Zero-Carbon Building Blocks replace traditional cinder blocks. They are a mixture of CO2, mixed with sand, cement, water and recycled materials such as wood shavings and ash. Combined, they create the one of the first carbon-negative, masonry, building materials on the planet.
To read more, click http://inhabitat.com/first-ever-carbon-negative-building-block-unveiled-in-the-uk/
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Staging your home for potential buyers can be quite the hassle. You may start moving your furniture around spontaneously, or become tense when your children or spouse make messes in a room that you just prepped for show. With all of the planning that one can put into making their home shine, one crucial step in home staging is often overlooked: your family pet.
For the sake of simplicity, I will outline a few things that you must keep in mind when cleaning up after your pet in a home for sale.
Pet presence – For obvious reasons, some pets can’t leave the house. Giant enclosures, aquariums, and disabled pets are hard to relocate sometimes, and a lot of people will be understanding of this. But if your dog or cat is healthy, then you’ll want to strongly consider relocating your pets temporarily. Many people aren’t pet owners, and don’t like being around an excitable golden retriever or a yippy chihuahua when they are trying to imagine their family occupying your home. Remember….You are trying to make the potential buyer as relaxed as possible. Ask a friend if they wouldn’t mind looking after your loved one for a bit, and if all else fails, look into a reputable boarding service for your pet.
Fur – Fur can get everywhere. Even in places that you, as a resident of your home, don’t necessarily notice all of the time. Be sure to give your couches, chairs, and love seats proper attention. That means taking the pillows and cushions off, and using a hand vacuum or brush to remove all of the fur you see. After you are sure that they are thoroughly cleaned, use a fabric freshener to finish it off. Try to do this well in advance of the potential buyer, as some people have sensitivities to fabric fresheners.
Litter – No matter what kind of animal you have, odds are you have do deal with some form of waste. It may sound pretty obvious, but make sure your litter beds are clean and well hidden. Even if you own an exotic pet like a reptile of amphibian, this includes you too. Many people don’t like snakes, but they’ll like a messy snake cage even less. Another important thing to remember as an exotic pet owner is this: even though you may not be able to smell anything offensive coming from your reptile’s cage, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an odor. Many people who live with reptiles get used to the subtle odors that emit from the cages, and will tend to spot-clean their animal’s cage without giving it the proper scrub-down that it needs.
Odors – Don’t use air fresheners to mask pet odor. It is meant to freshen the air…Not cover pet odors up. Instead, use powdered cleaners on carpets and rugs that your pets frequent. These can be purchased at your local pet store in the cleaning isle. Odds are, if someone has a severe allergy to animals, then they are going to be at risk of having a reaction. The cleaner the house, the less dander will be in the home.
Not long ago, real estate sales involved hammering a sign in the yard, placing newspaper ad’s and mailing post cards to neighbors. Today, selling a home requires a huge amount of internet advertising and distribution…which means using great photographs, video’s and social media to boost your properties image and catch a buyer’s eye.
If you are one of the thousands of home sellers looking to capitalize on the real estate recovery and pocket maximum profit from your home sale, you have to embrace the internet. Home buyers use Ipad, tablets, desktop computers and smart phones to shop online and compare hundreds of homes for sale. Today’s buyers quickly scan through hundreds of listings on sites like Zillow and Realtor.com, looking for that one home that catches their eye.
To maximize the sales price of your home, consider these 5 tech savvy tools and tips.
- Use Professional Grade Photography. A recent study revealed that professional property photo’s increase the perceived value of a home by 13 percent. Considering that a 13% added value on a $250,000 home equals an increase in value of $32,500, it could well be worth your while to hire a pro. Buyers are visually oriented, so selling your home has become a bit like a beauty pageant, of sorts. To increase your sales price, provide the best possible pictures on the internet to grab the buyer’s attention and motivate them to schedule a home showing.
- Post a Video Tour on YouTube. About 20% of buyers search online for home video’s. Grab their attention by posting a video on InfoTube.net . We will upload it to YouTube for you, or you can upload toYouTube.com by yourself.
- Include a Floor Plan of Your Home. If possible, include an interactive floor plan that shows how rooms in your house relate to one another. Interactive floor plans combine the floor plan with professional photo’s and create an exciting shopping experience for home shoppers.
