Tag Archives: home

Beyond the Baguette: 3 Things to Give Your American Home a French Feel

Crystal chandelier lamp in a dinning room

Crystal chandelier lamp in a dinning roomFrance is a country rich in culture, boasting 41 UNESCO World Heritage sites, like the Carcassonne, Gulf of Porto, and Lascaux. The country is also the birthplace of world-famous dishes like chocolate mousse, beef bourguignon, and chicken Marengo. Of course, when talking about France, who would forget Paris, the city of love and home of the much-visited Eiffel Tower?

All these play huge roles in attracting millions of tourists to France. But, if you are eager to feel the French vibe but don’t have time yet, you can still do something to live à la Française. How? You can start by adding French-inspired architectural details to your home.

1. Illuminate with French Lighting

Chandeliers and Provence sconces provide the perfect lighting in any setting, says Authentic Provence. Barovier and Toso Lamps, for example, can add a touch of timeless chic to your French living. Although Barovier and Toso Lighting originated in Italy, the brand has been using French glass sconces for many years.

Other artisan French lighting styles you can consider are antique French lanterns and French minimalist glass pendants.

2. Style After a French Countryside Home

When you think about French provinces like Provence or Cremona, you imagine fields, sunshine, and fresh air. There’s a way to give your house this vibe.

Homes in the French countryside exude a warm, rustic style, so you may want to give your house touches of sunny yellow to soft gold colors. Or, you can play with bright to darker green. It’s also essential to add architectural features like raw wood, pastoral-inspired furniture, and stone or clay flooring.

3. Decorate Like the French

The French don’t throw away the old things. In fact, they value antiques. Consider adding a touch of the past within your French-inspired home. You can display an antique mirror with signs of oxidization or a vintage desk that came with timeworn scratch marks.

If you’re dreaming to live like the French, perhaps the best way to do is go to the country. But, not everyone can afford to leave their American lives behind. But, they can opt to recreate a little bit of France in their homes.

Prevent Problems from Growing Larger

Plumber checking pipe under kitchen sink

Plumber checking pipe under kitchen sinkA home plumbing system is considered a passive system because it does not have any moving parts. It has a low priority when it comes to maintenance checks since most homeowners depend on the system to work until something goes wrong.

At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air recommends regular maintenance to ensure that there are no leaks and no expensive surprises in the near future.

A Need for Annual Maintenance

Regular maintenance and checks should be done at least once a year. The annual maintenance checks for leaks, corrosion, and possible stress in the pipes. The maintenance also checks for the efficiency of the heating system. Air conditioners should also undergo a manual check to ensure that it will work properly, and it is clean of any debris. HVAC systems make use of fans and fins to dissipate the collected heat. These fans and cooling fins should be free of debris and be clean without any mud and dirt. This ensures that the HVAC system is cooled in an efficient manner. The water heater itself should have the same scrutiny as the rest of the system. Heaters get replaced more often than the pipes connecting to it. HVAC maintenance also catches potential problems with parts which wear out due to regular wear and tear.

Pipes and Supply Lines

Water pipes contain water which is under a lot of pressure. The high water pressure forces the water in the pipes to flow out of the faucet the moment it is opened. This same pressure forces small pipes to leak. Leaks start as a small flow of water manifesting in an arch from the leak, which can lead to expensive repairs. Appliances are also inspected, from the above water heater and air conditioner to washing machines, and garbage disposal units.

It is important to have an annual maintenance checkup for pipes, and HVAC. This helps ensure that repairs and fixes could be done before any real damage occurs.

Could You Sell Your Home if You’re Not Done Paying Off Your Mortgage?

a houseA home loan’s repayment period is usually anywhere from 10 to 30 years, but a lot of things could occur in that span of time. Perhaps you want to relocate, or you need a smaller or bigger home, or simply feel that your current home isn’t right for you. While these are perfectly good reasons to sell your house, would it be possible for you to sell even if your house is still under a mortgage?

