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The Latest Home Improvement Trends

Posted by on Apr 24, 2014 in News | 0 comments

One of the hottest new trends online is the sharing economy. It is a revolution that is shaking the foundations of traditional business and financing structures. The core premise of this sharing economy is that what is mine can also be yours. Sharing what you have with others. Traditionally, a majority of the profit was given to the organizations and peoples who could figure out how to stack people and connections to form successful enterprises. They paid the minimum because they could and wealth was therefore concentrated. The revolution of the sharing economy is that it is destroying these verticals and absolutes. The main ethos of the economy is familial sharing. The idea that without them its for us is changing things at the foundation. This change is expressing itself in manners that are too outlandish even for sci-fi.

The death of the hotel

Traditionally when going on vacation people rent hotels and resorts. These highly maintained establishments were the pinnacle of vacation and status symbols for those that use them. They are and never will be dethroned. Instead, it is the other breed that will go the way of the dodo and disappear from our coastlines and strips. The outdated, expired motels and hotels that house the non savvy and poor. These places are blights on our roads, and often avoided if possible. These hotels range from crack houses to even normal hotels like a Best Western. They new fast flexible and personal is taking over.

A dazzled generation looks for something brighter

Anyone who grew up after the 50′s is familiar with tourist traps. The the typical bright lights, loud language, and cheap construction that has abused it’s legal rights to exist and have distorted our favorite places into jokes of their former glory. In 2014 the trend is local. In alignment with this a company called AirBnB has just received 500 million of investment and are poised to revolutionize the travel industry. AirBnB allows users with high quality homes in nice areas to use their sunken expense of an unused home, and make a profit. Sometimes this is enough to cover the renters lease entirely. Other times, they even profit. The best units are in upscale urban areas. These condos and apartments are highly decorated with unique collections of vintage furniture from www.furnishmevintage.com. These unique houses with furniture that has character, electronics you’d pick for yourself, and a kitchen that you would be proud to own are replacing all mid-tier hotels. Averaging about $50-$150 a night, these places are direct price comparisons with far greater amenities. Often times they are in locations with high rated walking scores. That makes them ideal for any visitor to walk around the city as a local would. The brighter experience we all want. What is even better though, is users are getting paid to make it happen. Money back into the common consumer. The hotel chains are understandably upset about this. So too are oil companies and phone services. They are on their way out and their market share is decreasing. All as a result of the sharing economy.

How to Improve a Spare Room

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in News | 0 comments

When buying a house many people want to have a spare room – even though a lot of people don’t actually know what to do with it. I was recently chatting to a friend, a first-time buyer, who is almost ready to put an offer in on a four bedroom house he has seen. When I asked what he planned to do with the other rooms he said ‘he wasn’t sure’ but ‘it’s nice to have a spare room, you never know when it may come in handy.’ Whilst this is true, I think many first-time buyers overstretch their budget to think about their dream place. My friend’s house is within his budget but I have seen first time-buyers in the past struggling time and time again to afford a property that quite frankly, they don’t necessarily need. If you’re a first-time buyer looking at other peoples’ properties and wondering how they have such a big house, remember that it took them a while to get there. Too many people looking to purchase their first home get ahead of themselves and compare their property to someone who has been on the ladder for some time. So if you can’t afford a house with a spare bedroom – don’t worry. Everyone has to start somewhere!

But for all those out there that can afford to have a few extra spare rooms, it’s crucial you make them into something and don’t just leave them empty. Not only will this give your house a homely feel and allow you to use all of your space, but room conversions can definitely add value to a property.

Many people work from home nowadays but even if you don’t, turning your spare room into an office can be a great way to use space and can help when it comes to selling – as many people like to have somewhere in the house where they can work. Turning a room into an office is pretty simple. You should pick a colour that is neutral and calming and look at buying a desk, computer chair and book shelves to deck out the room. There are lots of little touches, like paperweights and picture frames, that you can add to a desk to give it a more homely feel.

Another idea for a spare room is to make it into a gym. If you have gym equipment stashed in your garage then why not make it a focal point of your property and make a small gym in your spare room? Wooden floors and yoga mats, exercise balls and free weights – you don’t need much to make a room into a place to exercise.

