5 Tips For Speed Cleaning Your Home

tips for speed cleaning your homeHelpful information from Aurora Home Inspections

What is one of the biggest sources of stress? It’s cleaning on a deadline, especially when guests are on their way.

But with the right plan in place, even last-minute cleaning can be efficient and stress-free, says Debra Johnson, Merry Maids home cleaning expert.

In an online survey conducted by Toluna, more than half of respondents admitted that most of their cleaning takes place just before guests arrive. With a bit more focus, this preparation can be quick and effective, without stress. After all, parties shouldn’t be a race against the clock. They’re about spending time with friends and family.

Johnson shares the following tips to clean smarter, not harder, in the limited time you have before guests arrive.

1. Ready, set … declutter

The important first step is to declutter rooms. Set a timer if needed to help you stay on track and avoid spending too much time in one room. Put things where they belong, or if they don’t have a home, put them in a room or under beds where no one will see. Save decluttering those hidden storage areas for later. Prioritize rooms you use most, so if you run out of time, guests won’t notice an untidy area.

2. Only clean what guests will see

Join the more than one-third of Americans who don’t bother cleaning rooms people won’t see. You have enough to stress about as the host. Don’t waste your precious time cleaning parts of the home no one will ever see. Simply shut doors to rooms that you want to keep private, signaling to guests not to enter. If you have family staying with you, give guest rooms a once-over, clean the bathrooms that will be used and, of course, the kitchen and living room.

3. Skip the sweep

Don’t spend time sweeping with a dry mop when you can vacuum instead. Vacuuming is far more efficient and faster at removing dust, dirt and other debris from the floors. Keep a portable hand-held vacuum nearby in case of a big mess, like a glass breaking during a party. Within seconds, the mess will be gone and you can go back to enjoying the festivities.

4. Speed-clean the bathrooms

All you need to clean your bathroom quickly is a damp microfiber cloth to give every surface a quick wipe-down and a toilet brush to clean the inside walls of the toilet. To freshen it up even more, pour a half-cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl and add white vinegar along with a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Allow the mixture to bubble for a bit and scrub with a toilet brush. Then, voila: your bathroom is clean, shiny and smelling great.

5. Tackle the microwave mess

You know people will want seconds well after the leftovers are put away, so use this tip to tackle microwave build-up: Combine lemon juice and water in a microwave-safe bowl and run it for about two minutes. The lemon water will loosen any gunk or food in the microwave for an easy wipe down with a microfiber cloth. Now guests can reheat their leftovers in a clean microwave.

With the cleaning under control, all that’s left for you to do is to light a few candles, conquer the grocery list and, of course, enjoy your special guests.

If you simply don’t have any time to spare, Merry Maids has the resources and experts to help. Find information at www.merrymaids.com.

– (BPT)

 

6 Ways To Clean FAST


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5 Spring Remodeling Projects Sure To Brighten Your Home

Upgrade your bathroom space and add value to your homeBrought to you by Aurora Home Inspections

During the coldest months of the year, it’s hard not to think about the warmer months to come — and all that they hold. You may already be planning your next vacation or outdoor activities to host in your backyard this summer. Now is the time to brainstorm about your spring home remodeling projects that can add enjoyment and value to your humble abode.

Home remodeling projects on the rise

As the U.S. economy continues to strengthen, home improvement project investment by homeowners has increased, according to the latest Residential Remodeling Index (RRI) study. As spring is a popular time for renovation projects, you may want to start checking out popular design trends, researching product choices and figuring out what you like and what works for your family.

Here are five projects that can help you reinvent your home this spring. Besides making your home more livable and meeting your family’s needs, you will be investing in the real estate value of your property.

1. Take the mud out of the room:

You don’t have to allow the mudroom to live up to its name. Consider installing a Fiat Molded Stone mop service basin with a multifunction hand shower to give your family a convenient and stylish spot to wash off boots and other bulky items. It’s also a great place to give your dog a bath or wash off dirty paws to ensure nothing is tracked into the house.

2. Shed a little (more) light in your foyer

Your foyer is the entry point into your home, and the right lighting solution can make this space all the more welcoming. Newer LEDs or halogen light sources naturally generate a warmth that’s perfect for the entryway. Be sure to install a dimmer switch with your new lighting solution; it’s the best way to ensure your lights provide exactly the right ambiance for your entrance hall.

