How to Throw a Great Housewarming Party

Buying a home is one of life’s most exciting moments. Whether this is your first purchase or you’re simply moving into a new place, signing those papers and being handed your keys is a feeling like no other. Moments like these are cause for celebration!

Like a honeymoon after a wedding, new homeownership calls for a housewarming party. A time where you can invite your friends over, have a great time, and create lasting memories as you “break in” the house for the first time. To help you plan the perfect party, we’ve rounded up a few ideas and key things you’ll need to keep the good time rolling.

Invitations

A housewarming party isn’t one of those times where you send out a big group text. This occasion calls for sending legitimate invitations, whether you want to customize them by hand or create them online. Dedicated invitations are easier for your guests to remember, and they’ll also help you keep better track of your RSVPs. Be sure to send your invites out at least two to three weeks in advance, and remember the following information:

  • Specific date and time
  • Address
  • Specific instructions (if you want your guests to bring anything, park somewhere specific, etc.)
  • Reminder to RSVP

House prep

It should go without saying that a housewarming party means your house should be presentable! With that said, house prep doesn’t simply mean cleaning the floors and emptying the trash (although you should do that too!). This is a chance to get creative and set up some additional decoration and props. As you spiff up the house, consider the following tasks, tips, and ideas:

  • Prep the bathroom (stock up on supplies and continually check things throughout the night)
  • Create plenty of seating (people are always looking for places to sit, so give them options)
  • Set out candles (great for both ambience and air freshening)
  • Put away fragile items (stop accidents before they have a chance to happen!)
  • Set up a guest book (fun for your guests and great for creating memories to look back on)

Food & Drinks

People love (and need) to eat. Unless you have options laid out on the table, your guests are going to get hungry, which will inevitably lead them to A) ask you for food, B) order food, or C) leave to get food. Now, you don’t have to have a full course meal setup, but a selection of appetizers and finger foods are usually perfect for keeping people happy and full. You can’t go wrong with a basic supply of chips and dips, but if you don’t mind cooking, check out these quick and easy recipes.

Speaking of edible happiness, to go along with your appetizers, you’ll want a selection of drinks! Housewarming parties are the perfect occasion to break out the margarita maker and whip up batch after batch of your favorite ‘rita recipe. Or, if you’d rather keep things a little more casual, pick up a few bottles of wine and make sure everyone has a tasteful glass. Whichever you decide, always make sure you have some non-alcoholic options available, too (water and/or iced tea usually go over well).

Entertainment

The house is clean, food and drinks are out on the table with color-coordinated plates and cups, and people are ready to walk in the front door. Once you get them inside, what’s the plan? In addition to house tours and the usual hangout, the best housewarming parties always have some sort of entertainment.

You’ll definitely want music playing and a solid party playlist, but keep a few good group games up your sleeve for when everyone’s ready to take the fun to the next level. Try to make sure the games aren’t too long or technical (for example, Monopoly would be a bad idea). The key is to keep them quick, easy, and funny. Here are a couple ideas:

  • Scavenger hunt (this is especially good because the house is new to everyone!)
  • Memory games (for example, put your guests in a room, give them 30-60 seconds to look around, then come out of the room and ask them trivia questions to see who has the best memory)

Conclusion

Throwing a party is the perfect way to get your friends and family together to celebrate a great achievement – homeownership. After all, a home is the biggest and most important investment you’ll make in life, so if you’re going to have any type of party, this is the one to have. By following the steps above, your celebration is guaranteed to be a hit.

 

**Cory Yeakel is a full-time writer and home improvement lover. When he’s not writing or working on his latest DIY project, you can find him in the kitchen working on new recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

 

Our Top Three Design Center Picks

Thinking about purchasing a new home in the near future?  Starting to remodel your existing home?  There are obviously a lot of questions, ideas, and thoughts that go through your mind when deciding to update or purchase a home.  One of those questions might be “what are the top trends for interior design for my home?”

With this question in mind we spoke with Jenny Entler, the M/I Homes of Columbus Design Center Manager, to learn what are the top three design center products our customers are choosing when designing their perfect space.  Check out her answers below.

 

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring has come a long way since it was first introduced in the ‘80’s.  Back then, it was notorious for looking “fake” and being thin and hollow-sounding.  Today’s Laminates are made of stronger, better materials; covered by a 3D photographic layer that reproduces the look of the wood; and topped with a transparent protective layer that protects the floor from scratches and liquids.

Laminate flooring, made of synthetic fiberboard and designed to simulate hardwood, is currently wildly popular—and here’s why:

  • Less expensive than hardwood. Current trends in flooring call for 5”-7” wide planks, hand-scraped details and a weathered “beachy” appearance.  You’ll pay about a third of the price of real wood to get that same look in a high quality Laminate.
  • Easy to install. Laminate “floats” above the sub-floor, so it can be installed over nearly any surface, including concrete, which makes it perfect for basements and lower levels.  It comes in tongue and groove planks, which are “clicked” into one another vs. hardwood which must be nailed down.
  • Hardwood may look beautiful, but it’s not always a practical choice, especially for an active family.  Hardwood will scratch, fade and show wear over time. Since Laminate is not real wood, it is very hard to scratch, and most brands are treated with a UV protectant to help resist fading and wear.

