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The Most Expensive Room in Your New Home

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: October 15, 2019 | No Comments »

If you’re one of the thousands of buyers purchasing new construction this year, you may wonder exactly where your money went. Which room in your new home was the most expensive to build? If your house is like most new homes, there’s a definite hierarchy builders use when it comes to spending. Here’s the countdown, brought to you by Ernest Homes.

#5 – Laundry Room

The costs associated with this small room may surprise you. If your laundry room is more than a closet with your appliances inside, expect the cost of a laundry room to average $2,000 – $4,000. Most of the variation in cost here is based on the brand and size of the washer and dryer installed. Don’t forget to add in costs for plumbing and electrical outlets, along with the shelving or cabinetry used.

#4 – Living Room

While a living room can mean different things to different people, most people consider their living room to be the place where the family spends most of their leisure time. The larger the room is, the more it will cost. If you’re thinking ahead and adding extra electrical outlets or smart technology, the cost of the room will rise at the beginning, but you’ll be covered going forward, with less investment needed to update your gadgets after a year or two. An optional fireplace and premium floor coverings can add to the price tag of anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 on average.

#3 – Full Bath

Since most homes will contain more than one full bath, plan to spend between $6,000 and $14,000 for each additional full bath. The cost varies widely depending on the size of the room and the fixtures chosen, but charges for plumbing and electrical are constants.

#2 – Master Bath

As with the full bath, the master bath requires additional plumbing and electrical work, but master bathrooms are larger and more elaborate than a regular full bath. Most contain upgraded tubs or separate tub and shower facilities, along with his and hers sinks and even separate dressing areas. The most luxurious master baths can drive construction costs as high as $50,000, but the average master bath costs about twice as much as a full bath.

#1 – Kitchen

It probably isn’t a surprise that the most expensive room to construct is the kitchen. Plumbing, electrical, materials and appliances can easily drive the cost of a kitchen to over $30,000. High-end accents such as granite countertops, custom backsplashes and upgraded cabinetry will also drive up costs. Extras such as trash compactors, under-cabinet lighting and kitchen islands can add even more to the total. However, initial expenditures in your kitchen can pay big dividends if you later choose to sell your home; top tier kitchens usually increase the resale of a home substantially.

There are other big ticket construction items to watch out for, such as extended garages, finished basements, and additions such as sunrooms or decks. While many of these options are completed after the home has been purchased, many builders will work with you to add these enhancements during the construction process. If you’re looking to purchase new construction, don’t hesitate to talk to your builder about the home of your dreams and how you can make it a reality. At Ernest Homes, we’re committed to creating a masterpiece for each of our homeowner families!

Your Pre-Approved Mortgage Is Denied–What Happened?

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: September 30, 2019 | Comments Off on Your Pre-Approved Mortgage Is Denied–What Happened?

If you’ve been shopping for a new home, you know that being pre-approved for a mortgage is one of the most important steps you can take to help ensure you’ll be able to buy the house you love. When you’re pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll know what price range you’ll need to work within, allowing you to focus only on the properties you can afford.

However, pre-approval doesn’t guarantee that your financing comes through when it’s time to close the deal. One of the most common reasons any real estate deal can fall apart is that the lender has a change of heart when it comes to signing on the dotted line. There are several reasons a lender can deny your mortgage, even if you’ve successfully completed the pre-approval process. If you look out for these issues while you’re in the process of buying a home, you’re less likely to hear the word “no” when you’re ready to buy.

Employment Changes

Once a pre-approval comes through, you may be tempted to take a new job or even start your own business. Our advice – give it some more time. A sudden change can derail your pre-approved mortgage very quickly. If you get an offer that is too good to refuse, look carefully at the circumstances before you agree. If you’re staying within your field, and going to another company in the same industry, you’ll likely be fine if your starting salary is equal to or more than the one you’re leaving behind. For example, if you’re an operations manager for a trucking company and decide to take a similar job with a competitor, it shouldn’t be a problem if you’ll be earning at least what you were bringing home when you were pre-approved. If this type of situation comes up, it’s best to check in with your lender before taking the position, just to make sure. However, changing fields, taking a cut in pay or deciding to quit your job to start your own business can torpedo your mortgage quickly.

A Negative Hit on Your Credit Record

Protect your credit score after your pre-approval by resisting big ticket purchases that can reduce your savings or available credit. It’s also important to make sure you don’t skip any regular payments or pay them after their due dates. Monitor your credit report regularly using one of the free services such as Credit Karma during your entire home buying process. If anything looks even a little fishy, investigate it immediately and do anything possible to reverse any negative effects.

New Lines of Credit

You may not think opening a new department store credit card to get an extra 10% off your purchase could affect your credit, but it might. The more money you’re allowed to owe, the less likely your lender will be to grant you a mortgage. Every penny that goes to anyone else is money that won’t go toward your mortgage. That said, don’t trade up with your car or decide you’d like to spend weekends on a new boat.

