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2013 trends

Top Home Trends Predicted for 2013

As we dive into the new year, we like to look ahead and try to predict what’s in store for homeowners and home improvement professionals. Each year, we start off by asking what trends we can look forward to. Looking back at last year’s question, we were amazed to see how accurate some of our expert predictions were. Our designers did a great job letting us know what trends we should watch out for. This year, according to Pantone, the world’s most renowned experts on color, the number one color of 2013 has been decided: emerald green. Will we see …

polluted air

The Danger of Polluted Indoor Air

It’s that festive time of year again, time to join together with family and loved ones in your home and celebrate the holidays. Spending more time indoors in the winter months is unavoidable for most but according to the American Lung Association, your home may not be a healthy place to gather due to poor air quality. Understanding the health impact of mold and poor indoor air quality may send many homeowners on the hunt to find solutions to these problems. When homeowners learn that poor air quality can lead to lung infections and even cancer, they frantically look to …

new homeowners

What essential skills should every new homeowner have?

Despite slight wavering, the housing market is showing generally positive growth. The Washington Post recently reported a 2.1 percent growth in US home sales and home improvement giants like Lowes are showing increased revenue. More families are starting to feel confident about purchasing their first homes, moving away from a lifetime of rentals and committing to a long term residence. It’s a transition that, for many, is a major accomplishment. But that transition also comes with its fair share of anxiety. Once you’ve signed your name on the lease, the home is your responsibility and making sure it doesn’t fall …

houses

Manufactured Homes, Do or Don’t?

Manufactured homes may not be the most glamorous housing option, but they can be a cost-effective way to own a home in this down economy. With maintenance included, formal dining rooms, hardwood floors, large yards, and multiple bedrooms, manufactured homes can be an attractive option to many. Although they are not considered prestigious, the savings are undeniable. But we wondered about the drawbacks? Are they as structurally sound as traditional homes? Are there hidden fees? Why We’re Asking: When you are trying to make financially sound decisions, it is important to be able to weigh out all options.  Manufactured homes …

Marketing tools

Marketing Tools for the Home Improvement Industry

Though the home improvement market is said to be on the rise, many businesses are still struggling to get the phone to ring. A poor economy means many homeowners are putting off all but the most necessary of home repairs and services. When homeowners do pick up the phone, successful businesses are those that ensure their number is the first to be called. Why We’re Asking: Being first on a long list of qualified professionals is no easy task. Obviously, professionals with a long history and extensive client base are going to do well, but for new home improvement businesses, …

building codes

What Homeowners Need to Know About Building Codes

As with any area of law, the legal dos and don’ts of the home improvement industry are constantly changing. Above all, building laws and codes are made to keep professionals and homeowners safe but they can also have other motives. For example, some neighborhoods might prohibit buildings taller than 3 stories while others might not allow planting certain types of plants that can become invasive. The point is, there are volumes of laws dictating what you can and can’t do to your house. Why We’re Asking You aren’t expected to be versed in family law to get married and you …

winterize article

How to Winterize Your Home

Last Saturday, we welcomed the official start of fall. It’s time for football, changing leaves, school, and everything pumpkin spiced. For homeowners, fall is a time of preparation. Winter’s cold temperatures and extreme weather can wreak havoc on a home’s most vital systems: from freezing pipes to a groaning, snow-laden roof. In the next few months, your home’s ability to withstand the elements will be tested. Why We’re Asking: The old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” couldn’t be more true in the home improvement business. Trying to fix a problem that has already run …

home improvement

Choosing Home Improvement Products

Last week, we featured a post about repair and restoration scams after storms hit. We wanted to warn homeowners about so called “storm chasers”–businesses that prey on desperate families who have had their homes destroyed by natural disasters. With help from our experts, we came up with the biggest warning signs and best protection strategies to ensure that the professional you choose is always on your side. This week, we wanted to continue protecting homeowners by asking about products. Why We’re Asking Dangerous, scam-ridden, low value, poorly constructed, overpriced products line the shelves of every big-box home improvement store. For …

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 9.03.25 AM

How do you avoid scam repairs after a storm?

This week, the Republican National Convention will kick off in Tampa, Florida in spite of a forecast which predicts that Tropical Storm Isaac is headed that same direction. It’s the middle of hurricane season for the south-east region of the country and many homeowners are prepared for the worst, taking every precaution they know of to help prevent damage to their house. But, Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate, causing massive damage and leaving many families scrambling to put their homes back together. Why We’re Asking: In the days after a severe storm, homeowners are desperate to get their home repaired. …

green certification

Evaluating Green Home Certifications

Last month, the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability released a report that looked at the difference between homes sold with and without third-party green certifications. Companies like Energy Star, LEED and Greenpoint Rated offer certification programs for houses that meet specific eco-friendly requirements. These criteria can include everything from energy-efficient appliances to the use of recycled building materials. The study found that homes with these certifications were selling at prices 9% higher than similar homes without certification. Why We’re Asking: “Green” upgrades are often advertised as a great way to increase the resale value of your home. But …