Creative Home Staging Ideas Using Props Available at Pier 1 Imports

Spring has sprung and even though the weather is a little schizo sometimes, I’m excited for the transition. I recently received the Pier1 Imports catalog and found some really great new items they have for spring that would be fabulous Home Staging Props. Here are my top 3 favorites and how you can incorporate them into your staging design.

Can you see how these punchy, colorful, tropical plates and bowls would make your tablescape really pop? I love creating really unique and exciting theme-based tablescapes. What could be more fun than these juicy spring/summer colors.

TIP: Use unconventional placemats like large tropical leaves and add some faux fruit (pineapples would be great with this theme). This would be really fun to use to stage a backyard patio or you can create a party environment if there was a swimming pool. Just imagine how inviting this would be for buyers who are visiting your open house on a warm, sunny day. Even if weather is not optimal, they can’t help but imagine waves crashing and palm trees swaying. Add a little mood music and you have set the stage!

What about the Palm Leaf Chip & Dip set and Flower & Leaf serving set? TIP: You can fill the bowls and platters with dried fruit like pineapple, apricots, and bananas. Just a warning, don’t expect to find much food left after a showing – people seem to enjoy eating props as well. (I had someone take a bite out of faux bread!!!) Shop the grocery stores for boxed food items that can be displayed and don’t forget those theme cookbooks! These would also be fabulous props for hosting a theme based open house – did you just catch that tip?!!

I LOVE the tropical soaps. They would make really fun props for a bathroom – create a tropical theme without being too kitschy. Find some citrus colored towels, tie them with raffia, add silk tropical flowers or even some flip flops – check out the one that I did with a pair of $2 slippers from Wal-Mart!

Go to http://alicetchan.com/creative-home-staging-ideas-using-props-available-at-pier-1-imports/ to view photos. There’s a lot of really inexpensive ideas everywhere you go. Think outside of the box and be creative – that’s what makes staging so much fun. If you can engage your buyers and make your home more memorable, you’ve tapped into what home staging is all about. Good luck and have a great time!!!

Creative Home Financing – What is Creative Financing

Creative financing refers to a way to own real estate outside of conventional means such as traditional mortgage loans. Traditional mortgage loans are not always the best option for every circumstance, and this is where creative financing techniques can help home buyers get in to a home. Creative financing can help people with less than perfect credit own a home.

Creative financing techniques are also commonly used by investors in order to gain control of properties with the least possible out of pocket expense.

As the name suggests, there are numerous options for creative financing. Before you choose to use any method of creative financing, it is best if you research all of your options and become familiar with how it all works.

Here are several common methods of creative financing that are used…

Rent to Own / Seller Financed Mortgage

In a rent to own situation or a seller financed mortgage, the current owner of the property holds back the mortgage on the property. Typically, in a rent to own, a portion of your monthly rent goes towards a future down payment. This has advantages over renting because you rent is not going to “waste” so to speak. If you decide to purchase the property at a future date, you can use the down payment portion to help you qualify for a traditional mortgage.

In the case of a seller financed mortgage, the seller acts in the same capacity as the bank and holds the mortgage on the property that you then pay back with interest. Typically, arrangements like these are more common in times when the real estate market is moving more slowly. Both sellers and buyers can benefit from such a situation as the buyer gets in to the home and the seller is able to sell the home as well as collect interest on the deal.

80/20 Home Mortgage

An 80/20 home mortgage is actually two mortgages, a primary mortgage an a second mortgage. The concept and idea of an 80/20 home mortgage is to reduce the amount of liability towards any single lender, finance 100% of the purchase price and avoid paying PMI.

You have several options that pertain to the 20% part of an 80/20 mortgage. The second mortgage can either be fixed or a line of credit. The benefit of choosing a line of credit over a fixed rate in this situation is that the interest rates can often be 2 – 5 percent lower than a fixed rate.

Government Backed Loan Programs

Some government back loan programs are also considered creative financing. There are several state and federal loan programs offered that allow for 100% financing. Closing costs can also be rolled in to the loan in some cases.

Because these programs are government subsidized, income qualifications are a common restriction of eligibility. These programs are aimed at people with mid to low income as a means of helping everyone experience home ownership.

Hard Money Lenders

Hard money lenders are traditionally used more for investment purposes than for a primary residence. A hard money lender loans money privately usually with higher interest and shorter terms compared to traditional mortgages.

