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Outdoor Lighting for Your Garden and Yard

Posted by mandy on November 27th, 2010

Few people think about lighting when they begin planning a landscape project or any other exterior home improvement. They think about installing a deck, planting a garden, or redoing a walkway. Many forget to consider outdoor lighting until the very end of the project.

There are a variety of outdoor lighting systems available for gardens, yards, patios and even pools. They are related to the type and amount of power used. Conventional lighting is the most expensive option and may require a professional installer in order to ensure that the lights meet city safety requirements. These lights are much more susceptible to moisture and water, which severely limits where and how they can be installed.

Solar lights have become very popular in recent years. Their green factor combined with the elimination of the risk of electrocution make them attractive options — but only in climates with enough sunshine to generate the necessary power. These lights require more maintenance than conventional systems, though installation is much easier.

The best options seems to be low voltage systems. These combine the best of all worlds: lower installation costs, less maintenance required, and less expensive to run and safer than conventional lighting. It provides the most flexibility in where and how lights are installed and offers the added benefit of providing more illumination than solar lights.

Chose the Right Safe

Posted by mandy on November 19th, 2010

If you’re worried about the safety of your family, you will likely install a security system with alarms, motion-detection lighting and possibly even a neighborhood guard service. If you want to protect your money and valuables, you’ll probably want to take the additional step of buying a safe, installing tracking devices on your computers, and keeping a good, up-to-date inventory of all valuables.

The concept of buying a security safe seems simple enough, but the actual variety of models, sizes, and ratings on safes can make the process confusing. The best thing to do is to start by considering exactly what you need from the safe. Is it for documents and money or do you have a large amount of jewelry, heirlooms and other valuables? How big is the biggest thing you want to store in a safe? Do you have a spot picked out in your home for the safe and, if so, how large a safe will fit there? Are there alternative spots that may be more suitable? These types of questions will help you determine what type and size of safe you need.

You’ll also want to consider what you’re trying to protect your valuables from. Most people want to secure valuables from thieves, but safes are also rated for fire protection. How much protection from the elements, heat, water, and even the collapse of the building, do you need? Figuring out how much and what kind of protection you need is the other half of the equation. Once you know both, then you’ll know which is the right safe for you.

Professional Mortgage Training

Posted by mandy on November 16th, 2010

It is common practice for professionals in a variety of fields to seek out specialized training and industry education in order to stay at the top of their game. For some professionals, this training is actually required in order to obtain a license to practice, whatever their practice may be. This includes not only well known licensing of doctors, lawyers, and certified public accountants, but also includes professionals in the banking industry , such as those who work residential mortgages.

Because of the complexity of mortgage laws and lending practices, every state has established their own licensing requirements, which usually include a set amount of training on specific topics as well as testing to ensure that knowledge was understood and absorbed. With the 2008 SAFE Act, some national standards for licensing were set and the various states have worked over the past few years to ensure that their requirements meet federal minimum standards. SAFE also ordered the establishment of a national registry for all licensed mortgage professionals. This makes it easier for state officials to identify those operating without a valid license and for consumers to check if their loan officer and broker have a license in good standing.

The new system has ensured that all companies offering professional mortgage training follow those guidelines. So, anyone looking for North Carolina mortgage broker training needs to make sure that the program they choose meets not only the state requirements, but that it has been approved by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System.

Planning a Pool

Posted by mandy on November 11th, 2010

Now that the long, hot Houston summer is over, it’s time to plan for next summer. For many people that means finally putting in that backyard pool. The idea of a pool that’s available any time the temperature and humidity gets too high is hard to resist. Home owners who are seriously considering installing a pool need to realize that now is the time to act. If they wait too long, there’s a good chance their pool won’t be ready for next summer.

The main problem is that demand is still high and Pool builders in Houston can only take on so many projects at a time. Since projects can take several months to complete, it’s important to choose a builder and get started right away. There will likely be a gap between the planning stage and the actual construction time, especially if the installer is one of the better, and therefore more popular, ones.

Before contacting a builder, it’s important to make some initial decisions about the pool. These include size, purpose, and location on the property. Home owners who are willing to do their research can also begin to look into different materials, pump systems and additional features they may want. Once they have their idea in mind, they need to get some estimates, choose a builder, and get their project scheduled — with any luck it will be ready before that first really hot day of 2011 comes around.

Planning for Next Halloween

Posted by mandy on November 6th, 2010

Every year stores and businesses start planning earlier and earlier for holidays. They bring out Christmas decorations before Halloween is past and Valentine’s items appear on the shelves almost the day after Christmas. Individuals can take a page from this early planning to get a head start, but try taking it a step further. Instead of waiting for July or August to plan for Halloween, start on November 1st.

A big advantage of any holiday is the post-holiday sales. This means that the week or so after Halloween is actually the best time to purchase decorations and other items for next year. While it’s inadvisable to buy candy a year in advance, there will be a selection of Halloween costumes , spooky lights, and party and table decorations to be had at serious discounts for next year’s parties. Some stores even offer color-coded storage bins for sale immediately following a holiday, look for orange and black in the post-Halloween sales. These are perfect for storing all those post-Halloween sale finds.

Another way to plan for next year’s Halloween is to make a list of all the Halloween parties and events that occurred this year. Noting which parties were flops — and why — as well as which were successes can help in planning next year’s, but only if an honest review is made immediately afterward. This also applies to decorating tips and costumes. Taking notes about how long it took to assemble a do-it-yourself haunted house or to make a robot costume from scratch will make it much easier to estimate how long things will take next time.

Online Resources for Renters

Posted by mandy on November 2nd, 2010

If you’re looking to move into a rental property you may be stuck thinking your only resource is a community bulletin board or maybe classified ads in the newspaper . If so, you’re likely stuck in the twentieth century mode of apartment hunting. Welcome to the internet age, where there are so many different resources you may wonder where to start.

The easiest place to start is to find a good property management company like transglobe property management services . The advantage to using a company is that they can do much of the searching for you. They will manage properties all over your city or region and can help you narrow your choices based on rent, amenities, neighborhood and any other factors you choose. However, if you want the 21st century version of the old school method, then check out craigslist or one of the many property listing and roommate finder websites and do your own searching.

If you’re looking for an apartmen t rather than a house, you should do some research on the various complexes and condo communities in your area. Those that are cutting edge are going to have online communities on sites like Facebook where you can see pictures, view video tours, and even contact current residents to answer your questions about their living experience. Good property management companies also make use of social media sites. check out transglobe property management as an example.

There are also tons of websites with information on local laws and regulations for rental properties that will help you understand your rights and what to expect when dealing with landlords. You can even find tips on packing and moving as well as sample roommate agreements if you’re not going to be living alone.

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