3. A masterful master bath

Perhaps no room is more capable of providing luxurious relaxation than your bathroom. If yours isn’t living up to this billing, it may be time for some changes. The DXV Oak Hill bathroom collection offers a freestanding slipper tub for ultimate bathing comfort, along with a stylish high-efficiency toilet with a unique traditional farmhouse style. A coordinating high-back sink accented with a charming wall-mount faucet can finish off this bathroom remodel for ultimate enjoyment and function. This may be just the spruce-up needed to enhance your personal space, while adding value to your home at the same time.

4. Make your outdoor space amazing

Once the weather turns warm, spending time outdoors will be top on your list. That makes now the perfect time to plan how you’ll use this outside space. A pergola is an easy-to-build addition that can give you a relaxing place to avoid the sun. Adding a flagstone seating area or creating a decorative border for a new fire pit might be perfect for your family. Try planting flowers for a pop of color, or invest more with new bushes or trees to round out your landscaping project. Plants like day lilies or hostas can survive in almost any environment and are an easy, effective way to optimize your green space.

5. Shower power for all

For the all-purpose family bathroom, upgrading to a highly functional shower system will deliver results efficiently and enjoyably for all users. The American Standard Spectra+ shower system employs first-to-market technology that allows you to change the spray patterns simply by touching the outside ring of the showerhead for a customizable experience. The Spectra+ eTouch system also includes a remote control that can be mounted to any surface, allowing anyone having trouble reaching the showerhead to enjoy the same personalized shower satisfaction. It’s luxurious and accommodating. What could be better than that?

Finding the perfect project for you

The spring season is home improvement season, so don’t let it pass you by. Start thinking now, while staying warm inside during the colder months. Figure out what needs to get done first, then look online or in stores for ideas and get inspired for your spring home renovations. It will be project time before you know it.

Headline: Start planning your home improvement projects now

Bathing pet and washing off bulky outside itemsHere are projects that can help you reinvent your home this spring.

* Take the mud out of the room. Installing a Fiat Molded Stone mop service basin with a multi-function hand shower gives you and your family a convenient place to wash off boots, pets and other bulky items.

* Shed a little (more) light in your foyer. Incandescent or halogen light sources naturally generate a warmth that’s perfect for the entryway. Be sure to always install a dimmer switch as well. * Shower power for all. For the all-purpose family bathroom, upgrading to a highly functional shower system will deliver results efficiently and enjoyably for all users. The American Standard Spectra+ shower system employs first-to-market technology that allows spray patterns to be changed simply by touching the showerhead for a truly customizable experience.

– (BPT)

 

Home Remodeling Tips & Ideas on a Budget!


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That ’70s Home: 5 Trends Making A Comeback Today

70s home styleThe Article Courtesy of Aurora Home Inspections

Disco may be dead, but the spirit of the 1970s is not. In homes all across the country, people are adding their own splash of ‘70s style in updated, modern ways.

Here are five current top decorating trends that have an unmistakable ‘70s flair.

More macramé, please:

From dip dyed wall hangings to simple plant hangers, macramé is coming back in a big way. Whether you purchase these items already made or you enroll in a class to make them yourself, macramé offers an easy way to add texture and an artistic touch to your home.

Groovy colors:

The blazing orange walls of the ‘70s may not be back anytime soon, but homeowners are again using more dynamic colors to define the insides of their home. In fact, Sherwin-Williams has named a bold, jewel-toned blue-green color, Oceanside SW 6496, as its 2018 color of the year. “This trendy color is perfect for a ‘70s palette,” said Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “The complex collision of deep blue and green in this color is somewhat grounding for more vibrant colors in a ‘70s-inspired palette. You can use large doses of it on the walls and then add brighter pops of color with orange or green a la Sherwin-Williams Amber Wave SW 6657 or Avocado SW 2861 on throw pillows and blankets.”

A shagadelic rug:

Yes, shag is more than an Austin Powers euphemism. It’s also a resurgent design trend. Homeowners frequently purchase these cozy rugs for children’s areas like nurseries and playrooms. Whether sheepskin or conventional textiles, a shag rug is something you’ll go out of your way to walk across.

Wicker man … and furniture:

A staple in sun porches for generations, wicker furniture is making a big comeback this year, from headboards and chairs to mirror frames. Available in a wide array of colors and shades, wicker can be used to create the perfect centerpiece in your bedroom, living room or, yes, even your porch.

