Defining Cornice, Its History, and Its Benefits

When one words the words cornice, one can easily imagine an elegantly crafted building made in the late 1800's. What really is a cornice, and why was it so commonly used? A cornice is basically a form of horizontal decorating sculpture or molding, it generally lies on the roof, doors, or windows. One of the…

When one words the words cornice, one can easily imagine an elegantly crafted building made in the late 1800's. What really is a cornice, and why was it so commonly used? A cornice is basically a form of horizontal decorating sculpture or molding, it generally lies on the roof, doors, or windows. One of the main reasons why cornices were introduced was to ensure that the rainwater would not hit the walls of the building as this over time would create discoloring of the stone buildings. This style of architecture was most common in Greece, where most of the difficulties and significant buildings would have elaborately carved cornices.

There were two methods of creating cornices back in the day, one easy and one not as easy. In the past, day sculptors and masons once had to hand-craft these wonderful pieces of art. A master craftsman and his team were often tasked with the intricate design of the cornices. They had a wide array of tools, ranging from massive chisels and mallets to small fined tipped pins for more precise detail. This form of masonry often took months if not years to achieve and become hard to maintain, both financially and labor wise. As the industrial revolution took place, the use of molds and concrete eased the production of cornices. Man discovered that molds could be intricately made, and concrete could have been distributed in order to finish the process. This allowed for easy production and mass production. The final product was then sanded down and given a few final touches. It did not take as long as it once did.

Although in more modern architecture, the use of cornices have become much more scarce. There has been an increasing decline in the skill as there is not nearly as much demand as there used to be. Although the equipment has improved significantly, allowing a full set of cornice crowning to be produced within a matter of months as opposed to years of laborious work. Even though there is not a big demand for cornices, most countries around the world particularly in Europe, have the need to restore buildings and the like so the cornice industry is in need of a few master masons and sculptors to reconstruct old buildings.

A classic example of cornices would be found in buildings such as the Parthenon, The Coliseum and a wide array of European buildings and castles.

Property Development Made Easy?

Property development in the UK has seen rapid increase thanks to TV programs series such as 'Homes Under the Hammer' or 'Grand Designs', due to the recent fall in property prices and also as more development land is available. Due to the short of affordable housing, government has been urged to step in and deal…

Property development in the UK has seen rapid increase thanks to TV programs series such as 'Homes Under the Hammer' or 'Grand Designs', due to the recent fall in property prices and also as more development land is available.

Due to the short of affordable housing, government has been urged to step in and deal with the situation by easing the planning process and offering more land for development. Many 'brown belt' and 'green belt' lands are now getting approved for development purposes and there are also various financial schemes to help with the costs.

But do not be fooled if it looks like an easy money-making solution. It is not! It is risky business and if you do not know exactly what you are doing, you may end up losing more than you have initially invested. Very often even the most experienced developers can loose money on their projects. If you are thinking of starting it yourself, it is always important to know where to find all the relevant contacts that you will need before, during and after your project. Things like planning, surveys, finance, solicitors and conveyancers, building contractors and suppliers etc. Choose the wrong company and your project may be delayed, cost more or even fail.

What to do? Where can you find the right people to work with?

The first that comes in mind for many would be looking in Yellow Pages or similar directory, but that will narrow your search to just your local trades. Next is a search on internet using Google or Yahoo, but this can return lots of irrelevant results. All that takes time, which most of the time you do not have, and you may still not be able to find what you are looking for.

The better option would be to visit specialist online for property development. There you can find all the businesses related to property development in one place, organized into different categories like contractors, surveyors, building contractors and so on. Each listing provides you with more information about the business, their contact details and there is a similar review and star rating system in place so you get a better idea on who to choose.

There are not that many of such specialist directories available and not all of them are up to date so you might still need to do some research, but once you discover the site that is suitable for your needs, do not forget to bookmark it for later use as it will, for sure, come handy in the future.

Looking For The Best House Builders In New Zealand?

When you are searching for the best house builders, New Zealand has plenty of different options for you. Take the time to explore all of the different options that you have and make sure that you choose the builders that give you the experience and reputation that you deserve. Master Builders is a unique group…

When you are searching for the best house builders, New Zealand has plenty of different options for you. Take the time to explore all of the different options that you have and make sure that you choose the builders that give you the experience and reputation that you deserve. Master Builders is a unique group of builders that gives your home the finishing touch that it describes from an experienced group of builders that are certified and trained in all areas of building. The Registered Master Builders Federation (RMBF) has a history of more than 100 years and is a hallmark of quality craftsmanship in any home construction project.

The house builders New Zealand has to offer include many that are certified RMBF members. Whether you are building a brand new home or just looking for a little remodeling project, these qualified tradespeople are going to give you the attention and skill that you deserve. The network through the country is full of builders who can create great homes and renovations, no matter what you have in mind. When you want the best quality and craftsmanship for your project, you need to have certified master builder on your side.

