Cheap Home Improvement - The Packrat Wifey

Easy Ways to Spruce Up the Exterior of Your Home

Even though a lot of homeowners focus on refining and redesigning the interior of their houses in order to keep the property value high and to keep up with changing trends in the world of interior design, the truth is that you should never neglect the exterior of your house either. After all, this is the first impression you make on people, as it’s the first thing they encounter about your home. An unkempt property may make someone think that you don’t really care about your house, and they’ll also assume that the inside of the house must look just as bad.

Thankfully, there are plenty of easy ways to maintain the look of the exterior of your home. Continue reading for a few solutions you can implement to spruce it up.

Add Pavers Instead of Concrete

Concrete driveways are unattractive and they can even crack and begin to look even worse over time. As a result, many homeowners are now transforming their concrete walkways, driveways, and backyard patios with attractive pavers that come in a variety of colours and shapes. These blocks are set down into the ground and provide a long-lasting option that will add colour to the exterior of your home and make it look clean and modern. Be sure to properly maintain your pavers with sealer so they’ll withstand the elements and continue to look like new for years to come.

Add a Bright Front Door

You can take the door that’s currently on the front of your home and repaint it, or instead purchase a brand new one, but making it a bright door is a great way to spruce up the exterior appearance of your home and make it even more welcoming than before. Go with a bright colour, such as yellow or turquoise, to really stand out and make your home appear fun and clean.

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Add a Fence and Flowers

A white picket fence is a great way to instantly add curb appeal to your home. But planting colourful and fragrant flowers and vines along the edge of the fence will add even more beauty to it and make your lawn even more inviting. Plus, you will get to see these plants as they change from one season to the next.

Reinvent Your Siding

If the siding on your house is beginning to look aged and dirty, you do not necessarily need to completely replace it, which can be a costly renovation that you may not have the budget for. Instead, there are many DIY approaches that you can take to repair your siding, whether you have aluminum, vinyl, or any other type of siding. This simple step can be the most dramatic change you make to your home’s exterior, and it can make it look years younger.

Updating the exterior of your home should not be something that you neglect. Instead, take the time to keep your property clean and looking beautiful. This will make your home more welcoming and more valuable.

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5 Ways To Afford Home Improvements That Aren’t An FHA Loan

Home improvements are great to add value to your property, but they can be a pain to finance. In fact, most homeowners tend to focus on personal loans or an FHA 203k loan – they can be used for refinancing and repairs instead of buying a new home – when they look for financing options. But, believe it or not, there is more than one way to finance your home improvement project without taking a personal loan. Below, you’ll find 5 ways that should do the trick for you.

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Build an eco house

#1. Let the home raise money for the improvement

If you already have a first mortgage on your home, homeequitylineof.credit can be a valuable option for you. You can draw out money as it fits and choose to pay it back when you can, as long as you keep the minimum monthly payment. You don’t even have to pay interest either until you use the money. But beware, though: If you can’t make the payment, you could end up homeless.

#2. Go green and get funded

If you decide to go green and add eco-friendly transformations to your home, you might not even have to pay for it by yourself. According to archive.epa.gov you can find funding opportunities for green buildings, including grants and tax-credits. There is a variety of national and local programs available. For an updated list, you may want to get in touch with your local authorities.

#3. Find a construction loan

Construction loans are rare and they are difficult to obtain. But this short-term loan option allows you to pay for the construction or extension work. You will need to need to make major renovations to be eligible for this kind of loan. At the end of the construction process, you will need to get the end loan, which is a loan to pay off the first loan. However, construction loans are very cumbersome in terms of application and funding, as the money is only released at specific stages of the project. Finally, if the work can’t be completed within the agreed scheduled, you might have to pay additional costs until you can move in.

#4. Borrow your 401(k)

It’s common for 401(k) programs to let you borrow from your account and pay back the loan over a number of years – generally five – via payroll deduction. However, you can only borrow up to 50% of your account balance, which limits the amount you can get. Additionally, if you leave your job or change company, you will need to repay the loan earlier. In that case, the loan becomes a withdrawal on which you owe taxes and penalties.

