Upgrades For Your Home That Will Boost Its Value

Beautiful Home

Buying a Home

Being a homeowner can be stressful, no doubt about it.  For a lot of us, the homes we buy become our biggest investment.  Whether you’re planning to sell your home or have decided that you will spend the rest of your life there – upgrades are ever important.  The good news is that the value of your home can be greatly increased by many inexpensive upgrades.  You may be surprised to see how easy some of these upgrades are to do yourself.  I will cover a few of these upgrades that you can utilize to raise the value and make your home even more efficient.

Create an Attractive Yard

Landscape

Landscape, Landscape, Landscape.  The first thing that you and your guests see when arriving to your home, is likely your yard.  An attractive yard is a must for a home if you’re looking for value.  At permabuy.com, we strive to provide you with products that will last you a lifetime.  That’s why I need to mention perennials.  Perennials are flowers that generally bloom throughout the Spring and Summer, die out in the Fall and Winter but come back each year due to their roots surviving the cooler winter.  Planting perennials once is a great way to get a consistent, beautiful display each year.  Planting trees can also make a big difference in your home value and even your electricity efficiency.  Did you know that a tree that provides shade to you home will considerably lower your electricity costs during the warmer months?  While planting trees may not provide instant gratification or results, it is a great value booster and is even better for the environment.

            So you have picked out the flowers that you want to plant and decided where they would look the most attractive.  Now, we need to build a frame for the beautiful picture that you will be creating.  The materials that you have to choose from are vast and may seem overwhelming if you’re a beginner to landscaping.  Cement or brick pavers are very popular due to their low costs and ease of installation.  They are also effective in the fight against weeds trying to intrude your flower garden if used properly.  Other long lasting materials include: plastic, wooden railroad ties and stone.  Remember, if you have chosen to plant perennials, you will have the same display each year. It is important that you choose a material that goes well with the colors of the flowers that will bloom.

Power Washing

Power Washing

            An important step to maintaining the attractiveness of the exterior of your home is to power wash it.  You can usually catch a good power washer on sale as the weather begins warming up.  It would probably be just as easy to rent one from a hardware store, if you’ll only use it once a year.  They are simple to use and can be used to freshen up your siding, deck or even fence.  The outside elements are tough on your home’s exterior.  By power washing your home you can turn it back into the dazzling piece of curb appeal that it is meant to be.

Check Beneath Your Carpet

Hardwood floors

            If you’re considering replacing your carpet, it is worth pulling some up before scheduling an appointment to have it replaced.  Before carpeting gained its popularity, hardwood floors were all the rage.  However, these days, a beautiful, shining hardwood floor can bump the value of your home, considerably. It’s likely that if you have an older home that there is a nice layer of hardwood already there.  Even if your hardwood isn’t perfect beneath the carpet, a good belt sander, some stain and a little bit of work will be all you need to return your hidden hardwood into its original beauty!

The Importance of Paint

Paint

 There is no easier way to add a fresh look to your home than by painting.  Paint is so low cost and easy to DIY that it can be used whenever you want to change up the appearance of your home. Painting can also provide a boost in value by covering up unappealing stains that your walls may gather over time.

 

Getting an Expert’s Opinion

Interior Designe

            Maybe you have a friend that is an interior designer or realtor by trade.  For those of you that don’t, you will probably only be out a consultation fee of $100 to get the opinion of a professional that makes a living out of sprucing up homes.  They will be able to give you plenty of ideas on how to fix up your place.

Cheap Updates for Your Bathroom

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            The bathroom may be the best room in your house to make simple upgrades that can give you a huge advantage in modernizing your home.  It’s amazing what a fresh floor of tile, an updated shower curtain and even a new toilet seat can do to keep your bathroom up to date.

Energy Efficiency

Energy Star

In this section, I want to talk about several ways to make your home more energy efficient.  While, not everything on this list is inexpensive, some of the costlier items will pay themselves back by lowering your energy bill.  It’s important to consider that factor when taking on some of these high investment/ high return options.

