Home Improvement Ideas
Alright, you’re thinking about upgrading your home. But along with those new faucets, fresh paint, and vinyl tiles, did you ever consider all the eco-friendly improvements that will add pizzazz to your property and boost the health and well being of our planet? These days, the possibilities for GREENgrading your home are virtually limitless. The choices fall into three budget categories. Here are a few suggestions from each category –
- Use CFC or LED light bulbs – Far more energy efficient than conventional bulbs
- Insulate hot water heater – Can reduce standby heat losses by 25%–45%
- Install motion sensors in offices and other common use area conference rooms to turn off lights when not in use
- Install water efficient restroom fixtures – Reduces water use and saves you big bucks
- Provide recycle bins
- Tune up HVAC – Improves both efficiency and comfort
- Replace hardwood flooring with bamboo or cork floors – Will keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
- Insulate attic and other areas
- Buy recycled office products and equipment
- Provide on-site bike room to encourage environmentally friendly commuting
- Buy ENERGY STAR appliances – Lower utility bills, better performance, and greater durability.
- Replace roof with reusable/recyclable materials
- Replace cabinets with sustainably harvested wood and low-VOC finishes – This type of wood comes from a certified wood harvesting site, not an unsustainably logged region, which can have a negative impact on the environment. Low VOC substances have less odor and impact on air quality.
- Implement super energy efficient transformers – Reduces energy use and CO2 emissions.
- Implement on-site water reclamation system – Save water and money on water bills.
Those are just a few of the GREENgrading options you can take advantage of. Hopefully you have some of your own eco-friendly tips. We’d love to hear about them. Just fire off your ideas below. Or tweet @weeksteam with #green.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Alright, you’ve decided to enhance the value and the beauty of your Orange County home with some first-rate landscaping. In preparation, you’ve no doubt pondered issues like space, style, and plant choice until your head hurts. But have you stopped to consider the environmental impact of your home improvement project? The good news is that you can boost the beauty of your home and help keep our planet green simply by considering factors like water use, runoff, and sustainability in your landscaping strategy.
One good way to score high points in these areas is by growing native fruits and veggies on your property. Indigenous plants already fit perfectly into the ecosystem. Since this type of foliage naturally belongs in the region, it requires less irrigation and less pest control than your average outsider. To save even more precious H2O, group together all plants with similar irrigation needs. Plants that drink together, save water together.
You’ll also want to retain the maximum amount of natural landscaping. Keeping an abundance of native plant life in place does wonders to minimize runoff.
On the fertilizing front, composting is an effective, eco-friendly way to liven up your soil. Check out Home Depot. They offer an excellent selection of easy composting solutions that will jump start your future of fertilizing.
OK. That’s it from this end of the planet. Does anyone else out there have some eco-friendly landscaping suggestions? We’d love to hear about them. Just fire off your ideas below. Or tweet @weeksteam with #green.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
One thing green doesn’t mean is bland functionality pitifully short on good looks. Just feast your eyes on this selection of remodeling solutions to see the excitingly aesthetic side of eco-friendly.
Interested in introducing some eco-friendliness to the place where you hang your hat? Try these to enliven your Orange County home with green goodness.
- Low or no VOC (volitile organic compounds) materials.
- FSC certified wood products displaying the greenseal logo.
- Low waste construction
But deduct major points if you dispose of non-green refuse in a landfill. Far better to recycle, renew, or reuse. Maybe you’ve heard of Habitat RE stores or freecycle.com? Both are superb remodeling or updating partners.
No doubt you have your own ideas about eco-friendly. So what do you think makes a household green? Feel free to fire off your comments below. Or tweet @weeksteam with #green.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
As an Orange County Green Realtor, I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to improve our eco-system. That’s why if you’re a homeowner, I’ve got some really fantastic news. We’re talking a super opportunity to save big bucks and save a little wear and tear on the very thing on which all life depends – our environment.
Right now if you own a home, there are dozens of rebate and incentive programs available for those who bring green improvements to their property. You’ll actually get paid to go green. Or as I say, ‘you get green for green.’
Among the many outstanding programs are:
- California Solar Initiative – Cash back rebates for those who install solar energy systems
- Emerging Renewables Program – Rebates for wind and fuel cell energy systems
- Energy Upgrade California – Wide range of home improvement projects that lower your energy use, conserve water and natural resources, and make your home healthier and more comfortable.
