7 Maintenance Skills all Homeowners Should Know

7 Maintenance Skills all Homeowners Should Know

Once you make the leap into homeownership there are no landlords or building superintendents to rely on for help. While we wish homeownership came with an instruction manual, it’s likely you will have to learn through hands on experience. We can’t possibly know how to do everything when it comes to home maintenance skills, but it’s helpful to know how to do minor repairs around your home. Here are a few basic home maintenance skills every homeowner should master.

Changing Your HVAC Filter

It’s important to schedule a maintenance checkup for your HVAC system every spring and fall. But in the meantime, filters need to be checked once a month. When they’re dirty, change them. Dirty filters shorten the lifespan of your system. Fortunately, it’s easy to do. First, check your owner’s manual for the right part number in order to buy a new filter. Then turn off your HVAC system while you work, remove the old filter, and slide the new one in place.

Resetting the Circuit Breaker

If your house was built after 1960, your electrical panel is likely filled with circuit breakers, which supply power to appliances and lighting in every room. When a circuit becomes overloaded, the designated breaker trips, shutting off juice to that area. When this happens, you’ll need to reset the breaker. Just open the panel cover and look for the breaker that’s sitting in the off position; then push it to on. If you can’t find the errant breaker, you’ll have to turn each breaker off, then on again.

Repairing Drywall

No wall stays perfect forever. Nails pop, and furniture or broom handles cause dents, making your once-flawless walls look all banged up. Learning how to repair drywall can save a homeowner time and potentially a fair amount of money. Luckily, it’s easy to repair drywall yourself; all you need is some putty and a spackling knife!

Cleaning the Gutters

When gutters get clogged, water can be trapped on the board behind the gutter and even be forced under your roof shingles, causing damage. So clean them twice a year in spring and fall. Start near a downspout by removing large debris, and then use a hose to flush a stream of water through the downspout to clear out fine grit. If your downspout is blocked, it may need to be removed and cleaned out; if it leads to an underground pipe that’s blocked, that pipe can usually be cleaned out with a handheld snake.

Turning Off the Water Supply

If you ever come home to a flooded floor, you need to be able to shut off the water to the whole house ASAP, especially if the source of the water leak is unclear. That’s why every homeowner should know where their main shutoff valve is. Look near the perimeter of the house at ground level nearest your water meter. The shutoff valve might be in a basement, crawlspace, closet or garage. In an emergency, you can also shut off your water from the outside water meter, but the valve might require special tools to turn.

Dealing with a Flooded Basement

If you come home to standing water in your basement, time is of the essence. You have 48 hours to get the water out and get it dry. After two days, mold will start to grow, and once that starts you have to rip everything out. Call your insurance agent right away and take pictures; then get to work pumping out the water and removing all furniture to be dried off. Important: make sure the power is off if there’s standing water! As long as the water is below boot level, you can safely shut off the power from a basement panel if you wear rubber boots and gloves and use a wooden stick or hammer handle to trip the main power switch.

Unclogging a Drain

Harsh, pricey chemicals shouldn’t be your first option when a sink drain gets clogged — better to keep a small plunger and a drain snake on hand to work out the problem mechanically. After you’ve removed the primary clog, clean out smelly gunk by putting a cup of baking soda in the drain followed by four cups of boiling water; then end with a cup of vinegar. The vigorous chemical reaction will jar any remaining debris loose and leave the drain smelling fresh.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Kentwood Marketing

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Remodel then Re-list in Luxury Real Estate: Yay or Nay?

Remodel then Re-list in Luxury Real Estate: Yay or Nay?

For luxury homebuyers, the desire to purchase a home requiring renovations is becoming a thing of the past. Today’s affluent real estate shoppers are looking for turnkey, move-in ready properties with all of the amenities and none of the extra work.

And it looks like that’s not changing any time soon. According to a forecast from Persistence Market Research, the move-in ready luxury home market is expected to hit $920 billion by the end of 2025. That’s up from $550 billion just two years ago.

As an agent serving these ever-evolving high-end clients, it begs the question: should your affluent sellers remodel before listing their properties? Would it make their homes more marketable? More valuable? More appealing?

Here are the pros and cons The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing recommends you consider before advising sellers to implement renovations.

Advantages of renovating before listing:

  •     It typically enables a faster sales time.
  •     It makes for better listing photos.
  •     It can improve the marketability of a property.
  •     It allows you to maximize your asking price — and justify it.
  •     It gives your sellers more leverage in negotiations.

If your clients are looking to move fast (particularly relocation clients who are on tight timelines), this can be a big deal, but generally, there are very few people who truly want to sit and wait for their home to sell!

On top of this, pre-listing renovations can also increase the value of the property and justify a higher asking price. Throw in that today’s buyers simply prefer more move-in ready homes, and now you’ve got a property that doesn’t just command higher offers, but more buyer interest, too. It also means faster profits and faster commissions, so it’s a win-win all around.

The Institute’s program is dedicated to providing strategies to its members on ways that are proven to effectively help market and sell a property faster. Learn some amazing tips and tricks during our online training courses.

Disadvantages of renovating before listing:

  •     It could delay the listing and marketing of the property.
  •     The renovations may be a nuisance to the homeowner.
  •     It might require significant up-front cash.
  •     The renovations might pose a safety hazard.
  •     It may be difficult to choose the right projects, contractors, and vendors.

On the downside, renovations can be time-consuming and tedious. Though renovations might speed up a sale once they’re complete, it takes time to get there. If there are several contractors to hire, endless materials needed and multiple projects on the agenda, the renovations could actually delay the marketing of the property and, eventually, its sale and transfer, too.

