How to Build a DIY Fire Pit in One Day By Angie Bersin April 4, 2019

Adding a DIY fire pit to your backyard is an excellent way to keep the fun going long after dark.

Instead of an unsightly dirt fire pit, spend a day making a new statement piece for your yard. If you’re wondering how to build a fire pit — we’ll show you how!

When selecting and building your DIY fire pit, make sure you avoid using wet stones. If you are using river rocks, be sure to give them several days of direct sunlight to properly dry.

1. In-Ground DIY Fire Pit

In-ground diy fire pit with stones
Photo by Tom Hodgkinson
The in-ground fire pit is becoming increasingly popular among DIY fire pit builders. Before digging into the ground, make sure you call 811, the federally mandated “Call Before You Dig Number.” Someone will come to mark the approximate location of any underground lines, pipes, and cables so you can dig safely. Once you dig your fire pit to the desired size, line the dirt walls with stones or brick. Follow these additional steps to get started:
  1. First, want to create a bottom layer of gravel, then cover it with the “bottom” of your fire pit — larger stones or bricks or an even covering such as quick drying cement.
  2. Be sure to have drainage or it will turn into a mosquito pond.
  3. Create your top rim by making small cutouts in the dirt for your bricks or stones.
  4. Finally, dry stack your desired additional layers, or create a small wall using fire resistant adhesives or quick drying cement.

2. Overlaid Stone DIY Fire Pit

overlaid stone fire pit
Photo by Our Fairfield Home
For an artistic-looking fire pit, instead of evenly shaped bricks, grab several unique rough rocks, and construct an overlaid stone fire pit. If your pieces are hearty enough (pictured is Pennsylvania Blue Stone) you won’t need any cement for this pit either — but use common sense when building up your walls. Here are some additional tips to secure your structure:
  • If the stones do not feel secure, add in some non-flammable masonry adhesive, landscape adhesive or Liquid Nails.
  • For the center, line the bottom of your fire pit with one or two inches of sand.
  • The outside of your fire pit should be lined as well, and no grass or other yard matter should be within two feet of your pit.

3. Tin DIY Fire Pit

Tin DIY fire pit with burning coals and wood
Using whatever barrel-shaped scraps you can find, you can create this all-in-one tin fire pit. Tin fire pits are extra safe as they ensure your fire is adequately contained, and are much preferred in areas with wide open plains and active winds such as El Paso. You can spruce up your repurposed tin barrel nicely with some high-heat paint (like Rust-Oleum) and stencils.

4. Gravel DIY Fire Pit

gravel fire pit
Photo by Homeroad
There is no digging required for this DIY fire pit design! Select some handsome gravel for your foundation, spread it out to create your overall fire pit space, then stack your fire pit stones. The fire pit pictured was built with crushed concrete rock with some additional aesthetic details. The pit’s stones ought to be more than heavy enough to be dry stacked — no need for adhesive or cement. Hang some outdoor lights above your fire pit to finish off your welcoming ambiance for backyard guests.

5. Raised DIY Fire Pit with Fire Bowl

raised fire pit with fire bowl
Photo by http://www.hometalk.com/elloradrinnen
If you want an elevated fire, this is an ideal design for you. You can build up your fire pit walls to the desired height (only use even bricks for this design, not the rough stones mentioned above) and then top off with a fire bowl. Ensure that your fire pit is the proper size for the bowl by building the first layer of the wall around the screen top of your fire bowl. When purchasing a fire bowl, make sure it has holes for drainage in the center (dumping out fire bowls filled with water is a hassle).

6. Grate Drum DIY Fire Pit

grate drum fire pit
Photo by Charles Peace

For a less formal, down-home fire pit look, simply add a smoker fire basket (sometimes also called a vertical drum) to the mix. You can either buy one pre-made, or you can craft one yourself using flexible metal grating from the hardware store and a few bolts to fasten it into a circle. Quite a few Hometalk DIYers like to use old washing machine drums, which cost about $10 from used appliance stores. Then insert your drum into the center of your fire pit. If you choose to build a solid wall design like the fire pit pictures, make sure you leave a drainage route for rainwater.

Whichever style you choose, just make sure you enjoy responsibly. Hometalk breaks down all the necessary safety precautions before, during, and after building your fire pit in “Stop! Your Must Have Handbook for Building DIY Fire Pits.”

