6 Things You Should Know about Your House’s Electrics

The lighting and electrical plan of your house are more important than you think. Every time you effortlessly search for an outlet to charge a phone but can’t seem to find one, this occurs because the house’s electrics are poor.

Even worse, the whole place could go up in flames if something is wrong with your home’s electrical grid. Getting to know your house’s electrics better is important both for safety reasons, as well as convenience.

Smart lighting within the hand’s reach

Nearly all smart lighting systems are remotely controlled using a phone app or a special remote. However, you can go one level down in terms of technology and install a multipurpose switch next to your bedside. If you own a king-size bed, then your partner can have a switch on their side of the bed as well.

The smart switch would regulate all the bedroom lighting, from the bedside lamp to the LEDs above. Some smart lighting systems include dimers that help you regulate the intensity of bedroom lighting, which can even be programmed (the lights dim down after dark).

Extra sockets where you need them the most

Don’t you just hate it when you need to charge your smartphone but the socket is far away so the phone has to hang in the air from the charger? Well, if you get to know your home’s electrics, then you can plan a better schematic layout of AC power sockets and plugs.

The area where we need the outlets the most is around the bed, especially if the bed is not for one person. The standard number of sockets for this area is 2 and this is the bare minimum as well. However, you can always install extra sockets, so 4 sockets are nothing out of the ordinary. You can add a USB port to speed up the charging process.

Illuminating the stairwell

The stairwell is an important part of the house that needs to be extra safe because the last thing you want is to fall down a flight of stairs. There should be a light switch at the top and at the bottom of the stairs, allowing you to turn the lights on and off with ease.

If you want to have an opulent home, add mini lights along with the steps, increasing visibility in the process. Saving energy is also an option if you install a motion sensor that would turn on the lights only when there is someone coming up or going down the stairs.

Hiring professional electricians

Redoing your home’s electrics can be a DIY task but if you’re not familiar with technical details of the job beforehand, better leave it to professionals. Residential electricians such as Sparkys NOW usually have 24/7 emergency service, so they can help you with a power outage as well. When it comes to your house’s electrics, electricians will help you with safety switches, switchboards, LED lighting issues, smoke alarms, solar systems installation, etc.

A powerful walkthrough

The best way to determine where the power outlets should be placed around the house is to walk through each room and write down the appliances you use in it. Apart from sockets, you should think about the placement of light switches as well, although they are usually set at the uniform height near the door frame.

As far as hallways are concerned, they should have a switch at each end, much like the stairwell. The bedroom, the living room, the bathroom, etc. ought to have a single light switch near the entrance.

Motion-activated lights for you seldom use

Your home’s electrics should be efficient and safe but they should save power as well. We’ve mentioned earlier that the stairwell will benefit from installing motion sensors but these can be placed in all the rooms seldom used.

Garages, the attic, pantry, garden shed, closets, etc. are all spaces you don’t spend much time in, so there is no need for a constant light source. If you forget to switch off the light in the attic, it will stay on until the light bulb fails.

The basement is the ideal room where motion sensor lights can be installed. In fact, every room that is used for storage and not living should have such lights to save energy and money. Strong light fixtures should be reserved for rooms that need illuminating the most, such as the living room.

It might not seem as much, but the positioning of sockets and light switches inside your house is intrinsically connected to comfort and safety. Taking the time to learn the 6 things about your house’s electrics listed above will help you create a functional home after dark.

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

Buying A House VS Renting It – Which One Is More Profitable?

There’s a widely held belief that buying a home is preferable to renting. You’ve probably heard your parents or even friends say that as long as you are renting, you just throw the money away, into a landlord’s pockets. Contrary to this popular belief, fewer and fewer Americans decide to own a house, claiming it is a liability at best, and a problem at worst.

Which one then is a better, safer, and more profitable option? This article examines the benefits of both buying and renting and tries to determine the answer to this question.

Benefits of Buying

You can Make Money from your Home

When you own your home, you can make money from it in a variety of ways. Renting out a room or even just car parking space could deliver a steady stream of income.

And if you have the right kind of mortgage, you can rent your house out whilst living somewhere else. Check out this rental property calculator to find out how much you’d stand to make.

House Value May Increase

When you buy a home, particularly if you have a considerable deposit, you can look at it as an investment. As long as you’re not planning to move any time soon, chances are its value will increase by the time you come to sell.

This, of course, depends upon the area in which you buy and the general economic climate. But if you sell your home 20 or 30 years down the line, you probably stand to make a profit.

Making Home Improvements Usually Reaps Rewards

When it comes to putting your home back on the market, you could find that improvements you’ve made to the property have increased your home’s value.

