Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New fabrics make roller shades sensational

The first window covering you bought, as a student or maybe a young married, was doubtless a roller shade. It most likely came in a limited range of colors, but cost a very few dollars and, if you treated it well, provided the needed privacy for many years. That's still true of some roller shades, but not all.

"The range of fabric choices in our new roller shade sample book simply blew me away," says Mary Dobson, spokesperson for Levolor Window Fashions in Canada and also a guest expert on CityLine. "I can find techno fabrics there for clients who must have the modern look, as well as whimsical patterns for a child's bedroom. It's a very broad choice."

Interior decorators are often impressed by the way roller shades can be dressed up with draperies and valances to create a layered treatment that's at the same time functional and stylish. On the other hand, many of the new fabrics are quite distinctive in order to make a style statement of their own - bringing visual excitement to a room.

"At Levolor, we have been seeing a steady increase in the use of roller shades, especially in urban condo spaces," says Mike Muyal, director of marketing for the company. "We expect this trend to accelerate in the fall, with the new fabric collections. Now, we truly have something for everyone - sheer and solid, woven and natural, with many designer patterns in subtle shades and weaves. A clean, uncluttered, modern look with a matching valance or a cassette."

Although it is possible to review new products and colors and options on line, Mary strongly recommends working through an independent retailer, or selected home-improvement retailers, whose experienced decorators will help ensure a perfect choice and hassle-free installation.

Take a look at the new roller shades and the expanded range of fabrics at www.levolor.ca.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Building isn't just for boys: Getting girls engaged in constructive playtime

(NC)-How many times have you walked into your child's classroom only to see the boys and girls separated into two different groups, playing with completely different toys? The boys are likely huddled around the building blocks, creating skyscrapers and forts, while the girls are busy painting and coloring.

Sure, you can chalk it up to society's gender expectations to explain this play divide but does it mean girls have no interest in construction play at all? Unsurprisingly, the answer is no. Toy companies that specialize in the design of building toys have long researched the patterns of construction play among girls, specifically, and understand its long-term benefits.

From developing language skills to boosting a sense of achievement, construction play serves as a stepping-stone for a young child's intellectual future. "Playing with building toys provides children an ideal way to engage in discovery-based learning," says Dr. Maureen O'Brien, developmental psychologist and child play expert. "It is through this type of learning that children are able to build their confidence through trial and error and develop a sense of achievement, enabling them to physically link their world to the play world, building their brains in the process."

The learning benefits of block play are further enhanced when layered with open-ended, imaginative play, such as make-believe with dolls. Children begin to understand their world and give it perspective by playing with toys that enhance exploration through customization and storytelling. This combination of block play and role play is a boost to your child's development.

Understanding that girls love and benefit from creative construction as much as boys do, O'Brien has some tips on incorporating building play as a regular activity for your daughter:

Make construction playtime a group activity - Girls are able to spend time collaborating, assisting and supporting one another over a building project when in groups. This strengthens interpersonal relationships.

Emphasize storytelling - By connecting a story to their creation, children learn and understand problem solving skills, language development and the elements of decision making - all important next steps in the learning process. Construction toys designed specifically for girls can help them tell their story. Have you seen the Mega Bloks Barbie Build n' Style Luxury Mansion, for example? It is considered the perfect balance of building and playing. The play-set allows girls to build, design and re-design, decorate and style Barbie doll's home any way they want.

Incorporate familiar characters - A way to motivate girls with construction play is with characters they already know and love. The Mega Bloks Barbie example is a great fit here as well. The construction line features mini figures and iconic Barbie details that appeal to girls. When girls recognize characters, they will likely be more inclined to try something new.

Join and guide the fun - Playing with your daughter during building time increases her chances of learning from the activity. Even when parents and children sit and walk through building instructions together, children are exposed to problem solving skills needed to assemble the construction set.

O'Brien encourages parents to break through the traditional playtime expectations to instill life-long benefits of construction play - especially for girls. The skills they will acquire through a simple shift in their play routine can expose them to numerous future opportunities.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to get your offers accepted to buy properties

The biggest challenge facing most real estate investors is making acceptable offers, especially when buying properties is the basic foundation of real estate investing.

Unless you buy properties, you cannot make any money.

Here is how to make offers that get accepted.

The offer you make depends on the type of property you are buying.

1) Buying from motivated sellers

If you buy houses from motivated sellers, it is necessary to have the following pieces of information:

a) Market Value

Do your due diligence to find out conservatively how much the house would be worth in perfect condition. You must have this information before you can make any offer.

b) Mortgage balance

You must get this information before you can make an offer. A seller who is not willing to disclose this information is not motivated enough. Move on to a motivated seller.

The mortgage balance must allow you to buy the house and still leave you with a profit. It must allow you to make a profit and own it free and clear.

c) Repairs needed

It is possible to estimate repair costs with the information provided by the seller.

You must know how much you need to fix up the house before you can make an offer. Of course, I like to see the house and do my own repair estimates.

d) Asking price

If the owner is asking for too much money given the above 3 pieces of information, the dealmight never happen.

A good asking price must take into account the market value, mortgage balance and repairs. You can then make an offer based on the asking price. Make an offer if the mortgage balance allows you to make a profit.

Even though it is necessary to consider the seller's needs, no offer can be too low. If they are facing foreclosure, then they probably need some money to move, or their asking price might be just enough to get away from the property.

If the mortgage balance is too high compared to the value of the house, it does not make sense to make an offer. Move on to the next deal.

There is no bad offer, except the one you have not made. Always make the offers that make sense to you. You'll be surprised how many get accepted.

2) Buying foreclosed properties

The asking price and repairs are the only important considerations to make in this case. Banks selling these properties are willing to negotiate.

Most REOs are listed below market value. Depending on your exit strategy, if the numbers are close to making sense, by all means make an offer.

Lastly, remember to make your offer lower than the asking price.

by: Simon Macharia


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Laminates - Textures, colors, and choices for all your interior needs

Laminates let you create your own world of imagination. You choose from a sea of textures, colors, and choices. Laminates are affordable as well. So, if you are the one who is considering a home make-over, choosing laminates for this job is the best option you have. Plastic laminate products are durable as well as affordable. Whatever your aesthetic preference or budget, plastic laminate products can easily make your home come alive like never before. Give it a try and see yourself.

Plastic laminate products satisfy all your interior needs - kitchens, bathrooms, cabinets, wardrobes and/or edgings.You in fact have all the time on this planet to choose from the entire range of designs, colors, textures, and finishes. Compact grade laminate are robust and ideal for applications that demand long life, minimum maintenance, damage resistance, and hygiene. These laminates give your interiors an all-round finish with a striking design feature. Your home will love it.

You can even check out laminates sitting at your favorite couch. All you need to do is surf several leading sites selling plastic laminate products. Check out the range of textures and colors, and choose what you find the best for your home-interiors. Now, isn't that easy?

However, one thing that you should keep in mind is to deal with a reliable seller/producer and not a newcomer in the industry. When you deal with a professional and experienced producer of plastic laminate products, you get the top-quality products at the most-competitive prices in the market. So, take you time. Think, compare, ask others, and choose the best for your sweet home. With laminate countertops, give your home a new look. And, your home will thank you for this.

As already mentioned above, laminates come with an impressive long life and minimal maintenance needs, using these laminates are a wise choice. Also, look for the instructions by the manufacturer and follow the same so that you don't have to face any problem half way. So, make-up your mind, do some research, and give that much needed make-over to your sweet home.

By: Smith, John