Three Ways to Refresh Your Home Décor With Yarn

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Whether you’ve lived in the same home for decades, or just moved in to a brand-new house, your interior décor speaks volumes about you. It suggests your sense of what is beautiful by how you arrange colours and shapes, and your sense of order by how well you optimize for open space. Guests will get a feel for your personality from any item you display, so every new edition is worth thinking through.

One way to be unique and pave your own stylistic lane is to accent your home with custom pieces in yarn. The projects you choose should be made from a sturdy acrylic yarn that will stand up to heavy use over the long term. The yarn should also come in the colours that go best with your existing furniture. That way, the pieces can become integral parts of the ambiance and gain character as your relationships with them deepen. Red Heart is one brand that comes to mind that fits the bill. Check the link to buy Red Heart yarn online and read up on what the manufacturer has to offer.

Without further ado, here are three ideas to jumpstart your home décor with yarn.

A Knitted Blanket

What better way to zhuzh up a living room than to add a splash of colour to the couch with a warm and fuzzy blanket? Just make sure to pick a pattern that complements the couch’s design. Here are a handful of crowd-pleasers for potential pairings:

  • Pinstripes
  • Ripples or waves
  • Chevron
  • Cables

The contrast is especially effective on monochromatic couches, but will work well so long as you choose your colours carefully. Don’t be afraid to go bold with it. Use this colour coordinator to come up with breathtaking combinations.

Yarn Wall Art

Showcasing your kids’ creativity is a great way to show them you’re proud and encourage them to keep sharing their ideas with the world. Find fun crochet or knitting tutorials online that suit their likes and abilities and have a weekend craft day together. Before buying supplies, have the kids try out a single crochet stitch and a garter stitch to see which one they find easier.

There is plenty of joy to be had from making memories and adorning your walls with them to cherish each and every day. Take advantage of the loads of free patterns online suitable for the whole family.

Crochet Baskets

An easy way to free up space and be fashionably tidy is to use crochet baskets for storage around the home. Use them for slippers next to your recliner for easy access, or for the pile of remotes that came with your state-of-the-art entertainment system.

Baskets are also perfect projects for beginners because you can repeat single crochet stitches all the way through. If you’re looking for an artistic outlet that engages as much as it does away with stress, crochet could be just the thing for you. 

Regardless of how much time you’ve spent in your home, a fresh new look is never more than a few careful adjustments away. Summon your inner interior designer and let yarn be the missing link between your home’s current aesthetic and how fabulous you think it can be.

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What Causes Roaches in a Clean House?

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Nobody likes seeing cockroaches, there is simply something about the way they scurry around that sends a shiver up your back. The instant assumption, when seeing a cockroach, is that you have a dirty home.

But, while cockroaches are attracted to dirty homes, that doesn’t mean you won’t find them in a clean home. Of course, if you do see signs of a cockroach infestation then you’ll want to call the professional exterminators as soon as possible.

Cockroaches, like most other pests, look for food, water, and shelter. They also carry an array of diseases including polio and typhoid. That’s why you should find out more about your local pest control experts now.

This is why the obvious target is a dirty home, any place that isn’t cleaned regularly will have crumbs on the floor, they may be tiny to you but they can be big enough to feed a roach for several days. But, if you’re confident your home is clean then consider the following factors which will all increase the likelihood of roaches finding their way into your home:

Where You Live

Unfortunately, if you live in the warmer states, such as Georgia, Alabama, or Florida you’re almost certainly going to get a roach or two in at some point.

The good news is that if you have a clean home it’s more likely to be a cockroach that has snuck in rather than a sign of an infestation.

Repairs

Keeping your home clean removes the food temptation. But, have you checked the interior and exterior of your home for potential entry points? Cockroaches can get through a crack or hole that is just 1/16 of an inch thick. Your home may be clean but it still offers shelter and potentially a source of water. Cockroaches will be attracted to this, you need to block up potential entry points. 

Door Spacing

It’s easy to overlook the small gap between your door and the floor, an essential gap for smooth opening and closing. This gap presents an opportunity for the cockroach to enter. You need to install dust bars. These are small brushes that fit on the bottom of your doors and prevent the roaches, and other pests, from getting through. The door can still open and close as normal.

It’s also a good idea to check the gaps around pipes coming in and out of the house, these are prime access points for roaches and other pests.

Eliminating the entry point for roaches will stop most other pests trying. 

Don’t Panic

If you do see signs of a roach infestation then you need to react quickly. Roaches breed at an impressive rate, the quicker you deal with the issue the less they’ll breed and cause issues for you in the future. 

You’ll know you have an issue if you have the following symptoms:

  • Unpleasant and unidentified odor
  • Brown or black cylindrical droppings
  • Discarded skins where they’ve shed as they’re growing
  • Smear marks on the floor and edges of the walls

If you see signs get expert help immediately!

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Upgrades You May Want to Consider During a Major Home Renovation

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There’s an extensive amount of work that takes place during a home renovation. Appliances and fixtures are removed, floors are pulled up, and walls are demolished. All this construction, eventually, creates a blank canvas for homeowners to have transformed into a space that is safe and comfortable to reside in. As all this is going on, however, renovations also bring to light things within the property that need to be enhanced in order to prevent future problems and/or to make life easier.

As matters such as these listed below arise, homeowners will have to make an informed decision on whether or not they should consider an upgrade.

Electrical

Knocking down walls, pulling up floors, and removing appliances and fixtures will often expose electrical wiring throughout the house. Contractors will often recommend that homeowners consider electrical upgrades if there were faulty or damaged wires, the system no longer complies with local building codes, or the electrical power in the home wasn’t sufficient enough to withstand the new renovations (for example, if you’re getting a home theater, you might need an upgraded power source to ensure it will operate efficiently).

You would then need to look to resources like PacmanElectric.com services for assistance with an energy audit, electrical wiring upgrade, panel installations, and repairs. Sometimes, it may be ideal to have an electrician come to your home at some point during the renovation. For instance, if you were having your kitchen upgraded but always felt like there were not enough electrical sockets in the kitchen, now would be the best time to have them installed before closing walls back up and adding more appliances.

Plumbing

When it comes to kitchen and bathroom renovations especially, it may be determined that you need to have your plumbing upgraded. This is particularly true if you’ve got rusted pipes or water, water flow issues, flooding, leaks, or mold. If you ignore these issues when they are brought to your attention, you will surely run into problems later. As most pipes and plumbing fixtures are hidden behind walls and other equipment, trying to fix the problem later on means that you’ll have to have your newly renovated kitchen or bathroom damaged again in order for the plumber to resolve the problem.

