Tips for a Smooth Home Renovation

agatherHome renovations can be a big project and must be well planned. While most people do not realize it, a home renovation is not as easy as it sounds.  Just ask people who have refurbished their homes recently, and you will understand that a renovation is often a huge time and money commitment. While renovation is probably a lot more cost-effective than building a whole new structure, it creates problems of its own.  Here are some thoughts about renovation for your edification.

Budget

Some people believe that spending money on a quality renovation instead of being cheap is acceptable since the necessary funds will magically appear. In reality, that isn’t true! Talk to people who have renovated their homes and do as much cost-comparison and window shopping as possible. Check your budget with your contractor regularly to make sure you’re on track. Determine needs vs. wants. Is a granite countertop really necessary?

Length of project

It’s important to determine how long a renovation project will take. Can you afford or do you want to be out of your home for six months or more? Most homeowners come to realize that building in a financial cushion will be necessary. For most, renovations take more time and money than initially thought or planned. It is important to plan accordingly.

 Find a Contractor

We’ve all heard the horror stories about contractors that cost a fortune and let renovations go on forever.  The best contractors can be found through word of mouth, but if you can’t come up with a good referral, find them on the Internet. Make sure you get several estimates before signing any agreements.

 Do-it-yourself

List the items that you, along with family and friends, can do yourselves. Perhaps you can paint and tear down a wall, or sew new linens, curtains and throw pillows. Measure all spaces, windows, walls and more.

 Find Bargains

Begin watching for sales and discounts. Upcoming weekends can now be spent visiting thrift stores and yard sales. Appliances can be purchased at the scratch-and-dent. Tile and flooring may be found at the discount supplier in town.

 

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Types of Living Facilities for Seniors

Many retired and elderly people prefer to spend their final years in some type of a retirement home that allows them to live comfortably and with little trouble. Below are various types of facilities that cater to different needs and desires to enjoy a well-deserved retirement.

1. Independent living facilities are recommended for people who need little to no help. The facility may offer meals, activities, transportation and recreation for seniors. Independent living facilities are also known as senior housing, retirement communities, or congregate living facilities.

2. Active-adult communities are housing developments that offer independent, fairly maintenance-free living to senior adults age 55 and older. Some communities are “age restricted,” which means 80 percent of homeowners must be 55 and over. Communities that are “age targeted” simply market to the 55+ seniors. Many residents in these types of communities continue to work part or full time. Active adult communities may offer golf, dance, yoga, crafts, cookouts and even academic classes.

3. Green and eco-friendly communities. Many elderly people prefer to live in communities that are environmentally friendly. Such communities use recycled building materials and therefore achieve a high standard of indoor air quality, while leaving a minimal footprint on the environment.

4. Advanced care facilities provide daily support and care. Advance care facilities usually provide meals, medication management, housekeeping and other services. These facilities are also known as assisted living facilities. Communities below fall in the advanced care facilities category:

  • Continuing care retirement communities provide independent living, assisted living, and nursing care. These communities cater to their residents’ particular needs; for example, if one spouse needs high-skilled nursing care, the other can keep on living in his or her own apartment. When the other spouse gets better, they are able to move back to the apartment.
  • Assisted living communities provide buildings with meals, medical services, housekeeping and transportation.
  • Retirement homes are increasingly for the very old. It is comparable to assisted living in several ways, but not as high skilled of care as a nursing home.
  • Nursing homes are usually the last stay for the elderly. These homes provide a high level of skilled care.
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The Balancing Act on Lifetime with Lew Lautin

The Balancing Act

The Balancing Act

The following segment aired on “The Balancing Act” on Lifetime Television. Joining the show was Lew Lautin to discuss his photography project geared toward raising awareness for the homeless.

The Balancing Act Host 1: Hi there, good morning, everybody.  I’m Danielle Knox, it’s Friday, January 13, 2012, coming up on the show this morning, a story of giving in the simplest way.  We’ll show you how a photographer’s amazing pictures of the homeless is changing lives and communities.  Also ahead this morning, dry eye: a look at the symptoms and remedies with a doctor and a patient who suffers from this often overlooked disease.  Also, they’re back—our friends from SeaWorld are here!  Get ready to see some exotic animals and, of course, those two adorable penguins who can’t travel without each other, Pete and Penny are here in the house this morning.  We talked about the photographer who is giving his time to the homeless and that inspired The Balancing Act’s daily question today: “Have you ever volunteered with a charity organization?”  We would love to hear from you on this one so you can vote by calling us at 855-3balanc, that’s 855-322-5262.  Press one for yes and two for no,  stay right where you are, “The Balancing Act” starts right now.

