A Room-by-room Guide To Decluttering Your Home

white bathroom designBrought to you by Executive Home Inspections!

Controlling clutter in your home can be a challenge; 48 percent of Americans say their houses are cluttered with stuff they don’t use anymore, according to a survey by ClearVoice Research. Multiple studies have found a cluttered home can negatively affect your mental and physical health, while a cleaner home can make you feel happier and healthier.

A UCLA study found mothers in cluttered homes had higher stress levels while dealing with their stuff, while an Indiana University study found people with clean houses are healthier than those living in cluttered homes. You may realize clutter isn’t good for you, but it’s not always easy to get organized. To help you get started, here is a room-by-room guide to cutting the clutter:

Entryway

Basic tactics:

  • Decide what belongs in your entryway and what doesn’t. The size of the space will influence this decision. If your entryway is a spacious mudroom, you might choose to store shoes, boots, umbrellas and backpacks there. If you have a modest foyer, you may decide you only have room for car keys. Remove anything from the space that doesn’t help it serve its purpose in your home.
  • Add storage/organization that helps the space meet its purpose. Wall-hung key racks can keep important keys at your fingertips. Shoe racks are available in a variety of sizes and styles to fit your space and décor while keeping footwear organized and off the floor.

A step up:

  • If space allows, adding built-in storage such as cabinets and shelves can help keep an entry space organized and visually appealing.

Family room

Basic tactics:

  • Assess the kind of clutter that builds up in your family room. Perhaps your clutter consists of children’s toys, magazines and newspapers, or multiple remote controls for entertainment components. Once you know what kind of clutter you’re collecting, decide if it belongs and must be accommodated, or doesn’t and should go.
  • Add storage solutions specific to your needs. For example, storage ottomans can double as extra seating and a place to store frequently used toys. A caddy can keep remote controls organized and at hand.

A step up:

  • Sometimes furniture that’s too large for a space can add to the feeling of a cluttered and congested room. Assess your family room furniture. Is it the right size for the space, or is it overwhelming the area? Replace overly large furnishings with ones that better fit the room.
  • If you have the room for it, a large shelving or cabinet unit can help contain clutter. Add decorative containers to help keep everyday items like toys, magazines and other frequently used items organized on shelves.

Bathroom

Basic tactics:

  • Tackle the linen closet and trash any partial bottles of shampoo, tubes of toothpaste and towels that have seen better days. Be brutal. If you haven’t used that half bottle of body wash so far, chances are you never will.
  • Clean out your medicine cabinet. Discarding expired prescription medicines can help reduce the risk of someone accidentally taking the wrong medication.

A step up:

  • Showers can be among the most cluttered spots in a bathroom. If you’re ready to take your bathroom organization to the next level, ditch the rack hanging from your showerhead and the precarious corner shelving and upgrade your shower to one with built-in organization, like Sterling Store+ shower. The showers feature built-in recesses and tracks where you can snap in a variety of storage accessories and shelves, such as a soap dish, storage bin, towel bar or shower hook. The storage is fully customizable, and all accessories are removable and dishwasher safe. Visit www.sterlingplumbing.com to learn more.

Kitchen

Basic tactics:

  • Countertops frequently host a wealth of kitchen-related clutter, from the mail you brought in yesterday and forgot to go through to small appliances you use once or twice a year. Clearing off countertops can make a kitchen feel visually more appealing, look bigger and function better. Remove and store rarely used small appliances, ditch the ceramic container of utensils and store those items in drawers instead.
  • Pantries and cabinets can be nearly as cluttered as countertops. Adding shelving and storage units within cabinets can help keep pots, pans, lids and dishware better organized and more easily accessible.

A step up:

  • Some people need a bit of extra incentive to stay organized. If that’s you, consider replacing solid cabinet doors with glass ones that reveal what’s inside. Knowing the contents of your cabinets are always on display can help inspire you to keep them tidy and organized. Plus, glass-front cabinets are an opportunity to create an appealing visual display. – (BPT)

 

Easy Ways to Declutter Your Home!

 

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

Repair Or Replace? What To Do With A Worn-out Cooling System

father and daughter playing in the bedroomFrom your friends at Executive Home Inspections!