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How to Change a Furnace Filter

furnace filterFamily Handyman

When to change a furnace filter

If you’re thinking that you only have to change your filter once a year, you may well be shortening the life of your furnace. Actually, you should check your filter monthly and often change it monthly, depending on the type of filter you use. To determine if it’s too dirty, remove the filter and hold it up to the light. If you can no longer clearly see light, change the filter (see photo). Many costly repairs can be avoided with regular filter changing. If you don’t change the filter, lack of airflow through the furnace will cause it to overheat and shut down. Similarly, a dirty filter can cause an air conditioner to shut down because the coils freeze up when airflow is inadequate. Both events stress the system. Filters are designed to protect the blower motor from dirt. When buying filters for this task, an inexpensive glass fiber filter will do the job. But if you want to reduce airborne dust in your home, you could start with the best of the inexpensive 1-in. disposable filters—the standard pleated filter—which costs a bit more. Better yet, to remove even more small particles, install an inexpensive, electrostatically charged fiber filter. 3M Filtrete is one common brand.. Just make sure to check the filter monthly and change it when it’s dirty (not just every three months as recommended). All other options, from a 4-in. thick mechanical air filter to an electronic filter plate system, involve electrical or ductwork changes by heating/cooling contractors. They remove more particles, last longer and cost more. Finally, whatever filter you use, make sure you reinstall it correctly, with the arrow on the filter edge pointing toward the blower motor. Putting it in backward decreases the filter’s efficiency.
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10 Vintage Home Hacks That are Still Brilliant Today-Handyman Magazine

These tips and tricks for the home have been passed down from generation to generation, but do they still hold up today? You better believe it!

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Floor Ruler

No need to scramble for a ruler every time you have to measure something big. Draw a ruler on your shop floor with a permanent-ink, felt-tip marker. It won’t be accurate enough for precise measurements, but for rough cutting it will save you time and effort. When the markings start to wear off, just redo them. — Christine Smith

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Family Handyman

Trapeze Clothes Hanger

Here’s a quick way to add another clothes rod in a closet. It’s especially useful in a child’s closet, because you can easily adjust the height to accommodate a changing wardrobe and a growing child. Use lightweight chain, attached to both the upper and lower rods with screw hooks. Squeeze the screw hooks closed with a pliers. — Jim Shephard. Find out these amazing additional ways to find more closet space you can do yourself.

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Lawn Fertilizer Markers

So you fertilized your lawn last week, and now you’ve got some streaks of pale grass where you missed, and some really dark streaks where you hit twice. To prevent this, use two short lengths of wood as markers. Whenever you start a new row from either end of your run, drop a marker at the edge of the line of the fertilizer. Aim for the marker as you proceed, and move the marker at each end every time you make a turn. It works with a broadcast spreader as well. — Jim Carabetta. If you want a lusher lawn, then pull up these 11 tips for a lawn that will make your neighbors green with envy.

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Help For Losers

Doesn’t it drive you nuts when you drop a small part on the floor and you can’t find it? Here’s help. Lay a flashlight on the floor, and beam the light slowly in a circle so it just skims the floor surface. The shadow cast by the lost part will help you spot it. — Gary Stewart

Think that’s helpful? Well, you love these 45 hugely helpful handy hints that will keep cash in your pocket.
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Family Handyman

Vacuum Accessory Keeper

Here’s my quick and simple method for keeping shop vacuum accessories handy: Use an ordinary wire clothes hanger for each accessory. Bend the horizontal bar into an inverted “V,” squeeze the arms together and insert them into the open end of the accessory. The tension will hold the accessory in place. Then mount a row of hooks or screw eyes on the wall and hang the accessories in place. — Richard Siegel

Storing vacuum accessories and other tough-to-store items can be difficult but we’ve got 24 solutions for hard-to-store stuff. 
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Family Handyman

Hollow Door Fixer

If you have a sizable hole in a painted hollow-core door, here’s a quick way to fix it: Completely fill the hole with spray foam insulation (a can costs about $4 at home centers) so the foam is about level with the door surface. Allow it to dry overnight. The foam will expand slightly as it dries, forming a slight mound. Slice off the mound with a razor knife so the foam is slightly lower than the door surface. Apply one or two coats of drywall compound, sand it smooth when dry, and paint. — Richard Loeb Jr.

That spray foam fix is great but it’s not as brilliant as these 15 uses for spray foam you never knew.
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Family Handyman

Roof Gutter Tool Trays

Here’s my solution to workbench clutter: I mounted vinyl gutters along both ends of my workbench to hold small tools and other items that usually end up buried on the work surface. The gutters are durable, inexpensive, and it’s easy to find things in them. An added benefit is that small items that get knocked off the workbench no longer fall on the floor. Use an end cap at each end. — Scott Wright. Gutters aren’t only great for a workbench, see how they’re great in a kitchen too.

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Splashblock Anchor

Do those plastic downspout splashblocks tend to wander away from the foundation of your house, allowing water to seep into the basement? To prevent this, drill two holes through the hefty corners of the plastic at the back end. To anchor it, drive two large spikes through the holes into the ground. — Joseph Perrone

If you’ve got gutter issues of any kind, be sure to check out these 25 hints for fixing gutter problems.
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How to Easily Kill 98% of All Odor & Mold in Your Home

By Home&Garden — Americans are going crazy over this new simple trick that magically kills odors, mold, bacteria and fungus growing in your home
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Plastic Bag Storage

If those empty plastic grocery bags are threatening to take over your kitchen, here’s help: Stuff them into an empty paper towel tube. It’s quick and easy, and a dozen or so bags take up hardly any space. Keep the stuffed tube handy in a drawer. — Joan Hill

