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Good as New— 6 Home Repairs You Can Easily Do Yourself

Anna Smith



One thing about owning a home that shocks people who have moved from an apartment is that you are responsible for absolutely everything. The days of calling in the maintenance men to fix stuff for free are over, but there is joy, or at least a sense of accomplishment, to be had in fixing minor repairs yourself. Here are six easy-to-do home repairs.

Patching a Hole With Drywall

A hole in the drywall looks terrible, but it is actually easy to fix. The job only takes 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the hole. Just apply a joint compound with a putty knife, then sand it smooth. If it’s a larger hole, cut a square of pegboard a bit larger than the hole but not so large that it can’t fit inside. Tie a wire to it, smooth compound over it, then put it into the hole. The looped wire should be facing outward. Tie the wire to a pencil and twist it. After the compound dries, snip off the wire and fill in the hole with the compound. To finish, fill it with two to three thin coats of compound, sand, and smooth it with a damp sponge.

Re-Grouting Tile

Though tile is beautiful, the grout between it can get grungy if it’s not sealed and can crumble away over time. Regrouting an area about the size of an average kitchen backsplash takes about two hours, then you’ll need a half an hour to put in the new grout. Since there’s going to be some dust in the air, you might want to lay down some tarps and open the windows for ventilation. Wear safety goggles and a dust mask. Using a rotary or oscillating tool, remove the grout from between the tiles. Be careful that the blade doesn’t touch the tile itself. Since this is going to result in a lot of dust and grit, vacuum as you go along. Use a flat-headed screwdriver to get out the last bit of grout. Again, be careful of the tiles themselves.

Mix tile grout powder with water until it’s smooth and just pourable. When it’s ready, use a trowel to apply it to the seams between floor tiles. Don’t try to pack it in. You can skip this step if you’re regrouting wall tiles. Use a rubber float at a 60-degree angle then press the grout into the seams. Scrape away the excess. Do this to both floor and wall tiles. Once the seams are filled, remove the excess with a damp sponge. Let the grout dry completely. When the grout is fully dry, buff the haze off of the tiles with a soft cloth. Then, seal the grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Repairing Concrete in the Driveway

If you live in an area with cold winters, the freeze-thaw cycle can cause your driveway concrete to spall, or crack. This is unsightly and a crack can also be a tripping hazard. But concrete repair is also a DIY project. It takes about one to two hours. First, use a hammer and a cold chisel to chip away at the crack in the concrete. Brush away the debris with a wire brush. Undercut the edges of the repair area so that the repair patch can be locked in. Dampen the area to be patched. Make the concrete patching. You can use dry, premixed concrete that you mix with water. The thicker it is, the faster it will dry. If your mixture is looking runny or thin, you need to make the concrete stronger. Tamp in the patching concrete. Pack it in firmly and leave a bit of a mound to compensate for shrinking. When it starts to set up, smooth it over with a trowel. Cover it, and let it cure for a week.

Fixing a Running Toilet

Running toilets are usually a sign that the handle and trip assembly aren’t working the way they should. However, it’s very possible to fix this instead of calling a plumber. Take the top off the tank and lift the float rod. If the water shuts off, that means the float ball isn’t positioned properly. Bend the rod so that it sits a bit lower. Or, you can adjust the set screw on the inlet valve arm to adjust the ball. This should get your toilet back in working order.

Clear a Jammed Garbage Disposal

Besides the inability to work, you can tell there’s a garbage disposal jam by the smell. The first thing to do with the jammed garbage disposal, of course, is to turn it off. Then, find a flashlight and look into the disposal. Never put your hand in it. If you see something that doesn’t belong, find a pair of tongs or pliers, and pull it out. Then, wait 15 minutes, turn on the power, and reset the machine.

Stopping a Leaky Faucet

There are different types of faucets and different ways to shut down leaks. To repair a stem faucet, take out the escutcheon on the handle, and take off the handle. Take off the packing nut with a wrench or pliers and unscrew the stem. Find the washer at the bottom of the stem and replace it and the O ring. Make sure to clean the valve stem with fine steel wool before replacing it and the handle.

These are only a few of the home repairs you can do by yourself. Many other repairs can also be easily fixed by yourself or your family. With a little time and the right tools, you can save a lot of money and improve your DIY skills.

