Home Improvement Projects That Really Pay Off

Many of us watch TV shows and see the miraculous transformation of homes and gardens by professionals and amateur do-it-yourselfers. Is it really that easy, we ask ourselves. Could I do it? Where do I begin? What home improvement projects will generate the biggest increase in the value of my home?

What Do You Want and What Can You Afford?

There are several good reasons for wanting to redecorate or remodel your home. If your residence no longer reflects your changing tastes and lifestyle but you don’t want to leave a desirable neighborhood, maybe all you need to do is make one or two basic changes. Altering a color scheme, converting a bedroom into a home office, or upgrading the kitchen and bathroom are practical improvements that add esthetic appeal and financial value. If a move is in the future, you want home improvement projects that will give you the biggest bang for your buck when it’s time to sell.

Whatever your motives for improving your home, make a wish list with three categories:

* Must have

* Would like to have

* Dreams can come true

When your list is complete, consider the amount of money you have available or are prepared to borrow. Unless you have unlimited funds, make a realistic estimate of what you can afford. Are you planning major renovations that will require the services of an architect or a contractor? Will you need an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter, a painter, or all four? How much work can you do yourself? All these factors must be taken into account as you pare down your list into affordable home improvement projects.

How Do You Begin?

Every project starts with a plan. Itemize everything you want and think you can afford, and include a design of rooms to be remodeled. If you are going to require professional help, now is the time to talk to contractors, plumbers, and other tradesmen, and to ask for estimates. Comparison-shopping is a must. If you are an accomplished do-it-yourselfer, price materials and tools needed. If you can’t afford to do everything on your list, reassess your prime needs and make a new plan.

What Projects Are Key?

The best projects for improving the value of your home are, happily, the most affordable and the easiest to do yourself, even if you are a super klutz. Ask any real estate agent for tips on how to prepare a home for resale and you will be told that the house and yard should be cleaned and all clutter removed. Creating suitable home storage facilities and cleaning and painting the interior and exterior of your house, therefore, are the jobs that top the list of desirable improvements. The premium projects that usually require professional help are kitchen remodeling first and bathroom remodeling second. These particular upgrades will provide the best return for your money, and the real estate industry has statistics to prove it.

Clean Everything in Sight

Cleaning your home and yard is a great improvement project, and if you are remodeling, it will be the final step after the dust has settled. You will need something heavy-duty like tri-sodium phosphate or its equivalent to wash most surfaces inside and outside the house. There are also special cleaners for glass, tile, porcelain, stainless steel, and wood, and for getting rid of unpleasant molds and mildew. Visit your friendly hardware store and read labels. There are cleaners for almost every material and for solving almost every cleaning problem. Make sure rooms are well ventilated whenever you are cleaning, carefully follow directions, and wear gloves and a mask.

Removing clutter is another worthwhile project and requires adequate home storage with a combination of cabinets, shelves and bins, and sufficient strength of mind to discard all junk, no matter how much you love it. You can buy easy-to-assemble shelving and cabinets in a great variety of sizes and materials at affordable prices. Small, decorative containers can be used to organize and conceal the ongoing accumulations of such items as incoming mail. In the yard, removing clutter means getting rid of dead trees, dead branches, broken slabs and stones in patios and walkways, and tidying up the garden and lawn. When faced with clutter, ruthlessly throw it out, recycle it, hold a garage sale, donate it to the charity of your choice – get rid of it.

Interior painting and exterior painting should be next on your list of preferred home improvement projects. Fresh paint helps make your home look clean, bright, and spacious. When selecting colors for the exterior, don’t forget to do something about that bland front door. Have fun! Fresh, harmonious colors add beauty and personality to your home both inside and out.

Put Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling High on the List

Although remodeling a kitchen seems like a daunting task, a complete overhaul pays great dividends if and when you sell your home. Purchasing new cabinets and appliances are worthy goals, but you can also make minor changes that will create impact. If you can’t replace the kitchen cabinets, replace the cabinet doors at least. If that is also beyond your means, add molding to the cabinet doors, paint them, and replace the hardware. It’s not that difficult or expensive to replace an outdated sink, and if you can’t afford a new stove, fridge and dishwasher, don’t hang on to those gold or avocado monstrosities – buy attractive reconditioned replacements.

