Real Estate Information

Southeast Michigan Real Estate Blog

Lisa Lawson


Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 48

If you just moved in, change the locks

by Lisa Lawson

You may not have considered putting new locks on the doors, but 66 percent of burglaries happen in residential areas. It’s never certain who the previous homeowners gave additional keys to, so you may want to hire a locksmith to install new locks. This is also a good opportunity to replace locks that are worn out or rusted. You may consider installing locks that require a key on both sides of the door for added security.


by Lisa Lawson

~~Hairline cracks (less than 1/16th of an inch) that are vertical or mostly vertical in poured concrete walls are common and typically not a concern.

Floor cracks are also common and not a concern if they are less than 1/2 inch wide and not heaving or settling.

Settling and temperature changes after construction can put enough stress on these stiff structural components to cause normal cracking.

Cracks in walls that are determined not to be an issue should be sealed to prevent water leaks. Even a small hairline crack can let water through.  Epoxy crack injection waterproofing is a common and effective ways to waterproof basement walls.

In addition, ensure that your grading, gutters and downspouts, and general drainage around your foundation's exterior are fully routing water away from your home

Of course, some cracks are a concern and may need repair.  Horizontal cracks are a sign of soil or water pressure exerting force on the foundation. This type of crack will need significant repairs.

If you are not certain if cracks in your foundation are a concern, contact a qualified foundation repair company or structural engineer



A budget-friendly kitchen remodel

by Lisa Lawson

Real estate agents will tell you time and again: Kitchens and baths are what sell a home. A dated kitchen can be a big turnoff, and there are lots of ways, both big and small, to make yours as refreshing and inviting as possible without investing in a total overhaul. When it comes to spiffing up your kitchen for resale, you don’t need to majorly splurge to make a better impression on buyers.

Instead, bring the space to the point of what’s known as “builder-grade luxury”: Replace basic black appliances with stainless steel, for example, and ditch the laminate countertops in favor of granite. Yes, these home improvement ideas might sound pricey, and you could spend a pretty penny on appliances and granite, but builder-grade improvements stop far short of those over-the-top luxuries. So make your decisions with thriftiness in mind: choose one of the more affordable granite countertops (such as Napoli, Baltic Brown, or St. Cecilia), with a crisp and in-style beveled edge. Leave higher-end stone and more ornate beveling for your next home. The cost to upgrade appliances and/or countertops will vary within the four-digit range. But to keep this upgrade within your budget, try to find a deeply discounted appliance at an outlet or local “scratch-and-dent” store — where almost-perfect pieces come with perfectly approachable price tags.

Want an even cheaper way to give your kitchen a quick face-lift? Simply refinish or repaint your cabinetry and add updated hardware (such as new hinges and drawer pulls), which can dramatically transform the look of the room for less than $100. Your best bet is to choose colors and styles that are likely to appeal to the widest range of homebuyers and make them feel as if they’ve walked right into their dream kitchen Pinterest board.

Organizing your bathroom

by Lisa Lawson

The key to keeping your bathroom functional yet tidy is to give everything a home. Glass apothecary jars are a great way to store cotton balls and swabs while adding an elegant touch. Add shelving above the toilet for additional linen storage, and place hairdryers and brushes in over-the-cabinet baskets. Keep your countertop decluttered by storing bottled products in caddies under the counter, or mount stylish baskets to the wall instead.

Maximizing other storage spaces

by Lisa Lawson

If you lack storage space throughout your home, go vertical. Your wall space can be your best friend for storage, especially in your garage or closet. And don't forget to utilize under-the-bed space, which can be used for storing winter clothes or other seasonal items. If you're handy, build recessed drawers or cabinets into the wall for even more hidden storage.

Pick neutral paint colors

by Lisa Lawson

Paint still reigns supreme as the easiest and cheapest way to refresh any room, especially if you do the work yourself. Whites and neutrals can help buyers envision themselves in the space, since they provide a blank slate to serve as a backdrop for buyers’ stuff. Forgo that bold navy accent wall — the idea of priming and painting over it will just stress buyers out. Plus, lighter earth tones look good with hardwood floors, and white always brightens a room. If your rooms include mixed wood surfaces (floors, doors, and cabinets), select a neutral color.  

Energy Audits can yield big savings

by Lisa Lawson

A home energy audit is a way for home owners to effectively measure their annual energy usage and expenditures in their homes. The audit can identify areas of your home which use the most energy as well as check the efficiency of your home's heating and cooling system.

Check with your local utility company to see if they provide this audit service and at what cost if any. You can also call an independent energy auditor for a comprehensive analysis. If your home is not using energy at its optimal effectiveness, they may recommend inexpensive ways to cut down on energy costs, as well as home improvement products that will help you save.

Stop cold air from getting in

by Lisa Lawson

Feel a cold breeze? Take action in early winter as soon as you notice a problem. Boost your home’s energy efficiency and stop cold air in its tracks with these tips: 
• Check and repair caulking around doors and windows and anywhere something penetrates a wall, like outside faucets and air vents.
• Check weatherstripping on doors and windows.
• Seal cracks in foundation walls.


Check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly.

by Lisa Lawson

This is especially important during winter, when we keep windows closed and use wood-burning stoves and fireplaces more often. Make sure you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in each bedroom, on each floor of the house and in the kitchen. Check detectors monthly and change batteries as needed.

Keep heating system running smoothly

by Lisa Lawson

If you notice any strange new noises coming from your heaters, or if one area of the house suddenly seems colder, have the system looked at right away, as these can be signs something is wrong. Wondering how to properly maintain your heating system?
• If you heat with oil, have your furnace or boiler cleaned every year.
• If you heat with gas, you can have it done every three years or so.
• Make sure to change the air filters in your furnace regularly.
• When using high-efficiency heating systems, make sure that PVC vent pipes are cleared of snow and debris.

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 48