Although the living room is the main place to relax and unwind you could always consider making a spare room into a games/movie room. Buying an extra television, book cases, pillows, lights and a bean bag can help you to transform your room into an extra room to entertain guests in. Investing in posters and movie themed decor could also give your room an extra edge.

When you are deciding what to do with your spare rooms it’s a good idea to get your computer out (I bought mine from a website selling wholesale laptops) and get researching. Use Google to research your colours and decide a theme before purchasing anything and look around for furniture and ornaments – you can usually find a bargain if you look for long enough.

How to Increase Income from Your Rental Property

Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Many landlords have a property which they look at and think; how can I make more money from this one? One simple answer to increase rental yields may be some simple renovation work. Here are a few expert tips.

Décor

It can be surprising the effect a bit of redecoration can have on a property. You want the property to appeal to the potential tenant, to ‘sell the lifestyle’ you are aiming for, be it a period house or a modern construction.

Updating the décor of the house doesn’t have to cost a fortune, especially if you are targeting the house at certain markets. For instance, students often like things plain and simple while a professional family might want something more stylish and on trend. So keep in mind who you are aiming to let the house to when redecorating.

Period Features

Studies have shown that period houses have better occupancy rates as well as higher rental yields than new built properties. Particularly Georgian and Victorian properties have a character to them which you can bring out with the addition of a few pieces of period furniture.

Even touches such as original fireplaces, doors and even flooring can help make the house fulfil it’s potential and look the part. It can be worth spending a little extra on the décor and furnishings for an older property to make it pay for itself in the long run.

Adding Bedrooms

The figures speak for themselves; one example is a two bedroom property in an area of Edinburgh, which had a rent of £750-800 per month.

A three bedroom property in the same area would be £1050 per month.

That’s not to say it is cheap, or sometimes easy, to add a bedroom on to a property and cannot be done to some older properties. One options is a conversion to existing rooms into two smaller rooms for children if you are aiming to rent the property to a family.

On the turn side, professionals without children may prefer to have a larger rooms and less of them, so remember this when planning renovations.

Full Renovation

A full scale renovation is obviously the most expensive option of those discussed here, but then, depending on the existing condition of the house, may end up paying for itself in the long run. If you have recently purchased a property but find it needs some tender, loving care, remember that this will bring a higher rental yield after the work has been done.

You are much more likely to get desirable tenants for a property which has had work done to it than one which hasn’t. Always bear in mind your target market when doing this work and watch out for rules and regulations surrounding the property before undertaking anything.

Conclusion

These are just a few basic concepts to think about when trying to make more money from your rental property. Sometimes the concept is speculate to accumulate; you may need to spend some money first to make it back over the years in better rents and reliable tenants.

It can also be a good option to get educated first and learn how to buy investment property before you jump straight in to a large refurbishment project.

It Is A Buyers Market Out There

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Historically, real estate has been one of the best ways to generate real and long lasting wealth. In all balance it’s about playing supply and demand and buying low and selling high. With real estate, they aren’t making any more. That means supply is fixed. Demand is increasing as our populations grow. This means that inevitably, housing prices will increase. This is a foundation of the real estate market and has made many millions of people many millions and billions of dollars. The core truth is that any asset owned, in this case property, can be resold to those without for a premium. You make the difference between cost and return. When the asset is completely paid for you take in all the profits. This allows you to have enough extra income to purchase a second asset/property and continue the cycle to infinity.

The last few years though have been difficult for real estate. With the housing market collapse in 2007, the entire worlds credit system has deflated and the once highly valued homes have fallen to 50% of their one time glorious highs. This deflate caused many owners to lose their property through various reasons. Some were Zero-down loans designed only for short term use. Others lost their job in the economy collapse and couldn’t pay their excessively high mortgages. Either way, the market is now saturated with foreclosed homes. Florida alone has over 400,000 closed or distressed properties sitting empty, waiting for a family or investor to take it over. The problem is credit is still being held tight as the FOMC keeps the US interest rate low. few banks are willing to offer credit lines at these rates to risky investments. The credit dried up, and over the years the houses are starting to fall apart.

