HIRING A CONTRACTOR – QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU FINALIZE

If you’re adding a room, renovating your house or even doing some major repair work, hiring a good contractor becomes very important. Identifying a good contractor is a task in itself. The following points will guide you to identify the right contractor for you.

  • The first recommended step would be to check with friends and relatives to ask for contractors that they know and would recommend.
  • If you are looking on your own, the first step would be to look at their history in the business – how long they’ve been in the industry, what projects have they handled, etc.
  • The next important step would be to check for licensing and other qualifications.
  • Once you shortlist a few contractors, ask for a quote and get bids.
  • You could also talk to former clients and enquire about the quality of the construction and whether the contractor sticks to timelines.
  • When you have decided the contractor to work with, decide and negotiate payment schedules.
  • Get a written contract signed before the contractor begins work on your property. Be sure to detail every step of your project in the contract.

In this manner, you can easily identify the contractor who will meet all your needs the way you want. Don’t forget to note down your experience so that it can be useful to any of your friends when they need a contractor!

COMPARING AND SELECTING THE RIGHT TILES

Most of the times, the seemingly never-ending confusion is about what tiles to use in your new home. The posh-looking marble or the pocket-friendly vitrified?

Here are a few pros and cons of vitrified tiles and marbles. These will help you make the choice that will suit you best.

There is a wide variety of tiles in the case of vitrified tiles and not many options with marbles. In terms of size, shape, color and texture vitrified tiles offer a huge range of tiles to choose from. On the other hand, marbles are the hottest trend in the industry and they give a very sophisticated look to your house.

Marble flooring is extremely hard and hence durable. In the case of vitrified tiles, chipping, cracks and breaking of tiles is very common. But, vitrified tiles can be easily installed and maintained while marble flooring requires professionals to work for a minimum of a couple of days and very easily gets stained.

Marble can lose their color and texture over time, but vitrified tiles retain their appearance for decades. Also, marble requires polishing at regular intervals.

To clean marble flooring, it is advisable to use stone cleaners or mild detergents in order to preserve the finish. On the other hand, vitrified tiles can be washed with any tile cleaner and in any method.

Marble flooring gives a gorgeous, classic and elegant finish to your house that vitrified tiles cannot give. During the hot summers, marble flooring gives a cool feel, which has therapeutic values.

All said, there are many factors like cost of purchase, cost of maintenance and one’s likes and dislikes that ultimately make the choice of tiles. However, you might want to consider all of the above points before making the decision. The floor is the main attraction in a room and making the right choice of tiles is extremely important.

HOW TO SETUP A TERRACE GARDEN?

Most people want a terrace garden, but don’t know how and where to start. We have a few steps that will help you to get started with your terrace garden.

The first and most important point to consider is getting the right space for your terrace garden. Make sure the house is built as per the books and in the right way. If this is done, you can grow pretty much any plant on your terrace. You could even cover the entire area in soil and experiment by growing a lawn. But, ensure that the terrace is water proof to avoid leakages.

Hybrid seeds are the best for terrace gardening. These seeds can be sourced from any nursery. The soil required to grow these is a mixture of regular soil, compost coir peat (or sand) and vermi compost in equal quantities. You can add compost every week so that the soil retains the nutrients. You can also prepare our own manure using kitchen waste.

Use plastic buckets and bags to keep the plants so that you don’t add too much weight on the terrace floor.

Once you’ve planted the seeds, it is important to water them twice a day, regularly. It is also important to consider the positioning of the plant. Most of the plants do not require lot of sunlight and might require some shade, while flowering plants can be kept in the open.

With these, you can setup your terrace garden. It is advisable to start small, with a single or a couple of plants and then expand the garden as you get used to the routine. Maintaining a garden keeps your house cool and is also a wonderful hobby to have!

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PROPERTY TO INVEST IN?

You have decided that you want to invest in a property. But are you confused about choosing the right property for you? Before you make that huge investment, make sure you know a few things about your new neighborhood that are absolutely necessary to make your life happy.

