A Room-by-room Guide To Decluttering Your Home

white bathroom designBrought to you by Nashville Home Inspection!

Controlling clutter in your home can be a challenge; 48 percent of Americans say their houses are cluttered with stuff they don’t use anymore, according to a survey by ClearVoice Research. Multiple studies have found a cluttered home can negatively affect your mental and physical health, while a cleaner home can make you feel happier and healthier.

A UCLA study found mothers in cluttered homes had higher stress levels while dealing with their stuff, while an Indiana University study found people with clean houses are healthier than those living in cluttered homes. You may realize clutter isn’t good for you, but it’s not always easy to get organized. To help you get started, here is a room-by-room guide to cutting the clutter:

Entryway

Basic tactics:

  • Decide what belongs in your entryway and what doesn’t. The size of the space will influence this decision. If your entryway is a spacious mudroom, you might choose to store shoes, boots, umbrellas and backpacks there. If you have a modest foyer, you may decide you only have room for car keys. Remove anything from the space that doesn’t help it serve its purpose in your home.
  • Add storage/organization that helps the space meet its purpose. Wall-hung key racks can keep important keys at your fingertips. Shoe racks are available in a variety of sizes and styles to fit your space and décor while keeping footwear organized and off the floor.

A step up:

  • If space allows, adding built-in storage such as cabinets and shelves can help keep an entry space organized and visually appealing.

Family room

Basic tactics:

  • Assess the kind of clutter that builds up in your family room. Perhaps your clutter consists of children’s toys, magazines and newspapers, or multiple remote controls for entertainment components. Once you know what kind of clutter you’re collecting, decide if it belongs and must be accommodated, or doesn’t and should go.
  • Add storage solutions specific to your needs. For example, storage ottomans can double as extra seating and a place to store frequently used toys. A caddy can keep remote controls organized and at hand.

A step up:

  • Sometimes furniture that’s too large for a space can add to the feeling of a cluttered and congested room. Assess your family room furniture. Is it the right size for the space, or is it overwhelming the area? Replace overly large furnishings with ones that better fit the room.
  • If you have the room for it, a large shelving or cabinet unit can help contain clutter. Add decorative containers to help keep everyday items like toys, magazines and other frequently used items organized on shelves.

Bathroom

Basic tactics:

  • Tackle the linen closet and trash any partial bottles of shampoo, tubes of toothpaste and towels that have seen better days. Be brutal. If you haven’t used that half bottle of body wash so far, chances are you never will.
  • Clean out your medicine cabinet. Discarding expired prescription medicines can help reduce the risk of someone accidentally taking the wrong medication.

A step up:

  • Showers can be among the most cluttered spots in a bathroom. If you’re ready to take your bathroom organization to the next level, ditch the rack hanging from your showerhead and the precarious corner shelving and upgrade your shower to one with built-in organization, like Sterling Store+ shower. The showers feature built-in recesses and tracks where you can snap in a variety of storage accessories and shelves, such as a soap dish, storage bin, towel bar or shower hook. The storage is fully customizable, and all accessories are removable and dishwasher safe. Visit www.sterlingplumbing.com to learn more.

Kitchen

Basic tactics:

  • Countertops frequently host a wealth of kitchen-related clutter, from the mail you brought in yesterday and forgot to go through to small appliances you use once or twice a year. Clearing off countertops can make a kitchen feel visually more appealing, look bigger and function better. Remove and store rarely used small appliances, ditch the ceramic container of utensils and store those items in drawers instead.
  • Pantries and cabinets can be nearly as cluttered as countertops. Adding shelving and storage units within cabinets can help keep pots, pans, lids and dishware better organized and more easily accessible.

A step up:

  • Some people need a bit of extra incentive to stay organized. If that’s you, consider replacing solid cabinet doors with glass ones that reveal what’s inside. Knowing the contents of your cabinets are always on display can help inspire you to keep them tidy and organized. Plus, glass-front cabinets are an opportunity to create an appealing visual display. – (BPT)

 

Easy Ways to Declutter Your Home!

 

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Repair Or Replace? What To Do With A Worn-out Cooling System

father and daughter playing in the bedroomFrom your friends at Nashville Home Inspection!

Sooner or later, every homeowner will face the same tough decision: Can you repair that malfunctioning system or appliance one more time, or is it finally time to replace it? Summer temperatures can heat up the repair-or-replace debate for homeowners living with an older cooling system.

