How to Get Started on Home Renovations

1078702682_5071284415001_5071274547001-vs

Home renovations are always daunting because of all the preparations and the planning that needs to be done. More often than not, the hardest part of renovations is getting started. According to Colebrook Construction, the decisions you make during the planning stage can make all the difference between success and a remodeling nightmare.

Imagine buying an old house whose roof needs replacing, the walls need repainting, the flooring needs regrouting,  the backyard needs landscaping, and more. It’s really hard to know exactly where to start. For those who want to renovate their homes, here are a few tips on how to get started.

Create an Overall Concept

The first step to renovating your house is to have a concept or, at the very least, a visualization of your finished project. Even though you will be getting a contractor to do the work, they will be following your concept, which means that you have to be the brains behind the design.  Why shouldn’t you hire an interior designer? For one, you’ll be the one living in your home. The design must speak to you and reflect your lifestyle. You may take some suggestions from a professional, but ultimately, you have to create the design.

Create a Budget

The next thing to do is to create a budget for the renovation. You may ask your contractor to help you with this if you are not very familiar with renovations. Consider cost of the materials and set a budget for the contractors to stick to.

Set a Schedule

One of the most important things you should do during the whole renovation process is to create a schedule. If you want your home to be liveable as soon as possible, then you have to make sure that you and your contractors are following a tight schedule. You have to work together with your contractor on creating this.

Check the Materials

Ensure that you’re getting the right materials by checking each one of them. Are the flooring tiles exactly as you ordered? Is the paint the right color? Have the contractors bought quality hardwood? You need to monitor the project personally if you don’t want to be cheated. As an employer, it’s also your responsibility to make sure that your contractors are working within the safety regulations. Check whether their protective equipment including the helmets, safety footwear, dust mask, gloves, and more. Some of these things can be provided by the contractor, but there are a few things you need to buy as well.

Finalize Everything With Your Contractor

The last step is to go over your final plan with the contractor. Aside from the materials and equipment, you will also need to be pay for their professional service fee. Before you start, you must make sure that everything is properly put into paper. Let both parties sign the paper to seal the deal. If there should be an issue during the renovation process, any party can refer to the agreement for clarification.

Conclusion

Once all of these steps are already done, you may start with the whole renovation process. It is important to at least have an idea of what you are doing even though you do have a contractor. That way, you can monitor how your plan is brought to life.

 

The Most Important Benefits of Online Estate Agents You should Know

choos

When selling a property, it’s always wise to use an estate agent – the advantages are simply too numerous. Real estate agents help you close the deal in a shorter amount of time, help you with the legal issues, give invaluable advice, and are often able to secure buyers that are willing and able to pay fair value (or above that) for the property.

However, choosing the right estate agent for you and your property is no easy matter, and can seem like a tricky process in and of itself. One way of saving yourself thousands of pounds is by hiring an online estate agent. But can you trust them, and how do they work? Here are the most important benefits of online estate agents you should know.

Lower fees

This is by far the most important advantage you will ever get from the online real estate agent: you have to spend only a fraction of what it would cost you were you to employ the services of a traditional real estate agent. The difference is no joke: the traditional real estate agent usually charges around 1 to 2.5% of the selling price of the property (not yet an added 20% on that for VAT); the online estate agent is a lot less demanding and provides you with the services for a fraction of the traditional costs.

A wide network

Because of the technology that is available, online real estate agents can cast a wide net and hence attract many potential buyers. Traditional real estate agents are often limited to their own smaller networks and connections, which is a disadvantage for them.

Presenting your home

You don’t have to leave it all up to the estate agent – you can present your home when you want it, to whom you want it, and in a way you want it. You have a lot more flexibility when it comes to viewing times. If you have vowed, “I will sell my house online!” then an online estate agent can give you great advice and assistance.

Negotiations

Most online real estate agents may negotiate, but they will always inform you about offers and you will always have the final say.

Arguments can be brought on in favour of high street real estate agents – they do indeed do more of the work, though it may be hard to find one who really works in your interests and does his or her best to meet your demands. The fact is that they charge very high fees and the result certainly isn’t guaranteed. If you want to save money, feel that the various platforms of online real estate agents give your residence plenty of exposure and would rather meet potential buyers personally, then the online real estate agent is perfect for you.

