Hiring a Landscape Contractor

Landscape ContractorThere are a number of reasons why hiring a landscape contractor to do up your front/backyard is a good idea. It provides a superior aesthetic appeal to the exterior of your home, it increases its resale value, and it can be eco-friendly. It also ensures that the work has been done professionally, and will be maintained well. However, all this is subject to finding the right person to do the job. So, where do you begin, and how do you shortlist the perfect person for the job? Here’s a checklist to hire a landscape contractor.

How to Begin

Remember that landscape contractors are professionals who execute landscape designs. However, some of them have their own design teams and carry out design and execution themselves. In other cases, you may have to get designs from a landscape architect, which a landscape contractor will then execute.

References from family and friends can be a good start to finding a landscaping contractor. Local directories and landscaping associations that have a strong online presence can help you find credible contractors with the necessary licenses and certification. While these associations don’t guarantee the efficiency of the contractor, they do have certain criteria without which he/she cannot make it into the association. This is enough to certify his credentials. The remainder, you can find out by following the checklist below.


The licensing process may vary from state to state, but all landscape contractors must possess a license by the respective state’s license board to provide landscaping and related services.

A professional contractor will not only have certification himself, but will also have a team of certified professionals/contractors working with him. Your contractor should ideally be a Landscape Industry Certified Technician (earlier known as CLT).

How many people does he have in his team? Is he going to further outsource the work to another agency for execution? If so, is he going to be liable for their work?

Business Liability Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Coverage
It is mandatory for a contractor to have both these so that any damage to your property will be insured. Workers’ compensation coverage covers any injury to workers during site work. These are important to protect you from extensive expenses in case of such situations.

Experience and Portfolio
As a potential client, you must learn about the contractor’s experience, number of years in the business, and request pictures of his previous work. This will help you judge whether his type of work is suitable to your requirements and tastes.

Client References
Ask for client references to get a clear idea about his work, professionalism, and maintenance services. You may even visit a site in progress to see his manner of working.

Cleanup During Work
A professional will ensure that when he leaves the site at the end of the day, it is clear of unnecessary material. It is imperative that contractors do this to ensure smooth work flow daily.

Warranty and Maintenance
What is the duration of warranty he is providing? Will he provide maintenance services after the completion of the contract? These are very important because landscaping is not a one-time job. Some parts of it require regular care and maintenance at the hands of the professional who helped you create it.

Material Procurement
Find out where he buys supplies from, and whether these agencies are reliable. This may be confirmed by speaking to previous clients. Further, there may be certain bits that you may want to contribute to on your own. For instance, you could purchase the trees and shrubs yourself. Ask if he can provide this flexibility.

Price and Estimate
Some contractors charge by the hour, while others may charge a lump sum. Either way, get a written estimate from them after the scope of work has been defined. In some cases, providing an estimate will require them to create preliminary designs for your space. This work may be chargeable. When you ask for bids from different contractors, ensure that the scope of work is the same. You may see someone charging a lower price, but you may not notice that certain aspects of the project have not been included. So, simply because someone is offering to do the work at a lower price, it may not be a better option. You must take into account all the things mentioned in this checklist, compare them across different contractors, and then make an informed decision.

Project Duration
While this will depend on the amount and complexity of the work, a professional will be able to give you a suitable time frame within which the job will be completed. Knowing this is important for you to prepare yourself for the days/weeks/months of ongoing work.

Contract and Payment Terms
The contract should enlist the entire scope of work and payment terms of the project. It should also highlight the method of payment and the stages in which it is to be processed. Read the contract thoroughly, and understand all its clauses clearly. When you do finalize upon a contractor, ensure that you question things about the contract that you don’t understand. Do not sign it without understanding the nitty-gritty of the process.

Attitude and Communication
The biggest deciding factor, in my opinion, is the attitude of the contractor.

Does he clearly understand your requirements?
Does he ask questions beyond the obvious, to genuinely understand what you are expecting from the landscaped space―just utility or more?
Does he offer valid solutions for your requirements, or alternatives if certain things are not possible?
Does he communicate professionally?
Do you think you will be comfortable working with him for a long time?

