Benefits of Having a Property Maintenance Partner

Regardless of what type of property you manage, multi-family, commercial, or single-family, it requires massive effort and time to keep the property fresh and marketable. Consistently organized property maintenance is essential in order to prevent potential damages or fix the current ones and ensure the house is well-functioning and high in value.

In fact, many property managers find themselves in the time-consuming cycle of planning and managing maintenance in all of their properties, which includes handling responsibilities that slow down the entire property management process, such as finding reliable contractors, long background checks, active communication with all parties involved, and much more.

This is why it is generally recommended that property managers focus on partnering with a reliable company that can simplify the entire property maintenance and preservation process. This article will discuss all the benefits of having a property maintenance partner and what you should consider when searching for one. 

Now, before diving into all the benefits, let’s first understand what a property maintenance partner company is and what they generally do. When it comes to home maintenance, property managers have to ensure everything is organized effectively and by all regulations. A property maintenance partner company works as the point of contact between the property manager and the maintenance crews handling all the work. However, the responsibilities are much more than this. A partner company should have extensive knowledge and experience in the industry and simplify the day-to-day responsibilities of property managers, organize the entire process including finding the right contractors, doing background checks, making sure all equipment is available, making a home maintenance plan, and managing the entire process. Now, while this may seem too good to be true to some property managers, it is, in fact, and there are companies who specialize in this.

Teaming up with a partner company sounds promising but the ultimate question is, what’s in it for you? What are the benefits that truly make a difference and make it a partnership worth investing in? Here are the main benefits you should know about. 

1. Nationwide Coverage 

One of the most important benefits of having a partner company is the factor of getting access to their nationwide services. While handling a house or two may still be manageable, many property managers grow their client list and get in charge of multiple properties over time, including houses that are usually spread around the region and located in different areas. Now, what makes it unrealistic to handle by yourself is the fact that you need to constantly be on the go and be able to get to each location to be able to organize and manage the entire process. And getting your crews to travel to different locations is what makes it truly time-consuming and exhausting to organize. While this might still sound manageable in theory, it is incredibly difficult in action and takes up most of your time, keeping you away from handling other more important tasks. 

But the good news is that a reliable and experienced partner will provide you with nationwide services and find you the most experienced local contractors in each location who won’t need to travel and can get started immediately. Moreover, a local contractor is well-aware of local laws and regulations and will complete the job more efficiently. And in times of emergency maintenance, you can be confident the contractors will get there quickly and solve the issues immediately, increasing your tenant satisfaction as well, which eventually contributes to reduced tenant turnover. Thus, through nationwide coverage, your partner company will free you from all the chaos of moving staff around and working on multiple projects at once. 

2.  Knowledge of Laws and Regulations

While there are specific laws and regulations in each state, one of the most important things for property managers is ensuring that all the work is done in compliance with all the laws of the particular region, and the failure to follow the regulations can cause additional problems and implications. This is why teaming up with a partner company gives you the benefit of stepping down from this responsibility and letting the professional team manage it. The management team in the company keeps track of all the state and local laws and regulations, records any changes that happen and makes sure all the work is done in accordance with them. 

3. Tracking Licensing Requirements

Together with all laws and regulations, a good partner company will always be freshly up-to-date with all the changing licensing requirements in each region and make sure these requirements are followed properly by all contractors. Not only will this elevate the quality of work done, but it will also free you from the responsibility of keeping track of all licensing changes and make it easy to take on projects requiring specific licensing. 

4. Simplified Communication

Simplified communication is by far one of the most significant advantages of working with a maintenance partner company. One thing you should know is that your partner will become the middleman between you and your maintenance contractors and make the communication faster and more efficient. Communication with multiple crews can be ineffective and cause misunderstandings and further implications. However, teaming up with a professional partner will make this process smoother and much easier than before. You will now be able to make comments and custom requests, get quick updates, and communicate your requirements to the team who will make sure that all your requests are done in the best quality. 

5. Reliable Contractors

Finally, working with a partner company would not be beneficial without the factor of quality and excellence. Every property manager looks for high-quality services but not many are able to find this excellence in the current market with a variety of contractors with questionable experience. It is extremely important that the contractors have all the qualifications and licensing, know the regulations and laws before starting the project, and are time-efficient and good in what they do. And while this is the standard to go for, it is easy to get scammed by fake or inexperienced contractors. The important advantage of having a partner is that you can rest easy knowing that all of this is taken care of for you. Your partner company will do all the background checks and ensure quality, and reliability is provided, making it easier for you to focus on your day-to-day responsibilities without stressing out about all the details of maintenance. 

