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August 26, 2022

Leicestershire joinery and fit-out company posts record revenues

One of the UK’s leading joinery and interior fit-out contractors, which has posted the highest annual revenues in its history, has £60 million of secured work for the new financial year. Leicester-based EE Smith Contracts, which is celebrating its 125th birthday this year, has recorded a turnover of £61.5 million

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When Is Refinancing A Mortgage Worth It? A Complete Guide

A mortgage is a loan specifically meant for property development or purchase. Refinancing a mortgage means paying off a loan and replacing it with a new one.  The decision to refinance your mortgage will depend on many factors, including the loan duration, prevailing interest rates, the loan estimate, how long

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PROTECTING CONSTRUCTION WORKERS FROM SILICA DUST

Silica is found in construction materials – Natural stone, sandstone, bricks, clay, and concrete products. It is even found in some plastics as silica is used as a filter during the production process. What is silica? Silica is a natural compound and has multiple uses in the construction industry. However,

Read More »

7 Ways to Save Money While Self-Employed

Are you saving enough money? Much has been made of the fact that nearly 70% of Americans have less than $1,000 stashed in their bank accounts. The same principle applies to entrepreneurs running their businesses. The self-employed commonly find themselves on edge financially. Follow these tips for saving money while

Read More »

6 Cost- Effective Driveway Remodeling Tips

A driveway is probably one of the things that few people think about when considering the costs of owning their own home. Yet, approximately two-thirds of people in the U.S. own their own homes, and while it is still considered to be the American dream, many people also recognize that

Read More »

Step by Step Guide for Buying a New House      

Buying a property is a significant milestone, and most people who are buying a home for the first time don’t know what to anticipate. The process is sometimes as scary as it is thrilling. High asking prices and increasing interest rates make buying a new house more of a gamble

Read More »

The 3 Most Impressive Casino Buildings in The World

You can encounter impressive architecture where you least expect. Usually, city centers boast beautiful buildings with rich and complex histories, and the greatest architects such as Antoni Gaudi and Frank Lloyd Wright, are behind these human-made wonders. Within these astonishing structures, you might even find land-based casinos. Nowadays, despite the

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

August 26, 2022

Building set to be replaced as planning permission is granted for new student flats

Planning permission for new, 10-storey student accommodation on Talbot Street, Nottingham was granted on the 24th June 2022. The scheme, which will house 318 student beds, will replace the former Domestic and General office building located on the site. East Midlands-based engineering consultancy Howard Ward Associates (HWA) has been appointed as civil and structural engineer on the development through repeat work with long established clients, McLaren Property. From its head office in Nottingham, HWA delivers construction engineering consultancy services across a range of sectors, including education, healthcare, emergency services, commercial and residential throughout the country. HWA has given pre purchase advice on engineering site constraints such as contamination, site levels and services. To support the planning application HWA provided a contamination preliminary risk assessment, transport assessment and travel plan, flood risk and SuDS strategy alongside civil and structural engineering design. The project provides an opportunity to regenerate an inner-city site in an area which is closely linked to Nottingham Trent University. Over the last five years, Wollaton Street, adjacent to Talbot Street, has been extensively redeveloped, providing areas which resemble an extension of the university campus. The purpose-built student accommodation provides social benefit by relieving pressure on community housing. Dan Bailey, managing director at HWA, said: “We are delighted to be working on the Talbot Street development following planning approval – refurbishing the former Domestic and General building into quality student accommodation for an area closely linked to Nottingham Trent University. “The site presents great opportunity to give a worthwhile contribution to the ongoing regeneration efforts in the inner city. We have been involved providing pre purchase due diligence on engineering matters and support through the planning phase for this student resi with McLaren Property, along with planning consultants Savills who navigated gaining the permission.” HWA will be working alongside Leonard Design, Chord Consult, Pulse Consult, and Evolve in the following phases, with the project programmed to complete for occupation in the 2025 academic year.

