Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2013 Home Remodeling Trends

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The home remodeling themes of 2013 are practicality and efficiency. While the country is still recovering from the recession, the lessons learnt from houses being lost to foreclosure are that of living within our means. For many people this means living in smaller homes but making the most of the space, taking the indoor/outdoor environment into consideration, and making a home work for individual needs.

Bigger is no longer better. The trend has been called the tiny home trend. Homes as small as 500 square feet are being built on small lots of land, but for most people with families, buying homes that fit the needs of the family without excess space is what is working. Within those homes open floor plans have replaced formal dining and sitting rooms. Kitchens blend into common areas and dining spaces. This not only allows for better functionality in the home, but for more open conversation and interaction of those living there.

People currently remodeling are not just looking at what is going to work for them now, but also what will be helpful in the future. The baby boomer generation is retiring and keeping an eye on how their lives might change. Doors are being widened to accommodate wheelchairs. Bathroom remodels include larger showering spaces, or doing away with glass walls and having an open shower with tile floors. Bi-level countertops and sinks are being installed for those who have active children or parents needing wheelchair accessibility. Access in and out of homes is also being considered.

Because so many people work from home, having a space where one can work in without distraction is also critical. Home offices are being created from baby rooms or other smaller rooms in the house. Home offices can also be converted in the future to bedrooms, living rooms or other spaces.

Another popular trend is making sure homes are well insulated and energy efficient. This includes the insulation in the walls as well as double paned windows, energy efficient appliances and more. 

Appearances, as always, are important. As for the indoors, hidden appliances are the trend, meaning dishwashers are covered with wood fronts, other appliances sit in drawers built to fit them. Minimalist design is reigning in the kitchen and other rooms.

Carpets are out. Heated wood floors are the most popular and leave a clean finish and something that doesn't show the wear and tear carpeting does.

Outdoors, we are seeing much more native landscaping and rock landscapes that require little water and little upkeep. 

If you're planning a whole house remodel or a partial one, keep in mind efficiency, functionality and practicality. How can your home better serve you? Southern California Construction & Design believes home remodeling and building can be done efficiently, precisely and immaculately while staying on budget. Communication is a key ingredient to our business's success. Providing cost analysis and breakdowns help prevent frustration on the owner's part and opens a dialogue for satisfied customers. When possible we use recycled materials as well as recycling materials from jobs to do our part in protecting the environment. Visit SoCal Construction & Design today.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Reclaimed Bricks Everywhere

High-Rise Pueblo
By Natalie Eastaugh

Bricks can be seen everywhere, from buildings to paved streets or even on lining of furnaces. It is therefore very important that the brick used suits the task that it is needed for. For example bricks that are being used to line fireplaces should be able to withstand high temperature but also have low thermal conductance and this is why the Fire-brick or Refractory Brick is used.

Units used in colder climates tend to be bigger and thicker, more so in the past, because they are more insulating, even though they tend to be less economical to make. However, nowadays, this is no longer an issue as houses have very efficient insulation mechanisms which ensure that bricks as small and thin as desired can be used. Therefore units tend to be chosen with a large list of requirements in mind, but not warmth any more. These include the texture of the bricks surface; colouring, absorption; the amount of pores; weight and density, how the brick reacts to heat, fire and moisture. The different job that the brick is required for dictates the specifications of the brick used; thus there are many different types of bricks available.

Different areas of the country will produce different types of bricks as different types of clays are available in different areas. For example in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and some other southerly places the Yellow Gaunt Bricks predominate which are a hard in texture and smooth faced and completely yellow. This can be kept in mind when deciding because the bricks that are native to the area will fit in with other historic structures and perhaps help with matching. Also different units from different areas have different properties and colours and thus will be suited for different purposes.