Working with property maintenance and preservation partner is a long-term investment that will not only simplify your workload significantly but also elevate your business and increase your profits in the long run. Your partner company will help you provide complete property maintenance and create an effective house maintenance schedule for each of your properties. While the contractor market is heavily saturated with questionable companies, one thing you can be sure of is that your reliable partner company will get you services of the highest quality, ensuring all qualifications and licensing requirements are met properly. Thus, some of the most important things you should consider when teaming up with a partner are, first of foremost, their experience and qualifications in the industry. Also, make sure to check their reviews and research their clients to be sure of their credibility. And finally, direct and open communication is the key to finding the perfect partner for you. Make sure you communicate your ideas and requirements properly, ask for a demo, and get answers to all your questions, and you can find the right partner that will help you elevate your business.

How to Create Home Maintenance Plans for Your Properties

Property management sounds like an excellent option to earn a large income, and many people get started in the industry focused on this objective only. But like anything else, property management is more than just a profit-generating field, as you need to put a lot of hard work and effort back into it and make sure you are committed fully to the business as a property manager. Having a clear idea of what to expect from a property management career will save you from getting overwhelmed by all the responsibilities and challenges coming with it on a day-to-day basis. In fact, many property managers complain about the massive workload they face and the lack of time to manage everything, from managing tenant screenings and lease agreements up to handling home maintenance plans and tenant complaints.   

Of all the responsibilities and tasks in property management, home maintenance is agreeably the most time-consuming one and can require big efforts, especially if you manage multiple properties at the same time. From regular routine maintenance tasks that can take up days and weeks to organize and manage up to unpredictable emergency maintenance calls, it all seems manageable until the moment arrives, and you need to organize everything on time to ensure your clients are satisfied. However, working closely with a variety of property managers, we have noticed that most of the complaints and unmanageable workloads come from common sources, the most crucial of which are working with unprofessional crews and not having good home maintenance plans for each property. In this article, we will focus on home maintenance plans and help you understand where to get started. 

Now, before diving into the how-to, it is important to understand what home maintenance plans are and how they benefit property managers. Home maintenance plan is a detailed and pre-planned schedule of all the maintenance activities required to keep the property in a sound and well-functioning condition. In addition to all maintenance activities, home maintenance plans also include a detailed list of all assets of the property, their location, how they are used, and other relevant information. 

Thus, creating a home maintenance plan is where you should start your property maintenance, and it is important if you want to achieve successful results. But why exactly start from a maintenance plan, and what makes it so important? In fact, there are many reasons. But to narrow down to the most important ones, first of all, a good maintenance plan will ensure the house is safe to be lived in and all areas of the property operate properly. The last thing you want as a property manager is to receive tenant complaints and emergency maintenance calls one after another, which usually happens when the overall preventive maintenance is not handled properly. This is why a well-designed maintenance plan will ensure the main problems in the house are addressed and lower the costs coming with emergency repairs and bigger renovation problems that arise from poor maintenance. 

Now, the question is, how to create home maintenance plans for your properties that will actually work and bring successful results? When it comes to planning maintenance activities and implementing them successfully, we always recommend working with reliable and experienced experts who know the market and can provide their insight in designing your custom maintenance plan. However, if you want to get started by yourself before hiring professionals, here are some tips that will help you create an effective maintenance plan.  

1. Start with annual planning. 

Ideally, a home maintenance plan will include an annual overview of all the maintenance activities required to keep the house in good condition. This is why it is recommended to start with a yearly overview and list all activities that need to be done each year. Include a schedule for each of these activities to be as precise as possible. 

2. Make a list for each season. 

Now that you’re done with the yearly overview, start breaking down the year to seasons and identify what needs to be done for each season. Start from spring and list all the maintenance activities that need to be done. If you are not sure about what to include in this section, we recommend researching online and finding reliable resources to guide you through the process. There are effective spring home maintenance guides available online that will help you plan the process. 

Some of the most important activities for spring include:

  • Cleaning the gutters
  • Repairing damaged shingles
  • Checking the house for mold
  • Repairing windows and doors
  • Trimming bushes and trees

Just like spring, move to the summer activities and identify the most important things that need to be done during this season. Spring usually requires more effort and time in terms of maintenance since properties are usually damaged from the low temperature and storms of winter. However, if you do proper maintenance during spring, it will be much easier in summer. Once again, write down all the maintenance activities needed to be done in the summer and create a schedule for each of them to simplify the process. Consult with professionals or research online, if necessary. 

Summer maintenance may include: 

  • Painting the house or specific areas
  • Washing the outdoor space
  • Checking for any destructive insects
  • Maintaining the lawn

Once you’re done with spring and summer, move to the colder seasons and start planning for fall and winter, taking into account all activities to prepare the house for the colder months. There are many important factors to consider, and we recommend doing thorough research if you’re not sure what to include in your fall and winter schedules. One of the most important maintenance activities to include during this period is home winterization as it will ensure the house is well-prepared to endure the harsh climate of winter and not get damaged heavily. 

