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Guide to Adding a Deck on To Your Home

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Spring is right around the corner.  Which means, it is time to start thinking about your spring home projects.  Is a deck on your list this year?  Let our Twin Cities team help educate you so you are ready to make decisions on what decking you'll be installing on your home.

Probably one of the most difficult decisions to make when building a deck is what type of decking to use.  All three choices have their benefits and setbacks.  And sometimes it comes down to strictly budget.  All three choices, green treated, cedar and composite decking share similarities.  They are all rot resistant to varying degrees, require 16-in joist spacing for proper support, and can all be cut and installed using conventional tools and fasteners.

But there is no perfect decking material to choose.  And when you meet with the LW Homes in Annandale, Minnesota team.  We will work with you to map out what is most important to you, and help make your selection based on your needs.

The three most common types of decking you see are: Green Treated (most affordable), Cedar decking (middle of the road), and Composite Maintenance Free (most expensive).

If the natural look of wood tops your list, we recommend cedar over green treated.  Its a great middle of the road option.  It can be partially rot resistant.  Cedar does not readily absorb moisture - and since moisture is what creates twisting and splitting, cedar wood decking tends to lie flat and straight.  Most cedar decks we will figure a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, but it can deteriorate faster when used for ground-level decks and for shaded slow to dry out areas.

To retain the color, with either green treated or cedar you will have to clean and reseal it every year or two, and even then it's a losing battle.  It's tough for a 10 or 15 year old cedar wood deck to still have that rich warm new wood look.  And when furniture and accessories get dragged around on the deck alot, the edges in particular can get beat up.

Maintenance Free:  This option is fairly popular especially in a colder state like Minnesota.  We bear through some tough temps in the winter months which can be tough on green treated and cedar decking.  But it is also the most expensive for that reason - maintenance free!  Most deck builders will work with one of the two top lines in maintenance free decking Timber Tech (Azek) Decking or Trex Composite Decking.  Both are comparable in what they offer.  Our team prefers to install Azek Decking for our clients.

Most composite decking is made out of recycled plastic, wood chips and sawdust.  But the plus side of it being the most expensive, once its down it won't rot.  Maintenance involves spraying it down with a hose to keep it clean.  But if you want to spend your time relaxing on your deck versus constantly maintaining it, this is the way to go.

What You Should Know When Hiring a LW Homes as your contractor?  You want a team that has experience.  Our team of contractors have been in the business for a long time, so you can trust that your decking project will be completed correctly and last a long time.  And someone who understands design, as the design stage can be critical before construction can begin.  We utilize top of the line products and materials to ensure our clients are satisfied along with design consults.  Our decking projects come with a two-year craftsmanship warranty.  If you are not happy we will make sure we get it right.

Looking for a deck builder in the Twin Cities or Annandale, Minnesota area, reach out.  We specialize in low-maintenance high quality decks.  Contact us today!  612-802-2822.

 

Home Warranties, Why & What They Are For

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One of the biggest questions realtors get when purchasing a home, is there a need for a home warranty.  If you are a first time home buyer, as a renter you are used to a landlord that would fix any issues you run into – but that all changes when you become a homeowner.  Now, when the water heater breaks down or your furnace is not heating in the middle of the winter, or when that fridge starts to leak there is no landlord to call.  So what do you do now?  You may have a family or friend or boyfriend/husband who can handle the smaller fixes, but when it comes to the big ticket items that will require a professional that may cost a pretty penny.  That is where a home warranty can save the day.

A home warranty is similar to insurance, it covers some or all of the costs of replacements or repairs when a system in your home malfunctions or stops working altogether.  They range in annual costs of $300-$900 and remove the middle man in the fixing process.  Instead of finding someone to fix an issue, you will directly contact your warranty provider and they will setup the repair or refer you a local contractor.  Your premium usually covers all the costs, with the exception of a co-pay which is typically around $50 or so.

If you’re wondering who should buy a warranty, they are usually recommended for first time home buyers who have rented up until that point. When you are used to having a landlord, a home warranty can fill that role in a different way. Home warranties are great for homes with both members in the work force outside of the house or just busy family members who can’t always be home to wait for the repair person window or find the time to even get quotes for the best repair shops in the area. Home warranties aren’t just for first time buyers, though. If your appliances are nearing the end of their life expectancy, now would be a great time to get a warranty. If all of your appliances were purchased in the same time frame, you don’t want to face the costs of them all failing at the same time. Warranties can save you time and money, especially in the first year of ownership.

