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Which Real Estate Option Is Right For You?

With a new year come new opportunities, new possibilities and new decisions to be made. One very important decision you’re probably either facing, or will face in the near future is what real estate option is best for you. Whether you buy an existing home, have your home built or rent a property is a huge decision and the answer is not always simple as you might think. Here are the main benefits and drawbacks attached to the three main options mentioned above.


Buying a Home:

The two main advantages to buying a home are cost and convenience. Contacting a real estate agent or agency to assist with finding relevant properties, dealing with the paper work and assisting with negotiations can fast track the process allowing you to find the ideal home sooner rather than later. Another important advantage is that the cost of buying a home, in many cases (not in all), is cheaper than starting from scratch.

The main disadvantage with buying a home is that you won’t get exactly what you want. The layout may not be to your liking, or certain rooms may either be too small or larger than you would like it to be. However, the convenience of being able to move in right away is compelling enough for many individuals to choose an existing home over the building process.


Building a Home:

By building a new home you could use an architect or designer to create your dream home instead of settling for features that you find less than desirable. In addition. building a new home is more efficient and healthier for you. Building and energy codes change allowing homes to be more energy efficient which is better for the environment and can save you more on your utility bills. A new home is also less likely to bring about health concerns such as mold, lead paint, etc.

The biggest drawback to building is that it is a huge project to undertake, and it takes a lot of time. Hence it does not provide the same convenience as buying a home. However, building a home provides a level of satisfaction that you can’t get through buying a home.


Renting a Home or Apartment:

With renting you have a much greater degree of flexibility that you don’t get when you’re tied into a mortgage arrangement. For individuals who are constantly on the move a benefit of renting is the mere fact that you can move on at any time and don’t have to worry about the stress of selling your existing property and buying another.

The main downside with spending your entire life renting is that you have no fixed asset, which is a big disadvantage for many individuals.


If you need any clarification on this topic, feel free to email us at

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Hummingbird house plan

$3,810.30 with Drawings Only

$5,764.30 with Drawings and Cost Estimate

Floor Area 1,954 sqft

Stories 2 | Bedrooms 4 | Bathrooms 3 1/2

Exterior Dimensions 36′-4″ x 34′


Entering this design accentuates magnificent windows and glass doors which grace the interior walls with an instant and irrevocable synergy that connects the interior and exterior spaces.

On the first floor, the right of the loggia features a private guest bedroom with bathroom.  The living room commands open-floor planning, adjacent to the airy kitchen & dining room.

An internal stair leads to the second-story which consists of a master suite with a walk-in closet & master bathroom with the comfort of a built-in Jacuzzi. There are three other bedrooms, one of which can serve as a study room or home office, if desired.

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Barbadine house plan

$2,324.07 with Drawings Only

$3,515.90 with Drawings and Cost Estimate

Floor Area 1,140.50 sqft

Stories 1 (on pillars) | Bedrooms 2 | Bathrooms 2

Exterior Dimensions 42′-6″ x 29′-4″


Ideally designed for a sloping lot and an economical budget.

The entrance of this home is through a wooden framed glass double door which leads to the foyer then into the living room.  The living room has direct access to a rear balcony.  The dining room and kitchen are conveniently located on the left side of the living room.

To the left side of the building are the master and second bedroom separated by their corresponding bathrooms.  The master bedroom is complimented by a private balcony, walk-in closet with section for linen and laundry storage space.  The second bedroom includes a built-in closet and its bathroom is well positioned for convenience to both residents and visitors.

The house is enclosed with some double doors and windows for open views, a spacious feel and plenty of light.


This house plan was designed to suit an economical budget.  The layout can be tweaked to suit your lifestyle.

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Naturally Ventilate Your Home

Proper interior ventilation is essential to your family’s health, comfort and overall well-being. It helps your home rid itself of moisture, smoke, cooking odors, and indoor pollutants. When it comes to keeping our homes well-ventilated there are many options we can implement. Today we share with you 6 natural methods that you can use to ensure that your home is properly ventilated.


  • Ground Cover: Not only does ground cover improve the physical appeal of a property, it also aids in reducing heat levels. By using ground cover options such as having a well-manicured lawn or by using any low heat absorbing materials the heat retained in the ground is very minimal. This greatly helps guiding cool air inside the home.


  • Water: When we think of cooling off the first thought that may come to mind is having a cool glass of water or enjoying a refreshing bathe. Just as water can be used to cool our bodies it can cool our homes as well. Having a water fountain or swimming pools can act as transition spaces where air is naturally cooled before entering the home.


  • Windows: When installing windows ensure that they are at least 3.6 feet high. This helps with the circulation of air within the home and reduces the heat levels on the ceiling. Keep them opened as frequent as possible to take advantage of fresh air filling the home.


  • Clerestories: A clerestory is a high section of wall that contains windows above eye level. Not only do they provide natural lighting, but they also improve air circulation. When hot air rises a clerestory acts as a vent and space for the hot air to accumulate and exit.


