Category Archives for "Home & Renovations"

5 Signs Your Ductwork Needs Attention

You can’t see it because it is hidden behind walls, but ductwork is a vital part of your home and one that could be costing you hundreds of dollars a year if it isn’t working properly. It’s hard to know if your ductwork needs attention because the problems aren’t often noticeable or visible, but paying attention to these five signs could help you know if your ductwork needs to be checked.

Noises

Image via Flickr by HomeSpot HQ

If you hear rattling, whistling, or humming when your HVAC system is running, it could be a sign the ductwork isn’t working properly. It could be that the HVAC system is creating greater air pressure than the ducts can handle or there could be a leak in the ducts that needs to be repaired. In most cases, noises don’t indicate a major problem, but one that can be corrected with an HVAC tune-up or a relatively simply repair.

Weak Air Flow

Is your system not pumping out enough air? It could be that there is blockage or debris in the ducts that needs to be cleaned out. It could also indicate a tear or crack in the duct that is causing air to leak or the vents could be the wrong size to effectively deliver air. Weak air flow can happen throughout the entire home or in just a few vents. To get an idea of where the problem is located, check the air flow from each vent in the house.

Uneven Temperatures

Ideally, your heating and cooling systems should work so that every room in the house is the same temperature. If that isn’t the case, it could be due to blockage or breakage in the ductwork or vents in one area of the house that are the wrong size.

Dust

If your home is collecting more dust than usual, it could be a sign that there is debris in your ductwork. This issue can often be solved by simply changing the HVAC air filter, but it could also be a sign that a larger, system-wide filter needs to be installed. Dust and debris in the ductwork can cause the HVAC system to work inefficiently or break down.

Humidity

Mustiness or higher humidity than normal in your home can signal that the ductwork has cracks or tears that are allowing condensation to form. Pay attention to the humidity level in your home; if it seems to be increasing as the weather stays the same, it’s likely your HVAC system. If condensation isn’t removed and cracks aren’t repaired quickly, it could lead to mold growth in the ductwork.

Paying attention to how your HVAC system is working and how air is moving through your ductwork can alert you to potential issues before they grow into larger and more expensive problems. An HVAC technician can inspect the ducts and make repairs, but only if you are aware to what is going on. Paying attention to the ductwork and keeping up with home maintenance could save you lots of money.

Not Sure Where The Pests In Your Home Are Coming From? The Professionals At Terminix Can Help

Discovering ants, cockroaches, or other pests around your home may make you feel like a bad housekeeper, but the problem may not be due to a lack of cleanliness or home maintenance. Insects, rodents, and wildlife don’t need an invitation to move in and take up residence; everything and everywhere is fair game. To be specific, dry, warm spots inside your home are especially attractive to house-hunting insects. Part of the job of controlling pests is figuring out how they’re getting inside, and a professional, such as a pest control cockroach infestations, can help you find and fix the weak spots in your home’s defenses. For expert assessment, you should look at these areas:

Windows and Screens

Inspect window screens for tears and holes and look for edges of the screen that may have escaped from the frame. Examine the weather stripping for loose or worn spots and replace if needed.

Daylight and Doors

Look for light around the doors; if you can see it, insects can get through there. Ensure that your doors form a seal when closed by replacing worn door sweeps. Don’t forget to check the door into the garage too.

Gaps in Siding

Siding should meet the edges of the house trim; seal any gaps you find between the points where they should meet. Seal gaps between siding and the foundation as well because gaps at ground-level are entry points.

Foundations and Exterior Walls

Can you see a few inches of the foundation? If not, remove topsoil to expose a few inches or more. Soil that is high enough to meet the exterior walls provides easy access to bugs. Trim shrubs and plants to keep them from touching the exterior.

Dryer Vents

Inspect dryer vents as well as kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans. Vent dampers should be able to move without obstruction; replace any that are broken.

Crawl Spaces

If you can’t get into the crawl space yourself, have someone do it for you. Check screens over the opening for holes and tears, which may be a point of entry.

Wall Areas

Examine TV cables, plumbing, and HVAC passages through the walls and apply a double seal to block insects. Caulk around the exterior entry/exit points, as well as the interior openings.