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#5 Reverse mortgage for 62+

If you are 62 or older, you can get a reverse mortgage on the percentage of equity that you own in your property. While a reverse mortgage is expensive, you don’t have to repay it until the home is sold or you’ve changed address.

Each way of funding your home improvements presents specific advantages and disadvantages. Unfortunately, unless you inherit a bunch load of money from a rich aunt, you will need to pick the most suitable borrowing option for your situation.

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Green Living: How to Run Your Home in a More Environmentally Friendly Way

Green living is not just for hippies. Anyone can do it, and more and more people are choosing to do it these days. You just need to change a few simple things in your living arrangements to get started. And once you start to live the green way, you’ll never look back. So, here are some ways in which you should start to run your home in a manner that’s more environmentally friendly.

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[Photo courtesy of Vecislavas Popa/pexels.com]

Replace Bulbs with LEDs and Make Outdoor Lighting Solar-Powered

The way you use lights will have a big impact on how environmentally friendly your home is. You should do what you can to replace the bulbs in your home with LED bulbs. They last for decades, and this means that you will spend a lot less on replacing them. But most importantly, they are very energy efficient, meaning that your home will instantly become greener. They’re pretty cheap to buy, so there’s nothing stopping you from replacing all the bulbs in your home with LEDs. You should also replace the outdoor lights with lights that absorb solar energy during the day that can then be used at night.

Buy Efficient Bathroom Fixtures

Your use of water is also a green issue, and you should address this problem directly. You will be having a massively negative impact on your home if you are currently responsible for wasting too much water. The first thing you should do is replace the fixtures in your bathroom with water efficient fixtures. These are easy to get from most mainstream bathroom retailers. You can also change your kitchen faucets to make them water efficient too. When you start to use less water, your impact on the environment will lessen. It’s another step towards a green living future.

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Update Your Backup Generator

If you have a backup generator that you sometimes have to rely on, it could be damaging the environment a lot. Most of these old generators are not particularly green. And by switching yours for a newer model, you can ensure you never waste more energy than necessary. Online generac reviews will help guide you as you search for a new and more energy efficient generator. Read as many reviews of all the potential products as you can. That way, you can get a clear picture of what the best option for you is.

Invest in Better Home Insulation

Finally, think about the way in which you heat your home. If you have the heating on a lot, it might be because there are problems with your home insulation setup. Heat will just escape from the home immediately if the insulation you have in place is inadequate and not doing a good enough job for you. It’s a good idea to invest in better and more up to date insulation if you think this might be the case for you and your home. It’s simple and not too expensive to get insulation fitted. And then you will have to use less energy keeping your home warm.

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Get The Best Returns On Your Home Improvements!

After a number of years in a home, many people decide that they’re going to try to stay there for the rest of their lives, and will renovate just to make their home more comfortable and attractive. For many though, home improvements are all about bumping up the value of the property for a sale. If you’re in the latter group, you may be wondering which kinds of renovation are the most worthwhile. Here are a few that tend to generate the best returns…

Roofing

The roof of your home is one of the most important aspects of it as a property. If you install a completely new roof or make some extensive repairs, you’ll see an immediate rise in value. An existing roof you can refinish is perfect, as it obviously costs less to restore than to replace, and will be more likely to garner a return on your investment than a completely new roof. If you know the roof on your house has seen better days, it’s time to start looking for some good roofing companies.

Fixtures

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[Photo courtesy of High Contrast/wikimedia.org]

Over time, various rooms in a home can begin to look dated and worn-out. It may surprise you, but a large part of this is down to old, raggedy fixtures. By replacing the fixtures in your home, along with some other small tweaks like the cabinets and faucets of the kitchen, you’ll immediately be able to bump up the asking price on your home when you come to sell.

