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10 Tips to Increase Your Home’s Value

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Plan your remodel.

Whether you just bought a house or you have lived there for a while, the fastest way to increase your home’s value is by making a plan.

You will fare better if upgrades are made intentionally and not on impulse. Home improvement projects cost about 20 to 25 cents on the dollar. The other 75 to 80 cents spent go directly back into the home through increased value.

Start slowly. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. If your home is new, get to know it. If you have already been there a while, get started. List the things you want to change and the updates you would like to make. Don’t worry about organization, just write it all down. Take a guess on how long you may want to live in the house. If you’re planning on selling, talk to your realtor and make a selling plan.

Take the list and categorize by how much it may cost, including your time and money. Be realistic. It’s OK to list an outdoor pool with a waterfall, but keep your financial picture in mind.

Once you have a categorized list, take a look and prioritize what is a real “must have” and what is more of a dream. See if you can come away with a reasonable balance.

Once you have made a plan, do research or talk to a realtor to see what sort of return those improvements may bring. Some improvements will add considerably more value to your home than others.

Tackle one room at a time.

How can you harness the energy that comes from new ideas and still be smart when you make those improvements? Make the commitment to tackle one room at a time. Whether it’s a simple coat of paint or knocking down a wall, by tackling one room at a time you keep projects achievable.

Make a list of all the things you dream about doing, break your list down into categories based on cost and write down how much time each project may take. What this does is help you get results. If you only have a day or a weekend, choose a project that fits within your timeframe, comfort level and financial commitment.

If you set out to paint a living room wall on Saturday and you know what it will cost in time and money, it gets done. By the end of the day, you have a stylish upgrade that will add value to your home. By strategizing, you will see your dreams take shape as you transform each room before moving on to the next.

Small improvements can really pay off.

Are you torn between improving your home’s decor, versus making upgrades you know will increase your home’s resale value? Many homeowners are surprised to hear that doing a little bit of both will actually pay off.

Start by making two lists — upgrades for your home value and upgrades just for you. Upgrades for your home may consist of replacing old faucets, permanent lighting and doors. Upgrades for you are furniture, artwork and window treatments. Gone is the dartboard approach to picking projects and wondering if what you are doing is really making a difference. With this plan, you will see real progress.

If you have spent a bundle on making an upgrade you can make small changes for the next couple of months. Upgrade a couple of electric plugs or buy a small lamp. Stick to one upgrade per month and you will be happy with what you see.

Clean your house now for profits later.

If your house is on the market, a bright and sparkly home can attract buyers like a magnet. A house can never be too clean. If you were a buyer, would you choose the house that is slightly dingy or the home down the street that is clean and welcoming?

By making a clean house a priority, you do several things at once. First, you stay on top of maintenance issues, spotting potential problems before they become expensive ones. Secondly, you don’t allow dirt and junk to build up over time. Things like mold can become a nuisance if allowed to spread unchecked. Finally, a clean house is healthier for you and your family.

Remember, de-cluttering is a form of cleaning. Just as dirt builds up, so does clutter. Don’t waste money moving your junk around. Get rid of it now. When it’s time to sell you will feel confident about what you are presenting to the buyer.

Curb appeal counts.

Want a fresh perspective on the value of your home? Walk across the street, turn around and ask yourself, “Does my house have curb appeal?” Does your home look attractive, welcoming and structurally sound at first glance?

Make a list of ways to enhance the positive and eliminate the negative. If you have a nice curvy walkway, accentuate it with flowers or lanterns. If the first thing a visitor sees is your big wide garage, try to guide their eyes into a beautiful front yard, or paint your front door red to guide the eye there. These things add value.

Take a digital photo and look at your home in black and white. When the color is removed, the truth comes out. That is where you see the cracks in the walls and the glaring flaws.

Keep things clean and tidy. Talk to your neighbors because this affects them too. Curb appeal doesn’t stop at your property line. Your home will be more valuable if you live in a place where everyone pays attention to appearance.

Host a neighborhood cleanup party. Team up with neighbors to mow lawns and trim hedges. See who wants to go in on a few flats of border flowers. By adding curb appeal to your entire neighborhood, you will all boost your home values.

When you’re looking at your curb appeal, don’t forget the side and rear views. Buyers walk around and peek over fences.

Upgrade the kitchen.

Ask any real estate expert what the No. 1 upgrade with the greatest return is, and the answer will be the kitchen.

  • Do a mini-remodel. Change the paint. It sounds simple, but it works. You can also paint a faux-wood finish onto your cabinets. This looks just like cherry.
  • Add a splash of color with a new backsplash. New tile is attractive. Home improvement stores teach classes on this.
  • Go stainless steel. The cold feel of steel is a hot ticket item for buyers. Transition your appliances as they wear out and go with a similar metallic look in your light switches.
  • Make your kitchen rock with a rolling island.
  • Hang a pot rack with fresh new pots, pans and a hanging wine bottle holder. With the rolling island, your kitchen will catch every buyer’s eye. You can take some of these things with you to your new home.

Beautify your bathroom.

Of all the rooms in your house, the bathroom is the workhorse. There is lots of wear and tear, so you want to keep it functioning well and make good looking upgrades along the way.

  • Focus on your faucet. Bathrooms are not utilitarian anymore. People like to feel relaxed, like they are in a spa. Drop-sinks are old news, people want the under-mount sinks.
  • Go granite or marble with your countertops. If you are toying with the granite idea, your bathroom counter is most likely smaller than your kitchen counter and less expensive. This is a great place to start your first granite project.
  • Nix the overhead lighting in favor of wall mounts to add warmth and value to your bathroom. Make sure that around your mirror you have even lighting with no side shadows.
  • Heated floors attract buyers like bees to honey.
  • Upgrade your bath area. With an 85 percent return, install a shower with body sprays and stone surround tile. If you are not selling right away, you will feel like you are in a Zen garden every time you step into your bathroom.
  • Keep it clean. Dirt and grime can become embedded in bathroom surfaces very quickly. Freshen it up with new grout.

Weigh the benefits of upgrading versus selling.

Should I stay or should I go? It’s a question staring many homeowners in the face. Here is how to tell if there is more value for you in fixing up, or moving on.

