Homes of Distinction Realty



Posted by Homes of Distinction Realty on 1/17/2016

The cost of heating can really take a toll on us over the colder fall and winter months. Having a programmable thermostat can help in cutting heating costs and still staying warm. But just having one isn't enough - you need to know how to use it to its full potential! Programmable thermostats have the ability to be programmed so that you can have multiple temperature settings through out the day. The benefit of this, is not having to think about turning down the heat before you leave for work, or cranking it up when you get home. Instead, you get heating at the exact temperature you want, when you want. So what temperatures should you set it to exactly? While you are home and awake, setting it to 68 degrees is a pretty standard temperature. While you are away from home, or sleeping, reducing it to 58 degrees should be tolerable. Of course, reducing the temperature even more than that while you are out of the house is possible, just don't make it too low and freeze your water pipes. Reducing your thermometer by 10-15 degrees for 8 hours (like while you are at work) you can save 5-15% off your heating bill. So the benefits can really pay off for reducing your heat while you are at work. For example: if you pay $200 a month in heating, reducing the heat by 15 degrees during the day will save $10-$30 a month which can add up to $60-$180 for the year if you use the heat for 6 months. Finding ways to cut costs is important to everyone during tough economic times. Every penny counts. So add this money saving tip to your list and you could start racking up the savings.





Posted by Homes of Distinction Realty on 12/27/2015

washing windowsDon’t do windows? Think again. A house with sparkling windows all around sends the impression of property well cared for. This is a chore that none of us look forward to, and the outsides of the windows, particularly on the upper floors, are a pain to do. But newer houses have windows that tip inward, so you can wash both sides from inside your home. Try moving the windows; you may be surprised at how easy it is. Make a solution of 50% tap water and 50% white vinegar in a spray bottle. No need to buy that smelly chemical cleaner. Use lint-free material to wipe the windows clean; newspaper works best, but any lint-free material will do. If using newspaper, crumple up a sheet for streak-free results. For very dirty windows, it may be better to wash them first with soapy water and then use the spray bottle with the vinegar/water solution. Don’t do windows on a sunny day, at least in direct sunlight, however. The sun bakes the cleaner on and the glass dries too quickly, before you have a chance to wipe the grime away. It’s best to wait for a cloudy day; that way you can get all the windows done at once. Make a plan to complete this work in the spring and in the fall. It’s a good idea to clean your windows twice a year. Brush the screens off, also. Dust and pollen accumulates and your hard work of cleaning the glass may not be so noticeable. Special roller brushes made for just this purpose are sold at hardware stores. Once you have completed these tasks, walk around your house and observe how clean the glass surfaces of your house look—you’ll never say “I don’t do windows” again!





Posted by Homes of Distinction Realty on 9/20/2015

We are all guilty of it, some worse than others. Homes all over America are brimming with clutter. Do the closets in your home trigger a small avalanche every time you open them? Are your basements and attics filled to capacity with boxes of your adult children’s baby clothes and toys? Do you have holiday decorations from 25 years ago tucked away in corners of your home? The typical American has the tendency to hoard objects and it is becoming an epidemic. Most of us have more objects entering the house than we have exiting the house. It does not take long before all this stuff over burdens the storage systems in the home. We just keep shopping and bringing in more stuff than we are getting rid of. Eventually our counters are muddled with papers, our cabinets are stuffed to the max, and our garage is no longer a place we can store the car. Instead the garage is just another room filled to capacity with boxes and bins of junk. All this clutter is suffocating us and stealing our time and energy. It complicates our life and causes stressful situations when we spend our time searching for missing items. Clutter can impact our social life as well, making us afraid to let our friends into our home. It's time to simplify our life and get rid of the clutter! By clearing out the clutter in your home you begin to reclaim your space and your time. Living a simplified life with less stuff will allow you to live in harmony with out all the chaos. Own less and live more, keep it simple.





