4 Tips To Keep In Mind When Buying House And Land Packages

Is 2013 the year you’ll be buying a new home? Builders offer many exciting choices in house and land packages, so as you pour over floor plans to find the one with the best traffic flow, space, and general appeal, don’t forget to consider the land the structure will sit on.

Make Sure Your Floor Plan Is Right For Your Lot

Finding a lot with a view is easy, and there are plenty of designs that will look stunning there. You need to make sure the design you pick is the right one for the land. If you are looking at a home in a development, where the positioning of the units is predetermined, make sure the one you will own will be well placed on your lot so it offers scenery and privacy.

Build A Showplace, Not A Fishbowl

Open floor plans are quite popular in modern residential design because they offer flexibility and flow and can be built to be energy efficient. Even when the home incorporates large amounts of glass, you still do not want to feel like you’re living in a fishbowl. The design you choose and the positioning of your home on the lot can compromise your privacy if you do not consider the proximity of homes and passing traffic. Do you really want your master bedroom with floor-to-ceiling windows to face the neighbours?

Work With The Sun

Having air conditioning in a home is a given, but the way your home is situated affects the temperature inside and climate control costs. Experts suggest that your rooms face north, with features such as bathrooms, utility rooms, storage areas and theatre rooms located at the southern part of the home. Doors and windows that face the west should be as small as possible. Unless you have trees or other homes to block some of the southern exposure, you should have window overhangs of about 900mm to allow light, but reduce some of the heat and glare. Even within the same subdivision, certain plans might work better on specific lots, so be mindful of both the design and the lot you choose.

Avoid Zoning Nightmares

When you buy a home/lot package from a builder, they have most likely worked out all zoning considerations with the local council, but you should still do your due diligence on the property. To keep costs in check, avoid building in a bushfire-prone zone where you will need to add sprinklers or in an area that requires a Flora and Fauna or geological study that might limit where you can build on the property. A few calls to your local counsel should assure you that your building plans will not be unexpectedly interrupted by a visit from the local council housing inspector.

In order for your home to live up to the dream, do some thinking and research on your own before you commit to one of the biggest purchases of your life.

3 House and Land Package Ideas To Help You Create The Perfect Home For Your Budget

Building a House and Land Package requires you to make many decisions. All of these decisions are going to affect your budget, and you are going to have to live with them for some time. If you have an unlimited budget, you will have the freedom to pick and choose from all the many different designs and features on the market. However, if you are working to a budget, you will need to be much wiser in creating your wish-list.

You want to create the perfect house and land package for your family so it’s a good idea to prioritise the features you discover as you inspect display homes. By prioritizing your list, you will be able to clearly see what things are important to you, and what things you can do without.

It’s exciting building a new home and you want the best for your family so it’s important to make informed decisions. You want to be able to wake up in your new home feeling like your building company has listened to you, guided you and has delivered the home and lifestyle you so wished for from the on-set. To make sure you get the most value for your money there are a few things you can do.

1) Keep a Journal

As you browse through display homes, I’d encourage you to take photographs of all the features you like. Get any ideas and the costs for them on paper. As you inspect each display home, you are going to discover many different things that you would like included in your finished home. By writing them down you will be able to prioritize them and decide if they are absolute “must haves” therefor getting the best home for your budget.

2) Consider Your Needs And Make Changes

As you gather ideas and information from all the different display homes you visit, be mindful that each individual building company is simply doing their best to promote their designs and expertise. They are putting their best foot forward and NOT necessarily trying to showcase a perfect solution. You may warm to a particular design but I would encourage you to really think about your needs and determine if any changes could be made so it can become the perfect solution for YOU. Maybe you’d like high ceilings or more cupboard space? Maybe you need a bigger garage, or you may even want to remove a wall to create a bigger living space.

3) Choose The Right Design Consultant For Your Budget

A great design consultant will express genuine interest in your families needs and actively discover what those needs are. This is also your opportunity to spend some time with the consultant to see if you feel comfortable working with them. They will ask you a series of questions that will help you identify your needs and give you clarity on what you as a family or individual really need and want and help you work to your budget.