First, estimate your costs to buy a new home. Add up the realtor and home selling costs (packing, moving and the new loan financing). Don’t forget hidden items. The buyer may ask you to replace the carpet before you sell. Or, what if you have to replace appliances? Make your best effort to include everything it will cost in time and money to sell your home and buy a new place. Then, estimate what you may get for your house and how much cash you will leave with to put down on a new home.

If you like your neighbors and your school district, consider remodeling. You can get exactly the home you want and you won’t risk any buyer’s remorse. Estimate the cost of making the most crucial renovations needed for you to stay. Decide what you would like to do and go price shopping at your home improvement store. Call contractors and get estimates. This is especially important if you need to add on extra square footage.

 

Look at what it would cost to move, then what it would cost to remodel. Add in the X-factors such as friends, schools and neighbors. When all is said and done, you may find you get more equity by staying in your home and remodeling.

Hire a certified home inspector.

You go to the doctor for physical exams and take your car in for checkups. Why not do the same for your house? A home inspection can be a valuable thing, whether you are selling or not.

If you are selling, get your own inspector before you put your home on the market. The last thing you want is to have a contract on the table, only to hear the inspector has found dry rot. If you know in advance, you can take care of it. If a home inspection turns out well, it is likely the buyers will feel good about their purchase and not ask for costly fixes or concessions.

Why bother having an inspection if you’re not worried about selling? Keep those records to show buyers you have maintained your house all along. Also, time is on your side. You can fix problems on your terms for far less than you will likely spend if you wait. Think of it like a physical that will only keep your home healthy and more valuable.

If you get a clean bill of health, it helps you make decisions. You can pick your home projects and spend your money with confidence.

Pay down the principal on your loan.

As you make all those home improvements, don’t forget the cash. Your financial strategy can boost your home value in a big way. Many different loan features can be added together to give someone a loan that is comfortable for them; give them an opportunity to do home improvements and to invest in their future.

Don’t overdo your down payment. If you spend all your money in a down payment, you may not have enough to do the improvements you want. The rule of thumb is if you are moving into a fixer upper, go for 10 percent down.

Don’t rush into your home loan, as there are dozens of types. The strategy that you develop for the type of loan you want depends on where you see yourself in five or 10 years. Managing your debt payment with an interest-only payment will give you an opportunity to save that money for retirement or save it for a college fund.

Refinancing is a chance to switch up your loan and try something new. Avoid using refinancing as a financial crutch. Are you doing it to lower your interest rate, or are you doing it because you want cash? If you are moving in a year, refinancing probably isn’t a good idea, as it costs between $1,900 and $2,600.

Update From:http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/design-101/10-tips-to-increase-your-homes-value

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How to Diagnose Common Refrigerator Problems

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Your refrigerator is an essential appliance in your home, and when it’s not working properly, you can have real problems: puddles in your kitchen, spoiled food—even spoiled parties! And while dealing with refrigerator problems can be difficult, the good news is that they often have simple solutions. All you may need is a simple coil cleaning or easy part replacement to get back on your way. Read on to learn about common refrigerator problems and how you can repair them.

The problem: Your refrigerator isn’t working at all.

How to fix it: If your refrigerator is not running at all, and the light is not working, you probably have a power problem. Check to ensure that the refrigerator is plugged in securely, and make sure there is no damage to the electrical cord. You should also look for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker, and test the power outlet to ensure it’s receiving a current. Do not use an extension cord to power your refrigerator; plug it into the wall directly.

The problem: Your freezer isn’t cold enough.

How to fix it: If your freezer isn’t cooling properly, first, you’ll need to feel the back wall of the freezer. If it’s not cold, you may have a problem with the compressor. If it is cold and you can feel air flowing from the rear vents in the freezer, there may be a problem with the evaporator fan.

The problem: The refrigerator is too warm, but the freezer is fine.

How to fix it: The most likely cause of this problem is an air flow issue. Your freezer may be too full, which does not allow the air to circulate throughout the freezer and move into the refrigerator. Remove food from the freezer or rearrange it so that there is more room for the air to circulate. You may also have dirty condenser coils, which should be cleaned to improve performance.

The problem: The freezer and refrigerator are both not cold enough.

How to fix it: If there’s frost on the back wall of the freezer, you may need to defrost it, as ice may be blocking air flow to the freezer and refrigerator. However, if the compressor is running and you can hear the fan in the freezer working, your refrigerator may need repair or replacement.

The problem: The refrigerator is cycling too frequently.

How to fix it: A refrigerator that cycles too often uses more energy than normal. This is usually due to a build up of dust or hair under the condenser coils. Clean them of dust and other debris to see improvement. If your refrigerator continues to cycle on and off after cleaning, call a professional. Or, you may simply have your freezer set too high at above 10 degrees. Set your freezer temperature between 0 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

The problem: The refrigerator is freezing food.

How to fix it: If you have frozen food, and it’s not in your freezer, check your temperature control thermostat. You should rotate it all the way from stop to stop. If you hear a click, it should be OK and reset. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to call a professional to check the thermostat, thermistor, or temperature control board.

The problem: Your freezer has a lot of frost.

How to fix it: This often happens when the freezer door is accidentally left open. Or, your door seal may be torn or dirty with debris. First, try closing it shut securely and allowing it to automatically reset with a defrost cycle. You can also turn off the light in your kitchen and look around the freezer door to see if there is any light leaking out: if you can see light, cold air is getting out, while warm air is going in. If your door seal is dirty or damaged, have it repaired or simply clean it. Another solution may be replacing the gasket. You may need to move your food, unplug the refrigerator, and allow it to defrost.

The problem: Your refrigerator is leaking water.

How to fix it: Your refrigerator may have a clogged or freezing defrost drain. Find the drain in the rear panel of the freezer and thaw any ice that may be blocking it. You can flush the drain by using a turkey baster filled with hot water. It’s also a good idea to check the water supply line for leaks.

The problem: Your refrigerator doors are sweating.

How to fix it: Your refrigerator works hard, but you don’t want to see it sweat. This is usually a sign of excess moisture from damaged gaskets. You should replace gaskets to ensure that doors are closing properly and not interfering with the defrost cycle.

The problem: No water is coming from the water dispenser.

How to fix it: Your water supply tube may be frozen. Try removing the hose and allowing it to thaw out. Maintain a freezer temperature between 0 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, as a lower temperature may freeze water in the line. Alternatively, you may have a problem with your water inlet valve if the water pressure is good. This is a simple replacement. It’s also a good idea to check your water filter, as it may be clogged. Most refrigerators require regular replacement of the water filter.

