When It Makes Sense To DIY

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 24th, 2020

When It Makes Sense To DIYMany homeowners enjoy DIY, or Do-it-Yourself, home improvement projects. There’s nothing quite like the pride of knowing you used your own hands to put together or improve something.

With the explosion of social media sites such as YouTube, Pinterest,and TikTok, spending a weekend on DIY projects seems easier than ever before. After just a couple of minutes spent searching, you can find a step-by-step tutorial, before and after photos, or a time-lapse video of any project imaginable. Anyone can do this! Right?

Not so fast. In some cases, it may not make sense to DIY. How do you decide whether it will be worth the elbow grease or if you should leave it to the professionals?

To DIY Or Not To DIY

Building, fixing, painting, or any other -ing isn’t always easier or more affordable, despite what HGTV would have you believe. As you consider whether or not to take a project on yourself, here are some things to consider. 

  • Cost – Calculate the cost of materials you’ll need for your project, factoring in tools and equipment. If the job requires some you don’t already own, you’ll have to rent or buy them, which can be quite costly. However, if you already have some of the necessary materials or you can borrow tools from someone, going the DIY route may make sense. 
  • Time – As Greek philosopher Theophrastus said, “Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” Even if a DIY project offers substantial cost savings, it’s important to factor in the time you’ll have to spend on it. Consider whether saving money is a worthwhile trade-off for your time.
  • Skill level – No matter how many tutorials you study, some things are better left to truly skilled professionals. If you don’t have any experience working in electrical, you shouldn’t attempt to do a project that requires running wires. Knowing your limitations and when to hire someone can save you time, money, and stress.

Potentially saving money is certainly not the only thing to consider when it comes to DIY projects. Before deciding to take it on, ask yourself if you’ll truly enjoy the project and whether or not you have the necessary skills. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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Ensuring Home Contractors Are Following The Rules Under HICPA

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 6th, 2020

Ensuring Home Contractors Are Following The Rules Under HICPAThere are many homeowners who hire contractors to make repairs or upgrades on their homes. It is critical for home improvement contractors to follow all rules and regulations set forth by the law. These regulations have been set forth under the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act, or HICPA. 

An Overview Of The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act

The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act was put forth to ensure that homeowners and contractors come to an appropriate agreement. Some of the rule and regulations that are included in the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act include:

  • All contractors need to obtain a registration number
  • Home contractors are required to register with the Office of the Attorney General
  • All home contractors need to pay the required registration fees

Finally, the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act also specifies the various terms that need to be included in each agreement set forth by homeowners and contractors. Any contractors agreed to by contractors and homeowners need to comply with the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act. The purpose of this act is to protect homeowners against fraudulent contractors. 

What Happens If An Agreement Does Not Follow The Rules?

If an agreement does not abide by the regulations included in the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act, then there might be liability in a civil court. Furthermore, there could even be criminal charges that result. 

In the event that a homeowner enters into civil litigation against a home contractor, the first item that lawyers will look into include the regulations under the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act. If the contractor violated any of the regulations, the HICPA may also specify penalties that might be levied against the contractor.

When Does The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act Apply?

There are only a few exceptions where the HICPA would not apply to a home improvement job. Even though the definitions under the HICPA are very broad, this act does not apply to contractors who earn less than $5,000 of taxable income in a given year. Finally, the HICPA applies only to home improvements. It does not apply to the construction of a new home. The act also does not apply to the sale of any home appliances.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional. 

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Big Home Repairs That Can Sink A Budget Quickly

Posted in Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 3rd, 2020

Big Home Repairs That Can Sink A Budget QuicklyFor most individuals and families, their home is the most expensive investment they will ever purchase. Therefore, it is important for everyone to take care of their home. Routine maintenance can prevent costly repairs from arising down the road.

It is important for homeowners to make sure they budget for home maintenance and repair costs. Even with a meticulous repair schedule, it is still possible that a major repair might be required. There are a few home repairs that are more expensive than others.

Damage To The Foundation Of The Home

One of the most expensive home repairs that might come up involves damage to the foundation. The foundation is the part of the home that supports the rest of the structure. Therefore, its strength is vital to the integrity of any building.

Depending on the exact nature of the project, repairing the foundation of a home may cost close to $100,00 if the building is large and the damage is severe. At a minimum, homeowners should expect to spend a few thousand dollars on a home foundation repair project.