Sooner or later, every homeowner will face the same tough decision: Can you repair that malfunctioning system or appliance one more time, or is it finally time to replace it? Summer temperatures can heat up the repair-or-replace debate for homeowners living with an older cooling system.

To arrive at an answer, you must weigh numerous factors, including which option is more cost-effective over both the long- and short-term, how the existing or new system will affect the air quality of your home, and just how much reliability you require. Your decision can affect your wallet and the comfort of your home for years to come.

The heating and cooling systems experts at Champion(R) offer some guidelines for knowing whether you should repair or replace your cooling system:

When You Can Still Repair:

Sometimes, it may be preferable to repair a minor problem than to replace a system. Your cooling system might still be a candidate for repair if:

  • It’s less than 10 years old and/or is a high-quality, energy-efficient model.
  • The repair is still covered under warranty, or you will be able to pay for the repair without financing the cost.
  • The cost of the repair will be far less than the cost of replacement.
  • You can reasonably expect the repair to solve your problem.
  • Repairing the problem means that specific issue isn’t likely to reoccur throughout the system’s remaining lifespan.

When It’s Time To Replace:

  • It can be much easier to recognize the signs that it’s time to replace a worn-out cooling system. They can include:
  • A system that is 10 or more years old.
  • Frequent and repeated repairs that are adding up to be very costly.
  • Even after repairs and/or maintenance, the system still doesn’t adequately cool your home.
  • Very high energy bills. Modern cooling systems are significantly more energy-efficient than older units.
  • You can afford to finance a replacement, but can no longer afford to pay cash for repairs.
  • The unreliability of the worn-out cooling system is affecting the comfort of your home and causing you to feel stress.

Replacing A Cooling System:

When you decide replacing a cooling system makes the most sense for your needs, you’ll need to start looking for a new system. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Choosing an energy-efficient unit like the Champion(R) Momentum(TM) Variable Capacity Air Conditioner can greatly reduce energy bills while improving the comfort of your home. Refer to the system’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) to get an idea of how much more energy-efficient the new unit is. Modern air-conditioning systems can be over 50 percent more efficient than ones manufactured a decade ago.
  • It’s important to right-size your new cooling system. A system that is too small for your home won’t be able to deliver the desired comfort level and will use more energy working harder at maintaining cool temperatures. A system that is too large will also use more energy and may result in uneven cooling throughout the house. Your Champion dealer can provide a load calculation and energy analysis to help you determine the right-size system for your home.
  • Depending on the age of your home and your cooling system, you may have to repair or replace other elements, too. Have your home’s ductwork, insulation, refrigerant piping, electrical service, wiring, thermostat and other cooling system components inspected, too. Ensuring all the parts of the system are in top working order will help your new air-conditioning unit work at its best, too.

To learn more about the advantages of replacing a worn-out cooling system, what you should look for in a new system and where to find a dealer near you, visit www.championhomecomfort.com/repair. – (BPT)

 

Cleaning Your Air Conditioning Unit

 

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

Uniquely You Hues: Decorating With Your Personality In Mind

decorating style and ideasWhether you realize it or not, the colors you select for your home and your personal belongings tell a lot about your personality. In fact, according to a recent survey by PPG, 58 percent of 2,500 consumers surveyed agree that colors selected for their home, car and consumer products – such as appliances and electronics – reflect their personality and style all or most of the time. In addition, 70 percent of those surveyed agreed color selection is important when purchasing paint for their home. So, how do these color preferences come about?

PPG, a global leader in paint and color, knows that consumers’ color preferences aren’t random. One’s desire for certain colors can be quite personal, as each color evokes different emotions based on our unique experiences, current events, memories and style preferences. By determining the paint color schemes that positively reflect your personality, you can identify your unique style and ultimately add a more personal touch to your home décor.

Pulling inspiration from your wardrobe is a great way to determine your color preferences. Evaluating what clothing items are your go-to staples will help inform you of the colors and styles you find most appealing. Do you live in dark denim? Paint a rich navy accent wall in your dining room. Do you love your little black dress? A front door painted PPG Paints Black Magic (PPG1001-7) makes a stunning first impression. Your favorite vacation spot can also serve as a muse in realizing your design sense. If thoughts of weekends at your family cabin bring warm memories, then deep, earthy tones will likely evoke nostalgia in reminiscing about your favorite spot.

