Earn a Higher Rental Rate With Better Landscaping

You’ve heard the saying “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” and that is never truer than in real estate.

While the landscaping is important to buyers looking to purchase a property, it can be just as essential for anyone looking to rent.

What Landscaping Says About a Property
Drive by an apartment or a house with a For Rent sign and see what your first impression is.

A well-trimmed lawn with neatly arranged bushes and trees will bring to mind a landlord who cares about his or her property.

Flowers and festive plants in planters or flowerbeds indicate someone who goes above and beyond to care for the property.

Take a trip to an area where weeds have grown tall and sidewalks are cracked.

You probably won’t want to stop and ask about the property because you wouldn’t want to live there.

While the inside of a property can make or break the deal, the landscaping gets people to stop in the first place.

They develop ideas about what the rest of the home looks like based on how well the exterior is kept.

Increased Value
Studies have shown for years that landscaping increases the value of a property.

That fact is not just for selling properties, but for the price you can get out of renting.

If you don’t believe it can make that big of a difference, think about all of the ways the right landscaping could improve your property.

  • Add privacy and block poor views
  • Reduce noise levels
  • Reduce crime by making it difficult for criminals to access areas or hide
  • Reduce heating and cooling costs

These practical benefits of landscaping can help you sell your property to would-be tenants.

Not only can you charge more for a property that has prime landscaping, but you will rent out your units faster.

Choosing the Right Design
To enjoy these benefits, you must choose the right landscaping design.

This is why it is important to hire professionals to design and complete the work.

You can provide direction by letting them know what you want the landscaping to do for your property, but they are better trained to select the right plants and placement to achieve your goals.

Landscaping not only applies to plants, trees, shrubs and grass, but to the hardscaping of your property.

This includes walkways, patios and decks, and backyard gardens.

When planning a landscaping overhaul, you’ll want to figure in updating or repairing broken archways, outdoor fireplaces and other spaces to ensure the best image for your property.

It is necessary to work within budget, but remember that you can count landscaping costs as part of your business expenses for the rental properties.

This may allow you more money to make bigger improvements.

When updating a rental property to attract tenants, many landlords focus on the inside of the units and forget about other areas.

While the interior is where a resident will spend most of their time at home, they also want to live in a space that looks attractive when they first drive up or walk in.

Take time to view the outdoor spaces of your properties and see them as your tenants would.

Make the necessary changes to ensure your property stands out in a good way.


How To Repair a Leaking Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal is an extremely useful kitchen appliance.

It can also cause a lot of damage to your undersink cabinet when it decides to leak.

The good news is that most leaks are very easy to fix and you may not even need any tools to get the job done.

Here’s how to repair a leaking garbage disposal.

1. Check For a Secure Fit.

Garbage disposals tend to vibrate as they operate.

This can help them shake loose a bit and break the drainage seal.

A simple turn of the appliance can quickly fix this type of leak.

Just get underneath the sink, unplug the unit, tighten it, and then plug it back in and the repair will be done.

2. There’s Something Stuck In The Rotators.

Most garbage disposals slice up food products with a high speed rotation mechanism.

It floats above the mechanisms that spin the rotors, so sometimes food particles can get stuck in there.

Bone chips, dried rice, and mashed potatoes tend to be the worst offenders for this.

You’ll need to remove the food that has gotten stuck.

If you can see it, then a table knife can often do the trick.

If not, you’ll need to remove the unit and unscrew the rotor to complete the repair.

3. The Emergency Reset Needs To Be Pushed.

Sometimes the reason why the garbage disposal is leaking is because it has stopped working.

There’s an emergency reset button to push somewhere underneath the unit.

Press it and this should solve the problem.

4. There’s a Plumbing Issue.

Sticky foods and cooking oils can clog up the plumbing underneath the sink, but after the garbage disposal.

This makes it seem like the appliance is leaking.

You’ll need to unscrew the PVC trap and physically remove the clog.

Remember: never send down drain cleaner through your garbage disposal.

Knowing how to repair a leaking garbage disposal can help you stop more water damage from happening.

