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Building Your Dream Home

When most people imagine what their dream home will be like, they usually have an idea in their mind of how it will look on the outside. Building a dream home is not only an exciting time in one's life, but it is also a major undertaking. It is easy to imagine the final product, but to get there one has many steps to go through. If you are planning on building a dream home, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind before you plunge into the project.

Budget Planning: It is important to consider how much you can afford to spend on building a new home. You will likely have to get a home loan so research carefully and compare loan options. You should also see what size loan you will actually qualify for. Get an estimate of building costs as well so you will know how much you may be spending. It is important to budget for unexpected expenses. A good way to finance is a 'pay as you go' plan, meaning you pay for each stage of the building process.

Consider the Style and Size of the Home: You should think about what type of home you want such as a rustic log home, Cape Cod, Ranch, Colonial, Modern,etc. This is what you and others will see when you pull up in the driveway so make sure it is exactly what you want. You have to consider how many square feet you want, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, size of each room, and any additions such as a garage or mudroom.

Lot Considerations: You have to consider such lot features as the size, location such as urban, rural, near an ocean,etc. You should also consider such location aspects as approximation to amenities, schools, work, parks,etc. Make sure that you obtain information on such aspects as drainage, zoning laws, building regulations, weather conditions, and soil conditions.

Choose a Plan Design: You can locate many designs on the internet or you can enlist the services of an architect. Modern homes tend to have specific plans, but the builder can usually make modifications. There are also software packages that can help you design your dream house. It is important to pick a plan that will meet you and your family's current and future needs.

Choose a Contractor/Builder: You will need a contractor who will usually have a building team that is qualified in all areas associated with building a home. You will also require a surveyor, electrician, plumber, and building inspector for the various stages of the building process. Ask the builder to review your design to make there won't be any problems during building. Whoever you choose should have a good reputation so make sure you obtain references. You will also need an excavator for the septic tank installation. You will be required to have a local government official inspect where the septic installation will take place before you receive a permit to install it.

Home Inspector: Make sure you have a home inspector review the home to make sure everything was done correctly and the home is safe and in good condition. A home inspector will be able to identify any errors or poor quality work.

Building a dream home can be a wonderful and exciting time in one's life. In order to ensure that your dream comes true, it is important to have all of the information about building before you start. It will make the project easier, less expensive, and will help ensure that your new home is a dream come true, and not a nightmare.


Vinyl Replacement Windows -- Three Facts You Should Know

Many people have unrealistic expectations when they replace their old outdated windows with new vinyl replacement windows. They think just because they had them installed, all they have to do is keep the glass clean and they'll last a lifetime. Unfortunately this is not always the case. Here are three facts that help you purchase the right windows and some ways to keep that new appearance far longer.

Factors Of Energy Efficiency

You may think you know what's involved in energy efficiency, but you may not know it all. Most people think the U-value is the single determining factor in measuring vinyl replacement window efficiency. Although it does play a role, it isn't the only factor. The U-value only measures the amount of heat that is allowed through the window. You have to include the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient or SHGC, which measures the amount of light allowed through to the equation as well. If you live in a hot climate, it's usually best to replace your windows with the lowest SHGC rating as you can to keep the most heat out. In colder climates, the opposite would hold true.

Maintenance Free Vinyl Replacement Windows Frames - Think Again

Nothing looks better then the fresh clean appearance of new windows in a home. To make that look last longer, you'll want to keep them clean. It's important that you only use a mild soap and water solution to do this. It may be tempting to use a strong solution or scouring powder, but these products will scratch and ruin the surface of the windows. This allows dirt and grime to become embedded in the micro scratches, making them appear to be dirty.

The tracks that allow the window to slide up and down need attention as well. If they become dirty, it will be difficult to operate the window as it was designed. If left unattended too long, the dirt can build up and actually wear away at the surface, leaving gaps that could allow water to leak in. The dirt attracts moisture, which can lead to mold and mildew. Use you vacuum cleaner attachment to remove any lose dirt and a soft damp cloth to thoroughly clean the track.

