If you aren’t dealing with structural changes or a complete makeover, then consider a a quick fix makeover for your home such as coat of paint, new flooring, new baseboards, and/or new window treatments. There are lots of things that you can do yourself, now. You might want to up-date your bathroom or kitchen with new flooring.

There’s new glueless laminate ‘wood’ flooring that you can tackle on your own, if you are so inclined. Tiling is an excellent option, too, and you can learn how to do that on our site (click on the Tiling page), or attend a seminar at your local hardware store.

A really nice throw rug can change the look of a room and add new life to an old carpet. Installation of new carpet should be professionally done, unless it’s a small area and you are skilled at that.

Sometimes a simple change like up-dating your hardware (the knobs in your kitchen) can make a huge difference in the overall look of a room. You may be able to paint your cabinetry if you don’t want to replace it. If you are replacing the cabinets, check out your Local Hardware Stores selection.

You can check for price, availability, installation fees (don’t try this alone!), and for some ideas in general that you like. They will provide you with a computer printout of what your completed kitchen will look like, if you arrange to meet with a Kitchen Designer and draw one out together.

If you have an old brick fireplace that you don’t care for anymore, or want to give it a fresh look, consider painting it. This is not a crime…painted brick looks great! Generally, creamy shades work well, but you can choose what you like. Brick really soaks up the paint, so use a good primer, first.

You can also put a marble tile (slate works well, too) around the fireplace. Use the correct tile adhesive (ask at the store) and choose a nice grout.

You can actually buy a Fireplace Surround pre-made, or you can build your own Mantel with Crown Molding and some nice lumber. You may want to bring in some help for this. While you’re looking at the Fireplace Mantels, check out the cool ‘Fireplace Over mantels’ — they’re gorgeous! You can have mirror custom cut to fit in the center and make your house look fabulous, darling!

Changing the lighting can create a whole new look in your home. If it’s not too complicated, you can do this on your own. If it’s too tricky or dangerous, bring in an electrician. Changing the light switches and switch plates can make a huge difference, too. You can go from the past to the present in a flick of the switch!

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Home Air FiltersHygienic air is essential to human life, and in this modern age, that requires air cleaners. There are a few different methods of air cleaning, like Filtration, Electro-static Precipitation and Ion Generation. Air Filtration cleans air through the removal of sub-micron particulate, gases and odors.

If you are plagued by allergies or asthma, an air filter might help you. Air filters are the best tools for eradicating allergens from the house. Particularly for those people who are suffering from asthma and allergies, both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Lung Association recommend air filtration.

The ability to remove allergens and contaminants depends on the amount of air drawn through the filter. Factors that affect filter efficiency include fiber size, fiber density, airflow rate, and particle diameter.

Air filters may be centralized, in-home filtration systems or portable devices. When the air quality problems exist throughout the house, then a centralized filtration system is needed. Otherwise, portable cleaner may serve the purpose of air filtration.

There are four major types of air filters, depending on specific needs. They are:

Mechanical Filters

These filters force air through a special screen that traps pollen, dust particulate, smoke and air-borne irritants and pet dander. The best example of this type of filters is HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter.

Gas Phase Filters

These air filters are used for removing odors and other types of pollutants such as gases from cooking, paints, perfume etc. These filters are not meant for the removal of allergens in the home.

Electronic Filters

In these types of filters, allergens are trapped through electrostatic precipitators with a fan. Electronic filters use electric charges to attract contaminants.

Hybrid Filters

These air filters combine electrostatic and mechanical filters. These are used to trap allergens rather than gas based contaminants.

Another type of air filters is the Ozone air filter, but it is not environment-friendly.

When purchasing an air filter, one has to consider things like which type of allergens will be removed, the filter’s efficiency with respect to HEPA standards, the clean air delivery rate (CADR) of the filter, the ease of changing the filter, and the noise that it will make. Changing air filters regularly facilitates is ability to improve the quality of air.

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Almost everyone knows about FHA mortgages. They are tailor-made for first time homebuyers and others with less than perfect credit or other financial issues. You don’t have to be low income or have bad credit to use FHA, but generally the loan limits prohibit high priced homes.

