Most homeowners take great pride in the appearance of their front yard. Not only does it represent their contribution to making their community look nice, but it also serves as an advantage when selling their home. This is often called a home's "curb appeal." In fact, real estate agents encourage homeowners to upgrade their front yard before even putting their homes on the market. The following list entails four ways to begin maximizing your home's curb appeal
Out With the Old
The one thing you must understand about adding value to your front yard is that it's not only about what you add but also what you remove. Assess what needs to be repaired or replaced. Often, many of the things that need to be changed are old doors, windows, and chipped paint. Homeowners can use a power washer to remove any dirt buildup that may have accumulated on the driveway and cement path to the front door.
Keeping It Clean
Regular cleaning and upkeep should be done to the exterior. This means removing car oil spills on your driveway, dusting off your front door, removing spider webs, and raking leaves that may have accumulated over the week. This is especially important if you are trying to sell since prospective buyers could drive by.
Upgrading the Yard
In Arizona, there are often restrictions on water usage. Adding some color without spending more on water can be done with artificial grass, succulents, and cacti. Attaining more green in Arizona and other hot and dry climates can be achieved through rock landscaping, native plants, or the addition of artificial grass. You might be curious about how much artificial grass in Phoenix costs. After weighing the upkeep costs against regular grass, artificial grass may actually provide you with a great return on your investment.
Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid weeds, but you can control them. Nowadays, homeowners can keep weeds at bay in environmentally friendly ways without using toxic chemicals. Not only are weeds an eyesore, but they can cause serious damage to your home's overall landscape and even take over other foliage.
Improving a home's curb appeal can be one of the best decisions a homeowner can do whether they are planning to sell or not. Doing so not only makes it look great for your neighbors, but it can also increase the value of your home when done right. In order to achieve a stand-out look, consider the suggestions above.
Looking for more ways to upgrade the look of your home? Contact us for a free estimate.
When you're planning a new house, you have the opportunity to make your future home both comfortable and easier on the environment. Factors such as roofing materials, insulation choices and the home's footprint can greatly impact how big the carbon footprint of your home will end up being.
Home planning choices give you plenty of options to consider the environmental impact of the space. For example, you can install a Grasscrete driveway instead of concrete or asphalt to increase rain absorption and cut down on stormwater runoff in your neighborhood. A solar-power-system installation will be much easier to manage in the original construction than trying to retrofit it onto an existing home. A second way to think about consumption reduction is to use recycled materials. While newer windows will reduce how much power you need as the seasons change, recycled wood flooring and trim can beautify your home and negate the need for new lumber milling in certain areas of your home. Also, straw-bale construction can greatly reduce your heating and cooling expenses if the climate in your area allows for this type of construction.
Use Equipment Properly
Tools needed to clear away topsoil and dig foundation footers generally run on diesel, which can produce a great deal of exhaust. In addition, parking heavy equipment on existing turf can negatively impact healthy root systems. By using construction mats, companies that use heavy machinery can reduce the damage they do to the local environment. These mats disperse the weight of large tools and limit the impact on root systems.
Footprint and Orientation
How much house do you need? This question is critical for those who have environmental concerns. The more house you have, the more energy it will take to heat and cool. In addition, the layout of your home in relation to sunrise and sunset can increase your heating and cooling needs. As possible, consider adding overhangs and awnings to the western windows of your home to reduce heat build-up. Finally, check out local ordinances and consider adding features to your home that will reduce your water usage and make it easy to collect available rainwater for landscaping use.
If you're a parent, then making your child's world safe is likely your first priority. You check out the schools they go to, you meet their friends’ parents, and you even give them sage advice about how to deal with bullies. That being the case, should you do anything less when it comes to your home? These tips will give you some ideas about how to secure your home so that it's safe for you and your family.
Keep Potential Hazards Out of Reach
If you're like most people, then your home can be filled with a minefield of different hazards without you even knowing it. Just think about it. What kinds of chemicals, detergents, and other similar items do you keep under your sink or in your utility closet? Especially when you have little kids, it’s important to safeguard your home from electrical hazards, harmful chemicals, or anything else that can be potentially dangerous.
Alarms and Detectors
No one likes to consider the possibility that a home could be destroyed by fire. Whether you like to think about it or not, this hazard is ever-present, particularly if you live in a place that gets a lot of forest fires. However, home fires can happen at any time. That's just a fact of life. As such, make sure that your home has smoke detectors throughout it. Make sure you also check the batteries for these regularly if they are not attached to your home’s electrical system. Finally, it's important to have an escape plan in case a fire breaks out in your home.
