Peoria real estate
A bathroom remodel can add value to your Peoria home, but it also has the potential to be a huge headache. Why? There are many opportunities for missteps.

“Bathrooms are often the hardest spaces to remodel effectively, because they require some expertise, and often play second fiddle to other key areas like living rooms and bedrooms,” says John Linden, a Los Angeles–based interior and furniture designer.

1. Forgetting ventilation

While focusing on your sleek, new programmable shower, don’t forget about the bathroom’s less glamorous needs—like how fresh air will enter the room.

“The biggest mistake is underestimating the needed ventilation,” says Heather Carbone, a real estate agent in Boston. “The bathroom is the dampest room in the house and can be a breeding ground for mold.”

“The classic ‘bad bathroom remodel’ story centers on a poorly ventilated bathroom,” Linden says.

In addition to mold, insufficient aeration could lead to mildew or persistent odors, he explains. So it’s important to include an exhaust fan in the plans and budget accordingly.

“Buying discount lighting, tile, and glass is not disastrous, but buying a discount fan is, so always pay for quality when it comes to your exhaust fan,” says Linden.

2. Taking out the bathtub

Unless you’re absolutely, positively sure that this is your forever home in Peoria, and you’ll never sell it, you should always include a bathtub or shower in the remodeling plans.

“The trend in bathroom renovation is ripping out the tubs and replacing them with walk-in showers, but keep in mind that this could potentially limit prospective tenants or home buyers,” says Howard Margolis, a real estate agent at Douglas Elliman Real Estate in New York.

3. Installing the tiling yourself

You want water to flow freely in your shower, sink, tub, and toilet—but you don’t want water seeping into your floor and walls. A subpar DIY tiling job could lead to major leakage.

“Some homeowners try to install a tile shower themselves or have an unqualified contractor do the job to save money,” says Nathan Outlaw, president at Onvico, a general contracting and design-build company in Thomasville, GA.

If installed incorrectly, Outlaw says the shower can start to leak and could cause problems, including structural damage.

4. Overlooking smart storage solutions

Storage and shelving are sometimes overlooked in favor of trendy design choices.

Alex Lavrenov of Warburg Realty in New York says lately people will opt for a mirror above the sink instead of a practical medicine cabinet.

“I see this all the time, and quite often buyers are turned off by the fact that the mirror takes up a lot of wall space and offers no additional storage,” he says.

A pedestal sink is another stylish option, but a vanity sink with cabinets will be better for keeping all your bathroom clutter hidden.

“The extra storage space provided by more countertop and cabinets with drawers will be more useful,” says Outlaw.

5. Gravitating toward marble flooring

Yes, marble is a luxurious choice for any surface in your home. But in the bathroom, it might not be the smartest choice for flooring. Aside from high costs, it’s cold, slippery, and tough to maintain.

“The porous nature of marble makes it highly susceptible to stains and damage from beauty products, especially when marble surfaces aren’t regularly sealed,” says Massimo Ballucchi, director of marketing for Cosentino.

He recommends more durable alternatives such as Silestone and Dekton.

“Manufacturing technology has advanced greatly in recent years, making it hard to tell the difference between natural stone and manmade materials that require zero maintenance and are highly stain-resistant,” he says.

6. Disregarding electrical outlets

Don’t forget to add enough electrical outlets to plug all those grooming tools in!

“It’s important for homeowners to have ample outlets in their bathroom to accommodate electric toothbrushes, hair dryers, electric razors, curling irons, night lights, and more,” says Bill Timmons at Legrand, a commercial and industrial equipment supplier in West Hartford, CT.

However, a big outlet with multiple sockets or a bulky power strip is not visually appealing, so Timmons recommends installing a pop-out outlet.

“It pops out of the wall in a cube with up to three outlets, and can be popped back in for a smooth surface,” he says.

7. Forgetting about door clearance

We’ve all seen online pics of disastrous bathroom renovation fails in which the door opens only partially, or it slams into the sink or the toilet. Avoid this major mistake by choosing a door that you are certain will fit the available space.

