How to Deodorize a Room: Natural Recipes For A Fresh Smelling Home

Have you ever forgotten to take the trash out before vacation? You come home to a house ridden with a very unappealing smell. Even when the garbage is disposed of, the odor can linger for days.

While it can be tempting to spray down the home with a store-bought air freshener, these contain chemicals that are harmful to human health. Over 20 percent of the general U.S. population have reported having adverse health effects from air fresheners.

To help you get rid of common household smells in a safe way, we’ve created a guide on how to deodorize a room. It includes a natural DIY room deodorizer recipe and 7 hacks for getting rid of specific home odors. Read through to find what household items you can use to rid these unwanted smells.

How to make a basic DIY room deodorizer

illustration of DIY room deodorizerillustration of DIY room deodorizer

To create a natural air freshener that isn’t harmful to your health, you only need four items. Make this spray and use it when an unwanted smell comes into your apartment.


  • 1 ½ tablespoons baking soda
  • 3 cups water
  • 30-40 drops of essential oil
  • Misting spray bottle


Step 1: Add 30-40 drops of your preferred essential oil with the baking soda. Stir until it’s completely mixed together.

Step 2: Pour this baking soda and essential oil combination in a spray bottle.

Step 3: Add the three cups of water to the bottle. Shake to mix.

Step 4: Spray the area on the light misting setting.

This natural DIY home deodorizer can be personalized with any scent. Each essential oil has its own unique properties, so be sure to pick one that fits the space you are using the cleaner in. For example, a scent that promotes slumber is better for the bedroom than the kitchen.

Why does baking soda work to deodorize a room?

Many room deodorizing recipes, including the one above, call for baking soda. Why is this? Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate has a low pH level. Most bad odors have a high pH level, meaning they are acidic. By adding baking soda to the environment, you are neutralizing the area, causing the odor to fade.

Illustration of baking soda to deodorize a roomIllustration of baking soda to deodorize a room

Essential oils to add to each room

When making this DIY room deodorizer, you can choose your preferred natural scent to use. If you aren’t sure what will smell best, here are some essential oil suggestions for each room.

Living room

illustration of vanilla and cinnamon essential oilsillustration of vanilla and cinnamon essential oils

The living room is an area you’ll be hosting people as well as relaxing. Depending on the tone you are trying to set, vanilla or cinnamon essential oil could be a good fit. Vanilla is known to improve relaxation and create a tranquil environment. If you want to relax after a long day in your sparkling-clean living room, vanilla is the right choice for you. For those who are having friends over for a book club or social event, cinnamon might be a better fit. The scent of cinnamon boosts memory and increases alertness.


Illustration of citrus and peppermint essential oilsIllustration of citrus and peppermint essential oils

Make the kitchen a productive place by using a citrus or peppermint essential oil when scenting your DIY deodorizer. If you have a long afternoon of meal prepping ahead, citrus is known to boost energy and improve your mood. For the non-chefs who can get frustrated in the kitchen, a peppermint scent will alleviate stress and reduce irritability.


illustration of lavender and chamomile essential oilsillustration of lavender and chamomile essential oils

A restful space, the bedroom can benefit from lavender or chamomile essential oils. These calming scents both reduce anxiety. Lavender also promotes relaxation which can help you fall asleep. Chamomile can improve your mood, great for those who wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

Other rooms

Illustration of tea tree and eucalyptus essential oilsIllustration of tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils

If you have a laundry room, playroom or any other room that needs to be deodorized, you might consider tea tree or eucalyptus oils. These natural smells each have their own unique properties. Tea tree oil has antifungal benefits and is an immune booster. Eucalyptus essential oil is cleansing and known to lift moods. Both will help keep your space clean.

7 common household smells and how to rid them

Whether your home is new to you or you’ve lived in it for multiple years, you’ve probably come across one of these common household smells. We explain why they happen and how to rid them from your home. In addition, we suggest an essential oil that you can use to keep the space smelling fresh.

1. Stale air

illustration of essential oil being dripped on light bulbillustration of essential oil being dripped on light bulb

Stale air is a smell that’s hard to describe, but easy to identify. It’s usually caused when the indoor air begins to feel stuffy or humid due to a lack of fresh air. If the weather is nice, you can rid this smell by opening the windows and letting fresh air in. However, if it’s too hot or too cold out, this might not be an option.

In that case, you can create your own stale air deodorizer by cutting lemons in half and placing them throughout the home. Another quick solution is to rub a little vanilla essential oil on the outside of your light bulbs. Be sure to do this when the light is off. Once you turn the light on, it will heat up and start smelling sweet.

2. Carpet smells

illustration of vacuumillustration of vacuum

Whether you are moving into a new apartment with carpet or you spilled something on your rug that has caused a stench, this absorbent flooring is prone to smell.

To get rid of carpet smells, baking soda is your friend. Sprinkle baking soda on the entire carpet and let it sit for a few hours. Then vacuum it up. The baking soda should soak up any bad smells. It’s best to do this when you are out of the house for a period of time. The baking soda doesn’t have any chemicals, but it can leave a mess if people in your house walk through it.

