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Putting the Cart Before the Horse

If you actually wanted to get to your destination, would you put the cart before the horse? We dare say that you would answer no.

This is why it is amazing that many potential home buyers put the cart before the horse and go out to search for homes without going to a financial institution first to find out what mortgage amount they could qualify to receive.  We share the following 3 main reasons why prospective buyers should visit their lender before searching for homes.

Be ready to compete

Most times a buyer finds a great deal on a home, there are many other buyers who have also found it.  A buyer who has been to their lender, brought in all the requisite information and has been advised of the mortgage amount they would qualify for is in a position of strength.  This buyer knows for sure how much they should offer in negotiations with a seller and is able to offer a shorter time to complete the purchase because they have already begun the loan application process.

Do not short-change or disappoint yourself

A buyer who guesses how much house he can afford could easily be placed at a disadvantage. If a buyer thinks he can afford less, he could waste time looking at lower quality homes although he may be able to afford more.  However, if a buyer can afford more than he thinks, he could be setting themselves up for great disappointment if he falls in love with a home that he eventually finds out he cannot afford.

It is practical.

It is just sensible for a buyer to first begin the loan application process and find out how much a

lender is able to provide to him as a mortgage loan then go out to view properties at an appropriate price.  This will save the buyer, seller and real estate agent the time and inconvenience caused from discussing and visiting homes that the buyer cannot afford.

 

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Season’s Greetings from the Executive Director

It is the Christmas season; a season many of us look forward to every year. It is the time when we spend more time with our loved ones, reflect on the year’s activities and look towards the New Year. For the Millenia Group of Companies, this past year has been very challenging with many changes, and opportunities.

Two of the most significant achievements for the Millenia Group in 2019 include: arriving at an agreement with the Office of the NAO Dominica for design and construction of 2 regional emergency shelters. The second achievement is that we have begun the process of renewal as we innovate and adapt to the changes faced in the industry and develop plans for the future that build on our strengths.

During this season, it always brings about a time for pause and reflection, so I write this Christmas message expressing my appreciation to those of you who have supported our group either directly as clients or through referrals or merely considering us through your development goals. Behind the scenes, thank you to our dedicated staff who have supported with your talents and time — designing, supervising, preparing and reviewing, and sharing your positive energy where needed. I am always humbled by your drive to make our organization better. The words “thank you” do not begin to express my gratitude.

To those of you whose expectations we did not meet this past year, we trust that 2020 will be our year to serve you with the greatest pleasure and satisfaction.

To all of you— have a wonderful season and may the peace & joy that this season brings be yours today and always.

Warm Regards,

Alistair Grell.
Executive Director

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Organize Your Office Space

Written by Garn Todd Joseph

Website & Advertising Assistant for the Millenia Group of Companies

Millenia Architects | Millenia Realty | Sorell Consulting Ltd. | Kaliber Construction & Homes

 

Here are six (6) tips to help you create a workspace that is efficient, well-organized and improves productivity.

  1. Keeping your office space clutter free helps reduce stress and improves organization and efficiency. One way to ensure that your work station remains free of clutter is by clearing your desk whenever you step out. When you are going out for a break, to do a few errands or you are stepping out for the day, clear out your space.
  2. Keep everything in its place.When you have a designated space for everything, items are easier to The familiarity of your workspace also removes distractions making it easier to focus and prioritize your work.
  3. Make your desk a combination of inspiration and efficiency. Consider having wall art or client testimonials close by to inspire you and keep you motivated. You can also keep a vision board close by to remind you of your long-term goals and a calendar to keep track of important activities and appointments.
  4. Adding a few plants to your office space or working in an area with a view of outside helps to reduce stress and improves Working near windows also increases your access to natural light which has a positive effect on how an individual feels.
  5. Ample lighting is important for every type of workspace. This improves your motivation and functionality by creating a productive atmosphere that is conducive for working.
  6. The design of your office space should reflect your company’s character. By your design choices you can communicate your brand to customers/visitors. Your choice of decor, furniture, etc. should reflect your business culture and appeal to the type of customers you want to attract.

