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A Lesson on Making Money from Investing

For many people, the safest place they can think of to keep their money is between the mattresses or in a safe in their home. That’s where they feel their cash is safe, in a place that they can pull it out and touch it if they wanted to. Banks won’t give you very much interest, not to mention you could lose all your money should they fail. Many folks like their green backs where they can see them.

The only problem is that unless that money is meant to help pay off a mortgage soon, start a new business with, or spend on some other large purchase, that money is doing nothing more that gathering dust and age, when it could be gathering value.

In the game of monopoly, can you win the game by circling the board; never buying properties and collecting your $200 every time you pass Go? Of course not, in fact, you start the game by purchasing every property you land on, hoping to be the lucky one to purchase the biggest investments (that have the biggest payouts) at the end of the board.

The person that holds onto their money in Monopoly is quickly forced out of business as everyone else snatches up property. Although they lose access to their money, they are rewarded over time with payouts much larger than they could have ever hoped. They also put folks out of business that keep stashing away their money under their mattress.

The game of Monopoly is won off of the principle of investments. Earning money is one thing, putting your money to work for you is another. The key is to know what investments are worth your money.

Investing in Real Estate Property

Since we’re on the topic of Monopoly, why not continue with the only investment built into the game: purchasing property. Property is, and always will be, valuable. As there is a limited amount of it, its supply will always remain stagnant. As the worldwide population is always rising, the demand for living space is rising as well. Therefore, the more property you own, the richer you are.

Some pieces of property are worth more than others. For instance, a half-acre lot located across from the entrance to Disneyland is going to be worth a heck of a lot more than an acre of dessert in the middle-of-nowhere, Nevada. That said, real-estate is always a worthwhile investment, because it will always have value. Some just have more than others.

There are three great ways to make money off of a piece of property. First, purchase a piece of property, sit on it for a few decades, and then turn around and sell it. Without settling, you can often get more from it than what you paid for it. That’s more money than you’ll get with it under your mattress.
Second, purchase a lot that has a building on it (residential or commercial) and rent out the property to other companies. Set rent prices just above your costs (eg. mortgage, property taxes, etc.), have residents pay for utilities and damages, and you’re golden. Your property is not only gaining value, but it’s also giving you monthly, financial gains. When you purchase an apartment complex close to a university, you have a lot of earning potential. Although you have to become a manager of a property, you can make money immediately off of this. Why not make money in your sleep though?

Third, flip houses like pancakes. Purchase a run-down, foreclosed, or short-sale home, fix it up, and sell it. There are plenty of bank-owned properties out there just waiting to be sold at a cheaper price. Buy one, spend some time fixing it up and sell it. You can often earn up to $30,000 to $40,000 dollars off of a single house.

There’s always a risk that the home won’t sell right away, but you still own property that will appreciate in value as you sit on it.
Investing in property is just the Monopoly way to go. Many people have made their fortunes in the stock market, investing in companies that take off and then selling at their peak. Others invest in startup businesses.

There are a number of opportunities out there, you just have to be willing to reach out and grab them. When you have money that you don’t plan on using for a good long while, consider investing some of it in a bond, stock, or property that could pay out a bigger sum than a mattress ever could. It could mean the difference between a comfortable retirement and no retirement at all.

Spring Cleaning Your Finances

As people thankfully lose sight of winter and gratefully greet the onset of pleasant spring weather, many individuals, families, and homeowners are turning to the old tradition of spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is the time for families and homeowners to set themselves to work at giving their home a sufficient, quality and deep cleansing.

Spring cleaning is the time for families to take an inventory of their possessions, clean out the winter’s clutter, and get reorganized. While these principles are usually applied to physically cleaning out the home, this year a family may wish to consider applying the same principles of spring cleaning to their personal finances.

Save Big Money With Generic Products

And as long as the subject of spring cleaning is fresh on the minds of family members, a family might as well start their financial spring cleaning by saving money on their actual spring cleaning supplies. One of the best ways to save money on household cleaning supplies is by buying generic or off brand cleaners.

Generic brands, store brands, and off brand cleaners, as opposed to the well-known name brands, can be found at discounted prices and overall cheaper costs for the same basic cleaning ingredients that the more expensive name brands include in their cleaners. Buying generic cleaners over name brand cleaners has been shown to save consumers up to thirty eight percent on cleaning costs.

