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Welcome, ine that nthly online HOMESTYLE magaz To the second edition of our mo ers, essential information to home buy will supplement LIFESTYLE with iday in Tunisia. those looking to rent or even hol by all that could benefit by being seen If you have a business or service website then please contact us at our readers and world wide on our more tion, or check out our website for without obliga information. magaas for future editorials within the If you have any suggestions or ide editor at zine please contact our features

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contents FEATURES 06

5 Ground Rules for Home Buying Success


5 steps to complete a successful ceramic tile installation


november 2009 07






Useful information


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feature 5 Ground Rules for Home Buying Success There are few purchases in life that carry the financial and psychological weight of buying a home. Whether you are buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or moving your home and your life abroad, it is important to understand the ground rules for success in the world of buying a home. Making the wrong decision in buying a home can have devastating and long lasting effects, while making a wise decision in home buying can greatly enhance the overall value of the investment. It is necessary to learn all you can about the world of home buying and also mortgages before setting out to purchase the home of your dreams. While there are plenty of web sites designed to help first time homeowners learn all they can, most financial experts say that there is no substitute for the good old one-on-one learning.

Fortunately, most mortgage lenders and real estate agents will be able to provide this kind of one-on-one learning. When buying a home it is often best to use a systematic approach as this is often the best way to be sure that all decisions are based on information and reason, not on impulse or emotion. Buying a home can be an emotional process, nevertheless it is imperative to keep your emotions under control and not let them cloud your judgment. Therefore it is best to stick to these basic ground rules.

Get your financing before you get your home There are few things in life as disappointing as losing out on the home of your dreams due to not being able to secure funding. 06

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While the desire to get out there are search for that great home is understandable, it is vital to line up the financing you will need before you start shopping for a home. Getting the financing ahead of time has a number of important advantages, including knowing how much you can buy and gaining more respect from the listing agents. By knowing how much home you can afford before you shop you will avoid wasting your time looking at unaffordable properties, and the listing agent will be more than willing to show you the homes in your price range.

It is also important to take a good look at the various types of mortgage on the market before getting started in the home buying process, particularly when moving abroad. These days, mortgages come in far more choices than the typical and standard 25 year repayment model. For that reason, potential home buyers need to understand how each type of mortgage works, and to gauge which mortgage is the best choice for their needs. Homestyle Tunisia


feature Look at the community, not just the home It is a good idea to look at the entire community, instead of focusing on a single home. This can be a particularly important thing to consider for those moving to a new metropolitan area or even an apartment block overseas, as these buyers will be unfamiliar with the local climate and lifestyle. It is crucial to determine the areas of town that are most desirable, and to consider things like distance from work and/or local amenities. 08

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We have all heard that location is the key consideration when it comes to real estate, and that is certainly the case. Buying a house in the wrong area can be a big mistake, and it is important to choose the location as well as the home. Potential buyers can learn a great deal about the nature of the various neighbourhoods simply by driving around, as well as by talking to other residents.

Be fair with your first offer Trying to knock down a seller on the first offer can backfire, as can paying too much. It is important to carefully evaluate the local market, and to compare the asking price of the home with what similar houses in the area have sold for. Comparing the sales of comparable homes, what are known as "comps" in the industry, is one of the best ways to determine what is fair, and to make sure that you neither overpay or underbid on the property. Homestyle Tunisia


feature Always get a home inspection Always investigate the home for any possible defects before making an offer. Compared to the cost of the average home, the price of a quality home inspection and/or some sort of structural survey is virtually negligible. Hence, get a good home inspection done before you buy. To find the best home inspector, it is a good idea to seek out word of mouth referrals as many of the best home inspectors rely on word of mouth advertising

Do not alienate the sellers of the home Many real estate deals have fallen apart due to the personal animosity of the buyer and the seller. It is important to avoid alienating the seller of the home during the process, and to avoid nitpicking every little detail during the sale. Keeping the good will of the seller will help the transaction go smoothly, and it will provide the best environment for seller and buyer alike. 10

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Promote Your New Development

feature 5 steps to complete a successful ceramic tile installation Here in Tunisia, there is a fantastic selection of ceramics to choose from. All houses here are usually tiled throughout, as well as patio and garden areas, so there is plenty of scope for you to have a go yourself. Whether it’s a small outdoor space you want to make into a patio garden, a basement conversion, new kitchen or bathroom, there is always scope for improvement, so why not try it yourself. If laying ceramic tiles is totally new to you, "5 Steps to complete a successful ceramic tile installation" is a set of basic but important tips that you will help you avoid making costly mistakes on your next bathroom or ceramic tile installation.


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Plan which Tile This step is often underestimated and sometimes even forgotten (can you believe it?). Planning your ceramic tile installation from A to Z is probably one of the most important steps for a smooth, easy going and problem free tile installation. Some things to take in account are; Suitability of the tile, Pattern /colour of the tile, Size of the tile, Size of the area to be tiled. (This is important data that will be vital to know how

much tile, grout, etc, you have to buy), Adhesive, mortar or grout to suit your needs. Not all ceramic tile installations are the same, different tiling installations may require different mortar or grout. DO NOT feel shy about asking the suppliers for advice or help in calculating how much you need. They will gladly help you, as they are likely to make a sale. Homestyle Tunisia


feature Shop around if you want to save This isn't as difficult as the first step, however when the budget is tight it can be tricky to find the right tile for the ceramic tile installation you want. You are going to have to make some compromises and so don't get carried away by the beauty of some of the ceramic tiles.

computer and use the Internet. Use local directories to find the suppliers close to you and pay them a visit. Most importantly, before making your final decision always check the chosen tile under different lights as the results can be surprisingly different.