Before You Make the Final Decision

To summarize the decision-making process, here’s a short checklist you should follow when you do make the big decision.

Factor in all the aforementioned points and compare them with others.
Take written estimates from each contractor and compare.
Read through the contract details thoroughly, and clarify things that you don’t understand.
Choose a contractor who shows openness to incorporating your choices and opinions in the final project.

Some experts argue that by posing so many questions, you are questioning the ability of the contractor. However, landscaping is not an inexpensive process, neither is it a short one. It requires so many questions to be asked, and no contractor worth his salt is going to have a problem answering them. In fact, a genuine landscape contractor will prove his worth to you even without you having to ask so much.

Buying a Foreclosed Home

Foreclosed HomeIn the current scenario, buying a foreclosed home seems like a wonderful investment. A number of economists feel that today, homes are as affordable as they were in 2004. Of course, there is a chance that people may not witness noteworthy appreciation in the price of the property for a long time. Given the state of affairs, a foreclosed home may be good purchase for people, who need a place to stay, rather than people looking at it from an investment perspective. However, aspiring homeowners need to be very cautious while buying a foreclosed home. More so, if the foreclosed property is going to be their first home purchase.

Find the Listings

The internet is the best place to find foreclosure listings. Typically, bank websites and the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) websites have detailed foreclosure listings. People should look for foreclosed homes sold by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Internal Revenue Service, Small Business Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Customs, U.S. Marshals Service, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Insurance Deposit Corporation, and General Service Administration. The website of the National Association of Realtors, also has a plethora of information on home foreclosures for sale. Newspapers, too, carry information regarding proposed auctions, the names of the homeowners, and the lenders.

Important Tips

Foreclosed homes are disposed off at auctions held on the steps of the county courthouse. People, who have considerable experience in buying foreclosures, can buy the foreclosed home at this stage. Risk-averse individuals should not buy a home that is being auctioned on account of the following reasons:

☛ The bidders are not allowed to inspect the property before making a bid, although it, certainly is possible that the home may be in need of serious repairs. The successful bidder is expected to make the payment right away and may not have time to inspect the property again. The title deed may be unclear, and there may be additional liens against property that may have to be borne by the buyer. The buyer also has the unsavory task of evicting distraught tenants from the property, and the latter may vandalize the house out of spite before bidding goodbye to a home that was once theirs. House auctions also tend to inflate the price of the property and may end up costing the bidder much more than it, actually is worth. Thus, buying at an auction is not advisable for a novice. Even a seasoned player may find it difficult to navigate the aforementioned risks of buying a foreclosed home at an auction.
☛ If the property is not sold off at an auction, the bank winds up with the deed to the property. The home that is now a part of the bank’s inventory, is referred to as real estate owned (REO). The bank may price the REO at a reasonable figure just to get rid of it. In addition to low cost, there are numerous benefits of buying a foreclosed home from a bank.
☛ The buyer can inspect the house before purchasing it. At times, banks may pay for repairs that are found during preliminary home inspection. Buying a bank foreclosed home is a good deal for the first-time home buyer, since the buyer does not have to concern himself/herself with evicting tenants. The bank also tends to negotiate with other creditors and gets rid of taxes and other liens against property.
☛ A seasoned investor may consider purchasing a tax-lien foreclosure that is the result of the homeowner defaulting on property or income tax. The home, again is sold at an auction, and it may be disposed off for as low as 60% below its market value, since the government is only interested in recovering the taxes.