Follow these steps and you’ll be able to complete most repairs in under 60 minutes.

How To Patch a Large Hole In Drywall

If you’ve got a large hole in your drywall, then patching this issue can be a bit tricky.

A standard repair won’t provide the wall with enough strength.

You still have some options for a quick repair, but not as many if the repair issue was a small hole.

Here is what you’re going to need to do.

1. Look For a Metal Plate Patch.

You’ll need something with strength in order to repair a large hole.

That means your best option is a metal plate patch.

You can find these at most hardware stores and major retailers.

The largest size of this patch tends to be 4×4 inches.

Some patches offer a textural repair component, but the strongest patches just have a drywall tape attachment to them.

2. Install The Patch.

Place the patch over your large hole that needs to be repaired.

If the hole is too large for the patch, you’ll need to cut out the hole so that you have two studs exposed for a drywall patch instead.

If you must take the latter option, then expose 50% of the stud and cut your drywall patch to size.

Use drywall tape to help seal your new seams.

3. Coat With Joint Compound.

You’ll need to cover your patch with joint compound for the repair to look seamless if it is a metal patch.

If it is a large drywall patch instead, then just use the joint compound along the seams to cover the tape.

Allow the joint compound to dry completely.

4. Sand Down The Rough Edges.

You want to have a smooth surface on your wall at the repair site.

Use a drywall sander to remove the rough edges from your joint compound patch.

5. Apply Texture.

You can either manually add texture to your wall or you can use a spray texture for an easier solution.

Start from just outside of your repair area and work your way in for a seamless aesthetic.

Allow to dry.

6. Paint To Match.

Now all you need to do is make sure your wall looks fantastic.

Paint the repair area to match the surrounding wall.

If your surrounding paint has faded for some reason, then you may need to repaint the entire room.

Knowing how to patch a large hole in drywall can save you a lot of time and money.

Follow these steps and you’ll be able to complete this repair over the course of a single afternoon.

How To Seal a Drafty Door

When the cold weather begins to come around, the colder air outside can sometimes slip through cracks in a drafty door.

Instead of shoving a towel or blanket in front of it to guard against the cold, you can take these steps to make sure the door has been sealed.

These steps can even be taken in most rental units.

1. Fill The Gap.

If you want to know how to seal a drafty door, then the job is pretty simple: you’ve got to fill the gap with something.

The easiest product that can help you do that is a self-adhesive weather stripping product.

There are numerous colors and sizes available at most hardware stores and retail chains.

Make sure the area where the weather stripping will be affixed is clean, because otherwise the product will come off right away.

To install the weather stripping, you’ll need to measure the door frame.

Then cut the weather stripping to match each horizontal and vertical section that needs to be filled.

If you are putting the product around the entire door, don’t be tempted to take a shortcut by just installing the stripping without cutting it.

This creates curves at the corners of the door that can still allow a draft to come through.

2. Make Sure The Jamb Has Been Properly Sealed.

Sometimes you can actually see the gaps in the door that lead to the outside within the jamb itself.

At other times you may need to remove some of the trim around the door to access this area for the repair. In this circumstance, expanding foams and caulks are generally your best solution.

Use low expansion products because the triple expansion materials can actually disfigure the door jamb and worsen the problem.

If you can’t make an alteration to the property for some reason, then a short-term solution would be to fill those gaps with a removable material and then place the trim back in its place.

It’s like the towel in front of the door, but one that you don’t have to replace every time you use the door. For small gaps, incense sticks or wooden wedges make for an easy to install solution.

3. Install a Brush At The Bottom Of The Door.

If the door does not properly fit the jamb for some reason, then the best solution might be to install a brush or sweeper at the bottom of the door.

This installs much like weather stripping products do, but the difference is that there is a “shield” in place to block the drafts that try to come through.

If bristles get bent or broken on this product it will not work effectively, so it may not be right for high traffic areas.

4. Don’t Forget About The Duct Tape.

If you are not allowed to make any modifications to the property, then duct tape can be a handy tool to have.