3. Fridge odors

illustration of fridge with baking soda insideillustration of fridge with baking soda inside

Does your fridge smell even after you clean out your leftovers? This is because the plastic in the refrigerator absorbs odors. Even if you’ve scrubbed out every crumb and spill, the plastic might still stink.

To prevent or mute this odor, try putting a box of baking soda in the fridge. Baking soda will absorb these smells and leave your fridge smelling clean after just a couple of days. Another alternative to this is leaving coffee grounds in a container in your fridge. Similar to baking soda, coffee grounds can absorb odors and leave your fridge smelling like a freshly brewed cup of joe.

4. Garbage disposal stink

illustration of garbage disposal being cleaned with iceillustration of garbage disposal being cleaned with ice

If you go to wash dishes and notice there is an odor coming from your drain, it could be your garbage disposal. It’s easy for food to get caught in hard-to-reach places, preventing it from being washed down the drain.

Some people put citrus peels down their garbage disposal to mask this odor, but this doesn’t clean the food that is causing this smell. To clean, place a handful of ice in your sink drain. Then pour a cup of salt on top. Run the water and turn on the garbage disposal. The ice and salt will slowly drain into the garbage disposal, cleaning it and sharpening the blades.

5. Mold or mildew

illustration of a bowl of charcoal to absorb smellsillustration of a bowl of charcoal to absorb smells

Mold and mildew can leave a musty smell in your home. If you have a serious mold issue, it’s important to have a professional take care of it. Mold is known to cause many respiratory issues.

If the smell of mold persists, you can use an odor absorber to dull the scent. Baking soda, charcoal and kitty litter are all items that can soak up any moisture in the air and get rid of the smell. Place one of these in a bowl near the musty smell. Be sure it’s out of reach of small children or pets.

6. Washing machine smells

Illustration of essential oils being used in washing machineIllustration of essential oils being used in washing machine

Your washing machine is meant to make your clothes fresh and clean, but what do you do when it begins to have a mildewy or sour scent? Washers are prone to a build-up of soap, dirt or hair. Over time, this can lead to an unnatural moldy stink.

To clean, begin by getting rid of any debris that’s caught in the gasket, or rubber liner, of your machine. Wipe this rim down with a mixture of vinegar and tea tree essential oil. This is an antifungal formula that will clean off any leftover dirt. Then use this same mixture, measuring two cups of white vinegar and 20 drops of tea tree essential oil into the liquid tray. Run on a hot cycle or cleaning cycle. When done, wipe the interior with a microfiber cloth.

You can prevent some of this build-up by leaving the lid open after each wash cycle. This will allow your washer to dry out completely. It’s also helpful to use the correct amount of detergent. Creating too many suds can leave a leftover residue that dirt clings to.

7. Skunk stench

illustration of skunk and vinegar solutionillustration of skunk and vinegar solution

If your clothes or your pet has been skunked, the attacker will leave a pungent smell that can last for weeks. This stink can easily be transferred to the house.

For houses that smell like skunk inside (but not outside), open the windows and turn on the fan. Heat up a tray of vinegar on the stove on low heat. This should overpower the skunk smell.

If the smell is on your pet, The Humane Society suggests mixing together a quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, a quarter cup of baking soda and a teaspoon of dish soap. Use a pair of gloves and wash your pet with this mixture. Be sure to avoid their eyes and don’t store this mixture, it has the potential to explode in a bottle.

List of essential oils for different roomsList of essential oils for different rooms

Keep your apartment fresh

Regular cleaning will keep your home clean and free of these unwanted smells. For more home hacks like these, check out our cleaning and maintenance advice page.





Eagles Exodus Continues: QB Carson Wentz Selling NJ Home

Following a trade to the Indianapolis Colts, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is letting go of his New Jersey nest.

The Woodstown, NJ, spread on 11 acres is now available for $1.7 million.

Wentz’s exit follows on the heels of Doug Pederson‘s departure. The fired head coach recently placed his Moorestown, NJ, home on the market for $2.7 million.

The quarterback purchased his place for $950,000, shortly after being picked second overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. He’s clearly hoping to net profit on his investment for his stint in South Jersey. The property is marketed as “totally remodeled”—which is probably what justifies the sharp uptick in price.

The listing notes there’s a 23-acre farm adjacent to the property that’s also up for grabs, if a buyer wants to shell out an additional $299,000. The available acreage explains the vast amounts of land surrounding the home, with nary a neighbor in sight.

Wentz’s modern mountain-style abode features beamed ceilings, walls of glass, wide-plank flooring, and sliding barn doors.

With 7,408 square feet of living space, the layout includes five bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms.

The open, airy living and dining space features a large entryway, as well as a staircase with custom banisters. It leads to the living area with built-ins, and a large kitchen, with stainless-steel appliances, a copper farmhouse sink, and a big granite island with seating.

A dining area adjoins the kitchen and features a stylish overhead light fixture. A large family room includes a floor-to-ceiling stone-surround fireplace, with access outside.

The owner’s suite opens to a deck, and comes with an attached, spalike bathroom, with a separate rain shower-head and soaking tub. Four more bedrooms offer private bathrooms and closet space.

The layout also includes an office, with built-in shelves and a fireplace.

