Ask the Expert: How to Upgrade Curb Appeal On a Budget

In our first installment of “Ask the Expert,” Tom Poll, Habitat Kent’s Warehouse Supervisor, shares affordable, easy-to-do tips and tricks to upgrade the look and feel of your home.

 

Q: What is “curb appeal”?

Tom:  Curb appeal basically means, how attractive your home is from the street. When someone first looks at your home, what do they see, how do they feel about it, and what point are you, the homeowner, trying to make with the way your home looks.

Basically, it’s the first impression someone has about your home. The idea is the curb appeal of your home is an extension of you.


Q: What’s an example of something simple to improve curb appeal?

Tom:  Outdoor lighting is a great way to give your house an extra boost or pop.  Simply changing the light by the front door will change the appearance of your home.

Solar-powered lights along the sidewalk to your front door will give a warm, inviting look.  Solar-powered spotlights shining into the landscaping or on the house will give a new look as well, especially if you use colored lights – that will really make a statement!  There are many exterior lighting options available that are very inexpensive, including the fun holiday lights that project snowflakes, pumpkins, stars, or other fun items onto your home.


Q: Ok, so where should I start to help my curb appeal?

Tom:  One of the easiest things to help with curb appeal is to eliminate any clutter that’s in the front yard.

Keep garbage and recycling bins somewhere else, put away kids’ toys when they’re done playing, and keep the front yard free of litter that may blow in from the neighborhood. This is a constant problem I have because I live on a busy road.


Q: Are curb appeal projects expensive?

Tom:  Talk with a contractor and you could be looking at thousands of dollars in projects. Thankfully, there are many things you can do for under $100.

One of the first things someone sees is the front door. A really simple and expressive way to show off your house is by changing the color of your front door. A gallon of exterior satin paint for this costs about $35 or less.

You can also change the color of front posts or railings. Depending on the amount of railing and posts you have and the material they’re made of, changing the color can be as easy as painting. You can also change materials, but it’s more expensive.


Q: What if I don’t want to change any colors?

Tom:  Some subtle things that really show your personality are putting up a fun mailbox or special house numbers.

Q: How can I incorporate plants or flowers?

Tom:  If you’ve been in your home for a long time, it might be time to replace overgrown shrubs. Planting new shrubs or flowers is an inexpensive way to change the look of your home. You can go minimalist with just a couple of accent plants, or make it look like a jungle to create a buffer with the street. This is especially helpful if you live on a busy street as I do!

Attaching flower boxes under the window for annual flowers or a couple of flower pots along the sidewalk or on the front steps adds colors that will last all summer and fall. Just remember to water them! Flowers and plants not planted in the ground need more water.

Homeowner Newsletter June 2021

Inside: Homeowner Story: Karen’s most influential woman in her life; 2020 Homeowner of the Year; Ask the Expert; Things to do this summer for the whole family; and more!

June 2021 Homeowner Services Newsletter

March 2021 Habitat Happenings

In this issue: Innovative Housing Solutions; Material Recover Services for your Home Remodel; Home for the Holidays Review; and more!

Habitat Kent Happenings, March 2021

Homeowner Newsletter March 2021

Inside: Homeowner Story: Wendy’s Poem Brings Warm Memories, Advice for Selling or Home, Pet Pantry and more.

March 2021 Homeowner Services Newsletter

Habitat Kent Happenings: December 2020

What to do when a pandemic keeps you from having home dedication celebrations?

Hold a car parade! We celebrated 17 families who are now Habitat Kent homeowners in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood on the southwest side of Grand Rapids.

Read the  Newsletter

stronger together: annual impact report

You guys are family to us because you’re helping us every step of the way. Habitat is making sure that
we fully understand budgeting, we understand everything about our mortgage and just the process of
buying a home. I have the resources to help me be successful.   – Serita

Read more from homeowners and about Habitat Kent’s community impact.

