Technology is most helpful when it makes daily tasks easier and more efficient, and that’s most certainly the case with robot vacuum cleaners. It’s especially true if you’re in a climate that lends itself to lots of dust on your hard-surfaced floors or in your carpet.
Robot vacuum cleaners typically retail from $100 to about $700, and if you’re interested in having your home swept and vacuumed daily with little effort on your part, it’s a great investment. Here’s what to look for if you’re shopping for a robot vacuum cleaner.
The best robot vacuums can run for two hours or longer. That’s particularly important if you have a big place—you don’t want to have to keep recharging your vacuum between cleanings. It’s especially convenient if you have a vacuum that can automatically dock and recharge between uses.
Simpler, more inexpensive vacuums may only clean in a random or back-and-forth pattern, while more advanced vacuums can virtually map a room for more precise cleaning. It’s also better if the vacuum is capable of making multiple passes in its pattern, as it’ll lead to a more thorough cleaning job.
Size and design
Most robot vacuum cleaners are no more than four inches tall, so they can move under furniture. Still, pay attention to the height of your vacuum and the clearance of your furniture, so that you don’t end up with a vacuum that can’t get to important spots. Also, consider your floor type—some vacuums are better-suited for hardwood floors and tile, while others are better for carpeted floors.
article provided courtesy of breakthroughbroker.com
It doesn’t take much time to go from a perfectly organized room to a cluttered, chaotic mess. Papers pile up on surfaces, coats and bags end up on furniture, shoe boxes and shopping bags get stuffed in the first place you can find. But if you’re proactive, you can avoid the common clutter traps. Here are five ideas for reducing clutter:
1. Have a place for the things you bring into the house each day: Do what you can do create an easy place to put your outerwear, mail, keys, phone, and the other things you bring home each day. Coat racks, mail holders, and a catch-all basket give you an easy, consistent place to put your everyday items.
2. Get a basket for once-worn clothes: There are some clothing items that may not need to be washed or put away immediately after one use, like sweaters or denim. These items often end up on the bedroom floor. Instead, put them in a specific basket for items that aren’t yet ready for the laundry room.
3. Keep kitchen tools off the counter: It’s really easy to let items pile up on the kitchen counters, and all that clutter can be frustrating when it’s ready to make a meal. To reduce clutter, use wall racks to keep cooking utensils off the counter.
4. Designate a no-clutter zone: This one’s simple. Simply choose an important surface or space (like a coffee table), clear it of clutter, and focus on keeping that one area totally organized.
5. Keep the dining room table set: Not only is a set table pleasant to the eye, but it also makes it nearly impossible for the table to gather clutter. Thanks to the plates and silverware, there’s no room for your junk mail.
article courtesy of breakthroughbroker.com
Refinancing” is a scary word for many people, but that shouldn’t be the case for you. For many homeowners, refinancing can not only lower your monthly payments and help with your monthly budget, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
YOU’RE NOT TOO LATE.
For years now, we’ve been hearing that interest rates will be on the rise, and although there have been some small increases, you’re still in a great position to drastically lower your interest rate. The general rule is if your mortgage interest rate is more than one percent above the current market rate, you should consider refinancing.
IT’S NOT TOO TIME CONSUMING.
Don’t brush off refinancing just because it seems like a long and daunting process. An informational call with a lender to see how rates compare will only take a few minutes. There are also some programs for streamlining the application process. And besides, isn’t the amount of money you could save worth the time and effort?
ARMS CAN BE REFINANCED, TOO.
Seeing your Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) increase after the introductory period can be incredibly stressful and place a squeeze on your budget. Many people assume they’re stuck, but ARMs can be refinanced, just like fixed-rate mortgages. You can even switch to a shorter term fixed-rate mortgage, such as 15 or 23 years. The longer you’re planning to stay in the home, the more sense it makes to look into refinancing.
article provided courtesy of breakthroughbroker.com
Not all home improvement projects are created equal. Some renovations may cost a lot but not add significant value to your home. This list goes in the opposite direction: Here are some inexpensive home improvement projects that will not only increase your enjoyment of your home, but will also increase the home’s value.