Avoid Installation Problems

If you don't feel confident in installing new vinyl replacement windows yourself, you can always ask your dealer to recommend someone that is experienced to do the job. Some homeowners fear the job will overwhelm them or that replacement of drywall on the inside or stucco on the outside will have to be done. This is usually not the case at all. Today, these modern replacements come with their own finishing materials so even the most amateur installer can look like an experienced master in no time. They usually just need to attach to the interior window frame. A little clean up and your new vinyl replacement windows are good to go.

When the time comes to replace windows in your home, do some basic research to know exactly what you need and how it's going to be done before making your purchase. Installation, cleaning instructions, and energy efficiency are just some of the basics you need to be aware of. Once completed, your replacement windows will look great and will continue to save you money.


New Home Buyers 101

Buying a new home is an exciting time in ones life. Because it is such a major purchase, you want to make sure that you have the knowledge to make the right decisions. It will make the home buying process much easier and will ensure that you have provided the best home for you and your family.

The following is a list of a number of tips that will help make your new home buying experience a pleasant one:

1. Make a list of what type of home will meet your current and future needs. This can include: the location, size of the property, number of bedrooms, size of the rooms, and proximity to schools, work, parks, stores, and other amenities. This will help you narrow your search. You should consider enlisting the services of a real estate agent who can help you find the right home at the right price.

2. Before you purchase a new home, you should decide if you can afford to take on such a big investment. You will be required to make a down payment. There are now 5% down payment deals available. Remember, the less money down means the higher your monthly mortgage payments. You will also be responsible for fees such as attorney fees, taxes, registration fees, closing costsetc. You also have to make sure you can afford the monthly mortgage repayments. In order to secure a good mortgage, you must make sure you have a good credit history. Check your credit history to see if there are any errors or outstanding loans that should be paid. It is essential that you purchase a home that you can afford. There are online mortgage calculators that will help you determine how much you can afford. It is also recommended that you get pre-approved for a mortgage before you actually start searching for a home. You will then not waste your time looking at homes you cant afford.

3. If you have children or are planning to have children, research the schools in the area where you are interested in living. You want to make sure your children will get a quality education. As well, living in an area with good schools increases the value of a home.

4. Before you make an offer on a home, make sure you hire a building inspector to inspect the home for any problems. An inspector should look at the foundation, plumbing/septic system, the structural integrity of the home, roofetc. The home inspection fee will can range from $300-650 depending on the type of house and its features.

5. It is important to have an attorney represent you for the closing. You will want to make sure that you are protected. .

Purchasing a new home is a big life investment so it is important to make sure that you are familiar with all that goes into the purchase. This will help make the process run much smoother and less stressful allowing you to focus on starting a new life in your very own home.


Homeowners Insurance - Pricing Issues

Everyone interested in getting homeowners insurance should be aware of all the specifications that the insurance company will require. In the first place, it is necessary that the borrower covers at least the home for the value of the mortgage. This could represent enough according to the particular circumstances.

Generally the lender will require the client to have a homeowner policy in force at the moment of closing the operation. Besides, it could also be required to present a copy of the policy as well as the page where the total amount for the coverage is stated. Another requirement could be to designate the entity beneficiary of the loss. It is not an obligation to get insurance that will be recommended by the lender, but if there is no coverage in force, the lender institution will hire a policy for that coverage, and this could be more expensive. The lender is always protected and gets paid first if there is a loss.

Regarding the prices, these are good options to compare the different products offered by the companies on the market. In order to ask for a budget, the agencies will ask to provide them with the description of the housing, complete address, materials which it is made of, how many floors the house has, how old it is, quantity of rooms and coverage, among others.

This information is relevant for the company since the cost of the homeowners insurance will depend on the type of construction, location and amount of the hired coverage. There are many agencies that will charge less for assuring new housing instead of an old one, because the modern buildings are less probable to suffer damages from storms and fire. The location will determine if the area is considered a problematic one, due to statistics regarding vandalism and delinquency. Also the location of the housing will affect the total cost of the coverage since some communities have better protection from fire than others. The insurance companies divide the regions in different classified territories.

The contract of any type of insurance is a financial investment, therefore, as in any other payable transaction, it is important to take the necessary time to do some research and to clear up all the doubts before assuming a compromise. It is very useful to take into consideration the previous experiences of people in which we trust, since in this field it is very important to rely on references.


