Are you a new homeowner or thinking about becoming one? Here are 12 game-changing tips from homeowners of things they wish they would’ve known or thought of both before and after moving in.
Remodels and projects for your new home can get overwhelming pretty fast. If you need help finishing a big project or are looking to get started on a remodel, Michael’s Homes is the Upper Peninsula’s go-to for remodeling solutions. Click here to take the first step toward a stress-free and innovative remodeling process with a free consultation!
Did you know that living next door to a fire station could lower your homeowners insurance payments? Proximity to a firehouse is just one variable of many that can significantly reduce what you’re paying for homeowners insurance. Set aside time this week to review your homeowners policy and take steps to reduce the risk of loss so you can cut thousands of dollars from your premium payments over the life of the policy!
In a survey of over a thousand consumers, the Travelers Co. discovered that over half of the respondents (56%) in 2016 said they check their homeowner policies at least once a year, down from 60% in the 2015 survey. Those who aren’t checking their policies could be missing out on ways to save. Here are a few steps you can take to start the new year off with lower premiums:
There are plenty of smaller things you can do or lesser-known discounts that might be available to you, depending on the insurance company. Anything from being a non-smoker to owning a home with “green” features like Energy Star appliances can affect your homeowners insurance premiums.
Looking to start the year off on a good note? Review your homeowners insurance policy with the above points in mind, and start saving!
It’s easy to get overambitious about your plans for the holiday season when it’s still just a light-filled, festive glimmer on the distant horizon. This year you decide you’re going to host the best holiday party this neighborhood has seen, bake ten different kinds of Christmas treats, and make your own gifts with creative homemade wrapping. It’ll be so much fun! Until you get overwhelmed, your energy fizzles out, and you’d like nothing more than to go into deep hibernation. To avoid the brutal holiday burnout, make your holiday plans with your future (and possibly tired) self in mind. After all, the holidays should be a time of enjoyment for everyone.
Trap #1: Stressing over the “perfect” decorations. There’s no end to holiday decorating when you go all out with holiday lights (indoor and outdoor), a Christmas tree, special linens, plates, couch pillows, throws, and more. If you’ve been collecting your Christmas decorations for years, chances are it’ll take ages to put it all up. If the whole “decking the halls” brings you great joy, then, by all means, go all out! Just don’t be afraid to simplify if the process becomes more crossing things off a list than pure enjoyment.
Avoid the trap: mindfully scale back. Decide which elements of your holiday decor are the most meaningful and put those up. Then take a step back and see how your home feels. If it feels right, then put the rest away (or better still - donate it.)
Trap #2: Baking way more cookies than your family needs. Once you start the holiday baking tradition, it’s quite easy for it to get out of hand. Eventually, you get to the point where you’re baking more cookies than can comfortably fit on your kitchen counters.
Avoid the trap: Keep your holiday baking fun and low-pressure. Instead of putting the pressure on yourself to bake holiday treats for everyone you know, try to figure out the right amount of baking that will bring you and your family joy. There is no correct answer - just find the level of commitment that is right for you.
Trap #3: Wrapping every gift in elaborate and creative design with ribbons, boxes, and bows. For some, wrapping gifts is one of their favorite activities of the season. However, the fun can quickly disappear when gifts begin to pile up and the “fun” wrapping party becomes a chore that you can’t wait to cross off your list.
Avoid the trap: Keep gift-wrapping simple by mixing in reusable bags. You can still have fun wrapping some gifts, but keep some reusable bags on hand (including oversized ones for those hard-to-wrap gifts) so you can pick and choose where to spend your best gift-wrapping efforts.
Trap #4: Sending fancy holiday photo cards. If you already have the perfect family photo to use for this year's holiday card, that’s one thing. If you have to wrangle together the children, pick out outfits, do hair, gather addresses, and choose a card design, consider passing on the holiday cards this year.
