So You Decided to Remodel Your Home – Will You Survive the Chaos?

You should realize that remodeling your home is a major disruption to your life, and not everyone has the patience they think they will have.  A remodel can affect your day-to-day plans, as well as turn your family’s world upside down with workers invading your home and a lot of dust covering everything in the home.

Many homeowners wonder “why did I ever decide to take on this gigantic task?” – even before the remodel has been completed. Whether you’re already in the middle of your remodel or you’re just pondering having one, here are some tips to keep you from experiencing a sense of mid-remodel regret.

Start Small – While the idea to launch into a full remodel is tempting to get everything done at once, taking the time to prioritize particular aspects of the remodel can make it much less unsettling and easier to control the budget.  You should consider which parts of the remodel are the most pressing as well as which would be the most difficult to deal with. Consider avoiding projects that are excessively difficult such as moving plumbing unless there’s a good reason to take them on. Prioritize everything else so you can complete each project in turn and move onto the big picture over time.

Respect the Construction Zone – There will be a LOT of dust, debris and noxious odors when you remodel. Most contractors will put up plastic sheets and take other precautions to try and keep all of this out of parts of the house where they aren’t working, but there’s only so much that can be done in this regard.  You can cover your furniture or have items moved away from the part of the house that is being worked on.  You can pack away items in sealed boxes so when the remodel is finished the cleanup will be easier. You may even want to put items in a portable storage in front of your home.

Try to plan your time at home so that you aren’t there during the worst of the noise and fumes. Purchase an air filtration system or two that you can put near the work areas to grab as much dust as possible.

Stick to the BudgetOne big issue when remodeling is that the budget tends to go off track and gets bigger. Once the remodel starts, you may find that there are extra bits of spending that are needed to finish the job.  Also there is the temptation to upgrade some of your plans since the newer version wouldn’t cost that much more. All of these little changes can really add up over time. Make a budget for what you want, add about 20% to 25% to account for the unexpected, and then stick with it. If there’s anything that you really want to upgrade but aren’t sure that the budget can handle it, save it until as close to the end as possible before authorizing the cost.

Talk It Out -Communication with your contractors is a key component to making it through a remodel unscathed. This doesn’t mean that you should require them to report every little thing back to you unless there’s a problem that they need your insight or authorization for, you’ll be best served to let the pros do their job. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check in and see how things are progressing, especially if you need to structure part of your day around the work that’s being done. Talking with your contractors regularly helps you to plan your life better around the remodel and saves them the trouble of tracking you down when they need to check with you about something.

Find the right remodeling contractor – contact your Realtor – ME.  I have lists of contractors for different types of remodel jobs and will recommend contractors with a good reputation for the particular remodel you have in mind.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

The Post-Inspection Negotiation: What to Expect

Great! You found the home you really love. Now it’s on to the inspections. This is an important part of the home-buying process. A major problem with a property can be a deal breaker for many buyers.  As your Realtor I insist that any buyer have their own inspection done before closing on a home. The home inspector will locate deficiencies with the property and create a report to let the buyer know what’s wrong. What happens then, though? Whose responsibility is it to fix the issues that the home inspector discovered? – As with many problems, the answer is “it depends”.

One large determining factor in how problems found in a home inspection are dealt with is how severe the issues are. Depending on where you live, some problems may even have to be addressed before the property can be sold. State-level restrictions vary, but most are rooted in making sure that sellers can’t avoid fixing potentially dangerous problems or leave them for the buyer to discover on their own. Even if a problem isn’t critical, most states require that any problems found by a home inspection be disclosed to potential buyers. This disclosure is a big deal, as it can significantly affect how much the buyers are willing to pay.

Beyond repair and disclosure requirements that vary from state to state, different loan programs (such as those offered by the Federal Housing Authority or Department of Housing and Urban Development) may have additional requirements when it comes to problems discovered during a home inspection.

Many loan programs also have very specific guidelines regarding the condition of the property that a buyer can purchase using those loans. If a loan program won’t allow a purchase while unsatisfactory conditions exist, the issues must either be repaired or have satisfactory arrangements made to facilitate the repair before the purchase can continue. Keep in mind that not all loan programs will make allowances for future repairs, either; in those cases, the repairs will either have to be made in full or the buyer will have to find a different program that does not follow the same strict requirements.

In the event that there aren’t specific regulations at the state level or restrictions in the buyer’s loan program concerning problems with the property, it falls to the buyer and the seller to determine what repairs will be made. This is typically the 2nd round of negotiations, as buyers are willing to pay more for a property that they don’t have to make extensive repairs to.

In many cases, sellers may offer to cover the most pressing repairs and address any serious issues. This should be agreed to in writing, either at the request of one of the parties or as a condition of the mortgage loan that the buyer is using for the purchase. By formalizing the agreement in writing, it ensures that both parties understand their responsibility and protects the seller from potential legal action regarding issues that weren’t addressed – provided that the seller completed all of the repairs that they agreed to.

