Category Archives for "Home & Renovations"

February 12, 2018

Signs That It Is Time To Replace Your Old Boiler

Boilers are meant to last for a long time. You need them to provide hot water and heating at home or in commercial properties. The problem is that even if they were designed to last a long time, there will come a time when you have no other choice but to replace them. Here’s how you will know that it is time to bid goodbye to the old boiler and invest in a new one.

  1. It is already over 15 years old

On average, boilers last for up to 15 years. Routine maintenance can extend their life, but it is generally the length of most boilers’ life and you may end up using more than your planned budget for renovations and home improvements. Upgrades are available for old boilers if you want to have the modern features available, but this is not compatible with all models. Therefore, at this point, you might want to just have your boiler replaced.

  1. The energy efficiency rating is not A

The only acceptable rating is A. It means that the boiler is energy efficient. If it is anything below the said rating, you might have to change your mind. The boiler might be cheap, but you will have to spend more for maintenance or parts replacement. You will save more money in the long run with A-rated boilers

  1. Your boiler takes time to heat up

You don’t want a boiler that takes forever to heat up. It is a waste of time. You might want to have it checked, or repaired, but in many cases, it might not work correctly anymore. Even if parts are changed, the process is still slow. It is better to replace the whole thing and save more money than spending on constant repairs.

  1. The flame is yellow and not blue

The boiler should not have a yellow flame. It is an indicator of carbon monoxide. This is referred to as the silent killer. You cannot easily detect it. This can also cause a lot of harmful effects to one’s health. Therefore, if you notice that it turns to yellow, change it right away. Be aware of the dangers and don’t take the risk.

  1. Repairs are done more often

You have just finished repairing the boiler and it malfunctions again. You call someone in to repair and it works for a while before it goes back to being broken again. It is irritating to have this cycle. If maintaining it will cost a lot of money, you should consider boiler replacement.

Ultimately, you should decide if it is in your best interest to replace it. However, if all the above signs are there, whether or not you are financially ready, change it. You don’t want to wait for things to get worse before doing anything.

February 7, 2018

What To Look For When Hiring A Realtor

Regardless of whether you are in the market to sell your home soon or you are planning to make a purchase, hiring a real estate agent is one of the best initial steps that you can take. A home is a major asset, and you have a lot to lose when both buying and selling real estate. You understandably want to walk through the process as easily as possible, but you also want to structure the best deal for you. The right real estate agent will work closely with you throughout the process to ensure that your goals are accomplished. When searching for a great real estate agent, focus on these points.

Great References

Many people will begin hunting for a real estate agent by asking friends and neighbors for referrals and recommendations. You could also post a question on your social media account to get excellent feedback from people who you know and trust. This may include agents who you should and should not reach out to. You may also find a few agents through your online research. Always obtain references, and read online reviews to learn more about what level of service they provide.

Exceptional Knowledge

The best real estate agent will have extensive knowledge about the industry and about the local market, but he or she will also be able to translate technical terms into layman’s terms. The individual should not sound like a financial glossary that uses so much jargon that you do not understand what is being said. Remember that the real estate agent should be assisting you rather than confusing you or trying to show off with a large vocabulary. Experience in the local market is also important because of its benefit in helping you get a great deal.

Attention to Detail

Buying and selling real estate is very detail-oriented. For example, the fine print in the sales contract and small yet critical items of interest inside the home need to be identified and pointed out to you along the way. A real estate agent is not a lawyer or a property inspector, but he or she should have enough expertise and an eye for detail to point out areas that require a closer review by an expert.

Excellent Service

Some people unfortunately hire a real estate agent with a big name in town or because they are a friend of a friend, but they are sorely disappointed with the level of service that they receive. A smart idea is to interview multiple real estate agents before signing a contract with anyone for representation. Reach out to each one by phone and email a couple of times with random questions. Pay attention to how friendly and responsive the individual is. This may not tell you how the level of service will be throughout the entire transaction, but it gives you a fair idea. Avoid working with individuals who are so busy with other clients that they cannot give you the time and attention that you deserve.

