Category: Home Improvement

Thinking About Solar For Your Home?

Maui solar panels
One of the most costly expenses for homeowners is their monthly energy bill. This is especially true for those who live in very hot or very cold climates. Thus, it’s no surprise why so many homeowners have already transitioned to solar power to meet their energy demands. However, before you fully transition, here are a few things to think about when considering your solar options.

City/HOA Rules

Before you begin installing solar panels onto your roof, it is critical that you do some research so that you know what you can and cannot do in terms of your city as well as your HOA (if applicable.) The unfortunate reality is that some HOAs may not want people to have solar panels, as they create a distinction between homes.


One of the most common misconceptions regarding solar panels is that you’re going to have to purchase them outright. The fact that solar panels are priced anywhere between $25,000 to $50,000 could scare a lot of people off. Fortunately, more and more companies are offering financing options to their customers. This means that after 15 to 20 years, your solar panels will be paid off, and you will have free, or very inexpensive, energy from thereon.

Condition of Roof

While every home’s roof is different, keeping the state of your roof in mind while shopping is imperative. For example, is your roof strong enough to support multiple solar panels? How about damages to the roof? Is your roof in need of repairs? If so, that is an issue that needs to be taken care of before panels are installed.

Get Recommendations

There’s no doubt about it, the solar panel industry is booming, and more and more companies are entering the space. However, that does not mean that all of them have your best interests in mind, which is why it is critical that you ask for recommendations from local contractors and friends/family. Then, use that information to narrow your options further before picking a company to retrofit your roof with solar panels.

Simple Ways To Get Rid Of Weeds

Maui home mortgage
No one wants weeds in their yard, and we’re about to explain why. Imagine creeping lawn weeds appearing in your yard when you wake up in the morning. It’s not a happy sight, but luckily, their growth isn’t inevitable. There are many ways to find out which plants are weeds, how to get rid of them, and how to prevent them from growing again.

Weeds Vs Grass

Most people don’t know the difference between weeds and grass. Ironically enough, they don’t know the difference because they believe there is a list of grass types and a list of weed types. But this isn’t the case. You can classify any grass or plant as a weed that is invasive and unattractive. That’s what really makes a weed what it is, the fact that it is unwanted. Whereas grass is green, attractive, and always wanted.

Why Get Rid Of Weeds?

Weeds are no fun and that’s easy to see. And no, it’s not just because they are ugly. Weeds can be dangerous to the other life around them. Many weeds cause allergies while others are poisonous. But it’s always other plants that suffer. Unwanted weeds can steal the nutrients from plants in your yard.

How To Get Rid Of Weeds

Getting rid of weeds can be done in a few different ways. There are many materials or substances that snuff out weeds. The problem is that weeds are harder to kill than grass so if you kill the weeds, it’s hard not to kill the grass too.


Salt kills weeds the same way that it can kill other plants and insects like termites. It disrupts water flow and dries out the plant. It is easy to place only on the weeds and not the grass, leaving the weeds to wilt and die.


Newspaper is an amazing tool that you can shred up and sprinkle over weeds. Wood chips can do the same thing but the newspaper is more readily available. It smothers the weeds while decomposing properly.


Vinegar can be deadly to weeds. It also dehydrates the weeds only does so faster than salt. Mix the two together for an even faster job well done. Just keep in mind that you may need to do so a few days in a row.


Dish soap in particular can really kill weeds. You can use it alone, or mix it with vinegar. You can mix most of these ingredients together to create a cocktail that will really take care of those weeds in no time.

Hot Water

Or rather, boiling water, will boil those weeds and cause them to die. This works on most plants so be careful. Boiling water can also be poured down anthills to kill entire communities of ants harassing your yard.


Bleach is a strong chemical that does a wonderful job at killing weeds. It can take care of weeds in any area faster than almost anything else. Though most people use it as a last resort because it is just so strong.

Weed Killer

Weedkiller almost always works. Of course, it’s a weedkiller! But it is also quite strong and will harm almost anything that it touches. So use it as instructed on the box after trying the more natural options.

Things That You Should Do After Buying a House

Maui home mortgage
Buying a house is a costly and time-consuming process. Luckily, if you are reading this article, it is safe to assume that you can put that behind you and start making your house your own. While it might seem like a challenging task, it does not have to be that way. Here is a list of things you should do after buying a house. Once you check it out, you should be able to make your house feel like home in no time!

Deep Cleaning

It would be best if you did not assume that the previous owners or the construction company made sure that the house is clean and tidy before selling it. Instead, you should assume that they did not and dedicate a few days to cleaning it very thoroughly. If you do not feel like it and have the money to spare, hiring a cleaning company is always a viable option.

Change the Locks

Do you know how many people have the keys to your new house? After all, the old owners might have had their keys stolen in the past or decided to hold onto a spare key. Considering this, you should change the door locks as soon as you start moving in. Depending on the types of locks, it might cost up to a few hundred dollars. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth the money.


Have you considered giving the interior of the house a fresh coat of paint? It is one of the best ways to make it feel like it is truly yours. After all, you are the one who chooses the color palette and decides when each room is going to be painted.

Meet Your Neighbors

Prepare to meet your neighbors! Quite a few will drop by your house and introduce themselves just a day or two after you move in. If you are extroverted and willing to make friends, this is your time to shine. On the other hand, if you are introverted, try your best to be friendly and open. Remember that being friendly can have numerous benefits. For instance, you might be able to ask your neighbor to be on the lookout for a package or watch your house while you are away.

Ways To Make Your Home More Secure

Maui home improvement

Your home is possibly the most important, and probably the most expensive, commodity you will ever purchase. That said, it makes a lot of sense to put some time and effort into protecting it! While your exact security needs will vary based on the type of home you own, and your neighborhood, the following home security tips are some that you should consider.

Outdoor Lighting

One of the easiest ways to protect your home from burglars is to have adequate exterior lighting. A would-be thief is much less likely to break into a home that is well lit because it makes it easier for neighbors and passersby to see them. When planning your exterior lighting, focus on the areas around the doors, including your garage door. Also, consider installing motion-activated lights on your deck/patio and front porch.

Window Locks

Everybody knows the importance of locking your doors. However, it’s also equally important to lock up your windows. All windows that open on the ground level should have a locking mechanism. If they don’t, you can place a heavy-duty rod between the sliding window and frame to prevent it from opening. Keeping the screens on your windows will also help because it’s one more barrier between the outside and your home’s interior.

Security Doors

Front doors seem solid, but they can be relatively flimsy and easily breached by a determined thief. Security doors are heavy-duty and made from thicker, stronger woods or even aluminum. Additionally, the frames around these doors are generally made with steel or something similar. The doors also feature multiple locking bolts that securely lock the door to the frame, making it almost impossible to break open. The best part is these doors look like normal front doors you’d see on any house.

Cameras and Alarm System

Security cameras work as a great deterrent, but if someone does try to get into your home, they can also help police identify that person. Cameras should be placed at each house entrance and around the garage area. Alarm systems are either standalone or are part of an alarm network with home monitoring. Both are highly effective at scaring off intruders. Alarms come with motion detectors, sensors for doors and windows, as well as motion-activated security cameras. If you have a standalone alarm system, be sure to test the components often so you know it’s in good working order.

Help Your Home Withstand The Summer Heat

Maui home improvement

Hot weather is either already here, or just around the corner in your area, and you need to be sure that your home is ready for the summer heat. With these simple upgrades and repairs, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your home will remain cool and comfortable no matter what the weather is like outside.


When it comes to your home’s efficiency, few things are as important as your roof. It protects your home against harsh UV rays and plays a major role in the overall insulation of the property. That is just one of the many reasons why you should carefully inspect the inside and outside of your home at least a few times every year. If you notice any signs of damage, contact a team of roofing contractors to address those issues as soon as possible.

Cooling System

It should come as no surprise that your HVAC system is going to have a big impact on the temperature and humidity inside your home. As a general rule, you should plan on having your HVAC system professionally inspected and serviced at least twice a year. During those service calls, a technician will carry out some important maintenance tasks so that your home remains at a comfortable temperature at all times.


Another feature of your home that’s going to impact your daily comfort are your windows. Older windows are notoriously inefficient, and a lot of heat transfer could be taking place if you haven’t gotten new windows within the last decade. Although investing in new windows can be relatively pricey, they could save you money in the long run. At the very least, you should make sure that there aren’t any gaps or openings around your existing windows.


Although every home is different, residential insulation should usually be replaced at least once every few decades. Those who have an older home should consider upgrading the insulation as well. Blow-in insulation is very easy to install, and this simple project will have a major impact on your home’s efficiency.

These projects might seem like they’ll take a lot of time and energy, but they could end up saving you a large amount of money over time. Some simple alterations could potentially preserve or increase the value of your home, and that means that they’re going to be excellent long-term investments!

Easy Updates For Your Home Office

Maui real estate
Homeowners across the country have transformed their kitchens and living rooms into temporary workstations. But have they created an optimal setup for remote work? Use these following tips to make a home office more inviting and motivational.

