Updated: Monday, May 30, 2016
Tips For Selecting An Interior Door
Take a minute to count the number of doors in your house. Surprising, right? Consider then, the impact that a little attention to the doors can have on the overall >
Lets take a look at the options:
Prices for interior doors vary depending on what theyre made of. There are pros and cons associated with the materials themselves that are worth considering before you start thinking about the different >
Solid Wood: Believe it or not, most residential doors are not solid wood, but they offer such excellent soundproofing that they are a very popular upgrade. The weight of a solid wood door also lends a high-end feel when you swing it open or shut. Available in all kinds of wood, from exotic mahogany to the most common pine, solid wood gives you the option of staining to accentuate the beauty of the wood or painting to work with your decor.
Solid Core: These doors are actually constructed of medium-density fiberboard MDF, which is essentially an engineered hardwood that is available in wood-grain or smooth finishes. These, too, offer great sound proofing and that high-end heft, and are arguably the best value for your money.
Hollow Core: These are the most common and affordable doors available. Hollow-core doors are constructed with wood grain or smooth panels that cover a honeycomb-like center. Hollow-core doors are much lighter in weight and offer less soundproofing, but the upside is affordability.
Prehung or Slab: Finally, its important to consider whether you will hang the door in an existing door frame, or purchase a door that is prehung in its frame. Hanging a heavier door is a more delicate process, so we recommend homeowners interested in solid wood doors consider prehung options. A lighter, hollow-core door is simple to hang from existing hinges as it doesnt have much impact in terms of weight.
Once youve decided on the type of door that best fits your needs, its time to think about >
Panel: Panel doors offer a little detail and history. The panels are constructed of rails and stiles to create two-, four- or six-panel options. Rails and stiles can be straight or curved to match your design aesthetic. Straight lines tend to fade to the background, which is often the best option when youre upgrading several doors in one space. Panel doors work well in more traditional design >
Flush: Flush doors are just that: smooth, with no detailing. The lack of detail makes them a good choice in any decor, but especially if youre working with more contemporary >
French doors: French doors are a beautiful upgrade in the right spot. The detailing of the panesand the light they bringimprove the look of any space, and the value as well. Great for exterior doors, they can also help open up interior spaces while still offering boundaries, both visually and spatially.
Pocket doors: Pocket doors are problem solvers. They are the perfect solution in tight spaces, or as a way to add a little privacy within a larger space. They also add a custom flair. Installation requires wall space on one side of the door large enough to accommodate the door when its open. Dont forget that these are also available in flush and panel >
Of course, there are a few door >
Barn doors are a beautiful way to add real visual interest and architectural flair, and are much simpler to install than you might guess. A simple track above the door holds the panels and allows them to slide open and closed. Choose rustic, natural wood tones and textures or more tailored and polished door panels.
Frosted glass inserts are a great way to let in the light and maintain privacy while adding a very custom, high-end look. Great for closet doors, they also work well in other interior and exterior situations.
Those are just a few of our favorites. Whats on your wish list for interior doors?
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|Kerrie Kelly is an award-winning interior designer and the founder of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab in northern California. Kerrie writes on interior design topics for Home Depot. Many of the interior doors mentioned by Kerrie in the article can be viewed online at www.homedepot.com/b/Doors-Windows-Doors/N-5yc1vZas82.|What To Do When Your Tax Appraisal Comes In High
Your house is worth how much more than it was last year? Hot damn You obviously made a smart buy. But while youre getting all excited about your great investment, you may not have thought about how it affects your property taxes... right up until that moment you open the mailbox and receive a notice that your rising equity means rising property taxes.
If your expenses just went up alongside the perceived value of your home, well, youre not alone. Appraisals all over the country, especially in states like Texas, have risen substantially over the past few years - a byproduct of having some of the strongest real estate markets in the country. According to the Dallas County Central Appraisal District DCAD, "Tax assessments are rising 1213 this year, said CBS, and, in other hot areas, theyre up as much as 40.
Thats the downside of appreciating real estate markets. But that doesnt mean you have to live with it.
"Good news for Americans facing eye-popping property taxes: You can fight city hall, or whichever government body sends you this annual economic albatross," said Bankrate.
The knowledge that "as many as 60 of properties in the U.S. are assessed at a higher amount than their current value, according to the National Taxpayers Union, said Kiplinger, should give homeowners some solace, or at least a little encouragement as they try to knock that appraisal down a bit or a bunch. If youre looking to lower those property taxes, here are a few things to try.
Understand what youre dealing with
Its important to note that while appraisals are generally based on a combination of local tax rates and assessed property value, they are not necessarily accurate on a house-by-house basis, Unless the government has a drone thats been spying on the inside of my house they dont, right?, Im quite sure they are unaware of how badly I need new floors. And a cooktop. And window coverings. In order to sell my home for what theyve appraised it for, I would need to do some updating and repairs. Most of us would, and that can help if youre planning to dispute your appraisal.
Request Your "Property Tax Card"
"Few homeowners realize they can go down to the town hall and request to view or receive a copy of their property tax cards from the local assessors office. The tax card provides the homeowner with information the town has gathered about the property over time," said Investopedia. Here youll find information about your lot size, exact room dimensions, fixtures, and details about any improvements that may have been made over time. Find any errors? You may have just discovered the key to lowering your taxes.
