HAPPIER HARDWOOD FLOORS

Tips for cleaning your beautiful hardwood floors and keeping them looking great.

Hardwood floors make for a beautiful, stunning addition to your home. However, they can bring new cleaning and maintenance challenges that aren’t present with carpet. Here are some tips for simple, efficient, and thorough hardwood floor cleaning.

Make the job easier
Place mats on either side of your exterior doors and always remove your shoes before entering your home—and make sure your guests do the same. Protect the floors by placing felt (or similar) protectors on the feet of your furniture, and use area rugs to designate play areas for the kids. This will reduce extra dirt, dust, and floor scratches.

Weekly cleaning
Sweeping with a standard broom will remove some dirt and dust, but not as much as a mop, wipe, or broom that’s been treated with a dusting agent such as a Swiffer. You could also invest in a vacuum that is designed for hardwood floors. Just be sure that the vacuum won’t leave scratches!

Deeper cleaning
Regular sweeping will remove most dirt and dust, but occasionally you’ll need to give the floors a deeper cleaning to remove the dirt and grime that builds up in your floors’ seams. Use a wood-cleaning soap to thoroughly mop your floors, but make sure the mop isn’t sopping wet—you don’t want to leave standing water.

Spots and scuffs
Most of the marks that occasionally show up on your floors, such as scuffs from rubber soles on boots and shoes—can be wiped away with a rag or very fine steel wool.


Looking for a professional to help get those hardwoods refinished and looking new? Reach out to me, I’ve got a couple of great connections on standby. Text or call me at 704-951-4017 or schedule a time to talk below. 🙂

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A LITTLE EXTRA PREPARATION AND INGENUITY GOES A LONG WAY TOWARD A BETTER PAINT JOB

Painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to give your home a makeover. Whether it’s updating an old bathroom paint scheme or adding a bold accent wall, painting can totally transform a room. But painting can be a big hassle and come with tons of prep work and clean up. Here are a few of Breakthrough Broker’s top tips to make your painting experience more enjoyable and lead to a more professional finish.

Prep beyond tape and drop cloths
A drop cloth will protect your floors, but a thick and durable drop cloth is also a little clumsy to maneuver. For smaller, awkward items that are in danger of paint splatter, use plastic wrap. It’ll make it much less frustrating to protect a toilet or bathroom sink.

Be ready for spills and splatters
At the very least, a few drops of paint are going to end up where you don’t want them. Have a rag and some Q-Tips ready for the inevitable paint splatter, so that you can quickly wipe them off before they dry and set on your frames, countertops, or hardwood floor.

Use heat to remove tape Patience is key when removing painter’s tape, but it can still tear and leave splotchy edges no matter how careful you are. Hold a heat gun or hair dryer a few inches away from the tape as your remove it little by little. The heat will break down the adhesive and make removing the tape a much less frustrating task.

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CREATE A MORE ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK


Many homeowners would love to invest in making their property more energy-efficient. Going green can save you a lot of money over time and is great for the environment, but the up-front costs can be significant. Fortunately, there are some energy-efficient changes you can make to your home without draining too much of your bank account.


Seal air leaks: As much as 20 percent of the energy used to regulate temperature in a home can be lost to air leaks. You can seal doors and windows with weather stripping and the project will usually cost less than $200. If you’re in search of a professional quote, let me know. I’ve got a book of professionals on standby and ready to help! Contact me here or simply call/text 704-951-4017.

Smart thermostats: Older thermostats are usually inefficient because they only have a few settings. A smart thermostat like Nest can be programmed to reduce heating/cooling when you’re not at home or during the hours when you’re asleep. The energy savings you will see usually equal the cost of the thermostat after a year or two.

Change your light bulbs: LED light bulbs are expensive, but require just a small percentage of the energy incandescent bulbs require. A cheap incandescent bulb uses about $15 of electricity a year (if it lasts that long). An LED bulb costs $25, but uses less than $5 worth of electricity per year and will last up to 11 years.


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STYLE YOUR SHE SHED


She sheds allow the women of the household a tranquil sanctuary where they can step away from the hustle and bustle of their home lives. Here are some must-haves for your she shed!


Décor

The options for decorating your space are endless. Whether you go modern, rustic, or cozy, the choice is all yours. Some items to consider are framed photos of family, friends, and pets, a letter board for fun sayings, colorful paintings, mirrors, and plush or colorful rugs.

Plants

Whether you have a green thumb or not, adding real or fake plants into the mix can help create a Zen, calming space. Some easy-to-maintain plants include succulents, snake plants, air plants, and parlor palms. Freshly cut flowers can also liven up the room.

Lights

Selecting the right lighting can really affect the ambiance of your she shed. Some options to consider include string lights, unique floor or table lamps, chandeliers, candles, and light diffusers.

Seating

Some of the most popular seating choices for a she shed are lounge chairs or chaises, however don’t rule out a big comfy couch, recliners, or floor pillows if those are more your style.

Activities

What are your favorite activities to do alone or with your girlfriends? Whether you love to craft, sew, journal, read, play an instrument, watch TV, or workout, make sure you stock all the items needed for your favorite hobbies in your space. Refreshments Whether you’re a wino, dirty martini connoisseur, or mocktail master, a designated bar area is a common addition to a she shed. Don’t forget your favorite treats to complement your favorite drink.


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WHICH FEATURES ARE YOUNG BUYERS LOOKING FOR IN A HOME?


Millennials are the second-largest segment of home buyers, ranking behind only baby boomers, according to the National Association of Realtors. Here are five features that tend to entice millennials who are looking to buy.


Updated Kitchen

An up-to-date kitchen and bath
Younger buyers often have limited funds for renovations, so it’s important that they have functional and inviting bathroom and kitchen spaces from the very start.

An open floor plan
Having a formal dining room isn’t of particular importance to millennials, in fact, many prefer open spaces with no separation between kitchen, living room, and dining room. An open concept makes it easier to entertain everyone at once.

An office
More and more jobs are offering work-from-home options, and there are also plenty of freelancers and telecommuters among millennials. A dedicated space for getting some work done can be a key attraction.

Friendly location
With gas prices rising, many millennials prefer walking, biking, or public transit for their commutes. A great location is key.

Energy savings
Millennials are often more conscious of energy conservation and efficiency. Energy-efficient appliances, energy-efficient windows, and quality insulation can make a huge difference.


Contact me here

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NEED-TO-KNOWS FOR SMART-HOME TECHNOLOGY


Homeowners have the ability to automate anything from locks to lights to air conditioning and more. With new technology popping up every day, it’s hard to stay up to date on the smart-home trend.

If you are considering installing smart-home technology in your home or looking to buy a home that is equipped with some of those devices, you want to ensure you do your research so you can make educated decisions. Here are three important factors to consider!

  1. Security. Because a large percentage of smart-home devices rely on Wi-Fi, they are vulnerable to being hacked. Although this may not be much of a concern for devices controlling your lighting or sprinkler system, it may be for automated locks or garage openers.
  2. Cost vs. Value Add. The initial setup costs for some smart-home technology can be daunting for homeowners, so it’s important to thoroughly map out the upfront cost versus your savings and its value to you over time. Many of these can help you be more energy efficient, reduce monthly bills, and save you time and stress. Plus, if and when you are ready to sell, smart-home technology can help improve your home’s resale value.
  3. Compatibility. With so many companies throwing their hats into the smart-home ring, it is can be difficult to select the right devices for your home. If you are considering automating various features in your home, you may want to take a look at the big picture and try to choose devices that are compatible with one another or that can be controlled by a singular hub.

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TAKE 5: BACKYARD DIY PROJECTS


Summertime is here and it’s bringing the heat! It’s always an option to blast the air conditioner all summer long, but there are ways to keep your home cool that are better for the environment and won’t double your energy bill.