This is a good thing for us. As market values of homes are at all time lows, the time is right to purchase them so that you can ride the price up. All you need is to find a service which can pick the best homes for you to invest in. These mortgage companies and stock picking services are adept in all forms of asset investment. in addition, while credit lines are tight banks are now starting to loosen the reins on their credit lines. Decreasing unemployment from 10% to 6% means more people have jobs and can afford to repay the loans they take. In addition, increased regulations are preventing repeat tragedies from occurring like the 2007 housing market collapse and the subsequent 2009 global market crash.

It is the recommendation of this longtime Mortgage broker that the markets are ripe to enter again. The foreclosed houses have been sitting for half a decade empty and are in need of some basic remodeling and touch ups. With a little effort and a small amount of capital you can buy and flip a home with the gains not seen since 2005 at the height of the markets. Economist believe this increase in real estate sales will hold steady for the next 2 years. At that point the market will inevitably begin expressing certain indicators of inflation and will experience a drop in consumer confidence leading to a drop in the stock market This is inevitable and does not mean you look your asset. It just delays the eventual return. Real estate is as it always has been, a great investment.

Higher Pay for the These Important Professions!

Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in News | 0 comments

There’s been a lot of talk over the last few years about how the middle class is earning less and less, and as a mortgage broker, I definitely see that fewer and fewer people are looking for homes. People cite a bunch of different reasons, but I think that the main reason is that much of our workforce is severely underpaid. From social workers to teachers to CNAs to cops to psychologists, there are a ton of jobs that should be paying more.

Let’s take a look at those jobs, and see what we can do to push our companies and our government into increasing wages.

1. Firemen. There are few professions where every single day at work could be the last day you spend on earth. Fireman, just like social workers, provide a service to the community that is both necessary and under-funded. Most firefighters don’t make too much, and while it is true that firemen have historically been given excellent pensions, their day-to-day wages have not kept up with inflation, and, just like teachers, many firemen can’t afford to live in the towns where they work. For such a dangerous job, that’s not fair.

2. Teachers. Once upon a time, teaching was a respected profession, and teachers could rely on a paid retirement after years of service. Recent events, however, have put the security of teachers at risk, and fewer and fewer people are entering the field. The dearth of job applicants is seen in major cities, where the cost of living is so high that a teacher cannot afford to live in the same area where he or she teaches. One idea is to build “teacher dorms,” where teachers can live with lower rent and stabilized housing, but seems like a band-aid and not a cure. Teachers deserve better wages, and they deserve better wages now.

3. Social Workers. Social work has, historically, been a low-paying job, despite the importance of the work: social workers help find abused children new homes, and get hospital services for people with severe mental health disorders, and help abused spouses leave their abusers. They provide a service that does incredible good, and in some cases, they even save lives. Social work is among the highest paid careers in other cultures, and that’s a trend that should catch on over here!

4. Certified Nurse Assistants. Nurse assistants—or CNAs, as they are commonly referred to—do the real dirty work when people get sick, particularly for the old and infirm. CNAs assist with vital tasks such as clothing, feeding, toileting, and moving patients with severe disabilities, and provide face-to-face support for patients who require help. The job provides the fundamental—and, arguably, one of the most important—concepts of care. Unfortunately, CNAs make around ten dollars an hour, and are required to work very long shifts. As more and more of our government money goes to health care, it is only fair that these hard workers see an increase in their wages.

5. Professors. Like many professions on this list, the job of professor used to be a high-paying job. In fact, there used to be a certain respect for someone who had studied so deeply and become an expert in his or her field. Today, professors are seen as people who have made a bad career choice! The rate of pay has fallen through the floor, and whereas colleges and universities used to provide tenure and housing for professors (after all, a professor is supposed to be studying, teaching, and publishing!) those perks are long gone. Most professors are crippled with college debt, and making next to nothing, and that is going to cause fewer and fewer people to become professors. And, when that happens, who teachers our future engineers and scientists and doctors?

6. Cabbies. Believe it or not, the cabby who drives you around works like a beast! Cabbies usually work 10 hours a day, for six days a week. That is an incredibly tough schedule, and most cabbies live paycheck-to-paycheck. And while this job may not be as important as the other professions, it has important social value: being a cabbie is a great career for someone with limited education or skills, and it is a great job for someone who is new to the country and lives in an urban environment. So while the career may not be as vital or as dangerous as a fireman, it has an important function as well.

