Don’t Let Your Home’s Beauty Fade: These 13 Budget-Friendly Tricks Can Instantly Help You Ramp Up Your House’s Curb Appeal

Don’t Let Your Home’s Beauty Fade: These 13 Budget-Friendly Tricks Can Instantly Help You Ramp Up Your House’s Curb Appeal

If you own a house, you’re likely familiar with the effort it takes to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. Many homeowners often complain that the upkeep is constant: once one problem is fixed, something else breaks. Anything can go wrong in a minute, from a burst water pipe to broken tiles. And not to mention the countless hours maintaining your garden. But while they may lament the work behind keeping their houses beautiful, many homeowners actually enjoy the process. If you’re on a budget, you may be putting off the bigger projects meant to ramp up your curb appeal, but there are a few neat tricks that can make a huge difference almost instantly.

1- Paint your front door.

Don’t underestimate the power of repainting your front door. A fresh coat of paint can make your home stand out, especially if it’s a bright and inviting color. The more polished look may come at around just $30 — the cost of a gallon of paint.

2- Upgrade your mailbox.

If your mailbox is looking a little rusty and if you want your home to look a little more glamorous, it may be the perfect opportunity to replace it with a newer, more stylish option. Whether it’s

located close to the sidewalk or by your front door, you can find the perfect mailbox to fit the look you want for your home.

3- Revamp your house’s number.

Sure, you may not be able to change your house’s actual number, but you can definitely change its font and size to better suit your style. This can easily add some extra curb appeal to your home and, by extension, your neighborhood.

4- Plant a tree strategically.

Plants can spruce up an outdoor space, but if you place them strategically, they can do even more for your front yard. A tree may provide some shade, add color to your garden, and even frame your property.

5- Try out different lighting at night.

Your house may look its best during the day, but what about at night? The right lighting can set the ambiance you want and even show off all of its best features.

6- Cut the grass — but not too short.

Some homeowners underestimate the power of a well-manicured lawn: not only can it say that you care about your house and its appearance, but it may also keep your grass green and healthy. However, experts advise that it’s best to keep the blades between 2 to 4 inches in height, depending on the species of grass you have.

7- Install window boxes or planters.

Adding flowers below your windows can drastically change the look of your home, thanks to a the pop of color they can provide. You don’t have to have them at every window — even just one or two may be sufficient to drastically ramp up your curb appeal.

8- Add a stylish door knocker.

Once you’ve painted your door, you may want to invest in a new door knocker that fits your house’s style better. Check out more interesting shapes like lion’s heads or a different material or color.

9- Power wash everything.

From the siding to the pavement to your pathway, you may want to use a power wash to deep clean outdoor surfaces. Over time, many homeowners don’t realize how much grime and dirt accumulate in those areas, and you may be surprised just how new your house looks after a good wash.

10- Get rid of weeds.

This may be a no-brainer for most homeowners, but there’s more than one reason to get rid of weeds. Not only can they be unsightly, but because they are greedy for water, they may easily take over your lawn. Take great care to eradicate them, and your may be increasing your curb appeal tenfold!

11- Rethink your garage door.

It may be a daunting prospect to totally replace your garage door, but just like your front door, all it may need is a fresh coat of paint and a few accents to make it look like like new. Go the extra mile and get some vines and a trellis and place it over the door for a romantic touch.

12- Get a new doormat.

Although people walking down the street or driving by won’t see the details of your doormat, this minor replacement can do wonders for both the look and feel of your house as you know them. Even on the most basic level, a clean doormat can make your home look tidy — remember, the outdoor appearance of your house may be considered to be a reflection of what it’s like inside!

13- Replace old mulch.

Replacing old mulch doesn’t necessarily improve the health of your lawn and flower beds, but it can make your property look fresh and well-maintained.

All these tips are just a few ways you can up your curb appeal, but your home is what you make it: any changes you make should make your house feel like a home!

Want to know more about your neighborhood? Plug an address into NeighborWho’s property finder and see what you can find!

