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Signs your building is on the verge of collapse

A building may collapse for many reasons. In Nigeria, structural failure is the most common cause and we have had incessant news and reports of collapsed buildings recently. Ofcourse, the general conclusion is that the construction team was made up of quacks. It’s more shocking when you realize some of these buildings were constructed by reputable companies.

Buildings collapse when overstressed construction reaches a critical stress level and it is often atrocious, leading to lose of lives and properties. However, the truth is the signs are always there, but sometimes we choose to ignore. Noticing these signs early would not only save lives but also offer a chance to correct and maybe save the property.

This also comes in handy if you would like to purchase a home.

Simply look out for these early signs:

‘Crack Crack Crack’ in the Wall

When there is a major crack, it means the walls are under pressure and are no longer able to support the weight of the roof. That is a major sign right there. Do not ignore it, it may lead to a building collapse.

There are 2 types of cracks: structural and non-structural.

Unusual sounds

Creaking and popping sounds in a building should never be ignored. Those sounds could be a warning of an imminent collapse and should be immediately investigated.

Moving house

This is a red flag!!! When your building is moving, it’s a no brainer, it’s a warning of an impending collapse. This movement does not mean you would find your house distressingly seated miles or plots away from where it is located. It just means, some particular parts of the building shift from their original positions.

Sagging floors and roofs

Sagging floors which is often caused by inadequate support beneath load-bearing walls or heavy room partition walls, is a special sign of building collapse because it often goes unnoticed. You should also pay attention and not ignore once noticed.

How to Move to a New Home

The decision to change apartments, especially rented ones, is often unavoidable due to changes in household size, needs, desires and even taste. For instance, just a few years back, your apartment might have been all you wished for but now that you are married, you need more space.

Your neighborhood is also another reason you might want to move. It may have been a quiet one when you moved in but ever since lifestyle and event centers came in, you just can bear the privacy breach and the noise that comes with it. You just keep saying to yourself, I need to move!

We understand that moving is one of the biggest household tasks so here are some heads up for you if you’d really like to do that:

Set a Budget

After you’ve decided you want to move and have gotten a new home, the next step is to set up a moving budget. It’s an important step to keep you on track financially and to know how much your move will end up costing you. It’s almost unbelievable how small items you need to replace would add up and cost you quite a lot, so you need to be aware and prepared.

Organize early 

When planning to move, it is very easy or convenient to push things to the last minute. Try as much as possible to avoid that. Ideally, you should have a countdown list and at least a 30-day plan.

Chances are you will remember tasks randomly and it’s advisable to include them in your already prepared list.

Plan your move strategy

Mobility is one of the most important tasks when moving. How do you intend to get to point B from point A? Are you hiring a truck for the day or asking friends who have cars to help move your stuff?

So basically this must have been thought through way before the day you intend to move and cost also factored in.

Purge during this process

It is easier to purge and get rid of items you don’t need when moving.  You can organize a garage sale to sell off some of these items to neighbors or display for passersby who may be interested. That way, you won’t be taking household items you really do not need to your new home. You could also donate clothes to orphanage or charity.

Take inventory

Things go missing when moving from one home to another. You might have to take inventory, especially if you are hiring a company or truck to move your things.

Have a record of every single item loaded into the truck and remember to tick them off when offloading. For example, you may note the number of boxes and the specific items or content of each box.

 

Unlock your creativity in 3 steps

We live in the age of creativity!!!It goes without saying that Man was born to create. It would be great to note at this point that creativity is a skill and not a talent. One of the keys to creativity is imagination. Though they are related, there is a huge difference between the two. If these ideas come to you but never come to reality, you are imaginative not creative. To be labelled creative you actually have to create.

You may be one of those who question the need for creativity. Creativity provides fresh insight and a new viewpoint on even the most monotonous elements of your job. It enables you to view challenges and problem-solving as a creative opportunity. In summary, creativity is required for a success in the ecosystem of today’s business world. Talent has very little to do with creativity. Just like every form skill, creativity is learned, practiced and developed! In other words, it requires time, training and effort.

How can you live up to your creativity potential? Unlock with these 3 steps below:

Perceive the world in new ways

Thinking out of the box and trying to make connections between seemingly unrelated singularities will generate fresh ideas.

This is more than just a motivational cliché. It simply encourages you to approach problems and challenges in new, innovative ways; conceptualizing problems differently; and understanding your position in relation to any particular situation in a way you’d never thought of before. Instead of running from challenges, you run towards them and look for opportunities to shine.