Prices can vary a lot between different tiles, so some end up rather expensive for only a few square metres.

Prepare the surface for a long lasting job before laying the ceramic tiles

Always shop around, it has never been easier. Just sit in front of the


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The surface to be tiled (floor, wall or any other) will often need to be prepared, this can include work like

filling, levelling, smoothing, priming and sometimes water proofing. The right preparation will be directly affect the lifespan of the ceramic tile installation. Unless you want to be tiling again soon, you want to get this right from the start. This is probably the most important point to ensure a long lasting tiling job. Don't rush it.

Clearing the room to be tiled before starting will help you to do the job safer and easier. Don't forget to wear your safety goggles when cutting or chipping tiles.

Laying the ceramic tiles

Laying ceramic tiles can also be a bit messy, if you don't want dust all over the house we suggest sealing the room you want to tile whenever possible. A large piece of plastic tacked to the door frame will do the job quite well.

The technique of laying ceramic tiles is not especially difficult. It only takes a little bit of practice before anyone can easily master it.

Try not to allow any adhesive to get on your skin and never forget to read the manufacturers directions before even opening the tin. Homestyle Tunisia


feature If some ends up on you, just clean it with water as soon as possible. Even though tile adhesives aren't usually abrasive, if you leave it for some time it may cause an allergic reaction. Use a spirit level to help you with the depth & level of the tiles and spacers to maintain an even distance between them.

Most household cleaning products will do the job well, if some particular stain is stubborn, there are many commercial stain removers, just make sure you use the right product for the right tile.

The finishing touches Once the tile adhesive or mortar has cured (dried) and the tiles are firm and even, you can start with the finishing touches.You'll have to fill the spaces between tiles with grout making sure you don't leave any gaps as these cause damp problems, in a shower for example.The technique is very simple, use a rubber faced trowel to spread the grout and a cotton cloth to clean the excess grout from the tiles afterwards. There are many different types of grouts; you'll have to choose the right one depending on the surface and chosen tile. Now that you have your ceramic tiles laid down, you only need to take care of them, usually manufacturers provide information on taking care of their tiles and only minimal effort is required. 16

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You are now closer to discovering how satisfying it can be handling a tile installation yourself; just follow these 5 steps to get the best result.

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Tunisia is situated on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, bordered by Algeria in the west and Libya in the south-east. An abrupt southern turn of its shoreline gives Tunisia two faces on the Mediterranean with a coastline 1,148 kilometres in length. Despite its relatively small size, Tunisia has great geographical and climatic diversity. An extension of the Atlas Mountains, traverses Tunisia in the north to the Cape Bon peninsula. The Sahil is along Tunisia's eastern Mediterranean coast famous for its olive groves and beaches. Inland from the Sahil are the Steppes. Much of the southern region is semi-arid and desert leading into the Sahara.

information Tunisia is made up of 24 Governates (administrative regions) These are : - (1) Ariana (Aryana), (2) Beja (Baja), (3) Ben Arous (Bin 'Arus), (4) Bizerte (Banzart), (5) Gabes (Gabis), (6) Gafsa (Gafsah), (7) Jendouba (Jandouba), (8) Kairouan (Al Qayrawan), (9) Kasserine (Gasryn), (10) Kebili (Guebilli), (11) El Kef (El Kaf), (12) Mahdia (Al Mahdiya), (13) Mannouba (Mannouba), (14) Medenine (Midnin), (15) Monastir (Munastir), (16) Nabeul (Nabul), (17) Sfax (Safaqis), (18) Sidi BouZid (Sidi BouZid), (19) Siliana (Siliana), (20) Sousse (Soussa), (21) Tataouine (Tatawin), (22) Tozeur (Touzer), (23) Tunis, (24) Zaghouan (Zaghwen) Official languages Arabic, French Government Republic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (Independence from France 1956) Area - Total 163,610 km2 Population - 2008 estimate 10,327,800 Currency Tunisian dinar (TND) Exchange Rates (1st Aug 2009) 1.00 EUR = 1.87258 TND 1.00 GBP = 2.21396 TND Time zone CET (UTC+1) Driving on the right Electricity European-style two pin plugs on 230 volts, 50Hz Internet TLD .tn

Important Telephone Numbers International Dialling code + 216 Dial 00 + 216 + City/Area Code + Local Number To make a call from Tunisia you will need dial 00 + Country Code British Embassy Rue du Lac Windermere Les Berges du Lac, Tunis 1053 Telephone: (216) 71 108 749 Emergency Telephone Numbers 197 - Police 190 - Ambulance 198 - Fire Brigade Homestyle Tunisia


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Homestyle Tunisia - Issue 2  

Homestyle Tunisia Magazine - Issue 2 - November 2009