“For smaller bathrooms, consider choosing a design with sliding doors, round doors, or bifold doors that open inward to save space,” says Mike Shanahan of Glass Doctor in Austin, TX. “For larger bathrooms, consider either hinged doors or pivot doors.”

8. Not having a safety net

Failing to plan for any costly surprises is perhaps the biggest bathroom remodeling mistake of all.

“It isn’t uncommon to find water damage in a bathroom from something leaking or installed incorrectly,” Outlaw says. “Homeowners should make sure to have some wiggle room in their budgets for the unexpected.”

Peoria landscape
Many folks enjoy spending time outdoors in their own yards—provided they’re landscaped just right. And what people want in landscaping changes all the time. So what are the top landscaping trends of 2019? The National Association of Landscape Professionals, a trade organization with about a million members, provided its annual forecast of this year’s must-haves.

“What we’re seeing is people’s desire to make their outdoor living space an extension of their home. People are being very intentional with how they want to use their outdoor spaces,” says NALP spokeswoman Missy Henriksen. “It used to be people would put in the basics of outdoor decks or patios. Now people are looking more at how they will use their space. So perhaps the pergola they put in has shading so if they work outside they can see their laptops. We’re seeing more requests for charging stations.”

Two-in-one landscape design – Peoria

It’s not enough to just have a scenic backyard. Homeowners want it to be functional too. That means the things in that yard need to serve multiple purposes. For example, a vertical vegetable garden grown on a trellis can also serve as a privacy fence. Or a retaining wall can include built-in seating, good for conversing with friends or watching movies projected onto a screen. Folks are getting creative!

“We’re all very busy people,” says Henriksen. “Instead of people putting a new feature in their landscape, they expect it to be more than just pretty.”

Automation – Peoria

Forget waking up early on the weekends to tend to the garden. Homeowners these days are embracing new technologies that take away the humdrum tasks they dread—like mowing the lawn and watering the plants. So they’re investing in things like robotic lawn mowers, programmable irrigation systems, and lighting that turns off automatically. Set it and forget it!

Pergolas – Peoria

This isn’t your grandmother’s pergola. These overhead structures, which provide shade and a place to string lights and hang plants, are getting a 21st-century upgrade. This means enclosed versions with space heaters, state-of-the-art sound systems, and sophisticated, built-in lighting.

“People now design around them,” says Henriksen, adding things like outdoor kitchens, fire pits, and seating areas. “People are recognizing they are magical experiences to be enjoyed outside.”

Pink – Peoria

The hot color to incorporate into your yard this year is pink. NALP expects homeowners will pick roses, petunias, zinnias, and hibiscus flowers in shades of coral and blush to add color to outdoor spaces. Light blush tones could even become the “new neutral.”

Metals – Peoria

Homeowners looking to add sleek pizzaz to their outdoor escapes may want to turn to metal elements, like steel and iron, to incorporate into their design. This can include accents like decorative art, focal points such as streaming fountains or mini waterfalls, and furniture.

Peoria home improvement

Whether it’s a problem in the middle of the night or you’re just looking for ways to stay prepared, there are steps you can take to prevent a small emergency from turning into a large — and costly — one. Here are our tips to help you prepare for and deal with the most common household emergencies in Peoria.

Getting locked out

Taking the wrong steps to get back inside when you’re locked out can make a bad situation worse. Instead of trying to get in by yourself and potentially damaging your locks, try these two tips instead.

Look for a spare.

Who has your spare key? While it may inconvenient, it’s smarter to call a friend than to break your locks. If you don’t have a spare already, consider buying a key hider for future lock-outs.

Call a professional.

Call a local Peoria locksmith and wait for them to let you back inside, rather than damaging your door.

Losing power

The way you handle a power outage is important to both your safety and your wallet. Before you head to the breaker panel during this household emergency, take care of these things first.

Shut the fridge.

Leaving the refrigerator door closed seals in the cold air and minimizes the chance of your food spoiling. This can prevent you from getting sick and spending money on new groceries.

Unplug electronics.

Random power surges can damage or destroy anything still connected to an outlet. Avoid costly replacements by disconnecting sensitive electronics.

