Home Improvements: What to Do and What to Avoid

Shopping cart in a hardware store

Planning on updating your home? Before you make changes, consider if the updates will bring value to your home when it’s time to sell. Here are some tips to consider:

Kitchen
If you have a kitchen that has seen better days an update may be the right thing to do. A total renovation can be expensive so consider cosmetic changes before committing to any major updating.

Budget Friendly Changes:
1. If cabinets are in good condition, paint them and add new hardware. (If the cabinet face needs updating, have them replaced and then painted.)
2. Update the hardware and/or sink.
3. Missing a backsplash? This is an easy update to make. See how to here.
4. New appliances can make a big change in a kitchen. Just do not go overboard with the brand.

Bathrooms
Bathrooms are one of the most popular home-improvement projects for home owners. And, it’s a project that can pay off! Keep your renovation simple with paint, new lighting and fresh caulk. If you keep your update under $5,000, you might turn a profit when selling.

If you need more extensive work in the bathroom, do not go overboard with the tub, shower and floor.

Lighting
Avoid fancy “to taste” lights and chandeliers. Trendy lighting can be “in” one day and “out” the next. New lights can be relatively inexpensive and make a large impact. Consider replacing light bulbs with brighter, more efficient ones. While you are at it, purchase new light switch covers.

Wallpaper
Although you may love your wallpaper selection, the next home buyer may not. Stick to paint – it’s safer.

Tiling
Over-personalized tile may be a mistake for a home renovation depending upon the taste of the next homeowner. Keep your tile installation neutral. Then add a colorful or quirky rug to place on top.

Bedrooms
The number of bedrooms is important when selling a home. If you have been considering converting a bedroom or widening a bedroom into another, think again. It might be better to put renovation dollars into another project.

Windows
If the windows are efficient and in good shape, consider adding trim to give that wow factor. Molding works wonders.

Interior Doors
Have your doors and their hardware seen better days? Think about replacing doors them. Having matching doors will make your interior spaces feel more cohesive and appealing. (Consider fire resistant materials for bedroom doors.) Watch this video and follow instructions from the Family Handyman if you enjoy DIY projects.

Carpet
Before installing wall-to-wall carpet, think about using hardwood or laminate flooring instead. People prefer these type of materials over carpeting. A new carpet will only remain “new” for a short period of time.

Front Door
New doors can be expensive. If your front door is in good condition, consider updating the hardware. Add a new welcome mat and you will be set.

Landscaping
Curb appeal is very important when selling your home, but there is a fine line of overdoing landscaping projects. High-maintenance gardens could be daunting to prospective buyers. Keep it simple: add new flowers and plants and be sure to pull weeds. Add walkway lights.

Sun Room Addition
This type of home addition can be expensive and you usually only recoup half of what you spend.

Hobby Rooms
Rooms converted for hobbies (ie: sewing rooms, man caves, home gyms, themed bedrooms, etc…) take a generic room and change its focus on that single hobby or interest. What you spend for your enjoyment may leave few interested buyers in the future.

If you do want to pursue having a hobby room, consider changes that are easy to remove when you sell.

Built-In High-Tech Installations
Customized electronics and built-in technology can quickly become outdated and bring down the value of your home. A home theater is a safe bet, but avoid adding a custom fish tank or expensive techie items.

New Deck
A new deck costs an average for $17,000 (per Remodeling’s Cost vs Value Report.) If your deck is in good condition, consider staining or painting it to freshen it up. Add lighting to your deck to create ambiance. This can be a DIY project.

Garage
Garage conversions will not work in your favor. People want garages for their cars and storage. If you make it into a bedroom, study, gym or other type of room, home buyers will want it converted back. Simply paint the garage floor to freshen it up and add storage shelves if needed.

Pool/Hot Tub
A luxury item such as a pool or hot tub are great to enjoy during hot summer days, but when selling your home, they might not pay off. In-ground pools are expensive, require maintenance and treatment. The same goes for a hot tub. Remember, not everyone wants to take care of a pool or hot tub.

Ultimately when making changes to your home, you need to ask: “Am I remodeling for my quality of life or to increase my home’s value or resale price?”

