Green Building – Sustainable Materials For Home Construction

There are prominent issues in the contemporary society especially those that tackle the massive impact of things in the environment. In the real estate industry, preferring technologies and systems that cater to the preservation of the environment is becoming a trend. One of the concerns prevalent today is on the use of sustainable materials for home construction.

There are innumerable criteria you can actually consider when talking about sustainable materials and how such items are qualified under this category.

One of the main properties that sustainable and green buildings must be eligible with is its less environment impact. Since such real property entities account for many effects on the use of land, water and energy consumption as well as the alteration in the air and the atmosphere, buildings must primarily reduce its consumption of natural resources which are slowly depleting and eliminated without chances of renewal.

Sustainable materials are the ones that are recycled and reused in order to build or renovate homes and buildings. This way, you are not contributing to the exhaustion of the natural resources in order to answer the demands for new materials and items to use for construction and renovation of your property. There are numerous industries in the world of real estate that cater to the notion of recycling and refurbishing materials instead of producing new ones for constructing new properties or improving old ones.

In general, bear in mind that the process of building construction is definitely producing a lot of wastes. Hence, the materials that are recycled and reused must have the ability to reincorporate whatever scraps or wastes are made and remixed or reused it for other building construction purposes.

Another important criterion to consider is to look into the sustainability features of the material and to know if it is truly sustainable from the very moment it was harvested or gained as a raw material up to the time of its eventual disposal.

The material must have very minimal impact to the environment especially in terms of the waste, emission, energy consumption and its capacity to replenish itself in order not to deplete the resources taken from nature due to its production. The energy consumption especially in terms of the harvesting process of the material, its actual processing and the transportation required are all considerable qualities to tag a material that is truly not hazardous to nature.

There are different types of resources which are not recyclable however are still considered sustainable because these primarily have the capacity to highly replenish. Examples of such materials are straw, hay, bamboo, cork, adobe and clay among others. They are tagged with this kind of quality because they can quickly replenish and renew their quantity after they have been harvested. These materials also have low or very minimal rates on emission and are highly deemed for energy conservation.

Hence, if you want to build an eco-friendly and healthier property, you must consider using all natural materials which are sustainable and renewable in nature in every corner and foundation of your home.

Build The Home of Your Dreams With a Construction Loan

With the current economy trend setting low real-estate prices, many assume that buying a used home is worth every dollar they fork out. Others engage in apartment loans, thinking of it as hitting two birds in one stone: having your own home while gaining some extra cash through rental income. While these are all very good strategies, some families opt to get a construction loan and build the home of their dreams.

Although it might sound difficult, building your dream home is possible, provided you understand how a construction loan works. Presently, the construction-to-permanent loan remains the most popular option. This loan encompasses full lot and construction coverage, and even converts to a mortgage the moment your dream house has been established. Once you’ve laid down the down payment, all you have to do is make interest-only payments at a fixed interest rate. And after the construction has finished, the loan will be transformed into either a 15-year or 30-year fixed rate mortgage.

Certain banks will dish out interest reserve accounts that allow you to make interest-free payments throughout the construction process. The bank will calculate the amount of interest-only payments and add the total amount to the overall loan. Funds will be deposited into a different account, which makes this ideal if you currently have pre-existing mortgage or rent payments on your plate. The licensed contractor you’ve hired will then mete out a ‘release schedule’ that details the monthly construction schedule with the necessary funding in tow.

Once you have determined that one of these new home construction loans suits your tastes, then there are five quick steps to set you off on the right track:

1. Know your Affordability Limits

You need to determine how much of the total loan you can afford by using an online loan calculator. Remember that you need at least 20% of down payment to avoid PMI payments.

2. Find Lenders

Compare the current loan rates from online lenders and local banks. Ask a reputable building contractor for past lenders they’ve worked with, and attain their contact information.

3. Attain Pre-Approval

Skim through the pre-approval process of each selected bank. Outline the closing costs and estimated tax rates. Ask for a copy of a pre-approval letter.

