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There’s a lot written out there about your best return on investment (ROI) when it comes to home remodeling. As most of us know, a kitchen or bathroom remodel and updated flooring earns you the most bang for your buck.  Kitchens generally fetch you about 80-90% ROI, depending on whether you go with new or refinished cabinets, type of counter tops (slab granite or other hard, natural surface vs. tile or laminate) and appliances. For the bathrooms you can earn about the same (80-90%) if you go with higher end finishes which include cabinetry, countertops,fixtures and floors.

After bathroom and kitchen remodels, the numbers begin to drop off precipitously. Room additions (which you don’t see a lot of here in Ahwatukee given our overall lot sizes) only return about 50% on your investment unless you add general living space like a family room, that will get you closer to 70-80% ROI. If you repaint your exterior then put your house on the market immediately, that can earn you about 60% ROI.  Swimming pool additions are very low on the list. That’s why I always encourage buyers who say a pool is a must-have to purchase a home that already has one. A basic pool will cost you $30,000 at a minimum and you’ll never get it all back.

Smaller items on the remodeling list include closet organization (i.e. Classy Closets), epoxy garage floors and outdoor landscaping. All of these certainly add quality of life to our living in the home but won’t get you much of a return on your money.  However, in a market that’s slow (as we are now) these special touches may set your home apart when it comes to that buyer choosing between your home to purchase and another one.

Contact us if you have questions about your remodeling plans. We’re always happy to help and lend our suggestions!

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This morning I discovered a black widow folded up in the garden hose which immediately prompted a call to my bug man, Kevin. He’s the best. I only call him out when I see a critter I don’t want and he always cures the problem not only quickly but quite affordably.

When I asked if I should squish it while waiting for him to come spray he says sure, you can, but they do jump and if she jumps she will bite you. Apparently It’s rare to happen but they are capable of jumping up to 5 feet.

What? Needless to say I waited for Kevin. 

While he was here he taught me a trick to keeping scorpions out, too. He used window screening to cover the inside of my vent fans because that’s how many scorpions access our homes. They end up in bathtubs and sinks because they move across the walls and ceiling looking for water. 

The vent fan seen here is located in the laundry room, you typically have them in bathrooms, too. Just remove it, cut a piece of windows screen to fit and pop it back into place. Obviously they can’t get thorough the tight mesh so you can very easily (and inexpensively) cut off one of the main access points for a scorpion. 

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As far as treating for pests, Kevin suggests you only spray when you see something. He sprayed the inside of my home about three months ago and he said it won’t need it again for quite some time. I like the idea of not having the expense of a monthly service.

 

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Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that can bring great joy.  When my last garden hose sprayer broke I swore I’d find a better design that wouldn’t douse me in water the first time I dropped it then tried to use it.  Now that I’ve done some researching online this design comes up as one of the best, but I happened upon this one at our local Lowe’s.

There’s no handle so there’s nothing to break off when you drop it (and you will!) and the grip makes it easy to hold.  You twist the nozzle to turn it on and off and control the spray. It also tucks away nicely when folding up your hose, it blends in with the hose vs. a handle sticking out.

I’ve been using it for a couple of months now and so far, so good!

 Garden sprayer

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Here’s the before and the after (again) of the built up counter idea for bathrooms.  This is in response to a reader request who asked how they are framed.  It’s a simple 2×4 frame construction that the contractor secured to the existing cabinets then put on the greenboard and then the granite.  I don’t have a photo of the work in progress though!

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This link will take you to Porter Barn Wood to see the steps taken to make a custom door for one of my clients. When they bought their dream home last year there was originally a solid wall in the foyer and you could only access the den from the master bedroom.  Their first step once they moved in was to create a doorway off the foyer and close off the den from the master bedroom, all done pretty easily with drywall, texture and paint.

From there it became a decision of what type of door to put on the den (now his office) because it’s one of the first things you see as you enter their home.  After much research they found Porter Barn Wood, a local company that makes custom doors made from reclaimed barn wood.  Their work is outstanding!  You can choose finishes that are more rustic or modern and lots of choices in between.

Check out this link to see the steps taken to make the door and the final installation in my clients’ home.  I’m trying to figure out a place in my home to put one of these, it’s truly a piece of (functional) art!

http://porterbarnwood.com/?p=2636#respond

 

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Slab granite has become so affordable and it’s still a stylish choice for our Phoenix kitchens & baths. The secret however to making your investment work in the bathroom is this: you can’t put a pretty granite over short, old cabinets and expect it to pop. If the cabinets are in good shape but just need to be painted or stained, it’s well worth that nominal investment (of painting/refinishing them) and raising the height of them before investing in a new countertop.  This is also true if you’re looking to spruce up your house before you list it, you’ll get the money out of this investment if you do it the right way.

I’ve done this before with old cabinets, painted them and added tumbled tile to the top and sides to build up the height, but this time I tried it with slab granite in a rental property I recently purchased. Because my granite fabricator was so affordable I was able to not only re-do the kitchen but both bathrooms as well.  After one contractor sanded & painted the cabinets I asked the granite fabricator to build a frame around the top of each set of bathroom cabinets before installing the granite. Then he wrapped the frame in what would have otherwise been scraps of granite destined for the boneyard.  This raised the cabinet height by over 4 inches and the total cost to do the kitchen and bathroom counters (which also included the stainless kitchen sink and all four bathroom sinks) was $3,075.  And I LOVE the big stainless sink he got for the kitchen!  There are several levels of granite to choose from so prices may vary based on what you choose but this gives you a good frame of reference on cost.

Four of my clients have gone on to use William (granite contact) since seeing this project and all are very pleased with him.  I’ve also included photos from one of those clients who had two of their bathrooms re-done.  In their case the cabinets were in great condition so they merely added the granite and under mount sinks. I really like the edge they chose for their granite, much dressier than the edge I chose for my investment property.

Here are a few pics. If you’re a local and want my guys number let me know, he’s great.

IMG_7906 IMG_7890 IMG_7883 IMG_7843 Granite example, Davenport Granite example, Davenport2

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Here’s an easy recipe you can put together at home to remove the odor and stains related to dog urine.  Unfortunately I’ve had to use this recently thanks to my senior girl – and it worked! She christened my new area rug that was only two days old.  Grrrrr. Still love my old girl of course but I was thankful to come across this concoction. All you need is white vinegar, baking soda, liquid dishwashing detergent and hydrogen peroxide: http://www.dogchatforum.com/dog_urine_odor.htm

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