Bathroom remodeling is the next most important improvement and the biggest dividends come from installing a new sink, bathtub, toilet, and shower stall, as well as attractive tiles and custom cabinets. Again, if you can’t manage a complete makeover, replace the tired old taps, faucets and showerhead; add shelves; and paint and redecorate the cabinets.

Other Projects to Consider

After you have decided on and planned for the most important home improvement projects, new window covering and upgraded flooring should receive your attention. You can choose from a large array of window dressings and styles, or simply buy fabric, turn hems with iron-on tape, and dramatically drape the material over attractive curtain rods. Shutters are another possibility and lend themselves to many different decorating styles.

Your choice of flooring is limited only by your taste and budget. Rip up the old carpet and replace it with contemporary hardwood flooring or laminate flooring. If you already have hardwood, simply sanding and re-staining it or giving it a clear finish may give your rooms the lift they need. Other flooring replacements that can transform a room include tile, vinyl, linoleum, or textured rubber.

Finally, save a little energy and money to improve the appearance of your yard. Maybe all you have to do to improve the garden is trim, mow, weed, and then plant a few flowers. Adding or upgrading an existing patio, deck, or walkway can also be very worthwhile. Consider adding a plastic storage shed to help organize all your outdoor stuff which will help remove the clutter from your yard.

Choosing the best modeling and redecorating projects will not only increase the long-term value of your home, they will also provide satisfaction and pleasure for you, the smart homeowner.

Benefits of Using Eco Friendly Home Products

Many people consider global warming and climate change as the greatest environmental challenges facing the world today. These environmental problems affect everyone across the globe, but the good news is that all of us can actually be a part of the solution if we desire so. This is why it is not surprising to know that more and more households all over the world are starting to be more conscious of their lifestyle to prevent further damage to the environment. And what better way to make a difference than to start right at your own home? While not all homes can fully adapt a green home, it is now possible to create a much greener home by using eco friendly home products.

Eco friendly home products are products which are made of biodegradable raw materials, or post-consumer recycled materials which are free from harmful chemicals. Their production doesn’t damage the environment and their disposal won’t contribute and cause toxic waste. Most products that we use everyday in our homes such as our cleaning agents and pesticides are produced in factories which emit harmful chemicals into the air that we breathe. This causes intense damage to the environment which in turn impacts our health in a negative way. Choosing eco friendly home products over traditional factory manufactured products is a good way to prevent these negative effects from happening.

There are many benefits of using eco friendly home products. Besides reducing the effect of toxins, green products benefit consumers by saving them money. Most green products are made with simple and minimal packaging which could reduce their total cost. Oftentimes, it is the product’s packaging which makes it’s price expensive. The fancier the product’s packaging is, the more expensive it gets. Aside from being cost effective, these products could also affect the health in a positive way. Since most eco friendly home products are made up of organic and natural materials, the risk of contacting allergies is significantly reduced. Apart from that, patronizing green products can also help stimulate the creation of new jobs which in turn could help improve the economy.

Global warming and our depleting natural resources are more than enough reasons to start making more eco friendly purchases for our families and homes. There’s no better time to start making sensible shopping decisions but now. Don’t wait for Mother Nature to teach you a lesson before you learn how to take care of her, because it might be too late by then. Happy green shopping!

Picking and Planning Home Improvement Projects

If you’re trying to decide on which home improvement you need to make, it’s important to cover all the angles in your planning.

By finding the most appropriate project, you can make sure that you spend your time and money productively on one that’s going to address an important problem in your household. Frittering away time and money on sundry projects when a home has specific needs is a good way to ensure that you don’t have the resources to take care of the big things when they happen.

