Wednesday, October 21, 2015

4 Low-Cost Ways to Upgrade Your Curb Appeal

Does your home lack curb appeal? If you're putting your home on the market, beautiful curb appeal will make a good first impression on buyers and may even help increase the value of your home. But, even if you aren't looking to sell, curb appeal will create a warm, inviting environment and make your house stand out from all the others on the block.

Upgrading your home's curb appeal doesn't have to be expensive. There are many low-cost projects you can do to really improve the space. Check out some of our great tips for upgrading your curb appeal on a budget:

1.  Tidy the yard and landscaping

Homes with a wild lawn, overgrown bushes and shrubbery, and unkept garden beds are an eyesore. Simply mowing the lawn, trimming the bushes and hedges, and adding fresh mulch can make a huge difference. Weed the garden beds and plant new flowers if needed. You can also add some hanging plants on your front porch to really make your exterior beautiful and inviting.

2. Refurbish your mailbox

Whether your mailbox is located by the curb or mounted to your house, refurbishing or replacing an old mailbox can give your home's exterior the upgrade it needs. If your mailbox just needs some refurbishing, applying a fresh coat of paint or stain and adding new house numbers can make Orlando mailboxes look good as new. 

3. Replace old light fixtures

When shopping for new exterior light fixtures, think about style and function. Your light fixtures should complement the style and design of your home, as well as effectively light up the entranceway for enhanced safety. Choosing light fixtures with the same mounting system as the existing ones can save you some time and money.

4. Apply fresh paint

You don’t need to paint the entire exterior of your home to enhance its curb appeal. Applying a fresh coat of paint to the trim, shutters and front door will really brighten up your house. Stick to colors that make your home stand out but match or complement the other colors on your house.

If your home's exterior needs an upgrade, check out our residential mailboxes and light fixtures at Forsite. We offer a wide range of products for every style, preference and budget. Visit today!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

4 Reasons to Choose Decorative Mailboxes

For some people the mailbox is an afterthought, but for others it matters. For those customers we always recommend a decorative mailbox. Decorative mailboxes have many virtues but it’s important to know
they’re not just for the style conscious. Here are four reasons to consider decorative mailboxes for your home in Orlando or the surrounding area.
1.       The look. Without a doubt the biggest reason to use decorative mailboxes is simply to create the perfect look. Decorative mailboxes range from traditional to modern styles, built of the highest quality materials and always made to stand out. They come in a wide variety of metal finishes with decorative elements including the address numbers/name letters, the posts, the boxes themselves and the fine details. Decorative mailboxes are available for single residences, duplexes, and apartments or office buildings with dozens of slots. The point with all of these choices is to give a mailbox that does more than just hold the mail—it adds to the overall look of a high class operation and adds to curb appeal. The mailbox is one of the first things you see as you approach, and investing in a nice one is worthwhile.

2.       To make your place easier to find. How much does your home or office stand out from the others around it? How clear and visible are the address numbers? A decorative mailbox can solve both these problems. Decorative mailboxes always stand out and can make a home easier to find or a business more noticeable. Many feature large, tasteful address numbers or separate, matching address plaques that can be mounted on the door or wall. People will definitely spot you.

3.       To match the surroundings. What do you do if your business is in a historic neighborhood? What if your home used to have a beautiful vintage mailbox, that’s no longer usable? What if you simply want to match your mailbox to a classic aesthetic or to area streetlamps and benches? While not all decorative mailboxes are in antique styles, many are and they allow you to put a brand new, secure mailbox in an area that features historic elements. You will match your surroundings and uphold the image you want while still getting a great modern mailbox.

4.       Quality. Decorative mailboxes are generally high end mailboxes made to last. The locks and doors are secure, the entire mailbox is welded to be water-resistant, and the finish will outlast the cheap paintjobs of big box store mailboxes. A high quality mailbox will last longer without the problems of fading, rust, leaking or water damage that lower quality mailboxes will experience. 

What kind of mailbox style are you looking for?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

5 Reasons to Consider Mailbox Refurbishment

Mailbox refurbishment is a growing industry in Orlando, where mailboxes are exposed to heat, humidity and heavy rain. Yet many home- and business-owners aren’t sure if they really need to have their mailbox professionally refurbished. Here are five reasons you probably do:

1.    To keep your property looking attractive. The biggest reason people seek out a mailbox refurbishment professional is to keep the premises looking great. Repairing a damaged mailbox takes time, skill and the right tools and is not easy for an amateur. The same is true for mailbox painting. But getting the mailbox looking great (and working great) is a must if you want your property to look attractive and well cared for. This is true whether you just want your own mailbox to look good as you drive up to your home each day, or if you have a large multi-unit mailbox in an apartment building or office structure.

