by Julian Lane www.thefixitchamp.com
Every homeowner is well-acquainted with paying a down payment, mortgage, and insurance. In fact, most people even know to expect certain costs for remodeling and major home repairs at some point down the road. One aspect that eludes many homeowners at the outset, however, is the cost of keeping their home in shape.
Home maintenance is an expense that all homeowners can expect, but it seems to sneak up on us every time a minor repair is needed. Since bringing in a professional for every little thing can quickly get expensive, we’ve listed five simple home maintenance tasks that can be done DIY, which will ultimately save you some serious money.
That Dragging HVAC System
HVAC systems are complex, and there isn’t a lot that can be done DIY to fix them. One thing you can do, however, is to change the air filter regularly. Many times, when the HVAC is dragging or seems not to be working normally, it’s only because the filter is dirty or clogged. When changing the filter, you want to ensure you get the right size. Look on the side of the filter to see what size you need to replace it with, and if you need a custom-sized filter, an online tool like this one can help you find the right one.
That Hole in the Wall from Your Doorknob
Have you ever slammed the door into the wall and created a nice hole? This can usually be fixed quite easily. Purchase a drywall patch that will fit the hole with at least an inch of excess around the area. Place the patch around the hole, cover it with spackling, allow it to dry, and sand it smooth. You may need to do this a few times to get the patched area flush with the surrounding area. Once flush, prime and paint to blend it in with the rest of the wall.
That Broken Drawer/Cabinet Handle
When a drawer or cabinet handle is loose, it’s usually because the screw holes in the wood are stripped out. To fix this problem, you just need wood glue, toothpicks, and a screwdriver. Remove the handle and stick a toothpick into the screw hole to see how deep it is. Then, apply the necessary amount of glue to the toothpick, and insert the toothpick into the screw hole. Use as many toothpicks as it takes to fill the hole. Once the glue dries, break off the exposed ends and screw the handle back on. Problem solved!
That Leaky Faucet
A leaky faucet is one of the sneakiest wallet killers in your home, as it can raise your water bill significantly. In most cases, it’s simply a loose packing nut. Try removing the faucet handle and tightening the packing nut underneath with a wrench.
If that doesn’t stop the leak, try these steps:
Those Elusive Studs in the Wall
Knowing how to locate studs is essential for any kind of work or decorating that involve the walls in your home. The easiest way to find a stud is to use an electric stud-finder, which you glide along the wall, and it alerts you when it runs across a stud. If you don’t have a stud-finder available, you’ll need to tap on the wall to find the studs. Drywall should sound hollow when there is no stud and more solid when there is a stud. To give you a starting point, know that studs are typically about 16 inches apart from one another.
You can cut down on the sneaky home maintenance costs that rack up over time. These common home repairs are a good place to start, but it’s important to do your research so you can become equipped to handle a variety of issues that arise. The more you learn how to do maintenance projects yourself, the more money you will save.
The time has come to kick off your home improvement project. You have your home inspection report and you can see what needs to be fixed, but how much control do you have over the process of getting the project done?
When working with contractors, a homeowner is most often at the mercy of the contractors’ schedules, measurements, and design recommendations. It takes a lot of time to meet with multiple sales representatives, even when they are quick to book appointments. Homeowners nearly always rely on the contractors’ hand-gathered measurements, which impact the pricing of the project, without seeing or checking those measurements for themselves. Furthermore, homeowners often don’t have a good sense of what the proposed changes will look like on their home until the project is complete. Major home improvement projects can be a big financial undertaking and we believe that you should have more control in the process.
That’s why we at Home Inspection Tennessee are now offering access to HOVER’s 3D home exterior solutions!
The HOVER app gives us the power to unlock the true potential of your largest economic asset, providing you with the ability to quickly gather accurate measurements of your property.
While performing your home inspection for you we take the necessary pictures to transform them into an interactive 3D model of your future home. For only $55 you'll receive accurate, detailed measurements for your roof, siding, windows and so much more, as well as design features that allow you to visualize and compare how real products will look on the exterior of your home. HOVER's 3D model will help you make design decisions you will be happy with for years to come. HOVER’s Measurement PDF provides you with accurate measurements down to the inch on everything from roof size, gutter length, windows, to siding and so much more.
