How to Save Money When Designing a House

No investment’s more important than a home investment. When you’re trying to design and build a home, you’re making one of the most important financial decisions of your life. It’s a very expensive endeavour. This is why it’s so important that you make all the right choices and come out of this investment without going bankrupt. Here are some tips to save a bit of cash when designing your home.

Think long and hard about hallways

There’s something about hallways that makes them rooms, but not quite. They’re definitely useful additions to any home, but how much is too much for a simple hallway? You don’t really need a lot of hallways space for your home, and it’s pretty much dead space. Do you remove them outright to add useful space?

Not so fast. Hallways can be great for introducing useful vertical spaces and to create a sense of guiding in your home. If they lead to an important room, you can set up ornaments and make them more attractive. It really depends on your house type, but removing and adding hallways can be an effective way to improve the design. It really depends on how you normally use vertical wall spaces in your home, and whether or not you need more of them.

Choose the land positioning wisely

Depending on where you live, you might get a lot of sunlight, or hardly any at all. This might seem like It’s only important when it comes to shopping for coats, but there’s a lot more to consider. Namely, you need to figure out how to orient your home’s windows.

If your living room gets the brunt of sunlight from the west or east and you live in a hot climate, you’ll have to pay quite the AC bill to keep it cool. Why not simply orient your home’s room and windows in such a way so that you keep heating or cooling more efficient, depending on the season? Consult your architect for this step, as it could save you lots of money in the long run.

Pick the right materials for the job

Every house building project will require some specifications. What materials do you want to use in a particular room? How much material do you need for a certain area or section? Before contractors can get down to this, you need to make sure you have it sorted out.

Finding durable building products is pretty difficult in many cases. Do you go for a wooden construction or stick with concrete as much as possible? It depends on your preference. All you really need is a reliable supplier with good materials and you’re set to go. The rest can be handled with the help of your builders and architect.

DIY where you can

Some parts of the construction project aren’t too difficult for the average layman. Adding kitchen cabinets and securing shelves is a pretty simple DIY job. You can probably handle it with ease as long as you have the right tools.

Why let the contractors do the paint job? It’s something people have been doing on their own homes for decades. If you have the time, you can grab a bucket and brush and just start going at it. It’s going to save you a pretty penny and you won’t get bad results.

Conclusion

There are lots of ways to save some money when building your home. It’s important that you know where so that you can utilize some of these methods. Consider the above examples as a starting point. They’re going to come in handy when you get started on your home

Simple Ways To Fight The Summer Heat At Home

The summer heat seems unbeatable. It’s like you’re always sweating, no matter what you do. Taking three showers a day doesn’t help, and neither does sleeping without covers at night. Not all of us are lucky enough to fight the summer heat from a tropical location, so we have to resort to at-home cooling methods. Spending the summer at home doesn’t have to melt you like a popsicle, though. With these simple methods, you’ll chill in your apartment in both senses of the word.

1. Switch the lights

Traditional light bulbs tend to warm up the place and increase your electric bill. By switching to LED or fluorescent lights, you’ll be saving energy as well as cooling the place down. LED lights don’t emit the warm yellow light that traditional lights do.

The price of a LED light bulb might be more expensive, but it lasts a lot longer and saves you money on the electric bill, so it’s definitely worth it.

2. Maintain your AC unit

Air conditioning might be a saviour in the summer, but it won’t be able to do its job properly if you don’t maintain it regularly. At the beginning of each season, you should call in a professional who will check the unit for you.

It might cost you some money, but it will be worth it. You’ll know your AC is running the way it’s supposed to and will be able to enjoy the summer in peace. It’s much cheaper than paying to fix or replace the whole unit, anyway.

3. Use ceiling fans

According to some experts, ceiling fans don’t really lower temperature that much. Still, the do kick start and maintain air circulation. This can make living at home in the summer a lot simpler. One of the biggest problems is that air seems to stay still most of the time. You can’t open the windows up to air the place out, because the air outside is just as stale. You’ll even end up introducing more heat into the room.