What you may not know about FHA is that there is a special loan program designed to provide the funds to buy or refinance your home PLUS additional funds to make repairs or improvements.

This FHA mortgage is called the 203K and the K is the operative part of the name. Not every lender participates in the rehab loan program, but the major national lenders do. If the loan officer you contact is unaware, then call the corporate office and ask them to direct you.

The FHA 203K loan program calls for an FHA inspector to go over the house, using the plans you gave him. Before you get to this inspection phase, you should be working with a general contractor who understands how to provide plans and specs for a project. Plans and specifications are standard in the contracting industry for anyone managing a project >$5000, which is the minimum rehab amount for this loan program.

The FHA inspector will decide if the project is feasible, depending on whether there is additional work required to bring the property up to code, and whether or not the property will appraise for enough to make the project “worth it”. FHA is willing to lend based on the after-rehab value and will even stretch that value a little in order to get houses brought up to code.

Once the lender is happy with the valuations, the plans and specs, and the inspector’s report, your loan file will be reviewed by an underwriter specially trained and certified in rehab loans. Your credit and finances do not have to be perfect to be approved, but the creditworthiness and qualifications are similar to a regular FHA loan.

One of the benefits of a 203K is that all costs can be added into the project. The fees, permits, closing costs, etc. are all added up and your down payment on the purchase is calculated on the total. If you are refinancing instead of purchasing, the amounts are totaled the same way, but you might already have enough equity in the home to avoid coming up with any cash.

What’s next? Once approved, the loan closes and the rehab portion of the money is escrowed by the lender. The contractor submits requests for payment and each phase is inspected. As soon as the work passes the inspection for completion, the contractor is paid. You can not go back to the well for more money, so your initial plan must be a good one. A contingency fund is usually added in during the total project calculation.

This contingency fund can only be used to fund hidden repairs that were not evident during the initial workup. Any remaining funds in the contingency are used to pay down the mortgage at the end of the project.

The FHA 203K mortgage is not a “piece of cake”, but if you do not qualify for low cost money at the local home improvement equity loan bank, then it is very definitely worth looking into.

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Living Room with Wrought Iron FurnitureA fireplace is a place where you want to enjoy your evenings in chilly winters in a warm, cozy, and relaxing environment. Not only it is functional, it is a place of usual central point of room as well. As fireplaces are so noticeable, it is imperative that this place is made attractive for it deserves attraction.

No other material other than wrought iron is perfect for fireplace decor. Whatever be the design for your fireplace, only the wrought iron decor items look fabulous on the mantle or near the fireplace. Wrought iron goes equally well both in modern look and conventional look when combined with material like stones, pebbles, or bricks.

A few wrought iron products for home decor most sought near a fireplace could be candle stands, mantle clocks and candle holders. Mantle clocks ought to be set in the middle of the mantle and candle holders to be placed on one side of the mantle, presenting them a clustered look. Huge sized, high candle stands find a place on the floor beneath the mantle near the fireplace.

Most of the useful tools for fireplace are made from wrought iron or else these tools would have handles, brooms, pokers, shovels, and tongs made from wrought iron. These tool sets for fireplace are designed to look noticeable so as to be used both as functional as well as elegant fireplace pieces.

If you are planning to give a new look to your living room without a great deal of effort, then wrought iron accessories are the ideal answer. Wrought iron is not only versatile, yet attractive. Wrought iron is just the right combination of both these characteristics and is just the ideal choice for any living room.

Wrought iron is so versatile home decorating material that it fits well with almost any decorating design. Be it be rustic, traditional, modern or contemporary, one can get wrought iron home decor products for every home design.

Wrought iron is a gorgeous material. Wrought iron home decors speak for themselves. These can be used to focus a specific point, or by adding a few bold accessories, you can create a central point in a room. If your living room has a fireplace, putting wrought iron candle holders will certainly add to the style of the fireplace, making it more striking. Or, if you plan to design a focal point on a wall, placing a beautiful piece of wall art of wrought iron along with wrought iron sconces on both sides will certainly be the focal point you desire for.

Wrought iron home decor products entirely transform the appearance of your living room without involvement of any major redecoration projects. As true to its nature, wrought iron material is both versatile and eye catching and will add sparkle to any living room.

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