Room Upgrades That Will Save You Money

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Your home is one of your biggest assets, so you should make it a point to keep it in good shape. When was the last time you took on a project to increase your home’s value? There are probably several opportunities, from simple things that you can do yourself to more complex projects. Here are several suggestions from home appraisal experts that will help you increase your curb appeal and increase the value of your home.

The Attic

While the attic is typically a room in your home that is best described as “out of sight, out of mind,” there are a few projects that you can take on to improve your home. The first is replacing the roof. While that sounds like a huge task (and there’s no mistaking that) it will be a major plus when you’re looking to sell your home. If you’re not ready for that kind of commitment, consider replacing your insulation to help with energy costs.

The Entryway

First impressions are very important – and that goes for houses as well as people. The first impression that others will get of your home is the entryway, so make sure that it is neat and tidy. Think about getting a new front door, or simply adding some shrubbery to add to your home’s curb appeal.

The Kitchen

If you are only going to upgrade one room in your home, you should give some serious thought to making it the kitchen. Having a modern and up-to-date kitchen is something that will make your home much more attractive to buyers if you ever list, and you can use the updates in the meantime. Often, retailers will run sales on appliances during holiday weekends, so wait for the right opportunity to grab a new oven or dishwasher at a great price.

The Bathroom

Another great option for a home upgrade is the bathroom. It’s the smallest room in your home, so you can make a big impact with little effort. Add water saving shower heads and low flush toilets to your home to save money on your monthly water bill. If you’re ready for a bigger project, add a new sink or countertop, or install a modern backsplash or a new medicine cabinet.

The Backyard

When the weather is nice, spend some time outside working on your home. For a few dollars, you can get some lovely new plants for your backyard – our friends at Cedar Grove Gardens can help you pick out ones that are low-maintenance and that look fantastic. While you’re outside, make sure that you also brush up on our backyard safety tips!

And here’s a bonus DIY project that can save you money – call your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent at 617-298-0655 to review your Massachusetts home insurance policy. We will make sure that you have the right coverage for your needs, and get you the discounts that you deserve. Also make sure to call and talk to your agent if you make any major updates to your home so that we may update your policy to reflect the changes.

Six Must-Know Kitchen Safety Tips

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In the average American household, the kitchen is a busy place. It’s where meals are cooked, and where family often gathers. If you want your kitchen to remain a safe place, make sure that you read and follow these safety tips when preparing and cooking.

Handling Pots and Pans

Know how to handle your kitchen cookware – following the recommended care instructions is vital if you want your pots and pans to last. When handling hot cookware, make sure to always use oven mitts, and never take glass dishware from the fridge and put it directly in the oven.

Rinsing Meats and Produce

Everyone knows that you should give your fruits and vegetables a quick rinse under running water before you use them, but did you know that this rule also holds when the produce is labeled as ‘pre-washed’? Also, you should not rinse meat before you cook it – washing it only spreads harmful bacteria to your sink and the rest of your kitchen.

Preventing Illness-Causing Bacteria

Speaking of stopping the spread of bacteria, make sure that you put away your leftover food within two hours of cooking. It only takes two hours for harmful bacteria to grow, so anything left at room temperature for longer than that amount of time should be thrown out. Remember – you don’t want to risk anyone getting food poisoning, so when in doubt, throw it out!

Using your Microwave

It may come as a surprise when you find out that microwaves are the leading cause of serious scalding and burns in the kitchen. When you use the microwave to heat something up, let it cool before removing it from the microwave, and use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms. When removing a cover from something that was just microwaved, use extreme caution so that you’re not a victim of a steam burn.

Knowing How to React to Fire

Water is not the best way to prevent all fires. In fact, throwing water on a grease fire can make it much worse. When you’re cooking with grease, keep a lid nearby so that you can smother flames if a small grease fire starts. Baking soda is another useful tool when it comes to putting out grease fires, so keep a box nearby.

Sharpening your Knives

When a knife is dull, you are more likely to try to force it to cut – and this makes for a very dangerous kitchen situation. Keeping your knives sharp ensures that you only use the force needed to cut something, so get your own knife sharpening tool, or hire a professional to hone your knives.

Adhering to these six safety tips will help to ensure that you stay safe when you prepare and serve meals in your kitchen. To further protect yourself and your loved ones, ask Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency about getting a free home insurance review. Your Boston home insurance is an essential part of your financial safety net, so it needs a yearly checkup – just call 617-298-0655 now to speak to an experiences Massachusetts insurance professional.