That’s why you should turn on your ceiling fans counterclockwise. Do this especially when there are more people in the room. When you leave the room, you can turn them off because they won’t have much effect. Still, when there are people actively living and breathing in a closed environment, ceiling fans make things much more comfortable.

4. Shade it up

The sun is the main culprit when it comes to heat in the apartment, obviously. Even though natural light is a plus in any home, it’s a huge minus in the hot summer days. The temperature inside is even higher when the rays of the sun are constantly hitting your home. The best way to solve this is to introduce some shade into the room. Without the sun basically paying half the rent, it’s going to be much cooler.

You should invest in a quality shade solution so that you’ll beat the heat for years to come, not just this year. As one of the nations who fight the worst summer heats, Australians would definitely back this claim up. Dealing with extreme heat levels all these years has made them experts in finding the right solution, too. It’s no wonder then, that local experts like Shade Solutions in QLD so popular and loved. By opting for a trusted company with a good reputation in your area, you’re ensuring that your shades do the job they were made for and significantly lower the temperatures in your home.

5. Limit appliance usage

No matter how much you love them, your appliances tend to warm up your home significantly during the summer. Because of the higher temperatures outside, they too tend to get hotter when they’re running all the time. You probably notice this by the heat of your phone when you use it for a prolonged period of time.

To lower the temperatures inside, you should limit your appliance usage. When you’re not using your laptop, if you know you’re not going to watch TV for a long time, and if you don’t need half the kitchen appliances you used in the morning- turn them off. This means completely off. When they’re not plugged in, they’ll cool off and unclog the hot atmosphere. A bonus is that you’ll be prolonging their lifespan and taking better care of them.

Conclusion

No longer will you have to be envious of those who are lucky enough to fight the heat of the summer in a remote location with the sea or ocean by their side. Staying at home won’t be unbearable and you’ll love spending your summers in the comfiest environment. These simple tips will come a long way in the increasing heat. They won’t let you down regardless of how high the temperature gets.

Liam Smith is a young and aspiring Australian blogger with a passion for everything related to home, design and lifestyle. He has a B.Sc. in Interior design and is an avid reader.

https://twitter.com/LiamSmith2034

https://www.linkedin.com/in/liamsmith2034

 

5 Signs Your Current Lifestyle Will Lead to Your Financial Demise

Your lifestyle is very closely tied to your finances, as it often indicates how much you spend. Living frugally or spending with abandon are two very different lifestyle experiences, and the results of each will clearly show in your bank balance.

Here are five signs that mean you are heading for a cliff edge in terms of your financial situation.

1. You’re not saving 5%

Advice from experts suggests that you should be putting aside at least 10% of your income each month, if not 15%. But if you aren’t even managing to put 5% in your savings, then you are definitely living beyond your means. It’s even worse if you haven’t been able to put any savings aside at all.

If you feel like you can’t save that much each month, then you may need to cut back on your spending. Maybe that means not going out to dinner, limiting yourself to non-luxury items when shopping for groceries, or cutting back on some of your subscriptions. If you’re already living as frugally as possible and still not making savings, then the truth of the matter is that you’re simply not earning enough. Downsizing your home and looking for another source of income could be the solution in this case.

2. You don’t have an emergency fund

Everyone should have an emergency fund – again, experts recommend that you have around nine months’ worth of living expenses set aside, the minimum amount of money you would need to live during that time if you didn’t have any income at all. Why? Because life happens. You might find yourself unable to work, or suddenly lose your job – even if you have been an exemplary employee so far. You could crash your car and have your insurance fail to pay out, or lose your home in an accident which is not covered by your policy.

Vet bills, medical bills, legal fees, a broken-down car or boiler – these are all expenses which can come up from time to time and really knock you for six. You need to be prepared for these situations. If you aren’t, then you could have a nasty surprise waiting around the corner which could leave you bankrupt or in heavy debt.

3. You’re paying overdraft fees (or credit card fees)

It came to the end of the month, and you didn’t have quite enough to get you through to the next payday. Now you’ve got overdraft charges on your account – or you might even have credit card fees to pay until you pay them off. This is a bad situation, as it is the beginning of a spiral into debt. In both situations, you are being charged extra money because of the fact that you didn’t have enough to begin with.

