Storm Lake & Surrounding Area

Real Estate & Community News

What can be found here and why should you follow this blog?

This blog contains information for Buyers, Sellers, Investors, and Renters. Real estate is a fascinating topic and a very complex one. You can search this blog by topic to find exactly what you are looking for, it will also have all of our new listings. You can learn about Storm Lake's current local (50-mile radius), real estate market, and the current real estate market in the surrounding areas like Alta, Newell, Aurelia, Schaller, Early, Fonda, Cherokee, Sioux Rapids, Ida Grove, Spencer, Spirit Lake, Lake View, Lakeside, Correctionville, Remsen, Pocahontas, Laurens, Albert City, and others. 

For Buyers we will have topics including financing, down payment assistance programs, tips on how to compete with other buyers, how to offer, home inspections and how they work, the process of buying a property, what not to do after you have an accepted offer, the advantage of having a Certified Negotiations Expert on your side and a lot more.

For Sellers we will have topics including how to best price your property, how to prepare your property and see it through the buyer's eyes, home inspections and how they work, how to negotiate, the importance of staging, why pictures are worth a million dollars, the advantage of having a Certified Negotiations Expert on your side and a lot more.

For Investors - a topic I LOVE! Topics will include how to evaluate a property, what tools I use and access, how to find an investment property, what basic improvements cost if done by you or a contractor, how to find a good tenant, why you need your properties in an entity and not in your name, how to negotiate with buyers, sellers and tenants, 1031 Exchanges and a lot more.

For Renters - we list all the new rentals as we are notified of their availability on this blog. We can help you determine if it is time to buy instead of rent, help you determine what if any programs  - like down payment assistance - you may qualify for, discuss how to have a conversation with a landlord when the property you are renting needs work, and a lot more.



For Everyone - Thank you for making Weaver LLC, Realtors the #1 Most Recommended Real Estate Company on Google 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, & .... for our Area!



Georgia Weaver - Broker Owner CRS, CNE, GRI, AHWD, PSA, RENE






Dec. 7, 2023

203(K) FHA Loan - Renovation Loans - Is It right For You?

A 203(K) loan is an FHA Loan - It is used to make renovations to a Property by the Owner

This special FHA loan can be used to purchase a property you plan to live in or already live in that needs work. It is a purchase mortgage and a renovation loan all rolled into one. The Federal Housing Administration insures the FHA 203(K) loans and they may have lower qualification requirements. 

FHA loans have limits depending on where you live, check your county here  County Loan Limits. They determine the amount lent with two methods and they take the method that returns the lower amount. The first way is to multiply the new value of the home by 110% - it must be within the FHA loan limits for your area. The second way is to add the cost of renovating to the current value of your property. Whichever is lower is what FHA takes.


How does an FHA 203(k) loan work?

Depending on what you need to do to your home, there are 2 different types of FHA 203 (K) loans - the Standard and the Limited. Each type has its own rules, how you can use the money and the amounts the owner or buyer c n borrow. Bear in mind the 203(K) loan usually has a higher interest rate due to the increased risk.

Limited 203(K) loans

The limited is just what it is called, limited. You can borrow up to $35,000 and it is used for minor repairs. For instance, the appraiser or home inspector notes some minor repairs. This loan can be used to make these repairs. These loans are for minor changes or repairs. For instance, if your front steps need to be replaced due to cracking, or you need to replace the old dishwasher or stove, these are repairs that would fall under the Limited FHA 203 (K) loan.

Standard 203(k) loans

The Standard loan is for big changes. Moving or removing a wall, doing an addition, or anything that would be over $35,000 or that could affect the structural integrity of the structure. One cool thing about these loans is that you can use this loan to completely demo and reconstruct a property as long as the property keeps the original foundation.

The Standard requires you to hire a consultant (knowledgable in engineering, and architecture) who is FHA pproved. This consultant will oversee the project. There is a searchable database kept by HUD that contains info for these conultants. Check here to search the database.


The HomeStyle loan from Fannie Mae and the CHOICERenovation loan from Freddie Mac are two common conventional renovation loans. They might be a better fit for those with higher credit scores or the desire for improvements the FHA considers luxuries. One of these loans may also be a better choice if the repairs are likely to put the value of the home over the FHA loan limit or if the six-month window seems too restrictive.


If you think you are interested in more info, here are some links to further explore the FHA 203 (K) loan. You can also give me a call: Georgia Weaver, 712-291-0118,



FHA 203(K) Mortgage Insurance


Broker Owner for Weaver LLC, Realtors
607 Lake Ave

Storm Lake, IA 50588

online at


Feb. 23, 2023

Who Weaver LLC, Realtors Is


Weaver LLC, Realtors logo     

Weaver LLC, Realtors is the #1 Most Recommended Real Estate Service on GOOGLE for the areas we serve in NW Iowa every year since 2017!