Some of the most common reasons why a foundation might be damaged involve plumbing issues, clogged gutters, and flooding. Water can corrode the foundation and pool around the base, leading to damage. Therefore, the water system also needs to be addressed with any foundation repair.

A Roof Repair Can Be Costly

The roof is one of the most important barriers in the home. It separates the interior of the home from the dangers of the elements outside. Therefore, it is critical for the roof to remain intact. Roofs need to be inspected regularly.

If there is a problem with the roof, this may cost more than $10,000. Regularly inspecting the roof and making repairs and replacements as they come up can save a home’s budget.

Siding Repairs Are Expensive

Finally, water and wind can damage the siding of a home. Furthermore, insects and other pests can also lead to siding repairs. Repairing a single piece of siding isn’t costly; however, if the entire siding needs to be replaced, this may cost more than $15,000. The exact nature of the cost is going to depend on the materials chosen.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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Home Improvements That May Improve Resale Value

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 6th, 2020

Home Improvements That May Improve Resale ValueDid you know that some home improvements lower the resale value of a home and decrease the number of potential buyers? If you are going to repaint the exterior of your home bright, traffic-cone orange and try to sell it for a high price, think again! Maybe, if the artist Pablo Picasso once lived there that might work, but probably not under any other circumstances.

Some things are counter-intuitive. A swimming pool is an example. Swimming pools are great and highly desirable for many people. However, others do not necessarily think so and only see them as adding unnecessary expenses for maintenance and upkeep.

There are general guidelines to follow, which give you a better chance to increase the resale value of a home by making certain improvements. If possible, work with your REALTOR® who understands the local real estate market conditions before making decisions about investing in renovations to increase a home’s resale value.

Be aware that the industry averages show a percentage of recoupment of the investment and no renovations make back what they cost, in terms of increased resale value. This means you should only consider renovations that you like for other reasons as well as the potential financial impact on the home’s value. The only way to profit from renovations is to do some work yourself.

Renovations — Partial Recoupment In Resale Value

Here are the top ten things to consider with their average installation cost, average increased resale amount, and the average recoupment percentage as ranked by Remodeling in the 2020 Cost vs. Value Report:

1. Manufactured Stone Veneer (applied to the front of the home)

Installation Cost $9,357 — Increased Resale Amount $8,943 — Recoupment 96%

2. Garage Door Replacement

Installation Cost $3,695 — Increased Resale Amount $3,491 — Recoupment 94%

3. Fiber Cement Siding (applied to the exterior of the home)

Installation Cost $17,008 — Increased Resale Amount $13,195 — Recoupment 78%

4. Vinyl Siding (applied to the exterior of the home)

Installation Cost $14,359 — Increased Resale Amount $10,731 — Recoupment 75%

5. Vinyl Windows (double-pane)

Installation Cost $17,461 — Increased Resale Amount $12,761 — Recoupment 72%

6. Wooden Deck

Installation Cost $14,360 — Increased Resale Amount $10,355 — Recoupment 72%

7. Wood Windows (double-pane)

Installation Cost $21,495 — Increased Resale Amount $14,804 — Recoupment 69%

8. Steel Entry Door

Installation Cost $1,881 — Increased Resale Amount $1,294 — Recoupment 69%

9. Composite Deck

Installation Cost $19,856 — Increased Resale Amount $13,257 — Recoupment 67%

10. Asphalt-Shingled Roof

Installation Cost $24,700 — Increased Resale Amount $16,287 — Recoupment 66%

The runner-ups, with their recoupment percentages, are remodeling the bathroom (62%), metal roofing (61%), a kitchen remodel (59%), a bedroom addition (59%), and a bathroom addition (55%).

Summary

Notice that the top ten items that make the most positive impact on the resale price are all exterior projects and most of them are visible from the front of the home. The wise adage of “curb appeal sells” seems to be true when it comes to renovations that generally improve resale value.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

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Common Problems Faced By New Homeowners

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 5th, 2020

Common Problems Faced By New HomeownersBuying a new home is a big step for individuals and families. This is a time for celebration as the new furniture gets moved in, everyone gets adjusted, and the honeymoon phase starts with the new home. On the other hand, buying a home also means that all of the responsibilities rest with the owners.

Here are a few common problems that new homeowners face.

