Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

By Mark J. Donovan

Whether or not you are planning to sell your home or just want to improve the overall look of it, investing in your home’s curb appeal always makes great financial sense.

If the front yard of your home looks like a barren wasteland or you have trouble seeing your house from the road due to overgrown shrubs, you should seriously consider investing in your home’s curb appeal.

Particularly if you are planning to sell your home, it is important to invest some money and time into your home’s front yard. Your home’s curb appeal is what generates the first impression to prospective home buyers. It could literally prevent a prospective buyer from looking any further at the home. “If this is what the outside looks like, what’s the point of seeing the rest of the house”, is frequently the thought that runs through a buyers mind when seeing a home without any curb appeal.

Adding curb appeal to your home doesn’t necessarily have to involve breaking your banking account. Listed below are some basic steps you can take to improve your home’s curb appeal.

1) Make sure the yard is free from clutter, e.g. lawn toys, patio equipment, unregistered cars and trailers.

2) Dispose of any old / broken lawn furniture or toys.

3) Make sure the yard is mowed, trimmed and raked.

4) If there are patches of dead grass, remove them and get some grass seed.

5) Make sure the gutters are in good working order and not hanging off the home.

6) Clean the gutters if they are not working properly.

7) If there are overgrown shrubs, prune them so the home can be seen from the road.

8) Add mulch around the shrubs to dress up the shrub area.

9) If the home is lacking shrubs plant some small inexpensive ones around the home’s foundation, and again apply mulch around the base of them.

10) Add a fresh coat of paint to the home if the home has either faded or cracking paint.

11) If the paint looks in good shape, then at least give it a power washing to get off the dirt and grime, and to brighten up the home.

12) Fix anything that is broken on the outside of the home, lights, gutters, shutters, door bells, etc.

13) Add some flowers to the front walkways and entrances.

14) Finally, make sure the yard is kept clean and neat.

With these basic steps your can dramatically improve your home’s curb appeal without breaking the bank. Most of these suggestions take only a little time and effort. Readmore »»

Monday, February 11, 2008

Contemplating a Basement Ceiling - Consider the Industrial Look

By Mark J. Donovan

When it comes to basement ceilings, we normally think of two alternatives, drywall or dropped ceiling tiles. However there is another alternative. The industrial look is also an alternative for basement ceilings. The industrial look basement ceiling involves simply painting the basement ceiling as is, floor joists, first floor subfloor, pipes, ductwork, wiring included.

The Industrial look is ideal for the basement ceiling situation where there is limited ceiling height and budget to add either a dropped ceiling or drywall basement ceiling.

The industrial ceiling look is regularly used in the reclamation of older industrial buildings. Frequently you will find upscale restaurants and office space in these reclaimed buildings with industrial ceilings.

If you want to consider an industrial look basement ceiling, check first with a building inspector or home inspector to see what can be painted and what can not. In some cases, some utilities (e.g. heated duct work) may not be able to be painted.

Once you know what can and can not be painted, simply give the as-is basement ceiling a good cleaning, being careful to remove all of the dust. It is important that anything that is to be painted should be free of dust; else the paint will not stick.

Once the as-is basement ceiling is clean, spray on a primer, followed by one or two coats of finished paint. Lighter colors will give the room a brighter look and the perception that the ceiling height is higher than it really is. Readmore »»