Whether you work from home or in a formal business setting these tips can be quite useful.

Were the above tips useful?  Share this article with family and friends.  If you need any clarification on this topic, feel free to email us at feedback@millenia.dm.

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Preventing Heat Strokes

Lately we have all felt the harshness of the unforgiving sun. It is paramount that we safeguard ourselves from the adverse effects of the rising temperature, such as heat stroke. Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia where an individual’s body temperature is elevated significantly to a temperature greater than 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The condition is marked by fever, and often unconsciousness. Other symptoms include: seizures, throbbing headaches, nausea and vomiting, muscle weakness, and rapid heartbeats. It is a medical emergency that can be fatal if not promptly and properly treated, causing death and damage to the brain and other internal organs. To help prevent a heat stroke, the most important measures to take are to avoid dehydration, and vigorous physical activities in extremely hot weather conditions.

 

Here are a few practical tips to prevent falling victim to a heat stroke:

 

  • Wear clothing that fits tightly to your body to allow it to cool properly. Clothing that is loose and light (weight and colour) also provides the added benefit of not absorbing a lot of the sun’s radiation.
  • Use an umbrella to shield yourself from the sun’s rays. A hat is the second best option if you do not have access to an umbrella.
  • Sunburn affects the body’s cooling process. Use sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. For the most effective results use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater. Apply generously to exposed areas every two hours, or more if you are out swimming or sweating excessively.
  • Remain indoors and in shaded areas as much as possible. For activities that simply must be done out in the open, try to schedule your time in order to engage in those activities at the coolest times of the day (early mornings and late evenings). When exercising, it is wise to drink 24 ounces of water, sports drink, etc. two hours prior, 8 ounces after you are done, and 8 ounces every 20 minutes during.
  • As stated earlier, remaining hydrated is essential to maintain a normal body temperature. Drinking at least eight glasses of water, fruit/vegetable juices, coconut water, and sports drinks is recommended to replace sodium and other electrolytes lost from sweating, or a quart of fluids per hour. Avoid drinking caffeinated and alcoholic drinks (this includes sodas and tea) which causes the body to lose fluids quicker. Also, remember to monitor your urine. Darker urine is a likely sign that you are dehydrated.
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Why You Should Include a Powder Room in Your Home Design

A powder room is essentially a secondary or half bathroom that usually contains only a toilet and a vanity or face basin, and is usually located near areas that accommodate guests such as the living room. They are usually smaller than the average bathroom, but despite this, they offer a great deal of convenience and comfort to the entire family and your guests.

 

Here are a few benefits of including a powder room in your home:

  • By including a powder room, guests can use the toilet or sink without walking through your entire home. For home owners who value their privacy, or for the occasions when you may not have gotten the opportunity to ensure that entire home is spick-and-span, having a powder room can be very convenient.
  • Powder rooms are a great use of space. Given their smaller size, powder rooms can fit into an already established floor plan without taking up too much space. Not only would including a full bathroom take up more space, it would also be more difficult to incorporate into an existing plan.
  • Including a powder room will likely increase your property value as well as its selling potential. Having additional bathrooms are a surefire way to get home buyers to consider purchasing your home. In addition, if a full bath cannot be included, a powder room is the next best option.
  • Including a powder room would help reduce the people to bathroom ratio. For large families, a powder room would be a welcomed addition to the home, as it would provide family members with more convenience since it decreases the foot traffic to the main bathroom.

 

Keep this additional tip in mind to create the optimal powder room: choose fittings that can easily fit into the room without taking up too much space. For example, using a pedestal sink instead of a cabinet will make the space appear larger and easier to move around.

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Factors to Consider When Selling Your Property

Purchasing or selling real estate is one of the biggest financial decisions an individual can make in their lifetime therefore it needs to be taken very seriously. If you are considering placing your property on the market for sale here are a few things you need to know.

