Easy Winter Maintenance Tips For New Homeowners

If you’re a new home owner, or just dream of home ownership, you might be surprised at the seasonal work that comes with the territory. From tending the lawn all summer, to protecting your pipes against the cold, there are many things you should know about caring for your own home. Many people learn as they go, fixing problems that pop up due to harsh weather, precipitation and changing temperatures. This might leave you with costly repairs that could have been prevented with a little up front maintenance.

The following tips are easy to do, even if you’re not handy, but can help prevent damage, reduce utility bills and make life as a homeowner a lot more enjoyable!

 

Seal cracks and gaps around windows

Make your windows more airtight for the winter by sealing cracks and gaps. You can get weather kits at most home improvement and hardware stores to get you started. These often include detailed instructions to make installation even easier. This Old House offers some tips in this video if you’re looking for additional guidance.

 

Stop door drafts 

Doors can let in a lot of cold air during the winter even when they’re closed if they don’t seal properly, leading to high heating bills and a less cozy home. You can install door draft stoppers on every entry door to stop drafts in their tracks. These are easy to install, you simply peel the backing off and stick the material to the bottom edge of your door. A quick visit to your local hardware or home improvement store will get you started.

 

Winterize outdoor faucets

Freezing temperatures can be brutal on your pipes, especially outdoor faucets. Save yourself future inconvenience, and repair bills, by draining and insulating your outdoor faucets. The most simple way to do this is to purchase a kit designed to cover and seal outdoor spigots. These are inexpensive and come with easy to follow instructions.

 

Clean the gutters and downspouts

Gutters and downspouts protect your home from accumulating moisture, ushering water away from your roof and your foundation. If they are clogged with debris, or otherwise not functional, they can’t do their job. Cleaning these before the storms come will help protect your home. Simply removing debris by hand works, but you can also use a hose to flush them out. Here are some additional tips if you’re new to gutter maintenance.

 

HVAC upkeep

Your HVAC system works just about all year long, but sometimes people forget that filters need changed in the winter too! Not only will this help improve your indoor air quality, it’s equally important for airflow during the heating season as it is in the summer. Help yourself stay on track by putting a “change filter” reminder on your family’s calendar.

 

Last but not least, protect your pipes from freezing during cold snaps by keeping cabinet doors open to sinks that share external walls. You can also insulate pipes in unheated areas of your home and  let cold water drip from sinks to prevent freezing. All it takes is a small drip during the coldest hours to help save your pipes.

Tips on selecting the right floor plan

Other than curb appeal, a home’s floor plan is one of the top features that homeowners consider when looking at homes, and for good reason! It doesn’t matter if you’re buying or building, your future’s home layout will play a big role in your comfort. With so many options available, how can you find the right floor plan for you? 

 

It can be difficult to weigh the pros and cons of floor plans, but the following tips can help you zone in on what’s most important to you and your family. 

 

Consider your lifestyle

One way to compare floor plans is to think about your overall lifestyle. This allows you to more closely match how you use a home with available features and different layouts. For instance, if you love entertaining and having family get-togethers, you may want a formal dining room and a great kitchen. Or maybe it’s more important that you have spacious walk-in closets and storage than natural lighting and sunset views. All of these things should play into your decision. Just remember, you want to think about today and several years down the road as well.  

 

Consider your family plans

Houses are long term purchases, so it makes sense to include your long-term plans into your decision. Are you thinking of growing your family in the near future? If so, you’ll want room to grow, and maybe extra space for a playroom or nursery. If your family is going to be leaving the nest in a couple years, you may want less space and more room to entertain. Do you plan on retiring in the home? If that’s a possibility, you’ll want to consider how you’ll be able to utilize your home as you age. All of these decisions are important when looking at possible floor plans. 

 

Consider your “must have” features

Another way to compare floor plans is to consider your top features and weigh them against your options. To do this, make a list of things you can’t live without and a list of things that would be nice, if possible. Do this before you look at any options to keep from being influenced by the visuals of any potential home. After you have a solid list, then you can start looking at contenders. This allows you to really hone in on what’s important to you!

