Mistake #1: Failing to have a plan
Deciding to buy a home is probably the biggest financial decision you will ever make. It is an exciting decision, but it is serious business too, and you deserve serious advice. With a game plan, you will eliminate many of the headaches involved in this complicated transaction.
You should have a clear plan when deciding to buy a home. Evaluate your current situation. Do you currently own a home? If so, will it be necessary to sell before making another purchase? Are you renting” How much time is left on your lease? What is important to you about the location of your home? How close do you need to be to schools, work, shopping?
Make a list of features that are important to have in your next home. List your desired price range, locations that you would like, number of bedrooms and baths, and any other amenities. Be specific and prioritize your list. It is unlikely that you will find a home that offers every feature you desire, but a list will help you identify homes that best meet your wants and needs.
Share your list with your real estate agent and review the details and priorities. Your agent will look for homes that best match your criteria, saving you time looking at homes that don’t fit your needs.
A proper game plan will save you time and reduce the stress of shopping for a home. Invest time at the beginning and you will have a more satisfying home buying experience.
The right real estate agent can make the home buying process a satisfying and profitable experience.
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When you hire a general contractor to remodel your home, it’s helpful to know what to expect, so start with the design you want. Are you doing a complete remodel? Updating a kitchen or bathroom? Adding square footage or moving walls and plumbing will require professionals to ensure the project turns out the way you want.
If you hire an interior design firm, or kitchen design firm, the company will have excellent resources, including general contractors. The designer wants a seamless, trouble-free project as much as you do, so s/he knows which contractors to hire, what they’re especially good at, and who to avoid.
The general contractor is in charge of scheduling, hiring, material estimation and acquisition, tear out, installation, waste disposal, permits, and insurance. All of the sub-contractors and their workers will report to him or her.
Ask for references. Most clients are happy to tell others if they had a good experience, and they understand your need to check referrals. Certifications can indicate standards of professionalism and values. NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) offers the Certified Remodeler, Certified Remodeler Specialist, and Certified Lead Carpenter designations.
Hiring a general contractor can protect you by knowing the latest building codes and getting the proper building permits so your job is insurable by your homeowner’s insurance. The firm will also provide worker’s compensation to cover workers who might get injured on your property.
Make certain the scope of the work is detailed in the estimate, so you know what, when and where work will be done.
A hardwood floor’s finish is designed to protect it from unwanted moisture, but pet stains are trickier to clean. Even if pets have never wet the floor, they may think they have to mark over pet stains from previous households. Pets will also return to their own previously “marked” areas.
If you get there in time, you can blot the stain with paper towels and rinse the area with white vinegar. Follow with a pet stain cleanser (specifically formulated for hardwood floors) and blot up the excess. Most stains can be removed by scrubbing or sanding the wood to remove the protective finish, (the sheen). Start with #000 steel wool and wax. Once the stain area is stripped, you can apply mineral spirits to cut the grease or oil within the stain, and then rub it dry with a soft cloth. You may have to retreat with bleach or vinegar, and soak the spot, rinse, apply a dry cloth, re-sand, stain, wax and hand-buff.
Older pet stains may have seeped through the wood and into the subflooring, necessitating removal and replacement of the wood planks and subflooring. You’ll have to stain and finish new wood to match the rest of the floor, which could possibly involve hiring a professional. Other remedies are also tried and true, including hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, and bleach that you can use as cleansing agents. Just be careful when you are mixing cleaning agents with water not to over-soak the wood.
Before you buy a home, you should learn the age of the roof, the typical lifespan of the roofing material, and whether there’s any deterioration.
- Granular roofs- 10 to 25 years: Asphalt or fiberglass-based shingles have a granular mineral top coating that should be consistent in color and texture. Deterioration wears out the mineral layer, so shingles appear spotty, mottled, bumpy and uneven.
- Wood roofs- 20-30 years: Finer wood roofs are made of redwood or cedar. Shingles are machine made and shakes are hand-split for a more rough-hewn look. Worn wood roofs have visible cracks or curled edges.
- Tile roofs- 75 years: Tiles can be made of clay, concrete or slate. The harder the material, the more durable the roof; broken tiles can easily be replaced.
- Metal roofs- 75 years: Metal roofs have interlocking seams making them attractive, durable, fire-resistant and modern-looking, but dents due to hail are often not covered by homeowner’s insurance.
- To judge a roof’s quality, look for the following:
- straight even seams
- consistent color and texture
- no sagging in between support beams
- no corroded flashing around chimneys and valleys
- good soffit vents to circulate air into the attic
- straight gutters free of debris
A professional home inspection should reveal the condition of the roof. If it needs replacement, ask your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional for advice in renegotiating your purchase contract.
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