4. Find a Contractor

Settle on a reputable contractor that is licensed, insured and has experience in constructing new houses. Figure out a budget plan, building cost and architectural schematics to get your house project underway.

5. Select the Land Piece

Hire a reputable realtor to identify a suitable piece of land in line with your budget. Verify any attainable building permits from your local municipality, and make sure a septic and water system is readily available.

Once you have all these five steps pegged down, you’re all set to building that dream house of yours!

A Clean House is a Lucky House – 8 Tips For Creating a Clean – And Fortunate – Home

A clean house is more than just a luxury – it is a necessity. That’s right, a necessity. We need a clean house (office or desk) because of all it offers us: efficiency and relaxation. Efficiency, because a clean house means you can find what you need when you need it. It also means that you will spend less time worrying and frustrated over the mess in your house.

A clean house offers relaxation, because clean houses look better, smell better, and feel better – and that’s what makes you relax. A mess everywhere makes us tense. Even hidden messes worry us. What does it take to have a truly clean house? In a word, discipline. No one likes to hear that word anymore, but it’s true.

A clean house takes work, plain and simple. Ironically, the less a house is cleaned, the more work it takes. Yep, it’s true. If you don’t stay on top of your house, the house will be on top of you — with papers piling up and junk everywhere — not to mention dirt and grime.

Look around. Is your outer experience mirroring the inner experience? What is your house saying about you and your life? Now, how does your luck improve with a clean house? Think about all the “old” and “unsuccessful” energy that you have in your home.

If you’ve got dust bunnies the size of Great Danes, it’s time to get to work. Dirt and dust equal stagnant and stuck. Remember, a rut is just a grave that’s open at both ends. How to get out of your dirty rut? Good old fashioned elbow grease. Here’s a quick guide to cleaning your space to get you out of your dirty rut.

1. Go to the bathroom.

Why? Bathrooms that are dirty are germfests waiting to make you sick. Clean it up and you might just feel better or get through cold and flu season unscathed!

2. Take on the kitchen.

This is where you eat so it should be clean. Nothing attracts bugs faster than a filthy kitchen. Make it a goal to give your kitchen a two-hour once over. Spend two hours in there and really clean — the coils on the fridge, the oven, the floors, ceilings, windows – everything.

3. Head into the bedroom.

When you sleep, you are breathing in everything that’s in the room, i.e., pet dander, dust, mites from the bed, you name it. Make it a point to clean under the bed, vacuum the blinds and wash the curtains and bedspreads and blankets. Then vacuum, yes, vacuum, the mattress and flip. Ahhh….clean. It feels so nice.

4. Create a paper trail.

To the recycling center that is. Haven’t read that magazine? Then you’re not going to, so get rid of it. Conduct your own “paperectomy” and get rid of all that paper that’s just taking up space.

5. Concentrate in the corners.

This is where everything drifts to… the corner of the bedroom, the corners of the ceilings. Corners are a magnet for stacks of papers. On the ceiling, corners attract spider webs. Clear out every corner you have, including closet corners.

6. Go outside.

Rent a pressure washer and wash the house, sidewalks, patios, and driveways. Pressure washers are a house’s best friend. Think of it as an exfoliating scrub for your home. You will love your sparkling house.

7. Head to the top.

Clean off the tops of everything. This includes dressers, tables, counters, refrigerators — anything with a top. It also means dusting the tops of windows,door trim, and tops of baseboards. Dust just loves to hide on the tops of things.

8. Get steamed.

Once a year get your carpets and upholstery STEAM cleaned. Why steam? It’s hot and it’s water so it will clean REALLY well without hurting anything or leaving behind any kind of soapy residue. That’s right, soapy residue.

Many people get their carpets cleaned or use grocery-store carpet cleaner products only to find they need to do it again and again and again because the carpets get dirtier faster and faster and faster.

Hmmmm…. a conspiracy? No. Just soap that stays behind. And soap is sticky, right? Well, then, that’s where all the dirt is coming from: it’s getting stuck in all that soap that is left behind from those cleaners. And while you’re at it, throw away all your soap-based carpet cleaners.