1. High quality ceiling fans: In a recent National Association of Home Builders survey, ceiling fans ranked No. 1 as the most-wanted decorative item. If your ceiling fans are outdated, replace them with something in the $400 range—it’ll make a big difference when it’s time to sell.
2. Trees: Mature trees can be worth as much as $10,000 toward the value of your home. Trees also protect your home from the elements and prevent erosion.
3. Energy efficiency: Buyers are increasingly interested in saving energy, so any efficiency update is worthwhile. Switching from a wood to gas fireplace is a great start.
4. Outdoor lighting: Exterior lighting is great for highlighting the accents of your home, and you can typically expect a 50 percent return on investment.
5. Molding: You can finish a room with crown molding or railing for as little as $1.50 per foot if you take a DIY approach, and it’s extremely desirable among prospective buyers.
article courtesy of breakthroughbroker.com
It’s easy to get stressed out just hearing the word “renovation.” You’re instantly thinking of having your home life disrupted by construction debris, cluttered rooms, and loud noises.
But you don’t have to spend a ton of money and brace yourself for months of inconvenience to upgrade your home. Here are a few projects that you can knock out in a single day, and they’ll greatly improve the look and enjoyment of your home.
Paint or replace an exterior door: If you know the correct dimensions and specifications for a replacement door, replacing an exterior door is a quick and easy job. That’s even more true if you’re repainting it. Preparation and a few coats of paint will only take a few hours.
Plant some low-maintenance trees: Young evergreen trees are relatively simple to plant, and after some heavy watering in the first few weeks, they’re very easy to maintain. They’ll add some color and texture to your landscaping, instantly improving curb appeal.
New light fixtures: Whether they’re on the interior or exterior of your home, something as subtle as light textures can have a dramatic effect. Swapping out traditional fixtures for something modern or industrial can completely transform a room.
New hardware: Drawer pulls and door knobs are easy to change out, and like light fixtures, they have a big impact. You’d be amazed how your kitchen or bathroom could look with new hardware.
Article courtesy of Breaktrhoughbroker.com
Time to start your spring cleaning!! Sometimes you just can’t find the right tool for the job, even with all the usual cleaning tools at your disposal. Here are some tips for those items and places that are always a pain to keep squeaky clean.
The solution for a clean microwave is in your refrigerator (or maybe in the produce section of the grocery store). Microwave a cup of water and a few lemon slices, and then use a sponge to clean the microwave with the warm water.
This one works on clothes as well as surfaces. Rub white chalk on the grease stain, let it sit for five minutes, and then wipe it away with a wet rag.
Screens on HDTVs are delicate, and you want to avoid liquid cleaners, especially on LCD screens. Instead, take a dryer sheet and use it to clean the screen. The sheet will pick up dust and reduce static, and won’t damage the TV.
It’s always tough to thoroughly clean air vents because the spaces are so small, but they attract a ton of dust. Wrap a small towel around a butter knife, and then use the knife to clean the openings in the vent.
If you enjoyed this article you may also want to check out 7 Decluttering Myths That Could Derail Your Dreams of an Organized Home
article info courtesy of breakthroughbroker.com
Kids can accumulate a lot of stuff. Between toys and clothes, there seems to be a never-ending amount of clutter around the house. Here are some easy solutions for storage in your kids’ rooms.
Hang an Organizer at the Side of the Bed
You can place a fabric organizer with large pockets so it hangs down at the side of the bed. The other half of the organizer fits neatly under the mattress where it will stay secure. Just fill the pockets with items that do not fit anywhere else. It is ideal for books, small toys and even stuffed animals.
Build a Loft Bed
Loft beds are popular in college dorms for a reason: they create additional space in an otherwise small room. Once the loft bed is constructed, you can place bookcases, dressers or anything else you need to have out of the way right under the bed.
Bins and Cubbies
Grade school teachers know bins and cubbies are a convenient way of storing lots of items. You can use this same principle in your home. Fill your child’s room with wooden or plastic storage bins and make a game out of placing items in them so your child sees cleaning up in a positive light. Cubbies can be used for hanging up clothes or pajamas, so they do not end up rolled up in a ball on the floor.
