Our volunteer and donation drop-off hours have been extended for Hurricane Harvey relief. We are open for donations Monday – Thursday from 9 AM – 7 PM, Friday 9 AM – 4 PM, Saturday from 9 AM – 3 PM and Monday (Labor Day) from 9 AM – 4 PM.
We will accept the following for disaster relief:
Monetary Donations*: Donate online or mail checks to Matthew 25: Ministries, 11060 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242.
Non-Perishable Food: PULL TOP canned vegetables, fruits etc.; ready to eat dry goods such as nuts, peanut butter, dried fruits, granola and trail mixes, jerky, ready to eat snacks; bottled water; ready- to-eat meals or MREs etc.
Personal Care Products: Antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, lotion etc.
Cleaning supplies: Laundry detergents, general cleaner, sponges, bleach (powdered form is preferred), mops, scrub brushes, buckets, rubber gloves etc.
Paper products: Toilet paper, paper towels etc.
Baby and infant supplies: Diapers, wipes, diaper rash ointment, baby wash, baby shampoo, baby lotion etc.
First-Aid items: Bandages, gauze, pads, first aid tape, antiseptic creams, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, latex gloves, instant cold packs etc.
*Donors who would like to designate their financial gifts for Hurricane Relief may do so by writing “Hurricane Relief” in the memo line of their check or by typing it in the “in honor of” field of our online giving form. Please mail checks to Matthew 25: Ministries, 11060 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242. 100% of donated funds designated for Hurricane Relief will be used for the purpose intended.
REMOTE DONATION DROP-OFF LOCATIONS
2337 Buttermilk Crossing
Crescent Springs, KY 41017
DROP OFF TIMES:August 28 – September 16
Monday— Friday 8 AM —4:30 PM
Experts offer their top ideas for boosting curb appeal.
You landed a new job and find yourself planning a cross-country move in three months. Or, maybe you finally have the time to spend on home improvement now that the kids are out of the house. Here are some great approaches to home improvements geared toward a wide variety of budgets. We interviewed a number of experts to ask for tips, and all agreed with New York City-based designer Courtney Cachet who said, “For anything past the very basic DIY projects, I strongly recommend a licensed and insured professional.”
Ready to channel your inner Bob Vila? Click on your budget, then jump to ideas for how to increase your home’s value on your budget.
1. If You Have $100
Beverly Hills home designer Brian DeVille recommends starting with your outdoor lighting. He explains, “I find that curb appeal is key. If you’ve done work inside, they’re not going to see what’s inside. If you drive around an expensive neighborhood, you’ll see the homes have exterior lighting. Lighting can make a home appear taller and add symmetry to the structure and the yard.” More ideas to consider:
Small landscaping projects. From a bed of flowers to mulching around trees and other plantings—nothing beautifies a home more than an eye-appealing landscape. “I always recommend yellow, because yellow is the first color the brain processes,” says Courtney Cachet. “It attracts the eye and looks cheerful. A mix with some pinks, greens, and potted plants, and you’re done!”
Add fresh accessories. “Just as in fashion, accessories are important. That includes new house numbers, a new front door, mailbox, and planters,” says Cachet. “The entryway is key—have a nice solid door,” explains Deville. “If it has wobbly hardware people are going to assume the whole home isn’t well-maintained.”
Refinish floors or cabinets. “If you have hardwood floors, even if you can’t afford to refinish, pull up any wall-to-wall carpet,” says Nyack, New York-based home stager, Darrow Samberg. If your kitchen cabinets are looking outdated, Darrow recommends not spending money on new ones but instead sanding and painting the ones you have.
2. If You Have $500
Pay to get your home inspection before listing it. “It’s much wiser to start out knowing which projects are crucial to repairing before potential buyers walk through the door—you may decide to do an essential roof repair rather than a cosmetic bathroom remodel,” says DeVille. You’re also less likely to recoup your investment in a major kitchen or bathroom remodel than you are to get back what you spend on basic home maintenance such as new siding. Other $500 projects to consider: Paint your home’s exterior, shutters, and trim.
