Home Improvement Tips

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You might not be selling your home just yet, but having a list of repairs or projects to better your home is a good way to keep the maintenance to a minimum, and the value of your home increasing.  Snow, sleet, high winds, and rain can play havoc to your home if it’s not properly maintained. Gutters full of debris can be a problem when the snow comes, and the spring showers can really be a problem for the basement and foundation of your home if those gutters were not cleaned after all.  Having a list of chores to do this fall, or home improvements that you need to consider, can keep your home and wallet “healthy” this year.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


Kuffa: Small details could become turn offs for a home sale

Let’s talk about simple turn offs to houses on the market.

We often get calls from people who say, “My lender (or Realtor or parent) told me I should get a home inspection even though I don’t think I really need one.”

Then the day comes for the big inspection and I’m sitting in the driveway just looking at the exterior and my brain is racing because of numerous problem areas I have seen before I’ve even left my vehicle.

Inspecting a house is like being a detective. You are looking for clues, irregularities, oddities and indications of non-professional work. Other clues may be indications that previous owners or residents were possibly “do-it yourselfers” or were just neglectful or didn’t take care of the property. As an inspector, it is always easier to inspect a building whose previous resident has lived there for a long time. This resident has more knowledge about the history of the house and usually their lifestyle and habits are more evident. Also, it is always easier to inspect a house that is represented by a real estate agent than one that is “for sale by owner.” The real estate agent has to abide by specific laws and rules, fills out required paperwork and has their reputation at stake. In my experience, The “for sale by owner” situations typically are more problem laden, less often abide by the same rules as a real estate agent and the seller has decided to cut out the real estate agent’s fees.


Waterproofing Basement Walls: Costs and Options

Tempted by ads that promise to waterproof your basement? Here’s the scoop:

If you’re trying to figure out how to cure a wet or musty basement, you’re probably curious about advertisements for products that claim to waterproof basement walls. So you wonder: Is it really possible to dry out a basement simply by sealing the walls?

Yes, it is possible — but to make sure you’re choosing the right option, you need to figure out if the moisture is coming from the outside, or if it’s actually high humidity that’s condensing on the cool walls of your basement.

How to Find Out What’s Causing the Moisture

Tape a 1-foot-square piece of aluminum foil to the inside of your basement walls, and leave it in place for 24 hours.

If there’s condensation on the outside of the foil, you have high humidity in your basement. Fix it with a portable room dehumidifier or a whole-house humidifier system instead of waterproofing products.

If the foil has condensation on the inside surface (next to the wall), it may be the soil around your house is naturally damp from a high water table or poor soil drainage. In that case, waterproofing your basement walls can be useful.


How to Conquer the Huge Problems Found During Home Inspections

You’ve finally found a buyer for your beloved home and signed a deal. Phew, what a relief! But then comes the reality check, aka the “home inspection.” Such simple words, yet so fraught with stress and fear! Many contracts include a contingency that allows the buyer to back out if serious problems are found during inspection. So, bring on the fear.

Of course, you know your home and you think it’s just fine, but maybe a professional with a less sentimental eye might see it differently?

To keep at least one step ahead, check out these common issues found during an inspection. That way you can fix them, save the deal, and even save yourself!


 

Buying A Home? Read These Tips Before You Commit

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There is nothing quite like getting your first home.  After years of paying rent, signing the papers that make you a home owner is quite exciting.

The pitfalls that come when buying a home are many and it’s better to be aware of them before you sign those papers. So, what are some of the things you need to be aware when looking to buy a home? A thorough home inspection is absolutely a necessity.  The roof, foundation, water heater, furnace, and air conditioning are expensive home repairs you do not want to overlook when inspecting the home. Make sure the home inspector is a licensed professional with a good reputation before you hire him/her for the job.

Follow the links below to read more about this very important topic.


Buying an Old House? Here Are 5 of the Scariest Issues You Could Face

Many investors dive headfirst into real estate simply because it can bring high returns. However, those with more experience know that renting or flipping a home doesn’t always …

Many investors dive headfirst into real estate simply because it can bring high returns. However, those with more experience know that renting or flipping a home doesn’t always put you in the green, particularly if the house is subject to a number of serious issues.

Sometimes, when you tour a house or look at listing photos, the outdated fixtures can throw you off. For example, Formica countertops and closed off quarters can be a turn-off to investors. However, this is all cosmetic and can be easily fixed. It will cost a little extra, but these little changes won’t compromise the entire structure of your home.

