Tuesday, November 19, 2013

#5 Life Changing Purchases That Don't Cost that Much

The Best In Class Sells for Under $250.00.  Why Pay Less!!

We encourage you to read the rather surprising stories we've done on our first 4 out of 11 Products that will change your life without breaking your bank:  bath sheetsshower heads, TV chairs
and Tools.  Now we turn our attention to environmental creature comforts.  Why in 2013 would anyone sit in their own home and be too hot or too cold.  Modern thermostats are super smart and seemingly about to get smarter with smartphone app controls. 

There seems to be no second choice when it comes to amazing thermostats.  While there are many with fab stats, one outsells all the rest on Amazon by a mile.  The Nest.

The founders of Nest Labs designed iPods and iPhones for Apple before beginning their own Silicon Valley startup, and they hope their innovations will catch on with the iPod generation. The parallels between Apple products and the Nest thermostat are easy to make. The Nest, which is actually sold in Apple's stores and on its website, has no physical buttons or switches – unless you count the circular thermostat interface itself, which you can twist and press to adjust temperature and navigate menus. This focus on attractive design, intuitive self-programming and simple operation has earned the Nest our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award for programmable thermostats.

The Nest's ability to program itself makes it the best programmable thermostat you can install in your home. It quickly learns your preferred temperature and programs itself to your schedule, and it senses motion, light and humidity to constantly fine-tune its settings and create a comfortable living environment, wasting no energy in the process. Nest lets you see how much you are saving and adjust the temperature right from your mobile phone. And while it does only support single-stage cooling, the Nest's advanced learning technology provides convenience and energy savings you won't get from any other thermostat.

Friday, November 15, 2013

#4 Inexpensive Ways to Make Life More Enjoyable, Less Stressful

Whatever Your Responsibilities Are in Your Home, This Advice Will Make A Huge Difference

We build homes and rooms and remodel those rooms.  Generally our clients want to add on or improve a room to make it more useful, modern, and attractive.  Once our job is done, there are inexpensive ways that you can make your life more fun, or comfortable, or reduce strress.

You can read here about the use of bath sheets, and here about shower heads.  We last discussed the TV chair.  If you haven't read those articles yet, we think you'll be surprised at how a better towel, shower head, or TV chair might improve your life.

Next we take on another relatively inexpensive method of making your life better.  Whatever your responsibilities are in the home and/or whatever your hobbies are, invest in a full range of the very best tools for the job.

1.  Make a list of the items that would make the hobby or chore faster, more efficient, or just more fun.  A concentrated research effort is more likely to result in finding new tools or recalling others you need.  With this list you can determine just what it would cost to be fully outfitted.  Then you can choose to buy them all, give out lists for gifts, or set a priority list and budget.

2.  More expensive than the tools themselves in some cases, create a well organized place to store all the tools.  Take into consideration the tools you intend to buy in planning this space.  Similar to planning a kitchen makeover, you want to plan out every possible kitchen tool that you'll ever want, before planning the new cabinet and drawer layout.

3.  In some cases, you may want to build a room around your hobby with built in spaces for the tools.  This is where you call us to come and find the best way accomplish your goals.  For outdoor kitchens, yard and garden tools, and bigger hobbies, you may want to build a shed or outdoor closets. 

Let us know if we can be of any help in planning or building some of these spaces.

Unique Home Construction LLC
11300 N. Central Expy
Dallas, TX 75243

Monday, November 11, 2013

Buffet's Birthday Present to the World: His Top Ten Investment Tips

Warren Buffet's Top Ten Investment Tips Applied to Real Estate

Warren Buffet loves to give tips to his followers and to others who will listen.  Last week CNBC and others posted a top ten list.  I thought it would be fun to apply these tips to real estate instead of businesses or stocks.

1.'It's far better to buy a wonderful home at a fair price than a fair home at a wonderful price.' 
Source: 1989 Letter to shareholders  insert company for home

2.'Rule No. 1: never lose money; rule No. 2: don't forget rule No. 1'
Source: "The Tao of Warren Buffett" (2006)  No change necessary

3.'Our approach is very much profiting from lack of change rather than from change. With Wrigley chewing gum, it's the lack of change that appeals to me. I don't think it is going to be hurt by the Internet. That's the kind of business I like.'   Just add: A 4 bedroom 3 bath home in a good neighborhood is always going to be a good bet.
Source: Businessweek (1999)

4.'I try to buy homes that are so wonderful that an idiot can make money from them. Because sooner or later, one will.'
Source: At a panel discussion after the premier of the documentary "I.O.U.S.A" (2008)  Substituted homes for companies and make money from for run.

