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Home Maintenance - Projects You Should Start Now

by Melissa Thompson

Summer is winding down and the kids are back in school. Before you know it, crisp Fall weather will be here.   Don’t wait to start preparing your home for the colder seasons.  Take advantage of warm weather and longer days to get the jobs done now.  Here are five home projects you can do now to prepare for Fall and Winter:

  • Get your heating system serviced.  Now is the time to have a technician come out to inspect your heating system and make sure it is clean and in good repair.  You will be glad you did this when that first cold night arrives.  Try to find a heating/air conditioning contractor that belongs to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and employs certified technicians.
  • Caulk and weather-strip windows and doors.  Caulking is an inexpensive and simple way to save energy and improve comfort in your home. Be sure to seal any areas where water and air can slip into your home.  The prime places where this can happen are gaps between the foundation and siding, cutouts for electrical conduits and pipes and all around windows and door frames. Replace any damaged weather stripping at the base of doors and windows to make sure they are effectively sealed. 
  • Make sure your roof is in good shape. Trust me, you are not going to want to go up on the roof in cold weather.  Take the time now to inspect it and make any repairs necessary.  It will serve you well to deal with roof issues now so that you’re not scrambling to get things fixed before the first big winter storm.
  • Make sure your fireplace is in good working order.  There’s nothing better on that first, cold Fall day than curling up in front of a warm fire.  And there would be nothing worse than trying to light that fire and discover that something is not right.  Make sure your fireplace is safe and ready to go.
  • Seal your driveway.  Check it for cracks and use driveway filler to repair any damage. Then coat it with a commercial sealer.  Sealing your driveway will protect it from the elements of cold-weather and extend the life of the asphalt.

Getting these projects done before the weather changes and the days get shorter will allow you to enjoy all the fun that Fall brings with it rather than spending every weekend doing chores!

 

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/5-Important-Things-to-Fix-Before-Putting-Your-House-on-the-Market

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Quick-Fix-Tricks-to-Make-Your-House-Sparkling-Clean

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Top-Home-Renovations-for-Maximum-ROI

Top Home Renovations for Maximum ROI

by Melissa Thompson

Top Home Renovations for Maximum ROI [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home, or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most Return On Investment (ROI).
  • While big projects like adding a bathroom or a complete kitchen remodel are popular ways to increase a home’s value, something as simple as updating landscaping and curb appeal can have a quick impact on a home’s value.
  • For more information about top renovation projects that net you the most ROI, you can check out the complete list here.

Thinking about buying or selling a Memphis TN home, Call your local expert’s The Melissa Thompson Team 901-729-9526.

 

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Best Money-Saving DIY Projects (and Tips for Doing Them Right)

by Melissa Hayes Thompson

You’re going to save money with DIY home improvement projects. Sure, everybody knows that.

But did you know how much? Cut professionals out of the equation and you can save half the cost of a project — or more. On a minor bathroom refresh, that could be up to $10,000.

What’s more, you get a great return on your investment. Meaning, the financial value you get out of a DIY project is much more than what you put in.

Of course there are projects where pro installation is going to be much faster and safer, and worth the price of a hiring a contractor. Major exterior improvements, such as replacing roofing and siding, are prime candidates.

And granted, there are tasks where a pro is invaluable. Personally, I have years of DIY experience, but I still won’t touch electrical work with a 10-foot insulated pole.


Nevertheless, going DIY is the ultimate money-saving tool. You’ll also get tons of satisfaction and enjoyment from creating a better home environment, and from learning home improvement skills that’ll last a lifetime.

Here’s a rundown of some top money-saving projects, using cost and return-on-investment figures from “Remodeling” magazine’s annual “Cost vs. Value Report.”

But before we get to that, let’s swat aside some concerns. Or go straight to the projects.

What If You Don’t Have the Skills?

Sorry, not buying it. How-to tutorials are everywhere. Check out YouTube for video instructions on everything from taking out a toilet to tiling your shower stall. In addition:

  • Most major manufacturers have tutorials on their websites. If you’re looking to install a particular product, check out the horse’s mouth for videos and PDF instructions.
  • Big box home improvement centers run clinics on installing tile, building decks, paint finishes, and more — free. Spend an hour or so at a clinic to learn direct from professionals.
  • Yes, physical books still exist. Buy new, or head down to your local library for free how-to books you can keep for weeks. (Yes, they still have overdue fines!)

What If You Don’t Have the Time?

That’s the trade-off. Your time (and labor) is going to stand in for cash out of your pocket. If you truly don’t have the time, then DIY probably isn’t for you.

The next best move is to BIY your project — buy-it-yourself. With a BIY project, you do the research, shopping, and purchasing of materials and save the contractor’s markup. You need to work closely with your professional to make sure you agree on what stuff you’ll be buying, and what is still the contractor’s responsibility.