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Leicestershire joinery and fit-out company posts record revenues

One of the UK’s leading joinery and interior fit-out contractors, which has posted the highest annual revenues in its history, has £60 million of secured work for the new financial year. Leicester-based EE Smith Contracts, which is celebrating its 125th birthday this year, has recorded a turnover of £61.5 million for the year to March 31, 2022. This record-breaking activity has been secured partly by working on multiple prestigious developments including the luxurious The Peninsula London hotel overlooking Hyde Park Corner and the completion of 15 super-prime apartments in Knightsbridge in London. Profits have bounced back strongly following Covid-19 and are forecast to exceed pre-pandemic levels for the year ahead. EE Smith Contracts enters the new financial year with £60 million of secured work, with significant flagship opportunities for the months ahead. The business, which employs 285 staff, has reduced carbon emissions by over 20 per cent in the last year despite the growth in activity at its sites in Leicester and London by investing in a new £125,000 extraction system. There is also continued growth in long-established apprenticeship programmes, with 35 new apprenticeships having been recruited since the outbreak of Covid-19. Neil Simpson, Finance Director at EE Smith Contracts, said the company has enjoyed record-breaking liquidity through the year, giving it a secure platform for the coming years. He said: “The annual results to March 2022 have delivered the highest annual revenue in the company’s history which is due to the hard work and unwavering commitment of our staff. “We are in advanced discussions regarding a few contracts in the high-end residential and hotel markets which remain stable despite a challenging economic backdrop. “All this is the best possible way for the business to celebrate its 125-year history which is a history built on employee training and development and investment in cutting-edge technology, and delivering best-in-class craftsmanship. “EE Smith Contracts has a long history of training youngsters and a significant number of our current employees are former apprenticeships who have stayed with us because it is a family environment. “We have established great links with London colleges and have 30 apprentices on our sites in London who are learning from among the finest craftspeople in the country. The London labour market is very dynamic and we’re building the EE Smith Contracts family environment on those sites as well to retain our apprentices and provide a pathway for their career. “Further reductions are forecast in our carbon emissions following significant investment in carbon saving technology in the last six months because this is an area which is really important to us. “Overall, after evaluating the cost of the pandemic, which we estimate cost the business £3.8 million, to reach a stage where profits are now healthier than pre-Covid is testament to the high standard of our work and the high calibre of our staff.”

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Prestwick educational campus officially handed over to South Ayrshire Council