The Bathroom

The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but the bathrooms are a close second in terms of what’s important for valuation. If it’s practical for you to add a three-piece bathroom to a home that only has one other full bathroom, the market value will rise dramatically. While it’s a big mistake to sacrifice a lot of bedroom space for a bathroom, it’s usually a smart move to sneak another bathroom into any dead space in your home. Some families have even been able to install a three-piece bathroom in the space under their stairs, usually only measuring around 44 inches corner to corner. As a final tip, try getting a glass shower to make the room seem more spacious.

Income Suites

[Photo courtesy of Holland And Green Architectural Design/flickr.com]

These aren’t exactly common in most suburban homes, but income suites are one of the best ways to pile on value to your home. Build one of these somewhere in the property, and you’ll be amazed at how much the estimated value of your home can rise. Whether this is through a loft conversion, an outside room, a renovated garage, or any other area, income suites are very hot at the moment. This is because buyers will be able to use it to cover a portion of their mortgage payments, ensuring the home they buy will be cash flow positive. Real wealth that can supplement your income is a pretty attractive feature, don’t you think?

If you were unsure of what to priorities in your home renovations, hopefully these tips have pointed you towards a highly profitable improvement project.

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From House To Family Home: Preparing For A New Arrival

Most people think that getting their house ready for kids is as simple as creating a nursery. While it’s true that you will need to take some time to get your baby’s new room all ready, there are also a few other aspects of your home that you will need to sort out. All of this preparation is key in turning your house into a comfortable family home. Not sure how to get your house ready for kids? Here are some things that you will need to do before your first little bundle of joy arrives!

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Don’t Forget The Changing Station

Okay, so you new baby’s nursery is all ready! It’s got a crib, cute decor, and a good selection of toys. But have you also remembered to add a changing station in there? This small area is a dedicated place where you can change the baby’s nappies. Most parents forget about adding one to their nursery, which is unfortunate as it can quickly become the most important part of the entire room. To prepare your changing station, you can add either a changing table or mat. Make sure you have opened nappies and wipes close by at all times as well. When you are changing your baby, there will be a lot of mess and having all your cleaning materials opened and ready to go will be a godsend! So make sure you aren’t completely focused on your baby’s sleeping arrangements; you also need to change them too, remember!

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Pack The Freezer

This point is most important for the first few months of your baby, but if you remember to keep your freezer well stocked while you have children, it can really help you out when you have little time to prepare meals! Be sure to pack your freezer with lots of portions of meals such as lasagnes and stews. That way, you can simply take out as many portions as you need for dinner, defrost them, and reheat. You will have little time to prepare freshly home-cooked meals once the baby arrives, but stocking your freezer can help you stick to a healthy diet and not have to rely on ready meals all the time!

Create A Child-Friendly Garden

When you are trying to make your house into a family friendly home, it is also important to head out into the garden and make sure that it is safe for children. One of the main things to do is to make sure there are no poisonous plants out there. Young children will be exploring every inch of the garden once they are able to walk. To make sure they don’t put anything poisonous in their mouth while your back is turned, de-weed your garden and only add safe plants. If there are any water features or ponds in your garden, you should cover these with a net so that your kids won’t fall into them. It is also a good idea to dig up any hard flooring, such as stone patios or wooden decking. These could be dangerous if your kids are running around on them, so it’s worth replacing them with soft lawn. If your kids fall over on a lawn, they won’t hurt themselves quite so much!

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Safeguard Your Kitchen

Imagine momentarily leaving your toddler in the kitchen for a brief minute and returning to find they’ve emptied out all the lower-level cupboards and spread cereal all over the floor. This may sound like a complete nightmare, but it very often turns into reality. I’m sure that most parents have had to clean up after their kids have made a major mess in their kitchen! Thankfully, there is one way you can prevent this from happening. You just need to make sure your kitchen is fully childproof. And one of the best ways of doing so is equipping all the cupboards and drawers that are within reach with childproof locks. You can find these in most baby stores as well as online.