On the lower level, the space has been tricked out with a custom bar, a lounge area with TV, and billiards area. Also on this level is a gym and a deluxe home theater that seats 10.

An additional garage space has been converted into another fitness area, with an indoor pool, a game room loft, work center, and a bonus hunting room with walk-in safe. If hunting isn’t your passion, this area could be turned back into garage space. In addition, there’s a three-car garage.

The lower level walks out to a terrace, outdoor kitchen, heated pool, and views of the pond.

The energy-efficient space includes geothermal heating, zoned AC, and a southern exposure, which all add up to low utility costs, according to the listing.

For those who commute to the city, the location is 30 minutes to Philadelphia sports centers.

Wentz, 28, had an up-and-down, five-season run in Philly. He was injured late in the season in 2017, which led to the backup Nick Foles taking the reins, and leading the team to an improbable Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots.

After a disastrous 2020 season, Wentz seems to be hoping to revive his career with the Colts.

Val Nunnenkamp with Keller Williams Realty-Marlton holds the listing.


7 Carpet Cleaning Hacks You Haven’t Tried Yet

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Carpet Cleaning Hacks For Your Apartment | DIY Carpet Cleaning Tips

While hardwood and wood-style flooring continue to gain popularity in the world of apartment rentals, plenty of landlords and property management companies continue to use wall-to-wall carpeting in their rentals.  No matter what your preference, there are, in fact, some benefits that come with carpeted flooring.  From sound dampening to comfort for bare feet, carpet still has a lot to offer and is much easier to maintain with minimal wear & tear with a few great cleaning hacks.  Whether you live with wall-to-wall carpeting or choose to cozy things up with rugs, check out our carpet cleaning hacks to help keep them looking their best.

Use a lint roller to help extract small debris

Sometimes, suction from a regular household cleaner is just not enough to help you get rid of all the dirt, crumbs, pet hair, spills (i.e. flour, sugar, rice or etc), or the many other tiny particles nested in the fiber of your carpeting.

Truth is, that’s normal. The experts at Fantastic Cleaners say that regular steam (or dry chem) cleaning at least once every 6 months is a mandatory chore for any conscientious homeowner or renter. High-end steam cleaners and dry compound solutions remove up to 95% of the unsanitary agents in both carpets and rugs, unlike regular vacuums.

A great way to extract pesky particles DIY is by using an almighty lint roller! The one downside of using one to further extract fiber-stuck dirt is the need of some manpower. On average, you’ll need anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes to cover a fully carpeted room.

Use a squeegee to remove pet hair from carpets

Have you ever seen what happens to a carpet in a house full of cats? How about dogs? Either way, you can surely imagine the excessive amount of hair pets leave behind as they shed.  What doesn’t stick to furnishing and upholstery will inevitably end up on the carpet.

Bear in mind: This works best for short-haired carpets and rugs.

Squeegees might be meant for cleaning your windows but their efficiency with hair removal is a know-how must for pet-owners! All you have to do is rinse the squeegee so it’s moist enough for pet hair to stick. To maintain a clean carpet when living with pets can be a hefty task, but some know-how, discipline, and persistence is the one sure way to success.  

Apply heat to help remove stubborn stains

Although there are some stains that are not susceptible to removal via heat, most are. The challenge of removing a stubborn smear has pushed human creativity and ingenuity to the maximum.

You can find many different recipes for removing stains via ironing but the one we have comes in 5 simple steps:

  • Remove all dirt possible vie regular vacuum cleaning;
  • Mix water and vinegar 3:1 and pre-treat all stubborn stains;
  • Leave the mixture to set in and work. 5 to 10 minutes should be enough;
  • Use a towel or a rag to cover the stain;
  • Gently iron the area, being mindful to move quickly to avoid damaging the carpet fiber.

The combined forces of water, vinegar, pressure, and heat causes most stains to “relocate” from your carpet to the rag or towel.

Blot a stain rather than rubbing it

We rub one too many things in our daily life – washing silver and dinnerware, brushing our teeth, washing our face in the morning, all the way to wiping smudges off your shoes and etc. Rubbing something to clean it is an instinctual reaction, but when it comes to cleaning a carpet – rubbing is a huge no-no.

Here’s why: When applying pressure to your carpet will only worsen the situation. The more you rub the deeper a stain will set in. Once fiber and dirt spots bound for good – cleaning could render impossible.

Always mind what direction you blot at:

  • Start at the outer edges of the stain, working your way in toward the center.  Working outward could further spread the stain.
  • Mind the arrangement of fibers. You would not want to blot the opposite way, for it could further damage the piece.

Deep clean using safe and effective DIY solutions

The market is oversaturated with products meant for people who own gear for deep cleaning a carpet, but unfortunately, most detergents are heavy on chemicals and pose health hazard risks to you and your family.

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly and nature-safe solution for your steam cleaner, here’s a green recipe you should definitely try:

What you’ll need:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • White vinegar
  • Essential oils
  • Dish soap
  • A regular fabric softener
  • Hot water


  • Pour about 3/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide in a cup;
  • Add ¼ cup of white vinegar;
  • Add 2 tablespoons of dish soap;
  • Add 2 tbsp of fabric softener;
  • Dilute in a gallon of hot water.
  • Optional: add a few drops of your favorite (colorless) essential oil, such as lavender, to help neutralize the vinegar scent

Although not always as powerful as off-the-shelf carpet shampooers, this DIY deep cleaning solution is relatively inexpensive and harmless when diluted in this way.

