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How to Inspect an Apartment Before Renting It

Moving into your new apartment is an exciting experience. You may have already planned on how you want to decorate your apartment. However, the excitement can lead you to a wrong decision, especially if you have not done your research beforehand.

There are many things that you must look for in an apartment before renting it. Sure, you might have found an apartment in your favorite location, but that’s not all. After all, you will be spending your days and nights in your new apartment, so it’s your responsibility to inspect things properly.

Follow these tips on how to inspect your new apartment before renting it.

1. Check Mobile Phone Signal Reception

Mobile phones have changed the way we live our lives. Gone are the days when we couldn’t communicate instantly. If you move into a place where the signal coverage is weak, you will struggle to live there properly.

You have to ensure that the apartment you are moving in has proper signal coverage. You should also check for whether WiFi signals reach there or not. And you can verify both the WiFi and cell phone coverage with your smartphone. Also, there are companies like Viewit that show you the best apartment having all amenities.

2. The Availability of Water

No matter how clumsy you are when managing your kitchen, you have to ensure that the water in your apartment is available 24/7. You also have to check the water pressure. Lower pressure means that you will be struggling all the time to get your things done.

In addition, you should check the temperature of the water. If the water is too hot or too cold, taking a shower or washing your hands will become intolerable. Although you can’t get into the apartment shower to check these things, you can still easily verify this by opening the water taps in both the kitchen and the bathroom.

3. Are There Any Pets?

Do you think that only humans live in apartments? Wrong! Many creatures tend to and love to live in apartments that look pristine and clean on the first view. It will be no less than a nightmare if you find out that your new apartment is filled with pests like rodents and bugs.

If you find them after shifting to your new apartment, you will have to control them yourself. You must check if there are any pests in your apartment before making your final decision.

4. Visit During The Nighttime

Your new apartment will be your home for a long time. Before moving, make sure you are surrounded by caring and lively residents. Often, you might see an apartment that is serene and calm in the day hours; it can be a whole different story at night.

If you are invited to visit an apartment, you should visit it at night. This way, you can easily check whether the neighborhood is friendly or not. You should also check whether the lighting in the area at night is proper or whether you can park your cars or not.

5. Check The Power Outlets

Electrical power is, needless to say, drives our daily lives. When you visit any apartment, you have to ensure that the power supply has no issues and all the outlets are working properly.

However, you have to be careful while checking these power outlets. If you are not careful, you might even end up hurting yourself. Instead of taking your electric appliances with you for checking outlets, you can easily check the power supply with an outlet tester.

Life is full of ups and downs if you are not careful while making important decisions. Ensure that you thoroughly check an apartment before moving in – and don’t be lazy as following the tips given above won’t take time.

Photo by Nathan Van Egmond on Unsplash

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How to Assemble Boltless Shelving

Boltless shelving, also referred to as boltless racking is one storage solution type that can be very easy to assemble. It is quite common for businesses operating garages or warehousing and can be used in storing products, gears, and industrial tools. Boltless shelving comes in a range of sizes and designs to choose from.

Why You Should Go or Boltless Racking

You should get boltless shelvingbecause improper shelving in your business premises can quickly bring chaos and disorganization of tools, or products. It can be hard to have a controlled inventory when you don’t have proper shelving. Boltless shelving will allow you to display your commonly used or picked items and can also help you discover issues like over-stock.

Boltless shelving can also help you maximize space hence you don’t have to worry about expensive warehousing relocation or expansion.  This shelving strategy will help you optimize vertical and horizontal storage spaces efficiently hence you don’t have to worry about space.

Boltless shelving is stable and easy to assemble. Depending on the type and application you require, boltless shelving comes in two main types; the long span racking, and the regular boltless racking. The long span racking is more ruggedly designed, and also offers a higher weight capacity. The regular boltless shelving comes with lower capacity and smaller size when compared to the long-span. Both types of boltless shelving are far better than traditional metal shelving.

One other benefit of using this type of storage system is that it fits into your plans. You can always expand the capacity of the system to help you store more products or tools in the future. If you are expecting an increase in sales in the nearest future, perhaps this storage option will be a better option than metal storage.

Boltless shelving is even easier to dismantle because there are no bolts involved, rather you will slot in different poles with beams and boards. All components of the shelving system can be easily dismantled and re-assemble in the nearest future, depending on your needs.

