Declutter Your Home by Starting Small

We, at some point or another have a messy home.  It is inevitable.  With the busy lives we lead, cleaning our homes are relegated to the weekend, and only if we have no children that have sports meets during those two days. We are busy, there’s no doubt about it.  But, a messy home is very different from being a hoarder.  Clutter is somewhat expected, but hoarding to the point of having no space in your home to live in, is something different.

We tend to do many home improvements in our home that are purely aesthetic, and that’s good.  But, decluttering a home can be, for sure, the beginning of having a beautiful home without spending money.  Getting rid of stuff is good.  Start small.  A closet, or even a closet shelf is all you need to do  to begin the process of decluttering your home.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.


How to Declutter Your Home: Clutter Busting Tips & Tricks!

When your home is cluttered, it doesn’t just feel like your living space is unorganized and messy. It also feels like your life is unorganized and messy. In this “How to Declutter Your Home” guide, we take a look at several decluttering methods to help you find one that’s manageable for you!

Why Is Your Home Cluttered?

This is an important place to start when thinking about decluttering your home. Whether your struggle is that you don’t have an effective organization system, your number of possessions has grown but your living space hasn’t, or a combination of reasons, identifying why you have clutter will help you determine the tips, tricks, and methods that will most effectively help you get started toward a cleaner, more organized home.

You Don’t Have Enough Space

Maybe your home doesn’t have the amount of space necessary to hold all of your things. Or maybe you don’t know how to effectively utilize the space you have. Either way, you need a space-saving solution and/or storage solution.


As Jenny Lee decides 2017 is the year to tackle the clutter in her home, she seeks advice from County Down declutterer Gwen Montgomery.

I AM a hoarder. I’ve always tried to deny it, but now that I’ve admitted it I am determined 2017 is the year I’m going to tackle it and declutter my home.

My home really doesn’t look too cluttered – every now and again I do clear out – the problem is I take an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude, and rather than bring stuff to a charity shop or skip, it all just goes into storage upstairs in the attic.

Our house has the potential to be expanded upwards but my dream of our attic being converted into a much-needed office space and playroom is being hampered by it being crammed with clutter – my clutter.


Thinking about decluttering? Start small to build your confidence

Professional organizer Cris Sgrott-Wheedleton joined Post staff writer Jura Koncius last week on our home front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.

What is the best room of the house to start with when trying to declutter?

I always recommend starting with a smaller area (coat closet, pantry or linen closet). It will make you feel like you’ve accomplished something and will also help you build confidence! Most people get discouraged because they start with larger projects and tend to lose steam after having to make decisions when encountering all of the stuff. By starting small, you avoid the decision fatigue, and it sets you up to feel good about your project and organizing in general.


 

Buying A New Construction Home? Read This First

The U.S. Census Bureau along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released the numbers for home construction for the year 2016.  According to the figures, there were 1,123,000 houses built in 2016 with a 2% rise over the previous year.

The slight mortgage rate decrease has given borrowers new hope.  Total mortgage rate applications have slightly increase-2.3%-over the last few months, but is a 23% decrease since last year overall. 

Regardless of what the interest rate is, many first time home buyers look to buy a new construction, or a fairly new home. The pitfalls start right away if as a first time home buyer you do not due your due diligence. From interest rates that the bank gives you that do not benefit you, to shoddy construction that will jeopardize your financial situation before you can move into your new home, the hazardous road to owning a home are many.

There are many construction companies that are honest, and try to do great work.  But, there are hundred others that because they are trying to make a profit at your expense, do not care about the construction of their homes.  Contractors pass the buck when something goes wrong with the home. The dry wall contractor blames the main contractor, and so on until owning a new home starts to feel like a nightmare.

When buyers of new construction homes are ready to move in, they find that the home was not what was promised. Drywall cracks, damp basements, roof problems, and squeaky floors are some of the most complained aspects of new home construction. 