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Plaza Roosevelt

Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing

Greening Affordable Housing

Habitat for Humanity of Kent County and the Plaza Roosevelt are included as a case study in the new book Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing, published by Island Press. In this fully revised edition, co-authors Kimberly Vermeer and Walker Wells capture the rapid evolution of green building practices, using Habitat Kent’s green building practices and Plaza Roosevelt to make a compelling case for integrating green building in affordable housing.

Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing is the most comprehensive resource on how green building principles can be incorporated into affordable housing design, construction, and operation. The book offers guidance on innovative practices, green building certifications, and the latest financing strategies. As Co-author Wells states: “Our goal is to bring together in one place the essential information and strategies that affordable housing project managers, designers, funders and advocates need to know to successfully create green developments.”

In addition, Vermeer and Wells feature 14 case studies to illustrate how green building principles can be incorporated into diverse housing types and in locations across the country. By featuring Plaza Roosevelt, Blueprint shares detailed insights into how the many elements of a green building are incorporated into affordable house design, construction, and operation.

The lack of affordable housing and the climate crisis are two of the most pressing challenges we are facing today. Green affordable housing addresses both by providing housing stability, safety, and financial predictability while constructing and operating the buildings to reduce environmental and climate impacts. At Habitat Kent, we are grateful to be included with other organizations contributing to greener, healthier communities through affordable housing.

The book is out today, July 9th, at Island Press. (Use offer code WELLS to get a 20% discount!)

 

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Habitat Kent reopens South ReStore and resumes construction

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, June 8, 2020 — Habitat for Humanity of Kent County has reopened its South ReStore location at 5701 Division Ave S, Wyoming, MI 49548 and in the last couple weeks, home construction has resumed as well. The nonprofit is preparing to welcome volunteers back to construction sites later this summer.

The ReStore has been closed since mid-March amid the coronavirus pandemic and will open for business again on Monday, June 8, with several precautions in place.

“Every ReStore shopper helps Habitat Kent build homes, communities, and hope, and they are an important part of our mission,” said Executive Director, Bev Thiel. “We have taken our time with reopening to prepare enhanced health and safety measures that will help keep all ReStore visitors healthy and safe.”

The store is limiting the number of customers and implementing enhanced cleaning procedures, including routinely sanitizing high contact areas, providing hand sanitizer stations, placing social distancing markers, and requiring all inside the store wear masks.

Habitat Kent is also asking customers to wear a face mask inside the store, to not visit if they are sick, to maintain six feet of space between themselves and others, and to shop alone or in the smallest groups possible.

The store will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

“We are not yet able to accept donated items or materials, so ReStore donors should watch for news about when donations will resume,” said ReStore General Manager, Scott Baldwin.

“While it’s not quite business as usual yet, we are excited to see ReStore shoppers again and to start building more for local families!”

About Habitat for Humanity of Kent County

Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. Established in 1983, Habitat Kent has partnered with more than 800 families in Kent County through homeownership and home repairs. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering, or lending a voice to advocate for affordable homeownership, everyone can help families achieve the strength and stability we all need to have a good life. To learn more visit www.habitatkent.org.

Habitat for Humanity, Consumers Energy Partner for Power of Home Campaign

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, May 20, 2020 — Habitat for Humanity of Michigan and Consumers Energy are partnering to provide financial support to Habitat affiliates that have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a goal of raising $200,000 by the end of September. Habitat for Humanity of Kent County has set a local goal of $20,000 to help fund critical housing needs in Kent County.

Through the Power of Home campaign, Consumers Energy will donate $1 for every $2 dollars donated statewide, up to $100,000.

“Our partnership with Habitat Michigan has been ongoing since 2012 with Home Run for Habitat campaigns that provided matching donations to help provide safe, affordable and energy efficient homes to Habitat families,” said Lauren Youngdahl Snyder, vice president of customer experience for Consumers Energy. “In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty, we remain committed to our support for Habitat Michigan. This year the Power of Home campaign is dedicated to providing critical assistance for Habitat affiliates across the state that have suffered financial losses due to the pandemic.”

