Home Improvement Tips to Help Sell Your Home to a Discerning Buyer

Everyone has one or two things they would like to improve about the place they live. When it comes to improvements, our homes should be at the top of the list, but they often get shuffled to the side, because improvements tend to be costly and time consuming. The reality is that a lot of improvements you can actually accomplish on your own using some home improvement tips that aren’t costly, but are noticeable.

Two areas of the house tend to get the short end of things when it comes to home improvement. They are the bathroom and our outside world. The bathroom is somewhat understandable. While we like to have it nice, the reality is that a face lift in the bathroom can be problematic. Redoing the entire bathroom is quite costly and often a messy proposition that takes weeks to reconcile.

Despite the inconvenience, doing up a bathroom is usually time and money well spent. It is one of the most used rooms in any house, and is a priority for most home buyers. The condition and presentation of a bathroom can add or subtract thousands of dollars in a property sale. A bathroom can also influence how long a property stays on the market, before being snapped up by a buyer.

That being said, what about the outside of your home? Is it looking a bit worse for wear? When is the last time you saw it as other people really see it? While it is true that you live on the inside, it is also true that what the outside of your home looks like, is the first thing people see. It is what gives your home curb appeal and makes people want to see more. Still when it comes to improving your home, one of the biggest things that people tend to overlook is the outside.

Did you know that adding a flower bed or a little bit of shrubbery can not only increase your chances of selling your home, but also cost you a nominal amount. It could amount to less than two to three hundred dollars for decent greenery that may increase the value of your home as much as a thousand dollars or more. Flowers and shrubs tend to give a home the appearance of being lovingly nurtured and people notice. An attractive garden will get you buyers when the swimming pool in your back yard might not.

Firewise landscaping is another method of adding to the value of your property and is one of the home improvement tips that you don’t see added to the lists very often. This is particularly the case in areas where wild-land fires can be a problem, such as New Mexico, Arizona, California, and in some eastern states. Firewise landscaping is making news. It represents the proper placement of landscaping items so that the fires will have less fuel and be less able to consume the home along with the property. Firewise landscaping sells houses.

Taking into account where you live when considering these home improvement tips. Take care of your own interests, as well as those who will buy the property after you means assuring the safety of your home. It is one of the best ways to get your home noticed in a positive way and to sell the property to someone else.

Travel Insurance for Your Peace of Mind

Everyone has travelled at least once in their life. Whether it is by bus, train, boat, or plane, you know the inconveniences you can encounter. People travelling to long distances usually prefer travelling via an airplane because it is convenient and faster. It may mean long lines in the ticket booth, long waiting hours before boarding time, or a little excess baggage but you deal with them because in the end, you will be in a relaxing and stress-free vacation. Despite all those petty nuisances, what are the chances of getting a delayed flight? Is paying for travel insurance really necessary?

Travelling itself can already cost you and your family a lot of dollars. Some people do not want to go through the additional expense of paying for something which might now happen to them at all. What are the odds of a disaster happening to you on a trip, right? Sadly, many people think this way. It is only when they experience a travel difficulty that they wish they had purchased reliable cheap travel insurance. Planning ahead makes you prepared for the worst. Before you disregard buying insurance for your travel, read first then make the call.

You needed to cancel your trip for more important reasons

You get caught in a situation wherein you badly need to be somewhere than the airport. Unforeseen circumstances such as a death in the family or you got into an accident can cost you your trip. Many insurance providers for travellers offer trip cancellation coverage. This means that for whatever reason you cancelled your trip, you will not end up losing the money you paid beforehand for the ticket and hotel reservations. Your insurance policy will cover your expenses.

You need immediate medical attention

This may possibly be the worst case scenario. In case you needed medical attention because you got a heart attack in an exclusive vacation island, where would you go? If you have an insurance provider, then call them to assist you with your situation. Travel insurance policies can cover all your medical expenses and even ancillary expenses when you encounter such a situation. They can also point you to the nearest affiliated qualifying hospital to make sure you get the best service and care.

Your baggage is missing

Travellers might get this misfortune more often than anything else. In any case, lost, damaged, or stolen luggage of travellers can be reimbursed. In case of baggage delay, some insurance policy providers offer reimbursement of the essential contents if the baggage will be delayed for more than 24 hours.