Pipes freezing

When the weather cools down in Peoria, the last thing you want is the hot water to stop flowing. Frozen pipes are at a real risk of bursting during the winter season, but being prepared can save you thousands of dollars in flood damage and more household emergencies.

Turn off the faucet.

If the water in your faucet has slowed to a trickle or even a full stop, you might have a frozen pipe getting ready to burst. Turn off the faucet to prevent further damage and call a plumbing professional.

Turn up the heat.

If the blocked pipe is behind a wall, turn up the heating in your house and wait for the ice to thaw, or use a hair dryer to heat the area manually.

Toilet overflows

When your toilet is backed up and overflowing, you’ll need a combination of quick thinking and immediate action. Avoid water damage and expensive repairs by knowing what to do for this common emergency.

Take control of the water flow.

Don’t worry about towels for now — stop the flow of water. Take the lid off of the toilet, press down on the flapper valve, lift the float to cut off water supply, and wait until the water level drops back to normal.

Take matters into your own hands.

If you’ve got a plunger nearby, it’s time to take action. Make sure there’s enough water in the bowl to cover the plunger, and keep plunging until the suspected blockage is gone.

Air conditioning or heating goes out

In the heat of summer or cold of winter, it’s important that your heating and cooling system is up and running. Have a plan to stay comfortable in extreme weather and keep your HVAC unit in good shape.

Get out of the house.

Extreme heat or cold isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be dangerous to your health. When your HVAC system breaks down, don’t lose your cool. Take the family out for a pool day or matinee, grab a bite to eat, or visit some friends.

Maintain your system. 

Don’t wait until your HVAC system is on its last legs to give it some TLC. Make sure you’re replacing your air filters when they get dirty, and take note of any strange noises coming from your HVAC unit. While it may cost a bit in the short-term to replace parts as they wear down, the money you save long-term by preventing household emergencies is worth the extra time and preparation.

Get help from a professional.

If your heating and cooling system breaks, don’t try to fix it yourself — leave it to the experts. Make sure you call a local professional to get HVAC equipment up and running again. It’s also important to schedule seasonal maintenance service to make sure you’re ready for whatever weather comes your way. Additionally, here’s our home maintenance checklist for fall with tips to make sure your home is ready for the cooler weather.

Peoria real estate
Buying a home in Peoria is exciting. But it can come with some unplanned surprises. One of these is unexpected home renovation you may need to tackle after moving in. These can be sudden repairs or upgrades required that even your home inspector didn’t foresee.

New data show that many buyers encounter unplanned improvements needed soon after taking possession. A good chunk of them lack the funds to cover these repairs.

Don’t get blindsided by an unexpected home renovation soon after you become an owner. Aim to have extra money set aside in the event of a fix-it emergency. And know where to turn to in a pinch for resources like contractors and repair experts.

What the research found

The recently published 2018 NerdWallet Home Improvement Report had some interesting findings. Among its revelations:

  • Four in 10 (44%) who have ever bought a home experienced an unexpected home renovation within 12 months of moving in.
  • A surprising 12 percent were faced with repairs within the first month.
  • Three in 10 lack the money for sudden home improvement and repair needs that may arise.
  • One-third would tap their retirement funds to pay for a major home repair or improvement.

No surprise to the experts

Bruce Ailion, Realtor and real estate attorney, says he’s not surprised by some of these findings.

“Consider that about one third of buyers are first-time buyers. They have had no experience with home ownership and its hidden costs and responsibilities,” he says.

Angat Saini, attorney and owner of Accord Law, also isn’t shocked by the report’s results.

“We often get calls from buyers after they move into a property. They say they’re looking for some sort of remedy to deal with unexpected repairs or damages,” Saini says.

“But it’s extremely difficult for a buyer to recover funds from the seller in such cases,” adds Saini. “That’s because most purchase agreements only provide a warranty on items within the home up until the closing date. It’s rare for seller to provide a home warranty on the structure, electrical, plumbing, or other key system or component.”

