Archive | March 2014

Rehabbing A Home

When buying property for rehabilitation, it is important to do your house clean-up and repairs in the proper order. You don’t want to get ahead of yourself or waste time and money on the project. Below are some steps to follow and the mistakes to avoid:

 

Assess The Project: Discuss The Design and Scope of Work

Once you have found a reliable and experienced contractor, discuss your ideas for the project with him. Decide whether to modify the layout of the house, what repairs will done and how they will be accomplished.

Construction; Blueprint reading; Project management; PMP; construction

Demolish and Clean It Out

Getting a dumpster is a crucial step when you rehab a house. Go in and remove all the trash and debris left behind from previous owners. Demolish any damaged sheetrock, ceiling tile, kitchen and bath fixtures, out dated appliances, etc.

Landscaping and Exterior

Always start remodeling the exterior first when you rehab a house. Take care of the roof, windows and siding to prevent damage to the inside of the property. Change all the locks on the doors to prevent vandalism and theft.

Electrical, Plumbing, Insulation, Drywall, and Paint

While the contractor or sub-contractors are working on the exterior, it’s a good time to have the electrician and plumber working inside. Have the electrician come out a day or two earlier to complete any rough wiring in the kitchen and bathrooms. When the electrical and plumbing are done, it is time to bring in the contractor to take care of any framing, insulation, drywall, paint, door installation, trim, etc.

Kitchen, Bath, and Flooring

To rehab a house successfully, the kitchen and bath installations are a crucial step. These are the most valuable upgrades to the house. At this time the sinks, tubs, vanities, toilets and cabinets will be installed by your contractors. Then, one of the last things to do to rehab a house is installing the floors. Depending on your market and property location, the type of floor will vary. The kitchen and bath will usually get ceramic tile or vinyl adhesive tile.

There you have it! Add on the finishing touches at the end and you will have a new beautiful home! Before moving forward, read through the some common mistakes to know what to avoid when rehabbing a home

 Biggest Rehabbing Mistakes

Big Mistake #1: A Lack of Extensive Research

Many years ago, I worked for a paint manufacturer and learn a valuable lesson: Painting is 80 per cent preparation and 20 per cent application. This very same rule applies to buying and rehabbing property. 90 per cent of your time will be spent locating and purchasing the property itself.

Big Mistake #2 Do All the Work Yourself to Save Money

As rehabbers, we can easily convince ourselves to do the work and save a few dollars. This train of thought is fraught with danger on two levels. Firstly, if the level of workmanship is substandard then this can and will affect your resale price. Experience has taught me one very important lesson: If you’re no good at it yourself, pay an expert to do it.

Big Mistake #3: No Exit Strategy

Firstly, never enter a project if you cannot afford any unforeseen holding costs. Secondly, there is no shame in holding a good property. If the market doesn’t agree with you at that particular time, then rent it out for twelve months.

Big Mistake #4: Spending Too Much on the Rehab

The great temptation of renovating is to do too much. While the “wow” factor is critical, you must keep your emotions out of the equation and strictly adhere to your budget. Allow for a buffer to cover any surprises (usually 10 to 15 per cent). I certainly fell into the ‘do too much’ trap during my early projects. Always have your costs estimated accurately prior to purchasing a property. Overall, understand that things can and do go wrong in this business. Now that you are aware of the pitfalls, you will be better prepared from the outset

 

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Spring is Here! Time to Attack the Dust in Your Home!

The weather has been so brutally cold this winter, so I think everyone is happy to see that spring is finally right around the corner!

That also means it is time for some more spring cleaning! Summertime is a common time for people to move to their rented summer homes. So, Landlords, you need to make sure that all your homes are being cleaned out.

Here is a quick list to make sure that you get all the levels of your home spick and span for you and your tenants!

