Great Home Projects to Start off 2021

American homeowners are expected to spend a staggering $340 Billion on renovations this year alone.

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In this article we’ll be discussing why you should jump on this bandwagon!

So, why should you? (jump on this bandwagon)

Simple! It can significantly increase the value of your home. Which, should you decide you want to sell your house down the line, is GREAT news for your wallet!

Indeed, when done correctly, you can get some outrageously-no-brainer returns on your investment. (We’ll be discussing some of these later in this article! Also, if you’re looking for something quick and easy and sure to be worth it for your wallet, read till the end!)  

And the best part about all of this?

The National Association of Home Builders says small-scale renovations are the most cost-effective and quickest way to add value to your home! Meaning you don’t have to splurge at all to see healthy returns!

Another angle home renovation bulges your wallet is via money SAVED. Whether you’re upgrading your floor or windows, the net effect is typically that your home will become more energy efficient.

This can save you a healthy chunk of change each month, allowing you to splurge a little more freely around the holidays without any guilt! Knowing you’re well within your limits!

Another reason why you should jump on this bandwagon and join your fellow American homeowners is (and don’t underestimate the importance of this, especially times being what they are!)

it’s fun!

Assuming it’s a DIY project, it’s a great opportunity for the whole family to bond. It will turn your house into a hectic hub of liveliness, laughter and excitement.

While no doubt providing new fun stories to share around the table. This is what happens when the whole family is engaged in a fun DIY project together.

It’s also a great parenting opportunity to teach your kids some of these very valuable life skills they will cherish their entire life. You don’t want to pass on this!

Oh, and there couldn’t be a better time than now to do it, since, for a lot of you us, we have more time at home than ever!

This (to me at least) sounds like a great trade-off in exchange for transforming your house into a truly elegant sanctuary that makes you smile every time you walk through it, rather than a place that makes you cringe!

Lastly (definitely not least!) is that renovating your home improves your quality of life!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think anyone opts for a DOWNGRADE when it comes to renovations, so undoubtedly, your life will become easier in some way!

Want to Be an Exquisite Host?

Excellent home décor, thanks to your new renovations, will go a long way in dazzling your special guests, setting the foundation to entertain them even better.

Granted, this option may not be available right now, courtesy of lockdown, however, it will… eventually!

Thus, making it a great opportunity to (eventually) wow your guests, amazing them at your home upgrade(s), showing them that you haven’t been playing around during lockdown!

OK – now that we’ve outlined the benefits, we’ll be sharing with you some ideas and insights on various home projects, so you can choose which one is right for you!

Ready? Good! keep reading!

Bathroom Remodel

    

For this one there are a few key questions to ask, such as which bathroom you’ll be remodelling? Will you be doing a full or a half-bath? What about the powder room?

If the bathroom in question is the master bedroom, will you be incorporating other elements too? Are you looking to completely start anew, or keep some elements of your current set-up?

Answering these questions allows you to know exactly what you want.

And the great part?

You can expect a healthy return of 70% on your investment! Meaning for every $1 you invest, $1.70 will be your return on the project!

Thus, making this one of the best ways to increase the value of your home! (For the purposes of ROI, there are even better ways we’ll discuss later!)

And for the icing on the cake…

A full renovation isn’t even necessary to receive these healthy returns. Even if you only have the time and budget to make small improvements, focusing on bathrooms is a very savvy move.

Kitchen:

     

The key questions outlined above that help you to know exactly what you want will apply here too… and to the rest of the renovations we’ll be discussing below! (of course, they’ll need to be adjusted to apply to kitchen and the corresponding projects…etc.)

So, Why Kitchen?

For a start, the ROI on kitchen upgrades ranges from 53% all the way to 77%! That means, for every $1 you invest in upgrading your kitchen, $1.77 will be your return on the project!

And the best part?

It’s the minor kitchen remodels that have the highest ROI when compared to their more extravagant counter-parts (pun intended)

If you intend to sell your home, for this project we recommend you don’t budget (and definitely don’t spend!) more than 20% of the home’s value. Otherwise, your profit margins will vanish into thin air.

The minimum we recommend is around 15% for this purpose. That means if the home is worth $250,000, the budget for the kitchen should be between $37,000 and $50,000. 

New Flooring for the Home

      

For these we recommend installing the same flooring throughout the kitchen, living room and dining room to create cohesion.

We also recommend choosing a colour that will stand the test of time by working with various color schemes and decors.

With this purpose in mind, a neutral, wide plank, hardwood floor with a scraped or brushed surface to anchor the décor and allow for easy maintenance and cleaning is a great choice!

