Thursday, November 5, 2015

Real Estate License

Recently I joined Home Spot Choice Realty as a Realtor for Kansas homes.  Over the years I've often worked with homeowners preparing to market their homes.  Homeowners send me the inspection reports to fix up the issues found during inspections so the closing can take place quickly. 
It just made sense to get my license and work with you through the entire process.  My experience with inspection reports and my construction background make it easier to know what needs to be done to get the home marketed quickly and well.  Recently I told a homeowner he did not need to spend the money on a repair that could have cost up to $1000.  He called and let me know the house sold in less than 3 days and the buyers did NOT ask for the repair.
When you work with someone who sees the project from all angles it makes for less stress for you.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring Check Up

With the warmer days it's time for you to do to the annual walk around of your home.  Look at all the windows and doors to be sure the caulking did not crack during the winter.  All the ice and snow that sat on your sills and trim could have caused water damage and wood rot.  If the caulk is maintained you will have a lot less of this.
The siding panels may have pulled a little during the cold and allowed moisture to wick in and cause damage.  A little caulk goes a long way towards avoiding siding replacement.
Cedar decks will be showing rot, especially on the ends and knots of the decking boards.  Replacing a few boards and keeping the deck sealed saves money in the long run.
Make sure the shrubs are trimmed at 12" away from the home.  You need that space for air flow to keep windows and siding dry, which prevents rot.  You might want to wait a bit to trim the flowering shrubs such as lilac, however.
It doesn't take much effort or time to prevent large repair bills down the road.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Door-to-Door Predators

While there are good people who sell door-to-door there are, sadly, many who prey on our older citizens.  Too many are too trusting and do not know what to do once they've been taken advantage of.  To get help avoid these predators we installed a new door bell button for one of our clients.  It makes it very hard for anyone to say they did not see the sign.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Six Pack Construction

Recently I returned from a six-week assignment in New Jersey where I inspected damaged homes for the Small Business Administration.  The homeowners applied for loans to re-build following Hurricane Sandy and I provided the estimate needed for repairs or reconstruction.
Something I saw far too often was evidence of "six pack construction" where a homeowner brought in his buddies who KNEW construction and they went after it.  The most frequent mistake I saw was electrical fires waiting to happen.  Now that the sheet rock is off we can find all the hidden junction boxes or splices just wrapped in tape.  If it sounds as if these scenes scared me, it's because they did.  If the power had not been turned off when the salt water got into these connections it could have spelled disaster.  Copper and salt water  (well, any water, but especially salt water) do not mix.  The connections will quickly corrode.  Some of the homes racked in the high winds.  A house that literally twists in the wind can torque a bad connection, which will make it arc, spark and burn.
Some homeowners told me they had friends ready to come over and help out again.  These folks are truly convinced they know what they are doing and that they are doing these folks a favor by helping out.  In reality this free help may well end up costing them their homes and their lives.
Please remember that this type of work is best left to those with a license and the background to do it correctly.  It is very unlikely that the well-meaning friend really knows the code.  By the way, new code went into effect in many areas as of January 2013. 
The second most common problem was decks.  Those that were installed correctly seemed to come through the flood in good condition.  Those that had the posts barely into the ground floated and warped and need to be replaced.  The few dollars saved by not setting posts deep enough will now cost them thousands of dollars to replace the deck.  Again, the code is there for a very good reason.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Emotional "No-No"

On a recent show on HGTV I saw a huge “no-no.”  A young couple looked at 2 houses, picked one and put in a bid.  Their bid was for the asking price, which was considered market value.  When they found out there was a competing bid (they did not know how much it was) they increased their bid by $50,000!  WAY over market value.  That is $50,000 they will never get back.  It was an emotional knee jerk.
While I don’t sell real estate, I do remodel and update houses after the purchase.  This couple had to give up the new kitchen they really wanted and will not get for years to come. 
A house only becomes a home after you move in and put your touches into it.  For years this family will be living in someone else’s house while they try to convince themselves it is their new home. 
There is always another house out there that we can help you turn into your new home.  Don’t let emotions get the best of you—and your wallet.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Little Things Mean a Lot

You do not have to make a big change in your home to make a big change in your enjoyment of it. Sometimes a small upgrade adds a lot. Consider adding pull-out trays to your lower kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Instead of crawling around on the floor you just give a tug and the tray slides out. Better yet, these are a relatively inexpensive upgrade at about $125 per tray. Saves a trip to the chiropractor!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Garage Doors "Savings"

When building or remodeling you need to watch every dollar to make you spend it wisely. There are very few people who are a bigger fan of saving money than I am, but sometimes saving a few dollars now can cost you dearly later on. This is very true when it comes to garage doors. You can be penny wise and pound foolish here. Although current code requires bracing many older or inexpensive doors do not have the angle iron bracing that keeps them from buckling or breaking in high winds. When I survey damage after a natural disaster and see bowed or missing garage doors caused by straight-line winds I can’t help but feel sorry for the homeowner. The original savings of a couple hundred dollars is wiped out by the deductible (if they even have insurance) when the door gives way. The worst case I saw was a home that apparently used the less expensive doors (this was new home). Every other home on this cul-de-sac was fine, but this home was missing the entire left half of the structure. It had literally exploded. While we were trying to figure out the cause, someone suddenly said “garage doors.” The straight-line winds came into the area, built up against the doors and broke them. When the doors gave way it pressurized the garage and “exploded” the whole left side of the home, taking out the garage and bedroom above it. Every other home in the cul-de-sac was fine. Sad to say, the couple of hundred dollars they saved on the original cost of the doors cost about $100,000 in repairs.

If you have older doors that do not have angle iron bracing you add it for a very low cost. Companies such as Overhead Door are glad to do it if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.