5.'The real estate market is a no-called-strike game. You don't have to swing at everything – you can wait for your pitch.
Source: "The Tao of Warren Buffett" (2006)  Substituted real estate market for stock market

6.'Price is what you pay; value is what you get. Whether we're talking about socks or stocks or real estate, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.'
Source: 2008 Letter to shareholders   I just added real estate
7.'Never count on making a good sale. Have the purchase price be so attractive that even a mediocre sale gives good results.'
Source: "Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist" (1995)  No change necessary

8.'If you understood the real estate market perfectly and the future of the business, you would need very little in the way of a margin of safety.'
Source: 1997 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting  Substituted real estate market for a business

9.'We've long felt that the only value of home price forecasters is to make fortune tellers look good. Even now, Charlie [Munger] and I continue to believe that short-term market forecasts are poison and should be kept locked up in a safe place, away from children and also from grown-ups who behave in the market like children.'
Source: 1992 letter to shareholders   Simply substituted home price for stock market

10.'We don't get paid for activity, just for being right. As to how long we'll wait, we'll wait indefinitely.'
Source: 1998 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting   No change 

If you'd like to read the original list with commentary, go to http://www.cnbc.com/id/101000052

Friday, November 8, 2013

#3 Most Important Way to Improve Your Home Life

The Average American Spends Five Plus Hours PER DAY Watching TV

I'm not here to bust your chops about how long you spend in front of the boob tube.  Rather, in our effort to share wisdom of the ages with you, this fact should effect a major purchase in your home related to all that TV watching.  Next to your bed, and maybe your office chair, you will spend more time in your TV Chair than anywhere else during the course of your life.  Thus, if your TV chair provides you with the most comfort, and maybe some extra perks to boot, it would make sense to be very deliberative in selecting the chair, and a few extra dollars for something attached t
o your body 35 plus hours a week would make sense. 

My personal favorite is cheap, lightweight, and minimalist.  The Poang chair fits my body like a glove and I can sit in for hours without any problem.  You can buy it on ebay or at Ikea for  around $100 or so, and it is available with an ottoman.  

It doesn't have any vibration, refrigerator storage, warmers, motors, tables, cup holders or accessories.  The design makes it springy, but not so much that you turn it into a rocker.  The good news on this one:  Nothing is going to break.  You can wash the fabric.  If you hate it, you're only out $100, and maybe someone else in the family will like it.

Let's head to the other end of the spectrum.  

Ovei (£50,000)

Got £50,000 ($80,000) to spare on a personal entertainment experience? Then you'll need the Ovei. It's a custom made entertainment pod for one offering you an enclosed space to watch, play and relax according to, well, whatever your whim. It's rather hard to argue when you're stumping up with that level of wad.

Designed by Lee McCormack and engineered by McLaren Applied Technologies, those of F1 fame, each capsule is bespoke and hand crafted to client specifications. Users will be able to set it up with any kit they want from a PS3 to Xbox to media server as well as choosing the colour and interior. Oh, and the small screen you can see in the image? That's just the remote. Usually, most people opt for a whacking great TV inside as well. Expect to see them, er, well nowhere, really.

In between, there are 1000's of choices.  Some are designed more for video games than for TV.  Others are so comfy with leather, heat, and vibration that I suspect even Bill O'Reilly yelling at a liberal might not keep me awake.  But I grew up believing  that my Poppy's La-z- Boy was the smartest invention ever (though his automatic garage door was a close second), so what is La-z-Boy doing to help us watch TV today?

So, after checking around, I found this bad boy.  I'm guessing that this could double as a bed and triple as a love seat.  You could maybe get three grand kids and you in this chair.

Just looking at that chair makes me feel good.  And unless the folks at La-Z-Boy have forgotten the craft, this $2200 chair probably has some serious soft and plush leather.  $2200 sounds like a lot, but over the course of one year, that is only a little over a buck an hour.  Your likely to own this thing for 30 years.  Now you're down to 5¢ an hour.  

Here's the critical issue.  After you treat yourself to a bath sheet and the best shower head in the world, find the chair that fits you perfectly for wasting 22% of your life watching sitcoms and football.  (And I'll be sitting in my family room doing the exact same thing).

