Browse Category: Eclectic Homes

The way to Write an Apartment Condition Checklist Guide

When you’re renting out an apartment, then damage most likely will happen, as well as issues from normal wear and tear. Developing a state checklist can help you determine who’s to blame for any issues and who have to cover the repairs — the renter. The best practice is to produce a checklist guide that spells out just what the security deposit is and what damage it will insure, if needed.

Set up two columns on your checklist: one to work with until the tenant moves in and one for after all the tenant’s belongings are moved outside. Leave room for detailed descriptions of every product. Some items might just require a check mark, meaning that they are in tip-top state, while some may require some explanation. Holes in the wall in an earlier tenant’s artwork ought to be noted, for instance, as if worn flooring places in high-traffic places.

List cosmetic items that have to be in tip-top condition when the tenant moves out. This includes the walls in each room, making certain they are free of holes and scrapes; no stains or excessive wear on the carpet or flooring; no broken blinds; and no outside damage to appliances.

Insert livability issues, like that every room needs to be washed — and specify that it means swept, mopped, vacuumed, dusted and also the interior of cupboards and appliances scrubbed — and livable. Add notes to look for exposed wires from where the tenant may have rigged up a new entertainment system or installed new cable lines himself. The apartment shouldn’t have an unpleasant odor, like lingering cigarette smoke or pet odor.

Include conditions about working fixtures and appliances, including kitchen appliances, all faucets and lights, and the heat and air system. These things sometimes malfunction, but it is the tenant’s duty to contact you immediately when he discovers a problem. If the problem exists when you’re performing your move-out checklist, part of the repair may be his duty, based on the wording in your rental.

Examine any outdoor space and add items to your checklist that reflect the tenant’s duty. For instance, balcony railings should be protected with no flaking paint and wooded areas must be well preserved.

Place a basic description of tenant obligations on the checklist. The detailed list ought to be in your rental, but putting information on the checklist provides you an additional layer of security when it is time to maintain his security deposit to cover damage. Give a timeline, like the file has to be completed in just three days of move in and move out. Say that the renter is responsible to keep all areas clean and to notify you immediately of non-working appliances or damage to the apartment. Be aware that the tenant must leave the utilities on till the final walk-through is completed. Not after those rules can result in you maintaining the entire deposit.

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Is Birch Wood Good for Furniture?

Birch is abundant in North America, especially in the northern United States and Canada, and while it isn’t a superior furniture-grade hardwood, it’s a great one. It is durable and appealing, it takes stain well and it’s affordable. Birch plywood is also a favorite material for making cabinets, benches and tables.

Birch Characteristics

Yellow and sweet palace are two of the best-known species, and while yellow birch is a bit more difficult, both are comparable in hardness to oak, walnut and other domestic hardwoods. Birch is workable and doesn’t nick or gouge easily, which can be two qualities which woodworkers like. Since it’s a close grain, it stains evenly, but its becoming yellow to tan shade looks attractive even without a stain.

Birch Uses

The blond tones of yellow birch allow it to be a good stand-in for walnut, although its color variations and characteristic grain texture make it easily distinguishable. With red heartwood and sometimes almost white sapwood, these variations are largely absent in Baltic birch plywood, a construction material from Europe that many manufacturers use to make paneling and cabinets. Since Birch is powerful, holds screws well and is affordable, furniture makers use it for bracing and other structural components of furniture as frequently as they perform for its visible parts.

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Eliminating an Kitchen Sink to Install Tile

To install tile you need to remove the sink so that you can install the tile. Sinks utilize clamps underneath to hold them. Since you’ll be tiling over the existing countertop, you do not need to be overly worried about scratching the surface of the countertop. While you’ve got the sink out, you might want to think about replacing it. A glistening new sink would put it off, if you’re dressing the kitchen to put your home on the market.

Shut off the water running to the cold and hot water lines. Locate the two valves under the sink, and flip them until they stop. Turn on the taps up top to make certain there’s no tension and drain the remaining part of the water.

Set or pan below the sink. It has to be wide enough to be under the drain at the center and the valves you turned off.