You can either apply the duct tape in layers to the door or frame to fill the gap that is letting the cold air in or use the tape to attach a brush.

When it comes time to move out, you’ll need to have a tape residue remover on-hand when you remove the item.

5. Don’t Forget About The Bugs.

If there is a gap in your door during the colder months, then it isn’t just the cold air that is a threat to the integrity of your home.

Spiders and other insects begin moving toward the warmth when the weather changes and will exploit a gap in your door.

You’ll need to either apply a pest repellent or have a solid enough block in place to make sure the bugs can’t get inside.

A great solution for this is called a “threshold seal.”

These will install outside of your door and are best suited for doors that open inward or lift straight up.

As an added bonus, they will stop having puddles form around your door.

You’ll need to clean the area outside the door for a proper installation because an industrial level adhesive is used as part of the installation process.

Knowing how to seal a drafty door could be as simple as rolling up a towel to place in front of it, but these steps will give you a more permanent solution.

Once the job is completed, a door can be draft-free all season long.

Choose your preferred option, get your tools, and then enjoy a warm and pest-resistant home all winter long.

How To Seal a Concrete Driveway

It doesn’t take too much time or cash to seal a concrete driveway.

All you need is a few supplies from your local hardware or home improvement store and a nice day to get the job done.

In return, you’ll be able to make your driveway look fantastic for several additional years.

The main problem that degrades a concrete driveway over time is water.

Some moisture from rainfall and other precipitation can stay underneath the concrete or even within the material itself.

This means it can freeze and expand underneath the concrete, causing it to crack or flake.

By sealing the driveway, less water can get through the porous concrete and that makes it less likely to change with the natural expansion and contraction process.

Here are the steps that you’re going to want to follow to make sure your driveway has the longest life possible.

1. Make Sure The Concrete Driveway Has Completely Cured.

Concrete needs about 30 days to cure properly when it has been set as a driveway.

You cannot apply any sealer to the concrete until then.

After the 30 days have elapsed, all dirt, debris, and other oil or grease residue must be removed before applying the sealer.

Give the driveway 24 hours to completely dry.

2. Fix Any Cracks Or Potholes That May Be In The Driveway.

If you’re sealing an older driveway, then it should be in good repair before the process begins.

You’ll need to fill in any cracks and fix any potholes before proceeding.

A quick setting concrete can fix a pothole in about 3 days, while certain caulks and fillers can repair a crack within 24 hours.

Make sure that the sealant you plan to use will not negatively interact with the repair products you’ve chosen.

3. Install a Gutter Barrier.

Concrete sealant is a liquid material, which means there is always a chance that the product may run into your storm sewage drains.

This is especially true if you live in an area that sees consistent precipitation.

Installing a gutter barrier can prevent any of the sealant from reaching the drainage system to reduce potential contamination.

This may require a permit from your local jurisdiction.

4. Apply a Siloxane Sealant To The Driveway If The Concrete Is 0.5 Inches Or Less In Thickness.

You’ll need to pick up a roller or a large brush to apply a sealer to your concrete driveway.

Some sealers are available in a spray form, but they may cost more for the convenience of spraying as an application.

It’s ok if you get some sealant on your grass, landscaping, or other surfaces.

Just wash the sealant off with soap and water if this happens.

Note: Certain sealants are also solvent-based or water-based and these offer a glossy finish when compared to a penetrating sealant.

A glossy finish is usually not recommended for driveways unless the concrete is decorative in nature.

5. Apply The Sealant Evenly.

A driveway tends to have small sections that will cause puddles to form.

As the sealant is being applied, you will notice that the concrete will begin to have a faint whitish color to it.

This is normal.

What you will want to look for are puddles that are of a deeper white color because this shows the sealant has puddled for some reason.

Spread out these puddles evenly and then allow the entire driveway to dry.

This takes another 24 hours even if the sealant says it is ready for use before then.

6. Try To Use a Horizontal Rolling Pattern Instead Of a Vertical One.

Siloxane sealants tend to apply better if you go against the “grain” of your driveway.

Most driveways have a slight slope to them to allow for drainage.

