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Month: November 2016

How to Get For Your New House – It is Easier Than You Think

Posted on November 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

Looking for ideas about how you should decorate your home? By decoration, I mean the over all ambiance that is achieved by your particular choice of furniture. People with busy lives often don’t have the time or even the inclination to plan what their future home will look like. Then before they know it, they’re owners of a new house and are faced with the problem of furnishing it. So how do you come up with a look that’s tasteful and appealing? Consider the following tips about where to look for inspiration.

1.) Get ideas from magazines, books, and catalogs. Go to a bookstore and look through the magazine racks. Interior home decor is a popular topic so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding plenty of magazines on the subject. Also pay attention to the magazines in the checkout line at the stores and supermarkets that you frequent. If you see any that appeal to you, pick it up and buy it. One source of ideas is your junk mail. Give them a quick scan as you toss them into the trash.

While checking out the magazines at the bookstore, take a look at the books. Books have an advantage over magazines in that they get into the topic in greater depth. On the other hand, if you’re a highly visual person, then magazines, which are highly pictorial, is most likely best. When all else fails, you can always check out your local library. Libraries aren’t limited to books. They typically have extensive magazine sections as well.

The larger furniture stores will often have extensive online catalogs that you can view from the convenience of your own home.

2.) Get your inspiration from the real world. Go to local furniture and home improvement stores. Furniture stores in particular, have many displays of mock bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. Strolling though these will give you a good feel for a particular look. While books and magazines will expose you to more examples, nothing beats the real world for actually experiencing a particular ambience.

Next time you’re visiting friends or relatives, keep your eyes peeled. Don’t hesitate to ask questions since most people would be flattered to give advice or information about where they bought their furniture.

3.) Google images. Go to Google.com and click on the images link on the upper left of the page. Enter the phrase “home decorating ideas” and click the search button. At the time of writing this article, I have found over 2.8 million image results. The variety of styles that you can find this way are literally endless.

These are only three suggestions but they should give you a good start at deciding on the look that is right for your new home.

Tips to Turn Your Home Friendly for Elder Family Members

Posted on November 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

Your family members are getting older. Daily routines and activities are getting harder for them to do. You may be facing a cross roads for their care. You want the best for them yet want to maintain their independence and dignity.

The following options are limited and can be emotional:

-Move them in with you, which may disturb your current family functioning, and care for them yourself. This may be the most disruptive lifestyle option.

-Move them into assisted living or independent living communities where others can care for them. This is the most expensive option.

-Convert their current home into a more comfortable environment for them. This option helps bridge them from functioning until they absolutely need assisted care-giving.

Most are reluctant to move out of their home into a community even an independent community because of financial reasons or reluctant to leave their current community and/or home.

Making some changes in their current home is a temporary fix but can help maintain their independence until they are no longer able to function on their own.

Some options to look at when making their home more comfortable for their later years include:

-Wheelchair/Walker accessibility/maneuverability

-Arthritis-related needs

-Ba-thing/bathroom accessories

Doorway widening:

When accommodating wheelchairs and/or walkers, you may want to look into widening doorways. If the doorway is not in a load-bearing wall, this can be a moderate construction project.

1. Remove current door, door frame, hinges and door jamb.
2. Cut into the drywall and possibly studs (2x4s).
3. Replace the inner studs with existing or new 2x4s.
4. Re-frame, re-hinge and re-install the door jamb with a wider door.

Ramp installation:

Wheel chairs may require installing ramps. These are typically pre-made with various heights and widths and just involve the purchasing and placement of them. You can also create your own with 2×4, 2×8 or 2×6 for the triangular frame and plywood for the slanted flat surface. You can furnish/dress it in desired flooring to mesh with the home’s design.

Arthritis-friendly faucets/handles:

Arthritis is a common problem among the elderly, and installing arthritis-friendly faucets and door handles can help with the comfort and ease of every-day accessibility.

Grab bars/railings:

Grab rails/hand railings are also helpful in trouble spots such as the bathroom, small/large stairways, next to the bed, in the tub/shower. These are available in a variety of colors, styles, lengths and base materials.

Shower/Tub Seats:

Shower/Tub seats are another helpful tool for routine activities. These are best used with shower hoses for bathing/showering purposes.

There are a variety of products available to help accommodate your family members in their older years. Their age-related problems do not always mean that they have to move out. For detailed instructions or product availability, contact your local handyman for recommendations and information.

Home Improvement Tips – Ideas for Changing the Flooring

Posted on November 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

So you’re thinking about changing that ugly old carpet or vinyl floor with something fresh and beautiful and you want to use tile instead. You have looked at a lot of pictures in home design magazines; you have an idea of the cost, and the retailer with the best selection but know where to start.