If you’d like to learn more about helping yourself as well as the environment, there’s a mountain of interesting information available from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Have Some of You Already Gone the Green Route With Your Homes?
Great! I hereby grant you bragging rights. Go ahead and spill it all out about what you did and how much $ you saved. You can fire off a comment below. Or or tweet @weeksteam with #green.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
As we roar into the home stretch of March, I thought I’d squeeze in one more reminder that this is Green & Sustainability Month. Being the environmentally-conscious citizen that I am, I’d like to pitch in by covering one more topic related to the health and well-being of our planet – solar power.
Those of us in mostly sunny California will have no problem tapping into the unlimited supply of energy from our favorite and most important star. There are two great reasons to do so. Not only will this ever-present form of renewable energy save you major bucks on your electric bill, it will go a long way to saving Earth’s rapidly-disappearing natural resources.
But the benefits of this renewable resource don’t stop there. Other characteristics of solar power that make it a superb energy source are:
- Non-polluting, unlike petroleum-based fuels.
- Low-maintenance — Solar cells have no moving parts. So virtually no servicing is required.
- Longevity — Solar cells can last indefinitely.
- Versatility – Can power everything from cars to satellites.
- Adaptability — Solar power may be more practical than electrical wiring in a remote location.
- Quiet — Solar cells silently collect all that energy from the sun.
I recently chatted with Rob Huie of Renew Solar Energy about this very timely topic.
For more great info about putting solar energy to work for you, please visit Orange County Solar Company, Renew Solar Energy. And, of course, if I can be assistance in any way, don’t hesitate to please feel free to reach out to me. You can connect with me at 949.338.7408 or firstname.lastname@example.org, @AngieWeeks or @WeeksTeam.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Hey, folks. March is Green & Sustainability Month, and I thought I’d pitch in by sharing a few thoughts about an issue affecting us right where we all live – our home. The issue is an insidious substance known as radon, the silent threat. Radon was the primary topic on a recent episode of Dr. Oz, which stressed the importance of scheduling radon inspections for homes, businesses, and schools.
Here are a few things all Orange County homeowners or business owners should know about this silent threat:
- Radon results from the decay of uranium in soil, water, and rocks, all of which can be found beneath a home’s foundation. From this starting point, the gas can seep into homes and eventually lead to very serious health problems.
- Thousands of radon hot spots exist in the U.S. These locations demonstrate much higher than average levels of the gas. Specialized tests reveal evidence of a clear link between breathing high concentrations of radon and lung cancer. Clearly, radon testing is critical to ensure the safety of any home, business, or school.
- While radon sampler kits are available, thorough testing by a professional environmental inspector is recommended. Such testing may utilize charcoal canisters, charcoal liquid scintillation devices, alpha-track detectors, and electric ion chamber detectors.
For more insights regarding this silent threat, check out this very informative video courtesy of the Dr. Oz show.
If you’d like maximum peace of mind, consider getting your home tested for radon levels. In my book, the best person for the job is Mike Cantor with 20/20 Home Inspections. He’s friendly, fast, reliable, and state-certified. So give him a call. You’ll be glad you did.
Naturally, if I can be of assistance with this or any other issue pertaining to your Orange County home, please feel free to reach out to me. You can connect with me at 949.338.7408 or email@example.com, @AngieWeeks or @WeeksTeam.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Keren Shamay of Shamay Staging & Redesign Inc. here. I am currently in AZ at Real Estate Investment school. Today’s topic? Fix and Flip. How to do it the right way. What are the hazards? What problems come up? During one of the discussions we ran across a house that had terrible pet odors. The kind that happen after years of more than 5 dogs living in a house, some of which never went outside. Imagine walking into that kind of house as a buyer.
Most home owners do no have that scale of problem on their hands. Many however do have a less offensive version of it. Most buyers may not say anything, but will definitely cross your house off the list of potentials to buy. So as a seller with a pet odor problem, how do you remedy it? The answer that will help the majority of homeowners is paint. Get enough paint to repaint the inside of your house. Go to a store that sells essential oils and get one vial of Cedar-wood and One vial of Orange. Mix 5 drops each of the oils per gallon of paint and paint your walls.
