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How to Build a Sturdy Home That Can Withstand the Elements

Anna Smith

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If you are looking to build a home, then there are many things that you need to think through. The most important thing your home should do is protect your family. An essential part of that is to build it so that storms cannot easily harm it.

Start With a Strong Foundation

The first thing that you need to think about is your home’s foundation. Consider the type of soil where your home is to be built. You need to match your foundation style and your building materials to the soil type. Clay is especially challenging to build a foundation on because of the way that it expands when wet. Peat can be a significant fire danger during dry conditions. When wet, silt expands, putting pressure against your home’s foundation. When mixed, sand and gravel does not retain moisture, which makes it an ideal choice on which to build your home’s foundation. While it must be level, rock can be a good choice for under a foundation. Loam is also an excellent choice. You also need to think about what materials you should use to build your foundation. The outside needs to be waterproof so that water does not enter your home.

Strong Roofing

The next set of decisions that you should make is about your roofing. If you live in an area where the wind is often a problem, consider how the wind will hit your roof. Generally, circular roofs are considered the most wind resistant. If you are determined to have a rectangular or square roof, use a steep roof so that the wind will lift up and away. Roofs with little overhang are less likely to lift off during a hurricane.

There are many other benefits of metal roofing that make it an attractive option for homeowners. Metal roofs withstand most hailstorms very well. Even if you see dents in the roof, it is unlikely that the metal will break, so water cannot get underneath it. Consider metal roofing choices that are treated so that they help keep your building cooler.

Waterproofing Your Basement

The next set of decisions that you need to make is on waterproofing your basement. You will probably want to have a sump pump installed. Having a sump pump has many benefits. For example, if your basement ever floods, the water is quickly removed. Then, frame up the walls. The next step should be having an electrician run electricity throughout the area. If you are putting a bathroom in the basement, then get the pipes installed. The fun part happens next as you decide what areas of your basement you want to dedicate to different purposes. Then, you are ready to install drywall and paint the area.

Disaster-Specific Designs

Before continuing, stop and think about what the most significant weather threats are in your area. If tornadoes are a threat, then install a tornado shelter in your basement. If possible, the shelter should be placed away from exterior walls. Ensure that you use extremely strong building materials or that you buy a commercial tornado shelter. If flooding is more of a danger, put in a powerful sump pump. You should also have all electrical plugs at least four feet off the floor. Use waterproof drywall to help keep any moisture that gets through the foundation walls out of your home.

If hurricanes are a significant threat in your area, design your home with lots of curves as they allow the wind to go around your home. Make sure that your exterior walls are incredibly stout. Use windows that are designed to handle the impact of a hurricane. Consider using radial floor and roof spokes as they are more apt to stay in place during a hurricane. You may also want to think about connecting your home to a generator and using a solar-powered water heater.

Place Windows Correctly

Windows on the east and south sides of your home will let in the morning light without letting in the afternoon heat. Letting as much light into your home makes it look more beautiful and can help you feel better. Use the right type of window for your environment. If you live in a warm climate, consider windows that have awnings over them. Low-E, argon-filled, double-pane windows are an excellent energy-efficient choice. Triple pane windows are an outstanding choice in climates with harsh winters.

Choose Your Window Frames

Think about your window frames. Wooden frames transfer less heat into your home than metal ones. Wood windows, however, require more maintenance. Aluminum windows do not swell and shrink during rainy weather, and they are approved for use in regions that experience hurricanes. Vinyl windows offer energy savings while being budget-friendly.

Insulate Well

There are at least three areas of your home that you need to think about insulating. The first area is the attic. Blown-in, loose-fill insulation is the best choice for attics that are irregularly shaped or where there are lots of objects to work around. You can also use batts, but make sure to choose the option matching your climate. Start out by putting a vapor barrier in place. You also should insulate the crawl space and the floor on the first level.

Pick the Right Exterior Material

You have many different choices in exterior building materials for your home. If you are looking for a low-maintenance option, consider siding. Alternatively, wood makes an excellent choice. Engineered wood gives homes a traditional look, and is stronger than timber. Some people prefer the look of brick.

There are many choices to be made when it comes to designing a home. You want to make sure that it stands the test of time, as well as the elements. Start with these fundamental decisions, and you will have a home that will protect your family well during a storm or any other natural phenomena. You will also have a home where everyone will feel comfortable and one that you will be proud to own.

Here’s another article you might like: Good as New — 6 Home Repairs You Can Easily Do Yourself

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Home Improvement

What to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Rental

Anna Smith

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Buying a vacation rental is a big decision, and it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve done your research before making such a large commitment. Here are some important things to consider before buying a vacation rental.

Location

The most important item that you should consider before buying a vacation rental property is location, location, location. Is there a high demand for your vacation market? Are you close enough to shops, cultural sites, tourism destinations, maintenance companies, and grocery stores?  Considering questions such as these will help you find the best place to purchase a vacation rental. Although properties in high demand areas will be more expensive, the return on those properties is much greater.  Location is more important than initial price. 

Rental Income

In order to buy a vacation rental, many homeowners will have to take out a second mortgage. Because of this, it’s important to make good financial decisions, such as making sure that the rental property can cover its own monthly costs. Consider how much rental income you can reasonably generate, and if it can offset your mortgage.  In the vacation market, there will most likely be an “offseason,” or a time of the year when renting is slow.  As the owner of the property, you must find a way to maintain your rental income, whether that is through ensuring continual renters, charging enough during the busy seasons that you can cover some decreased costs during the offseason, or both.  

Added Maintenance Costs

Oftentimes vacation homes are located in expensive areas.  “Expensive” areas could be areas that are more remote (i.e. mountains, wilderness, and national parks) or areas with high population and desirability, like beaches or big cities.  Regardless of the area in which your vacation home is located, maintenance costs will likely be much higher than in an average neighborhood. Scarce contracting resources in remote areas, or high contracting overhead and demand in high populated areas are contributing factors to this.  Recognizing that maintaining your vacation home oftentimes can be more expensive than maintaining your primary home is important before buying a vacation rental.

Home Styles

The style of your vacation home can impact its popularity among renters. Popular home styles in the United States include colonial houses, farmhouses, Victorian homes, Cape Cod homes, mid-century modern homes, and craftsman homes. Beach houses and cabins are also quite popular among vacationers. You might consider buying a home and remodeling it to fit one of these popular styles. You could also choose to build instead of buying. When you build a home, you get to choose from a variety of custom home styles. The flexibility that comes with building a custom home can be a great asset.

Amenities

One factor in ensuring that your vacation rental has enough renters is making sure that your house has the amenities that your target market desires. It’s a good idea to research the needs and wants of your particular target market. For example, a beach townhouse will not have RV and ATV parking areas, and a cabin might not have the same amenities as a beach house. It’s important to make sure the house has what the people want. While you might want to consider buying a home that has specific amenities suited to the needs of your target market, there are several amenities that generally appeal to most people. A pool table, hot tub, and TV are generally safe bets for vacation homes. If you want to attract renters, put money into the amenities.  You want to give renters something that they wouldn’t get at home.

Marketing Strategies

As the vacation rental market is becoming more popular, it’s likely that you will have a good amount of competition. There are hundreds of properties on all the major listing sites, and it’s not always easy to get your property to stand out from the crowd. Before buying a vacation rental, you should take some time to lay the foundation of a marketing strategy that can help you drive traffic to your vacation home. You can find renters better as you create an attention-grabbing listing, and advertising your properties on several online platforms. You should also research property promotion and pricing strategies before buying a vacation home.

Taxes and Interest Rates

Taxes and interest rates vary by location.  A vacation home in California is much more likely to have higher rates than a cabin in the woods of Idaho.  If money is tight and this is your first location home, pay close attention to taxes and interest.

Laws and Regulations

There are laws and regulations that govern the vacation rental market. These rules will vary depending on the local laws for each location. You should make yourself aware of these rules before you buy a vacation rental, as these local laws could highly impact your decision. General rules that apply to most locations include obtaining a permit and business license, obeying taxation rules, safety regulations, and insurance regulations.

Continuous Cash Flow

Because purchasing a vacation rental is a big investment, it’s a good idea to calculate your expected cash flow before you commit. You should do some market research and talk to other vacation rental landlords and business professionals. Try to get an idea of the amount of vacation renters in your prospective area. Making sure your vacation rental will be regularly frequented with interested renters is one important factor in the success of any investment. You should also try to estimate the number of needed repairs and maintenance for your property. If your property will cost more money than it brings in, it’s clear you will have a problem with continuous cash flow.  