The strength of the housing market can have a big effect on who does the bulk of repairs on a property. If similar properties are plentiful, it creates what’s referred to as a “buyer’s market”; buyers have a lot of options and can easily walk away from the purchase if they don’t get what they want. In a “buyer’s market”, the buyer has a lot of leverage and can usually get the seller to agree to either a lower price or a higher percentage of the repairs. When the opposite occurs and there are few choices, a “seller’s market” is created. Buyers can’t walk away as easily and be guaranteed a good deal elsewhere, so sellers can often hold their ground more and get buyers to agree to higher prices or a greater percentage of repairs.

I am here to help and guide you through the process of home inspection and the subsequent negotiations, as well as other situations that may arise – that is my part of my job as your Realtor.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

Are You Ready for the R-22 (Freon) Phase-out? It’s all cool.

Here’s everything you need to know regarding the R-22 (Freon) phase-out. Both real estate pros and homeowners have expressed concern about this refrigerant phase-out.

On January 1, 2020, R-22 refrigerant will become illegal to manufacture or import into the United States.  Once the existing inventory of new R-22 is exhausted, only reclaimed and purified R-22 may be used to repair an air conditioning system. Why is R-22 being phased out?

R-22—or Freon, as it’s commonly called—is not good for the environment. It’s considered one of the most common contributors to ozone depletion. Currently, new air conditioners are manufactured using R-410A (aka Puron), a more environmentally-friendly refrigerant.

How will the R-22 phase-out affect you? As availability of R-22 slows, prices for R-22 refrigerant will increase. Homeowners can expect to pay up to $125 or more per pound for Freon if a repair is needed. Without the right home warranty, homeowners could face a considerable expense even if their system is repairable.

Bottom line: R-22 is not running out anytime soon, but it will get more expensive.

I’m sure you have questions and I am here to answer those questions about Freon and also home warranties.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

 

To Prepay or Not Prepay – That is the Question!!

If you have a mortgage it is probably one of the biggest single debts you are likely to have. Being able to properly manage your mortgage is very important especially with so many options when it comes to loans, repayment and refinancing. It can all get a bit confusing and overwhelming. At some point you might hear a lot of talk about is prepaying your mortgage.

Should you prepay your mortgage? Should you focus on other things first? Before rushing into prepayment, make sure you have all of the information first.

What Is Mortgage Prepayment?

Mortgage prepayment is the act of paying some or your entire mortgage principal before it’s actually due. This can take a number of forms, from paying a higher amount than the actual payment that’s due each month to making additional payments in months where you have money to spare. Some homeowners even make a single large additional payment every year after getting a tax return. Regardless of the specific form that prepayment takes, the result is still the same: More of your outstanding mortgage balance gets paid off, resulting in a decrease in both the amount that you still owe and the amount that interest can be applied to.

What Are the Benefits of Prepaying?

There are several benefits to prepaying your mortgage, regardless of how often the payments are made. Consider the following and how they might apply to your mortgage situation:

  • Faster repayment of the mortgage loan
  • Decreased cost of the mortgage over time
  • Equity is accrued at a faster rate
  • Prepayment reduces principal, making it easier to qualify for refinancing

Essentially, prepayment gives you more control over your loan and helps you to save money, build equity and pay off the loan faster. Since you are paying down your mortgage at a faster rate, you will likely have an easier time refinancing for a better interest rate and loan terms down the road. And since the prepayment is optional, you can always skip prepayments and simply pay the monthly payment due if money is tight. Because of this, many people choose to incorporate prepayment plans into their overall preparations for retirement.

Are There Any Downsides?

While there are definitely benefits to prepaying your mortgage, there are potential downsides as well. Some mortgages, especially those with adjustable rates, are designed to not allow prepayments; if you attempt to prepay on the mortgage, this can trigger a penalty fee. Additionally, some lenders only accept prepayments in certain forms and will apply any other money received as simply an early payment against the next month (which means that the money will go toward interest and principal and not just your principal loan balance.)

Attempting to prepay when you have significant debt elsewhere or don’t have a safety net built up for you and your family is not a good idea. Your mortgage likely has a lower interest rate than most if not all of your other debts, so you may be better off paying them off and building up savings and retirement funds first before you start worrying about prepaying a mortgage.

Should You Prepay Your Mortgage?

Whether or not you should prepay your mortgage depends on a number of factors. You should consider the type of mortgage you have, how much your monthly mortgage payments are and what your interest rate looks like. You should also take a look at your overall finances and how well prepared you are for emergencies and retirement. It’s possible that your money would be better off going elsewhere at the moment. Even if prepayments seem feasible and affordable, make sure that your lender accepts prepayments without penalty and that you know how they prefer to receive prepayments. Those extra payments won’t do much good if your lender simply applies them against interest or charges you a penalty fee because prepayments aren’t allowed by your loan.