Want To Make The Most Out Of Time Outside? Here Are 10 Awesome Backyard Gadgets That Will Help You Do That

Want To Make The Most Out Of Time Outside? Here Are 10 Awesome Backyard Gadgets That Will Help You Do That

Summer is upon us, and for many homeowners, that means spending more time outdoors with friends and family. If you have a backyard or a patio, you may be looking to upgrade your decor and gadgets to take make the most out of your space — and we have a few suggestions that may help you do just that! They may be fun for the whole family, and your neighbors may even ask you how you made your backyard both stylish and functional.

1- Portable hammock    

Invest in a portable, foldable hammock if you like spending time outside. When you don’t have trees to hang one up, the foldable version of these backyard staples can be a great solution if you still want enjoy the soothing rocking sensation.

2- Bug zapper

If you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors, you may want to get a bug zapper. These devices now come in stylish designs (some even look like lanterns) that may blend seamlessly with the rest of your backyard decor. Forget foul-smelling bug repellants and let these handy zappers do the job for you.

3- Bird photo booth

If you love bird-watching or have bird feeder in your yard, this may be the perfect gadget for you! This device combines a camera and a feeder, which takes up-close-and-personal snapshots of the winged creatures. Create the oasis you always wanted by adding one of these to your yard!

4- Glass-enclosed fire pit

The elegant designs of these glass-enclosed fire pits may add a stylish touch to your backyard, and your summer guests [link to summer guest room post] may marvel at what this gadget can do for the ambiance. They tend to be relatively small, and may be easily be transported indoors, if necessary.

5- Bluetooth speaker

To create the perfect ambiance for your backyard party or barbecue, consider buying a bluetooth speaker. These nifty gadgets are powerful despite their small size, and now, you can even buy floating waterproof versions for your pool!

6- Lighting orb

Lighting orbs may make great mood-setters, as they often come in many different sizes and colors. You can even place these LED deco balls anywhere: on your patio, in your yard, or by the pool.

7- A smartphone breathalyzer

Granted, this next gadget isn’t an item you can add to your collection of patio and garden furniture, but it can definitely be useful if you’re planning to host an outdoor party. If you’re serving alcohol at your next event, a smartphone breathalyzer may come in handy if you want to be extra careful about your guests’ safety. When in doubt, call a cab or make other arrangements with your guests ahead of time.

8- A cool cooler

These coolers do more than just keep bottles and cans cold. Depending on your preferences, you can find coolers designed to fit your entertainment needs. Some versions come with a karaoke machine, complete with a microphone. Others include built-in blenders, speakers, and a USB charger, among other features.

9- Robotic lawnmower

If you hate mowing the lawn or simply never have the time to do so, you may want to invest in a robotic lawnmower. All you need to do is set up the perimeter and the robot will cut the grass for you in time for your lawn party.

10- A pool monitoring system

If you have a pool, it may be a good idea to monitor the quality of the water in it. That’s when these systems come in handy: they may indicate the pH, free chlorine, and alkalinity levels. Get one that connects to WiFi so you can use it practically anywhere!

There is a plethora of devices, gadgets, and tools that can make your outdoor space warm and inviting to guests, but only you can find the ones that best suit your style and needs!
Want to know more about your neighborhood? Plug an address into NeighborWho’s property finder and see what you can find!

Think You Should Move In With Your SO? Here Are 10 Ways You May Know It’s The Right Time

Think You Should Move In With Your SO? Here Are 10 Ways You May Know It’s The Right Time

Moving in with your significant other: in today’s world, it means that you beat the odds and found someone to love (and who loves you). You’re lucky! By now, you may have been dating for some time, and you feel like it’s the right next step in your relationship. For many couples, the decision to move in together isn’t one that can be made lightly. But how do you know that this transition is coming at the right time? If you’ve done the research, you may have found that most couples (depending on where you live in the United States) move in together after about 17 months of dating. But no two relationships are the same, and while it may be comforting to look at yours in the same context as others, it may not be the healthiest way to measure one’s readiness. So, here are 10 ways you can decide with the big move is the right move for you!

