Category Archives: House and Home

How to Successfully Buy Your Dream Home

dream home

You need to curb your enthusiasm when buying a home as it can lead you to make costly mistakes. Rather than rushing through the process, you need to approach each process from the point of knowledge. There are many advantages to owning the roof over your family’s head. Not only do you get to create a custom living space but also build your net worth one month at a time. Partnering with one of the leading Kansas City real estate companies, you can use the rent money to build equity in your home. Of course, you would need to tread carefully to ensure that the house is everything you wanted it to be. Too many people tend to rush the process only to run into severe problems later on.

Create a budget

The last thing you want to do is go with your childhood fantasies about what makes a great home. Unless your finances are up to scratch, you’re not going to live in a castle on the hill or have a lavish house on expansive grounds. Before letting your imagination run the world, you need to remember that buying a home boils down to the strength of your finances.

The best way to know your financial position entails creating a budget as it gives insights into your income and expenses. Naturally, you will use the surplus money from your budget to pay off the mortgage. It’s of primal importance that you create a home-owning budget before going out to buy one. The budget will help define your price range and keep yours from making a costly mistake. It means that you get an affordable mortgage that you can pay off comfortably each month.

Buckle down to research

couple checking home sale contract

Successfully owning a home boils down to getting a property that fits your budget and securing good terms on the mortgage. Unfortunately, none of these factors come as easy. For starters, you need to define what you’re looking for in a home, considering both current and future needs. You also need to pick your lenders carefully to ensure that you get the best terms on your home loan.

Check the neighborhood

More than inspecting the house to ensure that it’s free of defects, you also need to look into the neighborhood. While it’s possible to give a house a makeover, you can do little about the home’s location, and you’re stuck with it for life. Therefore, you need to look at the crucial issues such as safety, available amenities, noise, population, and state of the school district.

Educate yourself

Other than visiting each house that suits your needs, you also need to educate yourself on the mortgage and home-owning process. You will have a better experience if you approach the entire process from a knowledgeable position. It means that you get to understand your situation and take corrective measures.

The last thing you want to do when buying a home is rush through the entire process. Doing so increases your chances of making costly mistakes that could put your dream house at risk. With proper planning, you can get the perfect home, one that fits your needs and your financial strength. It means that you escape the danger of buying a house that could strain your finances and ruin your quality of life.

Escape to the Country: Why You Should Consider Buying a Home in Wyndham (West Melbourne)

Agent shaking the hand of the new house ownerFrom its humble beginnings as an industrial town, Wyndham has grown to be an up and coming real estate destination among investors. It’s no wonder why.

Surrounded by sea and bordered by vast fertile lands, Wyndham is a good marriage of fantastic nature views and a thriving residential and commercial scene. Residents describe it as a “stress-free environment” with a “neighbourhood” feel on a popular suburb review website, and one look at it would immediately confirm how much of this is true. Read on to get to know more of this locale, and why it might be the right choice for your home buying endeavour.

Geography

Bodies of water and rugged terrain surround Wyndham and its neighbouring locales. It has a lot of flatlands and prairies, with an equal dose of the outback for some trekking and animal watching.

Meanwhile, its housing estates and public areas are well paved and linked to transportation hubs. Wyndham is a well-developed city that is never lacking in public facilities and places to go to, which makes it easy for you to connect with the outside world.

Landmarks and Facilities

Aerial view of a neighbourhoodWyndham, as well as surrounding areas in general, are near schools and public facilities. The area also has good transport links, according to current residents. Just read the glowing reviews on Homely.com.au to understand why it has become a beloved residential district. Several construction projects are currently taking place in the area to accommodate more professionals looking for a new home, and to add to present service facilities.

Things to Do

There is no lack of points of interests in Wyndham, which makes it a good place for professionals, couples and families. There is, of course, the famed Werribee Park, whose beautiful mansion is the first thing you will see upon entering its premises. Then there’s the elaborate Victoria State Rose Garden, which is indeed a work of art.

For nature lovers, Wyndham has a range of marine sanctuaries and waterfronts, such as Werribee River and South Foreshore, the Wyndham Harbour, and the K Road Cliffs where you can go bird watching. And if you just want to kick back and relax, there are several wineries and speakeasies, hotels and spas in the vicinity.