The Balancing Act: Host 2: Well, he has a passion for people and a skill for photography.  Combine the two and you get a wonderful undertaking by my next guest to take on a new project that not only helps the community but is impacting lives of just so many people in such a positive way.  I am so happy to welcome to the show this morning, photographer, Lew Lautin.  Good morning to you, Lew, good to see you.

Lautin: Good morning, thanks for having me here.

The Balancing Act: I love what you’re doing because I think what happens is many people will drive or walk past the homeless and see them but not really see them and so, talk about what you’re doing in your community and where the idea for this came from.

Lautin: I got a call around two and a half years ago from Marti Foreman who’s the executive director of lifenet4families and she asked if I would shoot a video for their twenty-fifth anniversary and I said “Sure,” and I went down to the lifenet4families center and I immediately fell in love with the people there in a very unusual situation.  They’re homeless, they’re near homeless, they live on the streets and they go there for a meal or a shower or some help or some tutoring or some financial help.  After I spoke to Marti about doing the video, I said, “Can I bring my cameras back and can I bring my studio lights in?”  I started going every week bringing my camera and these big studio lights and sitting down with the clients there and I started taking pictures of them and then the following week I’d bring them back copies.

The Balancing Act: Aww, how do you make a project like this a success and really make a difference in their lives because, you know, they feel like, “Oh, here I am, I’m homeless, nobody cares.”  How do you insure that somebody cares?

Lautin: I think there are two aspects of that.  The first is when I go back the next week and I bring them copies, I’ve handed pictures to people and they say I’m going to send this to my mother.

The Balancing Act: They say that to you, they’re going to send, ohhh?

Lautin: Yes, “she hasn’t seen a picture of me for two or three years.”  And the other aspect of it is to sit down with somebody who’s homeless or near homeless, big studio lights, make them feel like a CEO, make them feel somebody, like they’re important ,and spend fifteen or twenty minutes with them, engaging them in dialogue, if they wish.  Some don’t wish to engage in dialogue.  Make them feel important; make them feel like somebody cares, ten or fifteen minutes.

The Balancing Act: Oh, that just touches my heart and when you take these pictures, what happens to them afterwards.  I know that you give them to them and they send them to their friends and family and then, is there something else that you do with the pictures, as well?

Lautin: Yes, I also volunteer at Boca Helping Hand to take pictures there of their clients and when you walk into Boca Helping Hands, there are big portraits around fifteen/twenty people I’ve taken pictures of and for lifenet4families.  Whenever they have a big event, I provide blown up pictures for them and it shows the community that these are real people, these are people who are suffering, and these are people who need help.  A lot of these people were donating to places like lifenet and Boca Helping Hands a year or two or three ago and, unfortunately, they’re not in a position today to help and they need some help.

The Balancing Act: Absolutely and I think with the economy and the recession and everything that’s going on, that is such a true statement.  When you talk about the response that your photography receives, not just for maybe other people who see it but also from the homeless that you’re taking pictures of, what do you think this does to them, kind of emotionally?

Lautin: I think it’s a whole gamut of emotions.  Some of them feel sad seeing pictures of themselves in the situation they’re at, some of them feel elated, and some of them feel very good about how they look.  So it’s a whole gamut of emotions that’s out there, just like the homeless population or the near homeless population, but they are a people; they’re our neighbors, our brothers, our sisters.

The Balancing Act: I think that is the resonating point.  They are people, and you, as a person, have accomplished so much as a photographer.  I know you’ve worked a lot with the fine art photography.  Your work has sold for really high prices.  I mean, you’ve accomplished a lot in your career.  How does this project differ?

Lautin: This project differs on the emotional gut level.  You’re sitting down with people who need help; you’re sitting down with people who don’t get respect, people just walk by them and ignore them.  If I can touch one person and make them feel important, make them feel loved, wow!

The Balancing Act: Yeah, you know, I was telling you that I encountered a homeless man the other day and had given him money and didn’t know his back history or his story but everybody has a story, right, everybody has a history?

