Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Years From Your Friends at Paradime Construction!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Where To See Great Holiday Lights!

As we get closer to the Holidays it’s always a good idea to be festive. Festivity causes happiness and who doesn’t love to be happy? One of thousands of ways to show your holiday spirit is to hang up lights! For years people have hung up lights on their buildings and loved it! From simple white lights to full figurines made fully of lights.

Columbia is now different than any other city and offers great attractions in the field of holiday lights. It’s first show is called the Holiday Lights on the River at the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission. This light show lights up Saluda Shoals with over a million bright lights! Making a run from November 26th through December 31st, you have a great window of opportunity to go see it. It has many parts like the Dazzling Dancing Forest, Wetland Wonderland Walking Trail, etc. They even offer special events like Nights of Wonder running December 12th-23rd. (To read more visit http://www.icrc.net/holiday-lights)

Another great show in Columbia is the Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden. This is a great light show put on by Columbia’s local zoo! This light show offers many activities for people of all ages. With nightly Santa visits for the kids and nearly one million lights for the adults it’s great for the whole family! Other things offered are the Music in Motion Lights Spectacular and the Jingle Bell Bonfire. It runs November 21st through December 30th. (To read more visit http://www.sciway.net/tourism/sc-holiday-lights.html)

Charleston is also an amazing place to see holiday lights! They are not lacking in that area at all. A great place to go is the Celebrate the Season Holiday Driving Tour at the Old Santee Canal Park. Running November 28th through December 30th it gives you a lot of time to see it’s amazing features. Only five dollars per person you get to drive down the river and see tons of lights that are even energy efficient. It even gives its proceeds to local charities!! (To read more visit http://celebratetheseason.oldsanteecanalpark.org/)

So pack up the car with the kids and a few good snacks and hit the road! Aside from these choice spots, most local newspapers list residential houses that went above and beyond and need to be viewed. Rally the family and take in some genuine holiday cheer! This the only time of year we get to see the beauty of a well-decorated Christmas display, so take advantage of it!!


Friday, December 12, 2014

Gift Ideas For A New Homeowner

Many things come to mind when one thinks of a good house-warming gift. Anything from a welcome mat to a piece or art is needed by a new homeowner. So this week, we decided to help give you a few outside-the-box ideas to stand out from the mountains of dishes and glassware that everyone else is giving them:

1. Silverware - Food is one of the main necessities a human needs to sustain its life and live the healthiest it possibly can. To make this easier, humans began to make cutlery, also know as flatware, to cut down the work needed to eat and increase sanitation. A great gift idea for a recent homeowner would be just this. They would need it for virtually every meal they have, and without it they would have to eat with their hands...GROSS!

2. Plants - Decoration for a new homeowner is very important so their house doesn't look plain and bland. So why not purchase something to spice the house up?! If you were to give someone that has recently purchased a house a plant, you can give them a decoration and a hobby. Better hope they keep it alive!

3. Animal Safe Taxidermy - Taxidermy has always been a pretty nice market for homeowners, especially in the South. It has traditionally been used as a trophy for hunters, but a new form of animal safe taxidermy has helped shake the whole "dead animal on the wall" vibe taxidermy had. Using cardboard, wood, duct tape and other synthetic products, animal safe taxidermy removes the need to go out and catch your new wall art before putting it up.

4. Garbage Cans - An often overlooked gift, but humans are very wasteful and all that trash needs somewhere to go. Everything can be thrown away or recycled, so having one is a must. A new homeowner would love a garbage can to throw away all the trash from moving--you can never seem to have enough when moving!

5. Curtains - Most people would say that they are definitely not a morning person. This obviously meaning right when a person wakes up they don't want the sun blinding them, so why not save them the trouble. After figuring out their bedroom theme, if they have one, you can gift them some fancy, new curtains! It would be a great idea for a new homeowner. And just think, every time they wake up, they'll have you to thank for protecting their eyes from the bright morning sun!!!