This Federation continuously wins many prestigious home construction awards, such as the PlaceMakers Renovation Awards and the PlaceMakers Supreme Awards.

If you are unsure as to when the home construction company that you are looking at is registered with this Federation, simply go to the RMBF website and search for the construction company's name. Membership into this program for construction companies requires passing strict criteria and quality checks, such as having at least six years experience, and providing written references from a number of key sources such as their bank, public accountant and their principal building material suppliers.

When it comes to house builders, New Zealand offers plenty of professionals that will suit your needs. Choosing a master builder allows you to guarantee that the work will meet your expectations or that things will be corrected until they do. These homes are built with the highest quality of construction and exceed all industry standards, allowing you to trust that you are making the best investment in a new home or renovation project of any kind. You will also get a move-in date that is exactly when you need it and expect only the best results no matter the time frame.

Choosing one of these registered companies is going to give you the best results when you are in the market for house builders New Zealand has to offer. If you can find a company that belongs to the Registered Master Builders Federation that has never had to file a claim or process any complaints, you are going to be even better off. These companies have worked hard to achieve this status and will provide you with only the best results for any construction project big or small. Before you hire just anyone, find a master builder who can help you get the home of your dreams with the quality and service that you deserve.

5 Questions You Should Ask Your Custom Home Builder

Building your own home is not a process that should be taken lightly. It is a huge investment on your finances and your time, and because it is a custom home, you should get exactly what you want. When you enter into a relationship with a custom homebuilder, the process from start to finish can…

Building your own home is not a process that should be taken lightly. It is a huge investment on your finances and your time, and because it is a custom home, you should get exactly what you want. When you enter into a relationship with a custom homebuilder, the process from start to finish can take anywhere from nine to eighteen months, so you'll want to make sure you're working with someone who can meet your needs for an extended period of time. Before deciding on your homebuilder, be sure to ask the following 5 questions to make sure you cover your bases.

Experience

Consider hiring a custom homebuilder similar to hiring a long-term employee. You should know what's on their resume. The last thing you need is someone practicing on your brand new home. Inquire who they've worked with, what projects they've worked on, examples of homes that have been built, and how long they've been in business. Inquire if the firm is part of a larger entity. Try to get as much background information as possible.

References

If they're building custom homes, odds are they're proud of their work and should have no problem producing references for you. If you can not find references online, ask the company to provide some references for you. You'll want to ask these references questions like: How long did the process take? What were the issues you encountered when dealing with the firm? How were they resolved? Did they listen to your input during the building process? What level of satisfaction did they receive? Would they recommend the company to others?

Communication

“Communication is key” … especially for long-term projects. Since this is your custom home, and not theirs, it's important that your opinion matters. Ask the builder how much participation you can have in the project. Also inquire how communication will be handled? Will you receive routine updates or do you have to chase them down? Will you be communicating via phone, email, fax, etc?

Quality Assurance

Much of the “quality” behind your homebuilder's work is hidden where you can not see (ie ventilation systems, insulation, roofing, plumbing, etc.). You'll want to verify that this work is not only built up to code, but it's built up to the specifications you and the builder agreed on. Check with the company to verify whether they have an internal QA process or if they hire a 3rd party company to analyze the work once completed, but most importantly, verify that there is some kind of verification system.

Warranty

Perhaps the most important factor in your decision-making process is what type of warranty the homebuilder offers. It's routine to offer a warranty, so if, for some odd reason, a homebuilder you were looking into does not offer a warranty, it's probably best to walk away. Warrants are usually 1-year or 2-year, so make sure you get at least that. Ask about the specifics involved with the warranty. It might be safe to ask a lawyer to review the warranty terms before moving forward.

Building a New Home – What Is the Cheapest Square Footage?

Using the square footage in your basement can be the cheapest useable square footage in your house. OK, what does that mean to you? Simple, if you want to save money, and I mean a lot, use the basement square footage as part of your home … not just what holds it up. Think about…

Using the square footage in your basement can be the cheapest useable square footage in your house. OK, what does that mean to you? Simple, if you want to save money, and I mean a lot, use the basement square footage as part of your home … not just what holds it up. Think about how much it costs to build your foundation, with its only functions being to hold up the rest of the house … and to store your furnace, hot water tank, and all the things you can not get rid of. Also, think about how large it is. If you are designing a ranch, it is as big as the rest of your house. In other words, you are living (upstairs) on top of another whole house (basement) … but not taking full advantage of what it has to offer you. Why?

I'll tell you why. It does not feel as comfortable as the rest of the house. Your basement is typically cold, dark, damp and smelly. The only people who live down there are spiders, the kids when they play, or the teenagers when they want to rebel and do not want to live with the rest of the family. They think that makes independent now, or at least they are until it's time to eat and get the laundry done.

