Archive for the Around Your Home Category

Only 9 Beautiful Homesites Remaining in Clarkston, Michigan

Posted in Around Your Home, Homeownership, Lifestyle, Manors of Deerwood, New Homes, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , on July 14, 2015 by Kevin Fox

DW Lot 395Another beautiful homesite has been sold – there are only 9 sites remaining in The Manors of Deerwood. There are walkout and daylight lots available, ranging from 0.6 acre to 2.1 acres.

The Manors of Deerwood is located approximately 2 miles north of the Village of Clarkston, and is close to shopping and entertainment.

For more information on the homesites for sale, call Pat Hansen at 248-895-1115 or visit our website.

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Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency with Technology

Posted in Around Your Home, Electrical, Energy Efficiency, Home Maintenance, I Wish I'd Thought About That with tags , , , , on March 5, 2014 by Pat Hansen

Today’s home owners and buyers are looking for ways to incorporate home technologies that increase the long-term value of their house but also provide convenience, safety and comfort. Energy management is a highly-desired feature in both newly-built and existing homes, along with multi-zone heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems and lighting controls. Not only are these features easy-to-use, but they also provide energy-efficiency.

By incorporating the following technologies, home owners can save money on their utility bills:

  • Automated HVAC systems can maintain a more energy-efficient temperature while the home owners are away at work, but switch to a more comfortable temperature prior to their arrival home.  Zones can also be created to heat or cool only the areas most used by the occupants, keeping other areas, such as guest bedrooms, shut down until they are needed. They also can combat the problem of heat rising, keeping upper floors cooler in the summer without freezing the lower floors in a home. According to Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, programmable thermostats can save consumers about $180 per year in energy costs.Programmable Thermostat
  • Water heaters with a timer can be turned off when the occupants are traveling, then can turn on and begin heating the water in preparation for their return home. Tankless gas water heaters — which only activate when residents start to use hot water and immediately de-activate when they are done — are also a great option and can reduce water heating costs up to 35 percent annually.
  • Lighting can make up 10 to 20 percent of the total electrical usage of the home. Installing an automatic dimmer, which adjusts to the home owner’s needs based on time of day or occupancy, will lower electricity bills and increase the life expectancy of light bulbs.
  • Blinds and drapes can be programmed to close during the hottest part of the day to block out the sun; keeping the house cooler. In the colder winter months, they can open up to allow the sun in to warm the house, which helps regulate the room temperature.

By incorporating technologies that help make your home operate more efficiently, Energy Star estimates that home owners can save $200 to $400 annually on their energy bills.

This article is courtesy of the National Association of Home Builders.

Design Trends for 2014 and Beyond

Posted in Around Your Home, Housing News, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Lifestyle, New Homes with tags , , , , on February 26, 2014 by Pat Hansen

The National Association of Home Builders recently announced the winners of the Best in American Living Awards – a prestigious award program that spotlights design excellence for the entire residential building industry.

Award recipients represent the forefront of innovative design in America, and are lauded as the most creative and inventive builders, remodelers, architects, developers, land planners and interior designers in the nation.

Based on submissions from this year’s crop of winners, some of the newest trends in design that home buyers will see over the next several years include:

Light Colored CabinetryWhite on White – Cabinets, flooring, backsplashes, counters, fixtures and appliances are beginning to lighten up. Layering white on top of white is a new approach in many kitchens and bathrooms that is giving way to a fresh and light feeling. To achieve clean lines and a modern feel, designers and builders are selecting European cabinetry, adding shiny surfaces via appliance, backsplash and countertop choices, and incorporating glass walls.

Bold Exterior Colors – Bold colors are making their way to the exterior of homes. Whether it’s through paint, a mix of cladding materials, doors, windows, porches, shutters or trim, an extra layer of drama is being adding to the design of elevations, further enhancing curb appeal.

Interior Courtyards – Interior courtyards are popular in all housing types right now. The primary difference is scale. Within single-family homes, courtyards provide private and safe outdoor living areas and are being shifted to side yards.