Tips for Finding the Best New Home Construction Companies

When you are looking for construction companies to help you with your new home construction, you have many different options to choose from. You really owe it to yourself to take the time to check out all of the different companies and what they have to offer so that you can find the best builder possible. There are a lot of things to look for in your search, but here are some basic tips to help you find the best home builder for your needs.

– Always check out the reputation of the builder. There are so many different construction companies out there that you can work with and no two are created equally. You really need to get referrals, find out what previous clients thought, and learn about each company so that you know what they are capable of and how they can help you.

– Never choose a home builder based on price alone. While you do have to keep your budget in mind, choosing your builder just because of their price isn’t going to give you the best work. You have to check out their past work and their reputation to get the best professionals for the job.

– Check credentials. Home builders and construction companies are required to have licenses and permits and other types of training so that they can do what they do. Make sure that you hire someone who is properly trained and licensed to do the job.

– Look at the type of buildings that they construct versus the type of home that you have in mind. If a company specialises in contemporary homes, for example, and you want a traditional home, you might not have a good match. Most builders are flexible, but this is still something to keep in mind.

– Always ask for referrals when you can. Family, friends, neighbours, and anyone else that you run into will be a great help because they will be able to give firsthand recommendations of the best construction companies in your area or for your home building needs.

These are all important tips to keep in mind on your search for the best home builder. Since everyone has different needs, it will be up to you to add your specific needs into your decision and make the most of your search. Just keep these tips handy so that you get the right builder for the job the first time around.

Log Home Books for Building a Log Cabin Home Original

Are you looking for a log home book? Having one or more of the best log home books handy can be an important part of creating and building a dream log cabin home original. It takes knowledge to design and build a log cabin home original. A quality log home design book can help make your home become a reality.

Your log home design book should provide you with information required to make your dream happen. Another criteria should be that the book should be a best-seller that is written by an industry professional. Here are two of the best books covering log home design and building:

Log Construction Manual: The Ultimate Guide to Building Handcrafted Log Homes by Robert Wood Chambers.

This log home book is an important guide for those who are going to build this type of structure. It covers the design and construction process to help you get organized. The author provides information on shopping for kits, finding your land, estimating how much construction will cost, obtaining financing, choosing a builder and overseeing construction. Numerous checklists and forms are provided for your personal use.

This book may be the best log home book ever. The illustrations are great and the text is objective and factual. The approach by the author is presented as the best way he found to do a particular job. If he finds someone doing it a better way in the future, he will begin doing it that way in the future.

The author explains how to build a log cabin home original. From planning for settling to the proper chainsaw stance when cutting a lateral groove in a log, he tells you how to do it correctly. If your goal is to learn the most practical information in one log home book, this is the book to select. It is the best written instruction guide for creating a log cabin home original that you will find.

The author is a writer who can explain complex tasks in everyday English. Even if you have little experience in log cabin home original building, you really do have a chance to be able to try the techniques on wood correctly after reading this book. No matter if you are hiring someone to build your log cabin home original, this is an informative construction book to have.

The other informative log home book is titled Log Homes Made Easy: Contracting and Building Your Own Log Home by Jim Cooper.

Cooper explains that these buildings are products of modern engineering and building methods and their rustic nature requires a combination of knowledge plus experience to build correctly. He knows what he is writing about as he has been both a log home builder and dealer. And yes, he lives in one that he built himself.

The author gives practical information on the steps for starting, organizing and comparing price quotes, using the internet, selecting an architect, planning the site, the well and septic systems, choosing and overseeing subcontractors, scheduling and controlling project costs. This guide to building a log cabin home original covers kits, financing and construction. The author also explains the myths and realities of living in these homes.

It does not matter whether you will be doing none of the work, some of it or all of it. The how-to approach provided by these building guides are the best you will find. You absolutely want a log home book that is useful and practical.

Learn as much as you can before taking the plunge. Having a comfortable, attractive and functional log cabin home original that reflects your own style means you will have a very special place to enjoy for many years to come.