Ronnie Weaver, Associate Broker at Weaver LLC, Realtors     Georgia Weaver, Broker Owner at Weaver LLC, Realtors       Lissett Lopez, Admin and Realtor at Weaver LLC, Realtors             

 Ronnie Weaver       Georgia Weaver        Lissett Lopez - Admin

Associate Broker        Broker Owner          Soon to be Realtor


Real Estate - is who we are and what we do! Want to work with a company that has YOUR best interest at ❤ heart? Call us at 712-213-4663; we would love to hear from you!



Dec. 20, 2022

The 15 Best Budget-Friendly Accent Wall Ideas

The 15 Best Budget-Friendly Accent Wall Ideas

Accent walls are a fabulous way to add interest, texture, design appeal, and to completely transform any room in your house without spending a fortune to remodel it. An accent wall can improve the look of any room—from the tiniest bathroom to the largest master bedroom—and can be as simple or complex as your time and budget allow.

Accent wall
Accent Wall Ideas (pixabay)

Although many accent walls involve painting; there are countless other possibilities. Even if you don’t have the patience or skill for a very involved DIY project, quick and easy options exist. Take a look at these fifteen budget-friendly ideas for inspiration!



The Best Wood Accent Wall Ideas

Whether using plywood, weathered wood planks, or bundles of lath; these wood accent wall ideas are sure to inspire you.



1. Picture Ledge Dining Room Accent Wall

See how a plywood panel and 1x4 boards totally transform a plain white wall by creating a wainscot-look wood accent wall with a picture ledge. The ledge adds architectural interest in what was a plain space and allows for the display of colorful accents and artwork in a more stylish way than flat on the wall. Artwork and an ornate gold frame finish the ledge with elegance.

Dining Room Accent Wall (Leslie H.)

See post: Leslie H | Wainscot Wall with a Picture Ledge





2. Wood Accent Wall Above Fireplace

Weathered wood boards above the fireplace fill what would otherwise be an empty white space with so much visual interest and show how a wood accent wall project—no matter the size—can have a huge design impact. Many homeowners search for creative ways to cover the awkward opening above their fireplace and this accent wall idea works perfectly! The area behind the television includes hinged boards for access to the mounting equipment.

Wood Accent Walll (TaKenya Hampton)

See post: TaKenya Hampton|DIY Wood Planked Accent Wall



3. Lath Wood Accent Wall in Stairway

Stained lath gives a wood accent wall in this stairway a colorful and unique look. This 5.5 x 7.5-foot wall took just two bundles to cover and packs a design punch with the wonderful depth of color provided by the stains used. When guests enter the home, this wall is the first thing they see and proves how an accent wall can totally transform absolutely any space in a home.

DIY Wood Accent wall (Michelle)

See post: Michelle|Lath Accent Wall





The Best Bedroom Accent Wall Ideas

Don’t underestimate the dramatic impact that a single accent wall can have in bedrooms where people often hesitate to spend too much of their design budget.



4. Buffalo Check Painted Accent Wall

This amazing buffalo check kids’ bedroom project could work just as well in any room in the house depending on the colors chosen. The buffalo check pattern was created after painting the wall a base color, measuring out squares, and taping off then painting a lined pattern in two other colors. A bold navy, neutral khaki, and creamy white combine so well together in this classic pattern.

Painting Accent Walls (Tracy Bellion)

See post: Tracey bellion| How to Paint a Buffalo Check Accent Wall



5. Ice Cream Cone Nursery Accent Wall

This darling bedroom works perfectly in a nursery as sweet as the ice cream cones on the wall. In an otherwise all-white room; a bedroom accent wall painted a pale pink and covered with vinyl ice cream cone decals, creates a lovely and whimsical focal point behind a baby’s crib. This is such a simple and affordable way to add charm and transform a room by decorating a single accent wall.

Nursery Accent Wall (The Sweetest Digs)

See post: The Sweetest Digs|How to Create An Accent Wall in a Nursery



6. Vinyl Polka Dot Bedroom Accent Wall

Vinyl decals don’t have to be limited to kids’ rooms. Take a look at how these simple and timeless white polka dots add style and pizzaz to the master bedroom accent wall. This look achieves the same result of a wallpaper accent wall with much less effort. The decals are such an inexpensive update to the entire room but required only enough effort to decorate a single wall!

Bedroom Accent Wall (Jessica VanderVeen)

See post: Jessica VanderVeen | How to Make a Polka Dot Accent Wall



The Best Living Room Accent Wall Ideas

These living room accent wall ideas will inspire you to remodel just one wall to change an entire room!



7. Harlequin Accent Wall

Even the most tastefully decorated living room can feel boring to a homeowner. A living room accent wall is the perfect solution! Without overwhelming the entire room, this harlequin pattern produces just the right amount of design appeal to make the room more interesting. This easy to achieve—and easy on the budget—accent wall look requires only measuring, taping, and paint!

Accent Wall Ideas for Living Room (Amy Rohde)

See post: Amy Rohde Harlequin Accent Living Room Wall



8. Board and Batten Living Room Accent Wall

When a homeowner grew tired of a red wall, she used plywood and MDF boards to create a gorgeous board and batten living room accent wall that completely transformed the dark area in the room. The only regret created by the light, bright, classic looking white paint and trim is that she didn’t take on the project sooner!

