Home Warranties: Do You Need One?

Posted by on Feb 22, 2015 in Home Improvement | 0 comments

Buying a home is a complicated process, one that can take weeks or even months of your valuable time. With all of the choices, decisions and negotiations that have to be made, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and lose focus on the important aspects. Home warranties can sometimes be overlooked in all of the chaos and negotiating, but here are a few reasons why you may want to consider purchasing a home warranty for your new house.

Why Get a Home Warranty?
In some cases a home warranty may not be mandatory, but there are many instances in which a home warranty can be essential. A home warranty covers unexpected problems that may come up with your appliances or heating and air conditioning systems. Some sellers will offer to buy the home warranty for the first year just to help seal the deal and give you, the buyer, peace of mind. Other sellers won’t pay for it and you will have to make the decision yourself on whether or not you want to shell out the money. If you fit any one of the following circumstances, chances are good that you’ll want a home warranty:

* You’re a first time home buyer
* The home you’re buying is over five years old
* The appliances are starting to get old
* You don’t have backup funds for an expensive repair
* You don’t have the knowledge, experience or time to be able to handle repairs on your own

If you are a first time home buyer, the odds are likely that you won’t have a lot of extra cash on hand. A broken heating system can cost thousands of dollars to replace. Additionally, many first time home buyers don’t have the experience needed to make repairs on appliances. If your home or appliances are older, they’re more likely to have problems that will require expensive repairs.

Before Buying a Home Warranty
There are a few important things to consider before signing a contract for a home warranty. First, it’s essential that you fully understand what is covered under the home warranty and what is not covered. Some warranties charge a service fee of up to $100, while others will only cover a certain amount of a repair. It’s vital to get all of the facts about your home warranty before you sign a contract, just like you would want to know every detail about your home purchase before closing.

Making the decision to purchase a home warranty, at least for the first year, can give you great peace of mind that your investment will be protected should something unexpected happen. Doing your homework is the first step to choosing a reputable home warranty service. Look up a well-known and trusted company like American Home Shield at http://www.ahs.com/ in order to get a look at what a home warranty service leader typically provides. With the right tools and information at your fingertips, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing you have the knowledge you need to successfully navigate a home warranty contract.

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How To DIY At Home

Posted by on Feb 20, 2015 in Home Design, Home Improvement | 0 comments

If you can master the principles of DIY projects below, your project will be a success before you even begin. The principles range from design principles to safety. The common thread is thinking ahead, planning, and playing with a winning strategy. Being autonomous and self-reliant is one of the best skills you can cultivate as a homeowner. Acquiring these skills means balancing the following tips. Let’s take a look at each one: economy of means, recycling, research, and wellbeing for you and your home.

Find Economy Of Means

‘KISS’, or ‘keep it simple stupid’. This is a basic design premise followed by those who possess an extraordinary range of skills and those possess very little alike.

Use skills and resources within your means. Don’t conceive of a project so complicated, expensive, or time consuming it is completely unreasonable. Take a look in your attic, for example. Spend time analyzing inventory of various raw materials at your disposal. Allow these materials to guide your DIY project.

Upcycle The World

The planet needs relief, and so does your pocket book. Upcycling, or recycling, materials for DIY projects around the house is all the rage. The internet has no shortage of examples of this trend far and wide.

One popular upcycling idea is the process of reclaiming wood boards, then using them as siding for a home. By mixing and matching kinds of wood according to color, size, and grain pattern, do-it-yourself masters have created a stunning array of beautiful home exteriors.

Do Your Homework

If you want to do a right yourself right, focus and do some research before you begin. Don’t believe everything you read. Contrast and compare disparate advice on projects similar to the one you envision.

Look online, but also browse do-it-yourself sections at new and especially used bookstores. Don’t be afraid to ask people with more experience. How do you think they learned? They asked questions.

Being a good student when it comes to DIY home improvement all comes down to willingness to learn.

