Category Archives: Apps

Positioning Your Home to the Millennial Buyer

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Not long ago, I passed a billboard for a real estate company with a photo of a couple vaguely resembling Betty White & Lil John sitting on a couch.  The billboard’s tagline was “Helping Buyers & Sellers Find Each Other”.  While the billboard made me burst out in laughter at the thought of such an unlikely couple meeting at a real estate closing table, it also made me think.  In some cases, especially for those who’ve been living in their home for decades, when the decision comes to relocate, oftentimes their target buyer is someone of a different generation than themselves.  Taking this to heart is crucial in the current real estate market, which still favors the buyer, many of whom fall into the generation known as the “millennials”.

mil·len·ni·al- Refers to those born between 1978-2000 (currently 35 & under).

Millennial Spending- By 2014, they will account for 36% of the U.S. workforce.

Home Improvements That Can Attract Millennial Buyers:

Smart Homes: A 2013 survey finds that 65% of millennials believe that losing their phone or computer would be more detrimental to their daily lives than losing their car.  Whether it’s digitized home lighting, irrigation, HVAC or home security system, there’s no doubt that integration of technology into your home will greatly appeal to millennials.

Maintenance Free Living:  Another pseudonym for this group is the “now generation”.  As the name implies, they seek out quick results and would prefer to not take the time to maintain aspects of their home that can be constructed maintenance free.  As a home seller, this means opting for features such as clog-free gutters, composite decking and durable siding.

Entertaining Space: As family sizes continue to shrink and the country’s birth rates decline, generation y needs less bedrooms and more space to host guests.  Home improvements such as finishing your basement, adding a media room and adding a deck or patio will increase your home’s value in their eyes.  The same can be said for features such as swimming pools and hot tubs which more mature generations can perceive as expensive and a chore to maintain.

Eco-Conscious: Having been raised by Baby Boomers, who are credited with starting the green movement, millenials are environmentally conscious and prefer environmentally friendly products when possible.  Enhancements that can be made to your home to attract millennial buyers with include: rainwater harvesters, skylights & sun tunnels.

Energy Efficient: Going hand in hand with an eco-conscious mentality, millenials, also have a high desire for an energy efficient home which is both kind to the wallet and Mother Nature.  High in demand energy efficient features include: windows & doors, appliances, and insulation.  Having an energy audit of your home that can be provided to potential homebuyers is something that would apply to the millennial real estate market.

Storage: Simply put, the millennial generation has a lot of “stuff”.  Homes can never have enough storage.  Whether it’s usable attic space in the home or garage, built-in closet shelving, cabinet space or not having enough storage can be a factor that allows other homes to get chosen ahead of yours.

Floor Plans: In various facets of their lives, millennials appreciate openness and this characteristic translates into their list of desirable features in a home.  Because millennials are often at the preliminary or early stages of starting a family, it’s helpful for them to see rooms that can be utilized for multiple purposes such as a home office that can be converted into a guest room or a nursery.

Colors: In the past, it was customary to opt for white walls when selling your home.  This is no longer the case.  Nowadays, millennials prefer painted walls which add interest.  No longer are bold colors taboo, however, if choosing this course, it’s to your benefit to pick the brain of an interior designer or professional painter to ensure that your selection isn’t too wild, such as fire engine red or hot pink.

Flooring: Carpeting is often perceived by this generation as high maintenance and easily damaged.  Opt for tiling, hardwood or laminate flooring where possible.

Lindus Construction is a full service construction and remodeling company boasting LeafGuard Gutters, GAF Asphalt Roofing, SeasonGuard Windows/Siding/Insulation & decking just to name a few. Give us a call at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out at www.lindusconstruction.com to set up a free no-obligation estimate. Tune into 830 WCCO every Saturday from 9a-10am with Denny Long & Andy Lindus for our Home Improvement Show!

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The Best Apps for Home Maintenance-2.0

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The Best Apps for Home Maintenance-2.0

Back in June, we analyzed some of most recent home improvement apps available.  (Need a refresher?  Visit http://www.lindusconstruction.com/blog/2012/06/the-best-apps-for-home-maintenance/)  This blog was our highest read in 2012 so we decided to again review the good, the bad & the ugly of home improvement apps.

iRoofing

Price: Free

Rating: 4 Stars

Features:This app is designed for contractors with an iPad.  The app allows contractors to measure a roof and order materials.  Rather than having to get up on a roof, the contractor can utilize satellite images to properly estimate the amount of materials needed.  There’s a spot to show customers what their roof will look like by dropping in images of different roof patterns and colors.

