Budgeting Those Home Improvement Projects

Kim Woehl Keller Williams Premier Realty - kwoehl.kwrealty.com - 651-214-1459

Some people budget when it comes to large home improvement projects but we tend to do projects as we have money to get things done.  My husband is also a rather good do it yourself, guy.  This means that if you can do it yourself why should you pay someone when you can do a quality job yourself.  While I think this is hugely valid and definitely saves lots of money, time is certainly a rather large challenge.

We have been working on our lake home for about a year and a half now and so far we have the structure up, a roof over our heads and have replaced all but 2 windows in the whole house.

Sometime during the winter months I lost all water to the house as my hubby thought it would be a better idea to totally redo what was there as it was mostly leaky anyway.  The last straw came in when the toilet began leaking and he realized the flooring needed work due to the leak.  Next thing I know I get a phone call to let me know I no longer have a toilet and oh by the way, No Running Water.

Roll ahead to June 19, 2012.  I have running water outside so I can at least get some fresh water.  Plumbing is ran except to the new kitchen which is in the new addition part of the house.  The bathroom is our focus as we all would love to have a toilet in the house again.  (Simple Pleasures).

So silly me, I assume I will get a toilet as soon as I get plumbing, but no. It turns out we have to do the tile on the floor and on the wall that the toilet will be near as it would be difficult to do this after the toilet is installed.

I am thrilled to report that the tile is starting to go down.  He has also done the concrete work for the walk in shower and I am pretty excited about the idea of a toilet and a place to wash off the day’s dirt.

Budget, well not exactly but this works really well for us.  Patience is a must and you certainly have to understand that you may be without life’s luxury’s for awhile.

If you can live with the mess and the loss if certain conveniences for a bit and you truly are that handy person you might consider a small home improvement project.  If you are a bit more savy, you might take on a bigger challenge.  By the way, we do hire services from time to time.  We hired the block work for the addition to be done and we hired a guy to shingle for us so we had the roof covered before the winter and we also payed that same guy to side the tall lake side of the house as we did not have scaffolding to reach the peak area.

Please share a do it yourself story of your own.  Sometimes we need to laugh about some of our challenges so that we have the strength to keep plugging along!

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Saving Money in the Laundry Room

I am getting greener as I get older and as a result I have found some great ways to save money in the laundry room while also having a smaller footprint.

First off make sure you are only running full loads.  This is true even if you have one of the washing machines that is smart and knows to reduce the water level.  While you are saving on water (this is great), it still is costing you to run that load at the same rate as that full load.  Also, while the washer is smart, the dryer is not and will cost you full price to dry that smaller load.

Hang your clothes out if you can they smell terrific and won’t cost a dime to dry.  If you are one of those persons who doesn’t like the stiff fabric that outdoor drying creates, bring them indoors and pop them into the dryer for about 5 minutes just to get tossed around and I find they are nice and soft.

The next secret is to use cold water.  I could not believe what a difference this made in my bill but the clothes come out just as clean.  Oh and don’t waste your time on the cold water detergent.  Regular detergent works just as well.

Let’s take a moment to chat about that dryer.  Make sure to clean the lint filter every time.  This reduces the dry time, cuts down on fire risk and allows the motor to run as it was supposed too.  If you use dryer sheets, make sure you soap up the lint filter at least annually to make sure the screen is still breathing.  They can become clogged and you won’t even see it but once you clean it with a bit of soap and water you will notice your loads drying a bit quicker.  If your machine has choices, set the dryer to a bit less dry and remove them promptly once they are done.

Another great dryer tip is to make sure you washer is doing a great job of spinning your load dry.  The extra spin time will allow for shorter dry times and the difference in appliance cost is worth it!

The last tip I have is to dry similar weights of clothes together.  Example – dry towels together instead of a mixed load so that when you are drying a load of t shirts they will dry quicker, resulting in a faster dryer cycle.

Do you have any laundry room tips to share?  I know some of you make your own detergent I haven’t tried that yet.  I also hear you can make your own dryer sheets, has anyone tried that?  I would love to hear from you!

Kim Woehl is a realtor with Keller Williams Premier Realty and wants to be your housing expert.  If you are looking to buy or sell please give her a call at 651-214-1459 or visit her website where you can search homes in the area for free. http://kwoehl.kwrealty.com/

Common Home Defects – Ask the Realtor

Kim Woehl - Realtor - Keller Williams Premier Realty 651-214-1459 or kwoehl.kwrealty.com

With Spring nearly here this is a great time to discuss water penetration concerns in a home.  Water moving through your pipes, down a drain and out of the house is the only water you really want to see in your home.  This said, this is a prime time of year to find water in your basement.

There are 5 main areas that you should consider when looking for the source of a wet basement.

  • Grade of Yard
  • Grade at Foundation
  • Landscaping
  • Gutters, downspouts and extensions
  • Hard Surfaces

Take a look at your yard – does it appear the home is higher than the surrounding land?  If not you may need to create a swale so that water is drawn into a channel and moved away from your home instead of being allowed to sit and soak into the soil near the home.

Look at the grade near the foundation.  Soil needs to be higher than surrounding yard so that water immediately moves away from the home.  A good guide is a 1 inch slope per 5-6 feet away from the house.

Landscaping is a common culprit.  Lawn edging sometimes pushes up with frost creating a pocket where when water comes it is actually trapped and cannot move out and away from the home.  It can create a moat of sorts around the home actually holding and allowing water to seep into the blockwork.  Get out there and make sure all edging is mounted low enough so that it will not retain water near the home.

Gutters can be a good thing when working and complete.  They push water down a channel and away from the home.  The problem comes when the gutters get filled with debris and no longer work or when the extensions have been removed for winter or perhaps to mow around and then we forget to get these back on.  What happens next is that water might flow into those landscape areas mentioned above and now you have effectively created that moat again.

The last thing that must be considered is the hard surfaces you have outdoors, patios, stoops, and driveways.  These all need to direct and pull water away from the home.  Often times these settle causing water to actually move toward the home instead of away.  Mud or sand jacking can be a reasonable fix for this problem versus replacement and the results are effective.

When you do have water coming in, don’t assume since it is coming in the east side of the house that the water problem is coming from that area.  Block work is hollow and therefore can allow water to move along the full structure, so instead look for potential concerns and address each one until water is no longer coming in.  Block work can and does absorb lots of water so it is important to find the source and correct it.  Water in a basement can create mold issues and can cause block damage.  Both of these will make your home a risk for any potential buyer.

Kim Woehl is a Realtor with Keller Williams Premier Realty and wants to be your real estate expert.  If you know anyone looking to buy or sell, please send me their contact information or give them mine.  I can be reached at 651-214-1459 or kwoehl.kwrealty.com  I will work to listen and find the home that meets your needs.  I am knowledgeable on common home defects and will help guide you to the best choice when looking for a home.  Call me!

Click here to see what’s available in Forest Lake or Wyoming.  http://kwoehl.kwrealty.com/listings/areas/16576,16623/  It’s free!