3 Tips Guaranteed to Give You an Edge in House-Hunting

When you’re just starting out, house-hunting can be really daunting. And there’s a lot of reasons for this.
For instance, the property can be too expensive, or that there’s a problem with the unit that needs fixing, and if you’re looking to rent, no one is renting out because the landlord is questionable.

Other problems may include distance and extended travel time, or that you may not like the neighborhood. And lastly, someone else may have already rented out or bought the unit before you did.

However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Here are some tips that will improve your house-hunting experience in Singapore:

1. Know your budget
Your budget is the biggest factor in house-hunting. This should be enough for you to screen through a lot of listings with ease – no need for that dream house when a modest HDB flat is what your wallet can afford.

There are a few ways to find out your financial threshold, such as the Central Provident Fund (CPF) calculator, where you can key in crucial financial details to generate the maximum cost and the estimated loan you would need.

2. Do your homework
Once you have your budget figured out, it’s time to start looking at the units within your price range – you can find these in listings and recommendations from friends and family, though you will have to actually visit the units yourself.

If you can, you can even visit the neighborhood twice a day to get a feel for the area. Be sure to talk to the landlord and the neighbours in the area and ask questions like, “What’s the neighborhood like during the day/at night?”

And lastly, don’t fixate yourself in one particular housing area or district. While some areas do have their own personalities and may be nicer to live in, being open to other districts allows you more units to choose from.
The same goes for the housing type, space, and the number and size of bedrooms – you’ll be surprised how many bedrooms can fit in such a small condo space.

3. Hire a housing agent
You may have heard about people who have had a terrible experience, but this shouldn’t stop you. A great housing agent has the following qualities:

• Has an in-depth knowledge about the different property prices in Singapore
• Capable of negotiating rental prices on your behalf
• Researches apartments before taking you to them
• Takes care of a good chunk of the paperwork for you

Be sure to find a good agent and take advantage of all of these mentioned qualities, and you will have a smoother experience in your house-hunting.

Whether you’re an expat or a local, there are all sorts of surprises you will find in your house-hunting. If you keep an open mind, you’ll find all kinds of housing units that might just be right for you.

3 Simple Ways to Plan Your Budget for Living Abroad

Living abroad is a big decision that needs a lot of time and planning. When you do it right, it may just be the biggest experience that could happen in your lifetime, which is why it’s something that’s worth building towards, and that includes budgeting.

When you’re planning to move to live abroad as an expat, here are five simple tips and tricks you should remember to have the budget to move to your country of choice:

1. Keep your burn rate in mind
What is “burn rate”? The answer is that it’s the amount that you will be spending each month in needed expenditures, such as your housing, groceries, rent, transportation, etc.

Food expenses is one that you should especially consider – your budget plan should include enough room to allow you a solid meal plan instead of relying on take-out or eating outside.

Convert your current expenditure amount to the currency of the country you will be moving to and compare the cost of living in the country. This will give you an estimate as to your monthly budget, as well as your initial spending.

Once you have a burn rate in mind, you can easily formulate a budget that will cover your expenses.

2. Spend according to your savings plan
Calculate a target number for how much you need to save after everything else has been deducted from your net income after taxes. This is quite similar to what you would otherwise do in planning an ordinary budget, but with two added factors.

The first factor is, of course, the currency rate. By knowing how much currency A is in terms of currency B, you not only have an initial budget that you can spend, but you can also know how much you can or want to convert, and how much you want to keep.

The second factor is the cost of living. If the cost of living in the country you’re moving to is lower, you will have more to spend, and you can adjust your savings accordingly.

3. Open international accounts
One advantage an international bank account, or an offshore bank account, can offer you is that it offers you added privacy, and is great for participating in investing opportunities all over the world.

It also gives you a greater amount of financial freedom – since you’re dealing with two currencies, you can utilize different exchange rates and international funds, and get better returns for each in the international market.

Be sure to talk to your bank when opening an offshore account, and what advantages this can offer you in different jurisdictions around the globe.

What Should You Do When Your DIY Pest Control Goes Wrong?

Many people are often tempted to forgo a professional pest control management company and instead try to get rid of the infestation problems by themselves.

This can often involve using all kinds of methods, equipment, and even chemicals to get rid of cockroaches in specific areas around the house, or even to treat bed bug infestations in mattresses and textiles. However, exterminating a major pest problem at home by yourself can be really dangerous.

For instance, when using organic pesticides or chemicals improperly, there are plenty of adverse effects that can happen not just to you, but also the people you live with, as well as your neighbors. To achieve quick effective removal of pests, it is still better to seek assistance from professional pest control service in Singapore.

When DIY Pest Control Goes Wrong
There are a lot of reasons why trying to solve your pest infestation on your own can go wrong, and in so many different ways:

• Venomous insects – When you attempt to terminate pest infestations at home by yourself, you put yourself and everyone around you at risk of being bitten, especially in the case of venomous spiders.

This is the reason why professional pest control services technicians always wear full safety gear and equipment to minimize these instances.

