title:Is There a Fungus Among Us?

author:Wally Conway
date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:12

Mold has taken hold! Not that the microbes have reached out and grabbed us, but rather they have captured our attention. A rash of recent high profile media stories have petrified many people with concerns for both their health and finances. While it is true in some situations that variations and concentrations of mold can kill us both physically and financially, in the vast majority of cases mold problems can be remedied simply and economically.
Molds exist naturally all around us. Molds play a vital role in the decomposition of organic waste such as in a compost pile. Other molds are essential in the creation of some of our finest foods, such as wine and cheese. But, when mold growth occurs in an inappropriate place or in extreme concentration, the health of our home and family can be at risk.
All molds need two basic ingredients to grow, food and water. The favorite food of mold is cellulose. In our home, cellulose is a common constituent. Wood, paper, cotton, and drywall are plentiful in construction and are great sources of cellulose. Water is everywhere in our homes, both on the surfaces and in the air.
As the tightness of our homes has increased in response to a desire to conserve energy, the unintended consequence has been the trapping of moisture. The increase in moisture in our homes has in some cases resulted in a relative humidity above the 60% level needed to sustain mold growth in interior spaces. In some cases, the moisture level of the interior spaces is below the mold growth threshold, but the exterior wall cavities retain the required moisture level for rapid mold growth within the walls. To make matters worse, this condition is also perfect for accelerated wood rot and termite infestation.
So what is a reasonable person to do? Much like a physical exam is the first step in a plan for personal health, a home inspection is the first step in a mold survey. The intent of the inspection is to seek out all sources of moisture that may contribute to an environment that is attractive to mold and to visually identify any existing mold colonies. Roof leaks, plumbing leaks, and improper sprinkler positioning are among the more common sources of mold-causing moisture problems. After identification of the moisture source, a reasonable and practical remedy can be prescribed.
Areas with visible mold colonies can be thoroughly cleaned with detergent, followed by wiping with a bleach and water solution. Porous materials such as ceiling tiles and carpet are difficult to clean and often require removal and replacement in all but the most minor of outbreaks.
In most cases, testing to determine mold species is not necessary to solve the problem. If an individual has an extreme or specific health risk factor, testing may be of value in assisting the medical professional in addressing the specific health situation. If the outbreak of mold is extreme, testing maybe wise in ensuring safety during remediation. The choice to test or not should always rest with the homeowner or potential homebuyer, but the decision should be an informed one made with the assistance of an ASHI certified home inspector who has received additional training specific to mold management.
With a basic understanding of the management of moisture, household mold maintenance is simple. Molds have been around forever and will never be gone, and it is good that they are here. But like so many things, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Stay informed, but don’t get caught up in the hype. Remember, it’s about knowing!

Adjustable Beds?Sleep Pain Free and Get Money Back Too!

Adjustable beds can be configured to alter their shape in order to alleviate pain attributed to certain medical conditions and ailments. They can be adjusted to maximize the most comfortable sleeping position, thus permitting the user to fall asleep much more quickly and have a longer period of pain free sleep.

In case you did not know, adjustable beds may qualify for a medical deduction. Physicians prescribe the use of an adjustable bed for a number of physical ailments and conditions. Check with your physician or health care professional to ascertain if you may qualify for a deduction on the purchase of your new adjustable bed. Less pain, better sleep, and money back are an extremely attractive combination.

Adjustable beds are generally prescribed for individuals who suffer from acid reflux, debilitating back pain, hiatal hernias, sleep apnea and many work related injuries. In the event that either you or your loved one happens to have a problem with snoring, you will be ecstatic to know that an adjustable bed can alleviate or eliminate the problem.

If you or a loved one have had the misfortune of suffering a stroke, have multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy or any other physical condition that restricts the ability to move unimpeded, an adjustable bed can improve ones mobility. Adjustable beds can be positioned to assist in sitting up, watching television, eating, drinking, reading, writing etc? etc.

Acid reflux is a particularly annoying condition, particularly during sleep that allows stomach acid to back up into the esophageal area causing discomfort that ranges from mild to extreme, depending on the individual. An adjustable bed can alleviate acid reflux by allowing the individual to elevate their head. Sinus conditions are another physical condition that can made much more bearable by simply raising the head section of the bed.