Matching bars can be very difficult, especially as bricks from different eras have different colours, different staining and maybe even different shapes and sizes. This is where Reclaimed Bricks are the best choice. Most companies will offer a service where if a photo or sample of the units to be matched is needed can be produced. The company will endeavour to provide matching bricks. These bricks have many advantages over other ways of purchasing bricks other than the matching ability. The main one is environmental. As these bricks are older, no resources from the earth are being used and the older bricks can be re used instead of being destroyed. These units are also able to lend character to new buildings or structures making them unique and different from any others.

In conclusion, it is possible to buy bricks from a number of places and there are many different types of bricks, especially as bricks changes as the eras go by. Therefore, it is important to choose bricks carefully and ensure that they match, often with Visit our website for more information on reclaimed bricks as the best option.

Visit our website for more information on reclaimed bricks

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Natalie_Eastaugh

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Home improvements tax are deductible - questions and answers

Author: Home Improvements

Are home improvements tax deductible?

Home improvements, like renovating a home or making permanent additions to the home, increase the value of the house while making it more habitable. Home improvement loans, availed for the purpose of making certain improvements, qualify for tax deductions. In addition to these loans, certain expenses also qualify for tax deductions and tax credits. A tax deduction reduces the amount of taxable income. A tax credit, on the other hand, reduces the actual amount of tax that a person has to pay. Hence, a tax credit is better than a tax deduction since the former reduces the actual tax liability.

Home improvements, that have been undertaken for medical reasons, also qualify as medical expenses and are thus tax deductible. For instance, people suffering from heart ailments can install an elevator in the house, to avoid climbing the stairs, and can claim a tax deduction citing medical reasons. Improving the homes air filtration system by installing central air-conditioning or removing a drywall that may be damp and mould can help abate the symptoms of asthma in people experiencing breathing difficulty. The doctor may have to provide a letter stating the necessity of making these improvements. All reasonable costs, incurred to accommodate a handicapped individual, qualify for deductions. Constructing entrance and exit ramps for the home and widening the doorway at the entrance and the exit to the home in order to help handicapped people living in the home; installing railings and support bars along stairway and in the bathroom; modifying the kitchen to make it easily accessible to people with disabilities; modifying electric outlets and fixtures; installing lifts and levelling the ground are some of the capital expenses that are deductible.
The process of improving a real estate usually tends to be very expensive. Though this process is expensive, sometimes it is extremely essential. Home improvement grants and loans are financial aids extended to people to renovate personal real estates, like, their homes, farms and beach houses.  In the real estate market, better the condition of the property, the more is it's market value. Also a beautifully interior designed and well furnished house, certainly is very inviting and comfortable.  In general, home repairs are not tax deductible, while home improvements are rarely tax deductible. There are, however, a few types of improvements that do have tax deductions or credits, including medical necessity, home loan interest payments and energy efficiency.

Taxes are computed by taking a person's income (money from all sources earned), subtracting deductions and computing taxes based on the new amount. Tax credits will reduce the taxes owed on that new amount. That is, a deduction will reduce the amount of income that is to be taxed. Credits reduce the taxes a person actually pays. Some tax credits are refundable. If the taxes owed are less than the credit, that person will receive money back. Other tax credits are non-refundable, which means that the person will not receive money back. Tax deductions can only reduce the taxes owed, but will not result in a payment beyond the refund of taxes already paid.
In general, home repairs are not tax deductible, while home improvements are rarely tax deductible. There are, however, a few types of improvements that do have tax deductions or credits, including medical necessity, home loan interest payments and energy efficiency. Building your own home is a challenging, yet very rewarding  endeavour. It requires determination, discipline, solid budgeting and a commitment to the project. Determining the cost for construction can be a good way to begin thinking about designing a custom home.

Which Home Improvements Pay Off?

