Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category

Jul 02 2013

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5 Practical Tips for Building a New Home – The House Plan Shop

Construction SiteWhile building a new home can be very exciting, it can also be challenging and exhausting. Follow these five home building tips to help ensure the construction of your new home goes smoothly and is stress free.

1. Choose a qualified and reliable builder. While there may be many builders to choose from, you might not want all of them to have a hand in the biggest investment of your life. Not all builders are created equal, therefore it is recommended that you do some research to find the most qualified and reliable builder that fits your budget. Ask for recommendations from family members, friends and co-workers who have recently built a home. Ask the following about each builder: Are they easy to work with? A good listener? Punctual? Do they do high quality work? Would you hire the same builder again? Furthermore do some research online. Which builders have a good reputation? Check with the Better Business Bureau. Finally, interview potential builders to get a feel for each one’s personality, work ethic, etc. Ask to see proof of insurance. Collecting all of the above information will help you make an educated decision about which builder you will hire.

2. Get pre-qualified for a mortgage/construction loan. Before you purchase land or blueprints, it is recommended that you get pre-approved for a mortgage or construction loan. This process requires you to contact a lender and provide them with basic financial information such as your income, debts, assets, etc. By doing so, you can find out what size mortgage you’ll qualify for with the lender. Then, complete the mortgage application and provide the necessary and required financial documentation for credit check to finalize the pre-approval for your mortgage. This way you’ll know exactly how much you can afford to spend on your new home well before you begin the building process.

3. Keep resale in mind. Though you might be building your dream home, it is highly possible that this might not be the last home you own. As you make all of your home building plans, keep resale in mind. Ask yourself if the features you are incorporating in your home will appeal to a potential buyer years down the road. Be mindful of adding upgrades. If you add too many upgrades, you might overprice your home for the neighborhood making it hard to sell ten years from now.

4. Expect delays. While you might expect your builder to stick to the construction schedule, there is always a chance for delays. Be prepared to be flexible as there is always the possibility that inclement weather, labor problems or a shortage of supplies could delay the construction schedule. Ask your builder to add some extra days into the schedule to accommodate delays. If you’re prepared for delays going into the building process, you won’t be nearly as surprised, stressed or frustrated when various delays arise.

5. Make arrangements for temporary housing. Often there is a delay or gap in time between the time your lease expires on your rental unit or you sell your existing home and the time construction is finished on your new home. If this happens to be the case for you, make temporary housing arrangements in advance. This could be necessary for a few days, a few weeks or a few months depending on your construction schedule. Make sure that your temporary housing arrangement is affordable and doesn’t disrupt your daily routine too much (i.e. staying in your parents’ basement that is more than a hour’s drive from work when you’re used to driving only 10 minutes to get to work.)

It is definitely more exciting and easier to enjoy the home building process when things go smoothly. These tips will help you prepare for what is to come as you start off on your home building adventure.

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May 20 2013

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Canadian House Plans from Leading Canadian Residential Designers – The House Plan Shop

Canadian House Plan 027H-0047Our customers often ask if we offer Canadian house plans. The answer is YES! The House Plan Shop offers home design collections from two Canadian, residential designers. These collections include single-family homes, multi-family homes, a small group of carriage house plans, and even a log home. Just like the house plans drawn by our US designers, those drawn by our Canadian designers are designed to meet national building codes. We do not guarantee these plans will meet all provincial building codes and they are not engineered. It will be up to you, the homeowner, or your builder, to hire a local design professional to review the plans and add any notes or make any necessary changes to meet specific provincial codes. Likewise, if you are required to have your house plans engineered in order to get building permits, it will be up to you or your builder to hire a local engineer to review the plans and seal or stamp them.

 

Below are the links to our Canadian home plan collections:

Canadian house plan collection A

Canadian house plan collection B

 

Note: Collection B includes single-family house plans, multi-family house plans, and a small selection of carriage house plans

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Jan 04 2013

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New Year’s Resolution: 15 Ways to Live Green in 2013 – The House Plan Shop

Recycling CenterSometimes we make New Year’s resolutions that are hard to keep, but making a commitment to live a greener lifestyle is easy because there are so many ways to start living a little more eco-friendly. Below is a list of ideas for living green in 2013. Even if you just get into the habit of doing of few of the things suggested below, you’ll be making a positive impact for future generations while protecting our environment.