Copyright 2007 InfoSearch Publishing

Luxury Home Builder – How to Make the Right Choice

As a consumer who has decided to build their own modern and stylish home, you must be sure to choose the right luxury home builder. There are many questions that you should ask to ensure that you will receive the quality and precision that you desire as a homeowner. Never allow yourself to be rushed into any decisions regarding the house you hope to build. This is a key problem that affects many consumers when building their luxury homes. Keep in mind that this house will be your escape from the world – the place you enjoy both by yourself and with your friends and family. It should be exactly as you picture it. The time spent in the early stages of planning with the guidance of a developer is crucial to the end result.

When choosing a company or an individual, bear in mind that you and your opinion are what matters the most when making decisions about your house. Your developer is there to guide you and advise you in all aspects of turning your dream home into a reality, and to advise if the house you envision is possible in terms of physically building it, as well as budget and time wise. You must rely on their expertise and knowledge to ensure that the luxury home you build is safe and secure, meets all of your expectations and is possible within your budget and time constraints. The two of you must work alongside one another in order to make the right choices together.

The partnership between a builder and the consumer is much deeper than many would ever suspect. Your goal as a consumer is to have the dwelling you picture as the perfect place to live in for the rest of your life. Your developer’s goal is to ensure that you have just that, while taking into consideration your budget, your safety, and the future use of your residence. So, for this partnership to work for both parties, you both need to work toward the one same goal – producing your dream house.

A luxury residential developer is a key part of making your future home the perfect place you have always dreamed of. Many builders are also capable of not only of building your new place of residence, but of designing it as well. This is a huge benefit to those consumers who have no experience in designing a home on their own, as well as benefiting those consumers who have the ideas but not the knowledge to put them on paper. Choosing the right builders for the job is very important and worth the extra time and effort.

Build a Handcrafted Log Cabin For Under $50,000 – A Log Home Guide For the Do-it-Yourselfer

Do you dream of owning your own log home or cabin?

Living in a mountain retreat, lakeside resort, or country ranch lifestyle, is continuing to grow in popularity. Studies show that people who trade their urban lifestyle for a simpler, less stressful natural setting, where they can relax more often, are also living healthier lives, and actually live longer as a result!

In recent years many of us are embracing this lifestyle as never before. But… Many of today’s custom log cabin owners have become frustrated with the cost and length of time it takes to build their home. One would think that modern methods should reflect shorter construction times, but custom log homes today, on average, do take longer to build. This is due in part to some proven methods that cannot be improved upon, going back in history to European craftsmanship, skills, and techniques still used today in the effort required to properly build a quality custom home built to last. This approach requires patience from the homeowner, but can lend itself to a beautiful dream home, with high quality of craftsmanship.

This is the standard of quality that folks today expect, but it comes with a price. You can avoid the higher cost of building a custom log cabin by doing most of the work yourself. It is possible to build a 1200 to 1500 sq. ft. Log Cabin for under $50,000 (land not included)

The right approach requires thought, creativity, and an efficient, yet patient application of skills, but can be very rewarding due to the custom nature of a handcrafted home. Comparing a log construction time frame, with that of a Custom, stick-frame home, is misleading.

Log Homes of equal square footage will always take a bit longer to build on average. A log builder with a good crew should be able to properly dry-in an average size milled D-style home in less than three months, after the log package has been delivered to the building site. A “Hybrid” (Log Accents & Stick Frame Construction), should take a little less time to dry-in. A do-it-yourselfer building a handcrafted home will take 6 to 8 months on a part-time building schedule, but you will be continuously saving a ton of money.

After dry-in is completed, it could take from 3-5 months longer to finish or “turnkey” a milled style home or a “Hybrid”. These time frames could be even longer if you are building a handcrafted log home. The handcrafted cabin is the most time consuming style of construction, but is widely accepted as the “Ultimate” in a unique one of a kind log cabin. Weather, commute to the site, suppliers, building inspectors, or other factors can change this guideline. So… prepare yourself for this journey, and you will ultimately enjoy the rewarding experience of your own log home Lifestyle, with your own design and tastes, in the home you really want and can afford to enjoy.

