Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Four Features Women Buyers Want When Buying a House

With a worldwide increase in the number of women homeowners, it is not surprising that architects, designers, and investors around the world are realizing that they are an important demographic worth catering to. That is why things to look when buying a house checklist features that attract women are now beginning to be constructed, albeit at a slow rate. Their presence can increase the resale value of the property such as an apartment or a house by 7- to 18%.

Following are four main features which women buyers want when buying a property:

1. Safety. This is a major concern for women, especially if they live alone, therefore, safety features such as CCTV cameras and security alarm systems attract women buyers when buying a property. Other safety-related elements such as anti-skid floors and fire-alarm systems with sprinklers are also in demand.

2. Space. Homes which appear to be airy are believed to attract women buyers when buying a property. This can be achieved via open layout plans, large glass windows, skylights and walls made with glass bricks which can be used to separate spaces within a home.

3. Storage. Ample storage space is something most women covert. These can be implemented in the form of niches under staircases, wall-to-ceiling cabinets, and purpose-built storage rooms.

4. Well designed kitchens and bathrooms. When it comes to the kitchen, in addition to ample storage space (in the form of pull-out and revolving shelves, drawer organizers and walk-in pantries) women favor island stoves and center-aisle working counters. Separate grease kitchens are also worth considering. Similarly, bathrooms should be aesthetically pleasing.

Other features that attract women buyers when buying a property include basements, powder rooms, purpose-built office/study areas, patios, roof gardens, and utility rooms.

Five Reasons How Smart Home Features Increase Property Value

A smart home is one with automatic electric, plumbing or security systems. Although the initial cost of these may seem high, they can help reduce your utility bills by 12 to 15%. Furthermore, home automation can increase home value by 15 to 20%.
Here are five smart home features that increase home value.

1. Garden sprinkler systems. A smart sprinkler can be programmed via a device that adjusts the amount of water that is used for your garden according to the weather conditions. It ensures your garden stays well-watered and the water is not wasted.
Price: $ 2,437 for ¼ acre residential lawn.

2. Lighting. Smart lighting dimmer and sensor systems allow lights to be turned on and off via a smartphone and can be customized to perform certain actions, such as turning off automatically when no one is around by using motion sensors. They can be used outside your home as well and can help increase security.
Price: $ 40 to $ 60 per bulb.

 3. Locks. A smart lock receives signals from an authorized device which instructs it to lock or unlock an entrance. Third part users can be granted entry via a ‘virtual key’ which can be sent to them through e-mail or SMS during a specified time.
Price: $ 229 to $ 278 per smart lock home kit.

4. Smoke detectors. When smoke is detected, these gadgets set off an alarm; some of them are equipped with automatic sprinkler systems to douse fires. What makes smoke detectors smart is that they can send a notification to your device(s) when it detects smoke no matter where you are.
Price: $ 30 to $ 80

5. Thermostats. These are synchronized with your air-conditioners or central air-conditioning systems to control the interior temperature of your home. They come with WiFi connectivity (which allows you to adjust temperatures via your device) as well as sensors to maintain the desired temperature. You can also schedule the times you want you air-conditioning to start or stop.

Price: $ 150 to $ 200.

Four Outdoor Features to Increase Home Value

According to experts, introducing outdoor features and elements to your home can increase the home value by 8- 10%. Most of these enhancements are one-time investments which can yield a return on investment (ROI) ranging between 18 to 20%.
Here are four proven ways to increase home value and these are best home improvements to increase value:

1. Entrances. Main gates should be sturdy and secure yet inviting; wooden gates or those made with wrought iron are trending, especially if flanked by contemporary lighting fixtures can increase home value (such as those made of chrome or silver). Their presence can increase home value by 12 to 18%.
Price: $ 1200 to $ 1800

2. Landscaping. Houses with large lawns should be landscaped with flowers and foliage (opt for plants that do not require much water). Lighting options include spotlights, lanterns, and fairy lights to give your lawn added appeal. Furthermore, you can introduce features such as stone planters, pebbled corners and walkways, and sunken Zen garden niches. Doing so will increase home value by at least 10%.
Average landscaping cost: $ 10 - $ 15 per square foot.

3. Hardscaping. This refers to features such as decks, gazebos, and patios, which can serve as entertainment spaces all year round. Their presence can increase home value by 15 to 20%.
Prices: Decks and gazebos: $ 12 to $ 15 per square foot.; Patios: $ 15 to $ 18 per square foot.

