What are Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Property Maintenance Services?

One of the most important aspects of effective property management is finding the right moment to outsource the maintenance tasks to a professional subcontractor. Maintenance of properties can become very time consuming, especially when one owns or manages a number of properties that need maintenance at the same time. Outsourcing property maintenance services has a number of advantages, which is why more real estate brokers and property management companies are choosing this option.

Outsourcing property maintenance simplifies the working schedule, as the subcontractor helps to set deadlines and see updates for the given tasks on a regular basis. As a result, you are always aware whether the work plan is going accordingly. Regardless of the size and complexity of the project, you need to find a reliable subcontractor for your maintenance work.

Main Pros of Outsourcing Property Maintenance

People operating in the real estate management market face numerous problems. Subsequently, this can lead to overall workload increase. In order to come out with better results, it is important to understand the benefits of outsourcing some of the services, such as property maintenance.

  1. It is cost-effective and allows to focus on the important

First of all, outsourcing property maintenance is highly cost-effective and will help you concentrate on income generating activities. Most importantly, you won’t need to make additional capital expenditures for buying additional equipment. This will contribute to the ultimate goal of reducing maintenance costs.

It is important to note that applying to a property maintenance company on time and avoiding the “run until it fails” method will also help you to reduce potential costs in future. Therefore, outsourcing this service will help you focus mostly on important tasks and be sure that the property is maintained in a good condition.

  1. Outsourcing frees up a lot of time for real estate brokers

Real estate broker’s day-to-day responsibilities include a number of tasks that are critical for generating leads, such as contacting different people, writing emails, researching the market, etc. Thinking about additional tasks such as property maintenance can take a long time and block the sales funnel. Therefore, that will be a good option to find a safe partner for outsourcing.

In short, outsourcing property maintenance means that you can free your time and concentrate on work related tasks. To avoid further complications it is also important to do proper research before hiring a subcontractor.

  1. Hiring a contractor is a more flexible way

One of the major advantages of contracting a professional provider is that you will get full flexibility and won’t need to think about small details along the way. A good property maintenance crew will take care of your property and make sure that it is cleaned, well-functioning and maintained everyday. 

When you recruit an in-house crew, you must adhere to plenty of rules and regulations that don’t exist when you hire a contractor. Additionally, there are local regulations that you need to follow once maintaining the property. If you hire subcontractors that have a presence in your community, they will be up-to-date of all necessary laws.

  1. It simplifies the recruitment process

Your subcontractor can provide enough flexibility to deliver the proper staffing level and required skillset promptly, all together at a lower cost and time investment. It allows hiring specialized property maintenance services as needed rather than investing in creating in-house competencies.

Also, by outsourcing property maintenance services, you can fully manage what is being done and be sure to pay for negotiated results. It allows you to develop and execute more effective maintenance services that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to handle on your own.

Main Cons of Outsourcing Property Maintenance

There are a variety of responsibilities associated with property maintenance services  and several cons of outsourcing these services. Besides knowing all the benefits of outsourcing, you must also note all potential problems in order to make the right decision.

  1. You need to pay special attention to the quality

As for cons of outsourced maintenance services, the first one goes for the quality. Some contractors are more interested in gaining more profit rather than focusing on the final result, so their strategy is to do as many jobs as they can. That means the work you send out may arrive quickly, but it will be of worse quality than what you anticipated from your products or services.

Therefore, it is important to search for a reliable partner. Generic online searches may not come up with the results you want, or they may take longer to find an exact match for the type of service provider you need. To solve this problem define location-based search to narrow down the selection range. This process can be more easy by using specific platforms such as: Yelp, Thomasnet, and  Merchant Circle.

  1. Failing to deliver a service

Sometimes it’s risky to trust a third party service provider. The main challenge here is lack of control over the contractor, but if managed properly this can turn out to be an advantage.

First tip to find a trusty service provider is looking at the feedback of previous clients. Ask colleagues who have experience of outsourced maintenance services. Check online reviews, ratings, take into consideration the reputation of the contractor and shortlist them for further assessment.

  1. It becomes hard to find a suitable candidate

There is a risk of finding a trusted third party service provider. Search and more search is essential as there might be contractors with fake reputation. Your maintenance outsourcing partner should ideally be certified and have a staff with relevant experience. It does matter also if the equipment is up to date and can fulfill required tasks.

Finding a great contractor is time and work well spent. It can be challenging to find the right fit. But keep these lists in mind to get you started in the right way. When you employ a traditional third-party service provider for property maintenance, you’ll save time for your business growth as with in-house crew, you may have a backlog of work orders to complete, delaying your ability to respond to customer requests. 

What Is Field Service Management Software and How It Will Support Your Business Operations

As a property management company, there are various variables to register and regulate remotely. In order to meet customer expectations, you’ll need a specific set of abilities to be a competent property manager, including an ability to plan strategically, technological solutions to manage field service operations, and mobile workforces to organize your workflow easily.

Businesses in every industry, including property management, are converting to digital procedures to streamline and coordinate operations. According to AppFolio, 46% of property management companies have adopted new technology in their operations. To respond to the fast-paced changes in the service industry, the increasing majority of property managers find contractors who have installed field service management software in their operations. This is why it is crucial to partner with a field services company that can offer advanced digital solutions to manage your projects.

What is field service management software?

Field service management (FSM) is a system to coordinate field operations through a mobile/online workforce. At basic level, this entails scheduling service orders, tracking work status, managing orders, etc. FSM has seen a prevalent use in many different industries, and organizations using FSM software have seen a strong improvement in job efficiency. So, field service management is no longer a secret handled by enterprises. It’s rather an important component for the productivity of both managers and technicians.

And with the technological advancement over the past few years, the management industry started to need quicker solutions, which is why the field service management software was developed. It was designed to help businesses keep track of all moving parts by grouping all things in one software. 

Primary Concerns of Property Managers, And How Field Service Management Can Solve Those Problems

The market of field service management is over-saturated but very few of these companies have yet implemented management software in their business model to maintain an open line of communication with clients. When working in the industry of field services, you need to be aware of the three main challenges that all property managers face and all the ways field management software can bring effective solutions to these problems. 