"As you review this card, note any discrepancies and then raise these issues with the tax assessor. The assessor will either make the correction and/or conduct a re-evaluation. This tip sounds laughably simple, but mistakes are common. If you can find them, the township has an obligation to correct them."
Hire a professional
For many, the surest bet when fighting increasing assessments is hiring a lawyer, property tax negotiator, or consultant. Keep in mind, though, that youll be paying for those servicesanywhere from one-third to one-half of the money saved if the taxes are lowered.
Fight it yourself
If you plan to do it on your own, you need to prepare yourself:
First, locate your assessors office. This will help you find out precisely how the property tax calculation is derived and get their criteria for home appraisals.
Fight it in person. According to experts, this is the most effective way to dispute your appraisal. Emails are often ignored or requests flat out refused. And make sure you "come armed and ready," said Banking My Way. Gathering comps from your real estate agent that outline recent sales for similar homes in your neighborhood is key. Taking pictures of areas of your home that need repair or arent in "selling shape" to illustrate why the higher appraisal number is inaccurate can also help.
Put Zillow to use for you. Weve talked at length about the inaccuracies of Zillows Zestimates. But in this case, that might help bolster your case. Zestimates for your home and similar homes in your area showing lower than the appraised amount? Print out those pages and add them to your file.
Network. If your communitys Nextdoor community is as lively as ours, its full of discussions and information about property taxes and appraisal disputes. Using social tools like this can help you get to know what your neighbors are up against and find common solutions specific to your neighborhood. It may also help you find someone to help guide your dispute.
Do some reconnaissance. Neighbors with the same floorplan across the street have a pool? Make sure to mention that in the file youre putting together. Know whos redone their kitchen? Note that as well. "What many individuals dont realize is that in many cases, information about other home assessments in the area is also available to the public," said Investopedia. "You can often find discrepancies that could lower your taxes. For example, lets say that you have a four-bedroom home with a one-car garage, and your home was assessed at 250,000. Your neighbor also owns a four-bedroom home, but this house sports a two-car garage, a 150-square-foot shed and a beautiful swimming pool. Despite this, your neighbors home was valued at 235,000. If an error is found, it pays to bring it to the assessors attention as soon as possible so that you can get a reassessment if necessary."
Pay attention to the timeframe
Filing an official protest has to be done within a certain timeframe. You dont want to miss out on savings because of a missed deadline. In Texas, property owners only have until May 31 to challenge their property tax assessments.
"Most municipalities differ, with some towns stipulating that you only have 14 days from the time of your property tax assessment to appeal, and some may go as high as 60 days," said Banking My Way. "Your towns tax appraisal office will have the deadline information."
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5 Front Yard Landscaping Tips That Will Wow Buyers
Your front yard is the red carpet inviting buyers into the beauty that is your home. If its rugged, messy and unkempt, buyers will take one look and then keep on driving to the next property on their list. Dont let that happen by making your front yard luscious and as amazing as the inside of your home.
What areas should you focus on in your front yard? Where do you start? To help you break down the revitalization of your front yard, here are the steps you should take:
1. Cut the grass.
Buyers dont want to trudge through high grass as though they were in the Amazon or on a safari in Africa. This means the lawn mower needs to be out at least once a week if not every other week, keeping it trimmed and maintained. It also needs to be green so it looks alive and lush. Water so the sun doesnt dry out the lawn and turn it yellow or brown. A professional landscaper can help maintain a balance of trimming and growth so it looks just right for buyers.
2. Plant more shade trees.
One or two trees in the front yard are all right, but if you want to really add some shade, plant more. Shade trees will detract from the glare of the sun, and it can help decrease the temperature of the house if theyre placed close to windows. It also will help keep the lawn green with moisture. You can plant trees that are shorter and will grow by the time the new owner buys the home, but be sure theyre strong and can handle the climate.
3. Install outdoor lighting.
Outdoor lighting is a good way to both illuminate the house at night and accent parts of your yard. Depending on where you install the lights, your house will look very appealing at night to those buyers who might not have time to do their shopping during the day. Outdoor lighting also helps to illuminate a path like a sidewalk to get from the curb to your front door for easier navigation. It helps to accent the beauty of your landscaping which all together increases the beauty of your home.
4. Consider adding flowers for more color.
If your front yard has a lot of greenery, you should increase the yard appeal by adding more colors. Flowers are a great and simple way to do this, as well as shrubbery with different blooms. Perennials are the best for this because they last for more than a year, which means less maintenance for the seller and the new homeowner. They come in a wide variety of colors and types so the yard can be decorated with any number of them while still requiring less maintenance.
5. Keep everything clean
In addition to keeping the lawn trimmed, everything else should be clean. Anywhere that can build up dirt or grime - siding, porch, front door, driveway - should be cleaned on a regular basis. Buyers dont want to see a lot of dirt and mess, and it will detract from them wanting to walk into the house. So take a broom, a power washer and a few hours on the weekend to keep everything sparkling clean. Dont have a power washer? A professional power washing service can cost as little as 293.
Photos courtesy of DesignMine
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