There is no Creativity without Knowledge

You just have to be knowledgeable to be creative. You have to seek information; History, science, politics, entertainment, art, business, entrepreneurship, health, economy, education, food and so much more. Know things, be ready to try different ways and take risks. You have to develop the ability to challenge your assumptions and simply ask questions. Be curious about everything. Random and seemingly unrelated ideas could come together to form a new idea, connect the dots and provide a solution when you least expect.

Connect with creative people

Basically, the crowd that you hang out with influences your actions and ultimately the way you think. Connecting with creative people would give you the opportunity to have insights into their creative thinking process and this is very important.

You’d be surprised how simply spending time with them in a variety of creative endeavors will spark your creative juice. You’d be more curious, more open, more optimistic and more interested.

Top 5 Homebuyer’s Don’ts

Buying a home is a colossal purchase. Excitements may turn to disappointments at the end of the transaction or even when you finally move in.

Here’s a list of the top 5 don’ts for homebuyers.

DON’T

Miss the chance to negotiate.

Before the deal closes, you would have so many opportunities to negotiate, take it. After your first set of negotiations based on the value, you may also negotiate for repairs, new paint job, and broken windows. Also, when there are more homes for sale than there are buyers to write offers, you are in a favorable position when it comes to negotiations. Take advantage!

Get attached to the first house you see.

Searching for a home to purchase is like looking out for a car to buy. You might be making preparations for payments when your agent notifies you it has been bought. You’re allowed to be heartbroken but not attached. Move on and make other appointments, hopefully you’d even get better ones compared to the one you missed.

Get cold feet

Buying a house is like a wedding proposal. After going through the whole process and eventually presenting your offer, it’s true you might get a no but it’s also true you might get a yes. Most times, when you get a yes and reality hits, you might get cold feet.  In other words, after making your offer, be ready for a yes and act accordingly.

Skip home inspection.

You may be tempted to skip home inspection due to your busy schedule or other reasons. Don’t do it!  A good home inspection will reveal critical information about the condition of the home you want to purchase and its systems. This makes you the buyer aware of what costs, repairs and maintenance the home may require immediately, and over time.

The probability of regrets and disappointments reduce drastically if you don’t skip inspections and do it professionally. Besides, home inspection is a good negotiation tool.

Give up your home search

The probability of not finding what you want is inevitable. You have to keep in mind the fact that buying a home is a long but rewarding process at the end of the day. Don’t give up.

Another good season to not give up on your search is during the holidays. There is less competition in the real estate market, sellers are more motivated and need the cash, therefore transactions close faster.

3 Basic Fashion Commandments for Women

Earlier in the year we released the 7 fashion commandments for Men in one of the editions of APP-Digest and so this time we have decided to bring you the female version.

One of the first things we decide in the morning or even a night before is what and what not to wear. Now, unlike men who often seem not to be bothered about what they wear or how they look, women are full of glamour and style and so the case is different. The hairdo, current fashion trends, make up, matching accessories and much more. They’d naturally worry about these things before they worry about what to eat.  Wink wink

If you have ever wondered or thought about some fashion rules for women, then this is the right article for you. Just scroll while we unravel the 3 basic fashion commandment for women

Be Comfortable

There’s no bigger fashion faux pas than wearing what won’t make you feel smart, active or makes you feel uncomfortable. Your outfits should help bring out the best version of you. That version should be one that isn’t bothered about zips ready to rip open from overly tight pants or some neck pain from a halter top just because it eats into the top of your spine.

Don’t wear a 7 inches high heel when you can barely walk and would probably break a leg before you even step out of your door. Be comfortable.

Do not mismatch accessories

Though a lot of women focus on the clothing itself, accessories are equally important and significant than you think. Having said that, there are specific accessory types for specific occasions. This means you can wear the same outfit but different accessories for different occasions and the looks would be totally apart.

When choosing accessories to match your outfit, always consider the color, size and style of the pieces, and keep the occasion in mind!

If it does not fit perfectly, don’t wear it

Even if it’s the trendiest and most expensive outfit in the world right now, if it does not fit perfectly or it’s not your size, there’s no point. Always make sure it’s your size and wear it with confidence.

A little tip: If there’s puckering or wrinkling in the front panel, the pants are too tight. And if there’s billowing and fabric that doesn’t lie flat, often when you sit down, the pants are too big.

 

 

 

7 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Pests in Your Home

Household pests are uninvited and unwanted guests but they still find their way in anyway. Cockroaches, termites, ants, rodents, flies, mosquitoes, bugs, fleas! Sounds familiar? Apart from the uncomfortable feeling experienced just because they creep or fly from wall to wall, some bite, sting and even transmit diseases. Cockroaches are synonymous with dirt, poor hygiene and are suspected carriers of organisms that cause typhoid fever, cholera etc.

A research by the National Pest Management Association also shows that termites cause over $5 billion of damage to properties in the U.S. each year.