This should solve many of your problems. If it does not fix the problem, call a Stager who is experienced with this process for the next steps. You are at a point where you may need much more than basic staging advice. They will be able to help you resolve the toughest of issues. As a home Stager I am very familiar with this remedy, and the next steps should they be needed. No matter who you use, a Stager along with your Realtor are your best allies in getting your house sold.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
When looking for a new home and you want to keep your furniture but you’re not sure if it fits into your new room? Here’s a website that can help you out!
Take the measurements of the room and the measures of the furniture and your on your way to having a great fitting room for your new home!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Sometimes the best move is no move. And if you’re one of the many people staying put in your present Orange County home, you have plenty of incentive to keep neighborhood property prices as strong as possible. Remember, however, optimizing home values isn’t a one person show. You and all your neighbors are in this together. So it’s best to adopt the spirit of a village. That means everyone pitches in and cooperates toward a common goal of price preservation.
Here are five proven steps that every homeowner can take to maintain those all-important property values:
- Appearance counts for a lot. Even the most spectacular house can get a big thumbs down if the neighborhood disappoints. This means all serious homeowners should secure a reliable gardener or a good set of tools, and keep those yards lookin’ like a million bucks.
- Alright, alright…Your beloved old clunker gets you everywhere you want to go. Unfortunately, it won’t win any beauty contests. So it’s best to keep your retro-ride off the street and in a garage. Also, even if your car rivals the Sistine Chapel for beauty, avoid parking it in front of any home sporting a ‘for sale’ sign. Homes typically sell a lot quicker when they can be found by Realtors and/or prospective buyers.
- Tell everyone you possibly can whenever a neighborhood home hits the marketplace. The sooner it sells, the less chance the owner will kick down the sale price and eat away a chunk of equity.
- Help Realtors help you. Removing or taking down an open house sign might be good for endless laughs, but delaying the sale of a neighbor’s home won’t do a heck of a lot of good for YOUR own property value.
- Always paint the brightest picture of your neighborhood, street, or community throughout the social networks. A barrage of badmouthing will get your community known for all the wrong reasons and will send potential buyers fleeing to a more attractive locale. Restrict all nasty remarks to an offline complaints department, and keep the compliments freely flowing ONLINE.
Some say looks aren’t everything. But in the competitive world of Real Estate, appearance counts for a lot when your home is up for sale. We’re talking right up there with price and location. A properly staged home can make the difference between a timely sale and forever and ever on the market.
Mary Jayne Barnett, expert stager and owner of Revamp Your Home, has some fantastic advice on staging your home to look its irresistibly best, using only what you already have. Have a look!
If you’d like to learn more about staging your Orange County home to look its best, Mary Jayne will be delighted to help. You can connect with her at –
f 949.459.6118Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
I recently found myself bored while my husband was out watching sports so I tuned into HGTV to see if anything interesting was on. Luckily for me “Design On A Dime” was being broadcast. This is an awesome show that has really helped me as an Orange County Realtor. Design On A Dime gives tips on how to sell your Orange County ca. home. The home stagers on this show come up with some fantastic creations that save home owners thousands all the while making homes sparkle.
I have begun using tips from this show (as well as other HGTV shows) to sell the homes I represent in Orange County. I find myself constantly amazed by the creations that these home stagers come up with and just how much money they save.
I’d now like to share with you some of my favorite tips from this show.
- De-clutter – Serious. Nothing else matters without it. Not your version of de-clutter, either. A professional organizers seal of approval is what’s going to get you an offer in.
- Make it yourself. In this economy, your elbow grease can pay off. go ahead, Use that scrap wood to make a clutter container, a mantle, a masterpiece!
- Improvise. If you want affordable design, you can’t be set in your ways. I loved the way they sewed together 3 bathmats to make a rug. There is always a cheaper solution if you are creative enough to improvise. And that MDM wood is a great option too!
- Recycle. I love the flea market dumpster diver approach! One mans trash truly is another’s treasure, so don’t be afraid to take something, fix it up, and make it yours. Plus it’s the green thing to do! Also, if you’re doing demo remember to call habitat for humanity.
Should you have any questions about these tips or if you’d like to share your tips with me, please contact me.
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If you’ve recently purchased your first home you probably have a long list of things you would like to do to decorate. After all, it’s now your home and you want it to reflect your style, personality and what’s important to you. Unfortunately, you may not have the budget right now and we’ve got a GREAT way to pesonalize your home with a professional look without the professional price.