Avoid the trap: Go for simple cards or wait until after the holidays. If you enjoy the tradition of Christmas cards but not the stress of a family photo shoot, consider sending a photoless card. Or you could wait until Christmas has passed and send out New Year’s cards instead.
Trap #5: Overbooking your weekends. Events and holiday parties can drain our energy levels quickly. A weekend with more than one event (like a Friday night holiday party, big shopping trip, and a play) will likely leave everyone exhausted.
Avoid the trap: Schedule your downtime. Make peaceful downtime a priority for you during the holidays so that you give yourself time to recharge and reset. Read a good book by the fire, sip hot cocoa, and take long walks in the snowy woods. Protect your downtime just like you do your most important meetings. Shoot for a perfect blend of high-energy events and low-key activities that allow you to make the most of the holidays while still keeping you recharged.
When it comes down to it, it’s not the decorations, gift wrapping, or Christmas cookies that make this season merry and bright. While all these things help contribute to the festivity of the holidays, give yourself permission to slow down this holiday season and just enjoy the little things in life. You’ll be able to look back and recall how happy the season was instead of remembering only how stressed you were. So keep it light, keep it festive, and you'll have time to enjoy the things that matter the most.
Tell us - what are you doing to simplify your holiday season this year?
As temperatures continue to drop up here in the frozen Northwoods, those of us who have a fireplace in our home will be cozying up to it in warm bliss, while those of us who don’t have one will be wishing we did! A fireplace is one of those creature comforts that we don’t realize we’re missing out on until we’re at a friend’s house and we notice the crackling fire on the hearth and feel the warmth emanating from it.
Fireplaces were listed as one of the most-preferred home features in a recent National Association of REALTORS® survey, and it’s easy to understand why. If you’re considering including a fireplace in your home, this is good news for when it comes time to put your house on the market! Here are several more great benefits of having a fireplace in your home:
1. Cozy fires
The cozy warmth of a fireplace is unmatched by any other heating appliance whether you have an open hearth, a fireplace insert, a pellet stove, or a wood stove. Watch the fire dancing as the outside cold melts away. Plus, fireplaces offer a cheerful setting to gather around the crackling flames with family and friends, to pull up your comfiest chair and sink into a good book, and enjoy countless other favorite indoor activities.
2. Extra warmth when the electricity goes out
When the weather turns frightful and the worst kinds of winter storms hit, electricity often goes out. With a fireplace in your home, you can transform these snowy gales into the coziest time of the year with a roaring fireplace.
3. Fire for cooking
If you have a wood burning stove, you get the extra benefit of being able to cook on your heat source. Save a little money on your utility bill by heating soup or coffee on the stove as the fire warms your home. Or you can even cook a meal even when the electricity is out! With an open-hearth fireplace, you can still roast marshmallows and hot dogs on sticks.
4. Cut energy costs
As electricity costs continue to climb, fireplaces are becoming an extremely popular primary heating source. In many instances, it can cost less to burn firewood than to heat your home using utilities that depend on fossil fuels.
5. Energy independence
A fireplace gives you an opportunity to be less dependent on utility companies and their high costs. You can take charge of your fuel source including how much you pay for it, and where/how you obtain it. If you own a lot of heavily wooded property, you may even have an endless supply of free wood!
By now, if you’ve already been considering a remodel or new home build in the future, you’ll want to add a fireplace to the top of the list of amenities to install. To learn more about your options or to find out what kind of fireplace would be best for you and your lifestyle, contact us today! We’re happy to help.
Click here to browse fireplace design inspiration from Michael’s Homes > http://www.mikebuilds.com/fireplace-trim-staircase-gallery.html
Your home is probably your most valuable possession, so when it comes to installing new windows or doors, it stands to reason that you want to go with the best of the best. This is where a Pella® Certified Contractor comes in handy.
Contractors certified by a particular window or door manufacturer are part of a group of professionals who know their product inside and out. These professionals have gone through extensive training and certification to earn the title of Certified Contractor. Why does this matter to you? It means you can have complete confidence that the job will always be done right, and that their service is backed by a nationally recognized name like Pella, who you know and trust.
