Purchasing Your First Home: Tips and Resources for Making the Move

Your first home purchase is stressful not just because you are signing away potentially 30 years of your life to paying on a loan, but because there’s a lot of work involved to make this move safe, secure, and successful. Find the home of your dreams, purchase it, and then plan to make your move using these tools.

Establish and Maintain a Household Budget

An essential first step prior to a move is to establish a household budget that identifies key expenses, savings goals, and home improvement projects. Doing this now ensures you make payments on time, keep debt under control, and have savings put aside to ensure you can continue to pay your mortgage over the long term. To make budgeting easier, use a site such as Mint.com that provides all-in-one bill management, budgeting, and financial tools to boost credit.

Keep Financial Information Secure

During a move, your personal information is at risk. This risk is heightened because you are applying for loans and updating financial information for each of your credit cards, personal loans, and investment accounts. The investment in LifeLock can be an ideal way to minimize this risk. It allows you to combat identity theft by putting measures in place that prevent unwanted invasions or use of your personal, financial information.

Moving Is Best Done By Professionals

In the U.S. 35.9 million people moved between 2012 and 2013, reports Census.gov. There are many reasons for moving including employment, family needs, and housing availability. The best way to minimize the stress and worry of moving is to hire a professional organization to do the heavy lifting for you. These tips can help you select the right company for the job:

  • Schedule your move during the “off-peak” season of September through April, if possible, to get moving services for less expense and more flexible pickup and delivery times, reports the American Moving & Storage Association.
  • Choose an AMSA member company to handle your move for you, rather than doing it yourself, since this ensures you are working with professionals screened by the association. This includes Better Business Bureau and state and federal background checks. These operators must maintain an honest business and adhere to the code of ethics for the association as well.
  • For interstate moves, ensure the company’s USDOT number indicates the company holds an appropriate license. Ensure the company’s license indicates they can move you between states and is not a state-only license.

Managing and Maintaining Your Home

Once you’ve moved in, don’t let down your guard. Keep up with household chores and maintenance tasks to ensure your home maintains its value and it continues to be a safe, secure environment. For those who enjoy software tools, HomeZada is the ideal investment. With it, you can automate the home maintenance schedule to ensure you continuously are on top of necessary chores and tasks. Not only can this help you keep your home in good shape, but it can help you track investments for tax write-offs later, boost your home’s value, and aid in minimizing replacement costs.

Being a homeowner is a new experience, but with the right tools and resources, you can easily manage the entire process in an efficient, safe, and even affordable manner.

A Combination Door Lock Can Provide Security and Convenience at Home or Work

A combination door lock is a secure and convenient way to protect your home or workplace. There are many benefits to choosing this type of locking system over other systems that require keys to gain entry. There are two different kinds of keyless locking systems that people can choose: an electronic system and the other is a push button system. While electronic systems provide a different level of sophistication, they can be much more expensive and require a more complicated installation. Choosing a push button system will save you money and time. The level of security they provide is just as high as what you would get using an electronic system.

How the Push Button Lock System Works

A push button locking system provides extra security at home or work, for outside doors or inside doors. There are models available to fit any type of door, from wooden framed doors, 40mm-80mm thick or thinner, and even for glass panel doors.

There is a total of thirteen numbers and letters on the keypad, allowing more than 10,000 possible seven-digit combinations to be set. The lock comes pre-coded by the manufacturer, but there are easy instructions which allow you to reset the code anytime. Two keys are also provided so that in case of emergencies or if you forget your code you will have the option to override the system by using the key. These locks also come with a drilling template so that you can easily install them on your own.

Benefits of Using Push Button Combination Locks

There are many benefits to gain from choosing this type of locking system for your inside or outside doors. It will fit on any kind of door whether hung on the left or right. One of the best features is that there is no power supply needed to use this system, which makes installation and upkeep very simple. It also means that the lock will work to secure and protect your home or workplace whether or not the power has gone out.