Your travel documents were lost or your credit cards were stolen

While strolling around a historic city, you notice your bag has been emptied of your wallet and other essential documents. Travellers are easy targets for local thieves and swindlers. Purchasing travel cover can help coordinate with local resources to resolve your problem.

Purchasing travel coverage does not need to be over-the-top expensive. There are many companies online who provide cheap travel insurance because there are no middlemen or travel agents which add up the cost of travel coverage. Buying insurance eliminates more risks you can possibly encounter while travelling.

Travel Trends by Gender

As someone who takes a great deal of interest in general travel trends, I was intrigued by the concept of historical differences between men and women and whether or not those variants are still relevant today. The focus is not necessarily on couples who travel together, but more on the intrepid female traveler who feels free to go wherever her whims take her. Here’s a brief look at why the genders traveled differently and whether or not that disparity still exists.

Historical Trends

Perhaps the earliest recognizable female figure is the adventurous women who first explored such exotic locales as Egypt and Africa in the nineteenth century. Many of Agatha Christie’s mystery books featured such a globe-trotting heroine, who was likely modeled after real-life traveling icons such as Martha Gellhorn, an early war correspondent, and Gertrude Bell, an archeologist, writer and politician who traveled far and wide at the turn of the century. The famous anthropologist Margaret Meade is another truly courageous woman traveler or a century ago who comes to mind.

These women are unique in that they set aside any trepidations and focused, instead, on their thirst for travel and discovering new destinations. They were the exceptions, not the rule.

It’s Not the Destination, It’s the Journey

It seems there was never a difference between the sexes as far as the level of interest in travel. After all, who doesn’t want to go and see new places, eat new foods, experience new cultures? The only gender diversity is truly the level of adventure the traveler embarks upon. For instance, up until recent years few women were interested in – or brave enough to sign up for – mountain climbing trips or jungle clearing excursions.

As a general rule of thumb, men are often more concerned with the journey and not necessarily the destination while women dream of visiting far-off lands without having to go through a great deal of adventure to get there. Remember this is only a very general observation; certainly there have been and still are women who revel in exciting journeys to uncivilized locales.

Travel Trends Today

What’s different today? What’s happened since the nineteenth century to make globe-trotting more common among single women travelers?

For one thing, women are accepted in positions of power. “Allowing” wives and mothers from centuries past to travel unaccompanied meant that men were giving these women a certain power previously only allocated to the male of the species. Learning other cultures and meeting foreign peoples expands the mind and broadens a person’s horizons – things that were not acceptable for women ages ago. And now that there are a great deal more women in the workforce, travel is both necessary and usual for them.

For another thing, travel today is much safer (on the whole) than it was during the era of the highwayman or outlaw gang. There was a reason women didn’t travel alone and it was all about the concept of safety in numbers. Today, women can drive to the airport, find secured airport parking and get on board a plane to any destination around the world in a manner of travel that is much safer than sticking to the roadways.

The modern travel trends for women include adventure travel, learning travel, volunteerism, and a desire to check off items on a bucket list. Interestingly enough, these are the same types of trips that men are leaning toward, too. So, although there once was a great disparity in travel trends between men and women, today that gap is nonexistent. Buon voyage, ladies!

Commercialisation Of Technology: Key Issues To Remember

1) Universities or other private and public institutions regularly undertake research on various areas. Very often the research has as its ultimate goal commercialization, profit-making and winning competition. Research may be commercialised in two ways: (i) New companies are created which are provided with access to the intellectual property rights (IPR), facilities or assets of one party; (ii) Technology may be made available to existing companies. Typically, this would involve the commercial licensing of research work directly to industry, for example, to large pharmaceutical or medical companies.