The problem: Water accumulates in the refrigerator.

How to fix it: Water accumulation is often caused by a blocked defrost drain. You should call a professional to unclog or defrost your drain. Or, unplug your refrigerator, locate the drain tube, and use a turkey baster to force a solution of half warm water, half bleach into the tube. You’ll need to remove and clean the drain pan under the fridge as well.

The problem: Your ice maker isn’t making ice.

How to fix it: This one is usually easy. Check the wire next to the ice maker assembly. A raised wire means the ice maker accidentally got turned off. Lower the wire with the red lever. Or your freezer may be too warm to make ice. At temperatures above 10 degrees Fahrenheit, your ice maker may not work properly, so be sure to set it between 0 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit. There could also be a problem with the water inlet valve, or the water filter, which would need replacing.

The problem: The freezer is noisy.

How to fix it: Sizzling noises are nothing to worry about and are part of the normal defrost cycle. A buzzing noise is more trouble, as it could be electrical problems, or your evaporator fan hitting ice build up. It’s best to call a professional if you hear a buzzing noise.

The problem: The light in the refrigerator isn’t working.

How to fix it: This is usually just a case of a burned out bulb. Locate the bulb and replace it, and you should be on your way. You may also have a problem with your door light switch, which can be replaced if it’s defective.

The problem: Your freezer is leaking oily residue.

How to fix it: A leaking oily residue often means you’re losing coolant. It’s best to call a professional to deal with these leaks, as the coolant can be toxic.

The problem: Your refrigerator has an odor.

How to fix it: Refrigerator odors may be due to spoiled food. Remove food from your refrigerator, wipe it down with hot water and baking soda, and throw out any old food before returning the food to your refrigerator. You should also clean the door seals, as they may retain mold and odors as well.

Whatever the issue may be, proper diagnosis can help you determine if it’s a simple fix or something that requires a professional. If your refrigerator is continuously causing issues, it may be cost effective to look into a home warranty to lower the cost of continued maintenance.

Exterior view of lit contemporary house at dusk.

Mid-Century Modern Remodel Ideas

Exterior view of lit contemporary house at dusk.
Exterior view of lit contemporary house at dusk.

Not long ago, you couldn’t give away a mid-century modern house, so reviled were they. No sane person would ever want one of these spare, plain, flattened houses, when they could fall in love with a pimped up Painted Lady or a down-to-earth Craftsman. It was far more virtuous to own the Victorian or Craftsman.

Something about the mid-century houses just didn’t feel right. Was it the era itself, which stretched from post WWII to late 1960s and even the early 1970s? Was it the people who inhabited those homes–brutish, impulsive, non-PC people who smoked cigarettes and consumed hard liquor and red meat?

Was it the construction itself? This era ushered in cheap, gimcrack building methods and materials: single-pane aluminum-framed windows, thin drywall, laminate counters.

Then, it happened: people got weepy and nostalgic. They fondly remembered these box houses as places where they grew up and played Barbie and Tinkertoys and G.I. Joes. Mad Men came along, further stoking dreams of ranch homes past.

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Here are a few ideas you can use to give your mid-century modern house more of a retro feel.

1. Neutra House Numbers

Vienna-born architect Richard Neutra’s house designs practically define Southern California mid-century residential architecture. Why spend $3.7 million on a Neutra house when you can spend on the order of $25-$35 per piece for these brushed aluminum house numbers in Neutraface font? As it turns out, Neutra had nothing to do with this font: it was developed in 2002 (though is in the spirit of his design principles).

Buy on Amazon – Richard Neutra Brushed Aluminum House Numbers

2. Retro Laminate Counters

Nothing says “mid-century” like a futuristically-patterned kitchen countertop. Boomerang and plenty of other retro laminate counter designs are found in WilsonArt’s Indie Collection. Starting in 1956, Texas-based WilsonArt lead the way in populating American kitchens and bathrooms with laminate surfacing. Founder Ralph Wilson’s house in Temple, TX, now a registered historic landmark, acted as a proving ground for many new WilsonArt laminates, including post-formed, rolled-edge counters (counters with laminate rolled over the edge instead of protected by a metal bumper).

WilsonArt Indie Collection Laminates

3. The Ultra-Wide Brick Fireplace

Cadillac-wide brick fireplaces were found in practically every mid-century home. When mid-century fell into disfavor, many of the fireplaces came down. Homeowners found no need for fireplace-heating anymore. Plus, these sizable hulks wasted much floor space. You can veneer over your existing fireplace with brick to achieve these very horizontal lines (veneer is thinner than real brick).

Mid-Century Modernist

4. Pendant Lights

Space Age pendant lighting graced many a ranch house or split level home in the 1950s and 1960s. A pendant called Rokot from Rejuvenation approximates the one shown in this vintage photo.

Rejuvenation

5. Swanky Exterior Door

Punch a few bold geometric shapes in your exterior door with these DoorLite inserts from Crestview. Specifically designed for the mid-century home, these kits include inserts, frames, sealant, screws, instructions–everything you need except a drill and jigsaw. These kits are not cheap, but they will be cheaper in the end than hunting down and installing vintage doors.

Update:  Crestview Doors is out of business.

6. Privacy Screens / Dividers

Mid-century homes’ open floor plans made spaces feel nebulous, undefined…even unsettling. That’s why room dividers saw their heyday during this period. These easy-to-install, easy-to-remove screens visually “wall off” an entryway or kitchen, or define a living/family room. These dividers also come from Crestview Doors. An expanse six feet long and almost touching an 8-foot ceiling will run you around $700, including shipping and tax.

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26 Essential Items for Your Home Repair Tool Kit

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Every home owner needs a tool box. Whether you’re handy or not, little things come up, and they’re not all worth calling a professional. A home tool kit can help you hang photos, assemble furniture, fix a toilet, build a cabinet, and more. You can even manage emergencies like leaky pipes until you can get help from the pros. Fill your tool box with these essential items and you’ll be ready to take on most minor (and some major) repair and home improvement projects.