6. Paintings - Art has always been an amazing form of expression for mankind and many works of art continue to wonder us today. To purchase paintings for a new homeowner would be a great idea! Right now they're probably decorating their house and would love to have a new addition here and there!

7. Wine Bottle Holders - Most new homeowners are old enough to drink (hopefully) and enjoy a glass here and there. A lot of people prefer wine to other forms of alcohol and a wine bottle holder is a great idea for that special new homeowner. After finally unpacking all their aged wines and putting in this great gift you've given them, they can sit back, relax, and enjoy a glass of wine.

8. Clocks/Alarms - A small gift isn't always bad. If you're running a low budget, but still want to purchase a gift for you new homeowner friend then alarms are a great choice! Being on time is very important and t
hey really need to pay their new house so do your part in making sure they get to work to make the money to pay those bills!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Holiday Shopping: Tips & Tricks!

It’s that time of year again! Christmas trees are going up, stockings are being hung, and everyone is scrambling around, trying to get every last gift on their gift lists before the big day. If you’re like me, and most everyone else, you still have a bit to do before the 25th rolls around. Not to fear! Here are a few tips to make the last few weeks really count, so you can get the most for the best bargain!
Now there is no harm in starting early. In fact, you might have already picked up a few things here and there but all the real deals come during the holidays. The best way to tackle this is to get organized. List out exactly what you need to get and who to get it for. Research where these items are sold, and where and when you can get the best price. Write it out, and you can create a game plan for where to go first and what to get where. A task like this seems unnecessary, but works wonders when used. Avoid extra frustrations by using the list to make decisions on where to go and what to get for you.
If online shopping is more for you, there are even few tips to know when choosing to shop from home instead of braving the mall. For online shoppers, take into account shipping costs when you plan out holiday budgets. Also do not discount shipping time either, shopping online has a definitive cut off date where you will not get presents in time for Christmas if you don’t place the orders soon enough (for instance, the cut off date for a common online retailer, Amazon is December 16th, unless you’re willing to pay a fee to get it expedited.) Cut off dates vary from business to business, but the information is readily available on their respective websites. Watch your spam inbox for exclusive deals and coupons. It’s easy to ignore spam when it flows in at a regular basis, but taking that extra five minutes to filter through and see if a coupon is waiting for you.
And if all else fails, do not discredit the power of a homemade gift. Make food or simply offer your time. You can avoid retail insanity during the holidays and truly give a piece of yourself to a loved one instead of a hollow, plastic figurine. You can find countless ideas for small crafts that you can turn into heartfelt presents for any type of person. 


Whatever method works for you, don’t let the stress of getting it all done keep you from enjoying the true reason for the holidays—spending time with the ones you love.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gobble Gobble...


Happy Thanksgiving from Paradime Construction!
Enjoy the eats, and have a wonderful holiday!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Raising Your Credit Score

Continuing with our home buying series, this week’s post is all about building that credit score before getting a loan. Building your credit score does not have to be hard. Often it seems to be more trouble than it actually is. There are few tips you can put in practice to move you credit score to a more attractive number for lenders. Follow the steps and you’ll find yourself in a good spot when you go to apply for a loan for your new home.

Timing is an important factor in this process. You CAN NOT change your credit score overnight. It will take several months of consistent action to start moving the dial in the right direction, so it is a good idea to start as soon as you can. Not that starting late is a kiss of death, but the earlier you start, the more change you can make before you buy.

First, get an overlook of your credit situation (monthly bills, your actual score, total credit used/available, interest rates, etc.) Your first order of business is to get rid of “nuisance” debt. Nuisance debt is defined as any small balance on a random credit card. Usually these cards have smaller limits or might be a retail store card—basically any card you don’t use on a regular basis. Eliminating these will not only ease the strain on your wallet, but help raise your score by a few points. Generally, the best way to approach this is to pick the lest used card with the highest interest rate and pay that one off, then proceed to the next, and so on.

