Easy DIY Projects to Enhance Your Yard and Garden

Itching for summer to arrive, when you can get out and enjoy your yard? Why not plan a DIY project to improve your outdoor space, while encouraging everyone in the family to get outside and have fun together?

Easy DIY Projects to Enhance Your Yard and Garden

Here are some projects to consider, and the prep work involved.

Check your deck

Does your existing deck need repair? Check for loose balusters, rocky railing or other issues needing attention. If you want to resurface your deck or build a new deck, measure the area and research how much decking you’ll need. Fortunately, there are free online deck plans and design tools available, especially on your favorite home improvement center’s website or at treatedwood.com. Many include cost calculators to help determine your expenses. Check with your local municipality for building codes and a building permit before beginning construction.

When choosing materials to create the deck of your dreams, not just any wood will do. Wood is now available that is treated with more environmentally-advanced preservatives, with stabilizers that can weather the elements while still retaining the beauty of real wood. Ecolife pressure-treated wood is ideal for decking, deck framing, railing, joists, and beams. Ecolife’s advanced wood stabilizing preservative system makes wood look better longer and repels water for up to two years, providing maximum protection and enhanced performance for outdoor projects exposed to harsh sun, drenching rain and heavy snow.

For projects that come in contact with or are within 6 inches from the ground, such as support posts, stair stringers, and ledger boards, a higher retention level of preservatives is required to fight against fungal decay and termite attack at ground level. Both Ecolife and ground contact wood is treated to required levels to protect against fungal decay and termite attack.

Enhance your garden

To increase your yard’s beauty while encouraging plant and flower growth, make simple wooden structures for your garden that can be completed in a weekend. The easiest project is a trellis, which can be any size latticework designed for climbing plants to grow up them. Similarly, an arbor combines two trellises with an overhead arch to create a passage or gateway. An arbor beautifully embellishes any path or walkway with flowering plants growing up and over it.

A pergola takes that idea one step further, creating a scaffolding of overhead wooden beams for your yard, patio or deck that can be used for installing a ceiling fan, hanging plants or flowers, or a sun shade.

The gazebo resembles a mini “house,” usually raised from the ground, which can be screened in if desired. Gazebos are wonderful little retreats to enjoy the outdoors while still feeling the comfort of seating and other furniture, along with a roof for keeping out the elements.

Raised gardens

For the green thumb in the family, raised planter beds decrease the back-breaking work of planting and weeding, while keeping out neighborhood critters. Attach chicken wire or other screening to discourage smaller animals from munching on your garden.

Outdoor furnishings

Love to grill and eat outdoors? Why not build your own benches or picnic table? They provide a wonderfully rustic look as well as being sturdy. You can add removable cushions for comfort.

Playtime

Nothing could be more fun for kids than watching or helping to build a playset, sandbox or treehouse. If kids help, educate kids about safety rules that you follow, such as wearing gloves, goggles and a mask while working with wood.

Add privacy and beauty

A well-designed stained or painted fence can enhance the look of your garden, patio or deck while adding privacy and keeping out neighborhood animals. A variety of fence styles are available to serve many purposes. From containing pets to providing safety for your children, fences can help block wind and noise, enclose HVAC and trash bin areas and add curb appeal. All you need are posts, pickets, and backer rails or fence panels to complete your project.

If you’re new to building, start with smaller projects like a trellis or sandbox. Once you’re more confident or have experience, considerably larger, more complex projects you’re dreaming about. Engage the family in brainstorming ideas to make your yard and garden a great place to hang out together. For more information about Ecolife, visit treatedwood.com.

-(BPT)

Your Premier Orlando Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

A.C.F. Home Inspections will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Orlando area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Luis Figueroa. Luis prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers.

Call (407) 218-6522 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!



Roofing Tips That Will Help You Repair Your Roof

There are many things to learn about roofing before you begin your task. If you own a home, however, you need to be educated quickly. A malfunctioning roof can cause much damage to your home. Read this article to get started.

If your roof is leaking, you want to call in a professional roofer to fix the job. Asking your friends for recommendations can steer you towards a reliable contractor. Always ask for references from anyone you are considering hiring. Otherwise you could end up with a bigger mess than the leak itself.