Need assistance with your home update project? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They have vetted pros who can help!


Winterize Your Home Now So You Can Sell This Spring

Tips to winterize your home

It’s important  for homeowners to keep their homes in the best shape possible during the winter season and be prepared as potential listings for the spring. A little bit of work to winterize properties before colder weather really sets in can go a long way toward keeping a home in great shape.

Start Indoors
There are plenty of ways to winterize a home and the simplest usually start indoors. For instance, by simply checking and swapping out old furnace filters (which are available at a relatively low cost) homeowners can both improve the quality of the air in their homes and make those furnaces run far more efficiently.

Don’t forget to drain the water pipes that run water outdoors. Whether it’s a spigot that comes out of the side of the house or an underground sprinkler system, flushing them out at this time of year is vital. Otherwise, they can burst, leading to lots of water damage and costly repairs.

Where Inside Meets Outside
Homeowners may not be aware, but a primary cause of high heating bills is cracked seals around doors and windows. These can be small, but across an entire house can add up to be equal to the size of leaving a window open. Going through the home and inspecting the frames around windows and doors for cracks or fissures, then closing them up with weather stripping or a sealant, will make a home heating more efficient.

Make sure the roof is in good shape before the first snowfall or cold rain. If there are damaged shingles, replace them, and if gutters are clogged with fallen leaves or other debris, clean them out. In a lot of cases, a small issue on the roof can lead to big problems if left unaddressed.

Owners of older homes should evaluate their insulation situation. If it hasn’t been changed out in a decade or more, now might be the right time to do it. Often, homeowners might not even notice the difference over the years, but putting in new insulation could really help them save on their heating (and cooling) costs for years to come.

Out in the Yard
This time of year is the right one to go around your yard and see if there are any hazards, such as rotting trees or big, overhanging branches. Weighted down with snow, they could fall and do damage to your house or other parts of the property. Taking some time now (before the first big snowfall of the year) to trim them back or have them removed altogether can help avoid what would otherwise be some rather costly damage.

It’s also important to have plenty of products on hand to keep walkways clear – with deicers and shovels and perhaps even a snowblower – so guests and family members can keep their footing even when conditions aren’t ideal.

When Selling a Home
Many homeowners who plan to sell within the next few months may not think of all these aspects of winterizing as being particularly vital, but if something were to go wrong with their plumbing, roof, siding or any other part of the home, that could really hurt their sales prospects.

 

How To Prepare Your Garage for an Electric Car

Get your garage ready for an electric car

Electric car sales have been growing and with rising gas prices, many people are considering an electric one for their next vehicle purchase. In the U.S., currently under 1% of all cars are fully electric. However, hybrid vehicles have had a 76% increase in sales and there has been an 83% increase for fully electric cars. By end of 2022, it is expected that 5% of all car sales will be electric vehicles.

With an all-electric car, finding a charging station is a concern. Having a personal charging station housed in the garage is what car owners want.

An electric car’s charger is actually buried inside of the vehicle. It takes an AC course from the electric supplied and then converts it to DC so the car’s battery pack is charged. In a garage you will need a wall-mounted box with the cord and plug that supplies those volts of electricity. The system is known as an Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE).

Level 1 and Level 2 Charging Stations
There are a variety of EVSEs available and it is important to choose one that is right for your car. You will want to install either a level one with a 120-volt/12-amp outlet; or a level two that has a 240-volt/20-40-amp outlet. (A 240 EVSE service gives you about 23 miles of range each hour of charging.)

240V (Level 2) Is the Best Option
A 240-volt outlet uses more power in half the time than that of a 120-volt outlet and is best for those who are always driving. (It costs more but will give you more power in less time. It takes between 4 to 9 hours to recharge – depending upon the kind of vehicle you own.)

Installation
An electrician should be involved in the installation of the circuit board and ESVE. If the ESVE is on a shared circuit, other appliances in your home will slow down the car-charging process. Your electrician should:

• Have experience with this type of installation.

• Review where the EVSE should be placed in relation to how your car is parked. You need to consider the length of time the car will be charging and if the cord/car will be in the way during that time period.