Our Take: Great design; we love how handy it is when you’re on the go.  In a dream scenario, we’d love to see a version for the iPhone too.

Measure Master Pro

Price: $5.99

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Features: This app features is useful because it lets users convert between metric & US measurements.  Functions include feet-inch-fractions, inch fraction, yards, decimal feet, decimal inches

Our Take: It’s great for calculations on the go but we’d like to see it come with a stair calculator function the next time the app is updated.

ConcreteCalc Pro

Price: $9.99

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Features: This app assists contractors with determining the amount of concrete needed for a project, eliminating waste and speeding up estimates.  On smaller jobs, it will even show you the number of bags of concrete needed.  It can also convert measurements building different types of building dimension formats.

Our Take: More convenient than a physical calculator and much easier than doing the math yourself.  The information the app provides is accurate.

iScape

Price: $9.99

Rating: 4 Stars

Features: This app allows you to take a picture of your home and import photos of trees, mulch, shrubs, grass, planters, etc. to see what they’d look on your property.

Our Take: We like this app because it allows you to see what different landscaping options would look like on YOUR home.  It’s user friendly and has lots of different pictures to choose from and it even includes an area for you to see what holiday decorations would look like on your home.

Houzz Kids’ Rooms

Price: Free

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Features: There is a plethora of photos of kids’ rooms with information on the people that designed them and the products used.  You can add them to your ideabook for future reference.

Our Take: We LOVE the Houzz app & website.  (Follow us and we’ll follow you back!)  This app is a really fun approach to designing a unique bedroom for your child and see what others have done with filters for different age groups.  This simple platform allows you to sit down with your child and iPad and go over the endless possibilities. 

HomeSnap Real Estate

Price: Free

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Features:Snap a photos of a house and find out its estimated value, bed/bath count, taxes, area schools, etc.  You can also type in an address to get information.

Our Take: We tried a few houses in our area and the information was incomplete and we felt, a little inaccurate.  It was disappointing to see current homes for sale online not be able to pull up complete information in this app.  It might work well in other portions of the country or be great for amusement purposes but not anything to take seriously, let alone pay for in its current state.

Dwell

Price: Free

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Features: This app is the official app for Dwell magazine.  It has videos and slide shows of modern home designs and details on home design trends.  It’s integrated with Facebook & Twitter too so you can keep your friends and followers up to speed on what you like.

Our Take: Decent app but not as good as those produced by Houzz.  Fun to look at but we’d like to see more photos and an easier way to search for what you’re looking for.  It’s not something we’d pay for but for a free app, it is better than most.

Handy Man DIY

Price: $1.99

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Features: App is designed to assist you with organizing your home renovation project.  There’s a spot where you can enter your room’s measurements to see how much trim and flooring you need.  There’s a how to section that links up with YouTube videos to show you how complete certain home improvement tasks.

 Our Take: The YouTube section can be helpful if you need a refresher on how to do something or want to verify technique.  We caution you from undertaking a project such as installing siding on your own if you’ve never done it before.  The wish lists are good; we think the do it yourself tips could be better.  Points for the app being easy to use; we’d like to see it become even more comprehensive in future editions but it’s a start.

Have a home improvement app you love or love to hate?  Let us know by shooting us a message on Facebook and we may include it in an upcoming blog.

Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects. Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com to schedule a free in-home estimate for your home improvement needs today!

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Home Appliances Have Joined the “Smart” Revolution

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Filed under Andy Lindus, Construction, Home Construction, Home Maintenance, Home Safety, LeafGuard, Lindus Construction, Midwest LeafGuard, Smart Appliances, Uncategorized, WCCO, WCCO Home Improvement Show
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Did you ever believe it was possible that your refrigerator would tell you what to buy, cook or eat? What about being able to download new washing cycle for your washing machine or have your oven and refrigerator communicate depending on what the meal is that evening? Well, all of these things are now possible and we are going to discuss the unbelievable capabilities of owning a smart appliance. LG has taken applying smart technology to a whole different level with their refrigerators, ovens, washing machines and vacuums. If you are in the market for upgrading your living space you will want to make sure and read about these amazing advancements in home appliance products.

The CEO of LG Electronics said, “LG’s direction in smart appliance development has been in pursuing technological advancements that will make consumers’ lives more convenient and ultimately upgrade their quality of life.” Smart ThinQ and Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) is LG’s terminology for these cutting edge products that will provide consumers with a more comfortable and convenient way to manage chores, as well as potentially big saving in energy use and electricity bills.