Use the roller horizontally to make sure there is a maximum level of penetration of the sealant into the pores of the concrete to preserve its look.

7. Some Sealants Allow For a Slip-Resistant Coating To Be Added.

If you are making your concrete driveway a slip-resistant surface, then you will have certain powders or other textures to add during the sealing process.

The two most common types of additives are silica sand and plastic grit.

This is generally mixed into the sealant before it is applied.

Follow the instructions from the manufacturer on any additives for the best result.

Knowing how to seal a concrete driveway can ensure that you’ll be able to use it for several years to come.

Protect it against moisture today and you won’t have to worry about premature cracking, flaking, or splitting any more.

How To Patch a Bathtub

Bathtubs can be made from several different materials.

Many tubs are ceramic or metal, but there may also be fiberglass or even plastic tubs that need to be patched.

The first step in knowing how to patch a bathtub must be to identify the materials used to create it.

If there are cracks that look dark and deep, then this generally means a plastic tub.

Cracks in ceramic may also look dark, but also appear to be on the surface only.

Once you’ve identified the material, you’re ready to begin the repair process.

You’ll want to make sure that you have fine-grain sandpaper, a paintbrush, a putty knife, a utility knife, and sponges or clean lint-free towels on hand in addition to the repair materials needed to complete the job.

1. Clean Your Bathtub.

Make sure that your tub is clean.

It’s fine to use your standard household cleaning chemicals for this process.

Just make sure that you pay extra attention to the repair site so there isn’t anything that could affect the integrity of the repair you’re about to make.

After completely cleaning your tub, allow it to dry for 24 hours.

2. Prepare Any Large Cracks Or Holes.

Anything that is more than 0.25 inches wide will need to have mesh or cloth placed on it for a solid repair.

What you’ll use is based on the base material of your tub. Make sure you give yourself an extra 0.5 inches on all sides of the repair area with your mesh or cloth for a tight seal over the crack or hole being patched.

3. Prepare Your Filler.

Depending on what you need to use to seal the area, you may need to mix your filler so that it is ready to set.

If you’re using a caulking-style tube filler, then you’ll want to make sure you have the repair site taped off with painter’s tape to avoid placing the filler in a location that doesn’t need a repair.

4. Apply The Filler.

Place your repair filler on top of the repair site.

This includes repairs that required a mesh or cloth.

If you needed to tape your cloth or mesh in place, now is the time to remove it so it doesn’t become part of the permanent repair.

Place another layer of mesh or cloth on top of the filler and then add another layer of filler.

If just the crack needs to be filled, then make sure the filler is oozing out of the crack before stopping the application process and then scrape the extra filler away for a flush surface.

5. Allow The Filler To Dry.

It may take 6-24 hours for the filler to properly dry.

Some epoxy fillers may begin setting within minutes, however, so make sure you proceed in a timely fashion based on the materials that are being used.

Your filler must be completely dry before moving to the next step of the patching process.

If you have missed any areas of the cracks or holes that need to be patched, now is the time to repeat Step #4 before proceeding with the repair.

6. Sand Down Any Extra Filler.

Don’t use a rough grade sandpaper for this job because it will damage the surrounding surface of the tub.

You want to create a completely flush surface at this point.

You will create dust, so use a damp sponge or lint-free towel to remove any debris that comes from your sanding efforts.

Allow the repair site to dry.

Please note: It is advisable to have some sort of breathing protection in place during this step.

The fine dust particles that are created by the sanding process may be harmful to your air passageways.

7. Paint The Tub To Match.

You may need to paint your bathtub to complete your repair.

You may also have a sealant or other coating surface that must be applied depending on the materials used to create your tub.

You’ll want to brush whatever coating you’re using in a consistent one-way stroke to achieve the best results.

Allow the first coat to dry naturally, which may take up to 24 hours depending on your product, and then add a second coat to the first coat in the same fashion.

It can take some time to complete this repair, but knowing how to patch a bathtub can potentially save you over $1,000 when compared to a complete tub replacement.

Follow these steps and you’ll be able to experience success.