Unusual Money Movement

Lenders can be cautious when there are wild swings in your bank accounts. If you pull large amounts from your accounts, red flags go up everywhere. Report any reasons for large withdrawals to your lender immediately, and let them know if and when the amount will be reinstated to your account. You should also avoid making any large deposits into your account that do not have a documented paper trail to explain their appearance.

Missing or Incorrect Documentation

Be sure to submit all paperwork requested by your lender in a timely fashion, completely and accurately. If the documents needed to process your mortgage aren’t in order, the lender is likely to deny the loan.

Running Short of Cash for Closing

Lenders review your bank accounts carefully to make sure you have enough liquid assets to cover the full costs of closing, along with some extra to handle moving expenses and an emergency or two. These cash reserves aren’t required by all lenders, but it’s a great idea to have a little socked away just in case.

The experts at Ernest Homes want to make sure you’re prepared for whatever comes down the line when you’re buying a home, including maintaining your pre-approved status with your lender. If you have any questions about the home buying process, give us a call at (912) 756-4135 or send us an email today!

Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Current Home

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: September 26, 2019 | Comments Off on Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Current Home

If you think your home may be too small for your family’s current needs, you’ve clicked on this article. Without a doubt, this is the first sign that you may be right. Most homeowners instinctively know when it may be time to move to a different residence, so it’s not unusual to seek out guidelines that let you know that your thoughts on the subject are on the right track. The team at Ernest Homes helps homeowners make this critical decision every day, so we can help you recognize the some of these signs when they come your way.

You’ve Added to Your Family

If you bought a house with three bedrooms and find yourself with four children and another on the way, this is one of the easiest signs to spot. While it isn’t unusual for children to share rooms with their siblings, you need to take into consideration the gender of your children and the size of their rooms. While very young children of opposite genders can share a room, the older the children get, the more awkward it is for them to share a space with a sibling of an opposite gender. If your bedrooms tend to be small, it may be difficult to expect your children to fit comfortably once you exceed one child per room. You could also have older children returning home after college or elderly family members coming to stay. Other signs that family members need more space can include overstuffed closets and piles of clothes, toys or “stuff” that has no home cluttering floors, counters, tables and beds.

You Don’t Have Space to Entertain

If you can’t invite your extended family to Christmas dinner, host a party for friends, or have your kids’ friends sleep over because there just isn’t enough room, you’re bound to feel more than a little frustrated. It’s hard to socialize and interact when you can see the need for more or larger furniture or curse a small kitchen/dining area that makes meal preparation and group dining inconvenient.

But there are more ways to “outgrow” a house other than the typical space concerns. You may be ready for another home for other reasons that are not quite so physical, but can be equally compelling.

The Home Values in Your Neighborhood Are Increasing

If you’ve been in your current home long enough to build some equity, and your neighbors’ homes have been fetching a handsome price from eager buyers, it may be time to take advantage of the situation and sell while the market is in your favor. You may come out ahead of the game and bank some profit with the sale of your current home, especially if you plan to move to a neighborhood that better suits your needs and is less expensive.

Be aware – the reverse may also be true. If home values in your current neighborhood are dropping, you may want to get the best price you can while there is still a market for your home and find a place with better prospects.

Your Home Has Seen Better Days

If you’re living in an older home with ongoing maintenance problems, you may be facing financial issues due to repair and maintenance costs. If your patience (and wallet!) is getting thin, it may be time to “grow into” a new home. The relief you’ll feel when you’re comfortably settled in a new home with the latest technologies, energy-saving features and quality construction that will remain trouble-free for years to come will be worth its weight in gold.

Your Neighborhood Is Changing

Demographic changes in your current neighborhood can indicate that it’s time for you to move on. School ratings may be declining, or neighbors you’ve loved may have moved and the new neighbors aren’t interested in forging relationships. Your children may not have kids their own age to play with, or the local crime rate may be increasing. If your surroundings aren’t what your family needs, it’s time to find to find a new neighborhood that’s perfect for your family.

You Find Yourself Browsing Listings…Just In Case

Perhaps the most telling sign that you’re ready to move on is that you can’t resist trolling the web or turning to the classifieds to look at new homes…”just because”. When you spend your valuable time daydreaming about a new home – instead of enjoying the one you have – it’s time to take stock of why this activity appeals to you so much.

If you’d like to explore your new home options, it may be time to check out the latest offerings at Ernest Homes. Give us a call at (912) 756-4135 or send us an email today – we’re always ready to help!

Best Credit Cards for Homeowners

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: September 15, 2019 | Comments Off on Best Credit Cards for Homeowners

It’s no secret that buying a new home can make a major dent in your wallet – and not just during the home buying process. Once you move in, you realize just how many things you’ll need to “finish off” the look of your new home. Furniture, household goods and home improvement supplies can put pressure on your budget, and you may be shocked at the price tag of the utilities you need to keep your home up and running. In today’s crazy world, it’s almost impossible to get by without a credit card, especially if you’re a new homeowner. And with so many options on the market, it’s nearly impossible to decide which ones are best suited to your needs.