Finer Points

❒ A mistake that most first-time buyers commit: They do not weigh the pros and cons before buying the property. Majority are lured by the price tag. A lower price does not mean the deal is in your favor. Well, this, precisely is not the real deal. Before you sign on the dotted line, question yourself on a few important variables. Does the house need major repairs; would you be refurbishing the house and renting it in the future; do you have the capital to maintain the house, if you don’t find a tenant to rent the place — these are a few questions that may help you judge your efforts and sort your options better.
❒ Inspecting the house, thoroughly, before you make up your mind to possess the property, is an absolute requirement. If you are planning to buy a foreclosed home in another city, you need to make several trips to the site and recce the place. Asking someone else to do the job for you is a waste of time. It is you, who needs to be proactive and take the final step.
❒ Know that the neighborhood matters. If there have been a number of foreclosed properties in the vicinity of the house you are planning to buy, you may be unable to cope with major repairs as the value of the house itself is deprecated. Besides, learn how the neighborhood looks during the day and the nighttime. The neighborhood that looks lively, however, does not breed hubbub, fetches potential buyers to invest in the property.
❒ Another important variable you must counter-check is the current condition of the house. The present state of the house does matter. It reflects on the degree of refurbishment the house requires and the amount you must shell out for the purpose. Besides the filth and the muck build up, there are various plumbing- and sewage-related problems that set in. Better check, if the pipes are in a good condition; if not, make way for modifications. If the problem is not sorted, there may be complications in the future. Water leaking, courtesy of the cracked pipes, which seeps onto the walls is not a pleasant situation to be in and amending the same after you have rented out the house is not an entertaining idea.
❒ What adds to the house price, is the landscape. Overgrown bushes, unkempt trees with occluded branches lead to depreciation of the property. There are times when overgrown branches gatecrash the spaces, predominantly the windows of the house, and pave the way for deterioration.

Hopefully, the aforementioned tips on buying a foreclosed home will be of use to a buyer, who is keen on buying his/her first home. Price of comparable properties is an important factor that has to be taken into account regardless of whether one buys a REO, a tax-lien foreclosure, or bids at an auction. The absorption rate, or the length of time required to sell the current inventory given the present rate of sales, also needs to be calculated, since a low absorption rate is a bargaining chip for the buyer.

How Display Homes Can Really Save you a Lot of Hassles

Buying a new home is a big step, and something most people will do at some point or another. It is a milestone in anyone’s life, getting one’s foot on the property ladder, or perhaps moving up a few rungs, and with so much at stake, it pays to make an informed decision. Some builders have a range of development locations, all with display homes, and these units are often for sale, giving the homeowner even more value for money.

Buy a display home

This innovative idea is a popular option for the homeowner, as the builder will guarantee a return while the house is being used for display purposes, and will pay all maintenance costs during that period. Then, when the house is ready to be handed over, it will be in pristine condition, complete, and ready to move in. This option gives the new owner an income while the house is being used as a display, and with all the small details taken care of, one can move in and not have to buy a single thing.

A range to choose from

A modern builder would have many styles of homes on offer, which gives the potential customer a range of home designs, and if one buys the show home, all the furnishings would come with the price, which is yet another bonus. From the moment a person becomes the owner of a display home, it is earning them an income. Some builders guarantee a minimum of 7%, and they pay all the maintenance and gardening costs while the home is being used for display purposes.

The right location

If one lives in Western Australia, there are housing developments north and south of the river, along the coast, and also in the hilly areas, giving the customer a great choice of locations. Buying a display home means that the property will be used for display purposes for a certain amount of time, usually until the last unit is sold, and then the home is prepared for the new occupants and handed over in first class condition. If one is looking for the right builder, http://www.redinkhomes.com.au/house-land-packages/ have display homes for sale in many different locations in Western Australia, all at affordable prices.

The furnishings and fittings

These would normally have to be included in the budget, and it wouldn’t be the cheapest of things, yet with a display home, everything is already in place, down to the finest detail. If one has chosen that particular design, then it fits with your ideals, and the extras that come with the display home, make it a more than attractive proposition for any person looking for a new home. A display home is only decorated with the best quality furniture and fittings, so one is making a wise investment.

Buying a display home has many advantages, and with so many styles and sizes, there will be something ideal for every family.

How to tell if water is leaking behind walls

A water leak can be an extremely stressful event for homeowners. Leaks can damage the structure of a house, as well as interfere with utilities and cause extensive damage to personal belongings. The cost of repairing the damage after a leak could potentially cost thousands of dollars.