Burglary counts as another thing that most homeowners don't like to think about much. But not thinking about it doesn't make you immune from it. You should have a plan to prevent it. Aside from putting secure locks on all the doors and the windows, make sure that your home looks occupied, particularly if you're not going to be home for several hours. When you're faced with this sort of situation, leave your TV and lights on and put a pair of shoes by the front door. These elements give off the impression that someone is home. Better yet, if you have a second car, then leave it parked in the driveway, too.
Your home is your castle and your fortress against the world. However, it is only as safe as you make it. Good home safety measures can include checking the locks and the smoke detectors in your home, keeping dangerous chemicals away from your kids, and making your home look occupied even when it's not. While no home safety plan is completely foolproof, by following these steps, you'll go a long way to keeping you and your family safe.
Here’s another article you might like: Neighborhood Home Buying Checklist
Building a home is an exciting process that ensures you get to make the major choices about your home design. That's why it's important to know the current trends and why people are choosing them when they start the building process. Here are a few popular trends to consider.
Sustainability is a big issue as we observe climate change and understand the impact waste has on the world we live in. As such, the sustainability trend that has taken over home construction, affecting everything from how houses are built to what materials are used. Tiny homes are a major component of the sustainability movement since they take up less space and use fewer resources. Many people are choosing the tiny home lifestyle. Cargotecture is another sustainability trend. It involves builders using recycled shipping containers to build homes. There are many varieties of cargotecture-type homes, and they’re cheap to build or buy. If you want to have a sustainable home but don't want anything too extreme, simply consider the appliances you choose for your house. Go for eco-friendly appliances, even if they cost a bit more upfront.
It's no surprise that technology has found its way into home construction in the 21st century. Home automation allows you to control with a cell phone things that are going on in your home. In fact, 33.2 percent of US households had home security or automation technology at the beginning of 2019. This includes cameras that allow you to see who is at your front door as well as systems that control the temperature, lighting, and electronics in the home. Home automation gives homeowners peace of mind since they can usually see what is going on at their home even if they are not there. It also offers convenience, which is something that every homeowner wants.
Many homeowners are bringing the inside outdoors when they build a new home. Outside amenities, such as cooking and dining areas, are extremely popular because they give homeowners multiple places to entertain. Outdoor amenities also make it easier to cook outside when it's already warm and you don't want to heat up the kitchen. Put a refrigerator and a stovetop outside with some comfortable furniture, and consider your backyard an easy extension of your home.
Make sure you know what trends you are interested in before starting home construction. The designs that are trending often offer convenience and beauty that will add value to your home.
If you are looking for help with constructing your new home, contact us for a quote!
If you’re looking to remodel your home but are short on cash, then one option that you can consider is getting an unsecured loan. An unsecured loan, also known as a personal loan, can be used for almost anything. As an unsecured loan, it doesn't add to your home debt for assessment purposes. However, before taking one out, there are a few things you should know. Continue reading to learn a few things you need to know about using an unsecured loan for a remodel.
How They Work
As mentioned before, unsecured loans can be used for just about anything. They function similar to other loans. You take out a certain amount of money, use it for its intended purpose and pay it off over time. When it comes to a remodeling job, unsecured loans don't require your house as collateral, differentiating them from other forms of financing such as a home equity line of credit (HELOC). However, the fixed rates of a personal loan depend on the lender and the current prime rate.
Just like with every other type of loan, you can’t just take one out. You must first qualify for one before you can obtain it. Luckily, qualifying for an unsecured loan isn’t very difficult. Before applying for this loan, make sure to check your credit score first. It’s worth mentioning that lenders won’t be very comfortable with giving a loan to someone with a low credit score. Don’t forget to acquire a copy of your credit report. Pay off any outstanding debt you may have and verify that you have a stable income. It’ll help to make the loan much easier.
How They Impact Your Credit Score
When taking out a personal loan, or any new loan for that matter, it’s crucial that you understand that it can have an impact on your credit score. This is because lenders will always pull your credit score when you apply. This is known as a hard inquiry. If your report is pulled, it will lower your score a little bit, but if your score is fine, then you have nothing to worry about.
With this knowledge, you’re ready to have your house remodeled with an unsecured loan. Just remember to keep information in mind when applying. Lastly, don’t forget to double-check if you have any outstanding bills or debt.