HVAC

Another area that you may want to consider upgrading during a renovation is the heating and cooling system. Most households utilize their HVAC systems all year long. The constant wear and tear (even with regular maintenance) eventually cause the unit to not work as efficiently. If your system is more than 10 years old, has caused a spike in your electrical bills, doesn’t get the room to the right temperature, constantly needs repairs, or makes loud noises, an upgrade is definitely worth considering. You might also want work done on your HVAC system if you’re interested in installing vents in rooms that don’t have them or if you’re adding a new room or extending your home.

Tech Upgrades

Home automation has become increasingly popular these days. Not only does having technology into your home provide comfort, safety, and convenience, but it can save you money and increase the resale value of your property. Depending on the type of tech you’re thinking of installing or updating in your home, it will require hardwiring which means it is best to consider it while renovations are underway. Some upgrades you might benefit from are a programmable thermostat, USB outlets, security systems, built-in speakers, energy-efficient lighting, or a home automation system. If you are contemplating some tech upgrades in the home, be sure to make this known to the contractor prior to construction so that it can be incorporated into the layout and added to the renovation schedule.

When you think of renovating your home you often think about what you want done, how much you can afford, who you’re going to hire, and how long it will take to complete. While these are all important things to consider, adding upgrades to your list of considerations (and your budget) is highly recommended. As you can see from above, the right renovations can prevent problems down the line, save you money, increase your property value, and provide your household with enhanced safety, comfort, and convenience.

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4 ways to save more time in the kitchen as a busy parent

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We’re pretty sure you’ve heard – and experienced – the news. Life as a parent is tough. All of that disposable time that you once had has since evaporated, and you are left scratching your head at just how to manage your day-to-day life as efficiently as possible.

It would be fair to say that the kitchen feels like one of the biggest areas of the home with the most pressure associated with it. After all, this has quickly become a common room for families to come together, as well as being the place where much of the cooking and cleaning chores take place.

This is why we have dedicated today's article all about the kitchen, and just how a busy parent can save time within it. Let's jump into some fast tips to help you along.

Make sure your appliances are working as efficiently as possible

When we talk about appliances, we're mainly referring to dishwashers, washing machines and dryers.

If you don't have any of these in your home, we'd strongly urge you to obtain one now. Fortunately, the time it takes to install a washing machine and other such appliances is really insignificant in comparison to the use you will get out of it. Additionally, if you happen to be a new parent, having these time-saving appliances on hand is absolutely crucial. It sure beats heading to the launderette, or washing the dishes by hand.

Your freezer is crucial to your success

If you are serious about making the most of your kitchen from a time perspective, at least tap into the full benefits of your freezer. This is something that allows you to meal prep, and just cook in bulk which can help your plight significantly from a time point of view.

Additionally, if you can stock it up with packed vegetables or side dishes, it becomes one of those go-to areas for food when times really are getting tough and the day seems to be running away from you.

Double up on your recipes

Following on from the previous point, an easy tip is to double up on your recipes and then take advantage of the freezer.

Far too many of us only cook for the here and now. Instead, cook for the next few days. You don't have to eat it all at once (you have a freezer, after all), but it will shave significant portions of time from your food preparation activities.

Your kitchen counters need to be cleared at all times

Finally, let’s conclude with a point about clutter. Your worksurfaces are something that can sometimes feel the brunt of clutter and before you know it you have them stocked with toasters, condiments and anything else that makes their way onto them.

Have a strict rule to avoid the above. As soon as clutter breaches these surfaces, it won’t stop. It will start to take over and you’ll soon be struggling to carry out basic tasks. Not only that, but clutter can affect your mental health, as strange as that might seem to some of you.

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Home Maintenance Checklist

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Keeping your home clean is a matter of daily and weekly chores, but keeping it well maintained takes work throughout the whole year. Some tasks around your house become big projects, so you don’t need to worry about them every day. Simply create a checklist of things you know you need to check on monthly, quarterly, and annually to keep your home safe. Here’s an example list to get you started. 

Monthly

  • Clean HVAC Filters

Checking and cleaning your filters will help improve the air quality and performance of the system in your home. Some HVAC filters are reusable while some must be replaced. If you check your filters every month you’ll know when you need to replace them. 

  • Check Gutters

Gutters help keep water from damaging your home, but it’s hard for the gutter to do its job if it is full of debris. Each month, look for any damage to your gutters or for anything that could be blocking water’s path and take care of it.

  • Inspect Water Softener

Water softeners help to eliminate hard water and protect your plumbing. If you don’t inspect your water softener and replenish its salt levels often, it could start leaving mineral deposits on your shower, toilet, and your hair. 

  • Look For Deteriorating Caulk

Caulk gives your home a finished look. Not only that, but caulk also helps prevent water damage. When you notice any deteriorating caulk in your home, you should patch it up right away to avoid any damages. 

Quarterly

  • Spray for Pests

Spraying for pests each quarter will help ensure a pest-free property all year long. Plus, some pests are more likely to appear during certain times of the year. Hiring a service like ifyardbutler.com for quarterly spraying will help eliminate pests from your home altogether. 

  • Inspect Roofing

Your roof keeps you safe, so if there’s a problem, like a leak, termites, or structural problem, it poses a safety risk for your family. Take time each season to inspect your roof (with binoculars or hire a contractor) for any missing shingles or tiles or any possible areas of destruction. 

  • Check Fire Alarms

Fire alarms are also there to keep you and your family safe from fires. Checking them will either ensure that they are working and will keep you safe, or will notify you that you need to replace the batteries. 

Annually

  • Clean Chimney

A clean chimney will help keep the air in your home pure and breathable. Even if you don’t use your fireplace often, the chimney still carries gases from your furnace outside, so make sure it’s checked by a professional every year—preferably before the cold season starts. 

  • Check Septic Tank

Usually, a septic tank doesn’t need to be cleaned every year, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it checked. Septic tank emergencies can be expensive and unpleasant, so have it inspected annually and cleaned as it needs it. 

  • Inspect Foundation

The foundation is extremely important to your home. You should check to make sure there are no cracks that could lead to damaging your home or any depressions outside that could trap water or snow against the foundation. 

Don’t let your home maintenance get away from you — make a list!

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5 Things to do Before Remodeling Your Basement

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There are tons of ideas out there for what you can turn your dingy, dark, yet huge and oddly appealing basement into. But, before you do, you need to be sure your basement is ready and up for the task. Keeping that in mind, read on below for a few of the top things you should do before your basement remodel begins to ensure it's ready for the process.

Whether the goal is a mother-in-law suite (zoning permitting) to a game room complete with a stereo system for the kids, remodeling and finishing the basement is one job you'll be glad you did — and did right.

Make Sure Your Plan Is Legal

Between zoning laws, homeowner's associations and even historical societies, there are a lot of people who want to control what you can build in your basement. Make sure you or your contractor obtain all the necessary permits and inspections needed before, during and after the job. This will ensure the work is up to code in terms of any plumbing and electrical work, which in turn, keeps you and your family safer.