If you suffer from edema or swelling of the legs, an adjustable bed can be positioned to elevate the legs and facilitate the flow of blood by letting gravity assist in doing the work. Any sufferer of a circulatory condition or back pain can probably feel some comfort in the folds of an adjustable bed. Some models even have heat and vibrating features to soothe away minor or major aches and pains. I would have these features on all the time!

The content provided in this article is strictly for information purposes only and is not intended or designed to provide medical advice. If you have a medical condition, I am sure everybody and his mother can give you free medical advice. If you have any medical questions that this article may have triggered, please consult your doctor or health care professional.

If it is determined that you qualify for a tax deduction on the purchase of a new adjustable bed, your next step is to have a little chat with your accountant or tax expert. You will then be in a position to use the shopping resources available at http://www.adjustable-bed-center.com to find the right adjustable bed at the right price. Then, hopefully, all you have to do is lie down and enjoy true comfort and all the healthy benefits of your new adjustable bed.

Ten Tips For Decorating A Christmas Tree

Now that it?s the holiday season everyone is busy thinking about his or her Christmas Trees. There are tricks and tips to help you create a unique look that fits in your home and adds sparkle to your holiday celebrations. Whether real or artificial, a little imagination can take that blank canvas and turn it into something really magical that will brighten your whole holiday season.

You can start by looking for ideas on the trees you see in public places like malls or hotel lobbies. These are great places to get ideas that you can easily bring to your own tree.
Here are some great tips for creating a beautiful tree

1.Your tree will stand in you room till the holiday season ends so it should have a visual impact. The space in your room will determine the size of the tree you can have. This is important to consider especially if you want to enhance your ornaments.

2.Decide on the overall look you like. The more branch tips your tree has, the more ornaments and decorations are needed. If you want your tree to have an informal look, select a tree that has long needles and upswept branches. If you want something more formal, select a tree that has down swept branches and with short needles.

3.Pay attention to lighting. There is a general rule in deciding the number of lights for a tree ? a one foot tree should have about 40-50 lights. The simplest thing to do is buy a pre-lit tree, no mess and easy storage. But if you do the lights yourself, hang them inside the tree, for a twinkling effect. Stringing the lights on the outer edges, over the tips of the branches won?t look right. Remember to keep the amount of light uniform, without and unfilled spaces.

4.Add garland. Whether you choose traditional garland or beaded garland, you can get a great look. If you want traditional, swag your garland from the top to the bottom, and also around the back of the tree. The swag of your garland will depend on the width of your tree. Twist the garland at the tip and it should be smaller as it reaches the top of the tree. Another style is to double swag your garland and form it into a spiral garland. Some prefer using ribbon that falls from the top of the tree down along to the bottom.

5.Use fillers. You must use fillers in order to give the tree an enchanting look. Some people don?t do this but it is a great way to give your tree a new look.

6.Choose a color scheme. Use a single color or two complimentary ones to give your tree a coordinated, decorator look. Try traditional choices such as red and gold, or something different like pink and white. Use ornaments of these colors and keep the garland in the same color family as well.

7.Dare to be different. Decorate according to what you like, even if it isn?t the ?traditional? way. Use your favorite hobby, ornaments collected on vacations, or old style bulbs to create a look that?s truly your own. This will create a unique, personal holiday expression that is sure to be a conversation starter.

8.Don?t forget the handmade ornaments. No matter what style you are trying to achieve, the hand made ornaments of your own childhood, or those of family members can be wonderful additions to any tree, and compliment any style.

9.Cover the base of your tree with a colorful tree skirt so that the gifts underneath will rest on a pretty background. This makes the packages look even more festive, and looks good after the presents are unwrapped too.

10.Top it off. Use a star, an angel or a large bow ? whatever suits your individual taste.

Exterior Paint Schemes For Historical Houses

Owners of historical homes know that choosing paint colors is a nerve-wracking and critically important decision. Ready-mix paints have been available since the middle part of the nineteenth century and from that time home owners have had to choose their colors without really knowing how their finished home will look. After all, a two inch paint chip looks very different from a 3,000 square foot house!

In a visit to New England in the 1840s, famed novelist Charles Dickens commented, “All the buildings looked as if they had been painted that morning … Every house is the whitest of white; every shutter is the greenest of green.”

If you have an older home and want to choose colors other than green and white, here are some guidelines”

1. Light colors “advance” a home while dark colors cause it to “recede”. This means that lighter shades will make your home appear larger and closer to the street, while darker shades make your home seem smaller and further away. If you want your house to blend in and be less noticeable, therefore, a darker hue is best.