We also recommend floors with zero added formaldehyde (there are great options out there that don’t break the bank), these not only provide cleaner and healthier air quality for your home, they also increase its value!

As for the expected return on investment, this one would be rude NOT to do!

The average ROI starts at 70% and can go up to an impressive 80%. ($1 invested = up to $1.80 returned when complete) With hardwood floors being known to boost the resale value of a home by a not too shabby 2.5%!

So it’s easy to see why this is such a popular choice!

New Garage Door

  

Ahh, another no-brainer!

The near-perfect return on this project (up to an impressive 98%!) is due to the improvement in both the home’s aesthetic appeal as well as it’s functionality. Features faulty doors pointedly lack!

These faulty doors (which are far too common!) not only do they put off potential buyers, but they can also allow floods into your house, effectively wave goodbye to your home’s energy efficiency (pilling up your bills!) AND you may as well advertise “burglars welcome!” for the effect this has on opportunistic stealers!

So, it stands to reason, a new garage door is a very smart choice. If you go for this one, we recommend getting a double-layer door with added insulation and a galvanized steel skin if you live in a region with extreme weather.

Although they cost a little more than average, just like anything of quality, it will be more than worth it down the road!

Landscaping 

   

This is an often-underrated investment, but did you know – grass, dirt, bushes and trees can account for around 10% of the price of your home?

So don’t sleep on this one… good landscape design can even add up to as high as 20% to your home’s value.

The best part is that these renovations can be fairly easy to do yourself and are relatively cheap too! For example, six applications of fertilizer and weed control cost roughly $330 while returning a bountiful $1,000 at sale! 

Smart Home

For the trendier approach, opt to upgrade your home to acquire the coveted status to not just be any home, but a smart one!

This is a growing trend amongst homeowners and it’s easy to see why. A smart home will introduce increased safety, style and convenience into your home.

So much so that, once you add some of these features, such as smart security systems (services we’re renowned for here at Cransten!)– you will never go back!

Smart Security increases in home value have been stated by some databases to be as much as 10-15%. We take a much more conservative approach and let customers know they can sell homes faster with a smart home and usually sell a home for $2-5 k more for having one.

For example…

Let’s say you walk into four houses in the same neighbourhood, and one has a smart thermostat and that you’ve been told it will save you 10 to 12 percent in heating and cooling each month, do you think that will stick out in your mind?

No doubt!

If you’re looking for something quick and easy, though – we’ve got you…

Quick and Easy Renovations…

Ever find yourself feeling blue?

Funnily enough, simply painting your interior a light shade of blue can wipe those blue away!

Confused? That’s what we were at first!

But it’s true, painting your interior that color can pocket you an extra $5,440! (If you decide to sell your home, that is)  At least that’s what a study from Zillow found!

Other easy renovations include windows and insulations. New windows freshen your home’s appearance and help save you anywhere from $25 to $450 a year in heating and cooling costs! Insulation can save you a lovely 15% each month too!

Thank you for reading! We hope you received something valuable from this article!

If you need help with any of these projects, Cransten can help you with all of these projects and any others we didn’t mention in this article – so do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation, we’ll be more than happy to help!

Should You Add Solar Power To Your Home?

The solar industry – predicted to becoming the dominant source of energy for Americans during the 2020’s – is growing at an incredible rate. It’s currently a $17 billion industry but is on track to reach $34 Billion by 2025!

This of course screams great news for homeowners (and their wallets!) as well as our lovely planet of course.

In this post we’ll be discussing the many benefits of installing solar panels for your home.

However, for those who have already taken the plunge, and are already experiencing many of these benefits, here are their top reasons for having taken the plunge.

  1. Save money on utility bills
  2. Help the environment
  3. Get solar investment tax credit
  4. Would be better for my own/family’s health

These reasons are all true, and we’ll be discussing some of them below…

Solar Power Reduces Your Energy Bills:

It’s true. For example, in California, new homes are now required to have solar panels, the state estimates this rule will help homeowners save around $19,000 over a 30-year period or just over $600 dollars, year on year. This number can go up to $30,000+ depending on which state you’re in and various other factors.

 

Solar Panels Significantly Boosts The Value Of Your Home

If you ever want to sell your home, having solar panels will be a shrewd investment.

According to a recent solar research by Zillow, after controlling for local market dynamics and the time of year the home was sold – they found solar panels can potentially increase the home’s value by 4.1% more than comparable homes with no solar panels. This translates to about $9,274 of additional income for the median-valued home in the U.S!