Paper towel tubes are great for storing items. We’ve got 10 more incredible ways to reuse paper towel tubes for storing things.
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Family Handyman

Blade Life Extender

When the blade in your utility knife gets dull, it’s usually only the point and the first 1/4 in. or so that’s bad. You can get additional life from your blade by snapping off the point with a pliers (wear safety glasses). It won’t cut quite as well as a fresh blade, but a lot better than the dull one. — Dennis Feldpausch

Check out some brilliant uses for razor blades that you can use around the house.
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Well Water Safety: DO’s and DON’Ts

If your home uses well water, then there are some very important “do`s”, “don`ts” and other considerations for which you need to pay particular attention. This article will help you keep your well water supply safe for your family.

DO's AND DON'Ts IN YOUR YARD

Let's start first with the area of the yard where your well sits, and the part of your well that is above ground. When landscaping around your wellhead, be sure to keep the top of your well at least 12” above the ground around the casing, so that surface water can never enter your well. And you will want to ensure the area around your wellhead slopes away from the well to prevent surface water from pooling around the casing, which can cause contamination and damage to your system. Keep the area around your well accessible and clean of leaves, grass, other debris, and piled snow. And take care when working or mowing around your well, as a damaged casing can jeopardize the sanitary protection of your well. And anytime there’s been flooding near your well, do not use water from your well until it has been tested for bacteria contamination (helpful accessory: water quality testers). Your well should be at least 100 feet away from potential contaminants sources such as oil tanks, septic tanks, or chemical storage tanks. Avoid using, mixing or storing hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, motor oil, gas, weed killer or other pollutants near your well. Do not dump waste near your well or near sinkholes, as this may contaminate your water supply. And if you have a septic tank, be sure to have it pumped regularly to prevent possible contamination of your groundwater from it overflowing. You should routinely conduct a thorough check of your wellhead. Make sure that the well cap is not broken and is free from any holes or corrosion, and it is at least 12" above the ground with a watertight seal (see costs and reviews of well caps). If it doesn’t already have one, you should install a sealed sanitary cap to prevent contamination from insects, small animals, and other surface contamination. And if you have an abandoned well on or near your property, it should be sealed. Abandoned wells can be sources of potentially polluted groundwater, which could make water from your working well unsafe to drink.

OTHER DO's & DON'Ts

If you have infants in your home, you should have your well especially tested for nitrates. Most wells will test for high concentrations of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. So to improve doing laundry, bathing and the taste of your water, you should consider adding the appropriate water softener system. And if your well water has too much iron in it, then you should NOT use bleach when laundering, because it will cause a chemical reaction that will stain your clothes. Instead of laundering with bleach, you can use hydrogen peroxide, borax, Iron Out, or pre-soaking and rinsing your laundry in store-bought water and bleach. You should regularly disinfect your well once an inspection has determined that your water system is free from any sources of apparent contamination. Disinfection not only cleans your well, but also helps maintain its production capability. But be careful not to over-chlorinate your well. And whenever you are uncertain about the safety of your water supply you should have your well tested for bacteria. Be sure to install backflow prevention devices on all outside faucets with hose connections, as this will help keep pollutants from being siphoned back into the hose and into your water supply. And when using a hose to add water to pesticides, fertilizers or other chemicals, you should never put the hose inside the tank or container, as this can potentially result in these very dangerous chemicals being siphoned back into your water supply. Always use a licensed water well driller and pump installer for any service done on your well or pump. You will want to keep careful records of your well installation, any maintenance or inspections, repairs, and all water test results and disinfections. And keep your well records in a safe place.

TESTING

At least once a year, you should have your well tested for total coliform bacteria, which will give an indication of whether there is a likelihood of more dangerous bacteria present. And every three years have your well tested for pH, TDS, nitrate, and other contaminants of local concern. In addition to ensuring the safety of your drinking water, you can also use the results of your well tests to make the appropriate water filtration decisions for your home. While waiting for your well test results, to ensure safe drinking water for your family, you should only drink bottled water or water from a known, safe, source. Or if necessary, you can make water safe to drink by boiling the water for five minutes. All water tests should be conducted by a certified lab. After you receive your results, compare them to the drinking water standards for public systems by the EPA. And you might want to consider having a downhole inspection done of your well, by a contractor who uses an underwater camera. This can help ensure that you well still has tight construction and that the downhole equipment is working properly.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

If you ever notice any changes in your water (odors, color, laundry problems etc.), You should have your well immediately tested. And if your sinks and toilets are a reddish color, or if you notice your clothes look dingy or slightly orange over time, or develop an odor even after laundering, then your well water may have too much iron in it. And most important of all, if your water is ever cloudy, smelly or discolored, DO NOT drink the water.
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You have lived in your home for many years, Now it time to sell.