4. Backyard sanctuaries. If you have a backyard, you can install a small shed to provide storage space. Features such as a pond, water fountain or a fire pit surrounded by garden chairs are worth considering; they work well as spaces to relax or entertain. Their presence can increase home value by 12 to 14%.
Prices: Pond: $ 8 to $ 10 per square yard, shed: $ 1.5 to $ 2 per square foot; water fountain: $ 800 to $ 1000.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Lucrative Commercial Property Investment Options In Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore

In the last three years, the demand for commercial property for rent is tremendously increasing (specifically restaurants, retail spaces, and warehouses). Rental commercial property rates have gone up by 20 to 25% and prices have been increased by nearly 30%. Despite this, demand for these rental spaces has increased by nearly 20%, making them lucrative commercial property investment options.

If you are planning to invest in a commercial property such as restaurant, retail space or warehouse, factor in the following:

1. Restaurants. The number of restaurants in Pakistan has increased by an estimated 30 to 38% in the last two years. Custom-made spaces for restaurants are in high demand and their return on investment (ROI) ranges between 25 and 35% per year.

Areas where restaurant space is available include:
  • Islamabad: Sector F-10.
  • Karachi: Tipu Sultan Road and Block 4, Clifton.
  • Lahore: M.M. Alam Road

Average sizes range between 400 – 1,200 sq feet.
Purchase Price Range: $ 300,000 to 450,000
Monthly Rental Range: $ 5 - $ 12.7 per square feet

2. Commercial Retail Space. These include commercial shops and commercial stores within malls and shopping centers. Their number has increased by 18 to 20% in the last two years and their ROI ranges between 22 and 25% per year. Retail commercial space does not require a lot of investment and is relatively easy to rent.

Areas where commercial retail space is available include:

Islamabad: Sector F-10. Giga Mall, Aquatic Mall, and Gulberg Greens.
Karachi: Clifton and Defence Housing Authority.
Lahore: Block Y, DHA, Gulberg and M.M. Alam Road

Average sizes range between 500 – 1,000 sq feet.
Purchase Price Range: $ 230,000 to 650,000
Monthly Rental Range: $ 2 - $ 15 per square feet

3. Commercial Warehouses. Due to increasing industrialization, the demand for warehouses has increased by 12 to 15% in the last two years. Initial investment and maintenance costs are lower compared to other commercial spaces; this makes them a popular choice for investors. Their ROI ranges between 15 and 20% per year.
Areas where commercial warehouse space is available include:

Islamabad: Sector I-9 and I-10.
Karachi: Hub and West Wharf
Lahore: Multan Road

Average sizes range between 500 – 3,000 sq yards.
Purchase Price Range: $ 1,500,000 to 3,650,000

Monthly Rental Range: $ 6 - $ 27 per square yard.

Monday, February 11, 2019

A Valentine Gateway: Low-cost Accommodation Options to Celebrate with your Valentine

As a result of increasing tourism in northern Pakistan, the number of low-cost accommodation options for travelers, such as apartments, cottages, and villas (as opposed to regular hotels which are more expensive), is increasing significantly. Surrounded by majestic mountains, the return on investment of these options ranges between 15 to 18% per year; their resale value increases by approximately 22% every three years.

If you are considering traveling to the following destinations with your valentine or even later this year, or investing in property there, factor in the following:

·        Bhurban. Located between Kashmir Road and Murree Road, Bhurban is a picturesque town that is a 45-mnute drive from Islamabad. Attractions include Ayubia National Park, an expansive golf course and hiking trails. Apartments are increasingly available for short-term rentals; facilities include swimming pools and complimentary WiFi.
Rental range (per night) – Apartments: $ 70 to $ 100
Purchasing price range – Apartments (450 – 800 sq ft): $ 120,000 to $ 180,000

·        Pir Sohawa. Located 17 kilometers from Islamabad, Pir Sohawa overlooks Daman-e-Koh Park, a popular vantage point 3,600 feet above sea level. Options include apartments, cottages, and villas. In addition to fine-dining restaurants, they provide facilities such as gyms, spas and swimming pools as well as corporate lounges and conference rooms for business travel. Activities include high-rope courses as well as hiking and walking trails.
Rental range (per night) – Apartments: $ 20 to 50; cottages: $ 30 to 60; Villas: $ 70t o 90.
Purchase Price Range – Apartments: (1,300 to 1,500 sq ft) $ 50,000 to 70,000; cottages: (300 to 500 sq yds) $ 150,000 to 180,000; villas (800 to 1,000 sq yds) $ 270,000 to 300,000

·        Skardu. Located at an altitude of 7,500 feet, Skardy is enchantingly beautiful; it is a one-hour flight from Islamabad. There are several accommodation options there, the majority of which overlook the majestic Kachura Lake. These include luxurious suites in resorts and cottages; facilities include swimming pools, spas, and fine-dining restaurants.
Rental range (per night) – Cottage: $ 30 to 50; Suite: $ 70 to 100
Purchase price range – Cottages (250 to 350 sq yards) $ 170,000 to 220,000; Suite: (500 to 800 sq yards) $ 280,000 – 570,000

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Give Your Kitchen an Uplift: Five Kitchen Decorating Ideas on a Budget

Are you thinking about decorating your kitchen? Although there may be myriad reasons why you would want to do so, remember that renovating your kitchen by having it re-designed and equipping it with modern kitchen decoration accessories can increase the value of your home by 8 – 10%. Here are few kitchen décor ideas in a budget:

Countertops – The most popular material for countertops is granite. Although they are available in light and dark colors, black and maroon are the trendiest kitchen designs. Granite has high durability (it is heat and stain resistant and does not absorb liquids) and is easy to maintain and aesthetically pleasing. Price: $ 5 to $ 12 per square feet.

Cabinets – No matter what kind of cabinets you have, just a coat of paint can transform them. Kitchen décor designers recommend that cabinets be painted in two different shades; popular combinations include mint green-and-maroon, grey-and-pink and black-and-white.

Price: $ 10 to $ 15 per square feet.

Tiles – Kitchen renovation materials worth considering are sandstone and rubber because they are durable and easy to maintain. Sandstone tiles will give your kitchen an ‘earthy look’ and are available in shades of red and brown. Rubber tiles are a little more expensive but more contemporary looking.

Price Sandstone: $ 18 to 20 per square feet.
Price Rubber: $ 25 to $ 35 per square feet.

Walk-in Pantries – Floor-to-ceiling pantries are not only best in simple kitchen designs but also ideal for storing kitchen appliances and large pots and pans. Their width ranges between five to six feet and they are usually seven to eight feet deep.

Price: $ 350 to $ $ 450.

Other kitchen décor themes you should consider: Island Kitchen theme ($350), Skylight Kitchen theme ($ 150) and stainless-steel backsplashes ($ 10 per square feet).

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Living Coral in Hotels – Pantone’s Color of 2019

Colors not only serve aesthetic purposes, but they are also known to have varying effects on how you think, act or react. In fact, certain colors are believed to have the ability to soothe or irritate, and even affect your blood pressure and appetite.
Image result for living coralIn Carlstadt, New Jersey lies the headquarters of Pantone LLC who take the business of color very seriously. Every season, they release the Fashion Color Trend Report which highlights the season’s top colors and they are consequently spotted on runways, interiors, and buildings.
On December 6, 2018, a vibrant and lively hue coined ‘Living Coral’ was named the 20th Pantone Color of the year. It has been described by Pantone as a color of ‘carefree happiness’. Laurie Pressman, VP, Pantone Color Institute, expressed that this shade “Symbolizes our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuit”.
Pantone and Tribute Portfolio (Marriot International’s new chain of independent hotels) have partnered to create a pop-up pantry that allows people to experience an immersive tribute to Living Coral at selected hotels. In collaboration with different artists and influencers such as Diplo and Sia, they will introduce interactive Pantone Pantries starting in Art Basel in Miami, and then move on to Savannah, Georgia and then the Netherlands this year. Each pantry will reflect the ‘spirit’ of each city to take guests on a journey of the character, color, and design that will showcase the uses of this trending color.
Pantone is also working with Material ConneXion and Adobe Stock (Software that designers use) in order to bring living Coral to creatives and designers; it Is expected that the color will be seen in homes in the form of statement walls, mirrors, and homeware, the exterior of buildings and will thus shape architectural and interior design trends.

The name of ‘Living Coral’ has been inspired by a ‘feeling of sunsets and the marine invertebrate; it is linked with the natural world of coral, a beautiful living organism that is facing extinction due to increasingly warmer oceans. Not only does this hade evoke a sense of punchy optimism, but it also serves as a reminder of the state of our environment.