To make paint color selection easier, the PPG Paints brand offers five-color collections that help consumers see various paint hues in context with the colors of other existing home elements, such as flooring, tile and furniture. Seeing these five-color pairings next to each other allows you to easily visualize how wall and trim colors will work with other colors in a space. Arranged by personality, style and the five senses, the collections can serve as a compass for determining which groups of colors best fit your design preferences, and ultimately, your personality.

* If you are a peaceful person that craves calmness, blues may be your go-to hue.

The Blue Persuasion paint color collection by PPG Paints provides a selection of blue paint colors, including Stormy (PPG10-14), Aqua Smoke (PPG1034-5) and Gale Force (PPG10-08), all perfect for creating a tranquil atmosphere to make you feel at ease. By incorporating minimalist and modern décor elements, you can further create a sense of serenity and clarity within your space.

* Do you consider yourself charming and carefree?

Then you may describe your home décor as pretty in pink. The brand’s Pastel Wonders paint color collection involves a wonderful mix of pink, red and beige paint colors that create dreamy ambiances that exude elegance. Colors such as Peach Brick (PPG18-26) and Subdued (PPG1015-4) provide the perfect muted backdrop for a bathroom or entryway. Consider adding a farmhouse feel to the space with distressed wood elements to embrace country charm and create a modern rustic look.

* For spirited extroverts, plum, cherry and purple hues may adorn your space.

The PPG Paints Precious Tones paint color collection provides majestic shades that radiate passion and sophistication, such as Amethyst Haze (PPG13-23) and Heart’s Afire (PPG13-14). Show off your bold nature by adding a touch of glam with metallic elements to infuse drama into the space.

Using the five-color pairings alone or in conjunction with the PPG Paints The Voice Of Color game, you can discover exactly which color collection best suits your style. In examining the color schemes that are most attractive to you, the décor elements that make you feel at home, and the sentiments that you value most, among other qualifiers, you will determine which five-color collection best represents your décor preferences and ultimately which colors to incorporate into your home to best express your unique personality. Once your perfect colors are chosen, you can digitally (and easily) paint your space in a variety of colors using the PPG Paints online room painter tool. Upload your own photos, browse designer color collections, and explore popular colors by visiting www.ppgvoiceofcolor.com/digital-color/paint-color-visualizer to use the tool. – (BPT)

 

How To Add Personality To A Rental Apartment

 

Ron Henderson, Executive Home InspectionsExecutive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (780) 651-3608. Thank You.

3 Super-simple Ways To Create A Barefoot Friendly Backyard Deck

mother and daughter bonding in the backyard deckWhen the sun is out and the sky is blue, your deck should be one of the most popular areas in your yard. But, if deck boards leave you with splinters or burned feet on hot summer days, there may be little incentive to spend time in your open-air getaway. The good news is this problem is easily preventable. With the right plan, you can build a barefoot-friendly backyard deck that will be the hub of your outdoor living space for years to come. Start with these three super-simple steps. It’s a choice your feet and pets will appreciate.

1. Create a smooth surface underfoot

Few building materials take more punishment than decking. Whether it spends hours under scorching sunlight, withstands wintertime blizzards or gets soaked during water fights and pool parties, your decking is bound to take abuse from the elements. Selecting deck boards that can withstand these harsh conditions is critical to ensuring a smooth surface underfoot.

Exposure to moisture and the sun’s UV rays can deteriorate wood decking, particularly if it’s not maintained regularly and correctly. While composite decking provides greater durability, several brands have been known to rot, crack or warp as a result of moisture intrusion.

To keep your deck looking good no matter what the weather, consider composite decking made of small-size wood fibers that are fully encased in plastic. This protects against moisture intrusion all the way to the board’s core, and such boards will not rot or warp, preventing dangerous cracks and splinters from forming. To create an even smoother surface, install the composite deck boards with hidden fasteners. This technique eliminates popped nails, dimples from screws and other hazards to warm-weather fun.

