Kitchen Renovations: 5 Mistakes You’ll Regret

October 16th, 2020 by admin No comments »

Are you planning a kitchen remodel? Well, you better avoid these 5 mistakes.

1. DIY Complex Kitchen Renovations

It’s good to be cautious about the services and things you spend your money on. However, you shouldn’t feel about spending your money to hire a professional to do certain complicated tasks for you. In fact, you should never try to do such complex tasks yourself.

Fixing your drywall, for instance, should only be left to the pros. You should never assume that you can deliver the expected quality, especially if you’re a newbie. Another sensitive area is the backsplash. Since it involves installation of ceramic tiles, it’s quite a complicated task.

In some instances, even the pros still have a hard time delivering the expected quality. Your efforts will probably be a total failure in similar circumstances.

2. Cheap Appliances Are Costly In The Long Run

Data from the Department of Industry review shows that during the year 2013, the total amount of saved energy in Australia was A$ 3.2 billion. Out of the total figure, A$ 2.7 billion was saved by households. This is majorly attributed to quality appliances being used in households that consumed less energy. That shows just how much you can benefit from having good quality appliances.

In a scenario where you have a limited budget, you would rather postpone the renovation rather than settling for cheap, low-quality items. It may be cheap to buy such items, but the real cost comes in the form of higher energy bills.

Good quality items, not necessarily high-end super products, would ensure that you incur minimal costs in form of repairs. This isn’t the case with cheap products, since you might end up spending more than the actual cost of the product to fix it.

3. Not Installing A Skylight Where Possible

A skylight will ensure that you utilize as much natural light as possible. Failing to install one, where possible, means that you’ll miss out on the easiest way to cut down on unnecessary artificial lighting during the day.

At times, the windows may not provide sufficient light for your kitchen. This is especially so if there are other tall buildings close by. A skylight gives you direct access to the natural light source.

4. Not Setting A Budget

During renovations, you might get carried away and end up spending excessive amounts of money, especially if you’re a first-time homeowner. To avoid this, it’s important that you set a budget beforehand. This will ensure that your total renovation costs don’t exceed 5% of the total cost of your house (based on recommendations by Realestate).

5. Using Cheap Materials

Just like in the case of cheap appliances, cheap materials are also very costly in the long run. Using cheap materials means that your remodel will get worn out pretty fast, which would necessitate further repairs. This means that you’ll end up spending more than the intended amount.

Another disadvantage of using cheap materials is that your house will have a low valuation. It’s therefore very important not to settle for cheap materials – always aim for the best.

Dominican Republic Property – The Real Investment Spot

September 27th, 2020 by admin No comments »

Regardless of whether you want the casual beach lifestyle, the cooler temperatures of the mountains, or the nightlife of a modern cosmopolitan capital city, the Dominican Republic has something for everyone. Located on the second largest island in the Caribbean, just a short flight from Miami, it also has more undeveloped and unspoiled beach front property than any other place you can think of.

Are there other beautiful places in the Caribbean? Sure there are, but not as inexpensive or offering so much for both the investor and retiree. Multi-currency banking for your US dollar, Euro or Peso investments, pleasant year-round climate, the opportunity for a tax free business, and very modern health care facilities are only a part of the attraction. .

There are a growing number of Americans who find their lifestyle and monetary worth rapidly decreasing in ambiance and value.

There certainly is a way out and many are finding it, and a better lifestyle, by moving to a less expensive country.

For many, a country that is attracting interest is the Dominican Republic. In comparison to other well known and path worn Caribbean destinations, the Dominican Republic still remains a place where real estate is extremely affordable.

For the price of a studio apartment in the Bahamas or Caymans, you can have a large lovely home in the Dominican Republic and living is easy in The Dominican Republic is a wonderfully diverse island with a wide range of climatic zones. The D.R. is very popular with Europeans, and now Americans are also starting to discover it.

The Government of Dominican Republic is debating, as of mid-2007, a bill to offer further incentives to foreign retirees and investors such as are available in Costa Rica and Panama. That bill is reported to offer:

A residency program linked to investment in the country
Tax payment exemption for household and personal goods
Partial exoneration on motor vehicle taxes
Exemption on real state transfer taxes for the first property acquired.
50% Exemption on mortgages taxes if the creditor is a financial institution licensed and regulated by local Monetary and Financial Law
50% exemption on Real Estate Property tax.
Exemption of taxes which encumber payment of dividends and interests accrued in the country or abroad
50% Exemption on capital gain tax

There are no restrictions for foreigners on the ownership of real estate in the Dominican Republic. New homes in residential sections of Santo Domingo, the nation’s capital, can be found starting at about US$65,000–with waterfront condos in the $95,000 area. If you prefer a very upscale home located inside a gated beach front golf course community you can find that in the US$275,000 range. Five or so acres of farmland in the lush mountains start at about US$55,000 while home building lots range anywhere from US$20,000 to US$100,000 plus, depending on their locations.