  1. Hammer: No tool box is complete without a hammer. You can drive in and pull out nails and complete a variety of projects with a hammer.
  2. Measuring tape: Consider how furniture will fit into a room, measure wood before cutting, measure windows for blinds, and more with a handy measuring tape. Look for a 16 foot long tape measure at least 3/4 inch wide.
  3. Screwdriver: A screwdriver is essential for so many home projects, ranging from assembling furniture to tightening hinges. You can get a set of multi sized and multiple bit individual screwdrivers, or invest in a single multi bit screwdriver. It’s a good idea to get extra Phillips head screwdrivers to place in multiple areas of your home, as they are most commonly used.
  4. Power drill: You can live without a power drill, but practically every project is made easier with the help of power. You can drill holes and drive screws efficiently. With additional bits, you can even stir paint, grind materials, and more.
  5. Hand saw: A power saw is helpful for many applications, but quick jobs like cutting through small pieces of wood or pipes in tricky spots are better handled with a hand saw. These saws are also very portable.
  6. Utility knife: Break down boxes, open packaging, sharpen pencils, and more with a simple utility knife.
  7. Five gallon bucket: Corral tools for a project, catch water, or just sit on a five gallon bucket. You’ll be glad you have it.
  8. Super glue: Glue porcelain pieces back together, fix a drawer, complete arts and crafts projects, fix shoes, repair sunglasses, and more.
  9. Wrench: Invaluable for plumbing jobs, get a medium sized slip joint pair of pliers and an adjustable wrench.
  10. Allen wrench: Save those little wrenches that come with ready to assemble furniture, as they can come in handy later. You can use them to disassemble furniture and toys, even fix some bikes.
  11. Needle nose pliers: Needle nose pliers come in handy more often than you’d think. They’re great for repairs in small and tight places and especially useful for jewelry repair.
  12. Putty knife: Scrape away loose paint, apply wall patching compound, and more with a stiff bladed putty knife.
  13. Vice grips: Vice grips can give you a practical third hand, holding on when your other hands are busy. You can use them to clamp items in place, remove stripped or broken screws, open zippers, pinch or close off small pipes, and more.
  14. Clamps: Hold pieces of wood tightly together, keep items in place while glue dries, and more.
  15. Step ladder: Reach anything in your home with ease using a step ladder. You can hang Christmas lights, change light bulbs, paint rooms, even get items off of the roof.
  16. Level: Make sure every photo you hang is straight across with a level. You can also use it for precision woodworking and other projects.
  17. Pry bar: Remove nails, flooring, and more with a pry bar.
  18. Stud finder: Never wonder where you can hang heavy photos. With a stud finder, you’ll be able to identify studs in your walls for sturdy hanging spots. Some stud finders can even identify water pipes and electrical lines you should avoid.
  19. WD-40: Lubricate anything, stop rust in its tracks, clean bathtubs, walls, and more, protect metal from corrosion, remove tough materials, and so much more with WD-40.
  20. Circular saw: This versatile power tool is helpful in practically any woodworking project.
  21. Duct tape: It’s no joke: duct tape really can fix almost anything, at least temporarily. Patch a PVC pipe, repair an air duct, stop wood from splitting, and more.
  22. Flashlight: Visibility is key to safety and accuracy in home improvement projects. Using a flashlight or lamp will illuminate your work area and make your task easier. If you need an extra hand, consider a head lamp instead.
  23. Safety glasses: Working with tools can kick up dust, debris, wood shavings, and more — none of which you want to end up in your eyes. Protect them with a good pair of safety glasses, especially when you’re working with power tools.
  24. Gloves: Even padded and comfortable tools can wear on your hands, causing blisters and discomfort. Some projects can also get quite messy. A pair of gloves will protect your hands and keep you comfortable.
  25. Mask: Protect your lungs from debris and fumes with a mask.
  26. Ear plugs: Using power tools can get loud, so it’s smart to use a pair of ear plugs for safety.

Update From:http://www.choicehomewarranty.com/blog/26-essential-items-home-repair-tool-kit/

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What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Home Owners’ Insurance Rates

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Home owners’ insurance is necessary coverage for every home. But this necessary coverage can also be unnecessarily expensive if you’re not careful. Insurance rates can be influenced by a wide variety of factors, including your credit score, the local fire station, even the pool or trampoline in your back yard. And you could be paying too much for your home owners’ insurance if you have factors that raise your insurance rates.

In this resource, you’ll learn everything you need to know about home owners’ insurance rates. You’ll find out how much most home owners pay for their insurance, common claims and how much they usually cost insurers, and how often home owners submit claims. But more importantly, you can learn what insurers look at when determining your insurance rates, including factors that can raise your rates. Plus, you’ll find tips for what you can do to reduce the cost of your home owners’ insurance rates.

Home Owners’ Insurance By the Numbers

Home owners’ insurance is a $70 billion dollar premium industry in the United States. Nearly every American home has a home owners’ insurance policy and most home owners will pay about $1,000 per year for insurance coverage. Want to know more? Check out these statistics on home owners’ insurance.