There are many building companies, all with numerous designs to choose from and finding the right one for your needs is vital to creating a House and Land package that is perfect for you. You are going to invest a significant amount of your hard earned money in your new home so it’s reasonable to expect the design consultant to treat you with respect and provide you with great service.

HUD Mortgage Assistance – Get Qualified For Housing and Urban Developments Mortgage Assistance

HUD’s Mortgage Assistance Program is must to be known by the borrowers before applying for that. It is available for more than 34,000 lee county homeowners. A new program has been suggested by President Barack Obama to keep the homeowners in their home and get their loan modified by lowering monthly mortgage payments.

The goal of HUD’s center is to help FHA homeowners that are not able to pay their monthly payments on time. They will work with the lenders to find the best option that borrowers can avail to avoid foreclosure.
House and urban development mortgage assistance would like to change the guidelines to exclude the down payment assistance and not allow the mortgages in which the buyer has not made a payment using his funds. Borrower must have enough income to make payments for new modified mortgage debt.

How to Qualify for HUD Mortgage Assistance?

· Firstly, a homeowner needs to be atleast 62 years of age or older to get qualified for HUD Mortgage Assistance

· He can also appoint a personal counselor to get the assistance. The borrower must go in a counseling session with HUD approved counselor that provides enough information to the consumer that will help the applicant to get the loan easily.

· You are required to be a single family to live in a home which will benefit borrower to pay less of principal amount than what he was paying, as townhouses or mobile homes are eligible for them to live in.

· It is not necessary that borrower’s home can only be purchased by FHA loan. Homes that are purchased without these loans can also be qualified for mortgage assistance and should be done under all the guidelines made by the lender to be followed properly.

To know more about HUD Mortgage Assistance and to check if you qualify for the same

Click Here –> Federal Loan Modification [http://www.loanratemodifications.com]

President Obama has offered $1000 incentive for home owners that opt for Loan Modification instead of Short Sale Or Foreclosure

To know more about Latest Loan Modification Programs and to check if you qualify for Government Grants

Roof Gardens: Green and Brown Roofs – The Differences and Benefits

Living roofs are soaring in popularity, both in residential and commercial projects, due not only to their aesthetics, but also the many environmental benefits they bring to the building. You will note if you visit horticultural events such as Chelsea or Hampton Court Flower Shows that many of the show gardens incorporate green roofs in some way, which is always a good indication of future trends. Here is a brief guide, explaining firstly what green roofs and brown roofs are, before detailing their uses and benefits.

Green Roofs

Green Roofs are basically roofs which incorporate planting, often sedum or wildflower and meadow planting, grasses and mosses. In fact, some can even be planted with trees and shrubs. The Roof Gardens in Kensington is a prime example of this. Installing a green roof creates a vegetated surface which provides colour and interest throughout the year. Often, living roofs are used in rural settings and in areas where the buildings need to blend into the background. Green roofs will either be planted or seeded.

There are of course many considerations before installing a green roof, primarily ensuring your roof is suitable, and ensuring it is completely watertight. It is always recommended to get a professional company carry out the work, as you could do more harm than good if not done properly.

Of course, living roofs/wildflower and meadow roofs create a dramatic visual impact, but they also have many other benefits.

Benefits of Green Roofs

1. Photosynthesis – the process of plants absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. This is of particular benefit in urban areas.

2. Filter pollutants and dust from the surrounding area, again, a huge benefit in urban areas.

3. Green or living roofs act as an insulating layer on your roof. You should therefore expect to spend less on your energy bills, thus reducing your carbon footprint.

4. Increase in biodiversity – encourage animals such as bees, butterflies and birds into the area. With the current bee crisis, any opportunity to encourage bees into the area is a huge benefit.

5. Living roofs can be fitted with bird boxes to encourage birds, often endangered species, into the area and give them a safe environment to nest.