Work order management and automation

Time consumption is the number one challenge for property managers who are in charge of multiple properties. It can be difficult to manage everything in a timely manner, which is what field service management software was developed to support. By digitizing all activities, it allows users to create, assign, and track work orders throughout the whole company, meanwhile rationalizing workload and consequently contributing to time management. Features like sending completed work orders with necessary photo documentation as well as assigning the right professional to the job maximize productivity of the company and minimize the required time for service delivery. 

Instant Communication

This is another common challenge all property management companies have to deal with on a daily basis. Communication with clients typically takes place via email which often causes miscommunication, losing information or even emails in the overcrowded inbox. 

Field service management software quickly streamlines communication with field service contractors. Property managers can utilize an online system to keep track of interactions, take notes, and submit requests directly as well as getting instant alerts on work orders in progress. Property managers can place work orders right on the spot, edit details if necessary and receive updates immediately all through the FSM software. In a word, what the field service management does is leading to a completely remote monitoring.

Retention of tenants

Residential property managers need to avoid losing money on unoccupied units. The solution to this is fixing high retention rates and reducing turnover rates of the properties. 

Complaints arise in a variety of forms such as maintenance issues or tenants dissatisfied with the residential unit or the overall property management. The longer they deal with these types of issues, the more likely they are to consider relocating. Not only do they need proactive and timely responses but also rapid solutions to their problems. Coordinating all of these actions at the same time—as unbelievable as it sounds—is what field service management software is designed to do. It helps property management companies establish instant communication with the contractor company and optimize property maintenance.    

Core Benefits of FSM Software For Property Management Companies

If you run a property management business then you definitely have a heavy workload and not sufficient time to manage everything. That’s why, by working with a field service management company offering a maintenance system, you will save time and energy by not having to track work orders yourself, manually input data into other applications, contact residents and owners and deal with crises. 

Whether you manage a property or hire a professional to take care of the job for you, field service management software with its key features will be crucial for both of you. It has a direct impact on productivity and workload optimization. Moreover, it will have a positive influence on time management, as all the maintenance requests, tracking and job status updating will be automated.

Using an FSM software leads to a number of immediate and long-term benefits, including greater customer service, faster response times, better staff management as well as saving time and resources. 

Let’s talk about the main benefits of implementing an FSM software you need to know about.

  • Upgraded communication

As a property management company, you have a number of responsibilities, such as handling all the complicated procedures of property maintenance and renovation, which require constant communication with your team. Cooperating with field service management companies with maintenance platforms will automate this process and help you quickly connect with the team, easily receive updates on the progress and make sure everything is in accordance with your requirements. It’s not a secret that each business unit in an organization performs more efficiently when all systems can reliably and swiftly communicate with one another. In fact, gaps in business communication chains reduce productivity, leaving with dissatisfied customers.

  • Reducing administrative work

Field service management gives an opportunity to create work orders from open cases, manage and monitor workforce, schedule order management and rapidly search for current digital work orders. The automatic update of data makes the process of work order fast and easy by delivering completed work orders directly to invoicing or to the customer, and assigning correct technicians to the right job with a few clicks.

  • Access to information in real-time

Operations on the field service management software are transparently documented. The management team receives orders in forms of checklists to make sure all needs and requirements of clients are taken care of properly and in the most professional way. It is a paramount feature for field service technicians to have instant access to updated information.   

All of these and more are easily accessible today on a single platform to increase the level of efficiency, accelerate invoicing processes, improve services, and prolong customer lifetime value. Finding a contractor having property management software designed and developed to meet all of your needs can help you improve almost all of your business operations from monitoring payments to managing maintenance requests. All you need to do is make sure you work with a trustworthy company offering two important things—excellent quality services and an optimized field service management software—and you can start shifting your old-fashioned working patterns into a digitized, easy and fast management system.

The Ultimate Guide for Single Family Property Maintenance

If you manage a single-family property, you understand how important it is to be on top of any possible problems. It will have a significant impact on not only your property but also your investment, in case a pipe bursts or a house needs new roofing. Therefore, professional property maintenance is essential for sustaining the value and revenue of the property, regardless if you own a single-family house, condo, or even a big multi-family residence.

Paying enough attention to property maintenance will be easier and cheaper compared to paying for big repairs. Here is the ultimate guide for starting a single-family property maintenance process. However, it is also important to know where to seek a professional subcontractor to manage your project.

What is Property Maintenance?

The fundamental question before starting the process is understanding what property maintenance is. The total care and upkeep of a property or installation, any preventative or reactive maintenance effort taken to keep a residence operating in its perfect working order, is known as property maintenance.

Property upkeep entails a diverse set of tasks and requests. Taking care of tenant demands for upkeep, servicing and repairing HVAC systems, maintaining landscaping, providing pest control, and even cleaning and painting common areas are just a few examples. In addition, safety inspections are also an important part of basic property maintenance, as faulty equipment (such as alarm systems) or hazardous circumstances can be a huge liability.

Why is Property Preservation Crucial?

First of all, home maintenance is about how a home looks and how it works. Second, it provides significant long-term benefits, aside from the obvious benefit of taking care of the property you own. You can be more certain in the future if you specify the items on your list today. They can also assist in money-saving.

Each preventative maintenance work is intended to maintain the house’s full functionality and help you spot any problems early on. Plumbing difficulties, roof damage, and fires can all be avoided with a little time and work now and again. As a result, regular upkeep and maintenance, just like the car, is necessary to retain a high market value.

What Budget Should You Set Aside For Home Maintenance?

As the owner of the property, you need to understand the budget for the whole maintenance process. There are two allocation methods for home maintenance.

The first option is the 1% rule, according to that maintenance should be funded at least 1% of the home’s sales price. At the same time annual maintenance costs can vary depending on the type of the property: when it was built, the climate in which it is situated, the materials and finishes used, etc.

The second option is putting aside $1 per square foot of the house for annual repairs. This method is known as the square-footage rule. However, it seems a bit contradictory, as even if the residences are similar sized, maintenance expenses for a house with high-end finishes and appliances would be more than for a house with lower-end finishes and appliances.

Keep a close watch on your residence condition for planning the property maintenance budget. If you’re unsure what to do or what condition your home is in, or just do not have time to manage this, it’s never a bad idea to seek professional advice.

What does Property Maintenance Include?

There is a to-do list for both inside and outside of the house for single-family property maintenance. As property maintenance activities vary depending on the weather, we have compiled a list of seasonal actions for your single-family house. It’s vital to remember that each season has its own set of maintenance possibilities and hidden issues.