Related: Save 20% When You BIY Instead of DIY

The Best Money-Saving Projects With Great ROI

Deck Addition


A 12-foot-by-16-foot wood deck addition is a straightforward project, especially if you keep the design simple (rectangular) and use concrete piers instead of poured concrete footings (check your local codes). Even a set of simple stairs can be tricky, so take your time with measurements. If you botch your first attempt, know you’re in good company, and try again.

If You Hire

 

  If You DIY

 

Cost

  $10,048

  Cost

  $1,650

What You Get Back When You Sell*

  $8,085

  What You Get Back When You Sell*

  $8,085

Return on Investment

  80.5%

  Return on Investment

  490%

*Source: “Remodeling” magazine “Cost vs. Value Report

You can probably build a 12-foot-by-16-foot DIY deck in three to four days over two weekends. If you’re using poured footings instead of precast piers, you’ll need to wait two or three days for the concrete to cure. Having a buddy definitely helps move things along, but might cost you extra for pizza and beer.

Minor Bathroom Facelift


A typical guest bathroom is about 5 feet by 7 feet, so let’s bring that up-to-date by installing a new tub, toilet, ceramic tile floor and shower surround, updating the shower valve, and adding a new vanity, sink, and counter. Spruce it all up with moisture-proof vinyl wallpaper.

You’ll do everything but the plumbing connections, so add $380 for a pro plumber (four hours at $95 per hour).

Installing ceramic tile is one of the more challenging — and rewarding — DIY projects. Study those tutorials first, and get the right tools. Rent an electric tile saw for $50 to $75 per day; but note that you can buy an acceptable tile saw at a home improvement center for less than $100.

If You Hire

 

  If You DIY

 

Cost

  $16,724

  Cost

  $6,880

What You Get Back When You Sell*

  $11,707

  What You Get Back When You Sell*

  $11,707

Return on Investment

  70%

  Return on Investment

  170%

*Source: “Remodeling” magazine “Cost vs. Value Report

Plan for six to eight days of work, spread over however long you can stand to be without your bathroom. You’ll need the better part of two days for the tile alone, and a day to let the tile adhesive set.

Entry Door Replacement

No other project gives as much return as a new steel entry replacement door. Not only is it a cost-effective project with one of the highest returns in the Cost vs. Value Report, but you get the added benefit of sprucing up your curb appeal.

Know your door parts (jambs, threshold, stops) before digging in. You’ll be putting in a pre-hung door that includes jambs, so the old stuff has to come out. If you can, preserve the old casing (trim) that goes around the door. Otherwise, plan to buy new casing.

If You Hire

 

  If You DIY

 

Cost

  $1,230

  Cost

  $250

What You Get Back When You Sell*

  $1,252

  What You Get Back When You Sell*

  $1,252

Return on Investment

  101.8%

  Return on Investment

  501%

*Source: “Remodeling” magazine “Cost vs. Value Report

This is a good one to have a buddy or spouse lend a hand. It’ll take six to eight hours if it’s your first time. Remember the three-legged mantra of door installation: Plumb, level, square.

Related: Choosing an Exterior Door

Garage Door Replacement

Tired of looking at that big blank billboard every time you pull into your driveway? Change out your old garage door for a spiffy new steel model and the whole neighborhood will thank you. Save some cash by keeping the same motorized opener.

If You Hire

 

  If You DIY

 

Cost

  $1,595

  Cost

  $850

What You Get Back When You Sell*

  $1,410

  What You Get Back When You Sell*

  $1,410

Return on Investment

  88.4%

  Return on Investment

  166%

*Source: “Remodeling” magazine “Cost vs. Value Report

A steel garage door comes in four panels that are relatively lightweight but awkward — get a friend to lend a hand and you’ll have this project done in a day.

Vinyl Window Replacement


If you want to replace four or more windows, or a second-story window, then hire the work out. Being up on a ladder with an object as bulky as a window is no place for a non-professional. Pros bring scaffolding, which takes time to set up but ultimately makes the work faster and safer.

Replacing one, two, or maybe three first-story windows is a good DIY job. Anything more and the pros will get the job done with better efficiency in terms of time and hassle.

If You Hire

 

  If You DIY

 

Cost (per window)

  $1,120

  Cost (per window)

  $250

What You Get Back When You Sell*

  $816

  What You Get Back When You Sell*

  $816

Return on Investment

  72.9%

  Return on Investment

  320%

*Source: “Remodeling” magazine “Cost vs. Value Report

If you’ve measured your rough opening correctly and bought the right window, then one window should take you three to four hours. You’ll get faster with subsequent windows.

Related:

By: HouseLogic
 

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