Erect a simple fence around your backyard for privacy and safety for kids and pets.
Do a basic “man-cave” or garage spiff-up: Coat the floors in glossy, durable paint, and install inexpensive-but-sturdy shelving and peg board.
Hire a pro to power wash your outside patios, decks, and walkways.
3. If You Have $1000
Build a surround for your TV. “Let’s face it, there’s nothing inspiring about a flat-screen TV just floating on a bare wall,” says Stamford, Connecticut based interior designer Kay Story. “But there are some simple ways to make it look like part of your design scheme without breaking the bank. One option is to build a framed wall out around your set, creating a window for the TV to sit within. The walls will also appear more interesting because there are multiple dimensions on an otherwise flat wall. Be sure to bury all cords in the wall. Add some floating wood or stainless steel shelves below for decor and you have a super chic TV room.” Other $1,000 projects to consider:
Give your home’s interior a paint job, just keep in mind that bold colors aren’t to most buyers’ taste. Go for neutral shades for the widest appeal. Howard Wiggins shares this tip: “Paint stores have color specialists that will help you find the perfect shade—they also know what’s in style right now.” Pros say that neutral paint tones can help make a home’s interior look larger.
Toss outdated or broken furniture, rugs, and artwork. Invest in key items that add pops of color and modernity throughout your home.
Purchase and install a “smart” thermostat. This can save you about $200 in energy costs. Even cooler? Systems like those made by Nest can be controlled remotely with your smartphone or tablet.
Invest in a new front porch. This adds visual interest and a welcoming entryway, especially if your home’s architecture is flat, like a ranch home. If your porch has started to look dated or has structural issues, rebuild it. As DeVille says, “If all your improvements are made on your home’s interior, you’ll never have a chance to show potential buyers the inside.”
4. If You Have $2000
Amp up your home’s interior lighting. “I’m working on a house from the 1920s now. People lived in a very different way back then—more low-lit wall sconces. I added four recessed lighting elements per room—one room for $400 or so. It really gives you a bright, happy room. Pay attention to lighting color—choose a daylight bulb,” says Howard Wiggins, interior designer and author based in Nashville. “Lighting is the best way to not only illuminate a room in a property, but also an excellent method of creating individual ambiances in any room,” adds Wiggins. Other value-enhancing projects in this price range:
Change up your countertops. With a modicum of construction skills, this can be a DIY project that improves the whole look of your kitchen. Keep this improvement under budget by using materials such as stainless steel, polished concrete, stone, wood, laminate, or ceramic tile.
Open up space by taking down a wall. Potential buyers love big, open spaces. (You can even remove a load-bearing wall, though most people don’t know it; our home will remain structurally sound if you leave a beam at the ceiling.)
Update your crown molding. Do away with cracked or chipped trim that can add years to the appearance of a home. Pay particular attention to making your living room or entryway look cohesive and finished.
5. If You Have $5000
“Update your half-bath to make it wow,” suggests Houston-based interior designer Rainey Richardson. “Sand the walls and add wallpaper with bold print and pops of color to add some pizzazz. Update the lighting and faucet to compliment the great paper. Don’t be afraid to choose metals that are less common like chrome and brushed gold to add interest. Choose a quiet countertop, like a solid quartz, to finish the space.” Other $5,000 projects to consider:
Make your half-bath spectacular. Unique spaces will make your home memorable and could increase your value by $7,500 or more.
Transform unused space. The addition of attic bedrooms and basement family rooms can return anywhere from 70 to more than 80% of the money spent.
Add a deck. When selling, a well-maintained backyard deck can hold 65 to 90% of your investment.
Spring for a new heat pump. A basic model can lower your heating and cooling expenses significantly.