Flipping houses can be lucrative, but it's a risky business if you're not disciplined. One of the big challenges for first-time flippers face is that they spend too much on the property and put too much into it, then they can't make their money back in the sale of the property. Here are a few tips to help you during the house flipping process if you are doing it for the first time.
Choose a Fixer-Upper
To get the right house at the right price, you will need to buy a fixer-upper. Make sure to hire an inspector so you don't accidentally buy a fixer-upper that is unsalvageable. Work with a contractor you trust and ask them to check out important factors such as the condition of the foundation. Review the back yard for electrical access and look for a sewer cleanout. This is critical in older neighborhoods as replacing the sewer line will be a challenge if the former owner built a garage that limits access to the back yard. If possible, buy a time capsule that needs updating but doesn't need a lot of structural repairs.
Match the Quality of the Other Homes
You'll set your offering price on comps pulled from the neighborhood or on the tax valuation of the neighborhood. Then you need to get it for a low enough price that your upgrades don't price you out of the neighborhood. Be very careful to keep the house similar in size and color scheme to the rest of the street. Your objective should be to match the quality of similar houses in the neighborhood. Don't buy the biggest house and make it bigger or add features that make the house stand out.
Go Simple and Stay Flexible
When flipping, remember that you want to turn a grubby, unloved house into a nice vanilla home. Don't put a $50,000 kitchen in a $75,000 house. You will never get your money back. Make sure to spend a good amount of time making a budget for flipping a house, but make sure to give yourself plenty of time and money to work with. When planning the flip investments, you’ll want to make sure that you round up both money and time. You may get great deals on materials but have to wait two weeks for the plumber, or you may have a carpet guy who can start tomorrow but need to pay more for flooring.
Flipping looks easy on TV. It's not. You're going to have to get your hands dirty. Few projects come in on time or on budget. But with focus and a willingness to put your back into it, you can build a rewarding flipping business.
If you’re renovating a bathroom while flipping a house, try one of these design ideas!
Hot water is a commodity that people need for many aspects of daily living. Having access to hot water is a necessity for cleaning, cooking, and plenty more. As a result, water heaters are a fixture in virtually every home these days. While this makes hot water an easy thing to get access to, it also leaves people with little experience shopping for a new water heater if one breaks down. To help fix that, let's go over how to choose a water heater for your home to find the best one for your needs.
Look at Different Types of Water Heaters
As one would expect, there are a variety of different water heaters you might want in your home. The main difference you'll have to decide on first will be whether to get a traditional tank model or a newer tankless heater. The most obvious difference between the two is the name. Tank heaters hold large amounts of water in a heated tank for use on-demand while tankless heat water as needed by passing it through super-hot coils. This means tank heaters have a finite amount of water you can use at a time before they run out while tankless heaters are technically unlimited, "technically" meaning that only so much water can pass through a tankless heater at a time and it is possible to use more water than can be heated at once. Additionally, according to Mother Earth News, you can also find solar tanks (those that heat water through the use of the sun), heat pumps (tanks that move heat from the ground or air into standing water), and more variations that may either use a tank or be tankless depending on a number of factors.
For water heaters with a tank versus ones without, the cost can be a major factor in your decision on what to buy. In terms of a basic cost for purchase, traditional heaters with tanks tend to be substantially less expensive. This is due in part to tankless heaters being fairly new and, like all cutting edge technology, costing more for consumers. In terms of being energy efficient, that's where the tankless model really shines. If you end up with a defective model, you can report defective products to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), according to Viles & Beckman. Tankless heaters tend to save a ton in heating given they aren't required to keep a large supply of water heated at all times, heating only when necessary.
Consider Energy Consumption
Energy consumption is also a factor in picking a water heater as not all heaters are created equal. As one would imagine, tankless heaters tend to be much cheaper given their on-demand heating process. However, the amount of energy necessary to use them can be a bit trickier as not all homes have the necessary electrical or natural gas lines to provide a sufficient amount of power at once, adding further costs associated with renovation. According to the Pembina Institute, accounting for whether you'll be using electricity or natural gas to heat your water is another factor you should think about. It's also worth mentioning that heat pump heaters tend to be fairly efficient in their own right by using natural heat.
Water heaters be tricky when it comes to purchasing, but are necessary for your home. Consider points like the ones above to help you decide which kind of water heater best fits your needs.