When choosing a home improvement project, consider the following criteria:

– Can I do this? Let’s face it, not all of us are Mr. Handy. When choosing a home project, consider your ability in the skills that the project will require. If it’s something bigger than you can handle, you should instead call in a professional – or come back to the project later when your budget allows.

– Budget. Most of us don’t have bottomless bank accounts, so undertaking projects we can afford is important. Make sure you understand all the costs involved before getting involved with a home improvement project.

– Safety. Projects related to home safety should get your first priority. If you’re living in an older home, you may have carcinogens from old asbestos insulation or cladding, or there may be lead-based paint present. Removing the presence of these illness-causing substances is very important, and should be done by a professional.

Less dramatic safety threats include malfunctioning fire safety equipment, unstable steps or stairs, a leaky roof, bad wiring, loose handrails, slippery floors etc. These needs should be at the top of your priority list for home repair.

– Comfort. This is a key concern for homes, as the average Australian spends a large portion of his or her time inside. Making your home as comfortable as possible is an important quality of life issue. So if you have a leaky tap, noisy appliances or flooring that could benefit from carpet, those home projects need to move to the front of the line.

By understanding which home improvement projects need attention first, you can choose a project that isn’t a distraction from more pressing matters, and improve the quality of life at your home. Assess the impact on you, you family and your lifestyle before beginning, and don’t start until you have your desired outcome in mind.

Lucrative Commercial Property for Sale, Say Foreign Investors

According to some research sources, commercial property prices are continuing to rise, while others insist the market is slowing. Either way, now could be an ideal time to consider if your current business premises is going to be sufficient for your needs over the next two or three years. The economy has meant some businesses might have been unable or unwilling to commit to moving to a larger or more appropriate building.

After all, it’s better to keep a job in an outdated building than to have no job at all. However, there are signs of national economic recovery and many companies are wondering if now is a good time to buy a new workplace, or even consider becoming a landlord. Foreign investors into British commercial property for sale have had this idea for some time now, taking advantage of low prices and helping bump values and stir up investment, especially in the City of London.

Some companies might also be motivated to buy their own property because of the resultant rising rents, and not just in the capital but outside London and beyond the M25. As the economy recovers there will be plenty of opportunity for people with their pulse on the property market to make the most of the upturn. A snapshot of values across the country shows a predictable variation of the price of commercial property for sale.

Some canny company business owners also trawl residential building specifications for suitable premises for their operations – though change of use permission can make the buying process slightly more lengthy and complicated.

Official house price figures for July fell, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), whose surveyors recorded a glut of properties being put up for sale, which could account for the overall price drop. “The fall in the RICS house price measure is broadly consistent with most other recent data that has been released,” said Ian Perry, RICS spokesman “Significantly, the forward looking price expectations numbers suggest that this softer trend will continue through the second half of the year. However, agents are still generally optimistic about sales activity which should benefit from more realistic pricing of properties.”

This means, presently, it could be a buyer’s market and whether you are looking for commercial or residential properties, it’s wise to keep a close eye on what’s occurring. More good news for business owners and their properties is that the government is considering changes to Discretionary Business Rate Discounts to make them fairer.

Start Home Product Testing Now! A How – To Guide

If you’re reading this, I’m sure you are looking for answers about how to get into home product testing. Thousands of people are already at-home product testers, and although it may seem like a secret society, it’s not! In fact, you could become a product tester today, and have new products on their way to you within 90 days! All you have to do in return is review the products.

This may sound too good to be true, but believe it. Big-name companies are perfectly willing to give away their products for free in order to get honest opinions on them. Objective feedback from these studies is used to help them make their next products even better and gain the upper hand on competitors. To get the best results, they are looking for a diverse range of new testers, and they have made it easy for people to join the program. Applying only takes a minute, and it is 100% FREE.

Most testing sites provide their joining members the ability to earn popular electronics such as iPhones, televisions, or video game consoles. You can earn these items by participating in some offers from the testing program’s sponsors. Many of the offers will be free or paid trials, but the pay trials cost a negligible amount, especially when you consider the overall profit you are making from the free item. These offers and rewards are 100% legitimate and many of the sponsors are well-known and respected companies.