Times changes, and professions change. That’s to be expected. But the professions above are integral parts of any society. We need health care professionals, we need teachers, we need social workers, we need firefighters, we need professors, and we need bus drivers. Those careers aren’t going to disappear, and we need our best and brightest to be drawn to them—so let’s starting paying a living wage!

Bathrooms sell houses!

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in News | 0 comments

A great bathroom will help a house sell quickly and for the most money. A bad bathroom will stop buyers in their tracks. Old, ugly and leaking is not what people want to wake up to every morning to bathe.

Doing a bathroom renovation can be expensive but it is a fantastic way to add value to your home or investment. Bathroom renovations are one of the most common home improvement projects that people undertake. They can be as simple as replacing the shower head or as complex as completely stripping the bathroom and starting again. Depending upon your budget and DIY experience you should pick something in between.

A great simple improvement to your bathroom is to upgrade the shower head. A new shiny head with a larger spray pattern can turn an average shower into a bit of luxury. Also a new shower head to raise the height of the shower can turn a cramped shower into a winner.

However, if you want to really improve the quality of your shower experience, the latest product on the market is the shower panel – an all in one metal or glass panel that includes a shower head, powerful body spray jets, a handheld shower and even a new mixer tap.

Other simple ideas to add value quickly and easily via your bathroom include updating the bathroom vanity and tap ware.

More complex and expensive renovations involve stripping all the fixture and fittings. Plus removing the tiles with a jackhammer. Stripping a bathroom and starting again is expensive, sometimes the money you spend is better spent elsewhere if you have a limited budget. Instead you can consider updating the kitchen cabinets or carpet throughout the house. If you do have the budget, then go all out! Update the tiles to a modern look and get nice chrome or brass finishes on all the tap ware fittings. Choose a nice high rain shower head or ultra modern shower panel system. This will make your bathroom and your home look a million dollars.

Often your bank will allow you to do a redraw or refinance for a home renovation. There is less risk for the bank as you are actually adding value to an asset compared to just borrowing money to go on a holiday. Less risk for the bank means it is easier for you to get that bank loan. A good mortgage broker can also help you with this. They know the best way to present your case to the bank and give you the best chance of getting that loan.

That being said, a quality shower head would only put you back $100 or so. If you do your research you can find them even cheaper. A new shower head will make your tenant really happy if you are a landlord. You might even save money if you install a water saving shower head (new designs still give the same feel with less water – so you shouldn’t have angry tenants). Who knows it might even help get a rent increase down the track.

So it’s usually recommended to keep bathroom renovations simple. This way you get the best value increase for your home with the least amount of money spent.

If you are building a new home then also you can keep the bathroom simple. Neutral colors will stay in style for longer and keep the shower head high. You can even consider ceiling mounting the shower head for a really nice look. This will wow you or your potential buyers every morning. Good luck with your bathroom renovation project and I hope it helps you improve your bathroom and your wealth!

How to use a window fan for home cooling

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in News | 0 comments

With most people interested today in making their homes energy efficient, here are some simple tips for families to use to help economize and save extra money that could be used for a more important family activity. I have learned to use a window fan to cool my family’s home for a lot less money than running my air conditioning.

The key is to cool the air in my home during the night using that outside cooler air, and therefore, eliminate the need or delay the use of air conditioning during the hottest part of the day.

Direction of the Fan

At night, we set the fan to draw the outside cooler air indoors. In the late morning when the air outside is becoming hot, we set the fan to blow the hot air that has built up inside our home to go outside, which keeps the inside much more comfortable for all of us.

Important Factors to Consider

  • If the outdoor air is polluted or foul (near garbage) for some reason, we sure don’t want to bring that into our home.
  • If the window is near a parking lot or other accessible area where thieves could gain access, especially in high crime areas, we certainly don’t want to use it.
  • Also, we do not want to put a window fan where it would blow papers or on to other objects of value like antiques that might become wet or damaged during a sudden rainstorm.
  • Usually noises outside will be louder at night, though the noise of the fan will lessen it, we certainly don’t want undesirable noises to disturb our family’s sleep.
  • If it is extremely hot or humid, the use of a fan this way would not be effective.
  • Screens must be adequate to keep small insects and gnats out while using a window fan.