When looking for a house, you must carefully watch for signs of issues that will cost tens of thousands to fix and potentially render the property unprofitable. If you see any of the following signs, think twice before making a purchase.


Home inspection checklist: What to inspect

If you’ve signed a contract to purchase a home, a key step before completing the sale is getting a professional home inspection. Make sure to keep this home inspection checklist handy – the inspection is often the last chance you’ll have to go inside the home before the final walkthrough.

“In my experience, the majority of homebuyers don’t know that much about what they are buying and are relying on the inspection to fill in the many gaps in their knowledge,” says home inspector Scott Brown, owner of Brightside Home Inspections in Syracuse, New York.

If your purchase agreement has an inspection contingency — and it should — a home inspection that reveals serious flaws can allow you to walk away from the deal without penalty. It can also allow you to ask the seller to make repairs before closing, saving you money and potentially some hassle.


A 5-Point Checklist for Buying Your First Home

Get these out of the way before you start house-hunting.

Are you buying a home for the first time? Before you start looking at wrap-around porches and bay windows, here are five things you need to do.

  1. Get your credit reports straight. The interest you’ll pay on your mortgage depends on how creditworthy your bank thinks you are. That means you have to cast yourself in the best light. Order all three of your credit reports — from TransUnion, Experian and Equifax — about a year before you start looking. Fix any mistakes.
  2. Set a budget. One good rule of thumb is to make sure your house doesn’t cost more than 2.5 times your salary. If your household income is $100,000, then $250,000 should be your max.
  3. Figure out which type of mortgage you want. So this breaks down to: fixed-rate versus adjustable rate. A fixed-rate loan is when the interest rate and payment stays constant for the entire loan, usually 15 or 30 years. An adjustable-rate mortgage has a fixed interest rate that then resets after a certain period. A good rule of thumb is that if you can afford a home only if you get an adjustable-rate mortgage, then you can’t afford a home.

The Fun Part of Waterproofing the Basement – Decorating It

stock-photo-3164773-executive-home-bar-and-entertainment-roomYou finally got your basement waterproofed.  It’s dry, looks good and smells even better.  Now it can be used as an actual living, working, and storage space.   This is where the fun starts; it’s time to decorate.

Basements can be a decorating challenge because they’re usually used for a variety of different functions (i.e. workshop, crafts, kid’s play area, storage, media room, workout equipment, laundry, meditation).  Some of these uses are utilitarian and straightforward, while others are more esoteric and personal. 

Here are some decorating ideas to make your spaces functional and uniquely your own.

Use the walls

Too often walls are used only to hang pictures on or put furniture against; there are other uses for them.  Think about using your storage needs as a decorating opportunity.  Depending on the function of the room consider using bookcases, cubbies, lockers, storage units or shelving.  Add corresponding baskets or plastic totes and you have a functional as well as decorative feature. 

Exercise room – metal shelves for weights, workout DVDs, fitness balls/mats and clear plastic totes for smaller items.  Kid’s play room – shelving (sturdy and secured to the wall) painted in primary colors for books, games, baskets and colored totes for toys.  Media room – bookcases for DVDs, electronic equipment and baskets for remotes.

Consider the ceiling

People don’t consider the ceiling when they’re thinking of decorating.  But, the basement can be different – like the walls, the ceiling can be used for decoration and function.  If you have overhead space there are some creative ways to use it.

Kid’s play room – string a net from the ceiling between 2 corners and use it to store balls.  Workshop – save garage space by hang bikes or golf bags along the wall, out of the way, with ceiling hooks.  Storage room – that Christmas tree doesn’t have to take up valuable self or floor space; some overhead hanging units can hold up to 250 lbs. 

Remember the stairs

The space under the stairs is usually left to spiders and bugs.  There are many pre-made cubbies, shelves and bookcases that fit under standard basement steps or you can get built-in shelves or cabinetry. 

Getting to decorate after your basement has been waterproofed is exciting, and there are a lot of good ideas you can use.  Just keep in mind that simple and uncluttered never goes out of style.  Cluttered and disorganized will make even an Architectural Digest room look bad.


Nicole Abbott is a professional writer who’s had over 200 articles published.  She’s a business consultant and former psycho-therapist with over 20 years of experience in mental health, business and addiction.  She’s a coach, lecturer, trainer and facilitator.  She has conducted over 200 workshops, trainings, presentations, seminars and college classes. 