Remember ‘Safety First’

Last, but not least, safety should always come first. Never forget to think through possible harm any project could bring to yourself, your loved ones, or your home.

You want to have a well-stocked first aid kit and emergency numbers handy before starting. If possible, always work with a partner as well. Part of your pre-project planning must include securing a home warranty. Any DIY project beyond something simple like hanging curtains should begin with a home warranty review, or getting one if you don’t have one already. American Home Shield provides plenty of home warranty options at www.ahs.com.

The main thing to consider when selecting the right home warranty provider is by looking into which companies are considered “warranty leaders”. Companies like AHS are good markers to measure various warranty leaders in the industry.

Be smart, be safe, be thrifty, and above all think ahead. Once you have mastered these principles, pass them along to a friend. Help cultivate a talented world of do-it-yourself communities.

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Things to Consider Before You Renovate

Posted by on Dec 18, 2013 in Home Design | 0 comments

The plan you developed more than a year ago are finally underway and construction has begun, your home has taken on a very dusty and disorganized look. Every project has its own set of challenges, but because this is your home and your own idea, you are determined to see every aspect of it through to the end. The orders for the needed materials were placed a few weeks ago and the contractor has informed you that things are running smoothly.

A big part of any successful renovation plan is going to be a realistic budget and that will usually consist of labor and materials. You should not be prepared to consider cutting corners in either case, because the right contractor will ensure that things come together perfectly. Let’s not forget that materials like kitchen cabinets and plumbing fixtures are probably the reason why you decided to renovate in the first place.

The appearance of your cabinets could be old and worn from constant use and you simply want to give them a face lift, or maybe you never really like the design and always intended to change it when finances allowed. Maybe you prefer taller ceilings, or the lighting was less than adequate for the amount of time you spent in the room cooking. It could just be that you always wanted an island in the center of the kitchen.

The reasons for jumping into a remodeling project can vary from one extreme to another, but one thing is for certain, it will change the way things look around your home. The finished project in most instances usually begs the question, did it improve the value of your home, or will less people like what they see, should you decide to put your home up for sale? Remember that the renovation was born from your idea and your personal taste.

Many renovations start with the kitchen, if only for the fact that someone did not like the kind of countertops that came with the house, or the plumbing fixtures were outdated. In some instances, what you see in the kitchen today could have been to keep in line with a budget for the house itself. When you first purchased the house, it was all about the investment, but will someone else look at your remodeling project in the same way?

Another important factor in your plans should be to make room for your appliances. Believe it or not, some people forget to make room for basic things like the microwave as they change things around. It is important to think ahead when redesigning your rooms, whether it is the kitchen or the bathroom. Technology continues to change, will your design be able to accommodate those changes.

Check out Bella Domicile for more on plumbing fixtures!

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How to Clean Stainless Steel Without Spending a Fortune

Posted by on Nov 27, 2013 in Cleaning | 0 comments

In Virginia Woolf’s classic novel Mrs. Dalloway, the titular Clarissa Dalloway spends a great deal of the book preparing for a dinner party.  While the novel itself is a marvelous example of the sort of exploration of interiority and the subjective nature of meaning which was so much a part of the Modernist movement, Clarissa Dalloway’s actions could today be classified as a form of interior design—and, as with any good interior designer, she wants things to be eye-catching and fresh while not being gaudy.  Stainless steel serves this purpose nicely; it’s no surprise, then, that most modern homes and kitchens feature stainless steel in some capacity.  Whether you use it for decorating, counter tops, or if you simply happen to own some stainless steel pots and pans, however, chances are the issue of cleaning will eventually come up for, despite its name, stainless steel isn’t always the easiest thing to clean.

Click Here for More Recommended Reading about home warranties that can help save you thousands over your home owning time.

Here, then, are a few tips and tricks of the trade to leave your stainless steel spotless and gleaming once again.