 

 

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Property_g196-Real_Estate_Business_p60311.html

 

 

 

 

 

Six Ways to Boost Home Value

Expect-Home-Price-Growth-in-Chicago-Miami-And-the-Renovations-That-Will-Boost-Resale-Value-Even-More

If you’re going to be putting your home on the market this summer, you’re probably thinking about ways to get every penny of what your home is worth. When you’re motivated to sell your home as quickly as possible for the best price, it’s advisable to set aside a budget for home improvements. Here are a few tips to help your home land its new owner in no time.

Opt for Open Floor Plan

Is your home compartmentalized into several small, cramped spaces? If so, consider taking out a wall or two and opting for an open floor plan. While small homes are becoming more popular for their practicality, making the switch to an open floor plan can make all the difference to draw one’s eye as soon as they walk through the front door. When there’s a wide, open space to look at, potential buyers will be able to instantly imagine how they’ll be able to transform the space to their own liking.

Install a New HVAC System

If you live in an area with a warm climate, it’s often worth it to invest in a brand new air conditioning unit before you sell the home. Brutal summers are hard on everyone, and it’s comforting to those who are home shopping to see catch phrases like new air conditioning unit recently installed on a flyer or MLS. When you need to have your heating and air conditioning needs catered to, seek out an established, reputable company to handle the installation process.

Paint With Neutrals

When you were making yourself at home in your current house, you might have taken creative liberties to make the space uniquely yours. While it’s fun to live in a home that feels like it matches your style, it can be harmful when you’re trying to sell. To help tone down a boldly styled home to make it appealing to a wider audience, gloss over wilder colors with soft neutrals like eggshell white, beige, or dove gray.

Invest in Energy Efficient Features

Most prospective homebuyers place a high priority on going green and lessening their carbon footprint. When you need a quick fix to help your home pop off the page online or in flyers, speak with your local home improvement store about energy efficient features for your home. From energy efficient windows to light bulbs that preserve energy, there’s no shortage of features to choose from that will fit any budget.

Install New Flooring

If your home has carpet flooring, it’s time to make an upgrade to something that’s easier to maintain. Carpet has been losing popularity for years, and it can prove quite difficult to sell a home for its full value if it has carpet throughout the entire floor plan. When you’re looking for a way to add a major boost to your home’s value, it’s always wise to install classically beautiful flooring like hardwood or tile. If you’re working on a tight budget, consider opting for laminate wood in high traffic areas like the kitchen and living room.

Keep Up with Landscaping Chores

An overgrown yard is a big deterrent to potential buyers. If your yard looks more like a jungle than yard of the month, you’ll need to make an effort to keep everything trimmed and under control. Instead of allowing the weeds to grow wild, hire a landscaper to professionally maintain the yard until the home is sold. Small changes like a stone flowerbed wall or expertly trimmed bushes can make a noticeable difference in how many people are interested in the home. To attract the eye of more prospective homeowners, make sure that the yard is in excellent condition.

Moving The Mosquitoes Onward

download

It seems like as soon as the weather turns warm, the mosquitoes know that it’s time to swarm in the yard. Whether you’re trying to get a little lawn work done or simply sit outside to enjoy the sun, the pesky critters take no mercy and bite anything that has skin. Fortunately, there are a few tips to try that can help you keep the bugs away so that you can enjoy the outdoors once again.

Citronella
Anything that you can put around the outside of the home that is made with citronella will help to keep mosquitoes away more than most other products. You can find candles with citronella as well as tiki torches that make for a beautiful decoration around a deck.

Water Woes
Mosquitoes enjoy water in the spring and summer just as much as you do, so it’s best to eliminate standing water around the property as much as you can. The insects like using standing water as a nursery when they lay their offspring. To prevent them from having a place to lay their babies, go around the home to remove old tires, containers and other items that hold excess water. This will eliminate the spaces where they will be able to reproduce, which means a decrease in the number of mosquitoes that swarm around the yard.

Traps
There are traps that you can get that the mosquitoes are attracted to and will then settle inside without being able to get out. Another option is to get a mosquito control misting system that will spray areas of the yard for the insects. Products are safe for the plants in the yard so that you can protect the landscaping while getting rid of mosquitoes and similar insects. You can also use a bug light outside. When the bugs fly into the light, they are zapped. This method kills them instantly. At times, the bug is trapped for about 24 hours before it finally dies, but it won’t be able to fly out of the trap.

