The Importance of Regular Home Improvement

Home improvement, by definition, is making changes to one’s home by making improvements on the house’s looks. Home improvement is usually done by professional contractors, handymen, and even the house owner himself. Home improvement is important because real estate’s value appreciates more if a property is well-maintained. Home improvement is seen by many as unnecessary cost. However, losing value of a real estate is usually caused by neglect in a property’s maintenance. Therefore, in the long run, regular maintenance is crucial for the property’s value to appreciate.

Regular home improvement jobs and renovations will surely make your current living conditions more favorable. People do not easily notice that some areas of the house need improvement. In the long run, regular maintenance will reduce the serious structural damages to your property. It is also important to note that there are different maintenance schedules for different areas of your house. For instance, plumbing should be checked monthly. Ovens, heating systems, smoke detectors, and the like should also be checked monthly to prevent unfortunate disasters. The garden area should be maintained regularly and should undergo rigorous maintenance every four months. This is to prevent insects and termites infestation which can cause significant damage in infrastructure. The landscape of a house should also be in good appearance to help preserve your property’s value. Refrigerators should be checked every three to four months. Check for faulty or loose wiring and avoid energy overload. The roof, on the other hand, should be checked at least every six months. Check for shingles and leaks and take care of them right away. Watch out for blocked gutters as this can lead rainwater to go inside your house. If your house is made mainly of wood, have a regular termite exterminator team visit your house.

Aside from these standard areas in the house that need improvement, remodeling or renovating is also a good idea. It can also add value to real estate. Remodeling can be as simple as changing the paint color in your living room or laying a different color of carpet in your bedroom. Something this simple can make significant changes in your house’s ambience. Renovating can be as major as tearing down the common wall of two rooms to make them one big room. Tearing down walls creates a bigger space which can be used for many purposes. Additional extensions can also be done. Additional space that can be used as garage space is useful. Home improvement tasks that require massive construction should be done by professional contractors. Make a list on what you want changed inside your homes and consult with a team of contractors. This way, you will have an idea on the costs that will be incurred as well as the extent of the repairs and improvements you can do.

Home improvement is important because essentially, it is considered taking care of your home. Aside from the additional value it gives your property, preventive maintenance and remodeling is always good to decrease future damages in your property.

Accent Furniture or Occasional Furniture – The Difference

What is the difference between accent furniture and occasional furniture? Many people are unsure of this, but does it really matter and what makes an item ‘occasional’ or ‘accent?’ the terms are not truly definable, but can be explained by offering examples or by describing the function of each – so both ways are used here so that you can understand the relative terms when you hear them used.

Accent or Occasional Furniture – Does It Matter?

Does terminology really matter? Generally no, but it can do if people use the term to you in conversation or even when you are looking for new furniture for your home. However, in general terms it does not matter at all whether your table is described as an accent table or an occasional table.

In some cases occasional and accent furniture can be the same – but to say that, the definition of these terms must first be agreed. The term ‘accent’ should be easy to understand – just like an accent in language, furniture of this type should emphasize a certain style, such as a statue of the jackal-headed god Anubis in an Egyptian-themed room – a home accent need not be furniture!

Examples of Occasional Furniture

Coffee tables and end tables are examples of occasional furniture. There are alternative definitions for this type of furniture, the two most common being furniture that is used ‘on an occasion,’ and furniture that is used only ‘occasionally.’

Each of these definitions is so broad, that they could practically be said to be fundamentally the same. The former definition would include coffee tables, used on the occasion of drinking coffee – or any other beverage or drink. It would also include all furniture used in a lounge used only when visitors arrive, or even in a spare guest room. Definitions are a poor way to describe furniture.

The second definition used ‘occasionally’ would refer to exactly the same furniture, but also include rockers, particularly the old-style hickory rockers that you might use occasionally when in the mood. You might occasionally use an ottoman to sit on if all the family arrived to visit. Quite frankly, definitions are needless when people know what occasional furniture is.

It is not a sofa or armchair, and is not a dining table or a bed. Fundamentally, occasional furniture comprises the minor pieces that support the principal items of furniture in a room. The tables mentioned above are two examples, as are other functional pieces such as the lift chair that is used only when an elderly relative visits or chest, nightstands and ottomans that are occasionally in use.

Examples of Accent Furniture

Often referred to as ‘accent pieces,’ accent furniture is used to add character to a room or to emphasize a theme – such as the Anubis statue mentioned earlier. A chess table used for decoration is accent furniture, as is a decorative small round table holding a vase of flowers or a reed diffuser. An accent piece is generally smaller in size than the main furniture in a room, and often has little practical use other than a decorative one.

A small table in an entrance hall is accent furniture, along with a chest in a hallway and a large free standing globe in a home office. It sets a theme or a mood, emphasizes a trend or even complements the purpose of a room such as an ornate oriental footstool in a living room.

These are definitions of accent furniture and occasional furniture in the eyes of many people, but if you asked any individual for their own definition they would either be unable to answer or would likely offer a different one.

You can use accent furniture to complement the decorative style of a room, and this type of home furniture is most commonly found in living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and hallways. It is rare in a kitchen, since most kitchen furniture is functional, and even rarer in bathrooms although large bathrooms can be enhanced by accent furniture in the form of free standing toiletry racks or carousels for lotions and decoratively colored bath salts.

Much occasional furniture is completely functional and used regularly, such as ottomans used with recliners and coffee tables that are in daily use. The terms are given, not to define the pieces, but to establish a compartment that separates such smaller items from the larger forms of furniture common to specific types of room such as the jewelry cabinet from the dresser and the end table from the sofa.

How you define the respective terms of occasional furniture and accent furniture is your choice – there is no rule, and in this case definitions do not really matter.

