Maureen Spriggs

ask the experts

What Causes Dryer Fires and How Do You Prevent Them?

From Get Dwell - Professional Remodeling, Painting and Handyman Solutions for your Home and Workplace

There are over 15,000 clothes dryer fires every year resulting in numerous deaths, injuries and millions of dollars in property damage. The majority of these could be prevented through annual dryer maintenance.

The National Fire Protection Agency recommends cleaning your dryer’s ductwork once per year. This is especially true if you do a lot of laundry. This annual maintenance task is performed by pulling out the dryer, removing the ductwork behind it and either replacing the ductwork or cleaning out all the lint using a dryer brush.

If you are unable to perform this task each year, Get Dwell has a $129 Dryer Duct Cleaning Service which will not only reduce the risk of a fire hazard, but it will maximize your dryer’s performance and minimize your electric bill at the same time. Contact us or call 847-922-3418 to get on the schedule.

What remodeling projects provide the most bang for your buck when it's time to sell your home?

From McCaffrey's Home Inspection

Doors, windows and siding lead the way, according to the 2013 edition of Remodeling Magazine's Cost-to-Value Survey. Sellers will see an estimated 85% return on investment on an $1,100 steel entry door. A mid-grade vinyl siding update averages a 73% return. Window replacement returns a value of approximately 73.3%.

Moving inside, minor kitchen remodels will provide an owner with approximately 75% return on investment, but a high-end kitchen upgrade yields only a 60% return.

Neither a mid-grade or upscale master bedroom suite ranked very high on the return-on-investment list (63% and 52% respectively). But home buyers do appreciate extra space provided by an attic bedroom/bathroom addition - a converted 15x15 foot bedroom and a 5x7 foot bath with shower, plus closet and carpeting yields about a 73% return.

Sunroom additions and home office remodels come in at the bottom. A sunroom addition, on average, will cost about $70,000, and the return will be slightly over $30,000. The average cost of an office remodel is $27,000, with a return of approximately $11,600.

When does it make sense to refinance?

By Betsy Hanrahan, Senior Residential Mortgage Banker - PHH Home Loans

Usually people refinance to save money, either by obtaining a lower interest rate or by reducing the term of the loan. Refinancing is also a way to convert an adjustable loan to a fixed loan or to consolidate debts. The decision to refinance can be difficult, since there are several reasons to refinance. However, if you are looking to save money, try this calculation:

Calculate the total cost of the refinance (A)
Calculate the monthly savings  (B)

Divide the total cost of the refinance (A) by the monthly savings (B). This is the "break even" time. If you own the house longer than this, you will save money by refinancing.

30 Can't-Miss Home Staging Tips

Designed to Sell designer Lisa LaPorta shares some of her best home staging tips.

In this article, Lisa LaPorta shares practical advice about cleaning up grimy bathroom walls, yucky shower doors, unattractive fireplaces, dated kitchen cabinets, worn patios, and pet odors. For example, "Stage rooms with one purpose so buyers will know what it is. Potential buyers are confused by extra rooms that have a mishmash of uses. To avoid this problem, first clear away clutter and excess furniture. Paint the walls a neutral tone and then furnish the room with a desk to stage it as a home office in which buyers will want to get down to business."

You'll also learn what buyers are looking for (like built-ins, storage space, appliances and pedestal sinks)!


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