Things to Consider When Looking for a New Apartment

Your lease is expiring, you tried a house but renting suites you better, you need a  change, you are moving to a new city- there are plenty of reasons to start apartment hunting. No matter your reason, the things you need to pay attention to are the same. With these eight considerations in mind, you will be more prepared throughout your hunt and more likely to snap up your ideal apartment before the competition (while avoiding any "ugly under the surface" traps.)

Know what you need – and what you want.

The first step to apartment hunting is making a grand list of what you want and slowly whittling it down to what you need. Needs and wants are not the same for every person. If you are cooking in for your family, a dishwasher could be a fantastic time saver. If it's just usually you and takeout every night- those dishes would grow mold before it would be worth switching on.

Highlight any special considerations.

Do you have pets? Can you handle long flights of stairs every day? Do you need a short of long term lease? Are the local schools right for your kids or would homeschooling be on the menu?

Some conditions will make it easy to filter out most listings. Make sure to clarify, too. Even if an apartment is listed as "pet-friendly" it might have a height or weight limit. Or it might be code for "cat and hamster" friendly. Sometimes a landlord can be persuaded otherwise for a fee or proof of good behavior (like an obedience class certificate and demonstration.)

Make use of online and local sources.

Not all apartments are listed everywhere and plenty of sites that call themselves "comprehensive" are far from. Your best bet is to find a real estate office in the area- that specializes in this field. You can browse the internet for listings, too but nothing beats what a specialist can offer.

And don't forget print! Newspapers might seem antiquated, but you never know if they might be offering just what you're looking for.

Get an inspection even if you have to DIY.

Don't be afraid to get to know an apartment. Ask about amenities and updates- check corners and cracks. Smell something off? Ask for an explanation. You can hire a  professional to perform an inspection, but in most cases, you are better off doing it yourself (maybe with a little guidance from an experienced real estate agent.)

If there is an issue, but you love the apartment. Otherwise, it's not necessarily a "cut and dry" situation. Sometimes the apartment owner or manager is genuinely unaware of the problem- they'll want it to be fixed just as much as you do. In other cases, the cost to repair might be minor, and if you're willing to oversee them, you might be able to negotiate a temporary discount.

Interview your potential landlords.

Landlords and apartment managers can be a wealth of information about not only residence policy but also the local area. There are dozens of great questions you could ask but some good ones to start are:

· What are utility bills like? Can you show me some?

· Which appliances are included? Microwave, dishwasher, etc.?

· Are there parking fees? Where can I park?

· Are there any included amenities? Additional fees for any?

· How much noise is there usually? Neighbors or traffic?

· What sort of decorating is allowed? Can you paint and hang things on the walls? Penalty fees?

· What sort of maintenance am I expected to perform?

· Can you sublet? What's the penalty for breaking a lease?

Can you negotiate?

If you are a model tenant and can prove it, you might have a little room to negotiate. That, and lack of competition, necessary repairs, or even lack of proof can be enough reason to ask for special terms.

If you haven't been renting long or are without references, you could offer a shorter lease agreement (for now) or a better deposit. If you can't move in right away (due to your current housing arrangement), you might offer to pay a portion of the rent or negotiate to sublet your current lease temporarily.

Before you settle, know what the local market is like- find comparable properties and prices so you have an idea about what you can (reasonably) ask for and why. Negotiating for apartments for rent in West Palm Beach is very different from negotiating with them in West Virginia- different people and different values.

What's the neighborhood like?

Though an apartment or apartment complex might be lovely in and of itself, the neighborhood is where you're living. If walking out of your building makes you uncomfortable or unsafe, if your favorite shops and restaurants are prohibitively far away or you can't find a job with less than a 2-hour commute you might want to reconsider.

Finding a great neighborhood is a crucial and frequently overlooked step in the apartment hunting process.

Don't forget about your current housing arrangement.

That's right, you're living somewhere now and moving will require either selling, letting your lease expire (or just negotiating when and where to leave the spare key.)