The possible 10,000-plus combinations mean that you can easily reset the combination for the lock as many times as you wish. This makes it the perfect system for the workplace because when an employee leaves, you won’t have to worry about changing the entire lock and reissuing new keys. You can simply update the combination immediately and be assured that your business is still protected. The easy installation also makes this system the perfect choice for doors inside of your home or workplace. You can keep certain rooms containing valuables or secure information protected all the time without worrying about keeping track of keys.

Choose a convenient system that has been successfully protecting important businesses such as banks, office buildings, health services, sports centres, and more. Throw out your keychain and secure any door you wish.

Find the Right Tool for Every Job

Never before has it been easier to find the right tool for the job. The Internet has removed all barriers in the search for the perfect tool. Now you can read reviews from others craftsmen about their favourite model. There are a wide variety of suppliers to choose from. Tools from all major manufacturers are available. This is the golden age of tools, and we’re all lucky to have access to so many.

You Always Need More Tools

Tools aren’t like some products. There’s almost no one who will buy just one tool and never return. Tool lovers collect tools. They have different tools that do almost the same thing. Since most tools last so long, it’s not surprising that people want to get their hands on new ones. Even the best tool could eventually get boring to use. As humans we seek new experiences. It’s fun to contrast how fast we can get the job done with a new tool. Power tools keep on getting stronger. Hand tools become more stylish. Even old school tools like a hammer can offer an array of features. The typical evolution of tools from toolmakers goes something like this. First you have a hammer. Then you have a drill. You combine them into a hammer drill. Next you add a motor and now you have a cordless hammer drill! Hybrid or combo tools take the best of both worlds from common tools and combine them into interesting new tools.

Look for Quality in Your Next Purchase

Tools are sold based on how useful and long-lasting they are. It’s common for a tool to carry a limited lifetime warranty. You may be tempted to buy cheap tools online. Avoid the temptation. There’s nothing more frustrating than having your tool break when you’re in the middle of a huge job. It’s frustrating to have to drop what you’re doing to head out to find a replacement. Most of the cheaper tools do not have great warranties. It’s usually worth paying the premium for a better tool, especially it’s one you plan on using a lot. Tools like hammers and wrenches generally last forever. Power tools are a different beast because of their electric parts. Much of the wear and tear on a tool cannot be avoided.

Tools are a great investment. If you’re handy with your tools you can always pick up some extra money doing work for others. Skilled work is always in demand. If you have the right equipment and the time you can easily do jobs for others. If repairing and building things is just your hobby, you should still get the best tools. Since you don’t use them that often they’ll last forever. You can put your collection together slowly over time. You don’t need every fancy item day one. If you take good care of your tools and keep your collection organised, you’ll end up having a toolbox that makes you the envy of the neighbourhood.

How to Furnish Your Garage

For most men, the garage is their sanctuary. After a long day of work, nothing relieves stress like spending time working on the latest project. To really make the most of what your garage offers, it’s important to keep it stocked with the latest and greatest in tools and equipment. What’s the point of having all that space if you have nothing good to work with?

The Basic Tools

Tools come in all shapes and sizes, and they all have their respective purpose. For your garage, you want to keep it stocked with a few of the basic necessities. First and foremost, any handy man needs a good set of wrenches. Wrenches are the essential tools that will get the most work out of everything in your toolbox. Whether it’s tightening or loosening screws, wrenches can do either task effectively. Make sure you stock up on various types of wrenches so you can make the most out of your options.

The few must-have wrenches to stock up on would be an adjustable wrench, torque wrench, and an allen wrench. Just having three of these in your arsenal will take care of the majority of tightening tasks you’ll come across. These three types of wrenches can be purchased in different sizes as well. This will allow you to have multiple sizes of the same wrench. A vast arsenal of wrenches will give you added versatility when completing your jobs.

Proper Organization

If you’re like most handymen, chances are you keep everything in one big toolbox. Sure, maybe it’s worked for you up until now, but it’s time to really improve your organization. To really organize your workspace, you need to purchase multiple types of storage. This means you’ll have to stock up on workbenches, storage bins, and lockers to maintain a safe and productive environment. It’s impossible to stay on task if your work space is cluttered, and there’s nothing worse than misplacing a crucial tool.