There is also a good selection of sports destinations for the adventurous and athletic types, such as the Aerochute International, the National Equestrian Centre, the Melbourne 4×4 Training and Proving Ground, and lastly, the Sanctuary Lakes Golf Club.

If you have been eyeing properties in the Australian countryside, consider looking at lands for sale in West Melbourne. There are many undiscovered benefits to living in the northernmost part of Victoria, which not a lot of people are aware of, especially the urban dwellers. Don’t be afraid to swap the cosmopolitan life with a little bit of ruggedness and the simple life. You will not regret it.

Ready to move? Get in touch with a reliable local real estate agent in Northern Wyndham now to assist you with your search for your new humble abode.

The Big Move: 3 Ways to Adjust to the City Life

Buildings in a philippine cityAlthough exciting, moving homes is admittedly overwhelming. It’s not just because of the logistics nightmare that happens almost all the time or the hidden costs along the way; it’s also the fact that such a change isn’t just a change in address, but a change in life. This is especially true for Filipinos moving from the provinces to the city. Nonetheless, there are many ways to survive, nay, thrive in this transition. If you’re planning to get out of your small town to pursue a career or go to your dream university, here are some tips to help you adjust better to your new life:

1. Dedicate a tour day

The more that you become familiar with your area, the better you’d feel at home and the less you’d feel like an outsider. Hence, after you get settled in, roam around the city. Plan an itinerary so that you can better maximize your time. Go online and search for nearby top restaurants and cafes around the vicinity. See if there are museums and libraries close to your place as well. Usually, in big cities, such as Pasig and Makati, such establishments are just a ten-minute drive away from each other. If you’re still looking for a place to stay, though, prioritize then the location. You want to be near commercial and cultural spots, which offer avenues for your interests. Consider the condominiums in Ortigas. This location allows you to be near prime establishments in the metro.

2. Befriend the locals

Friends enjoying their lunchYou feel more comfortable in a big city when you get to know the locals. Thus, don’t just drop by at the cat cafe you see on your tour day, spend time at the place. Make your face familiar to the baristas. Engage in small talk with them. Ask them for advice on how you can get from one place to another. Of course, don’t forget your very own neighbors, too. Smile at them when you see them in your condo lobby. Hold elevators for them. Perhaps, help them in carrying grocery bags. Observe proper etiquette as well: using shared areas responsibly, following the trash collection schedule, keeping the noise to a minimum, etc. Participate in community gatherings as well. Attend those condo association meetings. If you could join a volunteer group in your locale or a church, that would be good for your sanity. The bottom line is that you maximize opportunities to interact with people.

3. Spend your money wisely

A lot of people who are new to the city get overwhelmed with so much stuff available any time everywhere. It’s tempting to go on a shopping spree on clothes, especially if there’s a sale in the mall near your condo. It’s hard to hold off on spending when a really nice restaurant is just a five-minute walk away from your home. Still, try your best to control spending. Money is the root of many city life woes. Remember that you have a lot on your plate, a career to grow, a college degree to finish, or a spouse to support, so don’t add a chunk of issues in that already-filled plate. Be wise in handling your money. Have a budget and stick to it.

It’s tough moving from a small province to a big city. It’s an absolute change in lifestyle. But you’ll be able to adjust eventually. Remember the mentioned tips as you start your city life.

Where Are The Best Places For Home Purchases Near Salt Lake Area?

house with sold written outsideMedian home prices in Salt Lake Area are expected to increase further this year, which means that you should probably look for properties beyond the region if high prices are your main concern.

For instance,a residential property for sale in Daybreak or other places in South Jordan are some of the good alternatives. Prices in these areas may not be as expensive as buying a house in Salt Lake City, but it’s close enough to different establishments and facilities. As 2018 marked a time of rising home prices in Utah, home buyers should expect the cost of an average house in Salt Lake County to reach more than $355,000.

High Prices, Low Interest Rates

A Salt Lake Board of Realtors-commissioned report showed that home prices in the county have risen by 80% since 2005. While prices have become steep, most people somehow did not realize the impact on their budget due to the low mortgage interest rates. Hence, buyers have been able to acquire houses that would otherwise be too expensive for them.