While this is no means a complete run down of creative financing techniques, as you can see there are many options when it comes to financing real estate outside of traditional means.

Start Your Creative Home Business With Creative Memories

Being good at arts and crafts can become handy when one is planning to run a home based business. One can use their creativity to earn money from home without worrying about building a brand. What the right person needs to do is team up with Creative Memories, a brand which allows the inner artist merge with the business mind to create a successful enterprise. As a part of this company, one can make and sell creative products like photo albums, scrap books, photo books and digital tools for scrap booking.

About Creative Memories:

Since being founded in 1987 by Rhonda Anderson, the company has grown by leaps and bounds. The recent percentile growth of Creative Memories has reached 98.23%, higher than 665 other companies and has also ranked 13 among some 678 other home businesses.

How does it work?

Creative Memories is specialized in making photo albums, photo organizers, traditional scrapbooks, digital scrapbooks, greeting cards, calendars, wall prints, and photo solutions to help capture favorite memories of clients forever in a frame. The company also focuses in crafting memento scrapbook albums. Creative Memories possess around 95,000 consultants and a presence throughout the World. The brand has also launched software for scrap booking in response to the overwhelming digital presence these days.

How to join Creative Memories?

Anyone can join Creative Memories as a consultant. To be a consultant one just needs to go the website and choose the consultant option in the registration form. An existing consultant would be their mentor and he or she will teach you all you need to know about the business from the business’, and their perspective. One would also get a consultant kit at a minimal cost after joining the company. With the “New Consultant Success Plan,” as they call it, one can earn commissions from the very beginning. Being a member of Creative Memories, one would get 15% sales profit when the sales target reaches more than $250.

Why join Creative Memories?

Creative Memories consultants mostly work through home gatherings and meetings. One can achieve their dreams to work and earn while spending time with their family and friends. One just needs to introduce and demonstrate the products in your social circle to begin. The more clients they acquire, the more one would sell and the more one will earn. Another benefit is that along with the profit you earn on every sold item, anyone can also earn rebates and product certificates to increase the income potential.

Marketing online is essential for success in today’s home business arena. This can be confusing for some. Online marketing is simple, one just needs the correct knowledge.

Types Of Mounted Mailboxes And Their Benefits

Keeping belongings safe is a must. Because of this, more and more homeowners invest in storage items like cabinets and drawers. Apart from that, individuals can also make use of other storage units to secure their items. For instance, when receiving mails and packages, it is best for homeowners to own a mailbox.

There are numerous types of mailbox individuals can choose from. These include freestanding, brick in and even mounted mailboxes. As of now, homeowners prefer to make use of mounted mailboxes. Of course, installing such box can be stressful. However, this type of letterbox can provide wonderful features that can benefit you. To know more, below are some of the most popular mounted mailboxes and its benefits.

Post Mount

One of the most common mounted mailboxes homeowners make use of is the post mounted letterbox. When using such letterbox, individuals are required to use a post and mounting board. As of now, post mounted letterboxes are made from galvanized steel for maximum rust resistance and durability. Apart from that, these boxes also feature a powder coat finish to make it more appealing. With regard to security, it is equipped with a lockable rear door. And, it is very visible which helps individuals send your mails and packages to your home easily.

Fence Mount

Another popular mounted mailbox is the fence mount. This type of letterboxes can be mounted into wood, brick and steel fences. Other than that, fence mounted boxes are made of sturdy galvanized steel and powder coated for added durability and style. These mailboxes also feature a stainless steel face-plate to make it more visible. Finally, a fence mount letterbox also has a key lockable rear door for better security.

Wall Mount

Finally, homeowners can also make use of wall mounted mailbox. This type of letterbox is installed into walls. With this mailbox, homeowners are rest assured that their mails are secured since it is created from sturdy 304′ grade stainless steel construction for durability & rust protection. Plus, it also features a weather shielded wide mail slot for all your A4 mail & documents.

Of course, there are cases when installing mounted letterboxes can be difficult most especially if you do not have the right fitting items. Fortunately, reliable providers can provide you with fitting items to help you make tasks easier and more efficient. Some providers also offer other home improvement products to make homes more appealing and valuable.

Best Trees for Indoors

Trees are great things to have in your yard. They clean the air, they give shade and privacy, they are great for climbing and they are beautiful to look at as well. While many trees are just too big to think about growing inside, there are many trees that make wonderful accents to the inside of your home. Here’s just a few:

If you are a fan of the Victorian Era you may have seen pictures or seen movies of the time with parlour palms sprucing up the, well, parlour. The adapt well to low light and humidity and they are on the list of NASA’s 50 Plants That Clean the Air. And face it, they’re breezy and fancy and who wouldn’t want one in their living room in a large ceramic pot?