Often, well-executed home improvements pay for themselves and then some at the time of a sale.

Benefits of Renting

No Additional Costs

People like to say that renting a property is just like throwing money away. But whilst buying a home can be an investment, there are plenty of other costs involved.

If you buy a home with a mortgage, you’re spending a huge amount of money on interest payments over the course of that mortgage.

And that’s before you even get started on maintenance costs, insurance, the fees associated with buying and your utilities. By renting you avoid all of these additional costs.

The Current Economic Climate is Less Relevant

The economic climate has much less impact on your rental than it would on a bought home. Whilst rental prices may rise and fall, chances are they generally stay in line with wage patterns.

However, buy a home with a large mortgage and you’re more susceptible to changes in the economy and the housing market. 23% of Americans owe more on their mortgages than their home is actually worth.

This is called negative equity and unless house prices increase dramatically or these people hold on to their homes for a long time, they’ll struggle to sell their homes any kind of profit.

You Won’t Be Stuck Paying a Rate you Can’t Afford

Sometimes landlords choose to raise the rent. If this happens and you can’t afford the new figure, you have the opportunity to give your notice, pack up and find somewhere new.

When you have a mortgage, payments can rise with interest rates. But if your mortgage suddenly becomes unaffordable, you don’t have the same flexibility to reduce costs. You may end up having to organise a costly move to downsize or even lose your home if you fail to make mortgage payments.

Renting Frees Up Money for Other Investments

You may find that renting is actually a cheaper option for the moment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t invest in your future. The money you save renting rather than buying can be used to make investments in areas other than property.

Time to Ask Yourself Some Questions

Whether you choose to rent or buy will depend largely on your current circumstances. Ask yourself a few questions.

  • Do you like the flexibility of renting? Or would you like to settle down in one place to raise a family?
  • Do you have a big enough deposit to buy a home? And are current interest rates favourable?
  • How much are monthly rental costs? How do they compare to the costs of buying a home, maintaining it and paying a mortgage?

Predicting how much profit you stand to make from buying a home is impossible. It’s always something of a gamble. What you can do is work out the current affordability of both renting and buying and decide which option fits best with your life.

 

Sienna’s bio:

Sienna Walker is a self-growth and lifelong-learning enthusiast who enjoys seeking out new and unique ways of saving and earning money. She is also an active blogger and might often be found online, sharing her tips with others and participating in online discussions.

 

 

Getting Real: What’s The Deal With “Curb Appeal”?

Once you get your house hunt on, you’ll undoubtedly start hearing lots of terms getting thrown around. From “pre-approval” to “closing costs”, it can be tough to suss out exactly what all of these things mean, especially if it’s your first time looking for a home.

This time, we’re tackling “curb appeal.” Everyone kinda gets it, but really, uh…what is it? No matter if you’re just starting out or have been on the market for a bit, sometimes a little clarity can go a long way.

What is curb appeal, exactly?

Simply put, it’s a first impression.

Like it or not, the way that a home looks from the street can have a huge impact on our overall opinion of it. Similarly to how you would put your best foot forward on a first date or job interview, homeowners–especially those in the market for a buyer–often put extra effort into making their home’s exterior look good.

In real estate terms, curb appeal can be anything that adds either functional or aesthetic value to a home’s exterior. As the buyer, you’ll want to factor these types of details into your home search. As you look at listings, make sure to keep an eye out for elements of curb appeal and to make a note of how they sway your opinion on the home.

That being said, it’s important to keep a balanced perspective. Sometimes curb appeal is not indicative of what a home will look like once you head inside, so it should never be used as your single determining factor for whether or not it’s worth taking a look at a home.

Key factors to look for

Now that you know what curb appeal is, it’s time to get a little deeper into the different elements that go into creating a home that is aesthetically pleasing from the outside.

Typically, these items can be divided into a couple of different categories. They are:

  • Structural Items: Be sure to take a look at the condition of things like the home’s roof, gutters, and siding. While aesthetics are good to have, functionality is arguably more important. Evaluate if these items look well-maintained or if they will probably require some work to get up to snuff.
  • Landscaping: How does the overall landscaping look? Has the lawn been mowed recently? Are there any trees or bushes that look like they may need pruning? Did the seller put effort into decorative landscaping with flowers and plants? Landscaping upgrades and maintenance can both add up.
  • Functional Elements: If the home has any functional elements like a pathway to the front door or exterior lights, take a moment to evaluate those, as well.
  • The Entryway: The last element of curb appeal is the entryway. Ideally, the front door will look especially inviting. Has the front door been freshly painted? Are the address numbers predominantly displayed?

