Scottsdale Home Improvements

As a homeowner, no doubt you’re familiar with Scottsdale home improvement issues. Every home has those nagging problems that arise from time to time. Many times they are too minor to call in a professional, but they still require attention – and repair. The good news is you can easily tackle these and other issues all by yourself. Let’s take a look at how you can solve three well-known problems that can occur around the house.

Jammed or stuck garbage disposal

The first of the Scottsdale home improvement issues we should address is the jammed garbage disposal. You know the drill. You flip the switch and it makes a humming noise, but doesn’t turn on and do its job. That usually means it’s stuck, clogged or jammed with food (or something that’s not supposed to be in there, like a spoon for example.) Don’t force the situation and don’t reach down into the disposal with your hand! Follow these easy suggestions to remedy the problem:

  • Turn off the disposal or flip the electrical circuit that serves the appliance.
  • Using a flashlight, look into the disposal and “fish around” with a pair of pliers to pull out the item(s) that may be clogging it. Again, even with the power turned off or disconnected, never put your hand in the disposal. Hopefully, you’ll locate whatever’s jamming the disposal and can remove it easily. If that’s not the case, continue as follows.
  • If your disposal is equipped with a reversal feature, run cold tap water into it and put it in reverse. Usually, that dislodges whatever is causing the clog and it can be removed. If you don’t have a reversal feature, do the following instead:

Turn off the electrical power at the circuit breaker 

Scottsdale home improvement issues often include repairs, and this may mean a stuck or jammed garbage disposal.

Look beneath the sink and find the hole in the bottom of the disposal. Using an Allen wrench, insert it in the hole and twist it back and forth a few times in an effort to free the impeller blade, which could be stuck. If you can turn the wrench in a complete circle, the object will probably be freed… see step two above.

  • Try the reset button and run cold tap water into the disposal for a minute or so.
  • Turn the power back on to the disposal ad turn it back on.

Loose toilet seat Probably because it gets a fair amount of wear and tear, it’s not unusual for the toilet seat in your main bathroom or kid’s bathroom to become loose. It’s common among Scottsdale home improvement issues. Do this for a tighter toilet seat:

  • Take off the hinge bolt covers on the seat
  • Remove the nut holding the hinge bolt in place. Be sure to leave the hinge bolts in.
  • You’ll need a toilet seat tightening kit, available in Lowe’s or Home Depot. Using the tool in the kit, slide the washer from the kit onto the hinge bolt on the underside of the toilet. Then, slide the bolt up so that it’s secured tightly into the underside of the hinge bolt opening.
  • Replace the hinge bolt nut, then tighten.
  • Do the same thing on the other side of the toilet seat.

Misaligned or sticking door Another one of the Scottsdale home improvement issues facing homeowners is the nagging, recurring problem of an interior door that won’t close as it should. Remedies can range from inserting a piece of cardboard used as a shim to aid in realigning the door, to using a long screw in the door jamb to pull it in, to removing the door and planing the edge so it swings properly. Before you try any of those options, make sure to check the hinge screws to see if they’re loose. If they are, try this:

  • Take out the screws from the hinge and remove the hinge from the door or door jamb (depending on which side is loose.)
  • Place a drop or two of wood glue into each of the hinge screw holes.
  • Using wooden toothpicks or wooden matches, put one or more in each of the screw holes. Allow them to set for ten minutes, then break off the excess wood.
  • Re-install the door hinge with the screws. If everything goes well, the fit should be tight again.

These Scottsdale home improvement issues are just three of a number of common problems that every homeowner faces at one time or another. With a little patience and a few simple tools, these and other issues can be repaired with minimal expense. If you hit a snag or need additional information, Google it! In today’s information-rich age, many do-it-yourself solutions to Scottsdale home improvement issues are available on the internet – some complete with YouTube videos that show the step by step instructions.

Fixing these and other problems yourself will give you a greater degree of satisfaction and will save you time and money!