Green living … literally:

In the 1970s, people believed that there was no such thing as too many plants in their home. This affection for indoor greenery is back, and homeowners have revitalized confidence in their green thumbs. From large potted plants in the corner to hanging basket plants, green living is in and people are loving the opportunity to create an urban oasis of their own.

 

Bring a little ‘70s to your home today

From fresh colors and plants to wicker and wool, the ‘70s are back this year, and this modernized trend is defining homes across the country. Now is the time to experiment, so swing down to your local paint or furniture store and find the perfect ‘70s accent that fits your style.

– (BPT)

 

The ’70s Are Back


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5 Budget-Friendly Master Bathroom Upgrades You’ll Cherish For Years

Budget-friendly master bathroom upgradesFrom your friends at Aurora Home Inspections

What does your bathroom mean to you? Is it an oasis, a place to unwind, relax and let the cares of the day simply melt away? Or is it just another room in your house?

If your answer is the latter, then your bathroom isn’t doing everything it could. The good news is, getting your space there doesn’t have to break your bank or signal a months-long remodeling process. The truth is there are plenty of unique, invigorating ways for you to reinvent your bathroom space — some of which you can tackle yourself, and all of which can be budget friendly.

So if you’re ready to turn your master bathroom from a simple location to a desired destination, do so with any or all of these five projects.

Repainting in your image:

When it comes to affordable projects that redefine the look of a room, it’s hard to beat a fresh coat of paint. Changing the color of your bathroom changes the entire appearance, and if you’re ready to strap on some clothes you don’t mind destroying, there’s no reason you can’t tackle this project yourself. Pick a color that matches your tastes and your space and your bathroom will take on a whole new feel.

Get soaking:

Remember all that talk about the oasis? It really starts with the tub. The Sterling Lawson Oval Bath offers beautiful style at an affordable price with soaking and whirlpool models. The bath can be situated to fit nearly any bathroom layout, and with a headrest and lumbar support included, as well as six jets featuring variable control, the Lawson oval bath is your perfect getaway that doesn’t require you to actually get away.

Fix up the fixtures:

A brand-new tub completely redefines your bathroom, and if you want to bring the rest of your bathroom up-to-date as well, replacing your existing fixtures with new models is an easy way to do it. From towel racks to faucets and shower hardware, new fixtures are an effective way to show your sense of style and bring cohesion to your space while capitalizing on the latest technology.

Finish the flooring:

Your new bathroom deserves to look good from top to bottom. Pick a flooring style that speaks to you, spoil yourself with heated floors and rest easy knowing you’ll never have to grout again.

Shed a whole new light:

There is perhaps no room where lighting is more important than the bathroom. If your current bathroom feels more like a cave than spa, it’s time for a major lighting overhaul. Modern fixtures allow you to use fewer bulbs more efficiently, and installing a dimmer switch gives you the bright light when you need it without blinding yourself in the morning. Lastly, this is a great time to replace all of your old bulbs with energy-efficient options. They’ll last as much as 25 times longer, and replacing your most often-used bulbs can save you as much as $75 per year on your energy bill.

 

Start improving your bathroom today

Many people see their bathroom as a functional space in their home when it has the potential to be so much more. Apply any or all of the tips above and you’ll turn your bathroom from a functional space to the oasis you’ve always wanted.

– (BPT)

 

DIY Small Bathroom Remodel: Budget Bathroom Ideas


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Wellness Begins At Home: 5 Tips For A Healthier, Happier Home

Tips for a healthier and happier homeHelpful information from Aurora Home Inspections

From diets to exercise routines to standing at our desks while we work, we do a lot to stay healthy. Most of the time this involves focusing on what we eat and how we move. No doubt this is an essential component to good health, but increasingly, people are realizing their home environment can have a big impact on their mood, their health and how they feel.

The following are five changes in your home environment that can have the biggest impact on your overall well-being.

Declutter:

Over the years, the stuff we own starts to pile up. Most of it we don’t need, but it’s hard to get rid of a lot of things. Maybe it was a gift, or has sentimental value. Whatever the case, it can be difficult, but going through your house and getting rid of the clothes, kitchen appliances and general clutter can be a transformative experience that reduces stress and creates a calmer home atmosphere.