6. If You Have $10,000
Remodeling the kitchen, considered by all real-estate pros as the most important room in the house, tops the list. “Replace cabinet door and door fronts with a style that makes sense with your architecture,” says Rainey Richardson, a Houston-based interior designer. Paint or stain the kitchen cabinetry to compliment the space and adjacent areas. Select a new countertop that has some veining and movement to add interest. Finally, choose a backsplash with a decorative tile to finish the look. Keep the backsplash simple and remember that white is the most popular kitchen color with buyers. This update could increase the value of your home by $20,000 or more. Other $10,000 projects to consider—all courtesy of Rainey Richardson:
Replace the flooring in your home’s common areas. Bamboo is a beautiful and not-too-expensive choice.
Add interior shutters to the windows. This gives a more finished and custom look to your home.
Replace windows with new, energy-efficient ones. Collect at least a couple of bids to ensure you get the best rate.
Update kitchen appliances. This improvement is one you can enjoy well before you ever list your home.
Laura Vogel is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer who swears that her neighborhood is the last cheap place to rent in New York City. She has written for Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times, and Real Simple, among many fine publications.
Call or Text Kevin Duffy for more info 513-602-6000
Stunning and & meticulously maintained 4BR with great updates.Private wooded backyard retreat w/ expansive deck& screened in porch, view of the creek -on a cul-de-sac st.Finished LL walkout with exquisite design w/shiplap, barn doors, natural wood, wet bar, fireplace& bathroom. Stunning Acacia teak wood floors on first lvl and Master.Custom built-in cabinetry & crown molding.Extended 3 car garage w/added storage in basement
· Added a covered, screened-in back porch with stone detailing
· Added expansive deck for view of the creek below
· Lawn sprinkler system
· 17’ retaining wall, landscaping, and rock beds make for easy hillside maintenance
· Retaining wall and special grade for swingset, play area
· Expanded driveway
· Butler’s pantry
· Installed high-end granite countertops & tile backsplash with designer accents
· Installed solid wood cabinet doors, refinished with paint & custom glaze; added crown molding and lighting to cabinets
Family & Dining Room
·Installed hardwood acacia teak floors
·Built-in custom wall unit with closet, cabinets, drawers and lighting
·Upgraded pad & replaced carpet in bedrooms in 2016
First Floor Bath
·Tiled accent wall
·Added a large picture window for expanded view of woods
·Installed hardwood acacia teak floors
·Upgraded master bathroom with solid surface shower, iron shower pan, and penny tile flooring
·Installed crown molding
·Finished with exquisite design including natural wood, shiplap, wet bar, fireplace, bathroom
·Included 1” modular underlayment for padding & water protection, plus upgraded pad & carpet for softness & warmth
·Storage area with counter workspace
·Installed water softener & humidifier
· Built in cabinetry
· Added utility sink
Line up your cash and other resources to set yourself up for home-buying success.
Getting your finances in order can help you buy a home in the new year.
This is it: 2017 is the year you will finally buy a home! But even once you’ve made the ultimate decision to make the leap into homeownership, your hard work is far from complete. Buying a home is a big commitment and costs a lot of money — and getting the mortgage you want at the best interest rate possible is enough to stress anyone out. Organizing your financial house, so to speak, can help reduce that stress and set you up for home-buying success.
Whether you’re eyeballing a home for sale in Jacksonville, FL, or a humble abode in Phoenix, AZ, you can take action to prep your bank account and savings to be ready to buy a home in 2017. So, if your goal is to nab the keys to a brand-new place, these six steps will help you get organized, stay on track, and fund your dreams.
1. Set a specific goal
It’s hard to make a plan of action if you don’t know where you want to go. Look at how much it will cost you to buy a home in 2017. What amount of money do you need to save for that down payment? Your best option is to save at least 20% of a home’s purchase price. This allows you to get better options when it comes to mortgages and interest rates, and it means you avoid the extra cost of PMI (private mortgage insurance).