And that’s it! The home product testing secret has been revealed! Pretty simple, right? Those are the only steps involved to become a tester, and once you are one, all you have to do is sit back and wait for your products to arrive. Testing them will be fun, and you will usually be able to keep them afterwards. All you need to know is how and where to sign up!

Eco Friendly Home Products – Get Friendly With Nature

By now you have heard from various sources about the need for a complete shift to eco friendly home products. In fact, just a mere glance through the different websites on nature and climate and different television channels would tell you why is it necessary to chuck out many items in your house that would pollute the environment around you in different ways. For yourself as well as your future generations, nature friendly products are essential to make the planet a better place to live in. And the least you can do for this is to practice using eco friendly products in your own house.

There are quite a few products that you can use in your house which are compatible with nature and relate to every aspect of nature. Some of such eco friendly products are:

• Appliances like air and water filters, purifiers, battery chargers, solar power devices
• Furniture like beds, bookshelves, chests and drawers
• Furnishing items like carpets, rugs, candles, and table linens
• Kids items like their toys, bedding, clothing
• Housekeeping items like cleaning kits, bleach alternatives, food storage, polishes and waxes
• Office items like filing materials, mailing materials and office supplies
• Pest control items for indoors and outdoors like garden
• Pets accessories

These products, commonly called “green” products, are tested and rated by experts based on the impact they create on the environment before they are sent to the shops. All aspects of these products are tested like their source materials, manufacturing process, their usage and finally, their disposal.

Eco friendly products have other benefits as well other than being safe for nature. They are usually safe for the home as well as your family and its health. They bring less waste and create less toxic than the other products. You’d be surprised to know the number of such products available in the market. If you decide on it you could actually turn completely green and stop using all the ordinary products.

and Design

Where to begin

So you’ve decided to make some home improvements. It is an exciting prospect to upgrade and bring your home closer to the image of your dream home. Begin by considering the changes you want to make. You may already have an idea of the things you want to improve, but now’s the time to fine-tune your ideas.

Think about how your home already supports the way you live, and which existing elements you really like. Write down each item you want to keep, and what you want to change. This will not only help you prioritize the projects you take on first, it will also help you better define the details of each project. No matter how large or small your project, planning is crucial. Developing a detailed plan will insure that your project runs smoothly forward and that your results will be a success. Having a clear image in your mind of what you want to achieve will help guide you in the steps you must take to attain your goal.

Determine your goal

Once you know the project that you want to take on first, you can begin to make decisions about what you want to change. The more clearly you can envision what you want to achieve, the better prepared you’ll be in making necessary decisions;Think about traffic patterns, furniture placement and size, colors, lighting and how you plan to use the remodeled space. Draw out your completed idea to get a clear picture of what you hope to accomplish.

Cost Estimation

You probably have a basic idea of how much you want to invest in your home improvement project, so base your estimate on that budget. Nothing is more disappointing than not having enough money to finish the entire project, so plan well, beginning with the most costly or most important items. To get a good idea of material cost, simply check out your neighborhood home improvement center. If you have any questions or concerns, most of their employees are able to either give you answers or guide you to someone who can. When pricing your necessary materials, remember to include any hardware and finishing products you might need. Don’t forget nails, adhesives, tape, stencils or paint.

Gather your tools

Be sure that you have the proper tools available before you start. If your current toolkit does not have certain specialty tools to do the job properly, you might have to invest in them to complete your project. You could also consider borrowing or renting them. Some jobs might also require two people for safety reasons, so you will need to line up additional help before you work on that part.

Consider Eco Friendly Building

Green remodeling is a sound choice, for both, a healthier life and as an investment in your home. Currently, in traditional construction, indoor air quality is often worse than outdoor air, due to various building materials, inadequate lighting, and a variety of other variables. Some eco friendly choices do require purchasing special equipment or materials, but many upgrades are just a matter of knowing the most environmentally conscious choice to make. Using recycled materials where available, (glass, stone, plastics), choosing carpet low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), and installing more efficient, low water plumbing fixtures are a few Green options that cost little or no more than the non-Green.