Smart Refrigerator

LG’s smart refrigerator comes equipped with a “food management system” that allows you to check what is available in your fridge from your smartphone in such detail that you will know expiration dates on items. There are three different ways to know this information and they are:

  • Select from a range of preloaded icons by using the touchscreen to do your inventory
  • Voice recognition
  • Scan grocery lists or barcodes with your smartphone

This new technology also includes a “health manager” which provides you with recipes based on the food that is in your fridge. If you wish to make a dish it recommends you can press the “send to oven” button on the LCD screen and it will arrange the proper oven settings to make it. This refrigerator also saves personal profiles of people in your family which helps you develop a daily or weekly meal plan based on your age, gender weight and BMI. There are also additional features that include a Blast Chiller which can chill a beer in matter of a few minutes or a bottle of wine in as little as eight.

Smart Oven

The LG smart oven allows monitoring of cooking settings, such as temperature, via your smartphone. You are also able to send cooking time information to your oven with your smart phone using the auto-cooking function. It has Infrared Grill technology that cooks food more efficiently. It also has new technology called Smart Diagnosis where you are able to get direct contact with their customer service center for quick and efficient troubleshooting if need be.

Smart Washer

LG’s smart washing machine has recently added Wi-Fi Certification as a new upgrade. What this allows the machine to do is self-diagnose a problem quickly and efficiently eliminating a service call. You no longer have to worry about your laundry running when you leave the house anymore because you are able to monitor the stage of operation your washer or dryer is at with your smartphone. There are pre-programmed options such as wash time, adding fabric softener or alerts as to when you wash cycle is finished. You are also able to download new washing cycles such as Super Rinse and Baby Sanitize through the machines LCD panel or your phone.

Smart Vacuum

LG’s smart HOM-BOT vacuum can be controlled remotely by its smart access feature. You can navigate this vacuum and view the progress of its work from remote locations. You can even steer it with your smartphone if you would like because of the camera. This camera allows the HOM-BOT vacuum to clean smarter and faster. It is so smart that it memorizes mapping information of your home to calculate future cleaning paths.

Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects. Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com to schedule a free in-home estimate.

2012 Home Improvement Trends

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It’s no secret that more and more homeowners are choosing to stay put and upgrade their home rather than seek out a new one.  While each homeowner is as unique as the circumstances that lead them to call a contractor for assistance, there are some commonalities that stand out.  Below, we invite you to read about them.

Home Upgrades:

Curb Appeal: Home owners are embracing the fact that their home’s exterior is its first impression.  More attention is being paid to things such as siding, roofing, gutters windows & entry doors.

Reallocating Space: Because most home owners are upgrading their homes, rather than selling, there is a greater emphasis on the use of space and transformation of areas that reflect their personal taste & hobbies.  Specialty rooms for crafting, movies, gaming & entertaining are gaining popularity, as the home becomes an expression of what one values.

Embracing Nature:

Paint: According to the Benjamin Moore website, today’s most frequently searched colors are earth tones.  Earth Tone colors come from nature (brown soil, green leaves, blue clouds, etc.)  Earth tones give off a vibe of warmth & stability.  While neutral tones tend to be the most popular selections when it comes to wall colors, homeowners are adding splashes of color with their accessories.

Decking: Homeowners are embracing extending enjoyment of their home to the outdoors by building decks & 3 season porches.

Going Green:

Energy Efficiency: Going green is a trend that’s here to stay!  Homeowners are embracingenergy efficient lighting, appliances, windows and insulation now more than ever.  In addition to helping the planet, environmentally conscious decisions tend to affect one’s bottom line in a positive way.

Viable Building Materials: Homeowners are starting to put more thought behind the types of materials they choose & whether or not old materials will be disposed of in an environmentally responsible way.  According to the National Asphalt Paving Association, asphalt is America’s most recycled material, as 92% of our nation’s roads are made of this material.  Oftentimes, the asphalt used to construct our roads is made from recycled roofing.

Rain Barrels & Water Harvesters:  Besides helping the environment, an obvious reason for harvesting rainwater is to save money.  Water collected from rain barrels can be used to water plants or wash your car.  Some homeowners take rain harvesting a step further and install water harvesting systems which bring collected “gray water” into the home and be used for laundry or toilet water.

Upcycling: Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value. You are able to upcycle all different kinds of items during a home renovation such as wood siding, doors, windows, metal roofing and shutters.  Want to know more?  Read our upcycling blog by clicking here.