Take Advantage of Coupons and Sales

In addition to buying generic brands, a shopper can save money on spring cleaning supplies by being aware and looking out for discounts and coupons on cleaning supplies at local markets and grocers. Choosing to buy discounted cleaning supplies can be better accomplished by planning ahead for the upcoming cleaning projects.

Beyond saving money for the physical spring cleaning of the home, a family can take their spring cleaning ambition into cleaning up and revitalizing their finances. In some ways, spring cleaning the family’s finances is a very literal cleaning process, what with the various important documents and financial paperwork that will need reorganizing.

To keep better track of one’s finances, and thereby become more effective with their finances, a simple but clear organizational process is typically required. This can be either physical hard copies of important documents that will need to be organized in a clear manner or a digital organization of online or electronic documents.

It’s Time to Go Paperless

As a part of this, a family can greatly improve their organization of financial documents if they will shred those documents that can be found online. For example, if the family receives their monthly bank statement in the mail and online through an online banking system provided by their bank, then the need for the monthly mailed copy is superfluous.

In this situation, a family can contact their banking institution and ask that their monthly banking statements be sent to them through email or posted on their online account. In this way, a family can cut the clutter of monthly bank statements from their hard copy financial documents and thereby become more organized in their financial records. In addition to getting statements from your bank online, it’s also possible to sink your bank account with most of the popular budgeting apps that are on the market.

It is important for family to remember, however, that while they are going through their financial documents they should have a paper shredder on hand. Sensitive information such as birthdays, social security numbers and bank account numbers may be present on unwanted paper documentation and can be stolen, yes stolen, from the trash and used by identity thieves to wreak havoc on a family’s finances.

While some feel that hard copy financial records are more secure than online records from those who would steal their information, the truth is that with modern firewalls and protective servers in use by financial institutions a person’s records are much safer in electronic form than they are in a hard copy paper form. Because of this, as part of this year’s financial spring cleaning, a family may wish to consider talking with their banking institution about switching all that is possible into an electronic form of record.

Spruce Up The Family Budget

Lastly, a family that is undertaking the project of a financial spring cleaning will probably want/need to refurbish and revise their family budget. Budgets are vastly important tools for a family to use in order to stay financially secure and stable.

But the usefulness of a budget immediately decreases if a family chooses not to abide by the financial guidelines they have set out for themselves. Additionally, an outdated budget can lose its effectiveness quickly as fluctuations in family income or needs arise.

While performing their financial spring cleaning this year, a family might want to consider taking another look at their family budget. Revising where needed and reaffirming their commitment to living with a budget will add to the family’s financial success in the coming year. As always, when you start to focus on budgeting it’s important to stick to your budget and work towards your financial goals but also understand that things come up.

As you work on financial spring cleaning this season understand that there might be times when you come up a little short, if you find yourself in that situation Check City has several services that can help get you through until your next Payday such as cash advances or pay day loans.

Springtime Car Tips

Spring showed its beautiful face for only a couple days and gave all the hope that winter had past. But recent weather across the nation, and especially in the west, has showed that the winter is not over just yet.

Winter storms and winter weather are a common occurrence throughout the spring time for many areas of the country. The sporadic and varying warm and cold weather of spring has left many communities to claim that if outsiders don’t like the weather, all they need do is wait fifteen minutes.

While the colloquial saying has been adopted by numerous communities, there is still some shade of truth to be found in their assertions. Spring is a blending of weather, from rain to sunshine to and sometimes back to bitter cold and snow.

The continued cold weather means that all of the dangers associated with winter weather must still be considered and prepared for by all. For many, these winter preparations and precautions will include re-winterizing their vehicle for their daily commute.

Winterizing one’s vehicles, even at the tail end of the winter season, can greatly improve the reliability of a person’s vehicles throughout the spring and into the summer. The first step that people can take to guard their vehicle against the continued colder weather is to ensure that the car is up to date on its maintenance.

Vehicle Maintenance is Essential

Proper maintenance of the vehicle should include having the oil changed regularly. As the sporadic weather of spring turns an engine cold, the oil in that engine may thicken, reducing the oil’s ability to lubricate the engine properly.

By keeping up with the maintenance schedule of a vehicle, the vehicle’s owner will be able to ensure that the engine runs smoothly throughout the tail end of winter. Additionally, the owner’s manual of the vehicle may include suggestions as to which type of oil should be used during the cold months of next year to avoid this oil-thickening issue.