The team at Ernest Homes has taken the time to do some research on the subject, and we have a few suggestions to share. This results of this survey are purely research-based – we don’t have a relationship with any of the cards listed here. Take a look at some of these cards to see if their programs fit your spending style.

Best Card for Furniture Buying – U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

One of the few cards that offer specific bonus rewards for furniture purchases, this card could be the answer to your prayers if you need to fill entire rooms or have your eye on a pricey piece or two. Furniture is one of the specific categories you can select to receive up to 5% back on all qualifying category purchases. With no annual fee, you’ll also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Best Card for Home Improvement Purchases – Chase Freedom Unlimited®

If you’re a wanna-be handyman who envisions a new project every few months, give this card a serious look. Its flexibility is the key here; you can buy your materials anywhere you like and be eligible for 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, with no annual fee. If adding a deck, landscaping your yard or custom painting each room of your home is on the docket, you’ll see the savings. This card is also a great bet if you have a few high-ticket items to purchase. It offers a 0% intro APR for the first 15 months, giving you more than a year to pay off a home-made swing set, a man cave or a swimming pool.

Best Card for Setting Up Recurrent Utility Payments – Chase Freedom®

Most utility providers currently accept recurrent credit card payments to satisfy monthly bills. However, some do charge a convenience fee for this handy feature, so you’ll need to make sure your card offers benefits that more than offset the fee. This card is one of the best choices here, offering up to 5% cash back on your utilities during one quarter of the year when you select this bonus category. It also offers perks such as 1% cash back on all purchases, a 0% APR for the first 15 months and a $150 bonus if you spend $500 on purchases during the first 3 months your account is open. There’s also no annual fee!

Best Card for Taking Care of the Little Stuff – Discover it® Cash Back

When it’s kitchen gadgets, light bulbs and bedding that you need, you’ll want a highly flexible card with no annual fee and great cash back offers. This card starts off by matching ALL the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. You’ll also get to select (and change!) your rewards categories quarterly, giving you 5% cash back within each category selected, with 1% cash back on all purchases outside that category. This card also allows you to select wholesale and shopping club categories as well. You can get up to $1500 back in each activated quarter! As an added bonus, Discover offers an alert if your Social Security number is found on any of thousands of Dark Web sites – activation is free.

Best Card for Amazon AddictsAmazon Rewards Visa Signature® Card

If you buy almost everything from Amazon, this is the card for you! Prime members receive 5% cash back on Amazon.com purchases, from cleaning supplies to housewares to subscription groceries…all with fast, free Prime shipping. Non-Prime members receive 3% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, Prime member accounts bump up to 5% cash back. All cardholders earn 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores. There’s no annual fee, but Prime fees may be required.

Best Card For Travelers – Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Earn 60,000 bonus points with $4,000 of purchases in the first 3 months. You can convert these into $750 in travel rewards! Rack up 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. No foreign transaction fees!

Best Card for Flexibility – Huntington Voice Credit Card®

If you’re looking for a card that wears many hats, this one has a boatload of desirable features. Cardholders can select their own categories according to their quarterly needs, giving them 3 times the bonus points in each selected category and 1 point per dollar on any other purchases. Take advantage of no annual fee as well.

After you’ve had a chance to check out these contenders, it’s ready, set, shop!

Creative Eco-Friendly Ideas for Your Home

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: September 8, 2019 | Comments Off on Creative Eco-Friendly Ideas for Your Home

Today’s environmentally conscious homeowners regularly tweak their lifestyles in dozens of small ways to save energy and protect our planet. Most of us know the typical tricks – programming thermostats, unplugging electronics and appliances when not in use, switching to “green” cleaning products and always having reusable shopping bags handy. These are great ways to dip your toes into the world of eco-friendly living, but the team at Ernest Homes has discovered quite a few new and surprising ways to contribute to the green movement. The list below could raise a few eyebrows, or even produce a few giggles, but every suggestion is tried and true. See which tactics you can try in your battle for a better environment!

Get Clever in the Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the busiest places in your home, and one of the best places to conserve energy and resources. Most people don’t know that their choice of cookware can make a difference. Glass, silicone and ceramic dishes improve oven efficiency and reduce the temperature needed to prepare food. They’re also the best choices for your microwave, which typically uses half the energy of a conventional oven. Pressure cookers are a great way to prepare food – these compact energy savers can reduce the cooking time of most foods by 70 percent.

Check the placement of your refrigerator for optimum efficiency. Fridges should be at least 7.6 centimeters from each wall in order to allow sufficient air flow. They should also be kept in a shaded area of your kitchen; refrigerators will use more energy to keep contents cool if forced to combat the warmth of sunshine. If your family doesn’t use the ice maker on your fridge often, you can turn it off to save energy. According to TIME, the average refrigerator’s ice maker can increase energy use by up to 20 percent when it’s running non-stop. Or if you’re in the market for a new fridge, consider one without an ice maker if it isn’t necessary. The old “tray way” is better in the long run if you don’t use a lot of ice.