If you want a touch of Christmas in your home year round, what about a Norfolk Pine? They are essentially baby Christmas trees that love bright light and moist soil. At Christmas time you can decorate them with little bows or fairy lights, but they make a great addition to any room year round.

If you like big bold statements you’ll want a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree in your living room. These trees have large sculptured leaves that give the air of the tropics without being weepy or wispy. These trees love light but don’t like drafts so keep them away from windows and doors and you’re good to go.

The Ficus is perhaps the most popular indoor tree there is, heck, they even make a fake version that you just dust once in a while and forget about. The real version is actually a weeping fig tree if you want to get technical, and they come in different textures and heights so they’re perfect for any room, any where.

Love the tropics but live where there seems to be perpetual winter? Then what about adding a Majesty Palm to your home? They are fan shaped and have that tropical feel to them and best of all they are slow growing if they aren’t getting strong sunlight. Throw on the heat, watch the palm tree and pretend you’re on the beach, even if it is January and there is a blizzard waging outside.

If you like more of a desert type tree then the Yucca is for you. They have thick woody stems and pointy leaves that come in a variety of blue to blue green colors and have yellow, cream or white tones to them too.

8 Tips to Consider Before You Buy Plantation Shutters

If you want to buy plantation shutters, you may want to consult an experienced professional. They will help you buy the best plantation shutters to help you meet your needs. However, if you are going to purchase plantation shutters for the first time, you may want to consider the following tips.

1. The type of wood

Since poplar wood is light, straight, and smooth, it’s a great choice for plantation shutters. The average height of a poplar tree is 160 feet and the trunk can be as much as 80 feet in diameter. So, it’s a good idea to opt for this type of wood.

2. Poly or Wood

Most of clients go for wood shutters because of their advantages over the artificial material known as poly.

As far as strength goes, wood is stronger and lighter. So, wooden shutters can be up to 37 inches in width. So, you won’t need more than a few panels for the window openings. Aside from this, wood gives you a lot of other benefits as well.

3. Louver Size

The size of most of shutters is 3.5 louvers. But there is a rise in demand for louvers that measure 4.5 louvers due to sliding glass doors and bigger windows. Actually, people want modern interior design as well as openness.

4. Midrail

If you don’t know, midrail is a horizontal plank. Over the midrail, the louvers open and close without relying on the louvers that are under the midrail. Many buyers like midrails since they leave the upper section open to let more light in and leave the lower section shut for privacy reasons. Moreover, a midrail is an ideal choice should you have metal casings.

5. Vertical Tilt Bar

You will find shutters that feature “hidden tilt”. In this type of shutters, the frontal wooden tilt bar is missing. In its place, you can see a metal tilt bar, which is almost invisible. So, you can have more visibility and open space.

6. Sliding Glass Doors

As far as sliding glass doors is concerned, plantation shutters are an ideal choice. For a consistent feel and look, your house should have shutters. Actually, plantation shutters are fixed on a track to let the panels open without any hindrance.

7. Cost Of The Shutters

Usually, plantation shutters are sold by the square foot. However, by paying a bit more, you can benefit from other options, such as hidden tilt, stain finishes, and specialty shapes. You should be ready to spend a good deal of money to get the required shutters.

8. Procedure

Plantation shutters are also made to order. First of all, the sales representative will visit your house to measure the doors and windows to give you a proposal. Then the installers will do a detailed measurement. Once the product is made, it is handed over to the finishing department. In this department, the product is sanded, primed and painted. Finally, they are installed.

If you are going to buy plantation shutters, consider the tips given above.

Quick Home Maintenance Tips

If you have been looking for some home improvement tips that won’t take more than a few minutes from your precious time, you are on the right page. This article is for you, especially if you are a busy homeowner. Read on.

Fixing a chair

Are you trying to fix an old chair? If so, we suggest drilling pilot holes and driving screws via the rungs bottom and into the chair legs.

Vinyl Door or Window

If your vinyl doors or windows don’t open properly, the channels may have accumulated gunk. At times, even clean doors and windows may bind. You may spray dry spray lubricant on the target areas and then use a rag to wipe it off. Using oil lubricants is not a good idea as they can catch dirt damaging the vinyl.