Anticipate your needs

Most home improvement projects require a variety of different skills. If there is a task that requires more skill than you have and you would feel more comfortable with expert guidance or proficiency, a contractor can usually do just the portion of the job that you are unable to handle for a portion of the cost of the entire project. You might consider hiring a plumber, electrician or heating specialist, or even a general handyman for a job that requires additional manpower.

Hiring a Contractor

If you do plan on hiring a contractor, you must get a written contract. A good contract includes a detailed description of the project, start and expected completion dates, labor and material costs, and any warranties of workmanship. Including a right to cancel clause of three business days is a good idea. The more detailed you make your contract, the less room for problems you will allow.

Building Permits

Before you actually start tearing down walls or running electrical wire, check with your local or state building department to learn if your project requires a building permit. A building permit is a license required by city code that grants legal permission to construct, enlarge, alter, repair or demolish a structure or equipment installed in a building. If you are working with a contractor, find out if his services include obtaining permits.

So now, you know where to begin. Following these guidelines will help insure that your home renovations will advance without any unnecessary hitches or unfortunate surprises, whether you are doing internal remodeling and upgrades, or external maintenance and repair. With the correct preparation, and taking it a step at a time, your dream home will not be just a dream!

Properties For Sale in Wildwood, New Jersey

When it comes to real estate with lots of beaches, commercial places, and residential areas all in one then one of the best places to go is Wildwood, NJ. This place is strategically located along the Northeastern coastline of the Atlantic Ocean that boasts of beautiful white sandy beaches with a glimpse of the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean.

Its magnificence draws in thousands of tourists every year; wanting to relax while at the same time have lots of fun and entertainment that this place offers to its visitors. To further attract more tourists, a lot of events are usually held every year; such as festivals, parades, art shows, car racing, and so much more.

Consequently, commercial establishments and businesses are booming; this creates good opportunity for those who are planning to invest in this place since there are several commercial properties for sale in Wildwood New Jersey. The fact that there is good number of tourists and visitors flock to have some fun and business trips to this area this simply implies that there are endless opportunities for businesses to grow.

In fact, hotels and lodging areas are having good performances because of the influx of visitors; especially when there are special events and festivals happening. Shops, restaurants, and cafes are also flourishing to satisfy the cravings of residents and visitors for sumptuous foods and local delicacies.

When it comes to commercial properties for sale in Wildwood, New Jersey they would usually cost around $400,000 to $600,000 on the Park Avenue and along the Boardwalk; depending on the location. Aside from the commercial estates there are also plenty of residential properties and condo units for you to select. Residential areas may fetch in around $100,000 to $300,000.

Single houses along the 230 E, 26th street can cost you approximately $180,000 only; while condo units near the beach could be much more expensive at $330,000. Hence, you can simply choose the right home that is well suited to your needs and the needs of your family by selecting one of the properties for sale in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Good Planning Makes For a Great Home Improvement Project

If you’ve been dreaming of a home improvement or remodeling project, it’s time to make it a reality. As with any project, good planning is the key to saving you stress and money and achieving the rewards that can come from a newly designed space.

Begin fulfilling your dream by clarifying why you want to do this. The majority of remodeling projects begin as a result of the need to make changes because the house no longer meets the needs and desires of the family. For example, having a baby or growing children can result in a need to expand your space. Or perhaps you have lived in your home for more than 10 years and you are getting an itch to update and modernize. Whatever the reason, it is best to make clear what you hope to accomplish from this home improvement project.

Brainstorm about everything you would like to have included in your remodel and then categorize each item as a “necessity or must have”, “amenity or nice to have” or “definitely not”. In order to organize your thoughts and ideas, create a notebook. This will allow you to keep pictures, color samples, fabric swatches, material specifications, reference phone numbers, budget information and project records in one concise area.