1- You know your SO’s quirks and habits — and you accept them.
The more time you spend with someone, the more you get to know them. And if you spend day and night with them, staying in their home, you start observing how they live their life. The mundane things matter: maybe your SO tosses and turns in their sleep a lot. Maybe they like to wake up late, when you’re an early riser. And how important is making the bed to you? All these factors are things that you will have to live with when you share your life — and your space — with another human being. If you understand that these quirks and habits are actually endearing, and not annoying, you may be ready to move in with your SO.

2- There is no ulterior motive for moving in together.
An ulterior motive for moving in may be revealed sooner or later, whether you like it or not. More often than not, it’s an unhealthy reason that can break your relationship — and that’s not something you want when you’re living under the same roof as your significant other. Ulterior motives may include pressure from friends and family, the need to keep an eye on your significant other, or even financial reasons. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily apply to all couples — but if you’re nervous about moving in with your SO, you’ll want to do it with a clean conscience and goodwill!

3- You’ve talked about the future and your expectations.
Moving in can be the start of a wonderful future together, but if you don’t talk about it, you may not know if you are on the same page about what that future holds for you as a couple. Does it include marriage? Children? Pets? If you agree on what this big transition means for your lives together, you may feel better about taking the leap.

The same goes for cleanliness: would you tolerate your partner’s clothes all over the floor? How often will the dishes be cleaned? How will you divide chores? Don’t get caught off-guard, so discuss your behavior and habits with each other — just remember that both of you will likely make some compromises, and that your life won’t be exactly the way it was before.

4- You’ve talked about finances.
Are you in debt, or do you have student loans that you are still paying off? Finances and money managing are not fun topics, but a necessary ones to talk about if you’re going to be splitting everything from groceries to utilities to rent. If you’re in a difficult financial situation or if money is tight every month, your significant other should be aware. At this point in your relationship, if you aren’t comfortable disclosing your salaries, you may want to reconsider moving in together. While there is no rule of thumb on how shared expenses should be divided (for example, if someone should be paying more for rent than the other), it is generally advised that couples discuss both how and how much money they can spend.

5- Know each other’s pet peeves and boundaries.
The same way you would be aware of each other’s habits and quirks, you should know each other’s pet peeves and boundaries. Think of moving in with your significant other as kind of like having a roommate — just one with whom you share most of your personal space with — so it’s paramount that you know how not to get on each other’s nerves for the most trivial of things.

6- If you have your own life and friends, and if you’re okay spending time apart.
In the “honeymoon stage” of your relationship, you may have have been tempted to spend all of your free time together. But once you establish yourselves as a couple and think you’re ready to move in together, you may want to find ways to spend more time apart. You’ll already be spending every night and some entire days together, so it can’t hurt to go out and have experiences that don’t involve each other. Go out for lunch with friends, see a ball game, volunteer, or go to an exhibit alone: all of these experiences may only make your relationship richer. And remember: distance makes the heart grow fonder, so you’ll feel that much more eager to come home to your SO at night!

7- You’ve been on vacation together.
You may be spending a lot of time together, but you’re likely not spending every single night together, so you may not know what to expect when that happens. The best way to know is to go on vacation together. When you travel together, whether it’s a domestic trip or a foreign trip, you’ll likely get a better understanding of how your SO fares in somewhat stressful situations and how they react to unfamiliarity. In stranger situations, you’ll have to work together as team to overcome obstacles, whether it’s finding your way around a new city or trying to communicate in another language. You’ll also learn what it’s like to spend almost every waking moment with your partner.

8- You’ve had a huge fight — and survived it.
Every couple has disagreements, and everyone has their flaws, but what’s important is that you recognize those flaws and are willing to work with your partner to resolve a situation. Problems, especially bigger, more persistent ones, won’t just go away. You may want to wait until you feel comfortable with the way you and your partner communicate your unhappiness effectively, without insulting each other. While smaller arguments are more common (who will do the dishes, someone being late for dinner, as examples), bigger fights can rock the foundation of even the strongest of relationships. If you’ve had a big blowout fight and survived it, only to come back a stronger, more loving pair, then you may be ready to move in with your partner.

