Modern Living

Modern Living

Home and real estate topics discussed in detail

Avoid Clearing Clogged Drains Yourself

The first time a person experiences a clogged drain, it is almost instinctive to get out the plunger, but if the issue is a drain line, the plunger may not work. It takes special equipment that is used to run a coil through the entire drain line. This not only clears the stoppage, but it also cleans the drain pipe. Although it can be upsetting to have a clogged drain, it is best to keep in mind that all drain pipes need to be cleaned sooner or later, and you can take this time to hire the services of a drain cleaning toronto professional who will not only unclog the drain, but clean the entire drain line.

Do not waste money on chemicals
Although the homeowner’s first line of defense is the plunger, a close second are the various drain chemicals found at a home improvement store. They all make claims on how well they will clear the stoppage, but the fact is, they are a waste of money. There is no chemical that is as effective as having a drain company toronto professional plumber clearing the line mechanically with drain cleaning equipment.

Toilet clogs
It is possible that a plunger may work on your toilet when it is clogged up. When this happens, it is almost always because of too much toilet paper. However, if the plunger works to clear the stoppage, but the problem returns, you need a professional drain cleaner. There is likely an object stuck inside the toilet, and a professional can help remove it. One company to call for help in the Toronto area is Priority Plumbing & Drains.

Questions to Ask When Shopping Around For a New Internet Service Provider

The Internet is an important part of everyday life for most people so nothing less than a reliable and affordable connection will do, but with the industry overflowing with internet service providers, it can be difficult for consumers to figure out which one they should sign up with. There are numerous things to consider before committing to a company. The key to finding satisfaction with your service is to spend as much time as you need shopping around and asking plenty of questions. Some of the most important things to clarify are listed below.

What Discounts or Bundling Services Do You Offer?

Since cost is one of the biggest determining factors for a lot of consumers when choosing an internet service provider, you will want to inquire about rates for various levels of service, special discounts or bundling packages and any other promotions that may be offered. If you’re in need of telephone and/or cable as well, bundling can provide a good bargain. Some of these price reductions will only last for a limited time or may only apply to new or online customers. Certain features or higher speed connections will probably cost more but offer better service.


What Equipment Do You Supply?

Some companies include the use of their equipment and will install everything you need for you, while others will require you to purchase your own and set it up yourself. If you aren’t very tech savvy, you might want to save yourself the hassle and go with a provider that will supply all the equipment necessary to get you connected to the Internet without any problems. Or you may find that it’s more cost-effective in the long run to purchase your own equipment than pay additional rental fees.


What Speeds Do You Provide?

If you live in a household with many people who utilize many devices to access the Internet or you are a business owner who can’t spend precious time waiting on slow internet speeds, the speed that an internet service provider can offer will matter a lot.


What Are the Terms of Your Contract?

It’s important to fully understand the terms of any contract before signing on the dotted line. Some may stipulate that you remain a customer for a certain period of time, and terminating the contract before this time has ended can result in a cancellation fee. There may also be a question of limits on data usage, which would incur extra charges if you go over. A binding contract could become a nuisance if you decide you no longer like a company’s services.


Do You Offer Safety Features?

It’s becoming more common for internet service providers to offer safety features, such as anti-virus, spam filters, firewalls, etc. Make sure to inquire about this option and whether or not it’s a complimentary service. Security is critical for guarding your privacy and enforcing protection when using the Internet, so these features can make a difference in your final selection.


What is Your Customer Support Policy?

You definitely want an internet service provider that is willing and able to help you at almost any time of the day. Experiencing internet downtime is frustrating and can be damaging to a business that’s trying to be efficient and productive. Ask about customer support hours and what you can expect if the time comes that you’ll need assistance.


Don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable with the choice you make when picking your new internet service provider.

Image credit:

Hiring a Landscape Contractor

Perhaps you want to do all the development work in your yard; if you have the strength, the time, and the skills, I won’t say word. But what if you want to build a brick wall, or pour an exposed aggregate patio, or put in a rockery, or build a deck? Are you a mason? A concrete finisher? A combination jigsaw-puzzler/weightlifter? A carpenter? This is where an honest “skills inventory” can be useful.
What is the difference between a landscape contractor and a landscape gardener? Sometimes the difference is only in the name; sometimes it is much greater than that. The landscape contractor, who concentrates on the design and installation of landscapes, is required by law to be licensed (typically he or she has a specialty contractor’s license, rather than a general contractor’s license) and bonded. This protects the homeowner in the event that plants die or something vital springs a leak; it also helps contractors in the collection of their fees.