If you need to walk on your roof, it is important that you do it at a time when it is not too cold or hot. Extreme weather tends to make shingles very brittle, so walking on them during this time can cause a lot of damage. Morning is the best time during summer months, and afternoon is best in the winter.

orlando home inspection roof style

Installing a New Roof

When you’re planning on installing a new roof, choosing a material mainly comes down to how long you plan on staying in the home. If you plan on selling the house soon, material that lasts 20 years may be appropriate. If you plan keeping the house and living in it long term, you’ll save money in the long run by choosing materials that last 40 years or longer.

When a contractor is on his way, cut the grass. This way, if nails fall on the ground, they’ll be much easier to find. Short grass, combined with magnetic nail finders, makes locating nails even simpler.

Do not ask your roofer to work on your gutters. This is not their area of expertise and they are likely to mess up. Therefore, simply focus on having them do your roof, and if your gutters need to be replaced as a result, find someone to do that job that specializes in it.

Hiring a Roofer

Before hiring a roofer in Orlando, FL, check all credentials. Talk to your family, friends, coworkers, etc. for suggestions on Orlando roofing contractors. You need to hire an excellent contractor; this is the best way to ensure that you aren’t looking at expensive repairs down the road.

A very beautiful and unique look for your roof can be created with slate roofing. This type of roof is nearly indestructible and will last as long as your house. You will need a substantial support system for slate roofing because it is quite heavy. Slate roofs can be found intact on European buildings that are hundreds of years old.

Tread lightly while you are on your roof looking for damage. Prolonged exposure to water can lead to dry rot, which will compromise the integrity of your roof. This can then make your roof very unsafe to walk on, so take each step lightly to ensure that you are not injured from falling through.

While you may only see problems with your roof in the valleys on top of your home, this is one way in which your roof will beg for replacement. These are “high traffic” areas for water, so damage will almost always begin here first. Once it starts, it is time to replace your roof.

Missing Shingles

Replace any missing shingles as soon as you notice that they have come loose. One missing shingle could eventually lead to thousands of dollars in damages. To make sure that this does not happen to you, you should check your roof once a month for any shingles that may have fallen off.

You likely began this article will little roofing knowledge. But, you should now possess a much broader understanding of this topic and should have the ability to navigate future roof issues. Remember that a well maintained roof is essential to protect you, your family and your home.

Your Premier Orlando Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

A.C.F. Home Inspections will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Orlando area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Luis Figueroa. Luis prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers.

Call (407) 218-6522 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!

Thinking Of Improving Your Home? Find Great Tips Here!

Most of your time will be spent either at home or at work. Consequently, the condition of your home can greatly affect your outlook. You can transform your home into a comfortable oasis so that you can relax and rejuvenate yourself. The following facts, tips, and hints will show you easy ways to turn your house into your home.

Orlando Home Inspection Structure

Fix any small imperfections in your home, such as a cracked window or stained ceilings and walls– you would be surprised how the smallest thing can become a huge annoyance over time! Eliminating these eyesores will immediately improve the satisfaction you feel in your home, and make you feel more comfortable. Other ways to improve the appearance, functionality, and atmosphere of your home include buying new furniture that is both comfortable and stylish, increasing storage space by installing shelving, and completing the design themes of rooms.

Increase the amount of living space available to you. There are times when nothing will work because a home is simply not big enough. You can increase the available space you have and live more comfortably without moving to a bigger house. Even a small expansion can have a big effect on how you feel as you move around your home.

Pools can really improve the value of a home. Other things that you can do include adding exercise equipment or creating a basketball court in your garage. These are cheaper alternatives that still provide great fun. So you see, improving your home with recreational areas gives you joy now and money in your pocket later.

Have you thought about the lighting in your home? By bringing light into a formerly dark corner of your home, you will brighten the space as well as make the room look more spacious and welcoming. One of the quickest and most inexpensive ways to improve your lighting is to switch out old bulbs with new ones. If you know how, you can even change the fixtures.