When this happens, you should see it as a huge red flag and stop spending right away. Don’t be tempted to put more things on a credit card.

An interesting technique you can use is to stop paying with your card at all, and instead use a cash envelope system. Withdraw your money for the week or the month, and divide it into envelopes for specific purposes: groceries, shopping, going out, and so on. When the envelope is empty, you just have to stop spending in that category – simple as that.

4. You don’t have a budget

Not having a budget in place might seem fine when you have enough money to make ends meet easily. However, it’s a problematic situation to be in when one of those emergency situations strikes. Suddenly, you are spending far more than you can afford, and you have to suddenly put on the brakes to try and learn how to budget for the first time.

Set a budget now, and learn how to stick to it, as well as what constitutes a realistic budget based on your spending habits. This will help you a lot when changes in your situation occur.

5. You spend out of fear

Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is something that can drive us to spend money on crazy things. Do you really need that new piece of Victorian furniture, or are you just scared that you’ll never get another chance like that again? Don’t let fear dictate your spending. Don’t overspend on going out just to keep up with your friends, or buy a house you can’t afford the payments on because you want people to be impressed. It’s a road to nowhere.

By recognizing these signs and making changes now, you might be able to turn things around. Don’t let the worst happen – get in control of your lifestyle now, and stop your finances from suffering.

About Alana: Alana Downer is a personal finance expert and an avid blogger, who often shares her money tips and tricks online. Alana is also a part of the team behind Learn to Trade – a useful resource for all those who wish to start trading and investing. Should you have comments or questions, feel free to contact Alana on her Twitter.

What To Consider When Creating A Renovation Checklist

Complete renovation of your home is not that simple as some people believe it to be. A lot of careful planning and preparations needs to be done before you even begin working on your home. From small things like picking the color for your living room walls to bigger tasks like hiring a renovation company to fix your roof. You will have to make all these decisions quickly and before renovation begins, so you don’t waste your time and money.

That is why we recommend to all people who are thinking about renovating their home to make a renovation checklist. You might be wondering what goes on this list, but don’t worry, we will answer that question here, so you know exactly what you need to finish the makeover of your home.

painting-2057373_960_720Set the budget

First of all, when starting any kind of work you will need to decide on the highest amount of money you are willing to invest in that project. |The same goes for the renovation work. Never start renovating before you have the budget set in stone. We know that you can’t determine your expenses down to a penny, but large and expensive jobs should be arranged and scheduled in advance.

For example, finding a roof repairing company should not be an impulse decision. Instead, research the offers and find the best one that fits your budget. The same goes for everything else, count in the paint, tools, electricity, and all other small things you would never think about, so you know exactly how much money you need for the whole thing. Trust us, if you have the budget determined before the work begins, you will save a lot more money because most last-minute services cost more.

Decide on the materials

Once you have the determined budget and an estimate of your expenses, you should start researching the materials you will be using for the job. The renovation process is a perfect time to make some big changes to your home. By this we mean you should consider using more eco-friendly materials and other alternatives that are maybe more expensive now, but in the long run, they will benefit you greatly.

knife-933072_960_720Think about it, if you are already doing work on your home why not take it to the next level and ensure that your investment returns a profit in the future. For example, installing additional insulation materials will decrease your electricity bill and putting solar panels on the roof will benefit you in numerous ways. There are a lot more things you can do, so make sure you have done your research thoroughly.

Consider hiring professionals for some tasks

Now, depending on what types of jobs you are planning to do on your house, you should consider hiring a team of professionals for some of them. Fixing a roof is a hard thing to do, it requires a lot of skill and knowledge if you want to do it properly, and so is wiring and plumbing. These jobs should be done by professionals, otherwise, you are risking doing more damage and even injuring yourself. So make sure that you hire a competent crew that fits your budget.

Make sure you have all necessary tools

Renovation work can’t even start if you don’t have all the necessary tools. Pull out your checklist and start crossing over the things you already have, for the rest you will need to go shopping. The tools you need solely depends on what type of work you will be doing.