3. Plan all costs required.

Once you have successfully made a detailed plan to maintain the house, it is important to also plan all the costs associated with it to be well-prepared and avoid additional and unplanned expenses. This is why it is important to start planning all services you will need to implement your maintenance plan. If you already work with maintenance professionals, then we recommend you start planning the activities to determine the budget you will need. However, if you don’t have a reliable team to work with, it is important to at least find professionals that will guide you through the budgeting and help you identify how much money you will need to invest in the maintenance plan. This way you will be sure your maintenance plan is good to go. 

Once you’re done creating your home maintenance plan, it is important to consult and get professional insight on the overall plan before starting to work with it. Ideally, your home maintenance plan should be realistic, time-efficient, and effective enough to address all areas of the house requiring preventive maintenance. However, if you’re not sure whether your maintenance plan can be successful and ensure the longevity of the house, then start seeking professional help by outsourcing your home maintenance plan and all the activities associated with it. Many property managers choose to go with this option and ensure all the work is being done with the utmost quality and professionalism while they get more time to focus on other, less time-consuming tasks. 
Outsourcing all maintenance services has become the most optimal choice for most property managers, as it ensures high quality together with flexibility and less involvement from their side required to handle everything. When it comes to creating a successful and workable home maintenance plan, it is important to find a reliable and licensed partner company that will be in charge of the entire process, from creating a successful and detailed home maintenance plan to executing everything with high-quality and responsibility, providing all professionals and equipment needed and freeing you up from the organization, management, and insurance responsibilities.

9 Warning Signs of Bad Contractors and How to Deal With Them

A well-organized and effectively executed property maintenance is one of the key success factors for any commercially successful property, especially if you are in charge of single-family homes that require consistent maintenance for functionality and an elevated curb appeal. However, while there are many aspects to maintenance and preservation, most of the tasks included are extremely time-consuming and require constant involvement to manage everything effectively and right on time.

All in all, prioritizing property maintenance and preservation will only be a long-term investment into your own business and elevate your single-family property significantly. However, when it comes to maintenance, not only is consistency an essential factor but also the quality of the work that’s being done which will either upgrade the house and grow your business or have the opposite effect if done unprofessionally.

This is why it is important to be alert and recognize poor quality and unprofessionalism before it’s too late and you have financial losses and further implications caused by working with bad contractors. 

Working in the real estate industry, many professionals now prefer outsourced maintenance over keeping in-house staff, and the reasons for this are many. First of all, outsourcing all the services provides the flexibility that many real estate brokers look for. Having multiple properties in different locations, outsourcing helps find contractors in each area who know all local laws and regulations and come to work with their own equipment, which is not only flexible but also more cost-efficient. Outsourcing also frees them from all the long recruitment procedures and organizational chaos, providing an effective system that gives them more free time to focus on their listings and rest easy knowing all the job is being handled professionally. This is why it is no wonder that outsourcing all maintenance services is getting more and more popular in real estate. 

Unfortunately, with all the advantages outsourcing offers, it also has a drawback that requires awareness and attention, which is hiring bad contractors and ending up with poor-quality services. While there are professional and licensed contractors out there ready to deliver excellent services, there are also the ones who are not qualified and can only complicate your business. This is why it is important to be alert when hiring contractors and recognize all the red flags of bad contractors so that you end up hiring only the best ones for your projects. Let’s go over the most important warning signs of bad contractors and how to deal with them. 

1. They avoid signing the contract/ offer a weak contract

The first thing to consider is the importance of a written contract before starting anything. The contract will protect both parties and ensure everything is done professionally. This is why avoiding a written contract or offering a weak one is the biggest warning sign that the contractor is unprofessional and should be avoided. 

2. They don’t provide references

One thing we know from our long experience is that a good contractor should have references from previous jobs. If they were professional and delivered good services in the past, then getting references should not be a problem at all. 

3. They have bad reviews or no reviews at all

Just like references, reviews are also important, and most professional and reliable contractors today have plenty of reviews available online. So, if the contractor has no reviews at all, then be more alert and try to find out as much as possible before hiring them. And while no reviews are suspicious, bad reviews should immediately signal to step back and not move further with the contractor. 

4. They offer extremely low prices

Working with contractors can be cost-efficient and affordable, however, extremely low prices are usually worth double-checking. Even if you’re looking for affordable options, going with the lowest bid is not a good idea, since cheap prices signal a lack of experience and license.  