How Much Do You Still Owe on Your Home Loan?​

Essentially, the only thing standing in your way from selling your house before completely paying off your home loan is your mortgage lender since technically speaking, your lender still owns your house. This means that your mortgage lender in Salt Lake City could foreclose on your house, repossess it, and sell it to compensate for your loan balance if your default on your home loan.

What are Your Options?​

The best way to sell a house under a loan is to try to sell it for an amount that’s higher than your mortgage balance. Most lenders would be willing to approve a sale if they’re 100% certain that you would use the proceeds of your home sale for repaying your loan balance. Once you’ve paid off your balance, you could then use the remainder of the sale proceeds for whatever you want, perhaps as down payment for a new home.

On the other hand, if your house is worth less than your home loan balance, you could try negotiating with your lender for a reduced payoff amount once you sell your home. Depending on your particular circumstances, your lender might also be willing to allow the buyer of your house to repay your loan balance. However, the buyer would need to meet very stringent credit and income requirements to make sure that he or she doesn’t default on the mortgage.

Knowing your circumstances and options would help you make more informed decisions, particularly if you have issues on your house or your mortgage. Your best recourse is to speak to your lender directly to determine how you should go about selling your home, provided that your lender allows you to.

Value Adding Renovations that Boosts Your Home’s Price

a houseAre you planning to sell your property? If so, it is ideal to boost its value first before you put it on the market. When you do so, you get a better price and have more money on hand compared to selling it immediately.

Property managers from prestigerealty.co.nz in North Shore cite the following renovations you can make to boost your home’s value.

Give the Outdoor Area a Facelift

The first thing that a prospective buyer will see is the yard and exterior; this will dictate the general impression of your property. Impress him or her immediately by giving this part of your house a facelift; you can start by adding grass and flowers. These give your home a natural and inviting beauty that attracts attention. Replace the windows and doors to match the improvements you made to the garden. A fresh coat of paint also helps in beautifying as well.

Spruce Up the Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most used rooms of a house; some potential buyers would put this atop their lists before deciding to purchase. Replace old fixtures and strategically add lights in certain places to highlight their form and function. Marble is a good material to use for counter tops or tables as they blend well with all sorts of colours. After making renovations, keep the area as clean as possible.

Improve the Bathroom

The other room that needs your attention is the toilet and bath. As one of the most used, it will likely need more than just cleaning, but replacement of fixtures as well. Replace the tiles and add a fresh coat of paint to make it look brand-new. Use light colours to give it an appealing look and use neutral-coloured tiles for it to blend well into a theme.

These are some of the renovations you can make to boost the value of your house. Consult with experts to get the right appraisal before putting it on the market.

Getting a Mortgage and a Home the Right Way: Pitfalls to Avoid

For sale sign outside of the house

House for saleBuying your first house involves thorough research and an informed decision. This doesn’t need to be hard though, because you can get help from mortgage apps and agents that will do the technical stuff for you, such as looking for the best rates possible. What you need to do is know the pitfalls related to buying a house with a mortgage.

Here are some examples:

Spending Beyond Your Limit or Capability

reputable mortgage company in Lake Oswego, Oregon explains that first-time home buyers shouldn’t spend beyond the limit of their finances. Doing so would put you at risk of running out of funds for other important matters. For example, if you spend too much on the house that you’re about to buy, you’d have problems paying for furniture, utilities, and the construction team.

Compromising on Location

Another pitfall of home-buying is compromising on location. This happens when you choose a home because it has some appeals like affordable rates, but also has some drawbacks like lack of basic amenities. In such scenarios, mortgage apps and real estate agents can help you determine if a property is worth buying.

Making Snap Decisions

Lastly, making decisions based on a whim is a no-no in buying a house. Make sure the surface features won’t sway you into choosing a property. You need to make sure it’s in a community with complete features, such as health and security services. Weigh your options and see how you can benefit from each of them. Ask for help if you’re having a hard time deciding.