You can find more articles pertaining to Scottsdale home improvement issues and projects in the Scottsdale Home Improvements section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.

We also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook and would love for you to follow us there as well.  

Scottsdale home improvement trends are slow to catch on – especially compared to the world of clothing and fashion design, where trends come and go with the seasons. In the interior design business trends often change annually. Let's look at five home improvement trends worth keeping an eye on.

Solar Roofing

Some of the latest Scottsdale home improvement trends include solar roofing

While solar improvements have been around for decades, it's only been recently that the technology has moved past solar panels being an expensive niche market to a sustainable reality for many homeowners. Solar power experts attribute solar's recent acceptance and accessibility to two main achievements: improved efficiency and the growing support from utility companies, state and local government municipalities and environmentally conscious investors. This means attractive leasing options, government subsidies and certain tax breaks for customers who choose to go solar. As for Scottsdale home improvement trends, solar panels are making huge inroads in the construction roofing sector.

As one home improvement contractor recently put it, "We are seeing a lot of interest in solar from homeowners who are redoing their roofs. It's the perfect time to consider adding solar panels." In addition, roof design is already being impacted to accommodate the demand for solar as an alternate source of power.

Smart Homes

The rapid advancement of technology has placed home automation in the forefront of a growing trend in the home improvement and home building markets. New products are consistently introduced to the marketplace to promote the new technology as well as assist homeowners in better managing their homes – from the convenience of controlling lights to automatically setting thermostats and other energy saving devices.

One notable sign that smart home technology is here to stay occurred recently when mega-company Google purchased Nest, a smart thermostat company, for $3.2 billion. Experts say Scottsdale home improvement trends tend to address needs homeowners never thought they had before, but now the technology exists to meet those needs. As technology improves, new devices enter the marketplace to include items such as portable cameras, Wi-Fi enabled doorbells, two-way speakers, and other smart home features. Homes are consistently being retrofitted with smart home technology and such devices will soon become standard in new home construction. However, despite home automation advantages like lowering power bills and making homes safer, a consistent return on investment for the average homeowner is difficult to achieve due to the ever-changing improvements in technology. To quote another Scottsdale home improvement expert, "We all want a better mouse trap, the problem is newer and better mousetraps cost money… and keeping up with the technology can be both challenging and costly."

Energy-Efficient Windows

Home automation has even made its way into the area of making windows more energy-efficient. Recent studies show windows are around 25% more energy-efficient when they are locked. Modern technology enables a reminder to be sent to the homeowner to close or lock their windows to save energy. In addition, energy efficiency is expected to continue to be popular among Scottsdale home improvement trends. Currently, decorative glass films and coatings can make windows better insulated against the heat and cold. Window glazing, a process whereby windows are coated with a frosted or opaque background, may be the next evolution in energy-efficient windows. Experts say this technology may soon be able to be communicated by the flip of a switch as window manufacturers research the best way to deliver the process to the marketplace so it can be affordable for all new construction.

Barn Doors

Though usually thought of as an interior design treatment, the installation of barn doors requires enough aspects of construction to qualify as a building or home improvement trend. Interior barn doors slide on a special bar mounted above the door frame. The frame is designed to provide a smaller footprint and profile for interior thresholds. In addition, smaller customized barn doors are often utilized to hide an entertainment center or disguise a pantry or other storage. Since barn doors offer a unique combination of rustic charm and functionality, the popularity of this trend is growing.

Electric Car Charging Stations

Ongoing growth in the electric car industry is impacting one major aspect of home construction and remodeling – the family garage. Slowly, a greater number of homeowners are making the transition to electric cars. As this happens charging stations have become popular fixtures in family garages. Top-of-the-line car charging stations are still costly, starting between $2,500-$3,000. Self install units can be as cheap as $300. Construction and home improvement experts say we should expect charging stations to become more popular in garages in the future.