Shampoo your carpet with shaving cream

Bright and light colored carpets are vulnerable to signs of wear and tear.  Naturally neutral colors can easily become a victim of accidents, mud marks, and kid and pet stains.

An efficient yet lesser known cleaning solution is the hack of using regular shaving cream! It’s budget friendly and can work wonders. It not only helps with aged stains but rejuvenates and freshens the entire fabric of your carpet!

Some call shaving cream “the anti-aging solution”. It not only leaves a pleasant aroma but softens the fabric itself.

Make a DIY carpet deodorizer

Deodorizing your carpet on a regular basis can help maintain a pleasant smelling apartment and is rather simple to do. Simply mix a tablespoon or two of Borax with a few drops of your essential oil of your choice, then add the mixture to a cup or two of baking soda and your DIY deodorizer is good to go.  Simply sprinkle liberally and evenly on your carpet and let the mixture sit for at least 10 minutes and up to an hour or two, then vacuum it all up and take a deep breath!  Take care to keep any children or pets out of the room while the mixture works its magic – while these ingredients are relatively safe and natural, you want to avoid ingestion and the spreading of the mixture beyond the intended treatment area. 

Carpets are simply a must but cleaning can be a hefty burden. Surrounded by numerous chemical-rich products, we often ask for eco-friendly cleaning hacks to do so. Use these handy carpet cleaning hacks to handle stains and dirt-mark spots in an efficient, cost-effective and eco-friendly way!

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How to Remodel a House

I have flipped almost 200 houses in my career, and I will pass that 200 mark later this year. I have also bought close to 30 rental properties that have ranged from 800 to 68,000 square feet. Over the years, I have learned a lot about how to remodel homes. In fact, even as a professional, one of the hardest parts of the business is still remodeling homes even after almost 20 years. I do not do the work myself. I have in the past, but now I hire out everything, and it is tough finding the right people and deciding what the right mix of fixing and not fixing is. In this article, I will try to give you an idea of the best approach to take when remodeling a home and the major mistakes to avoid.

What are the basics of remodeling a house?

When I flip houses, almost every house I buy needs work. Most of the rental properties I buy need work as well. I want a really good deal, and sometimes that takes buying properties that need to be remodeled. What are the basic steps to take when remodeling a home?

Assess what needs to be done

The first step to take when remodeling a home is to figure out what you want to do! This can often be the hardest part. You don’t want to make the home too nice for the neighborhood or you will never get back the money you spend when it comes time to sell the home. You don’t want to do too little or you might leave money on the table. I like to take the route of doing just enough to make the home as nice as other houses that are selling in the neighborhood. Sometimes that means going to look at those houses for sale and deciding what level you want to be at. Doing $20,000 in work may bring $40,000 more in value, but doing $40,000 in work may only bring $50,000 in value.

This step can be tough to figure out because if you live in the home, you also need to balance what you want as far as creature comforts. You may want to go above and beyond what makes sense due to your personal preferences. That is okay as long as you know you may not get that money back. My article on what home remodeling jobs bring the most bang for the buck goes into more detail on this subject.

best renovations

Decide how you are going to handle the remodel

Another big decision is how you are going to handle the remodel. Are you going to do the work yourself? Are you going to hire a general contractor to do it all? Are you going to hire subcontractors and are going to manage it all?

In my business, we act as the general contractor and hire out all the subs, or we use employees. It saves us a ton of money to run our business this way. Here is what I mean by each term:

General contractor

A general contractor runs the show and hires everything out. If you want a new house built, the general contractor or GC should be able to get it all scheduled and completed. Many times, the GC will not do any work themselves: they simply manage everything. A good GC can be great, but they are usually expensive as well.


A sub is someone or a company that specializes in a certain aspect of construction. We hire subs all the time for plumbing, electrical, foundations, HVAC, roofing, landscaping, flooring, painting, and more. Subs are specialists, which means they are often faster and cheaper than general contractors.

Handyman or woman

A handyman or woman is someone who can do a lot of different things but is usually not classified as a GC because they are not licensed or do not have the capability to run a crew. They do all the work themselves to varying degrees of quality. Some can be great, and others can be quit poor! I also find than many handypeople are great at certain things like drywall or painting but are not so great at plumbing or electrical, although they tend to think they can do anything.

We use handymen or women all the time, but we figure out what they are good at and stick to those items. It can be rough trying to use them as a general contractor because they may claim to be able to do everything but not really know what they are doing. It can also take a long time since it is usually a one or two-person show.

Project manager

I run a fairly large operation, and I have a project manager who runs everything for me. She is great at her job and schedules everything, hires subs, decides when work should be done, and basically takes on the job of the GC but for 10 to 20 projects at once. It does not make sense for a homeowner doing a one-time remodel to hire a project manager, but it might make sense for real estate investors who do a lot of deals.