Kiss your Keurig goodbye – the convenient plastic pods are filling landfills as well as your trash can.

And don’t forget that eating at home can make a big difference when it comes to maximizing the efficiency of food consumption. We can control the amount of food we make when dining in; when we eat out we’re often served much more than we need. Leftovers tend to spoil in the fridge before they’re eaten.

Shopping locally for fruit and vegetables when possible is a great way to boost your regional economy, but also to open your mind to one of the biggest problems we have when it comes to choosing our food – the ugly factor. Put aesthetics aside and choose produce wisely to minimize waste.

Shop Second-Hand

One of the best ways to go green is to re-buy (and re-sell!) merchandise. Clothing, household goods, books, furniture and other items can be rescued from landfills and dumps when you buy from thrift stores, consignment shops and flea markets. Demand for new items falls when the market need for them decreases. By giving useful items a second go-round, we’re reducing the need for conspicuous consumption. And believe it or not, thrift shopping has become fashionable! Getting the bargain of a lifetime for .99 cents? Just ask Macklemore – it’s all the rage!

Bonuses for the Bath and Laundry

One of the largest uses of energy is heating water for the wash. 80-90% of the power used can be saved if you wash your clothes in cold water instead of hot. Choose concentrated detergents with less packaging to shrink your carbon footprint. Or better yet, get some Soap Nuts. They’re the ideal laundry detergent, and available quick as a wink through Amazon Prime.

Shorten your showers by one minute, and you can save 150 gallons of water per month. Shorter showers will also use more water than a bath, which can increase water usage by 14 percent. Here’s another way to eco-shower…shave afterward! Fill a small cup with warm water and rinse your razor in it as you shave, rather than swiping the razor under a running tap or shower stream. Your shave will be cleaner, smoother, and less rushed – fewer nicks and cuts!

The Truth About TP

And here it comes – the suggestion that none of us like to think about, yet alone talk about. Looking to go “greener” when you get “cleaner”? Buy recycled toilet paper! This TP isn’t made from previous TP – it is manufactured when other types of paper are recycled. Read up on the pros and cons here. And then…if you’re really ready to go full steam ahead on your quest for a smaller carbon footprint, try cloth toilet paper. Yes, it is a “thing”…and it’s not for everyone. But it may just be your favorite adjustment yet!

The Most Important Bottle in Your Home–Part Two

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: August 30, 2019 | Comments Off on The Most Important Bottle in Your Home–Part Two

As promised, the team at Ernest Homes is back with still more incredible uses for that bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide under your counter. Are you ready? Here we go!

Cleaning Windows – Start with ¾ cup of hydrogen peroxide, add a few drops of scented dish soap and some water. Pour into a spray bottle and coat the window. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then wipe with a clean paper towel.

Clean your Rugs, Carpet and Mattress – You can spray hydrogen peroxide on your light-colored rugs, carpets or mattress to attack mud, food  or urine stains. Hydrogen peroxide will bleach dark colored fabrics, so always be sure to test for color fastness in a spot that isn’t easily visible. For more ideas, visit this how to clean a mattress page or learn how to make your own homemade carpet shampoo.

Clean Makeup Brushes – Using hydrogen peroxide to clean makeup brushes is a breeze! Mix 3% peroxide with water and soak your brushes for five minutes, then rinse the brushes clean.

Clean Your Child’s Toys – Wipe them down with hydrogen peroxide. Be sure to wipe the toy box and play areas as well. It’s a much safer solution than commercial cleaners!

Use Hydrogen Peroxide in the Laundry – Instead of using harsh bleach in your laundry to wash whites, swap it out with hydrogen peroxide and cold water. Soak the fabrics for about thirty minutes to pull unsightly yellow from your whites – they’ll look cleaner and feel fresher. Be sure to only use it on white fabrics – peroxide will bleach other colors. This will work for white curtains and table linens as well!

Wash Your Shower Curtains – Spray them down with the peroxide, then scrub with a sponge and rinse with water.

Disinfect Your Kid’s Lunchboxes – To keep a lunch box clean and germ free, spray it with hydrogen peroxide at the end of the week. Let it sit for a few minutes, rinse with clean water and wipe it carefully. This also works well with coolers!

Sanitize Your Reusable Bags – Turn the bags inside out and spray the fabric with hydrogen peroxide. This disinfects the bag and helps eliminate any lingering food odors.

Clean Your Humidifier or Dehumidifier – Run a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide through the appliance, killing the mold hiding inside.

Sprout Some Seeds – To encourage sprouting, soak seeds overnight in a mixture of 1 ounce peroxide and 2 cups water.

Increase Plant Growth – To boost the health of your house plants, spray them with a solution of 1 part peroxide to 32 parts water.

Kill Mites – While mites may not be harmful to humans, you can get rid of them without toxic chemicals. Spray some hydrogen peroxide wherever you find them and they’ll disappear.

Purge Algae from Your Aquarium – To clean your fish tank, use 60 milliliters of three percent peroxide per 66 gallons of water. Slowly add the peroxide to the tank using a syringe or dropper over the space of five minutes. If you can, try to apply it directly to the algae.