It does not need to be this way. By using energy-efficient systems like ICF's, PWF's, concrete stud basements, light gauge steel framing and more, you can build a basement that feels as good, if not better, than the floors above it … and, save you money as well. If you are building a foundation (foundation) anyway, why not build it energy-efficient and eliminate part or all of your second floor? The added cost to improve the infrastructure is far less than the savings of an entre floor. I've designed homes where this thought process has cut the overall cost per square foot by as much as 50%. That's not a typo.

One of my favorite examples involved a single woman that was going to be the project manager on her own home. The design was a 1400 sq ft 2 bedroom ranch on a lake that had a partial walkout basement using PWF construction. In this case, what I mean by that is the grade really did not slope enough for a true walkout, but since she was only building one floor, I was able to elevate that 1st floor enough to get her about 8 ft to grade. .. then a full walkout. On the street side, you just slope the grade up to the porch and you're all set. Now, her cost (this was back around 1995) to build the entire house was around $ 115 / sq ft. This included everything except finishing the basement. If this is where she stopped, she would have had 1400 sq ft 2 bedrooms, 2 bath house with an unfinished walkout basement.

Now, here's where the fun begins. She finished part of her basement, or about 1000 sq ft (the rest was for the furnace, etc …), which has her 2400 sq ft of useable / livable space. When you add the cost to finish the basement to the cost of the upstairs, the cost per sq ft dropped all the way to $ 70 / sq ft. This is the best way I know to make a home more cost-effective to build … and when you build your home with energy efficiency in mind, you win on all fronts.

So, what to do with the money saved? Well, you can upgrade other areas of the house … like the kitchen or master bath, or add a fireplace or hardwood floors. You could always just not spend it or invest it too. The choices are your's, but you now will have choices that you would not have had before. You see, energy efficiency can be very cost-effective, with the right design decisions.

Modular Homes: Quality Building in Less Time

Usually when someone decides to build a new home, he knows that the process may take months or even a year to complete. Weather delays, problems with construction crews, and unavailability of materials can slow the completion of your new home. Individuals who want a quality built residence, often completed in half the time of…

Usually when someone decides to build a new home, he knows that the process may take months or even a year to complete. Weather delays, problems with construction crews, and unavailability of materials can slow the completion of your new home. Individuals who want a quality built residence, often completed in half the time of traditional homes, are choosing to construct a modular home. These factory-built homes offer many benefits that allow consumers to move into their new, well-built home quickly.

Modular homes are constructed in sections at an indoor facility. They are then transported to your home site where a builder puts them together. This method of manufacturing offers unique qualities and high building standards that are not available with a traditional built home.

Time Savings: The time frame for completing a modular home can be up to half the time it takes to construct a traditional built home. The majority of construction is done in an environmentally controlled facility. Building off-site has many advantages to the consumer. First, building homes in a factory setting will decrease the timeframe for completion of your home because building materials and finished modules are protected from weather-related damage and vandalism. Valuable workdays will not be lost due to rain or cold temperatures. Since all materials are secure from the public, there will be no need for costly reworks due to vandalism or theft from the worksite. A quicker timeframe for building means a faster move-in date for you and your family.

Another issue that often slow down the construction process with traditional homes is securing a consistent workforce. Often contractors and subcontractors will come and go from a worksite, returning on their own time schedule. Modular manufacturers hire a trained and specialized permanent workforce. This means that a closely supervised and professional team of workers completes the construction of your home.

Quality Assurance: Modular homes are not manufactured or trailer homes. They are constructed with the same or higher quality materials that are used to build traditional homes. All materials that enter the factory are thoroughly inspected to make sure that they meet the strict standards set by the manufacturer. These homes are built to meet or exceed the appropriate building codes required by the state.

Tight quality control standards are maintained within the factory environment. Internal and third party inspectors are on hand to ensure that your modular home will meet and exceed all federal, state, and local codes. Constant inspection and supervision means that your custom home will receive the highest level of workmanship available.

Because these homes must be transported, they are specifically constructed to withstand harsh conditions while traveling. The 2×6 framing system used in these homes is one of the strongest of all construction methods. They also must be sturdy enough to survive being lifted by a crane and put into place. All of these aspects of modular homes make them strong, quality residences.

Choosing a modular home means that your quality home will be completed efficiently and usually, quicker than a traditional built home. With numerous inspections and quality standards, you can be sure that your new residence will be built to last.

How To Plan A Retirement House For Thailand – Essential Factors To Consider

Pitching Your House Specification – The Important Factors You probably already have a good idea of ​​the type, size, layout etc of the house you are planning to build in Thailand for your retirement. After reading this article you may decide to review your ideas. In the time it has taken to get my house…

Pitching Your House Specification – The Important Factors

You probably already have a good idea of ​​the type, size, layout etc of the house you are planning to build in Thailand for your retirement. After reading this article you may decide to review your ideas.