Well it sound like you already have a great start, you found some design ideas from magazines, you know where to purchase the materials, and you have a rough idea of the cost, and you have decided to do this yourself, outstanding! The tips I’m about to give you come from my experience as a professional tile setter in Phoenix Arizona.

The first thing you want to think about is what kind of surface are you going to lay that beautiful tile on, wood or concrete. I have found that the preparation of the surface will determine how your tile will look after it’s installed and how long it will last in the home, and let’s face it you don’t want to redo this next year. Follow these basic steps first before you lay your first tile

Is the surface level

Look for flaws like dips and bumps make sure the surface is smooth

If working with a wood surface make sure it’s secure no nails sticking up and it’s tight to the substructure

When working with concrete look for cracks, you don’t want the surface to crack more after you install the tile

Make sure the surface is clean before installation

These starter tips will save you time and frustration and make the experience more enjoyable for you. Next you want to make sure you measure the area you’re going to lay. You don’t want a 6″ cut on one wall and a 3″ cut on the other that would look really bad especially in a entry way. The first thing you need to make sure of is the room you are working with square? Trust me when I say this you don’t know how many times I went into a new home and found that one end of the room measured 12′ and the other end was 12′ 2″ Because of poor framing. This is ok if you’re working with larger tile but can be a real problem if it’s smaller tile like in a bathroom. Here are some tips on laying your floor out before starting the installation.

Buy some tile spacers. They look like small rubber crosses, they will determine your grout line width and give you an idea of your wall cuts, and in most cases will measure ΒΌ in, between tiles.

Don’t be afraid to lay the tile out in both directions using the tile spacers to get an idea what it’s going to look like.

After determining if your room is square set an installation chalk line in both directions, this will help keep the installation straight.

There are different types of adhesives for laying your tile I use thin set mortar for concrete, and you can use what is called cement board, this can be laid over any wood surface and will eliminate the use of the mastic clue. The reason for this is when wood is affected by temperature it will expand and contract, and the mastic clue will allow it to change with this effect, this is not a concern with cement board, Mastic is pre mixed, and thin set mortar will need to be mixed before you can use it. When mixing your thin set mortar it’s like mixing concrete it comes in a bag and you need to add water, be careful not to get it to thin, it needs to be thick enough to use with a trowel. I used a wheel barrel to mix it in and then transferred it to a 5 gal bucket, this made it easier to handle. Also remember that when installing the tile to make sure not to leave any air bubbles trapped under the tile. This will cause the tile to brake. The method I use is to set the tile by pushing down evenly on the tile until I see the adhesive start to come out from the edges and then I lightly tap on the top of the tile a listen for any hollow sound, this will tell you if there is a pocket of air trapped and if you need to push a little more.

You now have some of the basic thing to think about before you start your tile project, and I hope this will help you find enjoyment in your adventure.

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Home Improvement Tips: Financing Home Repairs and Improvements

Posted on November 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

Finding funding may be a project itself, depending on the scope of your home improvement plans, For smaller projects, you may be able to save for it from your regular household budget. But for major projects, you will probably need financing. It may be possible to borrow against the cash value of your life insurance policy. Talk to your life insurance agent for information about this option.

Contact your bank, savings and loan, or credit union for information about home improvement loans. Compare interest rates, repayment options, and penalties from a few lending institutions before selecting one of the following options:

Second mortgage: A second mortgage is loan against the equity in your home, in effect, an additional mortgage. Typically, financial institutions let you borrow up to 80% of the appraised value of your home, less the balance on your original mortgage. For example, if your home is appraised at $100,000 and your current mortgage balance is $70,000, you may be able to obtain $10,000 by a second mortgage. You may also have to pay all the fees normally associated with a mortgage, including closing costs, title insurance, and any fees. Your tax advisor can tell you if the interest on a second mortgage is tax-deductible.

Refinancing: This option pays off your current loan and takes out a new mortgage on your home. Generally, you’ll need to have equity in your home, a solid credit rating, and a steady income. Again, you’ll incur all the closing costs that you’d pay on a new mortgage. Unless your remodelling project is extensive and you can get an interest rate at least two points less than you currently pay, refinancing may not be a good choice for you.

Home Equity Line of Credit: A home equity loan-like a second mortgage-lets you tap into up to about 80% percent of the appraised value of your home, minus your current mortgage balance. Since it’s set up as a line of credit, you won’t have any interest charges until you make a withdrawal, but you will pay closing costs. You can make withdrawals as needed when you start paying contractors and suppliers. The interest rate is usually variable and may be based on the outstanding balance.

Make sure you thoroughly understand the terms of the loan. For example, if your loan stipulates that you need to pay interest only for the life of the loan, you’ll have to pay back the full amount borrowed at the end of the loan period or you could lose your home. Ask your tax advisor if the interest on a home equity loan is deductible.

