The Simplicity of Contemporary Bedroom Design

If you have visited a number of different houses in different towns and/or cities, you might have gone to various bedrooms and noticed diversity in the way they are designed or set up. What is popular in interior design is following some sort of “theme” which is apparent throughout the entire house, but particularly in bedroom design. One such design that is evident in today’s houses is known as contemporary bedroom design.

How do you define contemporary bedroom design? The word “contemporary” simply means modern or current. So in essence, contemporary bedroom design means that it is a bedroom design that is more of a sign of the times. Design of bedrooms was very much different decades ago, more so centuries ago. Therefore, you may think of contemporary bedroom design as a relatively new school of thought in the world of interior design.

Life today is different than before. Today it is much busier and more industrialized. Cities are becoming overpopulated, which translates into more people needing places to live in. This is the reason why there are apartments and condominiums now for sale or for rent. In taking these things into consideration, contemporary bedroom design was born. The main idea in this school of thought is simplicity.

When you see a bedroom with contemporary design, you will notice that there are very few decorations (if none at all). Why so? Since simplicity is the key in contemporary bedroom design, the simpler it is, the better. Not much thought is placed on where the bed is set, where the chairs are, where the television is, other than where these are practical. In this type of bedroom design, there is a good amount of space in the middle of the room, and the furniture is placed in ideal locations, where it is easy for the person to go to (or where he prefers). Unlike other types of bedroom design wherein extra space is filled out with decors, the space in this form of design remains to be space.

The difference between contemporary bedroom design with other types of interior design is that others make use of decors to try to enhance the look. For example, in a country home, bedrooms usually have paintings or wallpapers that reflect nature, since the home is situated in an area surrounded by nature – trees, plants, animals, lakes, etc.

In a regular city home or apartment wherein the bedroom reflects contemporary design, it remains to be plain and stark in which simplicity is really evident. Another difference is the use of shapes. In contemporary bedroom design, a rectangular shape is primarily used. This shape is thought to be effective, but at the same time beautiful, which is why there is no emphasis on decors to be placed. In other forms of bedroom design, round shapes (including ovals) are more common.

The prevailing thought in today’s world is, the simpler it is, the better. This is not limited to certain things and holds true even in the realm of interior design, particularly in contemporary bedroom design. If you are a person looking to live in the city and are looking for a home or apartment, chances are that the bedroom was designed with simplicity in mind. You should not worry about it, since it reflects the mindset of modern culture in the world.

How to Identify Good Home Improvement Leads

Identifying good Home Improvement Leads doesn’t have to be difficult. Despite the misleading advertisers and scams to provide exclusive Leads, there is hope. People in your local area are looking for Home Improvement companies that perform quality work for services needed on their homes. The key to identifying the best source for these customers is to find a unique system for delivering the most exclusive leads available at the prices contractors and home improvement specialists are looking for.

It is not necessary to develop a high ranking website or to even have a website at all. Spending the time, energy, and money required to develop a highly optimized site is one method. Actually, one doesn’t need a website at all.

Look for a company located in your area that specializes in building search engine optimized pages specifically designed to gather leads from people looking for services today. If you have an existing website continue building it with lots of content rich information related to your business. Let the lead gathering company get your customers through their pages and make sure they automatically forward you the information. The single most important item is to make sure the lead provider gives you Customer Lead Information that is not shared with any other contractor or service provider. This is the only way to be sure your lead is truly an exclusive one.

The key component of your success with home improvement leads is having expertly written content describing your product or service. The advantage of utilizing a local company is that they will have ties to the community in which you work. It is in their best interest to provide you with a quality experience as bad reputations travel faster than good ones. You want local support so that local people looking for home improvements will find the page. If you are doing home improvement work in Fort Worth, Texas, it is a safe bet that you won’t get nearly the local flavor from someone in New York. You want that local customer who found the information to visit, read, and either fill out a form that is instantly emailed or call on a special phone number created and forwarded to your number. Having a unique phone number different from your regular business number is part of another technique for optimizing a leads page so be sure to look for this feature. Another important consideration is to notice if other companies’ information is shown on the page. Many of the so called lead suppliers are only looking for pay per click traffic through their site to your competitor pages. Find a service with these qualities and your competitors will be left eating your dust.

There are some other key ingredients to providing you exclusive leads. Does the lead provider strategically place videos and other readable media all over the web? Don’t be afraid to ask! A few choice spots with content rich media will get the search engine’s attention and drive incredible amounts of traffic to your lead forms. Don’t be surprised if your lead provider suddenly shows up with 3 or 4 spots on the first page of your favorite search engine. Get excited, because when that happens, you are about to be inundated with local home improvement leads.