Living Room Accent Wall (Lovedecor)

See post: Lovedecor | Updating a Wall with Board and Batten



9. Quartz Accent Wall

This stunning living room accent wall provides a floor to ceiling focal area behind a wood stove for homeowners looking for options using stone. After attaching tile underlayment to the wall, quartz ledger was used to tile the area behind the stove and was finished with a border made from roof flashing. This stone focal point covers only a small portion of a single wall but creates an enormous impact on the design of the entire room!

Wood Accent Wall Living Room (Dessya Palit)

See post: Dessya Palit | DIY Wood Stove Quartz Ledger Accent Wall



The Best Shiplap Accent Wall Ideas

Shiplap may be a trend seen everywhere, but these shiplap ideas are anything but ordinary!



10. DIY Budget-Friendly Shiplap Wall

This tutorial shows how easy and inexpensive a DIY shiplap project can be! A guest bedroom with blue walls became an entirely different space with the clean white look of the plywood board shiplap. An accent wall in a guest room is all that is necessary to bring warmth, style, and charm without clutter.

Shiplap Accent Wallfor Under $40 (Hoosier Homemade)

See post: Hoosier Homemade | Shiplap Wall for Under $40



11. Whitewashed Shiplap Look

Shiplap will totally transform even the most boring living room wall. This beautiful wall required only 3 sheets of veneer plywood to complete and was thin enough to skip the gluing! A paint washing technique adds soft dimension to this gorgeous accent wall that may have been too bright for the room if painted a more glossy white.

Shiplap Accent Wall Living Room (Feathering My Nest - Lacey Haskell)

See post: Feathering My Nest - Lacey Haskell | Shiplap Wall





12. Underlayment as Shiplap Accent Wall

When the cost of materials to create a shiplap is outside of your budget, consider cutting costs by using unexpected materials! This homeowner created a lovely shiplap accent wall in her dining room for under $60 using sheets of flooring underlayment cut into 6-foot boards. After nailing the planks to the wall, it was painted a snowy white and finished off with charming frames and a cursive gather sign. Tip: prime the boards before hanging!

Gorgeous Shiplap at a Fraction of the Price (Susanna | Livin’ The Life Of Riley)

See post: Susanna | Livin’ The Life Of Riley | Gorgeous Shiplap at a Fraction of the Price





The Best Accent Wall Colors

Take a look at these accent wall colors that demonstrate the power of paint when it comes to decorating only a small area to transform an entire room on a budget!



13. Navy Blue Accent Wall

Although navy blue might be bold and unexpected, this dining room shows what a fabulous color it makes! The contrast provided by the bold blue paint color and bright white molding makes the dining room space seem larger and completely transforms an all-white room by changing only one wall. The navy blue accent wall color not only works well with bright white paint, but it also complements the rich wood furniture perfectly.

Accent Wall Colors (Christine at First Home Love Life)

See post: Christine at First Home Love Life | Going Bold! Navy Blue Dining Room Accent Wall





14. Gray and Taupe Painted Argyle Accent Wall

Gray and taupe paint provide a calming color palette for this lovely nursery. The classic argyle pattern creates a striking focal point for the room even in paint colors that are anything but loud. Even though the project required a considerable amount of time spent measuring, drawing, and taping before painting, the phenomenal result shows how accent wall color can mean so much more than just paint!

Accent Wall Color Combinations (Sara @ sincerely, sara d.)

See post: Sara @ sincerely, sara d. Painted Argyle Wall





15. Dark Gray Wood Squares Accent Wall

This dark gray accent wall color nearly steals the spotlight from the amazing wood board and batten-style squares used to create it! The gray paint adds so much rich dimension; highlighted by the large floor to ceiling square pattern. Even the awkward placement of a window that previously bothered the homeowner, seems less obtrusive in this lovely accent wall design.

Wood Panel Accent Wall (Sawdust & Whiskey)

See post: Sawdust & Whiskey | Simple Square Accent Wall





When an entire room remodel is not quite within the budget—or too great a design commitment—opt for an accent wall project to add style without overwhelming a room or adding thousands of dollars to the cost. Whether using a pattern, shiplap, faux bricks, stone, or decals; these inspiring ideas show how an accent wall can be so much more than just paint!



Get inspired by more accent wall ideas or share your own creations with others on Hometalk!



Written for the Hometalk community by: Kate Griffin | Eating in the Shower Blog


15 Best Budget Friendly Accent Wall Ideas with Home Talk

Dec. 16, 2022

How Smart Home Technology Can Be a Selling Point

  • How Smart Home Technology Can Be a Selling Point

    By: Melissa Dittmann Tracey

    Published: February 23, 2022

    Home technology smarts are the new area for real estate bragging rights.


    You often judge a house by it’s good looks. But guess what? Now you can also judge it by its IQ. Long-buzzed about smart home technology — think smart thermostats, smart lighting, and app-controlled security systems — are moving into more homes. Smart home tech can up your coolness factor and make homes easier to operate. Plus, it may also offer perks when you sell your home one day.

