Tips For Hanging A Large Painting

Found a stunning, large painting to perfectly complement your home? It’s important to follow a few rules of thumb while hanging it to maintain the integrity of your wall and your painting.

The weight of your painting is the key factor in determining the proper hanging method, so before you start hammering nails or finding studs, weigh your painting on a scale and note the weight. If your painting weighs less than five pounds, you can simply use adhesive wall hooks or mounting tape to hang it. You don’t have to make any holes in your wall or use any nails for paintings of this size.

Paintings that weigh between five and twenty pounds should be hung with a drywall anchor. You don’t need to find a stud to install these anchors and all you’ll need is a drill to make a couple holes in your drywall.

If you want to hang a painting that weighs between 20 and 50 pounds, you will need to find a stud in your wall. The stud is another name for the wooden frame of your wall, which is the strongest part. After you find your stud, you can use a thin metal nail to hang paintings up to 20 pounds or you can use a threaded wooden screw for paintings up to 50 pounds. You can also opt for hanging hooks as an alternative.

The safest way to hang paintings over 50 pounds is to use a rail-cable. These large metal cables can be attached to rails on the ceiling to hang paintings up to 300 pounds.

By following these guidelines, you’ll have your new piece of art displayed beautifully in your home in no time!

What To Repair Before You List

When you’re getting ready to list your home, it’s of the upmost importance to ensure you are showing it in the best light. Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells. Here are top five recommended repairs to make before selling your home.

Repaint walls. Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce it up, and generally, it can be a do-it-yourself project. Make sure cover any walls with scratches and chips and consider updating any accent walls with a more neutral coat.

Repair floors. Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home, so you want to ensure they look their best by fixing scratches or dull areas. If your carpet is worn or stained, consider replacing them. And don’t forget the tile in your kitchen or bathrooms. Re-grouting can go a long way in making dingy tile work look brand new!

Refresh the landscaping. Show buyers your home is the full package by dressing up the outside as well as the in. Clean walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim hedges and trees, install outdoor décor pieces and fill in mulch and gravel.

Fix your fixtures. Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose drawer handle? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detailed-orientated minds.

Improve your kitchen. An outdated kitchen can be a real eyesore in a home. Updating cabinetry, repairing or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment.

Find & Clean The Dirtiest Places In Your Home

We all strive to keep our homes clean, but dirt and grime always seems to build up in certain places. It may be impossible to keep every area completely polished, but it helps to know which places accumulate the most germs and are commonly overlooked in our cleaning routines.

Stove Knobs. One of the dirtiest places in the kitchen are stove knobs. These little knobs can gather a lot of old food from our pots and pans or from our fingers. It doesn’t help that many of these knobs are black and can hide stains easily.

Bed Sheets. We spend a lot of time in our beds, which makes our bed sheets a great place for germs to nest. It’s recommended that bed sheets and pillowcases are cleaned at least once a week.

Faucet Handles. The next time you wash your hands, check your faucet handles for soap scum and water spots because these handles are a breeding ground for dirty grime. Clean these once a week to keep them shiny.

Kitchen Sink. So many bits of food fall into our kitchen sinks and sometimes they can go unnoticed for days. The next time you do the dishes, make sure to give your kitchen sink a good cleaning!

Sponges. Although it may seem counterintuitive, the thing we clean everything with can be hiding a lot of germs. Sponges should be replaced every 14 days and you can minimize the germs in your current sponge by microwaving it.

The Best Things About Home Ownership

If you own a home, there was certainly a lot that went into your decision to buy rather than continue to rent. Now you’re enjoying all the advantages of homeownership. Here are the top five.

Building wealth: When you own a home, you have an asset that will likely increase in value over time. It provides great security, and the opportunity to essentially live “rent-free” in your retirement years when the home is paid off.

Freedom to make it your own: Landlords can be strict about customizing rental properties. Most don’t even allow their tenants to paint. But when you own a home, the possibilities are endless. Get rid of a wall, or paint it any color you like. It’s your property.

Building equity: Every mortgage payment you make, and every improvement you make on the home, is putting money back into your pocket. Unlike with renting, owning a home gives you more than just a place to live. You can use your home equity to get loans and even cash for emergencies.

More freedom and stability: Studies show that homeowners have a better sense of pride and security than renters. When you relax in your own home, you know it’s the result of hard work and planning, and that you have the freedom to change it as you wish.

Tax advantages: Homeowners can deduct the interest paid on home loans and property taxes—that’s a big break that comes up every April 15.

Stay Healthy This Summer

A few simple tips for improving your personal health

Summer is the time for family vacations and road trips, backyard barbecues, and days at the beach. But as the pace of life slows down after the hustle and bustle of winter and spring, it’s also a great time to make some small health-conscious changes that can make a big difference at the end of the day. Here are a few simple-but-effective tips for improving your personal health this summer.

Eat more berries
Eating a cup of mixed berries each day can have tremendous health benefits. Berries are rich with antioxidants, which help prevent tissue damage and lower the risk of age-related illnesses. It’s just a small change to your diet, but a little goes a long way!

Have some fun while exercising
This doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym. Make the most of the summer weather by doing activities that are both fun and keep you moving. Cycling, hiking, swimming, playing games with the kids—these are all great ways to get some exercise without making it feel like a chore that you have to squeeze into your schedule.

Wear your sunglasses
I know this seems like a no-brainer, but there’s a lot more to wearing sunglasses than just fashion. A good pair of sunglasses should block out at least 99 percent of harmful UV rays.

Play in the dirt
Planting and maintaining a garden can be a great stress reliever. Even something as simple as a few flower boxes or potted plants is a good start.