DETERGENT

One fairly obvious approach to the problem of cleaning your stainless steel is detergent.  If you’re dealing with something such as a pot, pan, or utensils, you’ll want to soak the besmirched items in warm water before adding the detergent.  The time spent soaking can vary to a large degree depending on the nature of both the item you’re soaking and the stain you’re trying to remove.  Once you’re satisfied with the job this has done, you’ll want to next begin lightly scrubbing the item with a damp cloth, or something similar.  It’s important to note that if you’re scrubbing something that’s stainless steel that has a finish—such as a counter top—you’ll want to scrub with the finish, rather than against it, so as to avoid scratching or otherwise damaging the finish.

OLIVE OIL

After you’ve applied detergent, you may wish to polish your stainless steel counter top or cookware.  Olive oil can make for a remarkable (and low-cost) polishing agent under these conditions.  A tablespoon or two should do—dab it on another rag, and buff the surface of the stainless steel item. You can find more specific steps and pictures by reading this article.

FLOUR

This method can be especially useful when dealing with stainless steel sinks.  After you’ve washed away the residue of the detergent and any food particles, coat the inside of your sink with a mixture of baking soda and water, leave the sink to dry, and add a good amount of flour to the mix.  After that, it’s just a matter of dampening another rag and setting to work cleaning and buffing the surface of your sink again.  While this may take more time than other methods, this can be more than justified by virtue of your having successfully cleaned and polished your stainless steel sink with mere household items and without having to go out and spend a fortune on some expensive buffing agent out there.

These methods are intended for mostly mild to moderate stains.

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Proper Setup for a Kitchen Conference

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in Home Design | 0 comments

If you are planning to host a kitchen conference to show off new appliances or an entire showroom, knowing how to set your conference space up properly can ultimately mean the difference between getting a sale and turning potential customers away. Taking time to properly set up for an upcoming conference you plan to host in a kitchen showroom is one way to truly show potential customers what you have to offer them in the best ways possible.

Rid Clutter

Ridding clutter from the kitchen showroom is the first step to hosting a successful kitchen conference, especially if the kitchen is filled with accessories and decor. Rid all items of cluttering .If there is an island in the kitchen you are setting up, avoid adding drinks and other clutter to it to keep customers interested in the positive features it has to offer.

Consider the Layout

Consider the layout of the kitchen showroom you plan to host a conference in and how it is set up. It is important to have multiple clear walking and standing spaces in the kitchen for your guests, especially if you are giving a presentation while showing the room off. Consider whether or not you should place additional chairs in the kitchen depending on the number of guests that will be attending.

Think of Your Customers

It is also essential to think of the customers you are expecting during your conference. Consider the demographic of your customers including their gender, age and any specific interests they may have personally. The more you prepare for your customers, the easier it is to create a sales pitch that meets their needs and encourages them to make a purchase. If you want to get an idea of what to expect for a kitchen conference, consider visiting one that is being hosted by another design group. SEN Design in Chapel Hill, North Carolina holds semi-annual conferences every year and they are worth looking into.

Decorate Properly

Adding a bit of decor to your kitchen showroom for an upcoming conference you are hosting is a way to liven up the atmosphere without the room feeling too cluttered or unorganized. Get creative by placing a beautiful centerpiece on a dining room table, counter top or even in the center of the kitchen’s island depending on the layout of the showroom you are working on.

Understanding and using basic tips on preparing a  kitchen conference is the perfect way to send a positive message to potential customers while also allowing the décor to catch their eyes. The more effort you put in to considering who will be visiting your conference and how you can appeal to them, the easier it is to make sales on everything from appliances and new furniture to entire showrooms.

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Creating a New Bathroom Look

Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in Home Design | 0 comments


The two rooms of a person’s house that receive the most traffic are the bathroom and the kitchen. Because these two rooms often differ in both size and layout, they require a design that will not only compliment the surroundings but be convenient as well. Today’s marketplace offers many new styles for both rooms, but the bathroom seems to be the most popular.