A Pella Certified Contractor has been hand-picked and certified by Pella to:
Most homeowners are very conscientious about protecting their most valuable possession, so the peace of mind that comes with choosing a Pella Certified Contractor makes this choice an easy one. Michael's Homes has proven their commitment to bringing only the best to their customers by becoming the only Pella Certified Contractor in the Upper Peninsula. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!
If you’ve started building a home and shopping for windows, you’ve probably run into an overwhelming amount of questions. Which Pella® window style is more important for my home - casement, double hung, or something else? How important is energy efficiency, and how much of a difference will it make in heating and cooling costs? Everybody goes through this whirlwind of questions, but we’re about to make this a bit easier for you.
One of the most important questions you will ask is this: Which window material will work best for my home? You'll probably choose between the most common options: wood, fiberglass, or vinyl. All three of these options meet ENERGY STAR® guidelines in all 50 states, so what are the unique qualities and distinctive styles that set each option apart?
First, consider the features and benefits of each. Once you've done so, choose the option that works best with your budget, lifestyle, and climate.
Make sure you see the materials in person before making a final choice. You might find that you actually like or dislike the style, appearance, or construction of one more than the other.
We hope this article helped make your decision on window material much easier. If you still have questions or need additional guidance, don't hesitate to contact an expert from Michael's Homes. As the Upper Peninsula’s only Pella Certified Contractor, our staff is fully trained to offer our expertise and guidance on the best window choice for your home, lifestyle, and budget.
Michael’s Homes, winner of the 2016 UPHBA Builder of the Year Award, is proud to be selected as the UP’s only Pella® Certified Contractor. The Pella Certified Contractor Program is a program in which Pella Windows and Doors Corporation selects only the most qualified remodeling companies to be Pella-endorsed contractors. Such a designation requires extensive training and product knowledge, as well as the ability to provide in-depth customer support, installations and appropriate warranty work. As a Pella Windows and Doors Certified Contractor, the staff at Michael’s Homes will be trained and certified in all aspects of the Pella line. This will enable them to expertly advise their customers on the perfect replacement window, door or garage door solution for their unique needs.
Joe Dost, Pella’s Upper Peninsula Territory Manager says, “In our search for a Pella Certified Contractor in the Upper Peninsula, we sought out a customer-focused organization that would represent Pella Windows and Doors in the highest way possible. We found that in Michael’s Homes. They can offer multiple window and door replacement solutions to meet each customer's unique needs.”
Michael’s Homes is the Upper Peninsula’s premier home builder and remodeling specialist, and they have been proudly serving the area since 2004. Besides having recently earned a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist certification, this latest designation will allow them to better serve their clients in the remodeling market. As a Pella Windows and Doors Certified Contractor, the staff at Michael’s Homes will be trained and certified in Pella replacement windows, doors, and garage doors. The knowledge and training required to have earned this designation will ensure that their clients will have confidence knowing that Michael’s Homes will do the job right the first time, and their products will be backed by over 90 years of history behind the Pella name.
“We’re excited to be selected by Pella as a partner in their Certified Contractor Program,” said Michael Hill, owner of Michael’s Homes. “Pella’s commitment to quality, large product selection, stellar reputation, and outstanding product warranty go hand-in-hand with the culture and values we have here at Michael's Homes. Our ability to fully consult our clients on the Pella line, as well as install Pella products as part of our remodeling services is a win-win for us and our clients.”
For additional information about Pella replacement windows and doors now available from Michael’s Homes or the Pella Certified Contractor Program, visit http://www.mikebuilds.com/pella.html or call 906-401-0575.
Don’t let one of the most beloved seasons slip away without giving it a proper send-off! Hosting a gathering of your closest friends and family is a great way to slow down and top off all the great memories made over the summer. Choose a setting that most appeals to you: a beach party to savor the delights of the seaside one more time, a harvest party to celebrate local food, or a best-of-summer party to share memories and reminisce on everyone’s travels. Here are some ideas that will help you put the perfect crown on a beautiful summer.