  • Plastic Wrap Windows – While plastic wrapping your windows will not win you any awards for being the interior designer of the year, you will be able to keep air from entering your home by sealing window panes that may not be totally blocked. Cold or warm air entering your home will increase the power that your AC or heating system has to use to maintain consistent temperature control
  • Smart Thermostats – By using a “learning thermostat” you are able to access the temperature control of the device through its built in Wi-FI through your smartphone. These create an even bigger advantage than using a standard programmable thermostat by letting you determine exactly when you want to alter the temperature.
  • Insulate – Your attic is a room that probably goes unnoticed and even less used. The importance of insulation is huge when it comes to keeping your home sealed.  By using the U.S. Department of Energy’s calculator, you can determine the best type of insulation for your home as well as determine your amount of savings.
  • Look for The Energy Star Label on Appliances – Most of the appliances that are being manufactured today, have a seal that gloats enhanced performance, improved quality and offers lower utility bills. Energy Star appliances include: refrigerators, heating and ac units, dishwashers and hot water heaters.  By spending a little and upgrading to these efficient machines, you will see considerable savings on your electricity costs.

Beautiful Home

I hope these tips will comfort you if you’re feeling overwhelmed by trying to fix up your home.  The truth is that most home upgrades can be achieved by a little research and more importantly, inexpensively.  Good luck on upgrading your home, whether you’re planning to sell or are already in your dream home.

7 Things You Can Do to Make Your Car Last Longer

safety your car - hands covering

For most people, their car is their second most expensive possession, next to their house. So, it’s no surprise that people should take the maintenance of their vehicle very seriously.

We’ll cover 7 things you can do to make your car last longer. Hopefully by reading this, you can save yourself a lot of money and avoid unexpected repairs.

1. Change Your Oil and Filter Regularly!

First and foremost, it is a must to change your oil and filter regularly and check your oil level between oil change intervals. Oil is basically the blood to your engine. If it gets too low, it can cause the engine to start breaking down or even worse, locking up and turning your vehicle into a stationary piece of lawn furniture. It is recommended to change your oil and filter every 3,000 miles. It is relatively inexpensive and compared to the cost of a new engine, it is a no brainer to spend the twenty or thirty dollars every three months.

This video guide will show you exactly how it’s done:

Better yet, you can save even more money by purchasing the oil and filter from any auto parts store and change the fluid yourself. That way you’re saving money by not having to pay a mechanic’s labor rate and you’re learning how to maintain your car. Which is something that is very satisfying.

2. Learn About Your Vehicle!

For every vehicle ever made, there is a “Shop Manual.” This book is basically the bible to your vehicle. It will show you complex instructions on how to repair different parts of your vehicle that may go bad.

Again, it is quite a good skill to know your way around a vehicle in order to save money. Plus, if you’re able to do the repairs you may not be so quick to just brush a repair aside until you can afford to pay a mechanic. Labor rates at shops are extremely high due to their overhead.

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They also mark up the price of the parts you need, sometimes double, above what you would pay if you just walked into an auto parts store and purchased them yourself.

Turning wrenches and getting a bit dirty may not be what you want to do in your down time, but compare that to a bill you would receive at a repair shop, and you’ll quickly see that it’s worth the effort of doing the repair yourself.

3. Change and Check All of Your Other Fluids

We’ve covered oil, but it is also important to change and check all of the other fluids that help keep your vehicle running smoothly.

Transmission fluid is another big one, as your transmission is another extremely expensive part of your vehicle.

If you run too low on fluid, you can cause your transmission to slip, or not shift properly, causing premature damage. If you run without the fluid, your transmission will not allow your vehicle to move.

Remember the lawn furniture a low on oil engine can create? The transmission can do the same thing. Another great way to prevent engine failure is to ensure your vehicle is equipped with the proper coolant and that it is mixed well.