5. Poor communication

Good communication is a key factor when it comes to professional contractors. Being open to communication and showing high responsiveness are essential, and if the contractor lacks these qualities and is taking too long to respond, then you should be more cautious. This is why it is much better to pay attention to their communication skills before signing any contracts with contractors. 

6. They don’t meet the deadlines

If you already work with a contractor but something feels off, then this point can also be a huge warning sign. Meeting all deadlines with the highest quality is the most important skill of a good contractor, and if your contractor fails to meet the deadlines or does incomplete jobs, then they are most likely not professional and reliable to work with. 

7. They don’t come with the necessary tools and equipment 

One of the advantages of working with contractors is that they come fully equipped with all the necessary tools for the project, and you can save a lot of time and effort by not having to run around and get the right equipment. If the contractor doesn’t come with the necessary tools, then this should be an immediate warning sign of unprofessionalism and bad quality. 

8. No license and/or insurance 

When it comes to property maintenance and preservation contractors, having proper licenses and insurance are essential to getting jobs in the industry. This is why all professional contractors have their licenses and insurance copies readily available to provide at any given time. That said, if the contractor avoids providing these documents, then this should be an instant sign to not move forward with them and look for a more reliable contractor. 

9. They ask for full payment 

If this is your first experience hiring a contractor, then one thing you should know is that down payments are common, and most contractors will ask for a specific amount to take care of all materials and prepare for the job. However, the appropriate amount to pay upfront usually ranges from 25% to 30% of the full payment. If the contractor asks for more or the full amount (which is even worse), then it can signal their inexperience and unreliability, so make sure you don’t get scammed. 

Thus, if you’re still in the process of hiring contractors for your maintenance projects, then these warning signs will help you along the process and ensure you get the most reliable contractors. Just keep all 9 points in mind and make sure the contractor you end up hiring has all the information and documentation prepared. However, if you already work with a contractor who has these warning signs, then you should take action immediately to not lose more money in the long run. In this case, firing the contractor is the most optimal decision, and you should go for it by providing them with all the reasons. Even if firing a contractor mid-job seems risky, it will do you more damage if you continue working with them. However, if there are certain points in the contract preventing you from firing them, make sure you consult with an attorney to find the right way to end all business with them. 

Having all these warning signs in mind will also help you identify the most reliable contractors who will provide not only the highest quality but also a good work ethic and responsibility. Some other important qualities of a good contractor are their responsiveness in communication, time-efficiency in meeting all deadlines and delivering complete maintenance and preservation services, and following all the local and state regulations properly. Remember that contractors should simplify your work and help you in your projects instead of causing additional stress and expenses. This is why reliability and experience are what you should prioritize when hiring contractors. 

3 Types of Decking & How to Choose the Right One    

If you’re planning to upgrade the outdoor space of your property, there are a couple of important things you should consider, and decks are definitely worth the investment. Whether you want to build a simple patio or a fancier terrace, it can be achieved easily once you know your specific needs and have a clear understanding of the different materials out there. In general, decking is an excellent addition to any house and can have many benefits. First, it will elevate the entire outdoor space around the property and help it look more appealing and well-maintained. This is especially important if you are a property manager working with multiple single-family homes, as making the houses commercially successful is a priority, and most decisions should be made around it. An enhanced curb appeal is a key factor in this process, as the exterior space of any house is an essential part of the entire property. And even if you have an impressive interior space with upgraded furniture, the first impression coming from the outdoor space always stays with potential buyers and is difficult to forget. 

This is why investing in your outdoor space is of great importance, and decks are an impressive addition to it. However, aside from its huge role in the exterior space of the property, decking is also extremely helpful to avoid the complexity of lawn care and maintenance. Even though a healthy lawn itself is a good addition to the outdoor area, it can be extremely time-consuming to maintain and requires a lot of effort too. This is why many people choose decking as a good option to avoid dealing with regular mowing, watering, and all the other lawn care practices. 

There are different materials of decking out there with all their peculiarities, and making a decision among all the available options can be overwhelming. However, narrowing down the huge list, there are three main decking options that most people choose from—softwood decking, hardwood decking, and composite decking. And before making a decision on your own, it is important to understand the difference between them, their specific advantages and disadvantages, and how each of these types works in general. 

1. Softwood Decking

Softwood decking is one of the most popular exterior decking options as it offers many advantages people look for. Softwood decking is made of fast-growing evergreen trees, such as pine or spruce. 

Advantages

  1. Softwood decking is the most affordable decking type. Being easily replaceable, it also offers flexibility in price which many people look for. This is why, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly but also a good-looking type of decking, then softwood can be the right option for you. 
  1. Softwood is eco-friendly. That’s right, being made out of fast-growing trees, softwood is a good option if you prioritize eco-friendliness. 
  1. Softwood is easy to work with. Plus, you can easily change colors.

Disadvantages

  1. Softwood is not as strong and long-lasting as other options because of its low density. This, however, doesn’t mean that softwood is not durable at all. If well-maintained, it can last up to 25 years. 
  1. Softwood requires higher maintenance for durability compared to other decking materials out there. 

Installation & Maintenance

One of the most important factors in working with softwood is that it should be pressure treated before installation. Pressure treatment will typically include anti-rot chemicals, thanks to which the life span of the softwood deck is extended, making it more likely to last longer. Aside from this, the overall installation of softwood decks is much easier as it is very simple and flexible to work with. Besides, not only does pressure treatment expand the deck’s life cycle but it also elevates the softwood’s look and makes it more appealing. 

However, with the necessity of pressure treatment comes also the need for proper maintenance. Even though easy to work with and affordable decking material, well-treated softwood requires regular maintenance in order to make it last longer. In general, softwood should be deep-cleaned and oiled at least twice a year. 

Decking board
2. Hardwood Decking

Hardwood decking is another widely popular decking material, coming from slow-growing trees, such as oak. However, unlike softwood, hardwood is structurally complex and not as accessible, which is why it is more expensive. While there are some drawbacks you should consider when working with hardwood, it also offers a number of benefits and has many superior qualities. 

Advantages

  1. The most important advantage of hardwood decking is its strength and durability. Considered to be the most long-lasting decking type, hardwood can serve up to 50 years if maintained properly. 
  1. Superior quality is another huge advantage of hardwood decking. While other decking materials can also have good quality, hardwood guarantees the highest quality for decking. 
  1. Hardwood also offers various design options, depending on specific tastes and preferences. 
  1. Hardwood is the safer option as it is resistant to fire, rotting, and splitting. 

Disadvantages

  1. The biggest disadvantage coming with hardwood decking is indeed its price. Because of its rareness, hardwood is the most expensive decking type, even though it is a great investment in the long run. 
  1. Having a complex structure and difficult to process, hardwood requires more time and effort for installation. 
  1. Maintenance is essential for hardwood decking. Regular maintenance is required if you want the deck to be in a good condition and serve you longer. However, compared to softwood, hardwood is much easier to maintain. 

Installation & Maitenance 

In general, hardwood is a slow-growing tree and can take longer to be ready for decking. It is also structurally complicated and difficult to process, which is why its installation requires more time. However, it is important to follow all regulations and work with professionals in the field to ensure the result is successful and of high quality. 

As for maintenance, it is important that your hardwood deck is maintained routinely and cleaned properly each time. However, it is not as complicated as it sounds. All you need for proper cleaning is soapy water, preferably warm, and a non-metallic bristle, and you’re good to go. 

3. Composite Decking

Of all the three decking types, composite decking is the newest one and is becoming more and more popular thanks to its many advantages. Composite decking is made out of plastic and wood, a modern mixture that results in an impressive-looking deck that offers advantages that wooden decks do not. 

Advantages

  1. Composite decking is a long-lasting option and can serve up to 50 years, making this a superior advantage to consider. 
  1. Another important advantage to know about is that composite decking is much easier to maintain than other decking types.  
  1. Composite decking is also the most mold-resistant decking type out of the three. 
  1. Another advantage of composite decking is that, unlike softwood and hardwood, it is waterproof. 
  1. Finally, composite decking offers two different forms–board or tile, making it more modern looking and preferred by many individuals. 

Disadvantages

  1. Price is one of the disadvantages of composite decking, as it can be quite expensive to get. However, even though it is more expensive than softwood, composite decking is cheaper than hardwood and can serve just as long, making it a good choice.  
  1. One thing you should consider carefully when choosing composite decking is its color, as it will be practically impossible to change the color later. 

Installation & Maintenance

When it comes to installing composite decking, it is important to follow all guidelines coming with it. Since it is partially made of plastic, it is important to consider the possibility of thermal expansion, which is why it is recommended to have professionals complete the job for better results. Experienced and skillful contractors know all the specifics of working with composite decking and can deliver fast and easy installation. 

As for the maintenance of composite decking, it is generally simple and easy and requires much less effort than softwood and hardwood decks. While cleaning your composite deck is always recommended, it does not require special treatment like decks made out of wood. 