Disconnect the water lines. There’ll be a nut over the valves. Turn them slowly to loosen and then continue turning until you can pull the supply lines.

Disconnect the drain pipe. There’ll be a straight pipe running out to the piece of the base of the sink. At the top between the bits that are straight and curved, there will be a nut holding them. Utilize the pipe wrench to loosen the nut until you can lift the part that is straight .

Remove the straps holding the rim of this sink to the countertop. There are more or eight small metallic clips up under the sink’s edge holding it to the counter. These are held in place. Use a flashlight to find them. Use the screwdriver to loosen the screws before the clamps pull free in the sink.

Cut on sealant or any caulk between the edge of the sink and the countertop with the knife. You ought to be able to lift the sink out of this hole at the counter. The countertop is ready to be prepped for installing tile.

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The Way to Install Cork Underlayment for Engineered Floating Wood Floors

Cork is a material for any home, although some condo associations require cork underlayment where floors are installed. As it’s a rapidly-renewable resource, alameda County Waste Management Authority recommends cork for Bay Area building jobs. Cork insulates cushions and helps control the sound from walking floating, engineered timber floors. Underlayment installments, which are typical for floors, need only a small amount of adhesive around the room’s perimeter. Less glue means odor and fewer fumes compared to fully-bonded underlayment.

Pry off baseboards, if any exist.

Unroll the cork underlayment and flip it with all the ends curving toward the ground. They shouldn’t curve up.

Cut 2-inch-wide strips of cork off the border of the unrolled underlayment with a utility knife. Lay a straightedge . Twist the edge of the straightedge with the border of the cork. Draw a utility knife along the edge of the straightedge to make clean, straight cuts.

Apply bamboo flooring glue comprising urethane, rubber latex or acrylic to a narrow border of a 2-inch-wide strip of cork.

Place onto the ground against the wall with all the edge touching the ground and the remainder of the strip extending the wall up. Where a baseboard would go, the place of the strip is. Surround the room’s perimeter with glued strips of cork. This strip is known as the isolation barrier, which will help contain sounds.

Move the cork underlayment that is unrolled throughout the ground to its place against the wall, butting the underlayment contrary to the isolation barrier’s border.

Until the floor is covered unroll and lay underlayment round the space, butting the isolation barrier with the borders. Butt the sheets of underlayment together, but don’t overlap the material in the seams.

Trim cork off the sheets fit round the room with a utility knife.

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The Way to Acquire a Built-In Microwave Out of the Opening

Microwaves require adequate air space , but they seem to be built into the cabinets with no additional room. This illusion comes following the microwave is installed in pieces that are installed to the front of the cupboard. In the event you have to remove your microwave and replace it, or even if you want to clean behind it, then you can remove it more quickly than you might think. All you need is a few hand tools.

Insert the tip of a putty knife under one side of the trim that encircles the front of the microwave to a thickness of one inch. Force it gently in the event that you have to. Stone and Hint the putty knife until the trim lifts.

Holding the trim up using a putty knife, insert the tip of a chisel. Put a little scrap of 1/4-inch plywood under the chisel. Applying it for a fulcrum, pry down on the putty knife to lift the cut off the face off the cupboard. Do all four sides.

Pull out all nails in the trim or the cupboard using pliers. Reach into the opening. Grab the microwave with both palms. Slide it lightly toward your body until you can reach behind it and then unplug it.

Twist the microwave forward to your body until you can find both hands underneath it and then pull it out of the opening.

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HUD Laws on Living Communities

Senior living communities target people over 55 years old, and specialize in providing housing adapted to the requirements of older people. The communities are also referred to as active-adult communities or age-restricted communities. They offer independent living, but might also offer facilities for assisted living. Some senior living communities offer single-family houses that seniors can purchase, while others are flat communities with rental units. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) modulates senior communities to ensure their compliance with the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (HOPA).

Age Qualifications

At least 80 percent of those units in a senior living community, whether for purchase or for rent, must have one occupant who is 55 years old or older. In order to maintain the designation of a senior living community, HUD requires management to conduct an audit of its residents every two decades, and then submit the age of each individual living in the community to HUD. This survey requires that each occupant must show identification such as a drivers license, military ID, state-issued ID, immigration card, passport or birth certificate. The community must maintain a copy of the questionnaire submitted to HUD.