Help Transport Fish – If you are transporting fish in a bag, adding hydrogen peroxide to the water will help keep your fish more comfortable and safer during the carriage. For this, you want to use the little white tablets that dissolve in water for a more controlled release of oxygen.

Induce Vomiting to Save Your Pet’s Life – Use the 3% peroxide to help induce vomiting if your pet has ingested toxic products. Only use for cats, dogs, ferrets and pigs. Do not use this method on rodents, rabbits, horses, birds or grazing animals. If possible, give your pet something safe to eat before attempting a purge. In some cases, this will cause him or her to vomit. If this fails, use a syringe to squirt 1 millimeter of peroxide per pound of weight into the back of the animal’s mouth. Within fifteen minutes, your pet should begin vomiting. If it doesn’t work after a second try, take your pet to the vet immediately.

Sanitize Water – When added to water, hydrogen peroxide causes a large amount of oxygen to be released, killing any coliform and iron bacteria in the water without leaving metals, salts, or other chemical residue.

Remove Skunk Odors – Mix dish soap, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide to eliminate skunk odor. Skunks don’t like the smell of hydrogen peroxide, so it makes a natural skunk repellent, too.

Remove Weeds – Hydrogen peroxide makes an excellent weed killer. Mix one ounce of three percent peroxide with one quart of water and spray on the weeds. Let it stand for approximately fifteen minutes then rinse with water.

Keep Compost Buckets Fresh – Add an inch of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide into the bottom of the bucket. As you add food to the bucket, the peroxide allows you to keep it in your kitchen for a bit longer with less odor.

Salad Keeper – Spray a solution of 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon of food grade hydrogen peroxide on leftover salad, drain, cover and refrigerate. This will prevent wilting and better preserve your salad.

Remove stubborn food from pots and pans – Combine hydrogen peroxide with enough baking soda to make a paste, then rub onto the dirty pan. Come back later with a scrubbing sponge and some warm water. The baked-on stains will magically disappear.

We bet you never guessed how handy a bottle of hydrogen peroxide could be! A must for any home, this wonder liquid is one of the most inexpensive ways to tackle a bunch of household tasks. If you have a creative use for peroxide not mentioned here, be sure to drop us a line to share your success story!

The Most Important Bottle in Your Home–Hydrogen Peroxide

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: August 23, 2019 | Comments Off on The Most Important Bottle in Your Home–Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a common liquid that is readily available in the pharmaceutical section of many local stores. Known for its fizzy disinfecting properties, generations of consumers have used it to clean cuts, but many don’t realize the dozens of ways there are to use this versatile product. The team at Ernest Homes has uncovered more than 40 uses for this do-it-all solution in your home, so if there isn’t any at your house, you should grab a few bottles right away!

Ease a Sore Throat…and more! – Gargle a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and warm boiled water for relief. Be careful not to swallow the mixture – spit it all out every time. Swishing the liquid around your mouth also freshens your breath and can relieve the pain of canker sores! Holding the mixture in your mouth for ten minutes can reduce toothache pain; it can also act as a natural bleach for discolored teeth. Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to make your own toothpaste or denture cleaner.

Bath Marvel – Add half a pint of peroxide to your bath water to rejuvenate the body and rehydrate your skin. Its antibacterial properties can also help treat certain skin conditions.

Combat Yeast Infections – Hydrogen peroxide also works to prevent yeast infections by killing the main cause of the condition, Candida Albicans. Add 2 capfuls to your douche weekly.

Get Rid of Acne – Use hydrogen peroxide instead of antibacterial soap to kick-start the healing process. It deep cleans the area and kills unwanted bacteria. Apply it to the affected area only once – you need to protect the good bacteria that promotes healing.

Beat Foot Fungus – Combine equal parts water and peroxide and soak to cure athlete’s foot. You can also soak your shower shoes in a tub of the mixture to prevent athlete’s foot from taking hold in the first place.

Treat Ear Infections – A couple of drops in the ear canal can help kill bacteria. Keep in mind that stubborn ear infections will require a visit to the doctor. Peroxide also makes a good homemade ear cleaner for dogs.

Get Rid of Ear Wax – Carefully, place a few drops of olive oil in your ear, then add a few drops of peroxide. Keep your head tilted for sixty seconds, then lean the other way so the liquid drains out. Flush your ear with warm water.

Run out of deodorant? – Mix hydrogen peroxide with dish soap at a ratio of 1:2. Apply the mixture to your underarms, let sit for thirty minutes and rinse off. You’ll be dry and odor-free for up to 24 hours, giving you time to restock.

Clean Contact Lenses – A cheaper alternative to commercial cleaners is hydrogen peroxide. It’s less expensive and can clean your lenses quickly and easily.

Whiten Your Nails – Dunk a cotton ball in peroxide, massage your nails lightly and viola!

Dye Your Hair – If you want to subtly lighten or dye your hair over a period, without resorting to coloring your hair, hydrogen peroxide is a great alternative.