9- You understand that a lot is going to change.
There’s no going around it: your life will change drastically, no matter how much you and your partner are alike. Not only are you likely to be moving to a new apartment or house and neighborhood, your habits and routine will likely change as well. You may even fall out of touch with friends, and you may not see them as often. You may have to learn how to say “ours” instead of “mine,” which can be a particularly hard transition if you’re used to living alone. While relationships are meant to add meaning and happiness to your life, you may have to accept that both you and your partner are making compromises to make each other happy.

10- You’re happy, and you know in your gut that it’s right.
This is perhaps the most important criteria on this list: you’re ready to move in with your significant other when you’re happy and if you know in your gut that it’s right. You can read about statistics until your brain hurts, or research “what the average couple” does after a year or so of dating, but it’s important to remember that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” for relationships: you can decide to move in with your SO after just a few months if you’re convinced in your heart that it’s the right thing to do. No one is more intimate with the details and circumstances surrounding your relationship than you are, so only you and your partner can make this decision together. It’s normal to be a little nervous about the move — in fact, you probably should be — but don’t sweat the small stuff!

Every couple is unique, and some issues for some may be non-issues for others. Moving in, while generally considered to be a bigger step than marriage, happens when you and your partner want it to. Your lives together and happiness say more than any statistic or study out there!

Want to know more about your neighborhood? Plug an address into NeighborWho’s property finder and see what you can find!

Should You List Your Home as a Vacation Rental? Consider These 6 Factors Before Listing Your Place

Should You List Your Home as a Vacation Rental? Consider These 6 Factors Before Listing Your Place

Disclaimer: The below is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.

Students, tourists looking for a no-frills, slightly cheaper way to travel, and guests who want to stay in a more comfortable, unique space are leaning toward booking rooms available through vacation rental marketplaces in increasing numbers. Offerings on these marketplaces occupy the vast space between hotels and hostels, but they’re not just beneficial to those traveling. They also offer an income opportunity for those who have enough space to accommodate a guest or a few. Whether you have just a room available or an entire apartment or house (or perhaps even a treehouse or a castle), you may be able to make a few extra bucks a month with a vacation rental marketplace. However, before you rush to your computer to list your place, there are a few caveats to keep in mind.

Think about potential legal issues if you list your room or house on Airbnb.

Regardless of whether you have a house or an apartment, you could be facing some legal troubles if you list your space as a vacation rental. If you rent an apartment, check with your landlord or lady if you can be a paid host. Your lease may even already include a clause forbidding this. If you fail to check and go against regulations, you may find yourself penalized by the law.

Similarly, on a larger scale, check with your town, city, or jurisdiction’s laws regarding hosting paying guests: it may have certain restrictions limiting the length of time they stay, or prohibiting the exchange altogether. This may be due to any number of laws and regulations, including zoning and administrative codes. Some states like New York have placed a ban on listing short term rentals (there, the minimum stay is 30 days). If you find out that you are allowed to become a host, make sure that you have the right permits or licenses, if necessary. This is often the first step in finding out if listing your place on a vacation rental marketplace is the right move for you.

Make sure you’re covered.

If you decide to become a host, it may be wise to invest in insurance for your personal belongings. Some marketplaces offer host protection insurance that can protect against liability, and covers bodily injury or property damage. As a precaution, you may want to keep your valuables in a safe and take photos of everything, so that you can claim damages should they occur.

Are you paying the right taxes?

While some marketplaces make it clear that your new income may or may not be subject to being taxed, as a host, you would have to do your due diligence and research these responsibilities yourself.

Be prepared for extra expenses.

While it seems pretty straightforward that you’ll likely be earning some income by listing your place, you may have to make a few additional investments before you do so. If you want to impress potential guests with your humble abode, you may have to upgrade your furniture or repaint your walls. Between guests, you may feel more comfortable hiring a cleaning service to make your place look its best. Of course, these aren’t the only extra expenses some hosts fail to take into account before listing their rooms, apartments, or houses.

Keep your landlord and neighbor relations in mind.

If you don’t have the rosiest of relationships with either your landlord (if you have one) or your neighbors, you may want to skip on the opportunity to host. Most marketplaces do not perform background checks on the individuals renting out rooms, but the chances of landing a less than courteous guest are still slim. Regardless, there have been cases in which hosts were left in truly nightmare situations. One host alleged that a guest had ransacked her apartment, stealing a camera, a laptop, her passport, cash, and much more. It doesn’t even have to be the possibility of a crime occurring that can deter would-be hosts: noisy, dirty, and generally rude guests can ruffle the feather of neighbors you may not already get along with (check out tips on how to address issues with your neighbors in our handy guide).