Holistic health in your bathroom:

Your day begins in the bathroom, so why not start it off right? You shower and brush your teeth, but are you aware of the health and cleansing benefits of using a bidet seat? Gynecologists, obstetricians and urologists all recommend cleansing with water, and a high-tech bidet seat like TOTO’s WASHLET S300e offers a luxury personal cleansing system to make you cleaner and more refreshed than you’ve ever felt after a bathroom break – and it’s more eco-friendly than using toilet paper. You’ll be surprised by how this simple addition to your bathroom can benefit men and women at all stages of life.

Looking for a seamless installation? Consider TOTO’s Carlyle II 1G Connect+ S300e One-Piece Toilet, which delivers all the personal cleansing and comfort benefits of the WASHLET and conceals the water supply and electrical connection. This elegant combination will complement any bathroom décor.

To discover more life-changing alterations to make to your bathroom, visit totousa.com and discover what their people-first innovations can do for you and your home

The bedroom is for sleeping:

Your mood, energy level, ambition and so much more depends on getting a full night’s sleep. To help ensure you get enough sleep, transform your bedroom into a sanctuary. If you have a TV in it, take it out and leave your phone in the kitchen when you go to bed. Your bedroom should be a spot for sleeping and relaxing activities such as reading or meditating.

Color matters:

The color of a room has a huge impact on your mood; in fact, the color of a room can make or break a space. As a rule of thumb, many interior designers break colors into warm and cool. Warm colors such as yellow, orange and red create an energized space and may be great options for a family room or home office. Cool tones such as blue or green create a calming atmosphere, perfect for spaces where you go to relax and unwind.

Plants:

It sounds simple, but it’s easy to overlook this one. Indoor plants provide the double service of boosting your mood and cleaning the air. For instance, common house plants such as a spider plant, peace lilies and a number of ferns naturally remove toxins such as formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and more from the air. This is a vital service, especially in winter.

– (BPT)

 

Health Begins at Home


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Winter Storm Power Outages On The Rise – 3 Ways To Prepare

3 ways to prepare Winter storm power outagesBrought to you by Aurora Home Inspections

Winter storms can wreak havoc on roads, homes and personal lives. However, facing hours of cleaning up fallen tree limbs, shoveling snow or being cooped up inside with antsy kids might be the least of your worries. Experts predict more frequent and severe storms could lead to lengthy power outages that could affect thousands of Americans this winter storm season.

In fact, increasingly severe weather is the chief reason power outages are becoming more likely, according to a National Governors Association report. What’s more, a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found the average outage lasts two hours and 20 minutes, but increases by 260 percent to six hours and 10 minutes when a major event like severe weather is involved.

While you can’t predict when a winter storm or extended power outage might affect your neighborhood, you can take steps now to prepare your home and family for severe weather events.

Stock up in advance:

Nearly everyone has experienced long grocery store lines and cleared-out store shelves when news of a coming storm hits the airwaves. Spare yourself the aggravation, or possibly being caught without essentials if stores sell out, by stocking up on important items at home.

Keep enough bottled water and non-perishable foods on-hand to feed everyone in your family up to one week. Set these items aside in a “storm prep” box so you don’t dip into them until you really need them. Canned foods, protein bars, dry cereal and nuts are great options.

Never allow your supply of prescription medications to fall below a week’s supply, and make sure you stock up on useful over-the-counter meds such as pain relievers and cold remedies. Finally, keep a supply of batteries, flashlights and battery-powered lanterns readily available to ensure you have safe illumination when the power goes out.

Invest in emergency power:

With the average length of power outages growing longer, many Americans are turning to generators to help ensure their homes and families stay safe and comfortable during winter storms. In fact, a report from the Society for Risk Analysis notes “a string of natural disasters and prolonged blackouts have motivated consumers to invest in personal generators at unprecedented rates.”

Homeowners have two options when it comes to back-up power; portable generators and automatic standby generators. Portable generators can be moved from place to place and are designed to power a few key items or systems, like a refrigerator or lights, using properly rated extension cords. These manually operated generators are usually gasoline-fueled and must be operated outside of the home.

Automatic standby generators like those from Kohler are permanently installed outside the home similar to a central air conditioning unit. They attach to a home’s existing natural gas or propane lines and turn on automatically within seconds when the power goes out; homeowners do not need to be present to operate. Standby generators can power an entire house, from essentials like the refrigerator, sump pump, lights and water heater to non-essentials such as TVs, computers and more. To learn more about automatic standby generators, visit www.KohlerGenerators.com.