 

Vaulted ceilings or not? Enclosed deck for morning coffee or panoramic views of the rising sun? Upgraded kitchen with formal dining or a rumpus room? There are so many options when you look at a new home that it can be overwhelming. And since home ownership is such a large commitment, every little decision can seem more difficult. By using these tips, you can sharpen your list of wants and be confident in whatever decisions you make. 

 

Ready to look at floor plans? We have some great options to get your imagination going!

Are you ready for home ownership?

Owning a home is the American dream, but it can be hard to know if you’re in the best position to go from renter to owner.  Not only is home ownership a big responsibility, there are many factors to consider before you buy or build a home. If you’re completely new to home ownership, it can be even harder to know what questions to ask, and things to consider, before investing in a home of your own.  

If you’re considering buying or building a home, the following list can help you decide if you’re ready to take the leap. 

 

Are you really ready to settle down?

A house is a big financial commitment, but it also represents a commitment to staying in one location. You should ask yourself if your family is ready to commit to an area for a minimum of five years. This is typically considered the minimum number of years you need to live in a home to make it financially viable. You should consider your work commute, the quality of schools in the area and the availability of conveniences your family uses for entertainment and recreation. 

Family decisions

You’ll want to make sure that the house fits your needs today and can accommodate any changes you anticipate for the future. If you plan on growing your family, you’ll want to make sure your new home has room. If your kids are older, you may need less room as they move out.  Additionally, the decision to buy or build a home impacts every member of the family, so you need to consider everyone’s needs. For instance, families with children are going to be more interested in quality school districts and the availability of kid-friendly activities is important. 

 

Steady income

There’s no doubt about it, houses are one of the largest financial investments you can make. While they can definitely be a great investment over the long-term, you need to be financially stable first. So not only do you need a savings account to fall back on, you’ll want to have a stable job. Of course, there is no way of knowing what the future may hold, but there are signs to consider. If you’ve had your position for a few years and are with a stable company, you’re in a decent position. If you’ve switched jobs recently, or your company has been bought out or shows signs of instability, you may want to increase your savings before buying.

 

Owning a home is an incredible and rewarding experience, giving you a stable place to create memories that will last a lifetime. But buying or building a home is also a big responsibility, so it’s important that you set yourself up for success. By knowing your family’s needs, considering the future and being financially prepared you can make sure that you have the resources you need to move past the obstacles. 

If you’re ready to take the next steps, or want to window shop for the future, we have a gallery of homes online. 

Easy home projects to spruce up your home

If you’re spending more time indoors this summer, you’re not alone. Like many, home has become the new hot spot for work and leisure time activities. After you’ve cleaned and rearranged everything, and treated yourself to some TV binge watching, you might want something new to do. If you’re on the lookout for something that’s both productive and fun to break up your day, these fun projects might do the trick.

 

These easy projects are not just a great way to pass the time, they are easy on the wallet and you can get the whole family involved. It’s the perfect way to pass some time from the comfort and safety of home. 

 

Redesign your wooden furniture

 

Let’s be honest, even if you love the extra time at home, it can get pretty boring to look at the same decor week after week. The temptation may be to simply hop online and buy some new items for your most used rooms. But, as tempting as it is to do some online shopping, there are many things you can do to change up your home’s look and feel that doesn’t include an expensive shopping spree!

 

You can find instructions on many DIY sites, but all you really need is some paint, stencils and a furniture item that you’re willing to alter. It can be an old coffee table, a bookshelf, or a wood storage box that’s lost its rustic charm. You’ll even find printable stencils online to make the process even easier. Then all you need to do is gather your family and get to decorating!