6. Endangered plants can be introduced into the roof planting.

7. Green roofs can reduce stormwater runoff significantly, which can help alleviate flooding, another very topical issue.

8. Often used as social areas, perhaps on top of office buildings, allowing staff to have somewhere green to escape to in the middle of an urban area. They are also increasingly being installed in public areas, to provide much needed green space in built up areas. A good example of this is on London’s Cannon Street Station.

Brown Roofs

Brown roofs are very similar to green roofs. The main difference is that whilst green roofs are often installed partly for the aesthetic value, brown roofs tend to be installed for environmental reasons, mainly, to encourage plants and wildlife.

Brown roofs are generally made using recycled materials and local soil. Whereas green roofs are often planted using very specific plants and following structured plans, brown roofs evolve more naturally. Whilst they are called brown roofs as this is the colour they are at the time of installation, they generally turn green over a period of time once the plants have started to establish themselves.

Brown roofs can incorporate water pools, wetland areas, rocks and boulders, basically any materials which will attract wildlife.

Benefits of Brown Roofs

1. Encourages wildlife into the area – brown roofs are specifically designed with this in mind. Particular plants may be introduced with the sole aim of encourages bees or butterflies. Wetland areas will encourage other types of insects and animals.

2. Brown roofs utilise soil and rubble which has been left behind after construction work. This ensures that wildlife which may have been displaced when construction work began, are encouraged back into the area.

3. As with green roofs, air quality is improved, which is particularly beneficial in inner city areas.

4. As brown roofs are made using recycled materials, they are the greener alternative.

5. Brown roofs generally have all the benefits of a green roof. They may take slightly longer to develop and flourish, but the environmental benefits will more than make up for that.

We in the UK are in some ways falling behind other countries with regards to green and living roofs. This has now been recognised, and a policy has now been written up to introduce more of this type of roof to both new and existing buildings wherever possible.

DIY Roofing Projects

Time

One common mistake made by those seeking the adventure of installing a new roof in “do-it-yourself ” fashion, is to underestimate the amount of time it will take to complete a roof. If you are doing a job yourself, chances are you are recruiting family and friends to help you. If the you and those people working alongside you are not used to working outside in the heat, they can easily tire and make your project last twice as long as projected. Also, if you do not have specialized roofing tools, and instead use common household tools such as hammers and flat nose shovels, a roof tear off can take longer than expected and become a bit of a trial.

Underestimating the amount of time a roofing project will take can become a serious problem, especially if the weather forecast changes or if you are forced to leave your roof half done for a few days while you return to work or other commitments. I have seen more than one house flood, to the point that they had to replace sheetrock, carpet and furniture, because they were doing the job themselves. The wind blew off their covering, or the roof was not covered in time, as an unexpected downpour moved through.

It is difficult to tarp most roofs because one tarp will not cover the entire exposed area. If you combine tarps to cover the exposed roof, it is vitally important to overlap the tarps such that water will not funnel under tarps and into the living quarters and cause interior damage. When tarping a roof, you also need to go around water heater and furnace exhaust pipes, as well as chimneys and swamp coolers, etc. Often, the wind will blow a tarp off a roof during a storm leaving your home exposed to the elements.

To help prevent this, use battens (1×2 lumber) and 8 penny nails throughout the field of the tarp. It is always best to tear off only what you can secure properly by that evening with underlayment properly installed around all roof penetrations. Don’t forget to check credible weather forecasts, such as NOAA.gov, throughout the project, viewing satellite images of the weather. A change in the weather can spell disaster for you and your home.

Experience

Another common DIY roofing obstacle is lack of experience. Even your family and friend’s best intentions in helping you on your project will not make up for inexperience. There are certain areas of a roof that need to be installed in a specific manner and order, including ice shields (after drip edge) at eaves, valleys and penetrations. This is why it is a good idea to always have at least one experienced roofer helping when you install a roof.

