Category: DIY Home Improvement

2019 Landscaping Trends

Maui real estate
Want your Maui lawn and garden to stand out from your neighbor’s? If so, you’ll want to check out these five landscaping trends that freshen up your outdoor space and make it memorable.

Lawn Striping

Nothing is more welcoming than a lush, green lawn. Landscape pros are getting more requests from homeowners to “jazz up” their flawless lawns with stripes and other patterns.

Lawn striping isn’t hard to do. Most machines create a type of stripe as the lawnmower tires and deck bend the grass in the direction the mower is moving. But for more intricate or pronounced patterns, rollers and striping kits are available for certain lawn mowers.

Multi-Function Design

Landscape experts say homeowners no longer want a lawn and garden that’s only for admiring. Instead, families want to use their outdoor spaces — no area should be off-limits. Today, the more uses a garden has, the better.

Some of the top multi-purpose landscape trends are:

  • Vertical gardens that also work as a privacy fence
  • A small sitting area with a water feature and flowers that butterflies, hummingbirds, bees and other wildlife can enjoy
  • A winding path planted with edible herbs
  • A wall with built-in seating


Merging indoor and outdoor living is high on a homeowner’s wish list. And an outdoor structure that creates an extra room adds to a home’s useful square footage. What’s more, today’s pergolas are more sophisticated than ever. Some of the top pergola trends now include structures with:

  • Space heaters or a fire feature
  • A luxury outdoor kitchen
  • A sitting area featuring a large outdoor sectional
  • Rolldown windows
  • Lighting
  • Sound systems

Metal Elements

Metal is the latest landscaping trend material of choice. It’s partially because homeowners want durable and low-maintenance materials that don’t require staining, finishing, sanding and sealing.

Look for pergolas, furnishings and other accessories in metal. Brushed stainless steel continues to be popular, although industrial-looking black metal is also on-trend.


Millennial pink, dusty rose and bold-yet-earthy coral have been big color trends in the last couple of years. And that’s especially true since Pantone named Living Coral their Color Of The Year for 2019.

Pink hues look fantastic against green, creating a big demand for pink flower beds. According to the report, landscape professionals also expect that softer, light blush pink tones will become the “the new neutral” for flooring materials, surfaces and finishes to tie in the bolder coral tones.

Housecleaning Hacks for People Who Hate Cleaning

Maui mortgage
Here are some great housecleaning hacks for people who hate cleaning their house. Let’s face it, this is everyone.

Use old socks to clean blinds

Blinds often have multiple sides and shapes, so they can sometimes be a hassle to clean. But with this simple hack, they don’t have to be. Simply use a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water to dampen an old sock, and then swipe the damp sock over each section of the blinds. Embedded dust and dirt will come right off!

Dust electronics with coffee filters

Coffee filters are perfect for cleaning dust from TV screens, computer monitors, and any other screens around the home, without leaving behind any fibers like towels do. You can also clean windows without leaving streaks—just clean them with a coffee filter instead of paper towels.

Clean your ceiling fan with a pillowcase

Instead of using a rag to clean your ceiling fan, which usually results in dust falling onto your furniture and floors, use an old pillowcase. Slip the fan blades inside the pillowcase, and then wipe each blade one at a time. Then just throw the dirty pillowcase into the washing machine.

Use dryer sheets to clean everything

Apparently dryer sheets have many uses beyond the laundry room. Run a dryer sheet along your baseboards to remove dirt and repel dust. Clean lampshades with dryer sheets as they pull away dust and prevent static cling, which equals less dust in the future. And add a dryer sheet to the bottom of your trash can to absorb odors and leaks. Dryer sheets, either used or unused, are also the easiest way to break down soap scum. Simply scrub fixtures with a sheet, and see results immediately.

Steam clean your microwave

Everyone hates cleaning the microwave. Instead of scrubbing it down, try putting a bowl with lemon juice and water in the appliance. Microwave on high power for three minutes, and allow it to sit for five more minutes. The steam will loosen any food remnants and banish odors, too. A couple of easy wipes inside and you’ll have a clean microwave with a lemony scent.