All of these three decking types are different and unique in their own way, and a common question among our clients is, what is the best material for outdoor decking? To answer this question, it depends on your specific needs and preferences. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages that should be considered when choosing an exterior decking type. If you prioritize modern design and durability but are tight on budget, then composite decking might be the best option. However, there are also individuals who want an affordable solution but strongly prefer wooden decks, so softwood is the recommended choice in this case. This is why it is important to have a clear understanding of your needs and budget and consult with a qualified and highly-experienced partner company that can consider all your custom requests and deliver the most efficient and excellent solutions possible. At the end of the day, whichever of these 3 types of decking you choose, the most important thing is that you are confident in your crew, and you can rest easy and watch it all come together. 

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

Now that winter is finally over, it’s time to take action and bring your property back in shape after the storms of the colder months. Whether there are issues caused by this winter or ones you simply neglected over the season, spring is the perfect time to start making improvements and freshen up the property to get it in a good condition before summer. Cleaning properties is a must, however, we suggest you make use of the current season and the warmer temperature to do more thorough spring maintenance for the sake of the property itself. This article will help you organize your property maintenance priorities and provide a practical spring home maintenance checklist you need to get started. 

Home maintenance is one of the most crucial parts of property management, as not only does it ensure the house is well taken care of, but it eliminates any potential issues and prevents bigger and longer-term problems that come up as a result of poor and irregular maintenance. Moreover, good maintenance enhances the curb appeal of the house and makes it not only more presentable but better functioning and safe, which immediately increases its value in the market. This is why it is important to always be aware of the condition your properties are in, make sure everything is well maintained and no details are neglected or put off for later. Whether there is a plumbing issue, HVAC problem, or something else, make sure you are responsive to the situation and address the issue immediately. However, as common as such unexpected problems are, the potential of emergency breakdowns can be minimized by implementing effective routine maintenance that can be performed with different timescales, the most common of which is seasonal maintenance. Seasonal home maintenance is based on the four seasons and is implemented four times a year consequently. Whether you manage a small house or multiple single-family homes, preparing the house for each season will benefit you in a long run. 

Now that winter is over and the warmer months are close, it is the right time to start implementing detailed and high-quality spring maintenance. And if it’s something you’re going for, then we have the ultimate spring home maintenance checklist to help you better orientate and organize the whole process to ensure all important details are addressed. 

 Exterior Space 

  1. Take care of the roof.

Inspect the roof and make sure it is in sound condition. The roof is the most important part of any house, and proper roof maintenance ensures the safety and soundness of the overall structure and preserves the interior space. Spring is the best time to inspect the roof of the house for any signs of shingle damage or leaks in order to address the issue on time. 

  1. Clean the gutters. 

First off, make sure the gutters are not damaged. Reattach any sagging parts or consider replacing them if the condition is not good. Caulk them to prevent leaks, and remove all debris from the gutters. 

  1. Take care of the lawn. 

Now that winter is over, it is time to invest in lawn care as it will spruce up the entire outdoor space and make it look more neat and appealing. For better results, contact a professional for lawn care services who will arrive with all the necessary materials and give a perfect finish to the whole lawn area.  

  1. Trim the trees and shrubs. 

Lawn care is important for the overall appearance of the house, but so are well-maintained trees and shrubs. Make sure all the trees and shrubs are properly trimmed so that they don’t cause damage to the roof, windows, or siding. 

  1. Inspect windows and doors.

Up next, make sure you inspect and spot any damages on the windows and doors. Whether there is rot caused by snow or they are simply already worn out, make sure you update the caulk or replace them, if necessary, to save more energy. 

  1. Inspect sprinkler system. 

Test run the sprinkler system to make sure it works properly and is not damaged by the snow. 

  1. Refresh the paint, if necessary.

After the long winter months with heavy snowstorms, it is also important to make sure the paint looks fresh. Look at the overall house as well as the windows and doors and reapply any damaged area for a fresh look. 

Interior Space

  1. Run a home safety check.

It is important to test the home safety features routinely to make sure they are working properly. Make sure batteries are changed in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and exhaust fans are operating properly. Pay attention to the fire extinguishers to make sure the needle is in the green zone. 

  1. Check the basement and attic.

Make sure the basement and attic are inspected properly to identify any moisture and signs of leaks. This can cause further complications in the house, which is why it is essential you solve any issue immediately. 

  1. Inspect the HVAC system.

Test the HVAC system and make sure the air filters are changed so that the system operates properly. 

  1. Check the water hoses of the washing machine.

Look for signs of cracks, and if you spot any, make sure it is fixed and well-functioning. 

  1. Check the dryer vent.

The same goes for the dryer vent. Check for lint buildup and make sure it’s cleaned. 