Ask yourself: Is it worth it?

In other words, do you trust strangers staying inside your home? While the idea of making money off that extra room or your empty home is tempting enough, it may be a good idea to consider not just all the extra costs that you may be faced with, but also how comfortable you are with the idea that you may be sacrificing your peace of mind, should your home fall into the wrong hands. There are many pros and cons of using a vacation rental marketplace as a host, but perhaps the best course of action is to speak to both existing hosts and renters so that you get a better idea of what to expect.

Want to know more about your neighborhood? Plug an address into NeighborWho’s property finder and see what you can find!

9 Totally Doable Tricks To Make Any Small Room Look So Much Bigger

9 Totally Doable Tricks To Make Any Small Room Look So Much Bigger

For those of us accustomed to small, narrow rooms, no space to move around, and having to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation. Over the past few years, I’ve learned to fit my life in a five-by-five box, so to speak: I’ve mastered the art of downsizing as much as possible without sacrificing comfort. I’ve picked up a few decorating tricks along the way, and using them in my room made a huge difference in how I use it. And the best part? I was try them all on a low budget! Check out the 9 totally doable tips to make any room seem much bigger — and yes, even your bathroom!

1- Eliminate all furniture you don’t use.

A crucial first step in making your small room look bigger is removing all the furniture you don’t actually use. Even the smallest stool can take up valuable floor space. And yes, that means also getting rid of that chair you’re convinced you’ll sit in to read one day, but that is actually used as a dumping ground for laundry. Once you declutter your room, chances are you’ll realize that there’s a lot more space in your room than you thought!

2- Hang long, light-colored or sheer curtains, or forgo them altogether.

If you want to make your room look larger, you may want to forgo hanging up curtains. Drapes can make your space feel more enclosed, and dark-colored ones can absorb light. If you must hang up curtains for privacy, opt for sheer or light-colored ones that hang well above the top of the window to make your ceilings seem higher.

3- Strategically place mirrors.

Hang or prop up mirrors opposite of your windows. They can reflect light and disperse it around your room, making it look bigger and brighter. Mirrors may even reflect the view outside, which can make your space feel more open.

4- Invest in multifunctional furniture.

If there’s room in your budget for replacing furniture, it may be a good idea to make some swaps. For a small living room, try a coffee table that transforms into a desk, for example, or even a smaller dining table that can extend in the event that you have more guests. Combining two pieces of furniture in one can save you a ton of space!

5- Buy floor-to-ceiling bookcases.

If you want your ceilings to look higher and save on space at the same time, invest in a floor-to-ceiling bookcase. This piece of furniture can house anything from books to knickknacks, leaving more space for other items you want to keep. Like long curtains, a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf can make it seem like your ceilings are higher than they actually are.

6- Get clear furniture.

Clear furniture, like glass coffee tables, may allow you to see more of the floor and the walls. They can help the room feel more open, and items appearing behind them will seem further away, creating additional depth in a room.

7- Show some leg.

The legs of your furniture, that is. Exposed furniture legs, especially on larger items, can trick your eye by allowing you to see more floor space. They may also draw the eye upward, creating the illusion of light.

8- Pull furniture away from the walls.

This may be counterintuitive, but pulling furniture away from the walls is must when trying to make a small room seem bigger. This may create the illusion of spaciousness. The space doesn’t have to be be huge — just a few inches can do the trick! It doesn’t have to be empty space, either: place a console behind a sofa, for example, and it can also serve as great way to display smaller items like figurines or vases.

9- If you have to pick a pattern, pick stripes.

Stripes can help elongate a space, so you may want to pick a carpet or a light-colored wallpaper with that pattern. The most effective way to use stripes in your smaller room is to orient them to that they go the length of the room that is the longest.

Having a small room doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort. There are so many ways you can make the most out of that room, and it doesn’t stop at these tips!