Positive Points to Consider

  • I must remember to keep all interior doors in my home open to increase airflow throughout it.
  • I must place fans with inward flow on the shady side of my home, and take advantage of prevailing winds to bring in cooler air.
  • On a single-story home, place fans on the opposite side (the sunny side) to blow hot air out.
  • On a two-story home, place fans to bring cooler air inside on the first floor, and blow the hotter rising air out the upper story windows.
  • Rooms with fans blowing inward will be much cooler than rooms with fans blowing outward.

How to choose your best window fan

The fan should be the largest possible window fan that will fit inside the window. If we have an uneven balance of size in our fans, those blowing inward should be the largest. Block the gaps between the window and the fan with curtains, cardboard, or other material to maximize correct airflow and to prevent the cooler air from going back outside.

Running Time of Fans

Our fans should be running when the outside air is cooler than the air inside. Fans should run as long as the outside air remains cooler. As soon as the air temperature starts to warm, we turn the fans off and close the windows. When the outside temperatures are warmer than 70 degrees, and also when humidity is quite high, we have found that using fans will not be able to adequately cool our home.

Using fans in this way can certainly help minimize energy costs of running air conditioners constantly once temperatures begin to warm in late spring and summer. The cost of window fans used here is much less than the expense of running most air-conditioners.

UK employees in line for some pensions relief

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in News | 0 comments

It’s no hidden fact that the ageing population in the UK is severely underfunded when it comes to pensions. It’s with this in mind that the government rolled out new compulsory pension legislation that took effect from 1st October 2012.

The first employers to be roped into these new obligations were very large organisations with 120,000 or more employees. Their date to start enrolling employees was back in 1st October 2012.

At this moment in time (March 2014), the schedule has worked its way down to companies employing 250 employees or over, but in the not too distant future, the knock-on effect of this change in legislation is going to hit all companies, no matter how few employees they have.

The plan is that once companies reach their ‘staging date’ (go live date), they’ll be forced to automatically enroll their employees into a qualifying pension scheme. They will also be required to put a percentage of that employees pay into the scheme each payday. In the vast majority of cases, the employer and the government will also be obliged to make a payment to the scheme.

What this means is that people who hadn’t previously made provision for their retirement will be automatically included in a scheme whereby they will be saving for their retirement. Although employers can’t ‘opt out’ of offering a scheme, employees can opt out of staying a member. That said, in most cases this wouldn’t be recommended for two reasons. First is that it means that they are making (at least) some provision for their retirement and second by opting out they’ll be missing out on the contributions being offered by their employer.

There’s a high profile TV advertising campaign that’s ongoing in the UK advising employees that their right to employer pension contributions has either changed or is about to change. What this means is that the population is being geared up for the changes ahead by the government and by the media. While responses amongst employees vary from, “I don’t want to be involved because it’ll cost me money”, to “great, at last I’ll have some sort of control over my income in retirement”, the surprising fact is that it’s the employers who aren’t quite so geared up for the change.

There’s significant indication that although employers may well soon be forced to offer this benefit to their employees, a huge number of them are choosing the ‘ostrich’ approach to the change. Burying their heads in the sand, the vast majority of employers have been reported as being unaware of what they need to do, both in preparation for the introduction of this legislation and what they’ll need to do to be compliant once they are ‘in the scheme’. Add to this, the fact that it is reported that the UK pension providers are likely to find themselves severely over-stretched and it’s easy to see that this whole pensions auto enrolment plan could go awry when it comes to implementation in SMEs.

Advice being given by the likes of Payplus and their UK auto enrolment website is: no matter whether you’re a UK employee or employer, the likelihood is that you’re going to be affected in one way or another by Pensions Automatic Enrolment. Depending upon who you work for and where you go to seek support, the experience could prove to be stressful or stress-free. For employees, the advice is; do what you can to make sure your employer’s organised. And if you’re an employer, pull in all the expertise you can to make sure you’ve got all the information and support you need for your launch date.

