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Derek Wood REALTOR® (BRE License Number 01046552)
Castle Real Estate
1418 J Street
Modesto,  CA  95354
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Choosing an Exterior Door
Replacing your front door can pay for itself by increasing your home's value. In fact, installing a steel door is the No. 1 home improvement project with a 96.6% return on investment, according "Remodeling" magazine's annual "Cost vs Value Report."

What's more, if you choose an energy-efficient exterior door, you may trim up to 10% off your energy bills. (With utility bills averaging $2,200 annually, that's a savings of as much as $220.)

But how do you know which door is right for you? Make your decision by comparing the three main materials available for exterior doors: steel, fiberglass, and wood.

If you're looking to save money, a steel door may be a good choice, particularly if you have the skills to hang it yourself. A simple, unadorned steel door can sell for as little as $150 (not including hardware, lock set, paint, or labor) and typically runs as much as $400 at big-box retailers. Steel offers the strongest barrier against intruders, although its advantage over fiberglass and wood in this area is slight.

Still, the attractive cost of a steel door comes with an important caveat: Its typical life span under duress is shorter than both fiberglass and wood. A steel door exposed to salt air or heavy rains may last only five to seven years. Despite steel's reputation for toughness, it actually didn't perform well in "Consumer Report's" testing against wood and fiberglass for normal wear and tear.

With heavy use, it may dent, and the damage can be difficult and expensive to repair. If your door will be heavily exposed to traffic or the elements, you may be better off choosing a different material.


10 Tips for Saving Water in the Garden
Saving water in your garden and yard trims your water bill and saves an increasingly scarce natural resource. A water-efficien
DIY Summer Home Improvement Projects
Summer is a popular time for homeowners to make improvements to their home. With a little patience and a trip or two to the local hardware store, homeowners can change the look of their home while increasing the value of the house with these DIY home improvement projects.
Dealing With Critters
Houseguests can be great, except when they're the uninvited kind, especially those with more than two legs, a set of wings, or a penchant for gnawing on your deck. Ants, mice, termites, and bats living inside your house are not only annoying, but can cause real damage by ruining food, chewing wires and eating through walls and wood. The best defense is keeping them out, and, if they've already set up camp, knowing how to get them out quickly and effectively. Here are some tips for dealing with common household pests.

Mice and rats
Mice and rats generally come out at night and will eat whatever food is available, including candy, cereal, and even meat. If you suspect you have might a problem, look for one or more of the following signs: droppings (they look like black grains of rice), gnawed areas on food packaging, or scratching sounds in the wall, particularly at night. You can also test to see if you have mice by dusting a spot on the floor with flour and setting a cracker with peanut butter in the middle of it. In the morning, check for telltale tracks. If you do have mice, your first line of defense is to take away their food. Don't leave pet food out. Put food up on shelves or high in cabinets, store food in tightly-sealed containers instead of cardboard boxes, and store garbage in a container with a lid. Make sure not to leave dirty dishes out and wipe up spills immediately. Remove food sources outside too, including bird feeders, fallen fruit, and uncovered garbage cans.

Rats and mice can enter through incredibly tiny crevices. Survey the interior and exterior of the house, looking for ways they might get in, including holes for cables or vents and cracks in the foundation. Block their entrances by sealing around lower window frames, putting heavy-duty weather stripping under doors, and sealing openings around pipes.

To catch rodents, mechanical traps are better than poison. Poison is more dangerous and poisoned rodents may die inside walls, creating another problem. Old-fashioned spring mousetraps work well and are inexpensive. Buy plenty of them and bait with something with a strong tempting aroma like bacon or peanut butter. Make sure to put them close to the area of infestation. Mice don't like to wander far from their preferred area.

Once the problem is under control, stay vigilant with keeping spaces clean and food covered. Keep traps for the future. Or consider the time-tested solution of getting a cat.

Termites gnaw their way through homes in every state except Alaska and cause billions of dollars of damage annually. To determine if you have termites, look for one or more of the following signs: soft wood or wood that sounds hollow if you knock on it, swarms of termites in the spring, or tiny shelter tubes made of soil. If you do have termites, you will need to call in a professional to get rid of them.


Summer Friendly Landscapes
Lush, green turf grass covers nearly 47 million acres in the United States. All that green requires homeowners to hand over “gr

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Derek Wood
Castle Real Estate
1418 J Street
Modesto,  CA  95354
Contact Me
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The Latest Trends in Pools
This is the time of year when people who don't have pools suddenly realize the advantages of having one. Whether you are consid ...more
Summerizing Your Home
Summer maintenance is really about keeping things running smoothly so you'll have plenty of time to enjoy the more sublime pleasures of summer-like alfresco dinners with friends and family, puttering in the garden and lazy afternoons reading in the hammock.

Keep It Cool

The first order of business is keeping your space cool. Make sure your air conditioning is running efficiently by putting in a clean air filter and cleaning air vents. During periods of heavy A/C use, replace filters every 30 days. Outside, clear the area around the unit so that the air intake vents aren't blocked by shrubs, leaves, or other debris. Keep thermostat set at the highest temperature that still feels comfortable and make sure it's set to “auto” and not “fan.”


5 Kitchen and Bath Remodeling Trends That Will Last
To help you get ahead of and sort out the kitchen and bathroom trends — pity the last fool to install an avocado appliance in the 1970s — went to this month's trend central, the International Builder's Show. Our takeaway: For gosh sake, enjoy your home; remodel so that you love where you live.

Still, with a couple of exceptions, these five kitchen and bath trends offer lasting value:


How to Prevent Water Damage
Water damage is the No. 1 culprit that weakens your home's foundation and the very core that holds your house together.

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