Protecting Your Home By Waterproofing Your Basement

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One of the most obvious tell-tale signs of problems with the foundation of your home is the cracks in the floors and basement walls.  Puddles in the basement, and flooding after a rain, means you have a problem there. Waterproofing the basement and making sure the foundation of the home is not compromised requires immediate attention before the problem escalates. Problems to the foundation of your home done by swelling soils can play havoc to the entire structure, and make your home unsafe.

Calling a contractor or company to do the work requires you to do your homework first.  Make sure you call a reliable company with a long, and good history in the area.  If you still have questions and need an honest answer, then contact us.  We have an excellent record doing business in Northeast Ohio since 1979, and we’ll be happy to talk to you.


With more rain on the way, here’s how you can prevent water from leaking into your basement

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – While some people across southcentral Kansas saw extreme flooding over the last week, others experienced the storms in smaller doses with some minor basement flooding.

KSN wanted to find out what you can do to prevent water leaking into your basement and how to minimize damage if it’s too late.

The key is to divert any water away from your home, and while that may sound obvious, it’s an issue a lot of people struggle with.

You can start outside your home by extending rain gutter down spouts away from the house itself.

Next, make sure the grade of your yard surfaces slope away from your home, creating a natural flow downhill.

You can also clear your gutters of leaves and other debris that may block water from flowing through.

Finally, install a sump pump and even potentially a back-up sump pump if needed.

To learn more, KSN spoke with Danny Morrow, owner of Kansas Basement and Foundation Repair.


So, You Want to… Waterproof Your Basement – BobVila.com

Basement waterproofing can be a confusing (and expensive) process. But if you’re dealing with leaky foundation walls or water welling up from the floor, finding an effective means of managing these problems could save you a lot in the long run. Here’s a quick rundown of your options for keeping downstairs dry.

Unless your plan is to install a swimming pool in your basement, you probably cringe at the idea of water trickling in beneath your house. While the best time to waterproof is during new construction, if you live in an older structure, you don’t have that luxury. There are, however, a few measures you can take to protect your home from water, running the gamut from inexpensive safeguards to high-dollar professional remedies. Here’s all the information you need to choose the best solution for your basement.

EXTERIOR REMEDIES
The most effective way to waterproof a basement is from the outside. Doing so, however, involves excavating the soil away from the exterior of the foundation on all sides and installing drain tile (a flexible perforated pipe covered with mesh or fabric) at the base of the foundation.


6 Telltale Signs Your New House Is a Money Pit

Fixer uppers can get expensive.

If buying a fixer-upper is your next big money move, make sure you’re not settling for something that’s going to cost you much more than you planned. Buying a house in need of repair can mean ample savings in the short term but a potential significant investment in the long term.

If you don’t know how much it’s going to cost to fund all of those renovations, you might be diving right into a money pit. Ideally, your budget for repairs and renovations should have 10 percent to 20 percent tacked on for unforeseen problems. Run into these problems, though, and your budget could go well over that. Here are six signs you’re moving into a money pit.

2. Water in the Basement

If tornadoes, hurricanes and torrential rains are a frequent occurrence in the area, make sure the basement and home are protected from the elements.

“Just know that if your home has a basement and there’s been flooding before, the chances of recurring flooding issues are high unless you hire a professional to come out and ‘waterproof’ the basement, which can be extremely costly,” said Stephanie Sullivan of Dream Town Realty Brokerage.

Any puddles of water or small pools of water in the basement are a sign the basement might not have proper sealants or a fully functional interior water drainage system. According to the latest HomeAdvisor cost profiles, you’ll be looking at spending an average of $3,816 to waterproof the basement. But, your bill could reach $9,135 or more depending on the amount of work that needs to be done.


 

Home Repair And Basement Waterproofing

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As you make a list of projects to do in your home, there are many projects that are probably purely personal.  Men want a personal spot for them to relax, and women usually want projects that will make the home look prettier and organized.  But depending on the region you live in, projects done to your home may not return the investment invested doing them, and if selling the home, the projects may help you sell the house, but you won’t recuperate the money you put into it.  Basement waterproofing and installing a new roof are probably less glamorous than anything you may think on doing, but those projects are vital to the health of your home.  Read more about home repairs and upgrades that can help you have a better home.


The Top 5 Basement Waterproofing Tips of the Household

Waterproofing your basement is all about minimizing, if not totally preventing, the entry of water from the outside environment. This can then be enhanced further by the application of interior basement waterproofing technologies.