Adding a Landscape

Experiment with growing things by converting your outdoor space into a beautiful and colorful garden retreat. If you do not have a lot of knowledge when it comes to landscaping, think about paying a professional to work on it for you. Nature is a wonderful relaxation tool so surrounding yourself with this at home will continue to add to your serenity. The addition of plants to your environment can improve the quality of the air you breathe, help freshen and scent the air and even provide ingredients for your meals.

The outside of your house is equally important when thinking about improvements. You can add value and beauty to your house by brightening up the appearance with fresh paint, new windows, or updating the roof. This is great not only for you and your family, but also for your guests.

As your home is your haven from the world, don’t underestimate the positive effects improvements can have on your general well-being and attitude. This means it’s smart to select improvement projects that not only add value to your home but also will make you happy.

Bonus tip, secure the safety of your home by performing a complete home inspection done by a professional home inspector near you.

The issues that will be revealed in the inspection report will be laid out to both the buyer and the seller. Opportunities for repair and renovation will come up, and this should be discussed thoroughly.

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Your Premier Orlando Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

A.C.F. Home Inspections will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Orlando area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Luis Figueroa. Luis prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers.

Call (407) 218-6522 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!

Home Inspection Common Questions – FAQs

What is included in a typical home inspection?

Generally, a home inspection will include a report on the current state of the house. It will cover the heating systems, air conditioning, roof, attic, plumbing, electrical needs, insulation, and the like.

What should I expect during a home inspection?

When having a home inspection done, the inspector will leave no stone unturned in the house. The objective is to determine the problem areas and eventually come up with a way to resolve them. Each buyer has different preferences, and these should be laid out for the inspector to pay extra attention to.

Who should pay for a home inspection?

At any rate, a buyer will pay for the home inspection fees. This will depend on the agreement between the buyer and seller though. There are rare instances when the seller is the one who pays for this service, but it happens for some.  

How much does it cost for a home inspection?

HomeAdvisor notes that the standard cost for home inspection is about $315. It could go up to $500 or more, depending on the size and location of the property.  

How long will the inspection take?

A home inspection will take 2 to 3 hours. Just like the pricing for inspection, the duration of the inspection will also depend on the size of the house and the number of systems to be evaluated. If a client tags along, the number of questions they will ask while the inspection is ongoing will also add to the time spent during the service.

What happens if there are problems found during the inspection?

The issues that will be revealed in the inspection report will be laid out to both the buyer and the seller. Opportunities for repair and renovation will come up, and this should be discussed thoroughly.

ACF Home Inspections Logo

Your Premier Orlando Home Inspection Company | Let this experienced home inspector help keep you from buying The Money Pit. We’ll alert you to any and all health or safety issues and maintenance needs of the home you’re looking to buy.

A.C.F. Home Inspections will be your home buying or selling advocate! We are committed to providing you with outstanding service. We’re highly experienced and extremely thorough. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Orlando area, we can help!

Owned and operated by home inspector and mold inspection specialist, Luis Figueroa. Luis prides himself in being committed to following high standards and providing professional service to all of our customers.

Call (407) 218-6522 Today or Click To Schedule Online 24/7 Right From Our Website.

We Want To Help Give You Confidence In Moving Forward On Your Home Buying Decisions!


The Ways That You Can Save On Your Homeowner’s Insurance

Did you know that homeowner’s insurance can help keep you protected against frivolous lawsuits? Let’s say some buffoon decides to take a jump over your fence and into your swimming pool. If he hurts himself, he could sue you and win big. This is one of the many reasons you need insurance and one of the reasons you need these tips to help you find the best deal on a package.

Residential Home - homeowners Insurance

Residential Home Renovation

If you are building an addition to your residential home or considering a major renovation, check what effect this will have on your homeowner’s insurance rates. Wood-framed structures are considered to be a fire risk, for example, and will raise your insurance rates. Using cement, steel, or other fireproof materials will mean your addition costs less to insure.

When considering insurance for your home, be sure to have plenty of fire alarms installed. This will not only help with your own safety, but also will qualify you for possible discounts from your insurance provider. Especially in old homes, it is essential to have at least one detector per level. Be sure to be proactive in telling your provider about your smoke alarms.

The best homeowner’s insurance in the world may contain provisions that require you to keep your home in working order. You should scrutinize it to see how much regular maintenance you are required to do on your home in order to be sure that all contingencies are covered. Otherwise, you may end up having a coverage-related situation you weren’t aware of, because the policy specified you needed to keep that particular part of your house in good working order in order to file a claim.