hub South West Scotland has handed over the new Prestwick Educational Campus project to South Ayrshire Council. Based at Sherwood Road in Prestwick, the new educational campus has been developed on the site of the existing Glenburn Primary School and will accommodate the school’s current intake, as well as the relocation of the nearby St Ninian’s Primary School and the creation of a new Early year’s centre and nursery As the Authority’s development partner, hub South West Scotland (hub SW) managed the development and delivery of the project and worked closely with construction partner Morgan Sindall, architect BDP, independent tester Capita and principal designer and cost consultant Gardiner and Theobald. South Ayrshire Council formally announced the project in May 2019 with work beginning on site in early 2020. The new campus consists of 22 classrooms and multi purpose rooms spread over two storeys, with an Early Years centre and nursery facilities for children aged two to five.  Incorporating leading sustainable methods into the project was key with the new campus running purely on electric power thanks to the installation of roof solar panels and air source heat pumps for heating.  In addition to a state-of-the-art sports hall, the new Prestwick Educational Campus will feature outstanding outdoor sporting amenities, including an all-weather pitch. A new allotment garden, willow garden and sensory garden will offer students and children from the surrounding community the opportunity to learn about local nature.  Councillor Stephen Ferry, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Education said: “We’re committed to providing children and young people with the best possible start in life, and I’m delighted that pupils can now set foot into their brand new school after what I’m sure felt like a long wait for them.   “Prestwick Educational Campus will provide a modern and engaging environment for learning and will ensure pupils can thrive throughout their years at school. We’re continuing to transform learning in South Ayrshire with our school build programme, and I know that both schools will benefit from the shared provision.   “I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone involved in making this project a huge success, and wish all of the children, teachers and school staff good luck for the year ahead.” Michael Ross, Chief Executive of hub South West Scotland, said: “We are incredibly proud to have led the delivery of this project for South Ayrshire Council, delivering the project early – enabling the full school to decant before the end of the summer holidays – on budget, and to the highest quality standards.  “This is the 14th project we have successfully delivered for South Ayrshire Council. It is this long-standing relationship that has enabled us a platform to invest in ongoing initiatives, continuous improvement and processes to support our joint agenda for excellence in project delivery which has been demonstrated and proven here.  “This platform allows us to implement our unique Build Ayrshire events that upskill SMEs, facilitate our hub clubs that create a network of connected Ayrshire businesses and also reinforces our partnership with Ayrshire College where we support curriculum activities. “This project was a real team effort. A huge well done goes out to all parties involved, the local supply chain and our construction partner Morgan Sindall.” Stuart Parker, managing director of Morgan Sindall Construction’s Scotland region, said: “It’s an honour to deliver this state-of-the-art educational campus to the local community. “Our aim was to create an inspiring space where students can socialise, learn and flourish in an environment that feels special to them – we can’t wait for everyone to enjoy it. “This campus is yet another example of working collaboratively with our partners to create special places that have a positive impact, so a huge thank you to all involved.” Lindsey Mitchell, Architect Director, BDP Glasgow Studio, said: “I’m thrilled that pupils will be starting their first day at nursery or school at the new Prestwick Campus. We received such positive engagement and involvement with the pupils, parents, staff and the wider Prestwick community and I hope the buildings and open spaces we have created reflect their needs and views.   “The design celebrates the identity of both of the primary schools and the shared space will help bring together each of the school communities.    “We aimed to create something authentic for the community that will be inclusive, welcoming and provide a platform for contemporary learning and teaching. The buildings present a positive, community facing frontage that will provide a strong sense of arrival to all pupils, staff and visitors regardless of whether they are using the facilities, teaching or learning at the campus.”  The outputs delivered as part of the Prestwick Educational Campus project are not limited to the built environment. hub South West Scotland tenders and awards projects to help drive job creation and investment in the local Ayrshire SME base.   As a collective team we facilitated 14 apprenticeships filled by local young people. As part of the work experience programme, attendees supported the groundworks team with setting out, kerbing, landscaping and joinery. They were also given the opportunity to observe key milestone activity on site including cement pours and completion of steel work.  hub SW tendered the project competitively to maximise local economic output which saw two jobs created and also saw a graduate quantity surveyor and graduate QHSE manager hired to work on the project. hub SW has held multiple workshops with local SMEs and ensured that 80% of packages were tendered by territory supply chain.  This project has awarded £9m of works packages to subcontractors within the hub SW territory, included within that is £3.7m of spend with subcontractors in Ayrshire and £3m of that with South Ayrshire Council based businesses.

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When Is Refinancing A Mortgage Worth It? A Complete Guide

A mortgage is a loan specifically meant for property development or purchase. Refinancing a mortgage means paying off a loan and replacing it with a new one.  The decision to refinance your mortgage will depend on many factors, including the loan duration, prevailing interest rates, the loan estimate, how long you plan to live in the property, e.t.c. It is difficult to know whether refinancing a mortgage is a good idea as it will ultimately come down to the reasons for financing.  The following are situations when refinancing a mortgage might be worth it: To Secure A Lower Interest Rate An excellent reason to refinance a mortgage is to get a lower interest rate, which is a good idea when you consider you will be paying the loan for decades. You should particularly refinance your mortgage when market interest rates drop after an announcement by the Federal Reserve. Most experts say you should refinance your mortgage if you can reduce it by 2%.  You should hence understand your APR and visit loandepot.com for the best mortgage rates. It helps to have an excellent credit score when refinancing your mortgage to get the best interest rates. Reducing your interest rate will not only save you money but will increase the rate of equity buildup in your property. To Consolidate Debt Many people are drowning in debt and will refinance their mortgage to consolidate their debt. Debt consolidation is one of the main strategies to reduce your debts. Though it does not erase your debts, it makes it easier for you to pay them.  Replacing high-interest debt with a low-interest mortgage is a good idea and reduces the amount you have to pay. However, it requires financial responsibility, and you should only do it if you are sure you will not spend the money once the refinancing frees you from debt. To Access Your Home’s Equity Homeowners will often access the equity in their homes to cover significant expenses like paying for life insurance, college education, or renovating their homes. They will justify the additional debt, for example, to remodel as it will increase the property’s value. The interest on the new loan may also be lower than the interest on the previous mortgage, which helps save money.  Cash refinancing is especially popular among modern homeowners. You can access your home’s equity through a cash-out refinance if you will have at least 20% equity after completing the transaction. Cash refinancing rates are often higher than rate-and-term refinance rates, but it is still one of the cheapest ways to borrow money. To Shorten The Loan’s Term When interest rates drop, you can refinance your mortgage, not to get lower interest rates but to shorten the loan’s duration.  Even though the interest rate and monthly payments might rise, for example, when refinancing a 20-year mortgage to a 10-year mortgage, you will pay less interest over time. The amount you save on a shorter loan term due to fewer interest payments will be particularly beneficial if you do not include the mortgage interest deduction on your tax return. To Change An Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM) to A Fixed-Rate Mortgage (FRM) ARMs typically offer lower interest rates than FRMs in the beginning. However, with time as interest rates rise, a fixed-rate mortgage may become more appealing than an adjustable-rate mortgage. You can refinance your mortgage to take advantage of the lower interest rates in the FRM. Conversely, if prevailing interest rates fall, you can switch from an FRM to an ARM to take advantage of the opportunity by refinancing your mortgage.  Refinancing your mortgage is worth it if it shortens the duration of your loan, gives you a lower interest rate, helps consolidate your debt, builds up your home equity, and reduces your monthly payments. However, it would be best if you were financially prudent when refinancing your mortgage. Otherwise, you will be in a worse financial situation than before the refinancing.