Many landscape contractors also participate in optional training, such as the state Certified Landscaper programs in Washington and Oregon, which can help to increase their skills and thus make their Certified Nurseryman programs; they include the bulk of nursery-related programs, but go much further into landscaping specifics.

Landscape gardeners are required to have a business license, but not all have a contractor’s license as well. Those that do are called landscape maintenance contractors. Rather than focusing on the construction side of landscaping, many landscape gardeners specialize in keeping already-installed landscaping presentable. They mow and edge lawns, pull weeds, and rake leaves.

In the real world, of course, you are likely to find some blurring of the lines between landscape contracting and gardening services. Some landscaping firms do both installation and upkeep (for instance, Natural Landscape and Irrigation is a Portland landscaping company that specializes in all facets of landscaping work), and some maintenance firms do minor landscaping tasks, such as planting seasonal flower beds and occasionally trimming shrubs. Just remember that there are limits to the landscaping knowledge and skills of some of the more casual “mow, blow, and go” crews. If you need help with pruning, look for companies that specialize in that. And if your needs go higher, into tree pruning and removal, then it’s time to call in a tree service. It is particularly important that the service be licensed and bonded. For trees of great merit or visibility needing expert care in pruning, look for a tree service with an on-staff arborist or a certified tree surgeon.

A last thought about landscape contractors: the key part of the word “contractor” is “contract.” Whenever you make a major purchase of services (examples include large projects such as building a patio, laying down a new sod lawn, or sprinkler systems installation Portland), draw up a contract spelling out in detail the responsibilities of each side. Include the work to be done, the quantity and size of materials to be used, and terms of payment. Before you sign anything, do what you would do with a landscape designer or landscape architect: get references, follow up on them, and examine the quality of work done on previous jobs. Check with the state licensing board to make sure the contractor’s license is current. Ask about the professional organizations to which the contractor belongs.

House to assemble

Thankfully we no longer live in times when every house needed to be built brick by brick or stone by stone. Now your new house can be erected much faster thanks not only to the innovative tools. The future belongs to prefabricated houses. It will save your time for sure if you decide to build your home from elements produced in advance. There is a lot of companies that are specialized in that kind of buildings and they will erect your new home faster than you think.

 The elements of the house

Elements of prefabricated houses are of good quality. That kind of houses can be build of transportable sections, modules or components. For example modules are manufactured in sections and than they are transported to the site of construction. That is why it takes much less time to build prefabricated houses. Of course you don’t need to worry that, because of the relatively short time of building, your house will not be build properly. Prefabricated houses are durable and they are very good option to have place to live without spending a fortune. I will last for pretty long time and if you will hire reliable construction company there will be no need to worry about quality of your newly built home that you are about to move in.

Make it more personal

 Houses erected from already made elements are nothing new nowadays. Time and money saving technologies are the blessing of modern times. What is even more interesting, it can also be customized, maybe not at the same level as self build houses, but still. Look through the catalogues avalible and choose the project of the prefabricated house that will suit you best. Than ask if there any possibility to add some facilities to the design. In most cases it will be possible. Prefabricated houses can be assembled from many different elements.

When you choose that kind of house building, you will not have much place to expose your individual preferences, but you will get comfortable and functional place to live for relatively cheap price. You need to remember, that if you care for environment, you don’t need to worry, because most prefabricated houses are eco-friendly.

Advantages of prefabricated houses:

  • Inexpensiveness
  • Good quality
  • Possible to be customized
  • Environmentally friendly

So when you need to erect a home but you are on a budget, prefabricated houses are a very good solution. You only need to find a trustworthy company with an interesting offer.


Elevated Decks

An elevated deck is an ideal way to enjoy being outside of your home without worrying about being close to the ground. There are pieces of hardware that are placed underneath the deck to raise it off the ground, and you can learn more by seeking assistance from a hardware store or a company online. An elevated deck can also be used in a business, especially a warehouse, to keep products off the floor. This will keep the boxes and other storage containers clean on the bottom as well as prevent them from getting damaged.

Before building this type of deck outside the home, it is important to look at the design of the home and the space that you have to work with. Make a plan on the size and height of the deck and whether you want stairs that will lead to it from the ground or if there will only be an entry from the back of the home. Think about the shape of the deck and the height of the rails. When you have determined the dimensions and design, you can start looking at lumber. The size can affect the lumber that you get, especially if you want to use the best wood possible as the larger the deck, the more wood you will use. Create a list of parts that you will need including deck screws. Vertical post should be placed before the deck is built. You also need to figure out what you will place underneath the deck to give it added support.