Leaks can occur in various places around the home. Roof tiles may be loose or cracked, causing water to drip down into the rest of the house and cause problems such as rot and mould to develop. Leaks can spring from damaged appliances such as washing machines or showers.

Leaks may also occur behind walls, which can be harder to spot than in other areas of the house. It is important to remain vigilant about this type of leak because damage can spread in a very short space of time. Once the leak has been identified, it should be fixed a plumber. Plumbdog fixes leaks.

Here is a helpful guide about how to tell if water is leaking behind the walls of a house.

Wall Discolouration

One of the subtle signs of water damage behind walls is if the wall has started to change colour in any way. Darkness or yellowing of colours is common when a pipe has burst behind a wall. The wall can then be dismantled in order for the leak to be located and ultimately fixed. Don’t ignore any discolouration because this could lead to the damage spreading to other areas of the house. Ring a plumber for leak detection in Perth.

Wall Sponginess

The texture of the walls will be another indicator that there is a problem. Excessive water leaking into the wall cavity could cause walls to feel spongy and weak. Test the waters by pressing on them gently: if the walls don’t feel completely solid then ring a plumber to have the problem looked at. Remember that any wall in the house can be susceptible to sponginess, so be vigilant.

Mould And Damp Patches

Mould can start to form on the walls if water is leaking out from behind. The green or black mould will be relatively easy to spot. Mould can potentially cause respiratory problems and looks extremely unappealing. The mould can be removed with a steamer or by scraping it from the walls. A plumber will then be able to fix the pipes which are causing the problem to occur.

Excessively Noisy Pipes

Pipes which make lots of excessive noise may have sprung a leak which is hard to detect. The noisy pipes can disrupt people’s sleep, so the leak needs to be identified as soon as possible.

Continuous Sound Of Running Water

A tell-tale sign of a leak behind walls is the continuous sound of running water, even when the shower and other appliances are turned off. Ring a plumber in order to investigate.

Use this guide to spotting the signs of leaks behind walls.

8 Top Limestone Stain Removal Tips

Limestone surfaces can add a touch of luxury to a kitchen, and they’re very durable if well looked after. Most homeowners take great pride in their kitchen because it’s the place where food is cooked for the whole family. Plus, in many households, the kitchen doubles up as a dining room in which families can enjoy some quality time together.

However, despite the fact that limestone is an extremely beautiful material, it can be hard to clean if stains are neglected for a prolonged period of time. That’s why it’s best to clean spills and stains as soon as they appear. That way, homeowners can maintain the high quality of their work surfaces year after year.

Those who are interested in liquid limestone in Perth should make sure they find the best provider if they want to feel rest assured that they’re buying a high quality product. The following tips on stain removal will go a long way for those that already have this wonderful material in their home as well as those who wish to purchase it in the near future.

Getting Rid of Limestone Stains

Here are eight tips on how to make sure stains don’t ruin limestone work surfaces:

  • Use a vacuum – A vacuum cleaner can be used to rid the affected area of dirt and dust, and it’s especially effective if the spin brush mode is turned off.
  • Dry mop or broom – Brooms and mops work well to eliminate extra grime and dirt from the stained area, though it’s important not to wet the mop.
  • Damp rag – Now that the dust and dirt have been removed from the stained area, a damp rag dipped in a mild soap solution should be used to clean the limestone.
  • Use a commercial poultice – It’s best to find this product in a DIY store, and it’s important to follow the instructions properly. Leave the poultice on the stain for around 48 hours.
  • Clean spills as soon as they happen – Spills should only be rubbed gently using a damp cloth with a gentle soap.
  • Clean work surfaces and floors regularly – Attempting to clean spills with dust on the surface could cause scratching. It’s best to make sure surfaces are dust-free at all times.
  • Use doormats – Those who have limestone in areas that receive heavy foot traffic might want to use doormats to get rid of excess dirt and dust from shoes.
  • Use coasters – To protect work surfaces from spills and staining, it’s a good idea to use coasters for drinks that can soak up spills before they reach the limestone.