Damp basements in a new construction really spells trouble for you.  The roof and basement are big ticket items to fix, so if your new home have issues with them, you have to talk to the builder right away, and have the matter settled.  Look to the warranties, and to the contract you signed.  If the builder is not responsive, seek legal advice.

If you are buying a new home and need to do some due diligence, this  is a nice article for you to start learning what to look for when buying a new construction.


Basement Waterproofing And Foundation Repair

The United States is a nation where homeowners spend a lot of money improving their homes.  According to Statista, in 2015 the average expenditure per household in home improvement was $2889.  Back in 2007, we spent approximately $3280 in home improvements per home,  and despite the worries about the economy, Americans will continue to do home improvement, and DIY projects in and around their homes.

While many projects done around the home are mainly aesthetic, there are others that are done to protect the structure of the home. 

Foundation repairs and stabilization, are projects that regardless whether you want to do them or not,  you have to hire someone that knows how to do it properly.  Basement waterproofing is also something to be left to the professionals.  There are many places on the internet that give advise on how to waterproof your basement without having the knowledge to do so.  Painting the walls of your basement is NOT waterproofing. If there are leaks in your basement, the painting job you do will not stop water from damaging the foundation, walls, floors, and even the ceiling of your basement.

An internet search for a waterproofing company will give you a result of 439,000 options. That includes basement waterproofing companies advertising, or other companies selling you lists of the best waterproofing companies according to them.

There are hundreds of basement waterproofing companies out there.  Some of them will give you an estimate that is so high, you will want to postpone doing anything with your basement, harming the structure in the process. Those companies will you a very complex explanation to what is a very simple solution.

According to Pioneer Basement Solutions  “ There are dozens of basement waterproofing companies that sell and install basement waterproofing systems.  They call their systems all different names which can be very confusing. The last thing many of these basement waterproofing companies want you to think is that what they do is simple or common, so they come up with patented names and fancy presentations.”

The reasons and solutions to fix your basement problems are very easy to understand and explain.  Pioneer Basement Solutions offers a no nonsense, no sales gimmick, FREE consultation to solve your basement issues. They have a long history in the Northeast Ohio region and the best recognition for any company out there.

They are the Better Business Bureau  Gold Star Award Winner 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2012, 2013, 2014, and Angie’s List Super Service Award Winner 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.

Contact us. We will be happy to offer a solution that makes sense to you and your wallet.


Flood Sensors and Other Solutions For Your Basement

When we offer articles in this magazine about cost effective solutions to waterproof your basement, and you think you can do the job by yourself, we want you to think carefully first about the problems that you are facing.  If your basement’s problem is only humidity, a humidifier will do wonders to the place.  If on the other hand you have water sitting on the basement floor or there is seeping as well, the problem is no longer as easy to fix.  A basement waterproofing company with a long history in your community can be the only solution you have.  Contact us, we will offer you a  hassle free consultation for your basement needs.


Flood sensors for your basement

Cnet rating: 4 stars out of 5

The good: D-Link’s Water Sensor is smartly designed and features all the important perks to make it an effective flood detector.

The bad: D-Link’s only real weakness is that it relies on being plugged in, which means power outages are its Achilles’ heel.

The cost: $57 to $90

The bottom line: The D-Link Water Sensor is one of the best flood sensors on the market. If you’re considering buying such a device, this should be the first option on your list — especially if you don’t already use a smart-home hub.

Fibaro Flood Sensor

Cnet rating: 4 stars out of 5

The good: The Fibaro Flood Sensor combines clever design with an open interface, allowing users to creatively pair it with sirens, complementary sensors and more.

The bad: The tilt sensor can be hit-or-miss, and the price is definitely steep, especially if you want to monitor multiple areas at risk of water damage.

The cost: $60

The bottom line: The Fibaro won’t be for everyone, but its versatility and reliable design make it one of the best water sensors for homes at risk of flooding.


Wet basement? Try these cost-effective solutions before calling a contractor.

