Articles Tagged "Homeowners"

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Buy a Home | 6 Posts
Home Improvement | 12 Posts
Homeowners | 3 Posts
Sell a House | 4 Posts
Tuscaloosa, AL | 22 Posts
November
7

Your Complete Guide For Cleaning Your Carpets

Odds are you haven't cleaned your carpets in a long time. Here's how you should do it.

Cleaning the carpets isn't our favorite thing to do. But did you know keeping the carpet clean can actually extend its life?

That's just one reason to heed the tips our real estate agents have rounded up below. If you need another reason — well, maybe you're thinking of listing your home among Tuscaloosa homes for sale. You'll need to clean your carpets, among other chores. Nothing will turn a buyer off like icky, dirty carpets. Or maybe you just moved into a new home, and you've realized the carpets weren't as clean as they could be. So, time to roll up your sleeves and get it done, if you're able. If not, there are carpet cleaning services that will do a good job.

For those ready to give their carpets a thorough cleaning, let's get started.

  1. Vacuuming is the first step of deep carpet cleaning.
    Make sure your vacuum is adjusted to the right height, and you're ready to go. Go over high-traffic areas several times to make sure you get all the dirt.

    Vacuum at least once a week. Not only are you removing dirt, but you're also restoring the carpet fibers' buoyancy. The colors should brighten up too.

  2. Use cleaning products.
    Help the vacuum get the carpet cleaner by means of carpet cleaning products. There are powders, shampoos, and foam sprays at the home store. Got a stained area? A bristle brush plus a cleaning solution may do the trick. Then vacuum.

    Hint: When cleaning with a rug shampoo and water, don't get the carpet too wet or you may have mold or mildew. A wet-dry vac is ideal to vacuum shampooed carpet.

    Some stains may require special treatment. Consult a carpet stain removal guide for best results.

  3. Go natural with vinegar and water.
    Vinegar is justly celebrated for its ability as a household cleaner, and it will also work well as a carpet cleaning solution. Mix one part distilled white vinegar and three parts cold water. Test the solution by spraying on the carpet in a location that is out of sight. Wait to see if there is any bleeding or change of color. If the carpet does not change color, go ahead and spray the bottle on a 3X3-ft. section. You will want to work in sections till the carpet or rug is completely treated. Make sure it's damp but not saturated. Leave the solution on for about five minutes, then blot the section with a clean microfiber cloth. Rinse the cloth out in a bucket of clean water. Then allow the carpet to air dry, refraining from walking on it till it's dry. Use an oscillating fan to help it dry.

  4. Another natural cleaner: baking soda and salt. 
    Another natural carpet cleaner is a mixture of baking soda and salt: mix one-to-one parts of soda and salt in a bowl. Starting in a corner, work in a grid pattern, sprinkling sections of the carpet with the mixture, then spraying it down with water. The carpet should be damp but not sopping wet. With a scrub brush, work the mixture deeper into the fibers. Work the brush in one direction, then at a 90-degree angle to that. This will help lift the soil. Then, use old towels to wipe away the dirt. Let the carpet air dry. Vacuum any remaining baking soda.

  5. Steam the carpet clean.
    If you have a clothes steamer or steam mop, use steam on the carpet after applying the baking soda and salt mixture and scrubbing with a brush.

Need more advice about getting ready to sell a home? Contact us today.

July
26

Make These Summer Fixes To Cut Costs

Home improvement shouldn't have to break the bank. Here are summer fixes that will save you money in the long run.

Whether you're saving to buy a home among Tuscaloosa homes for sale, or you've already acquired one and are looking for a few ways to cut expenses after the big outlay of buying a home — you can save money with some relatively painless hacks, and give yourself a bit of a financial boost.

Our real estate agents are very knowledgeable about the various fixes their clients have used to cut costs, so here are a few of them.

  1. Reduce energy usage.
    One of the best ways to cut costs is to reduce energy use. Yes, we know energy bills have risen because it's hotter than ever and oil prices are up, but there are some tricks that can help you lower costs, such as: A. Check your home's insulation and if it's lacking, shore it up, particularly on the floor of the attic; B.Seal air leaks with caulk and weatherstripping around door and window frames, baseboards, holes in exterior walls, attic hatch cover, and other areas where your cool air can get out and the heat gets in (install foam gaskets behind switch plates); C. Turn your A/C up a few degrees at night or when you're away from home, then turn it down when the family comes home and is moving around; D. Change your air filter regularly so your A/C doesn't labor to cool the home.