It is also advisable to speak with your financial adviser or accountant.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

Great it’s the summer – but my electric bill YIKES!!!

The Las Vegas Valley is in the middle of summer when the temperature stays in the 100s most days and we all know what that means – HIGHER electric bills. Air conditioning is a MUST, but it takes a lot of energy which causes our electric bills to spike. Here are some tips to help you keep your house cooler without breaking the bank.
[Some of these tips might seem a bit silly, but their silliness makes them memorable!]

  1. Grill outside more.
    When using the appliances in your kitchen in the middle of the summer can raise the temperature in your home by upwards of 15 degrees during each meal. By using your outdoor grill you’ll give your heat-inducing indoor appliances a break – plus everything tastes better from the grill!! Use this as an opportunity to create deliciously healthy meals and spend time outdoors with your friends and family!

    grilling outside

  2. Keep your lights off.
    Light bulbs of all varieties can generate a lot of heat in a room. To keep rooms cooler, turn the lights off and keep them off. Reserve your electric energy for when you truly need it. Research has also shown that darker rooms tend to seem cooler than they are, so give your eyes and your wallet a rest.
  3. Try this fan hack!
    Place a mixing bowl filled with ice directly in front of a large stationary or circulating fan and keep the fan on or as close to the floor as you can. The air from the fan will flow over the ice, creating a refreshingly cool breeze rolling gently through your house. A wet washcloth over the front of the fan will also work if you’ve used all your ice for refreshing drinks!
  4. Trade out your sheets.
    Switching out your bedding seasonally can freshen up your space and keep you cool during those hot summer nights. Put away your winter fleece and flannel sheets and blankets and opt for cotton, as cotton fabric breathes easier and stays naturally cooler by several degrees. Buckwheat pillows (yes, those exist!) can also help keep you cooler when you sleep. The naturally occurring space between the buckwheat hulls allows the pillow to circulate air, unlike thicker pillowcases and other linens.

    summer bedding

  5. Mind your doors.
    Unused rooms? Close them off to keep airflow in only the parts of the house you are using (and close the vents in those rooms).
  6. Close your blinds.
    This is a simple but overwhelmingly effective tip. It’s reported that up to 30% of unwanted heat comes directly from your windows and using blinds and drapes results in drastically lower temperatures. Heat gain can be reduced by up 33% with drapes and up to 45% with highly reflective blinds. Cover windows to avoid a greenhouse-type effect in your home, especially those windows that face to the south and the west.

    download (1)

  7. Be strategic about your landscaping.
    Are you ready for new landscaping? Be mindful where you plant tall bushes, trees, and other plants. If you want a shadow over a certain window of your house, ask your landscaper or make specific plans for that to happen. Trees are a great way to naturally block the sun from your home and give back to the environment. Be sure to use a tree that sheds it leaves in the winter, though, so you still get the sun‘s warmth in the colder months, when you want it.

The heat can be both expensive and dangerous, so be safe and mindful as we head into the final stretch of summer!

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

Don’t Freak Out if You Find a Crack in the Foundation of Your House

Yes cracks in the foundation can be signs of a problem; however it doesn’t mean you should automatically think of worst case scenario.  Believe it or not, there are a few perfectly normal reasons why cracks can appear in your foundation.

Of course you should have the issue looked into but hold off on assuming the worst until you determine whether there’s a problem worth worrying about.

There are several things that can cause cracks in your foundation. In some cases, the cracks are simply caused by the settling of your home over time or soil expansion if your home is built on land with a lot of clay in the soil. Other potential causes of foundation cracks include:

  • Drainage issues around the home
  • Insufficient reinforcement to support the weight of the house
  • Major home renovations or add-ons such as adding a second story
  • Tree roots under the soil
  • Earthquakes, sinkholes or landslides that have affected the area
  • Deep soil freezing during the winter

Despite the wide range of possible causes, it’s important to not freak out and get excited and worry over the cracks until you’ve figured out whether they actually indicate a serious problem.

When you first notice cracks in your foundation get a good look at them and where they appear. Taking photos may help with this since they’ll give you an easy-to-access reference later on. If possible, include an object of known size in the pictures to give you a sense of scale; coins, ink pens or other common objects are easy to use.

When looking at the cracks in your foundation, take note of the direction of the crack, how wide the crack is and whether it has a uniform width. If there is an obvious point of origin (a crack that starts at the corner of a basement window or foundation vent) then you should take note of this as well. If you have a crawlspace or basement under your home, go in and examine the foundation wall from the inside as well to see if the crack is visible. The more information you have about the crack, the easier it will be to determine whether there’s a problem.

