home improvement

Refresh Your Home Design For Entertaining

Your Seattle, Washington home inspection company, The Home Detective, is pleased to share with you tricks to instantly refresh your home design for entertaining
Summer is the ideal time to host events at home with family and friends. But is your home ready for summer soirees? The kitchen is the heart of the home and where people naturally congregate, so it’s important it showcases your signature style and reflects the relaxed feeling of the summer season. Nate Berkus, designer and artistic advisor for LG Studio, LG’s premium line of kitchen appliances, shares kitchen design and entertaining tips to create inspired spaces and host memorable events.
Summer In The Kitchen
Summertime is a great season to begin hosting friends and families, but you don’t need to completely redecorate your home every time you have company. It’s good to have several ideas on hand for your home that convey the upcoming season, notes Berkus. “Simple party themes, like hosting a burger bar outdoors for guests, or inviting everyone to bring in their favorite burger recipe, can be a great way to spice up your party and align it with the laid back feeling of summer.” Berkus also recommends decanting condiments into glass jars with fun labels. He notes, “This is a simple task that can make it easier to serve from, especially at outdoor parties or when hosting large groups. When you’re done, just snap the lid back on for a quick and effortless cleanup.”
Entertaining
We all dream about hosting a house full of people, but the stresses that come with entertaining can be daunting at times. Prepping early, especially in the kitchen, can cut the pressure and allow you to have some fun while hosting a party this summer. “It’s not enough for your guests to show up and have fun – you have to, too!” says Berkus. “Have all items for your meal prepped in advance, so that you can take time to sit, let the meal linger and the conversation flow. Tomorrow you can sleep in.” Berkus recommends stocking up on kitchen essentials in neutral colors, so they are appropriate for any occasion. Linen placemats can work for any party; just add brighter solid napkins and you’re ready for that summer barbecue.
The Well-Appointed Kitchen
“More than any other room in the house, the kitchen works best when it’s in order,” notes Berkus. “It should be intuitive. Having a large-capacity refrigerator with easily-adjustable shelving, like those offered in the LG Studio line, is a great way to keep track of everything you’ve got in there.” If it’s been a while since you’ve gone through your cabinets, take an afternoon to sort through your kitchen necessities while keeping flow in mind. Pots should be closest to the stove, cutting boards and knives in close vicinity to the sink, and baking ingredients all grouped in one pantry area. If you have counter space, use a tray or large board to keep the utensils you use every day at arms’ reach from the stove for easy access. To increase functionality and reduce clutter so your home is always party-ready, consider creating a kitchen work station. Berkus suggests taking advantage of a roll of butcher paper hung on the wall that can function as a place to write notes and reminders while still looking elegant. “The kitchen often becomes the crossroads of the home, a space you pass through a hundred times,” says Berkus. “To keep the piles and stacking to a minimum, I like incorporating trays or baskets on top of a rolling cart, which functions as the command center of the kitchen. It becomes the perfect place for my keys and sunglasses to land at the end of the day, as well as a place to organize mail and accessories for each member of the family.”
Technology
As our world continues to become more centered on technology, people are wondering whether or not it has a place in the kitchen. The kitchen of today not only needs to be seamlessly designed, but also needs to be wired to meet all your technology demands. Berkus recommends incorporating several places to plug in within your kitchen. “If you’ve got a family, then it can escalate to a full on war when there’s limited plugs or USB ports in the wall. Consider a plug that allows for more than one device, or a charge pad that you can toss your device on and it does the rest.” If appliances are outdated and lack the functions you need, an upgrade can help make everyday tasks easier. The LG Studio line adds a high-end aesthetic to any kitchen, with a timeless design and technological innovations that become the centerpiece in creating your signature kitchen. The Door-in-Door Refrigerator allows easy access to the outer compartment without opening the entire refrigerator door, allowing less cool air to escape to help keep your food fresher. The LG Studio Double Wall Oven has 100 recipes included in its built-in gourmet recipe bank to make cooking for family and guests simpler. Be sure to visit LGStudioKitchen.com for other tips from Berkus and, through July 31, the chance to win a complete kitchen renovation led by Berkus and outfitted with a suite of LG Studio appliances.

Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The HomeDetective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

You can view last weeks post here.
You can view last weeks post here.

Home Improvement For National Curb Appeal Month

Your Seattle, Washington home inspection company, The Home Detective, is pleased to share with you projects you can do at home to celebrate National Curb Appeal Month.

Can the look and condition of your roof affect the resale value and curb appeal of your home? What about your window frames, entry door or shutters? The answer is absolutely.
During National Curb Appeal Month in August, building product companies are urging homeowners to focus on improving their home’s exterior. Investing in key products now can make your home more marketable in the future.      
Sixty-one percent of homeowners say that when house hunting or designing their home, the most attention-grabbing exterior feature was the style of the home, followed by how the house looked on the property (43 percent), according to the 2011 DaVinci Roofscapes’ Homeowners Exterior Preferences Study conducted by Harris Interactive.
And, when it comes to adding curb appeal to a home, color counts. Fifty-nine percent of homeowners place a lot of emphasis on the role that color plays when they think about replacing major exterior home features.
“To enhance curb appeal it’s all about creating top down color by working from the roof down through the different elements of the exterior such as siding, windows, trim and doors,” says Kate Smith, president of Sensational Color. “For example, a colonial style home with a warm Autumn Blend polymer shake roof could be ideally matched with a home exterior in a neutral stone color.
“Then, add pops of color for curb appeal, such as chocolate brown vinyl window frames, like those available from Simonton Windows. Shutters and trim around the home could use the same deep brown color. A stand-out color like pine green or marine blue would then be added to the entry door to add personality to the exterior.”
Smith, who has authored the free online FRESH Home Exterior Colors and FRESH Color Schemes for Your Home Exterior guides, spends a good deal of her time advising homeowners, remodelers and builders on selecting the perfect colors for the exterior of the home.
“It’s important to remember that it all starts on the roof,” says Smith. “When you’re working top down with unlimited color options from a company like DaVinci Roofscapes, a homeowner has an open palette for designing the perfect home exterior.”
Smith recommends that other key factors to enhance curb appeal can be found by selecting products for the home that are easily painted and maintained. “For me, it’s all about adding color to easy-care products,” says Smith. “That’s one reason why I like Fypon decorative millwork pieces so much. These smooth polyurethane pieces come primed and ready to paint. We’re talking about shutters, louvers, door and window trim, balustrade systems and even brackets and mouldings to increase the exterior appeal of a home.
“And, of course, nothing pops with color like the front door. I recommend homeowners consider stylish and paintable fiberglass entry doors from Therma-Tru. This company invented fiberglass doors and they offer many options for adding warmth, color and elegance to the home exterior.”
Replacing worn out exterior home features is a smart investment for homeowners. Many products added to the home have a high return-on-investment at the time of a home sale according to the 2014 Cost Versus Value Study conducted by Remodeling magazine. Adding energy-efficient vinyl windows as a mid-range project to a home can have a cost recoup value of 78.7 percent, while the addition of vinyl siding can have 78.2 percent recoup rate.
The same study reports that the replacement of an entry door with a fiberglass door can result in 70.8 percent of the cost recouped, while a new roof on the home has a 67.6 percent cost recoup. The study What Today’s Home Buyers Really Want from the National Association of Home Builders reports that the three most-wanted outdoor features consumers desire for their home exteriors are lighting, a patio and a front porch.
National Curb Appeal Month was launched by Fypon. The free comprehensive and colorful online guides created by Smith are available for downloading at www.sensationalcolor.com/colorforyourhome.

Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

You can view last weeks post here.

Stylish Solutions To Keep Your Home Cool

Your Seattle, Washington inspection company, The Home Detective, is pleased to share with you smart, stylish solutions to keep your entire home cool – without disrupting home decor

Don’t sweat it if your home does not have central air-conditioning. Whether you live in an older house that can’t accommodate duct work, or you don’t want to sacrifice your interior aesthetics with an unattractive air conditioning unit, you can still keep your home feeling – and looking – cool this summer with advanced air conditioning technology.
Homeowners without central AC often choose to cool their home with air-conditioners that are clunky, inefficient and downright ugly. Fortunately, you can find higher quality, more attractive ways to cool your home.
“Homeowners today are seeking products that are not only high performing, but also visually appealing and fit in to the personality of their home,” says Patrick O’Toole, editorial director and publisher of Professional Remodeler magazine. “Installing an attractive air conditioner instead of an outdated unit is a simple change homeowners can make to keep themselves cool during the summer.”
There are a number of ideal alternatives to traditional HVAC systems that can be a perfect addition to your home this summer season. Below are some tips to keep your home cool all summer long:
DUCT-FREE AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS
Duct-free systems have traditionally cooled just one room of the house, and most models are not made with your home’s aesthetics in mind. For example, the unique, multi-zone LG Art Cool Gallery, which has both an indoor and outdoor component, resolves both concerns by allowing users to customize the unit with their own artwork, while also heating and cooling up to four separate areas in the home. The indoor unit hangs on the wall like a picture, and homeowners can insert their own artwork or photography into a frame that conceals the front of the unit, so they don’t have to stare at the bland, protruding box on the wall. This energy-efficient system is ENERGY STAR certified and is exceptionally easy to use with a remote control and auto operation modes.
CEILING FANS
Ceiling fans not only help cool a room on their own, but also are a great way to supplement the effectiveness of an existing AC unit by creating further air flow. While older versions are often cumbersome and unattractive, it’s now easy to find fans that are both effective, and can function as a beautiful addition to your decor.
BLINDS OR SHADES
Blocking the hot sunrays from shining through your window with blinds or shades is a great way to maintain coolness. Room-darkening blinds, curtains or shades can deliver stylish looks and still shield rooms from the sun during the hottest parts of the day. Also, updating drapery with seasonal, light-colored fabrics throughout the house can help reflect heat better than dark ones, which tend to absorb light and heat.
ADJUST PILOT LIGHT ON GAS STOVES AND WATER HEATERS
Adjusting the pilot light on your gas stove and water heater can be a cost-effective solution, as they often produce excess heat that raises the indoor temperature. If you have a gas fireplace, turn off the pilot light during summer to lower temperatures and contribute to a reduction in your gas bill, which results in energy savings throughout the season.
CFL AND LED BULBS
Incandescent light bulbs turn the majority of the energy they consume into heat. Consider replacing traditional incandescent bulbs with cooler alternatives like CFLs or LEDs. These bulbs consume far less electricity, which could lower your utility bills, and turn most of that energy into light, rather than heat.
PLANT TREES
For a longer-term solution that is also environmentally friendly, plant shade trees around your house, such as Maple, Oak and Elm. They’ll help protect your home from the sun, create an aesthetically appealing landscape and contribute fresh oxygen to your outdoor environment.
From reducing the amount of sunlight that warms your house to installing the latest in duct-free AC units, simple tips like these can help you and your family stay cool this summer and save on your energy bills.

Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The HomeDetective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

You can view last weeks post here.

Converting An Attic Into Living Space

Your Seattle, Washington home inspection company, The Home Detective, is pleased to share with you three success tips for converting an attic into living space