  • Ceiling Fans: Ceiling fans may be an overlooked method to keep your home cool, but that’s because they are often used incorrectly. During the summer months a ceiling fan should be rotating counterclockwise to send cool air down otherwise you will be recirculating the heat in your home.
  • Blinds: If your home has windows that face the west or north, make sure to keep them covered with blinds to prevent the sun from heating up your home.
  • Mind the Gaps: Cover or repair all gaps and cracks near doors and windows to ensure your cool air stays in during the day. This paired with your home’s insulation will also prevent heat from seeping in on hot days.
  • Evening Chill: When the sun goes down and the temperature is cooler, open up your windows and doors to bring that cool air in. Just make sure to get them closed before the sun returns.
  • Box Fans: If your home has multiple windows on opposite sides of the room, you can create a cooling effect with two box fans on each side. One should be facing inward and the other outward. This will keep a constant airflow bringing in fresh air and removing the hot air.

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PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM PET DAMAGE


Pets bring so much joy to our lives, but over time they can also cause a lot of damage around the home. Even the most well-behaved pets can create some mischief every now and then, but there are many ways to diminish the damage that your furry friends can cause.


  • One of the biggest homeowner pet peeves is their cats or dogs scratching floors, doors, or furniture. Besides training your pets early in their life, one of the most efficient ways to decrease scratching around the home is to regularly trim your pet’s nails. This may be a difficult task depending on the animal, but you can always enlist the help of a groomer. You should trim your pet’s nails at least once a month. You can also protect your furniture with scratch guards.
  • If your pet has an accident in your home, the only way to really clean it up and rid yourself of the smell is by using an enzymatic cleaner. Enzyme cleaners usually come in a spray bottle and contain bacteria in the solution that feeds off the organic material of pet waste. You can usually find these cleaners at the hardware or pet store.
  • It’s important to make sure your pet stays active because they can build up a lot of anxious energy if they get bored. Dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to exercise with your pet so it can stay healthy and prevent frustration and possible mayhem around the house.

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HOW TO PLANT YOUR OWN FLOWER GARDEN


Starting a flower garden in that empty space in your yard is a great way to increase the curb appeal of your home and an opportunity to apply some of your personality to your outdoor area.


First, find an area you could use for your flower garden and try to identify if the space gets direct sun, partial sun, or shade. The amount of sunlight that your garden gets determines what kinds of flowers you can grow. For example, chrysanthemums and sunflowers need about 6-8 hours of sun per day, so they would not last very long in a shady nook, while fuchsias or begonias would thrive.

Begonia Flower Blooming, These flower shrubs thrive in partial sun and shady nooks

The next step is to decide whether you want to plant seedlings or buy your flowers from a nursery. This really depends on how much time you have to spend and it won’t affect how nice your garden is. Once you have selected flowers that will grow well in your garden space, take some time to make a diagram for where they will all be placed.

Simple, yet Beautiful

One of the last steps before planting is to mix manure or compost in your soil a week before planting. Now it’s time for the best part, planting your flowers! You will need a shovel, rake, and trowel for this step. The goal here is to loosen the soil and create snug holes for your flowers. Depending on how many flowers you have, this process should only take a day or two.

Finally, enjoy your flower garden and see if any butterflies come to enjoy your creation too!


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BEFORE YOU TAKE THE PLUNGE WITH A FIXER-UPPER, THINK ABOUT RESALE VALUE


We’ve all watched the HGTV programs that show a run-down old house transforming into a dream home. Tackling a big renovation project on an outdated property can indeed pay off big—both with the home of your dreams, and with a return on investment. If resale value is a primary concern, consider these factors as you’re making your fixer-upper plans.


Is the price right?
How much can you invest in a home beyond the sale price while staying in line with the value of homes in the neighborhood? You don’t want to improve a home to the point that it’s worth far more than the norm for the area. You’ll enjoy the property while you’re living there, but if you ever decide to sell, your ROI could be limited by the market value of nearby houses.

Low cost, instant equity
There are a lot of low cost and DIY improvements that will add equity almost immediately, such as rehabbing the landscaping and adding fresh coats of paint. These improvements add value to the property almost instantly.

What’s worth spending on?
A little elbow grease goes a long way, but there will inevitably be projects that require some serious spending. If you’re concerned with getting a return on your investment, focus your dollars toward the roof, floors, and the home’s exterior. They’re not flashy upgrades, but they’re important for future buyers. On the other hand, luxuries like a swimming pool are unlikely to see any return on investment.

Reach out to me for a list on the best projects that have the most Return on Investment for your home. Contact me here.