The benefits don’t stop there however, according to Zillow’s research, the value added by solar panels can go as high as 9.9% in some states – which can translate up to $32,281 of added value!

However, according to other independent research, the percentage of value added by solar panels can vary widely, ranging anywhere between 4% to as high as 20%

The bottom line is clear though, having solar power significantly increases the value of your home!

AND how about this for an icing on the cake, homes with solar panels have been proven to sell faster than those without!

 

It’s Worth the Cost!

There are plenty of government incentives that make solar panels affordable for homeowners throughout the country. A federal tax credit for solar projects has been in place since 2005 and is available to homeowners in some form in 2021 for residential projects. There are Federal and State Tax Incentives at 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021.

On top of this, many states offer tax rebates for people with solar panels in their homes which in effect subsidize a large portion of the cost to go solar. Since there is currently a goldrush of opportunity for those early(ish) adopters, many people are trying to take advantage of these programmes before government start reducing the incentives since more people will be signing on!

It’s Better For The Environment:

Carbon emissions are sky rocketing. The earth needs our help to eliminate the carbon footprint we make. Solar panels generate a much cleaner source of energy, which no longer damages the planet compared to fossil fuels. This goes a long way to helping our planet and can be our own little way to give back to the earth that has given us all so much. Having solar in your home allows can allow you to feel great about doing your part to save the environment and to leave a better world for your children!

 

Emergency Preparedness

We have seen many disasters around the world where countries and cities are without power for days and sometimes even months. By going solar, you’ll always have a way to have power for your home even when those around you do not!

 

It Grants You True Freedom:

As a homeowner, the biggest benefit is that you OWN your property, no one can kick you out or charge you anything. But the same cannot be said about the power you use.

You’re dependant energy companies to power everything you do in your home, since after all, what’s a home without power?

Since you can now own your very own power source, you no longer have to be dependent on the grid. So, why would you keep renting power forever? Owning your own power saves you a ton of money as illustrated below.

Over the course of your lifetime, renting your power means you’ll pay astronomically more when compared to the amount you’ll pay if you owned it. Owning your power means you’ll save so much more money over the long-term.

 

I hope by now we’ve convinced you that the future is solar, especially in America. Should you want to learn more about solar or how it can be integrated into your home, do not hesitate to give us a call! We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

Why Cransten?

We Make It Easy For You

For many customers, solar is a new and first-time thing. This can be a daunting process that can be complicated and time consuming. This is why for our customers; it is such a relief to have us take care of everything for them.

Here at Cransten, we pride ourselves in helping our customers make this transition super easy and smooth. We’ve helped hundreds of homeowners make a smooth transition to solar panels so we can definitely help you too.

Most companies in our industry will help you save on energy bills, which is great, but here at Cransten we go a step further, not only do we help you save, we also help you get rid of your energy bills all together so you can experience true freedom.

Just like we do for all of our customers, we will create a personalised and easy plan to save you money. Making sure our friendly experts guide you along the complicated path to ensure everything goes easily and smoothly.

 

We Use Premium Quality Only:

Only the highest quality products will do, all this to make sure you will have a great solar power production for years to come.

We know that quality delivers satisfied customers and as such, we only install systems we would be proud to install for our own family members. We are so confident about this, so all of our installations come with a 25-year product and a 10-year craftsmanship warrantee. All this means is, your investment will be secure by working with Cransten.

 

Whole Home Solution

Most companies have cookie cutter solutions for their customers. We customise each proposal to look at the entire home. There are many ways aside from solar that we can really help you to reduce your energy energy bills. We look at all the solutions possible and give recommendations based on what makes the most sense for each customer.

 

Excellent Financing Options Available

We have the best financing partners in the industry to help our customers have the best options at the lowest costs for solar. Our customers can purchase solar panels quickly, cheaply and with $0 out of pocket!

If you have questions, call us so we can set up a consultation to see how solar can work for your home!

Let us know if you have any questions. Feel free to check out our solar page for info too.

 

Thank you,

Cransten’s Best Practices for Maintaining Your Home

Cransten’s Best Practices for Maintaining Your Home

Maintaining your home is critical because not only does it feel great to have a clean, well-functioning home, it can save you thousands of dollars in bills in the long run. Because, as we all know, little problems become big problems if they’re not dealt with.

Additionally, should you decide to sell your home in the future, it will be well worth the effort of maintaining your home when you rack in those checks!