1. Pre Clean

  • Pick up any leftover  clutter laying around the house
  • Wash and put away dishes if the are available
  • Clear and wipe any countertops in the kitchen

2. Top Zone

  • Dust or clean ceiling fans
  • Dust or wash light fixtures
  • Clean high windows
  • Change light bulbs & replace air filters

3. Middle-to-Top Zone (Eye Level)

  • Wash, iron, & re-hang curtains
  • Wash windows
  • Dust pictures, mirrors, clocks, & other wall hangings

4. Middle-to-Low Zone (Waist Level)

  • Polish wood furniture
  • Wash sheets & change bed linens
  • Scrub showers & bathtubs and clean toilets
  • Vacuum & spot clean upholstered furniture

5. Bottom Zone

  • Sweep hard floors
  • Vacuum rugs & carpets
  • Dust baseboards
  • Wash small area rugs

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Building Over Your Garage

Whether you’re tight on space or trying to increase the value of your home, an extension over the garage can be a great solution. Here is what you need to know about the process of building an additional area over your garage.

1.) Get a professional

Before you do anything, you’ll need to contact an engineer to ensure that your garage is up to snuff and capable of supporting extra weight. It’s possible that you will need to add support beams to give it extra stability. Additionally you’ll need to look at your foundation and make sure it runs deep enough.

2.) Keep with the flow

No one wants the addition on their house to look like a mismatched hodge-podge of building blocks. Keep with the original design of your house when considering windows, gables, colors, etc. If possible, add on to your house around the same time you give the rest of the exterior an upgrade. This will help create a seamless look.

3.) Insulate

Unless you’re wasting a lot of energy, your garage probably isn’t heated in the winter. That cold can creep up into your new space if you’re not careful. While you’re constructing the new addition, take some time and insulate it well. You’ll be thankful come winter.

 

4.) Plan your plumbing

You can add a bathroom above your garage, but plan wisely. Pipes need to stay warm, so you should avoid running them down the exterior walls. Also, coordinate when you plan to install your bathroom, so you can plan ahead of time when you want to shut off the water to the rest of the house.

 

5.) Design

Make sure the idea of what you want works with both the outside and the inside of the house. Avoid doors on corners bumping up against one another or a bedroom that leads directly to the stairs without a hallway.

 

Tip:

If you’re looking to increase the value of your home by building an extension, think about whether it will be attached to the house. (Some garages are not attached.) While an unattached building might be great for a young adult, a family with young children might not see it as such a big bonus. Just to be sure, consult with a professional to see what kind of value you’re actually adding to your home.

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Sources:

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20576876_21131143,00.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/renovatinganddiy/5044639/Building-above-the-garage-Time-to-extend-yourself.html

How To Organize Your Garage

Surveys show that only 30% of us use our garages for what they were meant for: our cars. As Americans we’ve gotten so used to putting everything in our garage that sometimes we forget that’s not what they were meant for. To help put your stuff in order, here are some tips for organizing your garage.

1.) Set aside a day or two. Depending on how cluttered your garage is, designate one or two days to be dedicated solely to your garage. Write it on the calendar, set alarms and tell your friends. Make it a priority.

2.) Enlist the help of your friends or family. Turn the day into a family day and get everyone to help out. It’ll go a lot faster and could make it a lot more fun.

3.) Assign three piles for your stuff: keep, sell or donate and throw away. Lay out tarps in the driveway and put your items according to their label on each tarp. A useful rule is: if you haven’t used something in the last three years, get rid of it. Donating items to your local charity is a great way to recycle and it’s often tax deductible.

4.) Relocate some items. Pet food and paper plates should go inside and away from bugs. Grills should be outside to keep your garage free of fumes. If you have a lawn mower and keep the gas in your garage, put a fire extinguisher nearby. You can never be too safe.

5.) Keep things off the ground as much as possible. Now that you have a smaller pile of stuff to put in your garage, try to keep things against the wall or in the corners as much as possible. Get a pegboard and hang up tennis rackets and tools. Put up some nails relocate bikes and ladders to the wall. Get open shelves to put against the wall where you can store plastic storage bins, cans and jar. You’ll free up a lot of space for your car and be able to maneuver around your garage a lot easier.