Grab pet hair with rubber gloves

When your standard vacuum can’t suck up all of your pet’s hair, rubber gloves will get the job done. Just slide them on and rub down any areas that need extra cleaning. When rubbed against fabric, the glove generates static electricity, which causes pet hair and lint to stick to it. Rinse the gloves under running water when you’re done, and the hair will come off.

Clean with vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is one of the most popular, eco-friendly, and versatile cleaning staples around due to its acidity. Plus, it’s cheap so you will save tons of money on cleaning supplies.

You can use it in the following ways:

  • Shower: Wipe your shower doors with vinegar to prevent soap scum and buildup.
  • Kitchen and bathroom drains: To help keep drains clog-free, pour a cup of distilled white vinegar down every two weeks. Allow it to sit for a half-hour, and then run cold water to flush it out.
  • Tile surfaces: Mix a half-cup of distilled white vinegar and a half-gallon of warm water. Use it to clean all tile surfaces.

Polish bathroom fixtures with baby oil

Do you have dull bathtub, shower, and sink fixtures? No problem. Get a paper towel and some baby oil. Put a dab of the liquid on the towel, then wipe it on the faucet. You’ll see it shine!

Let your dishwasher do double duty

If you only use your dishwasher to clean dishes, you aren’t using it to its full potential. Take a look at this list of things you can safely wash in the dishwasher, and put it to work:

  • Rubber flip-flops and baseball caps
  • Makeup brushes
  • Nonelectrical plastic and rubber kids’ toys
  • Mouthguards
  • Hairbrushes and combs
  • Plastic and metal garden tools
  • Refrigerator shelves

Home Improvement Projects Perfect for Beginners

Maui home improvement
Some projects, like renovating your entire kitchen or turning a closet into a full bathroom, are too ambitious for most beginners. But even if you’re a DIY newbie, there are plenty of projects you can tackle without specialized expertise or experience.

Plus, becoming more handy around your Maui home is empowering. You’ll make mistakes along the way, but figuring out how to correct those mistakes will teach you as much or more as if you’d gotten it right the first time.

Ready to roll up your sleeves and get going? Start with one of the projects below for an easy entry into the world of DIY home renovation.

1. Paint a room or a piece of furniture

You don’t need to be an art school grad to paint a room. Beginners will love the fact that painting is an inexpensive, low-risk job that offers instant gratification.

If you’re unsure about colors, use a fresh coat of white paint on trim and a bright white on ceilings. For walls, choose any shade that suits your style.

Not ready to commit to that big of a change? Start smaller, by painting a nightstand or an old piece of furniture that could use an update.

2. Replace or refresh your hardware

The best DIY projects for newbies are the ones that make the biggest impact for the least amount of money and effort. Swapping out your cabinet and door hardware fits this bill.

Walk around your home and determine which hardware doesn’t match or could use an upgrade.

All you need is a screwdriver and a free afternoon. If you’re replacing drawer pulls, don’t forget to measure the distance between the screws to make sure your new pulls will fit.

If you want to up the DIY ante and save some money, keep your existing hardware and give it a makeover with spray paint. After removing your hardware, lay it down on an old sheet or on cardboard in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside. A few light coats of spray paint can breathe new life and personality into rusty old knobs and pulls.

3. Touch up trim and caulk

Trim is often overlooked: It brings every room together, but over time, it endures wear and tear—especially baseboards, which attract dirt and dust and get scuffed up.

If your trim is looking worn, you can easily brighten it up by cleaning it with an all-purpose cleaner or a Magic Eraser. For seriously scuffed trim, a fresh coat of paint can work wonders.

Then, check around the house for places where your caulk could use a touch-up.

Caulking is an easy task for DIY beginners, but go slow to avoid mistakes.

It’s easy to add more caulk, but once you have too much on the work piece, it can turn into a messy headache.