Moving up – vacating your current, small home for a larger, roomier abode – was the American way before the Great Recession. Now that the economy is humming again, at least some of the people who stayed put during those lean years will be looking to move into larger, nicer homes.  High demand and low inventory, however, may leave many with nowhere to go. Some will rediscover a time-honored space-gaining technique: attic conversion.
As home improvements go, converting an attic into usable living space has a high return on investment – about 84 percent at the time of resale, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. That’s if you use your unfinished attic to create a 15-by-15-foot bedroom and a modest 5-by-7-foot bathroom with shower. Create a larger, more luxurious and more elaborate space and the ROI could be even greater. If your family is bursting at the seams, the value of added space will be measured in comfort, convenience and peace of mind, rather than resale dollars.
As with any renovation project, achieving an attic conversion requires you to balance numerous factors, from budget and objective to space and architectural limitations. Some of your most-desired features – such as ample natural light or a full bathroom – may seem out of reach. They don’t have to be, though, if you rely on some time-tested techniques to maximize the space.
Lighting The Natural Way
Typically, attics aren’t built with a lot of windows, and adding them may be difficult if the ceiling is sloped. Yet natural light is a highly prized feature in virtually any room, especially if you’re converting your attic into a bedroom, family room or other public area. Traditional solutions include adding dormers, which can be costly and time-consuming. What’s more, windows and dormers can eat up wall space, which is often at a premium in attics.
Skylights or roof windows can be a better option in an attic space. They require less time and cost to install than dormers and can easily live on slanted ceilings. Choose Energy Star-qualified no-leak, solar-powered fresh-air skylights like those from VELUX America utilized in the O’More College of Design Alumni House, add solar-powered blinds, and you can achieve a light-filled attic room that is both beautiful and energy efficient. The cost of the products, including installation, are eligible for a 30-percent federal tax credit. And from now until August 15, there’s also a $200 cash rebate from VELUX on solar powered skylights. To learn more, visit www.whyskylights.com.
Roof windows, which are less expensive than dormers, are another cost-effective attic conversion option. VELUX offers both a top-hinged model and a double-sash balcony model that open at the top and bottom to create a roof balcony that admits much more light than a dormer while offering access to the outdoors. Roof windows offer maximum ventilation plus the added advantage of meeting building code requirements as points of emergency escape and egress.
Heating And Cooling
Attics are often the hottest or coldest room in the house, depending on the time of year and the quality of your home’s insulation. Creating a comfortable atmosphere in a converted attic requires expert planning.
You may need to increase insulation. Because insulation has such a significant impact on a home’s overall comfort and energy efficiency, it makes sense to invest in the best you can afford. Spray foam is often a good option for converted attics because it can go easily between existing joists and create a tight air barrier without losing the inches of space required for thick fiberglass batt insulation.
You’ll also need to consider how you will heat and cool the space. A heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system expert can help you determine the best approach.
Skylights and roof windows can also play an important role in your heating and cooling conversion plan due to the chimney effect they utilize to exhaust rising hot air from an attic space while providing abundant daylight and fresh air.
Plumbing Made Easier
Adding a bathroom anywhere in a home is usually a good investment. Bathroom additions return about 60 percent of your investment at the time of resale, according to the Cost vs. Value Report. Creating an attic bathroom can be simple – if pipes are already present – or challenging if no plumbing exists in the space.
One alternative to traditional plumbing is up-flush, which allows you to install sinks, toilets, showers and even bath tubs without engaging in major construction to accommodate traditional plumbing pipes. Up-flush plumbing cost less than traditional plumbing methods and is easier to fit into tight spaces – like the odd nooks that often occur in attics.
With planning and the right materials, it’s possible to convert an attic into a living space that makes your home even more livable for your family while you’re staying in place. Plus, it will enhance your home’s value down the road when you’re ready to move up.
 
Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

You can view last weeks post here.

No Hassle And Low Cost Home Decor

Your Seattle, Washington home inspection company, The Home Detective, is pleased to share with you custom home decor that is without the hassle and high costs
Conventional wisdom holds that in order to achieve a custom look in your home decor you either have to spend a bundle hiring professionals, or invest countless hours of hard work doing it yourself. In the Internet age, however, it’s easier than ever to achieve the look of custom home decor without the expense or hassle of traditional methods. That’s because you can buy virtually anything online these days, from custom wall art to made-to-order slip covers. And while for some items you’ll pay a bit more than you would in the local department store, online resources can provide you with virtually limitless ways to achieve exactly the look you want. Here are a handful of home decor staples that you can customize through online resources:
Wall Decor
While family photos are one of the easiest, cheapest ways to customize your wall art, sometimes a room cries out for an eye-catching canvas wrapped print. Home decor stores can yield some acceptable options, but for a bigger selection – and reasonable costs – head over to www.canvasyourway.com. The same folks who pioneered the concept of custom wallpaper murals now offer millions of image options online that you can customize in several different sizes. Perhaps you need a cityscape to add just the right touch of sophistication to a living room and haven’t been able to find it in local stores. Canvas Your Way has hundreds to choose from or you can make a custom canvas print by uploading your own image. With so many options, it’s possible to find exactly what you’re looking for at a reasonable price – without the worry that you’ll ever see a similar piece in someone else’s home.
Lighting
Drive down any subdivision in the U.S., glance in entryway windows and you’ll likely see the same light fixtures repeated over and over again. Builders standardize home lighting and many homeowners simply never bother to change things. Or, if they do, they head over to the same home improvement store that everyone else uses, so changing a light fixture doesn’t really give them a unique look. A simple online search can yield thousands of options for customizing your home’s lighting design – from chandelier makers that allow you to specify the number, size and color of crystals to pendant lights in myriad colors, shapes and sizes.
Window Treatments
Blinds for one room, sheers for another and valances in a third – sure, you can get all those window treatments customized from local businesses, but how much time and money will it cost? Online merchants offer virtually the same level of customization for window treatments as you would find in a specialty shop, at competitive prices and with far less hassle than driving to a custom store, or having a sales person come to your home. All you need is a measuring tape and a vision, and you can find custom window treatments online to fit any home decor.
Slip Covers
From shabby couches that are still comfy to sturdy dining room chairs that just need a new look, covering existing furniture with custom slip covers is usually much cheaper than reupholstering or replacing furniture altogether. Again, it’s easy to find a host of online merchants that can customize slip covers to your specifications, including the exact size, color, pattern and fabric you desire. Easier than driving around looking at fabric samples, ordering custom slip covers online makes it simple to give much-loved, still useful furniture a whole new look and life. And most reputable online sellers will offer satisfaction guarantees, so you can be confident you’ll be happy with the look of custom slipcovers that you buy online. Customization doesn’t have to cost a lot of time and money. Some smart online searching can help you create exactly the home decor look you desire.

Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

How To Create Curb Appeal

Your Seattle, Washington home inspection company, The Home Detective, is pleased to share with you how to be the best on the block with curb appeal.
Spring is in the air, so it’s time to give your home an exterior makeover and add curb appeal. A few simple tricks can help boost your home’s profile, and ensure visitors get a good first impression when they arrive on your doorstep.
Make a statement with your front door
Your front door is one of the first things people notice about your home. Is your door drab, drafty or just plain past its prime? Make a bold statement and improve your home’s energy efficiency with a new Energy Star-qualified front door. Consider options with decorative glass accents and stunning sidelights to add more natural light while maintaining a sense of style and privacy.
“Pella entry doors feature stylish options in a variety of popular materials from wood to fiberglass and steel options, and the real beauty is in their performance,” says Kathy Krafka Harkema of Pella Windows and Doors. “When replacing your old front door, choose from one that accents your home’s style, with high-performance features that help keep out air and water, and low-maintenance convenience like durable prefinished options with coordinating trim.”
Accessorize with new hardware
Replace your front door hardware for a quick, easy facelift. Choose hardware finishes consistent with those of your home’s light fixtures, mailbox and house numbers to maintain a polished, cohesive look. You’ll be surprised what a difference new hardware on your front door can make in creating a positive look and feel.
Refresh exterior and trim colors
Now’s also time to add a new storm door to help keep out the elements, or to add a refreshing coat of paint on your existing exterior doors for a fresh look.
For a dramatic change, repaint your home’s exterior. You can also change trim color to refresh your home’s exterior impact. When updating trim, choose color schemes that match your home’s primary exterior color, or complement it with a fresh twist.
Accent with lighting
For night-time curb appeal and safety, add a row of exterior accent lighting to illuminate a walking path with ground-insert solar lights. Or consider solar spotlights to bring out landscaping or architectural focal points. Install new matching light fixtures outside your front door, garage door or patio door to create an inviting feel and provide well-lit doorways to greet you and visiting neighbors and guests.
Create points of interest with plants
Add pops of color by arranging potted plants around your front door, or on a porch or deck. Incorporate planters or container gardens of varied sizes, shapes and colors to add visual interest. Also, planting flowerbeds along driveways and walkways gives your home a softer, more inviting feel.
For more curb appeal inspiration, visit Pella Windows and Doors on Houzz, on Pinterest.com/pellawindows or to connect with a Pella representative to discuss your home improvement project visit Pella.com/News.
Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