Hiring a real estate agent is an excellent initial step to take when preparing to buy or sell property. However, the overall service that you receive from each agent will vary dramatically. You should put as much importance on hiring the perfect real estate agent for your needs as you would when planning interior designs for the house. By focusing on these important qualities, you can make an informed decision when selecting a real estate agent.

January 31, 2018

How to Build the Perfect ‘Man Cave’

The idea of a ‘man cave’ may appear somewhat primal, but there is nothing prehistoric about a classy leather couch and an ornamental mini-bar that reminds you of the 60s. It originated from the idea of having a place in your home that you can use to relax, practice a hobby or get together with your friends.

Building your very own man cave may end up being a tiring endeavour, especially if you haven’t gone through the necessary planning and preparation. Considering this is a rather personal project, you will need to do most of the work, from the setup to the final decorating touches, but the most important step along the way is choosing the theme and choosing one that you will be completely obsessed with. Following is a list of the most frequent ‘man cave’ themes to get you inspired – as long as you choose something you like, you shouldn’t have any problems with the final product.

A Hunter’s Den

A hunting-themed man cave is the perfect solution for hunting enthusiasts who aren’t normally able to hang their trophies around the house. Having a hunter’s den is the perfect solution to such problems – you can put anything from deer heads on the walls to bear skins all over the floor to give your man cave a more rustic, lodge-like look.

This is a good option for those that can’t afford to invest too much money in their man cave – you can use an old shelf and a bit of craftsmanship and end up with a unique display for your firearms collection.

A Vegas Casino

There is nothing like a casino theme to turn a man cave into a whole new experience. You can add as many Vegas elements and symbols as you like, but a few slot machines and a poker table in the middle should be enough to get you started. Those with enough room left can include a blackjack or craps table afterwards, or at least a small bar area with a cigar case and a few authentic ashtrays, as well as the typical hanging light bulb for a dimmed effect.

This man cave is the ultimate retreat location both for a friendly poker night with the guys and your solo attempts playing online poker at redbet. All you’re missing is a sign on the wall that says ‘What happens in this man cave, stays in this man cave’ for a complete look.

A Gamers’ Lair

Gamers are just as entitled to a man cave as any gambling and hunting enthusiast, although you might need a bigger budget to equip it to perfection. A must-have item for a gamer’s lair is the huge flat screen for a perfectly sharp and clean visual, along with a high-end sound system to round up the whole experience. Even if you prefer PlayStation, the ‘lair’ will most likely require all the latest consoles so that everyone can choose based on their liking. A Wii and an Xbox will complement your console collection, and an open cupboard made of glass and metal bars is the perfect storage solution.

January 23, 2018

Golden State Financial Group Looks at the Impact of Loan Modification on Credit

Since the economic crisis, it seems people have struggled to really budget their income. Unfortunately, some people get to the point where they simply don’t have the money available to cover all their bills anymore. It is for this reason that many people still end up in foreclosure. Thankfully, organizations such as the Golden State Financial Group are available to help avoid this through loan modification programs.

What Are Loan Modifications?

In 2009, the Obama Administration first proposed the home loan modification scheme. The aim of the scheme was to ensure people could change their loan in such a way that they would still be able to afford their mortgages. Stringent guidelines were put together to determine whether or not someone would qualify for these arrangements. If they do, then foreclosure could be avoided because the lender and borrower come to a different agreement.

The loan modification process is acceptable to lenders, because it is better than the borrower not paying at all. Furthermore, it stops them from having to pay for foreclosure. Because homes are hard to sell, it foreclosure means lenders are stuck with properties for a long time, which doesn’t benefit them either.

Golden State Financial Group on the Impact on Credit

A lot of people think that if they go through loan modification, their credit score will be negatively impacted. This can be true, because needing a modification means that someone is unable to pay as agreed. Hence, their credit history will demonstrate that a modification has taken place. For some lenders, this means the individual is no longer credit worthy, and the overall credit score does drop to a degree.