This shelving option is much cheaper than many other traditional options. Since the materials used are much lighter but holds heavy weight, you can invest in as many of these shelving options as you can.

How do You Assemble a Boltless Shelving?

The first step you should take when assembling boltless shelving is to gather your tools alongside your boltless shelving package. The main tools you need here are your gloves and rubber mallet. You should begin the procedure by inserting the rubber stopper first, these are usually small black stoppers inserted to the ends of the blue rectangular posts.

Slot in the yellow-color short beams to the posts and use your rubber mallet or hammer to insert the beams properly for adjustment. Rework the arrangement and make sure the eagle hook is fully locked in the poles.

Repeat the above steps for the remaining poles and the poles should be worked at two at a time. Now you have two pole sides with each side comprising of two poles joined together by beams. Now you should join the two stacks of poles together with longer beams. Ensure that your inserted long and short beams are at the same level when inserted.

Now you should have different levels on the storage shelves, and you should insert support at each level. Ensure the supports are fully slotted into the arrangement. Put the HDF board on each of the completed shelve levels, and you have completed the assembling of your racks.

Conclusion

Shelving or storage is a very critical component of any business and every business owner must find suitable options that will support their businesses in the long term. It can be a complete waste of time if you have to invest in a storage option that cannot be easily assembled and dismantled. For the sake of convenience, especially when moving from one business premise to another, you should find a storage solution that can easily be removed. Boltless shelving doesn’t come with soldered joints nor bolts and that is why you find them much easier to manage for different purposes.   These shelving options are also very much easier to maintain in the long term.

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What Are The Most Eco-Friendly Ways To Heat Your Home?

No one wants to be cold, especially in their own homes, and yet the traditional methods of heating those homes can be terribly bad for the environment. Fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas are not only unsustainable, but they can cause air pollution and acid rain. They contribute to global warming, and they are messy for the planet too – just think of the aftermath of an oil spill.

So what can be done? You want to stay warm, but you don’t want to harm the planet. Is there any solution at all? In reality, there are several different solutions you can turn to. Each one will stop you from freezing, be much better for the planet, and even save you money on your heating bills. Read on to find out more.

Image from Pixabay

Solar Panels

The sun’s rays are free, and they shine all the time, even on cloudy days when you might not feel their heat. Solar energy is, therefore, renewable, unlike the fossil fuels we mentioned above. Because of this, installing solar panels on your roof to harness the sun’s energy is a great idea. You can use it to heat your home (and other energy needs such as your electricity). It is therefore an ideal eco-friendly way to ensure you are comfortable and that the planet is that little bit safer.

What’s great about solar panels is that, apart from checking them over once in a while, they need barely any maintenance at all. You might need to consider pigeon proofing solar panels if you live in an area with a lot of birds, however.

Wood Burning Stoves

Older versions of wood-burning stoves were awful for the environment. They used fossil fuels to produce heat, and they expelled lots of pollutants into the air. Today, however, they are designed differently and are much more eco-friendly. Compared to older stoves, today’s are about 30 percent more efficient and produce as much as 90 percent less smoke.

If you install a wood-burning stove in the right place, you can easily heat an entire home just by using this particular item. It’s much less expensive compared to most other heating options too.

Thermal Shades

Installing thermal shades at your windows can do a lot to help keep your home warmer in the winter without having to use your heating system all the time. Plus, an added benefit is that they will help keep your home cooler in the summer months too. And of course, they look stylish.

Thermal shades work by blocking the window and ensuring that any heat in the home stays there rather than escaping. If you can also check the windows in your home for gaps and drafts and fix those issues, you’ll be making the home an even warmer one. Draft guards on your doors will finish the job completely.

Better Insulation

Just as thermal shades will help to keep the heat in your home, so too will good insulation. It’s well worth checking what you currently have, as it might be that it is old and degraded – or non-existent – and therefore will need to be replaced.

The better the insulation in your home, the less heat you’re going to lose. The more heat you can keep inside, the less energy you’ll need to burn. It all makes sense.

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How to Sell Luxury Real Estate: 5 Tips for Making a Successful Sale

According to reports, Florida’s luxury real estate market saw significant growth last year which continued into the first quarter of this year. This might be surprising given the economic downturn due to the pandemic. However, as homeowners find themselves spending more time indoors, having a comfortable home is now more of a priority.

Increased immigration may also positively affect the market as travel restrictions are slowly lifted. This might be the ideal time to consider real estate. If you’re willing to take the chance, here are some tips on how to sell luxury real estate.