Renovating Your Home On A Budget

The cost of renovating your home can be very high, extra charges here and there can mount up leaving you with a bigger bill than you had budgeted for. With the current economic climate encouraging us to watch our pennies, it may seem like the worst time to consider renovating your home. In fact it's precisely because of this that many people are taking advantage of the great deals to be found and are sprucing up their house for a fraction of the usual cost.

When embarking on renovations there are a few things to think about before any work begins. If you are contracting work out then word of mouth is a good way of making sure the building company or tradesmen you are thinking of hiring provide a quality service. It's also paramount to check they are registered with a professional body and have the relevant certification so you know the work is being undertaken by a reputable company. It's a good idea to shop around for quotes on services to ensure you are getting value for money. Remember that the cheapest is not necessarily the best so it's important to make sure the quote you chose includes good quality materials and an appropriate timescale.

If you're thinking of remodeling any part of your home yourself it's vital to learn the technical skills needed for your renovation you are undertaking. You can pick up good DIY books from local book stores and find helpful information on numerous internet sites. If you find your renovating skills are not up to scratch it may be cheaper in the long run to hire a professional and save yourself money, time and hassle

If you prefer the hands on approach to property renovation then there are lots of areas in the home you can tackle yourself. Remodeling your kitchen, bathroom or bedrooms doesn't have to cost the earth, there are plenty of outlets that can provide units and accessories a low cost and you can always opt to do the fitting yourself

If your renovation work is more than cosmetic then check you are covered by your buildings insurance before you start any work. If you're making extensive changes to your property you will have to make sure you have the relevant planning permission so you don't have a nasty shock when the building inspector comes to call.

It's important to keep your budget in mind when making any renovation decisions, from the materials you buy to the services you hire it's prudent to put aside an extra contingency fund incase costs escalate or the project runs over time. With so many companies offering great deals on their services and materials it's the perfect time to get the tape measure out and start planning - you may even have time to do it before New Year!


Pressure Washer Basics

A pressure washer is a fantastic tool, and is exactly what you need to clean things like dirty brick patio, weathered wood (if you are careful), and other hard to clean surfaces. You have to be very aware though because a pressure washer can harm the surfaces you want clean, and even yourself if you are not very careful. Here are some basics of how this amazing tool works.

A pressure washer takes the low pressure water of a garden hose, and boosts the pressure way up with a special pump. The pump is powered by a gas powered engine, or sometimes by an electric motor. The business end of a pressure washer is the spray wand. You attach special tips that concentrate, or spread out, the high pressure stream of water.

Before you turn on a pressure washer, be sure to read the entire owner's manual. It contains very important safety information. You can either hurt the machine, yourself, or things you are trying to clean. Once you are sure what you are doing, and know that you can run things safely, you can begin your job.

You should make sure, when you are using a pressure washer, to wear all kinds of protective gear. You need safety glasses or goggles, ear muffs or plugs, and of course, work gloves. You have got to protect your eyes, your hearing, and your hands from this machine. Always remember to be careful.

You may have seen the multi-colored tips that are used when pressure washing. The red one is a 0 degree tip, and is the most concentrated stream of water. Be really careful when using a 0 degree tip. The yellow tip produces a 15 degree wide spray pattern. This is my favorite tip for heavy duty cleaning. The green tip is a 25 degree tip and is best for general cleaning. The white tip produces an even wider spray pattern at 40 degrees. Use it for light duty cleaning. The black tip is the safest one to use. It produces a really wide spray pattern of 65 degrees. I like using this one when applying the special cleaning detergents to surfaces just before I get ready to pressure wash.

If your pressure washer is gas powered, remember to check the oil before running it, make sure you've got plenty of gas and you are good to go. Many of these machines have reservoirs to add cleaning solutions. This is a convenience. Before firing up the machine it is always a good idea to just do a quick visual check of the hose. If it is all curled up funny it can whip around and possibly hurt someone when the pressure fills the hose suddenly.

You will be surprised at the power of a pressure washer. Getting mold and mildew off of old bricks is no big deal. If you get too close to the surface, or stay in one place too long, you will damage the surface. Water under pressure is probably one of the strongest forces out there. I love it when I get a chance to use one of these bad boys. They are really easy and fun to use. As with any power tool, just use it safely and your job will be done before you know it and without any ill effect.


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