Fresh Paint

Whether you have a designated home office or plan to repurpose a spare bedroom or basement, try a quick and fresh paint job to transform the room. Lighter tones reflect more light, helping to make a home office feel roomier. Try a light, simple color scheme in order to promote high energy and creativity. This will also provide a professional background for video conference calls.


Lighting is critical to productivity and professionalism in the age of Zoom calls. There are two ways to control the lighting in a room: through natural light via windows and artificial light, using lamps and bulbs.

  • If you haven’t already, swap out existing lightbulbs for LED bulbs. Relatively inexpensive, LEDs are energy-efficient and help light up a room better than traditional bulbs. Eliminate shadows by adding lamps where needed.
  • Whether you’re trying to focus for an extended period of time or are about to log into a videoconference call, controlling the amount of natural light in the room impacts your productivity. You might find it helpful to rearrange your office based on natural light sources so that your eyes don’t get fatigued. Also, control the amount of light in the space by adding blinds, which give you the ability to direct the light in your office. You could also use shades with motorized units to make easier adjustments. Blinds also can have sun sensors that will lower shades if the window gets too hot, helping you to stay focused on your work.

Outside In

A functional and beautiful add-on to your office space, plants have been shown to boost creativity while also creating a calm environment to work—all while filtering the air you breathe.

Personal Touches

We’re all spending more time in our home office, so don’t forget to add the personal touches that remind you of why you go to work every day. For instance, photos of loved ones or a fun pattern on a floor rug can help you create a space that you’re happy to spend time in.

Tips For Homeowners Contemplating Upgrades

Maui home remodel
In a time when we’re staying home more than ever, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many homeowners are assessing their homes and seriously contemplating making interior upgrades. If you’ve been toying with the idea of a renovation—or you just want to enjoy your home more—check out these tips.

Do your research

Before hiring any contractor, get multiple bids and vet the contractors and their subcontractors by checking references, reading reviews, and verifying licensing and insurance. Cheaper is almost never better, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Some contractors promise ridiculously low prices or quick turnarounds that end up being a big disappointment. Consider getting bids from at least three contractors, to determine whether you’re getting a fair price.

Get your contract in writing

Writing up a contract ensures that all parties are on the same page when it comes to total cost, timing, and more. While there may be some delays or minor changes to the original plan once the project gets started, a contract can help ensure there aren’t too many major surprises down the road. A contract should have detailed time frames, the total cost, payment arrangements, your contractor’s license number, the project description, names of parties involved, and how to handle additional costs if necessary.

Start a repair fund

It’s never too early to start an emergency home repairs fund. Open a savings account that’s attached to your checking account, and set up automatic transfers from checking to savings every month or pay period. Plan for the worst but hope for the best…this is true for many things, including your home. Repairs can be costly and unpredictable, so starting and regularly contributing to an emergency fund will leave you covered, just in case things go wrong.

Get an energy audit

A home energy audit helps assess how much energy a home consumes and can also show ways to improve efficiency and create more comfort in your home. Think of an energy audit as your home’s annual physical. It will help to pinpoint any areas that aren’t running as efficiently as possible and, in turn, are wasting your money. Correcting these energy issues can result in lower utility bills and create more comfort within your home.

Know where your water shut-off valve is

If a pipe bursts and starts spraying water all over your house, you’re going to want to know where your home’s emergency water shut-off valve is. The water system is one of the most important things in your home. In case of a water-related emergency, the first step is typically to get the water shut off as quickly as possible. Familiarizing yourself with your system can save you time and money and avoid costly repairs from water damage.

Using Coconut Oil for Household Chores

Maui mortgage

Pantry staples like vinegar and baking soda have proved to be heroes around the house for cleaning and accomplishing other household tasks. Aside from being a fraction of the cost of chemical all-purpose cleaners, they’re also nontoxic and 100% natural. But did you know there’s another edible essential that also falls in the same category? Coconut oil is an extremely versatile raw material that can help you around the house with even the most tedious task. Here are some of the ways that coconut oil can be used around the home.

Restoring Wood

Want to keep your wood furniture looking shiny and polished but don’t want to use chemical-based furniture polishes? Coconut oil can bring out the beauty in natural wood, help repel dust, and leave a soothing scent behind. You can create wood furniture polish with a small amount of lemon juice and coconut oil. Coconut oil can also lift scuff marks off floors.

Hard Water Stains

If hard-water stains left on your windows or shower glass doors irk you to no end, don’t worry. Coconut oil can make it all better. Mix the coconut oil with lemon juice. Dip a towel in the mixture, and rub it into your window or shower glass door in a circular motion. Then use another clean towel, and buff it into what will look like a cloudy mess. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water, dip a towel in that, and use it to get your glass streak- and stain-free.