However, entering a loan modification also shows other creditors that you are proactive about getting your finances in order. It means that you have done all you can to avoid foreclosure. Hence, some lenders will believe that you are not too big of a risk. That said, it is never recommended to take out more credit if you are in a situation where you need a loan medication.

Building Your Credit Rating

While a loan modification has a negative impact on a credit score, it is possible to rebuild this score quite quickly. As said, simply by taking on the modification, you show yourself as being willing to make payments. Making those new payments on time and as agreed will further demonstrate that you are a trustworthy individual who is trying to get back on track. That said, it is absolutely vital that you do make those payments. If you accept a loan modification yet still aren’t able to budget, then the impact on your credit score will be far more significant.

If you are in a situation where you are struggling to make ends meet, consider seeking some financial advice to see whether a home loan modification could be possible. Doing so could help you keep a roof over your head, and it could top you from taking a catastrophic hit on your credit score as well.

January 8, 2018

Signs that you could be completely obsessed with interior design

Even if you don’t work as an interior designer, you could remain preoccupied with the subject of interior design – perhaps without consciously realising it.

Interior designers are very particular types of people; through utilising their creative powers while also keeping logic at the forefront, they can make a room look good without unduly compromising its practicality. If you tend to behave in the below ways, you could be one of those people…

Your books are arranged according to their colour

You might be so keen to make your bookshelves look good that you keep all of the red tomes in one section, the blue ones in another… and so forth. This is one potential tendency highlighted by Ideal Home, which adds that the “alphabetisation” of books in bookshops could, as a result, annoy you.

Of course, in your own home, the annoyed people could be other members of the household who, at the bookshelves, try to look for a book and know its title but not colour…

You constantly rearrange your furniture

Perhaps you sometimes see the layout of furniture in your workspace or a room and think “No, that’s not right” and so start moving items around to rectify the issue… only to realise, the following day, that you are dissatisfied again.

Your loved ones might often feel like they are in a different home each day. They could be especially irritated if they often have to head down to the basement to fetch their favourite chair because you thought it looked better there, a scenario suggested by Freshome.

You see potential in supposedly “eyesore” buildings

It’s a common occurrence for a community to have a building that has been effectively abandoned and now seems like a white elephant. Perhaps it’s derelict, and many people deem it ugly and fit to be demolished. However, you might not be one of those people…

You might have an idea of how the building could be brought back into use to fruitful effect. You may even want to campaign to save the structure so that an idea like yours can be put into action.

You are familiar with many different fabrics

If friends and family have no idea what you’re talking about when you use words like “arabesque” and “accordion fold”, this might just be a sign that they don’t quite have the same eye for interior design as you do.

However, people obsessive about interior design can know much about fabrics. You might also know the wisest ways of using different forms of fabric to design a home.

Home improvement staff are familiar with you!

You might revamp and tweak your home so often that people who sell home improvement equipment and supplies to you are on first-name terms with you.

Of course, they might be very friendly to you anyway if they work for a company that knows how to provide a genuinely friendly service. For example, ordering bifold patio doors from Bifold Shop can give you a service extending beyond the actual doors.

January 2, 2018

Why You Should Get An Agent To Help With Your Relocation Needs

The process involved in relocation is never easy and these can be worsened if you are relocating to a new country. Not only are you going to be leaving your friends and family behind, you will be moving into a strange country and possibly different culture. Then you have to look for house to live in when you get there. The thought of this alone is enough to make your blood pressure rise.

If you are relocating to a place, you can reduce some of the stress by looking for a relocation services to help you out. It is true that this service does not come free and you may feel the pinch of losing some of your money. However, this pinch will be nothing compared to the pinch you will feel if you had to find yourself stranded in a strange city with nowhere to go. Getting a relocation service helps ease the burden of looking for a house by yourself in a place where you know nothing apart. There are many reasons why using a relocation service is a great idea.

They know the city

It could be a big city but the real estate guys can tell you where each property is and what neighborhoods to avoid. Since they know the city they should be able to offer sound advice to their client. They can tell the client the property to buy and why. They can also advice their client on the neighborhoods to avoid.