A well-made workbench will serve as a sturdy surface to complete projects, and it will also give you a place to keep your most critical tools. Rather than packing everything up or leaving something on the floor, you can just leave your tools on the workbench. In conjunction with the workbench, a good set of lockers will help keep everything locked up and secure. If you have young children, a secure locker will prevent them from wreaking havoc with your tools. Last but not least, it’s absolutely vital that you get your hands on a couple storage bins.

Bins will keep any loose screws, broken pieces, or excess clutter in one place. You never know when you’ll need a spare screw or extra nut.

Take Your Time

Don’t go overboard when it comes to furnishing the garage. You don’t want to take one day, and try and get everything organized in one fell swoop. This will result in a sloppy set-up and may end up cluttering your space more than necessary. Organization is a task that should be undertaken one step at a time. Start little by little, and in due time, you will eventually have the garage of your dreams.

Three Considerations When Choosing the Perfect Front Door

The door that we choose to place in the entryway of our abode speaks volumes about the home and the people inside. It’s the first thing that people notice about the home, and it can deliver a lasting impression. Picking the perfect front door is no easy feat with manufacturers churning out multiple designs in a variety of materials. To help you narrow down your choices, these are the three considerations you should make before settling on “the one” for your home.

1. Safety and Security

First and foremost, the front door of you home should serve as a barrier against any potential threats. This means that the door you choose should be sturdy, well designed, and well fitted. Whenever possible, try to find doors that have received “Secured by Design” designation. These products have withstood a variety of tests, which have challenged the doors’ strength, durability, and ability to keep intruders out.

The strongest doors are typically made of one of the following:

Fiberglass or Composite

Solid wood

Steel

Each material has its own set of pros and cons. Some may require more maintenance while others may not offer the same level of protection. Fortunately, the renowned window and door gurus at Kloeber are always happy to answer your questions about door security though there are numerous other resources available.

2. Architectural Design and Aesthetic Appeal

For some, having a sky blue front door can work. For most homes, this would be a disaster. First, begin by considering the architectural design of your home. Is it traditional? Whimsical? Is it ultra contemporary and modern? Having a lux wooden door would likely be lovely on a more traditional home, but it can be confusing on a home that has a modern design.

Colour is another important consideration, though fortunately the colour of the door you choose can be changed at will. If you’re completely lost for colour ideas, consider having a complimentary colour palette of your home made by a home decorator, or make your own with the many tools online. This will help you brainstorm the right colour for your front door.

3. The Manufacturer 

The manufacturer that you choose can play a huge role on how satisfied you’ll be with your front door. First, choose one that is reputable and is well known for providing top quality doors. Next, if you’re purchasing an entire entry system, stick with the same manufacturer if at all possible. If all of the components come from the same company, you’ll know that everything will fit together seamlessly and give you the best protection and insulation.

The final consideration is window glazing. While front doors traditionally would be solid, technology has allows for glass to be reinforced through glazing, meaning it’s significantly more difficult to break through. If you’re considering windows in you front door, choose a manufacturer that doesn’t just offer glazing, but that offers double or even triple glazing for superior security.

 

 

Six Tips for Preventing a Pest Infestation in the Workplace

Having pests in your workplace can be more than a nuisance. Depending on the pests that you have, they can trigger allergies in employees and cause a rise in absenteeism. In addition, depending on what type of business you have, pests can scare off customers, which can affect your profit margin. To help prevent pests in your workplace, here are six tips you can utilize.

Tip #1 – Keep Busy Areas Clean

Whether you have a food business or private offices, you need to keep busy areas clean. Break rooms, public eating areas and anywhere food crumbs or trash accumulates need to be kept clean. To help with this, either assign cleaning duties to employees or hire a cleaning service to come in every night.

Tip #2 – Properly Store Food

Whether you have an office party or sell food to the public, cover food and put it away in either a cabinet or refrigerator. In addition, wipe up all of the crumbs on the tables and floor and throw them away. Pests are looking for food, and if you make it accessible to them, they will stay and end up breeding near their food source.

Tip #3 – Cover Your Garbage

Use trash bins with lids in break-rooms or other areas where there is food. An open trash bin is a great food source for bugs and other creatures. Covering the garbage will help deter them and they will have to find another food source.