After the storm:

Once the storm is over, continue to be cautious. Check weather and traffic reports before leaving the house to determine if roads are closed. If you do venture out, stay alert for downed power lines. If you spot power lines that are down or damaged, call the power company immediately. Finally, check on your neighbors, especially the elderly, to ensure everyone is fine.

Preparation is the best way to protect your home and family during the winter storm season. Take action now, which includes a storm prep box and a backup power source, to keep your family safe and comfortable, no matter what the weather may bring.

– (BPT)

 

Winter Storm Preps: Be Prepared


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5 Strategies For Protecting Your Valuables

Protecting your valuablesThe Article Courtesy of Aurora Home Inspections

Home is your sanctuary, your castle, the place where you feel the most secure and protected. It is natural to feel this way. So, it is not surprising that you store your prized possessions and valuables at home as well. But is that the best choice for all your valuables?

The recent wildfires in California are the latest in a string of devastating disasters to impact homeowners in the U.S. Together with the hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and tornadoes and flooding in the Midwest, residential property losses are expected to approach $100 billion according to CoreLogic. Making matters worse, as much as 80 percent of these losses are not insured. Together with the surge in residential burglaries over the last few years, it appears homes are under siege.

Because of these events, the cost of homeowners insurance is expected to increase dramatically in 2018 and beyond.

Now more than ever, you need a thoughtful examination of how best to protect your valuable possessions and to identify strategies to reduce your insurance costs.

These tips will help get you started:

Create an inventory:

Start with a written and video inventory of your prized possessions and valuables, including jewelry, cash or hard assets like gold, electronics, family heirlooms, and collectibles, such as coins, watches, or anything else that has monetary or sentimental value. Prioritize it starting with the highest value items first. With this as your starting point you can now begin putting a plan in place.

Maintain secure off-site storage:

On average, $2 billion of gold, silver and jewelry are stolen from homes each year and 93 percent of that property is never recovered, while fires and natural disasters destroy billions of dollars of valuable personal property every year. Using a safe deposit box to store these smaller valuables, cash, and collectibles substantially reduces the risk of loss from such events.

Follow basic security rules:

  • Don’t broadcast on social media when you are out of town for work or vacation.
  • Leave lights on variable timers.
  • Accompany repair or utility staff while in your home.
  • Keep valuables out of sight and make sure to stop mail delivery while out of town.
  • If you have a safe, make sure it is bolted down, preferably to a concrete floor.

Evaluate your insurance:

Standard homeowners or renters insurance places relatively low limits on jewelry, cash, and many other items. It also does not cover losses from flooding, earthquake, and hurricane unless you insure your valuables by a special endorsement or policy. Check your policy to see if you’re fully protected. If you rent a box, inexpensive safe deposit box insurance covers any property stored in your box against virtually all events. Additionally, using an insured safe deposit box can significantly reduce your insurance costs and give you the ability to insure items that are not covered under your homeowners policy.

Have a disaster plan:

You typically have advanced warning of flooding, most wildfires, and hurricanes. Know what you would take if you needed to flee your home, what you would place in your safe deposit box and where you would store items left behind. Place your important documents in your safe deposit box and store them digitally in the cloud where they can be accessed at any time.

Today, when the 100-year event seems to occur multiple times every year, these basic steps can help you begin to manage the real threat to some of your most valuable property.

For more details on protecting your valuables, go to www.sdbic.com/savemoney.

– (BPT)

 

How to Protect Your Valuables From Burglars


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5 Steps For A Successful Holiday Gathering

Steps for a successful holiday gatheringFrom your friends at Aurora Home Inspections

The holiday season is about spending quality time with family and friends. Many people will host gatherings and parties during this time of year. Keep stress levels at an all-time low by taking some seamless shortcuts to pull off a get together of any size – whether a football watch party, gift exchange or even a low-key movie night with friends.

Prep your home:

Before everyone arrives, double-check your home for the things that you won’t want to bother with when you’re having fun catching up with friends and family. Did you put out an extra roll of toilet paper and extra hand towels in the bathroom? Did you lower the thermostat to account for extra bodies? Did you empty the trash and recycling? Your partying self will thank you later.

Create simple, festive décor:

Swap traditional, expensive floral centerpieces for festive, affordable table decorations, using pinecones, faux cranberries and greenery like pine or eucalyptus. Simply place a few lanterns along the center of the table and surround them with fresh greenery, cranberries and pinecones. You can even add a little bit of sparkle by adding glittery candles, ornaments or ribbons!

