Monthly Archives :

July 2021

6 Budget-Friendly Bedroom Upgrade Ideas

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Depending on how much time you spend in it, your bedroom could have a very special place in your heart. Everyone wants to have the bedroom of their dreams, whether they want to use it to sleep or as a place of work. The good news is that it’s one of the cheapest rooms to renovate. Just making a few changes here and there could completely transform its look. Here are a few budget-friendly bedroom upgrade ideas that you can try.

Apply a Fresh Coat of Paint

three silver paint brushes on white textile

Painting is one of the most affordable and easiest things that you can do to improve your bedroom. You should try doing something original here. Maybe you could create an accent wall in a different color or choose a different color for your ceiling. Virtually any color will work as long as the rest of the room is in a neutral tone.

You could use crown molding to make a separation between colors. This will also make for a better finish and make the work like it was professionally designed.

Add Wallpaper

Alternatively, you could also go with wallpaper. New generation wallpapers are nothing like their predecessors, and you could use them to cover whole walls, create an accent wall, or add strips.

Get a New Mattress

It’s sometimes the things we don’t see that matter the most, and getting a new mattress could be the best gift you’ve ever made to yourself. Not to mention that Labor Day is coming up soon, which means that you can find a great Labor Day mattress sale and look at models that would otherwise be out of the question.

When picking a mattress, you have to make sure that you consider which type of sleeper you are. Don’t fall for the trends either. You might think that memory foam has to be the best because you hear about it everywhere. However, it might not be the best mattress for someone who needs extra firmness, for instance. So, take the time to do your research on different mattress types so you can make an informed decision.

Get a Smart Thermostat

gray Nest thermostat displaying at 63

If you are having trouble sleeping, know that it doesn’t necessarily have to do with your mattress, however. In some cases, something as simple as temperature could be the cause here. You see, the human body has a certain temperature where it will have a sleep response, which is said to be around 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Investing in a smart thermostat is the only way to make sure that the temperature stays within that precise range. Not to mention that you’ll be able to turn it on and shut it down whenever you want and from wherever you are.

Add Some Shelves

Whether you need extra space to store your book, or you want to add some decorative elements, adding a few shelves is a great idea. This is one of the simplest DIY projects out there and can be complicated in as little as a day.

Get Yourself a Chest or a Bench

Adding a bench or a chest to your bedroom could give it a nice charm and make it more functional. The foot of the bed is perfect for something like a chest and it will also give you additional storage. Benches can be found for very cheap if you know where to look. There are plenty of benches made of reclaimed wood that you can find. You can also get the wood yourself and build one.

All of these modifications could make your bedroom look brand new without breaking the bank. Look at which ones would work the best in your space and don’t be afraid to experiment.

NNN Leases vs. Full Service Gross Leases

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Even if you’re just getting started in residential real estate, it can’t hurt to understand a bit of the commercial side as well.

And if you’re looking to get into a new lease or interested in getting started with commercial real estate investing, then you should know how different lease structures can affect you. Understanding the amount of management required in each lease structure is vital for new investors to know how “passive” each opportunity is. The level of management you want to deal with depends on which structure you go with, whether or not the building is full of tenants. Maintaining and managing the property can be expensive and timely, so how can you know which structure can work best for you?

This page will give you a brief introduction to these two lease structures and help you understand how each one can work for you and your desired level of risk and return. By breaking down the two structures, you’ll see the positives and negatives of both. 

What’s the difference?

green and white wooden board

The main difference between these leases is who pays for the commercial property’s common areas and maintenance expenses. This includes covering the maintenance and expenses for lobbies, parking lots, elevators, and more. In addition, the amount of management over the property depends on which one you choose. 

What is a Full Service Gross Lease?

red and blue love neon light signage

In this lease, the tenant has a monthly rental amount paid to the landlord, and the landlord pays for all of the property’s expenses. Usually, in this model, the base rent for tenants is higher, so the landlord can use the additional money on common area maintenance and other expenses. 

Pros: For the investor/landlord, rent rates are higher, which can translate to increased profit for you. However, there is a clear definition of who is responsible for extra expenses and maintenance of the property for the tenant. 

Cons for the tenant: Ultimately, the central unappealing aspect of this structure is the increased cost. Generally, rent payments in this model are usually higher than ones in a NNN lease. 

Cons for the investor/landlord: If taxes, premiums, or other costs go up, those costs need to be covered by you. Since the rent payments are determined by the lease, a landlord cannot immediately raise rent to meet the increased expenses. 

What is an NNN Lease?

Unlike the gross lease, this rent structure bundles the standard rent payment for the tenant with calculated percentages of the property taxes, building insurance, and building maintenance expenses. The calculated percentage of the additional expenses is outlined in the lease agreement and is usually based on the amount of square footage the tenant leases. These leases are common in bank branches, drug stores, and quick service restaurants because of how easily a majority of the responsibility can be passed on to the business owner or tenant. 

Pros: For the tenant, this means by only paying your share, you can usually see lower rent payments. For the investor/landlord, passing on rising expenses and maintenance costs to the tenant can increase the net income you could make. 

Cons for the investor/landlord: With this model, the landlord can have a more challenging time managing the property. It can be difficult to reconcile your actual expenses and those that are recovered by the tenant. 

Cons for the tenant: Even though rent can start low, you can potentially expect your rent to increase if expenses rise. In some cases, covering your share of the operating costs of your building/property can leave you with higher rent prices than a standard full-service gross lease. 

What you need to know before signing

person in orange long sleeve shirt writing on white paper

Whether you’re signing a new lease or getting started in real estate investing, there’s a lot you need to consider before signing. No one option is wrong, but both have their appeals. For the tenant, a Full Service Gross Lease can be an appealing option because of its simplicity and that the rent payment will be the same until your lease ends. The bulk of the responsibility falls upon the landlord in this structure. Depending on the amount of involvement you want in maintaining your property, full-service gross leases won’t be very passive income. 

For a more passive approach, NNN leases tend to pass off some of the burden to the tenant. This structure tends to be more popular among investors since they are considered to be low-touch assets. That means that while the tenant covers most if not all of the costs, you can pursue other investment opportunities. 

If you want to read more about real estate investing and lease structures, consider checking out First National Realty Partners’ blog on the subject.

3 Trustworthy Paint Colors for Your New House

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Choosing a paint color is almost as overwhelming and intimidating as choosing a new house to buy. There are so many factors to consider like personal style, existing furniture, and lighting. 

You want to choose a color that complements the room, making it feel cozy and inviting. A color that fits well in the living room might not look great in the kitchen. One confident way to choose a color is to use neutral colors. Neutrals make the walls blend into the background, allowing the decor to be the focal point. We are here today to discuss 3 paint colors that you can trust and count on. 

assorted-color paints

Neutral Colors

For the sake of this article, we had to start with this one. Neutral colors, such as grays and whites, are the safest colors to choose when painting your walls. The word ‘neutral’ does not need to equal ‘boring’. 

There are various shades, combinations, and undertones that make up an array of unique neutral-toned colors like greige, taupe, and cream. Additionally, you can find shades of other colors that can pass for neutral including greens and pinks, depending on their tone.

If you have thought that I need to sell my house in the next few months, stick with neutral tones. More home buyers will show interest in your property if the paint is neutral.

Swiss Coffee by Behr

If you’re looking for a light and airy neutral color that will instantly make a room feel bigger and brighter, then this is the perfect option. This soft and versatile cream color leans on the warmer beige side. It does not feel cold or stark. 

Choosing this paint color is great for walls, trim, or cabinets. Pairing it with white or wooden trim will draw out the natural warmth in this color. A similar alternative color option is Alabaster by Sherwin Williams.

Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams

If you can’t decide between a neutral or bold color, go with something like this color. Sea Salt is the great “nearly neutral” color. It’s an ultra pale sea green with subtle hints of blue and gray. It’s unique because it can read as green, blue, or gray depending on the surroundings. 

This color looks great in bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms because it pairs well with white. An alternative color option is Wickham by Benjamin Moore

BONUS: Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore

This deep slate blue color is a great choice if you are looking for something bold but still safe. It’s a cool dark navy with just a hint of warmth in it to keep it on the neutral side. This classic color screams sophistication. It is a darker color that works well in bedrooms, living rooms, and dining rooms. 