5 Tips on How to Sell Luxury Real Estate

Real estate can be a lucrative investment, but when you venture into the luxury market there are a few things you need to consider.

1. Hire a Real Estate Agent

Hire an agent with experience in the luxury market. Specialized agents would have had extensive dealings with people buying luxury homes. They will know the best pricing and advertising channels for this million-dollar market. Get recommendations from people you know and ask for referrals. Or you can do your own research. Just ensure your search parameters stay within the luxury market.

2. Have Your Property Staged

You must show potential buyers all the possibilities of your property. Stage it so that they can envision living there. Staging is even more important for someone buying a million-dollar home because it’s a substantial investment and they want to ensure they’re making a good decision. Don’t be afraid to show them. A professional stager or staging company will know exactly how to do this.

3. Be Realistic When Setting Your Price

Although the luxury market is doing well, you should still be realistic when pricing your property. Find a balance so that your home doesn’t stay on the market, or alternately you don’t want to end up not getting what it’s truly worth. Your real estate agent should be able to assist. Or you can liaise with a mortgage broker who transacts daily with lenders in the market so he/she will be familiar with prices in the luxury market.

4. Know Where to Advertise

Your real estate agent can handle this, but you should do your own research to ensure they’re exploring all marketing avenues. Traditional marketing channels aren’t the way to go when trying to entice someone to buy a luxury house. It requires investing in high-quality marketing channels, staging your home well, and having professional photos taken.

5. Throw in a Perk or Two

You can make your home stand out from other luxury homes on the market by offering potential buyers a little extra. A lovely, modern bedroom set or a grand piano might be the extra ‘something’ that pushes them to decide on your home. Additional bonuses will make them feel they’re getting a little more for their substantial investment.

Finding Success in Luxury Real Estate

If you’re ready to take the leap, there’s no better time to enter the luxury real estate market. The expected increase in demand for million-dollar homes and using the tips above will set you up for success.

The rest of our blog can provide you with information about how to sell in this exclusive market. Check out the rest of our site to learn more about how to sell luxury real estate.

Photo by Bailey Anselme on Unsplash

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Top Reasons for Ducts Cleaning

Cleaning the cooling and heating ducts of your home is a good way to ensure the circulation of healthy, and clean air. If you or someone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma, cleaning the ducts regularly will provide relief.

Ducts refer to conduits used in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units to remove and deliver air. The airflows in this arrangement include air supply, return as well as ventilation. A duct system can also be referred to as ductwork.

You may not be able to determine the quantity of dust that accumulates in the ductwork of your home and when the dust accumulates over a long period, it causes the serious problem(s). When there is a dust problem, it irritates the system when air is circulated in the home. To prevent this, you need to clean your ductwork.

When you are looking to clean your ducts, you will find that there are many companies that handle such projects. However, choosing companies like Ductwise duct cleaning enables you to get excellent service delivery. This way, clean and healthy air will be in circulation in your home.

To help you understand the need for duct cleaning, we have outlined some reasons why you need to have your unit cleaned regularly. We have also discussed some helpful tips about your ductwork. Please read on as we explain more.

Steps to Cleaning Your Ductwork

The following are some steps in duct cleaning:

Inspect the Ductwork

Start with inspecting the ducts that lead to the supply and return registers. Doing this allows you to assess the accumulation of foreign materials in the ducts before you start cleaning. You can compare after cleaning to see the difference. The professional who is handling the inspection will also use the opportunity to check for leaks or kinks.

Create Negative Pressure

Professionals use vacuum collection machines to suck debris and dust out of the ductwork. Before the suction is turned on, the technician has to perform the following tasks:

– Hooking the hose of the suction device to a duct near the air handler.

– Sealing each register with a cover to make the suction more effective.

– Once the above steps are completed, the technician can turn on the device.

Take out the Dust

If the system is under pressure, the professional can open each register to clean the ducts individually.

To make sure dust is completely removed and drawn into a vacuum collection machine, licensed professionals can use compressors, spinning brushes, and simplified vacuum cleaners.

Check other Parts 

Checking other parts to ensure that they are in good working condition is the final step to take before you couple the system. Cleaning or replacing your filter will enhance the circulation of healthy, and clean air in the home while also enhancing the performance and reliability of the HVAC unit. You can get more information about your unit and the parts to check out during cleaning here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heating,_ventilation,_and_air_conditioning

Top Reasons for Ducts Cleaning

The following are some reasons to clean your ductwork:

Enhances Efficiency of the HVAC System

If dust and dirt accumulate in your ductwork, the flow of air between your heating and cooling systems can be blocked, causing the system to become inefficient. A clean HVAC system can run more efficiently and it also cost-effective.

Prevents Hazards

Many houses catch fire every year as a result of a build-up of dirt and dust in the air ducts that is left unattended. Regular cleaning of your ductwork ensures the safety of all the occupants in your home.

Ensures Circulation of Healthy Air 

For good health, it is important that you breathe safe and fresh indoor air. Debris, dust, and other substances that accumulate in the home by falling on your appliances, mattresses, and flooring are eliminated when you get your ducts cleaned.

The air quality in your home will improve greatly when dirt, dust, microbes, as well as other airborne contaminants, are eliminated. Anyone who enters your house will feel good and breathe better. Even if nobody is suffering from asthma, allergic reactions, or any other respiratory problem in your family, the air will be healthy enough for everybody.

Removes Bad Smells

Stale odor in the home’s ductwork can be caused by a variety of factors like paint, pets, ingredients used in cooking, and cleaning products. These odors become stuck and begin to circulate in the air. A build-up of dust or other materials over time will result in an undesirable, and stinky smell being circulated in the home.

Proper cleaning of the ductwork is achieved by professionals who use the best cleaning equipment and organic solutions. With this, bad odor from animals, household products, paint emissions, mold, food, smoking, and other sources are removed. Cleaning your ductwork regularly ensures an enjoyable and comforting atmosphere for both your household members and your pet animals.

Reduces the Amount of Toxic Airborne Particles

In addition to dirt, debris, and dust, microbial pathogens and hazardous air pollutants also build up within the ducts. Employing professionals to clean the ducts can help you minimize these air pollutants by utilizing the most up-to-date facilities and machines.

Reasons Why Your Ductwork Would Need Cleaning

The following are some reason why your Ductwork would need cleaning

Rodents, Insects, and Other Pests Live in Your Ductwork

If your ducts have been infested with mice, rats, insects, flies, or other living creatures, then there is an urgent need to schedule for air duct cleaning. Rodents, insects, and other pests leave products as well as other particles that can become very offensive, disgusting, and dangerous with time. It can cause illness and other health issues.

This contamination also distorts your HVAC unit’s operation, thereby reducing its performance and longevity.

Dust emission from the Vents

If the debris and dust in the ducts accumulate to the extent that the system is discharging dust particulates into the house, then it’s time for you to clean the duct. When there is a discharge, it means that the dirt has accumulated to the point where the fans need to force it out into the room to keep air circulating. When this happens, it will affect the performance of the HVAC system.

Your Home Has Recently Undergone Renovations

Sawdust, roofing dust, as well as other debris, can get stuck in the ducts during renovations and reconstruction. Clean the system up and get rid of the mess that the renovation has left behind.

There are Pets in the House

Pet owners are well aware that the fur of a dog or cat is airborne and accumulates easily in nooks and crannies of the living area. Excessive fur accumulation can harm the efficiency of an HVAC system and damage it. If you have a pet, regularly cleaning your ductwork can help them perform better and last longer.

Mold Growth That Can Be Seen

While dust, grime, dirt, and other impurities can be harmful to human health, mold causes a far more serious problem. Allergic reactions and respiratory problems can be exacerbated by mold. Unfortunately, it develops rapidly. Certain types of mold are harmful to inhale, so if mold is present in your unclean ductwork, you are likely to be inhaling mold spores every day.

Whether you notice mold close to the vent or around the air conditioning unit, taking action is critical. Ensure that you protect the quality of the air in your home by scheduling for the cleaning of the air ducts in your house. If you are looking for other tips to control mold growth, you can check here.

How to Maintain Your Ductwork

Looking for maintenance tips for your unit? Here are some helpful tips:

Make efforts to Prevent Air Leaks

Most homes lose a great percentage of conditioned air to leakages. This leads to the loss of energy utilized in heating or cooling air. To prevent this, ensure that you have the unit’s hose checked regularly to prevent air leaks.

Remove every Obstruction

Ensure that there is no appliance or furniture placed right in front of your unit. Placing anything in front of the unit disrupts airflow and this leads to burnout of the fan motor.