Small, thin cracks in the foundation usually aren’t much to be concerned about; they typically form as the house and the soil beneath it settle into place. Likewise, small cracks that appear after a particularly harsh winter shouldn’t be a major concern since they are easy to seal before the next bout of cold weather comes around.

There are some cracks that you need to watch out for, though.  Horizontal cracks, straight vertical cracks and cracks that are wider at one end than the other are all signs of potential problems. These can indicate that the foundation is cracking due to a much larger problem than just settling or bad weather. Check the depth of the crack, especially if you have a crawlspace or basement; a crack that goes all the way through the foundation wall can be very bad indeed. You should also see if there are multiple cracks forming around the same area or if any of the cracked areas correspond with cracks or other issues inside the house.

If the cracks seem recent, clean up the area and place marks on the wall beside the cracks. This will let you look for new debris or changes to the crack length over the next several days. Large cracks or cracks that seem to still be growing need to be repaired before they can cause significant issues.

Even if you’re handy around the house, you might want to call a professional to examine the situation and foundation and take care of what is wrong.  Having a pro to do the work will certainly give you piece of mind.  Just give me a call I have a list of professionals that I can highly recommend to you.  I am after all your Realtor for life!!

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

Properly Mounting Things on the Walls of Your Home (pictures, decorations, etc)

Ok so you are in your new home or just adding a picture or mounting a television – anything that goes on your wall needs something to anchor it in place. Sometimes there is a stud in the wall that you can attach it to and you are good to go. You have well-supported wood to drive a screw into which will hold whatever you’re mounting in place.  However if you can’t find a stud where you need one, if the item has any real weight to it, you need some help. That’s where drywall anchors come in.

What is a drywall anchor? Drywall anchors are small pieces that are slightly larger than the screws you are using for this project.  Depending on the type of anchor you’re using it might be made of plastic or metal, with small fins sticking out from the outside of the anchor body and a hole in the middle that runs the length of the anchor.  You first put the anchors into the wall and then your screw goes into the hole. As you screw it in the screw digs into the anchor body in much the same way it would with wood to ensure that the screw won’t slip out.

The drywall anchors are designed to provide a tight fit for your screws. As the screw goes in, the anchor is forced to spread out and open up a bit. This pushes the body of the anchor against the sides of the hole you put it in, causing those little fins to dig into the surrounding drywall. The fins are positioned to go in easy but resist coming out, giving you a solid mounting even though there isn’t any wood or other solid material for your screws to secure to.

There are multiple types of drywall anchors. Choosing the right one for the project you are working on helps to reduce unnecessary damage to your drywall and ensures that the mounting is strong enough for what you are hanging on the wall. To ensure that you have the right drywall anchor for what you need to support you should try to estimate of the weight of the load and check the packaging of different drywall anchors to find an anchor that can hold that much weight.

If the load of what you are hanging is relatively light you’ll most likely only need a plastic anchor. The most common of these are known as expansion anchors and are essentially plastic sleeves that you hammer into a drilled hole and that simply spread out as you insert a screw. There are also threaded plastic anchors that look like oversized screws -they work similarly, except you screw them into place instead of hammering them. Regardless of the type of plastic anchor you use, the purpose is still to dig into the drywall and hold a screw in place.

For heavier loads you will need a metal anchor. Though you may see some threaded metal anchors, the most common metal anchors are known as molly bolts and feature a metal sleeve with a screw already inserted into them. You hammer these into place as you would with an expansion anchor and then remove the screw. Once you are ready to mount you place the screw back into the anchor and start tightening – this causes a portion of the metal sleeve to pull toward the screw, expanding metal arms on the other side of the drywall to create a much more secure fitting.

For seriously heavier loads you’ll need to use a toggle bolt instead. These anchors consist of a metal bolt with foldable metal wings that the bolt screws into. You have to fold the wings so that they lie over the bolt and then insert them into a hole large enough that they can fit through to the other side. Once on the other side the wings will expand, preventing the bolt from coming back out. Make sure that there is a washer or something else that’s large enough to cover the hole, though, or the bolt head could slip through the hole and you’ll lose your toggle bolt into the wall.

If a drywall anchor fails then it simply wasn’t the right type of anchor for the job. Trying to use smaller or weaker anchors for heavier loads will often result in failure because they simply don’t achieve enough grip on the surrounding material to hold the load. In some cases, though, the drywall itself may be too weak or the anchor you use may have been intended for a different material. Be sure to match the anchor to the weight and the material to minimize your chances of anchor failure.

If you are still having issues, or just not comfortable doing it yourself, you’ll probably want to hire a professional. I always keep a list of reliable professionals around in just about every category that pertains to your home, so feel free to reach out to me for recommendations. After all, we’re neighbors.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff