Is it smarter to build a house or to buy one?

Deciding that it’s time to purchase a home is the first of many decisions a prospective buyer needs to make. The next is whether to buy an existing home, or to build a new one. There are, of course, pros and cons to each.

Buying a home

The biggest advantages to purchasing an existing home are convenience and cost. Buyers can even choose to forego an agent and purchase a home via for sale by owner internet services. When buying an existing home, if your offer is accepted, you can occupy the home in some cases within a month. Purchasing an existing home can mean savings in areas like landscaping, where trees, lawns, and other plants are likely already mature.

Existing homes are generally cheaper and usually come without unexpected expenses. You generally have more latitude to negotiate and the home will often come with big appliances such as refrigerators included in its cost. Older homes are often built of better materials and display superior craftsmanship, where new homes are generally produced with lowest cost per unit as first priority.
On the other hand, it is extremely unlikely that a pre-existing home will be exactly what you want. The older the home, the more likely it will need costly and time consuming repairs and renovations. You may find that pests have moved in before you. In very old homes, upgrades are virtually mandatory as the houses are not built with the newest wiring specifications or with stringent ecological standards in mind. It is also for this reason in most cases; older homes are more expensive to heat. In addition, older homes are not necessarily built with the fire-safety features that are standard in newer homes.

Building a home

Deciding to build your own home comes with its own list of advantages and disadvantages. The primary advantage to building a home is that it is built to your exact specifications. This gives the house tremendous sentimental value. A new house will also be built to the latest building specifications and safety standards. Your appliances will likely be new and under their original warranties. They will certainly be more “green” than their older counterparts, resulting in energy savings. It will probably be decades before you need to retrofit or upgrade.

The difficulty with building your own home is the sheer number of things that can go wrong. You will certainly not be moving in in a month’s time. Costs can exceed expectations. Materials can become difficult to obtain. Projects can be delayed for any number of reasons, from inclement weather to a contractor who is simply busier than they’d expected.

It is virtually always more expensive to build a home than to purchase an existing one. Odds are, if you’re building a home, others in your area are doing the same. You can find yourself living with the dust of nearby construction sites as well as the noise of their earth movers and other machinery. It is possible that you can be limited to a pre-made floor plan by your developer.
Building your own home can also put you into the unenviable position of paying mortgage or rent on both your existing home and the one you’re building.

Once your house is built, you must now consider whether you’re willing to wait for new saplings to mature? It will take a couple decades. Many newer homes are built in areas with neighbourhood associations, who will sometimes charge fees as well.
Starting a lawn is an enormous effort. Will you purchase turf or try to start one from seed? Either way, you will either have to do this yourself or factor it into your financial considerations. New homes are unlikely to be near the city centre. How do you feel about a long commute? Your house may not appear appreciably different from that of your neighbour on either side. Will this bother you? Your house is also likely to be on a smallish parcel of land. Do you need an enormous garden? How concerned are you about privacy?

So which is better?

There is truly no right or wrong option. A well-built older home is superior to a new home built of sub-standard materials. A newly-built home is usually more expensive than its older counterpart, but it will likely be a long time before it requires maintenance. There are advantages and disadvantages to both building and to buying. In the end, the most important thing is that whichever option you choose, you are sure to have a sound financing plan. It is imperative to allot extra funds for hidden costs, whether they be equipment delays or unanticipated repairs.

Tips for Reducing your Heating Bill

There are many projects around your home that you can do yourself and save money. It is possible that you just don’t realize it! Heating and cooling are an important place to start. One thing that most people do not realize is that you can cut down your heating bill by planting evergreen trees on the north side of your home. In the winter the wind tends to blow from that direction, and evergreen trees will block that wind. The less wind the less money it takes to heat your home. The best evergreen trees to use are the Arborvitae or the “green giant” evergreens they grow about three feet per year.

Ceiling Fans

Another tip would be to install ceiling fans. In the winter they can be used to re-circulate warm air fan-42841_150and in the summer reverse it and it will help reduce your summer cooling costs. Not to mention the wonderful array of ceiling fans available will help add to the décor of the room.


It is important that you change the filter in your heating system. If you have a heat pump you will find a filter. This filter needs changed about once a month. This will help to ensure you heating and cooling system is working properly. If the filter is not changed it will become stopped up and cause many different issues along with an increase in your electric bill.

When it comes to heating and cooling your home it is important to caulk all cracks and holes that you find. Check your windows to make sure you do not feel a draft coming from them. Any gaps fire-8837_150around windows and doors can be filled with adhesive weather stripping. The more leakage you prevent the easier it is to heat and cool your home and the more money you save. Also you can cover your windows with a clear insulating film for added protection from the weather.

Help to save money on electricity by making sure your water heater has an insulated cover around it. This insures that the water stays hot longer which in turn keeps the water heater from using too much electricity.

There are so many things the average home owner can do to save themselves money. The projects that I have mentioned are just a few; they are easy and relatively inexpensive to do yourself.