Landscaping
Keep up with the landscaping as much as possible. Trim away weeds and bushes that are overgrown as these are areas where mosquitoes like to fly around. They enjoy the shade that is provided by the overgrowth, which is why you need to maintain a clean landscape. This can also help to prevent some of the other small animals that like to seek refuge from the hot sun, such as snakes.

4 Tips for Keeping Your Home Free of Scorpions

scorpion

As a homeowner, dealing with insect pests is probably a fact of life for you, especially when you live in a hot, dry climate where temperatures rarely fall below freezing. While some pests are harmless and simple to handle, others can be dangerous and more difficult to remove from your property, and few present such problems as scorpions. These arachnids, which can be aggressive and venomous, will move into your home if the conditions are right. However, there are a few strategies you can use to keep them away from your property and family.

1. Keep Your Basement Clean and Dry

Scorpions are attracted to environments that are moist, dark, and have plenty of places to hide. Since they can thrive in such conditions, keeping your basement clean and free of any moisture is an important part of repelling these pests. Avoid storing items in your basement but if you must, use clear plastic tubs with snap-on lids instead of cardboard boxes, which scorpions could invade and nest in. Store items off the floor and seal floor or wall cracks with caulk to make your basement less inviting to a roving scorpion.

2. Have Your Roof Inspected

While you might not think of your roof as a possible source of entry for pests, loose or missing shingles could allow scorpions to venture into your attic. Because this could cause an infestation over time, you should consider having your roof inspected, especially if shingle damage is visible from the ground. Have a qualified roofer go over a roof inspection checklist with you and discuss different options for repairs.

3. Call in a Professional

Because scorpions can be dangerous, especially to young children and small pets, you should consider calling in a professional to ensure you are doing all you can to keep these arachnids away from your property. A qualified extermination company can offer you a variety of solutions and help you keep your home pest free. For example, a pest control company can make your yard less attractive to scorpions by removing their prey, such as small insects. When there is less prey to hunt, scorpions will look elsewhere.

4. Clean up Your Yard

While removing potential prey can keep scorpions at bay, making the outdoor perimeter of your yard a less inviting place can also keep scorpions from setting up their homes there. Most species of scorpions hunt at night and hide from the heat during the day, so anything you store in your yard may be a potential den for them. Piles of lumber, bricks, compost heaps, or trash that has not been raked or bagged after a windstorm can all make fine homes for scorpions, and once they are established and begin to breed, this can result in an infestation.

Keeping your yard clean does not have to be time consuming or costly. Do not allow lumber or masonry to pile up, maintain your compost heap, and keep your backyard garden neat. The fewer places you give scorpions to hide, the greater the chance they will look for a home elsewhere.

Scorpions can be both frightening and dangerous, especially when you encounter them indoors. However, taking steps to ensure that your home is not inviting to these pests is an important step in keeping them away.

4 Things To Consider When Choosing Material for Building A Conservatory

conservatory-build-1-04-2

Many consider a conservatory as an occasional space that is suitable only when the weather is not too sunny or too cold. However, with the modern conservatory designs and its pairing with glass technology, the old concepts about conservatories have changed. Having a conservatory can increase the aesthetic appeal of your house and also add to its value.

Things To Consider When Building A Conservatory

There are a number of options when it comes to choosing the right material for building your conservatory. It comes down to three main materials to choose from, uPVC, aluminium and wood. All of these options require a lot of thinking and considerations. The best material will be the one that complements the structure and design of your house.

1.    Cost

One of the main factors to keep in mind is the cost associated with each of the options. Aluminium conservatories are costly, while uPVC and wood can be in anybody’s range depending on the quality of the material used.

2.    Finishing And Colouring Options

When choosing the material for building your conservatory, you also need to keep in mind the colour options available for the material. There are unlimited options of texturing, finishes and colouring when it comes to wood conservatory.  The choice of colouring and finishing in a wood conservatory largely depends on the choice of the homeowner and the overall ambiance of the house. Each colour and finishing will give the conservatory a different effect, thus it is important to keep in mind the overall look of the house when choosing the colour and finishing for the conservatory.

3.    Expected Life

Expected life of the material used for building the conservatory is also very important. A conservatory is not something you can build every other year. Therefore, you need to make sure that the material you use for building the conservatory is long lasting. While some aluminium and uPVC conservatories might cost less initially than a conservatory made with wood, a wood conservatory will last you a much longer time than the first two. The reason for long life of wood conservatory is the fact that it can be repainted, refinished and maintained. On the other hand, repainting uPVC and aluminium conservatories is much difficult. uPVC and aluminium conservatories will break down over time and will have to be replaced because of the worn out look it gives, while wood conservatory will last much long.