Fall Maintenance

Fall is a pivotal season for your properties. There’s a lot to do to prepare them for the colder months ahead.

Indoors

  • Replace batteries of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Every floor of your home, including the basement, should have a smoke radar.
  • Trim branches hanging over the roof as it can scratch the shingles protective covering on the outside because of the storm.
  • Replace single-pane windows with storm windows as it will save you up to $350 per year on energy expenses, according to EnergyStar.gov.

Outdoors

  • First of all, inspect your forced-air heating system with a professional, then plan an inspection at the end of the summer or beginning of fall, before the start of the heating season
  • Examine the fireplace for any damage or risks, after that clean the flies. A fireplace cleaning log can help avoid chimney fires by removing debris that has accumulated along the chimney walls.

Winter Maintenance 

Winter weather’s effects on your estate can be severe. For instance, below-freezing weather can result in a variety of issues, such as roof damage and frozen pipes.

Indoors

  • Check the sump-pumps. Sump pumps remove water from your basement, crawlspaces, and around your foundation and carry it away from your house. It’s critical to inspect your sump pump twice a year.
  • Drain and winterize exterior plumbing and prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.

Outdoors

  • Own a portable generator, if you do not have one, now is a good time to get it. To clarify, generators can keep the house warm until the power provider is able to restore power.
  • Your front door should be weather-stripped. Weather stripping is a wonderful way to start to reduce heat loss around your door and save money on your energy bill.

Spring Maintenance 

Once the trees have started to blossom, it is important to get your house ready for spring. Therefore, here are general upkeep ideas in addition to your typical spring cleaning.

Indoors

  • Change the air filter in your air conditioner. Filter dirt and debris can restrict air passage, putting more strain on your cooling system. 
  • Polish wood furniture and dust light fixtures as furniture refinishing is an excellent technique to protect the hardwood surfaces in home from scratches while also shining them.

Outdoors

  • Remove the lint from the dryer vent with a vacuum, since it’s the best way to ensure that the air is clean inside the house
  • Cultivate your yard using fertilizer to assure healthy soil in order to plant nutritious crops

Summer Maintenance 

In order to get the hard labor out of the way at the beginning of the season, use our simple summer home maintenance advice. Even if it’s already hot outside don’t worry, the majority of these jobs can be completed in a building.

Indoors

  • Oil garage chain and door opener, since the hinges are where you will need to oil the door because they are the reason for a squeaky or creaky door. You might be able to lubricate a squeaky hinge without having to take anything apart to fix it. The hinge pin may need to be removed on occasion.
  • Make sure that you have cleaned the kitchen exhaust fan filter. Grease and filth can easily block the fan filters, resulting in foul odors and fires.

Outdoors

  • Trees and shrubs should be pruned. ​​Pruning shrubs and trees promotes the formation of flowers, fruit, and new foliage by removing dead or diseased stems and branches and encouraging the growth of flowers, fruit, and new foliage.
  • Prevent and reduce bug breeding grounds; start by locating potential water retention areas and eliminating them.

Why Should You Hire a Property Maintenance Company?

A small investment in maintenance and care can save money on future major repair costs. The main objective of property maintenance is to keep or increase the value of your real estate. As long as you choose to invest in a property maintenance company, you will avoid the unaccepted maintenance concerns such as sizable repairs, moreover, you will have a chance to maintain property value and improve the safety of your estate.

To conclude, experience counts when it comes to looking for property maintenance trusted services. Hence, understanding the service you require and locating a qualified contractor to assist you in completing your project are two of the most critical aspects.

Complete Guide for Debris Removal and Decluttering

One can consider decluttering a home during the renovation, moving to a new house, relocating office space, or just for annual maintenance. Generally, the biggest obstacle during this process is getting rid of the things you will not need in the future. Therefore, debris removal is one of the essential parts of the decluttering process. 

Debris removal and decluttering can become challenging if you don’t understand the process. Despite the reason you are considering debris removal, there are several things you need to know before starting. However, it is crucial to know the time when you will need professional help for debris removal.

How Does Debris Removal Work?

The reasons for debris removal are simple: most households have several items at home that take additional space but are unnecessary. Nonetheless, many of them do not own a vehicle to help them get rid of those unnecessary items. On the other hand, some homeowners don’t have enough time to dedicate to this work.

One of the options to deal with the debris removal is applying to the regular garbage collecting companies. However, specialized companies are dealing with property preservation, including debris removal. Even though companies offer same-day service, the process can take up to weeks.

Generally, debris removal companies suggest two options for removing the junk from your property. The first option is dumpster rental when you fill the dumpster on your own, and the company will pick it up. That is an ideal choice if you are doing renovation at your house or office. The next option is truck hauling when the contractor’s workers carry out the whole process of debris removal.

Debris Removal Services

What Are The Types Of Debris?

Junk can be in different types, sizes, and shapes; however, there are generally several broad groups. That will determine the type of service you will need.

  1. Construction Debris

The first category of debris that you might have is construction debris. Based on the scope of your construction project, you may need to use different types of debris removal. Nevertheless, you should know that there may be additional precautions if you consider doing it yourself. 

In several areas of the US, the construction debris is being sorted and recycled, so you are allowed to leave it only in special landfill facilities. During construction, some common debris categories that you will have are metals, wood or lumber, roofing shingle, concrete, carpeting, sliding, etc. You may have debris that can be recycled, sold, or even reused after a small rehabilitation.

  1. Yard Debris

The next type of debris you may face while decluttering is yard debris. Even though this type is mostly organic, it is good to seek professional help from a contractor. When you hire a company for this job, they will care for your lawn waste and move it to corresponding facilities.

The process of composting the yard waste is fast and low cost. Some of the US states even require composting yard debris. In these states, there are special places where people are dropping their waste. Therefore, it is necessary to do research connected with the rules in your specific area.

Yard Debris Removal Services

  1. Vacant Property Debris Removal

Debris removal for vacant properties is sometimes uncertain as it depends on the general reason for the cleanout.

There is a requirement of having a legal eviction notice before removing the personal property from the vacant property in the scope of the eviction. However, most of the states do not have an explicit differentiation between personal property and debris. Therefore, it is important to seek legal counseling before starting the actual process.