It is very important to install a proper ice shield on your roof, especially in areas with heavy snow. It is essential to have this secondary measure against moisture penetration and leaks. An ice shield will protect your home as ice dams up in the eaves and valleys and against walls. This roofing technique should be done by an experienced roofer to ensure your home is protected.

Also, keep in mind that inexperienced roofers can actually damage your shingles. If they move across your roof in a way that scuffs the shingles with their shoes or tools, they can remove granules from the shingles. These granules protect the asphalt shingle. Without them, the sun can wear out the exposed asphalt where the granules are missing. These situations can be costly, and are easily avoided by using experienced help.

Safety

When planning a DIY roofing project, be sure to consider the element of safety. Make sure you are using a sturdy ladder without any damage. If you are on a steep roof, you will need harnesses, safety nets and / or guardrails to prevent any falls. About 8 roofers die each year in the US because of falls, and many more are injured.

Also, be aware of power lines near your roof. Keep the ladder away from these power lines, and be aware of them as you are carrying any metal roofing materials. Electricity has been known to arc or jump from these lines for several feet if precautions are not met.

In addition to safety on the roof, be sure you are aware of people, animals and vehicles on the ground that could be damaged by falling objects. It is not worth someone getting injured to skip over these safety procedures.

Finances

The most considered reason for roofing a home yourself usually comes down to finances. However, there are a few options to consider that can help you afford a professionally installed roof. If you can in any way afford to hire a contractor, do it. You can end up spending more money in repairs over the life of your roof than you would have initially by hiring out.

If you are not currently in a position to hire a contractor to install your roof, look into the possibility of patching your roof while you save for the project, or if necessary, a home loan for your roof, breaking down the expensive project into reasonable regular payments. Also, consider performing the tear off yourself and hiring out for the installation. This can really help reduce the overall price of your roof.

Installing a Roof Yourself

If you have no other option but to install your roof yourself, be sure to come prepared. Take the time to do plenty of research. Read advice from your shingle’s manufacturers, or from certified roofing contractors. This is not a good project in which to follow the advice of a DIY blog. Instead, make sure your sources are both credible and experienced. We recommend Owens Corning and Certainteed shingles, who both offer installation instructions for each shingle listed on their websites. Also, GAF has a great general DIY section of their website that will help you plan and carry out a successful roofing project.

Even after you have done the proper research to become knowledgeable about installing a roof, it is still a good idea to consult an experienced roofer. If you need any advice, or have any questions, don’t hesitate to call a roofing contractor.

Another great option is to hire a roofing consultant to come to your home and guide you through the roofing process. A consultant usually costs about $200 a visit. It would be a good investment to have a consultant come after you are finished tearing off your old roof and immediately before you begin installing your new shingles. This will help ensure that you are using correct tools, techniques and materials.

In conclusion, your roof is one of the most important aspects of your home. It protects your entire structure and all of your possessions from potential damage. When debating whether or not to install your roof yourself, be sure to make the decision with an honest assessment of how dependable the roof will be in the future.

The Four Types of Roofing

The roof is one of the basic components of a house. Roofing is considered as the first line of defense against harsh weather conditions and other elements that can affect the home’s value, quality, and appearance. Thus, it is important to consider lots of things when selecting new roofing materials for your dream house. Good thing there have been a wide range of roofing materials that you can choose from. Some of the choices include from the traditional wood, asphalt, stylish clay/concrete tile, and to eco-friendly rubber roofing material.

An asphalt roofing shingle is one of the most common types of roofs among American homes. It also works for a wide variety of roofing styles and might be the perfect roof for your home. The asphalt roofing shingles usually cost from $1 to $4 per square foot. The pricing would usually depend on the type of home. For instance, for a ranch-style home it would cost from $1,700 to $8,400, which is also about 1,700 to 2,100 square feet.

Of course, there are lots of advantages when using the asphalt roofing shingles for your own home. One of which is that asphalt shingles are more affordable than the other types and can be easily repaired. It also works well on a wide variety of roofing styles and made with different colors, dimensional depths, and shapes. This type of roof has the ability to resist the effects of direct sunlight and other weather conditions.