Still, the increase in housing prices could reflect bigger mortgage payments. In 2018, the monthly payment for an average house rose by 55% to $2,014 from $1,299 in 2013, according to the report. A projected decline in salaries would not be helpful either, so picking a home in a suburban area in Utah should be a better option.

Seller’s Market

house with paved drivewayHigh prices often indicate that it is a seller’s market, but only if sales are also increasing at the same time. The report noted that sales of stand-alone houses will just reach 12,000 units in Salt Lake area. The good news, however, involves an up to 7% increase in median prices amounting to $375,000.

Despite this, Salt Lake City and the rest of the state remains more affordable than other places in the U.S. These include certain cities in California, Florida and Oregon, where people spend over 28% of their income to cover the cost of living.

Unaffordable Cities

Buying a median-priced house in Santa Cruz, California, would cost you around $895,800 this year. If you can afford one, be prepared to spend more than $1,800 for monthly housing expenses. Those who earn an average household income over $73,000 will spend 30% of it on housing alone.

In Miami, the median home price is much lower at $385,100 yet the median household income is also smaller at around $51,800. Residents spend 29.7% of their income on housing expenses. Those who live in Grants Pass, Oregon, spend 27.1% of their income on housing. The average home price in the city costs $334,600, while monthly housing expenses cost $918. When you compare that against a $40,705 median income, it doesn’t seem economical.

Conclusion

Home buyers are better off looking for properties outside major urban areas, while property owners should consult a management company to improve their chances of a sale. It may be a good time to sell because of higher prices, but many will be reluctant to buy for the same reason.

Options for Boosting the Privacy of a Chain-Link Fence

chain link fence

The fence is one of the primary elements that people will notice about your property. It is also an essential aspect of your property’s security and privacy. One of the best-looking, inexpensive, and most durable options for fencing nowadays is a chain-link fence. There are several design options for these fences, including metallic and color-coated, composite and post, and chain-link fences.

With all these benefits, most property owners contracting the services of a fence company in Tampa overlook chain-link fences for other options. The primary reason for this is the lack of privacy associated with the fences. This should, however, not stop you from getting a chain-link fence since there are many options for enhancing the fence’s privacy. Here are a few of the best:

Fence Slats

The spaces in a chain-link fence can comfortably allow the vertical insertion of narrow pieces. The individual slats are slid from the top and are securely held in place by the wires of your fence and hence need no additional reinforcement. Chain-link fence slats are typically made of aluminum or polyethylene. Although expensive and tedious to install, they offer 75% visual blockage.

Full Bamboo Screens

bamboo fence

Bamboo fencing comprises attached poles with a thickness of 2 centimeters to 2 inches. The screens can be installed in chain-link fences by tying them using foot-long 16 gauge wires to the poles and rails. The best poles in chain-link fences for tying bamboo screens are those with a node since these act like natural weather-resistant caps for the screens. Full bamboo screens offer 85% visual blockage and give your property a tropical-like look and feel. However, they need regular maintenance to minimize their risk of deterioration.

Reed Screens

These are made of thin bamboo reeds with the thickness of drinking straws woven together into mats with lengths of approximately 8 to 10 feet. Reed screens are generally installed vertically. They offer 85% visual blockage when new, and they are among your cheapest privacy options. Still, they last for only 1 to 2 years, after which they start falling out of the wires and weaving materials and turn gray or yellowish brown.

Mesh Windscreen

This option at first glance resembles a tarp. Mesh windscreens are wind- and water-permeable, with brass grommets and a double-thick trim around their perimeter. The screens can be attached to your chain using zip ties and provide privacy of 80 to 96%. This privacy option is extremely durable since it is made of UV-rated non-organic polypropylene. Unfortunately, mesh windscreens have a low aesthetic impact and are commonly used on tennis courts, swimming pools, and schools rather than residential properties.

Wooden Panels

These are pre-constructed in factories then attached to the chain-links using U brackets. Most of the wood species used for these panels are weather-resistant and have excellent durability. The visibility coverage of wooden panels is approximately 90%. They are, however, bulky and will need more than two people to install.

With these alternatives, you can now invest in chain-link fences without apprehension about your property’s lack of privacy. Moreover, these options will significantly boost the look of your property. Still, they will work only when installed by a professional and bought from a reputable dealer.