Insulate the Ductwork

Regardless of the installation area of the ductwork, insulation helps the air coming from the ducts to maintain the temperature until it gets to the living areas. Also, ensure that you use durable insulation materials to do this.

Install an Ultraviolet Light

UV lights utilize ultraviolet radiation to destroy bacteria, fungal spores, and mold. The lights also sterilize airflow to ensure that the occupants of the home are in good health condition.

These are some helpful tips to help you with the maintenance of your ductwork. Additionally, it is recommended that you clean your unit once in two years especially if any of your family members is suffering from allergic reactions, asthma, or any other respiratory infection.

Conclusion

Maintaining the respiratory health of the occupants of a building is very important and one way to achieve this is through cleaning the ductwork. In this article, we discussed some reasons why you need to have your unit cleaned regularly. We have also outlined some steps involved in the cleaning of your ductwork. Please feel free to check them out.

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How to Make your Home Feel Way Bigger than it Actually Is

Adding an extension to your property is a fantastic way for you to make your space way bigger. At the same time though, it can be expensive, and it can also be very time-consuming too. If you feel as though your walls are closing in on you and your possessions are taking over, this indicates that something needs to change. This guide will tell you the actionable steps you need to take in order to completely turn things around.

Floor to Ceiling Shelves

Believe it or not, floor-to-ceiling shelves give you the chance to clear away any clutter, and it also gives you the chance to utilise floor space. If you have top-to-bottom shelves, this will draw the eye to the ceiling and make your entire space seem way taller than it actually is, so make sure that you keep this in mind.

Source: Pexels (CC0 License)

Use Light Colours

Dark or striking walls can easily make your home feel way smaller. On top of this, it can stop light from being able to bounce around the room. If you want to work around this, then you need to make your walls seem nice and airy. Use white or even monochromatic schemes of grey. you can also use yellow as this has the remarkable ability to bounce light around the room.

Mirrors

Anything that is able to reflect light will play a key role in your home. Mirrors are certainly one of them. A big tabletop mirror or even a large floor can work wonders for you here. You can also place it opposite a window if you want as this can expand the scope of your room even more. At the end of the day, you don’t want your room to reflect a cluttered space because if it does, the entire purpose will be deflated. That leads to the next point.

Get Rid of Clutter

If you can, you need to try and take a minimalist approach when you design your décor. You need your space to seem seamless as well as being airy. The best and the easiest way for you to achieve this would be for you to get rid of any items that you barely use. If you can do this, then you will soon find that your rooms feel way bigger and that you are able to make the most out of every inch you have.

Over-Door Storage

In places that include the bedroom or the bathroom, you have to remember that you can use door hooks to store your bags as well as your shoes and accessories. You can also store any beauty products in baskets that hang behind the door as well, as this is a great way for you to ensure that you are not going to add too much clutter to your space.

Smart Furniture

Multi-functional pieces can include a drop-leaf table or even a bed frame that comes complete with drawers. These are ideal if you want to add to the amount of furniture you have, and on top of this, they can act as a good piece of storage too.

Windows

Uncovered windows remain to be the best way for you to bring in more natural light. They will also draw the eye outdoors, which is always a good thing. If you have drapes that go past the window both horizontally as well as vertically, then this will give the illusion that your windows are bigger than they actually are, and on top of this, it will make the room seem bigger too. You can buy new curtain rods if you want to make your window décor look newer and more modern.

Scaled Furniture

A smaller space doesn’t mean that you cannot have any bigger pieces. It’s much better for you to have a polished space that has an oversized piece when compared to a lot of different smaller pieces. Furniture should never block a pathway though, and it should also never block light. If you can follow this golden rule, then there’s no reason at all why you can’t come out on top.

Vertical Views

A line of vision that essentially extends from one corner of the house to the other will elongate the look of your space. You may well have to open up parts of the wall and you may have to put your furniture at an angle too. Either way, if you can do this, then you’ll soon find that everything comes together and that you are able to ensure a better result overall.

Lighting

Lighting is crucial if you want to open up your space. Recessed lighting is ideal because it’s not only visually appealing, but it bounces light wherever you might need it. If you know that your ceilings are on the taller side, then this is great, you can use hanging lights as opposed to recessed lighting. This will make your home seem and feel way more welcoming.