If you are not ready to commit to such an intense color, try painting an accent wall or your front door with it. A similar alternative color option is Charcoal Blue by Benjamin Moore 

Get Inspired with These Timeless Paint Colors

Whether your style is modern, traditional, bohemian, coastal, or transitional, these three paint colors will look good in any home. It’s important to always test your paint colors in your own home before committing to anything. The same color can look completely different on each wall or room depending on the natural and artificial light in the room. Be sure to test your paint color on each wall that you are planning to paint. In addition, give yourself a few days to get used to it and to see the shade variances throughout the day and night. Most importantly, enjoy it!

Top DIY Home Improvement Projects of 2021

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Giving your house a new look should not be something that breaks the bank. Unfortunately, many homeowners start projects that seem cheap initially but end up being very expensive.

As technology and tools improve over time, renovation projects can get easier too. However, when you dive into a project yourself, you must go in with the proper preparation to get started. Here, we review the top DIY home improvement projects of 2021.

Kitchen Makeover 

gray steel 3-door refrigerator near modular kitchen

Initially, when people think about ‘renovating a kitchen’, they envision ripping out and replacing everything. While you can do that, it’s not always necessary. You can give your kitchen a facelift and makeover with minor renovations that are inexpensive yet effective.

Painting your kitchen walls and cabinets can instantly give the room a fresh, new pop. This job doesn’t cost much depending on how detailed you go. Selling your house after renovating a kitchen can add extra money to the final sale price. It almost always adds equity of some capacity to a property when revamping a kitchen.

Consider adding a new backsplash behind your sink. While this may take more effort if you are doing it yourself, it can give your kitchen a completely new feel. Especially if you have a large sink area, the backsplash sets the tone for that area of the room.

Smart Bathroom 

white ceramic bathtub

As smart devices creep more into our lives, the places that we live become ‘smarter’ too. For example, you can start by adding an Alexa speaker to your bathroom. You can listen to music, podcasts, and the news while spending time in the bathroom.

To take your bathroom to the next level, you can add a smart mirror to your bathroom! It comes with LED lights, similar to a high-quality mirror that you’d find in a 5-star hotel bathroom. Additionally, it is a smart device. You can check the weather, news, and browse the internet directly from your mirror. How easy can life get?

Similar to new cars, you can sync your phone directly with this smart device and control apps from the comfort of your vanity. You can order one of these online and install it in your bathroom yourself.

Unique Bookshelf or Library

brown wooden book shelf with books

Going in the opposite direction of ‘smart devices’, some people still really enjoy physical books. Many say they enjoy the feel of them. Others prefer them as decoration to fill a room.

You can get creative with this DIY home improvement project by creating your own bookshelf. If you do not consider yourself handy, focus on smaller and simpler designs. There is no requirement to go big here.

If you can get the basic design down of building shelves, you can go big with that and create larger bookshelves in a room. Adding a complete library or book study room to your house gives it a new, homey feeling.

Additionally, you might also consider adding a fireproof file cabinet for your important library and/or office documents.

Patio and Landscaping Alterations

brown wooden table and chairs

After 2020, everyone appreciates outdoor space more now than ever. Front and backyards are areas that you can consistently alter over time for fresh new looks. Especially since many types of plants and vegetation are seasonal, it is great motivation to switch things up.

You can start by mulching different areas, adding pavers, creating stone paths, and planting new things. With each alteration, you can create a new space that you and your family can enjoy. The sky is the limit here.

The list of what you can personally do to make your house have a new look is endless. However, making your home feel fresh and new is important. It not only makes it more enjoyable to spend time in but also adds value to your property. Consider these top DIY home improvement projects for 2021.

Key Tips to Fix Foundation Cracks at Home

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As you were conducting your annual home inspection and cleaning, you notice a few cracks in your home’s foundations. You’re sure that these are fairly new as you never saw these during your previous inspections.

Now, you are worried about your family’s safety (and the projected expense of fixing this issue.)

Before finding out how to fix cracks in your foundation, it is worthwhile to tackle a few issues first, allowing you to make an informed decision.

What causes foundation cracks?

Foundation cracks can happen even in homes that are well-built and maintained properly. The key here is identifying potential causes and knowing exactly how to repair foundation cracks.