New Light FixtureSpecialty Lighting – Specialty fixtures are “lighting it up” this year. Regardless of whether it involves a custom or a stock fixture, designers are finding ways to showcase them as pieces of art rather than just a functional element. Lighting is being paired with wood ceiling details to further enhance the room’s design and create a feeling of warmth.

Historic Style with Modern Flair – New or remodeled homes, whether they are Craftsman, Prairie, Mid-Century Modern or another historic architectural style, are adding modern flair to their traditional designs through color, finish, fixture and lighting selection, while continuing to be influenced by the past through the use of reclaimed building materials and classic proportions and detailing.

Outdoor KitchenBlurring the Lines Between Inside and Out – Lines continue to be blurred between the inside and outside of homes. No longer limited to areas with warmer climates, this is being seen all across the country. More homes now feature moveable glass walls, gourmet outdoor kitchens and interior courtyard pools, adding more everyday living space.

This article is courtesy of the National Association of Home Builders.

Thaw after Deep Freeze Can Wreak Havoc on Your Home

Posted in Around Your Home, Home Maintenance, I Wish I'd Thought About That with tags , , , , , on February 19, 2014 by Pat Hansen

A February thaw is here and while it will undoubtedly be a relief from the recent temperatures, the rapid warm-up also comes with some hazards, especially for homeowners.

House, snow (jeltovski | morgueFile.com)

Photo credit: jeltovski | morgueFile.com

The build-up of ice along roofs and gutters can lead to sudden problems when the ice melts. When it refreezes, it causes ice damming and that ice damming can cause things like water stains inside the home. Water dripping through the soffits can push gutters off the home and can also push shingles off.

What can you do to prevent an ice dam from building up?

Proper insulation

Attic in need of insulationKeep your attic space at the same temperature as the outside air. As heat rises from your home into the attic, it will cause the snow and ice on your roof to melt quickly, which when it refreezes causes the ice dam. Using proper insulation will keep the heat in your home, but more importantly it will keep it from escaping into your roof shingles through your attic. If there are air leaks, warm air will pass through traditional insulation. The leaks need to be sealed for the insulation to do its job. To do a proper job in sealing air leaks, all insulation should first be removed.

Insulation also prevents moisture from forming inside your attic, which can create mold and mildew.

Roof raking

Some experts say whenever there is a big snowstorm, homeowners should use a roof rake to scrape the first two or three feet of their roofs free from snow. They recommend doing this within 24 hours of the snowfall. This frees up the bottom area of the roof so that as the water does run down, it doesn’t get stuck in the snow and gets right off the gutter and also right off the roof.

Be careful not to chop at your roof with the rake as this can damage shingles.

Heater cables

If you can’t reach the first few feet of your roof to rake it, you may choose to install heater cables. The cables line the first few feet along the eaves of your home and even run through the gutter, to help ice and snow melt and keep the moisture free-flowing.

Ice can pose a danger to gutters as it is heavier than water and snow, causing gutters to droop under the weight. Expanding ice can also push apart gutter seams and push gutters away from the fascia which attaches them to the home.

Do you have an ice dam? What should homeowners look for?

  • If you see Ceiling Water Damagewater spots inside your home this could just be tip of the iceberg – you may have inches of damp insulation in your attic.
  • If you see water pouring off of the soffits of your home, it is likely running out through the attic and could be rotting out the wood.
  • If you see water running between the gutters and the fascia board, there may also be problems.
  • Have the chimney inspected. Cracks and pieces of brick lying on the roof indicate that ice and water have gotten in between the mortar and expanded.

How to Remove Ice Dams – Hire a Pro

There are plenty of hack methods for removing ice dams such as using an axe, ice pick, salt tablets, heat cables and a pressure washer. If ice dams need to be removed, hire a pro to steam them off. Don’t let anyone near your roof with a pressure washer or the shingles might end up discolored.

Selling Your Home? Consider an Inspection First.

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, New Homes, Sell your Home, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , , , on February 5, 2014 by Pat Hansen

If you plan to sell your home soon, it may be wise to get a home inspection before you list your home. You can speed things along by getting a home inspection and analyzing the condition of your home and making necessary repairs before the house is under contract.