• Do a load calculation of all existing circuits. You need to know how much power you have in your home and garage. Make sure the new circuit is capable of 40–50 amps.

• Determine if permits are required prior to installation.

• Once the garage is wired, the charging station should be bolted securely to the wall. Make sure the cord is long enough to reach a car parked outside of the garage (16–25 feet).

Garage Details
Is there climate control in the garage? Electric car batteries do not handle fluctuating weather well. An insulated garage door will prevent the interior temperature from changing too drastically and will help extend a car battery’s life.

Apps
Some systems come with a “Juice Box” app which lets you track how much power your car uses.

Need Helping Installing a Car Charger System in Your Garage?
Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can recommend an electrician with experience.



Quick Tips for Kitchen Redecorating on a Budget

Tips for updating your kitchen

Here are a couple of great tips for updating your kitchen on a budget:

CHANGE THE LIGHTING
One of the most common problems with older kitchens is harsh or insufficient lighting. Luckily, this is also one of the easiest problems to solve! While it may seem like a daunting task to switch out a hanging light fixture, there are plenty of online guides that will take you through the process. Many homeowners are surprised to find that it’s easy to do. Light fixtures can be very affordable. Most local home improvement stores carry a nice selection of modern fixtures in inexpensive to moderate price ranges, so chances are good that you’ll find something you love.

SWITCH OUT HARDWARE
Another quick fix that will have your kitchen looking great is a hardware upgrade. We’re talking about the hinges, handles and knobs on the faces of your cabinets. For $15 to $30, you can buy all new hardware and install it yourself in an afternoon. Brushed copper or brass is very popular right now, but the most important thing is that you pick something that complements the color of your cabinetry and works with the style of your kitchen.

REPLACE THE FAUCET
With a wrench and some silicone caulk, you can have your new faucet installed and running in half an hour. High-arching, single-handle faucets are most popular, as these styles have technical advantages over their flat, double-handle counterparts. High-arching faucets give you more room to maneuver dishes and pots and single-handle faucets allow more control over water temperature. These are a little more expensive, but a great faucet should cost you around $150 – a small price to pay for serious utility. Bonus points if you pick out a faucet that is functional and unique.

UPDATE THE COUNTERS
Unfortunately, replacing your counters is a big job that requires a real investment. If you’ve just moved in, and are strapped for cash, you may wish to wait until your finances are a little bit more stable. In the meantime, you can still have good looking counters with a little bit of ingenuity.

One option is to cover your counters with a butchers block. If you look around, you can even find butchers block wood that is cut specifically to the size of your counters. Simply rest the block on top and voila – beautiful wood counters. Remember to invest in mineral oil for proper maintenance.

The other option is to paint your counters. This is a little trickier than painting a wall, but easier than you might think. “The Kitchn” blog has a great step-by-step guide to help you through the process.

Once you’re finished, take a look around. We’re betting that you won’t even recognize the kitchen that was there when you moved in.

Not into DIY? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services for specialists to help with your kitchen updates.

Your Winter Home-Maintenance Check List

Caulking WindowWinter is just a few months away. Now is the time for homeowners to take the time to perform one last check of their homes before cold weather really sets in for the next few months. Doing so can help to keep everyone in the house safe and warm, while also saving money and averting potential issues.

Pipes
Perhaps the biggest financial risk homes face during the winter are burst pipes. When that happens, water can spill into the walls and cause a lot of damage long before a problem is even detected. It’s always wise for homeowners to assess where they stand with their water pipes.

Pipes that run along the outside of a home or along the ceiling in the basement and are uninsulated could be at risk. Wrapping them in an economic, specialized material or even towels can help protect them even if a home’s heating system stops working. Wrap your pipes and keep your home at 65 degrees or more. Also, know where your home’s water shutoff is located, so you can quickly shut off your water in an emergency.

Other Insulation
When insulating pipes, it’s also important to make sure you aren’t losing heat through uninsulated attics or other spaces. Since heat rises, you may lose a lot more heated air through ceilings. When attics are properly insulated along floors, they not only help to save on heat, but also prevent potential ice dams from forming undetected on the roof because a warmer roof can lead to snow melting under its surface.