The second type of roofing is the rubber roofing. It is best used when you are looking for a material that is leak-proof and eco-friendly. In comparison to traditional roofing materials, rubber roofing is more durable, cost-effective, and it is made form recycled materials. Plus, it has low maintenance, and is light weight, and flexible.

There are two main types of rubber roofing such as whole roof and shingled roof. Whole roofs can be installed by the square, which it can cover up to 100 square feet. It can also be custom-made to fit your particular house design and architecture. Although they are expensive, rubber roofing gives the benefit of being leak-proof and seamless. The shingled roof type is made from a synthetic material. This type of roofing is light weight, easy to carry, can be shaped using a utility knife, and can be installed with a nail gun or adhesive. However, keep in mind that installing shingled roofs still require the expertise of a professional roofer.

The third type of roofing is the tile roofing. It is considered the most popular roofing material in the world. Similar to the other types aforementioned, tile roofing provides defense against fire and durability. In fact, it can last for over 100 years. It also has the benefit of improved air ventilation and comes with variety of shapes, patterns, textures, and colors.

Lastly, the wood roofing is most commonly used for houses that need to have a major renovation. This can cost you $4 to $7 per square foot and the cut of the wood. It can also give your home a natural warm look, and has the ability to resist heat transmission more than composition shingles.

Keep in mind that when using any of these roofing materials, it is still important to consult a professional roofer’s advice on how to install such materials properly. They can also help you which material is appropriate for the type of house you have.

Law Enforcement Jobs – Cop Tells All To Get You Started

Are you an honest person. Ask yourself honestly right now, because once you begin the interview process for most law enforcement jobs, they will drill deep to find that out for themselves. Even if you have never been convicted of a crime other than a minor ticket, the polygraph test that most agencies employ is designed purely to weed out candidates that are dishonest.

Are you dedicated? To be in a law enforcement job you have to be dedicated to serving the public trust. It doesn’t matter if you are a highly trained SWAT operative whose job it is to crash through windows and take out the bad guy, or the patrol officer working the beat and helping those in need. Your primary function is to serve the public trust.

Physical agility is tested for in most law enforcement jobs. Are you prepared to chase down a bad guy, even in the snow and rain? Do you have the burning desire and self motivation to eat and train properly – always ready for the fight? Yesterday’s donut reputation has very little to do with today’s police officer. In fact, you can look at an agency like the Ohio State Patrol and find that they have annual physical fitness testing requirements that if you don’t pass will result in your termination! This isn’t a job for the weak bodied any longer.

These are the questions you must ask yourself, and if you think that you still have it takes – scratch that – if you KNOW that you have what it takes, the last real step is to find out what it is that you need to do.

99% of the law enforcement jobs out there will not allow you to just walk in and apply. No no no, you need to understand the process. If you don’t understand how law enforcement hiring works, nothing else really matters.

Why is a Law Enforcement Degree Becoming More and More Popular?

Are you interested to work as a detective, a police officer, or as a secret service agent perhaps? All of these careers have one thing in common. They are all not just fascinating but these are the careers that are related to law enforcement as well. As the technology advances and the world become even more complicated, individuals who are highly trained in enforcing the law are needed all over the world.

You can complete a bachelor’s degree and put your education into practice immediately after graduating to any of the available law enforcement jobs. But there are also those who pursue a higher degree as well particularly in criminal justice. They push their masters and even their doctorate degree because they have wider opportunities and have more chances of advancing to a wide array of choices at the same time. Of course there is no need to mention that the higher your degree the bigger will be your salary as well.

A degree in law enforcement would allow you to work on different fields since it requires various skills too. Aside from the careers mentioned above, you can also become part of the judicial and the court system too. And if you can, you can land a job in rehabilitation centers and even by appointed to take control of the prisoners in your local state.