Home Furnishings: Homeowners take pride in locally & domestically made goods.  Fleamarkets, thrift stores & consignment shops are also gaining popularity because they make the old new again.

Utilizing Technology

Smart Homes: Homeowners are embracing technology & are willing to budget foritems that make home life easier.  (Think Roomba vacuums, home theatre systems, programmable thermostats, etc.)

Apps: Apps are available that can give you design ideas, assist you with budgeting your construction project & even find out what type of wood something is just by scrolling through a library.  Want to know more?  Read our app recommendations by clicking here.

Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects. Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com to schedule a free in-home estimate for your home improvement needs today!

The Best Apps for Home Maintenance

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Filed under Apps, Home Construction, Home Maintenance, Lindus Construction, Midwest LeafGuard, Remodeling
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Have you heard the phrase, “There’s an app for that”?  We’ve all heard of Angry Birds and who could forget Alec Baldwin being removed from an American Airlines flight for his refusal to stop playing Words with Friends.  On top of the never-ending list of game apps being released each month, there are also a number of apps available that can make life at home easier.  Apps are available that can give you design ideas, assist you with budgeting your construction project & even find out what type of wood something is just by scrolling through a library.  Below, we’ve laid out some of the features of our favorite apps to make life at home easier.

Houzz Inc.

Price: Free

Rating: 5 Stars

Features: Wishing you had a library of design magazines at your fingertips?  This app has over 400,000 photos of rooms categorized by style and city.  Gain inspiration as you browse through the photos.  This app also includes a list of contractors, interior designers, etc.  (Just be sure to double check with your local Better Business Bureau to ensure that the professional you select is reputable.)  See examples, pricing & user ratings of products such as flooring, window treatments, lighting fixtures and furniture.  You have the ability to “like” things and refer back to them in the “my houzz” section.

Our take: App is aesthetically appealing.  Set aside a few hours (or an entire weekend) and enjoy!

Photo Measures

Price: $4.99

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Features: Ever been shopping and fall in love with a piece of furniture or a fixture and wonder if it would fit into the room you’d like to place it?  This app allows you to take photos of rooms in your home and write measurements as they correlate to items in the photo.  It’s also handy for seeing the exact colors in a room.

Our Take: You still need to manually measure everything but this app can be a lifesaver when questioning whether or not to make an impulse purchase.

Wall Painter

Price: $0.99

Rating:  4.5 Stars

Features: This app allows you to determine what the walls would look like in your house if they were painted a different color.  You can pick colors from other images on your camera or samples on the app.

Our Take: Not a bad price at 99 cents.  The paint brush in only 1 size so you may spend some time erasing color in spots it shouldn’t be.  However, if you’re just curious if you can pull off a specific color in a room, it’s a fast & easy way to give you an idea.

 

Moving Van

Price: $1.99

Rating: 3 Stars

Features: App allows you to name each box as you pack and detail the contents of the box with text & photos.  This way, when you’re trying to find something that hasn’t been unpacked after the move, you can do so quickly.

Our Take: There’s nothing worse than needing a specific item and having no idea which box it’s in.  We’ll gladly pay $1.99 to make this problem go away.

I.D. Wood

Price: $4.99

Rating: 3 Stars

Features: 200+ wood sample photos that discuss each type of wood’s common uses, hardness, sustainability, etc.

Our Take: Remember the episode of Home Improvement where Tim & Al play “Name that Wood”?  (Click here for a refresher: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2K6P8DbluQ)  It’s not quite as good as impressive as Al’s ability to smell wood and tell what it is, but it’s a great app for those who are amateurs.  Professional woodworkers might be disappointed with the lack of information on exotic species.

 

Remodeling Magazine Cost vs. Value Report

Price: Free

Rating: 3 Stars

Features: Remodeling magazine gives a brief overview of what the investment is for home improvement projects.  A comparison is made between how your city stacks up against the national average.

Our Take:  Projects are a little vague.  Example: Kitchen area has the following options: major kitchen remodel-mid-range, major kitchen remodel-upscale& minor kitchen remodel mid-range.  The only true way to gauge what it’s going to cost is to call a few professionals and explain your vision to them.  This way you’ll be getting a realistic idea of what YOUR project is going to cost is what you’re after in the first place.  Reputable construction companies are willing to put out no obligation estimates free of charge.

Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects. Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com to schedule a free in-home estimate for your home improvement needs today!