What can go wrong

Say your home inspection didn’t find any red flags. That doesn’t mean your home is clear from problems. Mechanicals, appliances and materials can break down or present a defect at any time. This can even happen hours after closing on your home.

For example, the roof can suddenly start leaking. The oven can stop working. A pipe can abruptly burst and cause water damage. If it’s not covered by a warranty or your homeowner’s insurance, you may have to cover repair or replacement costs.

“A home is a complex system,” says Ailion. For example, “a home can experience a premature failure in a water heater, dishwasher, refrigerator or HVAC system.”

“There are certain costly items in a home that don’t last forever. These include roofs, windows and furnaces. These can lead to major financial headaches without the proper planning and budgeting,” Saini says.

Adding to the problem

A big culprit? Lack of education on the issue, insists Saini.

“Industry professionals like agents, brokers, inspectors and lawyers should be educating buyers better on the duties of home ownership,” he says. “First-time buyers have to take responsibility and learn the facts. But some of the blame can fall on the professionals who may not have taught them what to expect.”

Another problem is lack of due diligence.

“Inexperienced buyers fall in love with a home. They often purchase it, warts and all,” Ailion adds. “But they can overlook the risks. They often fail to request that the seller replace older items. They could have insisted on a home warranty to cover all or most of the cost of the repair.”

Ralph DiBugnara, senior vice president with Residential Home Funding, says this often happens with younger buyers.

“Most millennials are just concerned with getting in the home. They qualify for financing,” says DiBugnara. “But they don’t take into account all the other bills that come along with owning. These include wear and tear, maintenance and repairs.”

Avoid sudden home renovation shock

Want to prevent buyer’s remorse? Yearning to protect yourself from the financial pain of paying for an unexpected home renovation? Try these tips:

  • Get educated on what’s involved in buying and owning a home in Peoria.
  • Have the Peoria home professionally inspected before buying. Read the home inspection report carefully. Ask the inspector questions about anything either of you notice.
  • Keep tabs on items that may cause problems. Consult with your home inspector. Determine the age and expected remaining lifespan of appliances, components, materials and systems. Estimate how much it would cost to maintain, fix or replace each.
  • Put the burden on the other party. “Negotiate defects and repairs with the seller that the home inspector notices,” says DiBugnara.
  • Get a home warranty. This coverage can help pay for repair/replacement costs on specified home components for a set period. Request that the seller pay for a home warranty. If they refuse, consider buying coverage yourself.
  • Create a rainy day repair fund. “Keep at least three months’ reserves of your mortgage payment in the bank. This can come in handy in case you need a major home repair,” says DiBugnara.

Finally, shop around. It seems obvious, but studies show that most consumers don’t get multiple quotes — for mortgages or other home-related services.

When you need an item repaired or replaced, ask friends and family for referrals to experts they trust. “Real estate agents are a great source for a reference to a quality contractor,” says Ailion. Also, “Try to get multiple competitive bids. And be patient while shopping around. Currently, there are skilled labor shortages in most markets. That makes it difficult to find affordable skilled workers.”

Peoria real estate
For many people, the first few hours after a move are a stressful time. There’s so much to do that it can be hard to even figure out where to start. That’s where we come in. We’ve narrowed down the seven most important household tasks to take care of after the move. Read them over and use them as a a jumpstart on that to-do list.

Turn on utilities

The last thing you want to happen after a long moving day is for the sun to go down and you realize that you don’t have any electricity. If you haven’t taken care of it already, call your utility companies and transfer service into your name. If you’re moving locally, this should be as easy as changing the address on your account. However, if you’re moving from out of the area, you may want to get your new utility information from the seller.

Locate the breaker box and water shut off valve

In the middle of an emergency, you don’t want to be searching around frantically for these important items. Make sure you know where they’re located before you need to use them. It’s worth the effort to find them when you first move in. Be sure to learn how to use them, as well. Test out all of the switches in the breaker box and label them for easy access later. Turn off the water and faucets to ensure the valve will do its job in a pinch.