Any other questions in regards to real estate – reach out!

Lisa

2019 Remodeling Stats and Spending Trends

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Thinking about remodeling in 2020?  You are not alone.  We did some research and are here to share some facts.  According to a report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, home improvement spending in the U.S. is up more than 50% since 2010.

So what is this exactly telling us?  Americans are spending on average more than $400 billion a year on residential renovations and repairs.  It is also telling us that homeowners across the country actively updating their existing homes versus selling and buying new.  In essence, the market continues to see a shortage of new construction and a reliance on aging housing stock that requires upkeep and repair.  Other factors include, higher housing prices that have delimited current owners spending power to buy and move up.  And with the increase in home improvement loans, and growing population of older homeowners who are financially equipped to pay for renovations.

The american market is seeing these “spenders” fall into three main categories: Homeowners using surging equity to make improvements, homeowners playing catch-up on deferred maintenance and updates, and rental property owners.  In this report the average expenditure on home improvements with no surprise varies by household income.  But 40% took on fairly cheap projects in the $2,500 or less category and 56% in the $5,000 or less.  And only 10% in the upwards of $20,000 or more range.  Keep in mind that these % of costs can change dramatically dependent upon household income.

Some of the most common home improvement projects through 2019:

  1. Replacing/Repairing Flooring and Ceilings
  2. Updating Plumbing and Cabinet Fixtures
  3. Built in Dishwasher and Garbage Disposal
  4. Updating Windows and Doors
  5. New Water Heaters
  6. New Roof
  7. Bathroom and Kitchen Remodels
  8. Adding Irrigation Systems
  9. Updating to Central Air
  10. Updating Electrical

Other popular remodels that our team has received alot of requests on: Decks, Three and Four Season Porches, New Home Builds and Home Additions.

 

 

 

What You Need To Know For Winter House Hunting

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While house hunting in the winter was never really a thing of the past, today’s culture keeps things going year-round – which means finding a home can be done at any time of the year. While exploring in the cold might be your focus or concern, house-hunting in less-than-ideal conditions can show you things you can’t always see on a warm, sunny day. Here are some things to keep in mind as you try to find a home before the holidays.

Winter Weather Can Help You See Hidden Flaws

Even if you don’t love the cold and snowy weather, it can help you see household flaws that you may not see in the warmth of summer. Maybe the windows are drafty or there is a major loss in privacy when the trees are bare from the cold. It will also help you to love your home for its’ bones, and only love it more when warmer seasons arrive bringing flowers, grass, and colorful foliage.

Photos Can Help Fill In The Blanks

It can be hard to picture what a poolside oasis looks like when it is covered in snow. This is where photos can save the day. Whether they are listing photos or images from previous owners, seeing certain parts of the home in better weather may check the final box for a home you are falling in love with.

Know How To Handle Features Unavailable In The Winter

If that pool you fell in love with isn’t operational in the winter, you should request that they leave money in escrow or extend the closing time frame so that you can inspect the pool when warm weather returns. Sellers are responsible for remedying any issues unless they provide a disclosure about some part of the pool not working.

Negotiating Price In the Winter Months

Depending on the situation and area you are looking to buy or sell in.  Some buyers may be more able to score a deal on a home without the hassle that the spring market may bring.  There is always a benefit to selling in spring months due to higher demand and better chances of getting over asking price.  But you can still easily sell in the winter months and get asking price and score yourself a deal as you move onto your next home as well.  Sellers in the colder months may be more apt to negotiate or be a bit more flexible as they are more eager to sell.  And shopping for a home in the winter months overall is a much more slower paced experience than the hussle and bussle of the spring home market.

So don’t let those cold temps stop you from making a move this winter and call today!

 

Tips to Prep Your Home for Winter

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Halloween has come and gone and depending on where you live, there is a good chance fall weather is coming right along with it or like here in Minnesota we are already seeing touches of Winter! It’s time to get ahead of your last minute home maintenance before those cold winter months hit. By preparing for fall weather, you can address any issues that may get worse with colder temps or just keep your home in the best condition to make sure your property is in top shape no matter the season. Here is a great reference checklist to make sure you’re doing the basics to get your home ready for winter!

1. Rake it up.

Everyone loves the changing leaves, except your grass. Leaving fallen leaves in your yard can kill you grass and prevent growth in the spring. Make sure you keep those leaves raked up!