Needless to say, Limestone is a beautiful material that can add a touch of luxury to any home, and it’s also very durable if well looked after. Of course, spills will happen from time to time and if neglected, they can ruin the look of the material. However, as long as homeowners follow the steps above, they can make sure their surfaces look as good as new for years to come.

Save Energy Now: Steps to Creating the Ultimate Green Home

It is important to ensure that people do everything possible to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle as much as possible and there are plenty of things that can be done to be greener, from recycling more to reducing the amount of waste we produce. However, if there is one place where many people can be a lot kinder to the planet then it is in the home and making changes to everything from the windows to the lightbulbs can help.

From business owners to homeowners, anywhere where there is a building lots of greener changes can easily be made. Websites such as noobpreneur.com aimed at small business owners will often have handy articles that will give people tips on how to be more environmentally friendly within the workplace and the internet is a useful resource to use to get hold of energy saving ideas.

Greener Home

Creating a greener home can be done by making a few changes and additions, and below are some examples:

  • Add solar panels to produce solar energy
  • Change regular lightbulbs to energy saving bulbs
  • Recycle more
  • Produce less waste
  • Turn lights off when leaving a room and use more natural light for longer
  • Don’t leave unused electrical appliances such as a PC running overnight
  • Unplug items such as mobile phones once they are fully charged
  • Turn the fridge and freezer down a few degrees
  • Better insulate the property to stop heat from escaping
  • Pay utility bills online

Even doing things such as growing vegetables in a garden or in a specialist indoor grow room can be a great way to reduce a carbon footprint and installing double glazed windows is another efficient way to reduce the amount of energy being lost in a property.

Create Compost

Some homeowners will even create their own compost heap that can be used to fertilise a garden by putting fruit and vegetable scraps such as banana peels or apple cores into a special bin that can then mulch together to be scattered over the soil.

Contact an Electrician

One of the best things that any home or business owner can do to ensure that their property is running as efficiently as possible is contact a professional electrician and ask them to an inspection of the property to see if any of the electrical work needs to be upgraded. Professional electricians including Thornbury electricians in Perth are easy to contact online and they will be able to offer advice about what needs to be done to any property to ensure the electrics are as eco-friendly as possible.

Below are a few of the services that are easy to organise through an electrician:

  • Repairs
  • Maintenance
  • Upgrades
  • Rewiring
  • Servicing
  • Installation

The better the electrics are in a property and the more modern they are, the greener the home will be as they will use less energy and this also goes for any electrical appliances.


Lessons Learned from Years with Sealers

Picking a Vacuum Sealer System

Not everyone is knowledgeable about vacuum sealer bags are and why it is invented or made. A substantial number of people will probably think that the use of vacuum sealer bags are just for food packaging, and are only used just so that it will not consume that much space when put in shelves. Years ago, vacuum sealing for proper storing and preservation of food is only done in factories or people who are well off but, because of the fast changing times and modernization, even ordinary people can now do vacuum sealing methods. This technology, though already existing for ages now, is still a puzzle for other people when it comes to how it should be used.

The following is a step by step process on how to vacuum seal goods. Saving space is the primary function of vacuum sealer bags. Adding another cupboard or another refrigerator for storage will take up a lot of spaces and it is going to be difficult especially if you do not have a big space. Another refrigerator might not a have space in your kitchen. When you preserve and store your food through using vacuum sealer bags, it will be much more efficient than when you store your food as how you ordinarily store them. Vacuum sealer bags are still much more recommended when it comes to storing food although many refrigerator-producing companies are claiming that their products can store goods fairly well. Most important thing about vacuum sealing is, the food stored through it require only a small space which is why less space for storage is needed.

Another great thing about vacuum sealer bags is that, it helps the users save some money. Buying the things you need which are the things you will seal, the sealing machine, and the bags, is the only time you will be using your money.

The bags can be used on any food you typically store and it is easy to use. You can store your favorite seasonal food and eat them throughout the year, and you can buy any food in bulk at a cheaper price, without having to worry that the goods will perish in a short time. Another great thing is, because of lesser electricity consumption, electric bill will be lower.