    Home shoppers are increasingly looking beyond that killer kitchen upgrade to a seller’s Wi-Fi signal and connectivity. This isn’t just a priority for the techie set. As smart home technology gets more affordable and easier to use, more people are adding devices. Half of U.S. consumers owned at least one smart home device in 2021, up from 35% in 2020, according to NPD Connected Intelligence. The number is expected to grow as homeowners look to save money, feel safer at home, and add convenience.

    A Home’s Technology Smarts Matter

    Here comes a potential home buyer. Motion-activated lighting automatically turns on as they enter. A smart thermostat adjusts the temperature for ultimate comfort. The smart robot vacuum is keeping the home tidy. The window blinds are adjusting based on the sun’s direction. And the smart speaker is telling them about the home’s features.

    Seriously, wouldn’t you be a little impressed?

    Four in 10 Americans have bought a smart home device since the COVID-19 outbreak and are more interested in smart home technology, according to a 2020 study. “The pandemic has driven smart home technology forward,” says Angel Piontek, an associate broker with Coldwell Banker Elite in Fredericksburg, Va. “How we interact with our homes is becoming different. At some point, buyers will expect it.” 

    The majority of real estate professionals surveyed by Z-Wave Alliance believe smart home technology can help in marketing a home, according to the organization’s 2020 report on smart technology. In fact, some real estate professionals are already using smart home features as selling points. You may spot more icons on online 3D tours of real estate listings that flag smart technology inside a home. Or, during in-person real estate showings, laminated placards may point to devices and highlight what they do. 

    Smart Home Technology Costs and Buyer Preferences

    Consumers between 18 and 34 said they would pay more for homes with home theaters, smart speakers in every room, and connected kitchens, according to the study. In the 25 to 54 age group, consumers said they’d pay more for solar roof tiles and home battery packs. And for those 55 and older, solar roof tiles, smart doorbells, and security systems would be worth extra money.

    It’s tougher to validate that smart technology can generate more money in a home sale. Anecdotally, real estate professionals believe it can: “If a home is marketed correctly and has smart home technology, it can sell for top dollar,” says Kristin Triolo, a broker associate with RE/MAX Platinum Realty in Sarasota, Fla.

    Fully automating an entire home with higher-end systems could cost upward of $15,000. But an appraiser would factor in such a system at resale, according to Christopher Matos Rogers, an associate broker with the Matos Rogers Group’s Palmerhouse Properties in Atlanta.  

    Boosting Marketability with Smart Technology

    If you don’t already have smart home technology, some real estate professionals may recommend adding it before you list your home. Tech-savvy generations may expect it. And older adults may be drawn to such systems — particularly voice-controlled ones that support aging in place.

    You can easily add smart home technology to modernize an older home and help it compete with newer ones. After all, many homebuilders offer smart home packages to outfit new homes with smart thermostats, app-controlled garage doors, smart lighting, door locks, and video security systems.

    Smart home technology investments can range from $20 for adding smart lightbulbs to $20,000 or more for automated solutions that connect systems in one hub for an entire house. For $1,500, you can outfit your home with multiple systems like a smart speaker, smart lighting, and a smart thermostat to increase the home’s smart tech appeal. For about $5,500, homeowners could automate the lights, door locks, and thermostat, and install a smart speaker, hub, and smart plugs in three rooms, according to

    Regardless of how extensive your devices are, real estate professionals will typically want to spotlight them. “Buyers may not have a lot of knowledge of smart home technology, but they do know and understand energy savings and cost savings,” Triolo says. For example, a Nest consumer survey estimates that the company’s smart thermostat could reduce a home’s heating costs by 10% and cooling costs by 15%. 

    What Else Adds Smart Tech Appeal

    Bigger brand names in smart home technology — like Nest, Ring, and Lutron — have instant name recognition when selling, says Piotnek.

    Ease of use also counts. For example, having to open several apps on a phone to control various aspects of a home can feel cumbersome, says Ellis Gardner, a broker with Keller Williams Realty in Chattanooga, Tenn. But being able to say, “Hey, Google, turn on my lights!” shows convenience.

    With smart devices, you’ll need to be clear about what stays and what goes with the home sale. “It’s a gray area with some of these devices on what’s considered personal property,” Piontek says. For example, digital assistants like Alexa or Google Home may be used as your smart home hub. But sellers may consider these personal property to take when they move. “So, it’s really important to get this all in writing so there’s no question at the end of a transaction.”

    3 Ways to Avoid Misunderstandings About Smart Home Tech

    Avoid misunderstandings about smart home technology with these three tips:

    1. Find an agent with smart technology expertise. They can help avoid hiccups in selling a smart home and also tend to be savvy marketers of smart tech. Some real estate professionals — like Triolo and Gardner – have smart home certification and extra training through the Residential Real Estate Council, a provider of real estate education and networking. 
    2. Identify which of your smart home technology devices or apps are real property versus personal property. In general, items affixed or hardwired to a house stay — likely your smart thermostat or any switches and mounts. If you plan to take your Nest thermostat or Ring doorbell, replace it before listing. The buyer could figure that anything in the house at a showing will remain with the house. 
    3. Turn over the virtual keys. On closing day, “turning over the passwords in a smart home is like turning over the key to the front door,” says Gardner. For all transferable technology, reset it to factory settings to erase any personal data. Leave instruction manuals or website links for the new owners to open up new accounts. 