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[Photo courtesy of Connoman/pixabay.com]

Rid Your Home Of Pests

All parents want their home to be as clean as possible. A clean house is one that is free from any germs and bad bacteria that can cause various infections and illnesses. There is one main sign that your house may not be quite as clean as you want it to be. And that is if there are signs of pests or vermin living on the property. For example, if you find some rat or mouse droppings somewhere in your house, you might have a vermin problem that you need to deal with. Similarly, you could find signs in your kitchen of an ant infestation. Don’t panic if you think you do have some unwelcome housemates living with you; you can always call in a pest exterminator. You can find the contact details of your nearest exterminator online on their website.

Find More Storage Space

Think you and your partner already have a lot of things? Well, you can expect that to almost double once the baby arrives! Even though your baby will be tiny, they will need a lot of things! Most parents buy lots of clothes in various sizes. This is because babies grow so quickly, so it is very useful having plenty of spare clothes ready for them to wear once they grow. Because of this, you will need to have a lot of storage in your house for your kids. You can, of course, add lots of cupboards and chests of drawers to the nursery. But it is also a good idea adding some storage elsewhere. For instance, you could invest in beds that have drawers in the base. If you need to buy some more furniture for storage, you can always find it fairly cheaply on sites such as eBay and Craigslist.

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Add Some Color

These days, most of the big interior styles and trends are all about very chic decor choices. For instance, the most popular color shades at the minute are cool silvers and bright creams. These sure do look great, but they aren’t exactly the most child-friendly colors. Once you have kids in your house, you will want it to be as bright as possible for them, and the best way of doing that is adding some color to your decor. You can still do this with a stylish interior design that is based on silvers and creams, though. You just need to add colorful pieces of furniture and artwork. These great injections of color will really help to make your house feel like a cozy family home!

Smooth Your Edges

One of the main causes of accidents around the home for children is sharp edges and corners. You will find that toddlers will walk around without really looking where they are going, and could end up knocking into the edges of tables and shelves. If these edges are particularly straight, they could end up feeling very sharp. To make sure your kids don’t hurt themselves too much, it could be worth smoothing the edges slightly with some sandpaper. Alternatively, you could always treat yourself to some new, round-edged furniture!

As you can see, getting your house ready for the arrival of children requires quite a bit of work on your part. But it will all be very worth it in the end! It will help your home feel a lot more comfortable than it once was, and you and your family will be very happy indeed! So what are you waiting for?

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The Tallest Tower: Make Your Loft A Girly Haven

It’s in every story. The prince climbs up the to the tallest tower of the castle to rescue the princess and they live happily ever after. Well, your little girl may not need to be rescued by a handsome prince, but she absolutely does need a room at the top of the tower that is just for her! Having a daughter is like having a whirlwind tornado that has pink and glitter all over it. Sure, you get the girls out there who prefer to go for a more neutral look, but given the chance, most little girls will have a unicorn themed bedroom, complete with real life unicorn, please.

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[Photo courtesy of Sarang/wikipedia.org]

 

For older girls, privacy is so key and so sharing with younger siblings isn’t always the easiest thing for them to do. Sometimes, lack of space causes there to be a room share which can then cause friction and solving this problem isn’t easy. If you’re lucky enough to own a home with a loft space that’s currently covered in boxes and could possibly use a shout to termite control, then you do have a solution ready!

A loft conversion is a big job but if it would mean your tween daughter having her own space she can call her haven, it could be very worth it! It’s a big job, so what should you remember when converting your loft into the princess tower it could be? It all depends on the structure of your roof.

  • Have someone come out and measure up the loft for you, including the headspace, to get a good idea if you could even begin your planning to convert the space into a bedroom.
  • Get a quote for the reinforcement of the floor. You’ll need to change it over so you actually have somewhere to put a bed and furniture.
  • How much space do you have for skylight installation? You’ll need to make sure you have enough room to allow for natural light. Sometimes you can so a dormer loft installation over the ‘room in roof’ loft conversion, which is more expensive but doesn’t require you to make any dramatic changes to the roof.
  • Gather quotes for electric, heating and lighting installation as well as a staircase being put in.