pre listing home inspection St. Michael, buyers home inspection St. Michael, certified home inspector Brainerd, home inspection for sellers Brainerd You have lived in your home for many years now you are thinking of selling your home. Do you know what type of repairs are needed to sell your home and streamline the real estate process? Home Detective of Minnesota will do a home maintenance review of your property. It is a Visual only review of your property. We will go through your property and point out items that are needing repairs or upgrading. You will need to write the items down and you may want to take some pictures. As the homeowner you can then make the repairs yourself, hire a contractor or just leave the item along. The Visual only review is $150.00 and takes about two hours to complete. Once you have completed the repairs you are going to make, we will come back to your home and review the items that were repairs plus do a complete home inspection, we will provide a written report that you can share with prospective buyers showing the repairs made. This proactive approach will get more buyers in the door with higher offers for your property. This written report will take about three and one-half hour to complete, you will have the report the same day. We will also offer you warranty protections for your property. If you wish to have the home maintenance review and full home inspection report with FREE warranties we offer a two for one promotion. Visual only review $100.00 Home Inspection with written report and warranty program $350.00. Contact Home Detective of Minnesota at 763-434-3155.
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Protecting and Cleaning Your Vinyl Siding

Since vinyl siding never needs painting, it might be easy to assume that this means that your vinyl siding is indestructible and requires “no maintenance.” Unfortunately, this is not the case, and in this article, we discuss what you should do to protect and clean your vinyl siding.

PROTECTING

Concentrated solar reflection from nearby energy-efficient glass windows, roofing, pavement, etc. Can cause heat distortion to your vinyl siding. This can be prevented by blocking the path of this reflected sunlight with trees, shrubs, or fences (helpful accessory: window screens). Or in the case of reflections from nearby energy-efficient windows, these windows should have screens or awnings added to them. Vinyl siding has a relatively low melting point, so you will want to be sure to keep heat sources (such as barbecue grills) and combustible materials (such as dry leaves, mulch, and trash) away from your vinyl siding. And when doing home projects that involve stains, sealants, and wet concrete, you should cover your vinyl siding to prevent these products from damaging your siding. Also, certain insecticides or herbicides can potentially stain your vinyl siding, and you should be carefully research and test in a small area before applying any of these products near your vinyl siding (helpful accessory: vinyl siding cleaners). You should trim any shrubbery or trees which are near your house, so they don’t rub against and mar your vinyl siding. You should also inspect your siding to be sure that all areas are firmly attached, otherwise strong winds can use these loose areas to pull entire sections off of your home. Also inspect for areas which are damaged, cracked or punctured and need to be replaced to maintain water and pest protection for your home. And be sure to consult with your vinyl siding manufacturer before painting vinyl siding. Many manufacturers void their warranties if their siding is painted. However, vinyl siding should never be painted a dark, heat-absorbing color, as it will cause your siding to tend to warp and sag when exposed to strong sunlight.

CLEANING

To keep your vinyl siding looking good, you should wash and clean it using a cleaner that is approved by your manufacturer. Small spots of mold and mildew can be removed with cleaners such as Fantastik or Windex. For larger sections, a solution of vinegar (30%) and water (70%) is usually effective, and is environmentally more friendly than using household cleaners and bleach. Do NOT use cleaners containing organic solvents, undiluted chlorine bleach, liquid grease remover, nail polish remover, or furniture polish or cleaners, as these can affect the surface of your vinyl siding. Power washers should only be used if allowed by your particular manufacturer. If you do use a power washer, be careful not to etch the siding with too strong of a stream. And be sure to spray the water on a downward angle and away from any window edges or corners, so as to keep water from getting under your siding. When washing and cleaning your vinyl siding, use a soft cloth or a long-handled soft-bristle brush (which works well for textured vinyl surfaces), and start at the bottom of your house and work up. If you go top to bottom, the cleaner and dirt that flows downwards can sit on the lower boards for too long and damage them. And be sure to thoroughly rinse the cleaning solution away completely before it dries.
 
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How to Sell Your House in 2019 from Redfin

Interior view of home - How to sell you house in 2019

So, you have found yourself at that point of selling your house and moving on. Maybe you’re downsizing to a smaller house because the kids have finally left the nest, or you got a job in a new city and need to relocate, or finally, you retired and want to head south to warmer climates. Whatever your reason, you’re ready to sell your home. Luckily for you, we put together a comprehensive guide for first-time and seasoned home sellers. Continue reading to find out how to sell your house this year.

1) Hire a Home Inspector

You’re probably thinking wait, isn’t that what the buyer is going to do? You’re not wrong. When a buyer has made an offer and you’ve accepted it, the buyer will most likely hire a home inspector of their own. So, why would you hire a home inspector? First, if a home inspector turns up something that’s in need of repair, wouldn’t you prefer to resolve it long before entering into negotiations with a potential buyer?

In fact, if you end up needing to make repairs expected to take weeks to fix, you may lose that buyer altogether. Hiring a home inspector is a proactive approach to getting your home ready to sell. Known as a pre-listing home inspection, you can find out the exact condition of your property, what repairs need to be addressed beforehand, fix them, then focus on the next task to get your home sold fast.

Also, knowing the condition of your property will further assist you during the negotiation phase with potential buyers.  As you may already be aware, since you’ve already bought a home yourself, buyers often use their home inspection as a way of getting concessions from sellers, such as asking you to drop your list price. If you’ve already addressed any repairs that turned up in an inspection report, it is less likely that any new repairs will come up and impact your position during negotiations.

2) Make Repairs and Small Upgrades to Your Home

After your inspector makes a comprehensive list of repairs you should make, it’s time to get started either making the repairs yourself or contracting the right person to do them. This is may also be a great time to make small upgrades to your home that will help your house to sell fast. You don’t need to renovate your kitchen or anything, but that red accent wall that was extremely popular a decade ago might need a fresh coat of paint more neutral in color.

Understand Your Homes Selling Points First, try understanding your home’s selling points and then try to highlight those features to make them really stand out. Not sure what those features are in your home? Just think about what sold you on your home when you first toured it. Was it the kitchen, the open floor plan, or that personal studio space? These are the features you want to concentrate on because they are most likely to sell your home again.

Brighten Your Home You also want to think about ways to brighten your home and improve your curb appeal. Simple ways to brighten your home is painting your ceilings white and choosing a wall color that is brighter and more neutral. Though you may have enjoyed that accent wall, not everyone has the same taste as yourself. You want to make your house appeal to the largest audience possible to not only sell your home fast but to also invite more offers.

Improve Your Curb Appeal Furthermore, improving your curb appeal is crucial for future homebuyers. You only make a first impression once, and the curb appeal of your home is the first impression of your home for potential buyers. Though you may not necessarily have to paint the exterior of your house to impress homebuyers, simple things like trimming your hedges, freshly mowed lawn and making sure any exterior lights aren’t burnt out can go a long way. Even freshly laid beauty bark and newly planted flowers can really make your yard pop!

Though this can be a lot of work, you will be happy that you did it because homes often sell faster and for more money when these small upgrades are done. If you don’t want to do all that work yourself, don’t know how to, or just don’t have the time, there are concierge type services that can do it all for you. This way you can focus on moving to your next home.

3) Declutter and Prep Your House to Sell

There’s an expression in real estate, “clutter can cost a sale.” Decluttering and prepping your home is something you want to really focus on. Especially if you’ve lived in your house for five years or more, there is a good chance you’ve collected a lot of stuff. Don’t worry it happens!

Renting storage units are becoming an increasingly popular method to decluttering one’s home before selling it. The idea is to limit the amount of stuff in your house so that potential buyers can envision themselves (and their stuff) in that space. Even removing photos is a great way to allow people touring your home to think about what they would hang on those walls or what they’d place on that fire mantel. Basically, you’re trying to present your house as a canvass from which potential buyers can create the next chapter of their lives.

Furthermore, by eliminating the majority of your stuff in your house earlier you can start deep cleaning your home more easily. And yes, you want to deep clean your home. If you sold your car to someone (not a dealership) you would probably wash it and vacuum the inside of it before you let someone test drive it, right? Well, the same goes for selling your house. You want to present your home in its best possible light so that it sells fast and you get competing offers.

Also, don’t just focus on deep cleaning just the inside of your home. You can use a pro wash to clean the outside of your home as well. These products typically attached to your garden hose and then you just spray your house down. It’s kind of like washing your car, just without the scrubbing.

4) Find a Real Estate Agent

Finding a real estate agent is easy, finding a great real estate agent can be more of a challenge. Getting referrals and reading online reviews is a great way to start narrowing down your options, and hopefully, you’ll end up with a couple of good potential candidates to interview.

You’ll want to understand what you’re looking for when hiring a real estate agent to represent your best interests. Here are some questions to consider asking any potential candidate:

  • How many clients have you served this year?
  • Has a client ever filed a complaint against you?
  • What is your fee?
  • What services do you offer beyond negotiations and escrow?

These are just a few questions to consider asking while interviewing real estate agents. A more comprehensive list of interview questions can be found here.

After you decide on a real estate agent, you and your agent should come up with a plan of action. This plan should include a timeline, from the pricing of your home and getting it listed on MLS to open houses. It should also include when a price reduction strategy needs to take effect to get your home sold. You and your agent should be on the same page at all times and a plan of action will help ensure that.

5) Price Your Home to Sell

Now is the time to find out what price you should list your home! You can start by using online tools to help you get an idea of what your home is currently worth. This is a great starting point to get an idea of your home’s worth, but you should never set your sights on a single number and expect it to happen. Market conditions change all the time and so too does buyer behavior. Being open-minded about pricing your home as well as adjusting price is key to get your home sold.

Another option that many homeowners do to get a list price for their home is to hire a home appraiser. Home appraisers are licensed professionals that will assess the value of your house based on the state of your property and overall housing market conditions. They will look at the size of your property, the interior and exterior conditions of your house, any upgrades, additions or home improvements you’ve done, and then calculate your home’s worth based on the local market conditions.