Tip #4 – Tighten Up Your Building

To keep pests on the outside, seal any cracks, crevices and small spaces where insects, rodents and other pests could crawl into your building. Caulk around water pipes or utilities that enter the building. Also, if there is a water leak, have a repairman fix it. Bugs will gravitate to the water source so they can get a drink and find ways to enter the building.

Tip #5 – Keep Gutters Clean

Make sure there is no debris in your gutters, especially leaves or other organic materials where pests will end up nesting. Install water diverters to help keep water away from the building. Where there is water, there will be pests.

Tip #6 – Inspect the Property

Have professional pest control Brisbane inspect your property for the presence of insects and rodents. They can identify any pest problems you may have, recommend solutions and safely treat your building. Schedule them to come in and treat your building on a regular basis to help keep pests away.

These tips will help you control and prevent pest infestations in the workplace and help you provide a clean, safe environment for your employees and/or customers. These tips are also easy to do and they only take a few moments of time.

Controlling a pest problem is easier to do then trying to stamp out an infestation and it is less expensive as well. Keeping pests away helps to provide a healthier workplace for everyone in the building.

The Long Haul: Tips for Moving Cross-Country

Moving can be stressful. From car maintenance to timing and packing, there may be a host of preparation checklist items on your mind. Here are some tips to stay on track during your big move.

1. Be Selective

Selective packing is particularly important when moving cross-country. The less you have to move, the better — so sort through your belongings and decide what goes and what gets sold or donated. Does your coffee table have scuffs or stains from candles, wine, or the occasional potluck? If so, get rid of it and plan to invest wisely in a new one once you’re moved and settled.

It might be difficult to get rid of some of your things, but weigh the pros and cons of trekking each and every item across the country. The more you get rid of, the less hassle packing and unpacking will be later. Craigslist and eBay are both great ways to sell your unwanted items. If you live in a larger city, Craigslist might be the easiest way to go, while those living in smaller areas may benefit from eBay’s wider audience.

2. Packing

Packing can be a pain. If you’re using a moving truck, it’s crucial to have your items well organized, and well insulated. Invest in bubble wrap and paper to carefully secure breakables. Consider recycling materials such as newspapers and plastic bags for this purpose, and use your towels and linens for extra padding between picture frames and other fragile items.

The more things you take with you on this move, the more likely it is that something will get lost. If you number and label your boxes, however, you can guard against loss. Make sure everything gets from point A to point B by keeping an inventory list. This might seem like a hassle, but having documentation of all your possessions will be worth it when you get to your new city.

3. Timing

Timing your move can make it easier, but you can also save a lot of money if you don’t move during the peak season. Most people prefer to move during the summer, on weekends, and at the end of the month. But if you can lock down a time of year that falls outside of these peak moving conditions, you’ll have better luck negotiating the rates with moving companies. If moving during an off-peak time can be arranged, it’s a good way to save some money.

To assist with your timeline, U-Pack offers a free printable moving checklist to make sure you don’t miss a step along the way.

4. Car Maintenance

If you’ll be driving your own vehicle cross-country to your new city of residence, it’s important that your vehicle is in tip-top shape for the journey. An oil change, new spark plugs, and windshield wipers will provide peace of mind that you’re prepared for your trip. It’s also important to make sure your tires are up to the job. Check your tires for signs of wear and balding, and replace your tires before the trip if needed. You can find general tire information online. Make sure to also check your tire pressure before hitting the road.

Choosing the Best Designer Radiator for your New Build

Choosing a Designer Radiator for Your New Build Home

If you live in a colder climate like the UK, it will be important to install some high quality radiators in the interiors of your home. For those just building a new abode, this can be the perfect opportunity to order just the right type of model especially since there are so many designer options available. To make the right decisions though, there are a number of considerations you will need to make.

Optimal Heat Output

The first thing to think about when shopping for heating systems is whether they have sufficient power to fight off the cold in your home. Depending on the size and layout of your interiors, the radiator you choose will have to have a certain amount of heat output. In the UK, this is measured in BTU per hour. Talk with a reputable vendor to work out which of their models can supply enough heat for your household so you can then make a more informed purchasing decision.