  • Almost every home in America is insured. 95 percent of homes in the United States are insured. Mortgage companies typically require that home owners maintain a quality home insurance policy for the life of the loan. (Enhance Insurance)
  • On average, Americans pay $1,096 in annual home owners’ insurance premiums. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Florida home owners pay the highest home owner’s insurance premiums at an annual rate of $2,115. In fact, most of the Gulf Coast region pays higher home owners’ insurance premiums than the rest of the country. Texas home owners pay an average of $1,837 (ranked second), Louisiana home owners pay an average of $1,822 (ranked third), and Mississippi home owners pay an average of $1,395 (ranked fifth). (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Home owners in northern states and the Midwest tend to pay less for home owners’ insurance. Idaho home owners pay the lowest at $561, Oregon home owners pay an average of $568, and Utah home owners pay an average of $609. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Home owners that live in an area with significant storms will pay more for home insurance. Areas with significant storm activity pay about 2 percent more on average for home owners’ insurance. (Peachstate Insurance)
  • Home owners’ insurance rates typically go up each year. In recent years, they have increased by five percent or more. In 2012, rates increased 5.6 percent, while they went up 6 percent in 2013. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Even as rates go up, home owners may not be paying enough. 64 percent of homes are under insured. (Enhance Insurance)
  • Most home owners do not file a claim on home owners’ insurance in any given year. In 2014, only 5.3 percent of insured homes had a claim. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Property damage is the most common type of claim, accounting for 97.3 percent of home owners’ insurance claims in 2014. This figure includes theft. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Fire, lightning, and debris removal is the most severe claim, averaging $39,791 per claim. Bodily injury and property damage is the next most severe at $20,453 per claim. Wind and hail, water damage and freezing, and all other property damage are typically well under $10,000. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Wind and hail claims are the most often submitted claims with a frequency of 3.13. Water damage and freezing have a frequency of 1.86, and all other property damage has a frequency of .99. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • About 2.1 million burglaries occur in the United States each year and 74.5 percent of them are residential. Burglaries typically have an average property loss of $2,230. (Ameriprise Financial)
  • About one in 15 insured homes has a claim each year. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Lighting strikes are not as rare as you might think. About one in 265 homes has a property damage claim related to fire and lightning each year. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • State Farm, Allstate, and Liberty Mutual are the top three writers of home owners’ insurance by direct premiums written. Combined, these three insurance companies make up more than 35 percent of the market share. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Poisoning is by far the leading cause of unintentional injury death at home, making up 51.4 percent of claims. Falls (29.4 percent) and flames or smoke (3.5 percent) are the next highest. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Hail storm damage can reach up to $1 billion annually, though a particularly damaging Kansas City hail storm in 2001 caused $2 billion in damage. Home owners who live in locations where hail storms and tornadoes are prevalent pay more for their home owners’ insurance coverage. In face, in Colorado, about half of home owners’ insurance premiums go to coverage against hail and tornadoes. (Insurance QnA
  • Most fire related home owners’ insurance claims start in the kitchen. Each year, an average of 154,7000 homes are damaged by fires using cooking equipment, adding up to $724 million in damages each year. (Insurance QnA
  • Water leaks in homes account for about 23 percent of all property losses suffered by home owners. Leaks and water damage are primarily caused by freezing pipes and plumbing failures. Up to 93 percent of damage caused by leaks could be avoided with a system in place to detect leaks. (Insurance QnA

How Insurers Determine How Much You Should Pay for Home Owners’ Insurance

When determining your rate for home owners’ insurance, insurance companies look at a number of different factors that can indicate the potential for loss, cost to remedy losses, and more. These include:

  • The size of your home, specifically square footage, as well as any additional structures such as a garage
  • Home construction, materials, and home features including roof type
  • Age of the home including the age of home systems including plumbing, HVAC, and electrical
  • Number of people living in the home
  • Location of the home factoring in the likelihood of damage due to a disaster such as hurricane, tornado, hail, wind, or wildfire
  • Neighborhood crime rates
  • Coverage level
  • Replacement cost including local building cost
  • Fire protection
  • Pets

Factors That Can Increase Your Home Owners’ Insurance Rates

While basic factors look at pretty broad information, there are other factors that may seem insignificant, but can dramatically increase your home owners’ insurance rates. And while something like the breed of your dog or the trampoline in your backyard may not seem like a factor that can make you pay more for home owners’ insurance, the fact is that they can and they will.

Filing a Claim

It hardly sounds fair that you could be asked to pay more for your insurance simply for using it, but that’s the reality of home owners’ insurance. Insurers know that policy holders who have made a claim in the past are likely to make another claim in the future.

A history of frequent insurance claims — whether on your home owners’ insurance, auto, or other insurance coverage — can raise your home owners’ insurance premiums significantly. You may be subject to an increase or even a non renewal or cancellation of your policy if your insurer determines that you represent too much of a risk.

This shouldn’t scare you off from filing an insurance claim if you truly need it. Dealing with $20,000 in hail damage is tough to swallow and you shouldn’t fear making a claim for major losses, especially if you rarely file claims at all and you’re an otherwise upstanding policy holder. But think twice about making multiple claims, especially small ones, within the same year or even few years. Insurers typically raise rates in policy holders with a history of frequent insurance claims, not those who infrequently make claims when it’s really worth it.

Calling About a Claim

Home owners may not be surprised to find out that filing a claim can raise insurance rates. But even if you simply call and decide not to file a claim, your rates could go up.

Consider this situation: your home is damaged and you’re not sure whether it’s covered on your policy. You call your insurance company to find out, but decide not to file a claim because your coverage is lower than your deductible. You may consider the matter closed, but your insurance company does not.

The query is likely to be recorded with details of the damage, even if you make no claim. The damage will likely be reported to your Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report, which is similar to a credit report for insurance. Queries typically stay on your CLUE report for seven years.

While a single phone call should not cause a problem for your insurance rates and ability to obtain insurance, more than a few can be troublesome. If insurers see a number of queries on damages, you could face a higher premium at renewal or even a non renewal of your policy.

Owning an Expensive Home

It should be no surprise that owning an expensive home will cost you more when it comes to home owners’ insurance rates. Everything costs more in an expensive home — and that means insurers will have to pay more to repair or replace your home than they would a more modestly priced home. The more expensive a home is, the more it will cost to insure.

Your Credit Score

In most states, insurance companies are allowed to use your credit history when determining rates for home owners’ insurance. Your credit score reflects your responsibility and how well you pay your bills. Insurance companies know there is a strong connection between people who responsibly pay their bills and those who make a claim. Typically, home owners with a good credit score are less likely to make a claim, while a policy holder who is behind on bills may be more likely to file a claim. Home owners with bad credit scores may pay rates that are double that of home owners with good credit scores, so this factor can be significant.

The Age of Your Home and Materials

As your home gets older, particularly your roof, materials can become more susceptible to damage and deterioration. Newer homes tend are often easier to repair and less subject to damage. And new homes have newer systems, such as plumbing that’s less likely to break down and cause water damage. They may also be built to higher construction standards than older ones. Older homes may be more costly to repair not just because they’re more susceptible to damage, but because they may need to be repaired with materials that can be difficult to find. Insurers know that this may make replacement costs go up, so your home owners’ insurance premiums will rise as well.

Home Remodeling

Improving your home adds to the value of your home. And when the value of your home increases, so does the cost to replace it. Home owners’ insurance companies will take into account that after a major renovation project, it will be more expensive to rebuild your home to its current state in case of a loss. This can lead to an increase in your home owner’s insurance premium — but your home won’t be under insured.

Recreational Equipment

Owning a pool, tree house, or trampoline is fun, but these pieces of recreational equipment can also be dangerous. You may be held liable if anyone is injured or dies while using the equipment on your property — and it doesn’t matter if you gave them permission or not. Simply owning this equipment can make your home owners’ insurance premiums increase.