Other items on the vehicle can likewise be re-winterized to improve performance. Wiper blades can be upgraded to ensure clear visibility during the wet spring months as can the car’s battery to prevent the cold days from draining the vehicle’s power supply.

More winterizing tips for vehicles include purchasing and equipping snow tires, keeping those tires properly inflated, and using the right anti-freeze for the make and model of the vehicle. By re winterizing their vehicle properly, individuals can better ensure that their spring commutes will go more smoothly.

Need Cash? How About a Title Loan

Another responsible use of a person’s car is to help them get back on their feet financially with a title loan. A car is an asset owned by a person and can therefore be used to help the person or their family to achieve financial stability.

But what is a title loan? How can it help a family financially? These and questions and others like them are common questions that some people have when they hear the phrase “title loan”.

At its most basic level, a title loan from Check City is a loan issued to an individual that is borrowed against, and therefore based upon, the value of that individual’s car. Or in other words, a person can receive a loan from Check City by borrowing against the value of their car.

A title loan is an effective and efficient way to receive a loan because it is classified as a secured personal loan. This means that the loan’s interest rates will be lower and the terms of agreement for restitution will be more flexible than they would be for other types of loans.

A title loan from Check City can be a financially reasonable option for those who are in need of a short term loan of money to help them pay for such irregularities as an emergency hospital visit or an expedient home repair expense. These people should first determine whether they can afford a loan by looking at their finances and determining if their income is sufficient to support an additional debt.

It should be here noted, however, that for emergency situations a title loan is perhaps the best way to receive a safe and affordable loan from a trusted financial institution such as Check City. This is because a title loan will provide enough money in the form of a loan to cover expedient needs without charging exuberant costs in interest rates.

What Does it Take to Get a Title Loan?

Applying for title loans at Check City is surprisingly simple. All that is required by Check City to approve your title loan is the following:

  • Your vehicle on hand, the car’s title, and spare key
  • Valid Picture ID
  • Proof of insurance and registration
  • Proof of residence
  • Proof of income

Bring these items into one of our many Check City locations today to apply for and receive your title loan.

5 Important Home Security Tips

Make Your Home Safety a Priority

It is very important to make sure your home is always as safe as possible! A home invasion or a robbery can break your sense of security and lead to more than a loss of physical possessions. When someone disrupts your personal space, you feel violated, whether you’ve been robbed or not.

As a renter or a homeowner, it’s crucial to increase your sense of safety to protect your family, yourself and your home. Here are some home security tips to help ensure you and your family’s safety:

Alarm System

First, an alarm system. An alarm system is very important for your family and home safety. Whether you are at or away from your home, an alarm system will really help. Most companies installing your alarm system will give you a sign for you to put outside your house. This sign will warn people that your house is secured by that company. By using this sign, it will help people know that your house is secured with an alarm system! An alarm system is one of the most important home security tips.

Close Your Garage

One of the simplest home security tips is keeping your garage closed. It is always very important to close your garage. Usually there are a lot of expensive and important items stored in garages. If you leave your garage open, it’s basically an open invitation for thieves. Garage theft is very common, so it’s extremely important to keep your garage secured and closed! Keep your garage closed for your safety!

Cameras

Having security cameras inside and outside your home is extremely beneficial for both safety and theft. Seek a professionals help to install them and place them in the correct spot. Cameras are also great because they prevent and help if something were to ever happen.

Family and Friends

Yes, that’s right, family and friends can be extremely helpful. It is always helpful to have good family and friends keep an eye out on your house. Whether you are in your house, or out of town, your family and friends can always help keep your home secure and safe. Family and friends are a great do it yourself home security idea.

Activity

Another thing to remember is noise. If your home has noise and activity, thieves will be less likely to break in. Avoid causing your house to look vacant. If your house looks occupied, it will really help with safety and theft. If you leave on vacation, don’t make it obvious.

Consider adding motion sensor lighting around your house. This way if anyone is walking around your house, lights will turn on and scare them! It always helps to keep things lit up if possible.

With a few simple strategies, you can help protect your home from whatever hazards are out there. You and your families safety is always the most important thing. We hope you have enjoyed these home security tips and home security ideas!