Wet basement? Thinking about calling a basement waterproofing contractor? Stop.

Many contractors will propose the installation of expensive interior drainage systems — even if you don’t need one — when most moisture problems can be solved through less expensive means. You’re more likely to get good results and save a lot of money by exploring other solutions and hiring a basement waterproofing contractor only if absolutely needed. If your home was built within the past few years, check the builder’s warranty for clauses on seepage.

Most basements get wet when rainwater runs toward the walls of houses from roofs, yards and driveways. So your first step is to force it to run away from your home.

Start by cleaning your gutters, repairing holes, and making sure they slope toward downspouts and have not come loose from the house, allowing water to fall directly from the roof to the ground. Test downspouts to make sure they spill water at least four feet away from the house.


What To Do If You Have Water In Your Basement

There is an approximate rain precipitation in the Akron area of about 36.06 inch every year. That’s nothing compared to the precipitation that Aberdeen Reservoir, Washington gets of 130.6 inches of rain every year.  But, the 36 inches of rain a year that we get can still play havoc with your home if your basement has issues.  There are many homes in the Northeast Ohio area that are older homes, and their basements need work.  But, if you have a flooded basement after a heavy rain, do you know what to do first? Below there are three articles about basement flooding and what to do right away.  If you need help finding a solution to your basement problems, contact us, we will be happy to talk to you.


Niles homeowners say flooded basements a recurring problem

NILES, Ohio –

Flooding on Thursday caused some problems for Niles homeowners, and they say this isn’t the first time.

21 News arrived at a home on Brown Street after the rain had passed but, water was still gushing out from the home’s basement pump.

The owner Joan Grusha said the pump became necessary after she spent $14,000 waterproofing the basement but, still experienced flooding.

“Every time is rains real hard we get it,” said Grusha who has lived at the home for 48 years. “I have had water in my basement, I don’t know how many times I’ve had to go down there and clean it up even after I had it waterproofed.”

Just around the corner on East First Street, Pamela Wolfe said her flooding problems are also on repeat.

“My furnace is out, my hot water tank is under water, my washer, my dryer, they’re all brand new because I had to replace them from the last time,” said Wolfe.

And although she said she followed advice to have her drain cleaned out, she fears that only paved the way for more overflow. Her main concern is that the flooding comes with more than just water.

“It’s sewage and water. Somehow they’re connected together, they said ‘Oh when these houses were built they probably hooked your sewer and your storm sewers together.’ There’s been things floating in my basement that weren’t from me,” said Wolfe.


Draining the water too fast could cause the collapse of the cellar walls, floors, and foundation of the house. The water must be drained slowly to equalize pressure on both sides of the wall.

Although the flood has receded, water still in the ground outside your house may be pushing hard against the outside of your basement walls. The water in your basement is pushing back. If you drain your basement faster than the water in the ground is draining, the outside pressure may be greater than the inside pressure and may cause the foundation or the floor to crack or collapse.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Iowa Emergency Management Division (IEMD) recommend the following procedures be followed when pumping a basement to avoid serious damage, collapse, or injury:

  • Begin pumping when floodwaters are no longer covering the ground outside.
  • Pump the water out one foot at a time. Mark the water level and wait overnight.

Water & wind could lead to leaky basement

The tiniest bit of ice can create the biggest problems. For the second morning in a row, the commute was slow because of slick roads. Now, incoming rain could lead to problems inside your house.

Columbus resident, Robert Giehl gave a tour of his basement while it was being waterproofed. A crew had to do repairs on the inside and outside after he discovered water had seeped into his walls and floor. He smelled mildew and knew there was a problem.

Scott Seneff of EverDry Waterproofing says water in the basement is more common in the winter than you might think. The ground is expanding and we are also seeing a triple threat this week of melting snow, power outages and rain.

Scott says you need to attack the water from the outside and inside.