Moving from a house to an apartment can be tricky- not only do you have to sell, but you'll also have to downsize. Apartment to apartment can be tricky to do with perfect timing but with careful planning, or a little negotiating will go as well as can be expected. Just don't go apartment shopping and sign on before you've figured out what to do with your current abode.

Top 6 Coolest Granny Flats Designs That Make The Dwelling A Wonderful Living Space!

The way granny flats were used to be seen is not changing, and they are no longer an accommodation made just for elderly people. Granny flats designed thoughtfully can make for pool houses, guests stay, offices and studios for young people. With future of housebuilding getting mature and brighter, having customized granny flats designs is growing in demand.

Granny Flats

They are economically affordable and come with a lot of design options. This indicates that the magic of granny flat structures is here to stay and survive for longer. They offer incredible convenience to design, redesign and rebuild as per your taste and choice.

Granny Flats

Here we have gathered some of coolest granny flats trend that are most sought after among modern homeowners. Take a good look:

#1. A Streak of Entertainment

With excellent granny flats designs made with a consideration of entertaining guests and habitants, you can create a personal heaven inside your dwelling.  Whether it is adults or kids, everybody can enjoy the outdoor space. You can organize an evening barbecue or throw a small party or relax with a cup of a morning coffee under mild sunlight. More elements of amusement you add, more you are going to get added value for your granny flats at the time of renting or selling it out. A great granny flats designs specialist can think of customizing such fun parts intelligently so that you can get the best out of the entire space.

#2. Living Area

The placement, shape and size of the living room that is going to be of significant role is different to what you usually find in normal dwelling. A proper care and consideration goes into building perfect granny flats designs with warm living room atmosphere. Using bi-fold doors, you can open the living space to backyard or patio so that proper lighting is ensured. If you live in cold climate, you can build a stone fireplace to relish the warmth in the lounge area.

#3. Contemporary Style

This kind of granny flats designs have simplistic approach with large focus on functionality and aesthetics as well. It is easy to adapt and can be redesigned without much hassle to meet your expectations. Edgy furniture and white walls done with some artistic details, you can truly transform the granny flat into something looking exceptionally elegant and stylish. Creative lighting work will boost further the charm and enhance its attractiveness and illuminate the space in style. More light you shed inside, larger the flat will reflect.

Granny Flat

#4. Nautical Avatar

Shades of blue will appeal to those who yearn for a little of wild adventures and novelty. This kind of design is pleasantly challenging, so if you think this is your cup of tea, Nautical avatar of granny flats designs can be worthy an attempt. You can try integrating several colors like cream and light brown in order to enhance the limited space. Wooden furniture and floorboards as accent boards to boost and support the background look. To give it an appearance of sea, implement rope, nets, and seashells and even fish.

#5. Bohemian Design

If you are fond of boldness and bohemian style trying to enjoy more of unconventional elements, you can splash warm but bright and lively colors. Using pert patterns and playful textures, you can bring the amazing place alive. Mix the whole idea with indoor plants, dimmers, well-crafted lamps and you can further go to soften it. Or if colors are getting in your way too much, you can put it on lighter side and include furniture pieces based on nature.

#6. Open Plan Approach

Open space design is all the rage in granny flats designs market, and is also thought to be a modish and modern trend. Open plan living keeps kitchen, living space and dining area open so that homeowners who are fond of entertainment can grab the best and most. You can discuss your open plan strategy with a reputed granny flat builder so that they can recommend certain implementations that can boost the overall value of the house and attract young folks.


4 Common Differences Between Pictures Online and the Actual Item of Furniture

Shopping for furniture online has become very popular in recent years and will only become more popular as more consumers realise just how beneficial online furniture shopping can be. There are, however, a few important things to be aware of when shopping for attractive, high-quality Scandinavian furniture online, including the differences between the pictures on the website and the actual item of furniture that someone has delivered to the door of their home or office.

As many people have realised, the office, bedroom, dining room and lounge furniture that they see online and what they actually get delivered are often two very different things. Consequently, the following four common differences between online photos and the actual product are essential to be aware of when buying beautiful furniture online.

