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Home Improvement Projects to Complete Before the End of Summer

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Summer officially ends on Friday, September 22nd. That still gives you plenty of time to finish those last minute home improvement projects you've been putting off. Take advantage of these last weekends of beautiful weather and make some great updates and improvements to your Mason City area home. Not sure where to begin? Here are 7 prime home improvements to make at the end of summer.

 

1. Start a Vegetable Garden

Fall produce is delicious! Continue to put healthy, fresh food on your kitchen table by starting a garden with plants that thrive in cooler weather. We recommend beets, cabbage, carrots, and kale.


 2. Update Your Landscaping

Landscaping helps increase your home's value. Now is the perfect time to spruce up your yard so that it is looking its very best this fall and far into next year. You can choose to work on your landscaping yourself or hire a landscaping consultant or architect. Some landscaping centers offer free consultations, which is a great option if you need help coming up with initial ideas or knowing what would best accentuate your home's features. It can be easy to spruce up your landscaping on a budget. One great way to save some money? Mason City offers Free Mulch to residents!


 3. Renovate Your Deck

Your wood deck requires yearly maintenance. Water and cold weather can lead to rot and cracking in the boards. Inspect the deck yourself or hire a professional inspector if you notice any problem areas. Spend the time and money to renovate your deck as necessary so you can continue to use it on those warmer fall days and to reduce the risk of further damage during the winter.


 4. Buy New Patio Furnishings

End of season means great sales! As the weather cools, retailers will be looking to move their outdoor inventory quickly. Take advantage of huge savings on patio furnishings and lawn care equipment now.


5. Get Rid of Your Old Grill

Just like patio furnishings, grills will also be deeply discounted. Buy the grill you've always wanted so you can host those great fall football parties and be ready to barbecue all summer long next year.

 

 6. Add an Outdoor Shower

Whether you want it for relaxation or to wash off after a hard day working outside, a great upgrade to your home can be the installation of an outdoor shower. Consider placement, sizing, materials, and plumbing as you think about adding this fun and convenient outdoor feature.


7. Install a Swimming Pool

We all know the summer months in North Iowa can get hot, hot, hot! Always dreamed of cooling off in your very own pool? The end of summer is the perfect time to install your dream pool. Get ready to have the best summer ever next year by adding a pool now. With soil that is easier to dig in, deals offered by pool builders, and less need to utilize your yard as the weather cools, take advantage of the end of summer by adding this ultimate upgrade.

 

 

For more home improvement tips, check out our Blog for related topics. If you are interested in Buying or Selling your North Iowa home, give the Jane Fischer and Associates Team a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.



Source Reference: Realtor.Com


North Iowa Home & Landscaping Show This Weekend!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Looking for great ways to update and renovate your Mason City home? Come to the 26th Annual North Iowa Home & Landscaping Show this weekend at the North Iowa Events Center (3700 4th Street Southwest, Mason City)! On Friday, February 24th, through Sunday, February 26th, you can find everything that you need inside and outside your home!

 


Turn your North Iowa abode into your dream home by discovering millions of ideas and meeting with 120+ exhibitors for the following areas and more:


Bath Repair | Carpet | Decorating | Doors | Energy Saving Products | Equipment | Fireplaces | Flooring | Garage Doors | Gardens | Grills | Heating & Cooling | Homebuilders | Hot Tubs | Insulation | Kitchens | Landscaping | Lawns | Mowers | Paving | Remodelers | Saunas | Security | Siding | Sunrooms | Water Treatment | Windows



There are also amazing home and garden seminars scheduled all weekend long! Here is the full schedule:


Friday, February 24th

4:30 pm - Increase the Storage Space and Update your Kitchen (Steve Katkowsky)

6:00 pm - Backyard Birds and How to Attract Them (Ellen Montgomery)

7:00 pm - Transform your Garden & Bring your Living Space Outdoors (Steve Katkowsky)

Saturday, February 25th

11:30 am - Want a New Home and No Energy Costs for under $175,000? (Gregg Bacon)

1:00 pm - Increase the Storage Space and Update your Bathroom (Steve Katkowsky)

2:00 pm - Want a New Home and No Energy Costs for under $175,000? (Gregg Bacon)

3:30 pm - Increase the Storage Space and Update your Kitchen (Steve Katkowsky)

5:00 pm - Backyard Birds and How to Attract Them (Ellen Montgomery)

6:00 pm - Transform your Garden & Bring your Living Space Outdoors (Steve Katkowsky)

Sunday, February 26th

12:00 pm - Increase the Storage Space and Update your Kitchen (Steve Katkowsky)

1:30 pm - Want a New Home and No Energy Costs for under $175,000? (Gregg Bacon)

2:30 pm - Increase the Storage Space and Update your Bathroom (Steve Katkowsky)



North Iowa Home & Landscaping Show Details

Dates: Friday, February 24th - Sunday, February 26th

Times: 3:00 pm - 9:00 pm (Friday) | 10:00 am - 7:00 pm (Saturday) | 11:00 am - 4:00 pm (Sunday)

Location: North Iowa Events Center (3700 4th Street Southwest, Mason City)

Cost: $5 regular admission, FREE for kids 12 and under!