  1. Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)

Finally, the last type of debris is hazardous waste, which is special as it requires different procedures for disposal. Additionally, you cannot get rid of that using any unsafe methods like burning or burying. 

This type of disposal is harmful, and in case of improper disposal, it can get into drinking water, pollute the air or cause harm to wildlife. To avoid issues like that, all states in the US are separating special areas for HHW disposal. Common types of hazardous waste are medications, car batteries, different liquids, light bulbs, explosives, paint, etc.

What Should You Consider While Choosing a Contractor?

There are different debris companies and different types of services offered by them. To find the correct type of service provider, you need to look for the companies that have experience and will provide you with the service you are looking for quickly and cost-effectively. It can be overwhelming finding a good contractor for the first time. Therefore, some points will help you in this process.

Debris Removal Contractor

Certificate of Insurance (COI)

The first thing that you should consider while hiring a contractor is having insurance. That will ensure that the company is insured from accidents or losses while completing the work. To check this, you can ask for the certificate of insurance (COI)

Scope of Services They Provide

One of the best questions to start from is “What type of debris can you remove?”

Several debris removal companies do not work with specific types like hazardous waste. Therefore, you should first learn if that company is the right choice for your needs to save your time.

General Approach of the Company 

Despite the differences in the mode of operations suggested by debris removal companies, the general approach is the same. In the first place, you will receive a quote from the contractor after submitting a quote request. After agreeing on the budget, you will have a contact person from the company and the full schedule of the work.

Offered Pricing Structure

It is one of the most crucial parts as it defines ahead whether you can afford that service or not. Additionally, based on the pricing, you can understand how professional the company is. Be sure to remember that you should not choose only by the low price, as it may be a sign of bad quality.


To sum up, the debris removal process can be smooth and cost-effective if you do proper research and check all details of the work before starting. One of the most important parts is understanding the service you need and finding a good contractor that will help you complete your work.

7 Steps for Winterizing Your Properties

Winter is full of festive bustle, and it can get easy to forget necessary property maintenance tasks during this period. Despite checking the systems in the property is a process that is required throughout the year, the real period for proper winterization starts from the middle to the end of November. If you take the most vital steps before winter, you can easily prevent most maintenance issues that may arise.
Regardless of the specific area of the country you live in, you cannot ignore the winterizing period. If you are just starting, United Field Services has prepared comprehensive information on the general steps for starting the winterization. Nonetheless, it is crucial to find an experienced contractor to guide you throughout the process.

What is property winterization?

 

No house owner, property manager, landlord, or tenant wants to have a burst pipe or broken heater during the winter. Therefore, to avoid such issues, one should start with a proper winterization. Winterization generally indicates preparing all systems of the property to withstand the severe effects of the winter period. Planning in advance will save the owner of the property time and money for the long-term period. 

Winterization can help prevent potential damages that can arise during the winter and turn into severe and costly ones. Especially in the cold areas of the country, vacant properties can be vulnerable to severe issues due to burst or frozen pipes. For protecting all plumbing fixtures in the house, the systems inside and outside of the property should be addressed.

Step 1: Clean out gutters

 

As the first step, it is important to clean out gutters to prevent ice dams. In case the water flow has issues, it can turn into a massive problem when there is a snowstorm. The most optimal time for cleaning gutters is when the trees around the house have just become bare. This is the best time, provided that leaves and other debris will likely fill the gutters but you won’t have to repeat the process a few weeks later.

This step is not particularly hard, but the process can be hazardous and require climbing and staying on the ladder. Therefore, for safety purposes, it can be a good idea to hire a professional for the gutter cleaning service.

 

winterize your home

Step 2: Protect the pipes

 

The next step is protecting the pipes against the severe winter by insulating them. It is crucial to remember that during the freezing weather, you should keep a stream of water running through the taps in order to prevent bursting.

By insulating hot water pipes, you can also possibly save on utility costs. This work is not hard, but it can be tedious and, depending on the circumstances, also dangerous. That is why you would better apply to a plumber for help.

Step 3: Inspect the leaks and cracks

 

Next and one of the most important steps during home winterization is inspecting the whole property inside and outside for possible leaks or cracks. 

You should seal and install strippings around doors, windows, air conditioning systems, and mail chutes. There are different ways to install strippings, and you should make sure that you have chosen the best way to seal the leak or crack in the property. 

home winterization checklist

Step 4: Focus on the chimney

 

The next part of your house to inspect while preparing for the winter is the fireplace and chimney, as the soot buildup can be dangerous. Therefore, you should remember to clean it thoroughly before you plan to start a fire. While you should also remember to check the chimney for any cracks that need to be sealed. 

Cleaning the chimney can be completed on your own; however, in order to keep away from fire hazards, that would be a good option to find a good contractor.

Step 5: Use a programmable thermostat

 

One of the good options to consider during winterization is adding a programmable thermostat. With that in place, you can easily customize the heat settings that will help save energy when you don’t need to use it. According to the US Department of Energy, every lowered degree on your thermostat can help you save 1% from the energy bill.

This can also be completed on your own; however, it would be good to have an electrician check that all connections are working properly.

winterize home

Step 6: Winterize your sprinkler system

 

The Sprinkler system is helping to keep the landscaping lush green and properly maintained; therefore, it is extremely important to remember accurately draining it while preparing for winter. 

If the system is not maintained as needed, the water left in it can freeze and cause serious issues. Especially if you are living in an area where the temperature drops below zero, you would want to make sure that everything is done properly. Even though you can shut down on yourself, you should hire a contractor who can help you understand everything is done correctly.

Step 7: Audit electrical and HVAC system

 

Plan to check your electrical systems if you are thinking of keeping the heater running. Even though auditing electrical and HVAC systems are important throughout the year, it is especially crucial to make sure everything is working well before winter. 

The most common and easiest way for the HVAC system winterization is simply changing the filter. HVAC specialists can check if your system is performing effectively and also change the filter if there is a necessity.

The more detailed you prepare for home winterization, the less you will be worried about wasted energy and possible damage. These few steps will help you coast through winter as a property owner and keep away from any possible stress throughout the way. It will also help you prepare for the years coming. And if you are not sure that you can complete it all by yourself, make sure to hire a well-experienced and skilled contractor.

 

Six Crucial Steps for Planning Landscaping Upgrades on a Budget

If you are planning to upgrade the curb appeal of the house, you might want to look for simple landscaping ideas on a budget in the first place. Apart from creating a good impression of the house, it will also boost the house value.