Hanging artwork and photos in your new home really shows visitors insight into your life. Custom framed artwork and photos is so expensive. We recently tried to frame a 20″ x 24″ portrait at a local frame store and the price we were quoted was $400. Buying posters and puting them in inexpensive frames can really save money. Ikea, TJ Max and Ross are some of our favorite places to buy posters, frames and framed art. Great looks and even better values.
Our HOT TIP of the day for framing family photos and getting the “custom framed” look is this. Measure your photo you want to frame. Go to TJ Max and shop for an already framed piece of art with similar measurements. Example: your photo is 16″ x 20″. Plan on matting the photo with about 2″-4″ on each side. So, a 16″ x 20″ photo with need a frame aproximately 18″ x 22″ or 20″ x 24″ opening. Take your photo and your new fram to JoAnn’s or Michaels and get new matts cut to match your photo. Ask them to put the matts, photo and frame together for you so it’s all done right. You will get the custom look for a fraction of the price!
It looks WONDERFUL and everyone will think you paid the BIG bucks. Our 20″ x 24″ portrait cost us $85 in our new frame and matts. Shhhhh! Don’t tell our guests.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Hey everyone! Just wanted to let everyone know about this just incase you know of anyone who lost their real estate in the recent Lake Forest Fires or Orange County area. One Time Construction, Inc. is offering a special discount of $10,000 to the rebuilding of your home if you use their services.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Hope you had a great weekend – ours was very nice! We went to a baby shower for a couple of our past clients, which was so fun. (Did you know like 50% of our closed clients have a baby within a couple years of moving in??? OMG!)
There were gifts galore – the place was littered with pink and fuzzy everything. One awesome gift that Grandma-to-be got for our friends was 3 months of cleaning services. Way to go Grandma!! She mentioned she wasn’t sure of any cleaners in the area, though, and I felt bad that I have not done a better job of telling people all the resources we have available on our website (like cleaners and painters and CPA’s). Bad Realtor, Angie, BAD!!!
Mike and I do a ton of networking in Orange County, and we come across all kinds of businesses and business people in our line of work. One thing we do as a service to our past, present, and future clients, is keep a database of these community services. We even put many of them online right here on our website, on the Local Services page:
I want to encourage all of our past and future home buyers and sellers to use our experience to save time and money on Orange County services. Mike and I take feedback from our clients and add / remove businesses regularly from our website. We keep only the best people on there, and if you have a bad experience we WANT TO KNOW, we will take the contractor or business off of our website, AND warn others.
We would love nothing more than to advertise all the best businesses in Orange County based off of YOUR feedback. Please help us be a better resource to you by giving us your good and bad stories on some of the people you used from our site.
I hear many complaints from buyers and sellers who bought with another Realtor…they say that agent just dropped off the face of the earth after the deal closed, never to be heard from again. We feel that quickly and painlessly providing good info and direction to our clients is ALWAYS our job, whether we are in escrow or not. We understand all our clients are busy and we want to make life easier for them all the time.
Every Realtor should be a RESOURCE, and we are happy to be your Orange County, CA business connection Don’t hesitate to email us if you ever have questions about someone on our website. Another great way to find “the dirt” is to Google the business name you are considering using, or check the Yahoo local ratings. Hope this helpsRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
How do you incorporate “man’s best friend” into your Orange County dream home? Mike and I think we have some answers…and they’re AWESOME!
Orange County has very low crime rates and that’s one of many reasons it’s so great to live here. Keeping your home safe while letting your pet access your yard can be tricky. We just discovered a great company that sells pet doors that can be installed in your patio doors, screens, sliders and even walls of your home. Petdoors.com has everything you need. They have magnetic and electronic doors that keep out unwanted intruders while allowing your dog to access the outdoors. The electronic doors work like this….your pet wears a charm on their collar that unlocks the pet door when they get within a short range. It then re-locks and only opens again when the pet comes back into range. You can set up the system for up to five animals in your home.
Once your pet is outside what do you do about lawn damage? Once again another company we’ve come across can keep that lawn, dog run or patio beautiful. WaterlessTurf.com can put down artificial grass that your animal can urinate on. It’s laid on 2-3 inches of rock & gravel that allows for drainage. All you need to do is rinse it off regularly and your green lawn stays green all year long.
