You can Live Better when your Housing costs Less

Perhaps you are starting out, starting over or getting ready to downsize. Whatever you status in life, let's take a few moments to understand and benefit from a powerful truth.

You can live better when your housing costs le$$.

What do you like or want to do? Do you:

  • Like to travel?
  • Enjoy shopping?
  • Want to save money for education (for yourself or others in your household or circle)?
  • Want to enjoy your retirement more?
  • Want to support a cause, church or charity more?
  • Want a nicer vehicle?
  • Want less financial stress?

All of this and more is possible, when your housing costs are lower! Saving money on utilities, maintenance or on taxes due to the mortgage interest deduction are among the ways that a nicer, new eGreenHome can positively change your life.

Perhaps you are well to do, and can afford to live wherever you decide. It still makes sense to have a modern, greener, money saving engineered home. You can enjoy the same amenities you desire, and get that total home package for less. If you could buy a Mercedes, Lexus or a BMW for 20% less, and it is apples to apples, a successful person would do that, right? The same principle applies with your home.

Discover all that saving money on your next home without sacrificing quality can mean to you and your loved ones. See why the experts estimate that in 2012, 829,000 engineered homes will be sold world-wide. From modest to mansions, an greener engineered home may be right for you. ##

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FAQs = Frequently Asked Questions

How does an engineered home compare to conventional housing construction?

By law, a home must be built to certain construction and safety standards. While building codes vary depending on your state, county or town. Those standards have to be met or exceed by any form of residential construction. That fact applies for engineered homes as well as conventional 'site building.'

There are also homes that are built to federal pre-emptive standards, and that federal building code applies to certain engineered or factory-built homes. That federal performance based code is by law similar to other types of house construction, but tends to be greener (less waste, more energy efficient, etc.) and lower in cost due to savings in time, labor and other costs due to production line efficiency.

So-called 'site built' houses are today mostly done with components that are built in a factory. Cabinets, doors, windows, siding, bricks, roofing, floor covering, lumber, utility lines and more all a made in plants and transported to a job site. Engineered homes may be taken to a job site in pre-fabricated panels, modules or sections for more rapidly assembly and completion on location.

Engineered home building has tighter tolerances and often more structural strength than the older, typical conventional style of house building.

How popular are engineered homes?

In 2012, all forms of engineered homes are expected to total 829,000 new starts world wide. January 2012 statistics indicate that a significant part of the engineered home market in the U.S. is rising at the rate of 40% over the previous year. Some American experts believe that engineered homes will become the dominate form of new U.S. housing construction within a decade.

How do engineered homes compare to mobile homes?

By law, there have been no mobile homes built since June 14, 1976. So while engineered homes may be built in a factory, there is often very little quality or durability comparison between modern engineered homes versusthe often unregulated construction that mobile homes represented. There are no 'new' mobile homes. But you do have new engineered homes being built routinely in the U.S. and world-wide.

How do you finance an engineered home?

You typically have the same financing options as conventional house loans. There may also be special financing options available in your area not available for conventional housing.

Depending on your location, be it rural, small town, suburban or urban, financing options may include:

  • No down payment lending.
  • Low down payment lending (3.5 to 5% down, with competitive interest rates, depending on credit and other factors).
  • Conventional conforming and non-conforming mortgages and home only lending.
  • Loan programs and financing plans change, so get complete details on lending from your home consultant or your choice of lenders.

How do I see a home and learn more?

Call your local engineered home builder at one of these numbers:
Local: 618-709-4027
Toll Free: 888-525-4524

Overcoming Life’s Challenges and Difficult Times

by Tim Connor, CSP

"The one thing God is after is character."

Oswald Chambers

Sooner or later everyone regardless of age, gender, position, nationality, economic status, race or religion experiences some form of adversity or trouble. It is as much a part of life as every other circumstance you will ever experience. Life is a neutral concept. It doesn't pick on certain people and shower others with only blessings. Some people could look at others and say, "Those people are wealthy; I'll bet they have never failed or felt despair or discouragement." I have news for you.

No one is exempt from life's trials and tribulations!