For small jobs that are not complicated, a handyman might do the trick. For larger jobs, you might want to use a GC or try taking on the role of GC yourself and hiring subcontractors. How much you do will often depend on your level of knowledge and time you have to dedicate to the project.

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How to find the right people to help you

Now you have decided what work you want to be done, and you have decided how you want to get the work done. How do you find the people to do the work? This can be tough and can be the number one way people lose money in real estate. We go through a strict recruiting process when looking for people.

  • We search for people by browsing Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Angie’s List, Thumbtack, or by referral.
  • We email them or call asking a list of questions about how they work, what they charge, and when they have time to start.
  • We ask them to send a resume to us and a few references of work they have done recently.
  • If they complete these tasks (which many won’t), we schedule a meeting in our office. At the office, we talk about the same things and make sure they have their own tools, truck, and seem like a good fit. We also make sure they are on time and communicate well.
  • If they pass that test, we meet them at the job site and have them give us a bid on the work to be done. We make sure the bid comes in, and we compare it to what we think the work should cost. Sometimes we have multiple bids.
  • If they get past all of this, we hire them on a small job first. I never hire brand new people to start a $30,000 rehab or more right off the bat. I want to make sure they know what they are doing, show up, and get work done in a timely manner before I make a big commitment.

This is the process we use for a contractor or handyman that will be doing a lot of different work. For a sub who may only be doing a small job, we will skip some of these steps as references and a decent bid will be enough to try them out. I have another article that goes into much more detail on how to find contractors, subs, etc. here.

Why are bids so different?

There will be a huge price range for bids on remodeling jobs. Some contractors prey on homeowners who have no idea what things should cost. We have seen one bid on a foundation for $84,000 and another for $5,000. Both fixed the problem and came with a letter from an engineer. We have seen a bid for a sewer cleanout of $7,700 when another company did the work for $185.

Other contractors will be fair, but they still need to make a living as well. There is a trade-off between how much management and effort the homeowner wants to put in versus how much the project will cost. If you are the project manager and act as the GC, it can save a ton of money, but it takes work.

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How do you choose the right bid?

When you are getting work done for the first time, or even for the second third, fourth, or fifth time, it makes sense to get multiple bids, especially if you are not sure what the project should cost. When you get those bids, how do you know which one is better, and how do you keep getting bids?

First off, I would realize that contractors don’t get paid to come up with bids: they get paid to do work. However, most know that part of the business is coming up with those bids and getting some jobs while losing others. I would go out of my way to reward people who are willing to give you bids in a timely manner. Take them to lunch, get to know them, pick their brains about the bids and why they bid them as they did. If you can’t do that, give them a Home Depot gift card.

We often go with the cheaper bid, but I also have a good idea of what repairs should cost. I know if someone is way overshooting things or even coming in way too low and are sure to increase the bid as time goes on. Whatever bid you go with, start them slow! When I start a new contractor, I do not give them an entire house off the bat, I have them start with the bathroom or a small project to see if they show up, do good work and are honest. If there are problems from the start, I know to move on. This process may cost a little more money because small jobs often come with higher price tags relatively speaking, and it may take more time, but it is worth it. Taking a little more time and being careful will often avoid the massive horror stories of contractors taking half the bid up front of an $80,000 remodel job and leaving town.

How do you pay the contractor?

A lot of contractors want a lot of money up front to pay for materials, to pay their guys, and to know the customer will pay them. I hate paying money up front, but I know it is needed on certain jobs. This is another reason to start with a small job first to see how they do and if they will perform. If you spend half of $4,000 to remodel a bathroom and the contractor bails, that is not as bad as losing $40,000 on half of a major job.

This is also another reason it is nice to break up the work and pay subs yourself. If there is a problem with a sub, they are not derailing the entire project and budget. You can often pay subs little up front or sometimes nothing because they have a smaller job and less risk.

For big jobs, I like to pay 25% up front, 25 percent at the halfway point, and 50% when it is all done. A lot of contractors do not like this, but what other profession gets paid half the money before they work even gets started? I also pay for all of the materials. I know many contractors mark up the materials and use the excuse for big upfront payments that they need to buy materials. If I am paying for them, it takes away that need for so much money up front. I can buy things at Home Depot over the phone and with a Pro Account with text messages, so it is not a big hassle.

Should you do the work yourself?

I fixed up a house on my own in 2006. I learned a ton! I learned never to do it again. I learned that contractors are much better at repairs than I am. I learned how valuable my time was, and I was more productive doing other things. I lost money on that house because it took me so long to flip, the work was not as good as it should have been, and the market was decreasing while I owned it. I also lost money because I was not working as an agent or finding other deals.

For most people, it does not make sense to do the work yourself on a house if you are flipping or buying rentals. It takes time away from your work, your family, and finding more deals. If you are a homeowner and living in the house, it might make sense in some circumstances. When you live in the home as you do the work, it does not take as much time away from your family. You do not have to commute to another property, and it can be a fun thing you do together. Since you are living in the home, it is not costing you money every day the house is not finished like it would on a flip or rental.

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What do you do first?

