How to Safeguard Your Home

Safety concept: Home on digital screen backgroundFor all homeowners safety is very important. Our home contains our most precious possessions and loved ones. From family members to family heirlooms, our homes are a source of pride. It only takes 5 minutes of listening to the nightly news to make you feel unsafe. Another break-in, another robbery and another murder seem to highlight the screen every night.

Providing a secure and comfortable place for families to enjoy each other is a top priority for most families. Fortunately home security has come a long way in the past decade and reliable alarms with monitoring are much more advanced than they have been in the past. It used to be that homeowners had limited choices when it came to safeguarding their home. They could buy deadbolt locks, lock their windows and subscribe to a security company and pay them a monthly monitoring fee. Thieves quickly found ways around these securities and the incidents of break-ins increased dramatically.

Today, technology has provided additional security measures that homeowners can take. As a result of their use, break-ins have finally started to decline after years of increases. The use of video has become widely popular, inexpensive and a convenient way for homeowners to monitor their homes. New technology has provided methods of monitoring your home through your computer, smartphone or tablet. Door lock and window sensors provide warnings to alert the homeowners when someone enters or leaves the home. Cameras can view and monitor all areas of the home providing an additional layer of security.

Homeowners can see and hear what is going on at their home 24 hours of the day. Window sensors can alert homeowners if a window is opened. Door sensors monitor each time the doors are opened. Videos capture all the coming and goings of the home. If a visitor arrives and the homeowner is not home, they can receive a text, pull up a live feed and speak to the person at the door. The homeowner can be anywhere in the world and accomplish this from the convenience of their electronic devices.

There is still a wide range of home security companies that can provide monitors from sensors and sound to videos. These systems have become more sophisticated and are connected with police dispatch centers for faster response times. Homeowners also have the option of self-monitoring their homes without paying monthly bills to a security company.

In addition to security measures it is also possible to remotely control devices like light fixtures, water faucets, garage doors, appliances and other electronic devices. This has increased the level of convenience customers can have over activities that occur in their home.

Locks can now come with keys or keypads. Keypads allow homeowners to change the code at any time to better secure their homes. They can offer special codes for visitors and regular houseguests, like housekeepers who need entry into the home.

New technology enables homeowners to see who is at their home, while they are at work. They can secure their homes when they are on vacation, out of town, or just away for the afternoon.

How to Update a Kitchen

Modern apartment interiorUpgrading a home kitchen can be a very exciting renovation project. The kitchen is the heart of the home and often the place where the most time is spent with your family. Having a kitchen that is both functional and comfortable provides an easier family environment for everyone. The kitchen builds memories that family members will cherish for a lifetime. Upgrading the kitchen can personalize the space and bring the family closer together.

When deciding on a kitchen renovations there are many considerations to be evaluated. Renovations can range from a few hundred dollars to repaint cabinets to over $50,000 for custom built cabinets, new stainless steel appliances and granite countertops.

As with all renovation projects establishing a wish list and then a budget are the first place to start. Nearly every feature of the kitchen comes in a wide range of prices. Cabinets can cost 2,000 or $10,000 depending on whether they are custom built and the material and what features are added. In addition to the product costs getting pricing for the renovations and installation costs of what you are considering, will provide a benchmark for what can be accomplished within the budget that has been established.

The next step is to consider the price range of the home. How will the renovation you are considering impact the value of the home. Are the materials chosen going to fit with the neighborhood and the price range of the homes in the area? There is nothing worse than spending a lot of money on a renovation just to find out that it will not increase the property value. The kitchen is an upgrade that provides one of the highest returns on investment, of all home improvements. Therefore it is more important than ever to ensure that the changes being made will help with home appreciation.

In a kitchen the flow is very important. You can save a lot of money on a kitchen upgrade if you do not need to upgrade the flow. If the flow is bad, however, it can be very frustrating not having the sink and appliances positioned in a way that works. Moving the plumbing will add a great deal to the cost of any renovation. The same can be said for light fixtures. If you have to upgrade the electrical or move wires to create a place for new fixtures, those costs can add up quickly.

If keeping costs down is important, refinishing, instead of replacing can be the answer. Both cabinets and countertops can be refinished for a fraction of the cost of replacement. There are companies that specialize in these services, or they can make good DIY projects if the homeowner is handy.

Appliances are another area of a kitchen renovation that can really add up. A great place for reviews of kitchen accessories and appliances is BestConsumerReviews.com. It might be possible to change out one appliance at a time, if there are challenges with staying within your budget with the project you are considering.

Kitchen upgrades can create a whole new look to your home. It can also build the centerpiece as a place where you family loves to hang out and enjoy each other.

How to Upgrade a Bathroom

luxury bathroomBathroom upgrades are among the most profitable renovations that a homeowner can make. They are also some of the most likely projects that will provide a good return on investment. Yet when a homeowner is completing an upgrade there are several things that should be considered.

Decide what parts of the bathroom need updating and determine an appropriate budget. There are tubs, light fixtures, cabinets and toilets in nearly every price range available. Upgrades can add up quickly so it is important to have a clear budget in mind and then search for products that will fall within that budget.

It may be tempting to go with a high end upgrade. It is better, to understand your neighborhood and local housing market and upgrade accordingly. Make sure the upgrades are in line with what neighbors would be doing. If you choose styles that are too expensive you are unlikely to get your money out of the project. If you select designs that are too exotic or unusual you will either have to change it again or run the risk of a home that is difficult to sell. If you have exotic taste let that shine through with things that are easily changed like paint, or pictures. There is a balance between finding a bathroom that the homeowner will love and one that is functional and will add value to the property.

Another factor to consider is whether you will be completing the project as a DIY project or if you will hire a contractor to complete the work. If you are hiring a contractor get several bids and get them early. This will give you a chance to adequately consider the offers. It will also give you time to select the products you want to include in the project.

When hiring a contractor it is important to check references and check with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) so you will be able to hire a contractor with the confidence that the job will be done correctly. If you are going to do the work yourself consider your skillset. Will you be installing a new cabinet and/or sink, a new tub or toilet. These will require plumbing skills. A new light fixture over the vanity requires electrical skills. It is important to accurately assess your skills. It is much cheaper and less time consuming to hire someone to do the project correctly, than to get a project started and have to bring someone in mid-way to fix, what was done incorrectly.

Once the project is laid out, allow adequate time for any products that had to be ordered. Also consider that the bathroom will be out of commission for a few days to a few weeks depending on how extensive the renovation.

Updated bathrooms can make a dramatic change in how the home looks and feels. While homeowners do not spend an extensive amount of time in the bathroom, we like them to be comfortable and stylish for when they are in use.

With the proper planning a bathroom can become a great asset during your time in the home, and also as you look to sell your home.