With the emergence and predominance of home automation, new home construction and Scottsdale home-improvement trends have changed dramatically in the past 8 to 10 years. Home automation combined with a greater emphasis on green homes providing sustainable energy will continue to grow in years to come. Furthermore, experts predict improvements in technology and changing lifestyles will dominate home construction for the next several decades.

The age of technology in which we are currently living is moving so rapidly in comparison to the advances made in the last generation it's hard to fully comprehend. It wasn't long ago that such "modern conveniences" like an electric garage door, a central vacuum system, or motion sensitive security lights were thought of as high tech. Today, homes can virtually regulate themselves with respect to heating and air conditioning, energy usage, home security measures and other technological advances that have been adapted for in-home use. Perhaps best of all is that as innovation occurs much of the focus will be on delivering that innovation and technology to the home buying and homebuilding industry. After all, what better way to pay for this emerging – and sometimes expensive – technology than by folding it into a 30-year mortgage as part of the sales price of a new home?

You can find more articles pertaining to Scottsdale home improvement trends and projects in the Scottsdale Home Improvements section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.We also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook and would love for you to follow us there as well.

Scottsdale home improvement projects can cover virtually the entire spectrum of housing. Home improvements can range from custom finishing newly-constructed spec homes to older home remodeling updates to fixer uppers that need considerably more than just a little TLC. Let’s take a look at the various options available in the housing market in which Scottsdale home improvement projects can make an important impact.

New Construction or Builder Remodel It’s no secret the new home market has been one of the most attractive in recent years. In part, new construction has added an element of increased supply to a national real estate market that has suffered from a lack of available inventory. The biggest attraction to new construction is just that – it’s new! Yet, with all its newness and “move-in” readiness, new homes do present some potential purchasers with a major drawback – there are few components to which buyers can claim for “their own.” Unlike a custom home construction project built to the owners’ specifications, most new construction allows little for the purchaser to customize or have input on. In addition, some home buyers feel that a newly built home lacks individual personality since the home has been designed to attract a larger pool of typical buyers. That brings us to the first of the Scottsdale home improvement projects – some developers and builders allow certain customizations to their homes. The improvements can range from what color or type of paint or wall covering the home can have to the type of floors – carpet, tile, or hardwood flooring. In addition, some developers or builders will give their purchasers the opportunity to make other customizations from appliances, kitchen cabinetry, kitchen and bathroom hardware and more. Owner Remodel 

Scottsdale home improvement projects can be rewarding and fun – but only if you have the mindset, temperament and financial wherewithal to undertake them.

Arguably the most popular of the Scottsdale home improvement projects is the owner remodel option whereby the homeowner elects to renovate all or part of an older home. Often the remodeling project can be undertaken expressly for the satisfaction and enjoyment of the homeowner. Many times – especially in the past several years as home values have risen steadily in some markets – homeowners elect to perform remodeling that will enable them to put their home on the market and command top dollar because of the popular updates it will offer.

Homeowners who have done their Scottsdale home improvement projects homework and who can select knowledgeable remodeling contractors can indeed make improvements to homes that can improve its value dramatically – especially in a rising home value market. A word of caution, however, not all home improvements will add value to a home. The best thing to do is to discuss the improvements you want to make and get a cost estimate. Then have a frank discussion with a real estate professional as to the price range you could expect to sell your newly-modeled home. Then, the decision is easier. If you’re able to recoup more of the cost incurred by having the improvements performed than by not having them done, you should consider moving forward with your remodeling plans.

Fixer-Upper As the name implies, the fixer-upper is on the complete other end of the Scottsdale home improvement projects spectrum as far as the scope of the work to be performed. A property described as a fixer-upper could require anything from some cosmetic attention to a complete gutting of the home to the walls and subfloor. Homeowners thinking of purchasing a fixer-upper property should be aware of two major considerations:

  1. How much work needs to be performed to raise the property to the level you desire, and how much of that work are you able and willing to perform?
  2. Are you in favor of making severe wall or flooring demolition if necessary, or are you in favor of merely updating surfaces like walls and floors with new materials?