Up on the Roof
When thinking about the roof, it’s a good idea to make sure all tiles or shingles are in good shape; and all gutters are cleared of fallen leaves and other debris that can lead to backups and more potential ice dams. A quick trip up a ladder might be all it takes to identify problem areas before they become major issues.

Inspect Your Home’s Exterior
Inspect the exterior of your home and look for any cracks and holes along the edges of window frames and doorways. Fissures can be filled or covered with caulk, which will help keep the heated air inside this winter. While any individual crack or hole is going to be small, some experts estimate that the collective area of all of them across an entire house can amount to the size of an open window.

Need Help?
If you are not comfortable climbing onto the roof or doing other home-related activity, reach out to Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can make recommendations of vetted vendors to you.

8 Popular Home-Staging Trends

home stage tips when selling

Thinking of selling your home? Read about some current decor trends for staging your home:

(1) OUTDOOR SPACES 
Do you have an attractive “outdoor room” that needs to be highlighted? Show off how this space can be used for entertaining purposes. Set out a few dishes to set the table for an outdoor meal or barbecue. Add a hammock with a book and a comfy blanket.

Look at some of our outdoor rooms on Pinterest here. Go here for porch ideas.

(2) KITCHENS: BRIGHT AND WHITE 
A new trend for kitchens is white and bright. If you are not willing to paint your cabinets, perhaps consider showing off spare, white accessories that will make your kitchen seem brighter.

(3) GOLD/BRASS 
Gold and brass are back in style! Think framed mirrors and brass bar carts. Use these types of accents sparingly. Get some inspiration here.

(4) NAVY BLUE 
Navy blue is an easy color to work with and is popular. This is a strong, neutral hue to use as an accent wall. Navy blue looks great with yellow, tan and chartreuse.

(5) BLACK 
Black elements can be found in lighting, framing or a statement piece of furniture. It’s good to use as a focal point. See ideas using black here.

(6) DINING ROOM – NO MATCHY MATCHY
Is your dining room an empty space? Do not worry about staging this room with a full suite of matching furniture. People are using unique pieces in their dining rooms. Chairs do not have to match the table. The side board can be an old dresser. Get some ideas here.

(7) HOME OFFICES 
Home offices are coveted rooms. If you have a home office, be sure to showcase it. If not, think about converting a rarely used corner of a spare bedroom into a mini office. Many people have used their dining room tables staged as desks when selling their homes.

(8) NATURAL ELEMENTS 
Live, indoor plants, macrame and Scandinavian-style furniture are current design trends that reflect natural elements. Plants add energy to rooms and a neutral look is calming and appealing to home buyers. (Think IKEA designs.)

Need help staging your home to sell? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can put your in touch with professional stagers who can provide consultations or temporary use of furniture.

 

Sibcy Cline Home Services: Finding Reliable Contractors for Your Needs


If you’re selling your home, there’s a good chance that you have some repairs or improvement to make in the process—and the same goes for buyers. You may have just purchased your dream home, but that flowered wallpaper is NOT part of the dream. Even if you’ve been in your home for a while and have no intention to move, this pandemic has you looking around and wishing a few things were just a little different.  

The “home remodeling bug” seems to have been contagious. During 2020, Sibcy Cline Home Services saw an increase in homeowners who desired to make repairs and improvements. We had 3900 new customers in 2020 who were able to work with our Home Services Coordinators to get the help they needed from local vendors and see their projects and/or move to a new home to completion.  

Are you seeing some projects you’d like to complete in your home? Getting the help you need is easy with our home services department. We’ll match your project to one of our 200 local vendor partners—all of whom meet our standards of service. You’re assured prompt and reliable service for your home repair or home improvement project, and our services to match with you up with a reputable vendor near you are FREE.  

While we have services for just about any type of project you may have, we’ve compiled a list of the home services that were the most popular during 2020 and created the graphic below. The graphic excludes our #1 service, which is home inspections. During 2020, we provided 1446 home inspections for buyers around the region.  

By enlisting the help of our coordinators, homeowners were able to fix plumbing and water issues, repair electrical problems, fix roofs, paint, clean, and of course, hire movers to move them into or out of their homes. And don’t forget the best part: our coordinators’ services are FREE to anyone in the local market.