Before You Take The Plunge With A Fixer-upper, Think About Resale Value

We’ve all watched the HGTV programs that show a run-down old house transforming into a dream home. Tackling a big renovation project on an outdated property can indeed pay off big—both with the home of your dreams, and with a return on investment. If resale value is a primary concern, consider these factors as you’re making your fixer-upper plans.

Is the price right?
How much can you invest in a home beyond the sale price while staying in line with the value of homes in the neighborhood? You don’t want to improve a home to the point that it’s worth far more than the norm for the area. You’ll enjoy the property while you’re living there, but if you ever decide to sell, your ROI could be limited by the market value of nearby houses.

Low cost, instant equity
There are a lot of low cost and DIY improvements that will add equity almost immediately, such as rehabbing the landscaping and adding fresh coats of paint. These improvements add value to the property almost instantly.

What’s worth spending on?
A little elbow grease goes a long way, but there will inevitably be projects that require some serious spending. If you’re concerned with getting a return on your investment, focus your dollars toward the roof, floors, and the home’s exterior. They’re not flashy upgrades, but they’re important for future buyers. On the other hand, luxuries like a swimming pool are unlikely to see any return on investment.

5 Simple Ways To Keep Your Home Cool This Summer

Summertime is here and it’s bringing the heat! It’s always an option to blast the air conditioner all summer long, but there are ways to keep your home cool that are better for the environment and won’t double your energy bill.

1. Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans may be an overlooked method to keep your home cool, but that’s because they are often used incorrectly. During the summer months a ceiling fan should be rotating counterclockwise to send cool air down otherwise you will be recirculating the heat in your home.

2. Blinds

If your home has windows that face the west or north, make sure to keep them covered with blinds to prevent the sun from heating up your home.

3. Mind the Gaps

Cover or repair all gaps and cracks near doors and windows to ensure your cool air stays in during the day. This paired with your home’s insulation will also prevent heat from seeping in on hot days.

4. Evening Chill

When the sun goes down and the temperature is cooler, open up your windows and doors to bring that cool air in. Just make sure to get them closed before the sun returns.

5. Box Fans

If your home has multiple windows on opposite sides of the room, you can create a cooling effect with two box fans on each side. One should be facing inward and the other outward. This will keep a constant airflow bringing in fresh air and removing the hot air.

Top Tips For First-time Homeowners

Owning your first home is one of the biggest milestones in an individual’s life. Once it’s finally all yours, you want to make sure you avoid common rookie mistakes like the ones below.

Starting major renovations right away. With all the excitement and energy from the closing table still lingering, it’s easy to get caught up in home improvements. Before starting a major renovation, give yourself 2 or 3 months of living in your home to really solidify that it’s the right financial investment and what you really want.

Ignoring routine maintenance. Ignoring routine upkeep and maintenance, such as prepping your pipes for winter, clearing gutters, and filling cracks near doors and walls, can cause big issues down the line. Make sure to budget both time and money for these tasks.

Hiring the cheapest option. If you have a job that requires a professional, don’t always opt for the cheapest option. Makes sure to get several estimates for the work and look online for reviews. Once you do your research, select the professional you think will do the best job.

Not knowing your property boundaries. During closing, you may receive a survey of your home and property, however it’s crucial you know exactly where your property lines are. Outline this before your start planting or building fences or structures.

Neglecting the exterior of your home. Once you move in, it’s easy to focus your energy and effort on the interior. But don’t forget to give your exterior some TLC with thoughtful landscaping and regular checks to ensure weeds are taken care of and water is draining correctly.

Avoid These Two Big Mortgage Mistakes

We all know that searching for and viewing potential homes is the fun part of the home-buying process. The not-so-fun part? The mortgage.

But if you don’t pay attention to the details, your mortgage can end up dragging down the enjoyment of your new home and cause some major regrets. Here are a few mistakes to avoid to ensure that you love your mortgage terms as much as your hew home.

Don’t find your home first: Shopping around for the best mortgage rate should be the first step in the home buying process. You may even want to talk to a mortgage broker a full year before you plan to buy. It’ll give you time to get your affairs in order to qualify for the best rate, could save you thousands of dollars in the long run, and you won’t feel rushed to accept an unattractive loan because you’re worried you’ll miss out on your dream home.

Don’t forget your real budget: There’s often a big difference between what a lender says you can afford and what you can actually afford. Your debt-to-income ratio doesn’t include the money you spend on hobbies, or the cost of commuting to work, or maintenance and utility costs.

Really sit down and examine your spending before committing to the loan amount the lender is offering. You won’t enjoy your home nearly as much if it’s eating into your favorite hobbies.

What Affects Property Values?

Some the features that increase property values are obvious—like a remodeled bathroom, a modern kitchen, or a sought-after neighborhood. But here are a few features and circumstances you have not have realized can affect property values.

The neighbors: Not every neighborhood or community has an HOA that can keep the neighbors from going overboard with decorations or neglecting to care for their home. Homes adjacent to crazy neighbors can potentially be undervalued.

Trendy groceries and coffee: Recent statistics suggest that if your home is a short walk from popular grocery stores like Whole Foods or coffee chains like Starbucks, it can actually appreciate faster than the national average.

Mature trees: A big beautiful tree in the front yard is enviable, and it’s not something that can be easily added to any home. Homes with mature trees tend to get a little boost in value.

Parking: This isn’t too much of an issue if you live in the suburbs or in a rural area, but residents in dense cities can have real problems with parking, and homeowners might need to rent a spot just to guarantee a place to park each night. That’s why having guaranteed parking in urban areas will raise property values.

The front entrance: First impressions matter to buyers—many will cross a home off their list within 10 seconds of stepping through the front door. An appealing front door, a friendly entryway, and a functioning doorbell are all necessities for getting top dollar.