Posted by Homes of Distinction Realty on 5/24/2015

If you are looking to increase the living space in your home, the answer might just be right under your feet. Remodeling your basement has the potential of uniquely transforming the look of your home. Although this has a unique set of challenges, with proper planning, it can be achieved. Here are some tips on how to remodel your basement into a functional living space. Make a Family Room The basement is a great place for casual social activities, a perfect spot where the entire family can get together and relax with a board game or a big screen television. Make it inviting and alluring, just like any other room in the home. Some new furniture, a great sound system and excellent lightening would be a great way to start. Include a Bath and Bedroom Adding a bedroom and a bath makes the basement an ideal suite for guests. The dimensions should be determined by who will use it. For a double bed, you will need a minimum of 125 square feet, for twin beds, 150 square feet will serve your needs. When adding a bedroom, be certain there is an emergency exit that leads directly outside.  A professional will need to be consulted in regards to adding a bathroom as specific regulations will apply. Add a Kitchen With a mini kitchen in the basement, entertainment gets easier. This would require access to hot and cold water, electrical outlets, exhaust vents, a small dish washer, under counter refrigerator and anything else that would allow for more comfortable living. Design a Safe and Attractive Staircase In most homes, there is a staircase leading to the basement. When remodeling, take the opportunity to improve the look of this entryway to your new living space. If it is not properly positioned, consider moving it to a better location. Consult with a designer or an architect for guidance on redesigning your stairway. Add Windows Adding windows is great for basements, but this task is better left to the professionals. If this is properly done, it will improve the ventilation, add light, and make it very comfortable. Adding windows may require digging a window well. A retaining wall made of masonry, limestone blocks, or treated landscape timbers should be added to the well. If properly done, it could also serve as an emergency exit. Finish the Walls. The walls of the foundation are usually made of poured concrete and reinforcement materials. Cover the walls with materials of your choice. Plywood, paneling or any material that would make the area more inviting.  For example, covering the walls in the living area with sheets of maple-veneer would add an arts and crafts feel to the room. There are many options and trained professionals that can help you achieve the look you want. Finish The Ceilings Basically, there are three options available to you when remodeling the basement ceilings, leave the pipes and duct work exposed, conceal it with a dry panel or hide everything with a suspended or drop ceiling. Choose Comfortable Flooring In most cases, basement floors are made of concrete, unless plywood sub-flooring has been installed. Concrete works with most floor finish choices like tile, carpet, vinyl and paint. For below grade installation, solid wood flooring is not recommended as it shrinks and expands causing gaps.   However, engineered wood flooring is recommended as it shrinks less.  





Posted by Homes of Distinction Realty on 12/28/2014

Painting the interior of your home is an inexpensive way of increasing its value. It improves the overall look of your home, while adding style and allure. It is not uncommon with residential home owners to take on this task themselves.  Do it yourself projects such as painting can be fun, while saving money at the same time.  The following outline will help you get started. Have a clear picture Having a clear picture of what you want the end result to look like is very important. Visit each room in the house and note the look and feel you desire for each area.  Keep in mind that the new wall color should coordinate with the current  furnishings in each room. Assuming you are painting the home for resale, keep the colors neutral, and consistent throughout the house. Discuss with others Talk with all the members of your household, and share your painting plans with them. Ask for their ideas, discuss your choice of colors, and listen to their input. It is important to be open to new ideas, you never know who might come up with the perfect solution to a problem area. Calculate Paint Needed At this stage, you need to determine the area to be covered and the quantity of paint required to completely cover each area. You need to take into consideration how many coats of paint will be needed to produce your desired finish on each wall.  Estimating the amount of paint needed is quite simple. Measure the height of the wall and multiply it by the length. This will give you the area to be painted. Calculate the area of windows and doors present on each wall and subtract it from the overall area. Make Your Budget The price of paint varies depending on the quality.  A professional can best guide you to  the type of paint and the finish that will best meet your needs.  You will also need to allow money in your budget for the equipment needed to complete your painting project.  Much like the paint, the quality and price will vary on items such as brushes, rollers, painter's tape and drop cloths.  Again, a professional can recommend how to best utilize your equipment budget. Planning and Preparation Planning is key, it is best to estimate how long the job will take before you get started. You will need to plan your household activities around your painting schedule.  Leave a little extra time in your work schedule for those unforeseen circumstances to avoid over whelming yourself. Clear the room:

  • Remove all furniture from the room to be painted, clearing out as much as possible. For rooms that have very heavy furniture, move them to the center of the room and cover them with a drop cloth to avoid accidental paint spills/spatters.
Wall preparation:
  • Prior to painting, walls need to be prepared.  Use a scraper to remove old paint or a steamer to remove old wallpaper.  Holes should be filled and the wall surface made smooth.  Seek the guidance of a professional on how to best prepare the surface of your walls as the technique will vary based on the construction of the wall.  Tape off the trim work around the doors, windows and flooring, and use drop cloths to protect the carpet and floors.
Prime the wall:
  • The purpose of priming is to prepare the wall for the application of paint.  Priming covers irregularities and stains, making the paint adhere to the wall much more effectively. Priming makes the surface uniform for the application of the new paint,  basically giving the painter a clean canvas to start with.
Start painting: When you are ready to paint, it's recommended to start in the more difficult areas or larger rooms first.  Apply paint consistently with even vertical strokes of a brush or roller. Be certain to complete a wall before moving on to another area to help ensure the paint dries evenly. Observe as you go how well the paint is covering and drying.  This will help you to determine how many coats of paint you will need to apply to achieve the look you desire. Once the painting is done, the equipment put away and the furniture back in place, you can sit back and admire a job well done.




Categories: Home Improvements