2. Light dramatically affects how colors appear to the human eye. In cooler climates the light is diffused and bold colors are intensified. In southern climates, the harsher, brighter sunlight will cause pale tints to appear washed out.

3. If you want your gutters and downspouts to be less noticeable, paint them the same color as the house.

4. Make sure any mildew problems are solved before painting. Test suspicious spots with household bleach and if they change color, you definitely have a mildew problem.

5. Moisture problems must be eliminated before painting. If they are not, water will ruin even the best paint job.

6. Some paint manufacturers offer color ‘families’ to simplify choosing. That is, there are several colors that go well together and eliminate the agony of figuring out the exact right shade for the trim so that it will relate well to the primary exterior color.

7. It’s always possible to get expert help. This is especially desirable if you own a historical landmark and wish for it to be restored to its former appearance. Historical paint consultants are familiar with shades available at the time the home was built and can often do research to determine original colors. These folks understand chemical changes in paint and can usually figure out what the original colors looked like before they faded to today’s milder colors.

8. There is software available that allows home owners to scan in a picture of their home and then try out different colors without making an actual commitment. It’s powerful to see your home in Colonial Barn Red or Patriot Federal Blue before actually putting a drop of color on the outside.

9. You might consider staining your historical property, rather than painting it. Stain is cheaper and it won’t peel off or crack the way paint does. This is because it actually sinks into the wood, rather than coating it so it will instead weather and dim over time. Stain won’t cover up any imperfections in the wood the way paint does, however.

Owning and living in a historically significant home is a privilege and maintaining that house is a responsibility to take seriously. Therefore, avoid hasty color choices and take the time to choose wisely.

Granite counter tops Part.II

When you are looking for a counter top that is very versatile and beautiful you are going to want to look at the granite counter tops. That is one way that you would be proud to have it in your home for some added d?cor to the kitchen so that you are able to match up the colors in the room. In addition, you will be able to have all the room in the kitchen for any and all of the appliances that need to be placed on the counter top. Unless you end up buying all new appliances that, you can have under the counter so that everyone will be able to see the granite counter top that you have in your kitchen.

When you are looking for a granite counter top you are going to want take your time when choosing a color and contrast of the counter top for your home. That way you will know that they granite counter top that you have chosen will be perfect for the look that you want in the kitchen. In addition, when you are taking your time to choose granite counter top you will be able to talk about how all the different counter tops are not like the granite counter top that you have chosen for yourself. That may be one big advantage to designing your kitchen your self instead of hiring someone else to do it. So it is all done with your personality and color scheme that you would like to see together.

With all the different granite, counter tops that are out there you are going to be sure to find the one that is going to be perfect for your d?cor in the kitchen. The only problem with buying a granite counter top you may end up purchasing all new appliances, puts and pans, plus dish towels for the kitchen so that you are not placing the old pots and pans and the old dish towels on the new granite counter top that you have in place now in your kitchen. Then you are going to want to make sure that everything in your kitchen is going to match all the different items that are in your kitchen.

That way there, you are going to be able to be the talk of the town at your get together to show off your new granite counter top in the kitchen. That may even be away that you are going to be on top of the rest of your friend because you chose a beautiful granite counter top for your remodeled kitchen. You will know that it is all because of the granite counter top that you chose for your kitchens d?cor that you have chosen.
Find more info on http://www.all-about-granite-countertops.com/

Laminate Flooring Advantages and Disadvantages

Most Americans have no idea what laminate flooring is, although they are often aware of Pergo flooring. Well, Pergo is to laminate floorings what Kleenex is to facial tissues. As the first company to create this type of flooring and sell it in the United States, their name has become synonymous with laminate flooring in the minds of many consumers. That being said, there are over 30 other brands of this type of flooring available as well.

Laminate flooring is typically made up of three separate layers: a tough aluminum oxide wear layer with a photograph of wood, stone, or brick adhered to the underside of it; a core or ?carrier? usually made of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) which is a processed wood product that is very moisture resistant; and a final layer of plastic laminate backing to seal the entire piece against moisture and potential pests.

Laminate flooring is a cost-effective and easy to care for alternative to genuine wood or stone surfaces. Being more tolerant to moisture, it can more readily be used in bathrooms or other areas where moisture may pose problems for other flooring materials ? as long as the manufacturer?s warranty includes moisture coverage. Because of its simple tongue and groove attachment pattern, it can be utilized in virtually any room of the house, provided that there is a concrete, plywood, or other firm floor surface below it.