1. Colour

Chances are the colour won’t be that different, but as it’s often difficult to distinguish between different shades of certain colours, especially light creams and greys, it’s essential to make sure you’re getting the right colour. Leading online furniture retailers like Webber Furniture list the exact colour of the item of furniture and can always be relied on to answer any questions you have about the items of furniture that catch your eye.

2. Size

When items of furniture are pictured next to other items, or even if they’re photographed on their own, it can be difficult to discern the exact size of the sofa, lounge, dining table or coffee table. Always look at the measurements to get a proper understanding of the size, and consider using a tape measure at home to get a better idea of the size of the item of furniture. This helps to make sure it will fit perfectly in the space in which it is to be placed.

3. Texture

For many people, shopping in person is far more advantageous because they get to touch and feel the furniture before it’s purchased, something that can’t be done when buying furniture online. It can be difficult to get a proper understanding of the texture of an item of furniture, but if you think it’s important, get in touch with the retailer.

4. Firmness

Naturally, this isn’t an issue with all items of furniture, as with texture, but if you’re buying an armchair or a sofa, you want to be sure that it offers the right amount of firmness and support. In pictures that feature someone sitting on the chair or sofa, it can be difficult to get an exact idea of how firm and how much support the chair or sofa provides, so send the retailer an email or give them a call if in doubt.

To sum things up, shopping for furniture online has many advantages but we all must be aware of the differences between the photos on the website and the actual item of furniture, including these four common differences that have caused many consumers quite a headache. What’s more, don’t hesitate to contact the retailer if you’re unsure about something, for example, the size or the colour. 

Snug as Bugs in Rugs for the Holidays

Like most people, I love wrapping gifts to put under the tree, and the bigger the better.  There’s nothing more festive than waking up Christmas morning to a huge pile of beautifully wrapped gifts.  My sister has a real flair for making packages stand out.  In the past, she’s used extra touches like baby shoes, newspaper, fishing lures, and one year, she even found a way to wrap a big box with a string of lights. Inside were tickets to Las Vegas for Mom and Dad, that was one of the best yet.  Another thing we love about the holidays takes place when all the aunts, uncles and cousins show up so we can each open one present at midnight. Then we sing some carols, drink chocolate, or something stronger before heading off to bed.  Where ever that may be.

As the family has grown, we’ve actually had to double up on air mattresses and sleeping bags and blankets to make room for everybody.  But that’s all part of the fun. That’s why this year there will be some really big boxes under the tree, and they’ll be filled with blankets and comforter sets I bought on the Groupon site.  I’ve been a fan of Groupon for years.  They have incredible savings of up to 80% right now on holiday items for everyone on your list.  I’m saving so much on beds-in-bags, down comforters, block colors, and those cute little mermaid blankets that our tree is going to have some really big boxes underneath this year.  I can’t wait to see the look on the faces of my little cousins when they see their personalized blankets. And we got picture pillows so we all know where we bed down.  It’s been a blast planning for Christmas this year.  The only downside is that my favorite Aunt Ruth won’t be part of the fun, but we’ll remember her fondly when we light the candles at midnight, that signify the loved ones we’ve lost in the previous year.

If you have shopping to do, you don’t have to brave the crowds in the cold at midnight, or spring from your Thanksgiving dinner table to hit the deals at 6pm. Take your time and shop online with Groupon.

Asphalt Repairs DIY Tips and Tricks

That pristine asphalt driveway might make the home look like a million dollar residence, but time has a habit of changing that, and eventually it will need repairing. If you are inexperienced with DIY, or just can’t be bothered, there are many companies that can make the necessary repairs on your behalf, but if you think you are up to the task, here are a few helpful hints to ensure the job is completed satisfactorily.