Life is nothing more than the ebb and flow of circumstances and conditions. Yes, some people may seem to get more than their share of bad times while others seem to get more good times or circumstances than they deserve. But be careful not to judge.

There is one underlying theme in this short book – You can't always control what comes into your life but you can, if you choose, to always control how you respond to it or act because of it. Adversity, problems and failure, no one wants them but everyone gets them. How you choose to see them or define them will have a great deal to do with how they impact your life. If you fear failure and choose not to stretch, try, experiment or reach because of its consequences, then the fear of failure now rules your life. If you fail and learn, then you are in charge of your life and its outcomes.

I was fortunate that my parents let me fail often and hard when I was growing up. As a result I have never seen failure as final but a part of a longer life process. I learned to fail often so I could succeed sooner. One of my mentors and heroes Norman Vincent Peal always said, "Problems are good as long as you learn from them."

No one likes the sting of discouragement or despair. I've been there, many times but I can tell you that there is always learning in each of life's situations if you will only stop seeing yourself as a victim and find the lessons and learn from them.

If you are discouraged, troubled or afraid I hope you find some answers or solace in the words that follow. For the record, I wrote this booklet when I was in one of the most challenging times of my life.

Another of my mentors and heroes, Eric Butterworth always told me, "No matter what is going on or how difficult times may seem, use your pain, discouragement, loneliness and despair to get in touch with who you are, what you believe and your creative potential. Get busy."

I've been fortunate that my path through life has been guided by many people who have helped me see the light instead of the darkness, the joy rather than the sorrow and the blessings and not the sadness.

I've been told by many of my friends that I have spent far too much time in the valleys of life rather than on the mountaintops. My answer to all of these people is simple – my time in the valleys has helped weather life storms and difficult times as well as taught me not to become arrogant when I did get to view life from the top of the mountain. But more than this they helped write with compassion, humility and courage.

I don't know why you are reading this booklet. Maybe you are at the end of your rope. I call it – hanging by a thread. Maybe you know someone who is troubled or afraid and you want to help them through these difficult times. Regardless of where you are, in the valley, coming out of the valley or crashing and burning, remember that where you are is not the issue. It is what you are doing about it and how you feel about yourself in the process.

Don't ever let anyone else tell you how to live your life. We all make mistakes and the people who are often good at giving advice might do themselves a favor and take some of their own counsel.

In this booklet I'm not telling you what to do. I'm only asking you to think and if in your thinking you come up with answers, solutions or inner guidance than my effort will have been worthwhile.

"If matters go badly now, they will not always be so." Horace

To order this best selling book for only $10.00 visit – http://www.timconnor.com/book_sales

Taking the Agonize Out of Organize – Part 1 – The value of procrastination

by Catherine Frenzel

The undertaker wanted to hand my friend Jen a receipt for payment of her mom's funeral arrangement, but Jen declined to take it. She and her husband were captain and cook on a private yacht that sails the Mediterranean and the only storage space they had were the knapsacks she and her husband were wearing. Now that's traveling light – living light! – in the extreme.

Most of us with homes have storage space and wish for more. Have you ever heard anyone complain about having too much storage? Apart from renting a unit at a local self-storage facility, we make-do with what we have at home. We park the car in the driveway and fill the garage with stuff. We pack the attic and/or the basement with more stuff. And we identify with the consumer's definition of a home: a place where we store our stuff while we go out and buy more stuff.

We all want quality, affordable places to live. Affordability is the key to storage as well. Some of us have a basement, garage or attic, but some do not. Without a basement, garage or attic, we have just the space within the home. So the key to storage is organization. And the goal of organization is to have more time for fun and relaxation.

It's been said that organized people are just too lazy to have to look for things. Lazy? Well, I'd rather spend those extra minutes doing something else than opening every drawer to find where someone else – or forgetful me – put something. Having a father who served as an officer in the Army Quartermaster Corps, I was born into the consciousness of "a place for everything and everything in its place."

What are the factors involved in organization? Well, there's procrastination, in the PRE-organization department. When it comes to actual action, there's getting rid of clutter, scheduling, planning and organizing. What needs to be organized?