4. Create a gallery wall

We’ve all probably hung a framed painting at one point or another. But to graduate from Wall Art 101 to 201, try your hand at assembling a perfectly curated gallery wall. It’s an extra challenge, but nothing a newbie can’t master.

For this project, you’ll need a tape measure, picture hangers, and a level. A gallery wall requires plenty of measuring to determine where each piece should go, and the level will help you hang everything evenly. If you’re hanging heavier pieces, use a stud finder to locate the sturdiest part of the wall that can support the most weight—or, in lieu of picture hangers, use drywall anchors and screws.

The good news: A gallery wall is forgiving if you make a few mistakes here and there.

5. Create a home maintenance to-do list

Let’s face it: Routine home maintenance doesn’t offer the satisfaction of a dramatic before-and-after photo. But it’s one of the most important tasks you can learn to handle on your own.

To get started, break up your maintenance to-do list into two columns, for indoors and outdoors. Go for a walk around the exterior of your house and take inventory of what needs attention now and what you’ll need to address in the future.

Take note of tree limbs that need trimming, siding on the home in need of repair, and make sure that downspouts and gutters are moving water away from your home.

Then, do the same for the interior.

Create or use an online inspection checklist to remind yourself of routine maintenance, like testing sump pumps and replacing HVAC filters, as well as visual inspections of water line connections to toilets, refrigerators, and washers.

At the end of the day, learning how to handle routine maintenance will give you the insight into identifying issues before they get out of hand, which can save you money and hassle in the long run.

Ways to Utilize Garage Space in Your Maui Home

Maui home improvement
Your garage is one of the largest spaces in your home, and can be an invaluable place for storage, when done correctly. Consider what you need to store before planning your storage strategy. Also consider combining one or more of these techniques to make the best use of the garage space in your Maui home.

Garage Shelving

One of the easiest ways to store a large number of items in your garage is by installing shelving. The good news is that shelving systems are easy to assemble. A good shelving organization tip is to put the heaviest items on the bottom. This will lower the center of gravity of the shelf. Also, you’ll be able to easily access the heaviest items. You can find garage shelving systems at most home improvement stores.

Storage Bins

If you want some flexibility, then you will want to get a number of plastic storage bins. You’ll be able to store large and small items in these bins. Also, you will be able to store these bins in a number of different ways. You can find storage bins at home improvement stores, at online stores and at box stores.

Ceiling Storage

If you want to dedicate most of your garage space for your vehicles, then you may be pressed for space. However, you can actually store items above your vehicles with the use of ceiling storage racks. These racks are mounted from the ceiling and can hold a number of items. It’ll take some expertise to install the ceiling rack, but it will be well worth the time for this garage storage hack.

Peg Boards

If you’re looking to store your bicycles or other heavy items, you can use peg boards to store a number of items on your wall. First, install the pegboard on your garage wall. From there, you can install racks that will allow you to hang any number of items.

Wall Mounted Storage Cabinets

With wall mounted storage cabinets, you’ll be able to secure items of all sizes. You will also be able to better organize your items while keeping your garage looking neat and clean. Wall mounted storage cabinets may require professional installation; however, it will be well worth the investment.

Energy (and Money) Saving Tips for Summer

It’s officially summertime. For Maui, that means running the AC more than normal. For those of you with kids home from school, it may mean more electricity used during the day too.

It is time to put some energy-saving tips into practice at your home. Check out the advice from the U.S. Department of Energy.

In the end, you’ll help save our planet and your wallet.

Now, that’s cool!

Make Sure You Choose Home Improvement Projects Wisely

Home prices and sales are rising across the country. That’s good news for sellers. If you’re thinking about listing your home in Wailea soon but want to make some improvements first, consider these fixer-upper projects that historically provide the best return for the investment:
mortgage Maui
Up the First Impression at Front Door. According to Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value reports, replacing the front door has been the most valuable remodeling project for the last three years. Homeowners who replaced their entry door (steel) saw a high return on investment from 2013 to 2015. Cost recouped was between 73% and 102%. The average cost of replacing an entry door is relatively low (ranges between $450-$800). Not only is the return high, often times the front door design can persuade a buyer to either come in and check it out or drive right past.