 

 

Whether you are buying or selling a property the process can prove to be extremely stressful and exhausting, especially if you are selling on your own. To take some of the burden off your back consider hiring a real estate agent/agency to assist you in getting your property sold. You may be given the option to list with multiple agencies or list exclusively with one agency. If you decide to enter into an exclusive agreement, ensure that you choose the right agents who will minimize worry, maximize results and have your best interest at heart.

 

Improve your properties curb appeal in order to make a great first impression. Depending on the state of the property, a prospective buyer could lose interest before placing one foot inside the premises. A prospect’s first impression should make them feel impressed and excited to see more.

 

Consider brightening up your fence or gate with a fresh coat of paint, planting a flower garden, creating a paved walkway, or simply move anything unsightly out of plain sight. Yard maintenance is also highly important. Please note that, particularly if you are selling land, properties that have been overtaken by overgrown grass and shrubs tend to appear smaller than their actual size.

 

Another way of increasing curb appeal is with the inclusion of outdoor living space, such as a deck, patio, or gazebo. This will not only beautify your property but can also increase its value and selling potential. It is important that your property is in a condition that can present it in the best light which allows it to be purchased at its maximum market value.

 

Give your property some tender loving care. Start by placing attention on the little things and work on fixing them before they become unmanageable or result in further damage. Prospective buyers, especially those who are determined to find their ‘dream home’, can at times be nit-picky and focus on details that you yourself may not consider an issue.

 

If you are going to place your property on the market for sale, it is wise to take a walk through the property and try looking at it from a stranger’s point of view. If you find any issue that can easily be rectified at a low cost, consider working on it as soon as you can. Doing this will also give the prospect the impression that the property has been well maintained over the years and give them a greater appreciation for the property.

 

Come up with a competitive selling price.  In order to settle on a formal selling price that will ensure that both you and the buyer are happy you will need to know how much your property is worth. Overpricing is one of many factors that can keep quality real estate from being sold. If you are serious about selling your property, it is far better to have it listed at a reasonable price than to have it sitting on the market for years without attracting any   potential buyers because it is overpriced.  Remember, your property is not the only one on the market and home buyers almost always shop around.

 

Before you decide on selling, it is important to note that when selling you will be required to pay Government Transferor’s Fee of 2.5% calculated on the selling price or value of the real estate being sold, whichever is greater.

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3 Non-Financial Benefits of Home Ownership

Whether it is through purchasing an existing property or having the home of your dreams designed and built, most individuals dream of one day owning their own home. Reaching the point of home ownership is considered a significant moment in an individual’s life and thus we work hard to turn that dream into our reality.

While owning a home provides several financial benefits it also offers some non-financial benefits that aren’t often considered. In today’s article we take a look at three (3) non-financial benefits of home ownership.

Individuals often compare the differences between home ownership and renting when considering the advantages that owning a home offers. A key difference between the two options is that when you own your own home you won’t need to worry about the cost of rent being increased or being evicted.  Also, renting a home or apartment does not usually provide much option in regards to modifying the living space to better suit your needs. Whereas if you own your home you are free to renovate or add an extension to increase your comfort and convenience.

Home ownership offers stability. Having to move from rental to rental is a major inconvenience and can be both a financial and emotional burden. When you spend your life constantly renting homes and apartments you can never really be sure where you will end next. Factors such as a change in your financial situation or even a growing family may require you to move to another property sooner that anticipated.

Another benefit to home ownership is that it grants owners the opportunity to be a more established member of a community. When you own your property you literally own a piece of your community. Being part of a community means being a good neighbor, and that requires owners to take care of their property and improve the community.

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Office Space Layouts

As an employer or business owner have you taken the time to consider how the layout of your office affects your employee productivity and work experience? Having an effective office layout enables productivity, and also makes workflow efficient. Different office layouts work best with different types of businesses or organizations. If you are searching for a new office space or planning on remodeling your existing space this article will help you learn more about the different types of office layouts and their functions.