Laminate floors do not stain, fade, dent, or warp like real hardwood floors, although they have a similar cost. They also often include lifetime warranties against most problems and defects. If your home has significant foot traffic (including children and/or pets) then a laminate floor will hold up much better than a comparable wood or even tile floor, and be considerably less expensive than stone flooring materials.

If you have a lot of traffic in your home and plan to stay there for some time, laminate flooring may prove to be the best value for your money because of its long life, durability and excellent warranty coverage. It is not the least expensive flooring option, so it is always important to weigh the costs and features against your needs. If you want the look of hardwood but have a sub-floor that is incompatible with real hardwood floors, laminate flooring may be the choice for you!

Architect Spa Design Floor Plan – Relax and Chill out

An architect design floor plan can be found on the internet and in architectural magazines. One set of plans located on the web, Sage Springs Club and Spa, show a luxuriously appointed club and spa. The first floor of this spa/gym has a large luxurious lobby and reception area., a spa and fitness store that sells exercise clothing and various other spa products. Also on level one of this spa are a relaxation lounge, massage therapy rooms, wet room with vicy shower and a pedicure/manicure room.

The second floor of this architectural design spa floor plan has a conditioning room with a glass wall overlooking the tennis court below. This room also has Precor cardio equipment, cybex strength circuit, four screen television theater music channels with wireless headphones. There is also a movement studio for aerobics, yoga and stretch and toning exercises. At every station in this spa, you are treated like royalty. Membership in spas like this are costly, but well wroth the expense.

On the ground level the floor plans show five full size regulation Tennis courts and 3 lane indoor lap pools and spa.

There are lots of floor plans for different spas and gyms available on the internet. Almost all have some of the amenities of Sage Spring Spa and Club but this one had the most interesting floor plan of them all. Before joining an expensive spa or gym, check the ones you are interested in. Compare services, amenities, and prices before you sign anything.

Floor plans for detached condos are laid out similar to a ?home? not part of a condo complex. One floor plan for a detached condo in Michigan has a large family room,/dining room area, master bedroom with private bath, small kitchen area with an island, a powder room, and second-floor bedroom. There is also a garage on the first floor. A basement which can be finished has the potential for at least two more bedrooms. Detached condos are ideal for people who don?t have the time or inclination for yard work. It would also be good for elderly people no longer capable of cutting grass or shoveling snow.

title:The Hazards of Water Damage

author:Leo Nov
date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:12

Once a building has been exposed to a large volume of water, it becomes extremely hazardous as water causes both health and structural risks.
Water Damage Related Health Hazards and Risks
Dampness and humidity promote the growth of moisture-related mold and mildew that can lead to toxic, mold-related reactions such as immune disorders, pathogenic disease and cancer. Allergic reactions consist of painful headaches, disorientation and dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, chronic asthma, rashes and open sores, and chronic fatigue.
Be aware that floodwaters may also be contaminated with sewage and waste. These are fertile breeding ground for disease carrying termites and insect infestation.
Water Related Structural Hazards and Risks
Water saturation affects and damages structures in a few ways.
Direct damage to materials leading to structural instability:
Wallboard disintegrates
Structural integrity of concrete is undermined
Support columns resting in waterlogged soil slowly twist and tilt
Wood swells, warps, and rots
Stairs, floors, and roofs may collapse bulging ceilings, indicating trapped water
Electrical systems can short out, malfunction, and cause fires or shock.
Leaking LP gas (also known as natural gas) can cause fire or gas poisoning.
Household possessions and interior design can be damaged as follows:
Mud and silt get possessions and valuables dirty
Paint and wall coverings peel off
Floor tiles are lifted
Panels wrap
Carpets stain and rot
Furnishings such as textiles and furniture stain
Books, photographs, paintings become extremely fragile
Property value decreases after being wet. Most insulation is ineffective, but it will continue to hold and create high moisture conditions which will damage metal, masonry, and wood.