Change the locks

When you move into a new Peoria home, you don’t know who might have an extra set of keys to it. It’s in your best interest to have a mobile locksmith come and change all the locks as soon as possible. If an exterior door is missing a deadbolt, this is a good opportunity to have one of those installed, too. Once you’ve been handed your new keys, be sure to label them so that you know which key is used for which door. You can have extras made later, just in case.

Check your moving boxes and furniture

The next step is to check all your moving boxes and furniture for signs of damage or dings. Also make sure that nothing got lost in the shuffle. (This is where your packing inventory list will come in handy.) You’ll want to do this as soon as possible after a move so that you can submit a claim to the moving company and your insurance company. Take photographs of any visible damage and keep your paperwork handy so you can refer back to it later, if needed.

Make your bed

Even if you’ve prepared well beforehand, moving day is going to be a long one. To minimize stress and frustration at the end of the night, make sure you have your bed and sleeping arrangements set up well in advance of when you plan to use them. That said, you don’t have to take care of unpacking every single item in one day after a move. Just make sure that you have your bedding, a change of clothes, and any essentials like toiletries or medications ready to go when you’re ready to call it a night.

Change your address

Next, make sure that all your mail gets to the right place. If you haven’t already, fill out a change of address form with the post office. (Luckily, these days, you can take care of this task online.) In addition, you’ll also want to change your address with any agencies who regularly contact you through the mail, like your credit cards and insurance companies.

Greet your new neighbors

The last step after a move is to get out and greet your neighbors. You don’t have to do this on the first day you move in, but the sooner you take care of it, the sooner you’ll settle into the neighborhood. Greeting the neighbors doesn’t have to involve a big gesture like handing out fresh-baked cookies (although it can). Simply going door-to-door and introducing yourself should be enough to assure the neighbors that they can find a friend in you.

Peoria real estate
A typical American household spends $2,060 a year on electricity, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Unfortunately, if a home isn’t efficient, a lot of that energy goes to waste—possibly as much as three-quarters of it, according to Renewable Nation, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit focusing on affordable and clean energy. Here are some money and energy saving suggestions from Renewable Nation’s app for homeowners.

1. Start by getting a home energy audit. Whether through the Building Performance Institute or the Residential Energy Services Network, certified professionals can conduct a home or building assessment that will help shed light on where energy is being lost and which systems are operating below par. The findings can be used to identify cost-effective improvements to make the property more comfortable and efficient.

2. Seal air leaks. Homebuyers are willing to pay a $7,095 more for a home that will reduce energy costs by $1,000 a year, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Sealing leaky windows, doors, and electrical outlets with caulk, expandable sealant, and weather stripping will help. Hiring a professional to insulate and seal ductwork in forced-air heating and cooling systems can also help lower energy bills by as much as $400 a year, Renewable Nation says.

3. Consider water usage and the water heater. Heating water is typically the second-largest energy use in a home, and can alone cost $600 or more a year, according to Renewable Nation. A homeowner can cut those costs in half by switching to a hybrid water heater that combines a standard water heater with a heat pump. If that’s not an ideal option, simply washing clothes in cold water can save $63 a year in energy costs.

4. Get a smart thermostat. Heating the overall space of a home or property is the largest energy expense, accounting for about 45 percent of residential energy bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. An owner can save 10 percent each year on heating bills by turning down the thermostat 7 to 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) for eight hours a day. A programmable thermostat can help accomplish that.

5. Avoid the “phantom” menace of energy drains. Electricity used by electronics when they are turned off or in standby mode are a major source of energy waste. Smart power strips can help eliminate the problem of phantom loads by shutting off the power to electronics when they are not in use.

6. Upgrade the fridge. If a refrigerator or freezer is more than 15 years old, it may be so inefficient that a new one would pay for itself in energy savings in just a few years. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says modern refrigerators and freezers consume 20 to 25 percent less energy than older models.

7. Flip the switch on smart lights. Replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with Energy Star models could save $75 per year.

8. Look for the Energy Star label. If you are considering appliance upgrades, remember that using products with the Energy Star label can help save up to 30 percent on related electricity bills.

