Ranch-style housing is a domestic style of architecture unique to the United States and one of the best representations of the style of homes in the American West.
True ranch-style homes first made their appearance during the 1920s and 1930s and were originally based on Spanish Colonial architecture found in the American Southwest. When ranch-style homes were fused with a more modern style of architecture, it created the California-style of ranch homes. Their open, flexible floor plans created easy livability. The floor plan made the style popular in the post-World War II boom in American housing in American suburbs.
The casual living style in ranch-style homes is embraced in open floor plans that create a natural flow from room to room and also connect indoor and outdoor living. These long, low-profile homes feature low rooflines, uncomplicated exteriors and are almost always single-story in character. Here are some other common characteristics of ranch-style homes:
Single-floor layout. Ranch-style homes are predominantly one level, which comes from the fact they were working ranch homes. Some split-level ranch styles became popular in the 1950s.
Sliding glass doors. It’s common that sliding glass doors open to a patio and link the indoor and outdoor living areas, while letting in a maximum level of light. Large windows are also common.
Emphasis on patios and yards. These homes were designed to feature the back yard and patio, linking indoor and outdoor living through sliding glass doors and large windows in the common areas of the home.
Natural physical features. Ranch-style homes are commonly made of stucco or brick, and many feature vaulted ceilings with exposed wood beams.
Asymmetrical design. These homes are often rectangular, L-shaped or U-shaped in design.
Attached garage. As large suburban homes, they predominantly had attached, two-car garages.
Each and every year, new and intriguing green building materials that promise energy efficiency and performance hit the market surrounded by quite a bit of buzz.
Technology drives much of the innovation when it comes to green building materials, and many of the latest products on the market increase the use of reusable, recyclable materials. Not only are these products green, they help create sustainable, greener buildings as well.
While there are hundreds of such green products that are new on the market, here are a few that grab attention.
Cross-laminated timber. CrossLam is one type of cross-laminated timber (CLT) structural panels made by gluing layers of softwood at right angles next to each other, creating panels that are light, stable in all directions, and can be used on flooring, walls, and roofing. CLT is made from less desirable wood, even wood taken from forests that were killed by mountain pine beetles. It was named by BuildingGreen.com as a top upcoming product.
Expanded-cork boardstock insulation. Cork-growers continue to expand the uses for their sustainable product, the result of a periodic harvesting process that doesn’t harm the trees. The latest is an insulation where cork pellets are steam-expanded and naturally bind to one another, creating excellent insulation characteristics without ozone-damaging flame retardants, according to Readinform.com
Viridian Reclaimed Wood. This company reclaims a variety of hard and soft wood from pallets, crates, and packing material to make flooring, tabletops, paneling, veneers, and more. The wood is heat-treated and kiln-dried without chemicals so that the product is clean.
Earth Measure stone. This stone product, which is made from the waste of stone manufacturing, is cut into specific patterns to mimic natural stone. It can be used from everything from pavers to walls to flooring, both inside and outside, as well as in horizontal and vertical applications, per BuildingGreen.com.
Low-E Windows. A clear coating of metallic oxide applied to the exposed surface of glass can reduce heat flow through the glass by 50 percent and reduce heating costs by 10 to 20 percent. Not only does the clear glazing not effect visibility, the result of one product by Cardinal Glass is low-e performance previously achievable only with a triple-glazed window.
Mineral Wool Board Insulation. Roxul manufactures wool board insulation, used in both commercial and residential applications, made from a minimum of 75 percent pre-consumer recycled content, primarily of iron ore slag. It’s fire resistant without using flame retardant, is rigid enough to be used as exterior insulation, and is an alternative to foam-plastic insulation according to BuildingGreen.com.
Buying your first home can be an intimidating decision. Not only will it likely be the biggest purchase of your life, but it is oftentimes both a lengthy and complex process.
It goes without saying that there are many factors to consider as a first-time home buyer. There’s a lot to learn, and a lot to know, about a process that commonly takes months to complete from start to finish. Even when things go smoothly, a first-time home buyer will require patience, organization and knowledge to navigate through the process.
Here are 10 things to consider when buying your first home:
The difference between wants and needs. When you have a clear understanding of what you want versus what you really need in a home, you will be in a position to make decisive, effective decisions that might help you land what you really want.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Not only will you avoid homes you can’t afford, but pre-approval from a lender will give you the leverage to make a serious offer when you find the right home.
The real cost of home ownership. Sure, there is a mortgage payment, but what are the costs of living where you are buying? When you factor in all the expenses – utilities, property taxes, repairs – can you afford to own a home?
Where location ranks on your list. Know going into the process how important location is to you. It’s about your lifestyle. A bargain isn’t really a bargain in a neighborhood you don’t really want to live in long-term. Are you willing to accept a smaller or older home in a great area where value will rise?
Working with a professional. Buyers now have access to do a considerable amount of research online, but a qualified buyer’s agent should be an expert on the neighborhood, recent sales, trends, and negotiating the terms of an offer.