There are several design ideas for this type of project. You can create an area above a bar or picnic space so that you can relax after eating. Make sure you have stairs leading to the deck if you choose this idea. A basic elevated deck can be added to the back of the home so that you can sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. There are no requirements as to how elevated the deck needs to be. This is something that you can get creative with in order to add beauty to the home.

Don’t Make These Open House Mistakes and Lose Buyers to Other Homes For Sale

Image credit:

There are numerous things to think about when putting your home on the market, and while preparing for an open house is just one item among many others on the to-do list, it’s a pretty important task that should be given priority. A lot of homeowners believe that their real estate agent will take care of everything related to the open house, but when it comes to actually making the property presentable, it’s up to the seller. This is one of the biggest opportunities you’ll have to make a lasting impression on potential buyers, so you want to make sure you leave them with a positive one. Below are some of the most common mistakes that sellers make in getting a home ready to show at an open house, which often results in losing buyers’ interest to other homes for sale.

Not Putting Effort into Cleaning Up/Getting Rid of Smells

Cleaning up before an open house should seem like a no-brainer, but there are many sellers who don’t make the time to do so and think buyers will just ignore it since the house has so many other great features. In reality, no buyer wants to show up to an open house only to find it cluttered, dirty and smelly. In fact, this is the quickest way to get them to turn right around and leave again with their mind already made up that this isn’t going to be their new home. It isn’t appealing in any way to walk through someone else’s filth, clutter and lingering smells and is also quite distracting.

Leaving Remnants of Your Personal Life Everywhere

Buyers want to be able to envision their own family living and building a future in a home, and that’s hard to do when there are photos everywhere they look of the seller’s family or knick knacks that are indicative of someone else’s style. These things divert attention away from the actual selling highlights of the home. While you don’t want to leave the interior bare and devoid of character, it should be depersonalized as much as possible and furnished with general decorations.

Neglecting the Exterior of the Home

With so many homes for sale on the market at the same time, it’s important to figure out how you’re going to make yours stand out. One of the most obvious ways of doing this is by sprucing up the exterior since it’s the first thing buyers will see when they pull up for an open house, and yet many sellers still neglect this part of the preparation process. Curb appeal has remained one of the most important aspects of home selling for years. Take extra care in picking up the yard, mowing the lawn, trimming the shrubs, planting a few flowers, power washing the driveway, sidewalk and outdoor walls, fixing shutters, etc.

Being Inflexible

Aside from working on the outward appearance of your home before an open house, it’s also helpful to be as flexible as possible with scheduling. Open houses can be an inconvenience at times, like when an agent gives you short notice, but it’s much more likely you’ll sell your home in a timely manner if you’re able to roll with the punches. Another word of advice – don’t make a habit of sticking around during an open house, especially with children and pets, as it can make potential buyers uncomfortable.

Open houses are a great way for sellers and agents to market homes for sale, but it won’t do any good to have possible buyers come to view a property that hasn’t been prepared to be shown in its very best light.

The Truth About Pest Control and Homeowners Insurance


Image credit:



The ins and outs of homeowners insurance isn’t exactly easy for most people to understand, and with all the added exceptions and references to special cases, it can start to make your head spin. This is why many homeowners give up on trying to read through their policy thoroughly and end up being unpleasantly surprised when a situation arises that they find out isn’t covered. This particularly seems to be the case whenever it comes to pest problems.

Insects and rodents can definitely wreak havoc on a property and cause all kinds of major destruction, but infestations aren’t generally included in standard home insurance coverage. It’s critical for your wallet and peace of mind to familiarize yourself with your policy and find out how it relates to pest control.

Why Pest Infestations Are Usually Excluded

Homeowners insurance is designed to take care of properties that have been damaged or destroyed as a result of sudden or unforeseeable circumstances. Though you want to make sure you have home insurance in case disaster strikes, losses due to pest infestations are almost always excluded because insurance companies view them as a preventable condition and part of the normal maintenance responsibility of owning a home. This is why it’s so important to have a pest control plan in place even before there is actual evidence that you have a pest issue.

Understanding Collateral Damage

In some instances, you may be able to make a claim with your insurance company regarding damages that are the outcome of another problem that was generated by a pest infestation. This is also known as collateral damage. What this essentially means is that if termites eat a portion of a support beam that later causes a connecting wall to collapse, you could be covered for the wall but not the beam. This may automatically be included in your policy or it might be something you have to add on, depending on your insurance provider and type of coverage you have.