Bathrooms sell houses!

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in News | 0 comments

A great bathroom will help a house sell quickly and for the most money. A bad bathroom will stop buyers in their tracks. Old, ugly and leaking is not what people want to wake up to every morning to bathe.

Doing a bathroom renovation can be expensive but it is a fantastic way to add value to your home or investment. Bathroom renovations are one of the most common home improvement projects that people undertake. They can be as simple as replacing the shower head or as complex as completely stripping the bathroom and starting again. Depending upon your budget and DIY experience you should pick something in between.

A great simple improvement to your bathroom is to upgrade the shower head. A new shiny head with a larger spray pattern can turn an average shower into a bit of luxury. Also a new shower head to raise the height of the shower can turn a cramped shower into a winner.

However, if you want to really improve the quality of your shower experience, the latest product on the market is the shower panel – an all in one metal or glass panel that includes a shower head, powerful body spray jets, a handheld shower and even a new mixer tap.

Other simple ideas to add value quickly and easily via your bathroom include updating the bathroom vanity and tap ware.

More complex and expensive renovations involve stripping all the fixture and fittings. Plus removing the tiles with a jackhammer. Stripping a bathroom and starting again is expensive, sometimes the money you spend is better spent elsewhere if you have a limited budget. Instead you can consider updating the kitchen cabinets or carpet throughout the house. If you do have the budget, then go all out! Update the tiles to a modern look and get nice chrome or brass finishes on all the tap ware fittings. Choose a nice high rain shower head or ultra modern shower panel system. This will make your bathroom and your home look a million dollars.

Often your bank will allow you to do a redraw or refinance for a home renovation. There is less risk for the bank as you are actually adding value to an asset compared to just borrowing money to go on a holiday. Less risk for the bank means it is easier for you to get that bank loan. A good mortgage broker can also help you with this. They know the best way to present your case to the bank and give you the best chance of getting that loan.

That being said, a quality shower head would only put you back $100 or so. If you do your research you can find them even cheaper. A new shower head will make your tenant really happy if you are a landlord. You might even save money if you install a water saving shower head (new designs still give the same feel with less water – so you shouldn’t have angry tenants). Who knows it might even help get a rent increase down the track.

So it’s usually recommended to keep bathroom renovations simple. This way you get the best value increase for your home with the least amount of money spent.

If you are building a new home then also you can keep the bathroom simple. Neutral colors will stay in style for longer and keep the shower head high. You can even consider ceiling mounting the shower head for a really nice look. This will wow you or your potential buyers every morning. Good luck with your bathroom renovation project and I hope it helps you improve your bathroom and your wealth!

Solar panels vs. Home Remodeling – Establishing Priorities

Posted by on Mar 23, 2014 in News | 0 comments

A house becomes a home only when you feel comfortable inside. Yet, customizing a house to fit your actual needs involves time, effort and a considerable sum of money. So, regardless if we are talking about personalizing a newly acquired house or adapting your old house to the actual situation of your family, prioritizing is essential. Today we talk about two of the most important home improvements people considers when it’s time to make a change: solar panels and home remodeling . Although both are necessary in an ideal home, they are quite costly, so choosing one over the other is necessary in most cases. If you are at a cross roads, too, here is what you have to consider when making a decision.

Budget

Probably the first thing which must be taken into consideration is the budget available for your home improvement . Once you have established an approximate sum of money, it is time to evaluate the cost of solar panels as well as the cost of the remodeling you are targeting and compare the two to see where you stand.

The good thing about solar panels is that you can adjust the number of solar panels purchased in accordance with the amount of money you have at the moment and add on more panels to your system as soon as you get more money. On the other hand, if you decide to paint the walls, change the tiles and/or flooring, you will need the entire sum in advance so that you can purchase the materials and pay the working team.

Also, it is important to note that once you have set up the solar panels, you will be able to save money on the electricity bill , therefore afford to save up more for further home improvements or, why not, a long waited vacation.