For example, if you are painting your house, put the ladders, rollers and eye protection on the list, if you are doing some roof repairs get a scissor lift, safety harnesses and other necessary tools to finish the job, etc. It is crucial to have all tools written down and acquired before the renovation begins or you will have to stop the process until you get that pipe for your kitchen.

plumbing-840835_960_720

And that is all from us. As you can see the renovation checklist isn’t complicated to create and it will help you a lot with planning and keeping everything organized. The items on the list will vary depending on the tasks you are planning to do, but remember these four points and you will have covered almost everything.

 

Common Problems In Victorian Homes: House Of Haute Style Or Horrors By Zoe Clark

1Ominous yet romantic, Victorian homes are a living example of timeless elegance and longevity, which is one of the main reasons why houses dating to this era are extremely popular among homeowner hopefuls. Still, every piece of property has its perks and downsides, and the same is true of Victorian homes. Underneath their beauty and complex trims, houses built in the second half of the 19th century can hide serious hardware issues, which is why home buyers need to be extra careful when inspecting their home-to-be with over 100 years under its belt. Here’s a brief list of the most common problems lurking beneath lavish Victorian frills to help you tell a money pit from the real value deal.

1. Weak-legged Victorians

Foundation issues are all too real a problem in old houses. However solid, the base of many a Victorian home can shift due to land subsidence, resulting in further structural hitches such as cracked or bulging walls, door and window defects, and even plumbing and wiring problems.

When inspecting your future love nest, look for floor and wall flaws, door and window latching problems, and foundation chipping or flaking. In case you detect signs of foundation glitches, a structural engineer may need to step in and see whether, where, and how the damage can be repaired.

2. It never rains but it pours

2Roof defects are a chronic problem of old property, and Victorian homes are not an exception. Leaks, faulty flashing, missing shingles or tiles, and poor insulation upstairs are red flags which you shouldn’t ignore when looking for a place to settle down.

During preliminary home viewing, check the walls and ceiling for signs of staining and peeling paint that may point to water intrusion. Broken or damaged roofing material can be replaced, insulation can be upgraded, and flashing flaws can be taken care of, but you’ll need to be aware of the total repair costs before you can call the property a home-sweet-home.

3. Budgeting down the drains

If the basement of your Victorian property find is smelling a bit worse for old age, it may be a good idea to check it for signs of mildew infestations. Mold and musty odor below ground level can point to plumbing faults, perimeter and underfloor drainage issues, or even foundation waterproofing hitches, which you’ll need to tend to and upgrade to contemporary standards before you move in.

In case you smell trouble in the basement, hire a professional to conduct a thorough inspection and estimate the upgrade scope and cost. This will help you get a better image of the post-move repair and upgrade expenses which play an important role in initial capital required to make the place livable.

34. Marrow-chilling prospects

Victorian doors and windows do look spectacular, but unless they’ve been updated in the past decade, you’ll probably need to have them checked, replaced, or repaired before you drop your gear on the floor.

When inspecting your future Victorian-age property, take a quick look at the frames, panes, and surrounding insulation: stains, cracks, mold, and other forms of damage can add a few figures to the post-purchase update bill. Also, be aware that certain features of an old home can’t be remedied due to their historical value – which is a real deal breaker.

5. Looming layout layovers

4Victorian homes usually have narrow hallways, tiny kitchens, tight and steep staircases, and modestly sized bedrooms, which can be problematic if you’re set on buying property for house flipping projects that promise a big bang for your buck. Modernizing a true-blue Victorian home will probably require extensive layout redrawing, and such endeavors are by far the costliest update in the fix-ad-flip lot.

For this reason, be very careful when selecting old houses to flip: Victorian charm is an asset only if the renovation doesn’t involve comprehensive floor plan changes and wall relocations.

Modern Victorian style is in – but the fact that antique houses are currently in high demand on the real estate market doesn’t mean that just about every old place is worth your cash. Double-check the critical property points before you sign the contract: a little extra care and inspection can save you thousands in the post-purchase update process. Good luck!

Author bio:

Zoe Clark is a journalist, freelance stylist and blogger. She is a visual storyteller and aesthetician by heart who often writes about decorating and DIY ideas. She loves sparking creativity in people and giving them ideas for their own spaces.