The Perfect Location

Where you install your radiator will also affect how it performs. In general, they need to be placed:

In the coldest part of the house

Under an external window

Next to an outside wall

Thus you will also need to choose a design which matches with the decor in that particular part of your home. This will ensure that your heater performs as efficiently as possible without clashing with your interiors. The good news is there are a variety of contemporary and classic models available on the market.

Suitable Materials

The next consideration will be to think about the overall design of the heater and work out which styles will be best for your home. If you have a more traditional set of interiors, cast radiators of the Edwardian type may be a good idea. Their classic look will fit in with all types of antique furnishings and fixtures. On the other hand, you might have a more modern household. In these cases, there are still a wide range of contemporary designs to choose from.

Energy Efficient Models

The last factor to consider is whether or not the model you buy will be energy efficient enough for your home. This means that it will be able to heat up your interiors without eating through too much gas or electricity. In order to keep your bills down, it is therefore essential that you ask about the energy rating of each particular model so that you can then gauge how much your utility bills will be each month. This is an important step for anyone looking to lower their carbon footprint as well.

By taking the above qualities into account, you can then purchase a brand new designer heating unit for your home. If you make the correct decision, your radiator will provide just the right amount of heat to make your interiors comfortable. It will do this while still complementing your other decor and keeping your gas or electrical bills down at the same time.

Top 21st Century Office Trends

The way that organisations are doing business is changing. With brand new technologies emerging nearly every day and fresh takes on architecture and design becoming mainstream, businesses are altering their approach to office design. Fewer and fewer executives and directors are overlooking operations from highest floor of their office building, and walls between managers and their staff are crumbling. Today’s office space of the 21st century is constantly evolving, with these being the top five trends we’ve seen so far.

1. Open Concept Designs

As the research continues to stack up proving the importance of employee-to-employee and employee-to-manager interaction, a growing number of organizations are choosing to break down the walls between employees and between leadership. Daring businesses have even removed barriers between break rooms and meeting rooms and instead of using desks now promote employees to work at shared desks or tables. The more a sense of community is heralded as the ideal way to run a business, the more this open workspace design option will grow.

2. Better Use of Space 

Space efficiency isn’t only necessary for a neater and tidier office, but it can help a business save on one significant expense: real estate. Whether you rent or own the space your company occupies, every inch that your business “stuff” occupies is taking up useful space that can be better used by you and your employees.

Tackling space efficiency typically involves two key points:

Improved organisation

Less “dead” space

When companies choose an office fit out in London with Saracen Interiors, the company does more than throw in some shelving units. A professional refurbishing company will look at every square inch of office space, see how it’s used, and will then begin the task of improving organisation and eradicating any seldom used areas (a.k.a. “dead” space) within the business. This often means fewer private offices and transforming them into collaborative team building areas, lounges, or a better break room.

3. Sustainable Furniture and Materials

Reducing our carbon footprint isn’t only something that we should be doing in our personal lives; it’s something that our businesses are also beginning to proactively take part in as well. Today’s modern business is opting for renewable or recycled materials that are free of toxins and are energy efficient. This is not only helpful to the planet, but it also helps boost the company’s bottom line.

Apart from cutting costs, sustainable materials, furnishings and furniture bring a host of other benefits:

These materials help create a toxin-free environment

Being unique, items made of sustainable materials can help inspire imagination and innovation, helping take your business to the next level

Being modern, many of the furniture is designed to the latest and greatest standards in office furniture, including being completely ergonomic

At the end of the day (or our lifetime), these office materials won’t be adding waste to our already overtaxed landfills and instead will be helping the business and the planet it exists on thrive.

4. Socially Responsible

Not only are 21st century companies caring more about what materials they’re using in the work place and their impact on the environment, but they’re also concerned about their impact on humanity. The end of the 20th century saw a spur of businesses include social responsibility into their business models, and the number of organisations choosing to follow suit are increasing. Take TOM’s Shoes, for example. Their catchy slogan of “One for One, One for All” describes exactly what it is they do: a customer buys one pair of shoes, and the company matches that purchase with one free pair going to an individual in need.

