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Kevin Szabo Jr Plumbing Blog

Kevin Szabo Jr Plumbing is Tinley Park, Orland Park, Oak Forest, Midlothian, Orland Hill, Homer Glen, Mokena, Frankfort, Crestwood, Palos Heights, Oak Lawn, local plumber. Read our blog for advice, tips, a good laugh, and basic home improvement.

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Tips To Modernize And Increase The Value Of Your Home  

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Tips to Modernize and Increase the Value of Your Home


Having a modern home is an ideal solution for a lot of people, because of the simple designs and maintenance. Modernizing your house could be a nice fresh start, and decorating your dream space can be thrilling and at times intimidating to many who’ve never dabbled in interior design. It’s also a way to up the price of your house if you’re trying to sell it, because any investment in a home will be rewarded. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you effortlessly transform your home.

Less is more

Minimalism is the way to go – as it perfectly goes with the modern aesthetic. You can easily achieve this by getting rid of everything unnecessary in your living space. Things such as decorative statues, vases, pillows and anything that doesn’t have a function needs to go. This will also ensure that any decorations you do leave – such as family portraits, cherished artwork, etc. – will be highlighted and much more appreciated. You will be surprised how good minimalist homes actually look: With less clutter and furniture, cleaning gets faster and easier!

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All about the details

The color of your walls can greatly add to the overall feel you are looking for. Keep the details low key. Try to avoid patterns and combinations of bright colors and use dark tones instead. Black and gray hues can work wonderfully as they are elegant and simple, but also look modern because they give a monochromatic look. Make sure you’re not mixing too many metals in the same room to make everything look coherent. If you have plain white walls, you should invest in some wall art – but don't go too crazy. Hang a big modern art painting on your wall to create a focal point of the room.

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Practicality is important too

You want to use every bit of your space carefully. Choosing practical and predominantly functional pieces can help with modernizing your home greatly. If you have a spare room, why not make a mini home gym? You can fill the empty room with high-quality gym equipment such as a treadmill, some benches, dumbbells, kettlebells and other equipment depending on your needs. This way you can create a luxurious vibe that can actually benefit you in more ways than one. You can improve your home and also improve your health along the way.

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Let there be light 

Sticking with the overall theme of the modern aesthetic, you want to keep your space as bright as possible. Big windows or glass doors are perfect for achieving just that. But if you’re not in luck and have no large windows, don't worry. You can use big mirrors and place them all over your home, as that can give you the same effect as windows. Large mirrors can also make smaller rooms appear larger and enhance the spaciousness of your home.

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Be open-minded

Don't be afraid to play around with different ideas and designs. Find interesting pieces, look for anything industrial and geometrical and seek inspiration in contemporary art and sculptures. Just remember that you don’t want your house to look like a modern art museum, so don’t overdo it. The rule of “less is more” still applies, so it’s always better to replace a piece of furniture than to simply add one in.

You don’t need to invest millions into your home to make it look modern and up the price on listings. All you need to do is create a comfortable space with small details that will make it look and feel luxurious. Ask your realtors what the most sought-after additions these days are and try to focus your attention on those.

 Guest Contributor, Diana Smith

An IntroductionTo Renters Insurance Coverage

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An Introduction to Renters Insurance Coverage

Renters insurance is an extremely affordable way for tenants to keep their belongings safe, with the average premium totaling less than $150 per year. Yet under 40% of all renters are insured, in large part because of a lack of awareness among tenants about the benefits of renters insurance.

It’s impossible to predict when an emergency situation will strike, and the best way to prepare for the unexpected is to stay insured. Understanding the benefits and coverage of a renters insurance policy will allow you to make an informed decision about acquiring coverage.

How Does Renters Insurance Work?

Since relatively few people purchase renters insurance, there are some common misunderstandings regarding what exactly is covered under a typical policy. Some tenants assume that they’re automatically protected under their landlord’s insurance, but the truth is that you need your own policy to be covered in case your possessions are damaged or stolen.

Many tenants wonder if renters insurance covers water damage, bedbugs, and other unexpected occurrences. While there are some important differences in the fine print of many policies, a typical renters insurance plan provides coverage up to a certain limit in case of weather events such as rain, wind, fire, and hail. That said, more extreme conditions like earthquakes and floods will generally require additional coverage, so it’s important to make sure you’re protected if you live in a vulnerable region.

Your policy will also pay for temporary relocation in case your apartment is no longer habitable, a responsibility that may or may not be picked up by your landlord. The price of a few coffees each month is well worth the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ll be kept on your feet no matter what happens.

Exceptions to Renters Insurance Coverage

While renters insurance provides critical protection for a number of costly situations, there are some things that most policies won’t cover. The first two examples are earthquakes and flooding, which many insurance companies offer as a separate policy. 

