10 Home Repairs that will Save You Money

July 15th, 2010 mullinaxteam Posted in "Green" Living, Energy savings, Home Care, Real Estate Tips and Advice Comments Off on 10 Home Repairs that will Save You Money

10 Home Repairs that will Save you Money
Post Contributed by:
Claire Bradley, Investopedia.com
Jul 7, 2010
Provided by:

Remodels are great, but can get pretty pricey. Not everyone has thousands to add value to their home – but what about those less glamorous repair projects on your to-do list? These simple and inexpensive maintenance items don’t seem like they add to your home’s value, but they’re big money-savers in the long run.

1. Caulk
If you’ve lived in your house a few years, you probably noticed that the caulk along your sinks, countertops and bathtub is coming loose. These gaps may not seem like a big deal, but they can wreak havoc inside your walls. Moisture causes mold and even leaks – expensive repairs that can easily be prevented. A tube of kitchen and bath caulk costs just a few dollars, and you’ll avoid expensive repairs.

2. Insulate
The quickest way to save money on your energy bill is to insulate, yet so many of us overlook this simple home improvement project for its benefits. Sure, your walls are insulated, but what about your basement, your attic, and your garage? Just in case the energy cost savings aren’t enticing enough for you, check with the IRS – there are current credits that allow you to deduct this energy-saving expense from your taxes.

3. Change Filters
When was the last time you changed your furnace’s air filters? It’s an oft-overlooked chore, but one that keep your furnace running efficiently, and improves the air quality inside your home. Change your filters at least every three months to keep your furnace working efficiently for years to come.

4. Install a Thermostat
Does your home have a programmable thermostat? If not, invest in one; it’ll earn its money back in no time. By programming heating and cooling, you avoid paying to keep an empty house at a comfortable temperature. Manage the heat appropriately in winter to avoid burst water pipes; in summer, draw your curtains during the day to keep the house cool. Buy a programmable thermostat and you can save big on monthly bills.

5. Fix Leaks
That leaky faucet or runny toilet is draining your water bill, and in most cases it’s a cheap and quick fix. Replace the washer on your faucet, and while you’re at it, consider installing a faucet aerator if yours doesn’t already have one. Faucet aerators reduce water flow from your faucet to save on your water bill; check your home improvement store for this inexpensive fix.

6. Install Dimmers
Dimmers aren’t just for romance; they can save you big bucks on your energy bill. They’re cheap and easy to install, so look for rooms that could use a little reduction in harsh lighting. While you’re at it, replace your light bulbs with energy-efficient ones. They’re big money savers.

7. Clean Carpets
Clean your carpet lately? With proper care, carpets can last a long time and look great, but everyone needs to clean them sometime. You don’t need to hire an expensive service either – if you can vacuum, you can clean your carpets by yourself. Rent a carpet cleaner at your local supermarket or big-box store for a modest fee. Make sure you vacuum thoroughly before cleaning, and pick a dry day so your carpet dries quickly. With regular cleaning your carpet can last a long time, saving you big bucks on new flooring.

8. Clean Siding and Windows
Windows and siding get a beating in most climates. Wash your windows and siding with a simple hose and water first, and with a cleaning solution as needed; your home improvement store sells specialty products for just this kind of job. Rent a power washer for very dirty jobs. Keep an eye on cobwebs, wasp and bird nests to ensure your home’s exterior stays in good shape. Touch up with paint as needed, and your house will look like new at little or no cost.

9. Fight Pests
Those spiders and ants at your foundation, that mouse nest in your crawl space? Take care of it – pests can destroy a home in a hurry. Hire an exterminator, or for small pests, combat with pesticides. Even if you don’t think you have a problem, inspect every part of the interior and exterior of your home regularly to avoid small pest problems getting out hand.

10. Clean Ductwork
If your home is older, your ductwork likely has dust, grime, and other unwelcome residue inside. For big jobs, pay a professional; a simple cleaning can easily be done yourself. Simply remove the grates from your air vents, and clean the inside with your vacuum.

The Bottom Line
The best way to invest in your home is to take good care of what’s already there. With these simple repair jobs, you’ll even save money – with just a little elbow grease as investment


Summer Time Energy Savings

May 21st, 2010 mullinaxteam Posted in "Green" Living, Energy savings, Water Conservation Comments Off on Summer Time Energy Savings

Summer Time Energy Savings

This is why it’s called Hotlanta!  Georgia’s summer months tend to get on the steamy side and can drain not only your physical energy, but also your wallet.  Check out these tips to conserve energy and money around your home this summer.

  • Keep your thermostat set on 78 when you’re home.  Bump it up to 85 if you’ll be gone most of the day so the a/c isn’t working so hard while you’re gone
  • Utilize the ceiling fans in your home to help cool you down.  This is more energy and cost efficient than dropping the a/c temparature.
  • Pull the shades and close your blinds to help keep the sun out of your home.  This will help a lot in keeping the house cooler.
  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
  • Keep you’re refrigerator fully stocked.  The more food you have in it, the less cold air escapes when you open the door.  This means less work on the refrigerator to adjust back to the desired temparature when you close the door.
  • Use your dishwasher.  Surprisingly, this option uses less water than hand washing dishes.
  • Invest in Energy Star appliances  This will not only help your summer electric bill, but it will impact your savings year round.

With a little intentionality and planning, we can all fight against spending too much money on our household bills this summer!  Not to mention, this will benefit our environment for years to come!