5 Outdoor Living Trends That Enhances Your Deck

Your Seattle, Washington home inspection company, The Home Detective, is pleased to share with you 5 outdoor living trends that can turn your deck into a beautiful oasis.
Warm weather means more time to spend outside enjoying gentle breezes and sunshine-filled days. Is your deck or patio ready for months of outdoor fun? If your outdoor space is a bit drab, there’s no need to fret. The year’s top trends in outdoor living will transform any deck in an instant and create a space that is truly an extension of the home.
“Homeowners are demanding expanded livable spaces and are looking for fresh ways to update their decks and patios for premium enjoyment,” says Madeleine MacRae, exterior market manager for Somfy Systems, maker of motors and controls for shades, screens and awnings. “The good news is that an existing space can easily be transformed into an outdoor oasis with minimal effort and financial investment.” MacRae offers top outdoor living trends that will instantly transform your deck into a beautiful, relaxing oasis:
Shade
Sunny days define the warm weather months, but outdoor spaces can quickly heat up and drive homeowners indoors to cool off. That’s why shade options are a necessity, with automatic awnings leading the trend. Somfy Motorized awnings not only create cooler, more comfortable outdoor spaces, but they can also be set to react to the environment with sensors customized to open and close the awning as wind and sun intensities shift. These modern high-tech awnings do more than enhance outdoor living; they improve indoor living by blocking the sun from coming inside the home, creating real energy savings by keeping AC units from kicking on in peak times. For more information, visit www.somfysystems.com.
Lighting
The American Society of Landscape Architects recently released the results of its 2014 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey, and lighting topped the list of in-demand outdoor living features. As the sun goes down, there’s no need to retreat indoors when your patio has the proper lighting. Solar lights are a popular option that again pair well with the sustainability theme – they charge during daylight and glow automatically at dusk. Strings of garden lights are another popular option, adding a subtle twinkle to outdoor spaces. Somfy’s motorized systems can connect to lighting, allowing you to adjust brightness for the ultimate evening ambiance.
Ambiance
Potted plants bring rich shades of green and other beautiful colors directly onto the deck or patio area to add unparalleled ambiance. A few strategically placed pots add a touch of serenity while tying together landscape themes. What’s hot for 2014? Sustainability and low-maintenance continue to be in high demand, making native plants a natural choice. When deciding which plants to use in your pots, ask your local garden center expert or call your local extension office to see what native plants will perform best in the region where you live.
Stylish outdoor furniture is a necessary element of designing a cozy, usable outdoor space with superb ambiance. Upholstered sofas and oversized accent pillows in a variety of colorful patterns are big this year. When furnishing your deck or patio, keep in mind the flow of traffic and embrace thoughtful arrangement of furniture to encourage conversation and comfort. In addition to couches and chairs, incorporating an eating area makes dining al fresco a joy any time of day. If you’re tight on space, seek multifunctional furniture that performs double duty, such as a couch that also serves as a storage space for blankets under the cushion. If you have liberal space, installed furniture is super trendy, such as a hanging swing or sofa.
Naturally aligning with homeowners’ desire to create functional space both indoors and out, the demand for outdoor kitchens is growing. Whether it’s a corner with a grill or a full kitchen with refrigerator, prep sink and all, incorporating a space on your deck for cooking food is a top trend. Whether you’re slow-grilling a turkey for an intimate family dinner or flipping burgers for a neighborhood cookout, outdoor kitchens will serve you well time and time again throughout the warm weather seasons, all while adding value to your overall home investment.
Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Seattle, Washington home inspection company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle, Washington Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save! Schedule Online by clicking here

Seattle Real Estate Market – Meeting Buyer’s Demands

Your Seattle, Washington home inspection company, The Home Detective, is happy to share with you how to meet the buyer’s demands in any real estate market.
With many real estate industry watchers predicting 2014 will be a seller’s market, you may think you won’t need to do much to sell your home this spring. Not so fast – while more buyers are likely to be competing for homes, that doesn’t mean they’re willing to settle for less than perfect. In fact, coming out of the real estate crash of a few years ago, buyers have learned the importance of getting the maximum value for their home investment.
While home prices are expected to rise in 2014, buyers continue to have high expectations. Homes that meet buyers’ lists of “must-haves” and “would-love-to-have” features will be positioned to sell more quickly and closer to – or above – list price, experts say. So what are homebuyers looking for in 2014?
Whole-home, beautiful energy efficient features
In the earliest days of the efficiency trend, many buyers would have settled for a house that reduced heating and cooling costs through good insulation, or cut electricity bills with energy-sipping appliances. Modern buyers, however, are interested in homes that take a holistic approach to energy efficiency. That means supplementing energy savings with more thoughtful features like daylighting and natural ventilation through energy-efficient skylights, using solar-powered water heaters, and employing intelligent controls for skylights, other lighting and heating/cooling systems.
Buyers want energy-efficient upgrades that also offer high aesthetic appeal in addition to functionality, making features like ENERGY STAR-qualified skylights particularly popular. In fact, 55 percent of homebuyers in a National Association of Home Builder’s survey said skylights are desirable or essential. Skylight manufacturer VELUX America notes that installing no-leak, solar-powered fresh air (venting) skylights not only enhances indoor air quality, but can boost energy efficiency, working in concert with windows. Add remote-controlled, solar-powered blinds and skylight energy performance ratings can improve as much as 45 percent. And solar powered skylights and blinds, as well as the installation costs, are eligible for a 30 percent Federal tax credit.
Smarter size and space
While buyers will always look to get the most bang for their buck, many are deciding that “bang” does not necessarily mean “bigger.” The great recession saw many families downsize into smaller homes – with more manageable mortgages. Even with the economy moving again, many homeowners have found they like the efficiency and utility of smaller, more purposeful spaces.
The functionality of a room is now as important as its size. Buyers will continue to embrace rooms that make the most of the space available, such as compact kitchens that maximize storage, smaller bathrooms that optimize lighting efficiency and privacy, while saving wall space through use of skylights, and open rooms that serve multiple purposes. To see how skylights would look in any room in your home, get a skylight planner app, take pictures in your home, and overlay skylights and blinds on the images with a few clicks.
Aging-in-place potential
As more baby boomers approach and enter their golden years, homebuyers are looking toward the future and seeking homes that offer the potential of allowing them to age in place. In demand are home features that not only look good now (such as an open floor plan or larger bathroom) but that can be easily adapted for older occupants who may face challenges with mobility, vision and other age-related issues.
A range of home features fit the bill, including ground-floor bedrooms, ample natural lighting to enhance vision, open floor plans that minimize obstacles to mobility, larger bathrooms that can easily be fitted with grab bars, kitchens with age-friendly features such as touch faucets, and smaller yards with lower maintenance requirements.
While higher demand and less inventory are likely to make 2014 a better year for sellers than buyers, if you’re selling your home, knowing what buyers are looking for can help ensure a faster, more rewarding sale – in any market.
Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Seattle, Washington home inspection company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

Wood Deck – One Of The Best Home Investments

Your Seattle home inspection company, The Home Detective, is happy to show you why a wood deck is one of the best investments a homeowner can make
As the seasons turn, more homeowners look for projects that not only make their homes more livable, but also offer great return on investment. With demand high across the country for outdoor spaces that bring the comforts of the indoors outside, there’s no surprise that decks are one of the top remodeling projects for 2014.
In fact, a residential wood deck addition has a recouped cost of 87.4 percent, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, the second highest ROI midrange project only behind an entry door replacement. That means adding a deck to your property will increase your livable space so you can enjoy the outdoors more, and you can rest easy knowing you’re boosting the value of your home investment.
If you think you’d like to add a wood deck to your home, you might wonder about the different material options. “Although composite and PVC decking have gained popularity in recent years, pressure-treated wood decking still carries the lion’s share of the market because it’s inexpensive, easy to work with and can be found at any lumberyard,” says Chris Fox, product manager at Universal Forest Products, a leading supplier of lumber and decking materials.
Today’s pressure-treated lumber comes with advancements that weren’t available to homeowners just a few years ago. For example, with more homeowners seeking eco-friendly building materials, wood suppliers are exploring environmentally preferred treatment methods. For example, ProWood’s micronized copper azole (MCA) treated lumber decking is eco-friendly, cost effective and easy to install.
MCA is a method for treating the wood (typically pine) using an EPA-registered waterborne wood preservative system to protect against termite attack and rot. MCA-treated lumber provides a light, natural look, unlike other pressurized wood treatments that result in the greenish hue with which most people are familiar.
You can leave MCA treated lumber in its natural state for a more organic appearance in your outdoor spaces, or you can choose ProWood Dura Color decking that is color-infused with pigment driven deep into the wood fibers. This process creates beautiful treated wood grain that will stand up to the elements for many years, with no need for staining.
“People like the natural look of redwood and cedar, but they don’t want the drawbacks that come with them, such as the high price and the fact that they quickly fade to gray,” says Fox. “ProWood Dura Color lumber not only looks like natural cedar or redwood, but the color lasts much longer and is backed by a two-year color assurance warranty”
When researching treated wood materials for outdoor home improvement projects, such as a deck addition, Fox suggests discussing the project with the local lumber dealer and to be sure to understand and check the end tag for:

The description of use (above ground or ground contact)
Warranty statement
The quality standards it meets
Third-party quality inspection (which assures product has passed retention and penetration tests).

To learn more about the MCA process and get ideas about outdoor home improvement projects, visit www.prowoodlumber.com. Research proves a wood deck is a sound investment, and now with new eco-friendly decking materials, homeowners have more options than ever when it comes to improving their home’s exterior spaces.
Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

Home Inspection Seattle Company Shares Garage Door Safety Tips

Your home inspection Seattle WA home inspection company, The Home Detective, shares garage door safety information.
The garage door’s role in the home has changed dramatically over the last 30 years and most people don’t realize it. Consider this: garage door openers have been installed in 35 million homes across the United States, making them one of the most widely used appliances. In fact, more than 70 percent of today’s homeowners use their attached garage as their main entrance to their home.
While the garage door is one of the most convenient aspects of your home, it is also the largest, heaviest moving object in your home. This means homeowners need to ensure it is working safely. Industry professionals estimate that one out of 15 garage door openers lack the latest safety features.
To combat this trend and increase knowledge about garage door safety, the professionals at LiftMaster – the number one manufacturer of professionally installed garage door openers in the world – have announced the “Don’t Chance It. Check It. Garage Safety initiative.”
Here are some safety tips you can follow to make sure your garage door is safe.
* Safety checks. In 1993, Congress passed legislation that required all new garage door openers sold in the U.S. to come with a set of photo-eyes. These sensors, located near the floor along the sides of the garage door opening, alert the system if anything crosses their path and stops the door from descending further. It’s easy to determine if your system is operating properly with a quick 3-Step Safety Check.
First, make sure the photo-eyes have been installed no higher than 6 inches above the garage floor.
Second, block one of the eyes with an object over 6 inches tall and try to close the door. The garage door should not close.
Third, lay an object at least 1.5 inches in height across the door’s path and press the button to close the door. The door should reverse upon sensing the object.
If your garage door opener fails these safety tests, it may be an ideal time to reach out to a LiftMaster Dealer.
“With every seasonal change, your garage remains a hub of activity – from parking your car to extra storage for the holiday decorations or sporting equipment. No matter the season, it is always the right time to instill good garage safety habits,” says Lou Manfredini, National Home Improvement Expert.- “Start with the door and work your way inside. Participate in LiftMaster’s Don’t Chance It. Check It. Safety Initiative to make sure your garage is in gear with everything from the door to the floor.”
Of Seattle home inspectors, Reid Guthrie guarantees the quality of the inspection you receive. http://www.thehomedetective.net/
* Keep your garage door in tip-top shape. Garage doors, much like cars and other machines, require maintenance in order to run their best. You can keep your garage door running safely and smoothly by making sure all the moving parts are clean and lubricated, especially hinges and rollers.
* Find the right balance. Ensuring your garage door is properly balanced will lead to safer use. To check the balance, close the door and pull the opener release mechanism, allowing you to maneuver the door by hand. A properly balanced door should lift with minimal effort and stay open 3 to 4 feet above the floor.
* Have a backup plan. Much like the rest of your home, your garage door can also be the victim of bad weather. Severe storms can cut power to your garage, making your garage door useless. A battery backup system available on LiftMaster garage door openers guarantees you another 40 successful up-down cycles.
Make garage safety a good habit as it continues to grow into one of the most integral aspects of the home. To learn more about the Don’t Chance It. Check It. Safety initiative and how you can keep your garage door opener running safely, visit www.liftmaster.com/garagesafety or contact your local LiftMaster Dealer.
Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!
The home inspection Seattle you are looking for, where you are helped to find the best money for your home, is with Reid Guthrie at The Home Detective.