No A/C? I’m a big fan!

Looking for a cost efficient alternative to solar panels?
Check out the whole house fan:

Q: What is a whole house fan?

A: Whole house fans are an alternative type of home cooling unit. They come in two main construction models: belt-driven, and direct-driven. Direct-driven fans are cheaper, but tend to be noisier than belt-driven fans.

Q: How does it work?

A: Simply open up a few windows and switch the fan on! The fan draws in cool air from outside and moves it through your home to create a breeze. Hot air in the home gets pushed up into the attic where it is ventilated. An additional attic fan can be paired with the whole house fan to push hot air out of the attic more effectively.

Q: Why should I add a whole house fan?

A: A whole house fan can be paired with your air conditioner to reduce your monthly cooling cost. It doesn’t replace A/C on those sweltering summer days. It will, however, work very efficiently to get cool air from the outside into your house.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: All you need to start cooling your home is the whole house fan component. Extra ventilation is optional. The cost with installation but without extra attic fan ventilation runs about $1,200 – $1,550.

Roof Replacement


Whether you’re planning to sell or remain in your home for quite some time, a roof’s condition weighs significantly on the value of your home. A few simple criteria will help you determine if it’s time to repair or replace.

How old is your roof?
Depending on the material, a normal roof’s lifespan can range from 20 to 50+ years. Asphalt shingles generally last 20 to 30 years, wood shingles can remain intact for up to 40 years and newer synthetic materials usually have a life of 50 or more years. It is important to know the history of your home, when it was first built and when the roof was last replaced.

Has your neighborhood experienced any extreme weather conditions?
Heavy hail and powerful storms can rip a roof apart. Even if the shingles aren’t terribly damaged, it is wise to get an inspection. Sometimes only a few shingles need to be replaced, but the effort will save the roof from even greater damage in the future.

Have your neighbors started replacing their roofs?
Generally all roofs in a neighborhood will begin wearing out at the same time. If you notice your neighbors beginning to upgrade their roofs, it’s probably a good time to begin gathering quotes. Aside from replacing an old roof to better protect your home from the elements, it is important to keep up with the value of comparable properties. A new roof can return up to 65% of the cost as value added to the home, and priceless peace of mind from the risk of leaks.

Does your home need a cosmetic upgrade?
Even if a roof has yet to reach the end of its lifespan, an outdated style or original architectural error may warrant a replacement. On a home for sale, an unsightly exterior is a serious deterrent for buyers. New shingles emphasize a home’s soundness as shelter as well as its modernity.

Kitchen Countertops Ranked by Durability

Want a hardworking countertop that fits your budget? We took a look at six of the most-durable kitchen countertops based on a recent “Consumer Reports” test.

After a thorough exam, we’re ready to let you in on why you should — or shouldn’t — install them in your kitchen.

#1 Quartz Kitchen Countertop ($40 to $100 per square foot)

The durability winner is quartz, the man-nature combo countertop. Crushed quartz stone is mixed with resin to produce countertops that range from solid colors to the look of real granite, but they’ll beat natural stone in toughness.

Pros

Quartz is almost indestructible under normal kitchen prep conditions. It laughs at knife cuts, and, unless you take a sledgehammer to it, it won’t chip or crack. It’s stain- and bacteria-resistant, and it doesn’t require sealing.

Cons

You pay a lot for quartz, and it’s not as heat-resistant as less-pricey materials like granite and crushed glass. Seams can be noticeable, especially if you use lighter colors, and it can discolor over time in direct sunlight.

Also, quartz can look ultra-contemporary and cold, so it may not be the best choice for a traditional-style kitchen.

#2 Granite ($40 to $100 per square foot)

Granite is still considered one of the top must-have home features, according to a survey of prospective homebuyers from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Its natural beauty often is eye-popping, and granite easily fits in any style kitchen.

Pros

Granite is tough. It resists cracks and chips, and you can place a hot pot on it without catastrophe. If you apply sealer annually, granite stands up to stains. 

Cons

It’s tough but not indestructible. An accidental clunk with a wine bottle can put a chip in the edge, which you’ll have to polish down. If you don’t seal religiously, oil can seep into the stone and you’ll have to apply a poultice to get it out.

Design-wise, granite can be unpredictable. Natural variations in stone can result in countertops that don’t look exactly like the sample. Also, it can be hard to hide seams in granite countertops, so be strategic about where you put them.

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All About Stoves

Not your Grandmother’s stove


What’s the best stove for your home? With so many options on the market these days it can be hard to pick. In addition to the old stand-bys, electric and gas, there are new-fangled ones like induction stoves and even something called “dual fuel.” But rest assured, there are clear pros and cons to each. To help you find the right type of stove for you, allow us to boil this complex topic down into delicious, bite-size nuggets.

Electric coil

These old school cooktops are great if you’re watching your finances … or if your idea of “cooking” is more Hamburger Helper than Martha Stewart.

Pros: This type of stove can set you back as little as $400, says Dan DiClerico, a home expert for HomeAdvisor. And it’s not costing you that much in performance. “The coils do a very good job of heating up at a range of temperature levels, especially the simmer setting, which can be a challenge for more powerful cooktops,” he notes.

Electric coil ovens tend to be roomy as well, since there’s no convection fan or pesky technology taking up space.

Cons: Basic construction = a pretty vanilla look, so “you’re not going to win any design awards with an electric coil cooktop in the kitchen,” DiClerico says.