Stylish Girly Bathroom Decor - Girly Girl Bathroom Ideas

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Like we said, it’s a big job. Once it’s completed, your daughter could add her own touch for the decoration. Make it a project you can do together and sit down and decide colours, posters, light shades and bedding. You want her to have her input to the bedroom; after all, it’s her space. A project of this size may require planning permission and you should also get some advice from the fire station nearby as they can fit fire alarms for you in the extra room you’ve just acquired.

Not only will you have made your daughter’s day and given her a sense of independence, you’ll have potentially stopped sibling scraps by splitting up the younger one from the older. Peace at last, indeed!

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Reasons You Think You Can’t Change Your Home Decor and Design – And Why You’re Wrong

Coming around to the decision to give your home a makeover is an easy one.

Of course, the reasons in the pro column are long and substantial. Who doesn’t want their home to look better? Give everything a refresh; change things around so that it all feels like new again? Perhaps your eye has been caught by a new decorating trend, and you can’t wait to try it out for yourself. Or perhaps you’re just the kind of person who tends to need a project.

You find yourself imagining the changed decor; the fresh paint; the new levels of comfort that you can explore. Then, with a screech of brakes, your mind remembers all the reasons you shouldn’t do it.

Sometimes, though, you just have to seize the moment and go for it. If there’s something you want to change about your home, then it’s time to banish the concerns to one side. I’m going to go through all of the usual objections and show why they’re not anything that should stand in your way. Just call me your home decor and renovation enabler!

“I can’t afford it.”

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Of course, this one is pretty difficult to argue on the surface of it. If you don’t have the money, then what can you do? You can’t magic it up from thin air and progress on developing a money tree is still limited, so you’ll just have to wait until you can afford it.

The best option in this scenario is to look at a way to change something up without breaking the bank. Rather than a full-scale kitchen remodel, for example, why not go for a facelift? You could change the cupboard doors rather than fitting entirely new cupboards.

The same philosophy applies throughout the house. Craving a new bed to snuggle down into? Maybe that’s outside the budget, but memory foam mattress toppers can give a boost of comfort without the same price tag. Does the carpet really need replacing, or will a deep clean and brush be enough to bring it back up to standard?

“I don’t have the time.”

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Realistically, you probably don’t have the time for most things you do. We get it; life is busy, it’s stressful, and you’re struggling to do the basics. Why should you make your workload easier?

Because you don’t have the time! It’s that simple; the same thing arguing against the scenario is the thing that makes it a necessity. Unless you have a huge chunk of holiday time coming up that you know you can dedicate to DIY, where is it going to come from? You’re going to have to fit it in somewhere. There’s no time like the present, or so the old saying goes.

Putting something off to some fantastical period when you’re going to magically have “more time” isn’t going to work. You can break it down into chunks. Do a little as often as you possibly can to make it less draining.

“It’s a lot of disruption.”

Yes, of course, it is. You have to shop, make decisions, then implement them. Depending on the scale of your project, that might involve a builder being involved or transferring items into new furniture. It will be disruptive – but it’s always going to be. It’s the same as the point about time. Unless you can foresee sometime in the future when you will be able to do these things unencumbered, there’s no point holding back.

“It’s a lot of mess.”

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Even the most basic things do cause a mess, but so does life. I’m going to imagine your house tends to require cleaning anyway. So, given the potential end result, what’s the harm in a little extra?

“It’s not a good time.”

There’s a chance this is a legitimate concern and I don’t discount that. If you’re particularly busy, going through a stressful situation or have health concerns – you’re right. It’s probably not a good time and you should wait until it’s more something you can cope with. There’s also seasonal considerations; it’s little use deciding to renovate the garden in winter, for example.

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[Photo courtesy of Unsplash/pixabay.com]

Only you can know if the problem is just where you’re at in your life – you know if this is a genuine reason or not. Often, this argument might be masking a concern about one of the above, so check your thinking to see if that’s the case. If it is, then see if there’s something you can do about progress. If not, and it really is a bad time, consider yourself un-enabled for now!

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