Eco Friendly Home Design Ideas

Light living roomReducing and recycling has become very important in today’s society. Lessening the impact on the environment that all our actions have is not only beneficial to the environment, it is also beneficial to your personal finances.


Finding ways to reuse and recycle in all areas of your life reduces your expenses and helps create a better place to live for everyone.


What is really wonderful is that with a little bit of creative thinking, you can change your home decor in an environmentally-friendly way without having to spend much money.


These six tips are a great way to practice being eco-friendly in your home:


Eco-Friendly Home Decorating Tips


  1. Restore and Reuse. It is amazing what you can do with things you already have around your home. Old jars can be transformed into beautiful containers with a little bit of paint or scrap fabric that is in your junk drawers. An old steamer trunk that is sitting in your garage can become an end table and conversation piece. Favorite old t-shirts can be stuffed into throw pillows. Old furniture can be restored with paint or stain and made to look fresh and new. Don’t forget that furniture moved from one room to another can also create an entirely new look to each room. The possibilities are endless.

  3. Frequent Thrift Stores. You can find fabulous home decor items in thrift stores for very little money. Many of these stores have beautiful antiques and lightly used furniture, too. If you enjoy creating your own interior designs, visit these shops for painting and craft supplies to make your projects affordable and eco-friendly. Be sure to look at the online classified and auction sites for specialty pieces.

  5. Rethink Major Purchases. If you need to make a large purchase for furniture or appliances, try to look at more than just the price tag. Items purchased that are constructed poorly will end up in a landfill quickly. Sometimes it is more environmentally friendly to buy a higher priced, but well-constructed, item. Look at warranty times on appliances. Items only guaranteed for two years will probably only last that long. Opt for items with longer guarantees.

  7. Buy Eco-Friendly Items. You can make sure that you are committed to being eco-friendly by purchasing items that are made from sustainable products. Rattan and bamboo furniture pieces are very Earth-friendly. Items made from hemp, sustainable woods and real cotton are also very good for the environment. You can find many items for home decor that are made from 100 percent recycled goods. Another thing to consider are petroleum-free logs to burn in your fireplace. These easy to burn logs last as long as real wood and they put off less carbon monoxide than real wood.

  9. Support Local Artisans and Stores. You can reduce your carbon imprint by purchasing locally. Frequent art galleries and local shops for home decor items and supplies. Your local economy will benefit and you will reduce carbon emissions that are associated with transporting goods.

  11. Go Really Green. One of the most environmentally-friendly home decor ideas that you can use is live plants. Incorporate live plants into all areas of your home. These plants will clean the air better than any aerosol freshener and will produce pure oxygen. This pure oxygen is also very good for your health.


These are all very simple steps that you can take to lower your impact on the environment while enjoying a new look to your home. Being environmentally friendly is not hard to accomplish, it simply takes a little bit of creativity and planning.


And remember to have fun in throughout the creative process!

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Checklist! Five Things To Consider Before Buying A Home

real estate notebookBuying an older house is an option that many people desire because they offer styles and amenities that are often not found in newer construction. These older homes, however, can present some problems to buyers that they may not be aware of from a regular home inspection.


Therefore, it is very important that you examine these five areas very thoroughly if you are purchasing an older home. Please note that the term “older home” applies to those built in the 1980s or earlier, including Victorian and early American masterpieces, among others.



5 Things To Check In An Older Home Before You Buy:

1. Wood Destroying Organisms. While many people have a termite inspection performed on homes before they buy, they do not have a complete wood-destroying organism inspection completed. Termites are not the only organisms that can damage a home. Carpenter ants and powderpost beetles can devastate wood and destroy the integrity of the structure of the home. It is very important in older homes — especially the very old homes — to have the structure completely checked for any type of wood-destroying organism … not just termites.


2. Lead Paint. If the home was built prior to 1978, there is a risk that the home could contain lead paint. Lead paint can be very dangerous to people. In adults, continual exposure can cause heart damage and in children it can cause damage to the brain. As early as the 1940s, it was discovered that lead paint was dangerous, so many homes that early did not have lead-painted walls. However, if you believe there is a risk of lead paint you should have a lead paint detection specialist come in and examine the home. They do offer do-it-yourself kits for lead detection, but they are very hard to use and often give false-positive readings. If lead is discovered in the home, it will be important to have it professionally removed. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that it will cost about $10,000 to have lead paint removed from a home.


3. Windows. Old windows can cause utility costs to skyrocket. Single pane windows do not retain heat very well and they are often secured by old wood that has shrinkage and gaps. Additionally, older windows will not keep air conditioning or heating in the home,  either. Look for a home that has double pane windows or make sure that the price you are paying for the he allows replacement costs.


4. Heating Systems. Older homes — especially those in northern states — often have furnace systems instead of heat pumps. These systems are often antiquated and cost more to run than a newer system. Additionally, furnaces are famous for only heating a few rooms of the house and not the entire structure. If the home has a furnace system you must have it carefully evaluated to determine if it will need to be replaced prior to the onset of the next winter.