Probably the best benefit of having vacuum sealer bags to store food or goods is that, it is guaranteed as a safe way of storing. Freezers or refrigerators have environments that are not ideal for food that are stored for a long time which is why vacuum cleaner bags are highly recommended because it is said to be a highly healthy method for food storage.

Through using vacuum cleaner bags as a way of storing food, it is guaranteed that the food you store is very safe and very cost efficient.

Source: http://www.delectableideas.com/2016/03/fantastic-ways-make-food-last-longer/

Which is Better, Gas or Electric Stove?

The stove is one of the most important appliances in any kitchen.  It’s used to cook everyday meals for all the family throughout different times of the day.  There are so many different makes and models of gas and electric stoves to choose from it can sometimes be difficult to narrow down those choices.  Both gas and electric stoves have their advantages and disadvantages.

One of the major considerations for anyone buying a new kitchen stove is the price.  Overall electric stoves are less expensive to manufacture so are less expensive to buy.  The cost is also significantly lower because kitchens are usually prewired for electric stoves.  It can be quite costly to have gas installed in an existing property.

It’s important to consider safety

As with any type of electrical or gas appliance, it’s important to consider safety.  When carrying out any type of gas or plumbing work, reputable firms like www.diamondplumbing.net.au  made safety one of their top priorities.  When it comes to gas and electric stoves, both have inherent risks.

When contemplating the question, gas or electric stove, which is better, there are many other factors to consider beyond cost and safety.  Check out the following list of the pros, cons for electric and gas stoves:-

Electric stoves


  • Easy to clean – an electric stove is quite easy to clean.  Just lift off the element and clean the stovetop without having to move any of the parts out of the way.
  • Even surface – electric stoves are more stable for pots and pans.  The even surface can also serve as an additional counter or storage space when not in use.
  • Ignition – to turn the burner on, simply twist the knob and the element begins heating up immediately.


  • Power source – if the power goes out nothing can be cooked.
  • Durability – ceramic top electric stoves can shatter if heavy items are dropped and they can scratch easily.

Gas stoves


  • Heats quickly – gas stoves provide instant heat and the level of heat can be controlled.  When the flame is turned off, the food can stay on the stove without worry of overcooking.
  • Fuel source – gas stoves operate on propane or natural gas both of which are relatively inexpensive and clean burning.  Gas is a cheaper option to cook food than electric.
  • Broiling temperature – gas stoves provide better broiling temperature for different food types.


  • Heat distribution – temperatures are hotter at the top of gas ovens so baking requires a lot of rotation.
  • Difficult to clean – gas stoves are more difficult to clean especially when having to move heavy cast-iron burner grates around.

There are pros and cons for gas as well as electrical stoves.  Regarding gas and plumbing services in the home, it always pays to use professionals such as Diamond Plumbing and Gas. Any questions about plumbing or gas services, just ask.

Discover the many benefits and advantages of using a dryer vent cleaning service

Keeping your appliances clean is one of your biggest challenges. Your dryer is part of this category of devices and requires special attention. dryer vent cleaning is an essential part of this kind of maintenance. When you clean, you should do it deeply and thoroughly. For a person on the go there is barely time to clean what is in plain sight much less the nether regions of your dryer vent. Fortunately, a professional dryer cleaner service can help you with the task.

You lead a busy life, and there is seldom time to do everything you need to. If it has been some time since your last dryer vent cleaning, you can count on the professionals who specialize in this line of work to deliver the service you require.

You never know how dirty your house is and how badly it needs deep cleaning until you have removed all of the furniture, clothing, and other assorted items from it. Once the cracks, crevices, and corners of your house are fully exposed you will come to see the dust and dirt that have accumulated in your house over the years. This also goes for your dryer vent. It is one of the most neglected spaces in your home. However, if the job is left too long it can lead to your dryer lapsing into inefficiency or even to it ceasing to function at all.