Another question I get all the time is how do you decide what repairs to do first? If you hire a GC, they will decide that for you, but if you go the handyman, sub route, or do the work yourself, that is up to you. Here is my take on what repairs to tackle first:


The first thing is always tearing out what you do not need. This way you can get a good look at the condition of the house and see if any major surprises are lurking in the home. I try not to demo anything that does not need it as the more you tear out, the more money you will spend.

Major systems

Electrical, plumbing, HVAC, foundation, Mold, etc. If there is major work that needs to be done, I have that started first because they may make a mess of the home. You don’t want to install new drywall and paint only to find out the electrician must tear it all out.

Windows and doors

When putting in new windows and doors, it often does some damage to the drywall and sheetrock or trim. This is one of the first things we do.


If the home needs patches or is a complete gut, I would do the drywall and sheetrock next since you need that in place before installing new kitchens and baths.


I prefer to paint early because then you do not have to mask everything you just installed. You may have to come back at the end for touch-ups, but that is usually easier than masking the entire house and then most likely still having to come back later for touch-ups.

Kitchens and baths

I install the kitchens and baths next after the paint is done as we won’t have to mask them off.


We install light fixtures nex,t but it can be done at the end as well. They are not too messy, but we want them installed after the paint is done.


We try to do the flooring last because it gets trampled and damaged if a lot of other work is being done after the flooring is installed. Some reasons might be if the floor needs to be installed prior to kitchen cabinets being installed.


Finally, we blue tape the house for anything that needs to be touched up. The flooring guys usually mark up the trim, and some of the walls might need to be touched up or a few spots may have been missed in the beginning. Make sure you keep the same type of paint for touchups! Use the same sheen and color, and keep an old bucket of paint to mix with the new paint if needed so there is not a glaring difference where the touchups are done.

What if you run into problems?

if you have problems with a contractor or a sub or a handyman, my advice is to cut ties as fast as possible. There is a 98% chance things will not get better, and they most likely will get worse. This is why it is best not to pay too much money upfront or start with small jobs because if there are problems, it is much easier to move on to someone else.

It is also wise to check in on the work often! Do not sit back for a month without seeing the project, asking how it is going, and making sure it is on budget. Be very clear that if there are any change orders that will add to the cost, you must approve them first.


It can be a tiring and frustrating process to remodel a house if you don’t take your time to get the right people to help. It can be a wonderful and fulfilling process with the right people. There are many things that can be done to help the process go smoothly. Do not be afraid to get multiple bids, speak up, or take charge if things are not going as planned!

P.S. My new book was just released! Build a Commercial Real Estate Empire! You can get it on Amazon now!


How to Allergy-Proof Your Home: A Room-by-Room Guide

Allergies affect more than 50 million Americans every year, costing an estimated $18 billion and acting as a leading cause of chronic illness in the United States.

With symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, sniffing and sneezing, coughing and even asthma, allergies can leave everyone feeling miserable. That’s why it’s important to keep your home allergy-free and clean, especially if your symptoms are more severe.

Use this guide to allergy-proof your home or apartment. Click the links below to jump to a specific section:

Common allergens in the home

It’s important to know what you’re fighting when trying to allergy-proof your home. From dust mites to mold, these allergens can trigger symptoms of serious allergies and leave you feeling itchy, achy and congested.

Below are some of the most common household allergies:

Dust mites

These microscopic insects are some of the most common household allergens, thriving in warm, humid environments around the house.

  • Common symptoms: Asthma, headaches, itchy nose, throat and eyes

Mold and mildew

Mold is a fungus that grows best in damp, poorly ventilated environments that don’t receive a lot of sunlight. The most commonly affected areas include bathrooms, piping and kitchens. There are many common types of mold, including Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium and Stachybotrys (also known as black mold).

  • Common symptoms: Asthma, COPD (in those with preexisting conditions) and headaches

Animal allergens

Animal allergies are caused by reactions to the saliva and dead skin cells (dander) on your pet’s skin. As many as 30 percent of Americans have dog and cat allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

  • Common symptoms: Itchy or swollen eyes, stuffy nose and trouble breathing


Many plants, including oak trees, ragweed and grass, create a fine powder called pollen when they begin to bloom. Over 25 million Americans are allergic to pollen of one kind or another.

  • Common symptoms: Itchy or watery eyes, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are chemical gases emitted by a wide array of products, including carpeting, perfumes, air fresheners, certain cleaning products, upholstered furniture, adhesive and office equipment like printers and copiers. The three most common VOCs are formaldehyde, ammonia and benzene.

  • Common symptoms: Itchy eyes, sore throat, headache, nausea, fatigue and dizziness

How to eliminate allergens in the home

Whether you live in a studio apartment or a five-bedroom home, you aren’t defenseless against allergens and toxins in the air. Use the following tips to protect yourself and your home from allergens like mold, dust mites and animal dander.