2.    Visibility. Residential mailboxes serve multiple purposes. They not only hold mail, they also serve as visible markers in front of a home or at the entrance to a driveway. Often, they feature the property’s address number. If the paint is old and worn off, mailboxes become less visible especially in the dark, in deep snow or in inclement weather. Refurbishment can get your mailbox looking bright, beautiful and easy to spot once again.

3.    To protect your mail. An old, rusty or damaged mailbox doesn’t just look bad. It also functions poorly. Mailboxes need to protect the mail inside them, and in most areas the biggest threat is the elements. Loose seams in a metal mailbox, old or warped wood on a wooden one, or even a faulty door or rust spots can all be places where moisture leaks in, damaging or destroying your mail. Refurbishment solves all of these problems and makes sure your mailbox can keep your mail safe.

4.    An even, professional paint job. Painting a mailbox isn’t easy. With curved surfaces and metal joints that fit together just right, you don’t want to take a regular paintbrush to a mailbox—and spaying can be hard if the mailbox has a different color trim. Our Orlando mailbox refurbishment service makes sure the paint job is even, professional and flawless.

5.    Curb appeal. A mailbox is one of the first things a prospective buyer sees. Making it look nice helps create a positive first impression of the property.

Friday, July 31, 2015

What to Look for When Buying a Sign for Your Community

These days, there are more Florida sign companies than ever for local communities to choose from. However, not all can offer the same quality and variety of signs, or at the same price. Here's what to look for to identify the sign maker that's right for you:

1.  Sign making specialty – There are lots of businesses out there that say they can make signs, but that doesn't mean they have the experience or equipment to make them right. When you need signs for a community or any purpose, talk to an actual sign company. They will have a better understanding of what you need, have more options for you, and are likely to turn out a better looking product. They will also have the experience to advise you on how to make your sign the best it can possibly be, warning you if something in your design will not be visible or easy to read.

2.  Durable, quality materials – Signs face many sources of wear and tear. Most signs will be outside and exposed to the elements including rain, sunlight, wind, and temperature extremes. Indoor signs may be bumped into or may need to be handled and moved by staff. But no matter where your sign is, you'll want it to last a long time and look just as sharp years from now as it does today. Your sign company should be able to present you with a wide range of high-quality material options, from banners to wooden signs to steel and much more.

3.  Customization – If all you wanted to do was print your logo onto a plain prefabricated sign, you wouldn't need to see a specialist. These days, more communities want custom shapes and designs for their signs or are interested in three dimensional signs or lettering. Your sign company should be able to have custom signs created in almost any form you can imagine.

4.  Computer Assisted Design – Good sign companies use CAD programs to ensure total accuracy and reduce costs, and can show you a three dimensional mockup of your sign before it is created.

5.  Installation available – Some signs just need to be bolted in place; others are much more complex than that. Your sign maker should be able to offer full, on-site installation if you need it.

6.  Bulk/package rates – Do you need signs for multiple locations? Or one big sign and several smaller ones? Ask for a bulk rate or a package discount when buying multiple signs.

What kind of sign does your community need? Contact us at Forsite to find out more about what we can offer you!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Everything Street Signs

There's a lot more to street signs than we realize.  We pass them every day from the time we are little kids till the end of our lives.  Many of us take their existence for granted and we most likely understand what most of them mean by the time we are driving or within a few years.  There was a point in time though when traffic signs weren't very common or even nonexistent.  This led to a lot of accidents and avoidable deaths.  Even with traffic signs today though, people still miss them and have accidents; so is there a way to make our signs pop out more to drivers?

Before cars came along, there were traffic signs here and there, mostly for cyclists and horse drawn carriages, but there was no uniformity to them.  After cars began to grow more common across the U.S. from 1900-1920, drivers clubs began making signs and maintaining them to help make roads safer for themselves and other driver enthusiasts.  This worked in the beginning, but as cars continued to grow in popularity a need to matching uniform signs became necessary.  Thus in 1922 representatives from Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin came together to decide upon unique shapes which equated to specific messages.   

Rectangle – Speed Limit or Mileage Signs
Round – Railroad Crossing
Square – Caution or Attention
Diamond – Curve Ahead
Octagon – Stop Sign

The logic behind this was to help drivers in the dark know the meaning of a sign when approaching it without being able to read it.  These signs all had black text on a white background.  These signs would be presented and adopted as the earliest national standardization in 1935.  This meant Orlando decorative street signs and other non-conforming signs needed to be updated.  In 1948 after some years of confusion, the government made some changes to help with standardization.  Interesting fact, stop signs only became red with white lettering after the invention of fade resistant materials in 1954.  Other changes eventually led to the signs we have now for warning people about danger by having the background yellow with black text.  Speed limit signs still resemble their original progenitors.