First-time homebuyers should understand the processes involved. These include applying for a mortgage or hiring a real estate agent. Once you know what to do, you’ll surely avoid the pitfalls in home buying.

How Building Your Home Can Give You More Satisfaction

Designed with natural lightingMany homeowners who build their home from scratch attest to feeling greatly satisfied once their house is completed. Buyers of pre-owned ones also feel happy upon acquisition but seeing one’s home slowly come to life is simply amazing.

First-time homeowners are often torn between two courses of action—whether to buy a pre-owned home or one that has to be built from the ground up. For those who have the time and the resources to sustain the construction of their home, the second choice would always be the best option.

Ensuring Strong Foundation

Considering that you get to oversee the construction process from the time the first post was installed, you can be assured that your house has a strong foundation. Nobody is stopping you to visit the house construction site and to check if the materials used are as per specifications. Any disparity or any issue at the start of the construction work can readily be addressed and nipped in the bud. This would pave the way for proper handling of materials up to the later portion of the construction project.

Flexibility in Design

While it may sound absurd if you would change designs right in the middle of the construction project, such is not impossible when you are still in the design phase. Professionals from residential architecture firms are always open and willing to listen to the desires of their clients. Hence, you are free to relay your dream design to them and later see it come to life. Your inputs are always considered invaluable and definitely noted.

There really is a great difference when you build a home and when you just purchase one. When you build your own home, you get to ensure every part of it would be perfectly executed according to your plan. On the other hand, when you buy a pre-owned one, you no longer have to worry about a lot of things like the lot, the construction, etc. But then again, when it comes to homes, customising it according to one’s preference is always preferred by many.

Garage Door Materials to Choose From

Garage doorHaving a garage door not only protects your vehicle; it also keeps your home secure. That said, it pays to invest in the right garage door for your home. One of the ways to make sure you choose the best door without busting your budget is by knowing the different types of materials available.

Garage doors installers in the Newcastle area can help you with the specifications and installation. But as a homeowner, you must educate yourself to get the best deal on the market.

Here are the most popular types of materials for garage doors:


Wooden garage doors are often considered a classic. They are easily customisable, and they add a degree of aesthetics to your home’s overall appearance. This type has been around for years because it is durable, but it comes with a price and may require more maintenance.


This is the most common garage door material because it is reasonably priced, is durable, basically requires little to no maintenance, and can easily be painted with the colour of your liking. It is no wonder most of your neighbours invested on a steel garage door.


The unique selling point of aluminium doors is that it is lightweight and rustproof. Over the years, there has been a debate about its durability, but newer versions are changing that view and manufacturers are making aluminium garage doors as dent proof as possible.


This type of garage door is not so popular because of its price and poor insulation properties. But if you are living in the coastal areas, a fibreglass garage door is a good option because it is resistant to saltwater corrosion.


Vinyl garage doors are child-proof because of their durability and inability to dent easily. But unlike other door types, these do not come in wide array of customised styles and designs, giving homeowners limited options when it comes to aesthetics.

Which garage door material do you think is best for your home? Consult with your contractor and see what you can do to ensure the safety of your car and other belongings.

Get The Best Value For Your Money When Buying A Home

Piggy bank and coinsMany people rush through the decision to buy a home, and it leads them to make a myriad of mistakes that lead them to incur hefty losses. Carefully considering all the crucial factors can save you a lot of money.

Rash decisions when buying a home can lead you down a slippery slope that puts your finances in jeopardy. Such mistakes happen because most people have limited access to information. Rather than feel in the dark, you are better off looking for a credible source of information.

For instance, if looking to buy a property in Cavite, the Lancaster New City reviews on Real Estate Hub can be of great help. Not only does it inform you of the pricing range but honest buyer feedbacks as well. Here are some more insights to help you get the best value for your money.

Pick the best amortization plan

While a 30-year plan might seem appealing, it carries a hefty price tag in the end. While the monthly payments might look affordable, you will pay a fortune in interest. Typically, you’ll pay about twice as much in interest on a 30-year mortgage as you would on a 15-year one. Ideally, you’re better off with a shorter loan than a long one.