Here are six main steps that will help you start your landscaping project. It is important to mention that one of the most crucial steps is to understand if the work you undertake can be completed on your own or you would need professional help. If the work needs a , it is essential to find a professional and experienced team of lawn care service providers that will help you to navigate through the process. 

Step 1: Make the List of Current Inventory


It is better to create an inventory of what you already have available in your front and back yards as a first step. Before starting thinking of the new ideas for your landscaping, it is crucial to understand what you should get rid of that you currently have and what you can keep from available inventory.

Removing something from your yard will provide you with an additional space to fulfill your fresh ideas. It can even be surprising to find out how many unnecessary items are in your yards. While on the other hand, there might already be some items in the yards that will complete the overall look you want to achieve.

Step 2: Choose the Type of Landscaping


There are a few landscaping types based on the features that are installed in the yard. When it comes to choosing your lawn and landscaping, it is really pleasant to be unique in your choices. Here are the general landscaping types that you need to go through when you plan landscaping upgrades.

  • Hardscaping: This option makes the area look more interesting and practical. It generally includes patios, paths, decks, walls and fences, etc. The cost of hardscaping largely depends on the structure you choose to integrate. The good part is that the maintenance of this type of landscaping is really easy.

  • Softscaping: Hardscapes and softscapes usually go hand in hand and look nice when you add them together. This will help you complete a unique and appealing look for the front or back yard. Softscaping includes living elements like flower plants, trees, shrubs, bushes, and others. The cost of softscaping averages between 10 USD to 15 USD per square foot.

Choose the Type of Landscaping
  • Xeriscaping: This type of landscaping is used to reduce or eliminate the irrigation need and is especially beneficial for areas that have water supply shortage. This option continually gains high popularity throughout the world. Well installed landscaping typically ranges from 1.50 USD to 2.50 USD per square foot and can range even to 10 USD per square foot or even more.

  • Natural grass: There are generally two possible ways to get beautiful landscaping with natural grass, which are sods and seeds. This option is quite cheap to install and maintain, however it may seem boring and incomplete by only having natural grass.

Step 3: Set a Realistic Budget


After deciding on the general type of landscaping you are going to install, it is important to set up a budget. You may need to consult with a professional company to understand the budget needed for the work. Based on the landscaping type and the general scope of the project, the cost will range from 8,000 USD to 15,000 USD. The budget may also vary depending on the area you want to upgrade. 

Generally, the front yard is small in size and does not require different expensive features. Consequently, the budget for a front yard tends to be less expensive. The cost to landscape a front yard is between 4,000 USD and 6,000 USD. Similarly, just an ordinary backyard also will not cost too much and can be upgraded with a small budget. Landscaping a backyard costs between 8,000 USD and 10,000 USD. A fully equipped garden usually has more features and the planning requires professional support. The cost to landscape and create a garden averages 8,000 USD and 20,000 USD.

Step 4: Add Unique Features to the Landscape


One of the good ideas to brighten up your landscaping and be unique is adding some interesting and affordable elements. One of such elements can be a birdbath, especially if you want to have a water feature in your yard. There is a wide diversity of options that will complement the front yard and the cost will run between 30 USD and 50 USD.

Decorating the yard with some decoration charms can seem very simple, but will help you inexpensively boost your curb appeal. No matter what your budget, adding a nice wind chime, rain chain or garden stake to your front yard landscaping is always a good idea.

 Add Unique Features to the Landscape

Step 5: Landscape with Lighting


It is important to remember about the lighting of your front or back yard as well, which can cost cheap and, at the same time, improve the general picture. There are so many options for outdoor lights nowadays, including LED options, which will also not increase the electric bill. This will help you create a festive mood despite the weather outside. 

Using outdoor string lights will help you in the way of transforming your area. This will provide a beautiful option of dining outside under the beautiful string lights. This can cost between 15 USD and 50 USD. 

Step 6: Know When to Call Landscaping Professionals


It is also crucial to understand whether the project you have undertaken is a DIY project, or you need to apply to professionals. DIY projects sometimes can even lead to costly mistakes, which will result in a more expensive intervention. Many landscaping professionals market themselves as budget-friendly and are happy to help you not break the bank.

Call a landscaping professional if you’re interested in knowing all your options and possibly further design ideas. You may find that working with a professional landscaper makes your landscaping project stress-free and leaves you with a result you couldn’t have made yourself.

The Cost to Paint a House and Information Before Getting Started Q&A

Painting the house is one of the most entertaining parts of the renovation process. However, like other aspects of house renovation, this process also requires a significant amount of knowledge and research. And one of the most crucial things to know before starting renovation is how much it will cost to paint a house. Another important part to consider is getting a highly experienced team of experts who will execute everything professionally. Finally, it is time to think about what goes into painting and how much it costs to paint a house.

1. What Does the Price Include?

On average, painting a house costs around a couple of thousand dollars (2-8 USD per square foot). However, it can start anywhere from around 600 USD up to ten times more. Everything depends on the type of paint, the tools, and the work amount the contractor needs to complete.

First, the biggest part of the cost to paint a house is based on the type/quality of the material. There are cheap paints out there, however, that might not be the best solution. Cheap paint can cause issues like cracks, bumpy spots, fadedness, and other problems. On the other hand, the price of the paint can also depend on the color. This is because the price can vary per shade because of the pigmentation and the demand.

Material and tool cost constitutes the part where it can get very expensive or maybe less. Another segment comes from the tools and materials needed to complete the job. Having some of the instruments will deduct from the overall cost to paint a house. There is a list of objects:

Paint buckets: Most of the time, it is possible to get these when buying the paint. However, sometimes there is a need for extra buckets.

Paintbrushes and rollers: It is the most important category for painting the house. The regular and the rolling brushes are supposed to be high-quality to apply the product best.

Sprayers: Depending on the type and style, there may be a need for sprayers. Nonetheless, this step is okay to skip. 

Scrapers: It is vital to have this, to distribute the paint evenly. Sometimes scrapers aren’t only for applying the paint smoothly, but for removing the old one.

Clothing: This one is the cheapest out of all the materials; however, it is crucial to have this. Clothing pieces aren’t only for avoiding messes. They also help to protect other furniture.