Remodel the Heart of the Home. In almost every home across the country, the kitchen remains the heart of the home. It is where friends and family gather and it gets the most daily use. Give your kitchen a makeover and you can increase your home’s odds of selling. Minor kitchen renovation projects (considered to be those under $20,000, according to Remodeling) such as installing new countertops, cabinets, lighting, and storage are just a few of the ways to make it more comfortable and updated. In the last three years, homeowners have been able to recoup an average of 79% of their expenses for kitchen remodels. Experts anticipate that trend to continue.

Save Energy and Costs with New Windows. More and more homeowners are seeking energy-efficient homes. One way to decrease a home’s energy usage is to replace old windows. In 2015, homeowners who replaced their windows recouped around 75% of the total cost.

Use Attic Space for Extra Bedroom or Playroom. This is a pricey one, but one that may add more value than you think. Consider converting your attic space into an extra bedroom or play area for children. The average cost of converting an attic into a livable space is $51,000. However, according to the Remodeling report, 77% of that cost is recouped at the time of sale.

Don’t Forget Importance of Quality, Outdoor Living. You’re still living there, why not make an improvement for you to enjoy in the meantime too? Adding or refurbishing a wood deck can help you get back about 80% of what you spent. Also consider quick improvements such as fresh flowers in your outdoor pots, bright pillows on outdoor seating and a new outdoor rug. These items may not cost you much but will have a big impact by creating an inviting space for potential new homeowners.

Home repairs and improvements have been popular with consumers this year and are expected to be even more popular in 2017, according to a newly released Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity report. Choose your improvement projects wisely and you too can benefit in a near- or long-term sale.

When the time comes to put that house on the market and figure out your loan for a new home, I hope you’ll give me a call at [phone] so we can talk more about numbers and return on investments.

Sources: Consumer Affairs & (obtained May 2016)

No Need to Hide from Home Security

Maui home loans
If a new home security system is on your list of to dos, you may find the idea of selecting the right one overwhelming. With so many options in brands, features and types, you may need some help making the beneficial choice for your new home.

Consumer Affairs offers an extensive list of brands with customer reviews; features to consider such as cost, automation, length of contract, and add-ons; and expert guidance for each of the top brands.

Check out their website at for full reviews and details. (Sourced May 2016)

I hope you find it useful!

Skyline Home Loans is not affiliated with Consumer Affairs. Each is solely responsible for the products and services it offers.

Lawn Care Goes Digital

Have you been searching for a miracle cure for the perfect lawn? Scotts Miracle-Gro may just be on to it for you.

The lawn and garden company recently announced its plans to launch a “Connected Yard” digital platform to get you invested in your yard and use smart data to do the thinking for you. According to Scotts Miracle-Gro, “Finally, dirt meets data”.

By using the app and sensory devices, you will be able to receive watering recommendations for your local area to help avoid overwatering or forgetting to water plants. It will also make recommendations about what plants grow best in your area and where to place them in your yard.

The platform is expected to offer additional lawn care services such as controlling your sprinklers in the future. The company hopes other innovations will be developed to link to its platform, making your future lawn virtually perfect.lawn care

To learn more about the Connected Yard concept and sign up to get notified when the app is ready for download, go to

Be sure to let me know how your yard is doing and what you think of this innovation in lawn care!

Source: Fast Company & Inc

Skyline Home Loans is not affiliated with Scotts Miracle-Gro. Each is solely responsible for the products and services it offers.

Maintain, Maintain, Maintain

You’ve heard of the importance of location, location, location when searching for a home. But have you thought about what’s most important in owning one?

You need a maintenance plan!
home maintenance
Unless you plan on hiring a team of housekeepers and gardeners, the best plan for handling home maintenance is to create an accurate list of everything that will need to be done, and separate it by how frequently the jobs must be completed.

Then, remember to check your lists and do it!