Finally, renovating can be a hassle. If the homeowner is still living on the property, they might tire of the noise, foot traffic, and other nuisances that come with a remodel. The renovations could disrupt sleep, interrupt work schedules, or even pose a safety hazard for those living in the home. For these reasons, many sellers may shy away from this added work.

To Remodel or Not to Remodel

Should your client remodel before listing their home? There’s no hard-and-fast answer, but it could make the property more marketable and the sale more lucrative (for both of you.) Still, renovations aren’t without their drawbacks. Make sure your client is well aware of the nuisances that come with home remodeling and prepare them for the time and expense it may take to complete the renovations properly.

You should also caution your sellers that not all remodeling projects are created equal. Help them choose their renovations wisely by using resources like Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report and Zillow’s top home features, as well as your own knowledge of luxury real estate trends and best practices. Make sure they select projects that improve not only the aesthetics and marketability of the home but also the property’s value given the current market.

The most important tip we can offer is to help your sellers find the right vendors to handle their chosen renovations. Connect them with the contractors, architects, and designers who can execute their projects efficiently, successfully, and with the highest quality and attention to detail.  By taking this pressure off their shoulders and making the process simpler you will actually generate a long-lasting relationship that will be rewarded by long-term benefits such as referrals and additional business.

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Luxury Portfolio: Curated Furniture from Around the World

Luxury Portfolio: Curated Furniture from Around the World

The Global Nomad

As we all know, there is nothing quite like travel as a way to collect new experiences. Often, we seek to bring a bit of our adventures home, whether by learning to make new cuisine or decorating our homes with treasures from our travels. While some trinkets are small, increasingly some globetrotting voyagers are thinking bigger. So big in fact, it is no longer uncommon for the individual traveler to arrange to have furniture, decor and other found treasures, shipped home as design is a universal language, but one that is colored by heritage and place. Following are just a few select designers we’re currently loving and that are worthy of shipping home, wherever you live.

Roche Bobois

The famed French furniture brand, Roche Bobois, has multiple stores in major cities. Its glamorous cosmopolitan style is known throughout the world and collaborations with designers such as Marcel Wanders keep the brand on the cutting edge. roche-bobois.com


Based in Milan, Italy, Oluce was founded in 1945 and was one of the leaders in the rise of modernism and its application to lighting. The minimal yet fluid styles work well with both classic and contemporary decor, evidenced by the fact that models created decades ago such as the Atollo Arte lamp are still relevant today. oluce.com

Pinda Furniture

South Africa
South African designer Siyanda Mbele’s creations are both utilitarian and distinctive, bringing together elements from Zulu symbolism, Ndebele patterns, and his years of training in interior design. His inspired tables and desks have earned a global following, especially in Europe.



Designer Aakriti Kumar brings together the sculptural integrity of an artistic tradition with a sensitive eye toward using reclaimed and salvaged materials and sustainable manufacturing principles in her designs. Wood pieces are finished using nontoxic oils and waxes and each piece exposes the natural story the wood has to tell. Her furnishings often have a playful note as well, such as the Dot pieces which use carved wood buttons to mimic the look of upholstery. differniture.com

Lanzavecchia + Wai

Italy & Singapore
Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai are designers, researchers and craftspeople. Together they are a prolific design force, collaborating on pieces such as the pleasingly rounded Pebble desk/vanity for Living Divani and the intricately detailed Clockwork sideboard for Exto. Each project combines a sense of joyous playfulness with a strict attention to the smallest of details. The designs themselves become stories, each one evoking a particular mood and feeling. lanzavecchia-wai.com

To view the full article, take a look at the feature in Luxury Portfolio Magazine here.


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Undiscovered Travel Destinations

Undiscovered Travel Destinations

A sunny getaway can help lift spirts and reveal the history and wonder of a new space far away from home. Take a look at some of our favorite warm weather destinations and start planning your next trip.


This tiny island located about 120 miles southwest of Barbados is quickly becoming a popular travel destination among the world’s elite. Canouan is a secluded island, with no direct flights from the U.S., so many visitors must fly to an airport in St. Vincent, Grenada, St. Lucia or Barbados and then take a short flight by private jet or propeller plane to get to there. The Mandarin Oriental Canouan, which recently took over the old Pink Sands Club, is the premier hotel on the island and has five restaurants and bars, a freestanding spa and a golf course among other amenities.

Lord Howe Island, Australia

Guests looking for both privacy and beauty can look no further than Lorde Howe Island. No need to worry about overcrowding here; only about 400 visitors are allowed on the island at one time to experience the natural features which include the famous twin peaks, subtropical forests and clear waters. The island was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage property in 1982 due to its beauty and biodiversity. Visitors take advantage of many local attractions including feeding wild fish by hand at Neds Beach and hiking Mount Gower.

Faroe Islands, Denmark

With dramatic landscapes and stunning waterfront views, The Faroe Islands are a must see for any traveler. Located between Iceland and Scotland, lies this breathtaking string of islands that were once considered Danish Viking territory and today occupy about 50,000 residents. Luxe features are being added to the islands everyday including Michelin-star restaurants and trendy shops for tourists. Koks Restaurant won its first Michelin star in 2017 and has a staff of ten chefs (each from a different country). Reservations are recommended for this exclusive restaurant; it is only open from April to September and only serves 24 customers a night.


Cover Photo by Nextvoyage from Pexels

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