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Pros and Cons of Laminate Countertops in a Kitchen

Giallo Ornamental Granite
Creative Commons License photo credit: avidtile

Laminate countertops became popular in the 1950′s and 60′s, and have remained a popular option for many new and remodeled kitchen countertops today. Although there are many different options for a kitchen countertop including granite, Corian, and tile, laminate is still a viable option for many people. Laminate countertops have their own set of advantages and disadvantages like the other countertop materials, some of the pros and cons include:

Pros:

- Cost. Laminate is generally the least expensive option for a countertop, and is one of the most widely available materials. It is perfect for people who are looking to remodel a kitchen on a tight budget. The low cost also makes it ideal for people who enjoy changing the decor of their home every few years. Laminate countertops are inexpensive enough that they can be changed over the years, something that could cost much more with a granite countertop.

- Easy to install. Installing a laminate countertop is easy enough that a few do-it-yourselfers can easily install a new counter. The new counter can be installed in a brand new area, or it can be installed over an existing laminate countertop. If that is not an option then it is still less expensive to have a professional install the counter as opposed to the other counter materials.

Cons:

- Easy to damage. Because laminate is made from layers glued together, it is easier to damage the surface of the countertop. Hot pans can melt the top, and even a cigarette left unattended can melt a small area. The top is also susceptible to scratches from sharp knives and other items on the counter. It is also not easy to repair just a section of countertop.

- Does not add resale value to a house. Due to the low cost of laminate and it’s wide availability, a laminate countertop generally does not add much resale value to a house.

Depending on what your needs are, a laminate countertop may be something worth installing in your new or remodeled kitchen. It is installed in many kitchens across the world due to it’s affordable price, and durability as a kitchen countertop. If you are looking for other materials, granite, Corian, and tile make for excellent alternatives. The choice is completely dependent upon your needs.

October 7, 2010 More

A look at the Housing market in Oakland California

Solar Panel Neighborhood
Creative Commons License photo credit: lauren keith

When you think of Oakland California, you may have mixed opinions of the area and the housing market there. Many don’t know that Oakland is the eight largest city in the entire state of California. That means this is a very large city and like many large cities there are good and not so good areas. Oakland is very diverse and equitable so between the various cultures in the area. This is a big draw for many seeking to buy a home in an area where they feel comfortable. There are many parks in Oakland and you will find many who are always exercising in the area and even bird watching. You’ll also find lots of secondary schools in Oakland and cultural centers. Many who live in Oakland currently believe that culture truly thrives in the area. The housing market is just as diverse as the city itself.

Most have noticed that with the end of the home buyers tax credit at the end of the first quarter that home purchases have decreased a bit. However because the median home price in Oakland is comparatively lower than in other areas of California, the market is still holding steady. In fact, while the median home price is almost $500k, it’s still less than it was a year ago. This is in line with the vast majority of the real estate market in the United States.

There are still a lot of foreclosures in Oakland and many of these distressed homes are not selling as fast as many realtors would like. Many of these homes are in areas of Oakland where new home construction was going on during the impending housing bubble. Like many others areas in the U.S. buyers at the time were purchasing more home than they could afford with adjustable rate mortgages. These mortgages were of course good for five years and then the payments ballooned and many of the home owners were not able to afford their homes.

In general however the housing market in Oakland is no better or worse for wear than the rest of the market. If you happen to have a decent credit score, you can get a really good deal in Oakland. If you want to buy on the high end however, the range of homes in Oakland is somewhat limited. For high end sellers this could indicate the shift to a sellers market for those high end sellers. For those who are of middle class income and need to purpose homes in that range, the market in Oakland offers a much more robust variety.

October 6, 2010 More

A look at the Housing market in Stockton California

Stockton, California
Creative Commons License photo credit: inman news

When you think of California, major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco come to mind. Many are not familiar with the city of Stockton, CA. Stockton is a California city that is burgeoning and has so much to offer in the way of residences or homes for new buyers. There are centers of higher education in the area as well. There are also many water front properties or properties along the waterways of the city. You’ll also find great family fun and activities in the area, such as parks, skating rinks and a baseball stadium. The downtown area is being re-vamped and many residents are happy to see the sporting and recreation centers in the heart of Stockton. There is also the every popular opera company in Stockton. The National Civic League even named Stockton, CA as an All-American City in 2004! The buzz around the regeneration of Stockton, California, is bringing in new residents.

You may wonder how much it would cost to purchase a home in this area and how the housing market in Stockton is doing on the whole. Well in 2007 Stockton actually led the nation in foreclosures. Currently, the city is rebounding and growing fast. The median home price in Stockton is around $270k. This is very good for any city in California, but especially a city that seems to offer so much. There are still too many homes on the market for the tide to turn towards sellers. However contracts are being closed on homes on the markets and now it looks like a middle ground between a buyers and a sellers housing market in Stockton. This means that overall the housing market in Stockton is pretty stable for now. Even though Stockton is a smaller city than say Los Angeles, there are still variances in the areas and neighborhoods in the city. A family versus a single person looking to buy in Stockton, may want to search in particular areas. Make sure that before you make your home purchase in Stockton that you consult with a knowledgeable realtor, who can help you navigate the area.

October 5, 2010 More

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