On the Fence Between a Shed or a Cabin? Say No More

Tool shed

The best way to utilise a backyard space is by using part of it for cabins or sheds. But what exactly is the difference or the similarities between these two build-outs? Let’s find out and see what suits your needs.

What is a shed?

A shed is a structure that’s usually small and built with framework and cladding. The building parts usually come in pre-fabricated and delivered to the building site, in a ready-to-build format.

The biggest advantage of using this is it takes a shorter amount of time to put together. If you have enough people to help build it, it can actually be done in a single project day.

Sheds are typically used as external storage facilities within the premises of one’s property, typically placed in the backyard. There are other popular uses of this type of building, and we’ll get to that in a bit, after answering the question below.

What is a cabin?

Cabins come in larger unit sizes and are built on-site, using individual logs to build the walls and can accommodate modifications to its layout, including adding a bathroom and a kitchenette in the setup. The biggest advantage of a cabin is that it has a higher level of insulation, making it an ideal aux room, home extension, or a separate dwelling unit within a property’s premises.

It can also be used as a storage facility — like its sibling structure, the shed — but can also be used for different other purposes. This includes using it as an outdoor den, a creative studio, a pool house, or even a guest house.

Which one is better?

The answer is both are great options to use for building a structure in the backyard, and these two are commonly interchangeably used. It all depends on how big your space is and what the overall purpose of it will be.

If you’re looking to use it as a guesthouse, a workspace, a gran flat — mainly a working or a dwelling space, cabins are an excellent option. But if space is a challenge, a shed will do just as good. For use as a storage facility, a relaxing outdoor nook, an indoor garden, or a workshop, or even a kids’ playhouse, sheds are an ideal and practical option.

The size of the finished structure also allows you to install a couple of these side by side if you have space and would like to have separate buildings for different uses.

How do you spruce it up?

Construction shed

Both cabins and sheds can be designed to suit your taste. Both buildings can withstand the changing seasons, and both offer the protection you need for any of your outdoor dwelling, gardening, or workspace needs.

The good thing about these structures is that these can be relocated, in the event of moving to a new home. These structures can also be used for various purposes, throughout its lifetime, without having to tear it down to serve its new purpose. It’s pretty much a blank canvass that you can design to make it fit your changing space requirements; it’s practical and efficient, and adds value to your property to boot.

Are you starting with your shed or cabin project this weekend? Here are some design ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Have fun building and designing, and congrats in advance with new (auxiliary) home!

How Office Designs Can Promote Employees Health

Gone are the days when office workspaces were limited to cubicles. Companies are now more aware of what employees need to ensure that they are in an environment where they can be most productive. After all, a happy workplace is almost certain to result in a better more profitable organisation.

An important way to ensure employee productivity is by promoting health. When workers are physically and mentally healthy, they’re better able to contribute to their company. A happy and healthy workforce is also much more likely to be actively engaged in the success of the company.

Bring in Workspaces for Different Personalities

Every office is made up of different personalities. Some people tend to socialise with everyone while others prefer to work in solitude. Many fall into the middle of this spectrum, and it is in a business’ interest to make sure they accommodate, to the best of their ability, all the people in the company.

Accommodating the needs of different personalities will help employees collaborate with each other and be more efficient in their work. Commercial office fitouts can add a collaborative area where employees can freely exchange ideas with colleagues, while independent workspaces provide a space where employees can work quietly.

Add Plants

A 2010 research by the New University of Technology Sydney revealed that plants help lower stress and improve moods in the office. Reports showed that staff members with plants in their offices showed reduced stress levels by 30 to 60 per cent. In addition, colour psychologists assert that green has a relaxing and calming effect.

The office does not necessarily need to have a full-blown garden, but adding natural elements in the area will certainly help improve mental health. Some common biophilia elements in the office include walls of foliage or simple potted plants on desks.

Use Ergonomic Furniture

woman comfortably sitting on her chair

Employees are prone to health problems, even if they are just sitting down on their desks all day. Some common problems include carpal tunnel syndrome and poor posture. Investing in ergonomic furniture will help workers prevent these conditions.