While your here, please note that if you need a really cool room for this chair and your TV, and you need to remodel or add on to do so, we are as good at building as La-Z-Boy is at leather work.  We'll be more than happy to discuss all your dreams and give you a feeling for what it might cost to get those dreams to come true.  Call and ask for Michael at:

Unique Home Construction LLC
11300 N. Central Expy
Dallas, TX 75243214-533-0716


Friday, November 1, 2013

Make Life Better with this Inexpensive Home Improvement. #2 Out of 11

Another Item in the Bathroom Makes Our Top 11 Ways to Make Your Life Amazing for Just a Few Dollars.

In our first installment, we talked about the Living Large idea of ending your less-than-satisfying history of using little tiny towels.  Moving up to bath sheets is something you will thank me for every day after your shower or bath. 

Staying with our bathroom theme, I personally feel that the 10 - 20 minutes per day spent under the shower deserves some real thought.  Seriously, we spend something like 60 hours a year taking a shower.  If that 60 hours could be improved dramatically for $100, wouldn't you do it.

I have been a shower head fanatic for decades.  I built my own double headed shower over 30 years ago, then installed two showers in a steam room that I built around 30 years ago.  One in front, one to the side.  Each of those was outfitted with state of the art (at the time) shower heads that would give me anything from a Spring shower to a piercing massage.  And they were, of course, able to be positioned at various heights, pivoted in all kinds of directions, and capable of being hand held.

Here below are a few of my favorite shower heads for 2013.

The shower head at the top of the page is described this way by RealSimple.com:

The Best Showerheads

Best Massaging

Moen Revolution Massaging Showerhead

Even with repeated use, the Revolution doesn't bore. A spinning disk twirls a pulsating column of water right onto sore muscles with surprising strength; a large dial lets you choose the spinning speed from a wide range of settings. Providing even more variety are small rubberized jet sprays along the edge of the head, which can be activated for a more intense spray.

 To buy: $60 in white with pebble accents, moen.com. Also available in chrome with green, blue, or pebble accents ($66) or white with green or blue accents ($60).

Best Overall from Consumer Reports and Yahoo.com

Both Yahoo.com and Consumer Reports picked the Moen Inspire 21777BN.  Here was the report
from Yahoo.

It was kind of difficult to make a choice since there were so many adjustable shower heads to choose from. After spending a considerable amount of time weighing our options and discussing the quality and affordability with a sales associate, we decided on the Moen Inspire. The exact model we chose was the Moen Inspire 21777BN, if you'd like to look it up.

We chose the Moen Inspire because it was very affordable in comparison to some of the other adjustable shower heads with settings. Many of them ranged from $80 - $150. The Moen Inspire we purchased cost us $50. It has seven settings to choose from. The settings are:

  1. Relaxing spray.
  2. Invigorating spray.
  3. Refreshing spray.
  4. Energizing massage.
  5. Targeted massage.
  6. Massaging rinse.
  7. Hydrating spray.

Shower Rails Add Flexibility

If you are really tall and others in the family are really short, or if you like to point the shower head
very precisely at various points on your body for massage or other benefits, you will want to look into a shower rail.  The trade off here is that the shower head may not be as good as the ones described elsewhere on this post.  If that is an issue, you can go for the gusto ... see below.

Going For the Gusto

You may or may not be aware that
you can buy shower systems that heat the water as delivered, have pumps to increase the flow, use thermostats to precisely control the temperature and remember it for next time, and filter the water to provide you with soft water and reduce lime build up.  I can't really tell you if the following shower system is the best of its kind, as there seems to be few reviews.  However, it is the type of system that you might select if you wanted to go all out. 

Product Details
Available in Oil Rubbed Bronze finish. 
Solid brass construction.
Shower system includes wall mount rainfall showerhead, wall mount slide bar with hand shower, handshower water connection, 6 swivel body jets and a thermostatic 2-way in-wall diverter.
Thermostatic technology keeps shower temperature ± 1 degree Celsius.
Wall showerhead measures 7-1/2" diameter and extends 17" from wall.
2-way diverter features 1/2" IPS inlets, and switches water flow between 2 shower outlets.
Diverter includes the valve and metal cross handles.
Two of the three shower functions (showerhead/body jets/handshower) run concurrently off one shower outlet.

Take showering from routine to breathtaking with the Exira Shower System. Made of solid brass, this set comes with a rainfall showerhead, six body jets and a convenient hand shower. It also features thermostatic technology to keep the temperature comfortably consistent.