4.    Environment Friendly

If you are considering an environment friendly option for your conservatory, nothing beats wood. While initially it might seem as a threat to the environment as it necessitates the cutting of trees, but if the wood is obtained from a sustainable source, it is actually quite the opposite. When wood is used in making products, the carbon dioxide absorbed by it is sealed inside the product and does not harm the environment, neither add to global warming. If obtained from managed forests, wood conservatory is the best choice compared to uPVC and aluminium.

 

Adding a well built conservatory to your home is not a very lengthy process and will add an aesthetic appeal to your house while increasing its value. However, before picking the material for building your conservatory, it is important that you take into consideration all the things mentioned above. Considering the pros and cons of each choice, a wood conservatory is the superior choice of the three.

How an Emergency Plumber Can Help You

Emergency-Plumber-LA

When it comes to dealing with a plumbing emergency it can be stressful trying to figure out how to handle the problem at hand. While there are many articles online for DIY repairs, these aren’t necessarily helpful in an unexpected situation. This is when it’s best to call a professional plumber who has experience with emergency circumstances in particular. There are many ways they’ll be able to help you, including:

1. Diagnosing the Problem

Are you dealing with a leak in your home but don’t know where it originated from? Or is there water flooding in from a broken pipe somewhere in your walls? When you contact an emergency plumber, they will immediately diagnose the problem using their experience and training. With this, you’ll be able to take advantage of the right solutions more quickly.

2. Quickly Arranging Repairs

When it comes to a plumbing emergency, the last thing you want to do is wait around and allow the damage to get worse. Fortunately emergency plumbers do not hold typical office hours, so they can be on site as soon as you give them a call. With that quick service, they can arrange repairs many hours before a traditional plumber would be able to help. In fact, most plumbers will begin repairs right away so the degree and amount of damage can be minimized as much as possible.

3. Provide You With Guidance and Advice

When it comes to handling an urgent problem with plumbing, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. This is when it’s beneficial to have a plumber on site, as they can give you guidance about what’s to come next and advice about what needs to be done now. With their experience and expertise, they’ll be able to provide you with peace of mind and comfort knowing the situation will be taken care of properly.

What to Expect in a Plumbing Crisis

When you contact a 24/7 plumber to come to your home, they will make it their priority to arrive as quickly as possible. Once there, they will immediately get started by analyzing the situation to diagnose the problem at hand. After this they can begin the repair process straightaway so you have less of a burden on your shoulders. As a result of tackling the problem quickly with professional help, this may result in minimized damage and a much more swift clean-up as well. While there may be times when you can do DIY repairs to your plumbing, an emergency is always a time to leave it to someone who has the expertise to resolve the problem properly and efficiently.

Strategic Ways to Boost Protection While Using a Modern Security System

z-wave-residential-security

According the legal reports in the United States, houses in typical communities are burglarized every hour. Although robbers are impulsive, there are ways to prevent crimes that occur in and around a home in a residential area.

In order to fully protect your home, you must invest in highly efficient monitoring equipment. Modern security systems are effective because they give homeowners peace of mind during long vacations and lengthy business trips. However, once the equipment is installed, other steps must to taken to keep potential robbers off of your property. Most robberies occur when burglars spot common signs and vulnerable spots around a home. By resolving these issues, the security system will less likely detect a burglar while you’re away from home.

Trash Cans Out Along the Curb Too Early

Thieves always scout an area before they take action, and the most strategic robbers wait patiently so that they can commit a crime without getting caught. In most communities, burglars study the trash schedule, which is why you shouldn’t put your garbage can out too early. Burglars are very wise, so they’ll know that no one is home if the trashcans are left on the curb several days in advance.

Because many robbers take risks, you must place monitoring equipment outdoors in case someone tries to gain access while you’re in your home. A properly placed monitoring device can also increase security while you run errands, as you’ll get prompt alerts on your phone after a robber step on the property.

Overgrown Plants

Your outdoor security system won’t be effective if there are many tall hedges scattered around the property. Thick hedges, trees, and shrubs benefit robbers because they provide cover. According to professional home inspectors, nearly 81 percent of burglars try to break into a home by picking a lock on the first floor while hiding near a hedge. By keeping your hedges, trees, and shrubs properly trimmed, you’ll create an environment that isn’t ideal for robbers.

