Friday, May 9, 2008

How to Create Your Dream Home

When you want decorate your home one room at a time, you may worry that it will end up looking disconnected when it's completed. Here are some tips on how to keep your decorating projects under control, while still creating design continuity throughout your home.

Create a Decorating Notebook - A decorating notebook doesn't need to be anything special. You can use a three-ring binder with a divided section for each room, or even a simple set of folders with one folder for each room. Put in pictures you have cut from magazines, your home floor plan and anything else you have collected such as sketches and fabric swatches. Be sure to include several photos of each room so that you can better visualize things when you're out shopping.

Decide On a Style - Choosing a style that will be consistent throughout you home will help you create continuity as you move from one room to another. Your overall style is most strongly reflected by your furniture choices. Visiting some home design websites can help you determine which styles most appeal to you.

Decide on a Few Stores - The easiest way to keep continuity throughout your home is to buy all of your home décor at just a few furniture stores. Purchasing all of your furniture from just one or two stores will automatically give a consistent base to your design.

Choose Your First Room - Which room you should choose to decorate first depends largely on your lifestyle. Choose the room that will give you the most satisfaction when completed. If you entertain frequently, choosing a room where your guests tend to gather, such as your living room or dining room, will give you a great feeling of satisfaction at the beginning of your design project. If you are more of a solitary homebody, you may want to choose your bedroom to decorate first. There's nothing like being able to relax in a newly created bedroom sanctuary at the end of a long day.

Create Relationships With Your Salespeople - The people on the sales floor at the furniture and home décor stores are more than salespeople. They are a great resource. They can help you solidify your choices and suggest ways to make the room you're decorating come together. When you visit a store you've chosen, bring your project notebook with you. Showing your notebook to your salesperson will give them a great idea of how you want your entire home to look, as well as what you want to do in the room your currently decorating. As you move through designing each room of your home, your salesperson can also let you know when new items you may be interested in arrive in the store.

Take Advantage of Special Services - Each store will have different special services that they can offer you. Your salesperson can be very helpful with guiding you through possibilities such as high tech services, home visits or special discount programs.

Deciding to decorate your home one room at a time doesn't mean you need to sacrifice the look and feel of your entire home when everything has been completed. By following these simple guidelines you'll be able to create the home of your dreams, one room at a time.

Tampa Bay Real Estate

If you are thinking of buying a home in Tampa Bay real estate, you have to get it started... In order for you to gain your dream home, you have to give your time and effort.

Tampa is one of the greatest places in the US, reason why more and more people are visiting this city. There are plenty of attractions that people wants to explore in Tampa Bay.

More and more people are visiting Tampa Bay in order to enjoy. After those busy days, months and years, Tampa Bay is a best place for get away. If they want to go on for a vacation to forget even for a while the stress with work, Tampa Bay is the right place for them to enjoy and have fun.

Early morning, you can have your breakfast at a waterside café. You can visit some of the attractions here such as Busch Gardens Africa, The Florida Aquarium. Then go for a streetcar ride to Channelside for shopping. There are heaps of luxury hotels and resorts that tourists can stay and enjoy at. So if you are into foods, you can visit few restaurants and enjoy with their delicious dishes and delicacies.

Not only that, white beaches, sport fishing, jet skiing, parasailing are other things that you can enjoy and can take advantage at Tampa Bay. Rowdy swashbucklers will invade Tampa for the Annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival this January, so you can join the party and have fun.

Yes, Tampa Bay is a great place to visit, but not only that, it is also a great place to relocate. More and more people are coming to Tampa Bay to relocate or to purchase your first home here, since they believe that Tampa is the best place for them and there are heaps of homes that can give them satisfaction and comfort.

If they have kids, they do not worry since Tampa is known to have prestige schools and universities. This is actually one of the reasons why people love to relocate at Tampa.

Now, if it is your first time in Tampa Bay real estate, you have to work with areal estate agent to help you look for homes in Tampa Bay real estate. Lists down the criteria that you are looking for in a home then hand it over to your real estate agent. Your agent will go to the market and look for few homes that fit your criteria. Take time to visit these homes, you do not have to worry since your agent will assist you with your quest.

Make some offers. If things turn out with what you have planned, then close the deal. Definitely, you will enjoy your new home in Tampa Bay real estate. Just go on and explore the beauty that the place has to offer you... Have fun!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Log Concept For The Dream Homes

Most everyone has a concept of their dream home. You don’t have to drive very far to notice log home masterpieces, not simply a log cabin of over a century ago. Television documentaries showcase multi-million dollar log homes like one built originally for Barbara Mandrell and her family. With the increase in numbers of log homes, it only stands to reason that more people realize it is possible to have their dream home to be a log home. People know they can be very spacious. People know they can get any luxuries they want in their log home. This old form of architecture can do it all.