Chimney Caps

Consider installing a chimney cap to block larger animals, such as squirrels, raccoons, or birds, from using this large entry point. Because rodents can bring bugs, fleas, and other pests into the home with them, a cap provides extra protection. Be sure to examine the cap for damage on a regular basis.

On the Roof

Inspect fascia, soffits, and roof vents for damage and look closely at the points where rooflines meet. These junctures can be attractive to yellow jackets and wasps. Examine vent screens too.

Whether you want to take back your kitchen from insects infestations or have bigger problems, such as rodents or wildlife, pest control in San Antonio is available through Terminix. Enlist a team of experienced professionals who know where to look and what to look for in helping you determine how pests are getting into your home.

March 20, 2018

Ammcor Reviews The 5 Benefits Of Renting A Property

According to Ammcor, a property management company in San Clemente, Orange County, we still live in a world in which people think that they cannot be classed as successful unless they purchase a home. However, there are some tremendous benefits to renting instead and those should be considered as well. Here, Ammcor reviews the top 5 benefits associated with being a tenant instead of buying a home.

Ammcor Reviews Top 5 Pros of Being a Tenant

  1. Renting is simple, quick, and easy. Buying a house requires complicated applications, meetings with lawyers and accountants, complex contracts, and more. Renting, by contrast is a lot easier, particularly when arranged through a property management company like Ammcor. People are recommended to read the reviews others have left about them to view why they are so popular.
  2. You don’t have to make a huge financial down payment. Usually, to become a tenant, you will have to put down a deposit of around one month’s rent. While this is still a significant amount, it is nothing compared to what you would have to pay for a mortgage. A deposit of 20% of the purchase price is generally required. This money is an investment, but it is also money that you will basically never see again. A tenant deposit, by contrast, is given back when you move, minus any costs for repairs to return the property to its original state.
  3. You have no maintenance costs. A property management company like Ammcor is responsible for all the maintenance costs associated with the home. If you buy, they are all yours to pay for which can be very costly. A broken toilet, a leaky roof, burst pipes, a sinkhole in the garden. They are all things that can cost thousands of dollars that you don’t have to pay for as a tenant.
  4. It is a lot more flexible. If you buy a home and want to move, you will have to list your property, hope that people view it and make an offer, negotiate the offer, deal with lawyers and accountants, and more. This process can take months, if not years. If you are a tenant, however, you usually only have a one month’s notice period, after which you can simply go elsewhere, be that around the corner or to the other side of the country.
  5. It is financially flexible as well. When you are a tenant, you pay rent and that is fixed for set periods of time. While there may be the occasion increase, which is contractually laid out, you always know what you have to pay. You don’t have to worry about repair and maintenance costs, mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance premiums, or interest. In fact, you may not even have to worry about bills, because things like utilities are often included in your monthly payments. The money you save by renting can be used for a range of other things, including investments.

Golden State Financial Group Explains the Concept of Home Loan Modifications

A home loan modification is a financial construction in which an existing mortgage is changed to make it more comfortable for borrowers, ensuring they can continue to make their repayments. Essentially, borrowers ask their lenders, often through a company like Golden State Financial Group, to make changes to the existing loan terms because they are facing some sort of hardship. In so doing, they ensure that they don’t have to go through foreclosure, and the lender ensures they still get their money.

Golden State Financial Group on What Home Loan Modifications Are

These plans are part of the Home Affordable Modification Program, which was developed in February 2009, at the height of the foreclosure crisis. The aim was to ensure people who struggled to make their repayments would be able to come to a more affordable arrangement. The standards have been federally set under this program.

Someone who is struggling to make their home repayments because of hardship can use these programs to avoid foreclosure. Their home loan is restructured by lowering interest rates, extending the loan term, and even writing off some of the principal. The aim is to make sure that what the borrower pays stays below 31% of their gross monthly income.

Qualifying for a Home Loan Modification

Not everybody qualifies for these types of programs. Lenders do have their own in-house modification programs, but if someone applies through the federal arrangements, they must:

Have taken out their mortgage before January 2009. This stops opportunists from taking advantage.