- Get Rid of Clutter. We have all heard this before, but it is amazing at the number of people who do not pay attention to this simple advice. Buyers are not interested in buying furnishings; they are shopping for a home. Your house will show much better if it is clean, organized and all personal items are removed.
- Advertise on the MLS. The internet has made it possible for sellers to list property on the MLS and sell it By Owner. The MLS is the national database of homes that are For Sale. If your listing is not a part of the MLS, you are missing millions of home shoppers every month, who will never know your house is For Sale. All MLS listings are distributed to every major search engine for real estate including Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, Google, Yahoo and many more. These websites report buyer traffic in excess of 24 million home shoppers each month. If you want to maximize your sales price and profit, you have to be on the MLS.
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The real estate market was overheated during the first 6 months of 2013. Low home inventory, record low interest rates and the lack of new construction were to blame for the unsustainable, rapid price increases and multiple bidding wars for properties.
5 Reasons we do not feel the hyper-inflated housing market will, or should, continue.
- Rising Interest Rates – Interest have risen sharply in the past few weeks and the trend continues up. Current rates will slow the number of homebuyers and speculators that are coming into the market during the next 6 months.
- Marginal buyers have been priced out of the market due to bidding wars, rapid price increases and higher borrowing costs.
- Wall Street and large investment groups are curtailing their buying. One-third of all homes purchased this year were Cash sales. This translates to heavy investor buying, which will slow down going forward in 2013.
- Shocking run up in home prices are not sustainable. In May, home prices were up 12.1% on average. This brings home price levels to a 5 year high. Pricing is now at a point that many of the short term gains have been realized, and the market will fall back to more normal levels.
- Realtors and builders report that inquiries and calls from new customers is down 11%, so far for June.
Summary: We feel that the housing market was under valued at the start of 2013, but a frenzied market chewed through much of the low hanging fruit. With rising interest rates, and increasing inventory levels, we see a move to more sustainable and healthy growth moving forward. It is still an excellent time to buy or sell. Inventory levels will increase, but they will remain on the low side throughout the year. Interest Rates are still at historic lows and price increases, although impressive, leave the average home price far below levels seen in 2006 and 2007.
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Home sellers and investors are a happy bunch this spring. Homes are selling quickly and for very near their asking prices. If your home is on the market and you haven’t had success…you should consider an MLS listing and here is why.
Washington Post writer and real estate expert, Iilyse Glink weigh about why the MLS is the key to home sales and why it works so well.
Studies indicate that most homes sell with the help of a real estate agent. The No. 1 tool to market those homes is probably the MLS. This listing service in most markets gives real estate agents the ability to see and review all listings in an area. If your home isn’t in the MLS, you’re missing the most effective tool to sell your home.
Twenty or so years ago, an FSBO seller would advertise his home in local newspapers and a lawn sign, with InfoTube or InfoBox, to market his home. Few if any of these FSBO sellers succeeded in selling their homes. More recently, the Internet has started to level the playing field, but many buyers still work with real estate agents to buy their home. Those agents rely on the MLS.
An FSBO service may offer various packages to sellers such as you. The more you want, the more you pay, with the top package giving you access to the MLS for six months. We guess you want to give your home the greatest exposure possible and that you wouldn’t want to exclude a major source of potential buyers.
As you decide whether you want an a FSBO package, you must understand what it will take to sell your home. If you overprice your home for sale, trying to sell it yourself isn’t likely to give you a good result.
You still will need to price your home right, make sure your home shows really well, both from the inside and the outside, take great photos for posting on Web sites, create a beautiful brochure for the home, and make sure the description of your home is succinct, emphasizes the good points of your home and accurately shows off its best qualities.
As the real estate market has improved in many areas, you likely have a better chance of selling your home today than you had a year or two ago. But home sellers can make the same mistakes in any market. Again, you need to decide whether you want to spend money upfront to sell the home yourself in a FSBO or try again with a real estate agent.
We think that listing your home on the MLS is a good step toward getting your home sold. Unless you find a buyer that is searching for a home on the many sites out there that carry listings, you might miss out of that one buyer truly looking for a home like yours.
InfoTube.net offers low cost MLS and Realtor.com listing packages that will get your home noticed by millions of homebuyers, who wouldn’t otherwise know your home is for sale. Call 800-858-6000 for more information or visit our website.