Now you can take ownership when requesting estimates because you will know the square footage of your wall that needs painting or your roof that needs to be replaced. Thousands of exterior contractors are using HOVER to save time and money on every project and you, the homeowner, can too.
We at Home Inspection Tennessee offer HOVER to our customers because we work for you and we care. Talk to your Home Inspector or Realtor and ask if they offer the HOVER service to you too.
Here are examples of what you get when you choose to take advantage of HOVER’s 3D home exterior solutions.
Advice for first-time home buyers.
A couple weeks ago a friend and first-time home buyer asked me for advice.
Where to start? What’s important? And how to find the right home?
Find out your budget; how much money you have and how much you can borrow. What will be your monthly payment.
Select your favorite and an alternative location. Cruise around for a few days, weekdays, weekend, morning, evening and nights. Collect information online, and check online what’s available. Maybe you have to settle for your alternative location.
Determine the size and condition of your new home. Can you fix stuff yourself or do you need a contractor?
Decide if you can handle it or if you need help from a Realtor. If you need help, select a very good buyers’ agent. This won’t create additional costs, because the buyers’ and sellers’ agent have to split the usual 7% commission, which comes out of the sales price you are going to pay. He should provide you with all the necessary info, however – don’t expect he works on the lowest possible price for you, that’s your part. Again, the commission depends on the final sales price.
What do I mean with “all the necessary info”?
It is not just the age and size of the home, he should be able to give you a floor plan, detailed information about the neighborhood and property taxes. If the home is located within a subdivision or if there is a home owner association, you need the covenants.
You also should get a sellers’ disclosure. This should be a Yes or No sheet, if you notice remarks like “seller doesn’t know” or “not to his knowledge”, your Realtor should dig into this. There is no excuse for the seller to not know the condition of the home, unless it is sold as is. But this applies usually for auctions, bank possessions or fixer uppers.
You also want to know if there were any insurance claims in the past. If yes, who made the repairs?
Now it’s time to make an offer. Low balling is ok, stay realistic, but don’t overpay, regardless of what they tell you.
If you still like the home and are ok with the price and the information provided, you should spend the money and hire a home inspector, even if the home was pre-inspected. Don’t hire just any home inspector, hire the best one. If you are ok with the results of the home inspection, you have to decide how much it is to do possible repairs or upgrades. This is the hardest part, most likely you need several companies, and they might charge you for estimates. If you want to go forward, you have to go back to the lender (if you need one), they will order an appraisal, but you still can choose your title company that will do the final paperwork, like title search, lean on the property, and make sure the sale is legal. Call several companies, because you can save quite a bit money here.
Next step, you have to make a down payment into an escrow account. If you do it without a Realtor, insist that the money goes into an escrow account from a title company.
Congratulations, you are approved and after signing countless documents you will be the new home owner. Don’t hesitate to ask until all your questions are answered. If you don’t ask for all information you are a gambler, if somebody is not cooperating with answers, just walk away. Remember, they all get paid from your money, and if you don’t buy, nobody gets paid.
by Julian Lane www.thefixitchamp.com
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This article is courtesy of Julian Lane from www.thefixitchamp.com
Don't forget to check out the links included in the article to get more information.
It doesn’t take much tenure as a homeowner to realize that homeownership is an expensive undertaking. Besides the actual mortgage payment, insurance, and utilities, there is the ongoing responsibility of repair and maintenance. Whether in the form of routine work or a surprise project, here’s how to ensure you can cover your expenses.
Be ready for rainy days
Eventually, it happens to everyone. You come home to a sewage backup, a tree falls on the house, or you walk into your basement to find standing water. Even though not unusual, those surprise fixes can add up. Some statistics indicate the average homeowner paid out nearly $3,000 in home repairs in 2015. What’s more, while your home insurance policy might cover certain expenses, there are several repairs not covered under most policies, such as damage relating to power outages, mold, floods, and landslides. Items that simply wear out aren’t covered, and luxury items normally require a special rider. Even if your repairs are covered, you still need to pay your deductible, which typically ranges from $500 to $1,000. No matter how you slice it, the best thing to do is set up a rainy day fund for home repairs.
