6 Ways To Make Your Home More Efficient While Adding Value!
Feeling like you spend too much money each month on your heat or electric? Your home probably isn’t as energy efficient as it should be! Luckily, though, there are several upgrades you can do that will not only increase efficiency, but also the value of your home! Doing the upgrades below now can help you sell your home for more later!
1. Insulate Your Attic – While not something many buyers even think about, an insulated attic can significantly reduce heating costs in a home! An uninsulated attic allows heat to escape quickly as it rises, meaning your heating system will have to work harder to keep living areas warm. By insulating your attic, you significantly reduce the amount of heat loss that occurs. This means your heating system won’t have to work constantly to keep your home warm! Spray foam insulation can cost anywhere from $1000 to $3000 for professional installation. There are DIY kits available for less though, so that is something to consider if you are a handy homeowner! This upgrade is something most buyers won’t notice, so be sure to let them know the benefits of a well-insulated attic!
2. Upgrade Windows – Windows are something most homeowners don’t think about replacing until they are broken or leaking. High quality double-pane windows can actually make a huge difference on your heating bill! Energy Star rated windows have been proven to reduce heating costs by up to 15%. This is because properly insulated windows help to trap heat in the home, in the same way that an insulated attic helps to trap heat. That is a huge jump caused by simply replacing windows! Many homeowners are making Energy Star windows a requirement in their home search, so this is a great choice to increase value and interest in your home! The average cost to upgrade to these windows ranges from $250-800 per window, depending on size and installer costs. This isn’t the cheapest upgrade option, but we think it is worth a look as it is estimated to raise home value by around $9500!
3. Replace The Garage Door – If your garage is attached to your home, and doesn’t already have one, you may want to consider installing an insulated garage door. If your garage door is uninsulated, it may be leaking cold air into the garage, and ultimately into your living space. This isn’t great for efficiency purposes! If you install a properly sealing insulated garage door, you may see up to a 15% decrease in your heating bill! Installing an insulated door will cost around $3695 on average, but you can expect to recover almost all of that cost when selling your home, making a new garage door almost free! If you already have a garage door that you love, there are DIY Insulation Kits available to insulate an existing door.
4. Replace Outdated Appliances – One of the easiest upgrades a homeowner can do to increase value and efficiency in their home is to replace old appliances with updated, more efficient models. New kitchen appliances consume up to 40% less energy compared to 10 year old appliances! The kitchen is one of the most important rooms to prospective buyers, so it is worth taking a look at possible upgrades. Home Improvement stores such as Lowes and Home Depot offer matching appliance packages for as little as $2500, which is not a bad investment to spruce up one of the most used rooms in a home! Keep in mind that 75% of prospective home buyers prefer stainless steel appliances to all other finishes.
5. Add Weather-Stripping To Doors – You may have read about door weather-stripping in our Sound-Proof Your Home blog post, but you may not know how many uses this cheap upgrade has! In addition to cutting down on the amount of sound entering your home, weather-stripping can actually cut your energy bill down too! By adding weather-stripping around the doors in your home, you create a seal between the door and it’s frame, making it much more difficult for cold air to enter your living space. While there is no information as to how much value this upgrade adds, for only $20-30 it is worth doing to eliminate drafts in your home!
6. Install Solar Panels – Solar panels, while more of an addition than an upgrade, can have a very significant impact on your energy bills as well as the value of your home! While not always the best addition to increase value, solar panels can be a big selling point in an area like Pagosa Springs where this form of supplemental energy is common. With the proper setup, solar panels can produce most, if not all, of the electricity needed for day to day living! While this may sound amazing, you do have to consider the initial cost and upkeep costs of solar energy. The average cost for a full residential solar system is anywhere between $15,000 to $25,000. This may seem very costly, but the cost of solar has actually fallen nearly 70% since 2010! Solar is a great way to get into efficient energy and self sufficiency, but may not be the best way to add value to your home. We recommend reaching out to a realtor regarding solar in your area to see what your return on investment might be.
