Every homeowner has to have some fix-it knowledge. In order to get the job done you have to have the right tools. First you will need to assemble a proper home-repair tool kit. This suggested kit should cost approximately $200 and provide you with 90% of all the tools you’ll ever need to repair and maintain your home.

Here are the top tools you’ll need to get started.

1. Toolbox

First things first, you’ll need something to hold all of your tools. A toolbox will help you organize and quickly find what you are looking for in a pinch. A toolbox doesn’t have to be a box at all, it may be a bag and large container as long as all of your tools fit and are easily accessible.

2. Hammer

A hammer is the absolute must-have tool. You may choose a steel- or fiberglass-shaft hammer. Make sure to choose one with a smooth (not checkered) head.  You may also want to choose a hammer with a straight or “rip” claw they are more useful for demolition.

3. Screwdrivers (mixed set)

Go ahead and buy the set of screwdrivers. You will save money plus you will get all the sizes you need. Your set should have 1/4- and 3/8-inch flat heads and No. 1 and No. 2 Phillips head drivers. Some screwdrivers have magnetic heads; they can come in handy when looking for dropped nails etc. too.

4. Tape measure

Buy a good quality tape measure. Buy at least a 16-foot,  3/4-inch-wide model. Also look for one that is easy-locking.

5. Reversible drill with bit set

A reversible drill is the only electric tool you need and it is a must. Home centers are full of cordless models but you may want to opt for a corded version, they are less expensive and never run out of battery. Make sure to purchase a 3/8th-inch reversible drill this will be the most useful around your home.

6. Utility knife

Often there is nothing that can replace a utility knife. Make sure to purchase plenty of replaceable blades for your utility knife.

7. Handsaw

Even if you have a circular saw, you may still find some times when you will be happy to have a handsaw handy. A short handsaw is probably best, look for one with a 12-inch blade it will cut straighter and faster.

8. A level

A level is essential for hanging just about anything. Purchase a 9-inch torpedo level. This is easier and more accurate than laser levels.

9. Vise grips: $10

Clamp anything with vise grips. Also known as locking pliers, all you need to do is adjust the screw drive in the handle and clamp it on to anything that needs viselike stabilizing. If you don’t have vise grips channel-lock pliers can be a good backup.

10. Safety glasses

Better safe than sorry. Effective eye protection is a must in any toolkit.

 

 

 

 

If you are planning a move you are probably busy thinking about the new costs of living, how much the rental truck will cost, packing and how you will get there. What you may not be considering is the hidden costs of moving.

Here just a few of the surprise costs of moving and some ideas on how to avoid them:

Late Fees

When you are moving things get lost in the mail or are slow to be forwarded to your new address. If you miss paying your bills on it can add up in unnecessary late fees. Switch all of your bills to online billing that way you are sure not to miss a payment that is lost in the mail.

Overdraft Fees

Don’t close that bank account just yet. You may have checks or bills still being drawn on that bank account. Leave your bank account open for approximately three months to allow all checks to clear. Doing this will help you avoid any overdraft fees.

Contract penalties

All of those contracts you have signed may come back to haunt you. Memberships at the gym, country club, day care facility, community association, etc. can cost you. Typically there is some type of annual or monthly contract associated with membership and cancelling early will usually cost you.  Some of these contracts will have an exception for a move so read the terms and conditions before you pay a hefty cancellation fee.

Auto insurance

Part of the cost of your auto insurance is determined by your address. For example, moving from an area with less population, to a more highly populated area will cost you more in auto insurance. Different states also have different laws regarding insurance coverage. States have different minimum liability requirements so in some states you will need to purchase personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage and in others you will not.

Health insurance

Health insurance can also change when you switch states. Just like auto insurance, health insurance mandates vary among states, too.  Some states require some types of medical procedures are covered while another has not mandated coverage.  Be sure to comparison-shop for your health insurance.

While adding up the normal costs of moving expenses like boxes and storage also be sure to check for these hidden costs and try to avoid losing money in your next move.

 

You can do just about anything with an app. Like the saying goes; “there’s an app for that”. If you are a homeowner there are several apps you will want to download to your mobile device.

Here are just a few to get you started:

Houzz -Design your perfect room with Houzz. Homeowners can create an idea book for their next remodeling project by searching rooms and photos.  The items in the photos have tags with pricing and availability, members can also tag items they have seen in stores and provide additional info. Houzz integrates with Facebook, Flicker, and Twitter to share ideas with friends.

ColorSmart by BEHR – See what your room will look like with new paint without even picking up a paintbrush. ColorSmart allows you to take a picture of the room, choose your paint, and then preview what the room would look like in different colors.

Photo Measures – No need to figure out if the furniture will fit, with this app, you simply upload a photo of a room, and then write in all its measurements so you never have to remember the exact layout. Now you will always be able to make sure that everything will fit perfectly.

Mint.com-Budget your money and control all of your finances on your iPhone.
Mint.com will gathers all bank, credit card, and loan statements in one place, letting users see where every penny goes. The app also makes money saving recommendations based on spending habits

HomeSavvy – Never forget to do a home maintenance project again. This app gives you a customized home maintenance schedule and alerts you when it’s time to get the project done. It also includes a directory of local businesses with customer ratings for each task that needs completed.

What are some of your favorite apps to help you around the house?

 

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If you are thinking about making a move some proper planning will go a long way. Moving can cost more than you might think and can be stressful. Keep costs and headaches to a minimum by preparing a plan and get organized early.

Here is a checklist of moving tips to help make your relocation go as smoothly as possible:

1. Save and set a budget.
Moving expenses can set you back thousands of dollars. There can be unexpected costs like shipping charges, personal travel costs, temporary housing expenses and start-up fees at your new residence. As soon as you know you’re going to move try to plan for all of these things and set a budget and start saving.

2. Mover or do it yourself?                                                                                    
Decide whether or not you will be hiring a moving company or managing the move on your own. If you are hiring a mover you will need to call for estimates and reservations. If you go it alone you should try to secure some help and proper transportation.

3. Look for Work.                                                                                                                              
If you are moving for a new job it may not be as easy for other family members to find work. Start reviewing the job boards and calling on personal contacts before you go.

4. Research the schools.                                                                                                          
Check school schedules and enrollment requirements. Pick up school records or have them sent to the new schools.

5. Protect Your Belongings.                                                                                        
In order to ensure your possessions will be covered while in transit or storage during your move you will want to obtain appraisals for high-value items. Make an inventory and take photos of your valuables to have a record if you need to file a claim. Make sure to also contact your homeowners insurance or renters insurance company to ensure your possessions will be covered.

6. Do a car check.                                                                                                                      
Take care of auto maintenance and repairs before you make a long trip. Don’t forget to notify your auto insurance company of the move.

7. Turn it on and off.                                                                                                            
Make sure to notify your utilities of your move and plan disconnect dates. Also make sure to order new utility services for your new address.

8. Change Your Address.                                                                    
Fill out an online change-of-address form through the U.S. Postal Service to ensure important mail will be forwarded to your new home. Also, be sure to send your new address to friends and family, your physician, schools, magazine publishers and providers of financial services.

 

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