Aimee Siers' Blog
A beautiful home offers a welcoming feeling even before you enter the front door. If you have strong greenery skills, it's easy to imagine flowers bursting with color bordering the front walkway. Well trimmed hedges might border the front of your house. Even from the outside, your house might look brand new.
Home maintenance areas where money is well spent
Inside your home, the walls are blemish free, the painting fresh. Flooring is polished and even. Or the floor might be covered with soft, clean carpet. Guests to your home may think that it's easy to keep your house looking new, inside and out. But, you know better.
You know that keeping a beautiful home takes work. But, if money gets tight, you might think seriously about cutting one or more home maintenance projects from your budget. Although it's smart to keep a close check on your spending, these home maintenance projects may not be what you want to cut if you want to keep your home as beautiful as it is now:
- Roof repair - It doesn't cost anything to climb on a ladder and inspect your roof. You can generally also clean out your gutters without spending additional money. If you spot discolored, bubbled or torn roof tiles, replace them.
- Window seals - Inspect and replace damaged window seals.
- Wash siding - Rinse house siding. Wash your house with a mild cleaner and warm water. Use a long scrubbing brush to clean the house, then rinse the house siding with warm water.
- Filters - Check and replace ventilation filters, this includes air filters and appliance filters.
- Lawn care - Mow your lawn regularly. De-weed your front and back lawns as needed. Also, pick up and remove dead tree limbs and other debris from your yards.
- Plumbing - Take action on clogged pipes early. You can use mild drainage openers once a quarter or as needed. Also, get in the habit of removing hair from sinks. Avoid using your toilet as a garbage can to keep your pipes and plumbing clear.
- Floor tiles - Replace floor tiles when they become uneven. it's cheaper to replace two to five floor tiles than it is to wait and replace flooring in an entire room.
- Carpet - Depending on your carpet type, you may need to replace your carpet every five to seven years.
- Let water drip - Let your sink faucets drip when temperatures reach below freezing. This can prevent your pipes from bursting.
- Heavy weight - Remove heavy snow and other debris from the top of your house.
- Repaint - Consider repainting the interior of your home once every three to six years.
- Replace - Install new door handles, cabinetry and faucets as needed, especially when the amenities become permanently bent or worn.
Cutting the wrong home maintenance projects out of your budget could speed up the time that it takes your home to start showing signs of wear. It could also cause you to spend more money should a minor irritation turn into a major house repair. For this reason, think twice before you start cutting too much out of our home maintenance budget.
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We all love to put off our household chores until the last minute. The secret to cleaning is to actually clean more often for less time. Just taking a few minutes out of each day can save your house form being a mess and save you hours of time scrubbing. Take a look at some of these cleaning tips that will become shortcuts for you to clean your home. Once you get into the habit, it will be much easy in the long term.
Clean Up Spills Immediately
Waiting to clean up spills is simply creating a nightmare for yourself later in the week. Stains will be much tougher to remove the longer they sit there. Everywhere from kitchen countertops to the bathroom sink should be wiped down frequently, especially when something spills. Baking soda, vinegar and even simple dish soap are great tools to help lift various stains and return surfaces to like-new.
Without full on scrubbing everything down, from time to time you should spot clean areas of your home like refrigerator door handles, door knobs and cabinet doors. This way, when you go for a deeper cleaning, it will take less time.
Use Door Mats
This tip sounds oh so simple but can make a huge difference in how clean your home is. Getting a good doormat can help to clean up dirt and debris from the shoes of people who are entering your home. Keep a mat on both sides of the door at entryways, and this can help reduce the need for frequent vacuuming throughout the home.
Start At The Entryway
A tidy entrance is so welcoming to guests. Aside from quick cleaning touch-ups, you can add a few things to the entryway to make it even more inviting. Make sure that the entry to your home is presentable. Add some plants to help improve the appeal of your home.
Make Sure There’s Clear Paths Throughout The Home
Inside of the house, make sure that you have clear paths everywhere with nothing in the way. You don’t want a lot boxes, clothes, or furniture in the way of paths where people walk. Clutter can also pose a safety hazard, causing people to trip.
Put Everything Away
Done right, everything in your home will have a place to go. If you don’t have enough storage, your quick clean-ups are a good time to recognize this, so you can set aside a time for more serious organizing. The more things that you have out, the more clutter your home will accumulate. Each day, remember to put things away. You’ll need to accessorize with practical things like shoe racks, baskets for keys and containers for utensils in the kitchen.
You may have heard that you will need 20 percent of the purchase price of a home to put down in order to buy it. As the prices of homes continue to rise. 20 percent of the purchase price of any home may not seem like a small feat to save up. It’s not impossible to buy a home. You may be able to get around the 20 percent rule in a variety of ways. Keep in mind that putting down as large of a down payment as you can will help you to land the home of your dreams a bit faster.
The 20 percent down rule is sort of a myth. While the more you have saved up, the better your chances of standing out among other buyers are. You can still get a mortgage with less than 20 percent down from most banks. The drawback in not putting down 20 percent on a home is that you will need mortgage insurance (also known as PMI). Mortgage insurance is necessary if you put less than 20 percent down because the lender wants protection in case the home is foreclosed on due to a lack of payments.
All About PMI Payments
If you do put less than 20 percent down on a home, your PMI payments won’t go on forever. Once your loan is paid down a bit, you’ll be free and clear of PMI payments. As a rule, if the loan-to-value-ratio reaches 80 percent, you can ask your lender to cancel the insurance for you. When the loan-to-value ratio reaches 78 percent, the lender will automatically cancel the PMI. This is a welcome decrease in expenses since PMI insurance can add up to be hundreds of dollars per month.
Finding A Way Around 20 Percent Down
Before you even decide to buy a house, you should look at financing options. There are certain programs that are available to you to help. If you know about them ahead of time, you’ll be able to take advantage of them.
Many different government agencies have programs available to help people get a home easier. These programs will provide home loans with a low interest rate and little to no down payment. The downside to these programs is that many of them actually require you to purchase private mortgage insurance as a contingency to get the loan. You’ll need to plan for these extra expenses. There are even grants available to help you with your down payment. Check in your state or local HUD office for details on various programs that can assist you with your down payment on your first home. Through a bit of savings and research, owning your first home can be possible with or without 20 percent down.