To arrive at an answer, you must weigh numerous factors, including which option is more cost-effective over both the long- and short-term, how the existing or new system will affect the air quality of your home, and just how much reliability you require. Your decision can affect your wallet and the comfort of your home for years to come.

The heating and cooling systems experts at Champion(R) offer some guidelines for knowing whether you should repair or replace your cooling system:

When You Can Still Repair:

Sometimes, it may be preferable to repair a minor problem than to replace a system. Your cooling system might still be a candidate for repair if:

  • It’s less than 10 years old and/or is a high-quality, energy-efficient model.
  • The repair is still covered under warranty, or you will be able to pay for the repair without financing the cost.
  • The cost of the repair will be far less than the cost of replacement.
  • You can reasonably expect the repair to solve your problem.
  • Repairing the problem means that specific issue isn’t likely to reoccur throughout the system’s remaining lifespan.

When It’s Time To Replace:

  • It can be much easier to recognize the signs that it’s time to replace a worn-out cooling system. They can include:
  • A system that is 10 or more years old.
  • Frequent and repeated repairs that are adding up to be very costly.
  • Even after repairs and/or maintenance, the system still doesn’t adequately cool your home.
  • Very high energy bills. Modern cooling systems are significantly more energy-efficient than older units.
  • You can afford to finance a replacement, but can no longer afford to pay cash for repairs.
  • The unreliability of the worn-out cooling system is affecting the comfort of your home and causing you to feel stress.

Replacing A Cooling System:

When you decide replacing a cooling system makes the most sense for your needs, you’ll need to start looking for a new system. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Choosing an energy-efficient unit like the Champion(R) Momentum(TM) Variable Capacity Air Conditioner can greatly reduce energy bills while improving the comfort of your home. Refer to the system’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) to get an idea of how much more energy-efficient the new unit is. Modern air-conditioning systems can be over 50 percent more efficient than ones manufactured a decade ago.
  • It’s important to right-size your new cooling system. A system that is too small for your home won’t be able to deliver the desired comfort level and will use more energy working harder at maintaining cool temperatures. A system that is too large will also use more energy and may result in uneven cooling throughout the house. Your Champion dealer can provide a load calculation and energy analysis to help you determine the right-size system for your home.
  • Depending on the age of your home and your cooling system, you may have to repair or replace other elements, too. Have your home’s ductwork, insulation, refrigerant piping, electrical service, wiring, thermostat and other cooling system components inspected, too. Ensuring all the parts of the system are in top working order will help your new air-conditioning unit work at its best, too.

To learn more about the advantages of replacing a worn-out cooling system, what you should look for in a new system and where to find a dealer near you, visit www.championhomecomfort.com/repair. – (BPT)

 

Cleaning Your Air Conditioning Unit

 

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Latest Deck Trend: ‘Monster’ Size, Mega-luxury

couple watching the view from their deckBrought to you by Nashville Home Inspection!

Move over mini — the new trend in decking is anything but small.

When it comes to the size of their decks, the majority of Americans feel bigger is better — as multiple surveys indicate decks are getting larger and more luxurious, RealtorMag reports.

Today’s decks dwarf the outdoor spaces of decades ago, and blur the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces with features like full kitchens, dining and entertainment areas, says Kim Katwijk, owner of Deck Builders Inc. in Olympia, Washington. Katwijk is a 20-year veteran of the deck-building business and co-producer of the upcoming web series Outdoors Outdone.

Sizable Changes:

Katwijk says the intersection of two major home trends is driving the growth of “monster” decks: homes are getting larger and outdoor living has reached mainstream status.

Last year, more than half of all new homes were 2,400 square feet or larger, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s “Characteristics of New Housing” report. In 1973, the average home size was 1,660 square feet. As homes grew, deck sizes have, too. RealtorMag reports one survey found that since 2014, the average deck size grew by 53 percent in the Northeast, to 406 square feet.

The Making Of A ‘Monster’ Deck:

So what makes a deck project “monster”? Size, design, materials, and amenities all combine in this nationwide trend.