Light Colours

Your ceiling is basically a fifth wall. You have to make sure that you don’t overlook it if possible. Lighter colours on the ceiling will open up your space, and it will also complement the walls that are bouncing the light around as well.

Wall Art

One big painting as opposed to a lot of smaller paintings will make your space feel bigger than it is. If you can, you need to try and hang your wall art a bit higher than the average eye height. This will give you a lot of space above the art and it will also go a long way when it comes to making your room feel taller.

Flooring

When you lay your flooring diagonally, it will make your space look bigger. You can opt for stone, hardwood or even laminate if you want. When you do, you will soon find that you can create a seamless look without any trouble at all. Dark wood will add a moody contrast, but your room has to be big enough to pull it off.

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Real Estate Innovations, What To Expect In 2021

Any type of estate planning takes time and effort. However, thanks to the new technologies emerging constantly, this will be made simpler. We are currently living in a digital age like no other. Selling homes and buying homes is a process that has been done through human contact. There may however be some shifts soon enough. With the progressions of AI and digital computing, soon bots may be at the heart of it all too.

Better protection

Any real estate business deals with a lot of information. From business information, addresses, and financial information; all of which must be safely stored. This will be a top priority going forwards in 2021, to have even stricter things in place. But is this possible to achieve for every business without the necessary finances?

Part of the challenge stems from the fact that many directors, and sometimes even senior executives in organizations, are exposed to the digital world primarily in terms of risks: cyber attacks; theft of information by hackers; faults and downtime of the computer system – impairing the organization’s ability to continue to provide service to customers and sometimes harm the company’s revenues.

Social interaction

This is going to be a bigger key strategy for real estate. Social media is a way to propel the market further. Utilizing social media can help people sell or buy; by offering photography and videography. This sells the property in ways that words can’t. People want to see things, and they want to see it quickly. Therefore, social media will be a bigger trend. It can also be a source of new revenue, the ability to enter new markets, improve customer service, and improve business processes.

Digital adaptation

Every business dealing with property sales must be adequately connected. Technology and computing software is vital. Moving home is stressful for many but with easier methods, it doesn’t have to be. Companies need to be aware of these changes. The digital journey is a process of adapting the business strategy and activities of the organization to the digital age while harnessing and leveraging the new technologies, ideas, and business models. This process will determine, to a large extent, the success of the organization in the coming years. It is a long journey that requires a clear definition of vision, cross-organizational planning, proper resource allocation, and disciplined execution. In the area of real estate, it is constantly evolving and new properties are being sold. The market is changing, prices are changing, and you must be able to keep up to demand.

To succeed in this journey, the board and senior management must understand the process well, and be willing to invest in studying and familiarizing the subject. You must devote time to in-depth discussions, and where technology is used, share it with others. If you are looking to sell more of your properties via an app or website, ensure that it is user-friendly. Ensure that you are providing excellent customer service time and time again.

Photo: Unsplash

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Building a Deck? Maximize Your ROI

In a market like Miami, a deck is a must-have. Not only can you enjoy it year-round, but it offers incredible versatility — especially when you add an under-deck ceiling — and a strong return on investment.

Check this out: The average homeowner can recoup about 72% of their investment in a new deck, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. This compares to getting just 54% return on an updated kitchen or 54% on a bathroom addition. Additionally, while the average price tag for the new construction of a 2,000-square-foot home is about $85 per square foot, a wood deck costs less than $35 per square foot, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

So you know that a deck offers good value for the money, but how can you maximize your ROI? Here are 5 ideas to take to the bank!