Unsecured Loan: Although the interest rates on unsecured loans are frequently higher and you generally won’t get a tax deduction for the interest you pay, the costs of obtaining an unsecured loan are usually lower. And the relative ease of getting this kind of loan may make it a good choice for small projects of $10,000 or less. The lender will evaluate your application based on your credit history and income.

You’ll be happier with the outcome of your home improvement project if you plan carefully and do your homework. The information in this article and a realistic idea of your needs and budget will help you make your home closer to your dream of perfection.

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Should You Extend Your Home or Move?

Posted on November 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

Speak to your local council

Although very minor extensions (up to 3 metres beyond your original wall) can usually be undertaken without obtaining planning permission, it is still always best to check with your local council before you commit to extending your property. You could be in a lot of hot water afterwards if your extension flouts the rules and permission is not in place – the council could insist that the extension is demolished, leaving you not only back where you started but also out of pocket, having paid for an extension you cannot enjoy.

Ensure your plans are properly drawn

You might think you know something about extension planning – maybe you were good at technical drawing at school, or you did a course in college. Do you really want to risk the value of your home, though, to save a few pounds on professional planning? Depending on the size and scale of your project, a structural engineer or architect can do a great job for you, offering their expertise. For smaller and more straightforward jobs, your builder should be able to help you with the plans. Don’t forget, there is technical knowledge needed which involves angles, weights and in-depth understanding of materials to ensure the structure is safe – things which you probably didn’t pick up in GCSE Graphics! More importantly, your extension needs to conform to safety regulations which industry professionals will be used to handling.

Look at the loft

You could expand backwards, forwards or sideways, but what if you don’t have the room? Consider building upwards, creating rooms in your loft area. The loft is often a wasted space which houses unneeded junk, and if your roof is high enough, you might not even need to do a lot of building work to turn that unused space into a lovely new bedroom or office.

As you probably won’t be changing the layout of the building significantly, you may not need planning permission – but again, always check to be on the safe side. Your loft conversion will need to meet Buildings Regulations, which take into account safety measures such as fire safety, and the finished work will be checked by a qualified inspector. Don’t let this put you off, though – your builder should be able to advise you of how to ensure that you can meet these regulations, and you can also speak to your local council for further advice. Particularly if your family is outgrowing your house, building into the loft can be a great solution to provide extra space.

Consider the potential to add value

One of the reasons that many people consider extending is to add value to the property. An extension often offers this potential, meaning that the initial cost of building the extension is not lost. You can often, in fact, gain money when you come to sell by having an extra bedroom upstairs or a conservatory on the back.

You need to be canny about your investment, though. Do a bit of research into similar properties on the sales market in your area; if they have had a loft conversion or a kitchen enlarged, for instance, are they being marketed at a higher price that those which haven’t had work done? If the extension isn’t going to add value, then you might want to think again about how you choose to extend; having four bedrooms instead of three is going to make more of a difference to a property’s value than enlarging one room slightly. You might also consider getting a professional opinion from a local estate agent who can give you a potential “before” and “after” valuation for your property, allowing you to determine whether it’s better for you to extend or to move.

It’s worth remembering that extending is usually a cheaper alternative than moving and saves you money on fees like stamp duty, furniture removals and legal costs – not to mention avoiding the stress of moving!

Combine work on your home to keep down costs

Although extending could be cheaper than moving, you are still going to have to find the money from somewhere. If you’re lucky enough to have some cash tucked away for a rainy day, that’s great. But if you haven’t, you might need to think about other options, like reviewing your mortgage, for example, to see if you can liquidate some funds.

Another good tip is to get your money’s worth; you should have as many minor alterations done alongside your extension as you foresee being necessary in the near future, so if you have had a few small jobs piling up, ask the builder for a quote for the whole lot. This way, you can haggle for the best price on both materials and labour, establishing a blanket fee for the works rather than having lots of little jobs done, which could prove costlier.

Find a reputable builder

We have all heard horror stories about disreputable builders who knock holes into your home and then fail to complete the job, or undertake shoddy work which requires repairs within a few months. There are plenty of builders who can be trusted, though – and the best advice to follow is to take a recommendation. Have any friends, family or colleagues had work done on their homes recently? Are there any builders in your extended family? If you don’t have any luck finding someone, then look into the government’s TrustMark scheme, which vets tradesmen before recommending them to consumers.

Potential changes

The government is currently in talks over whether to relax planning laws for a three-year period, allowing people to extend their homes by up to 8 metres without seeking planning permission. The idea is to ease housing shortages by making existing homes bigger and to help create more jobs for the industry. This plan has received significant opposition, however, from local councils who are worried about a “free-for-all” on extensions which could affect the appearance and function of local communities. If you’ve been thinking about extending but couldn’t face waiting for planning permission, though, it’s worth watching this space to see how this story develops!

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