Living in the Philippines – Best "Passive" Businesses to Start

For those OFW’s and foreigners wishing to start a business, but not wishing to involve themselves with the stress of a business involving day-to-day operations, employees, landlords, inventory, and so forth, there are several available opportunities for foreigners living in the Philippines. Buy fixer upper properties, improve them, then rent or sell them.

1. Buy Fixer Upper Properties, Improve Them, Then Rent or Sell Them. This is a great business for those of you who have experience in your home country in buying, fixing up and renting or selling properties. Over the past 10 years, a lot of people got involved in this kind of business in their homeland.

With the overall economic problems in the world the past couple of years, the Philippines has not been immune, and there are a lot of properties in a state of disrepair, as well as lot of distressed and foreclosed properties.

2. Build An Apartelle. An Apartelle is an apartment building where all but one of the units are rented out long term, and you are left to operate on a nightly or weekly basis, like a hotel – hence the combined name of apartelle. These are common in the Philippines.

This business will require a heavier capital investment, yet with the right property and by focusing in the more rural areas or smaller cities, you can construct a small 4 unit apartment building for Peso 3,000,000 – not counting cost of the land.

You would want to rent out 3 units on a long term rental basis, and keep one for short term rentals – for the many traveling salesmen that frequent the countryside. They like booking into such short term apartelle units rather than the much more expensive hotels in the area.

3. Condotels. I have not given this business my “thumbs up” in all instances. Condotels have been heavily touted and promoted the past several years and there have been many, many new condominiums built in Manila, and now even in Cebu and starting in Davao.

The problem is that although the developers offer great down payment terms (usually around 30% down financed over 3 years) and in some cases carry back the mortgage and finance for perhaps 10 years, the interest rates are incredibly high, and the split of rentals with the management team runs around 50%/50%. There is also always a nominal monthly maintenance fee.

What looks like “cheap” entry point and cash flow out each month, in many cases simply becomes a bet on long term property appreciation – finding someone willing to pay you more for it than you paid for it.

This is because with all the inventory on hand, there is a surplus of condos which have been into hotel type rental pools, but not enough visitors to rent them all.

Consequently, what an investor thought would be a good positive cash cow, turns out to be a continuous negative cash flow – not what a new retiree to the Philippines is looking for to supplement his pension or annuity! This type investment will only drain you pension.

However, having written all this, I HAVE FOUND the past several month two exceptional condotel investments which DO meet my criteria of creating good ongoing rental income.

4. Farming. The likely cessation of the Agrarian Land Reform Program (CARP) will give the rural sector renewed confidence to invest in agricultural production capacity. CARP has held back investment in both production capacity as well as farm acquisition. An end to CARP will mean higher land prices since land will be valued for its higher income producing potential.

However, higher land prices are simply a “serendipity”, an added value, to the type of farming business I am writing about. I have found an extremely unique business opportunity, which will generate a great ROI (return on investment) and is completely passive. It has been structured by the developers (all foreigners) to be a one turnkey investment price. The price includes cost of the land, plus all

Clearing, planting, cultivation and harvesting for the first 5 years.

The business has been priced to fit the capital investment budget of the average foreigner retiree, and all landowners will be members of a cooperative which will share the farming equipment (tractors, equipment shed, and others). The farm will be “farmed” by the developer’s management team

The hottest trend now is in organic farming, and yet it is only in its infancy stage in the Philippines. There is one export product in particular which has caught my attention – the pili nut. The Philippines is the ONLY country with which produces and processes this nut in commercial quantity.

The current status of the pili is equivalent to that of the macadamia some 30 years ago. It has huge potential to develop into a major industry. They are in demand not only in Hong Kong and Taiwan but also in Singapore, Korea and Austria.

How Do Hemorrhoids Affect Your Overall Health?

Most people are too embarrassed to tell their doctors about their hemorrhoids. Also called piles, hemorrhoids are masses that accumulate around the rectum. Due to straining or pressure, veins protrude from thin membranes, forming pouches. These can be so painful and irritating that even normal tasks can become stressful ordeals. What is the impact of hemorrhoids to your overall health?

Internal hemorrhoids are those formed inside the rectum, and sometimes extend outside the anus when dilated. External hemorrhoids are lumps that can be seen by the naked eye. Digital rectal exams (DRE) administered by doctors can detect lumps that aren’t visible, but a common symptom of hemorrhoids involve streaks of blood in the stool or toilet paper.

Hemorrhoids can be hereditary in nature. If you have family members with the same problem, then yours is probably genetic. Frequent diarrhea and constipation can increase pressure on the main vein leading to your lower extremities. Straining can impede normal circulation in the body, which weakens the walls of the veins, forming hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids, both internal and external, are painful. Prolonged standing and sitting can cause irritation, pain and even inflammation in the affected areas. It is uncomfortable and can distract from work. Worse, there are instances when hemorrhoids can really take a toll on your health.

There are times where a blood clot may form and cause severe pain in the area. This condition requires immediate intervention. Since hemorrhoids can bleed, anemia may also be a problem. Bowel movements, and scratching can lead to severe blood loss in some cases. Untreated anemia will result in fatigue, poor nutrition and body weakness – all of which can get in the way of your work even further.

As stated before, hemorrhoids can also protrude outside the body. When this happens, there’s a tendency that blood supply may be cut off. This condition is called strangulated hemorrhoids, which can lead to tissue death. Infection is the primary concern when this happens.

Hemorrhoids require immediate medical intervention. Topical creams/ointments and painkillers may be prescribed to numb the pain. Your doctor may also suggest soaking the affected area in warm water to relax the area and prevent irritation.

Most hemorrhoids are mild in nature, and sometimes go away on their own. But if you don’t pay close attention, they may lead to complications. Always keep in mind that prevention is better than cure, so keep moving, get some exercise, and eat only the right stuff.