These are just some of the ways you can make your home more energy efficient while also adding value to your investment! If you know of any other smart ways to add value to your home, let us know! If you are reading this in preparation for selling your home, we would love to talk to you about the selling process and all of the ways we can market your property! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to stay updated on what’s happening with NextHome Rocky Mountain Realty and Rentals. Thanks for reading!
Today Is National Ice Cream For Breakfast Day!
Take advantage and enjoy a frozen treat this morning!
Get Your Sled On This Winter!
With snow falling every other day, and many businesses still closed due to Covid-19, it’s a great time to get some sledding or tubing in! If you are in Pagosa Springs, or are planning a trip up, sledding is a fun way to pass the time! Sledding involves a lot of time rolling around in the snow; so you really need good waterproof snow gear including gloves and a warm hat. We also recommend proper snow boots, no one wants wet feet! As far as sleds go, there are several styles to choose from, and you really can’t go wrong with one or another!
Below is a quick rundown of the sled types and how they function:
- The Toboggan – Toboggans were originally made from wooden slats with a rope handle. Modern toboggans are made from plastic so they are easy to carry, and some are made to fit more than one person. The main advantage of these sleds over others is the extra capacity and the ability to steer by leaning to one side or the other. This toboggan is highly rated on amazon and can be found in stores in Pagosa!
- The Sledge – The sledge is what many consider the classic snow sled. Constructed from steel and wood planks, this sled is fast, has a high weight capacity, and is steerable! The main con for this type of sled is the weight; it weighs in around 15lbs! This sled has narrow steel runners, rather than a flat plastic bottom like more modern sleds. This means the sled is not ideal for powder conditions. These sleds have been in production since 1889 and still do great!
- The Saucer – The saucer is a favorite for many reasons. This disc shaped sled is lightweight and easy to carry, will fit most people, and can reach some impressive speeds in the right conditions! Best of all, they are super cheap to buy! Here is one of the highest rated on amazon. The main con with a saucer sled is the lack of steering control. We recommend these for open areas, not hills with multiple obstacles.
- The Snow Tube – Snow tubes have gotten popular lately, and for good reason! These tubes are inflatable, so they take up less room than traditional sleds. They are also smoother going down hills than other stiff sleds. We recommend finding one with good handles so you aren’t bounced off the sled at speed! The main disadvantage with these is they aren’t as durable as other sleds; so they aren’t recommended for rougher terrain.
The Best Sledding Hills
We have compiled a small list of the best public spots in Pagosa Springs to go sledding! If you don’t see your favorite spot, reach out to us and we will add it to the list!
- Reservoir Hill – Located right downtown across from The Springs and behind the Post Office; Reservoir Hill is an awesome place to sled! With multiple short runs to choose from, this spot is perfect for all experience levels. If sledding isn’t your speed, you can snowshoe the trails on Reservoir Hill instead!
- Lobo Overlook – Lobo Overlook is located right before Wolf Creek Pass if you are coming from Pagosa Springs. While the overlook itself isn’t easily accessible in the winter, the hill next to the parking lot sure is! This spot is super popular due to it’s close proximity to Wolf Creek and the clear steep hill that is accessed easily right from the parking area! Be sure to bring a snack and water, otherwise you will have to wait until you get back into town to find food.
- National Forest… All 1.8 Million Acres! – Pagosa Springs is blessed to be surrounded by almost 2 MILLION acres of National Forest! This forest is free to access and use, provided you respect the environment and don’t leave messes behind. What this means is you can drive down any forest road and find a spot to sled! Just beware, some private land is mixed in with the public, so be sure you are in the public areas! Most of the forest roads near Pagosa partially close for the winter months, so some walking may be required to find the perfect sledding spot. You can view the current road closures here.
Pagosa Springs is like a snowy wonderland. You could spend all winter sledding, snowboarding or skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and more! Hopefully this post has given you a good idea of where to start! If you are looking for a vacation rental, or something more permanent, give us a call at (970) 507-8655! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook for NextHome RMR updates and virtual open house videos! Humans Over Houses is our motto.
