Category Archives: Living

3 Classic Roof Styles for Your Home

One of the best ways to make your home unique is to choose a roof that fits your aesthetics. Here are three classic roof styles for your home.

1. Gables

Gable roofs are a traditional and very popular roof style. It’s an efficient and cost-effective style, with two sloping sides facing the front and back of a house, creating a triangular silhouette. You’ll usually see gables on Georgian, Colonial, and Cape Cod-style homes. Since gable roofs are very simple in shape and construction, a company like IKO Roofing can usually make any kind of shingle work well with them. The most common shingles used are slate, asphalt, or wood.

2. Saltbox

Saltbox roofs are quite common in the northeastern US. This type of roof creates a dramatic asymmetric angle to give your home an interesting silhouette. It is typically seen on Colonial Revival and Cape Cod-style homes. This roof style is ideal for areas with heavy snowfall, as its construction is more durable than other styles. It allows for additional storage or living space, though the rooms directly under the roof will likely have sloped ceilings. You can use any roofing material to construct and shingle this roof style.

3. Gambrel

Gambrel roofs are quite similar to gable roofs, so it’s easy to work with a company like the IKO Roofing team to customize the design and choose the shingles you like best. The gambrel roof resembles the roof of a barn and usually tops homes built with Dutch Colonial or farmhouse styles in mind. If you want to include extra attic space or a loft in your home, a gambrel roof is perfect.

There are many different roofing styles to choose from, ranging from the sleek, modern butterfly roof to the asymmetric skillion style, and many ways to customize whichever style you choose, such as adding dormers or a dome.

Renovation Tips to Lower Bills

If you are planning a home renovation, or in the middle of one, then it’s a great time to make some money-saving improvements. Adding a room to your home, or renovating a space, can be expensive and stressful. But, you should take advantage of this time to make real updates to the efficiency of your home. Over time, these improvements will pay for themselves. They may even pay for those renovations.

Add Insulation

Old insulation breaks down and can shift out of place. This leads to drafty areas that require more energy to heat or cool. If you are taking down drywall or moving walls, it is the optimal time to refresh that old insulation. Some types, like spray foam insulation Maryland, can even be added to existing walls without completely opening them. Remember to insulate the attic as well as the basement; these areas make a big difference.

Create Zones

This is done with a zoned HVAC system. Zoned systems use one HVAC unit to regulate multiple zones of your home. This is more efficient because you can heat or cool only the section of the house that you are in at that time. If one zone is by the bedrooms, that zone would function more at night than during the day. Whereas the zone controlling common areas would operate during the day and much less at night. If installing a new HVAC system is not in the scope of your current renovation, then consider adding programmable thermostats. These allow you to set the temperature of your home at different levels throughout the day. At night, or when the house is not being used, energy can be saved.

Reduce Air Leakage

Air from outside is going to leak in and out of your home. In the winter, this leads to cold drafts. In the summer, leaks let the cool air escape from your home. Although all homes will have some leaks, you can reduce a lot of them with some time and a little cash. Install weather stripping around windows or add storm panels. Flexible weather stripping can be added to the bottom of your doors to keep out the drafts. There are also many types of foam gaskets available to place behind wall switches and outlets. Anyplace that you feel a draft, try to stop the air leak.

There are a lot of things to think about when renovating your home. Home efficiency should be high on that list. These types of upgrades are easier and sometimes cheaper to do when other renovations are taking place. Do not miss the opportunity to reduce your energy bill and make your renovations pay off.

Why Testing Pool Water Is Important

With all the fun of having a pool, it can be easy to forget about the maintenance, but testing your water is more important than you may realize. Here are some reasons why you should check your pool often.

Longevity

No one installs a swimming pool hoping that it will crack and corrode. Pools are investments in your home that should last for a long time, which is why proper care is so important. If certain elements get off balance, they can damage the plaster walls. For example, a deficiency in calcium may cause the water to extract calcium from the plaster, creating cracks and holes. Metal components, such as ladders, may also be subject to corrosion if pH levels get too high. Water testing Pittsburgh kits can be used to monitor chemical levels and avoid such damage.

Appearance

The right balance of chemicals is what keeps your water clear. Improper ratios can cause cloudiness and discoloration. Pools that look dirty are off-putting to swimmers and can be an eyesore in your yard. Regular maintenance can keep the water crystal clear, making it look like the relaxing oasis it is.

Cleanliness

Chlorine and other compounds keep bacteria and algae out of your water. Allowing these harmful pathogens to breed puts swimmers at risk of infection or illness. Contaminants such as sweat and urine are inevitable in pools, but the right amount of chlorine can work as a disinfectant, keeping the water clean and safe. The peace of mind from knowing your friends and family are safe is well worth the extra effort.

Comfort

Swimming in water with poor chemical levels can irritate skin, burn eyes and even create fumes that are dangerous to inhale. The right chemical ratios make lounging in the pool comfortable and relaxing, as it should be.

Odor

An overabundance of bacteria can create a musty and unpleasant smell. Conversely, too much cleaner can produce a strong, bleach-like odor. When the correct balance is achieved, all you should only be able to detect is a faint chlorine smell.

Monitoring the chemical makeup of your pool is easy to do with the help of home testing kits that can be purchased at nearly all pool stores. Water should be tested at home two to three times per week and professionally tested at least once a month. Regularly cleaning filters and skimming also help keep things nice and tidy so the chemicals can do their job.

Is Now a Good Time to Buy an Investment Property?

There is never a bad time to invest in real estate if you do your due diligence and find investments that make sense. However, periods of economic uncertainty can add additional risk to buying an investment property that many are not equipped to handle. Steven Taylor Taylor Equities is a landlord and real estate professional with years of experience in the Southern California housing market. Here is some advice for landlords who are wondering whether or not now is a smart time to buy.

There is never an inherently bad time to buy an investment property, but you should always be careful, especially in a recession. There is no telling if or when the local market will rebound and how long it will take for your investment to become profitable. Especially when it comes to a recession as volatile as the current circumstance the US is facing concerning COVID-19.

The demand for homes across the US declined dramatically in the spring of 2020 in the wake of the shutdowns across the country and yet bounced back to near normal levels in the summer. There is no telling whether a second wave of the virus will impact the housing market and how long that impact will last. Therefore, if you are planning on buying an investment property, it’s wise to plan for uncertainty. This means having cash reserves or liquid assets ready to neutralize any losses in the short-term cause by news related to the virus.

But, despite the uncertainty, US housing markets have not taken the major hit many economists we’re predicting. Housing prices are still appreciating, albeit at a slower pace than in the years prior. This means that the future is far from bleak for real estate in the US, however, investors should still expect some turbulence.

There are likely many motivated sellers out there who are ready to sell their homes and retire or move from a dense urban area to the suburbs. This presents a variety of opportunities for investors to snag properties at a discounted price in the hopes that they appreciate rapidly once the virus is more substantially contained.

Novice investors may be wise to wait until the dust settles to start investing unless you don’t mind the risk. But seasoned investors may find this to be the perfect time to scoop up an under-market property. It all depends on how comfortable you are with risk and whether the right deal comes your way.

Steven Taylor Taylor Equities is a seasoned real estate professional who has been in this business for a long time. While real estate is always a solid investment no matter what the market conditions, those looking to buy an investment property at the current moment proceed with caution and consider the potential downside.

Types of Life Insurance For Seniors

Most people often assume that Assurance Vie or life insurance for seniors is impossible to get. However, this is further from the truth as seniors aged 60 years and above can get life insurance as easily as everybody else. Obviously, this group of citizens requires more coverage as they are most at risk of adverse health issues. Life insurance in this case would give them some form of comfort knowing that they are covered in case of any eventuality.

Importance Of Life Insurance For Seniors

Although most seniors may have enough savings and resources to meet their needs during their senior life, there are situations where seniors lack the financial ability to take care of themselves. This may be worse for seniors with debts and dependents to take care of. For this reason, life insurance is important as it enables seniors to live a quality life and leave something behind for family and loved ones.

Types Of Insurance For Seniors

While seniors are not categorized into individual classes, some life insurance coverages have age limits. For instance, your local pharmacy may offer you a senior discount once you hit 55 years old. However, some institutions such as the Canadian Pension Plan may not offer some services to seniors unless they’re in their 60s. Luckily, most insurance providers determine eligibility based on specific ages rather than age groups. With this consideration, most agencies don’t provide term life coverage for seniors above 75 years. Such applicants will have to find providers with no age limit. Alternatively, they can purchase permanent coverage. Depending on individual health, seniors are also able to choose between insurance with a medical examination and non-medical insurance products.

The Best Policy For Seniors

There’s no specific life insurance policy that’s best for all seniors because each person has individual needs. Healthy seniors in their 60s can benefit from a fully underwritten term life insurance that they can convert to cover expenses during their old age. In some cases, the insurance funds may be used to take care of the family including children and grandchildren after the beneficiary passes on. in such cases, permanent insurance, such as whole life insurance is the best. However, whole life insurance can be very expensive since you’re covered for your entire lifetime and you may have access to its cash value component in which you can either withdraw funds or borrow against it. Comparatively, if you’re a senior in your 70s, with an underlying condition, you can best benefit from non-medical life insurance coverage as it can cover medical and funeral expenses after you pass on.

Finding the best life insurance for you can be a challenging task especially during your old age. However, reaching out to the right insurance agency is the first step towards ensuring you’re fully covered even in your old age. In addition, proper coverage as a senior will guarantee financial security to your family even after your death.

Ciao! Italian Furniture 101

Would you like to have classic works of art in your home? Pieces that are not only beautiful and timeless, but functional as well?

Italy’s art history inspires the craftsmanship of Italian furniture. From Baroque to Modern, Italian furniture still reflects the style of those eras to the present day. From intricately carved woods, beautifully crafted fabrics, and the use of metals and stone, make classic Italian furniture works of art.

A Brief History

The Italians discovered Greek designs found in Pompeii and Herculaneum’s ruins, which thereby inspired their earliest furniture pieces. The Romans developed a type of folding stool that commoners and government officials alike used. Round tables, designed with curved legs in the shape of animals, had widespread popularity across the realm.

After the fall of the Roman empire, furniture became utilitarian. Basic paneled doors on storage cabinets accompanied plain-featured tables and stools used in the kitchen, evidence in which paintings, sculptures, and manuscripts proved.

Medieval furniture was dark, heavy, and rough. However, the 14th century brought improvements to the manufacturing of furniture. Newly discovered joinery methods enabled more delicate woodworking and the creation of lighter weight pieces.

The Renaissance(rebirth) period brought about a significant transformation of Italian furniture, guided by architectural principles. The wealthy and powerful social class of the time created a demand for housing, thus requiring furniture. Pieces adorned with gilding (gold leaf) were popular, making the piece’s decoration more important than its intended use. Cabinets and paneling displayed colonnades. The fronts of cupboards resembled miniature churches or palaces. But the most significant expression of the Renaissance period manifested in the carving of furniture pieces. Cabinet makers from all over Europe came to Italy to learn from their fellow craftsmen. Because of this, European furniture styles became heavily influenced by Italian furniture designers of the day.

Present Day

Italy has become known for its fine furniture. It provides durability and stability and can fit into any home or lifestyle. Whether you prefer modern or traditional, there will always be a piece to suit your style and taste. Despite its chic, posh appearance, incomparable design, and quality build, Italian furniture is affordable.

If you want your home to reflect its beauty and good taste, consider the purchase of Italian furniture. It is a decision you will be glad you made.

Finding Italian Furniture

If you’re looking for authentic and high-quality Italian furniture, it’s important to first do some research on local retailers. Look for an Italian furniture Montreal retailer that offers a wide range of beautiful Italian furniture options.

4 Reasons Direct Mail Isn’t Dead

In a digital world, it may seem like direct mail is a thing of the past. Many marketers have focused their efforts on email and social media marketing. However, the data shows that direct mail is still effective. In fact, consumer response to direct mail is increasing. Here are 4 reasons direct mail deserves to be part of your marketing strategy.

1. It’s Tangible

Social media ads and emails are quickly scrolled past or deleted. Direct mail can stick around a customer’s home for days or even months. Placing a special offer on your piece will encourage people to save it in a location where they won’t forget about it.

2. It Commands Attention

No one wants to accidentally throw away an important piece of mail. This means that most recipients of your piece will at least scan it before throwing it away. As many as 80% of customers read each piece of real estate direct mail. Your marketing campaigns through email are unlikely to receive the same amount of undivided attention.

3. It’s Trackable

Social media marketing gathers a wealth of analytics. Many marketers rely on this information to gauge success or to adjust their campaigns when they aren’t meeting targets. Direct mail doesn’t have the same depth of data but still allows you to track response rates and return on investment. Use a unique phone number and website URL to track the response rates of each campaign.

4. It Reaches all Ages

Approximately 40% of seniors are smartphone owners. This means that a significant portion of your potential target market is unreachable through digital strategies. Mail reaches everyone, expanding your reach beyond social platforms, and email marketing.

Direct mail may be less common than before the internet, but its impact is still going strong today. If you haven’t considered a direct mail campaign before, hopefully, these 4 reasons have convinced you that it may be worth the effort.

Types of Real Estate Contracts Every Investor Should Know

To be a successful real estate investor, you should become a master of real estate contracts. These legal documents can seem confusing and overwhelming at first. It helps to understand the primary goal of any real estate contract is to protect your investment and limit your liability. Let’s increase your confidence with contracts by breaking down the most common types you’ll encounter.

Purchase Agreement

When learning how to invest in real estate, this will likely be the first type of contract you encounter. This contract is the sales agreement for real estate transactions. It will lay out the terms of sale between the buyer and seller. Purchase agreements change slightly based on the state of purchase or if a real estate agent is involved in the sale. However, a good purchase agreement will cover all the details of the property and the transaction, including any contingencies and which party is responsible for the various costs associated with selling the property.

Lease Agreement

Many real estate investors are looking to earn income through rental properties. If this is part of your investing strategy, you will need to become familiar with lease agreements. As the property owner or landlord, you will outline the terms of rental occupancy in a lease agreement. It should cover rent, security deposit, utilities, and any other expectations for the tenant.

Real Estate Assignment Contract

Slightly more complex than previously discussed contracts, a real estate assignment contract is used when wholesaling properties. This strategy is used when you find a distressed property that you plan to sell to a third party. It provides extra flexibility in your investment while allowing you to secure properties quickly.

You can simplify real estate contracts from their overwhelming state. Now that you have familiarized yourself with the most common types you’ll encounter, you are one step closer to investing mastery.

4 Ways To Add Unusual Decorations to Your Home

If you are one of those individuals that love to decorate your home with unusual and eclectic items, but you are not sure what to look for next, here are some fun ideas. You can easily improve the look of any room in your home with one or two modern and innovative pieces of decor. From lights to fill the darkness to curious wall hangings, these distinct items will keep your home’s visitors talking for days.

1. Glass Art

Check out sand art sculpture disks that are one-of-a-kind works of art if you want to mesmerize your guests. You can choose from ocean views, mountain vistas, or forest seclusions. You can also find glass cinema lightboxes that allow you to change messages anytime the mood strikes you.  Glass globes, flowers, and hearts are also creative ways to decorate your windows to let light scatter in fractals inside your home.

2. Mill Objects

For a mesmerizing and breathtaking work of art, look for an etched panel that uses chemical milling. The large surface areas can be scribed to make unique kitchen back-splashes, focus walls, or numerous other architectural and distinct applications. Smaller designs can be framed or set on desks to catch guest’s eyes and start them asking questions.

3. Wood Features

Wood shelves and tall corner ladders have become popular features over the past decade, but you can take it up a notch and find hand-carved headboards and tree-trunk wall units. Petrified wooden slices and rustic hewn chairs can also add to your home’s individualistic style. Do not forget to add an intricately carved soft-wood object or a barn-hung door to add personality to any room.

4. Light Pieces

From rope candles to tea troughs to prism lights, there is an endless variety of illumination pieces available from specialty stores and artistic shops. You can choose nightlights, main lamps, or decorative lights in a multitude of colors and hues that can brighten your home’s darkest corners. There are also candles that cleanse moods, spirit-focused multi-color diffusers, and salt or gem soul lamps.

When you choose unusual and personal items for your home décor, you can rest assured that your neighbors and friends will probably not have anything like the items. From the beautiful light to the groundbreaking gravity-defying glasswork, you can find objects that delight, comfort, and uplift you in ways few things can. Use the list above to get started on your search for unusual home decorations today.

Remember These Simple Steps Before Trying to Get Out of Mounting Debt

Though credit abounds in many financial sectors and the economy remains vibrant for those with plenty of expendable income, these systems can also lead to financial ruin among those trying to live beyond their means. Countless individuals become mired in debt and monthly expenses without having a full understanding of the circumstances leading to the situation. Fortunately, even the most desperate times can come to a quicker end by taking a few simple steps. The guidelines listed below will set anyone on the best path to financial freedom.

Determine Who Is On Your Side

There are likely multiple paths out of a debt spiral. Depending on a person’s history, current needs, and desired results, it might make sense to look into borrowing options. This will likely include shopping around to find a business capable of providing low interest loans Bordentown NJ or a similar community anywhere else in the country. Start with a search online for those companies with a great reputation for providing reliable cash for a reasonable rate.

Determine Where to Turn for Help

After finding the best immediate response to the pressing problem, it is important to start learning from the experience. Upon making strides to pay down outstanding debt, use the opportunity to reach out for guidance and advice. Some experts in the field offer financial advice that does not require big investments or a thorough understanding of the stock market. For those who just need some practical tips and tricks for establishing a budget that works, the right professional is out there waiting to provide that assistance.

Determine How to Avoid Future Problems

Armed with the knowledge gained throughout this ordeal, people struggling with debt can make sure they avoid similar pitfalls in the future. Unfortunately, there are real and systemic issues that prevent large segments of the population from easily reaching their financial goals. Nevertheless, anyone can make smarter choices that will allow them to make the most of whatever amount is in their bank account.

Paying bills and purchasing necessities can often result in mounting expenses that make any escape seem unattainable. With a resolute spirit and some appropriate advice along the way, however, the light at the end of the tunnel might be closer than it first appeared. If you or someone you know is struggling with bills and expenses, the guidelines presented above can make all the difference in the world.