 

A backyard fire pit

 

It may still be summer, but it’s nice to think ahead to the cool days and crisp nights of Fall. If you’re like many, you look forward to spending some time outside, maybe cozying up to a crackling fire with your favorite drink. Fortunately you can make this happen, without going camping, by building your very own fire pit. This Autumn-inspired project is easy and surprisingly inexpensive, but it does require getting your hands a little dirty.  

 

Most everything you need can be obtained at your local home improvement store or even ordered online. And while it may seem complicated, it’s actually not hard to do. You can watch this video for complete step-by-step instructions and in no time, you’ll be able to transform your backyard into a fall haven.  

 

Unleash your inner artist 

 

Tired of looking at the same old walls day after day? There is an easy fix to this that lets you get creative – painting! We’re not talking about just putting some new color on the walls, but creating your own artwork on canvases. And don’t worry, you don’t have to be an artist to make beautiful art. You also don’t need much more than acrylic paint, brushes, and a few canvases. 

 

You can get regular canvases or wood canvases, depending on the look you’re going for. From there, there’s really no wrong way to do it, just paint what you feel like. You can simply splash color, try to replicate some scenery, or look online for inspiration. This project is a great way to spend some time at home and it’s something the whole family can do. Invite everyone to  make their own gallery piece for your hallways.

 

As you can see, there are plenty of things you can do from the comfort of your home that doesn’t involve more TV or cleaning. These low cost, easy options will let you get creative, get active, and freshen up your living space all at the same time. And if you have a full house of bored and restless kids, you can get everyone involved, making DIY projects the perfect way to spend the day.

Easy ways to Change Up your Home’s Decor

If you’re like many people these days, you’re spending a lot more time at home. For some, this might lead to a bit of restlessness about the look and feel of their living spaces. This may be worse for people that are used to switching up their home’s look every season or those daydreaming of building their own home one day.

 

As custom home builders, we’ve always understood the importance of making your space your own. Right now, however, this concept has taken on an even greater importance. To help people eager for a new look, but unsure how to make it happen, we’ve got you covered.

 

These easy tips can help you transform your space so that your living areas feel fresh, even if you’re spending a lot more time in them!

 

Rearrange

 

Spending a lot of time at home can be peaceful, but seeing the same scenery every day might make you a bit restless. One of the easiest ways to refresh your interior is to simply rearrange what you already have. By switching up the way your unique furnishings are used, any living space can feel new again. Has your living room furniture been in the same place for years? Move it all around so that you have an entirely new perspective from your couch. Do you have pictures that have been taking up the same wall space for a while? Move them to another room entirely or take them down for a while and enjoy a more clean look.  There are nearly endless ways you can rearrange your space to break up the monotony and enjoy a fresh new feel. 

 



Get crafty

 

It’s easy to buy new decorations to switch up the look of your space, but that can be a bit pricey. You can, however, try your hand at some Do It Yourself  (DIY) projects to create new accent and décor pieces. This is also a great way to spend some of that extra time at home!  The internet is full of great DIY ideas  like creating floating shelves, repurposing old items into containers or storage pieces for books. You can also make decorations and accent pieces for tables with a little creativity and perhaps an online tutorial. Imagine the pride of looking around your home and enjoying things you made yourself!

 

Add Some Greenery

 

One of the best ways to decorate your space is to add some greenery. And no, you don’t have to have a green thumb to keep plants in your home. While it’s true, some plants are more difficult to keep, there are many varieties that are robust and require little upkeep. For instance, succulents are very easy to care for and they come in many different types. So no matter your preference, you’re sure to find one that fits your home. The Monstera is another plant that will add a splash of green to your house. While it’s true that these plants are on the larger side, they only require weekly watering and medium sunlight. Finally, miniature cacti are a nice addition to any space and these need barely any care at all!  Just be careful with these if you have pets or little ones running around! 

 

While there is little we can do about the unusual and stressful times we’re facing now, we can make our homes a bit of a sanctuary from it all. From rearranging your space to adding a touch of green, these simple and affordable options will help you refresh the look and feel of your home. It also will give you something fun to do, all without leaving the comfort of home.