2. Beat the heat

Once you’ve narrowed your composite decking selection to brands that can withstand the toughest Mother Nature can throw their way, look for ways to beat the heat. When the sun is blazing, the plastic in composite decking can retain heat and become uncomfortable to walk on with bare feet.

One great way to avoid the hot-foot hustle dance without compromising on your deck’s surface appearance is to use composite decking with innovative cooling technology. “Homeowners know even the most stunning composite deck will disappoint if it’s too warm to walk on during the peak days of summer,” said Randy Gottlieb, A.E.R.T. president. “Recently introduced products like ChoiceDek Premium composite decking with CoolDeck technology help solve this problem. By combining a durable core with a cap that is specifically engineered to optimize heat reflection and minimize heat absorption, the boards make for a more comfortable deck on sunny days.”

If you live in an area where the sun’s rays are hot year-around, you may also want to consider using shade structures to help provide relief from direct sunlight and reduce the temperature on deck. Pergolas, lattices and breezy overhead fabrics can block the sun beautifully and add to your deck’s style.

3. Prevent slips on deck

If you’re installing decking near a pool or hot tub, live in close proximity to the water or experience frequent rain, it’s also important to protect against slips. Composite deck boards with a textured, wood-embossed surface have a higher coefficient of friction and better slip resistance than PVC and composite decking products with a non-embossed surface. The added traction will help friends and family stay steady on their feet as they enjoy your outdoor living area, and help ensure the party never has to pause for injuries.  – (BPT)

 

Executive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office. Thank You.

Engage Kids’ Love Of Nature Through Bird Feeding, Ditch Their Devices And Get Them Outdoors

kids and mom feeding birdsIs it difficult to pry your kids away from their electronic devices to get them outdoors? From tots to teens, today’s kids love their electronics. After all, where could you find anything to compete with the bright sights and sounds of their favorite video game? The answer may be no farther than your backyard and the brightly colored songbirds visiting during warm weather.

Interacting with nature helps kids in many ways, from helping them understand science concepts and care for the environment, to lifelong physical and mental health benefits. One of the easiest, most enjoyable ways for children to interact with nature is to feed wild birds right in their backyard.

“Feeding birds, planting gardens, anything you do with children that’s nature-oriented helps them understand their connection to the natural world,” says Elaine Cole, president of Cole’s Wild Bird Products. Cole learned her own love of wild birds by feeding them with her father, company founder and birding expert, Richard Cole.

Cole’s offers some tips to help engage kids’ love of nature through bird feeding:

* Get kids off the couch, ditch their devices and introduce them to their backyard! Tell children what type of location is best for a birdfeeder, then let them hunt for the spot. Choose a location where a feeder can be seen from indoors (so they can enjoy watching their feathered friends), yet is safe from predators. Let math and critical thinking skills come into play by measuring the distance from the door to the feeder and from the feeder to the nearest shrubs where predators could hide and trees where birds can shelter.

* Take the opportunity to teach the importance of good nutrition — for the child and the bird! Explain how good nutrition helps living creatures stay healthy and energized. Help them understand the nutritional value of food they eat by explaining what birds like to eat and how birds need a healthy diet of nutritious food options like Cole’s Wild Bird Feed to support their health and well-being.

* Help kids understand wild birds have food preferences just as they do. Talk about how some birds like to eat bugs, grubs and worms, while others prefer berries and some like seed.

* The feeder you choose will influence the kind of birds that visit. Many types of birds will visit a bowl feeder, and its open shape makes it quick and easy for kids to fill with any type of feed and clean. Giving children the task of filling and cleaning feeders can teach them responsibility and basic life skills, plus they’ll take ownership of the feeder and nurturing backyard birds.

* You can also use bird feeding to help kids understand concepts of finance, including spending their money wisely. Try an experiment with them; buy a bag of cheap birdseed, fill the feeder and watch what happens. Fewer birds will visit and a mound of waste — the filler in cheap feed — will pile up under the feeder. Then replace the cheap feed with a Cole’s seed mix and observe results. Kids will see plenty more birds visiting and less waste under the feeder. The experiment can help teach kids that not everything low priced is a good deal.

