Make Home Improvement on Budget a Reality

Home is the place where the heart is. One of the best ways to improve quality of our life is to spruce up the home we live in. Although home improvements can cost unlimited amounts, it does not always require a fortune to improve the interiors of your home. You can carry out amazing changes in your apartment on budget.

Identify Misses

First of, when you are on budget it is important to identify the areas which require replacement or improvement in your home. For, the prime purpose of home improvement is to ensure no pending repairs post the renovation. This would help you plan the direction of the entire home repair project. Depending on the nature of projects you can decide upon the budget, duration and other factors for home improvement.

Gear up for change

Now you can gear up for the change you need. You should research online and visit home décor shops to get ideas for the purpose. You can save a lot of money by DIY on your previous, used or antique furniture, fittings and cabinets. It is important to check out price differences offered by second-hand shops, antique shops and online lists.

Knowing the expenses helps you get ready for the expenditure too. You can also check out your credit limit available. Home improvements can be one of the smart ways to enhance the valuation of your home. You can also check out if you are eligible for homeowner loans. Leveraging home equity you can draw substantial funding without any hassles.

Some handy home renovation hacks on budget

Kitchen

Kitchen is one place where whole family meets multiple times in a day. A change in the look of kitchen space can transform the feel of your entire home. You can consider changing the colour or cabinet doors for this. Do not forget to visit thrift stores or reuse centers to find the surprisingly cheap deals. Go for contrasting colour and you would revolutionise the appearance of your home. Also pay attention to kitchen lighting. If you need to replace any of the electronic or kitchen gadgets, opt for energy-efficient replacements. It would save you energy bills and keep your home updated.

Living Room

A renovation cannot be complete without bringing change in the living room. For low-cost home improvement, consider redoing the furniture placement. A simple shift of couch from right to left can bring more than expected alteration to your home view. In case you have a centre wall, consider using a bright and unique colour for that wall. Then deck it up with picture art, wall art or an embellished stole gifted by your grandma. The bright walls can steal the attention from other little flaws around.

If you need a new couch, consider using the old frame and get it covered up in a contemporary style. This would bring the modern look with least expense.

Bed Rooms

Changing bed room furniture could be expensive. You can consider changing the bedding, rug, curtains, cushions and every other add-on in your room. If your side tables are old-fashioned, you can consider using attractive wall paper on the front of drawers. It would not only bring a new look but would also cease the boredom owing to old furniture.

Another quick hack could be using darker colour for ceiling. Change in the colour of ceiling would bring a novel look in your personal space. We watch more of the ceilings in the bed rooms after all!

Lavatory

Do not overlook leakages and chipped paint as they are common in the bathroom area. Change faucets if there is any fault. Try to organise if you have too many objects in your bathroom.

Besides, simply changing the mug, bucket and rug can beautify your lavatory. You can introduce an attractive canvas cover for the new feel.

Front and Patio space

For small apartments, an additional sitting space can add enough value to the property. You can consider de-cluttering the backyard and incorporating chair for 2 people at least. You can add a beautiful cushion to an organiser and create a seat. This add-on would not cost more than £20 and enliven the dull space in your home.

Needless to say, do not leave the broken nuts and bolts on window panels or side entries. A new colour for outer walls is a must even if you have decided to keep the inner walls untouched.

In case your room walls are already neat, pick one wall in each section and use your creativity to bring the desired look.

Dilapidation Building Surveys and Their Value

Construction activity can sometimes leave tell-tale effects on adjacent properties that are situated too close to the site. Many reasons contribute to the effects of construction, including poor structural strength and ageing of the existing building. However, contractors and owners of proposed new constructions need to guard themselves from frivolous, false claims of damage to buildings. Dilapidation building surveys help owners and contractors to be armed with evidence from independent agencies that will protect them from exaggerated claims. Here is what needs to be known about dilapidation building surveys and the benefits of opting for one.

Pre-construction inspections

A pre-construction inspection would entail an in-depth analysis of the existing properties, including pictorial proof and thermal imaging of structures. This helps in the preparation of a comprehensive report that documents the structure and the presence of cracks, the extent and intensity of structural weakness etc. This dilapidation survey records proof of existing weakness which can be compared with the post construction conditions. This way, you would be able to determine and assess any damage if occurred because of constructional activity.

