air through your attic.

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Car Wash and Lunch Event

Come by Alden Oaks today to view beautiful homes!

Open 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and get your free Car Wash and a wonderful lunch! This even it hosted by our Sales Agents Bill Knott and John Sloan. Don't forget to RSVP!

 To view the Alden Oaks Community, click here


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

30 Tips for Increasing Your Home's Value

The road to selling a home can be a long one. Learn to improve the value of your home based on your budget with these 30 tips.

Cape Cod Home Exterior

Home Improvements: Under $100

Tip 1: Spend an Hour With a pro
Invite a realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Many realtors will do this as a courtesy, but you will probably have to pay a consultation fee to a designer. Check with several designers in your area; a standard hourly fee is normally less than $100, and in an hour they can give you lots of ideas for needed improvements. Even small suggested improvements, such as paint colors or furniture placement, can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home.
Tip 2: Inspect it
Not every home improvement is cosmetic. Deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or outdated electrical systems — you can't fix it if you don't know it's broken. Hire an inspector to check out the areas of your home that you don't normally see. They may discover hidden problems that could negatively impact your home's value. Small problems (such as a hidden water leak) can become big, expensive problems quickly; the longer you put off repairs, the more expensive those repairs will be.
Tip 3: Paint, Paint, Paint

Master Bedroom With Olive Walls and Custom Headboard

One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements of all is paint! Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, painter's tape, drop cloths and brushes. So buy a few gallons and get busy!
Tip 4: Find Inspiration
An alternative to hiring a designer is to search for remodeling and decorating inspiration in design-oriented magazines, books, TV shows and websites. Simply tear out or print off the ideas you want to try and start your to-do list. Keep it simple — when remodeling on a tight budget, do-it-yourself projects are best.
Tip 5: Cut Energy Costs
The amount of money you spend each month on energy costs may seem like a fixed amount, but many local utility companies provide free energy audits of their customers' homes. They can show you how to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. An energy-efficient home will save you money now, which can be applied to other updates, and is a more valuable and marketable asset in the long run.

To read the rest of this awesome article, click here! 


Wells Fargo: 'North Carolina’s economy has clearly shifted into high gear'

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC) says North Carolina’s job market is operating at full-tilt.
The San Francisco-based lender, which has its East Coast hub in Charlotte, recently released an economic update on the state.
The gist: “North Carolina’s economy has clearly shifted into high gear,” senior economist Mark Vitner and his team wrote in the report.
Here are 5 takeaways to remember:

1. The unemployment rate (5.3%) in North Carolina is below the national average.“The quality of jobs being created has also improved, with growth led by gains in the professional & technical services industry,” Wells says. “Hiring in the construction and manufacturing sectors has also sprung back to life, which is particularly good news for manufacturing-intensive areas, such as Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Hickory, Charlotte, Raleigh and many rural parts of the state.

2. People here are making things. Wells says goods-producing jobs have increased 4.7% over the past 12 months, a net gain of 28,800 jobs. Construction jobs have surged 9% over the past year, producing a net gain of 15,300 jobs, while employment in manufacturing is up 3.1%, producing a net gain of 13,600 jobs. Manufacturers employ 458,300 workers in North Carolina, which equates to 10.9 percent of the state’s employment base.

3. The more we make, the better for everyone.“Construction and manufacturing have very high multiplier effects, helping drive gains in wholesale trade, transportation and other parts of the service sector. These knock on effects are apparent in the latest data.” How much? Wholesale trade (+4.2%); transportation, warehousing & utilities (+4%).

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