    Smart home technology is improving safety, security, and convenience in homes. Homeowners should also consider the benefits they’ll have when they sell one day, Piontek says. Just like curb appeal, high home appeal may make your home a standout to buyers.

  • How Smart Home Technology Can Be a Selling Point

    Home technology smarts are the new area for real estate bragging rights. Read

Visit for more articles like this.


Dec. 13, 2022

What Is an Egress Window?

  • What Is an Egress Window?

    By: HouseLogic

    Published: October 20, 2022

    These escape hatches also add natural light and ventilation to basements.


    An egress window looks like a regular window but opens fully to allow a person to escape a building in an emergency — for example, a house fire. In fact, these windows are essentially escape hatches. Most local building codes require them to be installed in finished basements, especially if the upgraded space will include a bedroom.   

    In addition to providing an escape, egress windows can increase natural light and ventilation in your basement. And the ones with attractive interior trim can make your basement living space look more appealing. 

    What Is a Window Well?

    A window well is a hole dug into the ground outside a basement egress window to give a person room to crawl out. Without a window well, these windows can’t work. The term “window well” also refers to a shield typically made of galvanized steel or polyurethane that lines the hole in the ground outside the egress window. It attaches to your home’s foundation to protect the basement from rocks, dirt, and moisture, and keep the hole from collapsing.

    Types of Egress Window

    Different types of windows can serve as egress windows as long as they meet requirements for size and clearance dictated by local building codes and by the International Residential Code. Note: Costs are for windows only, not installation. 


    Casement egress windows are the most common type. They are hinged and swing in and out or like a door, sometimes using a hand crank. They have one pane of glass. These windows can improve ventilation and airflow in a basement and provide a small but effective escape outlet.  

    • Cost per window: $200 to $500
    • Best for: Smaller areas in a basement or basements that don’t have much wall space


    Single-hung egress windows have two panes of glass, and the bottom sash moves up and down while the top sash is immobile. They can be the most affordable option. 

    • Cost per window: $100 to $500
    • Best for: Basements with a lot of wall space and homeowners on a budget


    Double-hung egress windows have two panes of glass, and both the top and bottom sashes move up and down. This lets more air into a basement for circulation. They need to be relatively large – nearly 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide – to meet code requirements.   

    • Cost per window: $250 to $500
    • Best for: Larger spaces and warmer climates where you want to throw the windows up and let the mild air into the basement 

    Horizontal sliding

    Horizontal or sliding egress windows open like a sliding glass door but are typically smaller than a door, around 4 feet by 4 feet.  

    • Cost per window: $150 to $700
    • Best for: Basements with a lot of wall space or narrow window wells


    In-swing egress windows open inward and are a good choice for older basements or those with small window openings. You can use a smaller window well with them because the glass panel swings inward. 

    • Cost per window: $350 to $700
    • Best for: Older basement spaces with small openings

    Building Code Requirements for Egress Windows

    Check your local building code office to get specific requirements for basement egress windows. The windows must adhere to code for you to legally use your basement as a bedroom.  

    If you finish your basement and don’t install proper egress windows, not only will your living space be unsafe, but you also won’t recoup the cost of your remodel when you sell your house.    

    Generally, these windows need to meet requirements regarding: 

    • Minimum clearance: The height of the open window should be large enough for an outfitted firefighter to climb through. 
    • Window well size: The recessed area outside the window should be large enough for a person to climb out of so they can move away from the building. 
    • Maximum height above the floor: The bottom of the window must be no more than 44 inches above the finished floor.  
    • Window barriers and opening ability: The windows must allow for easy and intuitive opening. A person should be able to exit the window without tools, keys, or unnecessary barriers. 

    Egress Window Installation Costs

    Installing these windows takes skill and experience — and may also require a permit. You can expect to pay around $40 to $50 an hour for labor to install them. For egress windows above ground, expect to pay $500 to $1,000 per window. For windows below ground, you’ll need to excavate the area, which will require a lot more time and labor costs. Expect to pay $2,400 to $4,000 for a subfloor egress window installation.  

    How to Calculate Egress Window Cost

    To calculate the cost of egress windows, answer these questions: 

    1. What kind of windows do I want? 
    2. Do I need to change the existing wall to accommodate the window?
    3. Should I make adjustments to the window well?
    4. Do I need to dig a window well? 
    5. Will I need additional materials (paint, insulation, etc.) for this project?

    Also, consider the value that windows add to your home and possible savings from replacing old ones with new, more energy-efficient versions.  

    Egress Window Installation: DIY or Contractor?

    Installing new egress windows isn’t a simple job. It may involve cutting a large opening into a masonry wall in your basement and adding a window that meets building code requirements. In many places, you’ll need a building permit to add a new egress window. 

    If you do it wrong, you’ll have a leaky window below ground level and possible structural damage to your house. It’s best to call a contractor to install new egress windows or replace existing ones. 