In the time it has taken to get my house half finished in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, two colleges have seen their homes started and completed and at half the cost.

In fact the build of our house has turned out to be a nightmare of the kind you hear about in the news or read on the Thai forum websites.

On the other hand, these other houses were built quickly and easily with no hassles at all. (Compared to my problems anyway)

So what was the difference between their house and ours that made all the difference?

It All Begins With The Concept – What You Want Your House To Be

What you want your house to be will depend upon many factors, who will use it, how do they want to use it and more importantly who is the house for and what are their expectations?

Who Is The House Intended For?

Our house was especially my design. The layout of the rooms, style of house, type and quality of finishes etc. was based on what I wanted as a retirement house and was of quite a generous standard. My Thai wife of course loved it.

My colleges 'houses on the other hand appeared to be based on the minimum that they could “get away with” while satisfying their Thai wives' requirements. Essentially those houses were based on a Thai wife's expectations. They were designed for the Thai wife not for themselves.

The standard of houses in the west tend to be much higher than in Thailand and the westerners demand more 'mod cons', western kitchen, security doors and windows, high grade fittings and finishes etc. On the other hand, such features of western houses are not commonly found in Thailand, the Thai spouse is not aware of them and does not need them. Here a house based on a Thai wife's perspective can be much simpler and cheaper than a house based on western standards.

Sometimes the designs of these other houses were simply copied from one of the many pre-designed Thai homes that you can download from the Thai Government website. In short they were off-the-peg houses.

In contrast I had a set of construction drawings produced by a registered Thai Architect in Bangkok and the set of drawings comprised some 42 sheets! I'm glad I had those house plans made and for my large, high spec house, they are essential.

Key Thai House Configuration Considerations

Whereas there are a number of key considerations that will significantly affect the cost and time to construct a retirement house built in any country, number and size of rooms for example, there are some key consideration that apply specifically to a retirement house built in Thailand.

These key considerations refer to the differences in what is considered as normal practice in a Thai house and in a western house. The key considerations are related to the number of floors, the bathroom, the kitchen where there are fundamental differences in approach between western practice and Thai practice. Another key considerations is wherever the house is to be provided with air conditioning or not.

One Or Two Floors

What number of levels you intend to have is one of the most important criteria that can affect the price and speed of building your retirement house in Thailand. For thousands of years Thai homes are built with the living spaces lifted from the ground on timber or concrete columns, or 'posts' as the Thai describe them. A standard Thai house may exhibit, for example, a dozen posts set in a 3 x 4 matrix, and this is termed a “12 post house”.

My own retirement house is a “16 post house” and the upper story containing the living spaces is 3 m above ground floor level. This is significantly harder to construct and costlier than a bungalow construction having all the living accommodation on the ground floor.

I unduly wanted to have a post house, and my Thai wife really likes it, but I'm convinced she would have been equally happy with a bungalow. I am paying for my idea to have a traditional Thai post house both in terms of cost and time to construct.

So think wisely if you definitely want a post house or if you can put up with a one-floor construction which will be less expensive and faster to build.

Bathroom Or Shower Room

This is a further decision that is most likely to s the price and period to build your retirement house and again, it is a Thai compared to Western subject.

Conventional style and basic Thai houses are often not provided with a bath as is usually common in a western bathroom. Surprisingly, I prefer not to have a bathtub, because I do not use one. I usually enjoy a shower that's why a basic shower room is all I want.

Unusual for a Thai, though my wife does like to relax in a bath tub filled with hot water and those smelly bath salts or bubble bath. So we are having a bath tub. Since we have a walk-in shower room, we are having two 'bathrooms', one is a western style bathroom with hand wash basin, WC and bat tub, the other a shower room with hand wash basin and shower only. Again, the decisions are made on the basis of answering the question 'who is the house for?'.

Type of Kitchen – Thai Style or Western Style Kitchen

The style of kitchen you decide to construct is another area that can have a large impact on the cost of the house. Traditionally a lot of preparation of Thai food for cooking is done on the floor. Even though we have a normal western style kitchen in our house in the UK, my wife still put the 'crok' on the floor to pound the ingredient eg for a nam prick.

Also the Thai food is often cooked on a single heat source, or at most two heat sources, one for the rice and the other for a pot of food, eg soup.

In line with this pattern of usage, Thai kitchens traditionally are very simple affairs, and do not have the long waist level counter tops and ovens like a western style kitchen. Frequently the Thai kitchen even in modern Thai houses, is not an enclosed room, but is a simple external area with a roof and sometimes a short table and sink.

So you do not really need the expense of a western style kitchen will all the counter tops, cupboards, cookers, grilles, cooker hoods etc that go into a modern western home.

In Thailand you will need a refrigerator but many Thai kitchens do not have a freezer or a washing machine for clothes or dishes.