Ladder: And of course, stairs are vital, to reach all the spots when painting the walls and the ceiling.

Finally, depending on whether the work is going to be done by the owner of the home or a hired professional, the cost to paint a house may vary. It is vital to know that even though painting sounds fun, it isn’t the easiest process. There goes a lot of experience and technique into making the paint sit smoothly, evenly, and nicely. Thus, the cost to paint a house also includes the job of the specialists. 

painting house

2. How much does it cost to paint the interior/exterior? 

The cost to paint a house is also based on the interior or the exterior. To paint the interior of the house is more affordable. The average prices are from 900 USD to a little less than 3000. Meanwhile, the exterior cost to paint a house is around 2000 USD up to 6 or sometimes even 7 thousand USD (1500-2000 square ft house). Thus, there are ways to find affordable solutions. However, the cost to paint a house from the outside is more expensive than the inside.

3. When to DIY or Hire a Professional?

As mentioned above, it will save money if the painting process doesn’t involve other workers. However, it is only common in the case of changing the interior of a room. It is much more complicated when it comes to the exterior of the house. The exterior walls are rougher and have a specific texture, which requires special techniques. In any case, it is great to have a consultation with specialists even if one chooses to paint by themselves.

There is a list of questions that can help understand whether the painter is reliable or not. Here are the main ones:

Can you provide a license? 

One of the most vital proofs to trust a specialist is their license. If the professional has a document; therefore, others trust him/her with some work. It also means that the person is experienced and can do the job correctly. 

How many painting jobs have you completed lately?

It may be even a better reason to trust a specialist than having a license. This method reveals the working experience naturally. Besides, it is an advantage; if the worker shows some of the projects he/she has completed. Thus, it will be possible to see for oneself whether the painter can achieve great results or not. 

Do you offer a warranty?  

Another advantage is when the painter provides years of guarantee. Therefore, if anything happens (cracks, damage, bumps, fadedness) they are obligated to fix the issues for free. It is a vital question to ask.

When to DIY or Hire a Professional?

4. What will painting the house change?

Painting the house is a great way to make it look fresh, new, and brighter. It seems like changing the color can change the way the furniture and the house structure look also. 

Since painting can change much in how the house looks, it can also increase the house price. That is a huge step even for the future. If the owner is planning to sell the house, the painting will raise the cost significantly. 

One of the best benefits of painting a house has is changing the design. There are endless possibilities. One is to have a bright color and make the house look abstract. Another option is to paint it in a vintage style (blue, yellow). Or decorate the home minimalistic with the help of minimal colors.    

Painting a house can also be a great trick into making the property look big in size. Light colors tend to make the walls wide and broad. Therefore, it allows us to see all the space in the house. 

5. What are the tips to save on the cost to paint a house?

Since this process may end up being expensive, there are tips to spend less. One of the first steps is to calculate the price before starting. This way, it is possible to avoid getting expensive materials.

A great tip is to borrow some of the tools and materials from friends or relatives. That way, the price will be deducted. Another fantastic way to save the cost to paint a house is to pick a neutral color. As mentioned above, those are the most affordable. And last but not least, it can save some money to do some of the jobs without the painters. For example, painting some of the interior walls/ceilings, the rooms, or the places that seem easy to paint will help a little.  There are plenty of details and information about painting the house and crucial elements to be aware of before the process. First and foremost, it is important to know the cost to paint a house: it is helpful to have an idea of how the price ranges. Depending on the interior/exterior, the paint type, material, and professionals’ work, the cost changes. Second, it is significant to know whom to trust and how to find experienced specialists.

5 Bathroom Renovations on Low Budget That are Life-Changing

One of the most important secrets to having a wonderful home is paying attention to the bathroom. It is vital to have a comfortable, clean, aesthetically pleasing, and functional one. Is there any bathroom remodel ideas on a budget? The answer is yes. Bathroom renovation is not the most affordable activity; however, there are secret ways to remodel beautifully and on a budget at the same time. Before starting to think about what to do, one should find a reliable team with renovation services.

Plenty of people think they may spend less money if they complete the bathroom renovation themselves. Even though it may be a great idea, the cost may get really high in this case. Thus, the process will become enjoyable if you find specialists who are professionals in bathroom remodeling.

1.  Change the Walls and Floors

The first step must be changing the base of the bathroom. In case of problems with the walls or the floor, this is the time to fix all those. For example, there may be cracks or damage, or the tiles have gotten old and need an update. In any case, this is the first step to beginning the bathroom renovation.

When it comes to walls, the price begins at 2.5 USD per square foot. One of the lowest budget options is ceramics. However, slates and granite do not vary significantly in price. The cost for those is within the range of 3-8 USD.

Now floor tile installation will cost a bit higher. The reason is that the ground tiles are thicker than the wall ones and need to protect them from water and heat damage. However, there are bathroom flooring ideas on a budget that is also secure. For example, ceramic tiles are affordable, but they do not protect well. Whereas porcelain ones are not only high resistance but also stylish. Their price ranges from three to ten USD per square foot. Experts recommend these during bathroom renovations.

Change Bathroom Fixtures

2.    Change Bathroom Fixtures/ Vanities

The next step is to make sure that the bathroom has a functional and high-quality sink, shower, toilet, and other features. The most important part of this step is to remember that the bathroom renovation needs to make it comfortable. Therefore, besides looking nice, you should think about how practical they are.

  • Countertop

One of the cheapest and easiest methods is to get a plain countertop and fancy it up with decorations. Some great bathroom decorating ideas on a budget are plants, jewelry boxes, soap containers, and other details. The most affordable countertop is granite. Its price is a minimum of 35 USD per square foot. However, if one wants a classic bathroom renovation, then it is possible with marble. This way it will be more expensive than granite, with around 5 USD higher cost per square foot.

  •  Replacing the Toilet

Toilets can get expensive based on their functionality and comfort. Some types change the seat, have extra cozy protection, high durability, and other benefits. However, low-cost toilets are around 100 USD. The best option would be to get a toilet in a neutral color (white). It will look simple and modern at the same time.

  • Replacing/ Installing a Bathtub or a Shower

Depending on whether you want to install a bathtub or shower, the price will differ. A bathtub is more affordable than a shower but less practical. Bathtub prices range from 800 USD up to 5,000 USD. Meanwhile, shower prices are from a couple thousand up to almost 10,000 USD. Besides, it is always possible to install a shower handle inside a bathtub. They cost from 150 to a couple of hundreds of dollars.