    The smartest, safest way to save money on your basement remodel is to DIY another part of the project, like painting walls, laying flooring, or demo-ing old cabinets or non-load-bearing walls. Leave the installation of egress windows to the pros. 

  • What Is an Egress Window?

    These escape hatches also add natural light and ventilation to basements. Read

Visit for more articles like this.


Dec. 8, 2022

7 Quick & Easy WInter Weather Preparations to Do Right Now

  • 7 Quick-and-Easy Winter Weather Preparations to Do Right Now

    By: Alaina Tweddale

    A tiny $2 prevention could save big bucks later.


    Wintry weather is great at turning up problems you didn’t even know you had. Like that first snowy night in front of your fireplace that you thought was pure bliss — until you noticed a leak in the ceiling corner. Apparently it was caused by a lack of insulation. How were you supposed to know that?

    Here are seven things to do now to avoid costly wintertime mistakes:

    #1 Buy a $3.50 Protector for Your Outdoor Faucet

    The cost if you don’t: Up to $15,000 and a whole lot of grief.

    It’s amazing what a little frozen water can do damage-wise. An inch of water in your basement can cost up to $15,000 to pump out and dry out. And yet it’s so easy to prevent, especially with outdoor faucets, which are the most susceptible to freezing temps.

    The simplest thing to do is to remove your garden hose from your outdoor faucet and drain it. Then add a faucet protector to keep cold air from getting into your pipes. They’re really cheap (some are under $3.50). “Get these now,” says Danny Lipford, home improvement expert and host of the “Today’s Homeowner” television and radio shows. “When the weatherman says, ‘We’ve got cold coming,’ they’ll sell out in minutes.”

    While you’re at it, make sure any exposed pipes in an unheated basement or garage are insulated, too, or you’ll face the same pricey problem.

    Wrap pipes with foam plumbing insulation before the weather drops. It’s cheap, too, just like the faucet cover (about $1.80 for six feet of polyethylene insulation). And it’s an easy DIY project, as long as you can reach the pipes.

    #2 Add Insulation to Prevent Ice Dams

    The cost if you don’t: $400 to $600 — if you’re lucky; a lot more if you’re not.

    Those icicles make your home look so picturesque, you just gotta take a few pics. But you better make them quick. Those icicles can literally be a dam problem. (Yes, dam — not the curse word that sounds the same. )

    Icicles are a clear sign that you’ve got an ice dam, which is exactly what it sounds like: a buildup of ice on your gutter or roof that prevents melting snow and ice from flowing through your gutters. That’s really bad news because these icy blocks can lead to expensive roofing repairs.

    Depending on where you live, expect to pay at least $400 for each ice dam to be steamed off. Leave the ice and you risk long-term damage. That could add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repairs your roof, depending on what type of shingles you have and the size of the damaged area.

    How to prevent them? Insulation. “Ice dams, icicles, and ice buildup on the gutters are symptoms of not enough insulation in the attic,” says Chris Johnson, owner of Navarre True Value and several other stores in the Twin Cities area.

    “You need to have at least 14 inches of insulation in your attic, no matter where you live,” says Lipford. If you live in a colder climate, you’ll need more.

    If you don’t have the cash to insulate, a less expensive alternative is heated gutter cables, which run between $59 and $144 each. They can be temporarily affixed to areas prone to ice damming, Johnson says.

    #3 Clean Your Gutters

    The cost if you don’t: You really don’t want to be in a position to find out.

    It can be so tempting to skip gutter cleanups as winter nears. It seems as soon as you clear your gutters, they clog right back up again. So what’s the point?

    Well, if it looks like you’re living inside a waterfall when it rains, water is completely missing your gutter system. It’s being directed to your foundation instead. And a water-damaged foundation is never, ever cheap to fix.

    A contractor can plug foundation cracks for $350 to $4,000, says FixR. But a worse problem, one that requires a foundation excavation or rebuild, can set you back as much as $25,000.

    Suddenly, cleaning your gutters a few times each fall doesn’t seem so bad. A pro can do the work for $200 to $400, depending on the size of your gutter system.

    #4 Seal Up Leaks

    The cost if you don’t: Nights where you never feel warm, despite sky-high heating bills.

    “If it were possible to take every crack on the outside of a typical home and drag them together, you’d have the equivalent of a three-by-three window open all the time,” says Lipford. Yikes.

    Yet cracks can be easily and inexpensively sealed with a simple tube of caulk, and it’s available in hundreds of colors to match your window panes, outside siding, and even brick. Not sure where to caulk? Look for visible cracks around:

    • Window sills
    • Baseboards
    • Fireplace or dryer vents
    • Anywhere something inside pokes a hole to the outside

    #5 Program Your Thermostat

    The cost if you don’t: Money you could spend on something else besides heating.

    We all know we should program our thermostats to align with our schedules, but we seem to have some mental block when it comes to doing it. It’s not that hard, and sometimes all it takes is buying a new one that suits you (like maybe a Wi-Fi one that’ll give you a little money-saving thrill each time you swipe your app).