Mother Nature’s surprises
Mother Nature often has a hand in the surprises homeowners face. From lightning strikes to wind damage, there are all sorts ugly concerns. One of the last things most homeowners give thought to is an unwanted infestation, but rodents, bugs, and other critters can cause any variety of issues. Certain problems are disturbing but are primarily a nuisance, such as rat removal and flea control, but one pest tops all the others: termites. These tiny insects can destroy the framework that holds your home together. Identifying termites can be difficult to the untrained eye, and they tend to avoid light. If you find little piles of wings or sawdust, or see damaged, crumbling wood, it’s important to contact a professional, though it doesn't have to be a national chain. An online search for "termite companies near me" can point you toward a local company that can quickly help address your problem and set up annual visits to keep this from happening again.
Quality work and reasonable costs
When hiring someone to work on your home, it’s important to be diligent. There are many scam artists out there who will try to grab your money and run, so become familiar with the tactics they might use, such as trying to pressure you into snap decisions, or asking for payment in advance. Plan to interview potential candidates, make sure they carry insurance, and ask if they are licensed. Get a list of references and check them. Estimates should be in writing, and The Balance Small Business suggests getting additional documentation before the project begins. A contract outlining the work, statement of what work is expected, and schedule are just a few examples of what you might expect. Paperwork protects both you and the contractor, so anytime someone hesitates to put things in writing, consider it a red flag.
When out-of-pocket is impossible
Whether you’re paying a contractor or buying supplies for a DIY, how will you cover your costs? While cash is the most palatable payment method, you still have other potential options if out-of-pocket is simply not doable. If you have equity in your home, you can borrow against that, and NerdWallet offers a home equity loan calculator to help you tally the numbers. If your home was in the line of a natural disaster, FEMA might lend a hand. Borrowing from friends and family members is an option for some people, or you could consider using credit cards to get you by.
Homeownership requires a great deal of responsibility, not the least of which is figuring out how to swing repair bills. If something catches you off-guard, weigh your options, and make sure you hire good help when you need it. With a plan at your fingertips, you can handle those little (or not so little) surprises that come your way.
I can tell you, this is quite a challenge. Most of them were built before modern building codes, with different techniques and materials.
When I do an inspection, the age of the home will not influence me pointing out defects or safety issues. There’s no excuse for a missing balustrade or smoke detectors. Sometimes I hear “it was good for the last 100 years”, maybe true maybe not.
Do you know for sure that nobody died of smoke inhalation?
Building codes and standards are a learning process and an attempt to make a home safer, healthier and more efficient. In older or historic homes, modern building codes can’t be applied. The main stairs might be not wide enough, the foundation is different and this list is going on and on. If changes can be made - great, if not you should at least know about it.
So, why would I point out a very small stairway going to the attic space? In case of a fire, a fire fighter cannot get through. Sometimes, small staircases are a trap for them.
In older homes, you will find different materials, some perform really well, but unfortunately, some should be removed, or secured.
Did you know that the old thermostats have a mercury bubble?
That almost all of the older paints contain lead?
Old wiring and pipe insulation were made out of asbestos? Some roofing materials and siding as well.
Should you panic if I point that out? Not necessarily!
But some corrections would be good idea to keep
you and your family safe.
One of the big myths is that you always have mold in older houses. That is actually true, you also have it in newer houses. But older houses are built different, you have more air circulation, moisture can dry out. The newer homes are more energy efficient, they are sealed and there is no margin for mistakes. Again, older houses are more forgiving.
It all comes down to that you need a good home inspector who understands this, and that he understands how every part of a home acts or reacts to any changes. For example, modifications and add-ons, these are the biggest problems – unless you have a really good contractor.
I love the challenge of inspecting older, historic homes and currently I’m renovating one of them.
Hi - this is Werner with Home Inspection Tennessee LLC, 113 Hillcrest St, Stanton TN 38069. Phone (346) 300 5196