One thing to note, in many cases, no matter how beautiful the workmanship and design are, a finished basement will NOT be considered livable space and will not add to the legal square footage of your home. Be sure to check your local building and zoning codes for limitations and restrictions.

Fix Any Water Damage

Water damage is serious, and you want to find and fix it as soon as possible, especially before you start any construction. Not only should you check for water damage, you should check to see if there are any moisture issues at all. Just as with water damage, moisture coming in through the windows or the foundation of the basement needs to be dealt with right away. If you put off fixing these problems, then your new basement will become damaged and you'll be in for much more costly repairs.

Insulate Your Utility Pipes

If you have exposed water pipes anywhere on the outside wall of your basement, you're going to want to insulate them before you close them in with your remodel. This ensures that you're not suffering from heat loss in the winter months through those pipes and will help with your heating bills as well. It also ensures that your pipes won't freeze and burst over a long hard winter and that condensation doesn't back up and drip down into your walls as well.

Make Sure You Have Enough Headroom

Talk the contractor you have remodeling your basement to ensure that the basement is going to have enough headroom, because if it doesn't, then the room might not be up to code. Homes that were built in the 1950s often had very little headroom in the basement, which meant the ceilings and pipes hung too low. If your basement ceiling is too low, you might have to make adjustments to bring it up to code first. Besides, it will be a whole lot more fun to be in your basement if you don't have to bend over to do so.

Take Your Budget into Consideration

When determining what to turn your basement into, and all of the things above, it's important to take your budget into consideration as well. Budget for everything from materials and contractors to inspections and cost overruns. And don't forget the extra cost of heating and cooling the basement.

These are just a few of the things that you need to consider when looking to renovate your basement. Taking care of these things ahead of time will ensure your basement is done on schedule and that your family has a fun place to hang out for many years to come.

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The Best Bungalow Communities in Southern California

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The humble bungalow in all of its various iterations is easily one of the most popular home styles found throughout southern California. Thanks to their sloping roofs, dormer windows, and exposed rafters, they boast a distinctive look that's pleasing to the eye. Here are a few great places to score a bungalow in Southern California that you will love.

San Marcos

One of the most attractive communities in the North County area, San Marcos is just 40 minutes away from San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter. You'll find plenty of Craftsman bungalows along its quiet streets at a variety of price points. Like most communities in Southern California, the average price of housing in San Marcos is higher than the national average. What’s more, homes for sale get sold fast. With this in mind, those buying a bungalow should seek out credit unions in San Marcos instead of a traditional bank This ensures the best mortgage possible. This is recommended for other communities listed below.

North Park, San Diego

Like most neighborhoods around Balboa Park, North Park is a treasure trove of Craftsman and California bungalows. The Dryden Historic District, in particular, is stacked to the rafters with turn-of-the-century houses that have been meticulously maintained. Buying a vintage bungalow in this zip code is sure to be a winning investment if you can secure a deal on an older model.

Mission Hills, San Diego

Located just north of downtown San Diego, Mission Hills still retains much of its historic look despite urban renewal projects. This neighborhood is so in love with bungalows that their latest library boasts a Craftsman-style aesthetic. If you love bungalows, Mission Hills is a prime hunting ground for quality Craftsman cottages that have stood the test of time.

Woods Streets, Riverside

Developed around 1913 when Riverside was expanding rapidly, the Woods Streets community has a number of period homes worth considering. Many old Craftsman and California bungalows dot the local streets, imbuing the neighborhood with a unique feel that's unrivaled throughout southern California. What's more, the average home price in this zip code will make central Los Angeles residents envious.

Bungalow Heaven, Pasadena

Centered around McDonald Park, this residential enclave originally featured as many as 800 bungalows of all shapes and sizes. Bungalow lovers continue to flock to this landmark district to partake in tours of the most prominent houses in the area. Located less than 10 minutes from Old Pasadena, Bungalow Heaven offers quick access to a slew of recreational options.

Belmont Heights, Long Beach

Along with Bungalow Heaven, Belmont Heights has one of the highest concentrations of Craftsman homes in all of Southern California. Once an independent city, this community is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Long Beach. The Belmont Heights Historic District and the Eliot Lane Historic District are top destinations for bungalow fanatics that prioritize proximity to the beach.

Eagle Rock

While Eagle Rock tends to fly under the radar when it comes to Los Angeles neighborhoods, this area is a bungalow lover's dream thanks to a bevy of historic buildings. Due to rapid gentrification, Eagle Rock is now one of the most popular neighborhoods in the entire city. If you can find a bungalow up for sale, it's best to make an offer quickly.

Finding the Best Deal on Your Ideal Bungalow

Getting the most out of your southern California bungalow hinges on two factors. First, you need to make sure that the house has good bones. Second, you'll need to locate a lender that can finance your mortgage at a favorable rate. In any event, there's no shortage of fine bungalows in the locales mentioned here.

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Things People Don’t Consider When Choosing a Town to Live In

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Looking for a home or apartment is more complicated than it may appear. For someone who has never done it before, it may seem as though you simply look for places you like within a price range you can afford. In actuality, however, there’s a lot more to it. Similar to selecting a destination to travel to, you want a location that encompasses everything that accommodates your needs and interests. You look at more than just the hotel or vacation rental, but the local culture, activities, attractions, and more. 

Though on a larger scale than choosing a vacation destination (you’ll be living in your home or apartment a lot longer than you’ll be on vacation), it is important to be thorough in your research about the property, the neighborhood, and other factors to ensure it is in fact a town where your immediate and long-term needs and interests are met. 

With that being said, beyond finding the perfect home or apartment in the right price range, here are some other things to consider before deciding which town to make your new home: 

Local Government

You don’t have to be a political person, but you should know about the local government wherever you plan on moving to. These are the people that make decisions for the city you choose to reside in. They are responsible for the parks and recreation, housing services, emergency medical services, public works, public transportation, the police and fire departments, building codes, and much more. Though no local municipality is perfect, moving into an area that doesn’t line up with what you believe or a government that does not provide adequate services and treatment for their residents can make living there a lot more challenging.

Cost of Living

Sure, you can afford the home or apartment you’re interested in moving into, but can you reasonably afford to live in the town you’ve chosen? The cost of living in a particular area is the ballpark amount required to cover basic necessities like housing, taxes, healthcare, food, etc. If you can afford a place to stay but can’t afford to keep up with the taxes, buy groceries, or obtain adequate health coverage, chances are moving to this town will put a financial strain on you.

Public Transportation and/or Walkability

Whether you drive a car or not, when deciding which town is best to move to, you should find out about the area’s public transportation or walkability rating. You never know when your vehicle could breakdown causing you to have to use other means of transportation to get around. So, you want to know that there is public transportation that would get you to and from places like your job, your house, a school, or a shopping center for groceries and other necessities.