    “From a cost-savings perspective, a programmable thermostat is a great investment,” Lipford says. You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7degrees to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day from its normal setting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

    Related: Get tips on choosing and programming a thermostat

    #6 Get a Furnace Tune-Up

    The cost if you don’t: A furnace that’ll die years before it should — and higher energy bills.

    “Forget to service your furnace and you could easily cut five years off the life of your system,” says Lipford, adding that five years is a full third of the typical unit’s life span. New units can cost $2,000 to $11,000 installed, making the $100 to $200 annual maintenance charge a no-brainer.

    While you’re at it, don’t forget to replace the furnace filter, which cleans the air in your home. It also keeps your furnace coils cleaner, which can shave up to 15% off your energy bill. Johnson suggests replacement at least every three months, but possibly as often as monthly if you have allergies or pets, or smoke cigarettes at home.

    #7 Get a Fireplace Inspection

    The cost if you don’t: Possibly your life — and your home.

    “A cozy fire is great, but if you don’t maintain your chimney, a fire can cost you thousands of dollars,” says Johnson. Not to mention the risk to you and your family.

    Schedule your maintenance appointment as early as you can.”If you wait until the busy season, you’ll have a hard time getting them out there, you’ll pay more, and you’ll get a lower quality job,” says Lipford.


    • Take Control of Your Energy Bills With These Simple Strategies
    • 9 Ways to Make Your Home Cozier This Winter (Without Spending a Ton)
  • 7 Quick-and-Easy Winter Weather Preparations to Do Right Now

    A tiny $2 prevention could save big bucks later. Read

    Visit for more articles like this.


Dec. 5, 2022

4 Easy-Peasy Must-Do's for Homeowners in December

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Nov. 8, 2022

100 Things to Declutter Right Now For a Minimalist Home

I wanted to share with you 100 things to declutter from your home when you're preparing to sell. These are either things that you can completely get rid of or you can minimize greatly. There's different categories to go through and you can work through one at a time to declutter a few essentials quickly.


Paperwork and stationery - 24

  • Magazines, newspapers, or leaflets.
  • Opened envelopes where you've taken out the piece of information can go straight into the trash.
  • Old paperwork from courses and receipts for items that you don't need to keep.
  • Old membership cards.
  • Old birthday cards.
  • Pens that no longer work and pencils you don’t need.
  • Old notebooks and old diaries.
  • Used parcel packaging for resending things.
  • Old calendars or old letters.
  • Craft supplies you do not use.
  • Used candles or ends.
  • Books or textbooks that you don't need.
  • Knickknacks? I suggest reducing all of those.
  • Picture frames - you only need to have a few photo frames.
  • Duplicate photos? Get rid of any duplicates or ones that are blurry.
  • Seasonal decorations. Minimize down to a small basket or small box.
  • CDs and DVDs. Think about what it is that you actually watch.

Old cell phones

Electrical and organization - 8

  • Extension leads. After a few years of using some, they can become faulty.
  • Storage boxes. Donate extras.
  • Unused subscriptions to the gym or memberships for TV, music, or movie subscriptions.
  • Old phones or devices. Dispose of them or sell them.
  • Games consoles that you no longer play.
  • Unused cables. There are some cables that are worth keeping like a multi-use cable that works with a couple of devices.
  • Remote Controls. I've never really had spare remote controls, but I know that this is a thing.
  • Storage furniture. As you start decluttering, you'll find that you don't need many storage units.


Outdoor clothing - 9

  • Have you got too many coats? You only need a light coat and a heavier coat.
  • Same with shoes. I only wear five pairs of shoes and a pair of wellies.
  • Sunglasses. Keep one pair in the car and have one in the house.
  • Old glasses. If you wear glasses, you can donate your old pairs of glasses.
  • Do you have spare purses or spare wallets? Use one until it no longer works or breaks.
  • I don't tend to have spare hats, gloves, and scarves. I have two hats, one large scarf, one or two lighter scarves, and two pairs of fingerless gloves.

Old kitchen items

Kitchen items - 14

  • Mugs. You only need a couple.
  • Have you got any baking trays that you no longer need? You probably only need one or maximum, two.
  • Glass tumblers.
  • Out-of-date food or unused food in the fridge. Get rid of it.
  • Kitchen appliances that you no longer use.
  • Cookbooks.
  • Recipe boxes and recipe cards.
  • Takeout menus. Get them online instead.
  • Cookie cutters. Choose your favorites and get rid of the rest.
  • Food container boxes that you no longer use.
  • A collection of plastic bags.
  • Tea towels.
  • Vases.


Pets - 7

  • Declutter pet toys, pet carriers, pet baskets, pet towers, and pet scratching posts. Do you have ones that are not used?
  • Pet leads. You only need one per pet.
  • Pet coats. They could be repurposed or given to a shelter.


Garden - 8

  • Old garden furniture that is no good or is broken.
  • Plant pots that are not used.
  • Do you keep tubs of paint in your shed? Do they need to be kept?
  • Old bikes that are no longer needed.
  • Dead plants. That is quite common for me.
  • Broken pegs in your peg basket.
  • Garden tools that no longer work or are broken or faulty.
  • Car cleaning tools that you no longer need.


