If your budget allows for it, hiring a good housekeeper is well worth the money. If you're like most professional couples, you probably already feel "maxed out" after you've put in 40 to 60 hours at your jobs . When you add parenting responsibilities into the mix, there's not too much time and energy left for cleaning the house! While certain basic house cleaning tasks are unavoidable on a daily basis, it's a relief to know that a paid house cleaner will be coming in to do a thorough job soon.
Finding a reliable housekeeper with whom you feel comfortable can be a bit of a challenge, but if you can get referrals from family, friends, and others you know, then your search should put you on the right track.
The Selection Process
Since the main reason you're hiring a cleaning person is to make your life easier, the last thing you want to deal with is dependability problems or substandard work. That's why it's important to get referrals from people you know and trust. It often pays to interview more than one prospective cleaning person because you want to find someone who is the best match for your budget and needs. When you have two or three prospects to choose from, you'll be in a better position to choose the one with the best attitude, top references, and the most agreeable personality.
Unless a cleaning person was referred to you by someone you know well, it's a good idea to request references and contact a couple of them before making any final decisions. Calling at least two of their current customers (or past bosses) should give you some helpful insights into their work habits, punctuality, and willingness to follow directions.
Although most customers will probably try to be complimentary, if you ask the right questions and look for "red flags" in their answers, you'll be surprised at what you can learn. While it may be too blunt to ask if their cleaning person is honest, a lot can be inferred from their responses to other questions. For example, if a housekeeper has been working for the same customer for several years and cleans their house while the costumer is at their office or other place of employment, then there's a good chance the cleaner does excellent (or at least satisfactory) work and can be trusted. One direct question that generally needs to be asked when talking with references is "Would you personally recommend this person?" Asking how their housekeeper responds to special requests, suggestions, or constructive criticism may also provide revealing answers.
When getting a quote from a cleaning person or house cleaning service, it's useful to get an itemized list of what chores or services would be covered in the price. There are two advantages to this. First of all, you'll be able to compare "apples to apples". Secondly, you'll be able to gauge your expectations to what was initially promised and agreed to. While there may be other issues to consider, like possible background checks and insurance coverages they carry, once you've found a house cleaner you like and trust, you've cleared the biggest hurdle in your search!
There are many reasons to renovate your house. If you plan on selling, renovating your old house will increase the face value dramatically. Also, it makes you more comfortable while you get the satisfaction of living in a place of which you are proud.
Some cheap renovation ideas that will not hurt your wallet but translate into a more attractive sale are:
Add Energy Efficient Windows
More than any time in history, we have so much awareness about going green. It is a good idea as it not only saves the environment but also saves money. Hence, replacing old windows with new ones that are energy efficient will reward you with tremendous returns. Immediate benefits come as a drastic reduction in your electricity bills.
Make a Deck
One of the things home buyers look for is a deck. Adding a deck is a terrific idea because it provides a fantastic spot for relaxation. While adding a deck to your house is cost incentive, think of the improvement it will have on the face value of your property. Also, if you want to sell your home, it is a sweet selling spot to get better deals.
Use Energy Efficient Insulation
Your heating and cooling system will be difficult to maintain if you use a door that allows a lot of hot and cold air to enter your house. Your entries, windows, switches, and attics are parts of the house that needs insulation. Replace old water heaters with new tanks that are energy efficient – they save energy and ultimately reduce your bills.
Ensure a Basic Maintenance Routine
A buyer will love to know the house is in good shape before investing in it. When you spend on basic maintenance, your home becomes pretty much appealing to prospective buyers. Basic maintenance routine doesn't have to burn a hole in your pocket. Hence, be sure to take care of leaky roofs, seal cracks, replace rotten woods and fix plumbing leaks. You also need to make certain that your house is clean.
Make Your Exterior Appealing
There are many renovation ideas you can do inside the house. You, however, have to bear in mind that it is the exterior of your home that will attract prospective buyers. With this in mind, you have to try to make your exterior as appealing as possible. Invest in good paint, make sure your roof complements the siding or brick, change your garage door, and anything else that will make your home look amazing at first sight.