Removing kitchen allergens

woman getting food container out of pantrywoman getting food container out of pantry

One of the most heavily trafficked rooms in the home, it’s important to keep your kitchen allergy-free and clean. Use the tips below to allergy-proof your kitchen:

    • Check under the sink often. The combination of leaky pipes and dark space makes the perfect breeding ground for mold. If you find mold here, use a cleaning solution of baking soda, white vinegar and tea tree oil to scrub pesky mold away. Renters should contact their property manager to repair any leaking pipes.
    • Clean your fridge frequently. We’ve all come across moldy food in the fridge — the lack of ventilation in most fridges makes mold growth likely. Once a week, remove all produce from your fridge and wipe down surfaces to remove mold-causing moisture. When you’re finished cleaning, be sure to store all produce correctly to prevent further mold growth.
    • Maintain good ventilation. Use the vent hood when cooking, open a window or turn on a fan to encourage good airflow and keep the air from retaining too much moisture. Poor ventilation makes it easier for mold to grow.
    • Pest-proof everything. Did you know cockroaches carry allergens? Many people are allergic to their droppings and sheddings, which can trigger asthma attacks in severe cases. Seal all food in air-tight containers, never leave food out and wipe down surfaces frequently to remove food particles these pests are attracted to. If you live in an apartment, you can often submit a request for pest control services.

Allergy-proofing the bathroom

bathroom with green fernbathroom with green fern

The bathroom is one of the most mold-friendly rooms in the house. Use these tips to combat mold and keep your bathroom spotless!

    • Use a ventilation fan. Especially in small bathrooms, airflow is critical. In fact, the Mayo Clinic recommends an exhaust fan to reduce moisture build-up. If your bathroom doesn’t have a ventilation fan installed, ask your property manager to install one. Otherwise, keeping a window or door cracked can prevent moisture from building up.
    • Skip the plug-in air freshener. While keeping the air smelling nice is important, plug-in fresheners emit VOCs that can cause allergic reactions, exacerbate respiratory problems and trigger headaches. As an alternative to a plug-in air freshener, use a candle or air-filtering houseplant to keep the air clean.
    • Choose your shower curtain carefully. Vinyl shower curtains emit VOCs, which could contribute to your allergies. Instead, opt for a nylon curtain that is better for your health and for the environment.
    • Use mold-resistant paint enamel. If your bathroom has wallpaper, consider switching it out for paint or tile. Use a mold-resistant top coat to protect your paint and discourage mold growth. Be sure to check with your property manager before making any changes if you rent an apartment.

Eliminating bedroom allergies

couple folding laundry in bedroomcouple folding laundry in bedroom

Your bedroom is your sanctuary –– use these tips to keep it free from allergens.

    • Use dust mite-proof coverings. Up to 10 percent of the weight of a two-year-old pillow can be composed of dead mites and their droppings. To keep these tiny creatures at bay, use microfiber covers on mattresses, box springs, comforters and pillows.
    • Do the laundry consistently. Wash your bedsheets at least once per week using water that is 130ºF or hotter to kill dust mites. Alternatively, 15 minutes in a dryer at 130ºF will also kill dust mites and remove allergens from your bedding.
    • Keep pets off your bed. Dander and saliva produced by animals can trigger allergic reactions. If your allergies are serious, consider declaring the entire bedroom a pet-free zone to keep your symptoms at bay.
    • Replace your mattress. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends replacing mattresses every 10 years and pillows every five years. Mattresses and pillows can house mold spores, which can trigger asthma attacks and other allergy symptoms.

Keeping the living room clean

woman relaxing on couchwoman relaxing on couch

Another heavily trafficked room in the home, your living room could be harboring unwanted allergens like dust mites, mold and pollen.

    • Use allergy-friendly window coverings. Curtains are a breeding ground for dust mites. They should be laundered and even vacuumed at least every two weeks. Choose washable fabrics like cotton or linen, or use blinds that can easily be wiped down.
    • Opt for leather furniture. While plush, upholstered seating is great for comfort, it isn’t so good for allergies. Choose leather seating to reduce the possibility of dust mites, or use washable slipcovers.
    • Skip the carpet and area rug. Dust mites love carpeting, so consider replacing any carpet you may have in your living room with vinyl, tile, or hardwood flooring. If you’re renting, look for apartments that offer carpet-free living.
    • Wipe down surfaces often. Use a solution of white vinegar, olive oil and warm water to wipe down surfaces, including coffee tables, end tables, fireplace mantles and windowsills. This will remove any dust buildup and keep your furniture in good condition.

Other ways to allergy-proof your home

There are plenty of other ways to continue allergy-proofing your home. Using the right cleaners and equipment goes a long way to reducing allergens.

Natural cleansers

When cleaning, opt for natural solutions over chemical-based cleaners and disinfectants. Many household cleaners, including those with chlorine bleach, have been found to emit VOCs.

In fact, studies have found that “a higher frequency of using spray products during household cleaning (especially glass-cleaning and furniture sprays and air freshening sprays) was associated with a 40 percent increase in wheeze, a 50 percent increase in asthma symptoms or medication use and approximately a 100 percent increase in incidence in physician-diagnosed asthma.”

HEPA filter vacuums

To remove dust and dirt from your home, consider investing in a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter vacuum. Regular vacuums can push allergens back into the air, but HEPA filter vacuums prevent this re-spreading of allergens.