“You should have a sump pump with a back up battery system attached to it, that you can get a few hours up to a day or two in case you lose power.”


 

Are You Ready For Anyhting?

Vey few people believe a catastrophe will happen to them.Very few of us protect ourselves for such catastrophes. But when something bad happens, we realize how badly prepare we were.  Before you go out and buy something nice you did not need, or click the mouse and ordered something to clutter your home, ask yourself if you are ready for an eventuality. And if the answer is no, then prepare yourself by reading the articles below.


Cramer’s 3 things you must have in place before you invest

Owning stocks can provide serious earning potential, but Jim Cramer considers it just one piece of the investment puzzle.

“There are some people, call them the 1 percent if you will, who can make enough money from their ordinary day-to-day income to become truly rich. But for the vast majority of Americans, that paycheck is simply not enough,” the “Mad Money” host said.

The key to capital preservation is knowing the importance of saving money and preventing loss. Without this, don’t even think about investing in stocks, he said.

“You can make a fortune in the market, but if you’re hemorrhaging money everywhere else, than a healthy portfolio isn’t going to do you much good,” Cramer said.

The three keys to success in capital preservation are paying off credit-card debt, having health insurance and getting disability insurance. Without these things crossed off the list, investing just doesn’t make sense.


How much homeowners insurance do I need?

You need enough insurance to cover the following:

  1. The structure of your home.
  2. Your personal possessions.
  3. The cost of additional living expenses if your home is damaged and you have to live elsewhere during repairs.
  4. Your liability to others.

The structure

You need enough insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding your home at current construction costs. Don’t include the cost of the land. And don’t base your rebuilding costs on the price you paid for your home. The cost of rebuilding could be more or less than the price you paid or could sell it for today.

Some banks require you to buy homeowners insurance to cover the amount of your mortgage. If the limit of your insurance policy is based on your mortgage, make sure it’s enough to cover the cost of rebuilding. (If your mortgage is paid off, don’t cancel your homeowners policy. Homeowners insurance protects your investment in your home.)


7 ways to protect your financial health with an annual insurance checkup

Natural disasters and other catastrophic events are not fun to talk about. But ignoring the need to insure against catastrophe doesn’t decrease the chance of them happening to you. When (let’s say if) they actually happen to you, it is much more devastating if you don’t have the right insurance coverage.

Homeowners insurance is essential. It is designed to protect your home and possessions. It also shields you from liability for accidents and such. You may think you have already had the discussion with your agent and have no need to examine the risks and coverage each year. If you think this way, carefully consider the many reasons why you need to think again.
1. Your Risks Have Changed: You may be paying for insurance you no longer need. On the other hand, you may need more coverage based on your current life. For example, do you have coverage for the current value of your home. Most homes in our area have gone up in value in recent years. If something happens, insurance based on what you paid will fall short of what you need.


 

Living Responsibly This Year

As of the first quarter of 2016, and according to an article published by Time magazine about retirement, 1 in 3 Americans have saved $0 dollars for retirement.  The difficulties of saving for retirement has plagued the nation by increasing health and car insurance premiums, mortgage payments, college increases and everything else in between. Back in 2013, more than 3 quarters of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck. In 2016, more than half of Americans have less than $1,000 dollars to their names according to a Forbes magazine article, and many people will have difficulty paying for a $400 dollar emergency.

There are many polls and articles about the reason Trump got elected the next president of the United States, and the reason may seem reasonable for those who voted for him; They believe he will make their lives better.

But many economists, analyst,and people that Do know economics believe the top 1% will be the only people that benefit from a Trump presidency.  If you are in the 1%, congratulations! But if you checked the links above and checked the Times’ article, and you are one of those Americans that are living from paycheck to paycheck, then you will have to wait and see if a Trump presidency is beneficial to you.

We, as individuals have to take care of our finances first, before we can take care of many other issues concerning our lives.  Regardless who is the president at the moment, our personal finances are our responsibility and have to take care of them responsibly.