Squeaky Hinges

No one likes to hear their hinges making annoying squeaky noises. Coconut oil makes a great lubricant, silencing the squeaks and treating the rust that’s likely causing it. Just rub a little coconut oil on the hinge.


Give your appliances a jump-start with a little dab of coconut oil. Coconut oil can be used to keep the motors of all your electronics and appliances, like your lawn mower, running smoothly. Think of it as an alternative to grease spray. Coconut oil also works as a polish on stainless-steel and bronze appliances around the home. Be sure to do a test patch before applying the oil to the entire appliance.

Sticky Labels

Have sticky labels that refuse to budge? Or gum stuck on the bottom of your shoe? If it seems like nothing will remove these messes, try coconut oil. Rub coconut oil on the sticky item, let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrub it off. For very sticky items, use a mixture of baking soda and coconut oil.

Clean Leather

A little coconut oil will do wonders to clean and condition leather, and make it more supple. First, use a damp cloth to wipe the leather down. Dip a dry cloth into a small mixture of coconut oil and lemon juice, and rub it gently into the leather. Wipe away excess oil, and then buff. You can use it on leather couches, jackets, and boots to prevent any type of cracking.

Moving Tips Part #3 – Unpacking & Getting Settled

Maui real estate

Unpacking can be almost as stressful as packing if you don’t do it right. After all, you just want to lay down at the end of a long day of moving. Relieve some of that stress with some unpacking tips for moving.

Put Every Box In The Right Room

Don’t stack all of the boxes in the kitchen or living room when you put them in the house. Take them directly to the room they go in. If you have color-coded the boxes then you will be able to do this with ease, even with a team.

Assign Rooms

Don’t let anyone do their room first. Instead, assign every person a common area. Someone unpacks the bathroom, someone the living room, and another the kitchen. This can relieve stress from whoever feels most responsible.


Whether it be music or some candles, find something to help you relax while still getting the work done. TVs can work as long as you don’t get distracted. Most people prefer music, just make sure you get to pick the genre.

Fold Boxes

Fold boxes as you go. Don’t let them stack up or it will feel overwhelming. Fold them up and put them outside or at least out of sight as you go. You can have one of the younger kids gather them up, as you go, in each room.

Order Pizza

Or something to look forward to at the end of the day, or even during a small break. Just don’t cook or stress about dinner. Call ahead of time so everyone knows what they have to look forward to.

Take Things Slow

It doesn’t matter how long it takes. If you start early enough, it really doesn’t matter. So take things as slowly as you want to, and then a little slower. As long as you’re not a procrastinator, then things will go smoothly this way.

Final Thoughts

Moving doesn’t have to be hard. It can be a day full of memories rather than one full of stress. Make the most out of the day by enjoying as much of it as you can as a family. Do the work together and lighten the load by asking for help. It’s amazing how much you can get done with a little planning beforehand and teamwork as you do it. So plan together, work together, and make moving day a memory. It doesn’t have to be fun, but it can be a good one.

Moving Tips Part #2 – Packing

Maui real estate

When it’s time to pack, you want to make it as easy as possible. This is true for vacationing, camping, and of course, moving to a new house. Follow these packing tips for moving to make things run smoothly.

Wrap Drawers

Instead of cleaning out drawers, utilize that space by keeping the things you’re taking in the drawers. Fill in any empty space with other stuff and wrap it in plastic wrap. Stack the drawers in the van. You can even put the drawers back in the dresser when you put them in the moving van.

Don’t Fold Clothes

Instead of folding your hang-up clothes, leave them on hangers. You can put them in trash bags with the top of the hangers sticking out the top. This will prevent wrinkles in clothes you don’t want wrinkled and will keep things tidy.

Use What You Have

Instead of struggling with boxes and bubble wrap, use what you have. Wrap breakables in sheets and towels. Put them in pots, pans, and baskets you have lying around the house. This will save money and space.

Get A Carry-On

You don’t want to dig through boxes when you want toothpaste, so get a carry-on for each person. Put everything you need for at least a day in it, even a change of clothes and a few snacks. This will make things easier.

Colored Duct Tape

Find a way to color-code everything. Use a different color of duct tape for each room or each person. Whatever system works for you. This makes things a whole lot easier on the other end and will make packing go smoothly.

Take Pictures

Whether it be the way you have your spices organized or the way the TV is set up, take pictures of anything that isn’t obvious. Then, anyone can put it back the way it was. You can even take pictures of each box on the inside.