You may be ready to take that exciting step of buying a home – but where do you begin?
There are many steps to buy a house, from looking at an overall budget to scrutinizing the state of appliances.
Here are some questions to ask to get you started.
What’s my budget?
This is most important, as this will give you an idea of what you can afford and will help narrow down your home search.
Look at your debt-to-income ratio, consider property taxes, homeowners insurance, utility costs, and any maintenance you may want to do depends upon the home you’re interested in.
What have other houses in the neighborhood sold for?
Take a look at local, recent listings to see how the price of the home you want to buy stacks up. Is your seller’s price way too high, or right on target? If you are working with a realtor, ask them to provide you with a report of recently sold properties in the area.
Why is the seller leaving?
Knowing this answer can help when it comes to negotiating. Perhaps the seller is moving because of a job relocation or they are choosing to downsize.
Knowing this will help determine how flexible they may be when it comes to the price point. Someone needing to move quickly is more likely to negotiate with you than someone who is in no rush to go.
What’s included in the sale?
What appliances and fixtures will still be there once the house is turned over to you? Do you adore the kitchen cabinets, want to relax in the spacious tub in the bathroom? Be sure you have a list of what comes with the home.
Additionally, ask if there is anything you have not seen within the home that still comes with it.
What condition is the roof in?
How old are the appliances?
Again, these pieces of the home are essential and costly, and you don’t want to walk into a set of appliances that are way past their expiration date.
Look at the state of the air conditioner, furnace, water heater, washer, dryer, and stove to determine if any may need replacing.
What’s the neighborhood like?
You can buy the most stunning home at a great price, but if your neighborhood is troublesome it can ruin the whole experience.
When visiting a home, take a walk around the block (or two). Perhaps you’ll see a potential neighbor and can chat with them.
No matter what, you’ll get a feel for what the area is like. Is it noisy or quiet? Or, are there lots of pets around, homes with children? Are there businesses near or establishments like schools?
Knowing the lay of the land before purchasing can curtail major headaches.
When is The Best Time To Renovate Your House in New Orleans?
If you are planning on renovating your house, there are going to be certain times of the year that you could do it, and planning for your renovations would have to be the best course of action so that you could be prepared. Working with a New Orleans home renovation company would help you with all your home renovation needs. So, when is the best time to renovate your home in New Orleans?
What is the best month to renovate a house in New Orleans?
If you are planning on renovating your home but you do not know when you could renovate it there are a few things that you have to know in choosing a date. Though it is so much easier to renovate during the summer time, it is much more cost-efficient to do that during the winter time.
- Decks and Patios
It is best that you start building your deck or your patio before summertime so that you would be able to enjoy it during that time. Start planning and consulting with a contractor during off-seasons so that it would be built in spring, and you would be able to use it during summer.
Before summer comes, it is better that you handle and add some insulation into your home so that you would be able to control the temperature in your home.
It is so much easier to book a contractor for installing new windows during the spring because summertime is usually the time when a lot of people book them. Aside from that, springtime has cooler temperatures, so the temperature would be more bearable.
The labor cost would be much less during the summertime, so it is best that you have your fireplace fixed or updated during this time. This is so that you already have a fireplace to cozy up to during wintertime.
It is better that you get your furnace repaired during the hot summer days before the cold weather comes in. This would allow you to be able to contact a contractor available to tackle all of your furnace problems.
During the fall season, there are a ton of holidays that would give you plenty of deals for appliances like Labor Day and Black Friday. This would also be the time that a lot of retailers are selling a lot of their older models at a discounted time because they are making space for the new appliances so you would be able to save money when you are planning on updating your appliances.
- Air conditioning
Since this is the time when you might not be using your air conditioning as much, then it is the best time of the year to get it replaced or to buy a new one. This is to make sure that this is ready for the next year.
The landscaping services are at their peak during the fall because the temperature is just right, you would have moist soil that would be amazing for planting, and help prepare everything ready for the wintertime.
- Exterior painting
When you are painting the exterior of your home, it is best done during the fall because it is not the rainy season, but it is also not too moist, and you get to work at a much cooler temperature.
- Attics and basements
Finishing your casement and your attics would be best done during the fall season because it would not be frigid or sweltering. During this time of the year, the cost of the building materials would also be lower, so it is easier to buy all of the materials you need.
If the air is humid the wooden floors could expand, but when it is dry, they could contract. That is why it is best to do this during the fall season because fall is the perfect balance between the two.
During this time of the year, it is best that you start planning renovations on your decks or any other outdoor services so that you could get all of the much-needed projects done during the spring, and then you would be able to use them for the summertime.
When you are planning on traveling during the wintertime, then you could start with your room remodels during this time so that when you come back, all of your rooms are ready for the summertime. During this time, the materials used for building are also less expensive because they are lower in demand.
It is so much easier to work when the ground is frozen and the air is dry.
- Interior painting
The air in the house tends to be less humid during the winter time, which is why it is best that you paint the interior of your home during the winter season because the paint on the walls would be able to dry evenly.
What is the correct order to renovate a house?
- Plan for all of the different permissions that you need for the renovations.
- Plan the design that you want to have, and then contact builders and architects for your projects.
- Make sure you have the right budget for the projects and make sure you have all of the finances figured out.
- Schedule the projects.
- Let the work begin.
Getting your house renovated could take a lot of time to finish. Different seasons bring in different temperatures and climates, so you have to plan everything beforehand to make it easier for not only you but the contractor as well. Renovate your house in NOLA today!
Things to Consider When Redesigning Your Kitchen
When I am hired to redesign a kitchen, the jobs usually fall into one of two types. The first step is to update the surfaces and finishes in the kitchen. The second option is a full kitchen redesign, which includes cabinets, copper tops, and appliances.
Whatever category your project fits into, there are certain common characteristics to consider.
It’s always a little intimidating for me to embark on a major redesign since I have so many design ideas floating around in my brain. But having gone through a major kitchen redesign before really helps since I learned a lot along the way. Today I’m presenting the kitchen makeover ideas from our prior kitchen remodel that I enjoyed and hope to use again! I hope it’s useful to anyone contemplating a major kitchen redesign or even just a few minor kitchen changes in the future.
Your budget will influence which possibilities are accessible to you. Shop cautiously, decide on the characteristics that are crucial to you, and then prioritize them. Then use this as a guide to help you manage your money.
If you can’t get what you want at a reasonable price, consider substituting pricey materials with a less expensive option. Painted cabinets, for example, are less costly than exotic woods. If personalized granite is out of your price range, you can substitute prefabricated granite countertops or granite tiles for custom-cut slabs.
These might be one of your more expensive components. Consider the following to get the desired look:
Collect photographs of kitchens, you like from publications or internet platforms; this can help you determine which style and finishes you like.
Include a combination of solid cabinet doors, glass doors, and open shelves to provide interest. If you prefer not to expose the contents of your cabinet, textured glass or transparent glass panels may be more to your liking.
Hang cabinets at various heights to add diversity and interest. The addition of a kitchen island in a different design and finish than the perimeter cabinets suggests that the kitchen has grown.
Consider painting the upper cabinets one color and the bottom cabinets another. Add turned pieces and brackets beneath top cabinets and “legs” tucked under bottom cabinet toe kicks to give the illusion of furniture.
There are several countertop materials to pick from: Granite and quartz are long-lasting and can endure anything from hot stoves to cutting, but they are pricey. Quartz does not require sealing on a regular basis, but granite does.
Marble and limestone are stunning, but they are porous, leaving them susceptible to stains and spills. They must be sealed on a regular basis, which might be inconvenient. Darker hues will assist to conceal certain stains.
Stainless steel is very unbreakable and sanitary, but if abused, it can seem cold and sterile.
Wood countertops, on the other hand, provide warmth to a kitchen. Check that they are properly sealed. I recommend using a sealer intended for maritime use.
Although laminate counters provide a wide range of options, they are not as long-lasting or sturdy as solid surfaces or stone. They are, nevertheless, a cost-effective solution. Some laminates are designed to seem like granite, marble, limestone, or quartz.
Lighting can make or ruin a room. Lighting, when placed correctly, can make your cabinets shine and your stainless appliances gleam. Track lighting should take the place of that unsightly single central light fixture. Make sure it has five or six lights so that you can cast light around the space.
Consider recessed lighting if it is within your budget. The counter below and the interior of your cabinets will be illuminated if the lights are placed 12 inches from the cabinets and centered on the doors. Under-mount cabinet lighting for your perimeter cabinets adds atmosphere and might be useful when working in the kitchen.
Pendant lights are a terrific way to bring color and flair to your kitchen and may be placed over islands and sinks. Small lights put in your cabinet toe kicks can provide an intriguing glow to your kitchen while also serving as nightlights.
Remember to include dimmers in your lights so that you may change the ambiance and focal points of your kitchen as needed.
You may easily spend a small sum on appliances. Before you begin your kitchen design, go to an appliance store and look at what is available and how much it costs.
Many useful features are available at even relatively low prices, so prioritize what is crucial to you. Before constructing the kitchen layout, you must determine what size appliances you will include.
The final word
For a good end, careful planning and attention to detail are required. Wall coverings, accessories, and hardware may all be simply updated to reflect current trends. Choose cabinets, appliances, and countertops with care because you will be living with them for a long time.
Telltale Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Throw Pillows
Purchasing throw pillows is undeniably one of the best decisions you can make when you want to give your living room or space a makeover. These decorative pieces of home décor add visual interest to your couch or loveseat in ways you can never imagine. Furthermore, they help make a statement in the room without putting a strain on your pocket.
But no matter the quality of shaped throw pillows you buy, there will come a time when you have to replace them. Unfortunately, many people are not ready to lose their favorite pillows for reasons best known to them. Although they might be comfortable, throw pillows that have lost their form will interfere with the look and feel of your space.
Rather than waiting until this happens, consider investing in new throw pillows. So, how do you know when to throw in the towel and get new ones?
- Feel Flat or Hard
When your throw pillows feel flat or hard, it might signal you are ready for a new one. You ought to keep in mind that this depends on decorative pillows material. For synthetic pillows, look for clumps as it may indicate the loftiness and conformance is slowly breaking down.
Even though this is normal in traditional synthetic pillows, things are different with modern ones. Remember, the life expectancy of decorative pillows depends on materials and quality. No wonder it should be among the most important considerations before buying decorative pillows for your home.
- Pillow-Related Allergies
Old throw pillows will always accumulate allergens like fungus, dust mites, and pet dander. Although you might prioritize regular cleaning of the decorative pillows, chances are you might develop allergic reactions when them. In most cases, getting close to the throw pillow can leave you with itchy skin, a stuffy nose, or even irritated eyes.
Replacing your throw pillows may help prevent pillow-related allergies that can turn your life into a living nightmare. The good news is there are many affordable decorative pillow options on the market. For this reason, you should never allow low finances to be the sole reason for contending with worn-out throw pillows.
- New Décor Style
Sometimes you don’t have to wait for your throw pillows to reach their lifespan before buying new ones. After all, you might want to inject a different style into your living room. When this time comes, it is in your best interest to visit the store and get new throw pillows to elevate the look and feel of your space.
Fortunately, you can now take advantage of custom throw pillows to design the space as per your taste and preference. All it takes is for you to find the best place to buy custom-made throw pillows and tell them about your demands. They will design the throw pillows in line with your demands while guaranteeing good quality. That is what you need to style throw pillows like a pro with ease.
The Bottom Line
These are some telltale signs it might be the ideal time to replace your throw pillows and give your space a new look. Once you get new throw pillows, ensure you read the label to determine how to care for them properly. After all, you want to get the most out of your decorative pillows and give your space a welcoming feel.
Ensure you watch out for the above and other signs before you finally decide to replace your throw pillows. The earlier you make this decision, the better your living room will look.
How to Begin With a Whole-House Remodel
Remodeling your entire house is a difficult process. If you want to remodel your entire house but don’t know where to begin, follow the instructions below.
To say the least, home renovation is intimidating. There’s a lot to keep track of when remodeling every area in your house, between the time it takes out of your daily routine, the expense, and picking what to renovate first — not to mention the coordination required with interior designers, contractors, and other specialists. However, with good planning and preparation, your entire job may be completed successfully. Here I have listed some tests in order to assist you to start the process. They will provide you with peace of mind and help you avoid making costly blunders in the future.
This subject also applies to room or partial home remodels. The only thing left to do is determine which rooms you wish to refurbish. This post is for you if you’re looking to improve your house. Let’s start with the measures you’ll need to follow to get your remodeling started.
Determine what you can do yourself and what you will need to hire a contractor to do.
Most individuals cannot afford to rebuild their entire homes at once. They want to save as much money as possible as well. If this describes you, you should first determine which aspects of the makeover you can accomplish yourself and which require the services of a contractor.
Amateurs may complete tasks like painting your dining room, installing baseboards, small-scale demolition (such as removing a counter or a set of cabinets), and even laying flooring. However, the installation of doors and windows, as well as significant demolition projects, may be more problematic. While professionals might even come up with ideas, like installing Bar Carts in your house. An idea that you might have never thought of.
And if you’re not sure whether it’s something you want to do, go to YouTube and view a couple of videos of individuals performing what you’re thinking of doing. You might be shocked at how much courage this can provide.
There are two other options.
You might employ contractors to do your house remodeling if you have the money. If you don’t have time to do the job yourself, this is an excellent option.
The final alternative is to do the complete house makeover on your own. This is doable if you have the time and are eager to master new skills. YouTube is a fantastic resource for hundreds of DIY projects such as renovating bathrooms and bedrooms, demolishing a wall, installing worktops, and much more. You might also ask your friends and relatives; some of them may have recently completed a redesign and may have some useful advice for you!
The very first step in upgrading a home?
When it comes to home remodeling, there are just too many details to keep track of – far too many to count.
I’m not referring to jotting down a few phrases about the rooms you want to renovate and the contractors you want to contact. Instead, we’re looking at something far broader here.
What is your financial situation?
When deciding on a budget, there are several factors to consider, including contractors, paint, flooring/carpet, cabinets, countertops, and much more – as well as the tools and equipment required to install each of these items.
You’ll also need to assess how long each task will take. This is why it is critical to hire a skilled, efficient contractor. A contractor may complete the same operation in half the time of another, possibly saving you thousands of dollars.
Obtain the necessary permits.
Some home improvement tasks need the acquisition of a permit. The most frequent house upgrades that need a permit include structural alterations, footprint adjustments, new windows, and plumbing or electrical modifications. Smaller tasks, such as changing flooring and painting, do not need a permit. Check out this post for a comprehensive list of upgrades that do and do not require a permit.
Calling their local city hall and describing how you’re doing + asking for the approvals you’ll have was a smart step to begin. They may ‘ve checked with your town or city for authorization.
Look into builder’s risk insurance.
You may wish to seek builder’s risk insurance for major building projects, particularly to cover property damage due to natural catastrophes, theft, and vandalism. And, first, check your homeowner’s policy to see what it covers, and then decide if you require any more coverage.
Make a schedule and stick to it.
Creating a timeline is the greatest method to alleviate stress throughout the renovation project. Home renovation might take years if you don’t have one.
You may run out of time and never have the opportunity to complete the assignment. Alternatively, you may be waiting for a contractor to follow up with you for several weeks, preventing the makeover from moving further.
Making a timetable might assist you in moving this process ahead. Any design you’ve devised may be presented to your contractor as well; if it’s not feasible, you can work out a new one with them. If it is, they will try their utmost to meet your deadline.
This way, even if you have several setbacks, you’ll still have a strategy in place to complete your home renovation.
Purchase a range hood for your kitchen.
Invest in a stunning stainless steel range hood to complete your kitchen renovation. You have various kitchen design possibilities. A wall range hood installs on the wall, whereas an under cabinet range hood goes under your cabinets. You may also purchase a range hood insert for your custom hood. Finally, if you’re remodeling the kitchen, think about installing a copper range hood. Find the finest range hood for your kitchen on the table below.
Is it less expensive to refurbish or build a new home?
This is determined by the scope of your renovation as well as the nature and location of your new home. Consider upgrading your present house if you only want to renovate a few rooms, change some flooring, or paint a few walls.
However, if your home has a foundation, sewer, electrical, or plumbing issues, those fees can soon build up. When you combine them with a full kitchen and bathroom remodel, paint, siding, roof, windows, and flooring, a new house doesn’t seem like such a horrible idea anymore, does it? However, this will be strongly influenced by where you reside. Housing costs vary by city; acquiring a home in rural Utah will be far less expensive than purchasing a home in Miami, Florida
The Difference Between Reactive, Preventive, and Predictive Maintenance
Asset maintenance is the inescapable part of any factory floor. In 2020, nearly 47% of factories in the US spent between 21% to 40% of their operating budget on maintaining their equipment.
That is quite the money sink.
This is specially made more egregious by the fact that US companies use almost $40 billion in outdated equipment, which is believed to be the leading cause of unplanned downtime.
With that said, it is then no wonder that maintenance is such a hot topic, especially when it comes to the costs, efficiency, and downtimes related to it.
In this article, we’re going to address those questions precisely. In the text below, you’ll find the analysis of the benefits of the three most frequently-used maintenance types, as well as their drawbacks.
Reactive Maintenance – What is It?
Reactive maintenance, also known as corrective maintenance, is the most basic type of upkeep of equipment. It centers around performing corrective work on assets that have already broken down, fixing them, and bringing them up to speed.
The biggest advantage of this kind of maintenance lies in its relatively low operational cost. Considering the machine is fixed only once it breaks down, you only need to pay once, and you only need to suffer downtime once.
However, this is also corrective maintenance’s greatest weakness. See, the idea of fixing machines only once they break hinges on keeping the asset running for as long as possible and generating as much production from it as possible.
Once the machine breaks, however, now you’re faced with unplanned downtime and costs that could easily exceed the revenue generated by the machine, which, in turn, has a majorly negative impact on that asset’s overall ROI.
Be that as it may, reactive maintenance is still essential. The truth of the matter is, that machines break down, sometimes unexpectedly, either due to insufficient maintenance, unskilled labor, or poor design in the first place. When that happens, you will have to shut down production for a while as you address the issue.
Preventive Maintenance – A Step Up?
Naturally, most companies will work hard on properly performing upkeep on their assets to keep them running for longer and to prevent unnecessary downtimes and the costs tied to it. This is why most businesses turn to preventive maintenance.
Preventive maintenance is a set of practices centered around performing regular, periodical maintenance of machines and assets within the factory.
As such, preventive maintenance already trumps reactive maintenance by eliminating unexpected downtimes. Needless to say, you still have to halt production to perform the said maintenance, but predicted downtime is much easier to work with and around than your assets suddenly breaking.
Basically, the goal of preventive maintenance is the preservation of assets in the long run. This is also why such upkeep has a very high ROI, reaching up to 545%, whereas corrective upkeep might even plunge you in the red.
That said, in order to reach that ROI, you also have to sink quite a bit of money and man-hours into it to be effective.
You see, the core of preventive maintenance is regular maintenance. This means that your machines will have to be inspected at certain predetermined intervals, and parts will be swapped out regardless of whether they’ve run their course or are still usable.
This also means that you have to have skilled staff on hand to perform all the necessary diagnostics and part replacement. All this drives up the cost while also increasing downtime due to the necessary taking assets off the production line to have them checked out.
In the end, though, regularly diagnosing and replacing parts still has much higher benefits than running your assets into the ground, then replacing them. As we said, preventive maintenance extends the life of your assets and keeps them running for longer, thus generating higher ROI despite increased planned downtimes.
Predictive Maintenance – The Ultimate Solution?
Predictive maintenance, as its name suggests, centers around predicting failure points and reacting to them before they occur.
As such, predictive maintenance encompasses the advantages of both of the previous types of upkeep in order to create the ultimate maintenance model for your business.
Ultimately, PdM seeks to:
Reduce maintenance costs
Reduce planned and unplanned downtimes
Increase the efficiency of maintenance
Increase asset life span
Increase the overall efficiency of the production line
By not having to devote man-hours and funds to a regular diagnostic cycle, you’re freeing up your staff to do other important things while also having more money at the end of the day to invest in other assets.
Also, because you’re still, technically, performing prescriptive maintenance by predicting failures and addressing them before they happen, you’re still not experiencing the dreaded unplanned downtime or having to replace your assets completely.
So, how does PdM do it?
The core of this methodology is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). IIoT is the concept, developed from IoT (Internet of Things), of having “smart” machines and assets that “talk” to each other and their users and are all integrated into one overarching network.
Twenty, or even ten years ago, this was but a concept. However, with the recent advances in AI technology and machine learning, this concept has slowly become a reality. Now, machines can be connected and can be made to communicate, and they do it via sensors.
These sensors are at the heart of IIoT. They enable the gathering of various types of data that are then transferred over the network into a computer mainframe that analyzes this data, thus, effectively performing diagnostics in real-time.
This data can then be used to, well, make predictions about the possible failures of your machinery. If a parameter is out of predefined bounds, this points to a possible problem, and you can react to it before any major damage occurs.
However, this also has another advantage that the two previous models don’t have – the ability to detect the source of the problem.
You see, with reactive maintenance, you’re just fixing a machine that’s already broken, and with PtM you’re performing regular maintenance of parts. However, both of these models only aim to alleviate the problem, not eliminate it altogether.
Due to the abundance of sensors all communicating with each other and the amount of data they produce, you are able to pinpoint the exact problem in your production line that’s reflecting on certain asset(s) down the line. And, once you address that problem, you’re eliminating all others connected to it.
From all this, it would seem that PdM is the way of the future and is the only maintenance model worth considering. But, in truth, predictive maintenance still has enough kinks in its process that put companies off.
For starters, this is by far the costliest and most complex model to implement. In order to fully appreciate predictive maintenance, you would either have to build your factories from the ground up with PdM in mind or figure out a way to introduce it into your already established infrastructure.
On top of that, you also need specialized, highly-trained help. This help is still hard to find and relatively expensive to hire, which drives the overall costs of implementation further up.
Finally, you have to have specialized software to analyze the specific data tied to your industry or to even your production process. Metal industry software is going to differ from software required for running an automobile plant and so on. You’ll often have to have custom software made by outside experts, which all cost money and time.
In the end, while predictive maintenance seems like a clear winner due to all the benefits it brings, the implementation methods of the concept are still young. However, PdM is truly the way of the future, and, in the coming years, we are very likely to see this concept crop up within an increasing number of companies across the world.
That said, this does not make the other two methods completely obsolete. Reactive maintenance is still the cornerstone of maintenance in general, and the high ROI of PtM, as well as its commonality, still proves to be undeniably attractive to businesses that don’t have the means to create the infrastructure for predictive maintenance.
Rick Seidl is a digital marketing specialist with a bachelor’s degree in Digital Media and Communications, based in Portland, Oregon. He carries a burning passion for digital marketing, social media, small business development, and establishing its presence in a digital world, and is currently quenching his thirst through writing about digital marketing and business strategies for House and Courtyard.
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