Very few persons engage in the kind of regular deep cleaning that most dryer vents regularly need if they are to remain free of debris and perfectly tidy. You should hire a specialist to come out and do the job.

A professional can come in and perform the deep cleaning your dryer vent needs. An experienced, skilled, and well-trained staff has the competence and tools needed to execute this task. Why take a chance on amateur workers or try to do such a job yourself? In all likelihood you have neither the time nor the tools to the job properly. There is no need for you to further burden an already overstrained life with the rather mundane task of dryer vent cleaning. Contacting professionals to come and do the work for you is the smart thing to do. By taking this route you can be sure that the job gets done efficiently and effectively. You can also save yourself a whole lot of trouble and stress by getting the job done right the first time.

It is not that difficult to find and contact such professionals. A quick search of the web will take you to our website, where you can find a list of the services offered and the rates charged. This is one of the best ways to figure out which dryer vent cleaning company is right for you. Using the web also enables you to compare the value and services of each vendor in the field. You will be able to come to an intelligent and well-informed decision about the dryer vent cleaning service you need.

If you are looking for a dryer vent cleaning , then you need look no further. For more information please visit our website.

Why Kitchen Remodeling Is More Than New Appliances

You can transform the appearance of your kitchen by replacing older appliances with brand new ones. You will most likely get the added benefit of reduced energy costs, since the new appliances will almost certainly be more energy efficient than your existing ones.

However, David Frosch, a designer based in Woodbury, MN, recommends that people should think about a kitchen remodeling project that goes further than just replacing appliances. He points out that your choice of new appliances will be limited if you do not undertake a kitchen remodeling. They will have to fit in with the existing décor. Additionally, they will have to be pretty much the same size as existing appliances, and they will slot into the same places as the ones they replace.

While a kitchen remodeling project will cost more than a simple replacement of appliances, the money spent can pay dividends. A revamped kitchen can add thousands to the value of your home. David outlines the steps that you should take.

  1. Work out your budget

You may have a mental image of the kitchen of your dreams, but you need to work out if you can afford it. If you plan to use existing savings to pay for your new kitchen, you know how much you have to spend. If you need to borrow money, make sure you limit the borrowed amount to what you can comfortably afford to pay back each month.

  1. Use a professional designer

Professional designers will have designed many kitchens, and will know how to make the best use of the available space. Tell the designer what your budget is. Be as specific as possible about what you think your new kitchen will look like. Your designer will be able to tell you if your budget matches your expectations.

Apart from coming up with great ideas, your designer will be able to create virtual 3-d images of the proposed new kitchen using design software. This has the great benefit of you being able to see the finished product before the work even begins. You can chop and change as you wish. When you are satisfied, your designer can produce plans.

  1. Choose your remodeling company

Your designer may be able to recommend local kitchen remodeling experts. You can also ask people you know if they can recommend anybody, or you can check local trade magazines. Ask remodeling companies for addresses of people for whom they have remodeled already, and check with these people that they were satisfied with the service they got.

Why a Villa Should Be Your Next Home

There is no one building style or size that defines what a villa is. In common parlance, any large, independent luxury home can fairly be called one. Real estate majors who specialize in luxury homes define one as anything in the top five pricing percentile.

In the past few months, sales of luxury villas valued at over $1 million have slowed down across the country. While the prices of middle-class homes have risen by nearly 5%, the top end of the market has slowed down for the first time since 2009. To be certain, experts do not view this downturn as permanent, or even long-term. They fully expect it to pick up again before long. This makes the current moment an excellent opportunity to purchase new villa homes.

How long will the window stay open?

The current slowdown was brought about by a number of factors.

An unusually strong US dollar: America’s luxury real estate is supported by buyers for the Far East and the Middle East. Now, however, exchange rate fluctuations mean that these buyers from other countries need to pay between 14% and 27% more than they used to.

A volatile stock market: It is customary for high-end buyers to primarily invest in stocks. When they need to invest in luxury real estate, they cash in some of their portfolio. The first half of 2016, however, has seen some serious volatility in the international stock markets. The rich simply have shallower pockets now to draw on.

