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Let’s Take a Tour of the Backyard, Shall We?

We tend to examine the yard quickly. In our minds, it’s not very important. The condition of the home and its financing are of greater significance. Yet, taking the time to observe the four corners of the yard may save you many problems.

If you’re only planning to stay for a few years, you may think the yard doesn’t really count for much. Caution! If the yard hides a defect, it will affect the home’s resale price. If you intend on staying there permanently, the yard will require much thought for future projects. In both cases, a basic examination is required.

If an old tree is near the house, its roots may be so deep and spread out into the ground that they are about to crack the foundations, especially if they’re already fragile. Continue reading

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Patio and Terrace: Decorating Ideas

At last! We can now unwind and enjoy the beautiful warm summer evenings. Time to head for the patio or terrace. Maybe you are just about to set it up? Or perhaps you wish to change the way it looks? Here are some ideas that will surely inspire you. The Holy Grail of recreational spaces is the convivial atmosphere they evoke. Remember, the space you are about to set up is the ideal area to relax and entertain. Here, you can decompress, alone, amongst family members or friends. Everything needs to be light, warm and easygoing.

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The lounge style is always very popular. You can find designer furniture usually made of polyethylene, chic umbrellas, copper or silver accents, metal lanterns, refined lighting and a flashy decor. The fancy bar is never too far away.

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Many people love lounging around in a laid-back atmosphere like the African way of life. This style comprises many decorative accessories. Take your pick: a leopard-printed footstool, a zebra-striped fabric, a rug with a tiger motif, a low wooden table, terracotta vases, amber-tinted jugs, brass lanterns, a Moroccan-style modular couch, masks and a solid bamboo balustrade. What about the colours? They are warm, of course. We’re in Africa, after all! Continue reading

Veranda, Sunlight and Warmth

It increases the value of the property by adding an extra room. It lets in plenty of sunlight. It reduces the energy bill by trapping in heat. It enhances the look of the exterior. Are you thinking about a veranda? Then, you’re absolutely right.

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This space, called a veranda, features large windows and was unpopular among the baby boomers. It looked old-fashioned, so they said. The ecological trend has changed that mindset. Besides trapping in heat during the day and dispersing it throughout the house at night, the veranda pleases plant-lovers too. It’s the ideal place to grow many plant species.

From the practical perspective, a well-equipped veranda can easily become a dining area, a reading space, an office, a place to play board games, listen to music or watch a movie. It can even include an indoor pool. Continue reading

Ten Steps to buying your first home

Down payment options. Pre-arrange your mortgage. Get ready for your big move! Either way, you need to be financially prepared and comfortable enough to make one of the biggest purchases of your lifetime.

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STEP 1: How much can I afford?

There are many factors that determine how much you can afford when it comes to buying a home and having a mortgage. Some of the key considerations are:

  • family income
  • principal and interest payments
  • outstanding loan and credit card balances
  • property taxes
  • maintenance costs/condo fees
  • money available for down payment
  • closing costs such as legal fees, land transfer taxes, moving expenses, insurance and so on.

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