Time

Each one of these home improvement solutions takes time, especially if you plan on doing the chores on your own. However, the solar panels should take one, maximum two (if you are a rookie) days to set up. This is mainly because most come with pre-drilled holes for mounting and cables to plug in. You will still have to place the support on the roof, connect the charging controller and battery and even the inverter, if you choose one, but again, these only require plugging in.

The home remodeling needs more time, especially if you plan on moving (or need to move) the furniture around. The personal belongings and decorations need to be placed in boxes and the furniture needs to be covered with foil to prevent damage. This single step will take a day or two. Then, you can start painting the walls, replacing the old wallpaper with a new one, removing the flooring and tiles and so on. Depending on the scale of your project, it could take from one day to one week. Next, leave everything to dry for at least one day, and then put everything in place (another day or two). It is a tiresome and time-consuming activity, but it also very rewarding, especially when the house turns out exactly the way you imagined.

Long-term value

Investing in a house raises its value on the long term, so if you do not plan to make it your forever home, some tweaks are necessary for a good sale. The solar panels are a huge advantage for any home, especially since they are guaranteed over 20 years and they directly impact the owner’s budget. There are people who make their final choice based on the existence of eco-friendly solutions in the house . Therefore, the solar panels are more likely to increase the value of your house. The remodeling may attract clients and help them make their mind, but they are rarely willing to pay more on a house just because it is freshly painted.

Conclusion

If you want an instant transformation of the house and have all the money you need for such a make-over, you can surely go for home remodeling. It has immediate effects and all the hard work and investment will surely pay off at the end. Yet, if you want a home improvement that will not only change the aspect of your house, but would rather improve the quality of your life on the long term, the solar panels are definitely the best choice. They provide a stable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional power and help you reduce your costs with electricity at the minimum. And with the money you save, you can always choose to paint the walls!

Protect Your Construction Site with a Game Camera

Posted by on Mar 20, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Looking for an inexpensive way to protect your home or construction site? You should consider installing a game camera or several on the site. Then, if you do have a theft, you at least have a chance of capturing some evidence of the crime to share with the cops. I did my homework and read several reviews of game and trail cameras before I decided on the camera I wanted to try.

I recently purchased two Bushnell X-8 Trail Cameras for a lot on which I’m building a home and I couldn’t be happier. I feel safer leaving materials on site, and I’ve had construction vehicles parked there without being bothered.

The cameras, which have an $150 manufacturer suggested retail price, are #12 on the Amazon Best-Sellers’ rank in the Game & Trail Cameras category and have received a four-star rating among Amazon’s approximately 100 users who left comments. I purchased a Bushnell camera because the company has been among the industry leaders in optics for more than 50 years, and I read that the business produced the X-8 Trail Camera as a simple, easy-to-use tool for the budget-conscious users. With that objective in mind, I’ve found that the Bushnell X-8 directly hits its mark and exceeds the hype – packing a ton of value when compared to similarly-priced cameras and far exceeds any comparison to any security system I have found.

The X-8, which was designed primarily for hunting uses, has many outstanding features that include but are not limited to: 2-megapixel, 4-megapixel or 6-megapixel settings for full-color photo and video resolution (during the day); black-and-white images and video at night; one-second trigger activation; programmable trigger intervals ranging from one (1) second to 10 minutes; multi-image modes ranging from 1-3 images per trigger; programmable video lengths of 5-15 seconds; field scan time-lapse modes allowing photos at pre-set intervals ranging from one (1) to 60 minutes; weather-resistant and temperature-friendly body capable of withstanding temperatures ranging from -5 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit; low, medium and high settings of a PIR motion sensor that may be activated at up to 45 feet; five-second camera recovery time; and, SD memory card capacity up to 32 gigabytes (card not included). In addition to the time-lapse technology and long-range sensor activation, the X-8 is equipped with 36 night-vision LEDs so users do not miss any action within the trail camera’s range.

The Bushnell X-8, which operates on a minimum of four (4) AA-cell batteries, also includes an easy-to-install tree-hook strap, which I used on a utility pole in front of the property and a tree on the opposite back corner of the lot. It is important to note here that the Bushnell X-8 does not work properly with Nimh rechargeable batteries, but operates perfectly well on long-lasting alkalines and lithium batteries.