One to consider: Consumer Reports gives high marks to the Kenmore 94142  range ($489.99).

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Solar Panels: Pros & Cons


As the cost of electricity increases, more homeowners are thinking about purchasing solar panels or enrolling in a solar lease program. Before committing your time, effort and money, consider these solar panel system pros and cons:

PROS

  • Solar panels add value to your home. Nine out of ten homebuyers prefer to purchase an energy-efficient home even if the price is 2%-3% higher than a similar non-energy-efficient home, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
  • The federal government offers a 30% Investment Tax Credit against your personal income taxes on the purchase of a solar panel system.
  • Solar lease programs offer a no-money-down option, a locked-in reduced electrical rate and a full warranty for the duration of the lease.
  • Solar panel systems save you money on your monthly electrical bill. A solar lease provides an average 15% savings on monthly utility costs. The savings are even higher for panels that are purchased outright. However, this is offset by the cost of the panels. California is also a “net metering” state which means you receive credit on your electric bill for any excess energy your solar panels produce.

CONS

  • Solar panel systems can cost $15,000-$30,000 installed.
  • You may have to perform costly roof repairs before you can install solar panels.
  • Solar lease contracts may cause a delay in closing or even cancellation of a pending home sale. Some buyers may not qualify to assume your solar lease. However, most solar companies will allow you to buy your solar panel system if you are interested in converting the lease. In this case, you will then need to negotiate with the buyer the price they are willing to pay for the existing system.
  • Solar panel systems are long-term investments. On average, it takes a homeowner 20 years to pay off the full cost of a solar panel system. Solar leases eliminate the investment aspect, but still require a similar, lengthy commitment.

Remember to keep me in mind for all your real estate needs. Thanks!

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The Trending Kitchen Styles in Remodels

Farmhouse design continues to gain popularity in kitchen remodels, according to the 2019 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, a survey of more than 1,300 homeowners who are planning or in the midst of a kitchen project.

Eighty-two percent of renovating homeowners this year who are changing the style of their kitchen says they’re making it farmhouse. Farmhouse now nearly ties contemporary in popularity (14 percent versus 15 percent, respectively). Transition—a mix of tradition and modern—still remains the most popular in kitchen design at 21 percent.

“This year’s study illuminates a number of prominent trends in today’s kitchen,” says Nino Sitchinava, Houzz principal economist. “Engineered materials are clearly taking over natural stone in countertops and flooring. Thanks in part to the versatility of these materials, white continues to dominate the kitchen, from cabinets to countertops and walls. Finally, rapid advances in wireless and voice technology are transforming some kitchens into ‘air traffic control’ centers of the home.”

Kitchens aren’t cheap to redo and are about 10 percent more expensive this year, according to the study. The median kitchen renovation cost $11,000, while a major renovation to a large kitchen (more than 200 feet) cost $33,000.

Here are some more kitchen trends that emerged from the Houzz report:

Gray cabinets: White cabinets remain the most common (43 percent), but gray cabinets are winning over more fans. About one in ten homeowners—or 11 percent—chose gray cabinets for their kitchen. Gray cabinets are then often paired with brushed or satin nickel door hardware.

White and quartz countertops: Granite continues to decline in popularity, while engineered quartz is surpassing all of the natural stone materials combined among kitchen remodelers who updated their countertops. White counters are gaining steam, making up nearly one in every three upgraded countertops.

Mixed finishes: More than half of homeowners—54 percent—say they’ve mixed metal finishes across their fixtures and hardware. For those who mix and match, nickel is popular, but many then opt for oil-rubbed bronze or brushed or satin black finish for door hardware and lighting fixtures.

Engineered flooring: Only a quarter of remodelers who updated their flooring chose natural hardwood, marking a significant decline from recent years. Engineered flooring—such as engineered wood, vinyl, and laminate—have become nearly twice as popular in the meantime.

Appliance finish: Stainless steel may still rule, but black stainless is growing more popular as an appliance finish. It is now in one of every 10 upgraded kitchens. Read The New Kitchen Finish: Black Stainless

High-tech add-ons: More than half of upgraded faucets are high-tech, including water efficiency, no-fingerprint coating, and touch-free activation. Other high-tech features in the kitchen include wireless controls in upgraded appliances and home assistants.

Original Article

Read This Before You Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

If you’ve  noticed the cost of new appliances, countertops, and cabinets, it’s no surprise that renovating a kitchen is one of the most expensive remodeling projects. While few homeowners find ways to boost the look of a dated refrigerator or tired granite, transforming a kitchen by freshening the cabinets that make up most of the room’s visual space is entirely within reach. But there’s more to the job than buying a gallon of your favorite color.

The saying that a successful paint job relies on diligent prep work is fitting when finishing previously coated cabinets. Unlike drywall, cabinets are made out of a variety of materials—from wood to metal—that are then covered with a range of finishes, from oil-based paint to plastics. But armed with the right primer, quality paint, the patience not to rush the process, and a long weekend, a DIYer can overhaul a kitchen without going over budget.

Cabinets can account for nearly 40 percent of a kitchen’s cost. Here’s how three common cabinet upgrades stack up in an average 10-by-10-foot kitchen. Repainting would cost less than $200. Adding new drawers and doors runs about $1,300, while upgrading to ready-to-assemble cabinets starts at about $1,630.

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