The basement is the strongest part of any home. However, it is also one of the most often neglected parts.

It is prone to water damage primarily because of its proximity to ground water. When the rainy season comes, the basement often receives the brunt of water damage. Before your basement get severely undermined by water damage, you need to make it waterproof. Here are the top 5 basement waterproofing tips for the household.

1.       Check Your House’s Plumbing Network. – Even before you buy and apply waterproofing products, it is important to make sure that you don’t have any plumbing fixture that is leaking or is already damaged or worn out. Sometimes, you don’t need the rain to flood your basement. A faulty or broken pipe or plumbing can have the same effect. If you are not sure what to look for, having a professional plumber and basement waterproofing experts check it out first is always a good idea.


17 Simple Home Repairs and Upgrades That Will Save You Bundles of Money

Homeowners fantasize about making fabulous changes to their homes: adding rooms, beautifying the grounds, and remodeling kitchens and baths. In reality, however, these dream projects may not be financially possible.

Don’t let that stop you, however, from taking good care of the home you have. By keeping up with small repairs you’ll not only save money by heading off the big expensive fixes, you’ll also maintain your home’s resale value.

Here are 17 small jobs you can do to hold down household costs:

1. Change HVAC filters

Your furnace and air conditioner filters trap airborne allergens and dust so you breathe clean air. These filters need changing every few months while you’re using the furnace or air conditioning. The reason: Tiny particles of dirt pulled into the system from the air can hurt your furnace’s heating coil and fan. Changing filters regularly also can lower utility bills by as much as $100 a year, since dirty filters force HVAC systems to run harder and use more energy.


Making Home Repairs to Sell your Home

When selling your home, you often need to first do perform some repairs and maintenance. Some of these you can do yourself if you have the time but many need special tools that repairmen tend to have in their toolboxes. Also, many people just can’t find the time to make repairs.According to Angie’s List, hiring a handyman can prevent waste and overcharging, as the handyman will only charge you for hours worked. Plus they keep their rates low with low overhead and by not having to pay other workers.

Handyman Work

Most handyman work is relatively simple. It can be simple carpentry work or painting. It doesn’t typically involve major construction or expansion of the home. When you think you’re going to more extensive work, you should consider a contractor. Contractors supervise specialized tradespeople such as plumbers, electricians, and craftsmen. Contractors can put together a teal to expand your house or make major remodeling changes.

Before you hire a handyman or a contractor, make a list of the jobs you need done. If your list is composed mostly of repairs and some updating like painting, a handyman should suit your needs.

Deciding On the Best Repair Person

  • Get recommendations from family, friends, or your real estate professional. She or he may know an individual or company that specializes in “make-ready,” a room-by-room clean-up, touch-up and fix-up. You can also contact sites such as HomeAdvisor or Angie’s List, to hire workmen.


 

Safety In Your Home Is Your Responsibility

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Every season brings a recurring set of chores that as a homeowner we need to be aware of, and take care of them.  As the summer months slip away, and we get ready for school to start, it is a good idea for us to remember that there are some chores we need to do before fall and winter arrive. Checking the HVAC filters, and changing them accordingly is a sure way to keep indoor air quality optimal and the heating bills lower. Test your smoke/carbon dioxide detectors. Change batteries once a year whether they need new ones or not.  The expense is minimal when considering your family’s well being. Inspecting or acquiring a  fire extinguisher is something every homeowner should have, Is yours ready? Remember, safety in your home is your responsibility. Be aware of those chores you haven’t done in a while, and take care of them today.  For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


Keeping track of home repairs

Keeping track of home-maintenance projects requires attention to details that many of us would rather ignore. But it’s important to maintain accurate records not only to ensure that you’re caring for your investment properly but also so that you’re not wasting money along the way.

Throughout our lives, we spend significant time thinking about where we want to live, dreaming about what type of house we would like to own and imagining how we would furnish it. But many of us don’t focus on how much work and money it will require to maintain a home once we finally have one.

Financial and real estate experts advise homeowners to expect maintenance costs to run between 1 and 4 percent of a home’s value each year. The cost of home repairs includes tasks such as lawn care, roof replacements, basic appliance repair and even paint and floor-covering maintenance. And although home repairs can be unexpected, you can mitigate some unpleasant surprises by staying organized and current with routine maintenance.