2. Check your gutters.

Those same leaves that can kill your grass can also clog your gutters. Clogged gutters can lead to plenty of other issues, so be sure to periodically check your gutters to prevent buildup.

3. Don’t forget your roof.

You don’t want fall to pass and winter to arrive only to find out you’re missing a few shingles. While you’re checking your gutters, make sure to check on your roof too.

4. Store summer decor.

If you are set to get cold temperatures this fall, take the time to pack away your summer items. If your patio furniture isn’t equipped for a surprise snow storm, you’ll be glad you took the time to store it away now.

5. Prevent frozen pipes.

No one wants frozen, bursting pipes. Remember to shut off water to your exterior faucets before the weather hits freezing temperatures.

6. Venting is healthy.

As the temperatures drop, static electricity increases. If you have lint build up in your dryer, this static electricity makes it easier to ignite.

7. Do your own inspection.

Take a walk around the interior and exterior of your home and try to look at it with fresh eyes. Keep an eye out for any damage to walls, floors, or cement outdoors. Be sure to fill any cracks or fix loose gravel that could cause a fall when colder weather is added to the mix.

8. Check your insurance.

Is your home insurance up to date? Make sure your insurance will stand up in a storm and that you will be covered no matter what fall will bring.

9. It’s time for an annual furnace tune-up.

Make sure to get a service call on the schedule to have your furnace tuned-up before those cold temps hit. You don’t want to be stranded with no heat in the middle of a snow storm or cold spell.

10. Adjust your air to air exchanger.

If you live in a home with a home air exchange system. You will want to start thinking about adjusting those levels to start cycling fresh air into the home the more you run your furnace.

Granite Lake Kitchen Revamp

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It is never easy to part with our clients after the amount of time we spend in their home.  This summer we said goodbye to some of the sweetest clients as we wrapped up their kitchen remodel on their Granite Lake home.  These two clients were such a joy to work with we had so much fun getting to know them.  We tore this kitchen to the studs and did a complete overhaul of their lake home kitchen.

Don and Lori purchased their lake home on Granite Lake in 2018.  When they initially purchased the home the kitchen was outdated and in need of some love, so cute the before photos…

BEFORE

They had beautiful lake views from their living space and the kitchen felt dark and in desperate need of some natural light.

Lori’s top requests, updated flooring throughout the home and an open kitchen to enjoy those lake views while she’s cooking.

When it came to the want list on the remodel it was fairly simple: new flooring throughout home, new cabinets, counter tops and hutch area for coffee and treats.

Like any remodel consult, we always start with the basics and expand from there.  Throughout the process we added additional add-on’s including recessed lighting throughout main level, updated paint removing old wall paper, vent hood, farmhouse sink and new trim.  And now for the best part the after photos.

We opened up the living room wall, and replaced with header beams for support.  We updated the stairway ledge with hickory to match new cabinets.

AFTER

And we updated the entire main level with rustic up-scale vinyl plank flooring and new trim throughout.

In the kitchen space we replaced all of the existing cabinets with newly updated hickory cabinets to give the kitchen a rustic lake home feel.

  We replaced the existing counter tops with new granite tops and a farmhouse sink with new sink fixtures.

The side kitchen wall we filled with a beautiful custom built kitchen hutch.  Providing plenty of additional kitchen storage and a perfect spot for crock pots and food placement for entertaining with granite tops to match the kitchen area.

We we removed the existing built in glass case on the side wall and opened up the wall.  We came up with the idea of adding a breakfast bar to fill the space.  Again with granite tops to match all other tops in the kitchen.

And the most important part of the kitchen.  Opening up the kitchen wall to allow for natural lighting in the kitchen allowing that beautiful lake view from the kitchen.

And we love the little details our clients added to their kitchen.

We are so thankful for our clients and the opportunities they give us to be creative with their projects and to help make their home beautiful.

Home Additions To Increase Your Homes Value

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We get these questions on a fairly regular basis.  And as a homeowner you should always be thinking ahead on two things with your home remodeling projects.  First, the functionality of it and how it will best serve your family and second what type of re-sale value will it add to my home should I sell in the future.  So here is a guide to our top choices for home additions that we see most homeowners do.

Decks

One of the most common requests we get in the warm months here in Minnesota are decks.  Why?  Well when you consider the back of your home, one of the most valuable home additions most consider is adding a decking space/structure to enjoy our Minnesota summers.  It creates a natural hangout area for the family and a great place to grill.  And with the right choices of wood, decks can add some great appeal aesthetically as well.  There are typically three types of decks we price out for our customers.