Be the home’s owner-occupant.

Be in negative equity.

Be in significant financial hardship as a result of reduced income, medical bills, increased mortgage repayments, and so on.

Currently make payments towards a mortgage that are more than 31% of their monthly gross income.

Prove they can make the new repayments.

The goal of a home loan modification is to ensure you can repay a loan, not to stop you from having to pay it at all. If you are in such financial distress that you cannot make any repayments, then other solutions will have to be found.

During the application, people need to provide a wealth of information, including:

Proof of gross income.

Proof of assets.

Tax returns.

Account balances.

Proof of monthly payments.

Proof of any other outstanding debt and payments made towards that.

Furthermore, applying for a loan modification means writing a financial hardship letter. This letter needs to explain, in a short and concise manner, why the individual is in financial distress and what has caused this. Once all this information has been collected, it must be sent to the lender with a request for loan modification, which they will then review. Asking for the help of a company like Golden State Financial Group is often a good idea, as it means they can check whether all the necessary documentation is present and whether it is offered in the right way. This avoid being rejected and having to start to process again.

February 21, 2018

How To Improve Your Credit Score To Get A Home Loan

Getting a new house is one of the most fulfilling achievements that you will have in your life. Even paying your own rent is a sign of stability s this teaches you independence, self-reliance, and responsibility. If you haven’t gotten the cash for a home yet, then a home loan can be a good option.

However, just like those airport checkpoints, baggage checks, and roadblocks, you may be forced to stop for a while and ask yourself: How is your credit score? If you’re in need of a home loan, this is an important thing to consider.

Banks that allow home loans require around 660 credit score so they can grant you with this assistance. If your ratings have been saddled by unforeseen circumstance like emergency medical bills, sudden shifts in finances and others that have made you unable to pay off your bills, then your chance of getting a home loan is affected. Here are some important things that you should remember.

  1. Make Sure Your Credit Reports Are Accurate

Credit reports are the main source documents of credit scores. But that does not mean that these reports are always meant to be accurate. There are several instances when the report contains items that have already been settled but the credit bureaus forgot to tick them off. Other times, credit report dispute letters are needed to correct a mistake.

  • Home loan provides usually look at major factors when granting the request for their clients. These include stable income, down payment and a stable credit history.
  • If you have good scores but are only a few notches away from being low, it is practical not to add to the burden by checking some mistakes over your credit reports. You can obtain these annually from online resources or from credit bureaus.
  1. Be Ready To Make Some Disputes

If you find some errors on the report or if you have settled a payment that has not been recorded, should you leave these unchanged? Most people have this mindset that they will leave these items not corrected on paper because they know they have physically appeared to a payment center and made the necessary settlements. However, in availing yourself of a settlement – a house or a rented space – going over these reports and making disputes whenever necessary are good ways to stay out of trouble.

  • Work with your credit bureaus to discuss areas that need correction and some inaccuracies. You’ll never know how much increase in your score this action will bring you. Never miss these opportunities.
  1. Pay Your Bills Right

When we say pay your bills right, it involves settling these on time and being organized. Factors that may hurt your rating go beyond just late payments, but also bills in collection and charge-offs. The idea about this classic tip is as basic as: will a house loan provider trust you when you have not paid your previous loans right?

  • Experts agree that you should always leave at least a six-month window between paying your delinquencies and applying for these new loans.
  1. Pay Attention To Your Debt-To-Income Ratio

Some individuals take advantage of owing money from another person too much. They have meager income but they have debts way higher than their financial capabilities.

  • As a general rule, do not go over 12-percent of your monthly debt out of your income. If you are able to lower this even further, then it is better.
  • How about a little bit of sacrifice? Getting a home loan is not a life-long journey. If you have been used to getting indebted, try removing yourself away from this scheme for as long as you are dealing with these mortgage loans. This constitutes applying for new credit accounts.
  1. Preparation Is Key

Before finally applying for a house loan, think about whether you are cleared of any obstacles and whether your credit scores will be enough to entitle you to the best interest rates. If you have a bad rating, use the time before the loan application to compute and estimate how many months you will need to deal with the amount of scores that is needed to reach the normal rating.

