Friday, February 27, 2015

Top 5 Home Design Trends for 2015

It’s 2015, a new year, and you want to show off to your friends and family that you know how to keep up with today’s hottest trends. Being hip starts at home, so here’s a look at what’s coming so you can hop on the trendy bandwagon.
1)      Libraries as d├ęcor
Many people are now adding a study or library room to their home. Not only does a library preserve memories and knowledge of books, but it double functions as a wholesome and quiet environment to relax. This old fashioned serenity is making its comeback as people struggle to find time away from the outside world. To find inspiration and ideas, check out this home improvement guide with do it yourself tips.
2)      Floors galore
The traditional carpet isn’t cutting it anymore; people want cork, bamboo, porcelain, and tile. In high traffic rooms, it’s good to choose a sturdy but appeasing material. One of the trending materials right now is cork flooring. The nicest thing about cork flooring is that it’s one of the easiest surfaces to repair, clean, and redesign. It’s also sustainable, comfortable, and durable. It is tricky to install but professionals like Carolina Services Inc. are perfecting the art of home construction cork flooring. Here are some more reasons to make the switch!
3)      Fireplaces & Fire pits
Another trend this year is adding fireplaces and fire pits both indoors, and out. Of course the biggest benefit of a fireplace is its warmth, and it’s countdown on heating costs. In addition to that, adding a fireplace also increases the value of your home! According to the National Center for Real Estate Research, fireplaces increase the value of the average home by 6-12%. And the fireplace brings a soul-soothing calming effect and truly can bring a room together. And with outdoor patios and porches on the rising trend list as well, outdoor fire pits are becoming more of a household product. This collection of fireplace ideas might help spark the flame.
4)      Keyless Doors
That’s right. The future is here. New technology has paved the way to let you open your door in different ways without the use of your keys. Now you can use a keypad, your phone, or even your fingerprint!  Not only is this more convenient, but it adds security to your home. You can now pick and choose the people that can enter your house. This trend is also catching on with other devices like your car; you bank account, your phone and more. Gokeyless has dedicated itself to creating and innovating keyless technology for your home, office, and other venues.
5)      Customization & Smart Technology
The last hot trend is the customization of household appliances like toasters, ovens, refrigerators, and more. You can now equip your boring household items with the latest and greatest technology. You can now control your washer/dryer, fridge, oven, thermostat and more with your phone using Bluetooth and Wireless technology. The biggest industry leader right now is Samsung and Whirlpool partnering up to design this technology. To learn more about the how to control everything in the palm of your hand, check out these smart appliances.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tips For How to Negotiate a Commericial Property Lease a new business can be overwhelming and challenging, and one of the most difficult parts can be finding an affordable office space. If this is your first business the process of finding a lease that works for you and your business can seem daunting, but there are a few questions and things to consider before jumping into a lease.

Setting the Term of your Lease

The term and rent of your location is the first point that needs to be negotiated. The trick to this is to not over commit if you are a small business. It's recommended that small businesses negotiate one to two year leases with the option to renew. You will also want to discuss and negotiate rent increases over the term so you are not unexpectedly hit with a rent increase with no warning from your landlord.

Be prepared for your landlord to push back, they may try to lock you into a longer agreement by offering deal sweeteners. It is helpful to bring a broker to negotiations, as they know about the local market and what sweeteners to look out for.


Like residential leases, landlords often tack on extra expenses like maintenance fees, upkeep fees and so on. Make a point to ask the necessary questions during negotiation: what about utilities? how are these extra charges measured? Also look into the "hidden fees" and policies and inquire about the average costs of previous tenants.

Maintenance and Repair

Unlike residential leases where the brunt of the maintenance and repair responsibilities fall on the landlord, commercial leases are different. Commercial leases vary in their approach to this, some stipulate that it is the tenant that is responsible for all the property upkeep while other specify that the tenant is only responsible for certain repairs etc.


Often businesses get closed down due to defaulting their lease. In order to protect your interests and your customers, it is important to know exactly what defaulting terms you are agreeing upon upfront. Talk with your landlord and decide if you will be locked out immediately or if you will be granted a grace period. Will you be able to negotiate for more time for yourself if you default? All of this information is important as it can save you  and your business money.

Read Your Lease

It goes without saying that you should always read and reread your lease carefully and completely to make sure you fully agree with and understand all of the terms and clauses.

About the author: Mary is a guest contributor from The Lansing Economic Area Partnership or LEAP, a coalition of area leaders committed to initiating Lansing, Michigan economic development.