You might also be interested in this article: How to Take Proper Care of Your Tools

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Home Improvement

What to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Rental

Anna Smith



brown and white wooden table beside sofa chair

Buying a vacation rental is a big decision, and it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve done your research before making such a large commitment. Here are some important things to consider before buying a vacation rental.


The most important item that you should consider before buying a vacation rental property is location, location, location. Is there a high demand for your vacation market? Are you close enough to shops, cultural sites, tourism destinations, maintenance companies, and grocery stores?  Considering questions such as these will help you find the best place to purchase a vacation rental. Although properties in high demand areas will be more expensive, the return on those properties is much greater.  Location is more important than initial price. 

Rental Income

In order to buy a vacation rental, many homeowners will have to take out a second mortgage. Because of this, it’s important to make good financial decisions, such as making sure that the rental property can cover its own monthly costs. Consider how much rental income you can reasonably generate, and if it can offset your mortgage.  In the vacation market, there will most likely be an “offseason,” or a time of the year when renting is slow.  As the owner of the property, you must find a way to maintain your rental income, whether that is through ensuring continual renters, charging enough during the busy seasons that you can cover some decreased costs during the offseason, or both.  

Added Maintenance Costs

Oftentimes vacation homes are located in expensive areas.  “Expensive” areas could be areas that are more remote (i.e. mountains, wilderness, and national parks) or areas with high population and desirability, like beaches or big cities.  Regardless of the area in which your vacation home is located, maintenance costs will likely be much higher than in an average neighborhood. Scarce contracting resources in remote areas, or high contracting overhead and demand in high populated areas are contributing factors to this.  Recognizing that maintaining your vacation home oftentimes can be more expensive than maintaining your primary home is important before buying a vacation rental.

Home Styles

The style of your vacation home can impact its popularity among renters. Popular home styles in the United States include colonial houses, farmhouses, Victorian homes, Cape Cod homes, mid-century modern homes, and craftsman homes. Beach houses and cabins are also quite popular among vacationers. You might consider buying a home and remodeling it to fit one of these popular styles. You could also choose to build instead of buying. When you build a home, you get to choose from a variety of custom home styles. The flexibility that comes with building a custom home can be a great asset.


One factor in ensuring that your vacation rental has enough renters is making sure that your house has the amenities that your target market desires. It’s a good idea to research the needs and wants of your particular target market. For example, a beach townhouse will not have RV and ATV parking areas, and a cabin might not have the same amenities as a beach house. It’s important to make sure the house has what the people want. While you might want to consider buying a home that has specific amenities suited to the needs of your target market, there are several amenities that generally appeal to most people. A pool table, hot tub, and TV are generally safe bets for vacation homes. If you want to attract renters, put money into the amenities.  You want to give renters something that they wouldn’t get at home.

Marketing Strategies

As the vacation rental market is becoming more popular, it’s likely that you will have a good amount of competition. There are hundreds of properties on all the major listing sites, and it’s not always easy to get your property to stand out from the crowd. Before buying a vacation rental, you should take some time to lay the foundation of a marketing strategy that can help you drive traffic to your vacation home. You can find renters better as you create an attention-grabbing listing, and advertising your properties on several online platforms. You should also research property promotion and pricing strategies before buying a vacation home.

Taxes and Interest Rates

Taxes and interest rates vary by location.  A vacation home in California is much more likely to have higher rates than a cabin in the woods of Idaho.  If money is tight and this is your first location home, pay close attention to taxes and interest.

Laws and Regulations

There are laws and regulations that govern the vacation rental market. These rules will vary depending on the local laws for each location. You should make yourself aware of these rules before you buy a vacation rental, as these local laws could highly impact your decision. General rules that apply to most locations include obtaining a permit and business license, obeying taxation rules, safety regulations, and insurance regulations.

Continuous Cash Flow

Because purchasing a vacation rental is a big investment, it’s a good idea to calculate your expected cash flow before you commit. You should do some market research and talk to other vacation rental landlords and business professionals. Try to get an idea of the amount of vacation renters in your prospective area. Making sure your vacation rental will be regularly frequented with interested renters is one important factor in the success of any investment. You should also try to estimate the number of needed repairs and maintenance for your property. If your property will cost more money than it brings in, it’s clear you will have a problem with continuous cash flow.  

There are many benefits that can come with investing in a vacation rental property. It’s a great way to supplement your income, cash in on tax benefits, and increase your enjoyment. Considering these few ideas before making that investment will help you make an informed and intelligent decision.

