Tag Archives: home improvements

Staying Cool This Summer

It’s only May, and already we’re experiencing too-warm of spring weather in San Diego County! Here’s some tips on how to stay cool this potentially hot summer (and save money and energy!):


If you’re installing new windows, your best defense against sun is heat-reflecting or low-emissivity windows. These windows contain a thin film sealed inside double-pane glass to slow heat absorption in summer and heat loss in winter.


One type of film — a window tint — absorbs solar radiation; the other — a reflective film — reflects the sun’s rays and is more transparent than the window tint. Install the type best suited to the climate in which you live. Films are left on windows year-round. Both should last at least 10 years.


If you live in a climate where summers are hot and winters are mild, also consider installing a radiant barrier — a layer of foil to deflect radiant heat. Radiant barriers, however, do not replace the need for other insulation.

Attach awnings. Buy ready-made fabric or aluminum awnings, or build wood awnings that complement your house. Install awnings on east-, south-, and west-facing windows.


Block the sun by covering windows that receive direct sunlight with screenings of bamboo, wood, fiberglass, or polypropylene.


Reflect the sun with shades made with a shiny outer surface. Some fabric shades are backed by light-reflective materials.


If the humidity in your area isn’t too uncomfortable, mount a whole-house fan in the ceiling just below the attic. These fans draw in cool air through open windows at night and push out hot air through attic vents.


Exhaust air any time the temperature outside is cooler than it is inside. Make sure air can come in one open window and leave freely through another.

Stay cool!

Projects with the Best Returns in 2017

Resale ROI

House projects have varying degrees of return; here are the top five projects with the greatest ROI, and the top five with the least ROI:

This infographic is from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS.

Front Lawns: More Than Just Curb Appeal

Beautiful landscaping for your home is for more than just making a good impression.

Besides having that curb appeal punch, having a front yard is good for us! Having a lawn and/or yard reduces energy costs (as long as you have the right trees and foliage planted), cools down the outside areas, reduces stress, provides oxygen, protects trees, and reduces water runoff. All good things, while also making your home beautiful!


This infographic is from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, at CAR.org.

Money Monday: Rent instead of buying these things

Real estate and cars aren’t the only things you can either rent or buy; there are plenty of other rent-able things that you might not have thought about:

  • Tools – Perfect for when you have a DIY home improvement project, but probably won’t need that specific tool for anything else. Rent a chop saw for the crown molding in the bedroom, a chainsaw for the dead tree in the backyard, or a seeder to reseed your front lawn. Rent from local stores around you or Home Depot or Lowe’s, or see if a neighbor or friend has the necessary tool that you might be able to borrow. diy home improvement
  • Chickens and coops – Self-sufficiency can be a fun project or a lifetime endeavor; either way, with multiple companies with coops and chickens for rent, you can try out “home grown” eggs! Check out sites like rent-a-chicken.netrentthechicken.com, or rentacoop.com.
  • Art – Does looking at the same painting on your living room wall get boring after awhile? TurningArt.com allows you to continually rotate artwork for a monthly fee.
  • Clothes – Most cater to women, but there are several different websites now that do clothing rentals. Check out sites like renttherunaway.com, letote.com, or swapdom.com.
  • MSN.com’s article has several other practical things that you can rent: “10 Oddly Practical Things You Can Rent.”

Focus on These Home Improvements

Home improvements that pay off:

  • Entry door replacement
  • Wood or composite deck addition
  • Garage door replacement
  • Attic bedroom
  • Sunroom addition
  • Bathroom addition or remodel
  • Vinyl or wood window replacements
  • Two-story addition

HomeImprovementsThatPayOffThis infographic is from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS at CAR.org.

Changing Homes into Accessible Housing

By 2030 one out of every five people in the U.S. will be 65-plus. With baby boomers retiring and becoming older, will older homeowners have to purchase specifically designed accessible homes? Thankfully not!

Increasing numbers of professional remodelers are changing up existing homes of older residents to accommodate accessibility needs. Universal features like walk-in showers and exterior ramps can be incorporated into many houses.

It often makes sense to remodel older residents’ current homes so that they are able to age comfortably without needing to move. Main floor master bedroom additions are wise changes; they can be used as a master suite from the get-go, or as guest quarters until needed by the homeowners. Ramps can be blended into the architecture and landscaping, and then they can accommodate a wheelchair or walker in the future. Wide doorways, no steps into the home, easy-to-open windows, lower counters, and so many other remodeling changes will make your home appealing and livable for a wide age- and accessibility-range of buyers and homeowners.

AARP has a free booklet entitled “The Do-Able Renewable Home” at www.universaldesign.com.

DIY Home Improvement Projects for Summer

Summer is a popular time for homeowners to make improvements to their home. With a little patience and a trip or two to the local hardware store, homeowners can change the look of their home while increasing the value of the house with these DIY home improvement projects.

Spruce Up Curb Appeal
Before any visitors or potential buyers down the road will notice home improvements, first they will see the exterior. Update the mailbox and address numbers, trim back shrubs, and add flowers or native plants from the region to dramatically change the appearance of the home. To gain a better perspective on the exterior, stand at the curb facing the house and make note of anything that could be updated. Investing in curb appeal can bring a return of four times what the homeowner spent when selling the house.

fixer-upper3Freshen Up the Paint
Get out the paint. Whether it’s touching up a color you already have, or adding a bold accent wall, a fresh coat of paint is one of the quickest and easiest ways to brighten up the house. Before painting, make sure to patch up any holes, no matter how small, and lightly sand the patch work to give the walls a smooth finish.

Illuminating Ideas
Give new light to your home by painting current lighting fixtures or updating lighting fixtures with energy efficient fixtures or ceiling fans. Ceiling fans will not only provide light, but it will create a breeze, while reducing the use of the air conditioning. Before removing any lighting fixtures, turn off the breaker and disconnect the wires.

Revamp the Bathroom
A few minor changes in the bathroom can be advantageous without breaking the bank. Replace outdated noncompliant plumbing fixtures with compliant ones, and update the vanity. Consider adding new linens and accessories to give the bathroom a fresh, new, summery feel.

Spiff Up the Kitchen
Update the kitchen sink and faucet, install a backsplash, and give the cabinets a facelift by re-staining or painting them and changing the hardware to accent the new cabinets. Small changes in the kitchen can change the look of the kitchen. Investing in kitchen improvements can recoup up to 80 percent of the cost when you are ready to sell.

Add Architectural Interest
Crown molding, chair rails, and baseboards add a wow factor to a home and can be easily installed during a weekend home improvement project. Most hardware stores or lumber yards will cut the pieces for you, just be sure to measure and measure again to ensure accuracy. Crown molding won’t increase the value to the house, but will add to the overall appeal and it makes it easier for the homeowner to sell when ready.

Remove Popcorn Ceiling
Popcorn ceilings are outdated. Create a modern, sleek ceiling by removing the popcorn with a soften texture from a local hardware store and scraping the ceilings. If you prefer to have popcorn ceilings, applying a fresh coat of paint to the ceiling will brighten up the room. Although, removing popcorn ceilings won’t increase the value to the house, it will make it easier for you to sell when the time comes.

Clean Home, Increased Interest

Have you considered converting to green in your home?

go greenGreen Energy is hot right now and it got me thinking about the of converting to green in our existing homes. Being able to list your house as a ‘green’ home must still be a novelty these days. One reason is that it can be expensive to switch to green, but there are reasonable contributions that the average family can easily make toward green living. Continue reading