• Unpredictable behavior – Pests don’t always respond to pest control chemicals. They can sometimes act even more aggressively than before, or the chemicals will have no effect on them at all. This can explain why it’s difficult to kill rats.
• Pesticide poisoning – Chemical pesticides are designed to kill, so they need to be handled carefully and with professional equipment. Without them, these chemicals can cause poisoning and various respiratory problems.
• Not treating the right areas – There’s nothing worse than spending so much time, money, and energy into your DIY pest removal, only to realize too late that you “missed a spot”, or failed to treat the right area.

Ensuring Your Safety at Home
If you made a mistake when trying to exterminate a major problem by yourself, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage:

• Wear safety equipment! Whether it’s dealing with chemicals or pests, or both when you’re trying to exterminate rodents, be sure to wear the proper safety equipment, such as gloves and masks. The same can also be said when you’re trying to get rid of termites from your wooden fixtures, installations, and furniture. But, it is still encouraged to seek a pest exterminator in Singapore when you need help to control termites.

• Clear the area as soon as possible. Preferably, you want to get yourself and the people you live with – friends, family, pets, etc. – to vacate the area as quickly as possible. This is to avoid dangerous chemicals or the pests showing more signs of activity than before you tried DIY extermination.

• Call a professional to help you out. Calling a professional pest exterminator as soon as possible is your best bet in order to minimize the damage caused by a failed DIY.

Be sure to explain to your pest control worker what the problem is thoroughly, as well as the type of treatment that you used.

What Professional Pest Control Can Do For You
For any problem in your home that involves pests that just won’t go away, be sure to call a professional for guaranteed pest control services in Singapore.

Professional pest control services understand that it takes more than just chemicals in order to deal with an infestation. In fact, proper pest control management involves a multi-pronged approach that not only eliminates pests, but also includes measures to keep them from coming back to your home.

With a 24 hours pest removal company, you get the best services quickly for your home at any time of the day, whether it’s early in the morning to late at night.

(Disclaimer: this list is compiled in no particular order.)

Laundry Cleaning Method Explained

Having a busy schedule means that you won’t have time to do the laundry. Fortunately, the laundry service offers various methods for individual and commercial laundry needs. You can even get your clothes back through a same day dry cleaning process. But before you head to the nearest express laundry in Singapore, you might want to read up on the different methods they use to clean your clothes.

Labels and Sorting
To achieve very clean clothes, the laundry is first sorted based on the fabric, weight, color, degree of soiling, and the instructions on the care label. For example, a white shirt should not be washed in the same batch as a white towel. The staff will wash towel separately based on its weight, degree of soiling, and purpose. The last one is very important for laundry delivery services in Singapore because the customer will expect that the clothes will be returned to them in good condition.

Not all fabrics can be cleaned with water and detergent, tumble-dried or even ironed, however. There are also some fabrics that are only suitable for handwashing and should be not bleached or chlorinated. The clothes are also sorted based on the customer’s instructions. Some that are for commercial use such as laundry for spa and clean towels for hotels and restaurants should be cleaned separately from items for individual customers that are for wash and fold only.

Dry-Cleaning
The dry cleaning method is known to use chemical dryer (dry cleaning agent) instead of water and detergent. The term might be somewhat misleading as the solvent is also in liquid form, but it can absorb oils and stains better than water and detergent without damaging the fabric. Unlike wet cleaning, the clothes are cleaned and dried in the same dry cleaning machine during the process. The dry cleaning price in Singapore is also cheaper than detergent because the solvent can be reused for other batches.

The machine looks similar to a regular washing machine, but it causes less damage on accessories such as buttons, sequins, beadings, and lace. It is a method perfect for almost any type of fabric besides wool, silk, and leather and will even make uniform laundry last longer than regular machine washing.

Machine-Washing
Unless the care label says the item should not be machine-washed, most fabrics are cleaned with water and detergent in a commercial laundry services shop. But the staff also takes note of the degree of soiling and the intended use of the garments. This means that items for individual customers should be separate from the fabrics used for commercial purposes. The agitation and rotation of the machine can be harsh on some items, even when they were made to withstand the cleaning process, so the laundry delivery staff also has to check for additional instructions on the care label such as water temperature, treatment, and washing condition. Items that should be handwashed can still be machine washed as long as the most minimal setting is used.

Tumble Drying
Some laundry delivery shops use a different machine for drying clothes. The staff checks the labels whether the fabric should be tumble-dried in low heat or high heat settings. Some clothes, however, should not be tumble-dried and should be flat-dried, drip-dried, or line-dried. The drying method used also determines which ironing method and setting is used by the laundry service shop.

Ironing and Steaming
The ironing labels determine the maximum temperature that should be used to iron clothes. Some 24 hour laundry shops also use steaming machines for other fabrics that can tolerate high temperatures because it’s more effective in removing creases and wrinkles. Finally, the best laundry will mend clothes (if there is any damage or missing buttons and accessories), fold, pack, and label items for pickup or delivery.