Old bathroom products

Bathroom - 5

  • Out-of-date medicine.
  • Medicine that you no longer need for being treated for something. Take them to your local pharmacy and they will dispose of them for you.
  • Old sun cream. I highly recommend not reusing sun cream from a previous year.
  • Travel-sized items.
  • Do you have any extra shampoo or conditioner? Use it up or get rid of it.
Sports and exercise - 5
  • Exercise balls or exercise equipment that you no longer need.
  • Sports rackets that are broken or damaged.
  • Sports bottles that are old. You only need one or two maximum.
  • Sports clothing either that no longer fits or that you no longer use.


Clothing - 7

  • Worn through socks.
  • Underwear that you have too much of.
  • PJs - we need one or two pairs maximum.
  • T-shirts and clothes that have not been worn in several years.
  • Clothes that don't fit.
  • Spare hangers in your wardrobe that you are not using.
  • Suitcases that you no longer use?


Household items - 13

  • Do you have any foreign coins? Foreign coins can be donated to some charities.
  • Old makeup products that are out of date. Throw them away.
  • Cleaning products that you no longer use. Use them up or donate them.
  • Towels. Go through and see if you can declutter.
  • I tend to only have two bedsheets. One that's on the bed and one spare.
  • If you don't need spare pillows, donate them to a shelter.
  • The same goes for blankets.
  • If you change your curtains, could you sell the old ones that you don't use?
  • Do you have too many cushions, cushion covers, or tablecloths?
  • Coasters or placemats that you no longer use.
  • Do you have side tables in your living room? Could you get rid of the ones you don’t use?

100 things to declutter

In total, here's about 100 things you can declutter in your home. I hope this helps to make decluttering your home a bit easier for you. Where are you in your decluttering journey? This doesn't need to wait for you to move either! 

Posted in Staging
Oct. 30, 2022

3 Questions You May Be Asking About Selling Your House Today [INFOGRAPHIC]

3 Questions You May Be Asking About Selling Your House Today [INFOGRAPHIC]

3 Questions You May Be Asking About Selling Your House Today infographic

Some Highlights

  • If you’re planning to sell your house this year, you likely have questions about what the shift in the housing market means for your home sale.
  • You might be wondering: Should I wait to sell? Are buyers still out there? And can I afford to buy my next home?
  • Connect with our team of experienced real estate agents  so you can get answers to these questions and learn about the opportunities you still have in today’s housing market. Meet our team here!
Oct. 27, 2022

What’s Ahead for Home Prices?

Question mark block

As the housing market cools in response to the dramatic rise in mortgage rates, home price appreciation is cooling as well. And if you’re following along with headlines in the media, you’re probably seeing a wide range of opinions calling for everything from falling home prices to ongoing appreciation. But what’s true? What’s most likely to happen moving forward?

While opinions differ, the most likely outcome is we’ll fall somewhere in the middle of slight appreciation and slight depreciation. Here’s a look at the latest expert projections so you have the best information possible today.

What the Experts Are Saying About Home Prices Next Year

The graph below shows the most up-to-date forecasts from five experts in the housing industry. These are the experts that have most recently updated their projections based on current market trends:

2023 home prices forecast chart

As the graph shows, the three blue bars represent experts calling for ongoing home price appreciation, just at a more moderate rate than recent years. The red bars on the graph are experts calling for home price depreciation.

While there isn’t a clear consensus, if you take the average (shown in green) of all five of these forecasts, the most likely outcome is, nationally, home price appreciation will be fairly flat next year.

What Does This Mean?

Basically, experts are divided on what’s ahead for 2023. Home prices will likely depreciate slightly in some markets and will continue to gain ground in others. It all depends on the conditions in your local market, like how overheated that market was in recent years, current inventory levels, buyer demand, and more.

The good news is home prices are expected to return to more normal levels of appreciation rather quickly. The latest forecast from Wells Fargo shows that, while they feel prices will fall in 2023, they think prices will recover and net positive in 2024. That forecast calls for 3.1% appreciation in 2024, which is a number much more in line with the long-term average of 4% annual appreciation.

And the Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES) from Pulsenomics, a poll of over one hundred industry experts, also calls for ongoing appreciation of roughly 2.6 to 4% from 2024-2026. This goes to show, even if prices decline slightly next year, it’s not expected to be a lasting trend.

As Jason Lewris, Co-Founder and Chief Data Officer for Parcl, says:

“In the absence of trustworthy, up-to-date information, real estate decisions are increasingly being driven by fear, uncertainty, and doubt.”

Don’t let fear or uncertainty change your plans. If you’re unsure about where prices are headed or how to make sense of what’s going on in today’s housing market, reach out to a local real estate professional for the guidance you need each step of the way.

Bottom Line

The housing market is shifting, and it’s a confusing place right now. The best way to navigate that shift is to lean on a trusted real estate professional from Weaver LLC, Realtors to help you make confident and informed decisions about what’s happening in your market. Contact us today!