Peoria real estate
For those of us who live in cold-weather climates, the winter months are synonymous with hibernation mode. Who wants to go outside when you have to shovel 2 feet of snow just to see the sidewalk?

But don’t let the next blizzard or polar vortex take the wind out of your home renovation sails. A frigid winter weekend is the perfect time to tackle an indoor project (as long as you can coax yourself away from your blanket and your Netflix queue).

Not sure where to start? Read on to find inspiration for your next weekend project, whether you only have an hour to spare or can dedicate a full weekend to home improvement.

1. Update your kitchen backsplash

Time: Half a day to two days

Tools: Score tool, tile cutter or wet saw, power drill, grout, joint compound, joint knife

Maybe you don’t have a backsplash in your kitchen, or maybe you’ve been putting off replacing your existing one. Either way, updating your backsplash is a project you can easily accomplish in a weekend.

“This is an area of only 30 square feet in most homes,” says Yuka Kato, content manager at Fixr, a marketplace for contractors and homeowners. The relatively small scope makes this an ideal project for tile novices.

If you’re a renter and you can’t install permanent decor, pick up some peel-and-stick tile to add temporary (and totally removable) pizazz to your backsplash.

2. Install a smart thermostat

Time: One to two hours

Tools: Screwdriver

A smart thermostat can help you save money during the winter months, when you’re most likely to rack up expensive energy bills. And the best part? You can easily knock out the installation in a couple of hours over a weekend.

Do your homework before you head to the store, so that you know which thermostat will best fit your needs. And make sure to review the instructions ahead of time, to be sure you’re comfortable with the installation—nobody wants to get stuck with a dysfunctional thermostat in the dead of winter.

3. Create an accent wall with removable wallpaper

Time: An hour

Tools: Scissors, utility knife

Wallpaper has made a serious comeback, but today’s bold hues and prints are a departure from the granny-esque designs of yore. If you’re curious about this trend but not quite ready to go all-in, start by wallpapering an accent wall rather than an entire room.

Opt for a peel-and-stick removable wallpaper that you can easily take down once you tire of it. Unlike traditional wallpaper, the removal process is painless (for both you and your walls), which means this weekend project is feasible for renters and homeowners alike.

4. Create extra storage

Time: A few hours to half a day

Tools: Power drill, screwdriver

Entryway storage is crucial—especially in the winter, when puffer jackets, snow boots, and scarves demand extra space. Marty Basher of Modular Closets suggests visiting the local craft store to purchase bookcases or shelving, so you can keep odds and ends organized in the entryway.

A wall-mounted shelf above the table will add space for hats and gloves, and you can install hooks for hanging keys or the dog’s leash as well.

“An antique, wooden small table with drawers can easily store small items like note pads, pens, a stapler, and other accessories,” Basher adds.

5. Give hardware and fixtures a fresh look

Time: An hour or two

Tools: A screwdriver

The weather may be dreary, but your home fixtures can still be cheery. A simple swap of cabinet hardware in the kitchen, the bathroom vanity, or an old dresser will breathe new life into your home’s appearance without breaking the bank.

If you have room in your budget for a more dramatic face-lift, install a new dining room chandelier or updated lighting in the foyer, or take the plunge on a statement fixture for above the kitchen island.

6. Swap out your showerhead

Time: An hour

Tools: Wrench, pliers

Over time, showerheads become grungy and gross. If yours is overdue for an upgrade, spend some time this weekend swapping out your old showerhead for a new, low-flow model. Not only will you take the ick factor out of your shower, but you’ll also save on your water bill.

“New showerheads spin the water droplets so that you actually feel like you’re getting more volume, not less, while you save,” Kato says.

7. Apply a fresh coat of paint

Time: One to two days

Tools: Paint, brushes, drop cloth, painter’s tape (optional)

Painting is a perennial favorite project for DIYers, and for good reason: It doesn’t cost a lot of money, it doesn’t require any special skills, and it can be accomplished in as little as a day, depending on the size of your room.

If you’re considering selling your house in the spring, opt for neutral white, gray, or tan. If you’re planning to stick around for a while, why not go big and pick up a gallon of your favorite statement color?