Generally speaking, there are two ways to go about making home improvements. Either you splurge for something purely for the sybaritic pleasure of having it — the Italian marble bathroom you've dreamed about; that skylight that your spouse has been hinting at for the last six years — or you take a pragmatic approach, buying an energy-efficient furnace or repairing a leaky roof because you want to increase your home's market value.
1) Covering the basic necessities – the first improvements you need to make are the ones that really matter. If there are any problems with your home's structure or systems, you need to fix these first. Potential buyers care more about problems that affect a home's function (like a leaky roof) than problems that are cosmetic (like an outdated kitchen). And, when potential buyers find out that the home needs major repairs (replacing the roof, updating an electrical system, or removing mould), they will move on to the next home for sale on their list. So, use your money wisely – especially if you have a limited budget. Focus on areas that make your home more liveable.
2) Kitchens – if your home poses no major problems, you can start your renovations in the kitchen. When you're making home improvements, the kitchen is a good place to start because it can greatly affect the value of your home. Buyers want clean, updated kitchens. Be sure to use good quality materials and classic designs (but don't go too modern). In order for your home improvements to pay off, you need them to appeal to a wide range of home buyers. Some of the easier improvements to make include painting the kitchen (using a neutral colour, of course) and replacing cabinet hardware if the current hardware is too basic or outdated. Replacing outdated appliances almost always pays back more than full. Also, make sure that your kitchen has sufficient lighting.

Exactly how much you'll recoup in costs depends on several factors, including the direction of the broader housing market, the value of the homes in your neighbourhood, when you plan to sell the home and the nature of the project itself, explains Stacey Freed, senior editor of Remodelling magazine. In some housing markets, you could indeed earn more than your investment back on a remodelling project. When undertaking large remodelling projects, it is smart to research your local real estate market to find out if your project will return your investment when it is time to sell. Depending on where you live, the right project may return 100% of your investment. That is why research is the smartest way to begin any remodelling project.
Remodelling  projects should be done when you are planning on staying in the house for several years rather than starting major work for the sake of trying to increase resale value. Since you can't guarantee that you will get a decent return, it makes the most sense to remodel when you will be able to enjoy the benefits in the long run; and make minor, more cosmetic changes if selling is your primary goal. Some home buyers (especially first-time home buyers) think that a down payment is the only cost of buying a home. However, they soon realize that their down payment is one of many costs that require cash or a check upfront. So, how much should you expect to pay before closing on your new home? When potential buyers drive up to your house, the first thing they see is the front of your house. Buyers know that usually the exterior of the house is a good indicator of the inside of the house, so the front of your home can make a very important first impression on potential buyers.
To make the best first impression possible, follow these seven steps. As a rule, improvements that increase the functional space of a home hold their value longer than ones that just make a house look better. Some basic home improvements and landscaping around your home can really increase the value and visual appeal of your property.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/remodeling-articles/home-improvements-tax-are-deductible-questions-and-answers-2220244.html

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Home Improvement - When is It a Wise Move?

Gone were the days, when the most logical move for homeowners was to go for upgrades when living space became too small. In the face of the recent tumultuous events that hit real estate markets, this alternative seems not to be an attractive one. In the current scheme of things, home improvement alternatives are the best and most practical options for most homeowners. A carefully planned home improvement project can deliver the desired results that we want to achieve. Financial companies offer loan packages for home improvement projects. There are even grants that you can avail if you are going for home improvement projects that integrate energy saving features.

Clear and present necessity and enhanced value are the two major reasons why you will opt for various kinds of home improvement projects. The scale and complexity of the makeover job will entirely depend on your requirements and preferences as well as your available budget. There are also other intangibles that come into play which makes home improvement a better alternative to home upgrade. In most instances, we develop a strong attachment to our community that moving becomes a difficult option. After a certain period of time, you become accustomed to your surroundings and develop your comfort zone. Under such condition, giving up your home for an upgrade may not be your best option.

While there are obvious downsides to home improvement alternatives, the returns of a well-executed home improvement project are more than enough to offset its negative effects. Expect a few weeks of inconvenience if you are planning to perform a home improvement project. However, you can mitigate the negative impact of the activity if you plan early.