Oversupply: In January 2016, luxury home builders reported very high inventory of 71,000 unsold homes priced above $1 million. Unsold inventory for homes over $5 million was up 13%. Prices have been falling ever since, as a result. In Austin, Texas, homes previously listed at $14 million have sold at half the price.

Typically, imbalances in the financial and stock markets do not last very long. Then, market rates itself.

Taking advantage of a favorable market

It’s only a matter of time before luxury homes sales regain their long-standing momentum. At the moment, it’s possible to catch the market at a lull. There are surprising bargains available from markets that used to be extremely strong in the past. Before long, it’s an investment that’s likely to handsomely repay the investor.

The Home Remodeler’s Survival Guide

When you make the decision to remodel any area of your home, it is important to take stock of how the process will influence daily life. It’s an exciting time filled with anticipation of the new look and feel of your home, but it is also the beginning of a tumultuous period of controlled chaos; at least you hope it’s controllable.

The Home Remodelers Survival GuideThe most important tactic to surviving the remodel is planning in the areas of mental and emotional preparation, setting goals and agreeing on rules with the contractor, and physically preparing the site and creating a sustainable living situation for your family while the work is being completed.

Mental and emotional preparation:

It’s vital for the family to agree on a team strategy. Try to put a positive spin on the experience, highlighting the adventure aspect of the following time period and turning it into a group challenge. Know that it will take patience and flexibility to successfully survive during this time. Expect frustration and conflicting feelings, as well as a general mess and household disorder. Having realistic expectations will go a long way to help you and your family get through the remodel process.

Set goals and come to an agreement on basic guidelines with the contractor:

As a matter of course, the determination of time to complete the job and an agreement on costs are of utmost importance, but there are other rules, or guidelines, with which you should come to agreement for your peace of mind. Guidelines should encompass rules about where workers will take breaks and should include a predetermined smoking area, if permissible, any off-limit areas, parking, work hours, music volume, and who has key access to the home. At this point it is recommended to talk to your neighbors to notify them of the nature of the work, the hours of operation, and the expected time frame. An informed neighbor is much more likely to be supportive and tolerant of any inconvenience.

Preparing the site:

Before the work begins, pack-up the area to be remodeled. Use this opportunity to rid yourself of all un-needed, unnecessary, or unwanted items. Group your packing into two types: Those items to be stored, and those items with immediate and current need during the remodel. Attach Visqueen, or other plastic sheeting, to doorways and access points to avoid the spreading of dust and close-off limited areas of the home (this may be included with the scope of work). If necessary, relocate pictures, vases, artwork, computers, landline phones, and collectables for safety. And don’t forget to move plants to areas where they will be shielded and easily maintained.

Create a sustainable living situation:

In Georgia, the kitchen is the most common area for remodel as the cabinets, countertops, and design of the kitchen are most often the main source of reduced usefulness and desirability due to outdated design features (functional obsolescence).  Cabinet refacing is one of the many ways homeowners update the look of their kitchen.The Home Remodelers Survival Guide2

Move small appliances to an area that will serve as a makeshift kitchen. A slow cooker, microwave, toaster, coffee pot, electric skillet, and even relocating your refrigerator to an area with easy access is invaluable. Other essentials, including a can opener, water bottles, eating utensils, disposable plates and cups, napkins, and paper towels can be kept in a container and stowed for use as needed.  For easy cleanup, purchase a small tub to be designated for washing any pots or dishes. It is suggested that your remodel budget include a sum set aside for eating some meals away from the home. If this is an option, it will help to ease stress around the remodel and will get the family out of the home and away from the process.

If a bathroom is being remodeled, advanced planning should include where you will be able to take showers and having appropriate mirrors and lighting while getting ready, among other obvious necessities.

Power outages and having a loss of water are two very real potential outcomes at times. Be prepared with lanterns and candles, bottled water, and flashlights for these instances.

Above all else, remember that there is an end in sight. With proper planning and preparation, the remodeling process will become a memory of a time that you pulled together, and maybe had a little fun.