If you can’t pay off the home loan in about 15 years, you are committing to a house that is out of your price range. Instead of burdening your finances for many decades, consider getting a smaller house.

Consider your lifestyle

Never rush to seal the deal on a new home despite the how attractive the deal looks. Doing so only sets you up for disappointment in the end. Janice was a busy business executive who rushed to buy a cozy little townhouse to escape skyrocketing rent on her condo. In every aspect, the house was beautiful, and she was pleased with it.

It wasn’t until she moved in with her three teenage daughters that the trouble began. The house had only one and a half bathrooms. Instead of having peaceful mornings, there were chaos and bedlams as everyone clamored to get ready for school and work. After a few months, Janice had to sell the house, incurring hefty losses in the process.

Rushing through the decisions to buy a home can be a great undoing. Taking a moment to weigh all the options ensures that you get the best value for your money.

3 Tips for Making Your Yard More Useful and Inviting

a gardenAre tending the garden and sweeping leaves the only things you do in your yard? Well, you’re not making the most of your valuable outdoor space, then.

Good thing it’s never too late to help make your yard functional and inviting. Below are some tips for accomplishing this.

Bring out some furniture

Adding furniture will not only make your yard attractive but will also make it useful. Positioning beautiful pieces of antique Gustavian furniture, such as benches or chairs, will encourage one to sit in your yard. A round table for four will be useful when dining al fresco. If there is a part of your yard that has a roof, you can go all out and set up an outdoor living room.

Incorporate recreational features

Recreational activities will be more exciting when held outdoors. You can set up soccer goalposts or a mini-golf course in your yard to engage in some sports. For the roofed part of the yard, residents and guests may play indoor sports, such as billiards, table tennis, and darts. If you have young kids, make the yard their playground by adding a swing, slide, or seesaw. A tree house and trampoline will surely bring fun times for everyone, as well.

Transform outbuildings

You may also transform outbuildings in the yard to serve other purposes. You may turn a tool shed, for instance, into an arts and crafts studio or workshop. This will make it easier for you to bring your tools and materials out into the yard, where you can work while enjoying the fresh air and the natural surroundings. It will be helpful, too, because any noise and mess you make will not be as disruptive as when you’re working inside the house.

Don’t let your outdoor space go to waste. Help make your yard functional and inviting, so you can spend as much time as you want there.

3 Rules to Follow for Your Landscaping Project

modern backyard designYour home’s exterior is the first thing that your family, neighbours, and guests will notice. Whether you want to have regular backyard barbeques or simply admire your garden from the living room window, there are rules of landscaping that you shouldn’t miss. Experts from qbsconstruction.co.nz talk about three of them:

1. Avoid overdeveloping your yard.

Not every homeowner wants an extravagant secret garden. Sometimes, being simple is enough. Too much pavement in your backyard may cause run-off issues during the rainy days. Do not construct a pool so big that it removes all space for trees and plants. Instead of overextending every element of the landscape, focus on getting high-quality essentials.

2. Get the right plants for your climate.

When it comes to choosing the grass, bushes, and trees to your landscape, aesthetic isn’t the only factor to consider. You also have to think about which types are more suited for the part of the country you live in.

Make the most of local plant species and let them flourish in a good spot in your yard. If you have a mostly dry climate, go for plants that do not require too much water. It’s also important to consider the type of grass for your lawn because the wrong species may need more upkeep than it’s worth.

3. Book a skilled contractor.

Going the DIY route can only get you so far when it comes to this huge home improvement project. Only licensed professionals can help ensure that work is done properly at the least amount of time. Book a contractor at least a few months in advance, so you’ll have plenty of time to discuss the features you want to have in your yard.

Good landscaping can enhance your home’s curb appeal and bring joy to anyone who looks or lounges in the area. It’s a project that can increase your home’s market value and provide a better outdoor living.