Inside Tiny Houses – Are You Ready?

Mr. Jay Shafer is the responsible genius that came up with the idea of Tiny Houses! His company, known as Tumbleweed, is part of the small house movement. In 2002, He co-founded the Small House Society in Iowa City, Iowa. In 2003 he was commissioned by Gregory Paul Johnson to build The Mobile Hermitage, which became one of Tumbleweed’s first commercially sold homes.

When did Tiny Houses begin blooming?

Turns out to be that during the Katrina Hurricane disaster in 2005, Marianne Cusato developed 308 sq. ft. cottage constructions for the homeless victims and the small house movements bloomed.

You Want One? What to do next?

Identify the square footage you will need. Visit local pre-fab buildings to get the feel of what’s your minimum requirement or rent out a Tiny House for a week-end to make an assessment and experience your hands-on living inside a Tiny House. Then start brainstorming and planning the set-up and your storage needs. Slowly, but surely you will start forming your image of the inside of your Tiny House.

A pre-fab building of 320 sq. ft. is quite enough to make it comfortable and the transition from big to small very easy. Some even include all appliances and HVAC systems. All you need to do is pay for the building (approximately $35K), plus taxes and transportation. Another alternative is to contact a builder of your choice.

You also need to research the State laws and requirements for these Tiny Houses. A good resource of information is through The American Tiny House Association.

There are several different resources and websites that sell plans, workshops, existing real estate for sale or even rentals. So these small homes are here to stay for a long time and a definite solution for not paying mortgage for 30 or 40 years.

Getting Creative Inside Tiny Houses

Picture yourself inside a Tiny House and exactly what you expect in order to feel and be comfortable. Let’s entertain our thoughts right now… think of having enough kitchen cabinets, maybe a slide-out pantry, a small range with oven, enough counter space for preparing foods, a small sink, closets for your bedroom, and where would you squeeze in your washer/dryer combo, oh… and don’t forget of your bathroom commodities. Do you want a loft or same floor bedroom? If you have a loft, how will you want your stairway? Will you have storage underneath or within your stairway? As for your living room area, get into creative gear for saving space with a small sofa with drawers or underneath storage, maybe a drop-leaf table for dining or working with a laptop and continue to work on all your ideas by jotting them down. Then with all your ideas prepare a layout drawing and include measurements.

There are many ideas out there for small scale furniture that save floor area. Sofas with storage drawers, corner desks, floating desks, drop leaf folding tables, storage trunks, Murphy beds, bed that slide out or up and down from the ceiling any many many more. The truth is that, whether it be inside a Tiny House or not, these are also great space saving ideas for small apartments, small rooms, sun rooms, dorms, guest houses, dens and even studios. Many innovating and creative ideas come to life everyday from different sources and all because of the need for them. Very well said by Plato “necessity is the mother of invention”.

Last, but not least – A Reality Check

I recently read an article “Dear People Who Live in Tiny Houses – Medium” by Lauren Modery where she wrote this article on Tiny Houses, and brought up some crude realities of living inside a Tiny House that weren’t so great, but the truth is that depending on how much square footage you buy your Tiny House, these could be custom made to be very comfortable and efficient. You will enjoy many good experiences like, being able to take off whenever you please for traveling, enjoy mortgage freedom, pay very low utilities and get billed for less property taxes. Without a doubt, one big blessing!

But, in the end, it all comes down to planning ahead wisely by staying within your budget and making sure your expectations are met.

How Often Will I Need to Re-Stain, Re-Chink, Re-Caulk or Re-Finish My Log Home?

Before or after buying your log home there are certain things every log homeowner should know. Some things might be open for debate but one thing is for sure, your log home will require attention. This doesn’t mean that you will spend all of your waking hours staining, caulking, sealing, chinking, re-caulking, re-chinking and re-sealing. It does mean that you will need to pay attention to your log home like you might pay attention to your car. Below you will find some helpful tips and information to guide you through owning a log home.

  1. Have realistic expectations for the maintenance on your log home. There will be some.
  2. Set up a routine log home maintenance schedule.
  3. Follow a routine log home maintenance schedule.
  4. Apply log stain when your log home needs it. Remember you get what you pay for most of the time. Good log home stains are not cheap but you will save you money in the long run.
  5. Good log home stains will offer about 3 years of protection on the southern exposure of your log home and 4 years of protection on the other sides of your home. These figures are just estimates and will vary depending on a number of factors.
  6. Expect to caulk or chink your log home at some point.
  7. Some log homes require more chinking, caulking and stain than others
  8. Almost all log homes require some chinking or caulking whether it be in the horizontal log joints, the corners of the logs or around your window bucks.
  9. As we mentioned earlier, the better the log stain material the less stain maintenance your logs will require.
  10. Design your log home with maintenance in mind. Remember the less exposure your logs take the less maintenance they will require.
  11. Square logs weather better than round logs.
  12. Log home chinking can be used for aesthetic purposes or as a weather-tite barrier.
  13. Log home caulking should typically blend in with your logs. Conceal caulking by Sashco sets itself apart from all competitors.
  14. Some water based log stain materials are very good while others are very bad.
  15. Some oil based log stain materials are very bad while others are very good.
  16. Your log home stains should be compatible with your log chinking and your log home caulking materials.
  17. The preferred time to maintain your log structure is typically during the summer.
  18. Remember you log home is a dream home. Don’t forget to treat it like one.