Besides, it’s fun to get the whole family to chip in, especially during these times. It’s a rewarding and bonding experience for the whole family.

An experience which is made easier (& better) if you know exactly what to do, and how to do it.

Our goal within this article, to make everything clear on how to keep your home at its pristine standard throughout the year.

So, get your pens at the ready, this is going to be comprehensive.

 

There is a lot of confusion on how much we ought to spend on our homes to make sure it’s always looking pristine clean.

A useful formula we’ve found is to simply put aside 2-4% of your home value each year. Then spend that on your most pressing projects as they arise.

That means if your home is valued at $300K, 2-4% of 300K is $6,000 to $12,000 – this is how much you should put aside each year. This works out to $500 – $1000 each month.

On the upside, it unlikely you’ll spend all of this each month, so, at the end of the year, you can use it to upgrade your home or just use it as an excellent saving tool!

Monthly Items:

  1. Inspect your fire extinguisher(s). 

We’ll assume at this point that you have one (many don’t!) This inspection is super easy, simply make sure access to it is easy & follow the extinguisher instructions for regular maintenance, which usually simply means checking the pressure gauge.

 

  1. Clean range-hood filters.

Your range-hood has an important job within your kitchen as it’s designed to remove odours, gas and excess steam that come with preparing a meal. Regular cleaning will ensure it continues doing this job at a high standard throughout the years.

 

  1. Unclog all your pipes

Do this every month or so. Grab yourself some sink & drain gel and pour it in all of your drainage pipes – bath tubs, sinks etc. They are all connected so one blockage can cause all the others to slow down. 

 

  1. Inspect smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

This takes less than two minutes and it can save your life! For most smoke detectors, you want to press and hold on the test button. You should hear a piercing sound. Hear a soft or faint sound, this means it is time to replace the batteries.

Seasonal Repairs:

Each season brings with it a whole new set of opportunities and challenges, understanding how these affect your home allows you to plan accordingly and take full advantage. Luckily, we’ve done this for you!

Spring:

Check the exterior drainage. 

Does rain water flow away from your house? If puddles stay around you home for more than 24 hours you have a problem. Don’t fret though, if water stays, or moves toward your foundation, there’s a few things you can do.

First, check your gutters. It could be a loose connection or a bad spout; or they may just be dirty and needing cleaning.

Second, you can create a gradient using some dirt; this has works very well and you can do it yourself.

Third, for pavement, you can have professionals come out and raise it, so it drains away from your home.

 

Clean out your gutters. 

They will have accumulated leaves from the fall and grime/sediment from the winter snows and a lot of rain too. They will be desperate for a cleaning. These can be done quite easily, you can even get an automatic gutter cleaner.

 

Inspect the exterior of your home. 

Make sure there isn’t any paint chipping, any siding damaged from winter or any holes in your bricks. Take a look all around your house and make repairs as necessary. Many forget this one but be sure to check your foundation for any cracks. A good silicone or caulk can fix a lot of these problems.

 

Repair/replace damaged window screens.

The last thing you want is bugs making their way in because you missed a hole in a window screen. And yes, while duct tape is a great fix, don’t leave it for long. It just looks bad. The jury has decided on this one.

 

Air conditioning preparation for summer.

Consider having it serviced. This one really depends on your individual home, and even which part of the country you live in. Some simply use window air units, others a big rooftop swamp cooler. Great thing about these is that they’re fairly easy to maintain if you know what you’re doing. This is also one of the services we provide should you ever prefer to have one of our professionals do it.

Central air is however more complicated, and we highly recommend you hire a professional for this. This will actually save you money and headaches down the road.

 

Clear dead plants/shrubs from the house.

I bet you weren’t expecting a gardening tip too!

Here it is anyway! If you didn’t trim trees or shrubs in the fall, do so now. Plants can weasel their way into cracks and holes on the exterior of your home, causing damage and shortened longevity. Nip that in the bud (pun intended) before it’s an issue. If you have decorative vines on the exterior, pay close attention.

Check trees for interference with electric lines. Have them professionally trimmed if necessary.

 

Inspect roofing

This is critical to notice the early signs for damage, leaks, etc. So they can get repaired as needed before it’s too late and you have to fork out 5 figures to get it fixed! We can help you deal with these issues, sooner or later, that one is up to you.

Summer

The sun is out to be enjoyed; this makes it a great time to take care of the exterior of your home.

Check grout

Mainly in bathrooms, kitchen, etc and repair as needed. This will prolong the life of your tiled surfaces and just looks better. Again, the jury has decided.

 

Clean and repair deck/patio as needed.