A Dry Day

If you are planning on repairing any section of asphalt, make sure the weather forecast says no rain. The sealing process will not be complete if the surface is wet, and the warmer the weather, the better, so avoid asphalt repairs in the winter if possible. If you are in Western Australia, and looking for asphalt repairs in Sydney, you really couldn’t do any better than Northshore Paving, an established company that specialises in commercial and residential asphalt laying.

Clean the Area

You must remove all debris, and brush the area to remove all dust and gravel, and if there are weak edges of asphalt present, break them off and prepare the area to be repaired. Like most things, preparation is everything, and if you have cleaned the area thoroughly and it is dry, you can proceed.

Size Matters

It does with asphalt repair anyway, and if the hole or crack is small, say under 10mm wide, some crack filler, which can be applied using a caulk gun, is the ideal substance for this type of opening. For something a little larger, you would be better off with a cold asphalt patch product, which would provide better adhesion. If we are talking a deep hole, then filling it halfway with gravel is a good idea, as this will give the new asphalt a solid bed, and there is less chance of a repeat problem.

Double Tamping

This cannot be stressed enough, as tamping down the asphalt once is insufficient to bring it to the right consistency. The first tamping should be done when the asphalt is 10mm under the surface, and the second, when the asphalt is 10mm above the surface level, and this tamp should bring it down to slightly above the surface level, which is ideal. The tamping helps remove air pockets and generally compresses the asphalt to its optimum state.

After Seal

You must always seal the asphalt after the repairs have been carried out, as this keeps the moisture out and creates the bond between the old and new. It is advisable to reseal the area around the repair, and if your driveway hasn’t been sealed, call in a contractor, who can also make the repairs while they are there.

For small repairs, it is fine to go down the DIY road, but anything more than a small defect, and you should contact the company that laid the original asphalt, and if you are not sure who that is, a simple online search will point you in the direction of a contractor who can carry out the repairs.

How to Clean and Maintain Your Outdoor Aluminium Louvers This Spring?

Season of spring is considered to be the best one for cleaning purposes. This is the reason why a lot of people hire cleaning services during the spring season. However, it is not always necessary to go for the professional services. Unless you are very busy, you can perform the cleaning work by your own. There are many things that require cleaning during the spring days, and the aluminium louvers are one of them.

Essential Tips for Cleaning and Maintaining Aluminium Louvers

When spring arrives, it turns out to be essential to clean the louvers. There are some tips that can make the cleaning process easier and much more efficient. With proper maintenance of the aluminium made louvers, you can enhance their longevity and save some money for your wallet. First, let us talk about the maintenance part.

With the passage of time, the powder coatings on the louvers tend to wear off due to the harsh elements of weather. This is the reason why the glossy effect of the louvers is lost over a period of time. In addition, slight change in colour is also one of the signs of the fact that the aluminium louver is getting damaged. So, you can follow the below mentioned tips in order to keep the louver in proper condition.

You should never allow grime, salt or dirt to build up on the powder coating.
When washing the louver, always use warm water; do not make use of abrasive detergent, and use soft cloth only.
In normal conditions, it is enough to clean an aluminium louver twice a year. But, in coastal regions or in industrial environments, it is better to clean at least thrice a year.
It is important to pay heed to the cleaning of crevices and surfaces of the louver.

Now, let us talk about the maintenance of hardware and components. Most of the components are made from aluminium and hence the chances of rust will not bother you in this case. Nevertheless, the coating applied over the aluminium metal certainly protects the metal from corrosion. Hence, if the components are not maintained properly then the overall strength of the structure will surely get affected. In this case also, you need to clean the components with warm water, along with non-abrasive detergent having neutral pH value.

More attention should be given to the cleaning of brackets, pivots and carriers. In the market, you can find corrosion prevention solution, and by spraying that solution you can keep the aluminium louver in the right condition. The maintenance of tracks is also quite important. You can follow the below mentioned tips in this regard:

* Food grade silicon can be purchased from the market; you can buy some and spray it on the tracks, particularly on the inner lips.
When spraying silicon based lubricant on the tracks, it is important to ensure the lubricant has been distributed evenly all through the track.
Apart from the silicon based lubricant, you should also apply extra lubricant around carriers.