If you’ve taken care of all the points mentioned above, then your house is updated and ready for the warmer months of the year. However, if you’re still not sure where to start from and how to organize the process, consider hiring a professional maintenance crew who will take over the entire procedure and complete all necessary checks and repairs. Many property managers and real estate brokers, who have to handle all maintenance for multiple properties, choose to work with a subcontractor that will assist them in organizing all maintenance checks and inspections and make sure the houses are kept in excellent condition. The most important thing is to find a trusted partner in your subcontractor, a team of professionals who provide quick and effective solutions and simplify the workflow for you by providing high-quality maintenance services. And with the necessity of proper spring home maintenance, it is essential that you find a partner who can keep it organized and productive.

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.

11 Affordable Landscaping Ideas to Increase Property Value

Transforming the property with affordable landscaping is one of the major secrets to increasing house value. Landscaping itself sounds like a complicated task, however, the following steps will boost the property price largely. Especially, there are specific changes that can increase the overall value. United Field Services Inc. will provide a guaranteed guide for increasing property value with the help of landscaping ideas on a budget.

1. An affordable landscaping idea is building a fence

Having a fence can play a huge role in increasing property value, however, it greatly depends on its condition. There are different options that will not require a big budget but can significantly improve the property’s appearance. 

One of the cheapest types of fences is wooden ones. There are other benefits other than affordability; according to specialists wood is also environment friendly. There is always an option to color it, which will make it look more presentable. 

A fence can make an unforgettable first impression of the house. The main reason why fences are preferred by people is due to the privacy it secures. Therefore, this can provide you a really good result, without costing too much.

2. A landscape walkway is a game-changer

Something as simple as a walkway can arouse curiosity in people. It is another easy way to increase the property value. Additionally, you can build it with contrasting rocks (big and small) or red bricks. This method will result in a high-end look and create a natural atmosphere.

Giving special attention to the walkway can be both stylish and helpful for the visitors. They won’t have to walk on the grass or soil. Plus, this step will set high expectations for the property’s worth.

3. Nurturing & trimming the lawn is a low-maintenance landscaping option

Nurturing and trimming the lawn sounds like a small backyard landscaping idea, but simply being clean and neat is already a big step towards increasing the property value. Having freshly nice cut grass in the garden is the best way to gain somebody’s respect. 

Lawn care shows how much the owner cares about the property, which sets expectations for others as well. Thus, taking good care of the backyard is a small, yet very noticeable step. Experts have conducted a survey, based on which 63% of the respondents preferred to live in an area that has good green spaces.

affordable lawn care

4. Bushes/plants are easy & affordable

Another low-cost landscaping idea is cutting bushes and plants around the yard. Only a few details can boost property prices largely because small elements can elevate the overall look of the house. Consequently, this is a better option than changing big parts of the property.

Moreover, plants are very affordable. Therefore, it is a good option to place a few in the garden to make it look more organized. In this way, the house will have a fresh look and attract people’s attention.

5. Different Kinds of Trees for high house worth

Planting trees or other seeds is yet another simple landscaping idea, which is one of the best ways to increase the property value. It demonstrates diligence because taking care of the garden or having sowings is really hard work. People automatically will sympathize with the house if it is nicely nurtured.

However, you should first consider that the value of a specific type of tree depends on different variables. Based on the listed factors in the formula by the Council of Tree & Landscape Appraisers, you can estimate the value certain trees will bring to your house.

6. Mini statues/small fountains create a nice atmosphere

Adding mini statues or small fountains is by far one of the fastest steps for changing house worth. It is as easy as ordering a small affordable statue and placing it somewhere in the yard. This can transform the look and price of the house.

Some people don’t consider statues the best item to have in the yard, therefore, a more creative approach can be considered a small fountain. In reality, a tiny fountain can cost around 100 USD, but increase the property value up to 10 times. That is the main reason this step is highly recommended by many experts.

landscaping ideas on a budget

7. Lighting & decorations transform the house

A correctly planned lighting system and decorations are some of the most important factors considered while thinking of the property value. Research shows that paying enough attention to this aspect can increase the value by 20%.

Besides the overall visual appeal, this option is also very beneficial. Considering LED lights is an energy-efficient choice, which is an important factor to remember while purchasing a property. Therefore, the house will both look wonderful and leave others impressed. 

8. Affordable patio & deck flooring change everything

People also pay attention to what is beneath their feet. The comfort of the ground is an unspoken yet crucial element. Flooring can have some unique solutions. There are some affordable patio & deck floor options.

Besides, it’s a perfect fit for a backyard. Also, it can be designed in black and white stone flooring.  Meanwhile, a deck floor isn’t made specifically for yards, but it is a good option due to its supporting system. Both will increase property value remarkably.