On the Level: You’re right to question $18,000 for mold job

I have a mold problem in the basement. The house is 12 years old. The basement is finished. Unfortunately I did not have the basement properly ventilated nor did I put a dehumidifier in the basement until about a year ago.

Our house sits at the bottom of a hill so when there is a lot or rain or a big snowstorm that melts we get water continuously flowing into the sump pit. A few years ago the sump pump did not work properly and we had a few inches of water on the basement floor that we vacuumed up. Also, last year our refrigerator leaked water into the basement that we did not realize for a few months………

The key to getting hold of a potential mold problem is to act within 48 hours of a water intrusion event. Obviously that didn’t happen here. Eighteen thousand dollars is indeed a large sum. Quite frankly, the basement waterproofing industry is rife with fly by night operators who come on like gangbusters, scare the pants off you with a huge number only to back off of the big number somewhat with certain sales techniques only to have you grasp at a smaller price they’ll offer if you sign right away.


Dry weather causing home foundation problems

CORPUS CHRISTI –

It’s been about two months since we’ve had any significant rain in our area and the dry ground is affecting homes in the Coastal Bend.

“I started noticing that my doors were getting hard to close,” said Portland resident Jeannine DeMoss.

The foundation at Jeannine’s home has been shifting because of the dry weather. She’s not alone. This problem is keeping foundation repair businesses pretty busy.

“Homes that were fine before are starting to feel the effect,” said Charlie Garcia the owner of U.S.A. Foundation.

Cracked walls are just one of the many indicators of a shifting foundation.

 


Organizing One Room At A Time

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Researches have found for many years now that having a clean home is not only “good” for you, it is good for your health as well.  A clean home seems to reflect the state of some  homeowners health, and even  the EPA – The United States Environmental Protection Agency-believes that the indoor air quality of some homes can be up to five times more polluted than the outdoors. Pollen, dust, mold ,and cleaning chemicals that are found in the home are a constant worry for many families, especially when they have small children or children with respiratory problems. 

To inspire you to get organized and therefore having a cleaner home, follow the links below.


Reduce interruptions before you start organizing

Some of you wake up with good intentions to organize your home. However, by the end of the day you feel dismayed because you could not follow through on those good intentions.

In many cases, it’s interruptions that keep you from accomplishing your organizing goals. The key is to reduce as many interruptions as possible before you start.

If you want to succeed, especially if you’ve taken off work, don’t tell anyone you’re home for the day. If people know you’re available, they are more likely to interrupt you.

Tell your family members who will be home, the set hours you plan to organize. Request they not interrupt you during that time.

If you have young children, ask your spouse, grandma or a friend to care for them during your organizing time. Your family will benefit from your home being more organized. Plus, organizing can also give your relationship a boost. This is a big incentive for a spouse to find something fun to do with the kids.

Peter Bregman’s quote, “The best way to avoid interruptions is to turn them off,” is spot on. Turn off your phone and shut down your computer before you get started. You need quiet time to make decisions regarding your possessions and to process the emotions that often surface.


The Pros Reveal Their Personal Organizing Secrets

The term organizing tends to conjure images of color-coded labels, exhaustive filing systems, or strict, Kondo-style minimalism. But the truth is, even the houses of professional organizers aren’t always pristine. “One of the things we get asked most often is whether our own homes actually stay organized or whether our kids destroy them in a split second,” says Clea Shearer, who co-owns organizing company the Home Edit with Joanna Teplin. “Our answer is always the same: Of course our kids destroy it, but if you put simple systems in place, you can get it back to perfection in about ten minutes.” Here, Shearer, Teplin, and another industry pro, Marissa Hagmeyer, a cofounder of organizing service NEAT Method, share the secrets that make organizing a habit, not a chore.

They don’t buy a zillion bins
Yes, vessels are your friends, but don’t think a shopping spree at the Container Store will solve all your problems. Buying the wrong boxes can just add to your clutter. “Most home organization mistakes begin when bins, baskets, and other organizers are purchased before the actual organizing has been completed,” says Hagmeyer. Edit first, and then choose storage strategically. “You must know exactly what you have before the purchasing begins.”


Organizing Your Home Just Got Easier

If you’re like me, there has most likely been a time where you have been attempting to improve and organize your home, only to be met with frustration due to lack of space or a tight budget. It’s an inevitable outcome when there is just so much space within a house to hold all the necessities, hey, even fun and entertaining things, that we have accumulated over the years.