They know where the right property for you

No matter how smart you claim yourself to be, there is always a possibility that you may not be well informed to find a property by yourself. Property Managers work in collaboration with other agents who are willing to supply information. This means that they are always the first to get news about property for that has been put on sale.

They understand the law

Most people may not really bother about looking for their property alone. After all there are places like the internet where they can find advertisement for houses for sale. However, when you use an agent, you can sleep peacefully at night with the mind that you have your relocation searches settled. A good agent understands the law as it applies to real estate. It is important to get someone like a licensed estate agent who will guide you not only in choosing the right property, but for ensuring that every aspect of the law is strictly respected as required.

If you are also planning to buy a property, so it is always a better option to take the expert opinion or advice of the property agent. Casino games have become much popular these days. If you also wish to play casino games frequently, so you can ask the dealer to look for a place where they have an area for playing casino. However, playing at freespins365.co.uk is also a great option. There are many properties where club houses are available, so you may freely play games at casinonodeposituk.co.uk. Look now for a worthy investment in property with experts opinion!

December 15, 2017

How to make a retirement plan today

When you are planning your retirement there are several important factors to consider. You need to look at how you will sustain yourself financially, where you will live, and more. Check out the following for information on how you can make a feasible plan for retirement.

Financial planning

Assessing your finances is the first thing to do when you are deciding when you will retire. Consider how much money you would need to cover your financial essentials, leaving some funds for inessential items and fun after retirement. Account for inflation, major purchases, trips, and emergencies.

If your employer offers a pension plan, then you are lucky to have such a secure nest egg awaiting your retirement. Early in the planning for retirement phase it is a good idea to talk to your financial planner about what type of retirement account and funds are right for you over and above your work pension. When you get closer to retirement, they will typically advise you to move funds to less risky investments.

Tips for saving money

Saving money for special events is important. Especially if you are looking to save money for a vacation. You do need to have some meaningful leisure time, but by investing more in your retirement account now you could retire earlier. Cutting back on everyday expenses by spending less on dining out and entertainment is a positive move. Shop around for deals, especially for big purchases and try cutting back on big purchases in general.

Avoiding debt and paying off high-interest debts can also save money in the long run.

Planning ahead

While it is difficult to think about, start to consider the end of your life. Funeral planning can remove some of the financial burden that loved ones have to worry about after you have passed away.

Funeral planning ahead of time ensures that things will be carried out as you wish and gives loved ones a clear vision of how to proceed during their time of grief.

Housing

Before you retire, you should determine where you plan to live for the rest of your life. If you own a home that is paid for, then you could live there long-term without incurring further housing debt. Otherwise you might like to consider moving into a retirement home or perhaps somewhere with assisted living facilities.

Downsizing

Whether you are planning to stay in your current home or move to a new residence, downsizing your possessions can help you to de-clutter and reduce the number of items to be sorted later by loved ones.

Unexpected change of housing

Keep in mind that sometimes unexpected health issues can arise that require us to relocate. As we age, the possibility of becoming unable to care for ourselves or becoming permanently disabled increases.

Issues like osteoporosis, falls, and arthritis can affect our mobility and ability to care for ourselves. Health conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s might require moving to where professionals can help with everyday tasks.

When it comes to planning for retirement, there are many factors to consider. You have to plan your finances, housing, and there are other issues to contend with. Hopefully this guide will help you have a happy and financially sound retirement.

November 23, 2017

Facts About Laminate Flooring

When remodelling your home, one of the main parts to consider is the floor. This decision is not always easy, especially as we always search for a balance between price and practicality.  We want something of good quality but with a budget in mind. In our mind, the solution to this is  laminate flooring. A perfect alternative to traditional floors, laminate flooring is a great compromise as it is considerably cheaper than solid or engineered wood, but is just as visually appealing, durable and if not easier to install.

Construction:

One of the main reasons that laminate is so durable is due to the way that it is constructed. It is basically made up of four layers: backing, core, image and wear layer. The backing is the barrier between the sub floor and the rest of the layers, the core enables the floor to support the weight of the people walking on it, the image is as the word itself says, the layer that gives the wood look to the floor. The fourth one is the wear layer, it is a protective layer that avoids the flooring to fade.