Lautin: I just did a composite of six homeless heads with the constitution of the United States behind them and that was just shown at ArtServe and the last person on the right died six months ago and I’ll get a call from lifenet: do I have a picture of somebody.

The Balancing Act: Oh, my goodness.

Lautin: For a memorial.

The Balancing Act: Let me ask you this with just about thirty seconds here left: what do you want your photography to do, what is the take away, what would you like viewers who are watching to take away?

Lautin: I would like viewers to go to their phone right now, figure out how they can help, how they can help people who need help desperately, how they can volunteer—whether it’s at a soup kitchen, whether it’s volunteering at a hospital, whether it’s mentoring, whether it’s Women in Distress or Meals on Wheels, Trash to Treasure—help.  You have the ability to do something, you have the ability to make a difference in somebody’s life, it’s never too late.

The Balancing Act: It’s never too late and also, I think what people tend to think is somebody else is going to do it.

Lautin: You do it; you do it today.  Pick up the phone and do it.

The Balancing Act: Absolutely, Lew Lautin, great interview, thank you so much for coming by this morning.

Lautin: Thank you so much for having me.

The Balancing Act: And if you’d like more information in terms of how to make a difference in your own community, simply pick up the camera and make someone’s day special, and for more information on Lew or to see his work, be sure to check out his website.  It’s lewlautinphotographer.com.

The Balancing Act is the only morning show in America produced by women specifically for women. Every morning, The Balancing Act on Lifetime hosts Danielle Knox and Kristy Villa tackle the issues that face today’s woman. Popular show segments include live weather updates with Mark Mancuso, surprise celebrity visitors, and news about the latest trends affecting your life, home, career and family. The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television airs daily on Lifetime at 7 a.m. ET/PT. For more information, visit The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television’s website at www.thebalancingact.com.

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Ian Woodman: Memorable Holidays [Disney World]

Ian Woodman

Ian Woodman

In 2010, Ian Woodman made a promise to his family and close friends when he entered in a contest to predict the winner of the NCAA Basketball Championship. That promise was that if he won, he’d take everyone to Disney World with his winnings. While many people might make such promises, Ian Woodman is a man of his word. In February 2011, he took 17 people to Disney World, paying airfare, hotel, park admission, and all expenses while they were in Orlando.

What resulted was a trip Ian Woodman still fondly recalls today. The friends shared one rental house, which allowed them to reminisce about the game that afforded Ian Woodman the opportunity to win the trip. For two weeks, Ian Woodman and those close to him stayed in Orlando, visiting the different amusement parks and having a great time.

Disney World is the most visited theme park in the world. Its four theme parks include the Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Disney-MGM Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Other amusement parks in the Orlando area allow visitors like Ian Woodman to stay busy during a trip to the area. In addition to world famous Universal Studios, Universal’s Islands of Adventure is also located in the area, according to Ian Woodman. For a group of 17, a trip to Orlando is a trip of a lifetime, Ian Woodman points out.

Due to the ticket prices of Orlando’s theme parks—Disney World’s Magic Kingdom admission is currently $90 a day—Ian Woodman acknowledges that Disney World is an expensive trip for many people. Ian Woodman was glad he could provide such a great vacation to those he cared about, knowing it was a trip that many were unable to easily afford. By using his winnings to fund such a large trip, not only was Ian Woodman able to create beautiful memories for himself and his family, but he was able to share those memories with those closest to him.

A trip to Disney is a landmark event for many children, creating a childhood memory that is often cherished for life. As such, many parents, like Ian Woodman, know the value of a trip to Disney World to the younger generations. Ian Woodman explains that Disney World occupies more than 30,000 acres slightly southwest of Orlando. In addition to its theme parks, Ian Woodman says, Disney World also includes two water parks and 23 resorts on site, each with a different theme.

Yet today, Ian Woodman says he and those closest to him consider the two weeks they spent at Disney World the best vacation they ever had. That alone is enough to make Ian Woodman glad he spent his winnings to treat his loved ones.