Chemicals and insecticides are often used but are not without health risks and they do not permanently solve the problem. Thus, families are becoming more aware of the harmful effects associated with these chemicals and are applying natural ways to deal with the situation.

Here are 7 ways to pest proof your home naturally:

Get rid of standing water

This is one of the most effective ways to limit reproduction and survival potential of mosquitoes in your home. Basically, water aids reproduction because they like to lay eggs in and around standing water. Female mosquitoes particularly like to lay eggs in water stored in manmade containers. If you have to store up water, make use of containers that can be covered.

This is also applicable to your surrounding and not just indoors.

Keep your bathroom and kitchen clean always

Pests are attracted to oil, filth, moisture, sugar, etc., so they seek access to kitchens and bathrooms through sewage and drain pipe or cracks in the slab.

These two seem to be the most common hiding and breeding sites for pests because they are probably the most used rooms in your home. The bathroom is humid and creates a conducive atmosphere for pests to survive while the kitchen usually contains food debris, unwashed plates and oil.

Kitchen tips

  • Pick up anything that falls on the floor right away
  • Cover trash can and empty regularly
  • Cook more slowly
  • Clean tiles with baking soda

Bathroom tips

  • Remove all the items that don’t belong in your bathroom
  • Disinfect and wash the toilet bowl regularly
  • Scrub tiles and corners always
  • Clean wall, windows, shower, etc.

Use Sticky Traps

Although this only traps crawling pests, it’s a very effective method of keeping pests away from your home.  Traps can also be used to gauge how bad your invasion is if there’s any.

This method works for cockroaches, spiders, scorpions, mites, rats and other crawling insects.

Lemon and Lemon Peel

Using fresh lemon or lemon peel will keep mosquitoes, ants and flies away. This also works for outdoor gatherings and parties.

Use Vinegar

Apart from being a good cleaning agent, vinegar is a great herbicide and provides a strong barrier for insects and spiders without toxins.  Through its natural acidity, vinegar gets rid of ants, spiders and other insects.

Vinegar can also be used as a bait. Fruit flies will flock to the jar and drown in the mixture.

Essential Oils

Essential oils, such as peppermint and eucalyptus can help keep certain pests under control. Just mix of a few drops with water and spritz on bedding, carpets and rugs.

Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum cleaner is a very effective pest control tool. Some pests such as bugs hide in the hardest places where they can’t be reached, vacuum cleaner would do the work of evicting them.

Top 3 Reasons Your Home is Still on the Market

One of the major challenges most homeowners or property investors face is the time it takes to sell off a property. The longer it stays on the market, the more difficult it may be to sell. Buyers often ask how long it has been on the market for two reasons:

If the property was so good and the offer is right, how come it stayed so long? There must be something wrong with the home! Have you noticed the moment a potential buyer is aware there is another buyer with an offer, they tend to sit up? The reason is simple, no one wants to be interested in what nobody is interested in.

Secondly, buyers believe there may be a lot of repairs since it’s been vacant and on the market for too long.

With the vast majority of sellers still assigning the sale of their property to estate agents, you might still be stuck with them for weeks or years if you choose the wrong ones. So, it ‘s an advantage if you are aware of these three tips.

Your house is overpriced

The moment you introduce your home to the market for sale, it will naturally attract a lot of traffic. Seeing that it is newly introduced, prospective buyers would call your agent to make enquiries, book for inspection, consult with the buyer and make offers.

However, if the price is too high, they would move on to look for better deals. You should be able to compromise at some point. Always do your research to understand the reasonable rates in that neighborhood before you place a value or better still carry out a pre-sale property valuation.

An unrealistic asking price would make a house linger on the market for too long.

Cumbersome inspection procedures

The more prospective buyers inspect your property, the higher your chances of selling. Don’t get tired. It should not be hard for your potential buyers to inspect the home they want to buy.

You also need to be prepared for the inspection and be ready to provide answers to any questions. Gather necessary paperwork, draw a map of the property or locate your survey, fix what needs fixing and be prepared to negotiate. You can also turn on utilities and ensure the process is easy.

It’s not attractive enough

You need to do better especially if you’re selling a used house. If you can’t get potential buyers past the front yard, then there’s problem. Clean the gutters, remove posters from the wall, paint the front door, and clean the windows.

Buyers want to see the potentials. A cluttered and dirty environment would defeat that. If you could stand at your front door, act like a prospective buyer and take a close look around, you will notice a couple of things that need to be attended to.

7 Architectural Wonders of Africa

Nothing defines a place as much as its architecture. In Africa, like every other continent, the art and style of designing buildings gets more competitive day by day.