Again, my retirement house in Thailand is designed with a western style kitchen, complete with long granite counter-top and integral dual sink, Fridge and Freezer. Provision of cupboards, drawers and washing machines is not part of the current scheme, however, but may be provided later.

Kitchen and Bath Remodeling – The Pitfalls of Doing It Yourself

There are so much plumbing involved in the kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects that this can present a problem for you. Without you really know what you are doing, hooking up pipes and rerouting them, you can wind up with a disaster. This is where a professional contractor comes in handy. He knows how to…

There are so much plumbing involved in the kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects that this can present a problem for you. Without you really know what you are doing, hooking up pipes and rerouting them, you can wind up with a disaster. This is where a professional contractor comes in handy. He knows how to connect and route plumbing correctly.

If you are not used to dealing with circular saws or other types of machinery needed to do the job, they can be dangerous for the novice. Many people have been hurt using these over the years. Proper operation is a must. So think about that before taking a job on yourself. It is best to be safe and hire a professional if you are in doubt.

Many times, a do-it-yourselfer like you will start a project and hit a problem. He or she will not understand how to work the problem out. This will lead to the project not being finished. Then a professional has to be called in anyway. Oh, you have a few projects like this?

You could easily calculate the cost of a kitchen and bathroom remodeling project wrong. There are lots of little things that can be forgotten and not priced out when figuring a project like this. It is easy to make a mistake measuring too for figuring how much pipe, tile, lumber or other supplies to buy. This could make you run far over the budget you had set for yourself. A contractor would figure all this into quote to you.

Electrical wiring should always be done by an expert. One wrong thing can cause a fire in the house as far as this goes. The kitchen has many electrical hook ups for the stove, lights, garbage disposal and more. This room is sufficient of a fire hazard with cooking going on; you do not need to compound it with bad wiring.

Why Hire a Professional Contractor

A contractor is trained to handle all the pitfalls above and more. He can work in a timely manner to finish your project. There is typically a guarantee offered too in case something is not right after he is done. The contractor will come back and fix it to your satisfaction.

It is best to hire the right contractor to do your kitchen and bath remodeling, if you want to be guaranteed the job is done right. This will give you some backup in case there are problems with it too. So check into who does this type of work in your area today.

Designing a New Home: Save Construction Costs by Using the System Approach to Home Design

Have you ever heard of a design described as “unrealized”? You know, that all too familiar description that fills many a volume of works by many famous, and not so famous, Architects and Designers. I would venture to say, that one of the primary, if not the primary reason, why these books are filled with…

Have you ever heard of a design described as “unrealized”? You know, that all too familiar description that fills many a volume of works by many famous, and not so famous, Architects and Designers. I would venture to say, that one of the primary, if not the primary reason, why these books are filled with unrealized designs is because someone did not realize there was a budget involved. Nobody point any fingers here. Everyone is to blame.

Construction costs that do not include all actual costs before construction starts (these are the famous allowances that always come up and bite us in the …, well, you know where). Operating costs (called repairs and utility bills) that are not factored in ahead of time will also cause problems down the road. Mortgage and construction loan costs, fees, and other miscellaneous cost overruns will bring down a project faster than you can say, “that costs what?”. So, how do you avoid these common problems and control the budget … that is what we are actually talking about here. The answer is pretty simple, as is the application, but I think a lack of patience (or just plain laziness) is the largest reason why follow through is sorely lacking. The short answer is you must maintain complete control of the project, from the start. This means starting with the design stage and continuing right through to the final inspection and C. of O. The explanation is called the System Approach.

The System Approach

So what is the System Approach, and why is it so important? The System Approach, used for home design, is so named because it follows the principle that the entire house is part of one giant system … made up of many other systems, made up of other smaller systems, which are made up of other individual components. In other words, everything in the house is somehow connected and then influenced by every decision you make … kind of a Domino Effect if you will.

If you compared a house to a car, you could say that a car is made up of the same type of systems, within systems, made up of individual components as well. As an example, a car is made up of many systems such as electrical, comfort, frame, power, and so on. A house has its own set of systems. A house is put together by interacting the structural, mechanical, esthetic systems and more. All of these systems depend on each other to make the overall system function properly. In the case of a car, you could have the most efficient fuel system in the world. Your car can get over 60 miles per gallon, but if the electrical system stinks, how good is the fuel system? In a house, if the HVAC system is the most energy efficient system known to man (or woman), but the shell of the house “leaks like a sieve”, what good is the HVAC system?

All of the systems depend on each other because they all interact with each other. For those that truly understand this, there is an opportunity to enhance the efficiency of all the systems … including the effect on the cost effectiveness of the decisions as to which system or component you choose to use. In future articles I will elaborate and show examples of how this works. For now, it is important to understand the concept.