Here’s a video guide:

The general rule of thumb is to use a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water. Do not use only water for a long term coolant.

While using just water, may get you out of a pinch if you notice that you’re low and no coolant is available.

However, water will not hold up under the extreme temperatures that your engine produces and it will eventually completely evaporate causing your engine to potentially overheat.

This can be very dangerous for your engine. It is recommended to change your coolant every 30,000 miles. This one shouldn’t be too hard to keep up on, because the interval is so far apart. But it’s crucial to keep your coolant level in check.

4. Listen to Your Vehicle

Another great way to extend the life of your vehicle is to, listen to it. If you hear an unusual noise, it’s worth getting an experts opinion on what it may be. A lot of a car’s components will slowly break down and cause other parts to fail, sometimes vital parts.

If you find and fix the problem as soon as possible, you greatly reduce the risk of a more expensive repair later.

5. Watch for Dashboard Signals

Your dash board is also filled with handy icons that will tell you if something is awry.

A lot of newer cars come equipped with sensors that will tell you if you are low on certain fluids or if your vehicle is due for an oil change. It’s a great accessory to pay attention to and will give you the peace of mind that your vehicle is running smoothly. The most important light to pay attention to is your “check engine” light. It will alert you when something needs immediate attention.

6. Rustproofing?

First of all – what is rust? Rust is basically an instance of corrosion. Iron and oxygen mix with air or water and that produces rust. Rust can corrode any iron mass and causes it to disintegrate. Corrosion can is especially likely to happen if you allow you car to gather dirt or moisture to accumulate on your car’s underbody.

Rust is a serious issue and spreads extremely fast. It shortens the lifespan of your car. So what is to be done about it? Nowadays, automakers are galvanizing steel used in cars in order to lower the risk of rusting. Galvanized steel is coated with zinc to serve as a protection from rust. Oxygen and zinc don’t react like iron and oxygen, so galvanized steel doesn’t rust as much. This process is low-cost; so many automakers are doing it.

But that doesn’t imply new cars are invincible.

If a car has been in an accident, and unprotected steel was exposed, there’s still a chance of rust occurring. If the zinc coating gets chipped, the metal beneath it is at risk of rusting. Same thing can happen if a rock-chip cuts deep enough into a car’s paint job, it can still rust. This rust occurs only on the outside of the car though, and while it’s ugly, it’s not a big deal.

Overall, rust is far less present now than it was 20 years ago, leading outlets like Consumer Reports to downplay the need for rust proofing. Still, there are some tips that every driver should consider to keep their car as rust free as possible.

Wash a car regularly, especially in the winter after you’ve been driving on salted roads. Driving over this salt could spray it deep into your car’s underbody. The easy thing to do is to wash underneath your car with a pressure washer or automated car wash.

For older cars, I recommend this video for some tips and overview of the products that can help you remove rust from your car:

 

7. Get a Scanner

You can buy a handheld scanner that you can plug into your vehicle and will give you a code. It only takes a few seconds to search for the code on the internet and it will give you every reason that the light may have triggered. It is usually broken down from the most common problem to the most extreme.

If you don’t want to buy a scanner, some auto part stores will scan your car for free and explain the reason for the code.

I find this one to be reliable, a little pricey perhaps, but fully featured:

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If you’re on a tight budget, this can serve you well:

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Hopefully, these tips will get you to pay attention to the little things that your car is trying to tell you.

A little maintenance and attention can go a long way in preventing expensive repairs.

It’s also worth getting to know how to do your own vehicle repairs.

With YouTube videos that have in depth demonstrations of basically every repair that could possibly happen to your vehicle, it’s worth at least watching a video and seeing if it’s something that you think you can handle.

If it seems to be over your head, I would not recommend attempting it, as you can cause damage to other parts if you fail to execute it correctly. However, if you are able to do your own repairs, it will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and will definitely make you appreciate your vehicles more!

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