Also, consider adding sit-stand desks to encourage staff members to adopt a standing position which improves overall health in the office. In fact, a 2018 study by Loughborough University proved that reducing sitting time not only boosts productivity but also reduces back problems.

Install Proper Lighting

Proper lighting makes all work tasks easier as it reduces eye fatigue and headaches. Consider bringing in more natural light to the office by enlarging the windows or adding more of them. Also, adding corrective or ambient lighting in the office will help minimise discomfort brought by fluorescent light fixtures.

Add a Recharge Area

Even the most dedicated and enthusiastic employees tire and need to recharge. Having a space where workers can rest will do wonders for their well-being. A gaming area is a common space for employees to exercise and de-stress, while recharge rooms allow them to meditate or relax for a few minutes.

Companies are now better armed with the knowledge of how to take care of their employees. Although it may seem that there is an initial cost to setting up different office spaces or refurbishing them, the benefits of having healthy and happy employees makes the initial outlay worthwhile.

Initiatives That Boost Productivity and Engagement Among Employees

Employee working

Businesses are making decisions pertaining to improving their workforce’s mental and emotional health. And there are several programs and initiatives that can help them achieve these. That way, workers will be able to achieve a sense of fulfilment and motivation on the job.

Below are some of the significant pointers that businesses need to keep in mind.

Implement flash walks

It really is essential to implement flash walks for an hour. This can help employees stimulate their creativity level. Walking on industrial stairs helps provide both psychological and physical benefits, too.

This can also decrease the healthcare costs for a company. The presence of industrial stairs can really help move the energy forward among them. This will also help avoid the strain of standing or sitting for long time periods.

Give the option of working at home

This may seem a not-so-ordinary pointer to consider. But, businesses need to allow their employees to work from home. This should be the norm because it gives employees the chance to boost their morale and productivity.

Apart from it, they get an emotional and mental break from being inside the office. They also at least get a good break from a long commute.

Introduce healthy foods to them

Healthy food

Healthy food actually means to say heal thy self with foods. That is why corporations and businesses need to provide processed-free and organic foods. There are already corporate cafeterias that can be seen in most companies.

And that is quite good news to know that anyone can have access to healthy food choices. During the warmer months, it would be ideal to have farmer’s markets. These will potentially open them up to the freshest farm produce available.

Also, an integrative wellness program can guide them to eat healthily. Proactive feedback will also positively promote good diet and health.

Incorporate fitness programs

The lives of employees should be filled with joy, balance, longevity, work productivity, and physical activity. The good thing is that it is easy to incorporate this.

The management should present stress management training and seminars, yoga classes, on-site or full-scale fitness centres, and more. As they stay in the office, they should enjoy perks that make them perform better and feel better.

Create CSR programs

Employees need to be fully engaged in several corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. This is in line with experiencing complete well-being.

Success and growth won’t pursue when there is no purpose attached to them. Promote a healthy and fulfilling life among employees. They should know the very purpose of life. And that involves the need to contribute more to others.

They must understand the importance of giving back while reaping off successes in life. This can already serve as a guide for them towards living a life that is meaningful and valuable.

Managers should explore ways to appreciate their employees. That is so far achieved by implementing some of the initiatives like flash walks, corporate social responsibility, and more. Boost their well-being and morale with all those mentioned pointers.

Easy Furnace Repair Troubleshooting Steps Before Calling for Repairs

Plumber fixing a furnaceA furnace is a necessity during cold weather. It just so happens that Salt Lake City can get a lot colder than most cities. A cold home may need immediate furnace repair services in Salt Lake City. A furnace is one of the most important features of any home. It keeps the house and its occupants warm and comfortable. However, problems sometimes happen, and when they do, the homeowner should understand what is happening before calling professional help.

Common Problems

Traditional furnaces are non-managed. These are turned on when the weather is cold and turned off when the weather is warmer. Today’s furnaces are more sophisticated and need proper monitoring and maintenance. There are automatic switches, thermostat controls, and even apps which can control the furnace. There are more problems with modern furnaces. The homeowner would do well to know possible furnace problems so he can relay this to the professionals.