Once you’ve answered those two questions you can move forward by identifying the properties that fit into the categories based on your answers. If you’re considering buying a fixer-upper, remember it requires a level of imagination and forward-looking vision to create and achieve the potential the property may have. Some buyers find it helpful to enlist the services of a knowledgeable real estate agent who may be aware of properties that are available. Plus, you may also want to hire an architect, contractor and designer to assist you in developing the vision for the property’s potential. Their experience, opinions and cost estimates can be extremely valuable in determining whether to go forward with remodeling a fixer-upper and, if so, to what degree.

While there are advantages for each of the three major Scottsdale home improvement projects options, our best advice is to decide which is right for you. The most important factor to consider is the result of a comfortable balance of money and time combined with what you want and what you need in your home.

The key to achieving the most success in determining the level of home improvement work you’re comfortable with is purely a personal decision. It’s a decision based on your financial abilities, but also on your appetite for making changes and taking chances.

One last word of caution. Be prepared for the unexpected if you choose a fixer-upper. Many homeowners can sadly attest to the simple truth that once the renovation starts, there’s little or no backing up. In addition, in the case of an older home that may have undergone years of neglect, there could be hidden damage such as rotten wood, termite issues, or water damage that may only be discovered after the demolition and renovation work has begun. Beware also of electrical and plumbing system failures that may require additional budgeting to replace or upgrade the systems to bring them within the proper municipal building codes.

Scottsdale home improvement projects can be rewarding and fun – but only if you have the mindset, temperament and financial wherewithal to undertake them.

You can find more articles pertaining to Scottsdale home improvement projects in the Scottsdale Home Improvements section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.We also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook and would love for you to follow us there as well.

Scottsdale kitchen home improvements include remodeling and renovation to one of the most important rooms in any home. Because it’s so important, it’s imperative that homeowners hoping for a successful kitchen remodeling project start with a realistic budget – and stick to it! Establishing the budget is a definite "must do." In addition, the budget should always rule every decision during the course of the work. Here are five easy steps that will help you and your spouse set – and adhere to – your kitchen remodeling budget costs.

Do your homework.

It's important to plan your Scottsdale kitchen home improvements before you begin.

The first step in creating your budget is to understand what you’re dealing with. No doubt you have an idea of the specifics you’d like to accomplish with the remodeling project and a general idea of what items like new appliances may cost to purchase and install. However, that’s just the beginning. It’s vital to have a handle on the typical cost of remodeling kitchens in today’s market. Remodeling Magazine, in its 2016 Cost vs. Value Report, says the average cost throughout the U.S. for a middle-range kitchen remodeling or renovation project is nearly $60,000. In addition, the average return on value is roughly 65%. Translated, this means that for every dollar you spend you’ll have a return on your investment of 65 cents. So, a $30,000 kitchen remodeling project may add $19,500 to your home’s value. Of course, these amounts will vary depending on the size of your home and the scope of your Scottsdale kitchen home improvements project.

If you’re considering remodeling your kitchen to improve its sales value, remember this:  Your home’s valuation – or sales price – is dependent upon how it stacks up to comparable homes in your market or neighborhood. Don’t go overboard by having THE best kitchen in the neighborhood. You probably will enjoy a lower return on investment when you sell.

If you’re remodeling your kitchen for your own personal enjoyment and benefit, choose a remodeling plan that best matches your family’s tastes, needs and lifestyle. And, if you’re planning to sell your home in the next 5-7 years, treat your kitchen project as an investment. If yours is a higher-priced home, you’ll want to make sure your kitchen includes top-of-the-line appliances, granite countertops, high-quality custom cabinetry and upgraded flooring. The experts suggest engaging the service of a professional decorator specializing in functional and fashionable kitchen remodels.

Set your budget and live with it.