  2. Save money on irrigation.
    The best way to water your landscape in the warm months is with an irrigation system. But whether you use an irrigation system or you are hand watering and moving a sprinkler around, be sure you water effectively. Try to water at night or early in the morning, before the sun is up and the water evaporates. Watering at night or early allows the water to soak into the ground so it does the most good. Rather than watering frequently and to a shallow depth, water less frequently but allow the water to soak in. 

  3. Use fans to keep cool.
    If you don't have ceiling fans, install some. Make sure the fan blades are set to go counter-clockwise in the summer so that they can lift warm air from occupant level to the ceiling and help push down refrigerated air from the ceiling, down the walls, and down to occupant level. Keep fan blades clean, so they don't drag when operating. Also, use table or floor fans to supplement breezes as needed. You'll be able to cut back on air conditioning if you keep the breezes flowing.

  4. Shut blinds, curtains, and shades during the heat of the day.
    Shutting out solar radiation will keep the interior of your home cooler. If your windows aren't adequately covered, make it a summer-time project to cover them up.

  5. Cut down on cooking indoors.
    Use the microwave whenever possible to cook or to heat frozen, prepared dinners. Use the slow cooker out on the patio to cook meals; you can even bake potatoes in a slow cooker by pricking them, buttering up skins, and wrapping them in foil — then cover them up in the slow cooker for four hours on high, without adding moisture. If you've got an outdoor kitchen, even better.

  6. Use mulch to lessen heat stress.
    Use mulch generously around trees, shrubs, and flowers to maintain moisture levels and a cooler temperature in the soil so that you needn't water as much. But don't pile it against the plant.

Need more summer fixes to cut costs, or have you got a question about buying or selling a home? We're all ears. Contact us today. 

April
18

Proven Strategies For Selling Your Home At A Great Price

Hoping to get the best price from your home sale? Here are some tips that never fail.

Everyone wants to sell their home for a great price, so what steps can you take to make your property stand out from the competition? Fortunately, there's plenty that you can do to make sure that your home catches the eye of buyers for all of the right reasons and ultimately maximize the offers that you receive for your listing. Our real estate agents are experts on selling homes, and we've got some proven strategies to help you sell your home at a great price.

  • Start by Cleaning and Decluttering
    If you want your home to stand out from other Tuscaloosa homes for sale, start by making sure that it looks its absolute best. Before you welcome any potential buyers, invest some elbow grease or hire a professional cleaning service to clean your home from top to bottom. Just as importantly, take this opportunity to clear out clutter, which will boost your home's appeal and has the added advantage of lightening your load when it's time to move.

  • Present a Blank Canvas for Buyers
    One of the reasons that it's important to clear out clutter is that you want to present a relatively blank canvas to buyers so they can imagine what their own lives would be like in the home. You can add to this effect by depersonalizing the home and removing things like photos and other personal items. Last but not least, consider a professional staging service to make the home look as inviting as possible.

  • Consider Curb Appeal
    You want buyers to be impressed before they even walk in the door, which is why curb appeal is such an important consideration when selling your home. Make sure your yard is clean, your lawn is in good shape, and the area around your front door is looking its best. Give your curb appeal a boost with some fresh landscaping, or by planting some colorful, attractive new plants in your garden.

  • Be Proactive About Maintenance Issues
    It may seem tempting to leave any little maintenance issues with the home for the next owner to handle, but this can actually be counterproductive when it comes to getting the best price for your home. Proactively addressing any issues gives buyers one less reason to negotiate for a lower price.

  • Choose the Right Real Estate Agent
    Your choice of real estate agent is one of the most important decisions that you'll make when selling your home. Make sure that you choose an agent who knows your market and how to promote your property to generate maximum interest from buyers. Do your research, and choose an agent who aligns with your needs.

  • Be Smart When Setting a Price
    Pricing is a huge factor, both in terms of generating interest and ensuring that you ultimately get the best possible offers from buyers. This is one area where your real estate agent can really help, and setting the right price can go a long way toward achieving your goals when selling your home.