Smartphone-Controlled Security System Benefits

Besides the increased security, a smartphone-controlled system can provide other great advantages. For example, when you forget to set the alarm, you can configure the system quickly by pressing a few buttons on your phone. Whenever someone needs to access your home while you’re running errands, the system can help you save gas, time, and money. Instead of driving to your residence, you can disengage the security system instantly by using an app on your phone.

Essential Advice for Changing the Look of Your Kitchen

4

Would you like to change the look of your kitchen? This is one of the most important rooms in your home where a lot is always happening. Not only is it the place where you will spend all of your time making meals and snacks for your family, but it’s also a central location where family and friends come together.

For this reason, you naturally want this room to be perfect. Just remember that if you are planning on remodeling your kitchen, this is a huge undertaking. You’ll want to take careful action to make sure that the process goes smoothly. The following is a list of essential advice for changing the look of your kitchen to make it easier to function in and more cozy and comfortable for you and your family.

1. Make a list of the things that you don’t like.

You can’t know what you want to change unless you understand what you don’t like. Study the kitchen that you have right now to decide what aspects of it annoy or frustrate you, and these are the first things that you should tackle in your remodel.

2. Read up on the best appliances.

The most expensive and important parts of your kitchen will likely be appliances. Make sure that you don’t simply pick any appliance that you like the look of at the store. Instead, read up on the best brands to find the perfect appliances for you.

Higher grade, luxury appliances may be more expensive, but they may provide you with conveniences that make your life a lot easier as well. On the other hand, if you’re looking to save as much money as possible on your remodel, you’ll want to get basic appliances that still operate smoothly and won’t have problems down the line.

3. Ask for professional help.

Most people do a remodel of their kitchen once or twice in a lifetime, so it’s understandable if you don’t have a lot of experience in this area. There are some people who do have experience with kitchen design, however, And they can be an immense help throughout this process. Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help when arranging your redesign.

Finally, don’t forget that it’s important to have input from your family members as well. Often with a remodel project, there’s one family member who organizes everything. This makes sense for logistical reasons, but remember that everyone in your family will be spending time in your kitchen, so it’s important to get some feedback from the other members of your family.

If you do work together and plan ahead, you’ll be sure to create a lovely place where you and your family can spend time and eat great food together for years to come.

Practical Ways to Make Moving Stress Free

ooop

Every day individuals have cause for stress. This is true for those who are planning to move from one home to another. To take off some of the stress from your shoulders, you have to call in a professional moving service. Here is how you can find them:

  1. Go online. Look at some websites and compare what they offer in terms of services and prices. Then if you can, get information from at least three companies. You can compare their services and corresponding charges.

  2. Check if they have a licence to operate. If you can, check the registration in government or industry regulatory bodies. If you get bad information from these, the best thing to do is to scratch them from your list.

  3. Once you have made the big decision, be sure to record all the details of the things you are going to move. If the mover sees a grand piano which you failed to mention, they will charge you for this. To avoid these problems, let the moving company know what the things are that you are going to move.

  4. To know which moving company to trust, you could ask for feedback from friends. Referrals are important but you can also check the customer reviews for further feedback. You can log in to websites that review service oriented companies. The higher the rating of the company, the better.

  5. Create a checklist of what services you need from a professional mover. Here you can include packaging, air and water transport. All the services should depend on your needs. It is better that they do the packaging themselves since they know how to pack any item. It does not matter what size it is, they can pack it. This is an important thing because it protects your things from getting destroyed.

  6. Moving is a bit pricey for an average British person. But sometimes it is unavoidable. This is the reason why it is important that you try to get several estimates from some movers. By doing this, you are able to find the lowest priced mover within your budget.

  7. Get a mover that offers all the works. The good thing about these companies is that they take all the worries away from you. They clean your property, offer self storage and pack your things.

  8. There are movers who withhold information even if you request it. The trick to doing this is to ask all the questions you need to ask. If they avoid a question, try to go around it by asking other questions.

  9. One thing you need to ask is – what protection they offer you and your things.

These are some of the things you need to know and do for a smooth sailing move.  If you’re unsure of which company to turn to, you can always trust Cheltenham removals for the best service.

Image via freedigitalphotos.net (Stuart Miles)