There are many safety precautions we take with our children to live a safe and prosperous life, and here are the 3  insurances we must have to live a responsible life, and to protect our children in case of an accident.

  1. Homeowners Insurance —For many people, their home is their greatest asset.  If they have equity, if their home has gone up in value, or they have done a good job remodeling, chances are the home is their greatest asset.
  2. Disability and Life Insurance— Health insurance is and has been mandatory since 2014.  You must carry a minimum level of health insurance coverage or risk paying a tax penalty fee otherwise. Life insurance isa protection for your family in case something should happen to the main provider.
  3. Car Insurance —In many states in no longer possible to register your car without proof of insurance.  Having enough insurance to protect yourself and any passengers traveling with you at any time is the prudent thing to do.

Living responsibly means taking care of those frustrating issues that we would rather not.  Insurance to protect our assets and the health and well being of our family falls into that category of frustrating issues. Live well and responsibly. Take care of your family issues.


Home Improvement Projects For 2017

We hope you a had a great 2016, and if you made New Year’s resolutions, and home improvements made the list, then this is a good place to start.  For many families, home improvements that they can do themselves is economically sound, and they do tackle those improvements themselves, but there are some home improvements that hiring a professional to do them, is the smart thing to do.  Basement waterproofing is one of those improvements that you do need to hire a professional company to do it, and we will be happy to offer you a free estimate to see if we meet your needs. Contact us, we’ll he happy to talk to you.


5 Home Improvement Projects for the New Year

It happens every January. Motivated by the sense of a fresh start for tackling those home improvement projects that never got done the year before, many of my clients come to me with a wish list of to-dos–primarily inspired by the latest trends in design and remodeling. This year I thought I would beat them to the punch and compile my own list of what I think contractors–and DIYers–will be called upon to do the most in 2013.

1. Install Garage Organization Systems

Why it’s popular: Getting organized is probably the top New Year’s resolution of home improvement enthusiasts. What’s great about starting out with the garage is that the area can then serve a workshop for other projects. Plus, there are just tons of options to choose from in home improvement stores.

Expert tip: It may sound obvious, but remember to leave room for car.

2. Update Lighting

Why it’s popular: Again, because there are so many great options to select from. Home owners can add recessed lights, spotlights, ceiling fans (with light fixtures), under cabinet lights… the list of interesting styles of lights available looks to continue to grow in 2013. My personal favorite for really making an impact fast is the addition of a tube skylight. They can be installed in less than a day and they bring sunlight directly into the home, but they have the profile of a recessed light, so they won’t draw too much focus in the room.


Three easy home improvement projects you can tackle right now

During the milder months — like summer and fall — homeowners naturally tend to prioritize working on the exterior of their houses, because the weather is nice. But in the winter, we’re more apt to tackle smaller home improvement projects inside. This seems like a no brainer, right? After all, no one wants to redo landscaping when it’s 35 degrees outside.

With that in mind, Chip Gaines, host of HGTV’s Fixer Upper and lead contractor/owner of Magnolia Homes, offers these three easy home improvement projects to help you make the most of your winter indoors.

Repaint your walls

While you’re holed up inside the house decorating for the holidays or just escaping the cold, you may start noticing places on your walls in high-traffic areas with one too many scuff marks or kids’ grimy handprints. Whether they come from the kids, the pets or even yourself, erasing them is quick and easy.

KILZ Hide-All primer and sealer can take care of these marks and more. This high-hiding product only needs one hour of dry time before you apply your topcoat, so there’s no need to set aside a whole weekend to cross this project off your list.


Only certain home improvement projects will pay you back

In many markets and today’s economy, most of your home improvement projects and remodeling projects are not going to make you money. You won’t see a good home improvement return on investment for all your remodeling projects. The money that you spend remodeling your bathroom, adding a deck, or finishing a basement will unfortunately not translate dollar for dollar in new home equity.