Finding innovative ways to increase storage for your child’s room is easy with a little intuition. Now you no longer need to stress about where all of your kids’ stuff is going to go.
Article courtsey of Breakthroughbroker.com
For many people the garage is the place you mindlessly store stuff just to get it out of the way, and before you know it, you’ve got a cluttered mess on your hands. Here are five steps toward organizing your garage for good.
1. Make a plan: What do you want you garage to be? Is it a workshop, a storage space, or a nightly place to park your car? Before you roll up your sleeves and get to work, decide on a plan for your garage’s primary use, and prioritize around that goal.
2. Be vigilant with clutter: There might be items in your garage that you haven’t touched in years—you’ve probably even forgotten they’re in there. It’s easy to justify keeping items when you’re in the moment, but look a the big picture. If you can’t remember the last time you used an item, it’s probably ready to be thrown out, recycled, donated, or sold.
3. Make use of vertical space: Garages often have space in the ceiling where you can hang your gear or even store some boxes. Store the rarely used items—like holiday decorations—higher up and out of the way.
4. Keep common items accessible: On the other hand, you don’t want it to be a hassle to get to the things you use often. Create a specific place for each item that is easy to reach.
5. Stay vigilant: Now that you garage is properly organized, be more mindful of what you’re adding to it. If there’s something new that’s important, choose a specific place for it. If it’s just junk, go through the extra effort to just get rid of it!
article courtesy of BreakThroughBroker.com
If the snow didn't clue you in, winter here! This is the time of year when it’s especially important to make sure your home is properly sealed. Air leaks can make it difficult to keep your home properly heated and can lead to high utility bills. Here’s a quick guide to checking your home for air leaks.
Do an air pressure test. You can quickly check for air leaks with a simple test using household items. Seal your home by completely closing all doors, windows, and vents and turning off exhaust fans. Then pass a burning incense stick along the edges of all doors, windows, and other openings to the outside. If the smoke is forced into or away from an opening, you’ve found a leak.
Inspect doors and windows. To check for leaks near your windows, attempt to rattle the frame. This will reveal whether there are gaps along the edges. Also check for cracks in the frame, loose screws in locks, or gaps anywhere in the window.
Door hinges and thresholds are common places for air leaks. Deteriorated weather stripping can also lead to leaks and the door itself can develop cracks that allow air to pass through.
Skylights are a little trickier to test and examine, but you can still do it yourself. Check for water stains near your skylights, which is a dead giveaway of a leak. If you suspect there is one, you’ll have to get on the roof for a closer inspection. Look for loose shingles, cracked roofing cement, and debris.
Courtesy of Breakthroughbroker.com
Is it worthwhile to improve your property, or is moving a better choice?
Unless you built a custom home, you probably have a long list of things you’d like to improve in your current home. Browsing online listings might get you in the mood to upgrade to a new home, or you might be thinking about renovating your current home after watching HGTV. The answer to renovation vs. relocation depends greatly on what you’re trying to fix.
Thinking about a new kitchen?
If you’re dreaming of a chef’s kitchen with new appliances and beautiful cabinets, renovating your own kitchen gives you incredible ROI and is less costly than moving. You’ll increase the value of your own home if you ever decide to sell, and there’s a great sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a custom renovation.
Need more space?
If you’re running low on bedrooms, there may not be a lot of options. Converting an existing room to a bedroom doesn’t create any new space. If you’re in a condo, an addition is probably impossible. And additions can be expensive even if it’s a possibility. Moving is usually the best option.
If the neighborhood isn’t ideal
You may have seen some potential for your neighborhood when you first moved there, but perhaps it still isn’t welcoming the shops and restaurants you expected. If that’s the case, consider moving. There’s no sense in waiting years for the neighborhood to improve, especially if you can move to a house in the same price range in a more preferred part of the city.
Hope this list has helped you decide what you think is best. Remember, you can always ask one of our agents for a complementary home evaluation!
Article courtesy of BreakthroughBroker.com