I purchased the X-8s for their efficiency and ease of use. The small, lightweight cameras, which are smaller than many “stealth” trail camera models, operate on four (4) or eight (8) AA batteries and deliver long battery life of up to nine months, which is plenty of coverage for almost any construction site. One Amazon reviewer even credited the Bushnell X-8 with 95 percent battery life remaining after 3 months usage. In addition to the long battery life, other outstanding features of the X-8 are the small size and easy-to-use controls, which are similar to a cell phone.

The X-8 trail camera also delivers 640 x 480 video resolution. Also, each photograph – whether high-quality daytime images and medium-quality nighttime images – and video may be stamped with the time, date, moon phase and temperature, which is an awesome feature – offering an exact time and date – if something should happen while my crew or I am away from the site.

I love these cameras, and many say the Bushnell X-8 should be rated higher than it is; In fact, numerous owners who offered reviews of the product acknowledged that they owned more than one X-8, including many others for security purposes. I considered several cameras before going with the X-8 but the review of the Bushnell X-8 over on the Game Trail Camera Guide sealed the deal for me. Check out the X-8 review by clicking here.

Infrared Thermometers and Home Improvement

Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Home repair professionals often need tools like an infrared thermometer. An IR thermometer helps you take accurate measurements, ensure better diagnostics, and offers the convenience of measuring temperature without contact. For a home repair professional who constantly troubleshoots heating and cooling problems inside space like air conditioners or cramped attics, a handheld IR thermometer can be invaluable. The following is a guide on the benefits of infrared thermometers, what to look for when purchasing one, and some recommended brands.

Benefits of Using an Infrared Thermometer

A main benefit of IR thermometers is their large measurement range. Some thermometers can measure over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re also non-contact, which means that you can stand away from the object when measuring the temperature. An important feature of home maintenance and repair is checking for thermal patterns and ensuring proper insulation. This is why insulation experts and HVAC professionals derive much benefit from a tool like this. For instance, visual IR thermometers offer temperature readings and a visual of the thermal patterns within a space.

What to Look For in an IR Thermometer

Accuracy is undoubtedly an important feature to look for. A thermometer within 2 degrees of accuracy (or less) is good. The distance-spot ratio is yet another important aspect. You need a thermometer that can accurately take measurement, even from several inches away. For instance, a 1:1 distance-spot ratio may be fine for an IR fishing thermometer, but it’s not good for home improvement. You’d have to stand very close to the object, which can be dangerous in some cases. Good IR thermometers will have a distance-spot ratio of at least 10:1.

Lastly, you need a thermometer that can record consecutive measurements and store data, even if temporarily. This is useful when you’re comparing measurements. Thermometers that are made especially for consecutive measurements don’t lose calibration easily. Needless to say, having a thermometer that is built well is also beneficial. You need a thermometer than can withstand the occasional drop.

IR Thermometers to Consider

While you can find cheaper all-purpose IR thermometers, they may not be as accurate and they may easily lose calibration. If this is a tool that you’ll be using frequently, then it’s important to invest in it. A couple of the best infrared thermometers are the Dewalt DCT416S1 and the Kintrex IRT0421. These are both excellent thermometers, although they vary in price. The Dewalt brand is a visual IR thermometer, which allows you to see the thermal patterns in a room or within a space.

The Dewalt IR thermometer has a measuring range between 14 and 480 degrees Fahrenheit (or -10 to 250 degrees Celsius), and it has an accuracy within 2 degrees. It comes with a 2.2-inch color display and saves all data in a memory. The best part is that the thermometer has a distance-spot ratio of over 12:1. While the price is between $125 and $145, it does offer a 3-year warranty.

Another brand is Kintrex IRT0421. This thermometer is a fraction of the cost of the Dewalt, and it’s because it is not a visual thermometer. Nonetheless, it is an excellent tool to use: it measures between -76 and 932 degrees Fahrenheit (-60 to 500 degrees Celsius), a 12:1 distance-spot ratio, and it costs between $40 and $70, depending on the retailer.

Ultimately, an IR thermometer is a great investment. Knowing which one to choose will depend on how often you will use it. For home improvement professionals, it’s best to go with a thermometer that provides accuracy, can withstand heavy use, and offers a warranty.