Most common are green treated decks.  Though it is the cheaper option for a deck it comes with more maintenance throughout the years, including keeping up with the staining to ensure the wood does not rot over time.

A second middle of the road option to consider is cedar decking.

And when you don’t want to deal with the headache of maintenance on your deck, you will want to go with composite.  There are a wide array of composite decking options to choose from and railings as well.  Most of the cost with any deck will fall in what you choose for your railing choices.

These can range from standard wood railing, aluminum spindles or even wire cables.  No matter which option you choose, decks are a great value add to your home when it comes to re-sale value.

Three and Four Season Porches

Another common request we get are for three and four season porches.  When it comes to three season porches they can be a great addition to the house to get the feel of being outdoors on your deck without those pesky mosquitoes and bugs bothering you.  Though a three season porch will add some value to your home, when it comes to the re-sale of your property unfortunately the three season porch cannot count as additional square footage.  Which is why many homeowners opt for a four season porch.

Many homeowners here in Minnesota you will see with four season porches and decks attached alongside.

So you can still enjoy those views and summer nights outdoors but get the value add of somewhere to go when the bugs get pesky.  Four season porches are also great for re-sale because they have a heat source which will allow the homeowner to account for additional square footage in the home.  And it offers an additional getaway spot for the family in the cold winter months, to cozy up and read a book.

Patios/FirePits

If you live in a one-level home or are not a fan of having a deck space.  A patio is another great option to add to your home.  It provides a spot for your family to hangout grill, relax and enjoy those rare warm months here in Minnesota.  Patios can range from wooden, bricked, stone or concrete to name a few.

And adding an amenity like a fire pit will also certainly increase your properties worth.  It is just another selling feature for potential buyers for another great spot to enjoy your evenings outdoors.

 

No matter what the project is our team is here to help you through the design and physical completion of the project.  Give us a call to discuss your next home project.

Brandon and Lisa

 

Summer in Minnesota

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Summers are short here in Minnesota and the warm temps are limited.  So when the temps start to warm up we take full advantage.  So how do you do summers in Minnesota?  Here is our list of Minnesota favorite summer activities!

Take in a ball game whether its the Twins or the Saints.  But you can also catch some fun town ball games.

One of our favorite things to do in the summer is hit up some local county fairs and of course the Minnesota State Fair.  There is almost always a new food or brew to try and lots of fun things to see!  And did you know that it is the second largest State Fair in the nation?  We always try to attend our local Wright County Fair.  You can find a list of local county fairs here.

There is nothing better than enjoying the great outdoors.  It is pretty much a given for our family to take a jaunt up north once a summer to the superior coastline.  The options are really endless, hikes through the Superior National Forest and scenic superior shoreline to secluding yourself in the Boundary Waters for some tenting and canoeing.  And of course stopping through Duluth to view the large boats that come in and out of the harbor, the kids are always amazed!

Want to do some local hiking with some views?  Head out to St. Anthony Falls and view the falls from the Guthrie’s endless bridge that jets over the Mississippi and follow the cobblestone path on St. Anthony Main to the Stone arch bridge – a Minneapolis landmark that spans 23 arches over the Mississippi.  And there is more, enjoy a scenic walk through Loring Park, it’s the central park of Minneapolis.  Or take a walk through Minnehaha and gaze up Minnehaha park’s 53-foot waterfall.

Of course it is a given right to most Minnesotan’s to hit the lakes in the summer.  Whether it is to the beach, or on a boat we all like to enjoy our summer nights on the water!

Hitting up the local parks and rec’s.  You can find rental pedal boats, kayaks, paddleboards, canoes and bikes from various parks and lake facilities making it fun to get out and enjoy Minnesota’s waters.  There are some great spots to hike out in our neck of the woods, including Lake Mariah State Park and Stanley Eddy to name a few.  Here is a list to all the parks throughout Minnesota. 

Local summer farmers markets!  There is nothing better than eating local fresh produce throughout the summer months.  Our local farmers market even offers incentives for the kiddos to stop out and shop and pick their own free produce!  You can find a list to local farmers markets in Minnesota here.

Get out and drink a Minnesota-brewed beer or wine – outside!  There are so many local brew houses and wineries in the area.  Check out the links below.

Minnesota Brew Houses.