Apart from recording the ages of the community’s residents, the direction of an active adult community must market the units specifically into the senior community. Twenty per cent of the housing units can be inhabited by residents younger than 55, however, HUD wants to make sure that the community directs its promotion and marketing to the senior community and not to younger households. In smaller communities, advertising to senior citiens might not be a problem, but a few senior develpments are massive, with thousands of units. HUD regulations guarantee that a developer doesn’t target the younger market in its marketing materials. When there’s proof that the marketing has been targeted to younger households, the community may reduce its designation as a senior community.

Community Design

HOPA demands that senior communities be separate from other housing units in a large development. If the 55-plus community is a rental community, all the apartments have to be in a building that’s separate from unrestricted rentals inside the community. In for-sale home communities, the most active adult housing needs to be contiguous. By way of example, if a builder wants to make a senior living community inside an existing planned community, she must make sure that the senior units are different and separate from houses being sold to the mainstream industry. This can be accomplised by fencing the parcel or utilizing streets and roads as a boundary.

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Which Mortgage Is Ideal for Me?

Based on RealtyTrac, 1.65 million housing units in the United States obtained a foreclosure filing–a default option, bank or auction repossession notice–in the first half of 2010. California led the nation in the number of foreclosure filings with 340,740. Regardless of the grim statistics, people are still buying homes. If you’re one of these, mortgage options abound, albeit with tighter restrictions than prior to the home crash.

Loan Apps

Three main mortgage programs exist in the United States–conventional, VA and FHA loans. Conventional loans are tagged as conforming should they fall under price limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and non-conforming or unsecured loans should they transcend these area-specific numbers. According to, conventional loans work best if you’ve got excellent credit and enough cash for a deposit of more than 5%. VA and FHA loans are government applications. Both are financed through participating creditors, but guaranteed by the federal government. If you default on the loan, the government repays your creditor. To qualify for a VA loan, which is sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs, you have to establish U.S. military veteran or active duty status. VA loan holders usually fund 100 percent of the home’s purchase price. The Federal Housing Administration backs FHA loan, which require a 3.5 percent deposit as of July 2010, and have significantly more lenient credit requirements than conventional products.

Kinds of Loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your interest rate stays the same throughout the life span of this loan. Sheyna Steiner of notes that 30-year fixed-rate loans are very popular because they provide the lowest monthly payment. But 10-, 15- and 20-year loans are available. Interest rates on adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) alter yearly. Some ARMs, known as hybrids, combine the qualities of fixed-rate and flexible loans. Beneath an interest-only loan, you pay interest but not the main balance for the first few years of the loan. This gives you a rock-bottom monthly payment until the interest-only term expires.

Mortgage Insurance

Typically, if you’ve got less than 20 percent for a down payment, your lender requires mortgage insurance, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The insurance is a guarantee for the loan in the event of default. VA loans do not require mortgage insurance, but a personal mortgage insurance premium is built into all FHA loans. You may also confront an up-front insurance charge up to 3% on an FHA mortgage, according to Bankrate.


Credit requirements for all loans finally are up to the creditor, even if you have qualified for a government program, such as FHA. The home crisis motivated lots of lenders to tighten their standards. On a conventional loan, you may qualify using a credit score as low as 620, according to the Bankrate report, however if your score is less than 740, expect your creditor to tack on a plethora of fees. An FHA loan may be more suitable if you’ve got spotty charge; for example, traditionally FHA creditors accept applicants using debt-to-income ratios which exceed the accepted standard of 25 percent. You may qualify for an FHA loan even if debt takes up around 40 percent of your pay.

Pro Insight

Jeff Brown, a personal finance blogger on PBS'”Nightly Business Report” website, claims that a fixed-rate mortgage is easily the best deal. Though the 15-year option lowers the interest you will pay on the loan, it requires significantly greater monthly payments. Each $1,000 Located on a 15-year loan at 4.77 percent translates to $779 per month versus $562 on a 30-year loan. As far as ARMs are concerned, Brown says they look great when interest rates are reduced, but moving into a fixed-rate loan with a high speed at the outset may pay off in the future if and when rates climb.