  1. Build it large enough to entertain. Before you spec out your deck plans, think about how you will use them. If you’ll usually use it to dine al fresco with your family of four, maybe you just want just enough room for a small patio table and chairs. However, if you’re creating an extension of your living space where you’ll have weekly hangouts, birthday fiestas, graduation celebrations, and pool parties, you’ll want to think bigger. Perhaps, you’ll even want to design a multi-level deck where you can curate various sitting, dining, lounging, and grilling spaces. Also, think through the amenities. Wouldn’t it be terrific to have a built-in grill or kitchen for such events? Will you often watch a game or listen to music on deck? Be sure to plan for an outdoor sound system or television.
  2. Create useable space beneath your deck. Most Americans say they’d like a larger home — only 32% of us would choose a home the same size as the one we’re in, according to Trulia. Expand your options by making the space under your deck waterproof. Install a high-quality drainage system so that whatever you put beneath won’t get wet from rain and snow seeping through your deck boards. Add a ceiling and you have a finished space that’s as personalized as you want it to be. Some homeowners use this space as an outdoor living room, a screened-in porch, an at-home spa with a hot tub or endless pool, a play area for the children, or added storage. Check out this video to understand how an under-deck drainage system works. Be sure to choose an over-joist drainage system to keep your wooden substructure from repeatedly getting wet, which will eventually lead to costly rot and damage.
  3. Protect your deck with regular maintenance. As with any construction, good maintenance will help you get the most from your investment. Sweep off the deck regularly to prevent debris from holding moisture on your boards, which can cause damage and discoloration. At least annually, inspect for any cracks, loose fasteners, and rot. This North American Deck and Railing Association(NADRA) handout provides a 10-point inspection checklist. If you built your deck with composite decking boards, sweeping, hosing off dirt and annual inspections will keep your deck in great shape for years to come. However, if your deck was built entirely from wood, you will need to seal the fibers every couple of years. Apply a deck sealer or stain with a sealer to cover and protect those top boards — much like you would wax a car to protect its paint. While a sealant is usually clear, deck stain can be semi-translucent or opaque. If you’re not sure whether it’s time to seal, try this simple test: put a few drops of water on top of your boards. If the water beads on top, you have more time. If the boards immediately absorb the water, you need to apply a sealer.
  4. Add wow factor. When building a deck, think of the aesthetics, as well as the functionality. Look at different colors, designs, and amenities. Take time to dream and consult online galleries for ideas. While you’re planning, including built-ins, such as benches, planters, and deck boxes. Consider installing lighting, ceiling fans, and other electrical appliances at the time of construction. Fire tables and fire pits are popular add-ons; however, remember to consider all fire codes and precautions
  5. Use quality materials. Whether you build with composite boards or wood, you want to start with the best materials. Should you go with softwood or hardwood? Is it better to use sapwood, redwood, pine, or Douglas fir? Go for timber that is more naturally resistant to rot; for example, tropical hardwoods such as ipe and old-growth teak are some of the most resistant. Domestic varieties that are more rot-resistant include red mulberry, Pacific yew, Osage orange, and black locust. Use galvanized metal fasteners and best construction practices. For example, instead of burying wood posts, use anchors on top of concrete footings.

 

Plan with inspiration and creativity, buy the best materials, and then protect with regular maintenance. You’ll enjoy all the ways you can use your deck now, and you’ll love the ROI when it comes time to sell your home!

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Tips For A Stress-Free, Seamless Move For New Homeowners

Buying a house is incredibly exciting but the stress of moving can be daunting. If you’re planning to relocate, don’t let the thought of packing get you down. Take these tips and tricks on board for a stress-free, seamless move.

Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/family-unpacking-after-moving-4569340/

Give yourself time

Most people experience stress when moving due to a lack of time. If you feel like you’ve got too much to do and not enough time, enlist help. You can call in favors from friends and family and explore professional moving services. Decide whether you want to pack yourself or hand over this job to experts. If you’re packing yourself, allow plenty of time. Go through each room and start putting items away that you won’t use before the move. If it’s summer, for example, you can pack coats, hats and winter boots.

Book a removals firm

As soon as you have a moving date, start looking to book a removals firm. Ask friends or neighbors for recommendations and read reviews. Search online, browse services and compare quotes. You can visit websites and call companies like SMARTBOX Solutions, Inc. if you need more information. Always choose a reputable firm with an excellent track record. Make sure you have a full written quote and ask questions before you sign any agreements. Issue clear instructions and look for specialist services if you’re moving large or valuable objects. It’s also essential to provide details of where you are going when you ask for a quote.

Write a list of jobs to cross off

Moving house doesn’t just involve packing up possessions and loading them into a van or truck. You might also need to cross other jobs off your list. Examples include changing your address with banks and credit card providers and settling bills for utilities. You will also need to contact your doctor and insurance companies. It’s also worth considering paying for a mail forwarding service after you move. You might also want to get your new home ready. If you plan to start work as soon as you relocate, for example, you’ll need broadband. Arrange for your provider to visit before you move in.

Label every box

Packing and unpacking can be time-consuming. To save time and effort, label every box. This will enable you to take the box to the right room and ensure you can access essential items first. It’s also a great idea to pack an overnight bag for your first night in your new home.