Another method you can try actually seems like it would work against you, but, in reality, it is a very smart practice. Leave past, settled debts on your credit score. Most want these off their score report because some people think showing any sign of debt (past or present) on your score report is bad. This is not true. It’s very beneficial to leave that old, already paid debt on your debt report. Lenders want to see you are good for the money they lend you. John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at CreditSesame, compares trying to remove old, settled debt off your report to, “making straight A’s in high school and trying to expunge the record 20 years later.” You worked hard to pay off that debt, so wear that paid debt record proudly! The debt will eventually fall off after a set amount of time, but you should leave those debts on your score as long as possible.

Paying bills on time should be of major importance to you. This is the best way to see movement with your credit score. Try to pay them around the same time each month as well. Lenders want consistency, so seeing your consistency with your past bills will make you look a little more desirable. Additionally, you get to move your debt totals down, and move one step closer to the house you’re dreaming for.

Lastly, when planning to buy a home, it is beneficial to avoid as much risk as possible. It would be wise to avoid any lavishes purchases, excess credit card usage, or paying less on bills. Try to be careful of purchases that might indicate future financial issues as well (payday advances, divorce attorneys, etc.) Seems crazy that you must have such vigilance over your own life, but lenders will use any reason to up rates or lower the amount you can borrow, so don’t give them the ammunition in the first place.

Raising your credit score isn’t as instantaneous as we would like, but with careful planning and execution, you can reach the highest scores on the spectrum. So don’t get defeated when your efforts don’t seem to bear fruit immediately. If you follow all the steps above, you will see that score rise. The journey to your new home is starting to take shape, and we’re excited to help you get there!


Friday, November 14, 2014

Financing And You

Buying a new home is one of the most exciting points in one’s life, but can appear to be an overwhelming task. Having knowledge of the process is key, and getting familiar with all the procedures, rules, and lingo takes time but is not impossible to figure out. Become familiar with terms that are associated with financing (binder, earnest money, graduated payment mortgage, etc.) The National Association of Home Builders has a great resource known as the “Home Buyer’s Dictionary” that includes those terms and many more. Not all will apply to your situation, but most you will find relevant and will allow you understand exactly what the numerous legal papers in your future are saying.

It can’t be stressed enough for you to determine exactly how much you can afford to pay on a monthly basis. A home has numerous fees involved on top of living expenses such as water, food, gas, etc. In addition to monthly insurance and property taxes, you will have monthly interest and principal to pay. It is important to realistically estimate what you can afford and stick to it. Don’t let anyone sway you from you determined amount either. There will be temptations, but hold fast and refuse to buy anything above what you can afford. Another important tip that falls in this category has to do with monthly debts. At this point, you have already taken into account your monthly expenses. Before you close on your home, try and reduce those monthly bill payments. This will not only look better for lenders, but will also give you more reserve cash for when you need it.

Once you’ve got a good grasp of the finance process, it is time to get preapproved for a loan. This preapproval doesn’t guarantee you’ll get financed, but will give you a good idea as to whether or not you will be approved and is a major step on the road to home ownership!


Friday, November 7, 2014

Buying A Home

There are many things to consider when it comes to buying a new home. So much so, that buying a home has become a very daunting task that not only requires critical attention to detail but also the ability to manage a multitude of tasks at once. Whether it’s deciding on where to put what furniture or something on a grander scale (ie. what style of kitchen to install), building a new home is all about decisions. And without proper knowledge, some of those decisions can be very costly or not beneficial to the family overall. In lieu of the sheer mountain of information that is involved with building a home, we’ve decided to spend a number of our upcoming posts pertaining to all sorts of information that one should know before the set out to buy a home. Use this checklist to make sure you’re 100% ready for whatever home ownership has to throw at you, we will be emphasize one point on the checklist each week to give you tips and tricks to get you in the right place before you buy:

1.     Get Pre-Approved For Financing – Before even stepping into your first Open House, get preapproval for a loan from a lender. There is no point in house searching if you won’t get approved so reach out to a lender to review what you have to offer. Additionally, make sure they give you a true preapproval and not a pre-qualification. Pre-qualifications solely assess information readily available to them (such as credit scores and payment histories.) A preapproval will actual put you through the review process of getting a loan before you actually get one, so you know up front exactly if you’ll get approved and what you have to work with.
2.     Build Your Credit Score – a strong credit score ensures low mortgage rates and reaffirms to lenders that you are good for the money you borrow. The magic number falls within the 700-720 range. This will net you low interest rates, and manageable monthly payments. 750+ will score the best rates in the market, and the general consensus is <650 is largely the cutoff for most lenders.
3.     Determine Your Budget – This is a large key to figuring out the puzzle that is homebuilding. It is important to plan out what payments you’ll be making, how much they’ll be, and when they’ll be due. A good rule of thumb to follow is to not have your monthly house expenses (including utilities) equal no less that 30% of your monthly income. This will allow you to still save, live, and will also offer insights on where you can help conserve energy to keep bills down. (Don’t forget taxes, closing fees, and saving for the down payment)
4.     SAVE! SAVE! SAVE! – Having a nest egg for lenders to see reassures them that you will be able to pay your loans back and will often give you more lee-way the more you have saved. In addition to the security, having that savings will ease the trouble of unexpected house mishaps. Common things that can go wrong could have dire consequences on a family whose nest egg is not where it should be.


Each week we’ll be giving some detail on each of the points on the checklist to give you a good idea of what buying a house entails. Using these steps as a guideline will not only help you navigate the process but also set you up for successful home ownership and ensure your family is secured for years to come. Check back in the coming weeks to review our in depth discussion of home buying and maybe you’ll pull a few tips and tricks that will make it a bit easier to get your family in the home they deserve!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween From Your Friends at Paradime Construction


We Hope You Have a Safe and Fun Holiday!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Energy Efficient Holiday Decorating

Whether it’s Halloween, Christmas, or another celebration, the holidays are the greatest time of year, but also the most expensive. From costumes and candy, to Thanksgiving feasts, to gifts for the whole family; the Holidays are also the most stressful on the family wallet. So today, we’re going to give you some tips to keep those winter bills from going up, so you have more money to spend on getting down. With just a few small tricks and tips, you can save tons of cash on holiday decorating to reallocate wherever you see fit.


The first small trick you can do to save money when you choose to start decorating for the seasons is to throw out those old string lights. Now, everyone loves to use string lights, but they’re notorious energy eaters and an extremely festive family can find themselves left with a hefty electricity bill at the end of the season. To help ease the burden, but to also prevent cutting back on the decorating, use LED lights to light up your house. The LED’s require much less energy than traditional holiday light strands, and you’ll definitely tell a difference by the time the bills roll in. Additionally, if you choose to use ENERGYSTAR® products, there are often many local rebates and coupons available for use at local hardware stores. Invest in a timer. You can attach it to your lights to limit the amount of time your lights remain on, and also will prevent prolonged light use from forgetting to shut them off. Also, the use of reflective surfaces and reflective decorations can help magnify light and reduce the overall amount of light needed. Play with some creative ways to maybe even reflect some of your neighbor’s grandiose display onto yours. Now sit back and enjoy that beautiful, energy-efficient display!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tips For Carving Your Jack-o-Lantern

Every year Halloween brings out some of the most creative and unique decorations out in the world. Often made up of everyday household items, we always find it interesting to see how people apply things we use everyday into another purpose completely outside the box. This principle has had a interesting effect on the most recognized symbol of Halloween -- the family jack o’lantern. This iconic decoration has become the staple of the Halloween season; and the pastime of carving them has transcended everyday arts and crafts into an all out art piece capable of the same shock and awe garnered from other more well known art mediums.
But the goal today is to educate you and your family on some secret tips that will make your family’s jack o’lantern the talk of the neighborhood.