5 Excellent Natural Home Decor Tips

Decorate Naturally

How often do you walk through your home and think about the things you would like to have, but it’s just not the right time? When you walk in the door after being outside in the rain, you wish you had a place to hold your coat. Maybe you misplace your keys all the time, but would keep better track of them if you had a key rack. Unfortunately, these are a mere want, and not a need in your life, so you can’t justify the purchase. Well why not use a few cheap screws and make one yourself using the resources Mother Nature gave you? Here are some great natural home decor tips:

Wood

You can actually use wood as a wall rack for your home. If you live near a beach or a river, take walks along them and look for driftwood. Find a piece that looks straight, generally symmetrical, and sturdy. Take it home, strip it of excess twigs, and dry it out. Use your artistic abilities to make the wood into a beautiful wall rack! If you want more color, use some spray-paint and paint the wood. Driftwood art and driftwood furniture are great options for natural home decor!

Additions

One way to invite natural home decor is adding a piece to an existing display. Keep your eyes peeled for items that have an interesting shape. You might find a branch or rock that would sit atop a table to balance out a decorative mirror. Such a display adds a sense of style to any room. If you want some color, feel free to use your artistic skills and add some paint to the item!

Flowers

Flowers are a great option for natural home decor! Soft and warm colors are often used in natural decor. You can make a room pop with a splash of color. A dish of bright flowers, or a brightly colored piece of coral can add a great touch to an otherwise boring environment.

Natural & Woodsy

You can also add a natural design, rather than a natural object. If you are a bit crafty, sew up some stunning throw pillows with a beach or woodsy theme. You can also find abstracts which can remind you of a natural theme. Most fabric stores offer a variety of interesting edges to give your pillows some character.

Tucked & Grouped

You can add some great touches when you tuck natural objects among your accessories. For example, you can tuck sea shells among your mantel designs. Try weaving in branches, shells, starfish and rocks.

If you have a lot of small objects, try storing them in groups. Those small items will turn into a great piece when they are grouped together!

Each of these ideas can be created with little or no money. You have to develop your eye to make your home as pleasing and calm as you desire. Start looking around for an object to add character to your home! We hope you have enjoyed these tips, good luck finding some natural home decor.

5 Important Water Heater Maintenance Tips

Prolong the Life of Your Water Heater

Many people don’t think too much about their water heater. It works when they move in, and they expect it to continue working forever. But just lighting the pilot light isn’t going to ensure your heater will always work. There’s a very good possibility that it will break sometime during its lifetime and you can help avoid that with proper maintenance.

To keep your water heater in good working condition, you can practice some annual maintenance that will prolong the life of your water heater. If you keep your water heater maintained, you can extend the lifetime, lower your energy bill, and keep the risks of leaks very low. Here are some great water heater maintenance tips:

What You’ll Need

Keep a record of the brand, model, and serial number of your water heater. If you have to replace parts, this information will be vital to purchase the correct parts. You should also know the following about your water heater:

  • Is your water heater tankless, or a storage tank water heater?
  • What is the gallon capacity?
  • What is the age of your water heater?
  • How is your water heater powered? Gas, electric or propane?
  • Is your water heater under warranty?

It is very important that you know all of this information for proper water heater maintenance.

Know the Location

In order to maintain your water heater make sure you know where it is located. If your home is big enough to have more than one water heater, know the location of both water heaters.

If there is an emergency, make sure you know how to turn off the water and power source to your water heater in case there is a leak, smell of gas or burning, etc. Most water heaters have a disconnect switch or a gas valve close to the water heater. If your water heater is gas, you should also know the location of your gas main shut-off or the breaker if your heater is electric.

If you need help finding these switches, valves, or water heaters, contact a professional to show you!

Keep it Clean

Keep the area around your water heater clear. A gas unit needs a good oxygen supply to burn the gas to power your unit. If the unit is crowded it can lessen the efficiency or cause damage to the burner chamber and even cause carbon monoxide leaks.

Also, you might not see if the unit starts to leak. In addition, if the area around the unit is clear, you can keep any water damage of personal items to a minimum.

Drain or Flush

Drain or flush your water heater at least once a year using the drain valve. You can use either a 5-gallon bucket or run a garden hose to a place where the water can drain without causing damage. Because the drained water will be hot, do not drain onto plants or lawn to avoid burning your plants.

If you notice a lot of debris or sediment, then a full flush is recommended. The drain valve will be open long enough to drain the entire unit. To perform a full flush, turn the temperature down, completely drain the tank and then turn the water back on. Let the unit continue to drain to help any lingering sediment or debris. Once, you’ve drained the unit; turn the temperature back to the desired setting.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact a professional and they will help you learn how to flush a water heater.