“Painting a room is an easy way to change the mood of the space and add some color,” Basher says.

So go ahead—buy a can of that moody aubergine for your master bedroom or the turquoise you’ve been mulling over for the powder room. When you’re ready for a new color, you can paint again—a good project for next winter, perhaps.

The post Take It Inside: 7 Weekend Improvement Projects You Can Do in Your Pajamas appeared first on

Peoria real estate
Some of the areas of your Peoria home probably feel like an afterthought. After all, it’s not like you’ll be showing your linen closets off to your guests. But some overlooked spaces can provide you with quite a bit of functionality. In fact, some of the underutilized spaces in your home can actually become the most useful. By thinking outside of the box, you can turn what seems like wasted space and dusty corners into your favorite places in your home.

The Space Under the Stairs

The space under the stairs is typically ignored or drywalled. But, with the right repurposing, it’s valuable square footage. Before you opt to drywall that empty area, consider making it into a kids’ play area. It might not be a great space for adults, but it’s the perfect area to set up with toy storage, or even to create a playhouse. No kids? The space under the stairs can make an ideal mini-library. Installing simple shelves means your favorite books stay dry, organized and easily accessible.

The Mudroom

The mudroom is one of those spaces that you can’t live without – but don’t really want to see. It can become a dumping ground for backpacks, coats and shoes, so put it to work: rearrange to create a homework nook. If your kids tend to dump their backpacks there anyway, a small desk with supplied and dedicated study space makes sense. It’ll keep the endless papers and pencils out of your main living space and give kids a quiet place to work that’s still close to the action.

The Foot of the Bed

There’s nothing like your own bed – unless it’s the foot of your own bed. This underutilized space is ideal for solving storage problems, especially if your home is short on closet space. A hinged ottoman becomes the perfect place to put on shoes and can help stash away blankets, sheets, clothes and any other quick-access items. Or, add a desk and chair for study space that won’t fit on any of your walls. Rethink the space at the foot of your bed as functional square footage and it becomes more than just a place for your socks.

The Guest Room

If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated guest room, you know how great the space can be. But while it’s an ideal place for friends and family to crash, it can sometimes go unused. Instead of keeping one room as just a guest space, double up on functionality so you can use it when you’re home solo.

Turn your guest room into a sleek office part of the time, or store craft supplies in the guest room closet for when you’re feeling creative. There’s no reason to leave an entire room unused except for when you have house guests. Be a little selfish and use the room for yourself the rest of the time.

The Linen Closet

Most people would say the linen closet is one of the most underrated spaces in a home. But that doesn’t mean you have to fill it with linens and blankets. If you’re able to store extra blankets in bins underneath each bed, you’ll free up an entire closet for things that make more sense to you. Whether it’s outfitting your linen closet as bathroom storage for products and towels or making over your closet as a storage pantry, think beyond sheets when rethinking your linen closet.

The Space Over Doors

The space over each door in your home is a treasure trove for storage and decor. With simple shelving solutions, you’ll find a totally new space to store books or to show off souvenirs and decor items that don’t have a home elsewhere. Simple, straight shelving is easy to install and remove and can add plenty of character to an otherwise stark hallway.

The Garage

The typical garage is a catch-all space for anything you don’t want in your house. But it can also be valuable space for other interests. With the right storage solutions, you can get larger items off the ground, opening up precious square footage. Store bins up in your garage trusses to get rarely used items out of the way. Then, use wall hooks to keep bikes and gear organized. With your new floor space, you could have a great indoor gym, a lounge, a rec area for rowdy kids or even a music studio.

Peoria real estate
Do you have a vacation checklist for your Peoria home? It might take a little extra work to get your home ready for vacation, but you’ll be able to relax more once you’re at your destination. Consider this your checklist for peace-of-mind while you’re getting away.

Make it look like someone is home

Vacation season is prime time for criminals to make a visit. Take a few precautions to make your home look lived-in while you’re away.