  • Size — “Monster” decks are big — really big. Mark Kalady, a decking sales manager for TAMKO Building Products, Inc., says he’s recently seen residential decks grow to 3,000 square feet. Depending on the amenities included, a deck 1,600-1,800 square feet could also be considered “monster.”
  • Kitchens/dining — Cooking and dining areas are among the most requested luxury features, deck builders say. Luxury grills, built-in pizza ovens and full-cook stoves and sinks are becoming more common.
  • Water/fire — Fire and water features such as hot tubs, lap pools, fireplaces and fire pits are part of the trend of bringing the indoors out. These focal points serve as relaxation, exercise, and entertaining stations.
  • Seating — Katwijk says “conversational pits” designed specifically for extended entertaining allow deck-users to enjoy time together away from the cooking and dining areas.
  • Multi-story — “Monster” decks often include multiple levels, with each level serving a different theme or intended use, such as dining, conversation, swimming, etc.
  • Technology — Many of today’s larger decks include living room areas equipped with big-screen TVs, wireless speakers and gaming systems. But the technology used on monster decks can extend to retractable glass walls and skylights, and even the deck boards themselves. Katwijk says the technology behind man-made decking products like Envision composite lumber offers the luxury appearance of exotic woods, but with minimal annual maintenance.

“People want an environment where they can be outdoors, yet have all the creature comforts of their home — essentially creating a space where they can do all the things that they love,” Katwijk says.

 

How to Build a Deck Around a Pool

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When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office now (615) 573-4468. Thank You.

Plumbing The Possibilities: Kitchens, Showers And Baths Highlight Outdoor Living Spaces

a shower outdoorFrom your friends at Metro Augusta Inspection Services!

The trend toward outdoor living spaces that mimic the look, comfort, convenience and functionality of indoor spaces doesn’t have to stop at the backyard grilling station. A growing number of homeowners are exploring new additions to their outdoor spaces, including outdoor showers and powder rooms, and even garage entertaining areas anchored by sinks and wetbars!

While traditional plumbing techniques might once have limited just how homey you could make outdoor versions of kitchens and bathrooms, modern up-flush plumbing cost-effectively solves many problems. Above-floor macerating plumbing systems, like those from SFA Saniflo, U.S.A., allow the easy addition of a sink, shower or toilet outside, regardless of where plumbing lines are located inside. They also eliminate the need to cut through concrete if you’ll be placing your project inside a garage or on a concrete patio. Finally, the compact systems fit perfectly into smaller spaces, such as inside cabinets in an outdoor kitchen or in an outdoor powder room.

Here are four water- and drainage-dependent, outdoor living features that are more possible and popular than ever, thanks to up-flush plumbing.

  • Kitchens:

Outdoor kitchens are in high demand, and have evolved to be true mirrors of their indoor counterparts. In addition to cooking facilities, such as a grill, cooktop, or pizza oven, today’s outdoor kitchen incorporates running water.

While a sink is an obvious necessity in outdoor kitchens, traditional plumbing can limit the location, configuration, size and capabilities of the space. Up-flush plumbing affords homeowners greater flexibility in designing an outdoor kitchen.

For example, using a Sanivite drain pump to remove wastewater more than 150 feet horizontally allows homeowners to install their outdoor kitchen where they desire, rather than having to rely on gravity and grading to move water. The pump is also capable of draining up to three separate fixtures, meaning you can have a sink and a dishwasher in your outdoor kitchen.

  • Showers:

If you have a pool or are lucky enough to live near the beach, an outdoor shower can keep sand and other messes from getting tracked into the house. However, traditional plumbing practices can limit where you can locate your outdoor shower. Up-flush plumbing systems use pumps to move wastewater away from the drain, so you can locate an outdoor shower where it’s most convenient.

Products like the Sanishower fit into a small footprint and its low profile is easily concealed beneath the shower floor. Yet the system can handle drainage of up to 20 gallons per minute.

  • Wetbars:

Whether you would like to add a wetbar to a patio or tucked into a corner of the garage, up-flush plumbing can make the process easy and cost-effective. Above-floor plumbing can handle wastewater removal in spots where no drain is present or possible. This means you can easily install a wetbar on a wooden deck, concrete patio or anywhere else where installing a traditional drain would be costly and inconvenient.

  • Powder Rooms:

When is an extra bathroom ever a bad idea? Imagine hosting a backyard barbecue or pool party without the need to make guests traipse through the house to reach the facilities, or wait in line inside the house while missing all the fun going on outdoors. Exterior bathrooms can solve those dilemmas, and up-flush plumbing can make it easy to add a toilet and sink outside the house.