Here’s another article you might like: 7 Common Frustrations You May Run Into When Building a New Home
The bigger down payment you put down, the less interest you will have to pay over the life of the loan. You will also not have to deal with private mortgage insurance if you can make a 20% down payment. However, getting into a mortgage with a lower down payment can still be a good deal.
If someone is willing to give you a portion of your down payment, congratulations! There are a few rules that will make this easy to track at closing time. First of all, the gift needs to come with a formal gift letter confirming it's not actually a loan in disguise. The gift can only be 6% of your down payment, so you will still need to come up with some savings.
Mortgages with Lower Down Payments
The larger your down payment, the more equity you have at purchase and you will be able to get lower interest rates. However, you can still get a great house with a smaller down payment. Some jumbo loans allow a 5% - 10% down payment instead of the commonly touted 20% requirement. Understand that this will mean making larger payments for a longer period of time and paying private mortgage insurance (PMI) until you can get the loan under 80% of the value of the house. However, if you can buy the least expensive house in the best neighborhood, it's likely your equity will increase quickly.
Plan to Refinance
Once you've found your house and qualified for your mortgage, it's a good idea to set some new financial goals. Oftentimes, buyers find that their expenses actually go down once they purchase and they are able to both save a bit more money and build up equity. Cautious optimism is a good financial habit to practice once you've purchased your home. Be diligent about saving for emergencies. If you find you are able to make a larger monthly mortgage payment, consider refinancing to a 15-year loan by simply refinancing the remaining debt without taking any cash out of the house. Making an additional payment on the principal every month is also a great way to reduce the term of your mortgage.
Home ownership is often a way to get your foot in the doorway of financial security. Once inside, you can build wealth by building equity in your purchase. A fully paid for house is one of the best gifts you can give yourself in the future.
Looking to make your dream home a reality? Contact us for a free quote!
Natural disasters are a part of life, and earthquakes are no exception. When building a new house, it is definitely worth seeing if earthquakes may be an issue in your area. By planning ahead, it is possible to build your home in a manner that can reduce the risk of structural failure, home loss, and injury.
Consider Where You Live
When it comes to earthquakes, there are two major considerations regarding your location. The first will be your general location. Some areas are simply far more prone to dangerous quakes than others. In the United States, the risk of seismic activity can generally be obtained through governmental websites. However, California and the Western United States coast is the area most known for earthquakes—both in frequency and severity. Further inland, states such as Arizona, Utah, and Colorado may have more moderate, but still very real, risk. The secondary consideration is the specific location of your home, and what it will be resting on in terms of ground density. Hard rocky ground and very dense soils transmit earthquake energy better than soft or loose soils. If you are in an earthquake-prone area and planning to build on hard ground, you are at high risk for earthquake damage.
Risks vs. Benefits
Property damage is a common casualty of earthquakes. If and when an earthquake does hit, you will want to make sure your property is prepared. Unlike in pop culture, the main risk of earthquakes is not gaping chasms, but building collapse or breakage from the seismic waves and ground liquefaction. Major secondary risk comes from fires caused by property damage. The main issue with earthquake-proofing is the higher cost involved. In some areas, code requirements may make various earthquake-proof building and construction techniques a requirement. In this case, ensure that your contractors and builders are in full code compliance. If going above and beyond what the code mandates, you may increase the cost of your construction anywhere from 2 percent up to potentially 8 percent more than standard construction cost. While the initial cost may seem daunting, it can save a lot of money—and potentially lives—later down the line.
Basic Earthquake Proofing
There really is no such thing as a fully earthquake-proof home, but there are certainly many steps that can be taken to make the home as resistant to earthquakes and damage as possible. Since earthquakes are a ground-based event, your foundation will be key. Building the foundation on a looser soil instead of hard and using advanced engineering techniques can significantly reduce your risk. Avoid materials that lack elasticity, such as brick, stone or concrete. Instead, use wood, steel or steel-reinforced concrete. Lightweight materials in your flooring and shearing walls will help prevent collapse or home implosion. Lastly, make sure your belongings are secured and anchored as well as possible.
Earthquakes are extremely dangerous and must be taken seriously. Living in a zone with even moderate activity drastically increases the likelihood of your home experiencing a quake. By using earthquake-proof techniques and materials, under the eye of a knowledgeable builder, you can make your home much safer for you and your family.
Here at Absolute Construction, Inc., we are committed to building quality, safe homes. Contact us for a free quote today!