  • Sink

Another vital part of a bathroom renovation is installing a sink or repairing the old one if it has issues. Sinks always tend to clog and cause problems; it is crucial to fix those during a bathroom remodeling process. Sink prices begin from a couple of hundred dollars while repairing almost costs the same. Thus, sometimes it is more affordable and practical to replace it instead of fixing it.

  • Install a Shelf and add details

Installing a shelf or additional details is an optional decision. It isn’t a requirement to have a shelf in a bathroom. However, it is a great place to keep towels, hygiene products, and equipment. Additionally, shelves provide extra space for decorating, for example, plants can be a good idea as they are very affordable and pleasant at the same time. 

Another detail that is a must to add after renovation is towel hangers, which can cost 10 to 30 USD but can save space and make the bathroom tidy.

shelf in a bathroom

3.  Instead of Replacing – Repaint

Sometimes bathroom renovations can get expensive, which is why it is vital to save some money. Getting new vanities and necessary items is the right place to spend money. However, sometimes it is the most efficient to repaint instead of replacing. For example, if the bathroom already has a shelf, recoloring it could refresh the look. All white is always a great idea. Besides, it may not need more than repainting the walls.

4.  Mirrors are Important Accessories

As for decorations, there are small items that can improve the overall appearance at the same time, for instance, a mirror with a wooden frame or simply an all-glass one. It can give the bathroom a style and depending on the size, it can change the aesthetics/design. One of the options to add modern elements is decorating with something around it, like adding plants on the wall. 

 5.  Lighting Makes the Rest Look Amazing

All of the mentioned tips lead to one of the most significant bathroom renovations. You should keep in mind that bathroom lighting matters, so another great idea could be adding lights. LED lights are the most energy-efficient and affordable options to consider. These lights can be around the mirror, which is very useful. Lighting can also be in the shower with different shades.

Bathroom renovation can be costly, however, while following the general tips the cost can be reduced considerably.  There are more ideas one can do during a bathroom remodeling, however, it is vital to remember that you need to find an experienced contractor to complete everything professionally and make the process affordable.

Exterior Renovation Ideas That Will Increase Property Value

The very first part that everyone notices in the house and makes the first impression is the exterior of the house. Thus, houses with a good curb appeal will have higher prices and will stay less time on the market. However, there are plenty of visual tricks which can help considerably increase the property value. In this process, it is crucial to find a good contractor that will provide you with quality exterior renovation services.

What Kind of Exterior Renovations Add Property Value?

1. Renovating the doors can boost property value        

Since the first impression is vital, it is one of the best ways to start thinking about an exterior renovation. For a house, one of the elements that help to make the first impression is the door. Especially considering that it is the main part that people notice when entering the house. Thus, it is the main detail that catches the eye and attention first. 

The door itself, alongside the doorway and its surrounding, can transform the property completely. Besides the entrance door, the garage door as well can increase the property value. Hence, this is a great place to begin renovating.

Renovating the doors can boost property value

2. Changing exterior house colors is beneficial

One of the most effortless exterior renovation options is repainting the house. Often it can be quite affordable while increasing the property price significantly. Recoloring is a guaranteed way to boost house value according to the specialists. However, it is important to know that not every color will work in your favor. Professionals state that there should not be more than three colors on the exterior.

Some of the most common exterior house color options are black, white, pastel, or vibrant. For example, black and white can give off a classical and modern style. Pastel

colors can look aesthetically pleasing. It is hard to go wrong with such natural shades. While vibrant paint color can be exciting and gravitate people towards the house, it can also throw some people off. Therefore, it would be a better option to choose neutral colors to avoid losing potential buyers.

3. Exterior lighting can change the cost significantly

One of the crucial external renovation ideas is the lighting system. Exterior lighting can shift the entire look of the house and it will largely increase the price of the property. It is a powerful way to influence the first impression. The best part about this exterior renovation method is that it can be very affordable. Lights perfectly fit into a small budget but add a significant amount to the house price. Besides, exterior lights can improve the external appearance. For instance, exterior wall lights can enrich the house view and draw attention.

4. A great house renovation option can be exterior window shutters

One of the first benefits of window shutters is privacy, therefore this is a great security solution. Exterior window shutters can also protect from extreme sunlight and heat. Another great benefit this exterior component has is design. It is a fantastic option for arched windows. Shutters are a great way to show creativity. They can accentuate and add unique patterns to the house while adding to its value. 

exterior window shutters

5. Remodeling exterior wall panels can increase property costs

As mentioned, the house facade is a significant element when making an impression. Often creative exterior wall panels can make the house look expensive and high-end. Everyone pays attention to what the house walls look like on the outside. Hence, this gives a fascinating exterior home renovation design. There are plenty of wall panel types that can create a nice look for the property; brick, wooden, metal, or ceramic. The best part is that the wall panels can be even more captivating if they are in a different color. They can style the house with beautiful patterns and change it unrecognizably.

6. Think about adding some green space or other outdoor activities.

Having special places for different activities in the backyard is also a good option that will help you boost the property value. A swimming pool can be an enjoyable exterior attribute that will surely increase the overall price of the house. A lot of people prefer houses with pools. However, it is important to understand the possible return from such an investment, as the pool can cost higher than the budget for the renovation will be. Thus, you may consider more affordable options to boost house value. A chill area with sofas or bean bags can create a relaxing mood for the buyers. A place to ease down works as an effective attribute toward paying more.

How Much Does It Cost to Remodel a Home Exterior?

When it’s time to talk about price, everything depends on what type of renovation one is doing. For example, renovations such as repainting are affordable. However, when renovating or changing the doors of the entrance or a garage, it can get expensive. One can cost 1000 USD, and the price may go up to a couple of dozen thousand USD. Everything depends on the material, the design, and the size. 

But, there are different types of exterior renovation ideas. Exterior wall lights are the most inexpensive details but can add a lot to the property’s value. Meanwhile, window shutters may cost up to a few hundred USD depending on the type. There are waterproof, soundproof, or hardwood. 

th Cost to Remodel a Home Exterior?

How Long Does It Take to Renovate the Property Exterior?

On average, an exterior renovation can take from three months up to six months. The time length depends on the amount of work the specialists complete, considering the difficulties and complications. However, the process will not take more than half a year. It is important to remember that a few months can change the price of the house.