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PROTECTING CONSTRUCTION WORKERS FROM SILICA DUST

Silica is found in construction materials – Natural stone, sandstone, bricks, clay, and concrete products. It is even found in some plastics as silica is used as a filter during the production process. What is silica? Silica is a natural compound and has multiple uses in the construction industry. However, exposure to fine silica particles vary between distinct types of materials with fine dust remaining in the air from many different working activities. For example: Quarrying and stone processing – Rock drilling, blasting, breaking, crushing, and screening Stone production (particularly on sandstones as they are made-up of around 70% silica) into architectural masonry, cladding, traditional masonry blocks, and natural walling stone Refractory production, cutting, polishing, and finishing products Concrete product and manufacturing and production    Demolition processes where encountering concrete, natural stone, brick, mortar, plaster, roofing products are prevalent Be informed about the effects of breathing silica dust. Workers do not have to get sick when working with materials containing silica. Silica related illnesses are 100% preventable.  The simplest steps to prevent exposer while working around construction products include: Using the correct responsive respiratory protective equipment Wear a face mask, and protective clothing Use blasting cabinets and proper ventilation Use wet production methods when cutting, or grinding products Limit the time you work in duty production environments      Follow good personal hygiene rules – Do not eat or drink in dusty work-related areas Always Shower and change clothes after work to prevent taking dust particles home So, know the hazards and take precautions to avoid exposure.      Remember, continued exposure can lead to developing health complications including, silicosis a long-team lung disease caused by inhaling fine crystalline silica dust over many years.   It is the responsibility of employers to provide a safe working environment for all employees. If you find yourself in a workplace or working on construction sites where you are working around products that are known to contain crystalline silica there are health and safety training programmes that you can sign-up to.   Essential Site Skills offer extensive workplace health & safety training courses including our popular Face Fit Train the Tester course that provide those who are required to wear responsive respiratory protective equipment, the knowledge of how to conduct face fit testing using Qualitative method. If you are responsible for health and safety within your organisation, then it is essential that face fit testing is conducted correctly, and documented evidence is recorded. All ESS face fit testing and train the tester courses are delivered by our Fit2Fit accredited tutors.  If you want to know more about our Face fit and related Health and Safety courses including: Asbestos Awareness UKATA Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Risk Assessment Training Non-Licensable work with Asbestos (UKATA) Go to https://essentialsiteskills.co.uk/category/face-fit-testing You canbook direct online, or you can contact one of our expert training advisors direct: 0115 8970 529 they will assist you find an alternative training location or date or create bespoke training for your organisation.  We are one of the best providers of health and safety training courses in the UK. All our upcoming public courses can be viewed by month and year online https://essentialsiteskills.co.uk/training-calendar  We can deliver in-house accredited training courses right at your premises, anywhere in the UK. For more specific requirements, we are also happy to customise existing courses to meet your objectives. Call 01158 970 529 and talk to a member of our team.  essentialsiteskills.co.uk