Inspect

You should inspect your water heater frequently. Check for leaks, from the top to the bottom. You will want to look for heavy corrosion on the valves and pipes. For gas units, make sure the draft hood is placed properly to allow a few inches of space between the tank and where it connects to the vent. Also check around the thermostat.

If you noticed any black residue, charred metal or soot you are having combustion problems and will need to have the unit serviced by a professional. Check for any sign of leaks, rust streaks or residue around the panels covering the electrical components.

When you perform a yearly tune up or maintenance, you can prolong the life of your water heater. You also won’t be surprised if the unit breaks, since you’ll have inspected the unit yearly. It is always smart to contact a professional and get helpful tips and tricks when performing these tasks! We hope you have enjoyed these water heater maintenance tips! Thanks for reading.

Save Money This Winter With These 8 Tips

Save Money During the Winter Months

We have talked a lot about how to save money in the winter. Sealing cracks in your window and doors, and checking if your house is properly insulated are just a few examples of these tips. Well we have some good news for you! Here are 5 more tips and tricks to help you save money this winter:

Use Fans When Needed

Leaving a bathroom fan on can remove an impressive amount of heat from the home. Leaving it on after showering is great for removing the possibility of mold, but don’t leave it on for an extended period of time. Find other ways to remove the moisture from the room.

Natural Heat

Did you know the sun can still warm you up in the winter? Open your curtains that face the sun during the day, and close the others when sunlight isn’t pouring through. The windows let heat in and allow it to escape and curtains hinder this process from happening. Invite the natural heat by leaving your curtains open! When learning how to save money in the winter, natural heat is a great tip.

Close the Fireplace Damper

Allowing your damper to stay open will let out a lot of the heat and bring in the cold air. It acts just like a hole in the roof, releasing the hot air up and letting the cold air come down. Just close it when you’re not using the fireplace.

It is very important to ALWAYS keep the damper open when the fireplace is ignited and in use!

Get a New Shower Head

With the cold weather coming around, we all use a lot more warm water! Purchase a cheap, low-flow shower head and install it. It can reduce the amount of wasted hot water by up to 50%, meaning you save a significant chunk on the energy it takes to heat up new, cold water. Getting a new shower head is a great way to save money this winter!

Air Leaks

Even the best made homes are vulnerable to developing an air leak over time. As the house settles into its foundation, walls can shift at odd angles, creating cracks and space around the frame of doors and windows. Those cracks let in just as much cold air as they let out your heat. If you can find and stop the leaks, your heating bill will be a lot lower.

Visual Inspection

Outside, check for weaknesses at the corners of your home, outdoor water faucets, and the spots where the foundation changes to siding. Inside, check all baseboards, weather stripping, fireplace dampers, door and window frames and electrical outlets for signs of a draft. Once located, seal them up good. Caulk can help to fix most areas. Your local hardware store would be a good place to look for other solutions.

The interior visual inspection is just as important as the exterior. There are many sneaky places that air can worm its’ way into your home. Check the following places for cracks and gaps that let air into your home:

  • Electrical outlets can let small breezes into your home
  • Switch plates
  • Door and window frames
  • Electrical and gas service entrances
  • Baseboards
  • Weather stripping around doors
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Attic hatches
  • Wall- or window-mounted air conditioners
  • Cable TV and phone lines
  • Dryer vents that pass through walls
  • Vents and fans

Lower the Thermostat

When you leave the home for several hours at a time, drop the heater down to sixty degrees. That’s just warm enough to make the space bearable when you return and keep your pipes from freezing. When you return, turn the heat back up to a more suitable temperature. Why run your bill up if no one is going to be there?

There are great thermostats out that will save you a lot of money by automatically turning down your heat when you leave the house. Contact a professional or do some research to find a new thermostat that meets your needs!

Bundle Up

Rather than cranking up the heat when you’re home, keep the thermostat at a constant 67-70 degrees. Winter is cold, so it really helps to dress for it. You don’t need to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of winter. Instead, wear long sleeves, pants and socks whenever you’re inside. If you are still cold, grab a soft jacket or a blanket to warm you up.

Check Your Insulation

It is important to make sure your insulation is still working as it should. Insulation is designed to block the outside weather. In the winter it stops the cold dead in its tracks. If not properly insulated, your walls can be letting in a lot of cold air.