But TOM’s isn’t the only company following this “new norm.”  Several smaller businesses have made this an integral part of their business, including:

Out of Africa (A cosmetics company which donates a portion of their proceeds to the education and medical care of children, and assists with female job creation in West Africa)

Charitable Agents (Real estate agents who are part of this network donate a portion of their commission to a client’s favourite charity)

Krochet Kids (formed by three high school friends, these now grown adults teach others in Uganda and Peru how to crochet, allowing once impoverished people to make a fair wage through the sale of their goods)

Social responsibility isn’t just a “small business” trend, either. Many of today’s largest corporations are taking numerous actions to help support the less fortunate, budding entrepreneurs, and governments. Some of the most dominant corporations include:

Microsoft

Walt Disney

Apple

BMW

5. Intuitive Technology Integration

Another massive trend in office renovation and refurbishing is switching out old and dated technologies to brand new more efficient technologies that are helping businesses cut costs. Some of these technologies include:

Programmable lighting that operates not only when you need it, but also at the level of light required for you to work productively. These lights also automatically shut off whenever the room is empty and not in use.

Thermal shades that automatically rise and lower depending on the room temperature and the weather outdoors. This keeps the room temperature consistent, comfortable, and reduces energy costs. These can also be lowered completely on a timer or upon demand, doubling up as a fantastic security feature for a business.

Tech equipped offices and conference rooms. Conference rooms that have been outfitted with the latest high quality conference equipment and interactive whiteboards can effectively exchange ideas anywhere and at any time. This not only vastly improves business communications, but these technologies also reduce the expense and carbon footprint of a business by reducing or eliminating the need for business travel

Offices that can be controlled from your smartphone or tablet. Some businesses have taken technology to the extreme by being able to control the entire office environment from their smartphone or tablet, such as temperature control, security systems, system shutdowns, and more.

Things to Consider While Moving Your Office

If you are looking to relocate your office, it is likely that your business is growing or shrinking. But, the prospect of considering such a move is daunting, let alone the actual job of executing it. Moving an office can be a painful experience if you lack the proper knowledge of your basic needs and requirements. Here we have listed some of the things that you should take into account while planning a relocation of your workplace:

The Most Common Areas to Consider Before Relocating Your Office

Make an Assessment of Your Current Situation: You need to be absolutely sure of the purpose of your office relocation. You need to plan everything properly, such as your storage options, number of office desks you need, number of personal computers required, and making sure that you have a proper network in place for internet connectivity.

Planning Your Move: Cost is a major concern for any business decision. You have to plan your move according to your needs, and must hire the right person for the job. You have to make sure that the person in charge has the right understanding of what you need and the skills to carry out the relocation job for you. He should be willing to assume the extra responsibility for all the planning and decision making.

Space Planning: Relocating to a new office is a golden chance for you to organise everything in your company for better utilisation of the office space.  Proper spacing and appropriate storage options in your new office is essential. While setting up your systems and networks, you need to have sufficient storage for your files and important work related documents. You should also make sure that you have enough space for your employees too. Consider hiring a professional space planner to design workstation placement according to the number of your employees and other spacing requirements.

Relocating Your IT infrastructure: Relocating your IT equipment and important work-related documents are one of the trickiest parts of any major office relocation. If you don’t have a reliable backup of your work files, ensure that this is the first step you take before even thinking of moving your systems. A damaged server can lead to loss of some important data which might not be recovered later. If you have not backed up all the data in advance, there is always a chance of suffering a major data loss. It is a good idea to have an IT professional back up and test your servers prior to the move.

The Day of Migration

Now comes the most important day in your relocation plan, the day to start to move your office. This is the day all your hard work, planning and efforts are going to bear a fruitful result for you. One significant thing to consider here is that the physical move from your old office to the new one should not be chaotic. That means you cannot afford to even slightly deviate from your plan. This is why it is important that you have taken all the steps necessary to ensure a trouble free move.  One good idea is colouring your packages and boxes or numbering them according to what rooms they will be placed in at the new location.

If you are looking to get independent, specialist, knowledge and guidance for the office relocation, then getting an expert office design with strategyhat is definitely a good idea.