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Who Is Eligible for an FHA Loan?

FHA loans are loans originated by private mortgage lenders and insured by the Federal Housing Administration against default by the borrower. The loans benefit the creditors and the borrowers because the lender is assuming no danger and the borrower receives lower rates of interest. The cost of the house, the borrower's credit score, and earnings are variables in FHA loan eligibility.

Price Ceilings

The FHA loan program started in 1934 to help make home ownership accessible to more Americans. Since its inception, the FHA has had ceilings on the amount of the loan it would insure. In recent decades, the agency took into account regional differences in home costs and set the ceilings for single-family and attached houses on a market-by-market foundation. Since this shift, more people have been able to get FHA insured loans, broadening the capability of people to own houses. The cost ceiling in the Bay area is $729,750 for a single-family house. The FHA must individually accept connected projects before buyers can access the FHA loan program. All remote houses and single-family homes are qualified for the FHA program.

Credit History and Down Payment

All lenders look at credit history and often use this as the benchmark for lending money to house buyers. However, with an FHA loan, buyers have more latitude with their credit ratings. Obviously, the FHA will not guarantee a loan when a borrower has a gloomy credit rating, but the agency will insure loans for people whose credit scores are below 580 by requiring a deposit of 10 percent or higher. Home buyers with credit ratings over that need to put down only 3.5 percent on the house, less than the 5% or greater that conventional loans require. A number of those FHA's programs even have down payment assistance for first-time buyers.

First-Time Buyer Programs

Even though the federal government removed down payment assistance programs out of sellers, it’s still possible to use monetary contributions from family members that will offer a specific amount of money for a deposit. The definition of a first-time buyer is one who hasn’t owned a house for three decades. Grant program requirements vary from state to state.

Approved Attached Housing

Home buyers looking for an attached house will probably be restricted to choosing from properties that are approved. The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires that 80 percent of those units inside a condominium project be owner occupied. The developers or owners of these buildings need to apply for acceptance before FHA will insure loans for components in the project.

Refinancing with FHA Loans

Present-day homeowners may use the FHA to refinance their houses as long as the loan worth doesn’t exceed the FHA caps for their kind of land. Since the rates of interest on an FHA loan are usually lower than market prices, people who’d love to refinance their houses can do so with FHA loans only if they reside in the house. The FHA will not refinance a house not occupied by the homeowner.

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How to Read a Property Survey Map

Learning to read a property survey map isn’t only for surveyors. Land survey maps are used to quantify everything from the boundaries of states to the real size of your neighbor's plot. Taking into consideration the value and importance we place on land and its ownership, there are advantages to understanding the fundamentals of how it is measured and represented on a map. The Public Land Survey System (PLSS) has its origins in the ancient surveys carried out in the 1700s in North America. The PLSS system is based on a main meridian (an imaginary north-south line) and a baseline (an imaginary east-west line) from which other survey lines have been projected, creating a grid system of squares. To begin with, a square of 24 miles by 24 miles is split into 16 squares of 6 miles on each side, also known as townships. Townships are finally broken up into 1-mile squares, which would be the smallest formal subdivision of the PLSS system. Of course, map users can split and quantify areas smaller than this working from the PLSS system.

Assess what sort of property survey map you’re taking a look at. There are lots of kinds that change based on the purpose for which they have been attracted. There are inconsistencies among the forms, so be certain you’re working with the ideal kind of map. As an example, using a transport map (large maps that can cover an entire state) is of little use if you’re trying to assess the magnitude of a town. Instead, use a border survey map, which establishes the sizes and boundaries of property lines in a place, and provides considerably more detail.

Look at the scale of the property survey map. It's usually found at one of the corners. Scale is the ratio of distances on a map to the corresponding values in the world, according to By way of example, a map using a scale of 1:10,000 (1-to-10,000) informs you that each inch (centimeter or meter) on the map corresponds to 10,000 inches (centimeters or meters) at the location in the world. You can quantify any section of the map using a ruler and understand what it signifies on the floor.