A Quick Preparation Guide for House Painting

Everyone wants to improve their home, but not everyone knows where to start. Many people think that they must hire a professional to improve their home, but that is just not so. A new coat of paint can give a room a new life.

Where do you start?

red-24251_640If you are starting with a room that has never been painted and you are working with new drywall or wood you must start with a primer coat. Before getting started make sure that all the nail heads and seams have been covered up. Then run your hand over the seams and make sure they are smooth, if not you must take the time to sand them down until they are smooth. Once you have completed that, dust the walls to remove any particles left behind by sanding.

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Now you are ready to apply your primer, this usually takes two to three coats. After the primer coats have been applied and are dry then you can apply the color of your choice, this also takes about two to three coats.


Are you repainting a room? If so first you should cover any holes in the walls with dry wall spackle, let dry and sand until smooth. Sometimes when applying dry wall spackle you must repeat the process several times to get the desired effect.

What color are you covering?

If it is a color other than white you will most likely need to apply a primer coat so the old color does palette-42290_150  not “bleed” through the new color. Many professionals recommend a gloss or a semi gloss for scrubbing, because they are easy to scrub and clean. With that in mind you must consider your walls. Are they new walls with a nice smooth finish or are your walls a bit rough with uneven surfaces? If they are uneven it is recommended that you use a matte or flat finish because this will help to hide the imperfections of your walls.

Protect Trim

Also when repainting a room, you may want to use masking tape to cover the trim around the doors. This will help to prevent any extra work for you and make the room look as though a professional painted it for you. Use the tape on anything you do not wish to get paint on.

For our local readership looking for commercial painters Melbourne, call Matt’s Painting today!

Common Kitchen Countertops

Kitchen countertops have changed over the years. In the past few years many different materials have emerged. Although, they may have been used in the past, they have come forward as the leaders in countertops.


Granite is by far the most popular choice for kitchen counters. Granite is beautiful, strong and hasgranite-stones-62462_640 a natural grain that makes every installation unique. The only down side to granite is that it is porous. This means that you must have is sealed every year, and spills should be wiped up immediately to prevent staining.


You might find this hard to believe, but many have turned to wood kitchen counters. They enjoy theboard-96228_640 beauty and the warmth that wood provides. It is surprisingly durable and scratches can, for the most part, be buffed out. One of the most important things to remember, protect it from direct heat. Also, when installing keep in mind that wood needs room to expand, do not jam it where it can’t move or it will warp. Do not use bleach or caustic chemicals on wood this will destroy the natural beauty, use vinegar and water to disinfect.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is now used in industrial kitchens as well as farm house kitchens. Stainless steel canabstract-18906_640 take up to 800 degrees F of heat. However, I don’t believe that your home kitchen will ever reach that temperature! Stainless steel can rust according to the manufacturer, but it occurs at a slow rate. Again, no bleach or caustic chemicals for stainless steel use vinegar and water to clean and disinfect.

Engineered Stone

Engineered stone, this is a favorite among many contractors. This stone is 90% quartz, it is stronggravel-89178_640 and beautiful. The best part about the engineered stone is that it doesn’t need sealed. This tough and durable product is great for heavy use and resale value.

If you are considering remodeling your kitchen, take the time to check out everything available to you. You might be surprised at the options you have.

DIY Home Decor Ideas – Winter 2013

Home décor is a wonderful way to express who you are. With so many different and interesting things you can do the only limit is your imagination. Why don’t we start with rugs? If you have an old rug that is still in good shape, but you just want to spruce it up a bit try painting it! Yes, painting it. You can do this with a new rug you bought cheap or an old rug you don’t like anymore. If you have an old rug be sure to vacuum it first that way the paint sticks more easily. Take the time to decide what you would like to do with the rug and then go pick out the paints at the local home improvement store. You may also want to check out some of the stencils available.


weaving-13484_150Start with a clean rug, and then decide on the design you want. You can make a design with masking tape or us stencils. After you make the design of your choice then paint! It is that simple. Let the paint dry and then place rug where you want it. You can use spray paints or other types of paint. When using the other types of paint use a foam roller to apply.


If you want to make your space look more elegant or expensive, paint your interior doors black. This will instantly make your space look more expensive. Just a little tip, cover the door knobs with aluminum foil instead of tape to keep from getting paint on them.

Dining Room

chair-42854_150Do you have a dining room table with chairs that do not match? If so try painting all the chairs the same color! If you have an old, ugly refrigerator try painting it with chalkboard paint.

In the bathroom people typically use only one shower curtain, try something different and use two. This is an interesting and sophisticated change.


Do you have a tray at your door for shoes? If so, put a layer of river rock in the try giving it a better look. Who wants to look at a plain plastic tray? Not me, I like to be original.


If you are looking for something different in your kitchen and you don’t have much money to work with, try painting your kitchen cabinets.

As I mentioned before, the only limit to your home décor is you own imagination. You can take many or all of these suggestions and make them your own.