Svetlana Sheinina


Posted by Svetlana Sheinina on 3/3/2020


 Photo by Free-Photos via Pixabay

There's a lot of benefit to be had from increasing the amount of natural light that enters your home. Scientists have long linked natural daylight to improved mood and productivity. You just feel better when you regularly work or relax in a room filled with light from the sun. Sunlight helps regulate circadian rhythms, too, meaning you sleep better and feel more rested when you wake up. Increasing natural light sources in your home can also help lower your monthly utility bill and raise your home's resale value. Here's what we recommend.

Ditch the Heavy Drapes

Drapes made from heavy fabrics and liners may be nixing your natural light. Replace them with solar window films instead. Solar window films won't damage your windows, and they block up to 99 percent of harmful UV rays, while allowing natural light to stream through. You won't have to worry about fading carpets or upholstery, and solar window film also reflects the heat from the sun, so your space doesn't become an instant sauna. 

If privacy is a concern, install blinds or window shades that can be closed at night. You can even purchase frosted solar window films that provide privacy without darkening your room. 

Install a Skylight

If a small renovation project is in the budget, consider adding a skylight to a dark, gloomy room to bring it into the light. Skylights keep things private while increasing access to natural light. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to install a skylight runs around $1,500. That's a small price to pay for added light and ventilation in a dark room. Even better -- adding a professionally installed, energy-efficient skylight can increase your home's resale value. There may even be a tax credit available for homeowners who choose skylights that are solar powered. 

Use Reflective Wall Colors

Did you know many paints have an LVR? That's a light reflectance value, and the higher the number, the better the paint color is at reflecting light around your space. When you paint walls in a color that's highly reflective, (white has and LRV of 100. Black has an LRV of zero) your room appears brighter. So, even if your room has only one window, using a light paint color can help bounce that natural light into all the corners. 

If you're stuck feeling gloomy when you spend time in a dark den or bedroom, try letting a little light shine in. You might be amazed at how easy it is to transform a space from one you dread to one you highly desire. Use these three easy tricks, and you'll find out just how easy it is to lighten up a little. 

 





Posted by Svetlana Sheinina on 6/11/2019

When looking for a contractor online to work on a project for you, you might end up getting discouraged and afraid to hire one. There are too many stories about homeowners having terrible experiences of theft, delayed jobs, or poorly done work that required another repair.

These experiences happen everywhere but it doesnít make all contractors bad, there are still great and trustworthy contractors out there. But how can you determine if someone is a good contractor or a swindler out for your money? Below is a list of what you should do to ensure you do not only have the best guy for the job but also that you have someone who seems trustworthy. 

Do Your Research

There are various options available to get a contractor; you can use an internet search or contact local building association in your area to ask for recommendations. You can also contact your insurance company for help and take advantage of the goodwill the contracting company enjoys.

Ask For Referrals

Asking friends and family members for references for a contractor whose services they used reduces your chance of getting duped. Looking at jobs that a contractor completed in the past for relatives or friends gives you an idea on what to expect in terms of work from the contractor. 

Interview A Couple

If you have gotten a few choices, to determine the best man for the job, interview a few. During the interview process ask relevant questions, negotiate prices with each and be sure to read body language. 

Ask Questions

During the interview or after but before signing the contract, make sure you satisfy all issues that need answers. It makes it easier to accomplish when you have a list of questions drafted before the interview session. Ask questions like:

- What is their association membership?

- How long have they been in business?

- Ask for referrals of recent jobs

- How long would they need to execute your project?

- What would the payment style be?

All these questions and more should be on your list. Do not feel like you are asking too much because itís your money, and you need to be sure about getting value for the money spent.

Ask To See An Itemized Bid

Asking to see an itemized proposal from all the contractors you interviewed allows you compare prices, items required and to determine your best guy for the job. The bid also gives you a clear idea of how much would be needed to execute the project. The itemized proposal should include information on:

- Labor cost.

- Material cost.

- Work permit fee.

- And other miscellaneous expenses.

On seeing the bid, if the amount is more than what you budgeted for, you can easily adjust the scope of the plan to fit your budget.

Working with the steps detailed in this article would serve as a guide for you when next you need the service of a contractor.





Posted by Svetlana Sheinina on 4/3/2018

 Buying your first house can be scary because, admittedly, there are a lot of things that can go wrong! That's one of the reasons that working with a real estate agent is such a good idea. An experienced agent can guide you through the complicated process of buying a home and help you navigate the potential pitfalls of becoming a new home owner. He or she can also zero in on your priorities and assist you in getting the most for your money. A real estate agent can help you stay on track, find the resources you need, meet closing deadlines, and locate homes that live up to your requirements. In choosing a buyers' agent to assist you in matching your needs (and budget) to the available real estate inventory in your area, three important attributes to look for are experience, knowledge of the real estate market, and negotiating skill.

When it comes to negotiating, the vital truths that many first-time home buyers forget are that "everything's negotiable" (or pretty close to everything) and that the asking price of a property is often not the lowest price a seller is willing to accept. A lot depends, of course, on market conditions and the demand for a particular property, but it pays to have a real estate professional in your corner when making offers. Good agents have a knack for identifying "bargaining chips" that can help you negotiate a lower price, gain concessions from the seller, and potentially save thousands of dollars now and over the term of your mortgage.

One of the biggest things first-time homeowners forget is that "there's more to a house than meets the eye". That insight can be viewed from both a positive and negative perspective.

  • The negative side: Even though a real estate listing may look like the house of your dreams, there could easily be hidden problems like termite infestations, plumbing repair issues, structural problems, hidden mold growth, noisy neighbors, and so on. Except for the potential problem of noisy (or nosy) neighbors, a reputable real estate inspector can help you identify a wide range of structural flaws and other "red flags" before you sign on the dotted line.
  • The positive side: One key thing that many home buyers don't always consider is the future potential of a house or property. With a little imagination, budgeting, and planning, a less-than-perfect house can be developed into exactly what you and your family want and need. Kitchens can be updated, bathrooms can have new vanities and fixtures installed, porches can be screened in, and backyards can have fences built or hedges planted for improved privacy. 
The secret to buying a home that you can grow into and "make your own" is to always look beyond surface appearances and think in terms of "How can we customize this house to make it exactly what we envision?"







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