Since everything is intertwined in the house, this means that every decision not made before you break ground will also influence all of the decisions you have made. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to make these decisions early in the design process. This also means, that even though you may make a decision to choose a more expensive option, that decision may actually be the most cost effective choice in the long run since the effect it may have on other systems could in fact drive the cost of those other systems down. This concept becomes very important when discussing some of the hybrid Energy Efficient systems now available. I have shown my clients you if you do not build an energy efficient home you will lose money from the day you move in. There is no “payback” period like in the early days of solar design.

Each Chicago Home Sale = $28,581 for Local Economy

Every time an existing home is sold in Chicago (or anywhere else in Illinois) it leads to a mini stimulus for the state economy-a stimulus of $ 28,581 to be exact. That's how much one home sale is worth to the local consumer market, according to data released by the Illinois Association of Realtors last…

Every time an existing home is sold in Chicago (or anywhere else in Illinois) it leads to a mini stimulus for the state economy-a stimulus of $ 28,581 to be exact. That's how much one home sale is worth to the local consumer market, according to data released by the Illinois Association of Realtors last month. If you add up all the direct expenditures associated with home sales in Illinois for the year it equals approximately $ 3.2 billion. Extrapolate that to other related industries, such as moving services and retailers, and the grand total comes out to $ 7.9 billion annually!

Every time an existing home is sold in Chicago (or anywhere else in Illinois) it leads to a mini stimulus for the state economy-a stimulus of $ 28,581 to be exact. That's how much one home sale is worth to the local consumer market, according to data released by the Illinois Association of Realtors last month. If you add up all the direct expenditures associated with home sales in Illinois for the year it equals approximately $ 3.2 billion. Extrapolate that to other related industries, such as moving services and retailers, and the grand total comes out to $ 7.9 billion annually!

How does the sale of a Chicago home result in such a boost to Illinois' economy? Think about what goes into preparing a home for sale-new paint, repairs, hiring a realtor, lawn care service, maybe some upgrades to make the property more marketable, etc. And once it sells, you have moving expenses and fees paid at closing … There are also fees and expenses on the buyer's side of the transaction that contribute to the total. So before you know it, that one home sale has pumped close to $ 30K into the local marketplace-and even more if you consider the trickle down effect to suppliers of those first-tier businesses.

The largest chunk of change from property sales in Illinois goes to directly related industries like real estate, finance, insurance and other professional services. This group receives about $ 1.8 billion a year. The retail trade comes in second, raking in roughly $ 1.3 billion annually. Construction gets about $ 789 million, transportation earns a little over $ 300 million and public administration grosses $ 186 million. The reminder (approximately $ 3.5 billion) goes to other resources and services.

Once the numbers are broken down and the ripple effect is taken into account, it's easy to see how a housing rebound would be instrumental to economic recovery. Not only for Chicago and the state of Illinois, but for the entire country. That's why many realtors are pushing Congress to improve the liquidity of mortgage lending so that those who want to purchase a home actually can. Real estate professionals are also lobbying to keep the interest interest tax deduction, which could be eliminated in efforts to reduce the national deficiency. This tax break is considered one of homeownerships' main benefits and its elimination could have been added blow to the housing industry.

Advantages of Using Epoxy Floor Coating for Your Garage

Applying epoxy floor coating today is the mostought out methods utilized to improve the life of the home or garage flooring. Usually nowdays most people prefer this floor types for their garage, due to its durability and robustness. Garage is no longer meant for simply parking and shedding your vehicles, but various other activities are…

Applying epoxy floor coating today is the mostought out methods utilized to improve the life of the home or garage flooring. Usually nowdays most people prefer this floor types for their garage, due to its durability and robustness. Garage is no longer meant for simply parking and shedding your vehicles, but various other activities are carried along. All these actions add extra pressure to the garage floors and then it accelerates the deterioration rate.

There can be damages on the flooring due to various chemicals and other elements that gets spilled on the floors all the time. Also grease may get spread on the flooring devoid the floor's natural beauty and cam lead to unwanted accidents like slipping, skidding which may result in bruises or even fractures.

Therefore garage flooring must be such it avoids all these accidents. There are various types in garage floors like epoxy, polyurethane and latex. Epoxy usually bonds well along with the concrete and thus result is durable, hard surface which resists stains. Ensure that the floor is dirt and dust free before applying epoxy paint. Another option for the floors is polyurethane; the end result has a high gloss and is quiet durable. But before applying this paint you require applying an epoxy primer first to the garage floor. Next option is latex paint; This is one of the cheapest options as compared with polyurethane and epoxy. This paint requires at least 72 hours drying, but it gives an antique look and even can resemble stonework. Too much of exposure to sunlight may damage your latex floor paint.

All all the above flooring options epoxy is the best choice ever as it is water resistant, easy to paint, easy to apply and also offers to bond well with the concrete and seal. They are shinier and equally simple to maintain and clean. They are quiet durable; they think for longer period of time with very minimal repairs and renovations. For cleaning the floors you may simply use a mop and it is done. Also with epoxy it is easy to remove grease and oil stains from the floor.