title:Five Tips For Garden Sanctuaries

author:Robin Mastro
date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:12

The design of your garden has an amazing affect on your family?s health and well-being. Here is how you can create harmony in your garden?which is considered a living entity?and bring peace and happiness within your home.
Vastu Shastra is an environmental science written about some 7,000 ? 10,000 years ago in India by rishis, or men of great wisdom. They observed the workings of Nature and recorded how different rays of the sun, the magnetic poles, the makeup of the land, soil, slope, structures, etc. affected all living things. It is the oldest recorded architectural treatise known to man and it is from this science that some of the world?s most enduring structures have been created.
According to the science of Vastu Shastra, all five elements (earth, water, fire, air and space) need to be in harmony. When a seed is planted, it requires that all five elements be balanced for a seed to germinate, sprout and become a strong, healthy plant. The disproportion of any one element? whether it is the quality of the earth (soil ph), the amount and quality of water, wind (air), sun (fire), or the amount of space it is planted in?will inhibit its growth. In this way a wise gardener sets up a balanced environment for his plants to grow free from disease and stress.
Briefly, each area of your garden is associated with one of the five elements. The earth element is associated with the southwest area of your garden and creates a sustaining and grounding force. In the northeast, the water element is at home. This element allows plants to flourish. The fire element in the southeast supports disease-free plants. The northwest is related to the air element encouraging cross-pollination. The space element is associated with the central area of your garden, enhancing the flow of beneficial influences that nourishes the other elements. Positive magnetic energies coming from the north and the positive solar energies coming from the east promote harmony and balance.
Here are five great steps you can use to bring the five elements into balance within your garden and make it a sanctuary that is not only beautiful to look and wonderful to spend time in, but will actually have an empowering affect on the health and well-being of you and your family.
1. Build up the southwest area of your garden to produce the stabilizing force of the earth element. You can do this with a rock garden, tall trees and even a stone statue. This will help to collect and hold the positive solar and magnetic energies coming from the east and north. Since yellow is the color associated with the southwest, choose daffodils, roses or wisteria to accentuate this area. This is also a good place for a storage or tool shed.
2. Represent the water element by using low plantings in the northeast that will allow the flow of positive solar energy. Add a fountain or reflection pool or pond in this area to reflect this beneficial energy throughout the garden. Herbs, white pansies or geraniums can be used as accents.
3. Add a barbeque or a fire pit in the southeast as your fire element. Red symbolizes this direction so plant tulips, geraniums and dahlias here.
4. Use wind chimes to balance the air element in the northwest. Since blue is the color of this area, plant bluebells, forget-me-nots and iris to enhance the influences coming from this direction.
5. Represent the space element by an open area in the middle of you garden. It can either be a patio or grass. Finally, by keeping your garden neat and tidy you will be maintaining balance and attracting the positive influence of each of the directions.
A well-designed and tended garden, using the principles of Vastu Shastra, will benefit you and all the members of your family for years to come. By reconnecting with the natural balance inherent in the environment, you will encourage better personal health, improve the quality of relationships and enhance well-being.

Luxury Condos Haute Couture’s Newest Muse

One can’t venture too far into downtown Tampa (where our business is based) and not take notice of the numerous luxury condo offerings. Whether it is the uber luxe Plaza being developed on Harbour Island, The ubiquitous Trump Towers in downtown or the Five-Star architectural feast of the Bellamy fronting the beautiful winding Bayshore Drive with its million dollar views they all have one thing in common ? unsurpassed luxury and style. Characteristics only seen and delightfully experienced in the finest international hotels can now be found at home. With 24 hour concierge service, valet parking, yoga and fitness centers, wine cellars and activity/business conference rooms that rival those seen at the Breakers in Palm Beach. Viking, Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, marble floors, hand-milled tiles, and exotic woods are all standard fare. However that is only where the luxury starts. You can now expect the finest in haute couture as part of the luxury condominium offering.

The trend to add designer cachet to luxury condominiums has been steadily rising. Many condominium developers have sought out world renowned designers such as Jean Nouvel or Philippe Starck to design the interiors. Of course even if a designer isn?t explicitly part of the design as in the case of Armani ? his name is still invoked and associated with the interior design simply by using items from his collections. Peter Som has quickly become the wunderkind of the Fashion Designer / Interior Designer class. His breathtaking haute couture has successfully crossed-over from the world of textiles to the world of architectural materials. Most famous is his amazing interpretation of a black and white lace dress from his Spring 2006 collection into a carved metal staircase in the lobby of 485 Fifth Avenue a high-end property in New York.

Expect to see the haute couture for the home trend to continue to grow as more upscale homeowners demand added luxury touches in their homes. Also as in all fashion trends you can expect to see a less expensive pret-a-porter version of home haute couture as the trend toward luxury items grows to encompass more than just high-end property owners.