Once you are able to hurdle the financial requisites of your home improvement project, the next thing that you must do is to plan out your project so that it doesn't turn out to be a nightmare for you and your family. If you are intending to perform the task yourself, the logical first step will be to find the right home improvement software. This can help you visualize the changes and improvements that you want in your home before you commence the required home improvement tasks.

Once you have the right blueprint for your home improvement project, the next thing for you to do is to visit the local home improvement shops with the complete list of materials that you need. Make sure that you purchase the materials within the established budget by selecting materials with the best possible prices.

On the other hand, if you are inclined in hiring the services of a professional home improvement specialist, it is essential that you choose one who has the expertise, means and experience in performing the tasks required in your home improvement project.
Home improvement is the current norm, and there are a lot of contractors that provide a broad range of specialties that focus on specific home improvement projects. It is essential that you hire one that can perform the task and deliver the results that you want to achieve in your home improvement project. It is not enough that you take into account the experience and track record of home improvement contractors. It is also critical that you consider the skill set of home improvement specialists that you will include in your short list of potential contractors. You may also consider the feedback or referral from relatives and friends in your search for the right contractor for the job.

Home improvement is a practical and interesting alternative in order for you to adapt to the changing needs of your family. However, you have to take things one step at a time to avoid turning the venture into a complete disaster.

Article by canadianhomefind.com Canada's most effective For Sale By Owner service. Click for more information on: For Sale By Owner how-to Most Effective FSBO Programs Browse FSBO Listings

Article by canadianhomefind.com Canada's most effective For Sale By Owner service. Click for more information on: For Sale By Owner how-to Most Effective FSBO Programs Browse FSBO Listings

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

6 Great Home Improvement Projects for Less Than $1000

Amid the difficult conditions and the volatility of real estate markets, investing on major home improvement projects may not be the right way to go for most homeowners. However, notwithstanding the conditions that prevail in the market, you still need to keep your home at their finest shape and form if you want to gain the upper hand in a market where competition among sellers is fierce. For the ordinary home sellers, they have their work cut out for them. The good thing is that if you are inclined to perform common DIY home improvement task and have minimal amount of funds, there are several tasks that you can perform to significantly add value to your home.

Here is a 6-point home improvement project that is worth under $1000.

1. Replace your old kitchen countertops

Conjure up a new look that will surely blow you away by starting work on a new and modern kitchen countertop. There are a plethora of low-priced but sleek and elegant materials that are available in the market. Your choices shall include terrazzo composites and solid surfacing, cast concrete, stainless steel and other green variants. You can complete the makeover by blending your brand new and contemporary countertops with new hardware for your cupboards, drawers and shelves.

2. Invest on modern bathroom accessories for added safety and comfort

If you are planning of staying in your present home for at least 5 years, then now is the best time for you to consider some serious improvement in one of the most important part of your home - the bathroom. One of your major concerns when doing your bathroom improvement projects are the appropriate changes that contribute to the easy access of members of the household regardless of current abilities and age.

When assessing the current condition of your bath, you must always focus on those aspects that need improvement for added comfort and safety. You may have to consider installing a new entry door with a wider configuration. Other practical changes that you might consider include the installation of easy-to-hold doors and cabinet accessories, grab bars, and shower accessories that come with a modern hand-held shower head.

3. Paint up for a fresh new look

A fresh coat of paint is your best option when it comes to transformative home makeover. Thus, it is easily your best go-to alternative if you are looking for the updating technique that can make a BIG difference.

4. Refurbish the outer zones

Your leisure area during warm weather conditions becomes more enjoyable if you will work on the improvement of outer rooms and make it as one of the focal points of your home. You can invest for an expansion to add a small patio or deck made of brick, cement pavers or natural stone materials. This is one great way of expanding and extending the function of your current living space.