When it comes to Scottsdale kitchen home improvements – it’s best to determine in advance how you want your kitchen to look. Will it include a center island? What style and material will the cabinetry look like? Will you go with stainless steel appliances? What about kitchen sink and faucet hardware? Price out each of the items and use the total as a starting point from which you can expand or contract. A rule of thumb is to maintain the remodeling budget in the range of 5% to 15% of the total value of your home. So, if your home’s value is $400,000 your kitchen remodeling budget goal should be in the $20,000 – $60,000 range. It’s important that once you set the range, you adhere to the maximum budget. We recommend having some leeway built in for contingencies, but make sure you don’t exceed them.

Know your costs and their origin.

As is the case with any remodeling project, the various components of a kitchen renovation are broken down as a percentage of the total cost.  The National Kitchen and Bath Association has published this cost component breakdown for guidance:

•  Design fees: 4%

•  Installation (of cabinetry, flooring, plumbing and appliances:) 17%

•  Appliances and ventilation: 14%

•  Cabinetry and hardware:  29%

•  Countertops:  10%

•  Lighting:  5%

•  Flooring:  7%

•  Doors and windows:  4%

•  Walls and ceilings:  5%

•  Faucets and plumbing:  4%

•  Other items:  1%

Prepare for the unexpected.

It’s important to understand that almost every project involving Scottsdale kitchen home improvements will face unexpected costs. The trick is to anticipate them as best as possible in order to be prepared for them. We suggest budgeting a contingency of 20% to allow for unexpected twists and turns. They could range from plumbing problems caused by older pipes to wiring issues as a result of bad electrical work or overloaded circuitry.

Hire a professional. 

One of the best things you can do to ensure you stay within your budget is to hire the right professional for your kitchen project. With proper, ongoing communication not only will you stay within budget, but you can probably expect to save money in some cases. Contractors are able to buy appliances and materials in bulk can pass the savings on to their clients. Be sure to give your professional remodeler a complete list of what you want and what you expect. Have your professional give you a written estimate including a timetable of when payments or draws are expected. Most importantly, have a clear understanding of what it will cost in – in terms of both time and money – should you decide to make design changes during the course of the remodeling project. Some contractors are notorious for issuing change orders without estimating the costs. The result can be disastrous to your budget. Instead of simply asking the question, “Can we move the cabinets over a foot in order to add a wider refrigerator,” ask, “If we decided to move the cabinets over by a foot or so, what would the additional cost be and would it delay the project?”

With proper planning and focused budgeting, your kitchen remodeling project may be one of the most profitable Scottsdale kitchen home improvements you can make. Remember, set your budget, allow for contingencies, and stick to what you’ve budgeted. Not only will you end up with a beautiful addition to your home, but having it completed within your budget will give you a great sense of accomplishment and future enjoyment.

You can find more articles pertaining to home improvements in the Scottsdale Home Improvements section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.We also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook and would love for you to follow us there as well.

Some of the most important Scottsdale outside home improvements can also be the least expensive – and can put your home’s “best foot forward.” When it comes to giving your home a boost in curb appeal, here are nine ideas to improve its exterior.

Cut the grass and tend to the lawn area.

For most homes, the lawn comprises a major portion of the front yard – as well as what’s seen from the road or driveway. As such, the condition and appearance of your lawn can have a huge impact on curb appeal – good or bad. Give your grass a little TLC. Mow it, rake it, edge it and get rid of the weeds. Make sure it gets plenty of water and the right amount and type of fertilizer.

Scottsdale outside home improvements will help to enhance curb appeal

Throw away the junk.

Eyesores like old lawn furniture, swing sets no longer in use, or dead bushes should be removed. Find an out of sight hiding place for other unsightly items such as garbage cans or recycling bins. In short, remove the clutter, throw away the junk and improve the visual appeal of your home’s exterior. It’s one of the Scottsdale outside home improvements that costs the least.

Make your home visitor-friendly.