Home Based Businesses

Typically home owners’ insurance coverage is limited to personal property with very limited coverage for business equipment. If you work from home or have a business based out of your home, you may need additional coverage. And if you have customers come to your home to conduct business, you could have liability and property loss risks not covered by your home owners’ policy. This may require you to add an endorsement or separate business policy for your home.

Ownership of a Potentially Aggressive Dog

In the first half of 2012, one out of three home owners’ insurance liability claims was for a dog bite. Due to rising medical costs related to the treatment of dog bites, the cost of this claim continues to rise. Insurance providers may hesitate to provide home owners’ insurance coverage, or raise rates, for home owners with dogs including wolf hybrids, huskies, malamutes, German shepherds, chows, rottweilers, and pit bulls. However, some states prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on the breed of pets.

Living Too Far from a Fire Station

Insurers want to know that if there’s a fire in your home, the fire department can get there quickly to put it out before your home burns down and becomes a total loss. If you live more than five miles from a fire station, you may be subject to higher home owners’ insurance rates. Insurers also want to know how well your local fire department can handle emergencies, so they’ll look into whether you have a professional or volunteer department as well as fire district ratings when determining your home owners’ insurance rate.

Owning a Vacation Home

Vacation homes are typically more expensive to insure. It hardly seems fair, but insurance companies know that if you’re not spending a lot of time in your home, you’re less likely to be able to spot problems before they become serious issues that would warrant a claim. Burglars are more likely to hit a mostly unoccupied vacation home, and water leaks may go unnoticed for weeks or months. If you’re renting your home out with a service like AirBnB, don’t plan on renting it out for more than 90 days a year. Once you cross that threshold, your vacation home is considered a business and you may not be covered for claims on the property under your personal home owners’ insurance policy.

Neighborhood Crime

If you live in a high crime area, or your neighborhood has been recently targeted by burglars, your insurance company will probably be justifiably nervous about potential burglaries in your home. Property damage claims related to theft are one of the most common home owners’ insurance claims, and if you show an increased risk of this claim, your rates will be increased accordingly.

Lapses in Policy

If you don’t renew your insurance coverage and let your policy lapse, insurers could see that as a sign of risk and subsequently charge you more for your home owners’ insurance premiums. It’s a good idea to pay your premiums on time and keep your insurance coverage current.

How to Reduce Your Home Owners’ Insurance Rates

While some factors that raise your home owners’ insurance rates are beyond your control, like burglaries in your neighborhood, or the age of your home, there are some factors where you can make smart changes to save on your rates. If you’re looking for ways to reduce your home owners’ insurance premiums, try out these tips.

  • Maintain a good credit rating: Insurance companies typically use credit information when determining rates for home owners’ insurance. If you have a poor credit rating, you could end up paying more for your home owners’ insurance. Protect your credit by paying bills on time, only using the credit you need, and keeping balances low. It’s a good idea to regularly check your credit report to identify problems and report any inaccuracies that may be taken into account with insurers.
  • Don’t file small claims: Home owners’ insurance is for major incidents, not wear and tear. If your deductible is $500, don’t bother filing a claim or even calling about $750 in property damage. It’s just not worth the potential increase in rates. Save your claims for when you really need them, like a hail storm that takes out your brand new roof.
  • Make your home as fire proof as possible: Add a fire sprinkler and fire alarm to your home and be sure to keep a fire extinguisher handy. It also helps if you live near a fire station, and it’s best if the fire service is professional rather than volunteer staffed.
  • Install disaster resistance measures: Installing storm shutters, retrofitting your home for an earthquake, or buying stronger roofing materials can better prepare your home to stand up against serious disasters. Some insurance companies will lower your premiums if you make these improvements to your home and lower their risk.
  • Get a home security system: Burglaries and fires make up a significant portion of claims home insurance companies have to pay out every year, so if you take steps to mitigate losses from fire or burglary, you may be rewarded with a significant discount. Using a burglar alarm, smoke detector, or dead bolt locks can result in a discount of up to 20 percent on your home owners’ insurance premiums. Additional discounts may be available for homes with an alarm that is connected to police, fire, or other monitoring stations.
  • Ask about special discounts: Home owners’ insurance companies may have discounts available that you’re not aware of, such as special rates for retirees of employees of certain companies.
  • Update your home’s systems: Older homes are often charged more for home owners’ insurance because their systems are more likely to break down and cause a problem, such as a roof that is significantly damaged during a hail storm, or old pipes that burst and flood your home with water. If you update systems including your air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, and roof, be sure to tell your insurance company, as you may get a break on your home owners’ insurance rates.
  • Get a security inspection: Many insurers will offer you a discount if you work with your local police department or constable to make security improvements to your home. An officer can come out to your home, inspect it, and make recommendations for improving your security. You can then make those changes and get another inspection and submit the report to your insurer for a discount.
  • Carry a higher deductible: Home owners’ insurance is really just for significant losses, even disasters. That means you probably shouldn’t go through your insurance company to handle a $500 window fix, for example. But a major leak that causes $10,000 or more in damage is worth a claim. If you’re able to raise your deductible to $1,000 or higher, you will typically save on your monthly home owners’ insurance premium. And you’ll also be less tempted to file small claims that could put you at risk of a higher premium in the future — or even non renewal of your policy.
  • Stay current on premiums: Pay your premiums on time and maintain continuous coverage, avoiding lapses in coverage, to indicate to insurers that you’re a responsible home owner.
  • Shop around annually: When it’s time to renew your policy, consider your coverage, property value, and current situation. It’s a good idea to make sure you have the right amount of coverage. And by shopping around and asking for quotes from multiple insurance companies, you could save significantly on your premiums. Be sure to compare apples to apples, looking at the same coverage and deductible levels. And don’t forget to ask about multi policy discounts and other ways they can help you lower your premiums for home owners’ insurance.
  • Investigate prior losses before you buy a home: If you’re in the process of purchasing a home, you should know that claims made before you buy the home can influence your rates. A home with multiple claims within a few years may be labeled as risky regardless of who is living in it. And if there are unresolved issues, you could be stuck paying higher rates. When buying a home, ask for a copy of the home’s loss history report with disclosure statements to get a record of the claims filed within the past five years.
  • Talk directly to an agent: It’s convenient to apply for coverage online, but an insurance agent can really help you get the best deal. Speak with a licensed insurance agent to discuss your needs. They can help you get the right amount of protection and even identify discounts that you might not have been aware of otherwise. You can also talk to them about potential scenarios you want to investigate, like how much you might save if you update aging home systems like a roof that’s more than 15 years old.
  • Take advantage of multi policy discounts: While it’s a good idea to shop around for the best rate on your home owners’ insurance policy, keep in mind that it can pay to combine your auto and home insurance, even life insurance. Most companies will take up to 15 percent off of your premium for buying two or more policies from them. Of course, you should make sure that the combined price of your policies including discounts will be lower than getting each coverage from separate companies.
  • Maintain your policy: Insurance companies love loyal customers and often reward long term policy holders with a reduction in your premiums. Loyalty discounts typically kick in around three years and may increase after six years or more.
  • Complete a home inventory: While a home inventory may not help you save on home owners’ insurance premiums, it can help you to more accurately recover losses. Only about 50 percent of home owners have prepared an inventory of their possessions to document losses. Your home inventory should include a list of your belongings along with video or photo evidence. Record model or serial numbers, keep receipts for purchases of value, and remember to record upgrades to your home as well.