Looking at comparables of recently sold homes in your area will also help you settle on a price with your real estate agent. These homes should be similar in size, location, and sold within the last few months. Anything outside of those parameters would not be considered true comparables and could give you false information for pricing your home.

Furthermore, you want to be strategic about your pricing. You want your house to sell fast while being competitive for current market conditions. Instead of lumping the price of your house in with others in the area, strategize your pricing based on your home’s selling features. In other words, if there are three houses for sale in the same area as your own and priced at $350,000, you might be able to justify $360,000 or more because you have a larger lot size or maybe you’re located in a popular neighborhood.

6) Get Professional Photos Taken of Your Home

Nothing sells a home faster than professional photos. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. They are searching online, looking at every home that comes up for sale within their filtered interests the moment it’s listed. If your house is being represented online by poorly shot photography, your listing will see very little traffic. Not to mention, it has been widely observed that listing your house with professionally shot photos, on average, sell for more money than other listings.

Furthermore, 3D walking tours of homes have become increasingly popular with buyers looking online. Many agencies include these types of services as a component of their overall services to you as a seller, however, you should ask while interviewing your real estate agent what services are provided so you don’t find yourself paying out of pocket later.

7) List Your Home to Sell

Your real estate agent will get your home listed online on MLS (Multiple Listing Service), in order to l start showing up on real estate search platforms to potential buyers.

You may be wondering when is the best time to list your home? If you’re thinking about waiting for a specific season, then you might be waiting for nothing. In 2016, Redfin analyzed more than 7 million home sales to identify specific seasonal trends in homes being sold. What was determined was that though spring was slightly better for homes that sold within 30 days and for above asking price, winter was surprisingly a close second. What plays a bigger role in a house being sold quickly and/or above asking price has more to do with current market conditions than the season a house is sold.

Also, don’t limit the marketing of your house to your real estate agent and online search. Market your house yourself! Spread the word through your family and friends, share your listing on social media, send out emails asking people to share your listing with others, and even advertising with online ads are ways of getting your house in front of more people and increase the chance of selling your home faster.

8) Have Open Houses and Personal Showings

Your first open house is what you’ve been working towards and now it’s about to happen. It’s time to step up your game and stage your home to sell. Here is a list of things to consider that will really help you make your house shine:

  • Clear the clutter: You may have already transferred most of your belongings to a storage unit by now. Focus on just cleaning up the clutter that gets left out on countertops and tables. Put away newspapers, mail or magazines, or if you have children help them pick up their toys.
  • Deep clean your house: Nothing turns off a buyer more than an unclean bathroom. That could also be said about the rest of your house. Now more than ever is that time to wash your windows, window sills, and scrub your grimy glass shower doors.
  • Add white accents: White accents such as flowers or towels in the bathroom create a sense of welcome cleanliness.
  • Arrange furniture: You don’t have to necessarily rent furniture to stage your home. You can most likely use what you have. The key is to limit the number of furniture pieces in any one room and then arrange them in a way that’s inviting to people as they enter the room.
  • Bring in light: Think about removing your curtains or keeping them drawn back to allow as much light into your house as possible. If you have rather large elaborate curtains, consider storing them away until you get to your next home.
  • Showcase your floors: Floors are key feature homebuyers are looking at, especially if you have wood floors. Show them off by removing any rugs or unneeded furniture so that more of your flooring can be seen. If you have wood floors, think about getting them polished to really make them pop!
  • Create a welcoming ambiance: You may have heard about that old trick of lighting a candle that smells like freshly baked cookies? Well, it’s not wrong, but a single candle might not do the trick. Focus on reducing odors in your home. If you have a mudroom, or a cat or dog, use a neutralizing spray for a few days before an open house to limit any odors that you may not actually realize are there.
  • Organize all closets and drawers: Homebuyers touring your home will most likely look in your closets to determine space and, frankly, to see if their stuff will fit in there. Also, they will likely open kitchen drawers and cabinets as well, so make sure everything is nice and tidy.
  • Dust: Concentrate on all the areas that you’ve most likely have turned a blind eye to for some time, like ceiling fans, baseboards, on top of doorways, appliances, etc.
  • Make your entrance inviting: If the exterior of your house has outdated light fixtures or worn out address numbers, consider replacing them along with your welcome mat. A new mat is always inviting to people touring your home.
  • Secure your valuables: If you didn’t already store your valuables away in the storage unit you rented, you’ll want to make sure that these are not kept in plain sight. In fact, if you have a safe of some kind, that would be a perfect place to store your valuables while open houses and home tours are taking place.

Unlike open houses that are planned in advance, personal showings can happen at any point during the home selling process. The key is to be flexible and maintain your home’s cleanliness to make it easier on yourself in case of unexpected tours that may just pop up at moment’s notice. You want to make a great first impression every time!