Under a standard renters insurance policy, you won’t be compensated for any damage done to extremely valuable or rare items such as jewelry and fine art. The most common insurance limit is $100,000, but you’ll likely still need to purchase additional insurance if you want these items covered.

Other common situations tenants often find themselves in, like losing a phone or having a pet cause damage, are not covered under renters insurance. Your protection also won’t apply to anyone else living in the apartment unless they purchase their own coverage.

Renters insurance is a low-cost, reliable method of keeping your belongings safe and ensuring you’ll have a place to stay even in a worst-case scenario. For less than a dollar a day, you can cover all the possessions in your apartment from loss or damage resulting from anything from fire to theft.

Guest Contributor, Armand Levitz

Couple Finds Thousands While Renovating Their Home

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If you ever needed an excuse to remodel your home, here’s one: couple found thousands of dollars in the floorboards while renovating a home. They have been remodeling houses for 13 years. Their company, Accessible Homes, remodels homes for people with disabilities. I couldn’t have happened to a better company.


“We looked through it,” Rasmussen said of finding the money while renovating an accessible home for a nonprofit Thursday. “It’s $20s and $50s, I’d say $30,000. Maybe more.”

“When we opened up the floor there’s a heat duct that was run under the floor,” Rasmussen said. “And so someone previously must have gone into the utility room and thrown the money up on top of that duct. Pretty crazy.”

“It’s hard to process that amount of cash just laying around, and no one knew existed,” he added. “Well, someone knew, but forgot about.”

The house is owned by Bethesda, a non for profit that provides housing and services for people developmental disabilities. The money is going to help their organization make a difference in people’s lives.



How to Navigate a Flooded Apartment

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How to Navigate a Flooded Apartment

No one wants to deal with a flooded apartment. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes unavoidable. Knowing what to do if such an incident happens is important.

You’ll hopefully never have to use these tips. That said, if your apartment ever does flood, keep the following points in mind.

Protect Yourself First

This point actually has more to do with preparing for a flood. The whole experience will be a lot less stressful if you’re prepared with renters insurance.

If your apartment floods, renters insurance might cover it. Most plans are very affordable, costing about the same as a few cups of coffee per month.

It’s also important to look for early warning signs. Identify them, and you may be able to prevent a flood.

Regularly check plumbing appliances for signs of leaks. After rain, check for leaking surfaces. Alert the landlord as soon as you spot a problem.

Protect Belongings During the Flood

Obviously, during a major weather-related flood, you need to get to a safe place.

Not all apartment floods are major, though. Some result from internal plumbing issues. During minor flooding, get valuable items away from the water as soon as possible. You might even prepare ahead of time by finding a place nearby where you could store your belongings in case of a flood. Perhaps a friendly neighbor would let you keep your valuables in their apartment should the need ever arise.

Once you’ve secured your belongings, alert the landlord. You might be able to stop the leak yourself as you wait for them to send a professional. However, if the flooding is substantial, don’t go into the apartment until the utility company has disconnected the electricity.

Addressing Post-Flood Damage

The process of handling the aftermath of an apartment flood will vary on a case-by-case basis. Different regions simply have different laws and regulations.

In general, though, your landlord’s insurance will only cover the building itself and any features of the apartment they provided. It will not cover your personal belongings if they are damaged in a flood.

True, there are circumstances in which the landlord may be found liable. Perhaps the flood resulted from an issue you had previously informed them about. If they failed to address it in a timely manner despite numerous reminders, they might be responsible for covering damage to your belongings.

That said, this usually isn’t the case. This is another reason to have renters insurance. You’ll avoid dire financial circumstances if you have a policy. Renters insurance could also help with relocation costs if flooding makes the apartment uninhabitable.

Depending on the degree of damage and the cause of the flood, you might be able to terminate your lease without any repercussions. Some landlords are also willing to let tenants relocate to similar units within their properties.

Investigate your options immediately after a flood. Again, the specific laws that apply vary from one region to another. Protect yourself ahead of time with renters insurance, and you could avoid a lot of headaches if the applicable laws don’t favor tenants in these situations.

Guest Contributor, Armand Levitz

Is The Kitchen The Most Valuable Room When Selling Your House?

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Source: Unsplash

“The kitchen is the most important room in your home,” says Candy Scott, founder and creative director of Mood Design and Build in Chicago. “I can’t think of one kitchen renovation we have done where our client hasn’t shared with us how much time is spent in their kitchen.”

It makes sense. The kitchen is where it all happens. It’s where the morning huddle takes place as families get ready to tackle the day, its where meals are made, and family and friends gather to eat and share conversations. The kitchen is the heartbeat of the home.

What this means for you is that an upgraded kitchen can make or break the sale of your home. But unless you’ve done it before, upgrading a kitchen is no walk in the park. With so many DIY TV shows and blogs that make home renovation seem easy and fun, it’s tempting to fall into the trap that you too, can do it -- only to find that you’ve spent more in time, money and aggravation in the future.