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7 Ways to Save Money While Self-Employed

Are you saving enough money? Much has been made of the fact that nearly 70% of Americans have less than $1,000 stashed in their bank accounts. The same principle applies to entrepreneurs running their businesses. The self-employed commonly find themselves on edge financially. Follow these tips for saving money while you’re self-employed. Most of these tips can be applied to your personal and business finances. The first step to saving money while self-employed is to know where you stand in the first place. Everyone should have both a household and business budget. A budget is simple enough to create. You list your monthly outgoings to get a benchmark for how much you need to survive every month. Add your monthly income to determine whether you’re in the red or the black. Your budget shows you whether you are earning enough or spending too much. It demonstrates whether you need to make spending cuts and where you need to make them. Refer back and update your budget at least once per month. You’re likely paying hundreds of dollars every month for your insurance. Everything from liability policies to health insurance will come with monthly premiums you have to pay. The self-employed also need to think about their business insurance policies, such as malpractice and self-employed insurance. Everyone needs sufficient insurance coverage to protect themselves and their assets if something goes wrong. There’s little benefit to being loyal to one insurance company over another in most cases. Get into the habit of shopping around and comparing annually. Many insurers will even price match if you find the same policy at a lower price with one of their competitors. Anything can happen at home or in business. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to dig into your retirement or investment fund if something goes wrong. A downturn in business or an unexpected medical expense could cause serious problems. Your initial focus should be to build up an emergency fund for your household and your business. Most experts recommend maintaining a minimum of six months in expenses to keep everything running if you lose the bulk of your come. If you’re ambitious, you should aim for twelve months. If this seems unrealistic, it might be worth looking at side hustles you can do to help you build that post. Look at your skills and how you can apply, search online for money-making opportunities such as looking to sell feet pictures or other photography, or take up a delivery job, for example. This will help you boost your emergency fund or give you extra cash to live on. Technology has allowed us all to automate much of our daily lives. Why pay for a coworking space when you can simply use video conferencing software to collaborate instead? Why pay for an office space filled with filing cabinets and watercoolers when you can function just as well in a home office, which you can also take a tax deduction on? There are so many ways in which technology can cut your costs in every aspect of life. With so much competition among tech providers, you might be surprised at how much money you can save by further digitizing your life. How many times have you let a premium newsletter subscription keep running when you don’t make use of it? Cutting those big expenses is easy because they take a big chunk out of your budget every month. Yet smaller expenses open you up to being constantly nickel-and-dimed. If you’ve got subscriptions to three different streaming services, think about which one you really need and cut the rest. Track every transaction at home and in business. Review whether that expense was really necessary and cut what you don’t need. If you want some help with your current finances, then Swissmoney are a great option. Tax credits and deductions are there to support hard-working Americans in business and at home. These tax credits can add up to thousands of dollars in tax savings every year. It has meant that 57% of Americans paid no federal income tax in 2021. Unfortunately, millions of Americans are also paying more than they should in taxes because they’re failing to claim the credits and deductions they’re eligible for on their taxes. Hire a tax accountant to manage your tax affairs rather than attempting to file yourself. Not only will they be able to figure out what you can claim, but they will also ensure you remain tax compliant at all times. On a side note, you may also want to consider filing quarterly taxes to reduce the one-time burden come tax filing season. Like when you create a budget, you should also be planning for retirement. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because you’re young, this is a problem for later. Approximately one in four Americans have saved nothing for their retirement. Your nest egg includes everything from money in a savings account to a Roth IRA or SEP. Make sure you consult an investment advisor to support you in planning your retirement. But how much should you have saved for your retirement? Firstly, Social Security will only replace roughly 40% of your pre-retirement income, so you have a lot more to cover. Aim for the following guidelines when saving for retirement. Here’s what you should have saved: Obviously, the more you can save, the better. Remember, the sooner you start saving, the less lost ground you’ll have to make up. If you leave it until later, your monthly contributions will need to be much higher to make up for lost time. Conclusion Saving is a matter of slashing your expenses and committing to saving more of your income. Shopping around, streamlining your operations, and being smart with your taxes will all contribute toward putting more money in the bank. Go out of your way to keep accurate documentation and hire a professional to handle everything. By being attentive to your finances, you’ll be able to confront any financial scenario. What are