5. Structural Issues. As homes age they may shift and settle. While this is normal, excessive settling could be a sign of problems with the foundation. The integrity of the foundation is essential. If there are any issues with the foundation found during an inspection, you need to walk away from the home. Foundation repairs can be very costly and could even cost more to repair than to replace the entire home.


Of course, there are other issues that should be evaluated in older homes such as the electrical wiring and signs of water damage. However, things like wiring and water damage are usually the first thing a home inspector discovers.


For more helpful resources be sure to check out our Document Center before making the real estate investment of a lifetime.

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Curb Appeal Ideas — Eight Can’t Miss Tips

house - suburbsYou’ve heard it before: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Accordingly, adding “curb appeal” to your home can significantly increase its value.


If potential buyers like what they see on the outside, they are more likely to submit offers. Many people who are looking to sell their homes do not, however, have extra time and/or money to put into fixing up their exteriors.


The good news is that you do not need either of these things to enhance the beauty and curb appeal of your home.


Check out these eight tricks to enhance the appearance of your home:


1. Enhance Your Front Door. A fresh coat of paint will make your door look warm and welcoming. Use a color that will be bold and make a statement. Deep blues and reds look fantastic on many homes. If you are in an older home with a wood door, strip and re-varnish it so that the natural wood beauty shines. If possible, take it one step further and replace the door knob and deadbolt. The replacement of this hardware will always give the appearance of a well-kept home.


2. Embrace Patio Stones. You can create an incredible walkway to your front door or enhance your patio by laying pavers. While this job takes a little bit more effort, it is well worth the financial outcome. People love decorative pathways and are willing to pay more for a home that has them.


3. Improve Details. You can quickly improve the appearance of your home by enhancing the details. Give windows a contrasting color for trim work. Paint your eaves so that they look fresh and clean. Clean up the hardware on your shutters so they shine.


4. Consider A Porch. Even a very small entranceway porch will give your home a new personality. A front porch is always a welcoming site and people become nostalgic when they see large porches.



5. Flowers Are Important. Using flowers to decorate the exterior of your home is always beneficial. Flower boxes can improve the appearance of your home and set it apart from similar properties in your neighborhood. Additionally, flowering plants are always an easy way to add color and pizazz to your landscape. If you decide on hanging pots, make sure that the plants look full and lush. Healthy plants are a visual stimulation to prospective buyers.


6. Ornamental Fixtures. There are many things that you can find at flea markets and thrift stores that can be easily converted into landscaping ornaments. With a little bit of creativity, you can turn your landscaping into a masterpiece.


7. Revamp Vinyl Siding. Most home owners do not want to go to the expense of replacing dingy vinyl siding before they move. However, that dull siding can greatly reduce the asking price because the new owners know they will have to replace the siding. One way you can improve the appearance of this faded siding is to gently pull the siding up from the wood that is underneath. In most cases, the wood is absolutely beautiful and has been protected from the weather. Once the vinyl is removed, paint the home a nice color and you have “new” siding. This is time consuming, however, the outcome is well worth the effort.


8. The Ivy Effect. There are numerous benefits to adding vines to the exterior of your home. The growing vines give the home a wonderful appearance while hiding flaws. However, before you plant the vines make sure that you install wires or other devices that allow the vines to grow on them instead of the house itself. Vines can be damaging to stucco over time.


To search for fixer-upper and foreclosed homes in your area click here.

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Real Estate Investment 101: Three Legal Traps To Avoid Like The Plague

hand holding gold dollar sign


When you purchase a foreclosure property to renovate or rehab it, you may rely on your own skills or that of a contractor to get the job done.


However, if you are not careful to cover your legal bases before bringing in the “experts,” you could end up sabotaging your own real estate investment. Before you start to make any changes to a property, consider these three legal traps that could sink your real estate investment in a huge lawsuit rather than resulting in a huge profit.


Legal Trap #1: Get A Contract


They’re called contractors for a reason; therefore, have them sign a contract! This will protect you from outrageous costs outside of the original estimate, as well as ensure that your contractor uses the right materials and skilled laborers to complete the job. This will also help you monitor when people are on your property and the final end date of the job. And if the job takes longer than expected, it could actually save you money since contractors can be penalized a specified amount for each day they work past an agreed-upon deadline.


Legal Trap #2: Demand Proof Of Insurance


Not only should you ask if your contractor is insured, but you should get visual verification of said insurance and put it in the contract that the contractor will only use insured workers. Failure to do this could result in costly litigation if someone is injured on the job. Double check with the contractor’s insurance company to make sure that the insurance is up-to-date and in effect during your project.


Legal Trap #3: Make Sure You’re Protected


Even if the contractor carries insurance, you could still be found liable for damages if a worker is hurt on your property because of something you did. For example, if you allow a worker to use your ladder instead of one provided by their company, you might be held responsible if he or she falls. Talk to your own insurance company to make sure you are covered in the event of an accident and, furthermore, require the contractor to sign a “hold-harmless” agreement that defines clearly who is responsible for unforeseen damages to the property and to workers or equipment.


What steps do you take to protect yourself when you rehab a property?



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