For more information on how Sibcy Cline can make your next project go smoothly, watch our video here. To speak to one of our Home Services coordinators, visit the Home Services contact page to fill out the form and someone will reach out to you right away!  

Pantone Colors of the Year 2021 – How to Use Them in Your Home!

pantone color of the year 2021

Thinking of adding some color to your home this year? If you want to be on top of the newest trends, Pantone suggests Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow for 2021.

Why these two colors?
Per Pantone, gray is the color of strength and fortitude. Yellow is a color for aspiration and hope. Yellow also denotes positivity and warmth. Read more about these colors here.

Using these colors in your home
If you are inspired to add gray and yellow to your home’s decor, here are some ideas:

1. Accessories
Using gray and/or yellow accents with pillows, blankets, curtains or art are simples ways to splash these colors without having to invest in expensive items such as furniture. Another idea would be to use gray-colored pottery. Remember – use yellow sparsely since it is such a strong color.

2. Kitchen
If you have considered painting your kitchen cabinets, Ultimate Gray might be the perfect color. This gray pairs well with other colors. You could use accents of yellow with kitchen accessories.

3. Bathroom Accents
Ultimate Gray looks nice as a bathroom wall color or as a backsplash or floor tile.

4. Front Door
Consider Illuminating Yelllow as the color for your front door. Yellow will stand out especially against gray siding and roofing materials. Use a white trim for the highest contrast.

5. Bedroom
Gray on the walls creates a neutral, calm setting for a bedroom. If you want to add yellow, consider a rug or pillows.

Are you making updates to your home? What colors are you using this year?

If you need assistance with any of your home’s updates, connect with Sibcy Cline Home Services. They have many vetted, local vendors providing all kinds of services for the home!





How to Winterize Your Home

Winter is right around the corner and it’s time to get your home ready for those upcoming cold months. Here are some tips to winterize your home:

Caulk, Use Window Film and Weather Stripping
Use caulk to fill in gaps in windows, doors and siding. You can purchase plastic film kits to insulate windows. Weatherstripping will also help in keeping  windows insulated. Use threshold strips to keep air leaks at bay at the bottom of doors. Here is more information on how to caulk and weatherstrip windows.

Heating System
Change the filter for the heating system often. Dirty filters restrict airflow. It is also a good idea to schedule a maintenance check up for the heater. The heating professional will clean, tune up and inspect the system.

Thermostat
If you do not already own one, a programmable thermostat is a great way to easily set temperatures for when you are home or are out. You can customize the settings so the heat is not running full force when you do not need it.

Chimney Check
The chimney can be the largest source of energy loss. A chimney balloon can prevent drafts and costs around $50. Be sure to close the damper when the fireplace is not being used.

Animal nests or buildup in your fireplace can be a hazard. An annual inspection before building a fire is a very good idea. Having a chimney sweep clean the chimney will alleviate having debris that could cause a fire.

Ceiling fanCeiling Fans in Reverse
In winter the rotation of the fan blades should be clockwise to push hot air towards the floor.

Doors
If there are large gaps at the bottom of exterior doors, use a rolled-up towel or throw rug to close these gaps. Or you can use a draft snake – you can make one if you’re into DIY!

Gutters
Gutters need to be cleaned out to avoid icicles from forming and water damage from occurring.

Pipes
Wrap or insulate exposed pipes in any unheated areas in the home. Pre-slit pipe foam is available at most hardware stores.

Let the Sunshine In
During the day, open up curtains and blinds of south-facing windows to allow the sun in. Close them up when it is dark outside to keep the heat in.

Air Conditioning Unit
Remove any outdoor window-unit air conditioners during the colder months. For central air units, remove all debris such as leaves and bushes. You can also cover the unit with a piece of wood large enough to cover the top.

Roof
Check to see if there are any shingles that need to be repaired or replaced. Roof vents should also be checked for holes or cracks. Leaves and other debris should be removed from gutters.

Unused Rooms?
Close off rooms and vents in rooms that are not used.