According to Consumer Reports, the best allergy-proofing HEPA filter vacuum cleaners are:

  • Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly Bagged Vacuum
  • Miele Dynamic U1 Cat and Dog
  • Miele Dynamic U1 Maverick
  • Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly UltraPlush 81714
  • Kenmore 81614
  • Miele Complete C3 Marin
  • Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly Bagged Upright Vacuum

Air filtration

Use a portable air purifier to reduce unwanted allergens in your home. There are many different types of air purifiers available, so consider choosing one based on the size of the room you’ll use it in.

The clean air delivery rate (CADR) determines how many particles and square feet an air purifier can reach. To determine the best CADR rating for your room’s square footage, use the following equations:

  • Room size (sq ft.) = (CADR rating x 1.55) or CADR rating = (Room size (sq ft.) / 1.55)

For example, if you see an air purifier at the store with a CADR rating of 100, it will be able to clean a room that is 155 square feet.

  • (100 CADR x 1.55) = 155 sq ft.

Alternatively, if you are looking for an air purifier that will clean your 250 square foot room, you can determine that you’ll need an air purifier with a score of 160 or higher.

  • (250 sq ft. / 1.55) = 161 CADR 

According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, you should use the smoke CADR score when doing these calculations, as this is the smallest particle size and will be the most difficult to clean from the air.

For more allergy-proofing hacks, check out the infographic below. 

Whether your allergies include a runny nose or trouble breathing, it’s important to keep your home as free of allergens as possible. A clean, dust-free environment goes a long way to reducing allergies and consistent maintenance will help to prevent the spread of mold.

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AAFA 1, 2 | EPA | Mayo Clinic | American Lung Association | WebMD 1, 2 | Berkeley Lab | Today | Everyday Health | American Home Shield | AdvantaClean | Hunker | The Thrifty Couple | One Good Little Thing by Jillee | Organic Lesson | Pure Living Space | Oransi




US Home Decor Market size is estimated to reach $158,929.1 – openPR

According to a new report published by Report Ocean, titled, “U.S. Home Decor Market by Product Type, Income Group, Price, Distribution Channel & Category: Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2020–2027,” The U.S. home decor market size was valued at $125,813.0 million in 2019, and is estimated to reach $158,929.1 million by 2027, registering a CAGR of 8.0% from 2020 to 2027. In 2019, the floor covering segment accounted for significant contribution in the U.S. home decor market share, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.4% throughout the forecast period.

The U.S. home decor market has witnessed significant growth over the years, and is expected to grow at a steady pace during the forecast period. This is attributed to the fact that market players are focusing on developing eco-friendly products, owing to rise in environment awareness. The floor covering segment occupied the largest share in the overall home decor market in 2019, and is expected to maintain its leading position throughout the forecast period, owing to the wide adoption of floor coverings,

The home decor market in U.S. is driven by surge in disposable income and improvement in living standards. Moreover, the rise in affinity of consumers toward consumer-friendly home décor products are anticipated to boost the demand for home decor products. However, availability of low-quality and counterfeit products and fluctuations in the prices of raw materials used to manufacture these products restrain the market growth. Conversely, surge in demand for trendy and unique furniture is anticipated to provide lucrative opportunities for the U.S. home decor market growth.

The U.S. home decor market is segmented based on product type, distribution channel, price, income group and category. Depending on product type, the market is divided into furniture, home textile, and floor covering. By distribution channel, it is fragmented into supermarkets & hypermarkets, specialty stores, e-commerce, and others. Based on the price, the market is segmented into premium and mass. Based on the income group, the market is segmented into lower-middle income, upper-middle income, and higher income. Based on category, the market is segmented into eco-friendly and conventional.

According to the U.S. home decor market analysis the floor covering segment generated the highest revenue in 2019, and is expected to remain dominant throughout the forecast period. The flooring segment is also expected to witness the highest growth rate of 8.4% from 2020-2027.

According to the U.S. Home Decor market forecast based on distribution channel, the specialty stores segment was the highest contributor to the U.S. market in 2019 and is expected to remain dominant through 2020-2027. However, the E-commerce segment is expected to grow at a higher growth rate through the forecast period.

Based on the price, the mass segment was the highest contributor to the U.S. home decor market in 2019 and is expected to remain dominant through 2020-2027. However, the premium segment is expected to grow at a higher growth rate through the forecast period

Based on the income group, the higher income segment was the highest contributor to the U.S. home decor market in 2019 and is expected to remain dominant through 2020-2027. The upper-middle income segment is expected to grow at a notable growth rate through the forecast period.

Based on the category, the conventional segment was the highest contributor to the U.S. home decor market in 2019 and is expected to remain dominant through 2020-2027. The eco-friendly segment is expected to grow at a highest growth rate through the forecast period

Key findings of the study

The U.S. home decor market was valued at $125,813.0 million in 2020 and is estimated to reach $158,929.1 million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 8.0% through the forecast period.
Based on product type, the floor covering service segment would witness the fastest growth, registering a CAGR of 8.4% during the forecast period.
In 2019, based on distribution channel, the specialty stores segment held the highest share, accounting for nearly half of the U.S. home decor industry.
In 2019, based on the price, the mass segment was the most prominent segment and is expected to grow at a significant CAGR throughout the forecast period.
Conventional segment was the dominant segment in 2019, accounting for a considerable share in the U.S. market.


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This release was published on openPR.