Most of these log homes didn’t just get built. They were designed by an architect, just like every other dream home. The questions are, where do you start and what do you need to know to design and build a log home? That is where log home design may be a bit more complex than more typical home architecture.

First, you will need to have an image of what you want your dream log home to be. Try to imagine all of the details. Try to actually see the floor plan. Is it all on one floor? Then imagine the details. See the refrigerator, whirlpool, bathtub, closets and closet doors. Picture the size, style and amount of furniture you will want in it. A couple of suggestions on how to help yourself with your image are to visit model log homes and take your camera. Visit log homes for sale and take your camera. Be sure to ask first if it is OK to take pictures. You can also get brochures and magazines and cut out pictures of log homes and their detail. Make sure you take pictures and cut out pictures of things you don’t like or want, not just what you do want. Separate the pictures into what you like and what you are not interested in including in your dream log home. Making sketches and taking notes is also pretty important.

After you think you know exactly what you want, contact an architect or home designer who can help you put it all together in a fashion that will be needed to guide whomever you select to actually build your dream log home. When deciding on an architect, keep in mind that often architects specialize in certain styles of log home architecture. It may be worth your effort to get a feel for how any individual architect fits with your style preference.

Your second step will be to decide what method of building you want your dream log home to be. There are a variety of styles. An important decision separate from, but coupled with your style choice is the type of wood you want your home to be made from. Most commonly used are cypress, western red cedar and Douglas fir, but you do have other options. Each type or “species” of wood does have unique character, like the grain.

As with any construction project, you will need to contact your local building authorities for licensing and permissions. Different areas have different building permit procedures, different construction requirements and in certain areas you may need special engineering functions when it comes to log homes.

If your dream home includes log home architecture, you should be able to make that dream home come true. Remember, the steps are simple, but may take a lot of time. Get a very clear mental image of your dream log home. Take pictures and cut out pictures of the good and the bad. Decide on the style of log home architecture you desire. Shop for a good architect and research the local requirements. Decide on the type or species of wood you want used in your and you are done! Enjoy.

Finding The Right Dream Home

Finding your dream home starts with you. That’s a statement that you will have to remember throughout your search for your dream home. The reason is because throughout your journey of finding your dream home, you will find yourself being derailed one time too many. Everyone will want to give you advice on where is the best location, who’s the better realtor, who is better contractor, etc. so, remember, it’s YOUR dream home. When in doubt, refer to yourself. Better yet, browse through magazines and newspapers and cut out pictures of homes that you like, areas that you fancy and paste it into a special ‘My dream home project’ book. This way, you can’t go wrong.

The first thing to do is to determine the area where you want to get a house in. Your dream home should not be too far away from your work place, schools, family members, etc…unless you want it to be, of course. Get a real estate agent to help you buy the house off the original owner. Some websites actually allow you to key in an area code and they will give you a whole list of houses on sale in that area. If your dream house is listed, you’re in luck. They will assign a realtor to work with you on buying your dream home.

The next step towards buying your dream home is, of course, financing. If you have the cash, you can buy your dream home instantly. Nobody rejects cash! Well, unless the original owner wishes to keep the home because of sentimental reasons. If you’re like the rest of us, you may not have enough money to buy your dream home in cash. So, start researching on an affordable and most viable home loan.

The process between signing the agreement to getting the loan to having the keys to your dream home is a long way. This is a good time for you to find a contractor to design and construct your dream home for you. The best way to find a suitable contractor to design your dream home is to ask around – there’s nothing quite like referrals. Referrals mean they are satisfied with the services that have been provided by the contractor.

Designing and constructing your dream home is both a painful and pleasurable experience! I mean, you’re literally designing a home that you hope to live in for a couple of years, maybe even for a lifetime! It’s exciting as you watch every single inch of the house transform from an empty hollow shell into the home of your dreams! The artistic input from the designer, your own personal preferences all combine together – and viola! You have a dream home to live in.

This is also the time to discuss the inside of your home – would you like it to be cozy or clean and organized? Is there any particular style preference you think you should tell your designer/contractor? Your dream home should be consistent in all areas of the home – but they can have different characteristics. For example, exotic Asian look for the bedroom, French home look in the kitchen and the fun, jovial and cheery look for the kids’ bedrooms.

The most important thing to consider is the comfort level and practicality of your dream home.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Architects To Design Your Dream Homes

The greatest American dream has always been of owning land. From the crossing of the Atlantic by brave Europeans, to the migrations of Western expansion, migrations into the cities, then out to the suburbs, and now into exurbia, Americans have a love affair with land. Now that you're ready to purchase your own piece of heaven, and build your Dream Home, there are some things to keep in mind to make sure you don't wind up with a cup full of heartache.