Outdoor Spigots
Turn off exterior water spigots. You can also cover spigots to avoid freezing water.

Storm Doors and Windows
If you have storm doors and windows – install them. A storm door can increase energy efficiency by 45%.

Lawn and Patio Furniture
If space is available, it is best to stow patio furniture especially if it is made of wood. Aluminum furniture is more durable and can be left outside.

Vacant Home?
Learn more about winterizing a vacant home here.

Home Energy Audit
Finally, consider a free energy assessment that is available from Duke Energy. You may find more ways to winterize and save money!

Need help with your winterization? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services.

Home Features that Buyers Want

laundry room

With more time spent at home this year, you have probably heard the whirl and roar of power tools in action throughout your neighborhood. Google reports that “home-improvement” searches have increased by almost 50 percent during 2020. Thinking of making improvements to your home? Spend your money wisely. It is always a good idea to consider re-sale value with home projects. Read below what features home buyers desire the most:

Laundry Rooms
A separate laundry room tops the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) list of wanted features. If you lack a first-floor space for a laundry room, the lower level (or basement) is the place for this room. Many times all of the utility lines are already in place in the basement. And, if there is unfinished space, there will be no costs to demolish. A basement laundry room will probably start around $1,000. If you plan on installing the washer and dryer on an upper floor, the costs start around $10,000.

Efficient Windows and Appliances
Energy-Star rated windows and appliances are what home buyers want to keep utility costs down. Efficient windows can lower costs by 12 percent. Appliances can save owners even more. For example, an efficient washing machine can save $45 a year. If you replace your windows or appliances now you will personally benefit from these savings!

Patio or Deck (Outdoor Spaces)
Creating more living space outdoors is a must when luring potential home buyers. Everything from a large patio, fire pit to an outdoor kitchen – buyers will be drawn to these details at your home. (Deck construction has risen by 275% in the U.S. in 2020)

Ceiling Fans
Per NAHB, 85% of home buyers desire ceiling fans. These devices help lower cooling costs during warmer months. Fans are recommended for ceilings at least eight-feet tall and work best when hung 10–12 inches from the ceiling.

Garage Storage
Maintain the clutter in your garage. By adding storage units and shelves you will make your home even more inviting to buyers. Think about adding racks to store bicycles, rakes and shovels. You will revel in how organized you are! (And so will buyers when it’s time to sell.)

Outside Lighting
Exterior lighting is what adds ambiance to your home. Think spotlights, walkway lights and pendant lighting. It will be a joy to come home in the evening and your neighbors will admire the lighting, too!

Walk-In Pantry
A large pantry allows you to store canned goods and other essentials near kitchen food-prep areas. Pantries should be located in a cool and dry area. The most common size for a pantry is 5’x5′.

Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors are easy to maintain and are more durable than carpet. They create a clean look for your home and are a very desirable item by home buyers.

Master Bedroom Walk-In Closet
A walk-in closet ranks among the top five features for home buyers. Older homes usually have the most challenges with this type of closet space. If your home does not have a large closet, think about either adding a closet to the room, reconfigure an existing closet or convert a spare bedroom into closet space.

Eat-in Kitchen
Eat-in style kitchens are desired by those who want to gather together for breakfast or an evening meal. To create space for a table and chairs, you may need to knock out a wall. If that is not an option, consider adding bar stools at a kitchen island.

Double Kitchen Sink
Buyers want a sink divided for washing and food prep! This is a relatively easy project to accomplish.

Updated Kitchen and Baths
If you are going to update a few things in your home consider your kitchen and bathrooms. The kitchen is now considered to be the “hang out” room. Make it as large and open as possible. And, remember, home buyers still want stainless-steel appliances. Updated bathrooms will definitely draw the attention of potential buyers. Need some inspiration? Go here and look at some awesome kitchens and baths. On a a budget? Read about these budget-friendly updates for these rooms.

Home Office
More people are now working from their homes. Having a flexible space like a home office will be appealing when it comes time to sell. If there is no room in your home for a formal office, consider creating a hide-away office that is part of a spare bedroom or located in a closet.

Need help with your home project? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can put you in touch with an experienced local, vetted vendor!