Want to know more about your neighborhood? Plug an address into NeighborWho’s property finder and see what you can find!

I Can’t Stand My New Neighbors, Help!

I Can’t Stand My New Neighbors, Help!

Disclaimer: The below is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.

You can choose where to live, but you can’t pick your neighbors. You may not always get along with them, and their habits may disrupt your daily life or even cause damage to your property. So, how do you address your discontent with a person you can’t avoid, and may even see everyday? Unfortunately, this is a situation many homeowners have found themselves in. If you are one, you may want to approach this situation delicately and with a plan in mind. After all, your neighbor may not be aware that their actions may be causing you some distress. Follow these steps to make sure you are finding the best way for you to approach them.

1- Introduce yourself.

If you haven’t met your annoying neighbor yet, the first step is to get to know them. There are many reasons why you should [insert link security blog post], but once you start having friendly conversations with them, you may uncover reasons why they have been behaving the way they have. For example, if you’re getting fed up by their barking dog, you may find out that the pet needs a little more time to adjust to its new home. Knowing your neighbor a little better may also make them a little more receptive to your concerns, should you choose to address them.

2- Know your rights and that of your neighbors.

Does the sound of your neighbor’s children playing with their drum set disrupt your life at home during the day? While you may maintain that it is your right to have peace and quiet in your own house, check your town or city’s laws: it may also be their right to make that noise at that time. Regardless of the issue, do your research before going to the cops or filing a complaint. If your neighbor’s actions aren’t illegal, you may want to approach this situation more delicately to avoid offending the people living next door.

3- Document the problem.

When you start feeling like your property and privacy are being violated by your neighbor, you may get aggravated more easily by small annoyances. No matter what the situation is (if it isn’t illegal activity), you may want to take a step back, a deep breath, and keep track of the problem instead of blowing up in your neighbor’s face. Document the frequency and the severity. Your log may serve two main purposes: you can use it to determine if you are simply overreacting to a situation, or to prove to an appropriate authority like the police or community board you’re in the right, if the situation escalates to this level.

4- Check with other neighbors.

One of the best ways to gauge if your neighbor’s behavior is worth addressing is by talking to your other neighbors. If they are just as annoyed by this person’s actions, or if they also have some misgivings about the situation, it may be helpful to talk about it as a group and decide what to do together. Two (or more) minds are better than one!

5- Communicate, be patient, and pick your battles wisely.

You may want to ask yourself: is the problem worth bringing up, in the long run? Or will addressing such a trivial issue only cause a rift between you and your new neighbor? When it comes down to another’s life behind closed doors, you may not want to make assumptions. Maybe this individual is experiencing family difficulties, or simply made an honest mistake. If you’re patient, you may be able to find out without offending your neighbor or invading their privacy. If the matter is small and is only an occasional annoyance, you may want to forgo bringing it up altogether.

6- Escalate slowly.

The same way you may not want to jump to conclusions about your neighbor’s behavior, you may also want to avoid going straight to the authorities if those actions don’t appear to be illegal or harmful to another. If talking to your neighbor to diffuse the situation doesn’t help, recruit your other neighbors for help. If the issue doesn’t appear to be solvable, try getting the help of a mediator before contacting your local police. You may want to give your new neighbor the time to adjust to the new neighborhood and new habits before getting the authorities involved.

7- Do not insult your neighbor, their kids, or their pets.

When confronting your neighbor about the issue at hand, you may want to choose your words wisely as to not offend or antagonize them. If this happens, they may refuse to cooperate with you in the future. In addition, insulting their kids or pets (if they are the cause of your grievances) may only hurt your cause. Avoid animosity by being firm on your position while still being respectful.

8- Be a good neighbor.

Being a good neighbor may help resolve any situation. This doesn’t just mean keeping your property clean and neat, it also means being patient, understanding, and respectful. As a homeowner, you are part of the same community as those around you. Even if you don’t know these people very well, know that they are human too, and they may make mistakes or inadvertently offend you with their behavior. You’d want a chance to make up for your errors if you were in the wrong, so you may want to give another the same courtesy!

Want to know more about your neighborhood? Plug an address into NeighborWho’s property finder and see what you can find!

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