2) For a collaboration to take place there needs to be an agreement between the parties in place clearly setting out the contributions of each party and of course the rewards should the technology be proved successful. This is achieved by entering into a Technology Transfer Agreement, which addresses the following:

1. Nature of the IPR involved/transferred
Define exactly what rights are to be transferred.

2. Method of the transfer
The next most fundamental issue to be resolved is the method by which the IPR will be transferred from one or more parties, that is, by assignment or licence.

a. Assignment
An outright assignment gives the assignee greater freedom in relation to the technology, since in a typical assignment, there are few, if any, controls placed on the assignee by the assignor. In the event of insolvency, the assignee has an asset that can be sold to create value for the shareholders. Of course, if the assignee has become insolvent it may be because there is no market for the product. However, if the product has failed for other reasons, such as lack of marketing support, lack of follow-on funding, or issues affecting customers a willing buyer may exist for the technology. The practical benefit is that it should be easier (or cheaper) to raise funds if the assignee has some form of assets. Investors usually prefer to invest in a company which owns and has freedom to use all of its assets. If an outright assignment is not possible, this can also be achieved with an exclusive licence.

b. Licences
A licence gives the parties a greater feeling of control and also an ability to participate in any successful commercialisation of the technology through royalty streams, as well as being able to participate in any growth of the spin-out business as a shareholder. A licence also ensures greater flexibility for the party; it may be possible to provide that the licence terminates if certain conditions are fulfilled (for example, if the licensee fails to exploit or to exploit successfully the transferred technology). The licensor then has the option to take back the licence and perhaps proceed with a new licensee.

A compromise worth considering is a licence with an assignment trigger built in. The trigger can be linked to the value of the licensee, the return to the licensor(s), or to some other factor. In this way the licensor(s) are protected at a time when the spin-out is most vulnerable and, from the licensee’s point of view, should it succeed, it is very likely that it will end up owning the technology outright.

In other scenarios, the licensee can be expected to agree to certain performance criteria. These will often be linked to the number of sales or revenue generated from sales or other commercial exploitation of the licensed technology. Failure to meet the criteria will see the licence come to an end or for the licence to become non-exclusive instead.

3. Consideration
The consideration for the transfer of technology can be made up of equity, up-front payments, royalties, or a mixture of all three. This tends to be an area which is most heavily influenced by policies adopted from time to time by the various parties to the agreement. Other factors may affect the value, for example, where one or more of the contributors to the technology was not an employee, but for example, a post-graduate student or consultant. In fact, a post-graduate student will generally fall outside the definition of “employee” under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, and so the IPR may not belong to the university.

4. Other rights and obligations
Whatever the nature of the IPR transfer, the parties need to agree what continuing rights (if any) the parties will have to use the IPR. If a party is a university it is generally agreed that the university can continue to carry out non-commercial research and teaching using the transferred technology. However, it is worth investigating whether there are existing research projects, such as PhD theses, which need to be completed. If so, specific rights should be carved out of the transfer agreement as necessary to ensure that these projects can be completed. Also it is important to have a clear agreement as to which party will bear and be responsible for: (i) any prosecution and other protection of the transferred rights costs (for example prosecution of patent applications so that they become patents granted!) and (ii) any regulatory licences and approvals.

5. IPR Infringements
The key question to be addressed is which party will have primary responsibility for dealing with any IPR infringement of the transferred technology. It is important for the spin-out company/licensee to ensure that it has the appropriate rights to take action against a third party which is infringing the transferred technology in some way.

Using Awnings For Home Improvement

You can create attractive and practical changes by using awnings for home improvement. Though often overlooked, these relatively simple and inexpensive additions can be nothing short of transformative. They are something every homeowner should consider. They offer a series of practical and aesthetic advantages at a great price.

Consider using awnings for home beautification. Placing awnings over windows can add color and style to your property. They are also a great way to give a home that may otherwise appear boxy a more multi-dimensional and refined look. The addition of a few well-placed awnings can completely change the appearance of a home. Your plain off-white, boring cookie-cutter house can become the envy of the neighborhood after spending an afternoon installing some good-looking awnings.

You can also use awnings for home protection. They can provide much needed shade over windows that would otherwise find themselves bombarded by the summer sun. This will reduce the temperature in your home during hot season, decreasing cooling bills and reducing energy use. When it rains, awnings can be a great way to keep water away from your home. It just rolls right off the awning onto the ground, providing an additional layer of protection. Awnings for home entries are a great way to keep from getting soaked on the front porch or developing puddles at the doorway.

You can utilize awnings for home improvement in a number of ways, but that doesn’t mean you need to use them all of the time. Many options are available in retractable versions, allowing you to roll them up or to fold them away when they’re not needed. This can provide an extra dimension of flexibility to your home and can prevent the awnings from being exposed to heavy snows or windstorms that may otherwise damage them.