If you spend $10,000 remodeling your master bathroom, that rarely converts to $10,000 in added home equity if you were to put your home on the market immediately afterward. Some projects have a higher impact or rate of return. One great rule of thumb is that anything with running water, such as bathrooms and kitchens, have a high correlation when it comes to increasing your home’s value relative to the money you spend. Many recent studies have shown that you can only expect a 70% to 80% return on your investment in a kitchen remodel should you decide to sell your home.


 

Buying A Home in 2017? Read this First

Are you thinking about buying a new home this coming year? Chances are, before you are done looking at many houses, you will find one with a wet basement. There are many houses in northeast Ohio that because of their age have problems with the basement, or even the foundation of the house.

If you are buying or selling a home, the basement and foundation of your home are two of the places that can make or break the deal.  A basement with water on the floor can leave the buyer unwilling to make an offer, even if the upstairs is lovely.  If the foundation has problems, it is very unlikely you will get a good offer for the house.

Read more about what to look for when buying or even selling a home by following the links below.


Homebuyers: 7 Red Flags to Search for When Touring a Basement

When you compile your list of must-haves in a home and compare it with what’s on the market, a finished basement is almost always a big plus. You get additional square footage for living, entertaining and storage without having to put up the effort and money to finish the space yourself.

But before you fall in love with that finished-basement abode, approach the space with a critical eye. The basement, after all, houses most of your home’s key functioning systems, from plumbing to electrical and gas. A poorly constructed or maintained space might lead not only to costly repairs, but also cause damage elsewhere in your home.

Consider the consequences of taking on a troubled basement. If the finished below-grade space lacks permits or proper waterproofing or contains amateur craftsmanship, you could face municipal fines or risk sickness-causing mold and future fire hazards.

When it comes time to negotiate with a seller on purchase conditions, consider these basement red flags a bargaining chip to ensure you’re getting a well-maintained home. “I would make sure it got resolved before they actually purchase the home,” says David Schrock owner and founder of Basement Spaces Inc. in Aurora, Illinois.


Tips for a finished basement that’s mold-free

Q. I want to get your input on the correct way to finish, in this case refinish, a basement. I believe the previous owners missed one or two critical steps, causing mold to grow on the backside of the drywall.

The house is about 60 years old with a poured-concrete basement foundation whose walls are in good shape. The concrete walls were not painted/waterproofed on the inside. There are no signs of water leaks or holes in the walls.

The previous finishing was done by putting in untreated 2-by-3s as studs ¼ of an inch from the concrete walls, stapling R13-value pink insulation to the studs, then putting up regular drywall on top of that. Twenty-five years or so later, mold appeared on the bottom portion of the drywall (on the back ), and some of the untreated-wood sill rotted. These items are now gone. There is an appropriate-sized dehumidifier in the basement.

To insulate, seal, and finish the basement properly, what are the best steps for the money that meet the necessary building code standards? It seems there are a number of ways to go about this.


The rise of the basement: Tips for a better space

OMAHA – With fewer homes for sale and good returns on the remodeling investment, more homeowners are reclaiming their lower levels and remodeling their basements.Basements are coming out of hiding these days. And they’re doing it in style, with before-and-after transformations featured everywhere from HGTV to Pinterest and YouTube.

What’s driving this trend? A tight housing market, for one thing. With houses at a premium – and a proliferation of DIY how-to’s – more homeowners are inspired to reclaim their unused space and expand their living area.

A smart, affordable upgrade

Updating your lower level is a sound investment in your home. Remodeling magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report put the average basement remodel at $61,303, with a 70.3 percent payback – a far better investment return than adding a bathroom or garage.

Props for your property value

Depending on local regulations, the additional space can often be added to your home’s total square footage, making your market listing more appealing to buyers and potentially increasing your property value.

To recoup the most from your remodeling efforts, make sure your design and decorating choices are attractive and functional – not too quirky or customized.


Buying A New Home in 2017?