Driving Safely This Winter
If you live in an area where it snows, you have probably seen someone who has slid off the road. Maybe you have yourself! Winter driving can be tricky, but with the proper knowledge you can significantly reduce the amount of mistakes you make the next time you find yourself in a slick situation!
Here are some tips that we think will help you drive safely this winter:
Drive Smoothly! – This first step is a simple one. Driving smoothly and deliberately will reduce your risk of losing traction. Jerky movements of the steering wheel, gas pedal, or brakes can be enough to break your tires free of traction; causing serious problems. Drive like you have a bowl of hot soup filled to the brim on your dashboard!
Stay Back – The less traction you have, the harder it is to stop! If you are driving around other cars you need to stay further back then you would in normal conditions. You need to give yourself enough space to make an emergency stop if needed. The rule of thumb for this is to double your following distance in wet conditions, triple it in snow, and at least triple your distance in icy conditions! This will also give you more time to slow down for turns, which need to be taken extra slow in these conditions.
Watch Your Instrument Cluster! – If you aren’t already in the habit of keeping an eye on your instrument cluster, you should be! There are several important warnings that can show up here. The one we are focusing on however, is the Stability Control Light. This handy little amber light will flash anytime your wheels lose traction, notifying you that you should probably let off the gas or ease up on the brakes! If you accelerate hard, you will probably see this light, indicating that your wheels are spinning. It is very important when driving in the snow that you ease onto the gas when accelerating from a stop.
Look Where You Want To Go – This one is important! If you feel your car beginning to slide, NEVER look in the direction it’s sliding! You always want look in the direction you want to go. Most of the time, you will end up where you are looking. This is a rule that even race-car drivers follow to pull out of a skid!
These are just a few of the best tips for driving in winter weather conditions! We hope you have enjoyed this blog. If you’ve followed all the advice in this post and still find yourself stuck in the snow, check out our post on getting unstuck here! If you enjoyed this post and want more NextHome Rocky Mountain Realty & Rentals content, like us on Facebook!
Working Remotely – In Peace
If you have recently switched to remote work, you may have been shocked by the level of noise in your home every day. You aren’t alone! Workers all across the country are realizing their homes aren’t the peaceful workspace they hoped for. Whether it be the sound of traffic outside your home or kids in it, there are many options to reduce noise levels to increase your productivity!
In today’s post we will be covering some of the most common and effective solutions to noise pollution at home:
- Floors – If your workspace has tile or hardwood/laminate flooring, you may want to consider covering it up! Hard surfaces reflect soundwaves, causing them to amplify and echo. Obviously, this isn’t ideal! To help cut these sounds down to a minimum, put a rug down! Rugs will absorb those soundwaves instead of reflecting them. There are even sound deadening pads available that can go under your rug!
- Walls – If you have an open floorplan, you probably already know how sound can bounce all through the house without a problem. You can minimize this a few different ways. Several companies make fabric covered “acoustic panels” designed to absorb soundwaves that would otherwise bounce off of your walls. There are many different options and styles to choose from so you are sure to find something you like! Another option is a bookcase strategically placed against the wall. Even a half-full bookcase can make a big difference in the sound levels of a room, just like the acoustic panels! Lastly, artwork can be a great way to reduce echoing in your room. There are even acoustic art panels available specifically for this use!