Serve unexpectedly delicious snacks:

Offer guests a variety of interesting snacks, rather than a four-course meal. Easy-to-prep egg rolls, wontons, potstickers and crab Rangoon from Pagoda(R) Snacks made with fresh-cut veggies and from-scratch wrappers are an unexpectedly delicious option. Available in a variety of flavors, these hot snacks bring a crave-worthy crunch to gatherings. And let’s be honest, these crispy bites are light years beyond the standard fare of chips and crackers.

Drink and be merry:

Consider the food you’re serving and pair it with complementary drinks. A custom cocktail pairing plus a selection of the traditional favorites will ensure everyone gets what they prefer and has the opportunity to try something new. Try an Asian Pear Mojito or sake cocktail, which go great with Pagoda Snacks.

Game on:

Whether you have a room full of adults or kids, games are a great way to break the ice and encourage guests to start mingling. Most people have played Spoons, and a simple way to make it into a holiday game is to swap spoons for candy canes. All you need is a deck of cards, candy canes and willing participants. Bonus if you wrap up a mystery gift for the winner.

Now that you’ve learned the steps for success, it’s time to plan a holiday party of you own. Follow these tips and your guests will surely be impressed.

To learn more about Pagoda Snacks and to find a store near you, visit PagodaSnacks.com.

– (BPT)

 

DIY Christmas Party! Holiday Treats, Decor & Outfit Ideas!


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6 Tips To Make Your Bathroom Sellable And Enjoyable At The Same Time

Make your bathroom sellable and enjoyableHelpful information from Aurora Home Inspections

When it comes time to sell your home, not all rooms are created equal. Sure, potential buyers will walk through the entire house, but their opinion of a few primary rooms can ultimately determine whether they choose to offer or walk.

Your bathroom(s) — especially your master bathroom — are among these key rooms. As you prepare to put your home on the market, it’s time to take an honest look at these spaces. What do the bathrooms say about your house? Do they say “buy me now” or “no thanks”? If it’s the latter, then it’s time for a few home improvements that will turn the sale of your house from stale to sold.

A sound investment?

Yes, it is. In fact, bathroom remodeling projects are some of the most cost-effective improvements you can make to a home, according to HGTV. A minor bathroom remodel has an average return on investment of 102 percent at the point of sale. A major remodel returns 93 percent of your investment. That means your newly upgraded bathroom will actually help sell your home for more money in the long run.

So what are you waiting for? Improve your bathroom today with these six tips below.

Replace that old flooring:

Carpet and tiny tile flooring — offering two different looks and feels — are both similarly outdated when it comes to bathroom decor. Alternately, hardwood floors can add a more current, upgraded touch and can be achieved with water- and stain-resistant ceramic tile that looks like hardwood. This delivers a distinctively modern look in a medium ideal for the humid bathroom environment.

A new look for a familiar soak:

Nothing conveys the comfort of an extraordinary bathroom like a luxurious soak in the tub. To set your bathroom, and your home, apart from the competition, replace your existing tub with the Studio Fold Over Edge tub from American Standard. This tub uniquely allows for a custom finish to the front apron to match wall tile and décor, creating a handsomely coordinated room. Plus, the tub’s spacious bathing well and extra lumbar support mean relaxation and enjoyment for you before the sale.

Shed a new light:

Proper lighting is essential in any bathroom and up-to-date light fixtures are a great way to increase the wow factor for potential buyers. If your bathroom currently displays the outdated style of exposed bulb fixtures, try replacing them with contemporary wall sconce lights to create a look that is sure to draw your visitors’ attention.

Find a first-rate faucet:

Even a perfectly functional bathroom can be discredited by potential buyers if it showcases dated brass faucets and accents. If your space is guilty, try replacing the existing faucet with an American Standard Patience bath sink faucet. Offered in widespread or single handle models, these classically chic styles allow for easy operation by all users in the home. Plus, the choice of popular polished chrome or brushed nickel finishes provides a high-style look to entice home buyers, while delivering a water-efficient performance.

Sink that old sink:

Those rounded-edge Formica sinks had their share of the limelight, but now their time has passed. Today’s modern bathrooms have become edgier, especially when it comes to sinks. Straight-edge designs, made from natural stone, quartz or contemporary solid surface material, are popular sink solutions today. Replacing your old sink with a newer style helps ensure your bathroom isn’t left behind. Home buyers notice sinks, and this is one project you should tackle for higher return when you sell.

