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5 Smart Upgrades that Increase Your Home’s Appeal

From kitchen renovations to a new roof, there are several upgrades you can complete to help make your home more appealing to potential buyers. However, if you’re looking to give your home a technological improvement, smart home upgrades can be a brilliant option. While these upgrades can improve the livability of your space, they can also increase its appeal, as 81 percent of homebuyers said they would prefer to buy a home with some smart home products already installed. So consider adding a few of these enhancements to your home before listing it for sale.

Smart thermostat
A smart thermostat helps regulate the temperature of your home while reducing your heating and cooling costs. Installing a smart thermostat can help you save up to 10 percent on monthly heating costs and up to 15 percent on cooling costs. These savings depend on your preferred temperature and the location and size of your home. You can control your smart thermostat from your phone or set it to a schedule so it turns on as you arrive home from work. A new smart thermostat will cost anywhere from $100 to $300 or more and set up is typically easy, making it an excellent DIY project.

Smart blinds
You can add privacy and reduce energy loss by installing smart blinds you can control with a remote, an app, or voice command. You can even automate these blinds to open or close depending on the time of day or if someone is home. During the summer and winter, smart blinds help block outdoor temperatures from affecting your home. The cost of smart blinds will vary depending on the size, number of windows in your home, and if you go with battery, plug-in, or hard-wired blinds. However, most models start at around $100.

Smart smoke detector
A smoke detector is a must-have safety feature in any home. However, a smart smoke detector can provide even more safety because it can sound an alarm while you’re at home and send an alert to your phone if it detects danger, giving you peace of mind while you’re away. Some smart smoke detectors will send a message to your phone when the batteries become low. Installing these upgraded smoke detectors could even get you a discount on your homeowners insurance depending on your company. Best of all, they only cost between $50 to $100.

Video doorbell
Add a sense of security to your home with a video doorbell. By placing a video doorbell at your front door, you’ll receive a message on your smartphone alerting you of deliveries or someone standing outside, and you’ll have a saved video clip of any activity. Depending on the type you choose, you may be able to speak with visitors at your door. Some video doorbells will need to be hard-wired into your home’s electrical system, while others will be battery-powered. Most video doorbells cost $100 or less.

Smart lock
Another way to increase the security of your home is by installing smart locks on your exterior doors. Forgetting your keys will never be a worry again with a smart lock. These devices allow you to unlock your doors through an app on your phone, scanning your fingerprint, or entering a numerical code. Additionally, you can let guests in remotely or give guests like babysitters an access code that you can turn on and off. The cost of a smart lock depends on the device you choose, but many will typically run between $100 up to $300.

Grand Old Flag Display Tips

One of the greatest symbols of patriotism in the US in displaying the American flag. It’s important to know just why we have the guidelines that we do, and why following these federal rules are pertinent for displaying this American symbol.

We follow these guidelines for the simple reason that it’s a sign of respect. Letting it fall to the ground, or keeping it flying when dark outside, would not be the proper thing to do. Keep these in mind when putting your flag outside this summer!

Keep it high.

When handling the flag, it should never touch the ground.

Illuminate it.

The flag should only be displayed from sunrise to sunset, unless it can be properly illuminated.

Avoid DIY projects.

No part of the flag should be worn as sportswear or a costume or used to make drapery or bedding.

Fold, don’t scrunch.

Fold the flag into a triangle, with the union showing.

Briskly up, and slowly down.

The flag should be raised quickly and lowered slowly, with a purpose.

Carry it freely.

Avoid carrying the flag flat or horizontally.

Keep it upright.

Unless there’s a distressing situation, never display the flag with the union down.

6 Ways to Upgrade Your Laundry Room

While it may not get the same attention kitchens and bathrooms receive, your laundry room plays a significant role in helping your household function from day to day. However, considering how much time you spend washing and drying your clothes, you may overlook updating this space. By adding some of these functional and appealing upgrades, laundry day may become less of a chore.

Ironing center
Once your laundry is washed and dried, you’ll need to fold and iron your clothing. To help efficiently complete these tasks, consider installing a fold-out ironing board or table instead of a standing table that may take up valuable floor space. A fold-out ironing station will take up minimal wall space and create a convenient spot to handle many of your laundry needs. Some fold-out ironing boards come with storage space perfect for keeping your iron, starch, and lint rollers nearby.

If your laundry room lacks floor space, you can upgrade your storage capabilities by using wall space with shelving. Try adding open shelving above your washer and dryer for a helpful upgrade. You can organize your shelves by placing items you need for washing, such as detergents and stain removers, and drying, such as dryer sheets or dryer balls, above each appliance so they’re easily within reach. You can also utilize the back of your laundry room’s door with a hook or two for items you don’t want to get wrinkled. Another storage upgrade to consider is to add laundry bins into existing cabinets. This addition will help keep dirty and clean clothes separate without sacrificing a lot of space.

Hanging rod
A hanging rod can be a multifunctional addition to assist you on laundry day. These storage devices allow you to store clothes you’ve ironed and hang delicate items that need to be air-dried. Best of all, you can complete this project for less than $50. However, make sure you choose a rod designed to hold clothing and verify that it can hold the item you plan to hang on it.

Sometimes laundry rooms lack windows, which can cause them to be dark. However, you can help your space look more luminous with a new coat of paint. Choose a paint color like bright white, light gray, or light tan to make your laundry room appear brighter and more inviting. If you’re looking to liven up your laundry room, consider using decorative wallpaper.

Light fixtures
Another solution for a dark laundry room is upgrading the lights in the room. You may be able to switch the bulb out for a higher wattage, or you can switch out the entire fixture. Small tap lights under cabinets or shelves can help shine a light on your work area while doing your laundry.

Even a minor upgrade can make a big difference. By changing out the handles, knobs, and hinges of your cabinets or drawers, you can give your laundry room an immediate refresh. All you need to do is choose the hardware you like best, remove the cabinet doors and existing hardware, and add your new hardware. It can be a significant change for a small price—less than $20 depending on the hardware you choose.

Once you’ve upgraded your laundry room, use these tips to help eliminate the toughest stains on your clothing.

7 Factors That Affect a Home Appraisal

An appraisal is a critical part of the homebuying process, as it determines the value of the property before a lender agrees to move through with a mortgage. But how is this value calculated? Check out this list of seven factors that impact the value of a home during an appraisal.

Condition of the home
First, the appraiser will note some of the general details of the home, ranging from the materials used throughout the house to the property’s overall condition. If anything is unsound or unsafe inside the home, the appraiser will make a note of it. From broken appliances to missing shingles, signs of deferred maintenance may negatively impact the home’s value. Appraisers will also look for signs of infestations. Upgrades to features like the electrical system, roof, or windows, could positively impact the home’s value.

Age of the home
The appraiser will consider the age of the home when calculating its value. However, you shouldn’t expect a newer home to receive a higher value than an older home due to its age. While new homes will likely have fewer issues when it comes to maintenance, well-maintained older homes located in historic districts tend to have a higher appraisal value.

The amount of living space inside a home will influence the property’s overall value, and a larger home will typically be worth more than a smaller home in the same market. Appraisers will account for the square footage, along with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Additionally, storage space will also be a factor, as large closets, along with a useable attic and basement, will help a house appraise at a higher value.

A home’s location could impact its value based on several factors, including crime rate, school district, road maintenance, and the distance between the house and schools, hospitals, fire stations, and police stations. If the home is next to an undesirable neighboring property, like a landfill, its value may be lower. Also, the home’s location within the community may affect the value. If the house is on a quiet street, it may be worth more than a home on a busy road in the same neighborhood.

If a home has received upgrades since its last appraisal, renovations like a new garage or kitchen makeover can impact its value. Even more practical upgrades, like a new roof and energy-efficient appliances, can increase the home’s value.

Comparable homes in the area
An appraiser will compare the home to others recently sold or those in the market in the area that are similarly sized, with comparable features and number of rooms. If you’re wondering what your home may be worth before an appraisal, look at homes similar to yours in the area to get a general idea.

Market conditions
The overall state of the real estate market in the area will also play a role. If the area’s demand for housing is high, the home may receive a higher appraisal value. However, if the demand is low, the value of the house may be lower.

Take Your Accent Wall to the Next Level

Making a statement in your home comes in many forms, but an accent wall can really take a room up a notch. This can be a great option if you want a change in your home without undergoing a complete (costly) transformation. Consider some of these suggestions for an interior switch-up you won’t regret.

Try out a new color

If you want to really commit to changing things up, you could always paint one wall a bolder, brighter color than the rest (or vice versa). If a color isn’t doing it for you, try a wallpaper instead. While you could go completely different from the rest of the room, bolder doesn’t have to mean inconsistent. Tie in the accent wall with the color palette already in place for a sleek look.

Texturize it

Wall textures are all the rage. Experiment with one yourself by trying it out as an accent wall. There are many different types—it’s all about doing the research and letting your DIY-savvy side shine. Be sure to practice on something less permanent before trying it on the wall, though.

Go natural

Reclaimed wood is making its mark on the interior design world. Everywhere you look, people seem to be taking a more minimalist approach to decor, and what’s right outside our doors is coming inside as well. Get on board with this trend, which doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Experiment with temporary

If you want to make a less permanent change to a room, temporary wallpaper may be the way to go. It can be removed and changed out for a different design or pattern efficiently, making it ideal for those who don’t want to commit to a total change.

Say cheese!

Sometimes, a gallery wall is all you need to take a room to the next level. If you’re wondering what to do with all of the photos you have, consider displaying them on a wall. Incorporate other prints in various sized frames to give it that something extra.