While tying into existing traditional plumbing lines might require you to snuggle your outdoor powder room against the side of a house, above-floor plumbing allows you to position it virtually anywhere that’s convenient and appealing for your needs. The Sanicompact is a decorative one-piece system that combines a classic china toilet bowl with a built-in macerator/pump that can handle drainage from the toilet and a nearby sink. – (BPT)

 

Build an Outdoor Kitchen Cabinet & Countertop with Sink

 

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When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office now (615) 573-4468. Thank You.

Home Innovations That Protect Against Moisture

projects to do at home against moistureHelpful information from Nashville Home Inspection!

There is an insidious enemy that every homeowner dreads: moisture and the damage and degradation it can cause if left unchecked. Luckily, home improvement manufacturers have discovered new ways to prevent moisture from penetrating the home in the first place. With new home product innovations, there is no reason to suffer the costly and damaging effects of rain, snow or ice.

Unique Fasteners Add Longevity To Decks:

Innovative fastening methods can extend the life of your deck and provide a beautiful fastener-free surface that also stands up better to weather and moisture. Although there are several kinds of deck fasteners that conceal the fastener, edge fastening is the latest method. “With edge fastening, which delivers real screws into the edge of the deck boards with a series of unique guides and drill bits, fastener-related splitting and cracking can be eliminated,” said Greg Palmer, Director of Marketing at National Nail’s CAMO Edge Fastening. “This can add to deck life because moisture is not seeping into those cracks and splits, causing accelerated degradation.” He adds that the company has also expanded its warranty to cover the deck boards, as well as the screws. “Edge fastening works great for composite, PVC and all types of wood decks and creates a safer, fastener-free surface.”

Exterior Cladding That Resists Moisture:

When searching for alternative exterior products that have beauty and curb appeal, make sure they repel moisture, especially near the foundation or near the gutters at the roof line. It is now possible to have the look of rich wood cedar shake or a variety of stone looks to cover foundations or to upgrade the ugly space under decks. New technology enables polymers to actually be stained or finished to be indistinguishable from the real thing. “There are new levels of realism in shakes that resemble true cedar,” said Ralph Bruno, president, Tando Building Products. “Beach House Shake” by Tando is an example of this superb realism — it installs easily and is impervious to moisture with little to no upkeep.” He adds that homeowners can keep moisture at bay and have luxurious exteriors without sacrificing beauty.

Protect Your Home In Every Season:

As if heavy spring rains and winter’s melt-off didn’t threaten homeowners’ properties enough, the hurricane season is expected to be more erratic than in years past — with a predicted early start and activity right into late fall. Thankfully, there are new, affordable technologies to quickly remove standing water from homeowners’ properties, keeping it away from their foundations. “Having both dependable sump pumps and multi-use pumps are the first lines of defense against storm damage,” said Jeremy Cantor, VP of Marketing for WAYNE Pumps. “One example is the innovative WaterBUG Submersible Water Removal Pump, which can remove large volumes of standing water quickly and easily from flat grassy yards, basement floors, and even tight spaces like window wells because it has both top and side water flow.” He emphasizes that having reliable multi-use and sump pumps in your home can save thousands of dollars in property damage and basement repairs.

Seal It Or Patch It To Keep Water Out:

Water damage doesn’t have to happen, and by having the right caulks, sealants and hand tools, homeowners can easily do the job themselves and save on contractor costs. And, if moisture gets ahead of you, there are ways to repair the damage and prevent it from happening in the future. After winter, check windows, under door frames, gutter lines, concrete and other vulnerable areas that need sealing or patching. Very often, the simple act of sealing these areas with the right type of caulk can make a big difference in keeping out moisture. “One of the most popular sealants on the market is LIFETIME Ultra, which is a perfect solution for outdoor fix-ups after winter’s damage,” said Alan Crupper, VP of Marketing, Red Devil, Inc. He added that premium acrylics like this work very well and are paintable, unlike silicones. “You need a caulk that has a tight seal, won’t sag or crack no matter the temperature and especially for outdoors, one that adheres well to any surface.”

No matter the season, moisture can put your home and valuables at risk, so don’t delay in taking preventative action or repairing damage where it starts. With innovative new technologies on the market, you can easily protect your home from nature’s wrath. – (BPT)

 

7 Ways to Reduce Humidity in Your Home

 

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When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office now (615) 573-4468. Thank You.