If public transportation isn’t highly accessible, then at the very least, things should be easy to walk or ride a bike to (walkability rate). If you wanted to live in Cypress, California, for example, can you easily walk to work, walk the kids to school, or ride your bike to shopping centers or gyms in Cypress? Or, would you have to carpool or use ridesharing services to get to those places?

Employment Opportunities

Unless you’re planning on keeping the job you currently have, you’ll need a new one once you move. Before putting a down payment or deposit on a place, find out if you’ll be able to secure a job in the area you’re interested in moving to. There would be nothing worse than getting a place and then going into foreclosure or getting evicted because you couldn’t find a job to keep up with the expenses. Do research to not only see if there are opportunities available, but that these opportunities are aligned with your skills, education, and professional area of expertise.

School Systems

If you’re relocating with children, doing a thorough investigation into the school systems is also recommended. It is not enough that a city or town has schools, but how effective are these schools in providing an education to their students? What resources do they have? What’s the teacher to student ratio? Where do they rank in the local and national standardized testing each year? How large are their graduating classes? What type of curriculum do they use? These are all necessary questions to have answers to before deciding to move into a town where your children will essentially grow up.

Your next home purchase or apartment rental is more than just about what you like about the property and what you can afford. It is essentially choosing a place for you and potentially your family to reside for years to come. In order to ensure that your immediate and long-term needs and desires are met, it is imperative that you go beyond the purchase or rental price and look at factors like the local government, transportation, school systems, cost of living, and employment opportunities such as described above.

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Simple Ways to Update and Add Style to Your Home

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The thrill of purchasing a new home is a fantastic feeling, but for the most part it’s not fully yours until you’ve added your spin to it. Where should you start though? Here are a few ideas on how you can transform your house into a home you can be proud to own. Get the ball rolling with some nature-based modifications. 

Instituting Natural Materials 

If there’s anything that can instantly add style to your home and update the look and feel of the space, is an interesting floor. With all of the materials that are now readily available as flooring, including bamboo, you can create a space in your home where entertaining guests will be a breeze. Using natural materials throughout your home will uplift your space while adding unmistakable character. Start with your most popular gathering point, such as the living room and then migrate your efforts to the dining room and kitchen. When it’s all said and done, you should have a wonderful space to come home to at the end of a long day.

Add a Water System

Though it might not seem glamorous and for the most part it can be overlooked, updating your homes water system is beneficial. Hard water is a thing and it can wreak havoc on your plumbing. Also, it leaves unsightly stains that will drive you up the wall. If you are in the Santa Monica area, water softener Los Angeles can make hard water a thing of the past. You’ll instantly see an improvement in your water as a water softener will reduce water spots on your pots, pans, dishware and glasses. It’s an update that will have you asking “why haven’t we done this earlier?”

Colors Can Make a Difference

No matter which room you're talking about, the colors on your wall can make a big difference in the appearance of your space and the mood it sets. If you're looking to spruce up your home, a new coat of paint can be a simple fix. Choosing colors that pair well with each other and play to an overall scheme is the way to go. Look to add colors that will improve your mood as soon as you step into the room. Depending on the feel you're going for, there’s a hue to suit nearly every style. Decide between various blues, greens and yellows to bring your space to life. 

Spending Time in the Kitchen

It’s the space in any home where you spend a lot of you waking hours creating meals, so why shouldn’t it look awesome? Updating the look of your cabinetry is both cost-effective and easy to do. Start with choosing a new color or stain and replace the old hardware with something a little more modern and stylish. And if you’re feeling adventurous, add in new kitchen fixtures and appliances. This route will run you more money than simply updating your cabinetry but your efforts will be rewarded, as your kitchen will look amazing. 

A Bathroom Retreat

One of the last places you can and should update in your home is the bathroom. Here you can implement a few of the prior ideas such as color and materials, while also adding in new pieces such as a stylish sink and elegant bathtub. Combining all of these ideas and creating something beautiful will provide you with a little retreat in your home to call your own. Just imagine a tiring day at work and a grueling commute back home. Terrible right? But the payoff is a bubble bath and a good book in your newly renovated bathroom. This way, you can let all of the stresses of your day, simply melt and wash away. 

Updating your rooms can be as simple or involved as you like. The important part is that at the end of the day, you're happy with the space you've created. 

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5 Steps to a Successful Home Remodel

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Remodeling your home will renew your love for it and increase its market value. You will also repair broken or worn-out things you never got around to working on and replace broken fixtures. Everything will look better, feel better, and work better. 

Your project will be successful if you approach it methodically. You must create a detailed home improvement plan, create a budget, hire contractors, and figure out a reasonable timeline. Here are the five steps you should take to convert your pipe dream into a project: 

Step #1: Dare to Dream 

Now it’s time to dream. To get ideas, browse interior design magazines, surf the Internet to check out home-and-design websites, and talk to family and friends who have done remodeling their homes. 

Think about your ideal scene:

Do you want to slash your electric bill? A residential roofing company can add solar panels to your existing roof. Converting sunlight into energy will help you lower your electric bill. 

Do you want to convert the basement into a home office? If you’re planning on working from home, it would be wonderful to have your own fully functional office space. 

Do you need to increase security measures? Call a home security company to get ideas on the latest home security technology. 

Do you love to cook? Maybe it’s time to consider updating your kitchen

Don’t hamper your creativity with an excess of commonsense. You can rein in your enthusiasm later. For now, let your imagination run wild and free. 

Step #2: Get Realistic 

After you’ve created your ideal scene, figure out the cost of your project and its duration. If you consult the Cost vs. Value report for 2020, you‘ll get a rough idea of how much your renovations will cost. You will also have to work out how you will finance your project.

Step #3: Hire the Right People 

Once you have a clear idea of your plans, budget, and schedule, your next order of business is to search for a reputable design-build firm. This is a general contracting firm that uses architectural engineers, structural engineers, and specialty trade contractors to provide homeowners with design and construction services. Another option is to search for an architect familiar with residential design experience and a general contractor. 

This is the time to ask a lot of questions about the nature of the work, as well as get a good idea of what problems might arise during renovation and what to do about them. 

Step #4: Shop for Building Supplies

After you’ve found the right people to work on your project, shop for everything you will need for your project. 

Your shopping list might include: 

  • Paint 
  • Cabinets 
  • Tiles
  • Carpet 
  • Plumbing fixtures 
  • Countertops 
  • Lighting fixtures 

Step #5: Understand the Scope of the Work 

The contractor will organize a meeting with you to discuss the details of the renovation work.  Some things you and the contractor will discuss will include deciding when workers should arrive and leave, where to place the dumpster, how to store work tools and building materials, and so on. 

After the work begins, the contractor will update you on weekly progress in person, by email, text, or phone. The contractor will expect you to respond quickly if there are construction problems that need to be resolved.