Log Cabin Kit Homes – How To Find Log Cabin Building Kits

Log cabin kit homes – what are they? Log cabin building kits are logs that have been cut, milled, dried and shaped into ‘packages’ called log cabin kit homes. These cabin kits can be as simple as the logs and fasteners only, or the kits can include nearly all of the exterior components of the cabin. The other main kind of log cabin home would be a ‘handcrafted home’, one where the logs are shaped by hand using special tools.

The major advantages of log cabin building kits are generally lower costs, simplified estimating and construction methods and faster construction of the cabin home. Created in the controlled environment of the manufacturer, the logs will be more uniform in shape than handcrafted logs.

The logs can be trucked in and assembled on your building site relatively quickly by knowledgable builders. Log cabin kit homes can be purchased in nearly complete exterior systems that include the logs, fasteners, roof system, windows and doors, porches and more.

The logs are available in a variety of shapes – round, square, rectangular, beveled and ‘D-shaped’ logs are common examples. Milled logs will have the outer sapwood planed off before the logs are shaped. Most log cabin kit homes manufacturers cut the logs in such a way as to create a tongue or groove so each log will interlock with the log above and below it in the wall. This interlocking system will likely be enhanced by the use of other materials that will help keep air and water from penetrating the log wall.

How do you find log cabin building kits that may be right for you?

The fastest way is to go online and visit various log cabin kit homes manufacturers websites. You’ll want to be looking for the log cabin building kits that have an appearance you enjoy. See what you prefer – large diameter versus smaller diameter logs, color of the log wood, shapes of logs available and how the corner treatment looks to you.

As you find cabin kits you like, see how long the company has been in business. You’ll want to know they have been around a number of years which is one important factor to consider. Review the kit choices – what is included, what is not included. See if you can narrow your choices down to 3-4 companies that you may be most interested in.

At this point, you would be ready to visit the companies and talk with their staff. How do you find them – are they pleasant, courteous, really interested in answering your questions and even offer suggestions for your situation? Or are they high-pressure and inflexible? If they cannot provide something you want, are they truthful and up-front that they cannot do it that way?

You’ll want to pay attention to your intuition and gut feel. Maybe you’ll further narrow the list to, say, two manufacturers. Then you can contact 2-3 log cabin home builders with experience in building with these manufacturer’s logs and fastener systems. Obtain estimates for building your log cabin kit home on your property.

You can also learn a lot about log cabin kit homes by viewing cabin plans that have been successfully built somewhere. Every plan that you see can give you design ideas that you had not thought of. You can make a scrapbook of the things you may want in your log home design. Organize a project notebook where you’ll keep the builder estimates, schedules and so on.

Creating the log cabin building kit home design that will provide you much enjoyment can be a lot of effort. However, it’s your personal involvement, enthusiasm and persistence that will help ensure that your project becomes the log cabin building kit home that you’ll enjoy for many years to come.

Copyright 2006 InfoSearch Publishing

A Leap In To The Unknown?

If you are thinking of purchasing your first home, and taking your first step onto the property ladder, your head will be spinning with the amount of advice you will come across for first time buyers.

Everybody purchasing a house before you has experienced the same things, so you can take some comfort in that. If you know someone who has recently purchased a house, whether it be for the first time or not, it can be an idea to get some advice in simple terms from them.

Unless you are a person with substantial means, you will likely be looking to purchase your house using a mortgage. Often first time buyers do not have any money saved which they could use as a down payment, or deposit. This means that they will be borrowing 100% of the value of the home, and obviously repayments are going to be higher. If possible, it is always better to purchase a house using the biggest down payment you can afford, thus reducing your monthly repayments.

A 20% down payment is the threshold at which you’re exempt from private mortgage insurance, which can add a few hundred non-tax-deductible dollars to your monthly payment.

If you cannot afford a deposit or down payment you must still find the money for the closing costs of buying your home, if you estimate about 2% ? 3% of the purchase price then that?s a good ball park figure.

There are many different mortgages available on the market, and some are specifically for first time buyers. With so many lenders and so many different types of mortgage, going for one specifically for first time buyers is not always beneficial, so bear that in mind when you are researching.

One last thing, and most importantly is that if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage, or any other loans secured on it, you are at risk of losing it, so don?t overstretch yourself, work out how much you can comfortably afford each month and don?t go above that. That is one thing you must be very strict on.