Ultimately, feeding wild birds should be fun for families. Here are some types of bird feed that should appeal to children’s interests:

* Suet — While today’s high-energy suet comes in different, convenient forms, like Cole’s Nutberry Suet, and Suet Kibbles, kids will love the idea of serving up a big hunk of fat in the form of a Suet cake. Kids can stick it directly on tree bark and branches, which they’ll find fun!

* Seeds — Many songbirds prefer seeds. Serving high-quality seed, like black oil sunflower, can help attract songbirds. Learn more about seed mixes and birds who love them.

* Dried mealworms — The early bird may get the worm, but birds, such as bluebirds, flickers and nuthatches, prefer a tasty treat like dried mealworms. Kids will get a kick out of filling up feeders with something yucky-looking for their feathered friends.

“My dad got me hooked on bird feeding by challenging me to identify as many birds at the feeder as possible,” Cole says. “I did the same thing with my kids. My dad recently gave my 10-year-old daughter a birding journal. She loves to identify all the birds she knows and anything interesting about them.

“Kids taking part in attracting birds to their backyard is great fun; they’ll love getting out of the house, taking charge of their new feathered friends and they’ll learn a lot of good lessons through the process.”  –  (BPT)

 

Executive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office. Thank You.

5 Renovation Resolutions For Your Home This Year

dining area designIt’s no secret that springtime is synonymous with spruce-ups. But, as is often the case, homeowners hone in on prettying-up patios and backyards with fresh florals and new outdoor furniture, leaving the inside of the home as “same old, same old.” This spring, resolve to reinvent your home from the inside out with stylish décor sure to add the wow-factor it deserves.

The five refreshing projects below will to help create a beautiful setting worthy of the new season — and beyond.

Address those kitchen cabinets.

The cabinets are a major focal point in a kitchen, and even the smallest changes can have a major impact on its look and feel. Start with a subtle, functional update by replacing old hardware with modern metal accents. And, for a slightly bolder change, consider a fresh coat of paint to infuse a new design persona throughout the space.

Set the perfect scene.

Take advantage of the spring weather and longer days with perfect natural lighting. Hunter Douglas’ PowerView Motorization is a sophisticated wireless operating system that allows homeowners to program their shades to automatically adjust throughout the day to make the most of natural light as it changes. Start by creating scenes — different combinations of shade positions in one room or throughout the house — to achieve perfect room lighting, window privacy and energy-efficiency. Then, schedule the scenes to activate at the times you choose, like opening to greet each morning’s sunrise, closing mid-day to deflect the heat of the afternoon sun, and closing each night to protect your privacy. PowerView motorized shades also seamlessly integrates with other sophisticated whole-home automation systems to add another level of convenience to everyday living and greater connectivity to your smart home.

Add comfort and style to hardwood floors.

Hardwood floors are a popular style for any home, and adding comfort to the chic–but sometimes unforgiving–look is easy with the right accessories. Place comfortable, eye-catching rugs in key areas throughout the home, including the foyer or beneath the kitchen and dining room tables. These subtle accents will create a striking contrast, soften acoustics and add stylish comfort for your feet.

Keep cool as the weather warms.

Window treatments can serve as great accessory or accent, and the right window dressings will provide beauty and function in one. With Duette Architella honeycomb shades from Hunter Douglas, sophisticated fabric choices add a modern touch to any space, while its unique cell-within-a-cell design can significantly reduce the amount of solar heat transferred through windows to keep you cooler as the summer heat kicks in. This smart upgrade lends an elegant touch to kick off air conditioning season.

Build the bathroom of your dreams.

The bathroom is supposed to be an oasis, and if it’s lacking in spa-like comforts, now is the perfect time to whip it into shape. Enjoy a luxurious massage without stepping out of the house by swapping out outdated shower heads with high-pressured and multi-setting ones that transform water into soft mists, relaxing pulses, or powerful cascade indoors.

With these easy décor updates, making your home more comfortable and stylish is a bright idea sure to last all season and through the year. To learn more about PowerView Motorization and Duette Architella honeycomb shades, visit www.hunterdouglas.com. – (BPT)

Executive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office. Thank You.