  • Maintain Perspective Throughout the Process
    There's no doubt that selling a home can be an emotional process, but sometimes emotion can get in the way of getting a great price. Try to maintain perspective, be objective, and lean on your real estate agent for advice throughout the process.

Searching for the right real estate agent to help you sell your home? Our experienced, local team is here to help with all of your real estate needs. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Tuscaloosa, AL area.

March
7

How To Organize Major Home Improvement Projects

The key to successful renovations and home improvement projects is organization. Here's how you can stay on top of your home upgrades.

When you found your dream home among Tuscaloosa homes for sale, you may have bought it with a plan to launch some major home improvements. Maybe you're an old hand at home improvements, but if you're just starting out, you could probably use some advice from our real estate agents. Follow these suggestions, and we guarantee you will have fewer home improvement snafus, and what's more, you'll love how close your results are to the improvements of your imagination.

Project Manager — or Not?

Now, before you launch into your role as a project manager for your home, it might be wise to take a breath and do a fearless self-assessment. You may want to save money by doing it yourself, and you're excited about undertaking this thrilling project, but are you the type of person who can bring it off successfully? Are you calm under pressure? Do you think and act strategically and confidently? Do you have time to plan, coordinate, and oversee the work? If these questions make you a bit uneasy, you might consider hiring a project manager. There will be a fee, but a bungled (by you) project will cost time and money and you could be looking at major disappointment. A pro can bring off the results you want.

Apps and Plans

Still ready to tackle orchestrating your home improvements? Then let's get you started with apps and software programs. If you've got money to pay an architect, never mind. Otherwise, here goes. An app such as Fiverr can provide you with 3D renderings but they don't come cheap, and they only give 1-2 revisions before they start charging. Try Arcsite or Planner 5d to save money and make your own renderings, with an unlimited number of designs for free.

A Trick for Visualizing Space

Most of us are lacking in the ability to visualize how things will look. Painter's tape and flooring paper can help you figure out the scope of space. For instance, you may want to know how well your projected dimensions for cabinet width will look. Tape it out, and you'll have a good idea.

Buy Samples — Lots of Them! — and Try Them Out

It can be tough to know if you're going to love that tile or flooring once it's in place. It might cost a bit, but it's better to buy a significant sampling of those materials and actually put them in place before you buy a whole shipment of stuff and commission an entire floor or wall. Ditto with paint. Those measly two samples they give you at the store just don't cut it.

Buy Dupes

Sometimes you can find a dupe for a pricey item. Shop around at big box stores and see if there's something that approximates that expensive thing you just have to have. For instance, installing aluminum-clad windows with thicker grids instead of installing steel windows is one clever dupe. They look similar to steel. There are lots of dupes out there if you spend time looking.

Go Over Where You Want Electrical Outlets

Most contractors will install electrical outlets any old where. If you're particular (and you should be), then you'll be thinking this through thoroughly. You might want some outlets concealed under an overhang or under cabinets. Be sure your contractor knows what you want.

Factor in Contingency Dollars in Your Budget

Things will go wrong. It's wise to factor in at least 10 percent contingency in your budget for unexpected issues, especially if you're in an older home.

Our real estate staff has lots more advice about managing home improvements. Contact us today.

February
21

How To Change Up Your Flooring In 2022

Changing up your flooring is a big commitment that can change the feel of your home. Here's how you can choose what's best for your home.

Nothing perks up a home like great flooring. Whether it's in the bathroom, kitchen, living room, or bedroom, the right flooring pulls the rest of your decorating or renovation efforts together and makes your home into a showpiece.

If you're ready for new flooring in the home you chose among Tuscaloosa homes for sale, you may find all the many choices to be bewildering. Let's take a look at some types of flooring you might be considering.

Hardwood

Hardwood remains the most popular choice among most homeowners, with nearly half of those surveyed in a recent poll by the flooring company 50Floor choosing hardwood as the top material for their floors. It's not hard to guess why. Hardwood, which encompasses such species as oak, map, hickory, and walnut, is beautiful, durable, and warm. It holds up to heavy use and can be maintained by removing and replacing damaged boards. It's also easy to coordinate with various color schemes and themes. It fits well with a wide range of accessories and decor. Hardwood's versatility is easily demonstrated by the various colors, textures, and designs available.