How much does it cost to build a log home?

With this in mind… building a log cabin does not have to cost a fortune to become reality. If you choose to do most of the work yourself, you can probably build your home for as little as $45 per sq. ft. On the other hand, if you have all the work done by a builder, and purchase upscale fixtures and features, it could cost $250 per sq. ft. or more.

Although to suggest a certain price per square foot is only a guideline/starting point, I do think that an affordable custom log home without an owners participation can be built for around $110.00 – 150.00 per sq. ft… That is, if you don’t go hog wild!

Bear in mind that depending on where you are at, you will always realize a larger home equity when you are building it yourself from scratch!

Power Washing Tips for Home Siding and More

Routine care for any property, residential or commercial, is essential for the well-being of its structure, appeal, and value. Seasonal power washing is one highly effective and recommended method used by many property owners to extend the longevity of their home or building. If you have never washed your home’s siding, roofing, and foundations, it may be time to address these areas before they can begin to show signs of mold, mildew, fungus, pests, deterioration, and more.

Prime Spots to Pressure Wash

Various areas of a home or building should be pressure washed regularly in order to maintain its overall value, performance, and safety. Vinyl siding, roofing, gutters, and additional exterior components are all places that can benefit from periodic high pressure washes.

SIDING

Vinyl siding accumulates dirt at a higher pace compared to other siding materials like brick or stone. This means it is very evident when vinyl siding is dirty and unkempt. Residential properties commonly have vinyl siding, and if the surface of the vinyl is not routinely cleaned, the dirt will begin to show, and the house will appear older and more worn that it actually is. Not only does this look unappealing, it can create an unhealthy environment for residents, guests, pets, and more. This is especially detrimental to anyone attempting or preparing to sell their home.

Brick and stone collect dirt as well, but because of their rocky appearance, they hide dirt and debris a little better. This, however, doesn’t reduce the need for cleaning. Brick, stone, and concrete can atrophy over time from harsh weather, changing seasons, and sun exposure. To protect these areas of a building or home, you much routinely pressure wash them and look into protective applications as well.

ROOFS AND MORE

Rooftops, gutters, gables, windows, canopies, and awnings are also areas that can benefit from routine power washing. Gutters can become clogged with leaves, branches, and debris throughout the seasons, which can increase the chances of flooding, pest infestations, and roof leaks. Clearing them by hand can be tedious, so pressure washing is a great alternative for anyone who wants to get the job done efficiently.

When it comes to pressure washing a roof, roof shingles can be easily damaged, so it is a delicate job that requires some experience. If you do not have experience cleaning shingle roofs, it is best to consider hiring a professional. Fortunately, if you do end up damaging your roof shingles by pressure washing them, a professional roof repair company can easily replace missing or broken pieces within a quick timeframe and for a reasonable price.

DIY Power Washing

The proper tools that are required for a do-it-yourself power washing project are available at any local hardware or home improvement store. These devices can range in price depending on brand, model, and retailer, between $100 and $3000 or more. Equipment for pressure washing includes a hose, nozzle, gloves, plastic tarps, safety glasses, and power washing approved cleaning solutions. There needs to also be a power source nearby, such as an extension cord or outlet.

Using high pressure water for the first time can be difficult and dangerous. It can also be expensive if you do not already have the proper materials. Often times, it is less expensive to hire a professional rather than invest in all the proper tools and supplies, as well as the time. Power washing a home or building can be a DIY job if you are experienced with home renovations and familiar with the equipment required for the task.

However, if you have never attempted pressure cleaning before, it is highly advised to learn the necessary knowledge and skills so that you do not damage highly sensitive areas of your home, like the roof or siding. If your roofing, siding, or gutters are damaged by your attempts to power clean them, be sure to contact a professional roof repair contractor right away. It is important to address damages as soon as possible, before they can become worse and more costly to repair.