  • Make sure there is at least one good school in the neighborhood. Check for the ratings of the school because it adds value to your property over the years.
  • Visit your new property at various times of the day to monitor the level of activity in the nearby area. This will help you to get a sense of the eerie and safe places in and around the region. You may also inspect the flow of traffic in the area at various times of the day to know the traffic pattern, which will greatly impact your life.
  • Check the crime report in the area by talking to people already staying in the locality.
  • Make sure that all daily amenities are easily available at a walk’s distance.
  • Get information on the community activities organized by members of the association, if one exists.
  • Check on the upcoming developments in the locality by reading the regional newspapers or by looking on the internet.
  • Enquire about the availability of water, power and other essentials throughout the year.
  • Consider the resale value of the property. It is a wise decision to make an investment in a developing or developed area so as to ensure maximum resale value.

Be sure to check these points before you make what is probably the most important investment for your life. It is advisable to be proactive and do your own set of research apart from the above mentioned points.

POINTS TO REMEMBER WHILE APPLYING FOR HOME LOANS

Home loans, which are supposed to help you, sometimes turn into a tedious job. These points will keep you prepared to face the process with confidence, thereby making it easy and stress-free.

  • Start saving for a down payment. Establishing a monthly budget will help you put away enough money for your down payment.
  • Check your credit score. Having a good credit score puts you in a position to attract the best deal on your home loan. So it’s a good idea to obtain a copy of your credit report before starting the home buying process.
  • Get your financial documents in order. When you apply for a mortgage, you will need to provide your lender with a number of financial documents. Having these documents already assembled will help accelerate the processing of your loan application.
  • Utilize a mortgage calculator. Mortgage calculators are great tools for helping you understand how much you can afford. They are very easy to use and can show you how much your monthly mortgage payment would be under different home price, down payment and interest rate scenarios.
  • Learn how to compare offers. It’s important to understand all of the components that go into determining the price of your mortgage, so you can accurately compare the offers being made.
  • Start tracking interest rates. Interest rates for mortgages change almost every day and it is helpful to know which way they are heading.
  • Get pre-qualified. Many real estate agents want you to be pre-qualified for a loan before they will start to work with you. Once you are pre-qualified, you will have a better sense of how much you can borrow and the price range of the homes you can afford.
  • Understand the various loan options. Every home buyer has their own unique financial situation and it’s important to understand which type of loan best suits your needs.
  • Be prompt in responding to your lender. It is important to respond promptly to any requests for additional information from your lender and to return your paperwork as quickly as possible. Waiting too long to respond could cause a delay in closing your loan, which could create a problem with the home you want to buy.
  • Don’t mess up your credit during the loan processing. Be careful not to do anything that would bring down your credit score while your loan is being processed. So, pay all of your bills on time, don’t apply for any new credit cards, and don’t take out any new car loans until your home loan has closed.

These points will help you get an idea about home loans and what you must or must not do. If you take all the necessary steps, obtaining a home loan will be a smooth process.

IDEAS TO DECORATE YOUR KID’S ROOM

Thinking of ways to decorate your kid’s room? Here are few ideas to decorate the room as well as keep your kid active and entertained.

  • Chalkboard paint makes a fun, interactive backdrop for any bedroom.
  • Create a warm place for your shared reading time: a bookcase stocked with favorites, good lighting, and cuddle-worthy seating.
  • String a wire from wall to wall for a smart, inexpensive way to showcase your child’s beautiful drawings.
  • Use a whiteboard sunmica on cupboard doors so that they can draw and write to their heart’s content without you being worried.
  • Stick adhesive glow-in-the-dark stars and moon on the ceiling wall. This will be an interesting visual to watch as your kids fall asleep.
  • Paste or stick posters of their favourite cartoon characters. This will get them excited and keep them on their toes.
  • Try and use a common colour for everything in the room. The most basic colour theme is blue for boys and pink for girls.

Use the above tips to pep-up your kid’s room and watch as their excitement levels rise.