Qualities:

Another appealing feature of laminate flooring is that is waterproof, meaning not only that it is resistant to any liquid spill but also that it is very easy to clean. This makes laminate one of the  few family friendly floors. And it is affordable, which makes it great for renovations on a budget

If you’ve already spent a lot of money on the floor itself, the last thing you want is to be worrying about it getting damaged during every day life. Fear not! Laminate is one of the easiest floors to maintain and keep clean, all it requires is regular sweeping and occasional mopping to help the floor look as good as the day it was installed.

Versatility:

Laminate flooring is often praised for it’s versatility, it is able to replicate not only different species of wood such as oak or walnut, but can also emulate the look of stone or slate tiles. This again fits perfectly with the budget aspect of things. If you would love the look of real wood or real stone in your home but struggle with the price tag, laminate makes the perfect substitute!

Installation:  

The installation of laminate flooring is among the easiest on the market, perfect for DIY amateurs and professionals alike! Unlike real wood floors you don’t have to worry about acclimatising the wood, instead you can get straight on with laying the floor and transforming your home without delay. It’s also one of the least messy installations too, no need for any glue or nails, instead laminate often comes in a ‘tongue and groove click system’. What this means is that the laminate can simply be measured and slotted into place, easy!

Allergies:

Finally, laminate is a great option for those who suffer from allergies mainly because unlike carpets, it doesn’t collect dust and is easy to just wipe clean. It is also a very sanitary product due to its locking system and plastic wear layer, creating a shield against moisture that wants to get in. It does not contract or expand like real wood does if it comes into contact with changing temperatures or excess moisture. However, if moisture does get in, or any permanent damage occurs to the surface or core-board, laminate flooring is easily replaced.

So there you have it, just a few reasons why we think laminate flooring is a fantastic flooring option for any home!

November 21, 2017

Facts to Consider Before Buying a Shower Cubicle

Showering is a quick and easy way to get clean. It is invigorating and refreshing. In many homes, it has become more comfortable and practical to have a shower, which is easier and faster to use instead of a bath.

Life today is usually hectic, people do not have much time to linger in the bath because it takes time to fill it up and clean it afterwards. Moreover, space is at a premium and most bathrooms are given the smallest space in the house. Also, not everyone has a big budget for home renovations

A shower cubicle can fit almost any bathroom. It is a modern convenience that adapts to the current scenario of large families living in one house or smaller housing units. A shower cubicle creates a private space to have a shower even if the bathroom is occupied by more than one user.

There is limited space in most bathrooms, so consider carefully which area is the best place to install a shower cabin.

  • Recessed cubicle. If you have three walls close together, you can go for a recessed installation that only needs a door to turn it into an enclosure. You can opt for a hinged door, which needs more space in front of the enclosure. A pivot and swing door recedes slightly into the cubicle thus requiring less room to open the door. A bi-fold door is another space saver.
  • Corner cubicle. If your available space only has two walls, you need a corner cubicle. There are several options here as well. A quadrant cubicle curves in front so the floor space it needs is less than a square cubicle. A 900mm cubicle, or bigger, will provide enough space to move inside the shower. There is also an offset quadrant, in which one side is longer, giving you more space.
  • 3-sided cubicle. If the vacant space in your bathroom only has one wall, choose a three-sided cubicle. New in the market are the D-Shape styles that feature a curved shape similar to a corner quadrant, but need only one flat wall for installation.

Home maintenance is important and keeping your bathroom up to date is part of that. Carefully measure the dimensions of your bathroom to ensure that the enclosure you have chosen will fit the space without impeding access to the bath, basin and toilet. Moreover, it is important to consider the height of the bathroom and the height of the enclosure. Typically, they measure 1,850 mm to 1,900 mm, so if your ceiling is lower, find a cubicle with a height of about 1750mm, including the shower tray.

Outside of these key points to consider, check the other features of shower cubicles, such as glass thickness, glass protection, quick release rollers for quadrants, sliding doors, and other extras.

Image:  www.jtspas.co.uk