Whole home inspections cover numerous systems within the house, but there are some hot spots that seem to worry buyers the most:

Roofs and Chimneys

  • Decaying ShinglesDeteriorated shingles or other roof coverings are one of the first things home buyers and inspectors notice. If the elements underneath the shingles are moist or rotted, you can bet repairs will be requested.
  • Make sure flashing around the base of the chimney is watertight, and that mortar and bricks are in good condition.

Radon

  • Radon may or may not be part of a home inspection, but it is a good idea to ask for a radon test since radon has been linked to lung cancer. If an unacceptable level is found, then a radon mitigation system will be required. There are recommended companies that do radon mitigation and they can be found by contacting the MDEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality).

Mold and Mildew

  • Mildew stains and odors scare buyers, especially since toxic black mold is such a hot topic. Chances are you won’t even get an acceptable offer if mold and mildew are present. Even if the mold is the normal variety, get rid of it and fix the source of the problem.

Plumbing ProblemsShower Inspection

  • Fix leaks long before the home inspection takes place. The inspector will check water pressure by turning on multiple faucets and flushing toilets at the same time. The inspector will also run the dishwasher.

Damp Basements and Crawlspaces

  • Mildew odors signal that a basement is too moist. Buyers and home inspectors will look closely at the walls and floors for patches of mildew and signs of dampness. The inspector might use a meter to determine how much moisture is present in these spaces because moisture deteriorates building materials and attracts insects.
  • Cover exposed earth in basements and crawl spaces with plastic to help keep moisture levels down.
  • Most foundation leaks are a result of poor drainage that funnels water towards the foundation.
  • Make sure gutters are clean so that rainwater flows toward downspouts instead of spilling over gutter sides along the foundation.
  • Point drainage downspouts away from the house.
  • Check water flow through buried drainage lines by flooding them with water from a hose. If water comes back towards you, the line is plugged and should be cleared.
  • If foundation problems do exist and you cannot make repairs, you might need to lower the price of the house upfront, with the understanding that the price reflects the problem. Another option is to give the buyers an allowance to make the repairs after closing.

Inadequate Interior Electrical Systems

  • Electrical PanelThe electrical panel and circuit breaker configuration should be adequate for the needs of the house.
  • The inspector will look for receptacles with ground fault interrupters (GFI) in bathrooms and kitchens. These receptacles contain mini circuit breakers that click off during a short circuit or overload. The inspector will make sure the receptacles are what they appear to be, and not “dummies” that are not wired correctly.
  • The inspector will test a portion of the remaining receptacles in the house.

Other Important Home Inspection Checks

Furnace inspectionHeating and cooling

  • The home inspector will check the heating and cooling systems, making sure they work and will comment on their efficiency.

Structure and Foundation

  • The inspector will take a close look at the structure and foundation.

Appliances and Smoke Detectors

  • The inspector will check the appliances that will remain with the house, including running the dishwasher and testing smoke detectors.

Before the Home Inspection

  • Sample Inspection ReportDo everything you can to get the house in good condition before you attempt to sell it, but don’t be discouraged if the inspection report contains a few negative comments. Home inspectors make a note of everything they see. They can identify problems in the making and suggest preventative measures that might help avoid costly repairs in the future.
  • Home inspections usually take 2-3 hours, or more in some instances. Costs vary from $250 to as much as $500. Home inspectors are not required to be licensed in most states; however, many are certified by ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors).

Big Design Ideas for Small Homes

Posted in Around Your Home, Construction, Energy Efficiency, I Wish I'd Thought About That with tags , , , , , on January 29, 2014 by Pat Hansen

There are any number of reasons families might want to make better use of the space they have in their current or new home. As a family grows, their lifestyle changes, and space for storing toys or doing homework is at a premium. Multigenerational living, where elderly parents, grown children or other relatives all live under the same roof has become common. Or it may just be cosmetic, and the best way to keep clutter at a minimum.