Winding-up the Project  

Once the work is near completion, you and the contractor will tour the remodeled sections and make a list of what the work crew should complete or touch up. 

After the work crew cleans up the area, the contractor will ask you to make your final payments and you’ll get a lien release document and a certificate of completion. However, don’t sign off on the work until it meets your expectations.

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Useful Tips for Rental Property Owners

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Buying and owning residential rental properties can be a very lucrative venture. However, to be successful, you should have a plan going in and commit to never stop learning ways to improve. 

The following tips outline some of the best choices you can make as a rental property investor:

Opt for Hardwood Flooring

Not only is hardwood flooring more desirable among most tenants, but it also makes life as a landlord much easier. Hardwood lasts longer and is much easier to clean and maintain. Carpet often gets soiled very quickly, leaving your property in an undesirable state to live for prospective tenants until you opt for deep cleaning or replacement. This amounts to added investment for property owners, which they can avoid by sticking to hardwood floors. While not immune to damage and destruction, hardwood equates to less hassle. This, ultimately, equates to less money spent on your rental property.

Utilize A Property Management Service

Unless you own very few properties and are capable of managing every aspect of them yourself, you will likely be more successful working with a property manager. For this reason, finding property management in Fort Myers and other cities is a worthwhile investment for most rental property owners. Professional property management takes care of many of the most difficult aspects of renting a property; screening tenants, collecting rent, arranging for maintenance and handling tenant issues. They also have a network of professionals they can turn to for maintenance, legal matters, specialized contract work and others who can help you run your rental in a high-class manner. It’s a small price to pay for the assurance that these and other important aspects of rental property management are addressed in a timely and professional manner.

Allow Pets But Have Rules

Renters of the younger generations love their pets and allowing pets is a very desirable amenity among a large swath of renters. However, pets can be a nightmare for a landlord, causing damage and issues with other tenants. Although most landlords are under the impression that cats cause fewer problems than dogs, cats can actually leave more odor and be more destructive. At the end of the day, it's up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide whether to be a pet-friendly property owner. If you opt to not allow pets, do consider being flexible with those who have proven themselves good, responsible tenants.

Consider Renting By the Room

Most single-family homes available for rent are rented for a lump monthly sum. However, you have another option: you can rent the property by room. Renting by the room can be a great idea depending on the property's location, such as if it is close to a college campus. Renting each room individually usually allows you to justify charging more overall for rent since the cost is split among several people. This strategy has its drawbacks, such as a greater potential for roommate problems and a rate of higher maintenance issues, but is still worth considering.

Get All Necessary Permits for Upgrades

Eventually, you will want to install various upgrades in all of the rental properties you own. The laws governing these upgrades and additions will vary widely by state, local municipality and homeowners association, so be sure what you are planning is allowed. For example, converting garages into living space may not be legal without a proper permit. If you are working with a professional contractor, request a copy of their insurance and licensing information and keep it on file as well as make sure they pull proper permits to do the work. Be sure to only schedule updates that you can justify the cost with higher rent.

Renting a property provides a variety of challenges but ultimately can be a very rewarding experience. Leverage a qualified network of professionals to help you and make measured and educated choices. Doing so can drastically increase your chances of success.

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Which Interior Decor Design Matches Personality?

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Ever wonder why you like a particular style of interior design for your place? This is because your taste of interior design is based on your personality!

Let us go through the interior decor trends for 2020 and find which one suits your personality. 

  • Interior Décor Design

There are considerable options for you in decorating interior of home. You can use trendy and modern furniture with classic colours or you like to keep it low key and sophisticated. Every choice defines your personality. If you are an artistic guy, then you will prefer to have your walls and floors designed artistically, your furniture would give the vibes of fresh air even though the windows are closed. 

You check magazines and internet to explore the options of interior decorating however, the choice that you make would always reflect your personality. Secondly, your personality is influenced by various experiences and it is made up from your interest and traits that defines your personal.

  • Personality

Are you a talkative person or likes to remain quiet? You prefer outdoor sports or indoor? Are you stylish of sophisticated? Believe it or not, these things impact your choices in and living style. Let we tell you how you can choose particular decoration of interior design according to your personality.

  • Interior Décor Design and Personality

If you are organised and professional person, you would definitely go for simple and functional interior design. Your choice of colour would black, white and neutral primary colours. Furthermore, your personality would let you choose sleek and spacious for your place.

If your noble and elegant person who likes to have balanced life, you would definitely go for historical and full of heritage decoration in interior design. Moreover, your personality of elegance and gracefulness would go for colours like beige, gold and olive.

Your choice of Scandinavian interior décor design is based on your friendly and elegant personality. You prefer thinks simple, yet stylish and comfortable. Timber tones are whitewashed colour would be the one that most admires you. 

If you are an introverted personality, then you would go for simplest interior design as drawing attention makes you nervous and you like things simple and aesthetic.

If you are lively person than your preference would be trendy and classic as you would like the aesthetic in a trendy manner and your design would drives towards relaxing flair of rustic aesthetics.

If you are social and outdoorsy then your admiration comes from creative and fresh interior design and you want home your home to embrace colours and freshness into your life, thus reflect your choice of shabby interior décor design.

Conclusion

We believe every individual consist of different personality and their preference would vary according to it. But in terms of interior design, the surrounding highly impact your living quality and provides you with comfort, so your personality defines the interior décor design.

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Safety Tips for Heating Your Home this Winter 

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From preparing your yard to buying the kids winter clothing, you've worked hard to ensure everything is ready for the brutal winter that has been predicted for much of the country. Even so, it's surprising to note that many homeowners neglect to follow the safety tips needed to heat their homes after the snow starts to fall. 

There are many things that can happen when heating your home during the winter months that can end in fire and tragedy for your property and the people you love. While it is true that you need to heat your home during the fall and winter of the year, you need to be extremely careful to prepare that home and the equipment you will use. 

Have Your Heater Inspected

The first thing you'll need to do before flipping the switch on your heating unit that first chilly morning is have a reputable residential heating and air conditioning professional come out and inspect the unit. From frayed wiring to malfunctioning units, much can happen over the spring and summer months to make your unit unsafe to use. Calling in the heating professionals to inspect and repair anything that is needed will go a long way toward keeping you and your family warm and safe this winter. 

Have the Chimney Cleaned and Inspected

While a blazing fire in the fireplace can keep you warm and cozy during the winter months, there are also dangers if you don't have your chimney cleaned, inspected, and properly maintained. The last thing you want is a chimney fire, so make sure you have the chimney swept and taken care of by a reputable professional. 

Always Supervise Your Fireplace 

As previously stated, a fire is a great way to keep everyone warm on a cold winter's night. However, you should never leave the fireplace unattended, as sparks can easily fly out onto rugs and carpets causing a fire to break out. It's also important to pay constant attention to any children or pets that might be in the room with the fireplace as well. 

Don't Overload Power Strips and Electrical Outlets

One of the biggest causes of electrical fires is overloading a power strip or a faulty electrical outlet. You should always plug any heaters into an electrical outlet that is in tip-top shape. Never plug these units into a power strip as it can cause the power strip to overheat, melt, and start a fire. 

Turn All Heating Units Off if You Go Out or When You're Sleeping

While no one wants to wake up to a cold house or come home and have to wait for the house to heat up, it's important for your safety to switch off heating units when you're not going to be right there to monitor them. This is for portable heaters, kerosene heaters, and fireplaces. As long as your central heating unit has been inspected and given a clean bill of health, you can keep it running when you're out or sleeping. However, you may want to turn down the thermostat at these times to save on your heating bill. 

Always Be on the Alert

During the winter months, it's easy to become complacent or to think that just one night of leaving the units on can't hurt. You need to be alert to keep you, your property, and your family safe. It only takes one spark for your whole world to go up in flames. 

These are just a few of the safety tips that should be followed when heating your home this upcoming winter season. It's better to follow these tips than to be sorry you didn't.

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Increasing Your Curb Appeal on a Budget

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The outside of your home is the first thing people will see when they approach your home. It doesn't matter how elaborately you’ve cleaned the inside your home, if the exterior is lacking, it can leave people with a bad first impression. A large budget is not needed to increase your curb appeal or give your home's exterior a fresh new look. There are simple things that can be done on a budget that can make a very big difference. 

Spruce Up Your Front Door

You want your home to look welcoming, which is why having a nice-looking front door can make a big difference. If your door is already in good condition, you may just want to slap on a new coat of paint or go with a new color to change things up. You can also replace or restore the hardware to give it a fresh new look. If you want to make your door really stand out, go with a bold color that goes well with the rest of the house. To spruce up your front door even more, add some decor, such as a wreath or a decorative sign. 

Replace or Update Light Fixtures

Replacing faulty light fixtures is not only for decorative purposes. They can also be a safety issue, helping you spot anything that may be wrong. Motion lights can help you stay safe when walking at night and they can also be a deterrent to criminals. Check with your homeowner's insurance company to make sure your coverage is up to date and see if they offer any discounts for security features like lights.

If you already have good-looking light fixtures, sprucing them up with a coat of paint can help them look even better. 

Tend Your Lawn

Your lawn is likely going to be the first thing many people notice when they come over. This is why it's important to take good care of it. Mow it on a regular basis and rake any leaves that have fallen. If you have patches where the grass isn't growing properly, throw down some grass seeds and fertilizer. Weeds can easily take over your yard if you let them. When you mow the grass, you'll need to take care of the weeds too. There are some things you want to keep in mind when it comes to lawn maintenance, such as: 

  • Avoid cutting grass too short 
  • Keep the mower blades sharp 
  • Try to mow when you have shade 
  • Adjust the blade height accordingly 

You can also utilize a method called “grasscycling.” This is when you leave your grass clippings on the lawn after cutting. This helps to keep things fertilized. 

Plant and Maintain Flowers

Planting a garden is a great way to transform the look of your home's exterior, allowing you to get as creative as you'd like to be. Gardening is also a great hobby; it is known to be a great stress relief tool. When it comes to flowers, you can plant an assortment all over your yard in all the areas that need a splash of color and design. Hydrangeas are large plants that are spectacular when they bloom. They look good along the edges of a property. Azaleas are also plants that are often utilized for increased curb appeal because they sit nicely in flower beds and around the mailbox. They also look great along the porch.

Pressure Wash  

To brighten up the outside of your home, a very budget-friendly way to increase your curb appeal is to power wash your siding to clean off the dirt and grime that has accumulated. Always follow proper power washer safety, such as avoiding accidentally spraying yourself or anyone else because doing so can cause serious injuries.

It doesn't take a lot of effort to make your yard look well-maintained and pretty to look at, and it doesn't cost a lot either.

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Some Essential First Aid Items

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Work can be dangerous. It does not matter what field; there are hazards at every job. There are the most obvious dangers on construction sites or assembly lines due to the heavy machinery, but even in an office, accidents can happen involving scissors, staplers, and such. Any use of tools creates a certain amount of risk. The best way to deal with the potential workplace mishaps is by being prepared. Every worksite needs to have a first aid kit so that if anything unfortunate does happen, it can be addressed quickly and efficiently. There are a few things that every great first aid kit should have inside.

Gloves

Gloves are an essential part of a first aid kit. It is impossible to be sure if a person's blood is safe, and in an emergency situation, there is no time to ask. A pair of gloves keeps that from being a problem. A few pairs of latex gloves will do the trick, but a lot of people are allergic to latex. Nitrile gloves can be a safer alternative.

Bandages

Bandages are given in first aid, and it is important to have a variety. Steri strips are a great alternative to stitches when attention needs to be given fast. You do not have the means to do stitches at home. Steri strips can solve the problem.

Normal bandages of various sizes can help manage any minor cuts, burns, or scratches. A roll of extra gauze will help to manage any excess bleeding. It is important to have large-sized pad type bandage with soft padding. This size has many uses but comes in handy mostly for use as an eye patch. Fingertip bandages are good for minor cuts and slices, such as papercuts.

Rubbing Alcohol

It is important to have a fast-acting antibacterial agent to get into cuts right away, even if they are minor. An injury may not seem so bad at first, but infection can creep in and make a relatively minor injury into a big problem. 

Not too long ago, people would still die of minor cuts because of infection that spread from the cut rather than the cut itself. The simple act of disinfecting an injury with alcohol before dressing it is the solution. Often, instead of liquid alcohol, a first aid kit will have single-use alcohol pads for disinfecting.

Antibacterial Ointment

Alcohol is good for a quick disinfecting but does not guarantee that everything will stay sterile. A thick antibiotic ointment, such as Bacitracin cream, will get deep into the wound and clean out lurking bacteria. It also has a comfort factor which makes it preferable over alcohol. 

While alcohol burns as it is applied to a wound a cream cools and soothes. The ointment should not be used instead of alcohol, however. If both are available, the injury should be cleaned with alcohol first and only be smeared with the cream just before applying the bandages.

Joint Wraps

An injury is not always as obvious as an open wound. Sometimes a person just pulls their wrist or ankle out of place. Just because an injury does not get blood everywhere does not mean it is just as critical or painful. A first aid kit should have elastic joint wraps for just such an occasion. 

A wrap helps to keep a dislocated joint in place by taking some of the pressure off of tendons with its elasticity. Applying a joint wrap can often even make a person feel better enough to get more work done, as long as the injury was only minor.

Eye Rinse

Eye rinse is usually just a simple saline solution, but it can prove to be the difference between keeping an eye or not. Any worksite that involves chemicals should have an eye washing station, but at least a bottle in the kit. A washout can keep chemical burns to a minimum. 

It is also important to have a rinse at any job that may have particles in the air, such as sawdust or metal shavings.

Tweezers

Tweezers are an important item to have in a first aid kit as well. When dressing a wound, it is crucial to remove any foreign material before covering it. Tweezers are perfect for removing tiny splinters and shards.

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How to save money on your wedding flowers & decor

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It's meant to be the happiest day of your life, and as a result a lot of couples head into the big day with the no expenses spared philosophy.

Unfortunately, there is only so far said policy can go. We don't have bottomless bank accounts, and there are some areas where you simply have to shave the bill to stay afloat.

As you may have gathered from the title, today's post is going to hone in on wedding flowers. These are one of the easiest things that you can adopt a DIY-approach for, or simply become creative, and save huge sums in the process. Let's take a look at some methods which can help you achieve this.

For the DIY enthusiast: find out what the experts are doing

You might have lots of experience when it comes to flowers (you may even be a florist in the making). If you fall into this category, feel free to move onto the next point.

However, for anyone else, try and buy from a reputable source first. For us, it was Avas Flowers. We looked for reviews on Avas Flowers first, before then progressing to look at the usual suspects like the Avas Flowers website and some of their Pinterest channels.

When they arrived, it just gave us a basic idea of what we need to do to at least compete with the professionals. Are you going to get anywhere near the standard of a professional florist? Probably not. However, by looking at the type of things that they do, you can gain some good insight into the types of flowers and arrangements that look the best with each other.

Stick with seasonal flowers

One of the easiest ways to cut costs, whether you do everything yourself or rely on a florist, is to stick to seasonal flowers. This follows the basic supply and demand principal. After all, if the flowers are difficult to get hold of, we all know what is going to happen to the price.

As such, stay as seasonal as can be. Some flowers are year-round, with roses and orchids usually falling into this category. These can help to cut your costs as well.

Big blooms can sometimes save you big sums

As a general rule of thumb, choosing the big blooms is going to cost a lot of money. For example, cymbidium orchids are the prime choice, but naturally have the big price tags.

However, there is a caveat. Sure, these flowers might cost more, but they also take up more space. It means that you require less of them, and can fill up the rest of your bouquet with creative greenery.

You don’t HAVE to turn to flowers

It might not be conventional, but this is why we have saved this last tip until the very end. An up and coming trend is to turn to a religious symbol, instead of the traditional bouquet that brides are famed for carrying.

Is this going to be suitable for all of you? Absolutely not. If it's appealing to you, it goes without saying that you can save significant sums of money though.

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Choosing a Home: Old or New 

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If you're in the market for a home, the first decision you'll need to make is whether to buy new construction or an older house. Listed below are a few pros and cons to both to help you narrow the search to the one that best suits your needs. 

Character 

An older home, especially one that's more than half a century old, tends to have more character than new construction. This provides you with a unique layout and often a conglomeration of smaller bedrooms, parlor rooms, large kitchens, and grand living areas. Today, many of the new homes are predictable and cookie-cutter. This is especially true in newly developed neighborhoods where a single construction company developed the land. 

No Immediate Repairs 

One of the perks of purchasing new construction is the ability to move in without having to spend any money on repairs. In fact, you can count on having five years or more before you'll need to invest any money into the home. Whereas an older home generally has outdated electrical wiring that can't handle the demands of a high-tech, plugged-in era. Plumbing is another area that can cost many thousands to do a complete overhaul. Of course, with a product design degree and a wealth of knowledge in lighting design, you can change out the existing structures and bring in additional lighting as well, to suit your needs. 

Energy-Efficient 

One of the biggest downfalls of owning an older home is the lack of insulation. Most older homes are cold and drafty in the winter and warm in the summer months. To add insulation to every room and to replace single-pane windows and less than efficient doors can end up costing you a bundle. One the other hand, if you purchase a new home, the walls are insulated, the attic has insulation, the windows are double-paned and the doors are new and heavier. 

Updated Appliances 

When you buy new construction you acquire brand new updated appliances. This can help you to save a lot of money when it comes to cooking, washing dishes, and doing the laundry. New appliances will also help you to save money on your home's heating and cooling costs. On the other hand, an older home generally has outdated appliances, which in the end can ramp up your utility bills. 

Making Changes 

A new construction, especially during the building stages, brings with it choices. For instance, you can choose things such as what type of countertops you want in the kitchen, the grade of flooring, how many light switches in each room and the materials for cabinets. An older home is already complete, so while you can make changes, everyone will cost you additional money. 

The Price Tag 

If there's one benefit to purchasing an older home it’s the price tag. By comparison to new construction, you're talking about a significant difference, often to the tune of tens of thousands. If your budget is tight, purchasing an older home might prove to be a better fit, at least initially. 

Settled 

An older home has already weathered the storm and settled. You won't have any additional cracks in the walls over the next few years. Whereas a new home will need to settle and it can cause you to have to make minor repairs to ceilings, floors and walls. 

Easier to Get a Mortgage 

New construction home sites generally have a single builder who, in many cases, has a direct connection with an exclusive lender. This can make it very easy to not only know the requirement for a mortgage ahead of time but to actually get an approval as well. 

Before buying a house, make sure to weigh the pros and cons that come into play when buying a new home or an older home.

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How to Save Money for Your Dream House

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There's nothing quite like the feeling of being a homeowner. You can rent out rooms, paint or remodel without asking permission from someone above you. Plus, it's a building that can stay within the family for years to come. As a result, it can become a source of generational wealth for your family. However, it's not a cheap investment. In order to save for the down payment, you'll need to set aside thousands of dollars. Thankfully, with intention and discipline, you can make it happen. 

Consider the following ways you can save up for your dream home:

  1. Cut your food budget in half.

If you're someone who likes to eat a lot of food at restaurants, it's time to quit that habit while you're saving for your dream house. If you look at your monthly bank statements and find that a large number of your transactions are food-related, you're letting money go down the drain. This is especially true when you could completely cut your food budget in half by cooking at home. Learn how to make your favorite latte drinks at home. Watch cooking shows on YouTube to learn how to cook your favorite meals. When you prepare great meals at home, it'll be easier to drive past the local fast-food restaurant. Plus, as you see that number rising in your savings account, you'll be surprised at how much you can save by cooking at home.

  1. Make the necessary sacrifices.

When you write down your goals on a daily basis, they remain at the top of your mind. As a result, you'll subconsciously make decisions that will help you get the results you're looking for. If you and your spouse are newlyweds who desire the perfect dream home, write down your goals together. Then, as you two make it a habit, you'll both find ways to become more resourceful. For instance, you two might choose budget-friendly men's black wedding bands and women's wedding rings. The money you save can be the same money that goes to the dream house down payment fund.