By keeping in mind the above-mentioned tips for cleaning and maintenance of aluminium louvers, you can increase the longevity of the whole structure, and you will not have to spend again and again on the beautification of your home.

Apart from cleaning the louvers by your own, you can also seek professional services. During the spring season, a lot of service providers offer discounts on their packages. So, you can contact some of them and choose the best one among them.

What is the Best Basement Flooring?

If you have a finished basement or you plan on finishing it in the near future, you’ve probably started to look into flooring ideas in terms of styles and materials. Well, you might like to know that you have quite a few materials available to you. But, these materials are strictly for finished basements – and basements that won't get flooded or have water issues, otherwise, you would just be better off going with something like concrete.

What Will The Space Be Used For?

One of the first questions you will need to ask yourself, is what the basement is going to be used for, this will help you figure out the best material for your specific needs because each material has its own rating and its own use. For example, for a gaming room, you would probably want something that is good for medium to high foot traffic, easy to clean, won't scratch or dent. On the other hand, if you plan on using it for a media room, you need a material that is cushy under your feet and won't allow noise to bounce all over the place – for this, carpet would work better than a laminate and yet there are people who would rather avoid carpets.

Luxury Vinyl Tile – LVT

LVT is a pretty new option available. It works a lot like a wood laminate in that you can use a photograph to mimic another material and “print” it onto the vinyl. You can make the vinyl look like wood, leather, stone, ceramic or just about anything else. Vinyl is also puncture and scratch resistant, stain resistant, waterproof and incredibly easy to clean which makes it ideal for a basement. However, if you don’t want the entire basement to use this material, you can also mix it. For a game room/media room, for example, you can use carpet in the media area, laminate in the gaming area and then use something like vinyl in the kitchen or bar area and it all makes sense. Carpet for comfort and sound, laminate for a cool look in the gaming area, and easy to clean and take care of vinyl in the kitchen or bar area. Vinyl comes in an area of looks such as distressed wood, specialty wood, traditional wood, stone, and patterns. It also comes in all sorts of colors like white, black, gray, copper, orange, brown, green, blue and many more.

Multi-ply Construction – Engineered Wood

Engineered wood has a multi-level construction that makes it incredibly durable, amazingly beautiful, and it's easy to clean. This is why it makes a great material for a finished basement. Engineered hardwood also comes in a lot of different options in terms of the colors, plank sizes, and styles such as; Color: white, copper, red-brown, dark brown, gray, black, yellow and tan. Look: distressed wood, specialty wood, traditional wood, stone, and patterns. Types Of Wood: Birch, Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Maple, Exotic and Pecan.

Laminate Wood Flooring

These are very similar in terms of style, look and feel as the engineered wood above, but also hardwood, but at the fraction of the cost. If you don’t have an eye for real wood, you can trick people into thinking that you spent thousands of dollars on a real wood floor, when really it's just a very good look alike.

Laminate flooring can also be made to look like anything and be “printed” onto the material; stone, tile, patterns, and more. This is a very easy to clean material, it's easy to install, moisture resistant, and most companies that offer it, offer amazing support and a great warranty.

Colors: White, beige, tan, copper, red-brown, brown, dark brown, gray, black and blue.

Look: distressed wood, specialty wood, traditional wood, stone, and patterns.

Laminate planks or laminate flooring are used in the basement as flooring very often because of their properties. Many homes in the United States of America have them installed, the price point is pretty fantastic too, so if you want the look and feel of wood floor, but you don’t want to spend $25,000 or more, this is the material for you. Engineered hardwood is amazing too, but out of the three, laminate is the cheapest, then engineered hardwood, and then real hardwood flooring.

Out of all the materials listed here the LVT and the carpet are going to be the cheapest non-wood material. If you’re worried about the LVT looking too glossy, don’t; you can also choose what you want the gloss to be; high, medium and low. This is a really nice option because as you go further down the line of the gloss, it starts to look more and more like real wood.