Here’s How To Tap Into Your Home’s Not-so-hidden Potential

couple cooking together and looks happyYour most valuable asset is around you all the time. It’s above you, it’s below you and in many cases you don’t realize how much it can do for you.

According to the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., “Americans have a staggering amount of untapped equity in their homes.” How much? Altogether, $11,030,000,000,000. That’s 11 trillion, 30 billion dollars.

Yet despite this huge wealth possessed by homeowners, using it isn’t as simple as writing a check. You have to capitalize on your home’s equity.

What Is Home Equity?

Your home’s equity represents the difference between its current market value and the money that you owe on it.

Let’s say, for example, your home has a market value of $200,000, you made a down payment of $40,000 and you took out a $160,000 mortgage. At that point your equity is $40,000. You can always calculate this number by taking your home’s initial price and subtracting the amount you still owe.

Now, let’s say 10 years later you have paid off $60,000 of your $160,000 mortgage. At this point you still owe $100,000 on your home’s initial price of $200,000 so your equity is $100,000, assuming the home’s value has remained the same.

A little at a time

Each month when you make a mortgage payment, some of your money goes toward interest, some goes toward real estate taxes and homeowner’s insurance (if the lender is collecting for these and making the payments on your behalf), and some goes toward paying off the mortgage itself. This last portion grows your equity because it subtracts from the amount you still owe.

Your home equity can also grow if your home increases in value because the amount you still owe has not changed. A rise in value may be due to increased home prices in your area and/or improvements you make to the home.

Market home prices may rise and fall from one year to the next but given enough time, most real estate tends to increase in value. For example, current economic forecasts from CoreLogic project a 4.8 percent increase in home prices year over year in 2017.

Gaining access to your equity

Now that you understand what equity is and how much equity you have, your next question may be “How do I use it?”

Your first step is to contact a knowledgeable mortgage professional. They will be able to answer your questions as well as show you loans that use your home as collateral. You’ll want to do your research to determine which type of loan is best for you. You should also take the time to compare interest rates, offers and loan features.

And if you are age 62 or older, you are also eligible for additional home equity options such as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), which is an FHA-insured Reverse Mortgage loan. This loan may be taken as a lump sum, a line of credit, through fixed monthly payments or a combination and the loan can never be frozen or reduced.

The equity in your home empowers you with several financing options and the specifics of each loan may vary from lender to lender, so ask questions and do your own research. Once you understand all your options you’ll be able to determine which loan offering allows you to make the most of your most valuable asset.

To learn about HECM Reverse Mortgage loans and other special home-equity options available to homeowners 62 and older, visit www.reversemortgage.org/HomeEquity.  –  (BPT)

 

Executive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office. Thank You.

Changing Weather Patterns Leave Homeowners Underinsured

flooded areaThe U.S. has experienced significant shifts in the frequency, severity and locations of natural disasters — including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires — during the past decade.

As a result, more than 800 emergency or disaster declarations were made in the U.S. from 2005–2015, according to FEMA data. The insured losses stemming from natural catastrophes such as these average $24 billion annually.

Homeowners face severe risks from these disasters, yet many have not connected the dots between these shifts and the impact on their home insurance needs. A recent survey commissioned by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) found that fewer than 22 percent of homeowners view weather patterns or disasters as an important factor when updating their homeowners insurance policy. Missing these links can be costly.

“Changing weather patterns can dramatically impact what insurance should be carried on a property,” says Mike Consedine, NAIC chief executive officer. “When homeowners don’t regularly review their policies, important gaps in coverage can be missed. You should re-evaluate your risk profile at least once a year to ensure your existing homeowners policy provides the protection you need.”

Despite Consedine’s recommendation, the survey revealed that 56 percent of homeowners have not reviewed their insurance policies in more than a year. Fourteen percent are unsure when — if ever — they last reviewed their policies.

If it’s been awhile since your last insurance review, there’s no better time than the present. When evaluating your policy, consider the following questions:

1. Am I now at risk?

Are earthquakes, wildfires or other disasters now a threat in my state or region? If you live in Oklahoma, for example, the risk of earthquakes has significantly increased in the last decade. Do I need flood insurance? Some incidents such as floods are not covered by a typical homeowners policy, so you’ll need additional coverage.

