Category Archives: Home Maintenance

How to Refresh Your Kitchen on Any Budget

“We spend so much time in our Kitchens, it’s easy to understand why you would be ready for a change.  Fortunately, you can freshen it up on just about any budget”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

Honey-Do: DIY Valentine’s Day Ideas for Him or Her

“It’s almost Valentine’s Day!  Start planning to give a special gift now!”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

Give your Valentine a gift that shows you truly care! Create a bonus room, finish that home repair, resurface hardwood floors or gift an appliance or she shed.

Plan bonus room

Ah, Valentine’s Day. A holiday that’s generally celebrated with overpriced roses and dinner in a crowded restaurant alongside a hundred other couples. While the token gifts of flowers and jewelry are nice, this year, give your valentine a gift that really shows your love: a completed honey-do list.

Has your significant other wanted a few things done around the house or been staring longingly at Pinterest boards full of beautiful reading nooks? Make dreams come true by completing a household project for a gift your significant other will never forget. Here are five DIY Valentine’s Day ideas that will have your valentine feeling the love…

How To Create A Bonus Room

Chances are your valentine has a hobby or interest that he or she would love more space for. Maybe she would appreciate a sewing room to quilt or design clothes in, or perhaps he would prefer a man cave to watch the game with friends. Whatever it is used for, a bonus room outshines any bouquet of flowers or teddy bear when it comes to gifts.

Creating a bonus room is pretty simple. First, find some unused space in your home, whether it’s a spare closet, an attic, the basement or an extra bedroom, to convert into the room of your valentine’s dreams.

Spend some time decluttering the space and evaluate if there are any repairs needed. Chores, such as patching drywall or adding flooring, can be done by you or outsourced. Does your valentine have a favorite color? If so, paint an accent wall in that color!

Fix That One Thing

Every home has that one thing; something that’s inefficient and annoying, but somehow no one ever gets around to fixing. Whether it’s a faulty light switch that doesn’t work or a TV that has been leaning against a wall, waiting for months to be mounted, fix that one thing and delight your sweetie.

Resurface Hardwood Floors

If your wood floors have had a lot of use over the years and are looking a bit dingy, consider resurfacing hardwood floors to bring back the shine. While there are many places that rent the tools to make this a DIY job, resurfacing wood floors is a task that’s best left to professionals, as mistakes can be costly. You could end up with dips and grooves in the wood or an uneven stain job that will leave your valentine feeling more sour than sweet.

Give A Home Appliance

While a new appliance may not seem like the most romantic of gifts, the time and energy saved by a more efficient appliance over an outdated one can feel like the gift that keeps on giving. If there’s an appliance your significant other continually complains about, consider replacing it as a surprise. Make sure you offer to do the chore yourself as part of the gift! Depending on the appliance, it may be covered by an AHS Home Warranty.

Gift a She Shed

She Sheds are all the rage these days. They’re the female equivalent of the man cave, except they’re housed in an outdoor shed. Done properly, She Sheds can provide a relaxing retreat that makes your backyard feel like an oasis. There are no set rules about what a She Shed must look like or contain. A quick internet search will show you everything you need to know to get started or check out these six ideas on who how to create the ultimate She Shed.

Design the shed around her favorite hobbies to create a gardening shed, a reading nook where she can curl up with a pile of books or an art studio where she can paint for hours. Don’t forget to put a big bow on the front door to make your valentine smile.

Originally published by American Home Shield

13 Kitchen Spots You Need to Clean Before the Stench Hits You

“How many times have you been in your kitchen and wondered ‘What is that Smell?‘  It might be coming from somewhere you forgot to clean.”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

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Get a Head Start on Planting Your Garden, Even if It’s Snowing

“It may be January, but now is a good time to start planning your garden and other plantings for the Spring.”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

Open House Tips that Will Result in a Successful Sale

‘If you’re having an Open House, there are a number of steps you should take as the home owner to make sure your house looks it’s best.  Buyers recognize when a Seller has gone the extra mile to make their home look good, and it shows as a sense of pride, and will also usually result in higher offers!”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

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What To Do When Your Pipes Freeze

“Frozen Water Pipes, no one wants them, but if it happens to you, what should you do?  And then how do you best prevent them in the Future?  Here’s a great article that covers it all!”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

How To Winterize Your Deck

“Most of us enjoy our outdoor living spaces in nice weather, but are you taking care of it in the winter months?  Here are several steps that can be taken to help it survive the winter weather and look great when you get ready to use it again in the Spring.”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team 

Winterize your deck

The bracing winds of January are blowing in and with them the fresh promise of a new year. But depending on where you live, those same winds can also bring harsh temperatures, snow and ice. While the inside of your home may be protected from the winter elements, the exterior of your home is very much exposed. If your home features a wooden deck, it will need special attention this season. Here are some tips on how to winterize your deck and keep it looking its best year-round.

Clean Your Deck Thoroughly

To prepare your deck for winter, give it a good cleaning with a pressure washer. Doing so will not only remove ingrained dirt and grime, but this also helps you uncover any areas of decay. If you spot portions of wood that remain wet after other parts of the deck have dried, poke them with a screwdriver to test for rot. If the wood does not splinter and feels spongy, it may be compromised. Now is also a good time to look for any damage to your deck caused by insects.