The first major step comes in selection of your family’s pumpkin. An ideal pumpkin for carving has thick walls, the thicker – the easier it is to carve. To ensure your pumpkin has thick walls, check the stem. An ideal pumpkin will have a distinct, thick stem. The general thickness of the stem indicates the thickness of the walls, while you can use it’s color to determine how hard the walls of the pumpkin will be. A green stem means the pumpkin is fresh and will likely give you the most use before rotting. Try to go for these first, as they will give you the easiest time carving as well as significant longevity. In addition to stem size, check for blemishes and soft spots just as you would any vegetable you would buy. It is also important to note that a misshapen pumpkin is not a death sentence. Often some of the most creative pumpkins come from ones not the perfect shape, so embrace what you find. Just make sure that stem is in order!

Timing is very important in carving jack o’lanterns. You can expect it to last anywhere from a few days to a little over a week, so plan accordingly for when you want it to be displayed. Also, once you begin carving, it is recommended you continue the carving until it’s finished. As soon as you make the first cut, the pumpkin begins to decompose, leaving the project and coming back will cause you to deal with trying to carve a softer, weaker pumpkin wall; which could lead to accidental damages. To be safe, complete the carving when the walls are as strong as they possibly can be to minimize accidental damages. To further prevent accidents, plan out your pumpkin design completely, even draw it one the pumpkin with a pen or marker, this will keep you carving in line, and will prevent you from losing your place or making wrong cuts. Using a spray bottle of water and spraying the pumpkin wall while you’re carving will also ease in the carving process.

Some things to keep in mind while carving include keeping an open mind about what tools you use to carve. You can purchase pumpkin carving kits, but often you can find versions of these tools at home, in addition to finding other items that could offer you more detailed line work (paring knives, lemon zesters.) The real tricks to professional pumpkin carving come in the treatments of the pumpkin whilst carving. The first major rule is to never cut the top of your pumpkin. Cutting a hole in the top of your pumpkin cuts the pumpkin off from its lifeline – the stem. The stem provides the whole pumpkin with nutrients that will keep it thriving a few days longer. The same goes for the bottom; cutting the bottom will allow all the moisture in the pumpkin to run out where you cut it. Not only will this drain the pumpkin of moisture, but it will also make quite the mess!! The best place to put a hole is in the back of the pumpkin. The water loss will be minimal, it retains its lifeline to the stem, and the hole is still not visible to everyone. Another common misconception is the use of fire to light a pumpkin. The fire actually cooks the inside of the pumpkin, drying it out faster and ultimately cutting its lifespan. The best alternative is an LED or CFL bulb, which will produce a large amount of light, but hardly any heat. In general, you will want to keep your pumpkin cool. It slows the decomposition process and will give you a few extra days out of your jack o’lantern. In fact, if you can refrigerate your jack o’lantern at night, it would be ideal.


Now you’ve got all the tips to produce the best jack o’lantern out there! We’re looking forward to seeing what spooky creations you can come up with!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Trick-Or-Treat Safety

One of the exciting parts about buying a new home is enjoying the changes of seasons and making new holiday memories.

Even if this is not your first Halloween in your new home, below are some great safety tips to keep in mind before little candy hunters arrive at your door on the 31st.

  1. Have a clear path - Make sure there are no objects in the way of your front door - look out for toys, trash, yard waste or even decorations.  Tape down any cords you may have plugged in so they don't cause anyone to trip.
  2. Keep your yard lit - Turn on your porch light if you are welcoming trick-or-treaters.  If you have Jack-o-Lanterns out, try to use LED candles to light them instead of live flames.
  3. If you have pets keep them inside the house or locked up.  They may be frightened by all of the visitors and it's best to plan ahead for their peace of mind and the protection of others.
  4. If you're out of candy or not participating, turn all your lights out to let trick-or-treaters know.  You can even put out a "No Candy" sign if you don't want there to be any confusion.
  5. Remember if you are handing out candy not to include homemade goods - some parents are wary of having their children eat homemade food from strangers especially with allergy concerns.
So pick out a bag of your favorite candy and enjoy handing it out this Halloween - just make sure to save some for yourself!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Prepping For the Season Change

Fall is here; and winter is fast approaching! While it might not quite feel like fall here in South Carolina, now’s the perfect chance to take advantage of the last bit of heat to get out and make sure your home is ready for the upcoming weather changes. If last year’s pattern continues or forecasters’ predictions for this winter come true, the Palmetto State is in for a topsy-turvy few months. So save yourself the trouble later by prepping your house for every last curveball Mother Nature has up her sleeve. Here are a few tips that can save you money, time, and trouble this coming winter season.