 

White Kitchen Cabinets

White has always been a popular choice of color for a kitchen—but lately the demand for white cabinets has grown.  Why?

  • Everything Farmhouse. This trend in design and décor has skyrocketed over the last few years.  White cabinets are the cornerstone of this trend, followed by subway tile and apron sinks in the kitchen.  Think of your favorite DIY shows – Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, Love it or List it – they all have something in common.  They are constantly putting in beautiful white cabinets with this farmhouse look.
  • White cabinets provide the perfect neutral foundation for any decorating style, which makes them perfect for redecorating projects too.  In addition, white is timeless and classic and your kitchen will never look “dated” like it might with wood stained cabinets.
  • Clean and Crisp. The kitchen is the room where you gather with friends and family, and you want that room to be the nicest place in your home. White cabinets have a clean, fresh look that is very appealing and comforting. They can help a small spacer look larger or a dark space look brighter.

 

Subway Tiles

Subway tile has been around for over a hundred years.  The term literally originated from the subways of New York, where small white oblong tile was chosen for the walls of the tunnels simply because it looked clean, was easy to clean and made the underground tunnels seem brighter. Thus the term for this style of tile became “subway.”

The classic Subway Tile—3” x 6” glossy white—is still the most common choice; however the term “Subway Tile” is now used to refer to tiles of many different sizes, colors and materials.  Creative installation patterns have also modernized this simple and inexpensive tile.

  • The shape is still oblong, but sizes can range from 2” x 4” to 6” x 18” and larger and still be termed “Subway” Tile.
  • Use White, Ivory or Light Gray for a clean, neutral backdrop in your shower and allow your rugs, towels and bath accents to take center stage. Or choose a bold color for a backsplash to create a focal point in an all-white kitchen.
  • Most Subway Tile is either ceramic or porcelain with a glossy finish; however current trends include glass, marble, metal and travertine. A matte finish gives a modern look, and also helps hide fingerprints.
  • The traditional installation style is called “running bond” or “brick joint” meaning a horizontal, ½ offset pattern. Subway tile can also be installed vertically in the traditional style; stacked on a “grid” either horizontally or vertically; or in a herringbone or chevron pattern.

The simplicity and versatility of Subway Tile is the key to their popularity. With so many options to choose from, you can always find something to suit your personal style.

These top three interior design selections can all be found when you schedule your tour of our Design Centers throughout the nation.  We too love these trends and you will often find them throughout our model homes.

*Jenny Entler is the Design Center Manager for our Central Ohio Division.  She has been with M/I Homes for nine years and has helped over 4,000 customers design their new homes.  When she’s not working, she spends her time working in her yard, watching her son play baseball and planning her family’s next beach vacation.

Top 2017 Home Improvement Projects and How to Afford Them

By: Elizabeth Trach

When you own your own home, it seems like there’s always a list of projects to complete to keep it both beautiful and functional. Sometimes a broken air conditioner or garage door will force your hand and you’ll have to make a repair, but usually the decisions about which projects to tackle are all yours. Choose wisely, and you’ll reap the benefits when you sell your home for top dollar in the future.

So how’s a cost-conscious homeowner supposed to know which home improvement projects will bring the great return on investment for 2017? Each year, Remodeling magazine conducts a study about the cost of the most popular home improvement projects, and they calculate how much of the costs homeowners make back when they sell those properties. The 2016 results are the best way to plan your 2017 home improvement spending to get the most for your money.

Top 5 Home Projects for 2017

garage

It’s not surprising that some of the best investments you can make in your home are ones that add to its efficiency and curb appeal. Making your home more energy-efficient by adding insulation and blocking drafts will lower your heating and cooling costs so much that these projects almost pay for themselves. Additionally, making your house look great from the street will attract future buyers. Each of Remodeling’s top five projects will bring back some of the money you invest:

  • Adding Insulation: This is the only home improvement project that consistently pays for itself — and then some. You can’t see the results, but you’ll feel them every time you turn on the heat or open your electricity bill.
  • Adding Stone Veneer: Sprucing up your home’s exterior with luxury materials really pays off. If stone veneer would be out of place with your home’s architectural style, replacing the siding also provides an excellent return on investment.
  • Replacing Garage Doors: Upgrading garage doors provides an instant facelift and can boost your quality of life when you don’t have to worry about them getting stuck in inclement weather anymore.
  • Replacing Exterior Doors: Replacing exterior doors with steel or fiberglass models is a one-two punch that lets you improve the look of your entryway while stopping drafts in their tracks.
  • Remodeling the Kitchen: A minor kitchen remodel that includes cabinet refacing, efficient appliances, new fixtures and a clean color scheme will really pay off. You’ll enjoy cooking much more in a room you love, and future buyers will appreciate your good taste in this all-important room.