Although places like Miami, Paris, Rome, Singapore and Amsterdam are known for their brilliant architecture, cities like Lagos, Cairo, Nairobi and Cape Town in Africa are doing really great and the continent has some architectural wonders you might not have heard about.

Here we go!

Mausoleum of Agostinho Neto (Luanda, Angola)

Mausoleum of Agostinho Neto is an architectural monument and remains one of the wonders of Africa because of it rocket-like structure.

Located in Luanda, the capital of Angola, it was built in honor of the first president of Angola, Agostinho Neto.

 

AU commission Conference Center and office complex (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

The tallest building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is the headquarters of the African Union and is 99.9 metres tall.

This $200million structure was funded by the Chinese government and was inaugurated in 2012.

 

1201 Ocean View (Cape Town, South Africa)

Located in Cape Town, South Africa, 1201 Ocean View is a 15-storey skyscraper.

 

National Arts Theatre (Lagos, Nigeria)

The National Arts Theatre in Iganmu is indeed an architectural masterpiece, not just for its significance but also for the exterior design which is shaped like a military hat.

Inaugurated by General Yakubu Gowon’s in 1973 and completed in 1976, the 23,000 square meters wide and 31 metres tall cultural landmark was constructed for the preservation of Nigeria’s arts and culture.

 

Alice Lane Towers (Johannesburg, South Africa)

Alice-Lane Towers is a 17-storey double tower structure, made with low-energy glass and state of the art glass-printing technology using curved and completely glazed façade, constructed out of concrete, glass and aluminum.

 

Great Pyramid of Giza (Egypt)

This pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years and is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex.

The 146.7 metres tall pyramid is believed to have been built over a 10 to 20 year period around 2560 BC.

 

PSPF Commercial Towers (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

PSPF Commercial Towers is one of the tallest buildings in Africa and the tallest in Tanzania. The 35 floor and 150.8 metres tall building was built in 2014.

Energy Consumption: 5 Amazing Ways to Save Money

So let’s start by asking the question: how energy aware are you? Well, saving energy is a great way to save money. Although energy consumption in your home depends on the types and number of electronic devices or appliances you have, appropriate management would drive reduction and improve efficiency.

These 5 conservation tips are simple ways to reduce energy consumption:

1. Change to energy efficient light bulbs

No one likes to stay in the dark, so lighting makes up about 12% of your home’s energy usage. You can save up to 75% percent of that energy by replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.

LED bulbs are the most energy efficient lighting option and they also last up to 20 times longer.

2. Shut it off!

If you’re not using it, just push the button and shut it off. Appliances are sometimes left on and running when not in use and therefore consume energy that could have been conserved. Lights, televisions, computers, name it. Shut it off!

  • When you leave the room, turn off the lights
  • Turn off the TV when you’re done watching
  • Don’t leave your water heater on, etc.

You can also install door handles that automatically turn off electricity and gas when you leave.

3. Reduce phantom load

This might surprise you! Plugged electronic devices and appliances still consume energy even when not turned on.

Statistics have shown that in the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. You can eliminate phantom loads by unplugging appliances and electronics when you are not using them.

For example, phone chargers draw energy as long as they are plugged in the socket. Simply remove them when you are not charging.

4. Open your refrigerator only when necessary

Sometimes, we just browse our refrigerators for the fun of it. You just want to stare at that bowl of ice cream or you crave a wink from the box of chocolate. No! Save the scan for the pantry.

Ok seriously, this accounts for 7% of the appliance’s total energy use, so you might want to stop.

5. Improve Air Conditioning efficiency

Though the energy consumption of air conditioners vary from size, to type, characteristics of your home and weather conditions, they consume more than most appliances.

Below are ways to improve efficiency while you also save some money.

  • Replace your old air conditioner with an energy-efficient one
  • Insulate the home or building
  • Shade the windows from outside
  • Service regularly
  • Close all doors and windows
  • Use portable or ceiling fans
  • Ventilate at night or early in the morning
  • Turn off other internal heat sources when cooling
  • Use timers

 

A quick checklist for home maintenance

Oh yes, there’s a checklist for every task under the sun. Whether you plan to sell your home or not, it’s important to carry out regular maintenance and repairs. Home maintenance is a preventive measure and it helps to ensure the value of your home does not depreciate.

It will cost you more to replace eventually than to maintain and repair regularly:

  • Inspect roofing for missing, loose, or damaged shingles and leaks.
  • Change the air-conditioner filter.
  • Clean window and door screens.
  • Polish wood furniture, and dust light fixtures.
  • Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Have a professional inspect and pump the septic tank.
  • Inspect sink, shower, and bath caulking for deterioration.
  • Vacuum lint from dryer vent.

 

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