  • Another tip to get you ready for the next home loan is to keep credit card balance only up to 15 percent. If you can do this lower, then it is better. Loan providers also take a look at transaction history incurred with credit cards.
  1. Avoid Getting New Credit Cards Or New Loans

The secret to getting your house loans approved is to present yourself and your money matters right. Surely if you are the lender, it is not pleasant to encounter a client applying for a loan and looking for credit at the same time. Clean as you go is the main adage of this venture.

  • It would not hurt if you keep yourself temporarily away from applying for new loans and new credit cards while on the process of obtaining a mortgage. Focus is key. Focus on your goal and that is getting yourself a new house and nothing else.

Conclusion

Getting your own home is perhaps a milestone when it comes to demonstrating a degree of financial independence, but it’s not bad to get yourself a home loan provided you know what you’re getting into. It’s important to assess all the variables you have before ever getting a home loan, especially if you think you need to improve your credit score to do so.

Winter Home Maintenance Tips

Getting your house ready for winter is an annual ritual for most homeowners. Did you know that insulating your attic before winter season hits will help to prevent the occurrence of ice dams? Moreover, tuning up your heating system will prevent you from making emergency repairs that are more expensive in the end.

Here are some important winter maintenance tips that you should know:

Your Heating System

Before you start checking your heating system this winter, you should do some preventative maintenance. Doing so might help you to extend the life of your heating system.

Before winter, you should do the following:

  • Replace or clean your furnace filter on  hot air systems
  • Have a licensed HVAC contractor check your boiler or furnace
  • Have your chimney checked at least once per year by a licensed technician and pay attention to creosote buildup on fireplace chimneys

During winter, you should:

  • Set your heat to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit because the air inside your walls is colder than the one in living spaces. To keep an even temperature all through the house, you should open all the doors even if some of the rooms are unoccupied.
  • Maintain your pellet or wood-burning stoves as per the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Fill your fuel tanks and watch their levels throughout the winter

Insulation

Is your insulation ready to protect you from the cold? It is worth taking the time to check the insulation and upgrade it. Make sure that you start weather stripping before the cold season arrives.

  • Add caulk around windows and weather stripping around your doors to guard against the loss of heat and to prevent drafts
  • Add an extra layer of insulation in the attic to prevent ice dams. If heat ends up escaping to the attic, it will warm up the snow on your roof then cause an ice dam, which will result in water damage.
  • Remove window screens and install storm windows when appropriate

Utilities

Your home’s piping system can be damaged by freezing temperatures. You should check whether your pipes are ready to handle a cold snap and make sure that you take extra precautions if you are going away for the winter. For instance, you could turn off the water supply to prevent damage in your absence.

  • Learn how to shut off the water and find out where your pipes are located in case they freeze. This can help you to prevent water damage
  • Look for water leaks and repair small problems as soon as you spot them. If your piping is plastic, you should use thermostat-controlled heat tape and make sure that you adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Safety Measures for Winter

As you prepare for winter, you should heed as many safety measures as possible to avoid problems. Here are some safety measures that will come in handy:

  • Clear your gutters of sticks and leaves to ensure that melting snow can drain properly. Your downspouts should direct any water from your foundation instead of towards it.
  • Make sure that you trim your trees to eliminate dead branches and limbs to avoid damaging your home or injuring other people.
  • Check your fire alarms and smoke detectors then replace the batteries if necessary

Key Equipment and Supplies

You should stock up on generators and blowers to prevent problems later. According to the owner of Delsea termite & pest control, you should hire an exterminator to get rid of pests before winter season. Moreover, you should have roof rakes and snow shovels at the ready.

Why You Should Consider House Removal Services

Moving things from one area to another can prove to be difficult due to factors such as distance, size, and weight of things, weather, and traffic. However, such important factors are less considered as many people prefer moving things their own way to save money.  This is understandable as people already spend a lot of money before the moving process such as, when you spend a lot of money to try and improve the value of your home. In the end, trying to move on your own usually results in spending more and damaging most of the valuables. Below are seven key advantages of hiring a removal company.