There are many benefits that can come with investing in a vacation rental property. It’s a great way to supplement your income, cash in on tax benefits, and increase your enjoyment. Considering these few ideas before making that investment will help you make an informed and intelligent decision.

Here’s another article you might like: 3 Cost-Saving Tips for Vacationing with Your Family

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How to Make the Most Out of 3 Kitchen Design Dilemmas

Anna Smith

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A kitchen is the place in your home where people cook delicious meals and gather and spend time together. Although it’s a great place to be with each other, the way a kitchen is designed can be a little awkward or dysfunctional sometimes. It may take some time and creativity, but you can turn your kitchen design dilemma into something great.

Small Kitchen

Nobody likes a cramped kitchen. Fortunately, there are so many ways you can make your kitchen look and feel bigger. First, color will be your best friend. You want to use lighter finishes because dark finishes make your kitchen look smaller. This goes for your paint choices and cabinet/countertop colors as well. Using mirrors, glossy granite countertops, and glass tiles can also make a huge difference. Also, try, be as minimalistic as possible. Clutter only makes things look smaller and removes space that can be utilized—and you probably need all the space you can manage!

Odd Layout

An oddly planned kitchen can be hard to deal with. Whether it’s too narrow or an appliance is not in a good spot, it can be frustrating. However, you can feel reassured that there are many ways to turn odd into artistic. If you have little pockets of awkward space, find ways to utilize it. You could always install extra shelving or countertops. Consider making a tiny home office where you can keep shopping-lists, a mail station, and school supplies for the kids. For that thin slice of wall, install a narrow tray storage rack or place hooks to keep aprons. You can always make an awkward, random wall into an accent wall to spice things up.

Mismatching Appliances and Cabinetry

Nothing looks more fashionably dysfunctional than a mismatched kitchen. When your kitchen’s cabinetry doesn’t mesh with your appliances, it can make your kitchen look smaller and feel unsettling. But don’t worry, you don’t need to get all new appliances to make things work—you may just need a new paint job. For example, if you have white appliances and wooden cabinets, paint your cabinets grey or another soft color, like steel blue or sage. Then, get a couple of accent items, like black towels or brass décor to make the colors meld and pop at the same time.

The days of having an awkward and dysfunctional kitchen are over. Whether you have a small kitchen, one with an odd layout, or everything is mismatched, you can be rest assured knowing that with a little creativity and effort, you can finally have your dream kitchen.

Here’s another article you might like: Home Improvement Projects That Will Save You Money in the Long Run

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Is Your Love of DIY Projects Making Your Home Less Green?

Anna Smith

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person holding blue and white tread

Do-it-yourself projects have become a popular hobby over the years. While they can sometimes be cheaper than hiring a professional, they aren’t always what they are cracked up to be and can end up just being a band aid that covers up an even bigger problem.Not only can a DIY project be more work than it’s worth, it could also be damaging to the environment and make your home less green than you want it to be.

Making Waste

A DIY project takes various materials, whether it be raw or repurposed materials to create something new. However, it can lead to a lot of waste. If you’re doing a DIY project that involves paint, there’s a chance you can spill that paint, which could be potentially dangerous for the soil, if you’re painting outside. Even after the project is finished, there may be potential leaks or spills from the finished project which could also be bad for the environment.

Improper Installation

Another way in which DIY projects could be making your home less green is the fact that many of them are installed improperly. Certain projects have a higher risk of going wrong when installed by the homeowner instead of by a professional. In fact, HVAC systems are only 55% to 70% of optimal compared to a properly installed one. This can lead to dangerous results not only for yourself, but also for your house and the environment. Plus, it can be expensive to repair damages caused by a project being improperly installed.

Being Irresponsible

In addition to improperly installed projects and wasteful projects, sometimes DIY projects are not responsible toward the environment. Instead of being focused on improving the environment or at the very least, not hurting it, DIY projects release dangerous fumes into the air, or expose live wires in the wall, or lead to spills that seep into the ground releasing poisonous chemicals into the environment. Being irresponsible with DIY projects could lead to potential harm of the environment, yourself, and others.

While do it yourself projects can be fun to do on your own, consider the negative consequences that they can pose. In order to prevent waste, improper installation, and being irresponsible, try to find DIY projects that improve the quality of your home and are eco friendly.

Here’s another article you might like: Go Green: Ways to Make Your Home More Environmentally Friendly

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