Shower your bathroom with a new upgrade:

Your showering experience should be as customizable as it is enjoyable. The GROHE SmartControl thermostatic trim offers intuitive, push-and-turn button operation for water temperature and flow rate control, all in a sleek, low-profile design. Available in both round and square styles, in stylish chrome, brushed nickel or white finishes, it’s the shower system you’ll enjoy every morning — and so will your home’s next owners.

 

Start your bathroom project today

The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your home for potential buyers. It can also be one of the most enjoyable rooms while you’re still in your home. Make these upgrades to your bathroom so that you can relish these improvements, as well as entice buyers when it comes time to sell.

– (BPT)

 

11 Easy Bathroom Style Tricks


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Improve Your Credit Score In 100 Days

 

a couple in front of their home

5 steps that can improve your credit score in 100 days or less

Low-interest rates, a strong economy and the turn of the seasons are all causing the real estate market to heat up. More homes on the market bring more competition to buy the inventory that is out there. And one way to stand apart from other buyers who are vying for their dream home is to take steps to improve your credit score now.

 

“Preparing your finances is a must before the busy real estate season,” says Barrett Burns, president, and CEO of credit score model developer VantageScore Solutions. “Knowing your credit scores and making improvements is essential to getting the best loan at the best rates. This also makes you a more attractive home buyer, especially in a competitive market.”

 

With limited time, you may think there’s nothing you can do to improve your score. Burns says that’s an incorrect assumption. While you can’t make dramatic jumps in just a couple months, there are several steps you can take that may influence your score to increase enough to get you prequalified for the loan you want.

 

Keep in mind, lenders will pull your scores from all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and the TransUnion), so it’s wise to check your credit report from each of them. You can do so for free once every 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.com. For best results, monitor at least one credit score from each of the bureaus. You also can check your credit score for free through a large number of online services, such as CreditKarma.com, NerdWallet.com or Credit.com. Other sites offering free VantageScore credit scores can be found at VantageScore.com/free.

 

Once you have your reports in hand, you can take steps that may have a positive impact on your scores.

 

Step 1: Check for errors

A credit report gives a comprehensive list of your lines of credit and payment history. The first step is to review your credit report for errors and take steps to make corrections, including past and present names, loan amounts and credit cards in your name.

 

When checking your credit score, bear in mind that some differences in credit scores across bureaus are normal. But if one of the three credit scores is an extreme outlier, it could be worth double-checking your credit report from that bureau to make sure it doesn’t reflect any questionable or erroneous activity.

 

Step 2: Don’t miss a payment

Creditors are interested in seeing how you manage credit, and the consistency of behavior counts. You should always pay at least the minimum amount due on bills on time every month. An easy way to ensure you don’t miss a payment is to sign up for automatic bill pay when available.

 

Step 3: Lower credit utilization levels

Credit utilization is the ratio of a credit card balance to the credit limit. If your balance is $5,000 and your credit limit is $10,000, then your credit utilization for that credit card is 50 percent. In general, a good credit utilization is less than 30 percent, so if you have a higher ratio, consider using your tax refund to pay down this debt.

 

Step 4: Don’t close old credit cards

If you have a credit card that is no longer used but was previously paid off on time each month, don’t close the account. Not only is this good for your credit utilization ratio, but it also is another indicator you’re a responsible candidate for a loan.

 

Step 5: Don’t apply for new credit

Avoid applying for any new credit, such as an auto loan or a new credit card account, between now and the time you will close on a home purchase. Lenders considering your loan application request your credit score from one or more credit bureaus. And these lender “inquiries” are recorded with one or more of the three national credit bureaus, which may lower your credit score by 10 to 20 points. The score decreases typically only last a few months, as long as you continue to make payments on time. But unless they’re absolutely necessary, try to avoid additional inquiries until after you’ve secured your mortgage.

 

If you follow these five steps, you may see an increase in your score within a few months so you can get a loan and be an attractive buyer when it comes time to put in a bid for your dream home.

 

Keep in mind, the more you can put toward the down payment, the more instant equity you’ll have, the lower your monthly payment will be, and the better your chances are of not needing private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can add hundreds of dollars to your monthly payment.

 

Plus, if you’re able to put down more than a lender requires, a mortgage company may be willing to give you a pass on other issues on your application, such as a less-than-stellar credit score. (BPT)