Tips to Book Your Vacation Rentals

Florida is a popular tourist spot in USA because it has various beaches and theme parks. You can also laze around beaches which are located either on the Atlantic or Gulf Coast. You can visit the beautiful Disney theme parks. Atlantic coast beaches are known for their great surf and Gulf coast for sands and crystal clean waters. You can find great golf courses and various other water sports. You can enjoy Disney and other Kennedy space centers in Florida.

If you want to stay for a week or more in Florida the best thing would be to hire a vacation home in Florida. If you want to spend less then you can consider staying in vacation rental, condos, Villas and beach houses as you can enjoy amenities that are available at home. If you follow these tips you can book a vacation rental easily:

* If you’re planning to travel in Florida during peak season you have to shell out more money from your pocket. But if you’re traveling during off-peak season the price of the same vacation rental property will be a bit less. You’ll be able to save a bit of money on your vacation home.

* It’s never too early to start thinking about your next vacation. If you’re able to visit the vacation rental properties that you’re interested in renting. If that isn’t feasible, then browse pictures and reviews of that vacation home. Try to feel for that rental. Find out whether that holiday home has everything you will require during your stay. (Bedding, Towels, Dishes, Pool toys and television etc. Also find out whether that particular vacation home is located in an ideal area. Look into vacation rental homes ahead of time so that you can get a better idea of what you want to rent.

* You can also book vacation homes through a rental agent. You can call an agent to discuss about available properties and you can find out how much you can pay for a rental in a certain area. Based on the days of your stay you can also ask about discounts for extended stays. There are some vacationers who stay longer than a week.

* When you’re booking a vacation home you have to sign a lease. Read the fine print to make sure there won’t be any surprises during or after your stay. Find out about specific features like docking fees, cleaning fees, boat usage and liability. It would be better if you know exactly what your responsibilities are before you sign a vacation rental lease.

* Once you know when and where you want to take your vacation start looking into vacation rentals. Beach houses fill up close to a year ahead of time. You can also check out newspaper and internet for vacation rental details. And then call to book the rental. You have to pay a small deposit up front to secure the rental. If you sign your lease agreement you will be able to book your vacation rental properly.

Finding Homes for Sale That Meet Your Specifications

If you are looking at purchasing a new house, then you will want to consider several areas. You will want to consider the style, size, neighborhood, and cost of the homes for sale where you are looking. These are the normal areas that you would want to think about when looking for the right house.

The style of a house is something that everyone thinks about even if they do not realize it. You may not realize that you care about it being a craftsman home or a cape cod but the reality is that everyone probably has a preference for a certain style of home. Some styles may be more readily accessible than others, so it might take some work to find certain styles. Another consideration with the style will be whether or not you have any family members with special needs. If this is the case, then you may look for houses that only have one main floor.

The size of a house is another consideration if you are looking at homes for sale. If you have a family, then you might want a certain amount of space to accommodate your whole family. You might want to have an extra space for guests or even an entire apartment area for them. You may want to have a lot of storage space, so you may choose to have a full basement dedicated to mostly storage.

The neighborhood is something else that you need to think about if you are looking at homes for sale. A lot will depend on your reason for having a house where you want it. If you are single and work downtown, then you might look for a loft close to work. If you have children, then you may want a home close to the school and in a safe neighborhood. If you are retired, then you might choose a quite area of homes that would be too expensive for a young family.

Cost is something else to look into as you look at homes for sale. You will need to look at your budget to decide if you can afford the mortgage on the home that you would like to have for yourself and/or for your family.

After looking at several areas, you will hopefully find the homes for sale that will meet the needs that you have for you and your family. It will take some research, but you should be able to get all of the information that you need if you work at it.

FSBO – What You Should Know About Selling Your Own Home

The key to selling your home yourself is being properly prepared. If you aren’t, your home may remain on the market longer than you expect because you aren’t attracting and getting offers from qualified buyers. And this is where many homeowners become frustrated and start to think about giving up the dream of selling their homes themselves. However, some sellers are very successful at selling their own homes, and you can be one of them.

This report has been especially prepared to assist home sellers like yourself understand the process so you can sell your home quickly and for the price you want. To help you prepare, be aware of the following tips before deciding whether or not this is the right approach for you.