Smaller Metros Take Action To Draw Millennials Fleeing Bigger Urban Areas

bigger urban areasAre millennials getting ready to leave big cities in droves? Some experts in demographics, economics and real estate have predicted the millennial exodus from huge urban areas has already begun. If true, the question remains: where will they go?

Some may head to the suburbs, like their parents and grandparents did before them, but many will look for a different lifestyle, one that combines the advantages of suburban living with the best features of city life. Some smaller metro areas, like Wausau, Wisconsin, are banking they have the blend of economic opportunity, urban elements, affordability and lifestyle that will attract migrating millennials.

The Draw:

“Economy has always been a factor in generational migrations, and while the nature of work has changed, economic opportunity is still key to where people want to live,” says Christian Schock, director of planning, community and economic development for the City of Wausau. “Everyone wants to find a place with the winning formula of urban activities, affordability and lifestyle. Businesses want to put down roots in that environment, too, knowing it will draw a bigger pool of skilled workers.”

In recent years, the City of Wausau has made concerted efforts to position itself with both big city amenities and small town assets. By many accounts, the efforts are paying off. In a 2016 Pew Research Trust analysis of income equality nationwide, Wausau ranked first in the nation, with the middle class constituting 67 percent of the city’s total population. Wausau also ranked highest in Wisconsin and eighth nationally on Area Development magazine’s list of hot spots for new and expanding businesses.

The Formula:

Small to mid-size metro areas that want to attract millennials, as well as businesses and investors, need to address key areas, including:

  • Urbanity

In addition to the recreational and entertainment amenities often highlighted when discussing millennials, many mid-sized metros lack the diversity of housing types that can be found in a larger city which millennials might be accustomed to.

One strategy Wausau has focused on specifically is diversifying housing product. The City funded local architects to design an urban rowhouse — a housing style which did not previously exist. For over a decade, leaders proactively assembled parcels for new riverfront apartments, and continually worked with developers to seek tax credits which could be applied to renovating historic properties into unique multifamily offerings.

  • Affordability

Rising real estate costs are among the factors that kept many millennials living in cities longer than they might have liked, experts say. Mid-sized metros have an edge in making home buying more affordable for millennials — and homebuyers of all generations.

Recognized as a leader in economic development homesteading, Wausau’s Live It Up program is a partnership between local employers and the city to provide employees with a no-interest down payment assistance loan for the purchase of a home. In the last two years, the program has allocated more than $200,000 in no-interest loans to local employees.

  • Place

Millennials who came of age in urban environments have a strong affinity for multifunctional spaces, and are drawn to communities that are a walkable mix of business, retail, industry and residential. While the specific physical space needs may change, their own strong sense of identity makes them inclined to seek a region that has its own established sense of self.

Wausau has leveraged more than $100 million in new downtown development over the past decade and currently has another $100 million under construction, emphasizing the city’s identity as a vibrant, growing core. Wausau’s Riverlife Village project is reclaiming more than 16 acres of urban waterfront along the Wisconsin River to house a new park, river wharf, mixed-use office space, biking paths, apartments and a family entertainment center.

Perhaps the greatest testament to a mid-sized metro’s success is the recommitment of historic businesses to local growth. Wausau Insurance was an early innovator in workers’ compensation insurance, which evolved out of the necessity for local lumber mills to share the risk of worker rehabilitation. Now part of Liberty Mutual, the company recently announced a $50 million regional facility expansion. Wausau Window and Wall Systems and Linetec, both in the building materials industry, also trace their roots to the lumber industry, and have completed over $60 million worth of expansion and doubled the size of their workforce within the past five years, providing a strong foundation for continued economic development.

“Any resident, millennial or not, is looking for ways to connect with their community. Both businesses and residents are discovering that smaller cities can even be more responsive and creative than larger metros,” says Robert Mielke, mayor of Wausau.

To learn more about how the City of Wausau is attracting residents from big cities, visit www.wausome.org. – (BPT)

 

Top Cities To Live In After Graduating College

 

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When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office now (615) 573-4468. Thank You.

3 Super-simple Ways To Create A Barefoot Friendly Backyard Deck

mother and daughter bonding in the backyard deckWhen the sun is out and the sky is blue, your deck should be one of the most popular areas in your yard. But, if deck boards leave you with splinters or burned feet on hot summer days, there may be little incentive to spend time in your open-air getaway. The good news is this problem is easily preventable. With the right plan, you can build a barefoot-friendly backyard deck that will be the hub of your outdoor living space for years to come. Start with these three super-simple steps. It’s a choice your feet and pets will appreciate.

1. Create a smooth surface underfoot

Few building materials take more punishment than decking. Whether it spends hours under scorching sunlight, withstands wintertime blizzards or gets soaked during water fights and pool parties, your decking is bound to take abuse from the elements. Selecting deck boards that can withstand these harsh conditions is critical to ensuring a smooth surface underfoot.

Exposure to moisture and the sun’s UV rays can deteriorate wood decking, particularly if it’s not maintained regularly and correctly. While composite decking provides greater durability, several brands have been known to rot, crack or warp as a result of moisture intrusion.

To keep your deck looking good no matter what the weather, consider composite decking made of small-size wood fibers that are fully encased in plastic. This protects against moisture intrusion all the way to the board’s core, and such boards will not rot or warp, preventing dangerous cracks and splinters from forming. To create an even smoother surface, install the composite deck boards with hidden fasteners. This technique eliminates popped nails, dimples from screws and other hazards to warm-weather fun.

2. Beat the heat

Once you’ve narrowed your composite decking selection to brands that can withstand the toughest Mother Nature can throw their way, look for ways to beat the heat. When the sun is blazing, the plastic in composite decking can retain heat and become uncomfortable to walk on with bare feet.

One great way to avoid the hot-foot hustle dance without compromising on your deck’s surface appearance is to use composite decking with innovative cooling technology. “Homeowners know even the most stunning composite deck will disappoint if it’s too warm to walk on during the peak days of summer,” said Randy Gottlieb, A.E.R.T. president. “Recently introduced products like ChoiceDek Premium composite decking with CoolDeck technology help solve this problem. By combining a durable core with a cap that is specifically engineered to optimize heat reflection and minimize heat absorption, the boards make for a more comfortable deck on sunny days.”

If you live in an area where the sun’s rays are hot year-around, you may also want to consider using shade structures to help provide relief from direct sunlight and reduce the temperature on deck. Pergolas, lattices and breezy overhead fabrics can block the sun beautifully and add to your deck’s style.

3. Prevent slips on deck

If you’re installing decking near a pool or hot tub, live in close proximity to the water or experience frequent rain, it’s also important to protect against slips. Composite deck boards with a textured, wood-embossed surface have a higher coefficient of friction and better slip resistance than PVC and composite decking products with a non-embossed surface. The added traction will help friends and family stay steady on their feet as they enjoy your outdoor living area, and help ensure the party never has to pause for injuries. – (BPT)

 

Nashville Home Inspection has been providing Home Buyer Inspection, Certified Move-In Ready, Mold Testing and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Mt. Juliet, Smyrna, La Vergne, Murfreesboro, Hermitage, Hendersonville, Gallatin and the surrounding areas since 1999.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office. Thank You.

Here’s How To Tap Into Your Home’s Not-so-hidden Potential

couple cooking together and looks happyYour most valuable asset is around you all the time. It’s above you, it’s below you and in many cases you don’t realize how much it can do for you.

According to the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., “Americans have a staggering amount of untapped equity in their homes.” How much? Altogether, $11,030,000,000,000. That’s 11 trillion, 30 billion dollars.

Yet despite this huge wealth possessed by homeowners, using it isn’t as simple as writing a check. You have to capitalize on your home’s equity.

What Is Home Equity?

Your home’s equity represents the difference between its current market value and the money that you owe on it.

Let’s say, for example, your home has a market value of $200,000, you made a down payment of $40,000 and you took out a $160,000 mortgage. At that point your equity is $40,000. You can always calculate this number by taking your home’s initial price and subtracting the amount you still owe.

Now, let’s say 10 years later you have paid off $60,000 of your $160,000 mortgage. At this point you still owe $100,000 on your home’s initial price of $200,000 so your equity is $100,000, assuming the home’s value has remained the same.

A little at a time

Each month when you make a mortgage payment, some of your money goes toward interest, some goes toward real estate taxes and homeowner’s insurance (if the lender is collecting for these and making the payments on your behalf), and some goes toward paying off the mortgage itself. This last portion grows your equity because it subtracts from the amount you still owe.