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6 Cost- Effective Driveway Remodeling Tips

A driveway is probably one of the things that few people think about when considering the costs of owning their own home. Yet, approximately two-thirds of people in the U.S. own their own homes, and while it is still considered to be the American dream, many people also recognize that it is a huge responsibility and know that there are a lot of hidden costs. The good news is that there are some cost-effective ways to remodel your driveway. The average driveway costs about $4,500 to build, and the price per square foot ranges between $2 and $15 for materials and labor.  Obviously, the greatest factor in determining the cost is the size. Still, you also need to consider the type of materials, labor cost, driveway design, site prep work, permits, and miscellaneous items like culverts. First, we’ll take a look at the different types of driveways. Then, we will focus on six cost-effective driveway remodeling tips. Types of Driveways There are several types of driveways with various costs per square foot. The following types are the most common. ·         Gravel driveways cost about $1 to $2 per square foot, making them considerably less expensive than other options, but they aren’t allowed in some cities. In addition, they last about 100 years with very little maintenance. ·         Chip seal driveways cost about $5 to $10 per square foot and are popular with homeowners who want to look like asphalt without the expense. This is also called tar and chip and will last about ten years. ·         Asphalt driveways cost about $7 to $13 per square foot and last about half as long as concrete but will handle temperature extremes better. ·         Concrete driveways cost about $8-$18 per square foot and are the most popular and require very little maintenance. In addition, they can last up to about 40 years. ·         Paver driveways cost about $10 to $50 per square foot because of the amount of labor needed to install them. Cost-Effective and Durable Concrete Driveways You can get a simple paved concrete driveway that will look good and last for several decades. However, you might also want to choose something a little fancier when you go with concrete because all concrete driveways tend to look the same after a while. Concrete is a versatile building material, and if you feel inspired, you have many options for creativity with concrete. 1. Colored concrete One option to make your plain concrete driveway stand out is to stain it a different color. This can be done by adding the color into the concrete mix, giving you an integral color that permeates through the entire concrete, or it can be achieved by adding stone dust to the top of the concrete, which colors just the top layer. If you already have a concrete driveway, you can have it stained and sealed at a fraction of the cost of installing a new driveway. 2. Concrete tiles Concrete tiles are poured, cured, and then laid in place. They can be stained in a variety of colors and sealed. The results are quite unique and elegant. 3. Designs in concrete You can also choose to break up the monotony of a plain concrete driveway with some designs using inlaid stone. Stenciled concrete is another method used to create designs that look like paved tiles. This is done after the concrete sets but before it completely hardens. Concrete is the best option if you are looking for a durable product at a good price. Because it is such a versatile product, you can achieve almost any desired result. K. Graber Construction is a concrete contractor in Howard County, IN, with over 30 years of experience providing quality concrete work for driveways. If you want to remodel your concrete driveway, getting help from an experienced professional can save you thousands of dollars. Getting Creative with Cheap Materials If concrete is outside of your budget and you don’t have to meet the requirements of an HOA, you might be able to use some cheaper materials. Depending on how long your driveway is and what the requirements are in your locality, you can get creative with some cheaper driveways made out of alternative materials. 4. Recycled Crushed Concrete Old concrete is sometimes recycled into crushed road aggregate. It can be inexpensive to get a gravel-type road because it usually costs about half as much as gravel, and it has a similar look. With pavers or concrete edging, you can achieve an elegant look that will compliment your landscaping and house and stay well within your budget. 5. Asphalt Topped with Pebbles Another idea is to top an asphalt driveway with a pretty pebble aggregate. Again, using edging or a line of pavers, you can make it look very elegant. You might also be able to find pebble aggregate in a color that compliments your home’s exterior. 6. Wood Chips A few cheap materials are not ideal but are certainly better than nothing. One idea is to use wood chips, especially if you live in a rural area. Sometimes, wood chips can even be obtained for nothing but the cost of hauling. If you are willing to do the labor of spreading them, you can get a cheap driveway for next to nothing. Remember that many HOAs may not let you use wood chips on your driveway.