Awnings are an attractive option for another reason: They’re relatively inexpensive. There aren’t many home improvement projects that can have so much impact on appearance and function while having so little impact on the thickness of your wallet. When you compare them to other potential home beautifications and improvements, they’re a tremendous bargain. There are very few other projects offering the same kind of bang for your buck!

If you own your home, you know there’s virtually no limit to the number of improvements you can make. Using awnings for home improvement are one of many options available to you. They are also one of the smartest. They are affordable, flexible and provide an impressive array of practical and aesthetic advantages.

Are you looking for a way to reduce your cooling bills? Would you like to keep things a little dryer during the spring? Does your house seem strangely flat or plain? If you nodded along with any of those questions, you should consider adding awnings to your property.

Keeping Your Home Improvement Costs Under Control

Deciding to have home improvements completed is an exciting time in your life. Over the years, you have grown to love your home, but just like anything else, nothing is perfect. In order to have the dream home you want, it is many times necessary to make changes to the current layout of your home. One of the biggest factors that keeps many people from completing their Chicago home improvement dreams is the thought of how much the project is going to cost. In order to keep your costs under control you need to keep a few things in mind when planning your home improvements.

The first thing you need to do is figure out what your budget is. How much can you spend on your home improvements? By knowing what you want and how much you can currently afford, a team of professional designers and builders will be able to let you know exactly how far you can stretch your money. If you walk into a remodeling job and do not have a budget in mind, the costs can quickly get out of hand in the excitement of all the wonderful things you could do to your home. Having a budget ahead of time will help you keep your costs to a minimum.

If money is tight, but your home is desperately in need of improvements, make sure you take care of the needs prior to the wants. It would be wonderful to have that skylight in the bedroom, but if the foundation is crumbling, it needs to be taken care of first. There will always be time later to take care of the luxuries. Making sure that your homes needs are taken care of will ensure that your home keeps its current value and continues to add value in the future. Keeping your home in a state of solid construction will help save you money now, and make it easier to splurge for the extras later.

If your home is in desperate need of improvements, make sure you take the time to consult with a reliable professional prior to embarking on your Chicago home improvement projects. A professional will be able to help you make sure all of your improvement needs are completed within your budget and give you the home you have dreamed of.

Top Fall Home Improvement Projects

As the seasons come and go, it should not only be fun activities that we should be thinking of and be busy with but also tasks to maintain, if not improve, the comfort and functionality in our New York homes. The warm and sunny days will soon be over and putting off important fall home improvement projects until the months get chilly can prove to be costly and so inconvenient. So if you do not want to go through all the headaches, it’s time to plan your fall home improvement projects whether you are in Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Homes, indeed, are one of the greatest investments anybody can have in a lifetime and allotting time and money to take care of it will provide safety, security, and comfort as well as a boost in property value and enhanced quality of everyday living. To make them last throughout the harsh winter chill and beyond many years to come, here are the top fall home improvement projects to undertake:

1. Property and Home Inspection

The best start to your line of fall home improvement projects this year is a thorough evaluation done by a qualified professional. Though this can initially cost you some, this step will prove to be worth more than your money’s value. By discovering damages early on, you will save yourself from grave surprises instead of them finding their way to you and your house from silently deteriorating.

2. Roofing

Being among the areas most exposed to damaging elements, natural and not, your roofing should be the first area to look into when considering fall home improvements. Especially with the snow on the way, patching whatever roofing problems would be crucial. Things to look for include:

· missing or damaged shingles,

· slits between flashes where the siding and roof joins with flues and vents,

· damp and moldy spots,

· and broken mortar surrounding the chimney especially at caps joints, and washes.

3. Clean and Tune Up

Simply cleaning your surroundings and tuning up important systems can take your efforts for fall home improvements a long, long way. The seemingly harmless accumulation of dead leaves and branches on your gutters can easily bleed you financially. If your gutters got clogged and standing water freezes, this could not only impair the existing gutter system but could also affect efficiency and condition of basement, foundation, walls, crawl spaces and even landscaping. Consider the installation of gutter guards that prevents debris from getting into your gutter system. Also make sure that your drain and gutter system efficiently draws water away from your house.