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Incredible Discoveries on Lifetime with The SOLD System’s Bill Bronchick

Incredible Discoveries

Incredible Discoveries

The following segment aired on Incredible Discoveries on Lifetime Television. Joining Incredible Discoveries was Bill Bronchick to discuss The SOLD System

Incredible Discoveries on Lifetime Television: Best selling real estate author and attorney Bill Bronchick comes to Incredible Discoveries to show you how you can sell your home in thirty days and make more money. He shows you how to stop the financial bleeding. He teaches you how to get buyers in the door and making offers you can’t refuse. On Incredible Discoveries, Bill Bronchick unlocks the secrets that real estate agents won’t show you so you can prepare and price your property to sell it fast, not cheap!  You’ll have the expert’s expert on your side. Bill shows Incredible Discoveries viewers step by step, how to prepare your home for a quick sale, how to price it so you make more money than you thought you could, how to convince buyers it’s the only house they would ever want, and even how to close the deal quickly and hassle free.

On Incredible Discoveries, you’ll learn the first thing you always do when a buyer visits your property. Avoid the advertising mistakes most sellers make. Learn the right way to do open houses so you can do less of them and still sell your house faster and make more money.

As seen on Incredible Discoveries, the complete, easy to learn SOLD System includes: Four easy to read manuals: In Volume 1, you’ll learn Bill’s essential principles, including Staging, How to Offer Attractive Terms, How to Learn Your Market and Competition, and How to Develop a Killer Marketing Plan. In Volume 2, Bill shows you what it takes to get the deal closed and introduces you to sample forms and contracts you’ll encounter so you’ll always know what to expect. In Volume 3, Bill lists valuable resources to enhance your knowledge and keep you ahead of the real estate game. And in Volume 4, Bill explains why and how Credit is the most critical element in any and every real estate transaction you complete.

Altogether, the SOLD System is the most comprehensive, at-home, real estate training program ever developed by one of the most successful real estate authors and attorneys in the nation. People all over the country pay hundreds and thousands of dollars to hear Bill speak in his popular seminars.

Incredible Discoveries: Bill, please tell Incredible Discoveries viewers what exactly is in the system?

Bronchick: The Sold System covers everything you need to get your house sold quickly.  It covers how to prepare your home, how to get it looking beautiful so it sells quickly, how to price it right so it sells, and most importantly, how to get from contract through closing. I walk you through all the steps from A to Z, including sample legal forms, so you can get that check cashed.

Incredible Discoveries: You know, it’s interesting you mentioned the legal forms, because not only are you an extraordinarily successful real estate investor, but you are also a real estate attorney. And it’s that perspective that helps people get their house closed and sold.

Bronchick: I give a 360° complete view of if as both an investor and as an individual, so people get all the perspectives and can get their house sold and closed. We keep seeing this downward trend, hearing the doom and gloom on the news.  Yet, none of this seems to affect the Sold System. The Sold System works because it is different from what everyone else does.  Everyone is dooming and glooming.  You cannot just focus on what does not work; you have to focus on what does work, and my Sold System does work.

It’s almost a mindset that you are putting yourself in to.  Of course, you will have to do a couple of things here and there, but it is really about changing your mind.

Incredible Discoveries:  Absolutely, you have to believe that this is going to work for you and give it one hundred percent for it to work. Now, are there differences on how the system would work from one market to another?

Bronchick: The System works in every market because there are core principles that I give you that apply no matter whether you are in Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami or New York.  There are core principles you must apply to make the system work.  You can adapt the principles for your market, but you have to use the principles in my Sold System to get your house sold.

Incredible Discoveries: OK, now what if you have a house that is worth a hundred grand and somebody else has one that’s worth a million, there has got to be differences in the way you approach the sale?

Bronchick: In my Sold System, I teach people how to evaluate your home, and how to specifically price it.  It may not be the appraisal. You have to go and do your research, and in my Sold System, I show you exactly what to do to get that research to make sure your house is priced, so it sells quickly. Usually, the first offer will come in less than thirty days.

ABOUT INCREDIBLE DISCOVERIES
A division of O2 Media, Inc., Incredible Discoveries is a marketing firm unlike any other. By streamlining the creative, production and postproduction processes, Incredible Discoveries is able to quickly and efficiently create a successful campaign, even on a product still in preproduction. Incredible Discoveries utilizes not only television, but also the Internet and multimedia venues to bring attention to the intended product or service. After two decades in the industry, Incredible Discoveries has created partnerships with some of the world’s leading agencies and manufacturers, giving them a leg up over the competition.

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