Between 2012 and 2019 Home Run for Habitat campaigns have raised nearly $1.5 million from 3,700 donors, bringing the total raised with matching dollars to more than $2.3 million. Consumers Energy has provided a total of $850,000 in matching funds for Habitat affiliates in Michigan.

“We know that the coming months will bring an unprecedented level of need for safe, affordable housing in our community. We are poised and ready to build safety and stability for local families through affordable homeownership, but we can’t do it without help from donors,” explains Habitat Kent executive director, Bev Thiel. “Thanks to this match from Consumers Energy, donors’ gifts will go further at a time when the ‘power of home’ is more important than ever.”

Twenty-six Habitat affiliates across the state have signed up to participate in the campaign. Affiliates receive funding based on the amount raised through their individual donors. As of today nearly $100,000 has been raised toward the $200,000 goal.

In order to receive the Consumers Energy match, all donations must be made through the online giving platform Classy. More information about donating is available on Habitat Kent’s campaign page.

 

About Habitat for Humanity of Kent County

Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. Established in 1983, Habitat Kent has partnered with more than 800 families in Kent County through homeownership and home repairs. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering, or lending a voice to advocate for affordable homeownership, everyone can help families achieve the strength and stability we all need to have a good life. To learn more visit www.habitatkent.org.

About Habitat for Humanity of Michigan

Based in Lansing, Habitat for Humanity of Michigan is the state support organization for Michigan’s more than 50 Habitat for Humanity affiliates and ReStores which service nearly every county in the state. HFHM’s mission is to increase the capacity of Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Michigan to build or renovate simple, decent homes in partnership with people in need.

About Consumers Energy

Consumers Energy is Michigan’s largest energy provider, providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

Community Invests $9M in Affordable Housing with Habitat for Humanity

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, October 29, 2019 — Habitat for Humanity of Kent County is celebrating securing $9 million for its capital campaign to expand access to affordable housing in Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood.

Habitat Kent’s “Bright Future Campaign” is a $9 million plan to build, rehab or repair 400 homes in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood—reaching approximately 1 in 4 homes throughout the neighborhood. 17 of those homes are currently under construction on the mixed-use Plaza Roosevelt site at Grandville Avenue and Rumsey Street SW. The nonprofit announced the public phase of the campaign earlier this year.

“We are overwhelmed by the community’s enthusiasm for this initiative and incredibly grateful to the donors and volunteers who have joined us in building strength, stability and opportunity in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood,” said executive director Bev Thiel. “This is the biggest, boldest undertaking in Habitat Kent’s 35-year history, and it would simply not be possible without the donors who have pledged contributions to the Bright Future Campaign.

“We also owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the Roosevelt Park neighbors who contributed their time, energy and wisdom to inform the vision for Plaza Roosevelt and the innovative programs Habitat Kent is testing through 2020. After this campaign, listening to and planning alongside neighbors is no longer something we are trying out—it is part of who we are.”

In total, 366 donors have made gifts or pledges to the campaign and volunteers have contributed roughly 9,000 hours to date. With the $9 million goal secured, Habitat Kent has more work to do. The campaign’s home building and repair activities will continue through 2020 and the nonprofit is already planning for future investment in Roosevelt Park and nearby neighborhoods.

Townhomes underway on Plaza Roosevelt site

About Habitat for Humanity of Kent County

Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. As a neighborhood revitalization organization, Habitat Kent build homes and partners with neighbors and community organizations to improve access to resources and build a better quality of life. Established in 1983, Habitat Kent has helped more than 425 families in Kent County become homeowners, and has partnered with another 900 families to repair and improve their homes. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or lending a voice to advocate for strong neighborhoods, everyone can help families achieve the strength and stability they need to build better lives. To learn more visit www.habitatkent.org.

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