10 WAYS TO SAVE ENERGY AT HOME

  1. Change or clean your AC’s air filters at least once a month to keep your system running at peak performance.
  2. Replace standard bulbs with CFLs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are more energy-efficient than regular bulbs, while giving off the same amount of light.
  3. Use microwaves and toaster ovens to cook or warm leftovers. You’ll use less energy than cooking with a conventional oven.
  4. Dust your fridge the next time you dust your house. Check the coils behind the refrigerator — and use coil vacuums or dusters to clean it off and keep costs down.
  5. Use copper-bottomed pots and pans that use heat more efficiently when cooking on the stove.
  6. Always wash with cold water, laundry detergent works just as well, and you’ll save 40 cents per load.
  7. Reduce the strain on your AC by applying reflective coating. This will help you save by decreasing the amount of heat coming into your home.
  8. Set your refrigerator temperature between 30 and 42°F. Use the power-save switch if you have one.
  9. Turn off your oven or burners when food is almost ready and let existing heat finish the cooking for you.
  10. Match your pot size to the burner on your stove. Heat is lost when small pots are used on large burners.

These tips will help you save energy, ultimately reducing your expenses.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT PAINT COLOUR

Colour plays a huge role in influencing our mood. Hence, choosing the right colour for the room becomes very important. At the same time, it can also be a humungous task to confront. We have here for you a set of guidelines which will make this seemingly huge task of choosing the right colour for your room an easy task.

  1. An important thing to consider while choosing paint colours is the mood of that particular room. For example, a bedroom will necessarily have a very relaxing and warm mood. So, the use of cool and neutral colours will enhance the feeling of intimacy. In the dining area, contrasting colours, blue-greens and neutrals will add to the cordial atmosphere. The kids’ room can be made to look energetic and active by using bright hues.
  2. Also consider the lighting in the particular room. The placement of the window, the number of windows in the room and other lighting factors have to be taken into account before deciding on the colour of the paint for that room. It would be useful to note that natural daylight shows the colours in their truest shade, incandescent lighting enhances the warm and yellow tones and fluorescent lights cast a sharp blue tone.
  3. Don’t hesitate to try out colors on a larger surface of wall. Try deep, vivid colours, or neutrals like chocolate brown or olive green as the main colours. Tinted ceiling adds a very dramatic effect to the room.
  4. Transform flat, dull walls into interesting and personal spaces with subtle or dramatic visual texture and broken color. Burnished mineral/metal finishes and layered colored glazes add depth.
  5. While considering colours, view each wall in comparison to adjacent walls and how they interact. Make sure the colours in the various rooms complement each other so as to complete the feel of home.
  6. Try and create bold or subtle variations within one color group with contrasting paint finishes. Use closely related colors, or try a single color in different finishes, for walls and trim in one space.

By following the above tips, you can easily decide upon the colour for each room. Your rooms will then understand you and converse with you like a friend.

ASSOCIATIONS IN APARTMENTS

With more people moving into the cities from different parts of the country, each city is expanding. More and more apartments are coming up in every city to cater to the demand for more homes.

The features and amenities that these apartments have, in turn requires a formal body to manage these common resources. Various amenities like electricity, water, lifts, general maintenance, security, garden etc. should be taken care in an organized way. The formation and proper functioning of associations plays an integral part in maintaining all the resources.

Apartment associations also get involved in various activities like culturals, seminars etc. They are highly beneficial in tackling common issues pertaining to security, waste management, power and water. Transparency is the key to a well-functioning association. The platform should allow all the members of the society to view and share all the information at any place.

NATURAL LIGHTING

Daylight is a variable, often unpredictable, light source that depends on solar position and sky conditions. There are many benefits to having more natural light in your home. The most obvious of these are the savings you can achieve by saving energy, and thus lower your electricity bill.

 

Daylight also brings out the beauty of fabrics and furniture and gives an instant boost to your mood and your immune system. Continue reading NATURAL LIGHTING