  1. Price your home correctly. Setting the correct asking price is critical. Setting the price too high can be as bad as setting it too low. Home prices are determined by fluctuations in the marketplace, and not by your emotional attachment to your home or what you think your home is worth. To establish a realistic price, compare the price, features, and condition of similar homes in both your neighbourhood and locations where similar homes have sold in the last few months. It is also important to be familiar with the terms of each potential sale. Terms are often as important as price in the current market. Work up a careful budget of your selling costs, and prepare a net proceeds sheet to determine an informed estimate of what you can expect to earn from the sale of your home. Prospective buyers may request a similar analysis of buying costs.
  2. Prepare your home for sale. First impressions are crucial. Ensure that your home makes a positive statement by carefully inspecting all details and viewing it, as objectively as possible, through the eyes of a buyer. Don’t ignore needed repairs and fix-ups: your prospective buyers certainly won’t! Your job is to make sure your home stands out favourably from the competition.
  3. Make sure you have all the necessary legal documentation. There are many important legal contracts and documents which you need to assemble, complete, and understand when selling your home. Below is a partial checklist of forms you will need for prospective buyers and for legal documentation.
    • Mortgage Payoff
    • Loan Application
    • Deposit Receipt
    • Property Profile Fact Sheet
    • Buyer’s Cost Sheet
    • Closing & Settlement
    • Personal Property
    • Exclusion List
    • Property Survey
    • Sellers Statement /Plot Plan of Representation
  4. Market Your Home Effectively. Beyond the sign on your lawn, you need to find effective ways to spread the word that your home is for sale. You can reach local buyers with ads in a newspaper, but you will reach just a small part of the possible market. Be sure to include buyers who may already be working with a realtor. To locate them, notify as many top agents as possible in your market in case their client’s criteria match what your home has to offer. Out-of-town buyers are an important target too, so create a strategy to reach them as well. Above all, be very customer service oriented and make it easy for pre-qualified buyers to view your home. That means making sure that someone is always available to answer the phone, respond promptly to messages, and be ready to give qualified prospects a tour of your home as quickly as possible.
  5. Remain objective when showing your home. Be sure to keep your emotions out of the sale of your home. The best way to do this during a showing is to remain physically in the background. If a prospective buyer says something negative about your home, you’re better off counter-balancing this point of view by calling attention to the positives instead of becoming defensive.
  6. Pre-qualify prospective buyers. Don’t waste time entertaining buyers who cannot afford to buy your home. Research their financial situation with respect to job security, salary, debts, liabilities and credit standing.
  7. Negotiate effectively and knowledgeably. There are a great many details that need to be resolved before a sale is considered final: price, terms, inspections, possession date, and buyer concerns and objections, to name a few. You must fully understand the contract you have drawn up so you can, in turn, explain the details and ramifications to the buyer, and make any necessary amendments to the sale. Have the contract you use thoroughly examined by your real estate attorney. Some real estate brokers may be willing to help you do this. While this is going on, work to maintain the buyer’s interest in your home so it doesn’t wane during negotiations.
  8. Know your buyer. Your objective during negotiations is to control the pace and set the duration. Try to determine what’s motivating potential buyers. Do they need to move quickly? Can they afford to pay the asking price for your home? Answering these questions will give you an advantage in the negotiations: you’ll know what you need to do to get what you want.
  9. Do not move out before you sell. Studies show that selling a vacant home is more difficult than selling one that is occupied. A vacant home looks forlorn, forgotten, and simply unappealing. And it could even cost you money. If you move out before you sell, you’re also letting prospective buyers know that you have a new home and are motivated to sell quickly. That can, of course, give the buyer an advantage at the negotiating table.
  10. Understand why you’re selling, but keep your reasons to yourself. Just as important as understanding your buyer is understanding yourself. Your reasons for selling can affect everything from how you price your home to how much time and money you invest in preparing it for sale. And knowing your motivation helps you determine your priorities: the money you walk away with, how long your property is on the market, or perhaps both. Different goals dictate different strategies. Someone who prefers to sell without a real estate agent to save the commission would indicate that money is a primary considerations (see “How to Assess Your Net Gain” below). Whatever your reasons may be, it is very important to keep them to yourself so you don’t put yourself at a disadvantage during negotiations. If anyone asks why you’re selling, simply tell them that your housing needs have changed.

How to Assess Your Net Gain

To find out whether or not you’ll come out ahead by selling your home yourself, consider that most buyers use real estate agents because it doesn’t cost them anything (the seller pays the agent’s fee). Be cautious: buyers, investors, and speculators who seek out For Sale by Owner properties are usually in search of a bargain. Low-ball offers from these buyers will usually net you a lot less in the long run. Determine for yourself the following:

  1. You need to be as prepared as possible with your marketing, negotiations, evaluations, showings, and all legal matters.
  2. Calculate what it will cost you to effectively market your home and put together all the necessary materials, from the “For Sale” sign to the contracts.
  3. What price will a buyer offer you as a For Sale by Owner, minus the costs identified in number 2 above? Is this net amount higher or lower than the price an experienced agent could net for you minus his/her commission?