So it also protects from slipping off the floors as the stains can be easily removed. Beside protection, it is even effective as a sealant, which helps to conceal old cracks and breaks if any in the flooring. Flooring with epoxy coating also gives the floor a renovated look as all the old dirt and dust occupied in the nooks and corners of the flooring is taken out carefully before applying the substance to the floors.

Are Aluminum Door Frames LEED Compliant?

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was developed by the US Green Building Council in 2000 to give builders and owners guidelines for green (environmentally building) construction design, construction, operations and maintenance. There are a number of levels you can achieve, whether constructing a new building or improving on a present structure. LEED certification…

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was developed by the US Green Building Council in 2000 to give builders and owners guidelines for green (environmentally building) construction design, construction, operations and maintenance. There are a number of levels you can achieve, whether constructing a new building or improving on a present structure. LEED certification is achieved by accumulating points in several areas, two of which are Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. But, even if you are not trying to achieve LEED certification, following many of the guidelines can be advantageous not only to the environment, but to personal health and money savings.

Choosing aluminum door frames are just one way you can adhere to LEED standards. Aluminum frames are lightweight, strong, and generally less expensive than alternatives. While these are positive characteristics, for you to meet LEED standards there are other considerations to keep in mind. For instance, it's important to choose a local company that uses regional materials – sourced within 500 miles of the building site. Using local materials cuts down on the amount of waste and environmental impact from shipping. Regional materials fall under the Materials and Resources category and can earn you several points towards LEED certification.

It's even better if your company also utilizes recycled materials in their product, further cutting down on waste and reducing the need for extra manufacturing costs. Recycled materials also help certification in the Materials and Resources category; the higher the recycled content, the better. Think about the money saved and the burden on the environment lifted when you reuse instead of beginning anew from mine, to processing, to manufacturing.

Many builders and designers like to use aluminum door frames because of the flexibility of design and the ability for manufacturers to create custom frames to order. Aluminum frames generally come in a wide range of colors that can match any décor, and unlike wood does not need the maintenance required to keep it looking fresh. To keep in LEED compliance, find a company that uses zero VOC (volatile organic compound) emission materials, coatings and paints. Products with high VOC can cause a myriad of health problems from minor irritation of throat and eyes to liver and kidney damage, even cancer. As the EPA estimates that we spend 90% of our time indoors, keeping your air quality to high standards can be important. Cutting out VOCs falls under the Indoor Environmental Quality category of certification.

There are many elements that go into getting a LEED certification, but whether or not it is your goal, following their guidelines can help you make your home or building a healthier, more efficient environment. Choosing to use aluminum door frames from a reliable company with green practices in mind makes environmental, financial, and decorating sense, along with putting you closer to LEED compliance.

Estimating Your House Building Costs

You want your dream home to be built but just how much house building costs do you need to prepare? This is often asked by everyone who wants to construct homes. It is vital to have the estimated estimated amount so that you can determine if you have the ability to cover all the expenses.…

You want your dream home to be built but just how much house building costs do you need to prepare? This is often asked by everyone who wants to construct homes. It is vital to have the estimated estimated amount so that you can determine if you have the ability to cover all the expenses. The key is thorough planning. Below are some of the things that you need to take into consideration when estimating the construction costs.

First, you need to count how much square feet your home covers as you will need this detail when you contact a local builder. This is what they ask for as they charge per square foot. They can help with providing you ballpark figure depending on the particulars that you will tell them. It is important that you know what their estimated price includes so that you will be able to determine whether there would be additional expenses that you need to pay.

Second, you need to acknowledge the fact that there are certain parts of house that will cost more such as bathroom and kitchen. This is because of the pertinent details that you need to add into it. Windows can also cause a big dent in the budget especially if you prefer to have many of it. Its size and quality will also have an effect on the cost. You are most likely to have less house building expenses in putting up two-storey home. This is because it requires smaller roof, ventilation and plumbing.

Third, when you are drafting your budget, you bought to consider when you would like to start building. If it is still a few years away, you have to allot for the increase in prices of goods. Market conditions may change and inflation is most likely to occur. In addition, you need to add at least 10% of the total cost so that there will be a budget for overrun costs. There can be instances where you would overspend the allowances or there will be something that you need to change.

If you plan the house building carefully, it would need less overrun costs. However, it will still be best if you would provide an allotment for it. Lastly, site preparations must also be taken into account. Survey the area where you will build your home. Clearing trees and blasting a few rocks can cost you more. Estimate the cost well so that you can prepare well.