Again, these elements shouldn’t make or break your decision on whether or not to make an offer on the home. However, as you look at a property, it’s a good idea to take these factors into account since if you do decide to make an offer, they’ll be inputs into deciding what’s a fair offer price.

Consider the costs

At its core, curb appeal is actually a financial matter. One way or another, improved curb appeal does come with a cost.

A home that looks better from the outside will likely fetch a higher sale price than one without any of these small touches. However, if you decide to buy a property without these small touches, you may need to pay for them in the long run.

If you do decide to go with a property that’s a bit more of a fixer-upper, keep in mind that you don’t have to take care of everything all at once.

While some of the projects listed above are smaller, things like roofing and professional landscaping can end up costing thousands of dollars.

We suggest doing your research and budgeting carefully before undertaking any DIY projects.

But, boosting curb appeal also boosts equity. If you do decide to invest in some of these projects and improve the look and function of your home over time, you should see that benefit come back to you when you re-sell it. You’ll also find that you’ll take pride in enjoying your investment throughout the duration of your time in the home.

This article originally appeared on OpenListings.

Enter the World of Coziness: Còsagach, Scottish Trend You Will Love

 

Scotland is the land of gorgeous landscapes, rich history, and interesting culture. Although people usually connect it to rainy hills and soccer, there are more amazing things we have coming from Scotland. One of them is certainly the Scottish interior design concept – Còsagach (pronounced “kos-ah-gogh”).

In 2018, VisitScotland presented Còsagach as a rival to hygge, a Danish lifestyle and interior design trend. In Scottish Gaelic, còsagach means cozy and sheltered. As a tourism body, VisitScotland intends to use Còsagach as one of the key points of their strategy to present their country to visitors and the world.

“It’s no secret that Scotland can have, at times, rather harsh and ferocious weather. In the winter when the storms rage and the waves crash against the rocks, there is nothing more satisfying than being curled up in front of the fire, book and hot toddy in hand, listening to the weather outside,” says the Trend 2018 report by the VisitScotland.

If you were a fan of hygge, then you should certainly try Còsagach. They are similar but not the same so you will also bring some novelty and freshness to your home. Here are some features of Còsagach that you can easily include in your interior décor.

 

  • Cosy by the fireplace

A fireplace is something that will warm you up during the cold days and nights. Today, you can install gas fireplaces and still have a beautiful living room area to cozy up. Even a faux fireplace will work if you don’t need the extra heat. Make sure to place some decorative blankets on the floor and arrange old books above on the mantel.

This is an excellent place to sit down and have a glass of wine or cup of tea with your friends while chatting about things. Especially during the rainy and snowy days, but also during the sunny ones. Also, having a fireplace will surely earn you some extra points with admirers of the newest trends.

 

  • Add rustic textures

When we think about Scotland, we rarely imagine houses, but rather castles on top of a hill with waves of a restless sea crashing against the rocks below. So, in order to bring out the castle in your home, you have to use rustic textures. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your 21st century home will turn into an old castle, but only that you will incorporate richness of details.

Wool throws and knit pillows are perfect to add to the decorative details and are also very welcoming to snuggling in. On the other hand, plaid flannel pillows and chunky cable knit blankets are also an excellent choice to include Còsagach in your home. In the end, it’s all the matter of your personal taste and choice what Còsagach items to include in the décor.

 

  • Wood and stone in your home

The last year was all about natural materials, and if you choose Còsagach, then you’ll be adding wood and stone to the décor. You can create a stone wall or use wooden beams for the ceiling. Nicely lacquered floors of dark wood will add character to your home and make it look warmer.

There are many solutions for adding stone elements in your home. It can be just a few details like the home bar made out of differently shaped rocks with the matte wood countertop. This kind of setting would be perfect for having Scottish whiskey with your friends while watching a game.

 

  • Paint it the Còsagach style

Colour will accentuate Còsagach and is the easiest way for you to implement this style into your interior design. If you ask contractors and local painters about the importance of color, they will all agree that it can do not only a lot but sometimes everything to set the mood in the home.

When it comes to Còsagach, the colors you choose will help you create your own Scottish home and make way for other decorative elements to fit in. Warm brown and pastel green will go together perfectly, especially if you decide to have a fireplace. Darker shades of green, grey, and burgundy may seem like a bolder move, but they will actually gorgeously complement lighter furniture and well-lit spaces.  

Whenever we think about redecorating, we tend to go for more safe designs. But Còsagach is one of those that will furnish your home with quality materials and still create a friendly and welcoming environment. With so many different variants of materials on the market, you can even get your own Scottish castle for a reasonable amount of money. And without actually moving to Scotland.