Open Plan Office Layout  

The open office layout’s main benefit is that it encourages communication and teamwork. Due to the lack of interior walls / barriers decisions tend to be made faster which results in swift action and increased productivity. Offices with this layout are ideal for fast paced business and businesses with a flat organizational hierarch. Open plan office layouts also allow employers to give more attention to their employees, and can help employees develop better relationships with their employers as well as their coworkers. The disadvantages of this layout is that it lends itself to a lot of distraction; it offers very little privacy and the office can get very noisy.

Private / Closed Office Layout

The private / closed office layout works best for businesses where confidentiality is extremely important (such as law offices). Thus employees would need solitude to take private phone calls, or meet individually with clients. The main drawback to using this layout is that it does not offer the same level of effective communication as the other office layouts. It is also more costly. For one, you would need a larger office space than with an open layout and more artificial lighting and cooling would be needed to maintain a conducive working environment.

Cubicle Office Layout

Cubicles use a series of partitions allowing workers the benefits of a private / closed office layout (privacy, limited distractions, decreased noise levels), while offering an adequate level of openness. Cubicles do not take up as much floor space as private offices. They are also beneficial to companies that require confidentiality and those that do not have the budget to offer everyone a private office. Similar to the private / closed office layout cubicles offer limited natural light. Using glass panels will allow more natural light to come in and allows the space to appear larger. Half partitions which are like cubicles (except the walls only go halfway up) can also be useful, however they offer less privacy.

Team Enclosures

Team enclosures offers a private area for teams working on a single project and those who work on similar projects. This layout allows increased communication and encourages cooperation between team members while minimizing external distractions. This layout is beneficial to organizations and businesses such as advertisement agencies, news offices, or architectural and engineering firms.

 

Remember, with many people spending more time at work than they do at home, choosing the right office layout is an important decision to make not only for you but for your employees as well. Also, in many cases, it may make sense to have a variety of different layouts in one office space.

 

Were the above tips useful?  Share this article with family and friends.

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5 Tips When Viewing a Home to Buy

Have you ever heard of anyone buying a home by only looking at the photos, or hearing good reviews? Most likely your answer is no. Before purchasing a home the prospective buyer should always schedule visits to the properties they are interested in. However, viewing the property without knowing what to look for or knowing what to do can have the same effect as not viewing the property at all. This is one of the most important decisions anyone can make especially because it is usually more difficult process to sell a home than to buy one.  Here are five tips to guide you when viewing a home.

  • Ensure that everything that is supposed to work actually works. If electricity and water are currently available to the property check the water pressure, light switches, circuits to be certain that no additional maintenance has to be done on your part. If you have already been informed of any issue that may already exist then it is not necessary, however you still can do this to determine the extent of the problem.
  • While walking through the property look at the structure of the building, pay close attention to both the exterior and interior walls. See if you can find cracks which can be a symptom of structural problems, or for the presence of mold. If you find something wrong with the home ask questions to find out whether the problem can be fixed before you decide to buy the home.
  • If you are unfamiliar with the community where the home is located, it is wise to ask the agent, homeowner, and neighbors about the surroundings. Is it peaceful or noisy? Does a lot of criminal activity (burglary, etc.) occur in the area? Do the schools nearby provide quality education? If you eat out often, where can you get a bite to eat in the area? What time does the bus service shut down in the area? All these should be considered when deciding whether you should buy the home or keep on searching.
  • A common mistake that many home buyers make is making a decision after viewing the property only once. If you are interested in buying the home ensure that you schedule a visit with the agent or homeowner at least two or three times. The next time you visit you may find problems that can deter you, or aspects you love but did not notice at first. It is recommended that you view the property at different times of the day to take note of the changes in lighting and surroundings.
  • Do not rush the final decision. Whether you fall in love with the property at first sight or not take your time before you make a decision. A home is a serious and often lifelong investment. Hence necessary thought and consideration should be given. When looking at the property together with the agent or homeowner. Do not be afraid to ask as many questions about the property as possible.