5. Focus on the curb appeal

Your front yard is the first thing that can be seen from street. It is just but logical that you put in your best efforts to provide this part of your home the kind of updating it truly deserves. Assess the welcome quotient of the entry point to your property. One great improvement option is the installation of a door that has the requisite elegant look and balanced with the toughness and reliability so that it can withstand the effects of the exterior environment.

6. Work on your home's energy efficiency

This is one home improvement aspect which can deliver significant returns in an instant. Those simple home improvement tasks that are geared towards improving the energy efficiency of your home will turn in significant gains in the form of reduced energy consumption. For instance, you can reduce domestic energy loss and raise the level of comfort in your home by simply sealing the ducts of your HVAC system.

Article by canadianhomefind.com Canada's most effective For Sale By Owner service. Click for more information on: For Sale By Owner how-to Most Effective FSBO Programs Browse FSBO Listings

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Home Improvement: To Build Your Very Own Comfort Zone

By Amanda Thompson

Home is your sanctuary. The place you go back to every night and somehow it doesn't seem right. Your home is an expression of who you are and if you walk out each of a place that you does not seem to belong to you then probably your home needs improvement. You are probably guessing how you are going to make the payments for your home improvement. Your home remodeling plans are no longer to be restricted to the thought stages. Let them see the light of day. Home improvement loans will provide you with a dependable groundwork to build on the home you have a vision of.

Home improvement is predominantly triggered by the desire to own a comfortable home. Home improvement can be slightly difficult, if your financial position is tight. This is where home improvement loans have a function to perform. Being a homeowner you could not have been in a better position to apply for a home improvement loan. Home improvement loans are functional for any kind of improvement or home extension. Home improvement loan is available for double glazing, new conservatory, heating system, new kitchen, rewiring and plumbing or any home remodeling that you can think of. The cost of home improvements is generally paid by savings or revolving credits like credit or store cards. Credit cards imply no borrowing. In many ways it is idyllic for there are no repayments to be made. But credit cards can be an expensive option especially if the borrowing extends beyond the credit limit. Store card interest rates are as high as 30%. In every circumstance a personal loan for home improvement is a more disciplined and cheaper option.

Home improvement plans can be funded by means of a secured loan, unsecured loan, remortgaging or taking further advance on your mortgage. Unsecured home improvement offers a typical flat rate of interest 12-14%. But a little bit of research will get you an unsecured home improvement loan for 10%. A secured home improvement loan indisputably attracts lower rate of interest. APR of a secured loan is around 7%. You can borrow anything from £ 5,000 to £ 75,000 for home improvement. The repayment term can be extended from 5 years to 25 years depending on the loan amount, your available income and the amount of equity in the property.

In the contemporary context, one of the ingenious thing one can do with a home's equity is to put it right back into the home. Home improvement is besides providing you with the much needed changes, increases the equity of your home. There has been a rise in home improvement loans in the past decade. If the property cannot be sold then home improvement is the answer. Home improvement is remarkable if your primary motive is to raise large amounts. But not every home improvement will improve the resale value of your home. So it is recommended that you stick to those home improvement plans that give you the maximum returns. It is important to remember that over enthusiasm with improvement won't lead to any gain. It is difficult to recover investment in a home that is already more valuable than those in the neighbourhood. And keep your whimsical tastes to respite for there might not be many mainstream homebuyers for them.

Home improvement loan might seem like an unreal thing for many homeowners. But the newer more sophisticated home improvement loan options are very easy to adjust to. They are designed to keeping in mind the conditions and status of every homeowner. The ever expanding mortgage market gives you an opportunity to apply for a mortgage for home improvements and that too in the most uncomplicated manner. More and more homeowners are administering for remortgage to raise capital for home improvements. By completely remortgaging the consolidated loan, the entire mortgage market is assailable to the loan borrower. If you care enough to shop around then you can find a very reasonable and cheap mortgage loan for home improvement.