The warning on the gates, ‘These Plants May Kill’ should not be taken lightly by anyone, for with familiarity comes contempt, and from contempt – danger.
Come take a stroll with us through a deadly garden located in Northumberland, UK. Behind the locked gates of the Poison Garden, guides and marshalls share tales of deadly plants. Myths and legends are uncovered, along with facts from science and history. No touching, no sniffing and no cutting is allowed.
The Poison Garden at Alnwick Gardens is on around the clock surveillance for the safety of the public and would be thieves. Some of the plants are even kept in specially fenced areas to avoid accidental poisoning or theft of the plants for use in making narcotics. In this garden, the plants are so dangerous and toxic that they may be kept in large cage like structures. To highlight its hazardous nature the garden’s beds are laid in the shape of flickering flames.
There are over 100 plants of varying deadliness grown in the Poison Garden. Some of the plants are beautiful despite being deadly, and other look so harmless it is hard to imagine their dangerous, even fatal, qualities. Also grown within the guarded confines of the Poison Garden are many other plants which are easily recognisable by even the most reluctant gardener, for many killers grow in your own back yard.
Foxgloves, Wolfsbane, Mandrake, Ricin, Belladonna, Poppies, Laburnam and varieties of Aquilegia thrive among the rarefied atmosphere of the Poison Garden. Those who work here treat the plants with the utmost respect, wearing gloves when working with them. The owner also has a licence to grow marijuana, cocaine and magic mushrooms in the poison garden – for educational purposes.
A few of the plants you will find inside this poison garden….
Foxglove (digitalis) may contain several deadly physiological and chemically related cardiac and steroidal glycosides. Thus, the digitalis plants have earned several, more sinister, names: dead man’s bells and witch’s gloves. The entire plant is toxic (including the roots and seeds).
Foxgloves fatal accidents involve children drinking the water in a vase containing digitalis plants. Drying does not reduce the toxicity of the plant. The plant is toxic to animals, including all classes of livestock and poultry, as well as felines and canines.
Belladonna or Nightshade (Soleanaceae) has a long history of use as a medicine, cosmetic, and poison. It was used as an anesthetic for surgery and embedded a poisonous sting with arrows made for battle. The name “bella donna” is derived from Italian and means “beautiful woman” because the herb was used in eye-drops by women to dilate the pupils of the eyes to make them appear seductive.
Nightshade is an incredible poison, but an amazing aphrodisiac, too, and you see it everywhere. In Argentina, even nowadays, some people put a bell of datura like this one (pictured above) on a baby’s pillow at night, then take it away after five minutes and the baby has gone to sleep. If it were left all night the baby would be dead in the morning. Victorian ladies used to sit around a table with a nightshade plant in the middle and play cards or have tea. They’d pop their cup under a bell, tap it, and pollen would fall into the cup. They would experience similar effects to that of LSD.
Belladonna is one of the most deadly plants on the earth. All parts of the plant are poisonous, but the sweet, pretty berries are especially alluring for children. Although no eye surgery is performed today without the help from the nightshade family…The plant’s deadly symptoms are caused disruption of the nervous system, inhibiting its ability to regulate involuntary activities, such as sweating, breathing, and heart rate.
Lily of the Valley, popularily used in wedding bouquets is highly poisonous. Its toxicity is the plant’s defense against animals eating its seeds. All parts of the plant—the stems, the leaves, the flowers and the berries—are extremely poisonous and close to 40 different cardiac glycosides have been found in the plant so far.
Ingest just a bit of Lily of the Valley if blurry vision, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, disorientation, drowsiness, headaches, red skin rashes, excessive salivation, sudden alterations in your cardiac rhythm and possible death sound like your idea of fun.
Its Nux vomica’s Latin name implies much, but it perhaps rings more bells as strychnine. Interestingly, hemlock, a poison in its own right, can be used as an antidote to Strychnine, but don’t tell Socrates, who was sent to his death with a cup of hemlock.
Strychnine (pictured above) is not the most poisonous substance known to man (you need at least 50 mg to kill someone), but a you’d have to go a long way to find something that provokes a more violent death.
Strychnine poisoning can be fatal to humans and animals and can occur by inhalation, swallowing or absorption through eyes or mouth, as explained above. It produces some of the most dramatic and painful symptoms of any known toxic reaction. For this reason, strychnine poisoning is often used in literature and film. It is also used as a rat poison, but is not specific for unwanted pests and may kill other small animals.