Repairing a Shutoff Valve

If the shutoff value is faulty, you can get it replaced. But if you can’t, you should go to the nearby hardware store to buy a good replacement washer. Remove the grit from the valve and fit the new washer. This will fix the problem.

Loose Showerhead

If you want to fix a problematic showerhead or a wobbly pipe, you can use some expanding foam. With the foam, you can encase the pipe and fix it. This will remove the wobble.

Use a Smoke Detector

If you don’t have enough time or money, you may want to cover the ceiling hole with a smoke detector. You don’t need to patch the hole.

Cabinet doors

If your cabinet doors don’t stay shut, all you have to do is use a magnetic door catch. You can also go for a roller-style one.

Squeaky Floors

If you want to repair a squeaky floor, use a stud finder to find the floor joists. Next, you can drive in a screw via a pad, carpet and the subfloor to reach the floor joist. Just make sure that the upper part of the screw has no threads. Ideally, you may want to use trim screws since they have bigger heads. If this is the case, you may want to pull up the screw and then tighten it again.

Remove Water Stains

Before repainting the ceiling, you may want to try out this trick. You can use a mixture of water and bleach and then wait for a few days. If the stain is old, you can try a mold and mildew product. The stain will be gone within 24 hours. This trick may work both on textured and flat ceilings.

Wallpaper Seams

To fix a wallpaper seam, you can soak a rag in lukewarm water and then apply the paste around the seam. You may want to hold the rag for a couple of minutes and then open the seam a bit for more space for the seam sealer. Put the liquid into the gap and then push the paper against the wall using a roller. Then you can use a sponge to remove the sealer.

So, these are some quick and easy home improvement tips.

Better Sleep Means Knowing These Top 5 Things About Your Bed Sheets

Chances are we’ve all gone to bed, waking up either sweaty or miserable in the middle of the night. Most of us don’t realise that our bedding could be the culprit.

Reason why it is essential that you these 5 things in mind when purchasing your bed sheets to help you sleep better.

1. Natural, toxin-free materials:

Truth is your body breathes better with natural fibres. Be it organic cotton or hemp, there’s enough reason to buy a sheet set that does you good than any harm. Polyester and other materials not only make your body hot but are cloaked in a variety of chemicals that lead to acne, wheezing and a host of respiratory disorders including asthma among others. Volatile Organic Compounds found in petrochemical products have an adverse effect on your body.

To stay away from these, opt for GOTS certified organic cotton sheets which are well worth the small premium.

2. Colours:

If you get hot too much too often, chances are you’re sleeping on a multitude of dark colours. Opt for pastels or neutrals that leave your body calmer and your mind in peace before hitting the sack.

3. Weave:

Most people don’t understand that cotton itself is divided into a number of weaves. Weave refers to the way the threads are intertwined in crafting a sheet.

While Sateen has a luxurious feel and has a slight pearlescent sheen, percale is cool and crisp.

As a matter of fact sateen feels lovely in both warm and cold climates. However by culture, most in the western part of the world use Sateen more often than Percale while people in India by tradition use more percale.

4. Fiber properties and yarn

Did you know that sheets made of short, brittle fibers (read multi-ply sheets) feel coarse and brittle? The perfect analogy would be sandpaper. On the other hand, sheets with long-staple fibers in a single-ply yarn always, always feel heavenly because they’re smoother and longer. This also means that your sheets won’t pill unlike shorter fibres.

Do ask your retailer about whether your sheets are single-ply or multi-ply yarn.

5. Thread Count:

Don’t get fooled by this term for it most certainly means incorrect things to buyers. Thread Count is simply a measure of the number of threads weaved in a square inch and not the quality of the sheets. Most retailers inflate and put these out as 900 and 1200 TC which is nothing but a bluff.

A single-ply yarn sheet with 300 TC will feel much softer and lustrous than a fake 900 TC one.

Now that you have these handy questions to shoot to your salesperson, you’re bound to find the perfect bed.

4 Tips for Maintaining Vinyl Siding

We all know that vinyl siding is a great choice for one’s home due to its low maintenance and longevity. But that doesn’t mean that it is totally without basic maintenance needs or steps to be taken to see that it looks its best. Some of the common issues one might deal with are cracking, puncturing or perhaps pulling away from the house.

Thankfully, these proactive measures do not take a great deal of skill or a toolbox full of special tools.