Home Improvement Leads don’t have to be expensive when you utilize the services of a local area leads supplier. These companies should be committed to helping you be more successful by delivering the most exclusive leads at the best prices obtainable. By using multiple tactics to deliver the traffic, you can focus on providing the quality product or service you are best at. Allow the search engine experts to concentrate on finding potential customers while you do the professional work you love to do. Isn’t that why you are in business for yourself?

The Essence of a Marketing Manager in a Home Improvement Company

So you want to hire a Marketing Manager. Someone suggests you go to a headhunter or a dot com site. You get inundated with resumes from those with degrees in marketing or those with marketing backgrounds in major corporations – ad nauseam. Unfortunately, most of these applicants cannot fill the job.

The most appropriate applicant as a Marketing Manager for a lead based home improvement company has usually worked for a company with “in home” salespeople. They have a feel for what will pull leads in various advertising mediums; they understand the kind and quality of leads the company needs, as well as the kind and styles of the salespeople who will be issued the lead. A Marketing Manager in the home improvement business has the responsibility of keeping the lead pipeline full.

The ideal Marketing Manager will have to understand budget limitations, lead issuance and control factors and, above all, that leads are a precious commodity. Most leads are obtained expensively, and once acquired remain viable until your company or a competitor sells the product of interest to the prospect. Your Marketing Manager has to understand database management, confirmation and rehash scripting, how to negotiate with the media, event sources and S.F.I. relationships with big box and other similar “brand” sources. If a call center is involved, the ability to hire, train and supervise others is a necessity.

None of the above obviates the possibility that you won’t find “a diamond” without the experience defined. However, prepare yourself for training and control in the early stages because Marketing Managers in home improvement organizations are still an enigma.

Cues: Write the job description before you hire. Detail issues such as: what performance is expected, what budget to maintain (including the cost of the marketing manager) along with territory and product limitations. Compensate with a base salary and incentives for meeting budget requirements. Finally, evaluate these 3 considerations regarding the applicant: Can they do the job? Will they do the job? Do they fit?

Reinventing the 312 Home Improvement Loan Program

Over the last thirty years the community development field has moved away from its early focus on helping homeowners maintain and improve their properties towards the development of new affordable housing. Fueled by the resources of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC) and a confident economy, and in flight from lead remediation requirements for housing rehab, non-profits as well as for profit developers and local governments began to shift towards the promotion of new construction – both rental and homeownership – and away from housing rehab aimed at assisting individual owners.

The time has come to shift back.

Hundreds of thousands of foreclosed properties, declining property values and the loss of home equity, the absence of conventional credit, the need to make older houses energy efficient, opportunities to stimulate the local small construction trades and building supply markets – all of these factors demand that we look again at housing rehabilitation as an important policy option.

We need tools to promote the repair and rehabilitation of our older housing stock. Historically, the federal government played a leadership role in promoting home rehab and we need the Federal government to play this role again. A key role government can play is to authorize a significant amount of funding for the Section 312 Loan Program. We need to revisit this old tool and reinvent it making it relevant to the current situation.

The 312 Loan Program was authorized in the Housing Act of 1964. It provided loans from the Federal government through local municipal governments to home owners and landlords at 3% for a twenty year term. The per unit rehab cost allowed was $27,000, which in the 1970s and 1980s was a significant amount of money. It was used often in Urban Renewal Conservation Areas to assist homeowners in improving their properties and where it had a fairly major impact. It also served as a key component in the Federally Assisted Code Enforcement Program (FACE) to help owners bring their properties into code compliance. And it was the source of financing in the Urban Homesteading Program where vacant properties owned by the Federal government where auctioned off for a dollar.

The 312 Loan Program had some issues. It was cumbersome and time consuming for borrowers. It took a long time to get loans approved and people often deferred work while waiting for approval. People who were savvy enough to use architects, i.e. people of higher incomes, were often the most successful in securing funds. As local governments began to use Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to support housing rehab, 312 became diminished as a tool and fewer funds were allocated to it. While the 312 Loan Program currently exists in the HUD menu of programs, it has no money allocated for it.

This needs to change.

Today we are confronted with a situation that demands a significant response. We as a nation want to overcome the effects of the foreclosure crisis and return more properties to productive use. We want to increase the energy efficiency of residential properties, and we want to stimulate the economy. These efforts are hampered by the absence of capital, but they are also hampered by an anti-government investment ethos on Capitol Hill. Why should government do what the private sector can do? Why bother funding an obscure program, the kind of “legacy program” that HUD in its strategic plan wants to shift its focus from?