The surrounding area. Sure, one block might be picturesque, but the entirety of the surrounding area will determine the value of a home. Explore the surrounding areas for schools, hospitals, fire stations, airports and train tracks that might alter your opinion. Also drive around at different times of the day to see if the vibe of the neighborhood changes a few blocks away.
Pay attention to taxes. Review the property taxes several months back and talk to your realtor about taxes. Know that a re-appraised home can lead to higher tax rates.
Talking to neighbors. The people who know most about what it’s like to live in a neighborhood, how well the sellers took care of a home, and underlying issues that might not be obvious, are the neighbors.
Do as much homework as you can on the property. Along with a comparative marketing analysis to spot area trends, get detailed records of home improvements. Ensure the title is “free and clear” so there are no problems with assuming ownership, and purchase homeowner’s insurance. Get everything in writing.
Getting a home inspection. No home is perfect, and a reputable home inspector will find out as much as possible about what is wrong with a house. Determine the real issues and what should be accounted for in your offer, as well as what might need future attention.
Once you have decided to sell your home, one of the biggest decisions to make is your sales price. It can be a tricky process, so take the time to thoroughly understand and strategically plan what the sales price really means.
An overpriced home is one of the worst mistakes a seller can make, for several reasons. An inflated price can discourage buyers who like the home and would otherwise make an offer. It can also create the perception that the offers – even those good for the market – are exceedingly low. An overpriced home will often sit on the market longer than it deserves, a signal to buyers low offers are acceptable because you are motivated to sell.
Pricing your home strategically within the current market conditions will help you get the maximum return on the sale of your home. Here are eight tips on how to price your home to sell:
Consult a real estate agent. A qualified listing agent is an expert who will know your area, the current market conditions, trends, and comparable properties.
Do your research on the current local market. Your home is worth exactly what the current market will pay for it. Keep an eye on trends to know where the market is going, not where it’s at, by looking at month-to-month and year-to-year trends. The most recent local sales are the best current barometer.
Get a comparative marketing analysis. Listing agents will offer you a free home walkthrough and a comparative marketing analysis (CMA) of your home in the local market. A CMA will offer a comparison of carefully selected local properties and an analysis of current market conditions to determine what makes your house unique.
Pay attention to condition and staging. What does your house look like right now? The two factors a seller can control are pricing and condition. The small details of your house matter to a buyer. Consider investing in both basic and more involved upgrades to target areas of your home – kitchen and baths – to add value that can improve your bottom line returns.
The right price strategy. Utilize strategic pricing on where the market is going to price ahead of the curve. A highly competitive price in current market conditions will attract more traffic, buyers, and offers and can create a multiple-offer situation to push up the price. A property attracts the most interest when it is first listed, and According to the National Association of Realtors, far more buyers purchase property at 10 percent of asking price (78 percent) than at even 10 percent above it (1 percent).
Get your home appraised and inspected. Hire a licensed home inspector to uncover problems ahead of time so you can fix them. This will make your home more marketable and attractive to buyers. Hire an appraiser for another educated and impartial opinion on what your home is worth.
Be realistic and not sentimental. Once you have narrowed down the potential target price of your home, put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Often sellers are too emotionally attached to their home to be objective. Think like a buyer and prepare to be rational.
- See more at: http://joansather.com/price-home-sell/#sthash.kUowq8Pf.dpuf
It’s no stretch to say that technology has a solution for nearly every inconvenience a homeowner can encounter.
Many homeowners are looking for ways to integrate their home systems, incorporate various appliances and security, or simply adjust settings remotely with a bit more ease. The good news is that when it comes to technologically-sophisticated living, you don’t have to be a Silicon Valley hot shot to integrate some of the newest gadgets. There are more and more options and the results are pretty impressive.
Here are five options that will make your home more high-tech without breaking the bank:
Ivee – This voice-activated, hands-free assistant, masked as a regular-looking alarm clock, obeys your commands and answers your questions. Not convinced? Ivee can tell you the weather in any city, wake you up on time, and control your Wi-Fi devices. It does all this through the sound of your voice, which will make you feel like The Jetsons.
The Goji Smart Lock – With Goji, it’s like having your own personal door man. Securely send access to your home to anyone (such as house guests or home service professionals) via text or email that allows unlimited entry or specific time/date parameters. It also takes pictures of who is at your door and automatically sends pictures in real-time to your mobile device. Heck, what door man does that?
Iris Home Management System – This system allows you to wirelessly control and monitor your home, and do it from just about anywhere. Along with safety features like alarming your security system or locking your doors, you can set Iris to adjust lights and control the temperature, which saves you money when you’re not home. If that wasn’t easy enough, the Iris app has a voice control feature to take care of everything verbally.
Nest Thermostat – This next generation thermostat learns your schedule, programs itself according to adjust the temperature and can be operated from your mobile device. Get monthly email reports, and an estimated 20 percent energy savings, with very little effort.
RCA Wallplate Charger – From the “so simple, it’s brilliant” category, RCA has created wallplates with USB ports for charging. If you’re cool with a little electrical work, you can swap out your standard outlet for versions with up to four USB ports and a power switch. Imagine never needing a power adapter again.