Mike and I are such animal lovers we bought our home for our dogs! As Orange County “Pet Friendly” Realtors, we know and understand your pet needs first hand and can help you search for a home as well as sell your home when pets are involved. Give us a call today and let us help you get started.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Kitchen now a days are not necessarily a place to spend in solitude slaving away for your family. Today’s kitchens are like family rooms with all of the comfortable furniture and entertainment aspects. If you’re thinking of redesigning your kitchen keep that in mind.
If you are the type who spends their weekends touring the many model homes in Orange County looking for ideas or strolling down the isles of EXPO or the Great Indoors, you know what we’re talking about.
Todays kitchens are a gathering place for friends and family. They are warm and inviting and no longer sterile or secluded. Kitchens should have warm, cozy places for your guests to relax. There might be a comfy chair or small sofa, bar stools surround the island, and textures of furniture and drapes are what you would put in your family room.
The “matchy match” cabinetry look is out! The new look is stained-wood bases and painted wood upper cabinetsw. The old-Europe-look rules, but with today’s appliances. Today’s aspiring chef’s want to cook like the stars on the Food Network. Give your kitchen top notch appliance, televisions, conveniences that will make life easier.
The investments you make in your kitchen really go a long way in the resale value of your home.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The BIG dilemna. Southern California home builders go crazy when building new homes trying to capture the interest of large families and couples who will be caring for aging parents. In order to maximize the number of bedrooms they skimp on room size. If you live in Aliso Viejo, Tustin Ranch, Irvine, or Ladera Ranch you know what we’er talking about! Don’t worry! If you have small rooms you can still get top dollar for your home if you decorate sensibly.
First, decide if you’re going to showcase the room as a bedroom or other space. Small rooms should NOT be used as an office/guestroom. Pick one or the other.
Next, if you’re making the room a bedroom put in a twin size bed. Possibly with a trundle that tucks away and can be pulled out for multiple visitors. Add a small nightstand and skip a large dresser. Floor space is key! If you’ve got it the room looks bigger. Make sure the bed is positioned to maximize the space and not cut off the room.
If you are displaying the room as an office or other work space buy smaller scale furniture. A big oversized desk will dwarf the room. There are furniture stores that specialize in small spaces and you will be able to find pieces that will work. Try IKEA or Plumbers, right here in Orange County. Take measurements of the room before you go shopping to avoid buying too large. Be realistic. Another great idea is to install closet organizers to store your work related supplies. California Closets is Great. The more the room looks like an office the better chance you have that the buyers will see the advantage of the space. With gas prices on the rise a home office is a fantastic idea!
Last, keep the decorating simple!! No large print patterns, keep the paint neutral and minimal artwork on the wall. Clean lines help the room appear larger.
With the right planning your small spaces can mean BIG dollars.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
I got a GREAT remodeling tip yesterday, from Habitat for Humanity of all places
Did you know they have 2 REstores here in OC? Habitat REstores are actually home improvement warehouses that have new and gently used items for sale at ROCK BOTTOM prices. There’s one in Santa Ana, and another in Garden Grove. Supposedly the stores are stocked with overflow inventory from various SoCal builders, Lowes, and personal donations.
See http://www.restoreoc.org for hours and addresses.
At the volunteer meeting last evening in Orange, they mentioned that an interior designer just decided to redo their office, and dropped a ton of stuff off The Habitat REstores sell these donated items and use the funds to finance new land or home building projects, so you are putting your money to a very good cause by buying your furniture, cabinets, or countertops there.
Another thing…Habitat does DEMO for FREE!!!!!! They have a philosophy that many of the items we “throw out” when remodeling our kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms really don’t deserve to clutter up a landfill, they deserve another go-around. (Especially for a family in need)
For example, the demo team has a Balboa Island demo to do this weekend, and they are salvaging all kinds of great items like appliances, cabinets, granite counters, & cedar ceilings. Then they have another one this month for a Corona del Mar kitchen that is way out dated (4 yrs old), the owner wants a new theme. He must be watching Top Chef or something!! I will take that Bosch dishwasher thank you very much, mine’s got to be 10 yrs old haha
If YOU are thinking of remodeling, there IS an order of operations to what will bring you back the most $$$ when you sell your home. Contact us for a free report, and then go nuts with the free demo and cheap REstores!. How fun and fantastic is that?!?! Serve others – serve yourself – save some money! Make sure to spread the good word!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
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