2. What has changed in my home?

If you’ve moved in with your significant other or an adult child has returned home, consider the impact their belongings will have on your coverage. Create a home inventory and update it annually. The NAIC’s MyHome Scr.App.book app (available for iPhone and Android) lets you quickly capture images and descriptions of your possessions. Keep in mind personal items like jewelry, antiques and artwork may require special insurance coverage.

3. Do I save my receipts?

Take photos or save receipts from major purchases and store them in a safe place away from your house or apartment. Quick access to these receipts will make filing a claim much easier.

4. What home improvements have I made?

Renovations and additions can change the value of your home. Make sure your homeowners insurance policy reflects your home’s current value. Some security or smart home features may qualify you for premium discounts.

5. How can I learn more about being prepared?

Get educated about your insurance options now to avoid surprises later. Insure U’s new Disaster Prep Guides can help determine the best course of action before, during and after a disaster strikes. The guides include information and tips for tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires.

For unbiased information and resources to help you rethink insurance, visit insureuonline.org. For insurance information specific to where you live, contact your state insurance commissioner.  –  (BPT)

 

Executive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office. Thank You.

Add Living Space To Your Home With An Easy Patio Makeover

patio makoverEveryone looks forward to a shift into summer mode, with its sun-soaked days, flower-scented breezes and velvety nights under the stars.

Now’s the time to take advantage of a golden opportunity right outside your door. Celebrate summer and all it offers by recreating your outdoor space. Whether it’s a balcony, a patio or a deck, a few touches are all you need to turn it into a highly functional living space.

When done right, a patio makeover is like a boost to your home’s square footage of living space without straining your wallet. Think of the patio as a summer room, and the possibilities really open up.

One approach to making your summer room perfect is to start by thinking of your needs and what you love to do. If you could add any room to your home, what would it be, and what would you use it for? Then, turn to a resource like Big Lots, which offers everything you need to build that summer room, while keeping you within budget.

Your summer living room

Transform any outdoor space into a relaxing oasis that’s perfect for unwinding and summer daydreams. Your key piece is a comfortable outdoor couch you can really sink into.

It’s always best to start with a neutral-colored cushion, then work the accessories and accent pieces, including side tables, brightly colored throw pillows and outdoor lanterns to make the space feel extra homey and just like an authentic living room. These decor pieces can be easily and affordably switched out year-over-year to make your outdoor space feel fresh and new.

With an easy assembly gazebo, you can also keep the space cool and comfortable in the heat of the day.

Finally, if your patio faces an open or public area, a row of evergreens planted in large colorful pots will transform it into an intimate space with a perfect touch of nature.

Your summer party room

With the right pieces, you can set the scene for any gathering of friends and family. Start with ample seating. Add to the traditional living room setup with an outdoor cushioned bench, and position some accent chairs and tables in a nook or two for conversation clusters. A patterned outdoor rug also helps to delineate spaces on a large patio or deck.

A fire pit always creates a natural centerpiece and gathering spot. Some designs take this up a notch and incorporate the soft glow of fire right into a tabletop, making it easy to talk long into the summer night. As a finishing touch, be sure to have a wireless speaker and playlist ready to set the mood with music.

Your summer kitchen

The downside of summer living is building up unwanted heat in the kitchen from cooking dinner. The best solution is to take it outside. Don’t limit the grill to weekends and burgers and brats. Explore the many grilling recipes out there to expand your repertoire. While you’re doing this, set up your patio as an outdoor cooking station that’s ready to go whenever you’re ready to start cooking.

Set up a sturdy table for prepping veggies and meats and a selection of lightweight, outdoor serving dishes. The variety of colors and designs are endless and add to the space aesthetic. (Just as you would indoors, make sure the surface is clean before you get started.) Use colorful crates to keep grilling tools, potholders and outdoor dishes and glassware organized and handy.

Finally, pick up some bright-colored pots that match your decor style and plant rosemary, parsley, basil and other herbs so they’re within easy reach to add fresh flavors to your grilled fish and chicken, as well as those tasty summer veggies. These potted plants also make for beautiful, easy centerpieces.