Less stressful

Whether it is office furniture or relocating to a new home, the need to move is an added responsibility on top of other things you need to do. You can easily go on with your usual activities of the day and let a house removal company do the moving for you.

Minimal risk

There are many risks when moving objects. You can overlook the weight of an object and in an attempt to lift it get injured. Removal companies have staff trained in heavy lifting, thus it is safer. Some things are fragile and need special packing. Removal companies ensure these items get to the destination in the same condition as when they left your home.

Professional assistance

Professionalism remains the most important benefit when you choose to hire a removal company. Removal staff are well trained and have vast experience that they use ensuring your prized belongings are handled and moved with care.

Time-saving

More time is spent when you choose to do all the packing yourself. It is even more difficult to get people to help in time as many friends and family can only help in their free time. This causes delays and a last-minute rush. House removal companies have the labour aspect sorted. Packing and moving are efficiently done, saving you the time and effort of doing it alone.

Specialised equipment

Equipment such as vehicles becomes very important when moving. Many people are forced to borrow vehicles from friends and family. At the end of the day, many prized items are damaged and unwanted losses incurred. Most removal companies like http://www.advanced-removals.co.uk have vehicles suited to transport a variety of items. This guarantees you the safety of your valuables.

Insurance coverage

Insurance companies easily cover damages sustained to your items when you seek professional help. This is because insurance policies can only validate the damage if the items are packed professionally.

Storage facilities

Full service moving companies have their own storage units they use to safeguard your belongings, for instance, when you are forced to move and the place you’re moving to is not yet ready for occupation. These storage units are constructed to hold a wide variety of items safely and effectively.

Other advantages include an underestimating of just how many packing materials you will need, which avoids the need for you to source extra materials at the last minute or make do with less-than-optimal options. Professional movers provide all these things with ease and even use less than you would have used, as they have more experience. Hiring a professional removal company will make your move easier and a stress-free experience.

February 16, 2018

You Will Surely Enjoy A Luxurious Freestanding Bath

You buy a bath because you love the luxurious feeling. You enjoy the idea that you have a bath at home. It is like having a spa of your own. This is why even if you need to spend a lot of money for a bath, you still decide to get one. You won’t regret this decision considering all the benefits you will get from using it.

Make the room look spacious

When you have one in the middle, especially in a small bathroom, the place will look bigger. Built-in baths are just on one side and they seem to cramp the space. With freestanding baths, you can transform an ordinary space into something extraordinary.

Easier to clean

Even if you want the feeling of having a luxurious item at home, you are still responsible for cleaning it. You won’t find it a big deal considering that it is so easy to clean. Compared with traditional baths that are nestled against the wall, freestanding baths are easier to clean. There is no enclosure or frame that prevents you from reaching every corner of the bath. You won’t have to kneel or bend over just to get to the nasty part when cleaning. The best part is that you can find baths that have a non-porous surface. They are easy to clean as they resist mould and stains.

It can retain heat

You can’t resist the beauty of a luxurious bath. Aside from its aesthetic appeal, it is also very functional. It has a high insulation capacity. It can also be lighter compared with other baths made from cast-iron. With its insulating property, you can enjoy soaking for a long time and stay warm in the process.

It is worth the price

As you take a look at the prices of freestanding baths, you might realise that they are quite pricey. You don’t have to write them off though just for this reason. Take a look at all the benefits that you will get. You want to find something suitable for your budget during this renovation. Besides, if you invest in another type of bath, you might also have to spend the same amount of money, or even more. Add to that the cost of installation. Freestanding baths are easier to install and can also be easily moved around when necessary.

Rest assured, there are still affordable freestanding baths available. Check the brand, materials, reviews and other factors to help you when making a decision. Once the unit arrives, it is just a matter of time before you can finally have a dip and forget everything around you.

Installing a freestanding bath in your bathroom could be one of the best decisions you ever make.

February 13, 2018

How to Improve the Value of your Home

Not everyone is set and ready to live in one house for the rest of their lives, a lot of people buy houses to get on the property ladder and see it as a stepping stone to make profit to move on to bigger and better ventures.  Making profit on a home is not easy and will take a lot of hard work to get the value increased to a substantial level.  If you are a first time owner and are looking for a place to start I have included some tips below to increase profits when you get around to selling.