Discus Aquariums – Simple Tips to Build a Home For Your Discus Fish

Discus aquariums must be set up properly in advance of bringing your discus home. It is foolhardy to think that you will be able to buy the fish, and then setup the tank. In the long term, this is a failing and fish killing scenario. This article will explain what you can do today to prepare your aquarium for discus.

For filtration of discus aquariums, a cultured sponge filter will work well. If don’t want to wait for the filter to culture naturally, consider using one of the bacterial starter cultures. Either choice will work fine, the important thing is that there isn’t a lot of water flow, as calm water mimics the natural discus habitat.

Use a thin layer of fine gravel in the bottom of the tank. Bare bottom tanks also work fine, and are usually better for breeding.

I like to use driftwood, floating plants and clay flowerpots filled with gravel and other suitable plants. Remember that the water temperature in discus aquariums is 80 degrees F or more, so be sure to choose compatible plants. A fluorescent strip light with one warm and one cool white bulb will provide enough light for the plants.

For a quarantine or hospital tank, I do not use gravel or any plants. If this is your first adventure into discus aquariums, the initial tank should essentially be built as a quarantine tank. In this case, the tank should have nothing other than water, filter, heater, and light. The reason for such Spartan accommodations is that you need to be able to observe your discus closely at first. They may want to hide, but it’s better if you can see them clearly. Remember, you can always add the amenities later, after are sure your new fish are healthy. This quarantine period should last a minimum of 30 days. If you are adding new fish to an established discus aquarium, be sure to keep the new fish in a separate 10 gallon tank while you evaluate their health.

Discus aquariums need some advanced preparation in order to be successful. Most importantly, is ensure proper water quality and habitat. You also need to learn how to properly acclimate new discus to your aquarium. I encourage you to learn more about the specifics of setting up discus aquariums. Topics such as food, water chemistry, and choice of tank mates are all critical to your success. Good Luck!

Tips to Build a Great Relationship at Work and at Home

Years ago I learned a very powerful lesson from Stephen Covey. In his book entitled “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People”he explains the concept of principle based leadership.

In the last message I shared with you how to respond to the important and not the urgent. Now that you have more time and leading your life based on your priorities I want to give you the next tool that will make you the author of your relationships.

Today I am going to share with you an exercise that involves you being at your funeral right now, today. Imagine all your loved ones, spouses, kids, family members, friends, employees and business contacts standing up at the podium and reflecting on their relationship with you. I know this may be difficult and you may not like what you discover but there a reason so I encourage you to carefully examine what you think each person would say about your relationship with them as it is right now.

Would they say you were kind and loving, always therefor them or that they wish they had spent more time with you etc. Would your employees say that you were a great leader, fair and honest or would they say that you were always stressed out and unavailable?

Now, imagine you are standing at your funeral again and you get to choose what each person would say about you. Repeat the process by above but this time write out what you would like that person to say about you.For example; in the first part of this exercise you think your spouse would say that you were a very hard worker and gave a lot to your company but wished they had spent more time with you. You now get to rewrite the script. You could imagine them saying that you had always put your relationship with them first,they felt loved and knew because you always made time for them.

The script that you wrote is your agenda to create the relationships you desire. Because this is about your business and we are referring to leadership, take this opportunity to evaluate your relationships with your team. You can choose to be the leader you want to be with action and intent.

I wish I could make it as simple as putting this task in your day timer but to develop new attributes is an internal process, a shift in behaviors. What I can tell you is to make it a priority by scheduling the time in your agenda to research and commit to getting involved with leadership groups, taking classes and seek coaching.

I was very fortunate to have found this exercise when I was a salon owner and as a result of it I am able to say that I have remained in good standing with every person who had worked in my company. I’m not saying they all liked me but I do know they would all say I was honest, respectful,approachable and dedicated to helping them succeed. Even those I had to let go still felt comfortable coming into the salon for their services when they no longer were employed there. That is the gift of writing your own scripts as to how you choose to impact the relationships in your life.