Disinfect Your Toothbrush – Pouring hydrogen peroxide over your toothbrush weekly will kill the many bacteria that live on your toothbrush.

Soften Corns and Calluses on Your Feet – Mix one cup of the peroxide with a ½ cup of water in a bowl, stir well, and let sit for five minutes. Soak the affected part of the foot for fifteen minutes. Remove your foot from the solution, rinse it with clean water and dry it thoroughly. Continue doing this several times a week for three weeks to get relief.

Disinfecting Countertops – Use hydrogen peroxide to clean your bathroom and kitchen countertops. Simply mix it with equal parts water and put it in a spray bottle. Spray down your surfaces and use a sponge to wipe them down.

Whiten your Grout – To make the best DIY grout cleaner, simply spray hydrogen peroxide onto dry grout and let it sit for several hours. Finish with soapy water and a toothbrush to vigorously scrub the grout. After drying, the grout should look like new.

Clean Your Mirrors – Hydrogen peroxide is a great no-streak cleaner for mirrors. Spray the chemical on your mirrors and wipe off with a paper towel.

Clean Your Toilet – Pour four ounces of hydrogen peroxide into your toilet and let it stand for twenty minutes. Scrub out the toilet with your toilet brush and flush. Finish by dousing your toilet brush with more peroxide to disinfect it. You can also get rid of a clogged toilet with hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and baking soda. Peroxide can even be used to get rid of rust stains in your in your toilet and tub.

Hydrogen Peroxide Kills Mold – Simply spray it with hydrogen peroxide and wipe clean.

Clean Cutting Boards – After using your cutting board, rinse it with water and spray it with hydrogen peroxide to take care of hidden germs.

Add it to Your Dishwasher – Add a couple of ounces of peroxide to your dish detergent to boost your dishwasher’s performance.

Disinfect Your Sponges and Dishrags – Soak them in hydrogen peroxide. It will not only keep you safe from deadly germs, but it will extend the life of your sponges.

Clean Your Fruits and Vegetables – Add some vinegar to a spray bottle and combine it with the peroxide. The two work together to detoxify your food. Spray and rinse, then let your food dry naturally. Hydrogen peroxide can also extend the life of your fresh produce. Add a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide to a sink full of water and soak your produce in it for twenty minutes. Rinse thoroughly and dry off. The peroxide removes the chemicals that have accumulated during the growing process and preserves freshness.

Cleaning the Fridge – Wipe down shelves and the inside of the fridge with peroxide to get rid of ugly food stains, kill germs, and neutralize many of the odors.

Grow Mushrooms in Your Refrigerator – Really? Hydrogen peroxide will help you grow oyster mushrooms in your refrigerator? Watch this video on how to grow mushrooms in your refrigerator, an astonishing way to use peroxide.

And guess what? We’re just getting started! For more incredible ways to use hydrogen peroxide, check back for our next blog post!

Furbabies First – Design a Perfect Pet Room!

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: August 18, 2019 | Comments Off on Furbabies First – Design a Perfect Pet Room!

If some (or all!) of your kids have four legs, you may want to take notes on the latest home décor trend…pet rooms!

If you have the extra space, think about giving your pets a place of their own. Not only will it give them an ideal hangout designed with their needs in mind, it can solve many pet ownership problems at the same time. Most pet parents find that a room devoted to their furry pals makes living in harmony easier. Ready to explore the idea of a pet paradise in your home?

Flooring

Durable, easy to clean flooring choices are a must. Believe it or not, you have excellent choices in either carpeted or hard-surface floors. If you like the idea of an easy-to-clean floor, look to either a tough, durable laminate, stone or ceramic tiled floor. If you’re going for a more casual look, you can also go with a painted concrete floor. Choose a neutral color to hide dirt and mud, or go with a bright pop of color to give the space extra pizzazz. Hardwood is a more difficult choice, as strong pet nails can mar the surface easily. It’s also essential to be vigilant for accidents, as hardwood is susceptible to stains, warping or holding undesirable odors.

If carpeting is more to your liking, consider durable area rugs that can be removed for easier cleaning. All wool carpets with high levels of lanolin tend to resist staining, but there are synthetic rugs on the market that can be pulled outside and hosed off well for cleaning. Go for patterned rugs that draw the eye away from dirt and stains, or select a rug that will hide pet hair easily. Make sure that rugs are held in place by double-stick tape or non-skid pads, so that your pets can run and play safely in their room. You can also use neutral sisal or seagrass fibers that are inexpensive enough to replace several times a year to toss when they start to show wear and tear. Carpet of some type also has the benefit of reducing the sound of clicking claws, thumping tails and bouncing dog toys.

Bedding

At least one bed per pet is essential. Make sure the bed is large enough for your pet to stretch out in; you don’t want to cramp her sleep style. Keep in mind that animals are just like people; they like to sleep in warm areas at some times, and in cool areas at others. A warm, fuzzy bed and a sturdy, durable fabric that feels slick and cool gives Fido or Kitty a choice; they can snooze where it feels best at any time. For ease of care, make sure all bedding is machine washable. It’s amazing how many pet beds are out there…there’s a “fetching” style for any décor! Check out some dog and cat beds that not only give your pets sweet dreams, they turn your home into a showcase!