Eight of the most common furnace problems are:

1. The furnace is not turned on, or the thermostat is set at a low temperature. It is easy to think that the furnace is turned on because it was working a while ago. The furnace might have turned off due to the breaker switch. Or it might have turned off because of the timer. If the timer’s date and time are wrong, it would still turn off and follow the time on the automated timer switch.

If there is inadequate heat, it is possible that the thermostat is set too low. Try to set the thermostat at least 5 degrees above the actual temperature. This will save you money in the long run and would keep the furnace from overheating.

2. The furnace is turned on, but it is not producing any heat. Check the circuit breaker. It might have switched off inadvertently.

3. The furnace is not producing enough heat. Check the filter; if it is dirty, it is time to replace it.

Technician looking over a gas furnace4. Safety switch did not turn on. The safety switch is part of the door system. The safety switch keeps the system turned off until after the furnace door is closed. Locate and inspect the safety switch, test it by closing and opening the furnace door and checking if the device turns on and generates heat, or not.

5. Cluttered surroundings. For safety reasons, keep the area around the furnace clean. This means that flammable liquids should be stowed elsewhere, and away from the furnace. The paper should not be kept lying near the furnace. Paper and flammable fluids do not mix well with furnaces. Additionally, the clutter might be hindering the air flow.

6. The burner flame should be blue. It’s like a gas range; it burns fuel cleanly if it is blue and even. However, when it burns yellow, or the flame is too low, then it may have problems either in the fuel, tank or the hose.

7. The furnace blower lacks maintenance. The blower helps distribute the heat throughout the house. To ensure proper operation, it should be oiled once a year.

8. Check the limit switch. The limit switch controls the blower. If the limit switch is not running properly, the blower will run continuously, and this will result in a shorter life span. If the limit switch is faulty, the temperature will run too high.

The above troubleshooting steps help the user to keep their furnace running properly. Although these can be quickly done by the owner, most parts replacement are better done by professionals.

Goodbye Conventional Hinged Doors: A Primer to Cavity Sliders

Swing doors with hinges are still popular in Australia, but cavity sliding door systems are gaining traction in urban residential areas where space is limited. When door clearance is an issue and when someone in the family has difficulty moving around, a cavity slider is the architect’s choice.

What more do you need to know about cavity sliders before sealing the deal with a local contractor? Read on to find out.

Finding a door with a frame that slides within a wall

Finding a company with an extensive product range is the first step to having an alternative divider and entryway. While browsing catalogs, you will realize that there is more than one version of this type of door. High-quality sliding doors come in standard and custom sizes. Usually, cavity sliders are metal doors, but wooden doors are available as well.

Single and double cavity doors

The biggest attraction for these doors is the improved accessibility coupled with a more streamlined look. A sliding door within a single cavity frame is a standard for bathrooms and indoor entryways. A double-sided cavity frame goes with double doors and glides smoothly within a wall cavity. A double door is more popular as an entryway in between rooms.

Introducing the glass door cavity frame

Sliding doors are relatively easy to install. Moreover, they slide smoothly and make very little noise when done right. It might interest you to know that many commercial establishments favor another type of cavity door.

sliding doors

The glass door cavity frame is a great alternative to thick opaque doors that open on hinges. You’ve probably seen one in a hotel or retail store. These doors are tough enough to be placed in high traffic areas.

Half-slide installations are space savers, too

There is another solution for doorways in locations with limited space—whether in a home or business setting. A half-hinged installation can open from a hinged side and can slide as well.

Weather-resistant sliders

If you want to keep exploring cavity door options, then consider aluminum sliding doors. These can be customized to fit the aesthetic requirements of your home’s main entrance. Since they can be fitted with mortise locks, you may use this type of door as the main entryway. Business establishments are favoring the design given the advantages it offers. Aside from being a space-saving alternative, the material and design offer longevity and security. The weather-resistant coating allows for use in various climatic conditions.

Top or bottom

There is one more feature that requires your attention. A sliding door may be top hung or bottom rolling. In terms of design and engineering, you may ask your architect or contractor which type is the most suitable. There are many important questions to ask. For instance, if you want an exterior sliding door, is it better to install one that is hung on top? If the requirement is an interior entryway, would a bottom rolling installation be more advisable?

Sliding doors are meant to be used in both residential and commercial applications. When choosing the right type and style of door for your property, the form and function should be given equal importance.