Other fall home improvements that fall under this category include:

  • Sweeping chimneys
  • Mowing and removing leaves and dead branches on your lawn to avoid snowmolds
  • Checking and maintaining furnace
  • Winterizing lawn by nitrogen fertilizing
  • Avoid freezing by adding insulation to pipes
  • Checking thermostats and considering a programmable one to replace your old thermostat
  • Making sure that no pests can sneak into your home, or worse, have already made a home of house.

Travel Insurance – 5 Tips to Avoid Hefty Bills Abroad

Travellers are more aware nowadays than ever before of the importance of taking out travel insurance before a trip. Most travels are likely to go smoothly, but why take a chance and risk ruining that much-needed holiday.

A variety of travel mishaps and problems have dominated the news in the past few years and the importance of having travel insurance, as well as understanding your rights, has never been more in people’s minds. Here are a few tips to consider before planning your next trip:

Tip No. 1 – Check that your travel insurance policy covers all your planned activities

Not all activities are covered under all policies, so this is important. If you are on a package holiday and choose to engage in activities outside those included you may find they are not covered unless you have taken out separate travel insurance. However, beware of travel insurance that seems very cheap or is offered as an incentive as the levels of cover may have been reduced – or the excess (the amount you pay towards a claim) increased. Your travel insurance policy should include a list of covered activities, such as elephant rides, scuba diving, bungee jumps, etc. Never assume that everything is automatically covered!

Tip No. 2 – Check that your policy includes adequate medical cover, liability and legal expenses

If you pick up a nasty stomach bug it could potentially put you in hospital. If you trip and break a leg, or sustain a serious injury it could result in very high medical bills for hospital treatment. If you cause injury to another person you could be liable and incur legal costs. If an injury results in medical repatriation to bring you home by air ambulance the need for additional seats on the plane, and/or medical escort, could set you back many thousands of pounds. Your consulate or the airline does not cover these costs. Someone has to pay and – without insurance – that someone is you, or your unsuspecting family or loved ones.

As well as adequate travel and medical insurance, always check that your policy includes cover for air ambulance and medical repatriation. This is vital.

Air ambulance fees to bring you back to the UK from your holiday destination could potentially cost thousands of pounds alone, and up to a staggering £50,000 from the USA! If it is necessary to fly you home on a stretcher with a medical escort the fees from even closer holiday destinations could be almost as financially devastating.

Tip No. 3 – Obtain a European Health Insurance Card

If you live in a EU country and are travelling within the European Union apply for the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and carry it with you. Depending on the country, it entitles you to free or reduced-cost emergency treatment on the same basis as a national of that country, in a state-run facility (not private). The EHIC should not be used instead of travel insurance, but will save you a lot of expense and inconvenience if you should sustain an injury or become sick while travelling. It is important to realise that the EHIC does not cover anything much other than emergency medical care. It does not cover repatriation to the UK or air ambulance costs. You will need travel insurance to cover an array of travel problems, such as non-urgent medical care, ongoing treatment, lost luggage, missed flights, scheduled airline failure, etc.

Tip No. 4 – Do Your Homework!

Research has shown that few people actually take the time to research the local laws and customs of their destination country before they set off. Awareness of potential pitfalls could save a lot of expense and grief. For example, do you know your destination country’s rules for a single adult travelling with a child? Do you know which over-the-counter medicines you can and cannot legally take into the country? Do you know the basic rules of the road before driving in another country? The purchase of a good travel guidebook, or time spent reviewing travel advice provided online, such as on the Foreign Office website could help you avoid becoming the victim of a scam, or being arrested or fined for violating a local law that you were not aware of.

Tip No.5 – Make a note of Consulate/Embassy and Emergency Numbers

Before you travel, why not programme emergency numbers into your mobile phone and also keep a note of them with your travel documents. Having the number for the local emergency services programmed into your mobile phone could save time in the event of a robbery or accident – and even save lives. Consider registering with the Foreign Office ‘Locate’ service (or your own government’s equivalent) to better enable the authorities to assist you if an emergency should arise. Their assistance in contacting friends and relatives would be a very welcome lifeline if needed and save you time, frustration, and expense.