One thing I have been noticing in the homes of my friends who manage their space particularly well have been nifty sliding shelves in their cabinets. Nearly everyone has seen or knows someone with sliding shelves. Often times they’re referred to as rolling shelves, slide out trays, pull out shelves, extending shelves, and the list goes on. But regardless of what you call them, there is no doubt that sliding shelves are an organizational blessing to any home space.

With simple installation, sliding shelves can be the instant and unexpected tool that will have you saying, “Who knew I had all this space?” Shelves That Slide are the number one- Tucson trusted pull out shelf company that is here to answer all of your home organization needs.


 

Organize Your Basement, Finally

pioneer (6)One of the books on a bestsellers list right now is about getting organized.  It’s not the first and it won’t be the last.  There’s a modern day mantra that goes like this, “I’ll be (happier, healthier, calmer, thinner, wealthier …) just as soon as I get (my life, the house, the kids, work, my schedule…) organized”.

I don’t know about health, wealth and happiness, but I do know that getting the basement organized can create a feeling of satisfaction – if that leads to those other things, then all the better.  The basement can be a good place to start your quest for more control over your stuff.

For most people looking at a project as a whole is overwhelming, especially those we really don’t want to do or are dreading doing.  It can be especially discouraging if it’s something we know we should do and know it’ll benefit us when it’s done, but we keep putting it off.  It adds guilt to the resistance, which is rarely a good formula for motivation.

The best way to stop this impasse is to break down the overall project into pieces that are controllable.  The key to any kind of organizing is to start with small manageable tasks which can be done in reasonable time frames.  How many parts you break it into depends on the size and scope of the job.  Here’s an example. 

Dyan and Sam had been wanting to organize their basement for years – lots and lots of years.  It was becoming an ever increasing irritant; they needed the space and their families had started making bad hoarding jokes.  So, they came up with a plan that fit both of their organizing preferences and agreed to be ruthless in getting rid of things.

Dyan wanted to do her tasks in frequent, but short time frames.  She did the initial organizing by sorting things into 4 piles – throw away, donate, sell and keep – for a ½ hour every day.  Sam wanted to set aside less and bigger chucks of times for his chores.  He set aside an afternoon every other week to go to Goodwill, haul the trash, or get the items ready for a garage sale.  At the end of the process they went through the surprisingly small “keep”  pile together.

How you carve the task of organizing your basement into manageable pieces will work better if it’s guided by your preferences and personality.  This method works for all projects, from simple to a major.  Also, once you get your basement done you can use the same skills to tackle the garage, attic or your kids’ rooms.


Nicole Abbott is a professional writer who’s had over 200 articles published.  She’s a business consultant and former psycho-therapist with over 20 years of experience in mental health, business and addiction.  She’s a coach, lecturer, trainer and facilitator.  She has conducted over 200 workshops, trainings, presentations, seminars and college classes. 



Should You Remodel Your Basement?

pioneer (13)There’s a lot of information out there about how to turn your basement into a fabulous living space.  Man cave?  Craft room?  Kid’s play room?  Home theater?  All good ideas.  But, before you spend your time, money and energy, stop and ask yourself a question.  What’s really right for your situation and your basement?

Here are some financial, physical and emotional questions for you to think about.

Return on investment (ROI) – When you’re figuring the ROI take the size, age and neighborhood of the home into consideration.  What are comparable houses selling for?  What up-grades do they have?  Is the basement the place to put your money or will you get better value from redoing the kitchen or a bathroom? 

The answer to that is usually in favor of the kitchen or bath — renovation costs for a basement can quickly exceed the ROI, especially if you’re going to do it “right”.  Often, a not remodeled space that’s clean, bright, organized and dry can increase the value of a house, while a poor or cheap remodel will detract from it. 

Structure of basement – There are a lot of older homes in Northeastern Ohio and many of them simply aren’t good candidates for finished basements.  They’re usually cold and damp, which only a lot of money can fix.  Also, the mechanicals (i.e., plumbing, electrical, support posts, HV/AC, sump pump) can be difficult to work around or hide — creating choppy, small rooms.

Don’t be lured to the design dark side by reality shows that aren’t real at all.  HGTV has a lot of resources the typical home owner will never have access to.  No amount of creative designing is going to make the sloping drain in the middle of the floor, which smells like sewer in the hottest part of summer, disappear.  Some spaces are simply too difficult to fix up.