Update From:http://www.choicehomewarranty.com/blog/every-home-owner-needs-know-home-owners-insurance-rates/

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Choice Home Warranty Named to the Inc. 5000 Honor Roll.

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Choice Home Warranty’s Fifth Consecutive Year on the Inc. 5000

Edison, NJ — Choice Home Warranty is once again honored to be a part of the Inc. 5000. For five consecutive years, Choice Home Warranty has been among Inc.’s list of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in America.

Choice Home Warranty is ranked #922, breaking the top 1,000 for 2016. Inc. ranked Choice Home Warranty based on the company’s 433 percent three year growth.

In its fifth year on the Inc. 5000 list, Choice Home Warranty is now on the Inc. 5000 Honor Roll. Ranked #12 for insurance companies, Choice is joined by leaders including Chelsea Financial Group, E-Telequote Insurance, Honor Capital, and Connect Assistance. Choice is also #22 for top New Jersey companies, again among Chelsea Financial Group as well as MP Consulting Services, Eduficcient, and Capital Advance Solutions.

The Inc. 5000 is a ranking of America’s fastest growing private companies. Choice Home Warranty is proud to once again be a leader among America’s most inspiring small businesses and entrepreneurs enjoying significant growth and success.

“Choice Home Warranty takes pride in joining the Inc. 5000 for a fifth year,” said Choice Home Warranty President Victor Mandalawi. “We continue to grow and innovate in home warranty service. Our ongoing success is a testament to our valued customers who support us year after year. Choice Home Warranty is proud to serve home owners every day and be a leader in home warranty services.”

Update From:http://www.choicehomewarranty.com/blog/choice-home-warranty-named-inc-5000-honor-roll/

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40 Important Exterior Home Maintenance Tasks

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Interior tasks like changing air conditioner filters, painting walls, cleaning cabinets, and cleaning appliances are often easy to remember, but it’s important that you don’t forget to take care of your home’s exterior maintenance as well. Keeping up with exterior maintenance is critical to your home’s long term health. With good exterior maintenance, you can protect your home from the elements, keeping moisture, pests, rot, and decay out of your home. From inspecting your roof to patching up gaps, pressure washing your exterior, and fixing cracks in concrete, these important exterior maintenance tasks are important for keeping your home in great shape year round.

Update From:http://www.choicehomewarranty.com/blog/40-important-exterior-home-maintenance-tasks/

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56 Home Improvement Blogs to Inspire You

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If you live in a house, there’s a good chance you want to improve it. Whether you’re eyeing a new countertop for the kitchen or just can’t wait to tear out some old tile in the bathroom, practically every home owner has a remodeling itch that’s just begging to be scratched.

Of course, if you’re short on ideas, or simply need help bringing your home improvement desires into reality, the blogosphere has plenty of resources for you to use. Find detailed tutorials, inspiring projects, product recommendations, and more in our list of the best home improvement blogs online:

  1. The Ugly Duckling House: Sarah at The Ugly Duckling House enjoys tearing her house apart and putting it back together again. Find out about her latest projects on the blog.
  2. Curbly: Love where you live with Curbly’s projects. You’ll discover DIY ideas, hacks, makeovers, tips, and more. See how it’s done and get ideas for your home.
  3. Bob Vila: Bob Vila has been a trusted name in home improvement for decades. Find must do seasonal projects, how tos, answers, and creative ideas from Bob Vila’s network on this blog.
  4. Hammer and Moxie: Discover Hammer and Moxie’s honest look at home improvement to get inspired to create in your own home. You’ll see their successes and mishaps along the way for a relatable view of home improvement.
  5. Apartment Therapy: Apartment Therapy features home tours, home design ideas, and home improvement projects. Perfect for condo owners or small house living.
  6. IKEA Hackers: Find ideas for hacking your home with IKEA products on this helpful blog. Discover furniture ideas, decor, and more.
  7. Remodelaholic: Remodelaholic uses creative ideas to remodel on a tight budget. You’ll see how to reduce, recycle, reuse, repurpose, and more in your home while making it beautiful.
  8. Shelteriffic: Find hundreds of ideas for home design, products, tips, and more for home improvement on Shelterriffic.
  9. Pretty Handy Girl: Brittany at Pretty Handy Girl encourages home owners to become do it yourselfers with detailed tutorials that make it easy to take on your own projects. Ladies are especially encouraged to follow along and take on their own projects.
  10. One Project Closer: Read what professional remodelers have to say about making your home your dream home on this project blog. Your next project is one project closer to the home you’re wishing for.
  11. Charles & Hudson: On Charles & Hudson, you’ll see highlights from the best in design, DIY, smart homes, and more.
  12. Remodelista: Follow home improvement and design trends, home spotlights, product recommendations, and more on Remodelista.
  13. Houzz: An excellent resource for all things home, you’ll find an endless source of ideas for remodeling and home improvement on the Houzz blog. Lots of photos, design highlights, and other great resources are available on Houzz.
  14. Young House Love: Sherry and John of Young House Love have fixed up three homes and share thousands of home projects on their blog. Now, they have a book, product lines, and an endless array of ideas and home improvement projects for home owners to discover.
  15. DIY Diva: Farmer and experienced DIYer Kit tears houses apart and puts them back together again. Follow along as she shows you how you can do it, too.
  16. Retro Renovation: Check out this blog to see how you can remodel your home with vintage, mid-century style.
  17. Homey Improvements: See how James and Alicia are making their house more homey on the Homey Improvements blog.
  18. DIY Show Off: View DIY before and afters, home tours, and more on DIY Show Off. This is a great place to see how real people are making their homes better.
  19. Design*Sponge: A leader in home style blogging, Design*Sponge is a great resource for spotting home trends and discovering new home improvement projects.
  20. Old House Web: Check out the Old House Web blog to learn about historic preservation, affordable decor, remodeling, and more.
  21. Home Jelly: Discover home improvement projects that will leave you jealous — and inspired — on Home Jelly.
  22. Real Simple: A favorite source for home organization, Real Simple also offers great ideas for decorating, maintenance, repairs, and more.
  23. Interior Design: See the latest in interior projects, products, and trends on InteriorDesign.net.
  24. DIY Network: The popular TV channel also has a very helpful, up to date blog with seasonal ideas, maintenance, and trends.
  25. Home Adore: Find home highlights, inspiring projects, design, interesting architecture, and other home improvement updates on Home Adore.
  26. Southern Living home: Southern Living’s home section offers a style guide, house plans, and room by room inspiration.
  27. Freshome: Freshome features the latest news on design and architecture with best of highlights and more.
  28. House & Home: See home tours, smart updates, holiday style, decorating ideas, and project guides on House & Home.
  29. Ty Pennington: Famous for home design, Ty Pennington’s blog shares design updates and inspiration.
  30. Good Housekeeping: A classic resource for all things home, Good House Keeping has endless home ideas.
  31. Traditional Home: View renovation projects, home showcases, decorating ideas, and even room planning guides on Traditional Home.
  32. The Money Pit: Money Pit hosts Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete help to make good homes better. They offer resources for home remodeling, repairs, and improvements.
  33. BuzzFeed DIY: Follow BuzzFeed DIY to find trending home projects and more.
  34. Popsugar Home: Popsugar Home features decorating advice, helpful restoration tips, small space living, and endless inspiration.
  35. Urban Gardens: Read the Urban Gardens blog to find out how you can squeeze a garden into even the smallest living space.
  36. Design Notes: The Design Within Reach blog features updates on architecture, design, people, and culture.
  37. Unclutterer: Get more order into your life on Unclutterer, the ultimate blog for home organization.
  38. GoodHomes: GoodHomes features decorating tips, real home features, even competitions for home improvement.
  39. Centsational Girl: Centsational Girl, also known as Kate, specializes in renovation, decoration, and do it yourself projects on a budget.
  40. How to Plant: Planning the perfect backyard garden? This blog has guides for planting everything from knockout roses to fruit trees.
  41. Nesting Place: Nesting Place encourages home owners to love the home you’re with. Embrace the imperfect on this blog.
  42. DIY Inspired: DIY Inspired blogger Dinah features ideas for gardening, trash to treasure, seasonal projects, and more.
  43. Home Energy Blog: Find out how you can improve your home’s performance and environmental efficiency on this blog.
  44. Family Handyman: Well known as a popular home improvement magazine, The Family Handyman shares excellent DIY project guides, seasonal reminders, and tips on this blog.
  45. LOFT Home Blog: Discover interior design inspiration on LOFT Home.
  46. CreateGirl: Specializing in interior design, CreateGirl has great ideas for affordable, easy to buy pieces that will look wonderful in your home.
  47. Wood Magazine: Curious about woodworking? This blog has wood projects, how to guides, reviews, and tips to help you out.
  48. Home DSGN: HomeDSGN features dream homes, interior design, home features, and other excellent inspiration for your next home improvement project.
  49. Decoist: Find design ideas, DIY projects, dream houses, and the latest in design trends on Decoist.
  50. Shanty 2 Chic: One bargain at a time, Shanty 2 Chic offers updates on projects, free plans, and great ideas for the home.
  51. High Fashion Home: Discover product updates, interior design, and more on High Fashion Home.
  52. Make it and Mend it: Make, mend, and update your home with this blog.
  53. Homestead Basics: Learn about homesteading ideas for your family on this blog with the basics.
  54. Tiny House Blog: The Tiny House blog will teach you about living simply in small spaces.
  55. Refresh Restyle: Refresh Restyle offers cleaning tips, seasonal decor ideas, storage ideas, and other refreshing resources for the home.
  56. How to Nest for Less: How to Nest For Less features DIY, home decor, and decorating on a budget.

Update From:http://www.choicehomewarranty.com/blog/home-improvement-blogs/

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30 Tips for Increasing Your Home’s Value

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Home Improvements: Under $100

Tip 1: Spend an hour with a pro.
Invite a realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Many realtors will do this as a courtesy, but you will probably have to pay a consultation fee to a designer. Check with several designers in your area; a standard hourly fee is normally less than $100, and in an hour they can give you lots of ideas for needed improvements. Even small suggested improvements, such as paint colors or furniture placement, can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home.
Tip 2: Inspect it.
Not every home improvement is cosmetic. Deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or outdated electrical systems — you can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken. Hire an inspector to check out the areas of your home that you don’t normally see. They may discover hidden problems that could negatively impact your home’s value. Small problems (such as a hidden water leak) can become big, expensive problems quickly; the longer you put off repairs, the more expensive those repairs will be.
Tip 3: Paint, paint, paint.
One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements of all is paint! Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, painter’s tape, drop cloths and brushes. So buy a few gallons and get busy!
Tip 4: Find inspiration.
An alternative to hiring a designer is to search for remodeling and decorating inspiration in design-oriented magazines, books, TV shows and websites. Simply tear out or print off the ideas you want to try and start your to-do list. Keep it simple — when remodeling on a tight budget, do-it-yourself projects are best.
Tip 5: Cut energy costs.
The amount of money you spend each month on energy costs may seem like a fixed amount, but many local utility companies provide free energy audits of their customers’ homes. They can show you how to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. An energy-efficient home will save you money now, which can be applied to other updates, and is a more valuable and marketable asset in the long run.
Update from:http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/maintenance-and-repair/repairing/30-tips-for-increasing-your-homes-value