How to Cover the Costs of Your Remodeling Projects

Once you’ve chosen which home improvement project you’re ready to invest in this year, you’ll need to plan how to finance it. Depending on the total cost and your credit score, one of these popular payment methods should work for these mid-range projects:

  • Cash Savings: If a quick kitchen update is under $1,000, or if your state provides rebates for energy efficient projects, as some do according to Energy.gov, paying in cash can be easier than you think. Avoiding interest charges will save you money in the long run, so it’s a good option if you can afford it.
  • Credit Cards: Financing your home improvement project with a new credit card is a good way to take advantage of an interest-free period and/or bonus points. If you’ve received a pre-approved credit card offer recently, you could get a good deal if you do your research before signing up.
  • HELOC: A Home Equity Line of Credit typically offers low interest rates and a long payback period for homeowners, but you need to have paid off a certain percentage of your mortgage to qualify. If you’ve lived in your home for several years, it’s worth talking to a mortgage specialist to see if you should apply.
  • Mortgage Refinance: If you’re currently paying a high interest rate on your mortgage, you might be able to refinance your loan at a lower rate and cash out some home improvement money without raising your monthly payment. Talk to a specialist to weigh your options.

**Elizabeth Trach is a professional writer and editor living in Newburyport, MA. In addition to scrupulously saving her pennies, she also sings in a band, grows almost all her own food, and occasionally even cooks it. You can catch up on all her adventures in extreme gardening at Port Potager.

Eight Ways to Troubleshoot Your Garage Door Opener

Machines don’t always cooperate. Having a garage door stick in its place can prevent you from driving out of your garage or present huge security problems. If you’re home alone when this happens, you may need to fix it quickly and by yourself. If you’re not the type of person that normally tinkers with hardware, check out our list of easy checks that may fix your garage door!

garage

  1. Power and Batteries

Before tinkering with the tools in the garage, check your power source first.

Make sure the operator is plugged in properly and that the socket has electricity. You may want to try unplugging the operator and plugging it back again.

Also check the batteries of your remote control and wireless keypad. A simple change of batteries may be the only thing you need.

  1. Reset Your Remote Control

Another reason for the malfunction may simply be that the remote control is not working. Sometimes when you change batteries or reprogram the operator, you may need to reset the remote control again.

Resetting the remote control is not as difficult as it may sound; read your user manual and follow its short step by step guide.

  1. Garage Door Sensors

If the remote control is not the problem, check the garage’s sensors located at the bottom of the door.

Make sure the sensors on both sides are level with each other. Tighten the screw of the sensors or use a cable tie to permanently fix them on the door frame. Easily missable items like garbage bags, a mop, or your leg may interrupt the laser signal and cause a malfunction. So, before doing anything else, check the area near your garage door. Make sure to clean the lens of the sensors as well, since dust and snow may cause problems.

  1. Operator

The operator is the machine that moves the door of the garage. The machine may stop working due to motherboard malfunctions, busted wires, defective buttons, or overheating.

If the operator is frequently used and you suspect overheating, allow it to cool down for 30 minutes before using it again.

Tip: if the door only opens 6-8 inches, it’s probably an RPM sensor problem. If the operator lights blink 6 times, it may indicate circuit failure. Fixing these problems may be a little complicated but you’ll certainly impress your significant other or the mechanic if you can pinpoint which part of the operator is faulty.

  1. Repair Your Devices

Programming may be an intimidating word for some people but, setting up the operator and synchronizing it with your remote, wall button, keypad, and even your car’s HomeLink system is usually easier than you would expect. Read your owner’s manual for a step by step guide, watch video tutorials, or search the internet for easy-to-read troubleshooting instructions.

  1. Locked Wall Button

Another often overlooked part in the whole system is the wall button. Sometimes you check every little thing but nothing seems to work until you realize that the wall button is actually set to lock feature. If you don’t see an easy way to unlock the door right there on the keypad, consult your owner’s manual!

  1. Door Track and Inner Trolley

Sometimes garage doors get stuck because the door track or inner trolley is loose, bent, or broken. You may be able to tighten the railings and other parts by yourself. Just make sure to read the manual and turn the whole system off before touching anything. If you need a new track or trolley, call for a professional to install it properly.

  1. Grease the Door

If your garage door is stuck because it needs lubrication, then get your hands dirty! Grease the parts of the garage door that move, like hinges and bearings. Choose a dry lubricant so it will not attract dirt that may cause problems in the future.

Now that you know some of these tips and tricks, you can solve some of the most common garage door problems out there!

**Written by Kristy Jones of A Click Away Remotes – Garage Door Opener Store in California, USA.

What do I do after a Tornado?

In the wake of the violent Tornado activity that ripped through the Midwest yesterday, we wanted to provide you with some recovery tips from the Red Cross.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the families affected, and hope for speedy recovery. 

Continue listening to local news or a NOAAWeather Radio for updated information and instructions.
❐ If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
❐ Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage.
❐ Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
❐ Stay out of damaged buildings.
❐ Use battery-powered flashlights when examining buildings—do NOT use candles.
❐ If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department.
❐ Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents,for insurance claims.
❐ Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
❐ Keep all of your animals under your direct control.
❐ Clean up spilled medications, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids that could become a fire hazard.
❐ Check for injuries. If you are trained, provide first aid to persons in need until emergency responders arrive.

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