Post construction inspections

Similar to the pre-construction inspection, the post construction inspections record the status of the buildings and help in drawing up an extensive comparison to help disprove claims of damage, if any. With the use of latest equipment, including thermal imaging, the exact status of a building and the condition of timber and structures are profiled. This helps in scientifically disproving the claims of damage. At times, damage may have occurred to a certain extent, but the claims may end up being exaggerated in an attempt to receive higher compensation.

Constructional activity and effects on structures in vicinity

Constructional activity includes a large amount of vibration, excavation, soil dewatering and demolition. Depending on the structural condition of buildings in the vicinity and the distance between buildings, it is possible that effects may be felt to a certain extent. Dilapidation surveys not only document and protect owners from unfair demands, it also helps engineers to plan construction better by taking suitable alternative measures to prevent damage to adjacent structures. Architecture and constructional concepts have advanced to levels where it is now possible to greatly mitigate the effects of construction activity on buildings in the vicinity by adopting alternative techniques.

Professional expertise and advanced equipment

Typically, the surveys are conducted by teams of experienced professionals who rely on advanced equipment for collection of data regarding the structural strength or weakness of buildings. Structures may be compromised by termite nests, and timber may actually look good on the outside, while remaining more or less hollow on the inside. The use of the latest equipment, combined with years of experience help inspectors to compile reports that help to document the actual condition of buildings.

It is important to choose teams that are covered by professional indemnity and public liability insurance so as to protect the interests of homeowners seeking such services. The choice of such service providers needs to ideally be influenced by factors such as integrity, professionalism and certification.

More Home Inspection Surprises

When inspecting homes, ordinary doors can provide a surprise. Some doors lead to rooms, some doors lead to a dark void, and some doors are curiously locked. Sometimes you get all three.

I was inspecting a large vacation home north of Cashiers, North Carolina, on a fast running creek. It was full of boulders, twists and turns, and waterfalls. The drive to the home was narrow and steep, leading to a heavy gate. The remote the agent gave me worked, and the gates slowly opened on complaining hinges.

The house was beautifully built into the side of the granite ledges, with stunning floor to ceiling windows. Although the home had a small footprint – perhaps 1500 square feet – two stories towered upwards, taking advantage of the very steep lot. The home had been foreclosed on, and was now vacant.

The first part of the inspection on the first floor revealed no anomalies. I started up the stairs to move upwards and noticed a closet door with a deadbolt lock. When you see something like this, owners are usually trying to protect something. Normally I note in the report that I could not access the closet or room, but in this case the bank was the owner and I doubted that they knew anything about this locked door.

I quickly got on the phone to the real estate agent.

“I’ll call the bank,” she said.

Three minutes later the phone rang.

“No one has a key to that door. If we did I’d say enter and report what you find. Can you pick it?”

“I’m no locksmith. No problem, I’ll put it in my report,” I said and hung up.

But I was curious.

I ran my hand across the top of the door trim which is where I “hide” a key. My fingers encountered an object with Velcro stuck to the trim. A key! I put the key in the lock and tried rotating it. It worked! Leaving the key in the tumbler, I turned the knob and opened the door.

A black void.

I pulled out my flashlight and aimed it into the area. A black metal circular staircase came into view. Now I felt like Nancy Drew. I started slowly down the narrow stairs and began to hear the sound of water. When I reached the bottom, my feet were on an uneven stone floor and I was in a room about six by six feet with two more doors in the walls. I looked around for a switch. I found it on the opposite wall. I flipped the switch and light filled the room. I was amazed to see that the walls were carved into the cliff.

One closet was a tiny space with an electrical box. The other door was locked with a deadbolt like the one upstairs.

“Oh! I left the key upstairs,” I said to myself. “Shoot, I’ll have to go back up and get it.”

I went back up the circular staircase to retrieve it. I moved back down the stairs to the locked door. The key worked, and I opened the door. I was in a very narrow passageway. The walls were solid rock and I could see the furrows where blasting caps had been used. I was feeling a little claustrophobic. Should I keep going?

The sound of water grew stronger as I moved slowly down the cavern path. After traveling 12 feet, I was suddenly outside! The waterfall that was visible from inside the home was directly in front of me.

What a surprise! Never underestimate what might be behind a locked door.

Lisa is a North Carolina licensed general contractor and home inspector, and the home improvement columnist for the Clay County Progress. She has designed and built several innovative homes with an eye to low maintenance and simplicity. Lisa founded Your Inspection Expert, Inc., a residential inspection company, in 2008. Experience gleaned from hundreds of inspections form the foundation for the advice in her articles.