Your home equity can also grow if your home increases in value because the amount you still owe has not changed. A rise in value may be due to increased home prices in your area and/or improvements you make to the home.

Market home prices may rise and fall from one year to the next but given enough time, most real estate tends to increase in value. For example, current economic forecasts from CoreLogic project a 4.8 percent increase in home prices year over year in 2017.

Gaining access to your equity

Now that you understand what equity is and how much equity you have, your next question may be “How do I use it?”

Your first step is to contact a knowledgeable mortgage professional. They will be able to answer your questions as well as show you loans that use your home as collateral. You’ll want to do your research to determine which type of loan is best for you. You should also take the time to compare interest rates, offers and loan features.

And if you are age 62 or older, you are also eligible for additional home equity options such as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), which is an FHA-insured Reverse Mortgage loan. This loan may be taken as a lump sum, a line of credit, through fixed monthly payments or a combination and the loan can never be frozen or reduced.

The equity in your home empowers you with several financing options and the specifics of each loan may vary from lender to lender, so ask questions and do your own research. Once you understand all your options you’ll be able to determine which loan offering allows you to make the most of your most valuable asset.

To learn about HECM Reverse Mortgage loans and other special home-equity options available to homeowners 62 and older, visit www.reversemortgage.org/HomeEquity. – (BPT)

 

Nashville Home Inspection has been providing Home Buyer Inspection, Certified Move-In Ready, Mold Testing and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Mt. Juliet, Smyrna, La Vergne, Murfreesboro, Hermitage, Hendersonville, Gallatin and the surrounding areas since 1999.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office. Thank You.

3 Backyard Projects You Can Tackle In A Weekend

man doing backyard projectNow that warmer weather has finally arrived, you want to be outside to enjoy it. Your backyard could be the perfect place to bask in the sun, entertain friends or indulge in your hobbies. It just needs a little sprucing up, and the right projects can help.

Best of all, many of these projects are quick and easy. To get you started, here are three projects you can accomplish in a spring weekend — and enjoy all summer long.

Forging a fire pit

Whether it’s an afternoon gathering or an evening under the stars, adding a fire pit to your backyard is a great way to make an enjoyable get-together last even longer. And building one is easier than you think.

Start by marking the center of your pit in the ground. Spray a circle around the center, outlining your pit’s desired circumference — say 5 feet. Dig this space to a depth of 6 inches. In your newfound pit, make a similar circle 12 inches in from your outer circle to make the inner wall of your pit.

Fill this area with small stones to serve as the foundation, and lay wet concrete on the ground to solidify and build that foundation. If you do not have the tools you need to successfully make concrete, you can always rent them to eliminate the need for a one-time purchase.

Once the foundation is ready, apply mortar and stones around the ring. Build up the fire pit wall with additional mortar and stones. After the pit has been built to a height of your choosing, use a brush to remove excess mortar from the inside. You may also spray the inside with a can of spray paint to give your pit’s interior a uniform look.

Planning the planters

If you’ve always wanted to add a pop of color to your backyard, planter boxes can be just the ticket. They are relatively simple to build yourself.

Start by choosing a wood, like cedar, for your project. Cut four strips with two half the length of your other two, but sharing the same height. These strips will form the foundation of your rectangular planter. If you lack a saw to cut them with, you can always rent one.

Once your strips are cut, butt the ends together and apply wood glue at the joints to secure the fit. Drill a screw into each end to solidify the fit. Next, attach the bottom panels with glue and drill a screw through the ends of the bottom panels into the sides for a more secure fit.

Finish by lightly sanding any rough or unseemly spaces on the foundations. Add a touch of paint or stain to improve the planter’s appearance and offer long-term protection.

Shedding new light on the shed

If you’re going to spend more time in your backyard this year, it’s time to finally do something about that old shed you’ve been ignoring for years. Fortunately, something as small as a new coat of paint can have a large impact on your shed’s appearance.

Before applying a drop of paint, inspect the shed to be sure no structural maintenance is needed. Then it’s time to clean it. Rent a pressure washer for a quick clean that will free the building of dirt, debris and cobwebs.

Once the shed is clean and dry, apply an oil-based primer, which will help protect the building from the elements and make it easier to paint.