The first step in building a new home or buying an existing home is evaluating the site. Look at the topography of the site. Is it very steep; will you be able to get up a driveway in possible snow? What type of exposure is the site optimized for? Most home owners want southern exposure. It has a "warming" affect in the winter and makes for a nice bright home year round. So you'll want to make sure the southern side of the site isn't crowded with trees. Do your research on zoning regulations and restrictions. What are the set-backs? Are there any large developments planned for or applied for in the area? Consider the water table height and the drainage of the site. If the water table is too high, having a basement is a bad idea. If the drainage is poor you may want to select another site, or risk flooding. Are you in a flood plain or wetlands? Both are signs of a poor site. A good indicator is the number of pine trees on the lot. Pine trees avoid wetlands, and you should too. Find out where the utilities are regarding your site. Where's the closest public sewer and water connection? Will you have a well and septic system? Where are the electric lines? Having a perk test done, and a well drilled can be expensive. If there is a well in place, find out how many gallons per minute it provides, to get an idea of how much water you'll have on hand. Also consider the area the site is in. Are the schools good? Even if you don't have children this will affect your re-sale value and property taxes. Are you close to a large city? Are there any restrictions on what you can build on the property? The most important part of buying a piece of land or a home is to get title insurance right off the bat. If you don't, you may be liable for a previous owner's misdeeds. If there are liens on the land or home, without title insurance, they'll wind up becoming your responsibility. Make sure you update the title report and do a title search.

After you find a suitable site, it's time to set the stage for construction. This includes meeting with an architect to design the house and draw plans, or you may choose to use pre-packaged plans provided by the general contractor; selecting a general contractor or builder (many people are opting to take on this duty themselves, but it takes a lot of effort and research, something we'll be detailing in a future article); creating a construction agreement; and securing a construction loan.

Will you need an architect to design "custom" plans for your house, or will you be choosing plans from several choices your builder might already have, or will you be using pre-packaged plans from one of the many catalogs of building plans? If you decide to build a truly one-of-a-kind custom house, you'll need an architect to help you design it and draw plans for it. This would include its overall orientation to your site as well as designing the interior layout and picking suitable building materials based on what you're trying to accomplish. An architect will help you figure out the types of rooms you will require, their size, layout and function. If the house will serve later as a retirement place, make sure you provide for that in the original design. If you do a lot of entertaining, have numerous overnight guests, or like to make use of outdoor areas frequently, make sure your architect understands your needs and purposes. Interview several architects and find out the types, styles, and sizes of the houses they have designed.

Selecting your general contractor (builder) is a very important decision. Do not turn to the yellow pages. Word of mouth is a great way to find someone reliable and reputable. If you have friends in the area, see if they have any recommendations. Another option is to drive around the area in which you are planning to build to see if you like any of the homes there, or even if some are under construction. If you do, ask the owner who built it, or if a house is under construction, speak to the builder. Ask if you can contact the owner, or if he can have the owner contact you. Contact the local Home Builders Association for a list of builders and their qualifications. Many areas have local Home Shows which you can attend. Many planned communities require you pick a builder from a list of builders that build in their community. Once you have a list of general contractors, meet with all of them. This stage is almost like a first date. If you have instant misgivings about a person, it's a good idea to find someone else to work with. Ask if they have a current builder's license in their name and what their insurance limits are. Inquire as to whether they are bondable and to what limits. Find out how long they've been in business, and if they have experience in building the type and size of house you have in mind. How often will the builder meet with you to discuss his progress or any problems? Does he have a website from which you can monitor the progress of your house? Do not ask for references. Ask them for the contact information of their last three clients, so they can't stack the deck with only sterling references. How long is their work guaranteed? Visit several of his houses that are 3-5 years old to see how they have held up. Talk to the owners. When you have a couple general contractors you like, it's time to start asking for construction bids, based on your building plans.

A "construction contract" is put in place to protect you and motivate the contractor, so make sure it does. Critical points should include such things as what the penalties are for not meeting the agreed upon schedule; what happens if tools or equipment left on the site are lost or damaged; how does he secure the site during construction; who is responsible to get the building permit and paying the associated fee; what happens if someone is injured on the site; and what if you want to change something while they're in the middle of building your house? Make sure the contractor provides you with his insurance certificate, names you as an additional insured, and has a valid workmen's compensation policy. Ask the contractor for valid building licenses as required by each state. Having an attorney review the contract is a must and well worth it. There are plenty of sample contracts online to get you started. Many contractors will have their own skeleton forms to start with, but you may want an attorney to draft your own contract to make sure your concerns are covered.

There are two types of general construction loans; construction only loans, or construction-permanent loans which are applicable to people planning on staying in the home for two or more years, as most do. Regardless of what you choose, you should get a single-close loan. With a single-close loan, even if you get one loan for the construction and one loan for your permanent mortgage, they are considered one loan and you avoid having to qualify twice and pay two closing fees. Most loans are interest only until the construction is finished. Your lender will require documentation in many areas, including but not limited to, the builder's license and construction contract, the plans for the home, the purchase contract, and a property profile.

You've purchased the site, designed the home, picked the contractor, signed a construction contract and arranged for a construction loan. Now, let's make sure your money stretches as far as it can. The building stage is the best time to save money over the long term. Often, spending a little more money upfront can lead to huge savings down the road. One way to save money at first is to use pre-packaged home plans. If the area you're building in allows it, bypassing the use of an architect to create signed and sealed documents can save you 10% of your total building costs! A way to save money through the life of your home, add re-sale value, and create a healthier environment for you and your family is to invest in a radiant heating system. Radiant heat comes up from the floors, either through water pipes, electricity, or air. Savings of up to 30% of your heating bill can be had, there's no airborne pollutants such as dust and allergens common with forced air heating, and best of all, the floor is toasty on your feet. Maintaining air quality in your home has huge health benefits and will extend the life of your home. Make sure the humidity level doesn't exceed 50-60%. Humid homes are hosts for mold and building rot. Pay attention to what building materials are used. Beware of interior plywood, particle board, and carpeting that emit gases after installation. Invest in an air-purifier. Incorporating design features in accordance with Universal Design standards will make your home easier to live in as you age, and add re-sale value. Visit, for a great article on Universal Design, entitled "How to Design a Home that Lasts a Lifetime".

Based on today's changing lifestyles, there are certain design features that are becoming very popular, and including them in your design will add value to your home. Some current design trends include; grander eat-in kitchens and omission of the traditional dining room. People are interested in open spaces where entertaining and family involvement flow from eating to living areas. Outdoor spaces are becoming more and more integrated into the living areas, because you can expand the living areas at lower cost, whether that be as a porch, deck, or patio. Bathrooms are also getting a facelift with "spa type" multiple head showers, higher larger toilets, and fancy jacuzzi soaking tubs. They've been transformed from their utilitarian purpose into a place to hang out and luxuriate. Many homes include workout rooms, home offices and home theaters. Today, time has become a scarce commodity. People are more interested in enjoying an active lifestyle than spending time maintaining their homes. Exterior finishes and outdoor elements that require little or no maintenance are preferred.

The process of building a new home can be one of the most daunting and rewarding experiences a person can have. Picking the site, and designing the home of your dreams and making it a reality can be achieved with the proper research and professionals, you just need to know where to look and what to watch out for. Now you're ready to go! With planning and a bit of luck, you can live in the home you've always wanted and dreamed of!

Find Your Dream Home In Less Time

Arriving at the decision that you should hire a Florida vacation rental before you leave on your vacations is the easiest part of the story. This is because you know that benefits of staying at a vacation home. You are aware of the fact that a vacation house is much more spacious than a hotel room. You are also familiar with the information that it is more affordable option than other lodging options.

Availability Of So Many Options

However, real task begins with finding the Florida vacation rental of your choice. It is not because there are only few vacation homes available for tourists. On the contrary, the mission becomes a little tough because you have a lot of options to choose from. You get confused only because most of them have wonderful features.

You start looking for your dream home on Internet. You are thrilled when you begin your search. However, after spending some time you feel that you are all set to give up. Why? This is only because so much is out there and you do not know how to filter this abundance of information.

Most Important Tip

First and most important tip in this regard is that you should do some homework. Sit for a while and contemplate what kind of Florida vacation rental you need. What features are specifically important for you and what are the features that you can do without? Take into account preferences of every member of your family.

For example, you have to decide whether you are happy with something equivalent to a discount motel chain or you prefer five-star treatment. How much does the cost matter or you are more interested in value. You and your family members can enjoy vacation in a vacation home with minimum features or you are not going to settle for anything less than ultimate.

Now, you can narrow down your search because you know what you are looking for exactly. Similarly, select only few websites so that the number does not become unmanageable. Get in touch directly with the owner of vacation house you are interested in. The way he or she responds to your queries is a gauge to know about the quality of service you are going to get. You should outright reject a vacation home if there is a lack of responsiveness.

Finally, you can involve other family members also in the process once you have short-listed three or four Florida vacation rentals. This is because the stage of confusion is over and the task has become easier.