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Step by Step Guide for Buying a New House      

Buying a property is a significant milestone, and most people who are buying a home for the first time don’t know what to anticipate. The process is sometimes as scary as it is thrilling. High asking prices and increasing interest rates make buying a new house more of a gamble than ever, but here is your help guide. As per the reports of the first half of 2022, the median home price in the United States was $428,700. From 2020 to 2022, home prices in the United States rose by 30 percent. 1. Check Your Credit Report Examining your credit record is the first step to buying your new home. Your credit score determines how likely you are to be approved for a loan, the sort of loan you may be offered, and the interest rate you may be charged on that loan. It’s natural to question what sort of credit score is required to close on a house purchase. It’s crucial to check your credit report to see which sorts of mortgage loans you might be eligible for (Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, and Jumbo). 2. See How Much You Can Afford After you’ve reviewed your credit report, the next stage in the buying process is to set your budget. Online mortgage calculators are the quickest method to get a feel of your budget. A mortgage calculator will help estimate your mortgage payment, including the principal and interest, taxes, insurance, HOA, and PMI. A home affordability calculator can help you determine your maximum mortgage payment. Another essential item to include in your budget is closing charges, typically 2%-5% of the purchase price. 3. Get Approved in Advance You will want to secure a mortgage pre-approval when investigating how to buy a house. Getting pre-approved commences the mortgage process with a lender and helps you understand how much you can borrow. It also allows you to make a quick decision when you’re ready to make an offer. Instead of going with the first mortgage lender you find or even your present bank, it’s in your best interest to compare rates from several different lenders. Finding the best mortgage rate depends on researching the various mortgage alternatives and rates offered by various lenders. 4. Look For a Real Estate Professional Choosing the appropriate real estate agent can be the key to locating the ideal new house and receiving the best deal. Before deciding on a real estate agent to help you buy a home, it’s wise to do some background reading and formulate a list of questions for potential candidates. 5. Check Out Available Real Estate Listings The next step when buying a new homeis to start browsing properties for sale in your region. Make sure your desired list guides your property search. As a result, when looking for houses on the MLS, you can zero in on those that meet your exact criteria regarding cost, architectural style, geographic area, and the like. There is no need for a first-time home buyer to feel overwhelmed by the process if they are prepared with the correct information and tools. By adhering to the guidelines in this article and teaming up with a reliable real estate agent, you may gain insight into the home-buying process and control the situation. By following the suggestions given above, you’ll have more time to do what’s most important: relax in your new abode. With thoughtful planning and execution of the “A place called home” phenomenon, help you find the abode of your choice.

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Creating Outstanding Visuals For Real Estate Sales & Marketing

Real estate sales and marketing are one of the biggest challenges faced by investors in this industry. They have to look for competent marketers who might not understand the tricks to succeed in the industry, and those who do are quite expensive. This is because of the sensitive nature of the market. It is also a little bit difficult to capture the attention of potential buyers especially due to the market’s competition. Digitization has also made it difficult to surprise customers with marketing ideas. So what can real estate marketers do? Well, they have to get creative and adapt to the changing requirements of their customers. One way of doing that is by creating outstanding visuals for sales and marketing. Here are a few visual ideas for real estate sales and marketing;  Enhancing Visuals Through Storytelling Storytelling is an amazing sales and marketing idea that is rarely used by real estate marketers. You can create amazing visuals and then spice them up with true-life stories that resonate well with potential customers’ memories, emotions, and dreams. For instance, you can tell a story of how a daughter bought a home for her parents and paid in cash. This can appeal to adult kids. You can also tell a story of a homeless person who got his first job and bought a house with one mortgage to give hope to others. When telling these stories, you should add visuals such as photos and videos. Since most people might have reservations about their photos being put up to the public, you can instead turn photos into cartoons and use them. You can even share these photos and stories on social media. eBooks For Target Audience You can use an eBook with visuals such as photos and infographics to solve a single problem faced by your target audience. This does not sell as much as other strategies but gives you an edge over your competitors when it comes to addressing issues faced by your customers. You can use eBooks for things like lead generation and then place them on your landing pages. When preparing an eBook, ensure that you have focused on a single problem and provided a solution to the problem. You then need to ensure that the problem is effectively covered using photos, comparison tables, infographics, charts, and other visuals that make it easy for people to understand you. Do not forget to add CTAs to the eBook. Video Testimonials Trust is gained, and as a real estate business, you need to gain the trust of your existing and potential customers. Trust plays a crucial role for all real estate investors, but is even more important for those who want to buy expensive properties such as luxury homes. One way of gaining trust is by using video testimonials. You can use them to show that you are not only professional but can also be trusted. Using your existing clients, let them share their stories and how amazing working with you has been. They can even mention some of your agents by name, talk about their new property and how happy it makes them, and recommend you to any future clients. They should also mention the benefits of working with your agency. You can share these videos on social media and on your website. Virtual Tours A real estate agency that uses virtual tours when showcasing a property will sell more compared to one that does not. A virtual tour involves taking 360° images that allow potential customers to virtually walk through a property. This way, they can see all corners of the property and ask any questions that they might have. It is also convenient since the clients and real estate agents save a lot of time – they would otherwise have visited the property physically. Virtual Staging Virtual staging is a modern sales and marketing technique that is driven by advancements in technology. You can virtually stage the design of a house and highlight everything good about the house. These are also referred to as the selling points of the house. Initially, real estate agents had to physically stage a home and then take photos. This has now changed. With virtual staging, you can get as many photos as you want, from different angles. These photos can be changed as much as you want until you get exactly what sells. You can even use professionals to remove or add new things to the virtually staged house. This helps you show the potential of the house. Using these images, you can showcase the house to your potential customers. Looking at the visuals discussed above, you will realize that they are all creative ways and can generate a lot of sales for real estate businesses. So, what are you waiting for?