Insure Your Home Against Flooding

If you want to insure your home against flooding, you’ll need a flood insurance policy. Flooding is not covered by most regular homeowner’s insurance policies. Protection against flooding covers damage from things like too much rain, creeks rising, landslides and more. If you think you need this additional coverage, speak to your agent, who will explain options and costs for your area.

There are many things that can cause your home to lose value. Fire is a catastrophic element that can destroy your home. You have to buy a policy that protects your home from arson, fires caused by wilfires and human error, as well as cars, earthquakes and storms. Look over your policy, and make note of any questions you have. This will protect you from any surprises in the future.

Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Make sure to get homeowner’s insurance when you purchase a house. People sometimes forget about insurance because they are too busy dealing with other matters. If something disastrous happens to your home, such a fire, hurricane, or flood, your homeowner’s insurance will help pay all or some of the repair costs.

Add extra smoke alarms to your home to reduce your insurance premiums. Adding smoke alarms can reduce your yearly premiums by as much as 10 percent. Depending on your insurance company, you may even qualify for additional discounts for adding more smoke alarms than the minimum required to receive the discount. You not only save money, but you protect the lives of everyone in your family.

Residential Home Insurance

Homeowners insurance isn’t an indulgence it is a necessary item when purchasing a home. Many mortgage companies will not assist in making a loan or provide financing for a residential real estate transaction unless sufficient proof of coverage for the fair market value of the home is made available. Homeowners insurance is expensive but in order to get the loan you will need to have it.

Don’t wait around until someone attempts to take you to court for something out of your control. Make sure you’re always protected with the best homeowners coverage possible. Use the tips we outlined in the above article to save money on a quality insurance plan. You never know when something bad or very strange is going to happen or Contact A.C.F. Home Inspections for Home Owner’s Insurance related services like 4 Point Inspections in Orlando, Florida and neighboring areas.

A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc. has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (407) 218-6522. Thank You.

Want to Buy a Home? Do the Math!

It is a common misconception that a 20 percent down payment is required to buy a home. Advice to wait and save a large down payment is often based on the theory that the cost of mortgage insurance (MI), which is required when you buy with a smaller down payment, should be avoided. This may not be the best advice and is, in fact, not in line with market trends, considering the median down payment for first-time homebuyers is 7 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Yes, you can qualify for a conventional mortgage with a down payment as small as 3 percent of the purchase price. It is also true that you can reduce your monthly mortgage payment by paying for discount points at closing, but that can be 5 or 10 percent of the purchase price — not 20. And because every buyer’s situation is unique, it’s important to do the math. In today’s market, it could take a family earning the national median income up to 20 years to save 20 percent, according to calculations by U.S. Mortgage Insurers using a methodology developed by the Center for Responsible Lending; a lot can change during that time, in the family’s personal finances and in overall mortgage market trends.

How can buying now save you money later?

Consider you want to purchase a $255,000 home. A 5 percent down payment is $12,750 versus $51,000 in cash for 20 percent down. With a 740 credit score at today’s MI rates, your monthly MI payment would be about $110, which is added to your monthly mortgage payment until MI cancels. MI typically cancels after five years; therefore, you will only have this added cost for a short period of time versus waiting an average of 20 years to save for 20 percent.

With home price appreciation, today’s $255,000 home will likely cost more in the years ahead and this will also have an impact on the necessary down payment and length of time required to save for it. There are other variables in the equation too, such as interest rates. As federal rates rise from their historic lows, so too will the costs associated with financing a mortgage. The savings a borrower might calculate today could be altogether negated by waiting for even a few more years. Another factor is that rents are on the rise across the nation, leading to a reduced capacity for many would-be homebuyers to save for larger down payments.

Low Down Payment Mortgage

If you decide to buy today with a low down payment mortgage that has private MI, keep in mind that the monthly MI payments are temporary and go away, lowering the monthly payment over time. Again, private MI typically lasts about five years as it can be canceled once a homeowner builds approximately 20 percent equity in the home through payments or appreciation and automatically terminates for most borrowers once he or she reaches 22 percent equity. Importantly, the insurance premiums on an FHA mortgage — a 100 percent taxpayer-backed government version of mortgage insurance — cannot be canceled for the vast majority of borrowers.