Now that you have answered the why and the what, it is time to take a look at the numbers. Spending time on the budget early on in the project plan, as well as reviewing it at every step of the process, is essential to its success and your sanity. Don’t forget to take into consideration the payback you hope to achieve from this home improvement. Typically a kitchen or bathroom improvement offers the highest payback when it comes to resale. Talk to a trusted real estate agent if this is a major consideration.

Being realistic with what you can afford and when you can afford it will allow you to put together a realistic timetable for the project as a whole. The schedule should be created with the help of your “construction team”, which may include an architect, interior designer, loan officer, and general contractor, to name a few. Areas that typically can cause a ripple in your timetable are the design phase, getting permits and the actual time for construction. Make sure that you have “padded” your schedule to account for these factors.

Identifying reliable competent contractors to work on your project can be as stressful as the project itself. This can also take the most time, so be sure to account for it on your project schedule. The simple answer to getting the best person for your project – research! Begin your search by asking friends and neighbors who have completed their own home improvements who they used. The county building department and Yellow Pages are also places to look. Then do your own homework by verifying their license and insurance, check references and reputation, and view previous and current jobs. Plan interviews that will allow you to assess their personality, approach to problem solving and their understanding of your dream. They may be the best at what they do, but if they don’t “see” your vision of the completed project, then helping you make it reality is going to be difficult. Plan to evaluate up to three bids before you make your final selection.

Through careful planning, the ground work should be completed which leads you to the exciting and nail biting phase of the project – construction. Pay attention to the work as it progresses without micromanaging of your construction team. Walking this fine line can make the difference between a good remodeling experience and a nightmare. Having pre-arranged work review meetings in your project plan can help. Use these to go over any issues that have come up, re-evaluate expectations, monitor progress and maintain positive communication with your contractor.

Post construction, before the celebration party, make sure that the punch list (final “to do” list) has been completed to your satisfaction and that your home owners insurance is updated to reflect your remodel.

It can’t be said enough – good planning will make for a great home improvement project.

Big or Small Home Improvement Projects – Planning Comes First

Everyone loves their homes and most families, including myself, enjoy spending time and money on home improvement projects to make their houses look better and more comfortable. If you have just decided to start a home improvement project on your own, here are some things you should consider to make sure that your project would be completed perfectly.

In every home improvement projects, big or small, planning is of utmost importance. It is very important to come out with a detailed plan for achieving your goals. This is to ensure that your project will proceed in the right direction and end up as what you have in mind.

Whether you are adding a room, building a deck or simply installing new cabinets, you should always cater some time to plan what you want in mind first before you start to work on your project proper. By doing so, your progress would definitely be smoother and end results more successful.

To help plan a home improvement projects, there are the three main things that you need to consider:

1. Set your priorities before you begin
You should have an idea of what you want and get your priorities right first. There are generally 3 elements of priorities where one can choose from namely: Speed, Cost and Quality. As a rule of thumb, most people can only achieve 2 out of the 3. It would be wise for you to choose what priorities you want first before you start your project.

For example, if you deem cost and quality as important priorities, one would usually need to spend more time in choosing the right material and working on the project itself and vice versa.

2. Cost Estimation

You should have a general idea of how much you want to invest into your home improvement project and work on that budget. Nothing is worse off than not having enough money to finish the whole project. To get a good feel of material cost, do some homework online or simply walk into your neighborhood home improvement center.

3. Gather your tools and resources

Make sure that you have the right tools and resources to do the job in advance. If your current toolkit does not have certain specialty tools to do the job properly, you might have to explore buying, borrowing or renting them. Some jobs might also require two people for safety reasons; you might want to get additional help before you work on that part.

Remember that most home improvement projects require a variety of different tasks, and more often than not, these tasks would require different skills and expertise ranging from design, construction, plumbing, and wiring to finishing. You might not have all the skills set to perform all of them. You can actually engage the help of a professional for certain tasks so that your progress would not come to a standstill.

Go on. Start planning your home improvement project today. With the correct planning and effort, your dream home would not be too far way!