Whether your bathroom is small or large, the first step in any new design is planning. In a small bathroom, a wall can often be moved to make it larger, or a change in the type of appliances can make a big difference. Although 60% of modern homes have three or more bathrooms, it is usually the older homes where redesigning is usually the most important.

Due to the speed of today’s fast-paced lifestyle, many people are removing bathtubs and installing showers in their bathroom. This allows them to complete the bathing ritual in a shorter timeframe and provides time for other activities. Some modern bathroom appeals include rain showerheads, steam showers, body sprays, hinged glass doors, partial shower walls and heated shower floors. Installing a skylight or enlarging a window can add brightness and shows off the new bathroom design.

Today’s bathroom design showrooms, like Bella Domicile, display the latest in attractive additions available. Consulting with a showroom designer can result in having a complete design that will not only be appropriate, but will fit your personal preferences as to style. This may be modern, contemporary or traditional with colors that blend with the rest of the house. Any change of this kind will surely increase the value of the property as well.

Prior to visiting a bathroom design showroom, it may be a good idea to take measurements and know what you would like to change. This makes it easier for them to make suggestions that will fit in with your plans. In addition, it may also be possible to see the options available in countertops, cabinets, flooring, appliances, plumbing and lighting. Prices will be shown so it is easy to see exactly what will fit your budget with the design you desire.

Changing a bathroom design requires a marginal investment that will result in a long-term gain in appearance, comfort and value. Vanities are being produced that take up less space, yet provide room for hair dryers, towels, cleaning supplies and bath products. This removes the cluttered look that appears in so many bathrooms. Bathroom showrooms are a great way to learn new and innovative design ideas.

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Choosing the Right Kitchen Cabinets

Posted by on Oct 19, 2013 in Home Design | 0 comments

Kitchen cabinets are available in a variety of styles and designs. One of the first things to consider when choosing cabinets for the kitchen is how you want the kitchen to look and its function. Prior to replacing the cabinets, one should decide if the existing layout is satisfactory or if they would prefer a new arrangement to make the kitchen more functional or aesthetically pleasing. The existing style of the home should also be taken into account. For example, if the home has an antique construction, cabinets which retain that style may likely be the best choice. Alternatively, those with newer homes may prefer more contemporary styling.

Kitchen cabinets are available in stock, semi-custom and custom-made construction from specialty kitchen design shops such as Roomscapes of Newport Beach. Stock cabinets are the ones found already assembled at a home improvement center. They are usually only available in a limited number of styles and dimensions. However, the styles and finishes are usually the most popular ones and may be exactly the look that is preferred. Since they are not constructed in the exact dimensions as the kitchen, filler strips are often needed to fill in spaces between walls and cabinets. Stock cabinets have the same quality construction as custom cabinets. They are often the best choice for those on a budget. Semi-custom cabinets are manufactured after they have been ordered. There is a larger selection of materials and finishes. More options are also available such as pantries and odd-size cabinets. Custom made cabinets are made at a custom cabinetry manufacturer or a wood shop. Custom cabinetry can be made with every material and in any style imaginable. It is also the most expensive option.

There are different styles available and most are categorized by the design of the door. One of the most common designs is the slab door. The door covers the front of the cabinet and is completely smooth, providing a clean, uncluttered look. Raised door panels have a wood frame glued over the top of the door which may or may not have a decorative edge. This type of cabinet offers a more formal décor. A third type has a recessed door with a panel seated behind the frame of the door. These are most often found in cabinets designed in a country style. Other doors feature a curved arch at the top of the frame.

Kitchen cabinets are made from a number of materials. The most common include wood, metal or laminate. Wood is very durable and can be painted to match any interior. Metal cabinets are usually comprised of stainless steel and are very popular in modern kitchens. They are extremely durable and easily cleaned. Laminate is the least expensive and offers a wide range of designs although not as durable as wood or metal.

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