  • The kitchen?
  • Home office?
  • Utility room?
  • Bathroom?
  • Closets?
  • Drawers?
  • Everyday items (empty glass jars, etc.)?
  • All of the above (i.e., the whole home)?

Since you are reading this article, you are Internet savvy. Use Google, Bing or any search engine, and enter how to organize a home. Presto! 218,000,000 or more results will appear in a blink, on every conceivable nuance of this topic. But if you want to stay here and feel good about getting something done now, let's start with procrastination.

I value it. But don't we procrastinate from some level of fatigue, or lack of motivation, fear of drudgery or judging something else more important, more fun, more whatever? If so, doesn't procrastination need to be cured or stopped? Some people think so, but I'm not one of them.

I'd rather value it. Use it well. Use it to think through what it is that needs to be done. What you need to do. Because what appears in form is first a belief. And a belief is first a thought. And feeling makes it a vivid thought. So take just a few minutes now to think about one thing:

 

How would it FEEL to know where something is,
put your hand on it,
and get on with your life… or at least the task at hand?

How would it FEEL to be less frustrated or swamped

because your use of space and time is more efficient?

How would it FEEL to have your beautiful, affordable home
open and uncluttered?

How would it FEEL to have more time
to do whatever it is you love to do?

Enjoy that feeling. Imagine that feeling and feel it some more. Because that feeling is the beginning of organization and takes away the thought that organization is an agony.

Getting organized! To be continued… # #

Catherine Frenzel is a freelance writer and the associate editor for a popular online trade media resource.

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Own vs. Rent – Modern Housing Options

by L. A. "Tony" Kovach

At whatever stage of life you happen to be in, there are a variety of smart housing options available for you. You may be starting out, starting over, upsizing or downsizing. There are great opportunities available for you in modern home options today.

Most American still prefer to own a home. In fact, some 67% of Americans are home owners. While rental in the U.S. increased about 3% to some 33% of all households in the last two years, home ownership is showing signs of rebounding. There are good reasons; let's explore just a few:


· Tax breaks for home owners in the form of mortgage interest deductions
· Equity in home ownership you can't ever get from renting
· More security and privacy is available with home ownership than with rental housing

Consider the following chart to make the point;

Monthly Payment Chart

One way or another, most Americans are paying for a home. The question is: are you paying for your landlord's home, or are you paying for a home that you can someday own?

What the chart above shows you is what housing will cost you in one year (12 months), 5 years (60 months) and so on to 30 years (360 months). This chart is based on no increase in your housing cost. Of course, one of the typical occurrences for rental housing, be it apartments or rent houses, is the fact that rental rates tend to rise over the years. Homeowners can avoid much of that pain, by buying a home with a fixed rate mortgage or by owning a home outright.

In the wake of the economic and real estate down turn, many have had income drops. But Americans are still very much in favor of home ownership. Are there answers to the challenges of wanting affordable quality homes you can afford, without buying older conventional housing that may be energy hogs?

According to studies by researches, such as Cornell University’s Dr David Funk, or NAHB consultant Chuck Shinn, the new world of high tech 'factory built' homes are poised to ride a new wave into the future of American home building. A housing boom looms, these two experts predict. They also predict that growing numbers will turn to factory built homes, just as more are doing in nations such as Canada, Europe and Japan. Greener, more energy efficient and appealing, these homes have been popularized in TV and in books such as Pre-Fabulous by author Sheri Koones.

Whether you buy, rent or are investing, you will find a wide range of housing options available to you. Consider your short, middle and long term plans, and act accordingly! For more than two out of three Americans, home ownership is the path of choice vs. apartments or rental housing. # #

L. A. 'Tony' Kovach is a publisher, author and consultant to the home-building industry.

The Frugal Lifestylist Shares Inexpensive Ways to Make Over Your Home

by Suzanne Felber, Lifestylist®

I love the electronic age! Thanks to the internet and cable offering us hundreds of channels to choose from, there is no end to places we can go and get inspired on how to decorate our homes. If you have ever spent a day or a weekend walking all of the beautifully merchandised model homes in your city, you probably came home with lots of great ideas, but may not have had the budgets to be able to achieve the looks you fell in love with.