What You Can Do About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can cause shallow breaths or breathing pauses while sleeping. These pauses can last for minutes and will result to disruptions and poor sleeping habits overall. The condition is a chronic illness and sometimes goes undetected until the person suffers from medical complications.

What should you do about sleep apnea?

Detection and Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea
There is no test to determine if a person has sleep apnea, because the symptoms are not apparent during waking hours and only sleeping companions will notice the signs, if he/she knows what to look for. The first sign is usually the loud snoring, which can be dismissed as fatigue or habit, so the person who might be suffering from the disorder, as well as members of the family, will have to look for the following signs:

• Chronic loud snoring (which means that the person snores almost every night)
• Pauses in breathing while asleep
• Snorting, choking and gasping sounds while asleep
• Insomnia, disruptions in sleep, and feeling that you’re out of breath
• Fatigue, forgetfulness, irritability or depression, headaches, and sleepiness during waking hours
• Having sore throat or dry mouth when you wake up

However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. So how do you tell the difference? Snoring should not lessen the quality of sleep, but if you feel tired during waking hours no matter how much sleep you’re getting, it could be sleep apnea. If you suspect that you have the condition, you should seek medical help immediately to avoid complications such as hypertension, heart attack, diabetes, obesity, heart failure, and increased likelihood of accidents.

Causes and Treatments
You are prone to having sleep apnea if you are overweight, hypertensive, a smoker, and if your neck circumference is greater than 40 cm. Your family’s history of sleep apnea and allergies (such as nasal congestion) can also contribute, and even the structure of your chin, septum, and tonsils.

There are three types of sleep apnea, but the most common is obstructive sleep apnea which is the blockage of the airway due to the relaxing soft tissue at the back of the throat. Central sleep apnea on the other hand, is triggered by the faulty brain signals that control the muscles, while complex sleep apnea is a combination of the two. Be warned that people with central sleep apnea do not usually snore, unlike those with obstructive sleep apnea.

The doctor will recommend that you lose weight, stop smoking, limit your alcohol intake, limit the use of sedatives and sleeping pills, avoid caffeine and heavy meals 2 hours before bedtime, and to keep to your sleeping hours. To lose weight and get rid of extra tissue at the back of the throat, you need to exercise regularly so that the muscles in your airways open up and become stronger.

Your sleeping habits also need to change by propping your head up 4 to 6 inches with a special pillow, to sleep on your side, or to use a nasal dilator to open nasal passages.

Different Types of Leather to Consider

Leather has been used for thousands of years, and yet even those who love this fashionable material don’t know much about its origins and why it’s so expensive in the first place. Let’s look at how leather is processed and the different types of leather that are made today.

Sources and Processing of Leather
By now you should be aware that authentic leather comes from tanned animal skin and rawhide. Most of the leather products in the market come from cattle skin, but other animal sources are used; such as deer, lamb, elk, pig, buffalo, alligator, goat, ostrich, snake, ox, kangaroo, fish, stingray, and yak skins.

Leather processing can impact the environment, not just with its use of animals for the raw materials, but also the use of chemicals for tanning and the slow decomposition of leather itself. So, if you’re not amused with the idea of using animals for clothing and accessories, you should consider environment-friendly alternatives to leather.

Leather is used to create shoes, jackets, hats, belts, trousers, skirts, bookbinding, furniture cover, and bags. Although they might all look the same, the different processes in tanning result in various forms of leather, such as vegetable-tanned, chrome-tanned, aldehyde-tanned, brain-tanned, formaldehyde tanning, rose-tanned, alum-tanned, synthetic tanned leather, rawhide, and chamois leather.

The production, however, is divided into three main processes, regardless of the intended result; these are preparation (soaking, fleshing, unhairing, etc.), tanning (stabilization of protein from the skin or hide), and crusting (thinning, tanning or lubricating the leather). Other leathers also receive surface treatment after crusting.

The Different Types of Leather
Leather can be classified in two ways, the type of grain and its appearance and coating (finishing).

Types of Grain:
• Top Grain: It’s the surface layer of the skin and is also the thickest, most durable, and softest part.
• Full Grain: This is a variety of top grain leather which is not altered so that it looks more natural.
• Split Grain: This is the layer found below the top grain and is considered less durable and stiff. One example of split leather is suede.
• Corrected Grain: This is a variety of top grain leather that has been sanded, buffed, and embossed to remove the flaws.
• Bonded Leather: This is a combination of leather pulp and boding materials and used as a layer on fibers. Some people don’t consider this authentic because the pulp is made from hide scraps.

Types of Finishing:
• Aniline: This leather looks natural because it is not coated or pigmented to alter its appearance, but the process is only used for full grain hides that have minimal flaws on the surface. An example of aniline leather is nubuck.
• Semi-Aniline: This finishing goes through the same process as aniline leather, but is treated with pigments to make the surface color more uniform.
• Pigmented: This type of leather uses materials not suitable for aniline and semi-aniline processes. Pigmented leather is sanded, buffed, and embossed so that the grain looks uniform.

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