Additionally, consider applying a water-repellant finish to your deck once cleaning is complete. Doing so will help protect against damage caused by damp winter elements, such as ice, snow, sleet and rain.

Repair Loose Boards

Once you give your deck a good once-over, repair any loose boards or damaged wood. According to the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA), you should check for loose nails and screws, secure any that need tightening and replace any that may have fallen out. Also, your deck should appear even without any sagging and should not sway or move when tested.

Cover Your Deck

One way to prevent the majority of winter elements from settling on your deck and damaging it is to use a deck cover. You have many options when covering a deck. You could hire a contractor to build a permanent roof over your deck. Alternately, for a temporary fix, you can cover the exposed woodwork, using plastic tarps found at your local home improvement or hardware store.

Store And Protect Outdoor Furniture

If your deck is fully outfitted with outdoor furniture, now is the time to protect it. Clean your deck furniture, just as you would your deck itself, using a pressure washer to remove stubborn dirt and grime. Once cleaning is complete, bring any furniture cushions and fabric coverings indoors. NADRA also recommends taking the time to store all deck-related chemicals (including cleaning solutions) away during the winter months.

Remove Ice

When inclement weather deposits accumulations of snow or ice on your deck, they can become quite heavy and place an extra burden on the structure itself. If you are able to remove the snow, shovel it in a pattern that’s parallel to deck boards. Also, use a plastic rather than a metal shovel to avoid scratching the wood.

To remove ice, use a melting compound. Several different formulas are available. Choose the one specifically designed for the type of wood or composite material out of which your deck is constructed. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions when using these compounds.

Originally published by American Home Shield

Simple Pleasures: A Relaxed Weekend at Home

“When you’ve had a busy week, sometimes you just want to relax around the house.  Use some of these following tips to help create the best possible spaces around your home.”

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

The AHS Top 10: Best Money-Saving Apps for Budgeting

Who doesn’t like to save money?  Check out these Apps and see which ones might work for you!

Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team

Budget apps

Whether you’re saving money for the upcoming holiday season or following up on that long-ago resolution to pay off all of your debts, these money-saving apps can help you stay on track.

1. PocketGuard (Android, iOS)

Want to know how to stay in the clear and out of the red zone on your accounts? PocketGuard can take care of that. The app securely accesses your accounts while simultaneously factoring in your spending habits to let you know how much you can afford to spend each day.

2. Wally (Android, iOS)

For added convenience and flexibility when it comes to expense tracking, Wally lets you manually enter your spending or take photos of your receipts. To save you a step, it can even identify your location. And all along the way, the app will adapt to your spending habits and help you achieve your savings goals.

3. Personal Capital (Android, iOS)

If you want to focus more on planning for the future and your investments, Personal Capital is the money-tracking app for you. In fact, thanks to its dedicated advisors, you’ll know if you’re paying too much in fees in addition to being able to get help with your asset allocations.

4. Spendee (Android, iOS)

Spendee not only lets you see a breakdown of your spending over time; it goes even further to show what specific items and categories you’re spending your money on. The best part? You can simply snap photos of your bills and receipts for easy organization.

5. Mint (Android, iOS)

Want to see your entire financial picture in one place? Mint can handle that. It not only tracks your expenses across all your different credit, checking, savings and investment accounts; you can even add in assets, such as cars or houses, to get a better sense of your net worth.

6. Mvelopes (Android, iOS)

Sure, you may have heard that the envelope system is the only way to truly ensure success when it comes to budgeting. But why bother with the physical paper when you can utilize the same system on your phone? The best part is that, when you charge something on a credit card, Mvelopes automatically moves that amount of money out of your “spending” envelope and puts it into an envelope set aside for paying your credit card bill. Genius, huh?

7. Digit (Android, iOS)

Using the Digit app is possibly the easiest, no-brainer way to save a few extra bucks without even trying. In fact, when it comes to putting money in your savings account, Digit handles it all. Every few days, the app uses its spending tracker and moves a small amount of money — whatever you can safely afford — over to a savings account. And, don’t worry, you’re never going to go into overdraft mode. The creators of the app guarantee it.

8. GoodBudget (Android, iOS)

GoodBudget is similar to Mvelopes; however, it’s designed to be synced across all of your devices and the web so you can share the progress with your family members. This app is great if money management is a team effort in your household.

9. Albert (iOS)

Want a personal financial advisor without paying for a personal financial advisor? Albert’s your man (or app, rather). Teaming up with various financial institutions to get accurate advice, Albert can help you make a plan and stick to it. What’s more, you can save and withdraw money straight from the app free of charge.

10. You Need a Budget (Android, iOS)

When it comes to apps that help you save money, You Need a Budget (YNAB) goes over and beyond. More than just an app that observes and analyzes your spending habits, YNAB actually tries to improve those habits — resulting in an entire lifestyle change.

Want to see more of our tech favorites? Check out our top ten security apps, our top ten home renovation apps and our top ten voice-controlled devices.

Originally Published by American Home Shield