One of the biggest things you can do that will have major impact this winter is sealing any cracks and gaps in your house. This will not only keep more heat in/cold out but also lower energy bills since there are less ways for heat to escape your house. Additionally, using weather stripping will act as a sealing for windows and doors. On average, if one added all the cracks and gaps in a typical home, the total area would equal that of your standard window!! Don’t take the chance and double check! You never know where those nooks and crannies are that will leak air. Some key areas to check are: windows, doors, outlets, external hookups to utilities (A/C, water heater), around sidings of your house, and any pipes that show (under your sink in bathrooms and kitchen.)

Check your roof for worn away/broken shingles. Any water (AKA SNOW OR RAIN!) that gets underneath the shingles runs the risk of causing a leak. In addition to creating a hole for heat to get out, a hole in your roof opens your house up to other issues difficult to address rather winter or not.

Some other tips involve trimming dead or low hanging branches. They will come down during a winter storm, so prevent the chance of them falling on something and get them out of the way now.  This can apply from everything to taming shrubbery all the way to removing a leaning/dead tree to prevent it falling and causing immense damage. Another less thought of measure you can take involves properly storing your lawnmower for the winter. Make sure to seal caps and openings tightly and remove the gas from the machine. This will help it start later on in the spring later. And did you know that fertilizing your lawn before the top layer goes dormant will allow it to store those nutrients for the whole winter, giving you a kick start on that green spring lawn?


Following these steps will give you a real advantage over the winter. Don’t go through these problems while your freeze; handle these things while you can still go outside without freezing solid! Your home is an investment you can’t afford to lose! So take the extra steps now to ensure your home can weather the storm!

Friday, September 26, 2014

New Home Sales Surge

The U.S. Department of Housing and Development and the U.S. Census Bureau announced this week that sales of new, single-family homes increased by a massive 18% in August (with an adjusted annual rate at over 500,000 units!) This number shows the housing market at its highest level in 6 years! And this information comes on the heels of builders across the country seeing an increased traffic of serious homebuyers. The Chief Economist for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) contributes this growth to, “historically low mortgage rates, attractive home prices and firming job and economic growth.” Every region of the country saw an increase in home sales (sans the Midwest), with the West seeing a 50 percent increase over the past month alone!

With the outlook on the rest of the year looking strong, it seems the economy is slowly returning to the status it was before the economic downturn. The Department estimates an inventory of new homes for sale at around 203,000, which is barely a 5-month supply. But rest assured, we here at Paradime Construction are hard at work to push those numbers higher!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Preparing for your walk-through

Buyers of new homes can avoid a lot of the worries that used home buyers have to think about – from mold and moisture issues, to broken appliances and unsightly interior d├ęcor.

A new home is just that…new!  Your closing walk-through will be dramatically different as you’ll be inspecting brand new products, construction and interior selections.

To make this process even easier, here are a few things to look for during your walk-through. Your pre-planning will make it easier on your builder to address any concerns before the closing.

 Windows and Doors – Open and close all windows and doors. Make sure they are easy to operate and sealed.

Flooring – Make sure carpet is pulled tight with no gaps. If you have tile or hardwood check for any signs of chips or cracks.

Walls – Check paint for any missed spots.  Check the walls, molding and baseboards.

Appliances and Operators– Review appliances to ensure all are included as promised in your contract.  Test the doorbell and garage door opener.

Your final walk-through is a great time to become familiar with your new home. Ask your builder about how the home operates and how you can better maintain your new home.