So, do the math and let the numbers guide you. There are many online mortgage calculators that can help. Check out lowdownpaymentfacts.org to learn more. – (BPT)

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A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc. has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (407) 218-6522. Thank You.

When Saying ‘I Do’ Means a Move: 5 Tips for Combining Households

5 tips for combining households

Getting married means a whole lot of changes, including combining households, not the least of which could be moving to a new house or apartment. Whether you’re getting a brand-new place for the both of you or one of you is shifting all your earthly possessions to join your spouse, it’s a good idea to take proactive steps to make crossing that new threshold is a little easier.

Here are a few tips for taking some of the stress out of moving day — for both of you.

* Declutter. 

Before moving, go through your possessions, as individuals and then as a team. Even if you’re moving to a larger space, it’s better to start fresh with items you know you like or need, and it will save you moving things you don’t really want to keep. After you’ve each discarded old, unused or disliked items, take inventory of common household items to see if you have duplicates. Do you both have toasters, blenders, a full set of silverware? Decide as a team which of them you prefer. If the other is still in good shape, donate, recycle, or if too old and damaged, discard.

* Plan ahead to save. 

Whether one of you is moving or you both are, you can save a lot of money by doing the move yourself. It’s remarkably easy to rent a truck, and you don’t need a commercial license. Driving a moving truck isn’t difficult, but it is different from driving a car. Be careful to use your mirrors to navigate turns, avoid sudden lane changes or stops and make sure to allow extra time. Plan ahead by reserving your truck at least two weeks in advance.

* Pack smart. 

Nothing hurts more than moving your prized possessions, only to find them damaged when you arrive at your new digs. Your best bet is to pick up sturdy boxes, strong tape and bubble wrap at your truck rental store so that you know everything you pack will arrive at your new home in the same condition as when you packed it. You can also get labels to use on your boxes so you know which items belong in the kitchen, the bathroom or the bedroom.

* Be space conscious. 

You’ll need about 150 cubic feet of space for the furnishings of each room in your current home. In other words, a 12-­ or 16-­foot Penske rental truck should accommodate the contents of most small apartments or condos. When loading a moving truck, do what the pros do. Heavier items should be loaded in the back of the truck, while lighter items should be placed in front and on top. When in doubt, follow the helpful tips offered by Penske’s Truck Wizard.

* Share the burden. 

Invite friends, family, and members of your wedding party to help you move — but be sure to make it a party! Ordering plenty of pizza and drinks for the post-move party will be a big hit. Perhaps you could pick out special items or photos as mementos of your friendships or family events during your decluttering to gift your moving helpers.

These tips will help you and your new spouse handle the big move-in gracefully, economically and efficiently, so you can start your life together with as little stress as possible. Congratulations on the big day and the big move!

To learn more about renting your own moving truck, check out PenskeTruckRental.com for details. You can save even more on the move if you qualify for AAA or military discounts at Penske, so be sure to ask. – (BPT)

A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc. has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (407) 218-6522. Thank You.

5 Ways to Create an Inviting Room Using Tile

Today’s tile trends extend so far beyond their traditional use as a staple of bathroom design that you may not recognize them. While once the most attractive and innovative tiles had to be imported, contemporary handcrafted tile and stone products for home design are now being made right here in the United States.

Homeowners and interior designers alike are always seeking distinctive visual touches to make each home special. Here are five ways tile design can enhance a room.

5 ways to create an inviting room using tile 2

Elevate small spaces.

Use tiles interchangeably to create a unique design. The Ann Sacks Radius Collection by designer Barbara Barry has five distinct modular designs that can be used independently or combined to create patterns to delight the eye. Creative use of a variety of tile shapes like these can easily elevate small spaces such as baseboards, fireplace surrounds or backsplash areas in a kitchen.