- Windows – Windows are some of the biggest sound-leaking parts of your home. Properly sealing windows is crucial to block outside noise from entering your home and disturbing your work. There are many ways to go about soundproofing windows; we will cover the best affordable options! First up is window weather stripping! The stripping that comes on your windows can deteriorate over time, allowing sound to leak in! You can combat this by adding foam weather-stripping over the original seals. This will create an airtight seal, blocking outside noise! Even with perfect seals around your windows, sound may still make it through the glass and disturb you! Luckily, there are soundproof curtains available to further block unwanted sound waves from entering your home! Many of these curtains are thermally insulated too, which will help you stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
- Doors – While they aren’t something we always think about, a lot of noise can leak in from your doors! Solid doors (as opposed to hollow-core doors) block a good amount of sound by themselves. The problem areas are around the door where a complete seal may not be happening. Remedy this by installing weather stripping where the door meets it’s frame! This stripping usually uses built-in adhesive, making install a breeze! If you also want to seal the bottom of the door, install a door sweep. This simple invention blocks drafts, and noise, from getting underneath the door. These usually take a few screws to install. If you are trying to block excess sound from getting through a hollow-core door, you may want to add mass loaded vinyl to either the core or face of the door. The reason this may be needed is hollow-core doors tend to absorb sound rather than reflect it like their solid-core siblings. Adding vinyl will further deaden any sounds trying to get through!
We hope this post has given you some insight on sound-proofing your home for remote work, or simply for a quieter space! If you have any questions about our blog, or you would like to talk to a Southwest Colorado real estate professional, give us a call at (970) 507-8655. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to stay up to date on our virtual open house series and NextHome RMR updates!
Wolf Creek Ski 2021
The New Year has been a sunny one in Pagosa Springs so far. One great place to enjoy the sun is on Wolf Creek! Every trail is open and there is snow in the forecast for this weekend. If you don’t have a pass already, they are available on Wolf Creek’s website here or in-person on the mountain! Season Passes are available as well as day passes. If you want to scope things out before heading up the pass, check out the Wolf Creek Live Webcams. They offer multiple angles of the ski area!
Don’t forget to wear layers and bring food and water with you, they’re are especially important at higher elevations. If you need snow gear, both Ski & Bow Rack and Summit Ski & Sports offer deals on tons of sport and outdoor equipment! If Wolf Creek has you hooked on this area, give us a call at (970) 507-8655 and we can help you find your dream property!
Make Your Own Snickerdoodle Cookies This Holiday Season!
Cold December air and short Winter days mean the Holidays are fast approaching! Christmas parties and family gatherings are always better with treats; especially a good cookie. Impress your friends this year by baking some delicious Snickerdoodle cookies… from scratch! Here’s a great recipe to get you started:
Yield: Makes About 3 1/2 Dozen Sugar Dusted Snickerdoodles
- 2 cups sugar
- 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1⁄2 cup vegetable shortening, softened
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 3⁄4 cups flour
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Heat oven to 400°. Combine 1 1⁄2 cups sugar, butter, shortening, baking powder, vanilla, and salt in a bowl and beat on medium speed of hand mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, and beat until smooth. Add flour, and beat until just combined.
- Using 2 tablespoons, portion and roll dough into 1″ balls; combine remaining sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and roll balls in cinnamon-sugar to coat. Place balls 2″ apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, and using the bottom of a glass or measuring cup, press each ball to flatten into a disk; bake until lightly golden and set, about 10 minutes.
- Enjoy your delicious baked goods!
This recipe is courtesy of Todd Coleman, Executive Food Editor for Saveur.com
If you’re wanting to sell your home or buy a new one this Holiday Season, give us a call at (970) 507-8655.
We want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving from the NextHomies here at NextHome Rocky Mountain Realty & Rentals!
Christmas Trees in The National Forest
For many people, going out to cut down a Christmas Tree is a valued family tradition passed down from generation to generation. It is a great way to bond as a family in our beautiful National Forests. Pagosa Springs has an abundance of tree-cutting areas and opportunity, so you are sure to find the perfect tree for you and your family! The Forest Service provides some excellent guides for identifying trees and cutting them:
The San Juan National Forest offers permits (priced at $8) to go out and find the perfect tree for your family! Not only will you get a Christmas Tree for the year, but you are also contributing to the conservation of our forests, and fire mitigation as well! If you are unsure where to find a tree, you can contact the Forest Service here and they will answer any questions you may have! *Permits will go on sale November 12, 2020.
Southwest Colorado is a great place to enjoy a snowy Christmas. Give us a call today at (970) 507-8655! We would love to help you find your Next Home!