*Click HERE for special discount coupon!  


If you are interested in Buying or Selling your North Iowa home, give Jane Fischer & Associates a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.


Are Manufactured Stone Exteriors the Right Choice?

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Faux Stone House Siding

More and more we are seeing faux stone exteriors added to houses to add to the look of the house, not to mention the lightweight and cost effective alternative to natural stone is quite alluring to many homeowners and builders alike. Due to the wide array of colors and styles the trendier stone veneer option is becoming popoular over the standard vinyl siding or paired with vinyl to spruce up the look of the home to the point stone veneer sales increases in recent years by double digits. However, home inspectors across the nation are cautioning homeowners about the possibility of water damage because of the poor installation techniques that are being used.

Scott Patterson, a home inspector out of Tennessee, has noted that 9 out of 10 homes he's inspected has had the manufactured stone applied incorrectly causing water seepage behind the siding which in turn leads to rotting walls as well as mold problems. Unfortunately, some problems don't become evident for many years after the manufactured stone is installed. The American Society of Home Inspectors is recommending members become familiar with faux stone siding and inspect the areas thoroughly because of the penetrable nature.

The good news is that not all homeowners that choose to have the manufactured stone installed have ongoing issues as long as the product is installed correctly. The price of the manufactured stone is $3-$8 per square foot before installation, although double the cost of vinyl siding it's only 1/3 of the cost of natural stone.

As a buyer you may want to consider hiring an inspector with specialized training in faux stone installation to know ahead of time what you're buying and to get all the information needed to make a decision on a home. The question is how would a buyer or homeowner know there's a problem? The answer isn't simple because there may or may not be visible signs of the problem. A severe example of when the stone was installed without the proper sealant and backer rods around a large window caused caused water to pour into the walls which damaged the interior wall and alerted the owner there was an issue.

Tapping the stone to see if anything is loose or if there might be water behind it is a good test to try as a homeowner looking for any suspect signs of problematic manufactured stone installation, unfortunately all too often the problem is masked behind the wall without a way to detect until the damage becomes visible on the interior of the home. Some home inspectors do have specialized equipment to assist in finding a problem including a moisture meter and infrared camera, the inspector can check that stone has been installed correctly up to windows and door frames as well as having the correct type of sealant. If the inspector does find damage related to the manufactured stone the homeowner may want to find a qualified structural engineer in order to find all areas of moisture which can help lead to the extent of the damage within the walls behind the stone. Replacing the stone can run anywhere from $30-$38/square foot of wall which wouldn't include the cost of labor or any additional damage done to the structure of the home.

Both buyers and homeowners alike are still being drawn to the new trendy manufactured stone. Remodeling magazine's 2016 Cost vs Value Report highlighted manufactured stone veneer as having the second highest ROI (return on investment) out of 27 home projects, with nearly 93% of the cost recouped at resale. Be vigilent in choosing your contractor to ensure the product is installed correctly and to avoid problems down the road.

To Remodel or Not to Remodel Your Garage

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Garage Remodel Poject

Who worries about remodeling their garage? It's the place to park the cars, collect clutter, tool storage, and overflow from the house, right? According to a new report from the New York Times more homeowners are turning their garages into showpieces for organization and getting clutter off the floor. A finished garage can add value to the property as a whole and can have a positive effect on buyer's interest in a property which can be a direct reflection of how well the homeowner maintains the entire home. 

The sellers who have the budget and remodeled a good portion of the home are continuing the trend of moving onto the garage as their next project. After they spend all the money to add value to their house they don't want to have a big clutter area in the biggest area of their home.

On average a garage renovation can cost from a few thousand to upwards of $50,000. For those that are wiling to spend the money you'll see remodels that include custom cabinets, floor to ceiling organizing cabinets, and installing drywall and insulation. Do you need to go full out demo to the bones and remodel like you would in the house? Probably not, however, the trend is remodeling the kitchen and using the old kitchen cabinets attached to the wall in the garage for storage. A few other budget friendly tips include using hooks for hanging items such as tools, ladders, patio furniture and bikes to keep the floor clear of clutter as well as using an epoxy to re-finish the floor. The appearance of cleanliness and organization in the garage can go a long ways for a motivated buyer.

The New York Times has titled the renovations as "the final frontier of remodeling." Buyers keep your eyes open for this added feature in homes and sellers take note of this hot new trend on the market!

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