Make a color statement

Whether you choose a single color or mix colors to create a pattern, the choices can overwhelm. “I enjoy the soft juxtaposition of watery blue tones, soft green tones and the neutral colors of gravel,” explained Barry. While Barry is known for her love of soft colors, you may choose colors that best complement elements already in the room. If you’re not working with a designer, consider traditional complementary color pairs when making decor choices, such as red-green, blue-orange or yellow-purple.

Create a calm mood

The latest trends in interior design reflect the desire for homes to be sanctuaries. Inspired by the clean lines, appropriate scale and exacting proportion prevalent in Midcentury Modern architectural design, Barry describes her collection as “soft modern, defined by a curved edge for a sensual feel.” Barry adds, “In this busy world, I want to come home to calm rooms and quiet spaces.” Choosing colors, lines, shapes, and scale with simplicity in mind can help contribute to a feeling of calm.

Personalize your space

Find what appeals to you, and work with a designer or manufacturer who can meet your requests. In her collection, Barry provides tools for consumers or designers to customize patterns. Designed to spark the imagination, five distinct patterns in varying scales punctuate interiors with personality. Smaller manufacturers can personalize your project with their flexibility, customizing color choices and resurrecting a retired pattern or color, or even by recreating tiles present in a home refurbishing or renovating project. Make your space your own.

Create visual interest

Choose different textures through materials like wood, glass or tile to break up an otherwise ordinary surface in a room. Radius is available in all Made by Ann Sacks matte and gloss colorways, which can be installed as a singular color statement or mixed to evoke a unique, personalized design, whether to create a captivating statement-making wall or to cover an entire floor. The choice of tile adds a textural element to a room that can’t be duplicated by any other material.

Ann Sacks fell in love with tile while on a family vacation to Mexico when she was 13 and later used that passion to create a business inspired by those Mexican tiles. She hired gifted artisans to grow her business into a true American success story. Ann Sacks, founded in 1981 in Portland, Oregon, draws talented craftspeople to create inspiring designs in tile, stone, plumbing, lighting, and accessories. These creations are traditional in terms of craft but aligned with contemporary design trends. Today, the company includes the work of 15 designers.

Whether you choose to use tile in a more traditional way in your bath or kitchen, or to elevate another space inside a home with a more innovative style, use a customized design and select colors to create a unique environment anyone would want to call home. – (BPT)

A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc. has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (407) 218-6522. Thank You.



Building a New Home? Protect Yourself Against Today’s Faster, Scarier Fires

Protect Yourself Against Today's Faster Scarier Fires

If your new home is among the one million or so being built in the U.S. this year, congratulations! You’ll have the chance to customize it to your dream home preferences.

One feature that should be at the top of your priority list is the best possible fire protection for yourself and your loved ones: home fire sprinklers. While choosing household systems may not be as fun as picking paint colors and carpeting, it’s even more important. And asking for fire sprinklers could literally save your life.

That’s because home fires today are hotter and faster than fires of the past. Homes with unprotected lightweight building material and flooring burn faster, failing quicker (often collapsing in a fire). Common synthetic furnishings and belongings burn hot and fast and produce toxic smoke. Larger, more open layouts enable faster flashover. That means they can become deadly to people and pets in as little as two minutes.

The tragic facts are that seven people die in U.S. home fires each day, while another 12,300 are injured. The residents aren’t the only ones in harm’s way; firefighters are constantly in danger of injury or death. Studies show they’re being diagnosed with cancer as a result of their occupation.

Home fire sprinklers are dependable

They not only save lives; they protect property and possessions (reducing fire damage by as much as 81 percent). Most insurers offer sprinkler discounts that lower your homeowners’ premiums.

“New homeowners have a great opportunity to ensure their houses are optimized for fire protection,” notes Lorraine Carli, HFSC president and vice president of outreach and advocacy for the National Fire Protection Association. “Start with working smoke alarms on every level, and prepare and practice a home escape plan. Create a complete system of fire safety by asking for home fire sprinklers.

Here are the basics:

* Your sprinklers will be customized for your home, ensuring proper protection for your unique layout. Usually the sprinklers are connected to the household water main. In areas where there is not a city water supply or well water, a tank and pump are typically used for water supply. Piping is hidden behind the walls and ceilings.

* There are several kinds of sprinklers made just for homes. Some can be hidden behind round plates. Some sprinkler companies offer custom painted sprinklers to match your décor.