How You Can Protect Yourself

Since homeowners insurance won’t do you much good when it comes to pest problems, it’s always best to take action on your own and do what you can to ensure that you aren’t left with hefty repair bills. Prevention is key in situations dealing with pests. As mentioned above, you should already have a trusted pest control company routinely scheduled to come out for inspections. An expert will be able to identify, immediately treat and eliminate any infestations that suddenly pop up before they get out of hand. It’s also a good idea to find out which pests are the most common at specific times of the year so that you can keep an eye out for evidence of an intrusion in between pest control appointments.

It’s a popular misconception among homeowners that home insurance will basically cover any affliction. Any questions you may have concerning your policy and pest control should be addressed with your provider right away so that you have a clear understanding of what to expect if certain circumstances should ever come up.






Why Every Home Needs Updating from Time to Time

I lived in many houses before I finally purchased the one in which I am currently living. Some of those homes from my past were well taken care of, while some of them were rather neglected. This allowed me to reach the conclusion that it is up to the home owner to decide the fate of his home. In other words, every home needs updating from time to time in order to look good.

Many people worry that they don’t have enough funds to allow for an effective home renovation. What they don’t know is that the home remodellers from know exactly how to adjust a person’s budget to conduct any changes in their homes. It doesn’t even matter how much money you have for your next renovation project. As long as you have some sort of budget, you should be OK planning your next remodeling project.

I recommend that you discuss the whole project in detail with your contractors before they start the work. Every aspect of it has to be carefully discussed to avoid any unnecessary surprises. You will thank me for this precious tip later. All I want to tell you right now is that it is advisable that you sit down with your contractor and carefully discuss everything related to the project. This way you will be a lot more relaxed knowing that you have everything in control.

While choosing what type of home renovation you want to conduct, make sure that you choose what needs to be done first. I understand that money is tight in a difficult economy, but this does not have to mean that you cannot afford anything. Even those on the tightiest budgets still should be able to take care of their homes the way their homes are supposed to be taken care of.

Looking for a Home in Tennessee

If you are looking for a house in Tennessee, you are in luck! Let’s look at a few cities in Tennessee and see what we can find.

Homes in Memphis, Tennessee’s largest city, are a bargain, the median sales price for homes there averaging a mere $70,547. With the local unemployment rate dropping and an average commute time for people who live in Memphis being a short twenty one minutes, no wonder the houses here are selling fast, 20 days faster than the national average.

Now Nashville, the music city, is another beast entirely. Industry often shows the heart of a city, and you would think that the “Music City” would have as its largest employer the music industry. You’d be wrong. There are over 200,000 jobs in the Nashville area in the health care sector. So if you work in any area of the health care industry, they likely have a place for you in Nashville, and with housing prices for a single family home averaging $168,000, and some of the finest higher education institutions in the nation, you would be hard pressed to find a nicer, more friendly place to move to in Tennessee.

Knoxville, Tennessee, a city of approximately 180,000 people, has great growth potential, as it is home to the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nations’ largest power provider, as well as Scripps Networks, a large media conglomerate that runs and operates HGTV, the Food Network and Great American Country, among others. And with home prices sitting at an average of $100,000 total, and apartments dirt cheap, you can’t get much better than Knoxville. For more info go to this website.

There are a great many other fine cities you could find your Tennessee home in. Whether you want the small town charm of someplace like Powell (birthplace of Kenny Chesney) or the booming city life of Franklin, which has tripled its population in the last quarter century, there is a home for you in Tennessee.

A Worry Free Moving Day

When you move, packing your life is as much involved as packing your things. Only a moving company that understands that vase is the last gift received from Great-Grandma Mary or the box of WW II letters contains the last thoughts of brother John should be trusted to transport your valuable possessions.

Tips to Find a Good Mover

When you look for reliable movers in Ottawa or movers Gatineau search for those that have policies for careful handling during packing as well as during the transfer to your new residence. Other factors to consider before deciding on a moving company are the equipment used for transport and methods for packing. Heavy padding to wrap fragile objects and experienced packers are the first line of defense to get your things to your new home in their original condition. Trucks with air suspension, such as those used at Bye Bye Moving are better equipped to protect your belongings during transport.

Testimonials from satisfied customers is a great way to find a good mover. You can also look for one accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Be sure to check their customer service policies and whether or not they are insured.

Not only are free estimates a planning procedure, they help you avoid surprises on moving day. Legitimate companies are more than willing to offer free estimates and put it costs up front in writing. Friendly, presentable workers contribute to the efficiency of the moving company and your confidence that they will complete the move to your satisfaction.