Resisting the Instinct to Make Judgements

After moving recently to my apartments in amarillo, I’ve found that I have absolutely fallen in love with Texas. Shamefully, I’ve held the worst sort of judgement against Texas and the people that live here. Due to media influence and how often Texas is characterized in television and movies, it’s easy to mistake the state as one filled with overly patriotic residents who are all wielding guns on each hip while riding horses into town or even as ignorant hillbillies. This is a part of being human, I suppose, and it’s taught me that I need to realize when I am being judgemental and not allow it to cloud how I really think. It’s difficult to be so aware of your own thought process like this but it has helped me a lot in my social dealing with people. » Read more: Resisting the Instinct to Make Judgements

Tips for Choosing a Good Custom Home Building Service

There are many advantages to choosing to build a custom designed home rather than buying an existing property; these include the possibility to create a space that caters to all your unique needs and wants. This does not have to be an exceptionally expensive option either – another benefit is that you will have complete control over your budget.

To make sure that you get the best experience out of your home building experience it is very important to find a good custom home builder to help bring your dreams to life. Here are a few important guidelines to follow to find the best professional to entrust with creating your new home.

Firstly, do not underestimate the power of recommendations; the best way to choose between a selections of custom home builders in your local area is to find out which ones have the happiest clients.

As with any service, people are always keen to share their positive and negative experiences, so seek out independent reviews websites which may provide useful information to help you make your decision on the best building service.

It is also worth looking on the company websites of the custom home builders you are considering. These best ones will not be backwards in coming forwards with the testimonials they have received from satisfied clients who have created their dream home with the help of the company.

It is also a good idea to ask the builders directly if they can put you in touch with their former clients. You may even in some cases be able to visit one of the properties that the custom home builder has created and speak to the owner. This will provide you with a valuable insight into the experience that you can expect if you work with them.

After you have found a few highly rated and reputable services, the next thing to do is to have a look through the portfolio of properties that they have designed and built. This will give you an idea of the types of property that they are used to constructing and designing.

You may be looking for a very modern, energy efficient and eco friendly home, and there are many custom home builders that deal often with this kind of building project, so you will benefit from all of their experience in this field if you choose to hire them.

On the other hand, you may like a more traditional looking home, in which case it is a good idea to find a custom build service that is experienced in creating this particular type of home. Either way, look carefully through portfolios to find a service whose previous projects appeal to you and are similar to what you have in mind for your own home.

Another thing that you absolutely must be aware of when you are looking for custom home builders to help you create your dream property is that there are many different aspects to such an enormous project. As you are taking care of every single large and tiny detail of the project you will need to find a service that can assist you with this.

The best service for those who are likely to find themselves overwhelmed by the enormity of such a project is one that guides its clients from start to finish of the build. This includes finding a good architect, creating an accurate budget, installing home video and audio systems, installing security systems, choosing finishes for both the home interior and exterior and much, much more.

The best way to make this kind of project a success is to find a professional that can help you every step of the way and one who is experienced enough to offer excellent advice on every single aspect of your project. Bear all of the above points in mind and you will be well on your way to finding the best custom home building service for you.

How to Hire a Contractor to Do Work in Your Home

An important aspect of hiring a contractor to do work in your home is to understand what permits, special requirements or licensure are required for each job. Once that’s understood, you can know whether it’s best to hire a licensed contractor or a handyman.

REFERRALS
Be sure to ask for referrals and references and know the relationship of those referring parties to the contractor. Ask for pictures of installations on similar jobs that have been performed for others and give those referring parties a call or visit to ask how the work was performed, the attitude during the job, coming in on budget and wrapping up on time. Discover if there are any negative remarks online or with the BBB. Be sure he or she is qualified to handle the scope and type of work needed, especially with regard to special conditions such as lead based paint, asbestos, mold, etc.

IDENTITY
If the home is occupied, if personal items are stored there or is otherwise notid_verified vacant, be sure to qualify your contractor if he’s unknown to you through online services such as mysmartmove.com or others. Get a copy of the contractors driver’s license and have him sign a w-9 to include his social security number. If you’re an investor and renovations are common for you, you may want to investigate the Verify Photo ID app recommended by Inman News.

CONTRACT
Next, execute an Independent Contractor Agreement with your contractor. Be certain it has no verbiage or requirements to suggest the contractor is an employee of yours.

PHASES
Now is the time to outline and understand the three phases of the renovation. The initial Phase One is paid on day 1 of the job. The subsequent draws for Phases Two and Three should be paid by the week, on a Monday or Tuesday. In constructing the phases, the contractor should budget for each item and any overages or misquote is the responsibility of the contractor, not the homeowner. Make sure your agreement covers things such as milestones, and outlines the scope and sequence of the work to be completed. The contract should include the description of all work, and condition of Customer Satisfaction such as all items completed in a workman like manner, job site left clean and tidy daily, and no items incomplete.

MATERIALS
Ideally the home owner should have chosen paint colors, sheens, types for each space, cabinets, granite and whatever materials will be used in the project at the source. Have your Independent Contractor pay for those materials and have that provider deliver the materials to the job site, then reimburse the contractor immediately – this strategy avoids any appearance of establishing an employee/employer relationship. Do not pay for routine tools and supplies the contractor uses in his everyday business such as paint brushes, ladders, tarps, etc.

UPDATES
If you’re not the owner occupant at the job site, require the contractor to provide daily pictures and videos of each phase when complete before scheduling a personal inspection and before payment on that phase is released. An investor can use this in the future or marketing.

COMPLETION
In exchange for the final payment the homeowner should sign off that he is satisfied with the job, and the independent contractor should sign that he is releasing all liens in exchange for final payment.