House renovation is a great project that will yield tremendous returns with time. Be sure to invest in worthy projects that will make your house more appealing to buyers.
Sustainable landscaping, while often called “green” on labels and in the media, usually comes in a variety of other colors. The idea behind dry-scaping or xeriscaping is to use less water, conserve and protect local wildlife, promote the local environment and use less energy. That doesn't mean you're stuck with the desert look though. Most environments support a wide variety of plants, so just think about what grows naturally in your area. Before you get started on updating your home from a high-water consumption—though beautiful—green lawn to modern eco-friendly desert-scaping, dry-scaping or xeriscaping in a variety of reds, blacks, blues, and browns (and some green too) it's essential to plan.
Who is going to Use it?
Think about who uses your existing lawn or patio. Do the kids play on it? What about BBQs with outdoor games? It’s important to ensure that your new dry-scaping features serve similar purposes, or you could end up with useless outdoor space, which is not good at all. Stay away from harsh gravel for kids play areas, and try something like recycled tire rubber, mulch, or sand for softer landings and fewer skinned knees. Use paving stones to create paths and borders around local flora you don’t want visitors to walk through and combine it with various gravels for a stylish look.
Where Should Each Part Go?
When setting up your new yard, think about what elements you currently have, and how shade, sun, natural water, and wind fit into your yard. Pay attention to how the ground slopes, using the lowest points for plants since water pools there. Keep any existing trees and other local flora and include additional shade tolerant plants around them. Anywhere wind is likely to blow away your ground covering, go with heavier ground cover such as rocks, paving stones, or plants that are anchored in by the roots.
What Should You Use?
In addition to natural ground coverings such as rock, mulch, and paving stones, try alternative recycled materials to add some color to your landscape. Recycled tires make soft, brightly colored additions for play areas; recycled concrete and brick can be used in retaining walls and rock gardens; even glass gets recycled and tumbled into colorful "mulch" which is excellent for adding designs to pathways or as borders to raised rock gardens and flower beds. Ask at your local gardening shop, find an eco-certified landscaping company or just search the internet to find out what plants are best to use in your area for water and soil conservation. Double check their water usage requirements, and if they need a boost in the driest seasons, try installing a drip-irrigation system that adds water in a slow and controlled manner which helps reduce waste caused by overwatering.
How to take care of it?
There is no lawn to mow all the time, so it should be easy, right? Yes and no. Keep an eye on your new xeriscape to ensure it doesn't become a bed full of weeds that quickly get out of control. Before using any old weed killer, check to make sure the herbicide works within the environment and may safely be used around children and animals. As a preventative measure, try covering the ground underneath any gravel, mulch, or stones with water-permeable landscaping fabric. The larger rocks or ground coverings will hold it down, but for lighter materials use garden staples for extra security. Never, ever use plastic underneath your gravel or mulch. It will collect water, slide around and eventually end up in a landfill, which is what you've tried to avoid in the first place.
Whether you want to know if your current property value will increase with xeriscaping or want your agent to choose homes with “green" landscaping just ask! Your real estate agent will happily assist you.
People downsize their living-space for all kinds of reasons. Making the decision to downsize shouldn't be a negative experience and shouldn't feel like your downgrading your home. Follow these tips to level up your lifestyle and home enjoyment while downsizing your accommodations.
Find a space that works for you.
You might be moving from a large home with a big kitchen or dining area to a more compact condo or cottage and feel like you're losing a lot of space. Think about how your current home is laid out and what parts you utilize the most. If you love your big kitchen, then search for a highly functional, if smaller, kitchen space. Pay attention to how you move through your kitchen now, is it fluid to go between different cooking, prep and cleaning areas? You might find that in reality, you run around your kitchen and loose efficiency. Look for a more compact, but well-appointed kitchen in your new home search and find an even better space for the cooking and entertaining you love.
Modernize your home view.