Your summer dining room

Dining outside is a fun and relaxing way to enjoy food as well as the company of your family and friends. When you choose a patio table, choose one with ample seating, and keep things comfortable and colorful with waterproof cushions. Umbrellas can throw shade on a sun-drenched deck or patio, making daytime dining (or your morning coffee time) more pleasant and easy on the eyes. If you’re looking for something different, a patio umbrella outfitted with lights on the underside will let you linger over dinner longer.

Creating beautiful outdoor spaces can be easy, but it also doesn’t have to break the budget. Big Lots has a wide variety of affordable patio furniture and décor so you can create an outdoor scene with indoor style. Visit BigLots.com or a store near you for all your patio and outdoor accessory needs.  – (BPT)

 

Executive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office. Thank You.

3 Backyard Projects You Can Tackle In A Weekend

man doing backyard projectNow that warmer weather has finally arrived, you want to be outside to enjoy it. Your backyard could be the perfect place to bask in the sun, entertain friends or indulge in your hobbies. It just needs a little sprucing up, and the right projects can help.

Best of all, many of these projects are quick and easy. To get you started, here are three projects you can accomplish in a spring weekend — and enjoy all summer long.

Forging a fire pit

Whether it’s an afternoon gathering or an evening under the stars, adding a fire pit to your backyard is a great way to make an enjoyable get-together last even longer. And building one is easier than you think.

Start by marking the center of your pit in the ground. Spray a circle around the center, outlining your pit’s desired circumference — say 5 feet. Dig this space to a depth of 6 inches. In your newfound pit, make a similar circle 12 inches in from your outer circle to make the inner wall of your pit.

Fill this area with small stones to serve as the foundation, and lay wet concrete on the ground to solidify and build that foundation. If you do not have the tools you need to successfully make concrete, you can always rent them to eliminate the need for a one-time purchase.

Once the foundation is ready, apply mortar and stones around the ring. Build up the fire pit wall with additional mortar and stones. After the pit has been built to a height of your choosing, use a brush to remove excess mortar from the inside. You may also spray the inside with a can of spray paint to give your pit’s interior a uniform look.

Planning the planters

If you’ve always wanted to add a pop of color to your backyard, planter boxes can be just the ticket. They are relatively simple to build yourself.

Start by choosing a wood, like cedar, for your project. Cut four strips with two half the length of your other two, but sharing the same height. These strips will form the foundation of your rectangular planter. If you lack a saw to cut them with, you can always rent one.

Once your strips are cut, butt the ends together and apply wood glue at the joints to secure the fit. Drill a screw into each end to solidify the fit. Next, attach the bottom panels with glue and drill a screw through the ends of the bottom panels into the sides for a more secure fit.

Finish by lightly sanding any rough or unseemly spaces on the foundations. Add a touch of paint or stain to improve the planter’s appearance and offer long-term protection.

Shedding new light on the shed

If you’re going to spend more time in your backyard this year, it’s time to finally do something about that old shed you’ve been ignoring for years. Fortunately, something as small as a new coat of paint can have a large impact on your shed’s appearance.

Before applying a drop of paint, inspect the shed to be sure no structural maintenance is needed. Then it’s time to clean it. Rent a pressure washer for a quick clean that will free the building of dirt, debris and cobwebs.

Once the shed is clean and dry, apply an oil-based primer, which will help protect the building from the elements and make it easier to paint.

Finally, it’s time to paint. A long-nap roller works well for this project, but you can also rent a paint sprayer. Choose a color to your liking and be sure to select a paint designed for outdoor projects.

Each of these three projects can be tackled in a single weekend, and each can have a lasting effect on your outdoor space. So, what are you waiting for? Get started on your outdoor DIY project today. To find a rental tool provider near you, visit RentalHQ.com.  – (BPT)

 

Executive Home Inspections has been providing Professional Home Inspection Services, Infrared Inspection (Thermal Imaging), 90 Day Warranty, Sewer Gard, Mold Inspection, Roof Leak Protection, Recall Check On Appliances, Water Heater and Furnace to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Edmonton, St Albert, from Westlock to Leduc and Stony Plan to Sherwood Park and everywhere in between since 2008.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home
inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us.
You can schedule right from our website or call our office. Thank
You.