There are a few drawbacks. Being a natural material, hardwood can be subject to staining, warping, and scuffing. Hardwood also requires maintenance for a long life.

Hardwood is recommended for living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and hallways.

Engineered wood flooring is an alternative way to get the look of hardwood but with more versatility and less maintenance. Engineered wood consists of two layers, one a thin veneer of wood, and underneath, a thicker layer of high-density fiberboard or plywood.

Laminate

Coming in way behind hardwood as a second popular choice is laminate (at about 17 percent in the 50Floor survey).

Laminate, which is more durable than engineered wood, has a photo layer that looks like wood (or possibly stone or tile). Beneath the veneer there is a layer of rigid fiberboard. On top is a transparent plasticate layer that defends against wear and fading. Laminates are known for their durability and ability to take some punishment. It's a great choice for those with kids and dogs. It's also much less expensive than hardwood.

The disadvantage is that, although resistant to humidity and moisture, it is not waterproof. Further, you might not like the slippery, plastic-y feel of it. It also can't be repaired when chipped.

Vinyl Plank/Vinyl Tile

Made of  PVC, vinyl plank has several layers, with the design layer mimicking wood, metal, or stone. It's easily installed: you can glue it down, click-lock it as "floating flooring" or loose lay it, relying on friction and weight. Some types can be applied as peel-and-stick. Vinyl plant is inexpensive, comfortable to the feet, and can look like whatever material you like, plus it's waterproof. You can use it anywhere in the house.

The downside is it gives off VOCs (volatile organic compounds). The less expensive products also may look suspiciously not like wood, stone, or whatever.

There's also vinyl sheet flooring, inexpensive and highly recommended for bathrooms and laundry rooms because it's waterproof. It's made from PVC, so mind the VOCs.

Tile

Types of tile flooring include stone, ceramic, porcelain, and cement. Porcelain and ceramic can be glazed or unglazed. One great new option in the tile world is wood-look tile, which mimics wood grain. Use it in bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms with no fears. Tile is easy to clean, lasts forever, and looks beautiful. But tile can also crack or chip and may stain.

Our real estate agents have great tips for your Tuscaloosa home renovation. Contact us today.

January
31

Transform Your Home With The Colors Of The Year

If you need some new hues in your life, look no further than the 2022 Colors Of The Year!  Here are the top picks the color pros think you should explore this year.

Every year, color experts as well as the top paint companies name which shades and hues will inspire your home decor in the new year. 2022's Colors of the Year range from a vibrant purple to a minty blue-green, and they'll each create a new feel and vibrancy to your home. Our real estate agents share their favorite of the top colors this year, including tips on how to best incorporate them into your home to achieve the look you want.

  • Laurel Leaf by Better Homes & Gardens
    Better Homes & Gardens has chosen Laurel Leaf, a dusty green inspired by eucalyptus leaves. Because the pandemic motivated many of us to go hiking or just to spend more time in our backyards, Laurel Leaf aims to bring some of the outdoors inside. It pairs well with creamy whites, beiges, light to medium wood tones, and leafy house plants. Try using it as a backdrop in a dining room, where it adds sophistication, or in a bedroom, where it brings a touch of relaxation.

  • Very Peri by PANTONE
    Instead of pulling from its vast catalog of colors to choose for its 2020 color of the year, PANTONE has created an entirely new color — Veri Peri — for the first time in decades. Veri Peri is a blue with a violet-red undertone, resulting in a joyful and dynamic color. Use it in your home to paint an accent wall or add color with throw pillows. You can even refresh your home office or living room by pairing it with green tones. This color also pairs well with many other colors including white, grey, blue, terra-cotta, mauve, and beige.

  • Breezeway by Behr
    Breezeway is Behr's 2022 Color of the Year, a misty, refreshing shade of blue-green. Although it's reminiscent of the ocean, it also works well in contemporary and vintage-inspired decor. If you're looking for a new look in your kitchen, Breezeway can be combined with bright white and black accents to create a clean look. It also can be used to create a soothing, relaxing feel when you pair it with soft cream, warm taupe, or wood tones.