5 Home Improvement Projects to Improve the Resale Value of Your Home

If you are planning to put your home on the market any time soon, you will certainly want to do everything you can to increase the value of your home. At the same time, you don’t want to invest so much money into home improvements that you don’t enjoy a return on your investment. To that end, here is a look at five home improvement ideas that you might want to put into place in order to get more for your home.

Home Improvement #1: Energy Upgrades

A growing number of home buyers are looking for homes with energy-efficient features. Therefore, anything you can do to make your home more “green” will make it more appealing to potential buyers. Some steps you can take to improve the energy-efficiency of your home is to replace the windows, roof, doors and windows. Adding extra insulation will also be appealing to potential buyers.

Home Improvement #2: Apply Fresh Paint

Applying fresh paint inside and outside of the home will give it the face-lift it needs to draw in potential buyers. Not only will a new layer of paint freshen up your home’s appearance, but it is also an inexpensive way to make your home more up-to-date while also making it more appealing to a broader range of buyers. Just be certain to use neutral colors when repainting your home, as unusual colors will only appeal to a small segment of the population.

Home Improvement #3: Upgrade the Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home. Therefore, bringing it up to date is one of the keys to increasing its value. Simple improvements such as installing new cabinetry and hardware, a granite sink, new counter tops and energy-efficient appliances will go a long way toward appealing to buyers and increasing the value of your home.

Home Improvement #4: Update the Bathroom

The bathroom is generally the second most important room with potential buyers. Therefore, you want to make certain your bathroom is one that reaches out and grabs those who tour it. Remodeling the bathroom with a new sink, faucet, counter tops, cabinetry, flooring and light fixtures are all great ways to make it more appealing. If you have only one bathroom and space allows, you might want to consider adding an additional bathroom as well.

Home Improvement #5: Add a Deck

Adding a deck is a relatively inexpensive upgrade, but expanding your outdoor living space with a deck is an excellent way to increase the value of your home while also boosting its overall appeal. Whether using treated lumber of a composite material, you are likely to regain most if not all of the cost of putting in a new deck.

Technology Implementation in Business and Life and How Important It Is

Technology is the buzz word today. Almost everything we do, use, or consume is processed through some kind of technology. Computers and Internet has changed the face of modern society. Still there are people who are resistant to get themselves adapted, to latest technologies. They are so much involved into the affairs of their business, that they feel getting updated with technical stuff is not going to help them anyways. They feel it is a waste of time. I Am going to share a real life story to highlight, why it is so significant to cope with technology in the modern society.

My father has a trading business, which is doing good. However couple of years back all his accounting and office work was done 100% manually. He was comfortable with it as he was simply unaware of the magic of computers. He was also resistant to get systems and learn them, as he found to it be a waste of time and money.

When I stepped in, I realised that the work for which my father and other employee’s were investing their day and night, is actually not more than couple of hours work with the help of computers. I somehow convinced him to get me some IT stuff like laptops, printers, scanners and specially Internet in the office premises. He was reluctant but I had to hold on to my demands. When I got them a year passed by with no significant implementation of IT in the office. But I learnt lot about how things work in real life and in software applications.

Slowly but steadily I started to automate the office tasks. I automated accounting. After a lot of issues and reluctance from employees, things started to appear in perspective. Almost 80% of the accounting work was simply eliminated. There was no need to manually reconcile financial statements, no balance sheet preparation or different types reports. We dropped one of the employees as accounting became a piece of cake. We started saving hundreds of dollars right from the start. My father became so much relaxed which he never thought he would. He Could now work on more important things in life. Slowly he automated all other aspects such as attendance management, payroll etc. Couple of months later the profits were all time high and there was very less work to do in the Offtime. Now when he looks into the past, it seems unimaginable for him to work the way he used to. He is now a successful entrepreneur with good health. His working hours are 10 to 7 and takes off whenever he feels he needs one, which is very good considering he is a sole proprietor of the firm.

Implementing technology may seem a costly affair and will attract reluctance from the employees. However if successfully implemented technology can turn your firm around and bring out the true potential of your business.

From business to home, from daily life issues to entertainment, technology has a tremendous potential. However first one needs to invest time, to understand things and then use technology effectively for a better and more comfortable life.