Why Are UK Property Funds a Good Investment?

Investors seek profits on the exceptional housing demand. Fortunately, public and private programmes synergistically encourage home building.

“Everyone needs a home over their head at the end of the day.”

This is what a UK residential property fund manager said in January 2015 to Professional Pensions, a website dedicated to institutional investors who are tasked with achieving the highest returns for their clients.

The fund manager (from M&G UK Residential Property funds) described being involved in the property market with built-to-let properties as well as participating as an investor in the development of new-build homes. The 25-34 age group is a focus of this funder, which means they target properties that are near public transport.

That particular age cohort is indeed important, not because of where they stand in wages but more because they represent pent-up demand. With tight lending in the UK – particularly after the 2008 financial crisis – homebuilders were reluctant to construct new homes at the entry level for first time buyers. In the past decade, this has slowed housing formation altogether or put people into the rental class who would likely be owners under other circumstances (working people who rent now comprise about 19 per cent of the market, up from 11 per cent a decade ago).

Homebuilders and developers are fully aware of this demand, but were waiting on the sidelines because of the difficult financing matter. Today, there are several factors addressing this blockage to building – which have spawned creativity in the private sector as well as from the government:

Help to Buy programme – First time buyers and home movers are provided equity loans on properties with purchase prices up to £600,000. Buyers need to contribute at least 5 per cent of the property price for a deposit while the Government provides a loan up to 20 per cent of the price. The buyer then needs to qualify for a 75 per cent mortgage loan. No loan fees are charged for the 20 per cent Government loan for the first five years of home ownership.

Starter Homes programme – Available at a 20 per cent discount to under-40 buyers, this housing bill is targeted at increasing the UK housing stock by 200,000 residences. All homes will be built on brownfield (previous use) land. It is favourable to self-builders and smaller home construction companies with reduced bureaucracy and a streamlined neighbourhood planning process.

Property fund management of strategic land – From an investor’s perspective, this is a way to help increase the country’s housing stock while achieving asset growth. their skills are in designing homes, building and then selling them. With increasing frequency, they are able to buy lots on streets that have utilities installed and planning approvals already cleared, thanks to the work of developer-investors. The investors, typically working in joint venture partnerships, identify where homes are needed most and find land that can increase in value if allowed a use designation change by the local council. Once that is accomplished, they sell lots to builders.

Crowdfunding – Start-up investment companies are launching a global stock exchange for residential properties in the UK and possibly abroad. Launched in early 2015, Property Partner has properties in London and the South East where more than 1,000 investors have invested as little as £50 on up to £50,000 in homes, hoping to receive rental income and possibly capital growth. The shares are highly liquid and can be traded via a one-off transaction fee of 2 per cent. An additional 12.5 per cent fee is charged for advertising, letting and managing the property.

It took an improving economy to convince investors that the homebuyers and home renters were ready to jump out of their parents’ flats and into their own homes. Government programmes have had a measurable impact, but entrepreneurial thinking on the part of strategic land partnerships and others has made the private sector a good partner. With a shortage of one million homes, it will take a decade or longer to bring supply up to demand.

Investors should always be versed in the risks of their positions. Consulting with an independent financial advisor can help identify tolerable risk, particularly in relation to other wealth development goals.

Reindeer Hides – Luxury Animal Skin Rugs

Spotlight: The Bold Statements of Reindeer Throws and Rugs

When looking to enhance the charm of a den or family room, the most surefire way to solidify a rustic theme is with a reindeer rug or throw. Reindeer hide accessories instantly add to the elegance of a room by adding the presence of a magnificent beast to the decor. In addition to contributing to the originality, sustainability, beauty, and warmth of your home, these rugs and throws are simple and powerful design statements.

Originality

Although animal hides are gaining in popularity in the world of interior design, reindeer hides are still unique enough to add a touch of rarity to your home decor. Instead of choosing a contrived bear or fox hide, a reindeer rug is a talking point. Available in a variety of sizes, rugs can serve as a centerpiece in a large room or as an accessory beside a small table. In addition, hides are good fits not only as spectacular rugs, but also as visually arresting wall hangings, and stunningly warm throws.

Sustainability

After farm-raised reindeer are used for meat, reindeer skin is a natural byproduct. In purchasing a reindeer skin, waste is diminished and your home is adorned with the artistry of a skilled tanner. These hides are all natural products meant to match any truly picturesque and pastoral home environment. If the theme of your interior design reflects nature and austere chic, reindeer hide both complements that theme and adds an element of plush luxuriousness. As a responsible consumer, your throw or rug makes a bold statement about your commitment to nature and a responsible, sustainable lifestyle.

Beauty

Reindeer hide offers a beauty and softness that is unparalleled in the world of ungulate animal fur. The rich, complex, naturally complementary hues of reindeer fur will marvel the eyes as well as the senses. Nature’s canvas, the hide of the reindeer simultaneously makes an elegant and rustic statement. Deep rich browns, unsullied whites, and accentuating raven hues combine to draw the viewer along the throw in a symphony of natural color. Use the hide as a throw to draw attention to a certain accessory or piece of furniture. Alluring and refined, a reindeer throw takes a common chair or sofa and instantly transforms it into an accented object of beauty.

Warmth

Conjuring up the imagery of Santa and his sled, reindeer rugs transport us all into a magical realm of recalling holidays and gift-giving. In addition to the literal warmth a hide can provide one’s feet or shoulders as a renowned insulator, these hides instill in us a reminder of the comfort of family and the love inherent in the spirit of holiday gatherings. The soft, luxurious warmth of reindeer fur between the toes has an incomparable feel.