* Each sprinkler is individually activated by heat, so the entire system does not activate. Each sprinkler has a temperature-sensitive glass bulb. If a fire starts, the high heat from it breaks the glass, allowing the water to flow onto the fire. That controls or even puts out the fire, allowing you and your family to escape.

* You need not to worry about your sprinklers being set off by smoke alarms operating, burnt toast or cigarette smoke. They’re designed to operate from the high heat of a fire, usually between 135-165 F.

Your family’s fire safety is in your hands! Ask your builder for home fire sprinklers. The best time to install fire sprinklers is when the home is being built, while walls and ceilings are open and accessible.

Learn the facts about home fire sprinklers from the nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, a non-commercial educational organization that offers free information and resources. Follow HFSC on Facebook and Twitter. – (BPT)

A.C.F. Home Inspections Inc. has been providing Home Inspections, 4 Point Inspections, Wind Mitigation, Home Owners Network, Monthly home tips news, Water Quality Testing, Radon Testing, Lead Paint Testing and Mold Inspection to home buyers and home sellers in the following areas of Metro Orlando, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Country Polk, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard and all areas in between.

When you or someone you know needs the services of a quality home inspection company, we would truly appreciate you thinking of us. You can schedule right from our website or call our office (407) 218-6522. Thank You.



Mortgage Insurance: Added Cost to Homebuying or Smart Way to Get In?

The homebuying process is exciting, but can also seem fraught with added costs, like a home inspection, title insurance, and closing costs. And if you can’t afford a full 20 percent down payment on a conventional home loan, then you will most likely pay for private mortgage insurance (MI). Some people consider private MI yet another added cost, but it helps creditworthy middle-income homebuyers qualify for home financing sooner with a low down payment. Is it really an added cost if it saves time and money in the long run?

For most people, low down payment home loan options include conventional loans with private MI and government-backed loans like those offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). While comparable, each of these options has important differences. For example, the minimum down payment for an FHA mortgage is 3.5 percent while it’s only 3 percent on a conventional, privately insured mortgage.

Another key feature of private MI is that it can be canceled when a borrower reaches 20 percent equity in his or her home. Borrowers who purchase a home with private MI can typically cancel it within 5 to 7 years, resulting in their monthly bill going down. Private MI’s cancelability makes it a more affordable option over FHA-backed mortgages, which typically require mortgage insurance premiums for the entirety of the loan term. Both are offered by most mortgage lenders, so it’s smart to ask a loan officer for both options so you can compare and do the math.

Mortgage Insurance Added Cost to Homebuying or Smart Way to Get In

20 Percent Downpayment

The myth that a homebuyer needs 20 percent down to obtain a mortgage is simply not true. Low down payment mortgages are widely available and used every day across the country. In 2018, the National Association of Realtors found that first-time homebuyers typically put down 7 percent, while repeat buyers put down an average of 16 percent. Many homebuyers choose a lower down payment option to preserve some savings for home improvements or save for other goals. The time it could take to save up a 20 percent down payment is significant. On average, it could take up to 20 years to save a full 20 percent, plus closing costs, for a $257,700 house — the national median sales price. With home prices on the rise, the amount of time it takes to save up could only increase. Private MI can mean the difference between getting into the home of your dreams sooner or waiting for years.

For over 60 years, more than 30 million homeowners of all backgrounds have used private MI to successfully buy their homes.

In the past year alone, private MI helped more than one million borrowers nationwide purchase or refinance a mortgage. According to a study by U.S. Mortgage Insurers, 56 percent of purchase borrowers were first-time homebuyers and more than 40 percent had incomes below $75,000.

For decades, millions of homeowners and prospective homebuyers have relied on private MI to help them affordably and responsibly purchase their homes — in turn helping them build personal wealth. Today’s historically low mortgage interest rates are a good reason to buy a home now. It is estimated that in 2019, the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will be around 5 percent. Borrowers should take advantage of these historically low mortgage interest rates because experts forecast that primary mortgage rates are on the rise.

Getting a mortgage with private MI and keeping more of your hard-earned money in the bank can be a very smart way to invest in your future. Check out lowdownpaymentfacts.org to learn more.