Monthly, you should check these items:

  • HVAC filters and screens. Clean as necessary. Use a vacuum cleaner hose to clear some of the buildup in the vents.
  • Caulking around the tubs and shower. Caulk all breaks as needed. Treat mold or mildew if present.
  • Toilet reservoir for mildew. If present, drain it, disinfect it, and then refill it.
  • Faucets and shower heads for lime or soap scum buildup. If there is buildup, remove the shower head and soak in vinegar; for the faucet, spray vinegar on it. Apply until all buildup is removed.
  • The foundation of the house by taking a walk around while keeping an eye out for cracks. Also keep an eye out for carpenter ant and termite activity.
  • Circuit breakers and all wiring. Look for exposed or damaged wires. If repair or replacement is needed, consult a professional electrician.

Seasonally, you should inspect:

  • Gutters and drainage ways and clear any debris.
  • The roof to see if there has been any damage from rain, wind, snow or other harsh weather.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to see if they are properly functioning or need a new battery.
  • Gates and fences for paint damage and leaning fence posts. Inspect to see if there is a need for a new coat of paint or a water seal.
  • Cracks on the driveway and garage floor; seal them if necessary.
  • Locks on doors and windows are functioning, and check to see if they open and close properly.
  • Decks and patios for damage. Repair as needed. Determine if another coat of water sealer is needed.
  • Household appliances to see if they need any care or replacement.

For a more detailed checklist you may want to print and use at your own home, visit the Healthy Housing Checklist developed by the Center for Healthy Housing.

Source: National Center for Healthy Housing.

4 DIY Projects to Spruce Up Your Bathroom

Americans spend a lot of money on home improvement. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s last American Housing Survey (AHS), homeowners spent $130 billion renovating in 2013 alone. However, not all home improvements are created equal.
bathroom renovation [city2]
Renovations vary widely, but some almost always increase a home’s value. Others—the home office, for instance—almost never do. While it’s true that spending money on an upgrade or remodel for your own personal delight has merit, the best projects double as investments. They allow you to improve the look, feel, and value of your home in a way that will make you money when you decide to sell.

The Wisdom of the DIY Bathroom Renovation

Improving your bathroom is a terrific way to increase both your home’s value and your enjoyment of it. Since the average bathroom remodel costs more than $9,000, taking a more modest DIY approach will save you money. Add to that savings the satisfaction of doing the work yourself, and you’re likely to wish you had more bathrooms to roll up your sleeves over.

Here are four DIY projects for any bathroom that needs a makeover.

Increase Your Storage Capacity

Especially if you live in an older home, the odds are pretty good that your bathroom is a little on the small side compared to today’s standards. Short of a major overhaul, you can still improve the way your bathroom looks and feel by increasing storage capacity for towels, washcloths, tissue and toiletries.

Of course, how you increase your storage capacity will be determined by your bathroom’s current layout, but here are some suggestions:

  • Replace a pedestal sink with a vanity.
  • Place a floating shelf over the toilet.
  • Construct a built-in shelving unit.

Change Out Hardware

New faucets on the tub, shower and sink will quickly and easily bring your bathroom into the chic 21st century. Whether you want hands-free technology, water lit up by LEDs or something more classic in brushed nickel, updated faucets look and perform better. While you’re at it, change out the pulls on any vanities, and replace aging or plastic towel racks and toilet paper holders.


If you’ve never tiled before, it may feel like a skill that’s out of reach. Thankfully, the opposite is true: So long as you’re willing to study some YouTube videos and use the right tools, you can make your bathroom feel like a brand-new room in just a couple of days. From the floor to the shower, a freshly tiled bathroom will increase your home’s value and your opinion of it in a short amount of time.

Color Schemes

Perhaps the easiest way to spruce up your bathroom is to paint it. For a renovation that’s preceding a sale, select a color that is more neutral; however, if you’re planning on staying for more than five years, let your imagination run wild. Just be sure to use paint in a semi-gloss or high gloss finish, as these repel moisture and inhibit mildew.

Whether you’re trying to up the resale value of your home in [city2] or you just want to love your space more, these four DIY projects will get your bathroom spruced up in no time.