Hemlock was used in ancient Greece to kill condemned prisoners, including Socrete’s, as mentioned above. The plant also kills animals. A dose of the poison results in an ascending muscular paralysis with eventual paralysis of the respiratory muscles which results in death due to lack of oxygen to the heart and brain…but it has also been used in medicine to treat arthritis, muscle spasms and works as a seditive.
Those of a certain age will be familiar with Castor Oil, which is made from the plant Ricinus communis (above), but a single seed from the same plant will kill an adult in the most horrible way. Ricin causes nausea, severe vomiting, convulsions and subsequent disintegration of the kidneys, liver and spleen…
The old expression ”It will either kill you or cure you” could not have been more apt!
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Is your dream to own your home free and clear?
If so, join the crowd. More borrowers than ever are taking out 15-year mortgages in hopes of accelerating the day they can wave bye bye to the bank, the Globe’s Jenifer McKim reports.
While the traditional 30-year loan has long been king, 30 percent of borrowers during the second quarter opted for shorter loan terms with 15-year terms the most popular, the Globe’s Jenifer McKim reports.
That’s up from just 10 percent during the same time period in 2006, when the real estate market was at its peak.
And rock bottom interest rates have been one big factor – the piece offers up a Natick homeowner who found she could shift to a 15-year loan and save money given the drop in interest rates.
It is certainly an intoxicating dream at a time when debts, both personal and national, seem so crushing. Yet there are some potentially big pitfalls to this approach.
For starters, my bet is that our Natick homeowner is in the minority.
First, not everyone is in position to capture the lowest rates – you have to have some darn good credit these days.
And if you end up having to pay a bit more in order to pay down your mortgage faster, there is an opportunity cost here. The extra cash you are pumping into your mortgage is money that you could otherwise stash, tax-deferred, into a retirement account.
For that matter, if you have credit card debt, you should be paying that down first – the interest rates are likely much higher than on your mortgage.
Moreover, if you do run into trouble, such as losing your job or taking a hit to the paycheck, you have locked yourself into a format that may not be so easy to get out of. Good luck trying to refinance back into a 30-year mortgage at that point.
A Plymouth financial planner cited at the end of the piece actually had the best advice for homeowners eager to hasten the day when they make their final mortgage payment. He argues for making extra payments on a 30-year mortgage in order to accelerate repayment. If money gets tight again, you can just stopping paying that extra in.
This also gives you the extra flexibility to craft an approach that works from you, maybe putting a little bit more into both the mortgage and the retirement account as opposed to either or.
Makes sense to me, but how about you?
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On a palatial estate in Cornwall, a massive and unique garden has been restored to its original beauty after 75 years of languishing unloved.
Since the late 1500s, The Lost Gardens of Heligan belonged to the Tremayne estate evolving and becoming more extravagant with each passing generation. One head of the household inspired the jungle gardens, while another requested that giant rhododendrons be cultivated. Although the Tremayne family often inspired new additions to the garden, they were above manual work and hired countless low-paid gardeners to take on the tasks of improving and maintaining the gardens.
Throughout the 19th century, the gardens thrived, growing larger and requiring greater staff to manage them. Before the outbreak of World War I, the Tremayne estate employed 22 gardeners. Many of those loyal gardeners went to fight, and after the war their numbers had diminished so that the gardens fell into severe disrepair. As the rest of the estate was rented out, the gardens became an afterthought and were not rediscovered until the 1990s.
Their rediscovery by a distant relative of the Tremayne estate, led to a widely publicized attempt to bring the gardens back to life. The restoration of the Heligan Gardens was undertaken by Tim Smit, the same architect who conceived The Eden Project, the largest Greenhouse complex in the world.
Under his innovative and watchful eye, the Heligan Gardens were restored to their original size. Besides restoration, floral art was commissioned as well, resulting in the Giant’s Head and the Mud Maid, a sleeping woman of the forest made out of wood, grass and earth. As the gardens quickly became a tourist attraction, the gardens also served to bring life back to St. Austell, and some of the other neighboring towns in Cornwall.
Today, the spectacular gardens feature everything that they were once renowned for including massive rhododendrons, Italian gardens and the jungle gardens. Along with being beautiful, they are also productive, growing large amounts of vegetables for consumption and sale.
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