  • Outdoor Space: Incorporating outdoor living spaces such as porches, balconies that connect with the indoors significantly improves the air flow into the home.


Do you know of any other methods that can be used to naturally ventilate your home? Share with us below.

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Ceiling Styles

An extraordinary ceiling style has the potential to transform an ordinary space into an elegant and extraordinary setting. The design of a ceiling is a very integral part of the overall design of a home, thus it should not be overlooked. Here are four magnificent ceiling styles and designs that will give your home a unique feel, setting it apart from your neighbor’s.


Exposed Beams Ceilings:

Exposed ceiling beams offers warmth to any décor and gives the home a more rustic feel compared to other ceiling options. This design can also provide an open feel to a room, as well as a touch of unique character. With high ceilings this design can be beneficial in bringing eyes down to furniture level.


Tray Ceiling Styles:

A tray ceiling has a recess in a ceiling that resembles an inverted tray. This design comprises of two or more levels with the center ceiling being at least one to two feet above where the primary ceiling begins. The tray ceiling design gives any room a dramatic feel. Homeowners have also chosen to paint the inner part a different color to intensify the drama. The design is often rectangular in shape, however it can take other shapes.


Vaulted Ceiling Styles:

A vault is an architectural term for an arched form that provides space with a ceiling or roof.  Vaulted ceilings which are also known as cathedral ceilings can create a light and airy space, hence making a room seem larger than it really is. Because of its design, vaulted ceilings can create an escape route for rising hot air thus making the room well ventilated.


Coffered Ceiling Styles:

A coffered ceiling has a series of sunken panels in a variety of shapes (rectangle, square, octagon, etc.). In modern times this particular design can mainly be found in restaurants, hotels, and other commercial infrastructure due to its elegance; however it can make a wonderful addition to a residential design.


Whatever design option you decide to choose, ensure that it complements the overall design of the home.


If you need any clarification on this topic, feel free to email us at

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Out With The Old, In With The Steel

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3 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Home Design

One of the most exciting milestones in an individual’s life is building their own home! Choosing the right home design that both suits your personal taste, and meets your functional needs can seem difficult, however when you know what to look for, you realize that it is not as hard as you thought.  The size of the home, the layout of the different rooms, among other factors can either enhance, or diminish the functionality of a home design. Here we discuss 3 factors to consider when choosing a home design.


  • Before you settle on a home design it is wise to think about your individual needs and wants as well as those of the other members of the family who will be residing in the home. A lot of consideration should be placed on the number of individuals in the family, and the type of family structure. Single-parent families, nuclear families, extended families have different needs. Given the same size lot, the design of the home will be different to achieve maximum effectiveness (for example the size of the kitchen should differ based on the family type). It is also important to take a look at where you are now and where you plan to be. Have you only recently been married, are you expecting to have your first child or another child soon, are your children just about ready to leave home, do you plan on expanding in the future, are you almost at the age of retirement? You need to ask yourselves these questions before settling on a design.



  • While focusing on the floor plan and the overall layout of the home ensure that you consider how the layout of your furniture will fit into the home. If you have not bought furniture as yet it would be easy to incorporate them into your home design. Consider whether or not the floor plan will accommodate the arrangement of the furniture. Ensure that the room sizes are of adequate size. Will the windows be blocked by furniture and appliances? Will the furniture layout utilize or hinder the flow of natural lighting into the home? All of these should be considered.


  • Do you consider yourself a very private individual? If yes, you should consider designing your home with an L or U shaped layout. Also consider how much privacy you would need and from whom. The home can be designed to limit interaction between your neighbors through the window and door plans, and from other family members with the addition of interior walls. Would you want a lot of privacy in the bathroom, bedroom, and your home office?


Which one of these factors do you find most important? Share with us and our readers in the comments below.

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Additional Basement Conversion Ideas

This week, we continue where we left off last week with excellent ideas for uses for the basement.  While the rooms shared last week possess practical aspects to the home and family life the basement can also be converted to rooms you may rarely find, but that can make a wonderful addition to your home if you are able to afford them. And an added benefit of the following rooms is that if they are done right they can provide a substantial flow of income.

Bar: Build your own bar by adding a counter and having the necessary furniture to sit down and savor a sip. Throw in a liquor license, a bit of entertainment, proper planning, and you are in business.

Game Room: On days you may want to stay home and have fun with your friends or family you can simply take a trip downstairs and enjoy a friendly game of pool.

Media Room/Theater: Consider having a television set and sound system installed in, or maybe a projector so that your family and guests can enjoy a movie in your own private theater.

Gym: Based on cost and location, going to the gym may be difficult. And if your home does not have the space required for your exercise routine, or outside is not a possibility having your own place to work out is an excellent idea.


When converting the basement ensure that it is well ventilated especially if you are converting it into living space. Proper breathing is important. Also try to allow for maximum natural light to enter cutting down on the cost of electricity when occupying the space during the day.