Keep sentimental and valuable items with you

The last thing you want when you move house is to worry about damaging valuable possessions or losing sentimental items. Carry pieces of jewelry, identification documents, cash and anything that has sentimental value with you.

Moving can be hugely exciting but it can also be stressful. If you’re a new homeowner, take these tips on board today. Give yourself time. Write a list of jobs. Seek help from friends and family and professional removals firms. Label all your boxes and carry valuable and precious items with you.

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Top Options for Stylish Home Design

Interior design ideas come in a wide range of formulas and formats, sometimes with subtle
differences and times utterly distinct. Yet each type presents its own experience, flavor, and
finish that render your living space in outstanding chapters of history, inspiration, and creative
endeavor.

Take curtains, for example, each variation has a distinct taste and influence over the
room is attached. Step it up a bit, you can play with the quality of the fabric, and you’ll be
surprised at how much it can change the ambiance. One of the excellent choices for you to
consider is linen curtains. Be sure to find the right color and style to fit it nicely.

Here are a few stylish home design options worth trying out:

Basic housekeeping – a clean, organized living space is a must

Believe it or not, the most affordable way to keep your home looking elegant is to actually
declutter it. Remove all unnecessary items and maintain a strict weekly vacuuming and dusting
routine. Cleaning lets you spot and removes stains on area rugs and carpets more quickly,
helping keep them free from damages and a shabby look. The same applies to furniture. Clean
your curtains and windows, too—they permit natural light to flow into the room and make it look
bright and welcoming.

Accessories – gold-legged tables, fine cotton, silk, and stuff

Most average living spaces lack the basic accessories to really turn them into elegant spaces.
Many of us may claim that accessorizing can stretch the budget, but the opposite is true. You
will be surprised with the range of affordable routes to accessorize your living space while
staying within the margins of your budget, more so if you think silver and gold. Gold, for
example, is associated with riches and wealth, and can instantly evoke an elegant feeling,
provided you flood the space with a lot of it. So go ahead and accessorize with gold mirrors,
gold picture frames, or gold-legged tables. Add some fine silk and premium cotton stuff.
Hardware finishes – choose the most unique of all.
It is not uncommon to walk into any home improvement store, head to a section, and find a
whole wall of drawer/cabinet knobs and pulls. However, that’s the exact moment you should
turn back and walk out of the store. These bulk household hardware pieces are cheap most of
the time, but they are never good quality. They tend to look cheap – cheap items with cheap
appearances!

For just a few more bucks – although not significant enough to rob a bank – you
can acquire elegant, expensive-looking, and quality pieces elsewhere. Antique shops, smaller
hardware stores, and flea markets are some of the best establishments to look at. You will find
heavy-duty and expensive-looking drawer pulls and knobs with a more affordable price tag,
giving your living space the elegant and unique appearance you desire.

Hardwood over carpet

Hardwood is more preferable to carpet. It is just a fact that even the average wall-to-wall carpet
in a living space makes the place feel soft and warm, but it doesn’t come with the solid elegance
factor that a gleaming hardwood floor provides. Hardwood offers an elegant and classic
appearance at an affordable price. Buying hardwood for your living space can be seen as a
worthwhile investment, although it might not be a wise one in some cases. Hardwood comes
with the durability any homeowner would cherish and provides an impressive return on
investment, more so if you plan to resell your home. Those who don’t regard hardwood so highly tend to opt for laminate which is a great option as well.

However, be certain to purchase the best laminate sheets you could find on the market so that you end with something of quality.
In fact, if you were to find yourself divided between lush carpeting or laminate, we’d recommend
the plush carpet in a second. To get the value of your money, look at a range of many different
kinds of wood because some are costlier than others without necessarily being the most quality
in the pack. For example, oak and birch are usually less costly than cherry. Also, choose a dark
color if you want a more luxurious look, but be certain to add an area rug (several of them,
actually) to tie the general design of your living space together from ceiling to floor.

Linen throw pillows for your couch

Nothing beats linen. We could mention everything important you need for stylish home design,
but without linen, the list would be naught. Linen pillows, very much like cotton pillows, are quite
low maintenance because the fiber is normally blended with more durable fabrics like polyester
or cotton. Use linen to set up a light and breezy vibe for this summer. The best thing about linen
in general – regardless of the product you choose to buy – is that it is a natural fiber with a low
environmental impact compared to cotton. Also, it is highly absorbent and breathable.

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