When you pay attention to small and large details, you can save money in the winter months! We hope you have learned how to save money this winter. Thanks for reading!

Save Money This Winter with These 7 Tips

As we approach the middle of the winter, it is very hard to find ways to save money on your heating bill. With the cold winter, everyone is using their heater a lot more than usual. Have you ever wondered if there are ways to save money on your heating bill? Well we are happy to answer that question with a yes. Fortunately, there are some alternatives that will save you money on your heating bill during the frigid season. Here are some great tips to help you save money this winter.

Seal

First, seal the cracks and weaknesses on your windows and door frames. The older a building gets, the more likely it is to have shifted over the years. With this brings small cracks around your doors and window frames that let in a constant draft of cold air. The more drafts coming into your home, the harder your heater has to work to keep your house warm. The harder your heater works, the more expensive your utility bill is going to be.

Perform an inspection around your house to locate the cracks and weaknesses. Then buy a cheap tube of caulk to seal up all of these cracks. This alone has the potential to save you a lot of money. For the outside of your doors and windows, you can use silicon caulk because it is weather proof and will not shrink. Start sealing your cracks and weaknesses today so you can save money this winter.

Insulate

Second, ensure your home is properly insulated. Your walls and attic need an even layering of insulation to block the cold from entering your house. Having proper insulation if very important and will really help keep your house warm! If you aren’t sure if your house is properly insulated, contact a professional to check it out. Proper insulation will help save money this winter!

Thick Curtains

Third, one of the best ways to protect your house from the winter is with thick curtains. Thick curtains that have thermal linings are a great way to protect your house from losing heat. Having just one more layer of heat can help protect you from the cold and protect your utility bill from skyrocketing.

Cover Bare Floors

Fourth, did you know you can lose heat through your floors? Actually up to 10% of your heat can be lost if your floors are not insulated. Use rugs and blankets to cover your bare wood floors. Using carpets and rugs can also help keep your feet warm as you walk around your house.

Shut Unused Rooms

If you aren’t going to be in the room, why waste money heating it? Shut the vents and close the doors to the rooms you won’t use. You will be surprised how fast the room will heat up if you ever need to use that room. This will really help you save money this winter!

Cooking

Cooking? Yes cooking. Have you ever noticed how warm your house gets after cooking? Well, this can be a great way to heat your home without having to run your heater. This is a win/win situation because you are saving money eating a home cooked meal, and saving on your heating bill. If you are ever wondering how to heat your home for free, cooking is your solution! Cooking can be the best way to heat your home.

Layer Up

Finally, layer up. If you don’t mind, turn your heat down and layer up with some warmer clothes around the house! We aren’t saying you need to be walking around in your snow coat, but consider turning down your heat and throwing on a hoodie. By doing this you will save a lot of money over time.

Save money this winter by implementing these tips. We hope you have enjoyed, thanks for reading!

Learn How to Build a Deck With These 5 Tips

Did you know you can increase the value of your home by increasing your floor space? And you can actually extend the floor space of your home when you build a deck. Although it does not go into the final square footage of the house itself, it is carefully notated in an appraisal’s report that the property has a deck. Appraisers will report on the quality of the deck and thereby set a value to it. If you have a deck, it is an asset and offers a great return on investment especially when you can do it yourself. Here are some tips and tricks on how to build a deck:

Measure

Measurements are crucial when learning how to build a deck. Determine what you want your deck to look like and measure out the dimensions. Rectangles are easiest to build, but custom shapes can be worked with and are awesome to look at and use when they are done. There are a lot of different items you should think about and consider when you are measuring for your deck. You need to think about the entire space of the deck, railings, seating, and more.

Foundation

The process comes down to digging shallow and parallel trenches, placing cement footings in those trenches and placing frame boards between them to act as a strong foundation. Then you screw in the frame and the floor boards and you’re done. Most of the harder work, like shaping your wood, digging holes and cementing boards into the ground is taken care of for you with cement footings. The process has become easy enough for every day homeowners to do it themselves and make it look good.

Materials

So you are going to build a deck, and it’s time to figure out what kind of materials you are going to use. The materials can help calculate the cost of building a deck. Here are a couple different options:

  • Wood– You can use either treated or natural wood for your deck; these are typically the more traditional options.
  • Composite Decking– You could also use composite decking, it costs a lot more but over time you might actually be able to save money because you won’t have to pay to have it cleaned, refinished, or replaced.