Look at the map#039;s legend, which is a listing of the symbols used on the map and what they mean. Not all maps carry a legend, however, it is possible to find lists of property survey symbols at several official institutions such as the Bureau of Land Management. Symbols can represent rivers and lakes or bridges and phone lines. Boundaries for counties and states are reflected on the map with various kinds of lines.

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November Checklist for a Smooth-Running Home

As the weather changes and daylight hours in November, home activities naturally center around the inside — preparing for the big Thanksgiving meal, welcoming guests and battening down the hatches for the winter. As you count your blessings this Thanksgiving, consider lending a helping hand to people in need by putting charitable giving on your to-do list.

Tackle these 13 home maintenance chores this month to keep your house secure, beautiful and working nicely for you.

Thompson Custom Homes

Deep wash the kitchen. With Thanksgiving coming up later this month, now is a great time to give your kitchen a comprehensive cleaning prior to the mad cooking rush starts. Run your oven’s self-cleaning cycle, pull your refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum the coils in the back, and get on a stepladder to wash your range hood and cabinet tops.

Donate into a food bank. While cleansing your pantry, set aside unexpired foods you know you won’t use to bring to the community food bank. And when you’re doing your Thanksgiving shopping, consider picking up a bagful of extra holiday dinner supplies to contribute as well — that time of year can be especially difficult for families in need.

Inspire Your Space

Check entertaining supplies and restock as needed. If you are hosting for Thanksgiving or another big fete this season, consider your menu beforehand and check to make certain that you have all the cooking gear, cookware and table-setting supplies you will need. It’s far better to know now if you don’t have a turkey baster or enough baking sheets.


Add entryway storage. If clutter is becoming out of hands, beef up your mudroom and entryway with bins and baskets big enough to handle the piles of scarves, mittens and outerwear which will definitely collect near the door.

Use a humidifier if necessary. Together with the warmth going and the windows closed, the air indoors can get dry at the time of year. Dry air can lead to everything from static power to more regular or worsened colds — including a humidifier is a simple way to help prevent these.

Baran Studio Architecture

Replace flooring protectors. Chairs scraping your floors? Assess their toes: If they don’t already have sensed floor-protecting pads or when the pads are coming off, pick up a new set. Felt shield pads come in either stick-on or nail-in versions — the stick-on variety is simpler to employ; just make sure that you wash the bottoms of chair toes thoroughly to be certain the pads stick.

How to make your own great glides for sofas and chairs

CM Glover

Scrub and Clean woodwork. Maintain hardwood floors looking their best by cleaning them and then applying a wood-floor polish. In case you have wooden banisters, moldings or trim, polish them annually to bring out their glow.

Thompson Custom Homes

Prepare guest rooms. Get ready for holiday guests beforehand, and you can avoid that last-minute frantic prep. Spending a night in your guest area is a great way to try it out and also be sure that you have everything available a guest may want. Create a note to get niggling tasks (take duvets into the cleaners, buy extra towels) done sooner rather than later.

The way to become a great host for overnight guests

Martha O’Hara Interiors

Assess the sump pump. If you have a sump pump in your basement to aid in the event of flood, today (prior to winter storms) is a fantastic time to be certain it’s in working order.

Close vents in unused rooms. Conserve energy by closing up heating vents in rooms that you seldom use, like the guest room or basement. Just remember to reopen the vents in case you do have a guest.

Lands End Development – Designers & Builders

Inspect paths, stairs and railings. If you discover any loose or wobbly railings, or cracked paths, fix them before winter sets in. Ice, snow and irregular footing are a dangerous mix.

Have trees trimmed. Late autumn, when branches are more observable, is a fantastic time to have large trees pruned. Trimming branches can prevent breakage in winter storms afterwards.

Do a last leaf removal. Once the leaves have fallen, do a last clearing of rain gutters and downspouts. Also be sure to clear off heaps of leaves which have accumulated on the roof and in drainage areas throughout your property — otherwise they may lead to water to pool, which can cause damage.

Inform us : What is on your house care listing this November?

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