 

All the Comforts of Home

Today’s pet rooms can also mimic the most comfortable aspects of your home. Include some puppy tech such as a wall-mounted TV, tunes from a stereo, or a web cam to keep tabs on Fluffy while you’re gone. Give your pets their own armoire or cabinet to hold their medications, medical records, food, treats, extra blankets or any items of clothing they may own. You can also give your pet his or her own toy box, making sure it is accessible for entertainment at all times. Most pets love to look out of the window, so choose a room for your pet that offers a view.

Exercise and adventure are key elements when it comes to keeping cats happy with their surroundings. Make sure your cat has several scratching posts of different sizes available to discourage her from taking her claws to furniture. Think vertically for maximum adventure in a small space. Sturdy shelving gives your cat hours of fun, and stylish cat trees provide perches to oversee their kingdoms.

Dogs often feel more secure when they have a crate to represent the den they would have in the wild. These days, dog crates don’t need to be unattractive metal grids; check out some of the modern choices!

Set aside one corner for a bathroom area. If you’re looking for the full package, think about adding an in-room sink to wash your dog or a grooming table. Make sure to include a hidden litter box for cats…

or an area for Rover to take care of business. Disposable dog pads are a good choice, or you can go with a plastic potty tray lined with artificial grass like this one.

For the sake of hygiene, make sure to change the pads or litter frequently.

Safety Tips

Keep lighting safe for pets by using ceiling mounted units rather than lamps than are set on tables or floor lamps that are easy to knock over. Adding a ceiling fan will help control the temperature and keep stagnant air moving. Cover all cords and exposed electrical wires with cord protectors and secure them to the wall. This will prevent pets from chewing the cords or getting tangled in them. Make sure the paint you use is non-toxic and free from volatile organic compounds. If your yard is fenced and secure, treat your pet to the ultimate accessory for his or her room…a dog or cat door leading to the great outdoors!

Glam Up Your Home with a Hot Tub!

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: August 13, 2019 | Comments Off on Glam Up Your Home with a Hot Tub!

Looking for a relaxing – yet exciting – way to spend time at home? Or perhaps you’ve suffered an injury or have a degenerative condition that could benefit from hydrotherapy? Or maybe you’re just up for some DIY fun every now and then? In any of these situations, a hot tub could be just the thing!

If your home feels incomplete without a hot tub, maybe it’s time to think about choosing one that’s right for you. Today’s hot tub market features more tubs than you could imagine, in every shape and size imaginable. While some hot tubs are indoors, the Savannah, GA area is better suited to outdoor tubs. With our mild weather, outdoor use can be practically year-round. Unlike indoor hot tubs, outdoor tubs are easier to install, provide increased ventilation to prohibit excess humidity and deter mold growth, and are less limited by available space.

Intrigued?

First of all, check with your homeowner’s association or local zoning office to make sure you can put a hot tub on your property. Some local laws don’t permit the installation of a more permanent hot tub, but will allow residents to use portable, inflatable hot tubs like this one. When the mood strikes you, inflate, fill and enjoy…and break it down when you’re done!

If your local ordinances allow a more permanent fixture, it’s time to think about what you’re looking for in a hot tub.

Size

How large the tub will be depends on the number of people that will typically use it at a time, and by how much space you have to devote to it. Smaller tubs will typically seat 2-3 people at a time, medium tubs will seat 4-6 people and large tubs can seat from 8-12 people, depending on the size. Different seating arrangements in the tub can make a difference in its size as well. Be sure the space you’ve set aside will be large enough for the tub, including leeway space for maintenance. Check for adequate drainage and ventilation as well. You need to be sure your new tub doesn’t destroy your lawn or steam paint from the side of your house.

Budget

The cost of very similar hot tubs can vary widely between manufacturers, size, and features, so it’s best to shop around a bit to ensure you’re getting top value for your dollar. Be sure to research the hot tub manufacturer carefully. Select a company that is highly reputable and had a good track record in quality. The TradeCertified™ award is given by SpaRetailer Magazine, the hot tub industry’s flagship publication. Make sure the manufacturer you’re considering is a member of this particular club. Keep in mind that there are expenses related to the upkeep of a hot tub, so be sure to work them into your final budget. Do not try to install a hot tub on your own – unless you’re a professional plumber or licensed contractor. Installing even entry level hot tubs is a complex task. Expect to pay upwards of $150 for installation, depending on the size and brand of unit you choose. It’s important that ANY tub you choose has a lifetime warranty.

Filter Systems

Keeping your water healthy and safe is critical, so make sure you’re using a quality filtration system. Water filtration systems capture debris floating on the water surface while water purification gets rid of microorganisms you can’t see. There are three types of filtration systems:

Salt Systems – Use naturally produced chlorine to kill germs. Often preferred to adding chlorine tablets and bromine to your tub, this system gives a silkier, smoother feel to the water.