Cracks in your foundations can occur due to a variety of reasons. Among the leading causes of this problem are:

  • Earthquakes
  • Poor construction quality
  • Frequent temperature changes
  • Soil quality (too loose, too wet, or too dry)
  • Poor drainage
  • Flooding

Among these possible causes of foundation cracks, flooding is the most common.

Types of cracks in your foundation

Cracks in your foundation can be broadly classified into three types:


This type of foundation crack is the most common type of foundation crack, occurring in most houses.

In some cases, the damage is fairly minimal and cosmetic in nature. However, you should watch out for other symptoms like bowing walls and sloping floors, indicating a larger problem at hand.


Shrinkage foundation cracks are commonly found in homes that have been built using poured concrete.


Changes in the soil or water pressure can lead to horizontal cracks.

Active vs. passive cracks

Foundation cracks can also be classified either as active or passive.

Active cracks in your foundations refer to cracks that actively change over time. The severity of the foundation cracks can vary due to ground movements or weather conditions.

Passive cracks, on the other hand, are relatively stable foundation cracks, rarely changing in severity. More often than not, the cracks stop expanding once the home has stabilized, typically during the first two years after construction.

Repairing a foundation crack

When you are planning to repair the cracks in your foundation, there is one important thing that you need to decide upon: fix the cracks from the inside or outside.

There is no consensus on which approach is better. However, some experts tend to recommend fixing foundation cracks from the outside because the effects are long-lasting. On the other hand, fixing foundation cracks from the inside is often seen as a temporary solution.

Small passive foundation cracks can be repaired from the inside. However, if the cracks in the foundation are active, the better option would be to fix these from the outside.

Common materials used for fixing foundation cracks

Epoxy and polyurethane are two of the most common materials used in repairing cracks in the foundation. Here’s a brief look at each.


Epoxy or epoxy resins refer to a type of glue used to fix cracks in a home’s foundation. The material acts as glue and prevents further movement in the cracks by filling the space.

If your home is still moving, an epoxy might not be able to prevent the formation of new cracks.

The main advantage of using epoxy is that the material doesn’t change the look of the foundation or your home. Ideally, it should be used when fixing the cracks of a foundation from the inside.

Another benefit of using epoxy is that it does not require excavation around the site. This means that you do not need to use heavy machinery in repairing cracks.


Polyurethane is a type of sealant known for its high resistance, strength, and durability. It can even withstand a high amount of movement.

Polyurethane is hydrophilic. This means that the material reacts to moisture, making it ideal for repairing cracks caused by water. This is because polyurethane forms a strong bond that creates a waterproof coat.

Polyurethane is applied to cracks in the foundation through injection using a hydraulic pump. The use of a hydraulic pump enables the material to fill the deepest surface of a crack.

However, polyurethane can only be used for smaller cracks. For example, if the crack measures more than an eighth of an inch, sealing might not be the best option.

Repairing cracks using the injection technique

Should you decide to repair the cracks using the injection technique, you will need a few tools and products.

These include:

  • Hydraulic pump
  • Polyurethane
  • Bristle brush
  • Shovel
  • Drill
  • Clamps
  • Waterproofing membrane

The repair starts by excavating around the foundation, either manually or through the use of machines.

Once the area has been excavated, the debris must be removed. Afterward, holes are drilled at a 45-degree angle. This will facilitate the quick injection of polyurethane.

After the polyurethane has been injected, the inside of the crack needs to be cleaned with water. The water also helps bring up the level of humidity in the foundation.

In some instances, clamps or steel plates need to be used. Finally, you will need to apply a waterproofing membrane to seal water out.

Not all cracks need immediate action

Although most cracks are unsightly, not everything requires immediate attention or action. You can simply leave these untreated without cause for worry.

For example, cracks in brick foundation walls often happen when the bricks are applied directly to the foundation. In addition, the bricks often expand during the summer as the temperature rises.

Cracks found on windows and doors are often seen as a sign of settlement, especially when these are found in relief joints. Usually, these cracks happen due to fluctuations in the temperature. The use of a dehumidifier can remedy this problem.

Hairline cracks on the floor are rarely a cause for concern, especially cracks that are smaller than half an inch.

As for foundation cracks, active monitoring is essential as these can lead to structural issues in your home.

At the first sign of a vertical or horizontal crack in the foundation, consult a qualified professional for the best course of action.