One issue that has always existed with traffic signs and continues to plague our roads today; are drivers not noticing them.  A recent study done by scientists sat a group of participants in front of two different sets of signs.  Each set had four signs with the same meanings, but the second set had signs with more dynamic images.  The participants said the more dynamic signs were more eye-catching and increased their awareness of their surroundings.  While this was one test and this was the first time seeing these signs, previous research shows more dynamic signs are more likely to catch and hold a driver's attention.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Exploring the World of Mailboxes

Mailboxes have had an interesting history.  It wasn't until the early 20th century that mailboxes even existed in the United States.  Before that point mail carriers waited at your door until you answered it or came back the next day.  Then the post office realized time and money could be saved by mandating people have mail boxes or mail slots.  What they forgot to do was mandate what the mailbox could be, so of course you had people making mailboxes out of kinds of materials and quite a few shapes.  Eventually the Post Office announced standards for mailboxes that had to be followed in order to make life for mail carriers easier. 
The quality and how well a mailbox lasts have changed quite a bit over time.  As technology improved for metals and paints that were more weather resistant they have been eventually implemented into mailboxes.  One of the biggest breakthroughs was the development of plastic mailboxes, but there is a downside with them.  They are more easily broken by people whether it's intentional or unintentional and plastic doesn't always handle the cold and heat as well. 

Many residential mailboxes in Tampa are made out of aluminum today.  Aluminum has proven to be light and durable especially with the powder finishes used on mailboxes.  Because of the toxic chemicals in a lot of paints and the issue of them running powder finishes are preferable.  Their application method is environmentally friendly and the powder doesn't chip or flake off from the weather like paint does.  It also provides mailboxes with a large assortment of finishes ranging from satin, high-gloss, matte and a number of colors.  This has reduced the maintenance required for mailboxes and improved their durability.

There are also a number of other mailbox designs today which use other materials.  These different designs involve building the post out of stone or brick, both of which are very durable and long lasting.  The biggest thing people focus on when selecting their mailbox and its post today is whether it fits with their house and overall landscape theme.  The one downside of having your mailbox built out of brick or stone is the cost.  A lot of people have been more creative as well and made their mailbox post into a light post as well.  This lets you accomplish two things at once with one post and a light on your mailbox can be a good way to deter people from tampering with it at night.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Homeownership and the Dreaded Upkeep!

Lots of people say they are excited to become homeowners and many dream about the day when they will own a big house.  For those of you who already own a house though you are intimately familiar with the reality of homeownership.  We all would love to believe that owning a home is nothing but fun and sunshine, however it's not.  The required yearly upkeep associated with owning a house is quite a time consuming and can at times be expensive.  Furthermore, the bigger the house the more there is to manage.  Let's delve into some of the regular upkeep that homeowners experience and effective solutions for them.

The appearance of your house and your property is important.  You don't want your property to look rundown because it can damage both your property value and those surrounding yours.  It also reflects poorly upon you and it raises the question of why purchase a house if you're just going to let it degrade.  One place where you'll always see homes being well taken care of and properly managed is by communities with homeowner associations.  They generally charge a regular fee to pay for the upkeep of all the homes in the community on a yearly basis to ensure outside appearances don't become an issue.

If you're on your own though, here are some of the most common things that need attention paid to.  The first thing people often encounter when approaching your house is your mailbox.  Your mailbox is usually pounded by the elements, exposed to accidents and can be targeted by vandalism.  Hiring a skilled and expert mailbox repair service is the easiest and best way to restore this blemish on your property and protect your mail at the same time.

Besides your mailbox one of the common issues that people forget about is their gutters.  This is a particularly big problem for those whose houses' are surrounded by trees because the leaves, seeds and twigs often fall into the gutters and can clog them up.  Having a roofing/gutter company scheduled to come clean your gutters on a yearly basis is ideal.  The last thing you need is small trees growing out of your gutters.

Another major way to improve the look of your property on the front is by installing tasteful and effective lighting.  Many homeowners leave the front of their property looking dark and rather creepy at night.  Believe it or not, potential buyers are strongly recommended to look at a house both during the day and at night in order to have a good feeling for it.  Having attractive lamp posts is also vastly superior in appearance to the typical flood lights that people install in the ground and have shining on trees or the house.   Remember when it comes to upkeep it's easier to take care of each task as it happens instead of waiting for it to pile up and appear overwhelming to begin.  Procrastination is the enemy.