Ozone Systems – works in combination with chlorine and bromine, killing germs and bacteria. Ozone systems also break down residues from soap, shampoo and makeup that contaminate the water.

UV-C Systems – These innovative new systems use high-intensity UV germicidal light rays to kill germs.

Choose Your “Extras”

If you’re looking for certain features, they will help you make a decision more easily. For instance, if you’re looking for a tub with hydrotherapy benefits instead of a tub that simply relaxes you, these extra features will be on your “must have” list. The number of jets, their location, the seating arrangement and the type of jets available could be deal makers or deal breakers for you. Make sure you ask your physician, physical therapist or chiropractor for advice on selecting the type of jets, jet quantity and optimal placement of the jets for your specific needs.

If you’re looking for mood lighting, stereo capability, hand rails, towel racks or remote control, these elements are usually only available at the mid to upper range hot tubs. Most hot tubs come with covers, but upgraded “coverall” models are available at an extra cost. If the tub is to be used less frequently, these covers help protect your investment from the elements.

And one last tip…if possible, visit a hot-tub showroom that offers “wet tests”…the chance to try before you buy. Check with some local retailers to see if they allow either wet or dry seat tests for the models they sell.

Throw a Creative Housewarming Party

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: July 28, 2019 | Comments Off on Throw a Creative Housewarming Party

You love your new house and can’t wait to show it off! You may also need a few things to round out your kitchen, bath or pantry…and a light-hearted social gathering may be just the way to pick up a few of those odds and ends. Let’s look at a few great themes for an awesome housewarming party – you’re sure to find one perfect for you!

Potluck Party

This casual get-together is a fantastic way to invite your new neighbors to meet your family and see what you’ve done with your home. Add some of your best friends to the guest list and you’re sure to have a great time! Have each person or family bring a dish to share, with the operative word being “dish”. Your guests will leave the cake pan, serving platter, egg tray or crock pot with you to help you stock your new kitchen. Just make sure to have a supply of plastic cutlery and serving utensils handy!

Spice it Up…

Pack the rack…if each guest brings a bottle or tin of a spice, seasoning or flavoring, you’re sure to have the right accent for any meal in your pantry!

Great Gardens

If you’re planning your housewarming during a time when the weather tends to be fine, plan for an outside gig. Set up a tent or two for some shade if you don’t have some trees handy, add lawn games, an outdoor bar, plenty of finger foods and you’re set to go. This is also a great idea to welcome friends if your home isn’t quite ready for display – you can offer your hospitality without the stress of making sure your house is perfect.

And some other ideas if your house isn’t quite ready…

Throw a painting party. If you’re not sold on neutral white or cream walls, have some old friends or new neighbors pitch in to paint the town red…or blue…or yellow. This works best before you start unpacking, but when you’re ready to conquer that daunting step, you can host an unpacking party for your established friend base. It’s a great way for your crew to meet your new house and help you get moved in at the same time. Make sure your moving boxes are labeled with the correct room so that your guests can rip into your boxes and do some initial unpacking in the proper place. Guests can stock pantries, fill linen closets, hang clothing or shelve books…the list is endless! Laughter, fun and pizza and wings when the job is done is a great way to get a jump on settling in. Keep private items in their own boxes in a safe place – you’ll work on those later.

Stock the Bar Soiree

An ideal first party for amateur bartenders, this get-acquainted evening is sure to be a hit. Each guest brings a sealed bottle of their favorite adult beverage to the party, and you provide mixers and lots of hearty snacks. Safety first – before the party begins, make sure you have Uber or Lyft apps on your phone, along with the number of a reputable cab company.

Scavenger Hunt

Make a list of a bunch of unique or festive items hidden around your home, and dispatch guests to find them, either alone or in family teams. The seekers who collect the most items are the winners, so make sure to provide a prize. A gift certificate to a popular local restaurant, a movie gift card or a supermarket card is almost always welcome.

A “Fresh” Idea for a Party…

The bathroom “shower” is a fun housewarming idea! Since guests tend to use the bathroom (or stop in to see it during a tour), add a line to your invite asking guests to surprise your bath with a little extra something. A roll of toilet paper, a bath bomb, a comic hand towel or a few spare toothbrushes can spruce up the room and keep you well stocked for a while.

Music for the Masses

Plan a musical event for the ages. Ask each guest to RSVP with his or her favorite song. Be sure to sprinkle the songs into your party playlist, so that guests can hear their “best of the best” during the party. If you have enough time, you can play them more than once. Program the songs ahead of time on a loop to keep your time free for your guests. If your courage is at an all-time high, consider renting (or maybe even buying) a karaoke machine. Usually it takes a brave soul or two to get the crowd started, but once it gets rolling, hilarity often ensues.

Photo Op It

Decide on a hashtag for your event…then encourage your guests to snap away during the party. Once the guests share their photos on social media, if you like, you can even collect all the photos after the event and create memento books or calendars for your friends.