Additionally, in the Dominican Republic, bank accounts and yields from fixed income investments provide up to 10% in US Dollar accounts and up to 18% interest in the Dominican Peso, (the local currency.) Such income is 100% locally tax – free, which means that the possibility of living off the interest from your savings is a distinct reality.

It should be noted that the mountains have cool welcoming temperatures and stunning views; while the beaches in the D.R. are predominantly white sand beaches with water so clear you can see the shadow of a boat at 30 feet. Because of the immense size of the island there is truly something for everyone. And don’t forget the old world charm of the colonial area of Santo Domingo, the capital.

Many clients have chosen the Dominican Republic because bank account interest is 100% locally tax-free and because interest rates for US dollar deposits do tend to be higher than other places, including current interest rates in Panama. So, if one consideration is to have the ability to live off of your savings, the DR might be a good place to look at, even if you decide to live elsewhere.

US Dollar Bank time deposits (CD’s) pay up to 10% at the moment, and if you are going to live in the country, then deposits paying to 16% or more in Dominican Pesos might be worthwhile as well. Stated more clearly, while it is almost impossible to live off the current interest earned in US bank accounts (which are also taxed) at the moment; it is very possible to do so in the Dominican Republic. How much do you need? That really depends upon what kind of lifestyle you want, but it is safe to say you can pay your monthly rent, monthly utility bills and cover things like grocery shopping on the equivalent of US$ 1,200 to $1,500 per month.

All information necessary for a full understanding of the residency requirements or programs offered in the DR. Like any country looking to attract new and good residents (and citizens), the Dominican Republic department of immigration asks that clients provide a number of thing including a letter from your local police department stating that you have no criminal background–that you are in reasonably good health, and are financially solvent.

Making a move outside of the US, or your native country where ever that might be, can be a bit daunting. Where do you start? How can you go about getting the correct and best advice the first time around? Usually taking an exploration trip is the first step in such a process.

Some of the topics that you may want to cover during an exploratory tour should include:

–health insurance and health care (it’s a fraction of the cost in the US),

–residency and second citizenship options,

–incorporation,

–real estate law,

–communication options,

–offshore banking, and other related topics.

There are a couple well known international companies that offer discovery lifestyle/ investment tours to the DR. Just Google “Investment Tours to the DR”.

Upgrades – Get the Most Out of Your Property

June 2nd, 2020 by admin No comments »

If you are buying and planning on re-selling or renting out, to get the most out of your property you might want to do some upgrades to give it curb appeal. The amount of upgrades needed would depend on a case by case scenario. Obviously if the roof, foundation, etc, needs to be done, that’s without question. I am talking about major renovations, but upgrades. That curb appeal and that make a buyer go, “wow” and pay a little extra for the place.

If you aren’t going to work with a designer and you would like to do it yourself, I suggest going to the library or buying a bunch of up-to-date home style magazine to get ideas of what’s in right now. Knowing your market isn’t such a big deal because most everyone wants something chic and stylish. Something I like to call “urban chic”; a lot of clean lines, minimalism and bright open spaces. A Zen like approach. That look is selling to the mass market right now.

First impressions are always important, so the outside of the house needs the most love. Don’t go boring either. Chose exciting colours like grey/mauve, terracotta or sage. Paint everything that needs it, wood, railing, mailbox, light fixtures, etc. I’m not talking all one colour, have some black or white in their for contrast. If they can’t be painted, replace.

If there isn’t any landscaping or it’s shot, you need to revamp the look. Take out or trim everything that is overgrown. Be ruthless if necessary. Cedars are great when they are green and small, however if they are yellow and too tall, get rid of them. Keep the look short, so you can see the entrance way. Weed the grass if any, add more seed. Clean out the dirt of debris and weeds, add more dark earth and mulch. Make a nice clean line between the grass and garden. I would invest in a couple of bushes that contrast each other and some bright annuals that light up the front.

Floors are the most important. They make such a big impact. They have to be nice. If there is hardwood I suggest refinishing them. Staining them dark is always a nice touch. Parquetry looks incredible stained chocolate. It goes from a bad 1970’s look to something modern and Asian looking. If the floors need to be replaced, bamboo and other sustainable flooring are trendy right now. If the lino is old, change it. If you can afford tile, do it.

Kitchen. If the kitchen is an old wood 1950’s style, no need to rip that out and redo it and spend all that extra money. Paint it glossy cream and add stylish knobs. You could even add a moulding.

If it’s white melamine, you could either paint it with special paint, or keep it as is. Sometimes it’s the surrounding area that can buff it up and make it not look so “melaminy”. Meaning, add a trendy tiled backsplash, a new countertop, and knobs. If the melamine has a 1980’s boarder that can be taken off, remove it for a cleaner look.

If you have the 1990 oak cabinets, they look incredible painted as well. If the cabinetry is hanging from the ceiling dividing the eating area, you could take those down and reuse them somewhere else, like an island.

The Best Reasons For Remodeling Your Kitchen

March 23rd, 2020 by admin No comments »

According to Realestate, your renovations costs shouldn’t exceed 5% of the purchase price of your house. This means that a typical renovation budget in Australian homes shouldn’t be more than $25,000 (based on a mean price of $544,800 for residential houses in the June quarter, 2014, according to data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)). In order to avoid overspending, you should first have a pretty good reason why you actually want to remodel your house and more specifically your kitchen.

Here is a sample of sound reasons for remodeling your kitchen:

1. Improving Functionality

It really doesn’t make any sense at all to have a kitchen that is of limited use or no use at all. You would rather even go without having any kitchen. Functionality is a key aspect in any room, particularly the kitchen.

Answering these questions will help you identify issues of limited functionality:

- Is there enough space for everyone involved in food preparation?

- Are there enough storage units for all items?

- Is it easy or difficult to move around?

- How easy or difficult is it to prepare food?

2. Enhance Safety

Safety is a crucial consideration for any design feature. You must ensure that the risk of accidents is eliminated or at least reduced to a minimum.

When evaluating the level of safety in your cooking area, various aspects must be considered, including:

- Air quality: the room should be well-ventilated.

- Temperature: excess heat can affect performance, as well as health of anyone present.

- Humidity: Damp conditions would also affect people’s health.

- Physical structures: proper placement of fixtures and appliances is necessary to avoid accidentally bumping into them and hurting yourself.

3. Improve The House Value

Cooking areas play a crucial role in influencing the decisions of house buyers. If you’re planning on selling off your house, a good kitchen remodel is sure to enhance its value.

According to Realestate, well-planned and properly executed renovations have the potential of adding as much as 10% to the house value. This means that a $20,000 renovation on a $437,500 home can add as much as $40,000 on the value of such a property. This is especially so if it has been under your ownership for a period of 5 years or more.

4. Proper Storage And Organization

Although the aspect of storage falls under functionality, it deserves further in-depth analysis. New advances in storage facilities means that you can benefit from more user-friendly features that allow better utility and productivity.

Storage facilities are no longer just limited to food items and utensils. You can also conceal appliances within special units. Such appliances as dishwashers, microwaves and fridges can also have particular storage units to accommodate them within a seamless layout.

5. Energy Efficiency

The aspect of energy efficiency can never be overemphasized. In fact, you should be constantly assessing the energy use within your cooking area, to identify areas of improvement. Moreover, any investment you put into energy efficient appliances is sure to save you a lot more expenses that you might have with less efficient appliances.

Marketing, Promoting and Advertising Your Business

February 28th, 2020 by admin No comments »

One thing that goes without saying in today’s business world, is that regardless of the nature of your home based business, a website is an absolute MUST. Whether you have a product or service to sell, whether local or global, your business will go nowhere fast if you don’t have an online presence. If you need internet marketing help, you’ve landed on the right article. I’ll give you some home based business marketing ideas that will help you promote your business successfully.

The first step is choosing a domain name and getting it registered. You can build your own website (if you have the time) and host it yourself or you can have everything done by another company (if you have the money). Either way, you have many options and tools at your disposal that can align with your business plan and budget. Also note that you can still start your own home based business even if you don’t have a product or service to sell. There are thousands of individuals and companies that have products you can sell for them while earning a commission, called affiliate marketing.

Of the many business marketing strategies known to man, internet marketing is, hands down, the best strategy to use for promoting a home based business as it is the cheapest method and has the potential for reaching millions of people all over the globe. Driving traffic to your site through online resources is like killing two birds with one stone. You can tackle print advertising by writing articles and publishing them to directories and ezines and by submitting ads to the many available (and most of them free) classified ad sites. Online media advertising encompasses writing press releases and distributing them to press release sites. One of the biggest and most popular online advertising trends today is via social media advertising through sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn where you build relationships with your customers. Forums and communities are also great ways to build relationships which helps promote your home based business in the long run. Simply Google your market or industry with the word ‘forum’ or ‘community’ behind it and search for one or two that seem to be the best fit for you.

All of these methods of online advertising contribute to search engine optimization (SEO), which is to say improving your online visibility and escalating in the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Your goal is to claim the #1 spot in the organic search results (the results on the left, not the right side which are paid ads). This is where your traffic will come from. If you are 800 in the list of search results, no one is ever going to see your site because very few people have the time or patience to scroll through 800 search results. Research shows that people typically won’t even scroll past 4 or 5 search results, let alone 800.

Can you grasp the importance of internet marketing for any business? If you are new to the internet marketing phenomenon and don’t know exactly where to start, there are many great programs or systems online that walk you through every aspect of marketing your online business. A lot of these systems were created by online entrepreneurs who have spent thousands of their own dollars trying to figure it all out over the years and finally DID. Their sacrifices have made it easier for newbies to become successful at their own online home based business. If you are new to running your own home based business, I recommend you find a great system (do your research, read reviews, ask questions in forums) and start marketing your home business from there. Don’t waste the time and money that so many of us have in going it alone, without a proven system, as it will just set you back further and hinder your progress.