Finally, it’s time to paint. A long-nap roller works well for this project, but you can also rent a paint sprayer. Choose a color to your liking and be sure to select a paint designed for outdoor projects.

Each of these three projects can be tackled in a single weekend, and each can have a lasting effect on your outdoor space. So, what are you waiting for? Get started on your outdoor DIY project today. To find a rental tool provider near you, visit RentalHQ.com. – (BPT)

 

Nashville Home Inspection has been providing Home Buyer Inspection, Certified Move-In Ready, Mold Testing and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Mt. Juliet, Smyrna, La Vergne, Murfreesboro, Hermitage, Hendersonville, Gallatin and the surrounding areas since 1999.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office. Thank You.

Don’t Sweat Your Summer Move: 10 Tips For Smarter Moving

mom and kid packingSummer isn’t just vacation season, it’s also peak moving season. Studies show more people move during summer months than any other time of year; kids are out of school and weather is less likely to delay moves. However, moving is hard work no matter what time of year you do it. You’ll need careful planning and smart packing to ensure your summer move goes smoothly and safely.

These 10 tips can help:

1. Rent the right size moving truck.

Choose a truck that’s too big, and you’ll waste gas and space, plus empty room inside the truck means your belongings are more likely to shift in transit. Choose one that’s too small, and you could face multiple trips or the hard decision of what to leave behind. Penske Truck Rental professionals recommend you allow 150 cubic feet of truck space for each fully furnished room you’ll be moving. A 12-foot truck that offers 450 cubic feet could move three rooms — the equivalent of a one-bedroom apartment — while a 26-foot truck affords 1,400 cubic feet, approximately enough to move a two- or three-bedroom house.

2. Perfect your packing schedule.

Pack too soon and you’ll be living surrounded by boxes, some of which might contain stuff you need right now. Pack too late and scrambling at the last minute could mean you make mistakes that lead to damage. Pack out-of-season and non-essential items several weeks before moving day. Donate or sell anything you won’t need in your new home. Wait until the day before or morning of your move to pack essentials like personal necessities and basic cookware.

3. Protect packed items.

Nothing’s worse than opening a box at your destination only to find something broken. Use plenty of paper and bubble wrap to protect packed items. Towels, socks, pillows and other soft materials can help protect breakable items, too.

4. Reserve your rental truck early.

It’s no surprise that truck rental places get very busy during summer months. Reserve your rental truck at least two weeks prior to the move — earlier if you’ll be moving during a peak month like July or August. You can reserve a truck from your smartphone at PenskeTruckRental.com.

5. Clearly label all boxes.

Remember to label every box with what’s inside it and the room it will go to in your new home.

6. Have plenty of help on hand.

Having help loading and unloading boxes will make the move go more smoothly — and reduce the risk you’ll get hurt trying to do everything yourself. Enlist friends and family to help out. If you have large, heavy or very delicate items, consider hiring professionals to help load and unload those items.

7. Load the truck efficiently.

How well you load the truck will affect the safety of your belongings. Load heavy items like big furniture pieces and heavy boxes first, then stack lighter boxes and items to fill the remaining space. Be aware of the possibility that contents can shift in transit, so try to eliminate excess space that might allow the load to shift.

8. Lift carefully.

Improper lifting can cause injury. When lifting, bend your knees and lift with your legs, not your back. Get help lifting heavy items and use hand trucks and moving dollies to move heavy or bulky items. Take plenty of breaks and stay hydrated.

9. Schedule your drive to avoid peak traffic times.

You already know when peak traffic times occur around your current neighborhood, and a simple online search can help you identify rush hour at your destination. Schedule your drive so you won’t be on the road during the worst traffic times. Leaving very early before morning rush hour can help you avoid the frustration of sitting in traffic, and give you extra time to unload at your destination.

10. Learn safe truck driving practices.

Most people don’t have a lot of experience driving moving trucks, so take extra care to ensure your own safety and the security of your belongings. Ask your rental professional to familiarize you with the vehicle. For safe driving tips, visit pensketruckrental.com. – (BPT)

 

Nashville Home Inspection has been providing Home Buyer Inspection, Certified Move-In Ready, Mold Testing and Radon Testing to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Mt. Juliet, Smyrna, La Vergne, Murfreesboro, Hermitage, Hendersonville, Gallatin and the surrounding areas since 1999.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office. Thank You.

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