Which of these rooms would you consider converting your basement into? Share with us in the comments.

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Basement Conversion Ideas

Here in Dominica a basement is one of the least likely rooms you will find in a home. Many individuals view the room as merely for storage and that it is not essential. While storing items that take up needed space in the rooms above is the main use for a basement, it has potential to be used as a variety of rooms that may be difficult to incooperate in your home design. Hence including a basement in your house plan can be an excellent investment down the line. Here are 6 rooms that can be featured in your basement space.

Family Room: A family room is a multipurpose room that is designed for family and friends to socialize. With the right furniture, appliances and design your basement space can be converted into a domestic living space that encourages family bonding.

Spare Bedroom: As your family expands your home may need to expand as well. Expanding upwards can be expensive. And if most of the land is occupied there may be no place to go but up. If you already have a basement, simply clear it up if it is filled, do a little bit of spring cleaning, make a little interior design alterations, add a bed and other bedroom furniture and you have yourself a functional bedroom.

Studio Annex: If your basement is large enough why stop at a bedroom. You can convert your basement into its own self-contained dwelling complete with washroom facilities, kitchenette, living and sleeping areas. This is ideal for extended families and as an added bonus if a private entrance can be added to this room it can be rented out to provide income.

Laundry: If your basement space is not large enough to be converted to living space consider converting it to a laundry. Simply install your washing machine and dryer, and create a few shelves to help with storage of your detergents and other washing essentials. You may want to consider having an area where you can sit and relax so you won’t constantly be moving up and down the stairs.

Home Office: If you find yourself frequently working from home, having an office space away from distractions may have crossed your mind once or twice. But where do you build it? There are no more rooms, and your bedroom is clustered enough as is. The basement can be an excellent idea. Add a desk, your equipment, a book case and you will be working in no time.

Recreation Room: Most home owners who are skilled tradespersons or artists usually do their work outdoors, in a tiny shed, a garage/carport or try to find space inside of the home. If the home has a basement it could easily be transformed into a workshop, craft room or music room where you can create your craft in peace. Just ensure that the room is sound proof so the rest of the family is not disturbed.


Look out for the next 4 additional rooms that you can incorporate into your basement.  Maybe you can share with us in the comments, what you think they are!

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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning to Build Your Dream Home

After all the dreaming, hard work and saving you are finally ready to turn your dream home into a reality. With all the excitement what most individuals fail to realize is that it does not take much for the project to turn out to be an epic fail. Proper planning needs to be in effect to save you time and money. Here are 5 costly mistakes you need to avoid.

Mistake #1 – Poor financial planning!

Unless you will be buying your home out of pocket (in that case, we envy you!), you are going to need financing. Check around for the best mortgage rates and terms and find out how much you can afford before meeting with a real estate agent, architect or contractor. Building your dream home should not plunge you into debt or a straitjacket. Deciding on the type of construction and style of the home that will fit into your budget may require some research but it will definitely pay off in the long run.

Mistake #2 – Planting roots in the wrong location

After you have built your dream home, you will not be able to move it around if the location chosen turns out to be wrong for you. Consider changes that may occur in your environment in the future and how that will affect your quality of life, and value of your property in case you decide to sell your home later on.  For your own enjoyment and for future sales look for property in a location which is convenient while still being relatively peaceful.

Mistake #3 – Not starting out with a good set of plans

People think they are saving money by not buying good plans.  First, without plans you cannot get an accurate cost estimate for building a house. You can’t make an accurate materials list so you won’t know what the materials will cost. A contractor will not know how difficult the house will be to build so he cannot give you an accurate estimate of the labor. The plumber, the electrician and other subcontractors need to be on the same page so it must be a plan that can be understood by all concerned.  Incomplete or nonexistent plans will inevitably lead to misunderstandings, tear-outs, delays, and conflicts which cause greater expense.

Mistake #4 – Choosing the Wrong Builder

Shop around for builders, ask for references and check them!  Do not make the mistake of choosing a contractor because he has the lowest price. Talk with several builders; check out their work to find the right fit. A good contractor will be willing to work with you to stay within your budget by going over the proposal to see where you can cut back. Regardless of your choice, understand that working with a professional with a solid background and years of experience can come at a premium price but it is worth the investment.

Mistake #5 – Building for only your current needs

If you know that children are in your future, build with them in mind.   If you cannot afford to prepare for children immediately build to allow for an addition later on. There is nothing worse than building a new house that is already too small the day that you move in.  If you need more square footage than you can afford at the present time, consider lowering the cost of the fixtures such as cabinets, windows, and doors some of which you can always upgrade in the future.  If this is to be your retirement home, what will your needs be then?  Does your home need to have wheelchair access?  Will you always be able to use the stairs?

Which one of these mistakes do you believe would be the worst to make?  Have you made one of them?  Can you think of other mistakes that should be avoided? Share with us in the comments.