Generally, all that is needed is a good washing. A deck may also need re-staining. Be sure to check for any loose boards or posts and any of our professionals will be more than happy to repair as needed.

 

 Inspect plumbing for leaks

Clean out the aerators on faucets. Check for any small leaks around your faucets and toilets. If your water pressure out of your faucet is poor, the aerator is the likely culprit and it’s a quick fix for any of our professionals.

 

Get rid of the insect problem

Summer is when they come out, your home is their playground. You probably won’t have to look too hard to find this problem. Ants, spiders, moths, etc. are all common, and are fairly easy to take care of. Keep cobwebs clear, make sure all doors are tightly closed, etc.

 

Clean out your window wells of debris. 

Having a basement is synonymous with having window wells. All kinds of things can get down in there from leaves, to trash, to animals. Clean them out!

 

Clean dryer vent, and other exhaust vents to exterior of home.

Check that the exhaust is coming out while the dryer is running. It should smell of fresh laundry. If there isn’t much exhaust, there are likely to be blockages, check for these as well as you can. You may need the help of a professional with this one.

 

Clean the garage. 

Make this your summer ritual. Keeping it clean and tidy will extend its life.

Fall

Fall is the in-between season. You’re finishing up your summer home maintenance tasks as well as getting your home ready for winter. I don’t need to tell you what cold, snow, and rain can do a home, so you don’t want to your winter preparation lightly.

 

Flush hot water heater and remove sediment

This prolongs both the life of your heater and helps with efficiency as well, thus saving you some money.

 

Winterize air conditioning systems. 

Remove and store your window units. If you have central air, cover the outside unit with a tarp or plastic sheeting and secure with some cords.

Prepare heating system for winter. 

Check for any leaks in windows or doors; these can cost an arm and a leg. Not sure about you, but I’d like to keep mine! Make sure the heating vents are open and unblocked from furniture. Get your furnaces serviced/inspected at least every other year, preferably annually. Don’t forget about fireplaces if you have them.

Turn off and flush outdoor water faucets. 

Also, flush hoses and store them. Be sure to winterize your sprinkler systems as well.

Get chimney cleaned.

The jury is still out on whether this should be done in the spring or fall. Either way, just make sure it’s done once per year.

Test sump pump.

The last thing you want is to need your sump pump and only to find out it’s not working.

Check driveway/pavement for cracks.

Make sure to have re-sealed all of these before winter. Why? When water freezes, it expands in the cracks, causing more damage and costing you more money.

Purchase winter gear. 

It’s always good to have your sidewalk salt, good shovels, etc. ready for winter.

Winter

At last, it’s here! Winter is the time to go around the interior of your home and check for any little things you may have overlooked, or perhaps noticed and said, “I’ll get to that later.” Winter is that later.

If you have any interior honey-do projects, whether it be painting, building shelves, etc., now is a great time to tackle those as well. After all, who wants to be outside during this time?

 

Check and clear ice dams and icicles

De-icing cables that sit at the front of the roof is a great idea. Don’t let those icicles grow, ignore what the kids may want you to. They’re not only a danger to people standing beneath them, but they’re surprisingly heavy and can cause damage to your home. They also can cause water damage to your foundation when they melt!

 

Test your electricity to the extent that you can.

Always, always be extra careful when working with electricity. You can do a couple of things on your own, though. Check that all outlets work; if they don’t, you can get the help of any of our professionals.

 

Tighten everything

Make sure handles, knobs, racks, etc. are as tight as necessary to keep all that lovely warmth inside! Go through the house and inspect anything that could have a loose screw. If anything doesn’t work, replace!

 

Check for caulking

Mainly around showers and bathtubs; and repair as needed. Also be sure to remove showerheads and clean the sediment. This prolongs its life and helps with water pressure as well.

 

Deep clean and inspect the basement. 

Basements are notoriously overlooked, especially if they’re primarily just storage areas. Give them some much needed love. Make sure all the mould is cleared and ideally, it should be to a standard that you’d be happy to have your very special guest sleep there for the night.

 

 

 

 

Every 6 months

Or each time there is a time change, be sure to swap out smoke detector batteries as well as any carbon monoxide alarms.  Also check your water heater’s pressure relief valve and make sure its functioning as it should. This will prevent mineral and corrosion build-up, improve heater efficiency and will safeguards against leaks. All making sure you get to keep your arm and leg!

 

We hope you enjoyed this one, if you need any help implementing any of these strategies, don’t hesitate to contact us! We will be more than happy to help!