Once you have the specific target number in mind, you can break it down by month. If you want to save a total of $20,000 before you buy, for example, you need to put away about $1,667 per month to meet your goal at year’s end.
2. Designate a savings account just for your down payment fund
You can stay organized by putting the money you save for this specific purpose into its own savings account. Online banks like Ally or CapitalOne360 offer great options, because they allow you to have multiple accounts that you can designate for specific goals. (CapitalOne360 allows up to 30 accounts without a fee!)
Online banks also tend to offer higher interest rates in the current low-rate environment than traditional, brick-and-mortar banks. But that’s not a hard-and-fast rule. Shop around and look for a bank (or credit union) that offers the best savings account option, with the best interest rate — and don’t settle for an account that charges you fees. There are too many no-fee options available.
3. Create an automatic transfer
You have your specific goal and now you know where you’ll put that money while you save. The next step: Set up an automatic transfer from your checking to that designated savings account. Setting up an automatic transfer is a great way of “paying yourself first.” You prioritize your savings by moving it into the designated account first. This means you won’t be tempted to spend that money like you might if it sat in your checking account for a while before you made the conscious decision, month after month, to transfer it to savings.
It also means you’ll make progress toward your savings goal even if you forget about it one month (or two). An automatic transfer means you won’t fall short of your goal at the end of the year simply because you forgot to move the money to the right savings account.
4. Revise your budget to cut costs
Depending on how much you want to save for a down payment, you may need to move a lot of money from checking to savings each month. This can severely limit your cash flow and leave you short in other areas of your budget. To prevent this, review your budget with your monthly savings goal in mind. Where can you cut costs so you can afford to save this much per month? Start by looking at your discretionary income. You don’t need to eliminate everything, but could you cut back on how much you spend to eat meals out, for example?
Don’t forget to evaluate your bills and living expenses too. While you may not be able to cut these costs entirely, you can take action to reduce them. Call providers and ask about discounts or lower-priced options. Every little bit of expense you can eliminate makes it that much easier to add to your savings so you can stay on target.
5. Allocate extra funds to your home-buying goal
In addition to freeing up money from current costs in your budget, you can allocate any extra money you make to your down payment fund. This can accelerate your progress toward your ultimate savings goal — and even help you exceed it. Put any kind of windfall toward your designated savings account. This could include overtime pay, quarterly or annual bonuses from work, or extra money you make on the side (but be sure to set aside funds to cover taxes on your added income). Allocate at least half of cash gifts to savings too.
6. Resist making massive transfers before you apply for a mortgage
You’ve worked hard to save up the money you need to buy a home in 2017. You know your home-buying budget, you’ve identified a lender, and you’re ready to apply for a mortgage. Now is not the time to do anything drastic with any of your bank accounts. Remember, when you apply for a home loan, the lender will carefully scrutinize all of your financial activity. You’ll need to explain the source of any large transfers and provide documentation for proof.
Talk to your lender about what kind of funds they’ll approve and what cash they won’t allow you to use toward a down payment. Ask what documentation or proof you need for different kinds of transfers. Doing so now will help you prepare to buy a home in 2017 and secure the mortgage you need to help you reach your goal.
Are you planning to buy a home in 2017? Share your best planning tips in the comments below!
ECS Construction Services specializes in design and construction for residential and commercial concrete projects throughout the greater Cincinnati area. Their experienced team offers concrete driveways, concrete sidewalks, concrete walkways, concrete patios, concrete retaining walls, pool decks, sports courts, decorative surfaces and more.
Here we are raising a garage slab floor that dropped about 1 to 2 inches because the builder did not properly backfill during the construction process.
Cyndee is a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) which demonstrates her proven results in selling luxury homes $500,000 plus as well as a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) experienced Estate Agent.
These are the people I meet with every year in order to stay on the leading edge of Real Estate Technology and Marketing.