Here’s another article you might like: 3 Cost-Saving Tips for Vacationing with Your Family

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Home Improvement

How to Make the Most Out of 3 Kitchen Design Dilemmas

Anna Smith



man in white dress shirt holding a woman in brown long sleeve shirt

A kitchen is the place in your home where people cook delicious meals and gather and spend time together. Although it’s a great place to be with each other, the way a kitchen is designed can be a little awkward or dysfunctional sometimes. It may take some time and creativity, but you can turn your kitchen design dilemma into something great.

Small Kitchen

Nobody likes a cramped kitchen. Fortunately, there are so many ways you can make your kitchen look and feel bigger. First, color will be your best friend. You want to use lighter finishes because dark finishes make your kitchen look smaller. This goes for your paint choices and cabinet/countertop colors as well. Using mirrors, glossy granite countertops, and glass tiles can also make a huge difference. Also, try, be as minimalistic as possible. Clutter only makes things look smaller and removes space that can be utilized—and you probably need all the space you can manage!

Odd Layout

An oddly planned kitchen can be hard to deal with. Whether it’s too narrow or an appliance is not in a good spot, it can be frustrating. However, you can feel reassured that there are many ways to turn odd into artistic. If you have little pockets of awkward space, find ways to utilize it. You could always install extra shelving or countertops. Consider making a tiny home office where you can keep shopping-lists, a mail station, and school supplies for the kids. For that thin slice of wall, install a narrow tray storage rack or place hooks to keep aprons. You can always make an awkward, random wall into an accent wall to spice things up.

Mismatching Appliances and Cabinetry

Nothing looks more fashionably dysfunctional than a mismatched kitchen. When your kitchen’s cabinetry doesn’t mesh with your appliances, it can make your kitchen look smaller and feel unsettling. But don’t worry, you don’t need to get all new appliances to make things work—you may just need a new paint job. For example, if you have white appliances and wooden cabinets, paint your cabinets grey or another soft color, like steel blue or sage. Then, get a couple of accent items, like black towels or brass décor to make the colors meld and pop at the same time.

The days of having an awkward and dysfunctional kitchen are over. Whether you have a small kitchen, one with an odd layout, or everything is mismatched, you can be rest assured knowing that with a little creativity and effort, you can finally have your dream kitchen.

Here’s another article you might like: Home Improvement Projects That Will Save You Money in the Long Run

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Home Improvement

Is Your Love of DIY Projects Making Your Home Less Green?

Anna Smith



person holding blue and white tread

Do-it-yourself projects have become a popular hobby over the years. While they can sometimes be cheaper than hiring a professional, they aren’t always what they are cracked up to be and can end up just being a band aid that covers up an even bigger problem.Not only can a DIY project be more work than it’s worth, it could also be damaging to the environment and make your home less green than you want it to be.

Making Waste

A DIY project takes various materials, whether it be raw or repurposed materials to create something new. However, it can lead to a lot of waste. If you’re doing a DIY project that involves paint, there’s a chance you can spill that paint, which could be potentially dangerous for the soil, if you’re painting outside. Even after the project is finished, there may be potential leaks or spills from the finished project which could also be bad for the environment.

Improper Installation

Another way in which DIY projects could be making your home less green is the fact that many of them are installed improperly. Certain projects have a higher risk of going wrong when installed by the homeowner instead of by a professional. In fact, HVAC systems are only 55% to 70% of optimal compared to a properly installed one. This can lead to dangerous results not only for yourself, but also for your house and the environment. Plus, it can be expensive to repair damages caused by a project being improperly installed.

Being Irresponsible

In addition to improperly installed projects and wasteful projects, sometimes DIY projects are not responsible toward the environment. Instead of being focused on improving the environment or at the very least, not hurting it, DIY projects release dangerous fumes into the air, or expose live wires in the wall, or lead to spills that seep into the ground releasing poisonous chemicals into the environment. Being irresponsible with DIY projects could lead to potential harm of the environment, yourself, and others.

While do it yourself projects can be fun to do on your own, consider the negative consequences that they can pose. In order to prevent waste, improper installation, and being irresponsible, try to find DIY projects that improve the quality of your home and are eco friendly.

Here’s another article you might like: Go Green: Ways to Make Your Home More Environmentally Friendly

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