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Sources:

http://www.diynetwork.com/garage-clutter-busters/package/index.html?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_campaign=hootsuite

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20669109,00.html

Conserving Water

In honor of Water Conservation Day, here are some tips and tricks for conserving water around your house.

1.) If your shower fills up a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the shower-head with an energy-efficient one.

2.) When should you water your lawn? If you walk across the lawn and leave footprints in your wake, it’s time to water.

 

3.) Cook food in as little water as possible. This will save water and retain more nutrients.

4.) If you drop ice on the floor, don’t throw it in the sink. Use it to water the plants.

 

5.) Don’t run the water in your sink waiting for hot water. Get an induction burner or a water heater to heat up water quickly. It will save you time and energy!

6.) Learn how to turn off your automatic watering systems in case of rain.

7.) Use a rain barrel to collect water from your gutters. Learn how here: http://wholesomehomes.net/2014/02/08/how-to-install-a-rain-barrel/

8.) Leave lower branches on trees and allow fallen leaves to cover the soil. The leaves will prevent a lot of evaporation.

9.) Limit your use of the garbage disposal. Instead, get a composite bin for your vegetable waste. You’ll save gallons of water!

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.) Scrape your dishes instead of rinsing them before washing. (*Tip* Try not to waste food! Eat what you can and compost what you can before scrapping.)

 

 

 

 

 

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Source:

http://wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve/

 

Decorating Tricks To Brighten Up Your Home

Use scrapbooking paper to make a bird-shaped decal

Use scrapbooking paper to make a bird-shaped decal.

 

Turn your photos into faux polaroids and hang them on a small clothesline

Turn your photos into faux polaroids and hang them on a small clothesline.

Transform your Instas into art.

Transform your Instas into art.

Make a stand alone sign

Make a stand alone sign.

Place oversized word art against a wall

Place overized word art against a wall.

Create an oversized confetti mural

Create an oversized confetti mural.

Use velcro strips to hang framed photos

Use velcro strips to hang framed photos.

Turn paint chips into a beautiful wall installation

Turn paint chips into a beautiful wall installation.

 

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It’s Never Too Late To Say Happy St. Patricks Day!

Fun Facts about Ireland’s Real Estate:

1) “Gazumphing” is the popular term for a nasty real estate practice in Ireland. Some Irish real estate agents or property owners have taken advantage of a soaring market by accepting a bid from one buyer, and then taking a higher bid while contracts are being processed.

Gazumped! If buying, make clear that you are keen to exchange fast once your solicitor has done the surveys

2) The Irish property market extended its recent gains in September, with residential property prices rising 1.8% month-on-month (mom) and 3.6% year-on-year (yoy). This was the fastest annual growth rate since September 2007

3) Latest data suggested that construction firms expect growth of activity to continue during 2014. Sentiment was the highest in the survey’s history, with improving economic conditionsthe main driver of optimism.

4) Budget 2014 of the new Home Renovation Tax Incentive Scheme, Bank of Ireland announced today  that it has launched a new €75m fund to support homeowners seeking to make improvements to their home.

Gavin Kelly, director Consumer Banking, Bank of Ireland, said “We welcome the Home Renovation Tax Incentive Scheme and believe it will support economic growth and employment in the Irish construction sector in the coming years.

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Through The Window

What do you see when you look outside of your window? What’s in the air that your breathing?

Rising temperatures can make smog pollution worse and increase the number of “bad air days” when it’s hard to breathe. This puts many of us at risk for irritated eyes, noses, and lungs — but it is particularly dangerous for people with respiratory diseases. As the climate changes, unhealthy air pollution will get worse.

Communities must take steps to improve air quality, but everyone should know the risks that climate change poses and learn how to best protect themselves when bad air days get worse.

