June 5th, 2009 in General
Crunch time for the many families indicates nights in front of the computer, ledger, or calculator crunching numbers. We calculate what we need or want, what we can buy either way, and when we can buy it. Sometimes there is just no avoiding these long nights, but in the digital age there's no need to struggle to find a product once you've decided to go for it. Moreover, it’s much easier to shop around and find the most reasonable deal on anything from a major remodeling project to a new centerpiece for the dining table.
Following are three ways (out of many) to get what you want while retaining full sanity, or at least as much as you can.
In terms of home improvement and getting the most bang for your buck, there has never been a more important time to do both. That's why Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors is offering advice and products for the savings-minded homeowner, striving to improve both energy and cost value while improving the home as well.
When you've figured out what you want there's no need to get up from the computer. At HomeDecorations.com you can find lighting, ceiling fans, furniture, fixtures, décor, and more in one location, all with free shipping. ...read full post →
May 26th, 2009 in General
Photo credit: aloshbennett
Okay, so not everybody relishes the joyous cacophony of swinging hammers, the piercing whine of table saws in action, or the dull aural destruction of the firing nail gun. For one, wear ear protection. For two, find some excellent background music to smooth over the arhythmic ruckus of remodeling.
Yet it’s hard to find a more subjective subject than the best background music for remodeling. Although, being at least a decent fan of all types of music, I can say I've experimented on many jobsites. I've tried everything from classical to hip hop to country-western.
It's no secret that rock-and-roll, or classic rock, rules the remodeling music world. I'm convinced that a multitude of radio stations nationwide are surviving solely as a result of the nostalgic, fist-pumping anthems that peppered the rock landscape for much of the last 30 years. But does that make classic rock the best background music? ...read full post →
May 22nd, 2009 in General
Photo credit: RickC
One of our Readers recently posed a question via the Comment function. Here’s what they wrote:
“My neighbors are complaining about a garden in the neighborhood, which is also being taken care of by another one of our neighbors. There are some people who insist that this garden is bringing down property values, and I strongly disagree. I think that what brings down property values are abandoned homes and trashed out lots, and also reassessment values. Am I correct?”
In an article called Home Buyers Guide: Assessment vs. Market Value, writer Ann MacDonald says that market value is determined by looking at comparable home sales in the local area, competitive home listings, the square footage, location, amenities, and condition of the property. Assessment values are calculated according to formulas specific to the county and/or city in which the property is located -- dealing with factors such as purchase price of the home, replacement cost of the home, and land value. This general information points to the effects of the condition of neighboring properties, although it doesn’t speak to specifics.
Another article, Identify Good Real Estate Investment Property, gets down to the nitty gritty on Buy-and-Sell-House-Fast. “The old saying in the real estate business is that the three factors in selling a home are ‘location, location, and location.’ What is the location like? No matter how wonderful the house is, you’ll have a difficult time selling it for top price in a bad neighborhood.” ...read full post →
May 18th, 2009 in General
Photo credit: USACEpublicaffairs
The relationship between a contractor and homeowner can be tenuous. Sometimes distrust can exist between the two. I know, shocking news. The public is made aware of dishonest contractors who have made the news by ripping off homeowners. The honest contractors are then left to demonstrate that they’re operating in the best interests of the client and company, while trying to eliminate possible fears of being up to no good.
So here are the hard questions to ask: How do homeowners watch out for bad contractors -- What are the signs? And how do hard working, honest contractors fight perception of public distrust?
Here’s a situation that happens all too often:
Low bids: Some experienced and successful contractors find themselves constantly fighting this issue. The customer has been trained to automatically look for the lowest bid available. It sure sounds good, you’re saving money and that’s important in a rough economy. But be careful what you wish for. What kind of workmanship can you expect from a low bid, and is this an indication of desperation or inexperience on the contractor’s part? It’s much better to pay a little more and get quality work in return. Ease your fears by going over expenses with a prospective contractor, several times if necessary. This way you’ll have a clear idea of where every dime is going and won’t be surprised when the bill comes.
Homeowner losses: Some experts believe too much craftsmanship gets passed down verbally. In this process, essential information gets lost in translation or was never properly learned from one generation to the next. Jobs can also be fouled up by experimenting or using improper techniques. In this case, the homeowner is usually left holding the bag. Expert Builder Tim Carter estimates that millions of dollars are lost by homeowners due to faulty repairs or poor installments. This would certainly foster bad feelings towards any contractor. A remedy is finding that certain person who has learned the business inside and out. ...read full post →
May 14th, 2009 in General
Photo credit: eob
I’ll be moving to a smaller home soon. In fact, I’ll be losing half of the space I currently occupy. I have a two to three month window in which to downsize so I’ve already begun the scaling-down process. Here are some steps I’ve taken that might help you with your downscaling project:
Advertise on craigslist.com and the local newspaper
The first step I took was to list my giant Nautilus Smith Machine on Craigslist. It was hogging garage space and I knew I couldn’t take it with me, plus it was a big ticket item so I wanted to allow for plenty of time to sell.
I listed my treadmill and some furniture in the local paper and plan to use the paper to advertise my garage sales.
Phase out and cleanse
Photo credit: zerethy
Go through your closets and look for clothes you haven’t worn in the last two seasons. If you’re like me, you’ll find plenty of items that still have the sales tags attached. Go through the same process with your shoes, hats, belts, etc. This is a real cleansing experience.
Go through your bookcase and weed out books you’ll never read again.
DVDs and VHS tapes take up space, keep your favorites and get rid of the rest.
Linens and bedding are big fluffy items that need to be stored in big spaces. If your new home lacks ample linen closet space then pare down and keep the essentials. ...read full post →