Your current home may have significant square footage, but how is it laid out? Are there lots of walls and hallways separating your rooms? What height are your ceilings? Does your house have a plethora of windows? Many modern homes have great open layouts. Shared space—a kitchen that opens to your living room, for example—makes both areas feel more substantial. Consider a condo or loft that has extra high ceilings and employ vertical storage to give height and openness to your living space. Finally, windows, windows, windows. Look for a home with large windows, and lots of them. Opening your house up to the beautiful outdoors and letting in lots of natural light gives your home the most added feeling of enlarged space.
Make your new rooms work double for you.
- Invest in a home with open kitchen, living, and dining spaces so you can entertain and remain a part of the activity while creating a meal or prepping drinks.
- Combine your office, guest and craft rooms into one multi-functional space. Use modern storage and office systems to keep your room organized and ready to use for any purpose. Find a great sofa bed for seating and guest use or go old-school with a built-in Murphy bed with added shelving on the exterior.
- Use combination appliances like a stacking washer and dryer or upgrade to front loading systems that you can put under the countertop or build a worktable over.
- Look for outdoor space that maximizes your interior space. French doors or a big sliding door that opens your living or dining room up to your patio expands your useable entertaining space. Find a home with a balcony off the master bedroom and extend your feeling of outdoor space.
Amenities. Amenities. Amenities.
In your home search consider narrowing in on communities with amenities that improve your lifestyle. Community gyms, pools, clubhouses, dog parks, and even a golf course are great opportunities to add to your lifestyle and help you make new connections. Properties with large green areas, barbecue pits, and trees make you feel like the whole community is your backyard. Associations that take care of maintaining your yard or washing windows can reduce the time you spend on home upkeep and free you up to live your life.
No matter the reason for your downsize take the smart steps to make it work for you and help you upgrade your living. Before you start your home search consult with your real estate professional about the best way to find the right space for you.
A smart home device may prove to be a great pick-up, regardless of the size or location of your house. Yet finding an affordable smart house gadget sometimes can be difficult. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to acquire economical smart home devices, such as:
1. Conduct an In-Depth Search for Budget-Friendly Smart Home Devices
A diligent shopper will have no trouble finding smart home devices that fall in line with their finances. In fact, they may be better equipped than other shoppers to quickly acquire high-quality, and cost-effective, smart house gadgets.
Of course, it often helps to check out smart home devices multiple manufacturers. This will allow you to weigh the pros and cons of different smart home gadgets. Plus, you can boost the likelihood of finding a smart home device that delivers a great combination of affordability and dependability.
2. Search for Smart Home Devices at Online and Brick-and-Mortar Retailers
Online retailers like Amazon sell a broad array of smart home gadgets – everything from smart light bulbs to smart robot vacuums. If you search for smart house devices online, you may find terrific gadgets at low prices.
Furthermore, brick-and-mortar retailers are available in cities and towns nationwide. These retailers hire friendly, knowledgeable sales representatives who can teach you everything you need to know about different smart home gadgets. Such as getting the assistance you need to find the right smart home device based on your budgetary and personal needs.
3. Keep an Eye Out for Deals
As new smart home device models become available, previous models may be offered at discounted rates. Thus, if you watch out for new smart home device releases, you may find the prices of past models will be lowered accordingly.
In addition, smart home device prices may be reduced in conjunction with various holiday promotions. If a retailer wants to boost its Christmas sales, for example, it may offer discounts on a wide range of smart house gadgets.
4. Purchase a Pre-Owned Smart Home Device
A pre-owned smart home device may work just as well as a brand-new model. At the same time, a pre-owned smart house gadget may be available at a fraction of the cost of a new model.
If you shop for pre-owned smart home devices, proceed with caution. Whenever possible, you should test a pre-owned smart home device before you buy it. Conversely, if you purchase a pre-owned smart house gadget from an online retailer, ensure that you can return the device if it does not work properly upon arrival.
Clearly, there are many things that you can do to purchase smart house devices without exceeding your budget. As you check out the smart home devices at your disposal, use the aforementioned tips. By doing so, you can find and buy affordable smart home devices that may serve you well for an extended period of time.