Of course, not all law enforcement jobs are in the field. There are some who stays inside the offices and does business finances, accounting, and even programming too. You also don’t have to be physically and mentally fit to do your job efficiently. It would also help if you know how to speak other languages fluently as well. Remember that not every criminal speaks English very well so you have to create a way on how they would comprehend you and the system in United States.

Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test – Workout Routine To Pass The Test

Whether you want to be a federal police officer or a local policemen the fitness standards are relatively similar. Some maybe a tad bit harder than the other, but they all are similar in terms of how your strength and conditioning will be evaluated. The best thing to do if you’ve dreamed of getting into law enforcement is to start training for the physical fitness test as soon as you can. The truth is many recruits lose out on a great career in law enforcement simply because they can’t pass the physical fitness test.

Although there are differences in terms of jurisdictions and responsibilities in the law enforcement community, the fitness test is one commonality that all of us share. It doesn’t matter if you work for a federal agency (FBI, DEA, ATF, Secret Service, Border Patrol) or a local agency (state police, deputy sheriff, city cop) you are still required to pass the physical fitness test.

Here’s just one workout routine that will help you get into shape fast!

First thing first, before you start any law enforcement workout program, make sure that it is designed to improve both your strength and cardio. Why do I say that? Because I’ve seen recruits make the mistake of training like a bodybuilder or even worst some train like a marathon runner. Both of which are dead wrong.

Here’s what you need to do:

One of the most effective workout routine to do is one that incorporates both resistance training and cardiovascular improvement. If you do one without the other, you will get gassed during the test. There are several ways you can actually build your strength and cardio at the same time, but the one that I recommend is interval training.

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How to Start a Blog and Make Money: For Beginners Only!

There’s so much technical data out on the net these days for people wanting to start a blog and make money. But if you’re like I was a couple of years ago (when I was wondering what a blog was LOL), this is for you. While I’ve since been able to make as much as $1000 from a single blog post, I can empathize with the overwhelming feeling anyone has when looking into the “free blog marketing” thing.

So what do you do first to start a blog and make money?

First, if you want to start your own blog to make money, you need to be aware that there is a monthly fee involved for hosting. What’s hosting? It’s the mechanism that keeps your blog, you own personal website that is, in touch with the outside world. Most hosting costs between $10 and $30 per month, depending on what kind you get. Of course, you would want to start in the most cost effective manner.

Why worry about the cost? Because once you start marketing online, a lot of things cost money. Even with “free blog marketing” as they say… there are little programs out there that you will probably want to be a part of like Onlywire and SlideShare, which you can usually join for free, but will eventually wind up costing you once you get going.

You’ll want an Email Auto-Responding system when you decide to start a blog and make money…

Another cost to take into account is your email auto-responding system. Why is that important to have if you just want to start a blog and make money? Because you’ll want to have a way to keep in touch with you leads.

Most people who are remotely interested in your site will not buy right way. And, the average person needs to be approached on average seven times before they decide to buy.

So, if you don’t want to be jotting down everyone’s phone number (for the few who actually leave their correct number) and nagging them to death with phone calls, then you’ll want to have an email auto-responding system in place.

Not everyone who has decided to start a blog and make money and is successful…

But you must remember this; everyone who has decided to start a blog and make money AND who has become wildly successful at it has been persistent.

Persistence pays off no matter what. Does this mean that you’ll be paying hosting and auto-responding systems and marketing services for your blog before you actually make money? Yes! You actually will be in the red before you even get your blog noticed!

But isn’t there just a fast and easy way to start a blog and make money?

Actually, no. However, there are faster and easier ways. I’m a strong advocate of a team blogging system because it comes with everything all setup. You don’t have to worry about hosting and technical difficulties because you can always count on a staff of employees available by phone or email to help you out.

In addition, a team blogging system already has a lot of traffic, and is therefore viewed as “popular” by Google. Hence, you blog pages are more likely to get noticed on the internet. And the cost is really not much more than just the hosting itself when you first try to start a blog and make money.