  • More than 90% of the population already lives in areas that violate state air quality standards
  • 8 counties also saw record-breaking nighttime temperatures.
  • 37 counties have ragweed pollution and 23 counties have unhealthy smog levels; at least 17 counties suffer from both
london-smog-615.jpg

How Bad is London’s Smog

Ozone smog forms when pollution from vehicles, factories, and other sources reacts with sunlight and heat. Increasing temperatures speed this process and result in more smog.

Added to the mix are ragweed and other allergens in the air — which are expected to worsen as rising carbon dioxide levels cause plants to produce more pollen. Also, as dry areas get dryer, wildfire risks go up and smoke from burning landscapes intensifies poor air quality.

Help keep your lungs clean by taking care of your air! You can:

  • Recycle, reuse, reduce
  • Don’t waste food, compost
  • Limit how much you drive
  • Don’t waste resources
  • Dispose of waste properly 

Resources:

http://www.nrdc.org/health/climate/ny.asp#airpollution

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/07/how-bad-is-londons-smog-for-olympic-athletes/260439/

http://www2.epa.gov/recycle

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RV’s & Caravans of the Future

The following campers, RVs and caravans illustrate the type of awesome innovations for mobile living we can plan on for the future. Some are here now, while others are still in the developing process, but it all comes from the same theory to make mobile living, whether short term or long, a more comfortable experience.

Eco Retro

This camper-van as been redesigned to bring it even more environmental street-cred. This camper vehicle will have solar panels to power its on board accessories. And the computer and GPS-system inside will position the panels to maximize their solar-intake. You should expect to pay around $69,000USD.

Eco-Retro

Caravan Garden

“Living in a giant city, I often really miss sitting amongst flowers and bushes and greenery. Living in a concrete jungle can get to you sometimes, and it would be nice to have a personal oasis to relax in once and a while. Enter the Caravan Garden” – Adam Frucci, Sci Fi Blog

Caravan Garden

Chic Modern Camper

It’s slick, trendy and in style. The classic brown camper with a tan canvas may not be suitable for everyone, so a new must-have for any camping enthusiast, and it’s affordable too!

Chic Modern Campers

BMW’s Air Camper

BMW’s Air Camper is an inflatable tent attached to the back end of the car. Simply attach it to the rear of your car and your sleeping quarters automatically set itself up. Two fans, powered by the car’s cigarette lighter, make the camping experience easy and simple. It is big enough to fit two people, so you won’t have to spend a night in the woods alone.

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Make Your Kitchen Ready to Celebrate PI Day!

Every year math enthusiasts everywhere celebrate pi, a celebrity among mathematical constants, on March 14 (3/14), also known as Pi Day.
Pi is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter and is an irrational number, continuing infinitely without repeating.

In other words, PI day is another reason to throw a get together or party for your close friends and family! Read on to find some quick and cheap tips to prepare your kitchen for guests!

 Have a smaller kitchen? 

Let some light in! Lots of natural light enlarges any space. You may have no choice about the number and placement of windows in your kitchen, but you can control the light by not blocking the windows by objects, curtains or blinds.

Allow time to clean up

Eliminate the clutter. Don’t leave the countertops cluttered with mixing bowls and dishes. This will make the coulters look smaller which will inevitably make your kitchen seem smaller and dirty. Also, clean as you go. You don’t want to spend time cleaning at the end of a party cleaning, it will make your guests feel rushed to leave. 

Add Ambiance!

Put a collage of photos on the fridge. Place a lamp or vase on the table to draw attention to your kitchen. This will make the space feel more like a home and less like a house creating an inviting, warm atmosphere.

Make room for people 

Since you know the party will end up in the kitchen anyway, set up plenty of barstools/chairs in a corner and let your guests make conversation while you cook. This will allow you to be a good host by engaging in conversation as well as welcome everyone while you prep the pies.

Go grocery shopping! 

You don’t want to have to make last minute substitutes when baking, especially when food is the reason for the party. Make sure you have enough beverages for adults and kids as well as enough food.

Here are some AMAZING  pie recipes to get you started:

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Cheddar Crust Apple Pie

Butterscotch Cream Pie

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