Living Room Before photo Living Room After photo
Living Room Before (above) & After (right)

As a Lifestylist®, I've been merchandising model homes for over 20 years and have worked with every type budget – from $50.00 to $500,000.00 and there are some "tricks of the trade" that I'm going to share with you here.

1. Great design doesn't have to be expensive; it just has to be well thought out. Before you start making changes, come up with a plan and a budget. I keep an "inspiration index" card for ideas that I see and want to try out – everything from paint colors, furniture styles, tabletop displays and ways to use vintage and gently worn items. I now do these in a digital format and download them to my phone so I have them with me when I'm out working on a home. Tearing ideas out of magazines and catalogs, then organizing them into file folders is another way to keep all of your inspirations on easy reach.

Home Store Designing Patriot Baton Rouge

2. Seasonalize Your Home. Changing out easy things like pillow covers and flower arrangements is an easy and inexpensive way to keep your home feeling exciting and new. Pillow forms and covers can be purchased for under $10.00, and additional cases are easy to store. By using warmer colors in the warmer months and cooler colors in the cooler months, you can make a dramatic difference that will have your guests thinking you just won the lottery! This idea can also be used in your baths by changing out towels, and in the bedroom by swapping out throws, comforters and pillows. 

 

3. Window Treatments. Natural light makes such a difference in how our homes look and feel – when is the last time you changed out your window treatments? Merchandisers use a rule of thumb that window treatments shouldn't cover more than 20% of a window. By changing out heavy drapes to some of the great panels or valances you can buy at any retailer, you can let the light shine in and update your room colors.

 

 

4. Hardware. Cabinet hardware is easy to change out – all you need is a screwdriver – and it instantly updates a kitchen inexpensively. By getting rid of those old polished brass knobs and changing them to a pretty oil rubbed bronze or pewter one with great style, you'll feel like you've got a new room. Be sure to take one of your old pulls with you when you go shopping for your new ones; there are different "spreads" available, and you want to make sure that your new ones will fit into the existing holes. Passage door knobs are a little more difficult to change out, but if you update the finish and possibly change to a lever style instead of an older tulip style, it will be easier to use and look great!

5. Color. I can't say enough about how much of a difference a gallon of paint can make in the decor of a room. Don't be afraid of color – embrace it! Many of the home stores now offer sample sizes of paint that you can bring home and paint on your walls to see how it will look in your room. Be sure to take a look at how your sample that you painted looks in different lighting situations in your room – many colors are chameleons and change drastically when you use fluorescent bulbs. It's a lot easier to decide you don't like a color before you purchase and paint an entire room.

 

6. Lighting. Changing out your existing lighting in your home is another easy way to add value and in some cases keep your utility costs down. Ceiling fans not only look great, they also keep the air moving. Pendant lighting in the kitchen can shed light on task areas and add some extra drama as well. I like using track lighting in rooms that might have only one existing light in them and tend to be dark. Changing out to a track system can help bring a light source to a dark corner or over a sink.

 

7. Dollar Stores. The abundance of dollar stores, or places like Target that have dollar sections, are my new secret source. I'm always amazed at the values to be found if you don't go crazy buying things you don't need or want. Some of my favorite finds have been hammers and pliers reduced to 25 cents, and a pair of chargers for my table that were 50 cents each.

I hope this will give you some ideas that you'll try out in your own home, and empower you to add some new life and style into your home.

All images are copyright Lisa Stewart Photography. # #

About Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber

Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber is one of those lucky people who truly loves what she does.

Her work has been seen throughout the country in various publications, show houses and model homes. She been featured on the HGTV program "Dream Builders," and her work has appeared in Home Magazine, This Old House and Home Depot's StyleIdeas magazines, and in JCPenney publications.

Felber's fresh approach to home design has been featured in successfully merchandised model homes from coast to coast. Her popular website and blog can be found at www.lifestylist.com. When not on the road helping clients, Felber calls Dallas home and is busy renovating a 1941 printing loft into her studio and living space.