7 Steps To Success When Building A Custom Home

Sometimes building a custom home can be intimidating. In today's home market, most homes consist of a cookie cutter house plan that everyone else within your community has. You may have noticed when driving through that hip new subdivision that the houses all look similar on the outside. Chances are, those houses look almost identical…

Sometimes building a custom home can be intimidating. In today's home market, most homes consist of a cookie cutter house plan that everyone else within your community has. You may have noticed when driving through that hip new subdivision that the houses all look similar on the outside. Chances are, those houses look almost identical on the inside as well. So it's natural for us to be unaware of how the custom home building process works. Since custom homes are just that … custom, every builder's process is different; however, these seven steps should see you through to achieving success when building your custom home.

  1. Budget – Before you begin wasting your time or a builder's, you should first determine what your budget would be. Add up your total monthly expenses, away from housing (since that's what you're trying to determine), and whatever money you have left to spare from your income is what your budget should be. Once you have your budget, you can then determine what type of custom home you can afford.
  2. Location – Next, figure out where you would like to live. Seems easy, right? Well, remember that there are always several things to consider when choosing a location. How convenient would your location be for shopping, schools, work? Are you near a freeway on-ramp? Is there too much noise pollution? Figure out what schools are in your district, even if you do not have kids. Having good schools in your district means good property value. What will this area look like in 10 years? Will it be heavily developed? Will it be congested? Will that brook you love so much be a parking lot?
  3. List – Now that you've selected your location, you can begin creating a list of builders that build in your specific area. What's the best way to do this? Search engines can provide great results. For example, if you were looking for custom home builders in Dallas, pull up Google and type in “Custom Home Builders Dallas”. You'll receive a string of search results that should be relevant to your search. In addition, you can cross check these search results for reviews on Google Places or Yelp. Once you have your list, begin your extensive research. Request information / brochures, peruse their website and even visit some model homes. Try to get a feel for the builders' price range, the types of custom homes they build, their reputation, and their expertise.
  4. Decide – Once you've done your research, it's time to choose which builder you'd like to go with. Take your time making your final decision.
  5. Choose Your Lot – Next, you will need to choose the lot. This is an important part of the process because certain factors often rely on the lot, and not the other way around. For instance, some home plans will only work with certain types of lots. If you want a single-level ranch style home with a wrap-around porch, you may need a large, flat lot. Some builders like to stagger their single-level and dual-level homes within their communities.
  6. Floor Plan – Now comes the fun part. You need to choose your floor plan. Depending on your builder, you may be given a standard floor plan to begin working with, and you can then have the liberty to change the plans as you see fit for your needs. For instance, you may start out with a standard 3 bedroom, 2 bath plan, and decide that you actually want to add another bath bathroom. Alternately, you may create a completely custom plan from scratch (usually this requires the help of an architect).
  7. Negotiate – Negotiate your contract and sign! Of course, always take the proper precautions you would take with any contract. Be sure that the details of the transaction are listed explicitly and have a lawyer review the contract. If changes occur in the contract, be sure to ask for an addendum. Carefully review the warranty section of the contract to make sure it's standard (at bare minimum) and meets your needs.

The Low Down On Investment Property

Among the most solid investments in a free market is the buying of real estate. Investment property is an attractive way to generate cash or equity and secure wealth. However, not all real estate deals qualify as proper investment in properties. Before sealing the deal, it pays to look for the best options. We've all…

Among the most solid investments in a free market is the buying of real estate. Investment property is an attractive way to generate cash or equity and secure wealth. However, not all real estate deals qualify as proper investment in properties. Before sealing the deal, it pays to look for the best options.

We've all probably heard the adage about real estate and location. Neighborhoods change, and with them the property values ​​can rise or fall. Look for neighborhoods that are clean and free from gang activity. Roundabouts and well-groomed lawns are signs that the location is right for property investments purchases.

The condition of the investments must also be inspected. The cost for repairs and upkeep should be less than a tenth of the total purchasing price. The superstructure should be strong and well-built, not broken. Inexpensive improvements like new paint, landscaping, and siding are probably good. They will improve the value of the property. Investment property fixers in need of heavy repair should be avoided unless they are in the best of locations.

When considering the price of the property investment, keep in mind that the arrangement must create a positive cash flow as quickly as possible. Search for a deal that is lower than ninety percent of the fair market value. If that is not possible, then pass on properties that cost more than fifteen percent over the investment property's value. This is especially true if repairs are in order.

Also relating to the price of the potential real estate investments is the method for financing. Finding low overhead will mean trying for low down payments. A good deal is five percent or less of the cost up front. In case that is not available, try to get the seller to carry the financing. Also, if there are balloon payments coming due within a few years, find a better deal.

One thing many people overlook is the seller's reason for selling in the first place. Getting a sense of the seller's motivation can help unexpected alternative financing options. The best property deal can often be found with the most flexible seller, so pass on the firm deals in favor of these. Look for the seller who must get rid of the property quickly.

Smart investors do not take unnecessary risks. They form a plan that gives the best odds for success. Having a good eye for the right set of details can help even a novice investor unaware the most incredible investment property deals on the planet.