Go to the beach for one last hurrah and do all of your favorite summer beach activities in one afternoon. Collect shells or rocks, build a sand castle, take a dip in the water, and go for a walk. You could also bring a football, frisbee, or volleyball to toss or bump around! When the hunger pains strike close to dinnertime, head home for a savory seafood feast. Fresh grilled fish, shrimp pasta, carmelized scallops.. enjoy a meal with your favorite seafood as the main focus. Crusty bread, grilled veggies, or roasted potatoes are great sides that complement seafood.
Meet up after your local farmer’s market for some canning fun! Ask each person to come to the party with a bag of their produce of choice, and a mouthwatering recipe they’d like to use to preserve it. Find out ahead of time which recipe everyone is using so you can make sure you have all the necessary ingredients. Jam, salsa, and pickles are always a win! Once the last can has been sealed, settle in for a simple dinner outdoors. Keep it fresh and simple with ingredients found at the farmer’s market that can be made quickly. Serve a simple fruit and cheese tray for an appetizer, and then fire up the grill for dinner. Grilled peaches topped with ice cream or honey for dessert sounds amazing!
Gather friends and family together so all can share their travels, funny stories, and favorite events of the summer. Ask each person to bring photos so they can take a turn to share where they’ve been. They may also want to bring mementos and an album to put everything in. After sharing favorite places and memories, you can use the photos to make scrapbooks or albums of that favorite summer trip. As host, provide a workspace with a selection of pens, glue, photo corners, and scrapbook paper.
Your guests may want to help set up the party - delegate party tasks to each guests. Email a sign-up sheet to your guests in advance and ask your guests if they’d like to pick food, drinks, or party decor to bring. Some people don’t like to cook, but might love to bring decor like a mason jar of garden blooms or a string of outdoor lights to hang over the table. It’s a fun way to involve your guests and at the same time makes hosting the party a bit easier for you!
Do you have a bash planned for the end-of-summer? If you were to use one of these ideas, how would you add to it?
Remodeling is not just a weekend project..so how do you know when you’re ready to take it on? These 5 signs tell you loud and clear that you’re ready to renovate.
If there are one or more signs telling you it's time for a remodel, then the next step is choosing the right partner for your project - someone who will work with you every step of the way. At Michael's Homes, our entire team are experts at combining design with function so that your new renovation project or addition will never look like an afterthought. Contact us today!
Whether it’s starting the plans for a remodeling project you haven’t had time for or swinging in the summer breeze in a hammock with an iced drink in hand, these 5 weekend activities will help you live intentionally and make the most of your summer weekend.
3. Get your home ready for vacation. Planning a trip this August? Put aside a bit of time this weekend to prepare for your trip by doing things like lining up a pet-sitter, arranging for someone to water your plants, and generally ensuring your house will be safe while you’re gone. Upgrade your home’s safety features by installing motion-activated lighting, or making sure trees and shrubs around the house are neatly trimmed. These relatively simple precautions will help make your home less of a target for thieves!
4. Turn that unused garage or shed into usable space. Why let that spare space in your garage or shed go to waste when you can transform it into something usable like an art studio, workshop, or game room? Once you decide what you want to transform the space into, your plans will help motivate you to get the space cleaned up before summer is over!
5. Slow down. Time flies when you’re having fun. Summer always feels like it flies by too quickly. Go through your schedule for the upcoming week and find out what you can cancel, delegate, or postpone. Once you’ve reclaimed some of your time, don’t fill it with anything. Practice the art of slow living so you can savor each moment of these summer days.
For any upcoming remodeling projects that you’re planning, let Michael’s Homes take the stress off of your hands. We’re your go-to for remodeling projects - big and small! Contact us today for your free, no-obligation consultation.