Home builders and remodelers are responding to the demand by maximizing the utility of living spaces without sacrificing visual appeal. With creative storage and built-in features, dining rooms can become a home office or game room in minutes, living rooms can be used for family meals, and foyers can store much more than coats and umbrellas.

In new home construction, smaller-scale, walkable communities have become popular. To accommodate the size constraints of a skinny lot, homes are being designed with features like stacked garages where two cars can be housed trunk to hood instead of side by side. Using flexible walls, attractive flooring material and a roofless interior garage space, the area can easily be converted to a patio for entertaining.

Improved energy efficiency of windows and doors means homes now feature more indoor-outdoor connectivity. Moveable walls and outdoor spaces tucked within the home’s floor plan provide for better flexible use of the space, as well as improved privacy in densely populated areas.

The often-unused space under a stairwell can be engineered to accommodate filing cabinets or drawers, or even to create a sanctuary for the family pet complete with a bed and gates to close it off. Drawers built into stair risers are a great place to store small items such as gloves and hats or art supplies.

The trend extends to home furnishings as well. Murphy beds, where a piece of furniture conceals a bed that can be set up for sleeping in few minutes, have been around for many years. Modern murphy beds are hidden not only in armoires or bookcases, but new designs feature beds that lower from the ceiling electronically at the touch of a button, or fold out from inside a desk or counter.

Other creative, multi-purpose furniture designs include dining tables that convert to a billiard table, bookcases that contain fold-down chairs for when you’re entertaining more than the usual number of friends and family, and cocktail tables with trays that pull out for eating in front of the television.

This article is courtesy of the National Association of Home Builders.

Make Your Home Feel Good with Color Psychology

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Lifestyle, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , , on January 22, 2014 by Pat Hansen

SunroomHome décor is often viewed as a matter of aesthetics or what looks attractive.

Proponents of color psychology believe that the colors you use to decorate your home can have a profound effect on the emotional well-being of you and your family.

If you like the idea of using color to create an emotionally healthy home, color consultants say you should first consider the primary function of each room. Although it can’t be proven scientifically, color consultants say some hues work better than others at encouraging certain activities.

Gathering Room (Fairfield New Home), Clarkston, Michigan | Robert R. Jones HomesLiving Room and foyer paint colors: Warm tones like reds, yellows and earth tones like brown and beige work well in both the living room and foyer, because they are thought to stimulate conversation.

Kitchen paint colors: Color consultants say that if you have fond memories of spending time in the kitchen when you were a kid, it might make sense to create same color scheme in your grown-up kitchen.

Kitchen, Nook, Great Room (Lot 389 | Manors of Deerwood)If there is no particular paint scheme you remember fondly, reds and yellows can be great colors in the kitchen as well as in the living room and foyer. If you are watching your weight, however, you might want to keep red out of the kitchen. The restaurant industry has long recognized the appetite-stimulating power of red décor.

Dining RoomDining room paint colors: Because it is stimulating, red décor can be great for a formal dining room. In addition to encouraging conversation, it whets the appetites of your guests.

Bedroom paint colors: BedroomThe bedroom is where you go to relax. Cool colors like blues, greens and lavenders can be great choices here because they have a calming effect. The darker the hue, the more pronounced the effect is believed to be. Reds tend to increase blood pressure and heart rate; blue does just the opposite.

Bathroom paint colors: Whites and warm colors Bathroomhave always been popular choices for bathrooms, in large part because they connote cleanliness and purity. Today, the master bathroom is also used as a private retreat for relaxation and rejuvenation. Many people feel comfortable with blues, greens and turquoises because these colors give a sense of being clean, fresh and calm.

Home office paint colors: Productivity is the Home Officename of the game here. The faster you complete work-related tasks, the more time you’ll have to spend enjoying family and friends. Color consultants agree that green can be a great choice here. Green is the color of concentration; it’s one of the best colors to be surrounded by for long periods.

If you are thinking about selling your home, you may want to consider making your home more appealing to buyers by repainting the living room, dining room, kitchen, master bedroom and bath with a warm, neutral color. Staging consultants will usually recommend this, especially, if you currently have white walls.

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