What to do with the Extra “Stuff” Around your Home

March 3rd, 2010 mullinaxteam Posted in "Green" Living, Downsizing, Home Care, Real Estate Information, Tax Credit Comments Off on What to do with the Extra “Stuff” Around your Home

With the season of fresh growth on it’s way, now is the time to get started on your Spring cleaning.  For many it can be quite a job to go through closets, garages, junk drawers and those catch-all rooms.  The easy option is to just trash these things, but why not donate those items to someone who could use them?  Remember, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure!

Donating these items can not only give you a tax write-off, but it can also make a difference in the life of someone you may never meet.  Not to mention it will help give our ever-growing landfills a break.  This article gives some great ideas on where to donate specific items.  With the economy we live in today, now more than ever, we need to look out for each other and help out when we can.  Why not make a tedious task an act of giving for your family this Spring?!


Energy Savings Tax Credit

January 4th, 2010 mullinaxteam Posted in "Green" Living, Appliances, Energy savings, Finances, Home Care, Tax, Tax Credit 1 Comment »

Energy Saving Appliances and home improvements can give you a tax break!

You may have heard about the federal tax credits for energy star appliances.  Whether you’re looking to install a new toilet or upgrade your heating and air throughout your home, if you utilize energy saving products, it may give you a tax break.  There are several stipulations around the deductions that are based on the overall energy performance of the items you are changing.

For energy star appliances, visit www.energystar.gov to find out what appliances qualify.  For upgrades to your home, this new website www.houselogic.com has great information on the stipulations around replacing roofs, insulation, hot water heaters and other utilities in your home.  This site also explains some common tax deductions you can take for your home. 

Remember that getting a nice tax break is only one benefit to utilizing these government funded initiatives.  You will also be decreasing your utility bills and helping make our environment a better place for the future.


Going Green: Good For the Environment, Good For the Wallet

September 30th, 2009 mullinaxteam Posted in "Green" Living, Buyers, Energy savings, Real Estate News, Sellers, Tax Credit Comments Off on Going Green: Good For the Environment, Good For the Wallet

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Making green improvements to your home can be good for the environment and your wallet

On February 17, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009.  This bill extends and modifies the tax credits for windows, doors, and skylights established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Going green can not only improve the environment but can also help the wallet.  If renovations are in store for your home consider making them energy efficient.  There are tax credits for 30% of energy efficient home improvements for amounts of up to $1,500 for improvements to existing homes.  Acceptable projects include:

•    Windows and Doors
•    Insulation
•    Roofs (Metal and Asphalt)
•    HVAC
•    Water Heaters (non-solar)
•    Biomass Stoves

There are also tax credits available for 30% of the project cost, no limit, for existing homes and new construction.  These projects include:

•    Geothermal Heat Pumps
•    Solar Panels
•    Solar Water Heaters
•    Small Wind Energy Systems
•    Fuel Cells

Reducing the carbon footprint for your home has never been more affordable or had such incentive.  Whether you want to change your windows or alter your home’s energy source, making changes to make a difference in our environment can help save you money.

For information on energy efficient tax credits click here or call The Mullinax Team at 770.606.0054.


House On The Market, Here Are Some Interesting And Creative Ideas To Help SELL It!

April 1st, 2009 mullinaxteam Posted in "Green" Living, Real Estate Tips and Advice, Sellers Comments Off on House On The Market, Here Are Some Interesting And Creative Ideas To Help SELL It!

Vintage kitchen modernizedPutting your house on the market is always a challenge in that you must look for ways to make it the most appealing it can be to potential buyers. Beyond the tried and true rules of emptying closets and keeping all rooms tidy and clean, here are some things you may not have thought of that can have major impact during a showing or open house.

  • If you have small rooms in your home that you would like to appear more spacious, paint them the same color as the room it is attached to. This will convey a more seamless, spacious feel. Another trick to convey spaciousness is to keep all window treatments in small rooms the same shade as the walls.
  • If you have a sunroom make sure to paint it an attractive shade of green. It really does help to bring the outside in!
  • If you have a narrow room, add wall shelving. This gives the space depth, without crowding out occupants.
  • If you are upgrading to sell, choose Eco-friendly materials. Buyers are showing more interest in homes with these materials. For example, consider cost-efficient and “green” cork flooring instead of hardwoods.
  • Consider breaking up a finished basement into “zones”. For example, furnish one area for reading, another area for a bar, one for games, one for a workspace with a desk and another for lounging in front of the television.
  • If your kitchen is outdated and you do not want to renovate, replacing old appliances is highly suggested. Studies show that sellers recoup every penny spent on new appliances!

Staging makes your house look bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, more will appear more loving and, best of all, it makes home buyers want to buy it.


A Few More Ways To Save On That Energy Bill…Part II

February 24th, 2009 mullinaxteam Posted in "Green" Living, Energy savings, Home Care, Real Estate Tips and Advice Comments Off on A Few More Ways To Save On That Energy Bill…Part II

Building Doorway with Lanterns

Most people purchase window treatments, such as heavy drapes, blinds or shutters to complete the look they want to establish on the inside of their home. But curtains, drapes, blinds and shutters are also a wonderful investment that will help keep energy costs down, whether you are heating or cooling your home. Attic insulation is also one of the best ways a homeowner can reduce the amount of energy they are paying for in their home, whether it is for heating or cooling. Without proper insulation it will escape via the roof. Expect to pay between $500 and $700 to insulate a 2,000-square foot home. According to experts, insulation can save you up to 25% on heating and cooling costs. Don’t forget to seal air leaks in your home. By simply filling in gaps around your windows and doors and sealing ducts, you can save up to 20% on your heating and cooling bill. Last but not least, always replace or clean your air filters. By doing this small task each season you can save 7% in electricity costs per year. For more energy saving tips, check out http://www.georgiapower.com/residential/homeSavingTips.asp.