Home improvement loans are a package that includes any kind of meliorations that you can think of. It is your home and you have every right to improve it the way you want to. Contrary to accepted conviction home improvements are vital and absolutely necessary. Why home improvement? If that is what people ask when you suggest it then they probably don't know what is the meaning of comfortable living is. Home improvements improve the quality of life. We work hard and save money to buy personal satisfaction and comfort. If the house that we have build does not provide the relief then perhaps home improvement is what you need.

Amanda Thompson holds a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from CPIT and has completed her master's in Business Administration from IGNOU. She is as cautious about her finances as any person reading this is. She works for the personal loan web site http://www.chanceforloans.co.uk. To find a Secured or unsecured loan that best suits your needs visit http://www.chanceforloans.co.uk

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Amanda_Thompson

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

DIY Solar Panels: The Ultimate Source of Your Power Solution

There is no alternative of power in this modern world. We need power anyhow by any mean. Unfortunately the sources of power like coal, oil and gases are limited and decreasing rapidly for providing the increasing demand of the people. As a result the power companies are increasing the rate per unit and make it difficult for everyone to afford it.Therefore, people are looking for an exclusive source of power which is economical and available to all. And solar power has come as the best solution to solve the power problem. And diy solar panel has made it easier for the general people to satisfy their power demand.

What Is DIY Solar Panels?

DIY for Do It Yourself. It means you will make the panel by yourself using the required parts and tools. The question that may come into your mind is- how can you make diy solar panel by yourself? Actually, it is very easy if you know the procedures. Before discussing about the procedures let's have a brief discussion what a solar cell is and how they form a solar panel.

Solar Cell and Its Principle

Solar cell is an innovation of modern electronics. It is nothing but a special type of silicon semiconductor. Interesting thing is, most of us have seen it without knowing it, just look at the top of a calculator and you will see some solar cells there providing the power to run it. Simply speaking, when sunlight strikes on the surface of the cell it convert the power of the light into electricity. This power conversion from light to electricity is done using the conservation law of power. A small cell has the capability to produce small power providing voltage about 0.5 Volt. That is why these solar cells are grouped in an array to produce more power.
The solar panel you see in the roof of a house consists hundreds of solar cell in it.

Calculating the Power You Required

Before making a solar panel of your own you need to calculate the power required for your home. It is an easy task because all electrical and electronic instruments and devices are rated with the required power. By adding up the Watts of all instruments and devices you can have an exact result of required power. Another easy way is to look at your power bill. There the power used by you and your family has been mentioned in kWh. 1 kWh means using 1000 Watts for one
hour. You will get a clear idea about your average power consumption if you
have a thorough look over three or four months power bills.

How to Build diy Solar Panels at Home
It has become lot easier to build DIY Panels. Solar cells are available only in $1 and can be purchase in a package of 72 cells with a diode which ensure unidirectional power flow. The whole package with additional wires to connect can be purchase for $100 only. The frame require to hold the solar energy panel is about $40 and available into the market. If you make the whole panel buy yourself you can save $350 to $500 comparing the manufacturing companies' price.

Benefits of diy Solar energy Panels

One of the main benefits of solar energy panels is that it is economical. You will get different types of solar panel in the market which are costly. But if you make your own solar panel you can save huge amount of money mentioned earlier.

Other benefit's of diy panels is that you can customize them according to your power requirement. Readymade solar energy panels have a problem that they are made for some standard power requirement. But it is not an exact calculation for all and thus the efficiency of the panel decreases. But the solar energy panel will be build according to your power requirement which means it will be more efficient than others.
And the main benefit is solar power is completely free. As a result you will not be charged for the energy you consume using it. This will give you a chance to use two power supplies; one is regular one and another is the solar power supply. Thus the utility bill you pay will decrease significantly. And ultimately, the investment you make on DIY solar panels will pay for it's self in months.

If you are interested in saving energy on your power bills.
going green and saving our planet.You will find the resources at http://www.diysolar-power.com/blog/

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