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The 3 Most Impressive Casino Buildings in The World

You can encounter impressive architecture where you least expect. Usually, city centers boast beautiful buildings with rich and complex histories, and the greatest architects such as Antoni Gaudi and Frank Lloyd Wright, are behind these human-made wonders. Within these astonishing structures, you might even find land-based casinos. Nowadays, despite the ever-growing popularity of online, top-notch gambling sites of the likes of Casino.online, land-based casinos remain quite frequented due to their atmosphere and rich interiors. Below, we explore three of the most remarkable casino buildings in the world. Monte Carlo Casino, Monaco Designed by legendary architect Charles Garnier, the opulent Monte Carlo casino has been recognized as one of the most beautiful casino buildings across the globe. The building itself was built during the Belle Epoque and preservers a clear influence from the era to this day.  What’s more, the casino’s style organically corresponds with Monaco’s local architecture as observed in its grounds, which include a French-style garden, several statues, and tropical flora.  The entirety of the casino and hotel complex are dressed in marble with slick tabletops, antique columns, and sophisticated chandeliers. To descend to the casino below the hotel, guests can use a unique marble staircase that will lead them to the various blackjack, roulette, and poker tables, as well as numerous slot machines.  Every inch of this outstanding casino evokes status, wealth, and adventure. So much so that several Hollywood productions have been filmed on the premises, including James Bond’s “Never Say Never Again” and “Golden Eye”.  Caesars Palace, Las Vegas Caesars Palace is also a world-famous casino with an extensive history. Ever since opening its doors in 1966, it has remained one of the go-to places to visit in Las Vegas.  As the name rightly suggests, the Caesars Palace’s architecture draws inspiration from ancient Rome as owner and designer Jay Sarno wishes for every guest to feel like a Caesar during their visit.  Nowadays, the casino boasts an oval form and marble columns with surrounding gold leaves. In the center, visitors can observe a twenty-foot-tall Julius Caesar. The Caesars Palace’s complex also includes a 141-foot fountain and a spa complex with baths and pools with mosaics in the Roman style.  Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Conceived by renowned architect Moshe Safdie, the Marina Bay Sands Casino complex is one of the most expensive casinos in the world. In fact, the budget for its construction is estimated to be around five billion dollars.  Not only does Marina Bay Sands rank among the most expensive casinos ever, but also among the biggest with an area of 845,000 square meters counting the three towers that are connected by a sky garden at their very top. Additionally, the atrium casino of this remarkable building is one of the biggest on earth with its hundreds of gaming tables and thousands of slot machines. To conclude We have gone over three of the most famous and remarkable casino buildings in the world. Even if you aren’t an avid gambler, these land-based casinos will certainly impress you with their astonishing architecture and make your visit worth the while. 

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