Being Prepared

It is going to take a lot of planning to improve your home to the level you want it to be at,  I would start be creating a list of what you want to improve.  Try to make the list in order of priority, start with what you want to change first and move on down your checklist.  It is always helpful to include quotations and prices of how much the improvements are going to cost you before going ahead also, this will allow you to get an idea on whether the improvements and renovations are cost effective.  Being prepared in the conventional sense is important but you also need to be prepared mentally.  Let’s face it unless you have a shed load of money or fancy applying for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition it is going to be a lengthy process.  Don’t get frustrated if things aren’t moving as fast as you would like, it is hard to put a timescale on these types of things and it will not happen overnight. 

Repairing

A lot of houses, especially older homes come with a handful of problems that need resolving.  Before thinking about the interior designs, renovations and possible extensions on the property, it is really important to take care of these issues first.  For example if your house suffers from patches of damp or cracking walls/ ceilings, you will tend to find that these are the jobs that are going to come at a hefty price.  Take these issues out of the equation as early as you can and this will give you the grounds to start improving.  If you do not do this it, your ideas could quite literally come crashing to the ground.  Eliminate the problems before they eliminate your project.

Replacing Windows

Not the most glamorous of changes to make to your house, however making sure you have the best quality double or triple glazed windows is a must.  Not only do they give the house a newer/finished look but as a potential buyer nobody wants windows that are going to let in a lot of draft or noise.  You can easily get quotations for replacing single glazed or beyond repair windows online.  I recently got my windows replaced by a company local to me called Community Builders Tulsa, a great company that have not only given the windows in my house a nice finish, they are actually saving me money.

Get Help

Finally, never forget that you don’t have to do everything by yourself.  It could be a company that you can hire to take the pressure off or getting a favour returned from a friend.  Putting all of the pressure on yourself will burn you out and you will lose motivation.  You are not in it alone! 

Reasons To Choose Rental Apartments In Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK. Over the years, the area has grown to be a leading tourist and vacation hub in Scotland. This has led to the development of hotel rooms and apartments suitable for accommodation. When on vacation, you need to choose a quiet and safe place to stay with your family. Here are some of the reasons why it’s best to stay in rental apartments.

Comfort

Unlike hotel rooms, rental apartments offer home-like comfort. You can choose a fully-furnished apartment. The apartment is serviced with quality furniture, cooking utensils, and entertainment devices. Once rented, the occupant enjoys these services together with other special amenities.

Privacy

You should enjoy your privacy while at home and away from home. Unfortunately, hotel rooms do not guarantee privacy. The room can be accessed by the attendants at any time of the day. The only place you can be assured of 100% privacy is a rental apartment. Accessibility of a rental apartment is limited to the occupant.

Availability

Are you struggling to find a rental apartment? Apartments in Edinburgh are readily available. Moreover, these apartments are located in Central Edinburgh. You can find a 2-bedroomed or 3-bedroomed apartment depending on your family size. These apartments can be booked online. The next time you are going on vacation to Edinburgh; don’t hesitate to rent an apartment.

Affordability

Renting an apartment is the cheapest accommodation option. The terms of payments are mainly monthly based or depending on the period of your stay. Compared to living in a hotel, apartments are very affordable. Moreover, you can find a rental apartment within your budget. Compare rental rates of different apartments to find the best for you.

Location

Location is a major factor to consider before renting an apartment. When on vacation in Edinburgh, make sure that you stay in the luxurious and modern apartments in Central Edinburgh. These apartments are within the city. Tenants enjoy an easy transport system, proximity to shopping malls and tourist attraction sites.

Safety

Finally, rental apartments guarantee safety and security. Most of these apartments are within gated communities. These communities have installed various security measures to ensure the safety of occupants. Access to these communities is limited to the tenants.

These are some of the reasons to consider renting apartments. However, it is important to note that they are in high demand. Although they are available, you can only be guaranteed of an apartment by booking in time. When booking, make sure to state your period of stay. You will also be required to make a deposit to book the apartment. As you prepare for your next vacation, make sure that you start by searching for the right apartment for your family.