Expectations – Take some time and think about what you want this space to “do”.  Think honestly about your emotional expectations for it.  People often think that internal problems can be addressed through external means, and they are disappointed when that doesn’t happen.

Want a quiet space?  (What are you going to do when the kids invade your craft room, like they have every other room in the house?)  Think it’ll prompt family time?  (Is a bigger flat screen the answer to not spending enough time together?)  Do you think you’ll finally get organized?  (Unless you’re committed to behavioral changes too more space usually means more clutter.)

Remodeling your basement can be a big project, so be sure it’s really going to meet your financial, physical and/or emotional goals.  The poorly lit, badly tiled, damp walled, low ceiled, cheaply paneled, smelly, circuit blowing, weird color remnant carpeted, deserted finished basements of our area are legend, don’t add to them.


Nicole Abbott is a professional writer who’s had over 200 articles published.  She’s a business consultant and former psycho-therapist with over 20 years of experience in mental health, business and addiction.  She’s a coach, lecturer, trainer and facilitator.  She has conducted over 200 workshops, trainings, presentations, seminars and college classes. 

Indoor Air Quality

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Reports of indoor air quality has required for many of us to take a look at our homes, and wonder whether we are breathing pollutants that we were never aware they were in there.  Government research  studies conducted through out the years have shown the many pollutants in our home that affect our health and well being.  Specially troubling is the way these pollutants affect learning in children, and the health issues associated with breathing which include respiratory or asthma related problems. For more about this topic, follow the links below.


Is the Air in Your Home Affecting Your Health? How to Reduce Indoor Pollution

Pollution is increasingly—and rightfully—on people’s minds lately, as seen in the host of new products addressing its negative effects on the skin and the troubling smog levels in cities like Beijing. But only recently did I start thinking more seriously about the air quality inside the home, after a pair of prolific chain-smokers moved in downstairs, sending evidence of their dedication wafting up into my apartment. What else, besides that stale Marlboro tinge, lurks behind closed doors and windows?

“Indoor air is rated by the EPA, and all our research indicates that it’s five times worse than outdoor air,” says Max Kirk, Ph.D., an associate professor at Washington State University who researches indoor air quality. “As we tighten up our homes for energy efficiency, we live in more of a soup than we ever have before.” The ingredients in that unsavory soup might include chemical gases emitted by furniture, household cleaning products, common allergens like dust, and outside pollution that breezes in and stays put. “If you think that about 90 percent of your life is spent indoors, then it really starts to add up,” stresses Kirk, who is part of a team of scientists at work on a three-year, EPA-funded study examining the effects of climate change on domestic spaces. “A home is almost a living thing: It moves. It breathes. It exhausts air on its own; it brings in air,” he says, explaining how they tracked the effects of last summer’s forest fires inside two homes. “As researchers, it really opened our eyes.”


Around The House: How to add humidity and keep the air clean

Dear Ken: What’s the best way to humidify a house and still have clean air? I have a son with allergies and am concerned about air quality. – Michelle

Answer: Furnace-mounted, whole-house humidifiers do a pretty good job these days because the modern units are self-cleaning, dribbling water continuously over a mesh pad. My favorite brand of humidifier is Aprilaire. You can buy one with a computer that takes charge of the furnace and runs the fan when humidity gets low; they cost about $500, installed.

Using the right furnace filter is key because it is the front line in air quality defense. Look for the 3M Filtrete brand. Its highest-rated filter is a little pricey – about $16 – but it will help at your house, especially if you run the furnace fan 24/7.

The ultimate in furnace filtration is attained with an electronic air filter attached to the furnace’s blower cabinet. This is a plug-in device with electrostatic circuitry – similar to a “bug zapper” – that cleans virtually all foreign material from the indoor air.


Home Improvement Day: Best Practices for Air Quality in the Home

There are many possible problems with indoor air quality, and the beginning of summer is a great time to tackle them.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with home improvement expert Bill McAnally about indoor air quality and how to identify and fix problems, along with other benefits to improving air quality.

McAnally identifies several potential hazards for indoor air quality. He recommends being careful when applying carpet and ensuring that there is proper protection against moisture. He also recommends watching out for lines of dirt under doors or any other areas because that can be a sign of poor air quality.

Another symptom? Poor health, like headaches, are a common side-effect of bad air quality in the home. Double checking the yard and strong chemicals outside of the house, along with cleaning the air filter are good first steps to ensuring clean air.