  • Art and Craft by Dunn-Edwards
    Art and Craft, Dunn-Edwards' 2022 Color of the Year, is a warm, earthy shade of brown that adds a touch of luxuriousness to your design. As a versatile color, it works well as a foundation that ties other hues together. Use it in living and dining areas as well as bedrooms to create an inviting feel. When it's combined with light neutrals, Art and Craft looks brighter, and when it's alongside jewel tones, it brings sophistication to your decor.

  • Aleutian by HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams
    Aleutian, the 2022 Color of the Year from HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams, is a shade of pale indigo that brings out feelings of comfort and relaxation. With its warm undertone, the Aleutian has a restful feeling that makes it appropriate throughout the home. It serves as the foundation for Softened Refuge, a larger color collection with ten complementary hues. Since Aleutian pairs nicely with any of the colors in the collection, you'll have no trouble finding complementary shades.

To see Tuscaloosa homes for sale, contact us today! Our highly trained real estate professionals can help you every step of the way when buying or selling a home.

December
20

Get Crafty With These Holiday DIY Projects

Want to get in the holiday spirit and keep your hands busy? Here are some holiday crafts you can make at home.

Looking for budget-friendly holiday crafts to boost your decorating efforts? Where do we start? There are so many easy-to-make, attractive projects to choose from, you may have trouble narrowing your focus. You might get some ideas from driving around Tuscaloosa homes for sale, studying holiday wreaths, for starters, but you can also go online and find images that inspire you as well as instructions for holiday ornaments, candles, garlands, and much more.

Let's start by taking a look at some of the projects our real estate agents have rounded up for your consideration.

Holiday DIY Projects

  1. Printed Tea Towel Stocking Stuffers
    You don't need many supplies for these charming tea towels: flour sack dish towels, black fabric paint, a sponge brush, a tree-shaped cookie cutter, a paring knife, freezer paper, and a sponge. Press the cookie-cutter about a through the sponge and save it for later.

    Iron the towel and lay it on a large piece of freezer paper. Paint the sponge stamp and press it onto the towel, repeating in whatever pattern you choose. Dry the towel or towels overnight, then iron with another towel between the iron and the towel. You can fold up and tie the towel as a stocking stuffer or wrap gifts with it and tie it off with ribbon.

  2. Holiday Wreaths
    Wreaths for your door can cost plenty, but the good news is you can make your own. Try snipping some greenery from your holiday tree, then add pine cones, ribbon, raffia, and ornaments. You'll need pruning shears and wire snips for shaping greenery; needle-nose pliers are also helpful. Other supplies you'll need are floral wire and floral tape in green and other holiday colors, twine, floral pins, and craft glue. Use a wire or Styrofoam form to anchor your wreath. You'll also need hanging hardware.

  3. Holiday Ornaments
    Glitter Leaves.
    Get some extra sparkle in your holiday tree with a few of these handmade Glitter Leaves. Cut out two leaf shapes from heavy paper. Affix glitter to the outer-facing sides of each. Loop a pretty ribbon through a bead; secure the ends between the leaves before pressing them together with glue to dry. Once they're dry, add more glitter with a glitter stick if you like, along edges, or make a pattern. Hang several in the tree for maximum sparkle effect.

    Wooden Ornaments. Order wooden ornament forms or wooden slices online, or find them in a hobby store. Cut out designs from pretty wrapping paper, fabric, or napkins. Water down some school glue, and affix the paper or fabric to the ornament forms. Let them dry, then cut away the excess paper with an X-acto knife. Run some raffia or ribbon through the pre-drilled holes in the forms to hang them.

  4. Lighted Pine Cone Baskets.
    Here's some added glow for your evening holiday decor. Obtain a basket big enough to hold several pine cones. Spray the cones with clear paint. Before they dry, sprinkle the cones with glitter. Use a glitter glue pen for extra sparkle. Pile the cones into the basket with a string of mini lights. Weave the lights amidst the cones in a way that looks pleasing to you, leaving enough of the lights over the edge of the basket to plug in.

Our real estate staff can also answer your questions about buying a home or selling your current property. Contact us today.

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