Extra Materials

The best advice to offer is to buy extra materials for the times that mistakes happen. Don’t leave a mistake just because you don’t want to buy one more item. You are already saving a lot of money by doing it yourself, and you can still make more money from it should you sell the house. It’s an investment worth making when you take the time and effort to make the deck look nice. This is something that should be added in when figuring out your cost to build a deck.

Expert Tips

Here are some helpful tips from the experts you can consider when building your deck:

  • Fasteners– When building a deck you need to think about what you are going to spend more money on and what you are going to save on. Just a heads up, saving and buying low-quality screws is not the way to go! Fasteners are something you want to spend actual-good money on. Why? Because low-quality screws and fasteners will cause discoloration in your deck, they will corrode, and they will shorten the life of your deck. Want a deck that will stand the test of time? Pay more for good fasteners.
  • Hide the Support– You can make a beautiful deck with a clean, smooth, simple appearance by choosing to hide your support – the screw heads, etc. Leaving the screws open to the elements, though technically might not look bad to you, could look unprofessional/unclassy to other people like potential home buyers.
  • Different Shapes and Levels– You could build a regular rectangular or square shaped deck, but if you want something a little more fun and exciting you could consider different shapes and levels for your deck. Multiple levels for a deck are great when you need more room; don’t want to be stuck with a boring one level deck? A multilevel deck creates more interest to the eye and it creates more room for a bigger living space or a bigger entertainment area.

We hope you have enjoyed these tips and tricks on how to build a deck! Good luck with your deck!

6 Tips and Tricks for Winterizing Your Home

Even though it is now spring and summer is fast approaching, it is actually a good time to prepare for the winter. Most people don’t think about the cold winter months while they are enjoying the sun during the summer, but it is actually a great time to prepare and get your home ready for the changing winter season. Winter has unique challenges, so it is very important to make sure your house is properly winterized. Your effort to check on your home and maintain it for winter will pay off when the snow sets in. Here are 6 tips and tricks for winterizing your home:

The Roof

When learning how to winterize your home, your roof is very important. Your roof will be the first line of defense against snow, rain, and ice. That being said, it is important to make sure that your roofing tiles are in good shape and are secured. You also will want to check your gutters in order to ensure that they are securely fastened to the roof and that they are clear of obstruction.

Run the Heater

Be sure to test your heater a few times before the cold weather kicks in to make sure it is working properly. If a heater has been idle for a long time, it may require some tweaking or maintenance to get it into the best possible condition for winter.

You should also have your furnace or heat pump inspected to make sure the system is clean and in good repair. Getting an inspection is also highly important because you will need to measure carbon-monoxide leakage. Don’t wait for the coldest day of the year to get your heater repaired.

Caulk and Seal

Check the seals around your windows and doors to make sure snow and cold air are not going to creep in. Not only will this make it much more comfortable, but you will also be better guarded against possible water damage as a result of your efforts. If the gaps between the siding of your windows and doors are bigger than the width of a nickel then you need to pull out the caulk. You can use silicone caulk on the outside of your windows and doors because it is weather proof and it doesn’t shrink. Caulking will keep you warm during the cold months and it will help reduce your utility costs. It is important to contact a professional to verify what needs and materials you need for your house! This is very important to do when winterizing your home!

Reverse the Fan

Check your ceiling fan to see if it has a reverse switch. It might seem counterintuitive to use a fan in the wintertime but if you run the fan’s blades in a clockwise direction, the fan will push the heat down because hot air rises. This works really well in rooms that have high ceilings, and will help disperse the heat.

Clean the Gutters

Did you know that water can back up against the house and damage roofing and siding? Make sure you avoid this by cleaning out your gutters. You can either do it yourself or you can hire a professional. It is important to stay safe while cleaning your gutters! Contact a professional for help if you are not experienced.

Clean

Make sure you clean out your chimney and any other heating appliance and vents. Doing this will help prevent chimney fires as well as preventing carbon monoxide leakage. Hiring a professional to clean your fireplace is a good idea.

Maintenance

By having your home maintained and prepped for the colder season, you should be able to avoid the majority of issues that could occur. Do the above prepping during the summer and you can be sure that you are ready for the coming winter season. We hope you have enjoyed these tips and tricks. Good luck winterizing your home!

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