10) Have a Plan in Case Your Home Doesn’t Sell Quick Enough

You and your real estate agent should have already gone over this beforehand, but not every house sells after the first open house. There are many factors at play and depending on the condition of the housing market for your area, your real estate agent may have to use some other strategies in their arsenal to get your house sold.

If it’s lowering the price of your home or holding more open houses, you’ll want to agree on what the next steps should be in case your house isn’t seeing any offers.

11) Negotiate the Selling Price of Your Home

One thing to consider is that the buyer is trying to get the absolute best price they can, while you’re doing the exact same. There will be multiple factors to consider as each home sold and purchased is different. For example, if it’s a buyer’s market that means the buyer has the upper hand because there are multiple listings with fewer offers being made. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make huge concessions in order to sell your home.

This is where your agent really steps up. They will help you navigate the negotiation process, and will give you their advice on how to proceed when offers are being made. Luckily, you interviewed and hired the right agent, so you know they have your best interests in mind. There are several factors and tactics to consider when entering this phase. Your agent will help you every step of the way as you navigate through the negotiation process.

You most likely have made many great memories in your home. Your children may have grown up in your house and marks of their heights years past still scar the wall near the kitchen. It’s difficult, but try to separate yourself – emotionally – from your house. Whatever your memories may be, just remember they are not lost, but they also have no place in negotiations. Try to remain objective during this process and rely on your real estate agent for advice and how to proceed.

12) Sign and Close

This is the moment you and your agent have been working towards. You’ve agreed on a price with the buyers, any and all inspections and appraisals of your home have been completed, and you are now signing the papers to sell your house. Congratulations, you’ve done it!

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Furnace Included: Free 90 Day Home Inspection Warranty

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Free 90 Day Home Inspection Warranty includes oven, range, dishwasher, built-in microwave, trash
compactor, and garbage disposal, heating/air (HVAC):
furnace, air conditioner, and thermostats.

No matter how thorough the inspection, issues come up after the sale from time to time with previously owned homes.  It’s not the inspector’s fault, nor the agents or new homeowners.  That’s why Home Detective offers a FREE 90 Warranty with any home inspection we do.  Some buyers and agents have used it over the years, ALL with positive reviews.  Every party to the transaction leaves it with peace of mind. For appliances, all claims must be received within 90 days of the inspection or within 22 days of closing, whichever comes later.* For added peace of mind, you can extend it for 18 months.  Seller’s selling old homes, buyers buying old homes love this option.  It often makes deals happen that seemed lost. Schedule a Complete Home Inspection To schedule a home inspection, contact Reed today online or call (763) 434-3155.  Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael  
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The “Price is Right” Distressed Home = Get an Inspection

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No heat, toilet burst

As a rule of thumb, all home buyers should get a complete home inspection before they agree to close on a purchase agreement.  But distressed homes, often times marketed as “fixer-uppers,” are usually vacant or have been for some time, lender/bank owned, and sold “as-is.”  This means there is almost no information or seller disclosure available to the buyer to know what “known” issues may have or is currently affecting the property.  As a result, there is an extra burden on the buyer to find out.  Although fixer uppers/distressed properties are often sold at an attractive price and can be a great opportunity for many would-be homeowners, home buyers should partner with a professional like Home Detective to perform a complete home inspection. In the picture above, the property was obviously vacant with no heat, and the water in the toilet froze and burst.  This will certainly be cleaned up by the listing company, but what else went on there?  What about the water pipes?  Is there a potential for mold?   The questions are endless and Home Detective is professionally certified to help you answer them.

Free 90 Day Home Warranty-Appliances Included

Caveat emptor is Latin for "let the buyer beware” because the principle has been around for centuries.  Buried in small print on most “as-is”
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A vacant home, no heat burst pipes

documents is a version of this “hold the seller harmless” language.  In addition to providing peace of mind with a complete home inspection, Home Detective also provides a FREE 90 DAY Home Inspection Warranty, appliances included, with all of our home inspections*.

 Schedule a Home Inspection

Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty. To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155.  Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael
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Guide to Choosing & Changing HVAC Air Filters

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Selecting the correct type of Furnace Filter is important

Routinely changing the air filters for your furnace is an important home maintenance task.  This article discusses: why you should change your air filter; how often to do it; how to choose the right filter; and how to do it yourself.

Why Is It Important To Change Your Furnace Air Filter?

 
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Setting a date to change the furnace filter

Changing your furnace’s air filter is important for two reasons: 1) A dirty air filter makes your furnace’s blower motor work harder, which wastes energy.  Changing your air filter can save you up to $50/year in energy savings; and 2) Over time, your furnace’s air filter gets clogged with the particles that it is made to take out of the air, and as such, as it gets dirty it can’t do its job of cleaning the air in your home.

How Often Should You Change Your Furnace Air Filter?