By the same token, you may not be looking for a complete kitchen rehab. Maybe you need to freshen it so there are some projects you can probably tackle on your own. Whatever the case may be, this article will discuss what’s popular with home buyers to get an idea of what people are looking for. We’ll also dig deeper into what type of kitchen upgrade you need, and we’ll share some projects you can try on your own too.

What’s Popular Around Your Neighborhood?

Knowing what’s trendy in a kitchen for the people living in your area will help inspire the type of renovation you need to impress buyers. To find out, you can ask real estate professionals. You can also talk to design experts and do a bit of research on your own. People love stainless-steel appliances but are there a certain brand that appeals to people more than others right now? Are granite kitchen counter tops more desirable than marble? What paint colors are people more drawn to?

Zillow did a study in 2017 that shows that a soft blue paint color increased the sale of a home by $1,809. So, when you consider the cost of paint, is it worth painting your kitchen? Absolutely. A real estate agent has access to this type of information and knowing ahead of time, will help you figure out what you need to do.

Full Kitchen Rehab, Partial Rehab or Refresh?

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Source: Candy Scott

Once you talk to a few real estate agents, interior designers and have done some of your own research, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what buyers are looking for. Now it’s time to decide if you want a full rehab, partial rehab or a kitchen refresh. What’s the difference?

Full Kitchen Rehab

A full kitchen rehab is exactly what that sounds like. You’re going to do it all. Here is a list from Mood Design + Build:

  • Install new cabinetry

  • Install back splash

  • Replace flooring

  • Replace counter tops

  • Install knobs and pulls

  • Install new lighting under cabinet, island pendants, recessed cans

  • Install new appliances

  • Install new plumbing fixtures

  • Paint the walls and ceiling

Partial Kitchen Rehab

You may not need to do it all. Here’s an idea of what a partial rehab will consist of

  • Paint existing cabinetry

  • Install or replace back splash

  • Replace flooring

  • Replace counter tops

  • Install new or replace door hardware (knobs and pulls)

  • Install new lighting (under cabinet, island pendants recessed cans)

  • Replace appliances

  • Replace plumbing fixtures

  • Paint the walls and ceiling (if necessary)

Kitchen Refresh

You can hire interior design experts to help you with any type of kitchen upgrade but a simple kitchen refresh may be just what you need. You may even be able to tackle some of the items on the list on your own:

  • Install or replace tile back splash

  • Replace counter tops

  • Replace or install hardware (knobs and pulls)

  • Paint the walls

What’s Best for You?

Just because you have a list of over 20 items though, it doesn’t mean you have to do all of them. The extent to which you want to take your kitchen upgrade will depend on how much time you have, and what your budget is. If you’re looking to sell your home in a month, a full kitchen rehab is probably not a good idea. So when you’re doing your research, find out how long kitchen projects typically take to get a heads up.

DIY Kitchen Renovation Tips and Ideas

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Source: Unsplash

No matter how big or small you decide your kitchen upgrade should be, there are some DIY tips and ideas you can try too.

Simplicity and Functionality

Personality is important in any room, but if you’re upgrading your kitchen to sell on the market, a simple and functional kitchen is the way to go. As mentioned earlier, painting your kitchen using a soft blue color can boost the price significantly. Think about functionality too, such as installing vertical wall shelves to optimize space or putting in two-tiered carousel cabinets to keep counter tops clear and to find things easily.

Home Automation

Home automation is evolving at an unprecedented speed and new products are hitting the market virtually every day. A great way to impress home buyers is by setting up some automation features in your home.

You don’t have to automate your entire home though. Selecting a few areas can be just enough. You may choose to automate your kitchen lighting, the temperature in your home or home security (or all if you wish). For example, if you have windows in your kitchen (or anywhere in your home), you can invest in smart shades and blinds, or you can opt for a less expensive option such as smart light bulbs that can be turned on with an app before you arrive home.

You can also automate your home’s temperature control feature with the Nest Learning Thermostat where after a few days, will pick up on the temperatures you like when you’re home, and help you save energy when everyone’s away.

What’s Next?

Upgrading your kitchen whether you’re doing a complete gut rehab, a partial renovation or just giving your kitchen a simple makeover, it’s worth the investment. It not only adds to the value of your home but also to the helps buyers envision how they can enjoy the most significant space in a home. As you think about upgrading other spaces in your home, whether it’s the bathroom or the outside of your home such as your backyard or deck, you can apply the same principles: ask yourself what do people want? Think about how big your project will be: is this a full renovation, partial or refresh? Keep it simple yet functional, and add some high tech features to give your home that edge home buyers are looking for.

Guest Contributor, Kevin Hilton