Here are ten reasons:

1. It is a stimulus that everyday people in cities and inner ring suburbs can see and understand. While earlier stimulus efforts have created results that people can see, a national home improvement loan program can benefit thousands of citizens directly.

2. It promotes confidence. When someone sees their neighbor down the street put on a new roof or rebuild their porch it makes them feel more confident about the future of the neighborhood and it may lead them to seek to make repairs on their own. We need to put this dynamic in place.

3. It’s simple. Unlike several of the initiatives being developed by HUD that are marching down the same sad path of prior Federal interventions in cities, it is simple and understandable. It helps people and not just developers. It’s not social engineering and it doesn’t have a lot of moving parts. It can effectively be described in thirty seconds.

4. It’s a loan and not a grant. People paid on their 312 loans. Money invested in a national home improvement loan program will get substantially returned.

5. It has a multiplier effect. It creates jobs in the construction industry as well as in the building supply and manufacturing sectors of the economy.

6. The process can be improved. We know more than we did in the 1970s about how to bring products to consumers. With new technologies around developing the scope of work, loan origination and servicing software – and the potential for outsourcing these functions-all are potential ways this program can be more accessible and user friendly. We also know more about marketing and how to effectively promote such a program.

7. A delivery system exists to get this money out. We have a host of institutions like NeighborWorks America organizations, community development corporations, Community Development Financial Institutions, as well as delivery systems that still exist in local governments that can be organized to help citizens access these resources. We also have financial institutions that have been a delivery system for tax-exempt housing bonds that also could be part of a delivery system.

8. It can generate revenue for this delivery system. Charging loan origination and rehab service fees can generate revenue for cities and other providers.

9. It can promote widespread energy conservation. Borrowers could be required to have an energy audit and make changes based on the audit findings. Borrowers who choose to install solar heat could receive an interest rate benefit for their whole project.

10. It is more “shovel ready” than many stimulus efforts. Large public works projects require significant planning. Home improvement projects require planning and bidding out jobs but this process is usually less complex.

A national home improvement loan program based on the 312 Loan Program is not a panacea for urban ills. It is not an anti-poverty program – it is a home improvement program that can benefit low-income as well as other income homeowners – and as such can have a larger constituency.

Can’t the private market do this? Sure, but it isn’t. Capital is not flowing like it once did. Lenders aren’t doing much in the way of home improvement lending and both supply of capital and demand for such capital is down. Equity lines that financed home improvement in the last several decades have dissipated, Demand needs to be stimulated. Providing an attractively priced loan product that is marketed well can stimulate that demand.

So how much would this cost? An initial allocation of $2.5 billion would potentially generate 50,000 loans with an average loan size of $50,000. Fees charged to borrowers for rehab services and origination could produce $100,000,000 – $125,000,000 in revenues throughout the delivery chain. $20,000 in materials purchases on a $50,000 rehab job could provide $1 billion in materials purchases for 50,000 projects, along with various sales tax revenues those purchases generate. This kind of volume would provide work for thousands of contractors, laborers, architects, building suppliers, and manufacturers of building supplies. It would also provide an interest rate return for the Federal Treasury.

For a redesigned 312 Loan Program to be effective in today’s environment it would need a few changes. First, change the name. 312 means nothing to anyone outside government. The name does not encourage one to borrow money. Second, raise the interest rate to 5%, but retain the ability to finance projects at 3% if they meet certain criteria, like the installation of solar energy or the rehab of a foreclosed property. Third, raise the per unit amounts to $57,000 per unit, and $75,000 for the rehab of a vacant property. Fourth, make the loan available in cities and older suburbs with no qualifying income requirements, so that people would not have to be low-income to borrow the funds.

This is a conservative program. It is about conserving what we have – our rich and diverse housing stock – by promoting maintenance and improvement. It is easy to understand. It supports rank and file homeowners and not just developers. It engages all homeowners and is not limited to low income borrowers. While driven by the Federal government it allows for partnerships with local banks and non-profits with consumer lending capacity. It has the potential to stimulate local economies and lessen the cost burdens on municipal governments. But most of all it is a loan and not a grant program. It will return money to the Treasury.

Innovation is not only inventing new things. When we look ahead for change sometimes we ignore what worked in the past. We assume that just because something was done once, its shelf life has expired and can’t be done again. Reinvention is also innovation. Repositioning old products to make sense in a new situation can be just as innovative as inventing complex new programs that look good on paper but don’t deliver. Let’s get real. Let’s keep things simple. Let’s reinvent 312.