Tips for Maintaining Vinyl Siding

1. Be sure to keep any shrubbery around the home trimmed back so that the branches cannot poke or scratch the siding. Failing to do this will result in the coating on the siding being scratched, nicked or punctured thus making the siding susceptible or mildew and mold.

2. No matter what type of siding you have on your home. It is important to take time to clean it, at least once a year. With vinyl, you can do this by using a soft scrub brush, soapy water, and a water hose for rinsing. Yes, you can use a power washer but be sure to keep it at the lowest setting and take care not to use excessive force.

3. In the event that you do discover dents, punctures or scratching, replace the piece as soon as possible. Be sure in doing this, that you use a siding removal tool so you can avoid damaging the surrounding pieces of siding.

4. Make time to clean your gutters- especially during the spring and fall or after a heavy storm as this will help keep the siding clean and prevent risk of damage to the siding.

It is also worth noting that while most people opt to have vinyl siding in a color they like, it you purchase a home with siding in a color you do not like, it can be painted. It will take two coats of 100% latex paint and the paint will need to be re-applied every two years in order to always look great.

Maintaining your vinyl siding is not a full-time job, but it does need the occasional repairs or cleaning. Don’t just assume that your home’s siding is a one and done aspect of ownership. Take time throughout the year to ensure that your siding will last as long (if not longer) than you were promised at installation. If you are new to vinyl, then be sure to talk to a local siding company and find out what they recommend for your particular type and style of home siding.

Qualities of Great and Professional General Contractors

If you want to become a great and a professional one General contractor at a managerial level, then you need to possess these qualities in you. To complete your project in a great way, to complete hundreds in some specific tasks in prescribed time, to possess leadership qualities in you, this is what great and professional Home contractors do! Here you will know that which are those main and crucial abilities if you want to count yourself as the best and great one contractor’s at the managerial scale:

Communicate clearly and in an effective manner

It is always seen that the best and reliable contractors, they pass clear communication messages to their team members. They effectively communicate with their teammates be it they work on small projects or big projects. If you know the importance of understanding effective communication and applying effective communication between your project, then you can become a great Builder at the managerial level. To execute and plan for your project and activities, it is this effective communication that matters. How can your teammates be able to perform on projects if you will not tell them precisely that what exactly you want! Your subordinate will fail to show their abilities if they do not get clear messages and instructions from their manager contractor. Most of the projects performances get completely and wholly derailed because of poor and worst communication skills from the sides of General Contractors. To become a great manager related to construction projects, you should know how to transcribe minor and intricate project details to your teammates.

Delegate the tasks

A professional and a senior Builder do not take the credit of the whole success of a project. He is the one who equally gives credit to his team members as well. A successful General Contractor delegate tasks and assignments to his skilled workers. He alternates their duties, assigns different tasks to them so that each of the workers gets equal chance to show the best part of their abilities.

They furnish references

All professional general contractors are registered. If you ask them for references, then they furnish it instantly. They always promise and assure a professional job. They do not feel hesitant to show a satisfied and happy list of their clientele to share with you. If that list shares their good and satisfying experiences with you, then that general contractor should be chosen by you.

They show certificates

Professional general contractors do not have to boast and brag about employing and hiring highly professional qualified technicians for your project. If he is a licensed contractor, then he will not hesitate to show his certificates to you. Reliable contractors are insured and also registered as well.

Problem-solving potential

A smart General contractor comes with problem skills as well. It is true that each and every construction project, they come with huge in some challenges and obstacles, hidden problems. He is the one who has this ability to identify each and every worst-case scenario and then makes his project to come out from that worst-case scenario as well. At times, construction projects do experience many of the additional problems like that of community backlash and political opinions, because of these issues the progress of any project gets also hinder and stops. A smart and sharp General contractor can easily handle these additional problems too.

Teamwork spirit

Anyone actually realizes the importance and significance of team work, then it is this smart and clever enough General contractor who understands! Any project cannot have success without the cooperation and coordination of rest of team workers. If any project gets accomplished and successful than a friendly General contractor does not forget to give credit and praise his teammates as well. He has this belief on phrase “let’s work together”! He develops and creates the environment of trust and also an appreciation for his workers. It is just a welcoming feedback which employees love a lot.

To call yourself as the smartest Contractors at the managerial level, you should not disregard these skills of communication and teamwork, problem-solving skills and delegating the tasks. To get this assurance that your project will get a success and too high return on investment, you need to possess these abilities in your personality then.