The frequency of when you should change your air filter can range between once every month, to once every 3 months, and for your particular home it will depend on several factors:
  • If you have someone in your family that has respiratory problems, such as allergies or asthma, then you will want to change your furnace’s air filter more often.
  • If you have a high level of particulates from pets, smoking, construction projects, etc., then you will want to change your air filter more often.
  • The recommended frequency will also depend on the efficiency of the filter that you use.  Higher efficiency filters do a better job of removing smaller particles from the air, but they also get clogged faster and therefore need to be changed more often.
 

How To Choose the Right Furnace Air Filter?

Similar to how often you should change your filter, the choice of the right air filter for your particular home and living situation depends on a number
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Periodically check the furnace filter before is gets like this

of factors. The first thing to consider in choosing the right filter is knowing its size. To find the size of the filter you need, just check on the side of the current filter that is in your furnace. Most filters will have the size written right on them (see types, costs, and reviews of furnace air filters).  However, if you have any doubts as to whether the correct size was originally installed, then it is best to check with your furnace’s manufacturer. The next thing to consider in choosing the right filter for your home is the MERV rating of the filter.  Merv ratings are used to rate the ability of an air filter to remove dust, pollen, mold spores, bacteria, etc. From the air as it passes through the filter.  Merv ratings range from 1 to 16, and the higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particle that the filter can trap. Some of the most common filters found in residential use only have a MERV rating of between 1 to 4.  These are relatively inexpensive, but they do NOT do a good job of filtering the air, because they will not stop particles smaller than 10 microns.  Filters with MERV ratings of between 5 to 8 are a better choice, and these filters will catch particles as small as 3 microns.  Filters with a MERV rating of 9 to 12 will stop particles in the 1 to a 3-micron range, and these filters are a great choice for homeowners who want the best particle control possible.  And finally, the most efficient filters have MERV ratings of 13 to 16 and will stop particles as small as .3 microns. These filters are used in hospitals and other super-clean environments. IMPORTANT: If you decide to use a high-efficiency air filter with a MERV rating of 9 or higher, then it is very important that you remember to check the filter each month (which is easy to remember if you have signed up for your free reminders from Home-Wizard.com!).  And replace the filter if it looks dirty, otherwise, it can become blocked and cause your furnace blower to have to work harder, which will cost you more energy to operate it. So don’t get higher MERV rating filters unless you are sure that you will be replacing them often. The various types of filters include electrostatic, pleated, HEPA and activated carbon. Some are disposable and some are washable. But what really matters is the MERV rating, as described above.

How To Do-It-Yourself?

Replacing your furnace air filter is one of the easiest do-it-yourself tasks there is, once you learn how.  Here is a short YouTube video that shows the typical location of your furnace filter and how to replace it: replace the furnace filter. And here are the steps to follow for replacing your furnace filter: Step 1: Find out where your existing filter is located and read the size that is written on the side of it. Step 2: Decide what MERV rating is appropriate for your home situation (see above). Step 3: Purchase your filter. You might want to consider buying enough to last you the entire year, so you have them available as needed, without having to make extra trips or online orders. Step 4: Turn off your furnace. This is best to do right at the breaker, but you can also do it at your thermostat. Step 5: You will want to check the existing filter to see which direction the “airflow” arrow is pointing on it, as you will want to install the new filter in the same direction.  Most filters will have an airflow arrow printed right on it. However, if you are not 100% sure the direction is correct (for example if you have just moved into the home), then you can do what is called the “string test”: tie a string firmly to your finger, then turn your furnace blower on; next, bring your finger with the string on it near the opening where your filter opening is, and see which direction the air causes the string to flow. . . this is your air flow direction.  Just be sure to tie the string FIRMLY to your finger, so it doesn’t get sucked inside your furnace! Step 6: Remove your old filter. Step 7: Install your new filter, with the proper air flow direction. Step 8: Write the current date on the side of the new filter (in case you forget when it was changed). Step 9: Clean up any dust, debris, etc. Around your furnace. Step 10: Turn your furnace back on. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand why you should change your air filter; how often to do it; how to choose the right filter; and how to do-it-yourself.

For a Home Inspection

Home Detective is certified by over 4 leading trade organizations as a home inspection expert, with rigorous knowledge and experience requirements that a jack of all trades can’t possibly offer, such as the Midwest Association of Home Inspectors (MAHI)American Home Inspection Training (AHIT)American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). These certifications along with years of experience will ensure you have peace of mind after you purchase your home.  In addition to our credentials, Home Detective offers a Free 90 Day Warranty for all the home inspections we do with the option for an 18 month extended warranty. To schedule your home inspection today or for more information, contact Reed at (763) 434-3155Buyers Home Inspection Brainerd | Buyers Home Inspection Rogers | Certified Home Inspector Brainerd | Certified Home Inspector Rogers | Home Inspection Brainerd | Home Inspection for Sellers Rogers | Home Inspection Rogers | Home Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspection Brainerd | Radon Inspection Rogers | Radon Inspection St. Michael | Radon Inspector Rogers | Radon Inspector Brainerd | Radon Inspector St. Michael
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