  1. Pick up a second job.

If the funds from the full-time job aren't enough to gain financial leverage, it's time to get a second job. In addition to applying for jobs at local establishments in your area, find ways to make some extra income on your own time. Babysitting, rideshare services and cleaning houses are great ways to pad the savings account with more funds.

  1. Make accounts difficult to access.

When the money begins to add up, one of the worst things you can do is cut into the funds. If you're not disciplined enough to leave the money in the account, make your savings account inaccessible to you. Connect it to the direct deposit of your second job so that you don't see that paycheck at all. Use a separate bank account that you can access with the swipe of a debit card. There are plenty of banks that penalize you for taking money out of your savings account too often. Find one of those accounts so that you can stick with the savings program you designed for your future home fund.

When you're preparing for ownership, you don't need to cut corners in order to get what you want. After all, this is your dream home. Just know that in order to get the dream, you might have to save a lot more in order to beat out the other buyers in a competitive market. With these tips and the right realtor, you can make your dream a reality.

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Protect Yourself from Identity Theft During a Move with These 5 Tips 

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Moving to a new home is anything but easy, and everyone is constantly looking for ways to make the moving day process easier. It requires a lot of patience, planning, and packing to pull off a move, whether it’s across town or across the state. 

One thing many people who are moving don't realize is that you're also transporting your personal information from one place to the other, which makes you a prime target for identity theft. Identity theft fluctuates from year to year, but the one thing that remains the same is the fact that anyone can become a victim. 

While many communities and homeowners have a package delivery lock box system in place, there are a few other tips you should follow to ensure your identity isn't stolen during a move. Read on below for a few of those tips. 

Choose a Credible Moving Company

It’s important to do your due diligence when you’re getting ready for a move. This means that you should not hire the first moving company you find online. It’s easier to find a good moving company if you seek referrals from family, friends, and even co-workers who have used a moving company before. Even when armed with referrals you need to do careful research to make sure the people who work for the moving company are legal and trustworthy. Ask the company to provide the information needed; if they refuse, then you need to find another company to move your stuff. 

Put in a Change of Address

You would be surprised at the number of people who forget or just don’t put in a change of address when they move to a new location. This means that your bills, parcels, and even your bank statements are going to be going to an address that you don't live at any longer. It's important to put in a change of address before you move, so it has time to kick in before your final day living at your current residence. 

Keep Your Electronic Devices Secure 

Before the movers come, make sure to shut down and secure any electronics in the house. This includes laptops, computers, and tablets. As a matter of fact, it is usually best if you move these items yourself. This way, you don’t have to worry about the electronics being damaged. You're also ensuring that no one can hack into your computer and retrieve your personal documents and other information. 

Move Your Personal Documents Yourself 

It’s never a good idea to throw personal documents into a box, tape them up, and leave them for the movers to transport. Instead, get all of your personal and sensitive information together and move it yourself. It’s a great way to ensure no one is able to look through your stuff and find things that allow them to steal your identity. 

Always be Present During the Move 

While it may be tempting to go do some of the other million things you need to do during the moving process and leave the movers to take care of the moving, it’s not a good idea. You need to be clear and present and able to supervise the movers while they are loading your boxes and other belongings. There is so much being transported that it would be easy for a few things to go missing, and you don’t notice it until it’s too late and your identity has been stolen. 

These are just a few tips that you should follow to prevent identity theft when you’re moving from one location to the other. Remember, while most moving company employees are good people, there are those that aren’t, so it's better to be safe than sorry.

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Alternative Funding for Real Estate Investments

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The real estate investment business is blowing up. Everyone who is anyone has come to realize the long and short-term earning potential that comes from purchasing properties. Whether the purchase of the property is to increase its value and flip or to update it and rent it out, property investors are able to supplement and even surpass their traditional income. Though investing in real estate can be a lucrative opportunity, many avoid getting involved due to costs. 

It’s true, purchasing a property can be expensive. If you don’t have thousands of dollars saved up for the purchase of the property, repairs, and other associated fees, you’ll need to find other financial resources to invest. While the most common choice would be to take out a second or third mortgage, the eligibility requirements are strict and not everyone can get approved. Fortunately, there are alternative funding options you can turn to such as those listed below: 

Hard Money Loans

One of the first alternative funding solutions for real estate investments is hard money loans. These are loans provided by investors or private companies to those interested in investing in real estate. As this guide to hard money loans points out, they’re a lot easier to qualify for than a traditional mortgage. This is because borrowers put collateral (the property you’re purchasing) against the loan. So, should they default, the lenders can take over the property to compensate for the financial loss.  While credit, track record, and income/capital do still matter, the underwriting process is a lot less strict and easier to get through. 

To apply for a hard money loan, you’ll need to have as much information as you can on the property. This includes its resale value before and after repairs have been completed, how much repairs will cost, and how long it will take to get the property sold or rented out. The loans are typically for a term of 1-5 years and investors can repay these quickly by flipping the properties and using the proceeds to repay the loan in full. 

Retirement Loans

Another option for those interested in investing in real estate is to borrow from your retirement account. Depending on the type of account you have you are able to borrow as much as 50% of your account balance. While there are some interest and fees applied to the loan, you will have up to five years to repay the balance in full. Keep in mind, however, that should you go this route there are tax implications you will have to account for. Also, if the loan is not repaid in full as agreed you can also have to pay penalties and fees to the local and federal governments. Again, a retirement loan can quickly be repaid by using part of your profit to pay the balance in full or applying a portion of the monthly rental income to the retirement loan payments. 

Bring in Partners

Do you know someone else who would be interested in investing in real estate with you? Perhaps a relative, co-worker, or friend that you trust? If you know them to be pretty good professionals, have a great work ethic, and also have the capital to help reduce your out of pocket costs, why not consider it? Adding someone else to the mix means more financial resources. It can make it easier for you both to get approved for loans and/or add more money to the pot from your personal finances (i.e. savings, retirement, life insurance, etc.). If you’re going to partner with someone, however, be sure that you have drawn up a contract that protects you both. 

Liquidate Assets

If you’re really serious about investing in real estate and don’t want to take on too much debt or acquire a partner, there are still ways to find capital. This option would require you to sell things of value. If you have two vehicles, for instance, you could sell one and put the cash towards purchasing an investment property. You can take out a home equity loan on any existing properties that have equity in them, sell some shares of your stock, or have a yard sale and get rid of things you have lying around the house.

Investing in real estate isn’t cheap, but that doesn’t mean you need to be rich and famous to get into this market. All it takes is a bit of creativity, sacrifice, and the above-mentioned financial resources. Once you’re able to secure funds to purchase the property, the goal is to get it up to code, complete remodels that help to increase the value, and get it sold or rented out so that you can repay the loans in full while also turning a profit.

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