  1. Switch to using natural cleaners at home like baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice instead of harsh chemicals. They are better for the environment and your health.
  2. Turn the thermostat down 5-8 degrees when you are not home and while you’re sleeping during the winter months to save energy and money on your heating bill. In the summertime, do the opposite. Set the thermostat a few degrees higher when you are not home so the air conditioner doesn’t run so much. Also, open the windows when the outdoor temperature is comfortable instead of using the air conditioner.
  3. Make the most of natural lighting by arranging furniture such as a desk or reading chair near a window and do homework or read by natural light instead of turning on the lamp whenever possible. Open up the blinds during the daylight hours instead of switching on the lights.
  4. Turn the water off. Whether you are washing your hair or brushing your teeth, turning the shower or faucet off while your scrub and brush will save a precious natural resource – water.
  5. When doing laundry, only wash a full load of clothes.
  6. Clean the lint out of the dryer after every load. This makes the dryer more efficient and eliminates a fire hazard.
  7. Use reusable shopping bags for every shopping trip whether you are headed to the grocery store, shoe store or the mall. This eliminates waste.
  8. Don’t waste unwanted holiday gifts. Re-gift them or donate to charity.
  9. Grow your own vegetable garden. You’ll save on your grocery bill, reduce trips to the grocery store and be eating something healthy that you know wasn’t sprayed with harmful pesticides.
  10. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Set up a recycling station in your home or garage and teach the kids what things can be recycled from aluminum cans and newspapers to glass jars and plastic packaging. Additionally have a yard sale to get rid of any items in your home that you don’t need but are still usable, or donate them to charity.
  11. Walk or bike to work and other activities whenever possible. Or car pool with friends. This saves you money, while reducing wear and tear on your car and reducing emissions.
  12. Shop online to reduce fuel emissions.
  13. Purchase appliances with Energy STAR ratings ensuring the energy efficiency in the kitchen and laundry room.
  14. Turn off lights and appliances when not in use.
  15. Connect your kids with nature – appreciation now leads to preservation for future generations. Plan a monthly outing such as a hike at a state park or an afternoon of fishing at a nearby lake.

These are not the only things you can do to live greener in 2013. Maybe our ideas will inspire some of your own.

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Nov 28 2012

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Winter Safety Tips – The House Plan Shop

Icy DrivewayWinter is almost here. Now is the time to make yourself aware of winter hazards and the precautions you can take around your home and neighborhood to stay safe this winter. With winter usually come snow and ice hazards. Be very careful during snowy and icy weather. Below are some tips to help you avoid injury due to wintry conditions:

  1. Stay indoors if possible when snow and ice accumulates.
  2. If a snow or ice storm strikes during the overnight hours, try to alter your morning schedule. Don’t hurry of to work or school before plowing has been completed.
  3. Walk slowly and use railings when available during icy weather. If there is no railing, try walking in the snow instead of directly over icy patches on sidewalks, driveways, parking lots and streets.
  4. If you must go out in the ice and snow where boots with good traction to help you walk safely.
  5. Be alert for “black ice” on driveways, porches, sidewalks and streets. This is a thin layer of invisible ice that can form on concrete and other flat surfaces. You may think the sidewalk or driveway is clear and then step on black ice and slip. Check for black ice on walking surfaces and pavement if you see or know there was precipitation while experiencing freezing temperatures.

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Nov 16 2011

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Take Part in “Use Less Stuff Day” – The House Plan Shop

It is time to start a new holiday tradition. The Thursday before Thanksgiving is Use Less Stuff Day. Make a commitment or pledge to yourself to reduce your resource consumption during the holiday season.

 

Here are a few ideas:

 

  • Don’t buy too many groceries or prepare too much food for a holiday gathering. If you do prepare too much, send leftovers home with guests or reheat them the following day for yourself. Try your best not to throw away usable food.
  • Use less energy. Turn down the heat before a holiday party. The body heat of guests will keep the room warm, so lower the thermostat a few degrees.
  • Have a recycling plan. Set up recycling bins to capture all the wrapping paper, gift boxes, bottles, cans, plastic cups, etc. Inform your guests and make sure they know what items to recycle and where to place them.
  • Use fewer disposable paper products and eating utensils. If all your dinnerware, table settings and silverware must be matching sets, rent dinnerware, glassware and silverware for your holiday party. Otherwise, ask guests to bring their own and eliminate paper plates and plastic cups, forks, knives, etc.
  • Use cloth napkins that can be washed and reused at your next holiday gathering instead of buying disposable ones and filling the trash can.

 

Go ahead and make the commitment to use less stuff. Tell your friends and family about Use Less Stuff Day and work toward an environmentally-friendly holiday season without sacrificing the fun and joys all of us look forward to each year.

 

For more ideas about Use Less Stuff Day, please visit www.use-less-stuff.com.

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