  • Park at least one car in the driveway, so it looks like someone’s at home
  • Hold all mail and packages or ask a neighbor to bring in your deliveries
  • Bring in your spare keys
  • Put your lights on a timer to mimic your family’s typical schedule
  • Mow your lawn and trim hedges
  • Set up smart locks for helpful neighbors and pet sitters
  • Play it safe and don’t mention your travel plans on social media

Clean your house before you vacation

Nobody wants to come home to a stinky situation. Keep your vacation vibe going by taking time to tidy up before you head out. That way you can come home and rest, instead of cleaning up a mess. Clean out the refrigerator and freezer. Take out the trash — check every room. Vacuum, dust and wipe down counters and sinks. And finally, make your bed, so you can sink right in when you get back.

Set electronics and appliances to energy-saving mode

If you’re gone for 3 days or more, take a vacation from your electric bill by dialing back your energy usage.

Set thermostats up to 85 degrees in the summer and as low as 55 degrees in the winter. If you have pets staying at home while you’re gone, choose a setting that will still keep them comfortable. If you use smart home automation, turn your thermostat off completely so it won’t turn on every time your neighbor brings in the mail.

Unplug small electronics, especially chargers, which continually draw electricity and can increase your electric bill. Close blinds and curtains to keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Then your air conditioner and heater won’t have to work too hard while you’re on vacation. Put the water heater on vacation mode if it has that option so it operates more efficiently.

Hopefully these tips come in handy next time you’re planning a getaway!

Peoria home improvement
The end of summer is not the end of lawn maintenance. Every lawn is different, but here are some lawn maintenance tips to take advantage of the fall weather.

Repair bare spots

During the summer, there’s usually a lot of lawn traffic. By the fall, pets, kids playing, and foot traffic have probably resulted in a few bare patches. Using a hand rake or other tool, loosen the top layer of soil to give the new seed a better chance to nestle in and begin to build strong roots. Give the newly seeded patch a deep and thorough watering – but stop if you see the water start to puddle. Water the patch daily to keep those seeds hydrated and growing.

Overseed your lawn

If your lawn looks thin in the fall, this is a good time to thicken it by overseeding before winter sets in.To overseed your lawn, start by setting your mower to one of its lowest settings so you can cut your grass to a height of 2 inches or less, and bag the clippings. Rake the lawn to remove dead grass and debris, while also loosening the upper layer of soil….then seed away!

Feed your lawn

Fall is peak time for your lawn to begin storing nutrients and growing lots of strong roots. From grass roots to blade tips, feeding in the fall will do a whole lot of good for your lawn, both now and in the spring. Here are 3 benefits of fertilizing your lawn in the fall:

  • Help rejuvenate and repair your lawn: All lawns get stressed by summer heat, drought, heavy foot traffic, or a combination of those. Applying lawn food can help replenish frazzled, worn-out grass so it recovers quicker and better. Plus, a fall feeding provides a noticeable greening that lasts longer than an unfed lawn.
  • Give roots a pre-winter nutrient boost: Lawns get hungry, especially as they slow down at the end of the growing season. Fall lawn food helps your lawn grow stronger, deeper roots before cold weather and frozen soil set in.
  • Make for a strong start to spring with a greener lawn: During the dormant season, it’s natural for your lawn’s growth and energy to come to a near standstill. A fall feeding gives grass a big dose of essential nutrients to store for when they’re needed most: the spring growing season. Not only will that lead to a thicker, lusher lawn, but your grass will green up earlier by as many as 2 to 6 weeks!

Keep cutting your lawn

You still need to cut your lawn in the fall. However, make sure you keep it two and a half to three inches tall. A shorter lawn will reduce the energy available to the grass which is needed to obtain nutrients for healthy root systems. A shorter lawn could also reduce your lawn’s ability to resist the cold and dryness of winter. Mowing also chops up the leaves and turns it to mulch – which enhances the soil.

Clean Up Your Leaves

Raking leaves is typical lawn maintenance in the fall. They can be used as mulch, compost or several other applications. One additional way to use the leaves is to chop them up with a leaf vacuum and store them outdoors in a black garbage bag. Rather than purchase new soil for containers, take the chopped-up leaves and mix them into the existing container soil.

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