Minnesota Wineries 

Basilica Block Party.  If you have not attended this outdoor music festival, you are missing out!  The streets of downtown Minneapolis flood with concert goers in front of the Basilica for two nights of great tunes.  This year it falls on July 12th and 13thhttps://www.basilicablockparty.org/

Minneapolis Aquatennial, enjoy some of the best fireworks in the nation and be part of the largest nighttime parade in Minnesota, or participate in the Torchlight 5k.

We always bring the kids to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum atleast once a year.  There is so much fun to be had viewing all the plants, trees and playscapes for kids.  It gets the kids out in nature!

Minnesota Renaissance Festival.  This event keeps showing up every year!  We are not a big fan of it but for others its a blast.  You can basically take a trip to a 16th century England like fantasy kingdom right here in Minnesota.

And you can’t forget the typical summer go-places for kiddos, including the Minnesota and Como Zoo, the Mall of America and of course Valley Fair!

Cheers to the heat and enjoying our wonderful state of Minnesota!

5 WAYS TO FILL THE SPACE ABOVE YOUR BED

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Even if you have a beautiful headboard, the space above your bed can seem empty if left untouched.  This space can be tricky to decorate, but that doesn’t mean you should leave it blank.  There are plenty of inexpensive ways to spruce up that space without much work.  Here are five ways to make the best of that negative space!

1. Create a Gallery Wall

Whether it is gridded and organized or statement and staggered, a gallery wall is the perfect way to add a little more ‘you’ to your bedroom. Frame your favorite family photos or the landscape photos from your favorite vacation.  We added a gallery wall above our bedroom wall along with some decorative antique lamps on our bedside tables.  We kept it simple but it with the mere cost of $25 for some photos and frames, our space went from plain to decorative.

2.  Add a Set of Shelves

Even if you don’t need the extra storage space, you can use shelves to add small decor that is unique to you. Your favorite books, small planters, or even picture frames are a great way to personalize the shelves.

 

3. Wallpaper the Wall

If you’re worried about adding anything above your bed, consider creating an accent wall with floral wallpaper. Many places sell peel and stick paper so if you decide you don’t love the style or you’re renting and cannot make a permanent change, you can still try out wallpaper.

4. Consider a Tasteful Tapestry or Wall Hanging

Tapestries aren’t just for college dorm rooms. If you aren’t ready to add shelving fixtures but want something a little more than wallpaper, consider adding a pop of color with a tapestry or a statement yarn wall hanging.

HABITS OF A TIDY HOMEOWNER

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We all have that friend whose home seems to be spotless, no matter the time of day. You could swing by for a morning coffee or stop over for dinner, and it always looks like someone just cleaned. Can you imagine if your house could be like that? Well, it can! Tidy homes are created out of habit. Here are 5 habits of people with tidy homes, so that you too can have a house that looks like a magazine feature all the time.

1. Having A Schedule

Letting clutter accumulate is the easiest way to get a messy home. If you are waiting until the mess is unbearable, you’re going to be overwhelmed by it every time. By creating a cleaning schedule, you can manage the cleaning of your home instead of avoiding it. Create tasks for each day, like a day for dusting and a day for vacuuming, so you are doing a little bit of deep cleaning every day.

2. Create Lists

Break down everything in your home that needs to be cleaned on a list. By creating a list, you will be able to cross off what you complete as you go. This visual helps you to stay on track and feel like you’re accomplishing your goals.

3. A Place For Everything

Organization is the key to a tidy home. If every item in your house has its own home, cleaning will be much easier. This especially helps to prevent junk drawers or counters overflowing with random household items.

4. Get Rid of Clutter

If a junk drawer is already overflowing in your house or you have a closet where you’ve been stuffing items with no other place to go, it is time to purge. Follow Marie Kondo’s advice and get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy – especially clutter.

5. Baskets are Best

While it is important to maintain organization when using them, baskets can be extremely helpful to organize and reduce clutter – especially if you have children or pets. While it is easier to manage our own clutter, it can be difficult to put every toy or childcare item away properly when we are in a rush. By having decorative baskets throughout your home, you can quickly clear out an area if you have guests coming over without scrambling to put all those items where they are meant to go. It is important to add basket organization to your cleaning list, that way they do not become just another ‘junk drawer’ of sorts.

Work on creating these habits in your own home and soon enough, you’ll be the one who doesn’t mind when your friends stop by at any hour!

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CONTACT US

LakeWood Homes & Remodeling

PO Box 446 Annandale, MN 55302

team@lw-homes.com

612-802-2822

        

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