When friends, family or potential buyers see your home and start to enter, give them a good first impression. Keep the driveway, walkway, front steps, porch and front door as clean and unobstructed as possible. Pay attention to details like weeds growing in the walkway or driveway and cracks that need to be filled or repaired. Not only can they be eyesore, they can be potential hazards. If you have a plain concrete walkway, consider edging it with a classic brick or stone trim. In addition, lighting is not only a nice touch but it can add safety and security after dark. Outdoor lighting can greatly improve your home’s curb appeal, especially low-voltage landscape accent lighting for trees and shrubbery.

The front door focal point.

Your home’s front door is arguably its main focal point for all visitors that come to your house. Treat it that way. Keep it clean by washing it periodically and wiping it down every few days to remove cobwebs, dust and pollen. Consider refinishing or repainting it as needed. Your front door’s hardware is important, too. Remove tarnished hardware and give it a good polishing. If that doesn’t do the trick, replace worn or old hardware such as handles, hinges or door knockers. For inexpensive Scottsdale outside home improvements, consider adding a shiny new brass kick plate at the bottom of the front door. Not only will it add a touch of class, it can also hide scuff marks or scratches. Complete the front door makeover with a welcoming doormat that matches your home’s general style.

Care for bushes, trees and greenery.

Well-maintained bushes, trees, flowers and other plantings can contribute greatly to your home’s overall curb appeal. Conversely, unsightly or overgrown shrubbery can detract from your home’s appearance, making it look like something out of a low-budget horror movie. Prune anything that grows or have a landscaping specialist look at what may need to be done such as tree or limb removal, heavy undergrowth removal or replacement of dead or dying shrubbery or plants.

Replace flowers or shrubs.

For both the enhanced appearance of your home and it surroundings, plant shrubs for garden beauty year-round. In addition, you can include various seasonal flowers or foliage to give your landscaping splashes of color. If you need to hide certain parts of your home such as a visible foundation, an unsightly HVAC unit, or electric meter, you can use flowering plants as  camouflage. Popular selections can grow up to four feet in height. Be sure to plant them at least two to three feet from your home to allow for growth and enable access to repairmen.

Don’t forget the details.

Scottsdale outside home improvements for your home can also include additions to your front yard. You’d be surprised at how much you can improve curb appeal by installing brand new house numbers, an attractive front porch light fixture or a stately door knocker. Consider replacing your old mailbox with a newer version and installing a post lamp at the beginning of your driveway or walkway. Other ideas include garden additions like a birdbath, unique planter or a small garden statue.

Give your house a bath.

It sounds like a daunting task, but washing your home’s exterior can be one of the simplest and most-rewarding Scottsdale outside home improvements. Start by sweeping dirt, dust, cobwebs and pollen, working from top to bottom. After that, use a garden hose with a strong spray attachment or rent a pressure washer. If you don’t have a pressure washer and want to forego the expense of renting one, use a long-handled brush with soft bristles and a mixture of warm soapy water. Again, working from top to bottom, rinse the exterior walls with water. Should you decide to use a pressure washer, read the directions carefully. A high-powered spray can cause paint to peel and even damage your home’s siding. In addition, refrain from spraying electrical wires or wiring, light fixtures, outlets, switch plates or windows. After you’ve finished, inspect the entire exterior of your home. If it doesn’t look a great deal better after the washing, it may be time for a fresh coat of paint.

Remember the garage door.

Most homes these days have at least a two-car garage. Because of that, the garage door is probably one of the widest surfaces at or near the front of your home. If it needs attention, consider refinishing or repainting the garage door. In worst case situations, replace the garage door. As more and more homes are built with attached garages, there are a number of attractive garage door designs available. While garage doors aren’t extremely expensive, compared to the other suggestions, they are one of the more costly Scottsdale outside home improvements – especially if you include an automatic door opener, which is more than just a convenience, it’s a necessity. Either way – whether you repaint or replace – your garage door can be a stylish and important accessory to your home’s exterior.

You can find more articles pertaining to home improvements in the Scottsdale Home Improvements section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.We also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook and would love for you to follow us there as well.