Is there an app for exterior house renovations?

There are plenty of applications that make the exterior renovation process easy. For example, many 3D apps help visualize how the house will change. All one has to do is fill in the house size information and make the changes. Applications are a helpful tool to understand what the result will be. Therefore, experts recommend using an app to have an idea of the renovation.

Overall, many exterior renovation projects can shift the house visually and increase the property value. These 6 are some of the main creative ones. They can create comfort and make the house look brand new. Though it is good to be aware of all these solutions. It is vital to have a professional exterior renovation service. After all, details change more than major reconstructions can. So, it is not necessary to spend a high amount of money to increase house prices.

7 Common Defects Home Inspectors Find and Tips for Negotiation

If you are looking to buy a home, it is vital to know if there are any major or even minor issues in the house. Therefore, applying for an inspection service will help you avoid confusion and make the purchasing process much faster. There are a few primary details to which home inspectors pay close attention. However, the most crucial part is finding a good home inspection contractor. After choosing experienced specialists, it is time to start the process.

Common Problems Found by Home Inspectors

1. Home inspectors look for structural problems. 

One of the most significant parts of a home inspection is the basis of the house. However, it should be highlighted that there are a number of structural components that fall under this category. It is generally the foundation of the house; walls, doors, windows, ceiling, and other similar elements. This shows how firm the home is; thus, it is vital to have a strong base before buying the property. 

Home inspectors will check all the materials the house has been built with and then make assumptions on how long it will last. They look for cracks, crooked doors, and issues with the groundwork. It is one of the categories that will be of high expense. However, it is the first part home inspectors will check.

Home inspectors look for structural problems

2. Electrical problems need a solution before selling/buying. 

Another huge defect found during a home inspection can be electrical issues. Damaged or exposed wires can be dangerous. Therefore, it is an important aspect to have electrical systems in good condition. Home inspectors check to make sure there is no danger in wires catching a fire. Also, it is vital to have a powerful electrical system to avoid short circuits in the future.

These types of issues can destroy the rest of the electronics in the house. Because of damages in electrical wires, anything plugged into the sockets may result in an energy spike. It can ruin TVs, fridges, ovens, microwaves, and other devices. Hence, they home inspectors this point very carefully.

3. Home inspectors check for leaks.

During a home inspection, it appears quite common finding leaking issues. Such issues mainly occur from the damage of pipelines in the house. Home inspectors check for the age and quality of the pipes. The reason for this issue can be imperfect plumbing, which can result in water flooding. 

There are two methods to fix this problem. First method is repairing the tubes and making them last for longer. Fixing the issues through plumbing will temporarily solve the problem, while it will cost less. Second, completely replacing the system is another approach to this problem, which in some cases might be the best solution, but will cost considerably higher.

Home inspectors check for leaks

4. Damaged water heaters need an immediate replacement.

Home inspectors pay close attention to this category to check for water heater damage. One of the main problems that can occur is the inability of the system to provide hot water. However, this isn’t the only issue that can happen. 

Water heater damage can cause moisture in the house, or it may even result in stains and some leakage. Hence, home inspectors recommend replacing the heater before buying the property to avoid future problems.

5. Home inspectors pay attention to roofing.

Here is one of the main home inspection issues that needs a close eye before buying the house. If the roof has cracks, splits, and damages, it may cause outflow from rain. It may not be able to protect the home from lightning strikes, floods, and other climate anomalies. The roof has to be reliable, firm, and long-lasting.

It is not a cheap part of the house. Therefore, the seller needs to take care of the roof expenses before selling the home. Thus, the buyer won’t have to worry about upcoming issues.

Home inspectors pay attention to roofing

6. Toxic mold problems need a fast solution.

An old house may result in asbestos and rotting issues, which need an immediate resolution. There may be ingrown plants on the roof, or the walls may have some moldiness.

Home inspectors usually check for this issue because it indicates the quality of the materials used for building the house and the roof. Also, it showcases the age of the property, which may deduct from the overall price of the home.

7. HVAC system issues are critical and need repair. 

Heating and cooling systems are one of the most common issues people deal with after home inspections. Since plenty of other equipment depends on HVAC systems, this becomes a real problem. Thus, this issue can cause other appliances to stop correctly working.

So, it is vital to either replace the HVAC system or perhaps repair it. Sometimes, problems like this can be solved in affordable ways. Therefore, it is always a good idea to call a specialist to take a look and maybe help you save some budget.   

HVAC system issues are critical and need repair

Do the sellers or buyers have to fix everything after the home inspection?

Usually, the sellers have to look to cover the significant problems with the property after home inspection; such as structural, electrical, plumbing, and other systematic issues. It is because these categories require a high budget and are mandatory elements for a house to have.

However, other issues like paint, furniture, design, and similar segments are on the buyer’s side to be fixed. They choose how to style and renew their house; therefore, these elements are not the sellers’ obligation to renovate.

What can you negotiate after the home inspection?

One of the most important tips to know after the home inspection is to ask for money instead of a repair. First of all, the buyer will choose what they prefer, and everything will be in their desire and taste. Secondly, the buyer may fix some of the issues in other ways and save a part of the budget. Therefore, there are plenty of benefits in this case.

Another good option is not to care much for cosmetic issues because there are methods to modify those in affordable ways. Also, these are the type of details that should be done by the buyer simply because the seller does not know the stylistic choices the purchaser is going to make.   

What can you negotiate after the home inspection?

Do sellers get a copy of the home inspection?

Most of the time, there is no need in providing the seller with a home inspection copy. It is because the buyer will be paying for the expenses of an inspection. However, the seller should get a request for a repair with all the costs after the home inspectors hand in the results.

What to do if the seller is not willing to negotiate after the inspection?

This one can become a real issue in case the house has severe defects. Remember to try to negotiate as much as possible. However, if it seems unrealistic, then make sure to walk away in case the problems are serious. For example, if it is an unsafe environment for a living. If the place has too many broken and damaged systems then, it is best to search for a better option.
Home inspectors can help find issues that aren’t visible on the outside, but that can cause real problems for the future. It is a crucial process that can change the price of the house and a lot of terms and conditions that were in an earlier agreement. Therefore, it is vital to find experienced experts when looking for home inspectors to get the most professional outlook of the house.