9. Unique outdoor areas boost home price 

Adding a unique outdoor area is one of the most creative ways to increase the house value. People love spending some quality time outside, which is why this area is a very important element. In this case, there are different ideas you can realize that will work effectively:

  • For instance, an outdoor bar can make anyone want to live in that house. It doesn’t require a lot of expenses, but it surely will grow the house’s worth. All this area needs are high affordable chairs and a bar counter.

  • Another example can be an outdoor barbecue (BBQ) stand or a play area with table tennis. All are inexpensive and helpful ideas.

The point is to have a separate place for spending time outdoors. This is what people love the most, which is why this step is effective.

simple landscaping ideas

10. Color-oriented focal points attract visitors

A focal point is an area that can lead the visitor’s viewing point. Thus, according to professionals a pop of color on the wall or throughout the garden will grab attention and be a remarkable detail to remember. For instance, if you hang a vivid painting or another piece of art on the wall, it can interest people.

A balance between a classical look and some burst of color can be very complimentary to the eye. Therefore, this can increase the property’s worth due to its pleasant style.

11. Floral decorations help to transform the house

A floral wall is a very aesthetically pleasing element to have. It can dress up the house and make it look much more interesting than a plain, naked wall. Therefore, this will impress and fascinate people, which can impact the price of the house notably.

Flowers are a very affordable landscaping idea. It surely will make it look like there is more to it than just decorations. Besides, it will shift the standards of what a house should look like. Overall, there are different affordable options that will guarantee the best results in boosting the house’s worth. Do not hesitate, instead contact us, and we will give valuable advice and ideas that will be the most effective. We are here to help raise the property’s value with plenty of diverse solutions.

Lawn Care and Maintenance Guide For Beginners

Maintaining a lawn is not an easy task, especially for beginners. To help you with that we have the best lawn care tips from experts to help you get your best lawn ever. These lawn care basics will guide you on how to start and where to go from there.

1. The Lawn Care Starts From Soil

Soil Testing

First, learn about the qualities of your soil. Take soil samples from your garden to test soil for essential factors such as soil pH in a lab. Include samples for spots with problems. From the lab, you can receive specific recommendations for your lawn care plan. If there are any issues, fix according to lab recommendations. 

Soil Aeration

Air pockets of soil that enable nutrients and water to reach the roots of the grass, over time get reduced. To solve this, aerate the lawn. It will help the lawn to get nutrients and water it demands to grow strong all year long. Spring is a perfect time to organize aeration.

Fertilization

The soil test results will prescribe how much fertilizers your lawn needs (usually per 1,000 square feet), based on its organic matter, structure, and other factors. Also, consider the nutritional needs of the grass that you plant. It is recommended to fertilize the lawn in its growing season every 6 weeks. Feed the lawn with compost or manure. Choose organic options over chemical fertilizers. Consult with a specialist.

2. Grass Selection

There are extensive options for grass selection, that vary in their tolerance of ranges of soil pH, fertility, moisture, and temperatures. They may also be different in their resistance to stresses caused by different factors such as wear, mowing, and insects and diseases. Experts recommend selecting region-appropriate lawn grasses.
As a result, it will require less maintenance time and resources.

3. Watering The Lawn

Plan watering frequency and timing according to the grass type and water needs. In general, the water evaporates less in the morning, so watering in the morning is recommended by experts. If the lawn is newly seeded, water more to support its establishment process.

4. Mowing

Different Grasses have a different optimal height that you should consider planning to mow. When the grass reaches its optimal high start mowing the lawn. Mowing tall grasses will cause difficulties, shock roots, and dull the blades of the mower. When it reaches one-third or more of the suggested mowing height, cut it.

Lawn Care Tips for Each Season 

Care Tips For Spring

  • Don’t mow wet grass. It will increase the chance of spreading grass diseases.
  • Fertilize. In the spring apply fertilizer as your grass begins its most active growth.
  • Aerate in a day when the soil is damp but not soaked.
  • Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent weeds from taking root in the lawn.

Care Tips For Early Summer

  • Watch out for grubs. When using insecticides follow all label directions
  • In early summer grass is starting to grow fast, and there will be a need for cutting more than once a week. But mow 1/3 of the grass blade.
  • Weeds that are left after an herbicide application, remove with a garden fork.

Care Tips For Summer

  • Frequent sprinkles of water boost shallow root growth, so deep and infrequent watering is preferable.
  • Regularly clean up any leaves, branches, and debris.

Care Tips For Fall

  • During the fall season keep your lawn free of leaves and other debris.
  • Fertilize the lawn. The grass will store the nutrients in its roots in the dormant period in winter and use them for growth when springs come.

The lawn is considered one of the key important factors for the curb appeal of a property. Well maintained lawn can affect the property value and make it easier to sell. If you need help with lawn care services, contact us, and we will help to organize the lawn care process timely and smoothly

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