Taking Care Of The Outside

Many homeowners are quick to realize that there is a tremendous amount of maintenance on the outside of the home. Now, the exterior is their responsibility and doesn’t fall on a landlord. Sure, it can be helpful to hire someone; however, this can be expensive.

Some of the common questions that homeowners have include how frequently they should water the lawn. There might also be questions regarding which type of fertilizer and when they should use this. Also, the issues caused by weeds can be substantial. When in doubt about these issues, simply reach out to a professional and ask for help. Someone is always willing to lend a helping hand.

Plumbing Issues Are Common

It is important to do a home inspection before buying a home. This will let the potential buyer know about any repairs they might be inheriting. Some of the common issues have to do with the plumbing system.

One of the most common issues has to do with clogs. Sometimes, the clog takes place in the sink when someone tries to force food down the drain. In other situations, toilets might get clogged if something other than toilet paper gets flushed down the toilet. While a basic plunger is a great place to start, it is also prudent to invest in some drain cleaner and a snake.

The Lights Go Out

Sometimes, people are shocked to see the power go out during a storm. In some cases, the power company may need to come out and handle the repairs. In other situations, it might be a tripped circuit breaker. When the power goes out, head to the circuit breaker and take a look at any fuses that might be turned off. Unplug some of the appliances and then turn the circuit breaker back on! This might do the trick, but if it goes out again, call an electrician.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

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Home Warranties: Are They Worth It?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 14th, 2020

Home Warranties Are They Worth ItOwning a home comes with major responsibilities and also offers major questions. One of the biggest questions that people will have to answer is whether or not they want to take out a home warranty. In order to decide whether a home warranty is worth it, it is important to first understand what a home warranty is.

What Is A Home Warranty?

A home warranty is not the same thing as home insurance. First of all, homeowners insurance is something that is required to purchase a home in the first place. Home insurance is in place to protect the homeowner, and the lender, from disaster.

In contrast, a home warranty is not required but might be offered by the lender or a third party. A home warranty is designed to cover the repairs that come with routine wear and tear on various home appliances. This includes items such as the HVAC system, plumbing, and electricity (but everyone needs to read the information on any home warranty policy to see exactly what is covered.) Therefore, what might not be covered by home insurance is covered by a home warranty and vice versa. 

The Benefits Of Having A Home Warranty

One of the biggest benefits that come with a home warranty policy is peace of mind. Every home appliance is going to break down at some point as a result of routine wear and tear. When this happens, it can create a large, unexpected expense.

When this expense arises, it is helpful to have a policy that covers the cost of repairs. People might be surprised to hear that homeowner’s insurance policies are not going to cover routine repairs on appliances resulting from wear and tear. This unexpected expense can cause a lot of stress for someone’s budget. The cost of this repair can be covered by a home warranty.

The Drawbacks Of A Home Warranty

On the other hand, there are also a few drawbacks to note. The biggest drawback of a home warranty is that people might end up paying for the cost of the repair simply via the cost of a home warranty. Many of the repairs that are not covered by homeowner’s insurance can be covered out of pocket. Therefore, having a home warranty policy might be redundant.

It is important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of a home warranty before deciding whether or not the policy is worth it. Work with your trusted real estate professional to determine the best options for your personal situation.

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3 Critical Considerations When You Choose Your Garage Doors

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 26th, 2019

3 Critical Considerations When You Choose Your Garage DoorsOwning property comes with a number of major responsibilities. This includes home maintenance and repairs. One of the common topics that people think about is the garage door. Sometimes, the garage door breaks and needs to be replaced. Other people might be adding a garage door for the first time. There are lots of options to choose from and this is an important decision.

There are a number of factors that people need to consider when trying to decide on a garage door.

The Material

First, people need to think about what their garage door is going to be made out of. The classic option is wood. It has a sleek, stylish look and can be stained to the owner’s preference. At the same time, steel has become a more popular option. This is because steel is stronger than wood. Other homeowners even elect to go with aluminum. Aluminum is lighter than steel and uses less energy. Aluminum can also be colored to look like wood. The material is a good place to start when looking for a garage door.

The Durability

Next, homeowners need to think about the durability of the various options. Some garage doors are going to be stronger than others. Garage door repairs can be expensive and this is a cost that homeowners should avoid if possible. Try to find a durable garage door that can stand up to the routine wear and tear. The stronger the material, the more durable it is going to be.

The Insulation

Finally, also consider the insulation that will be provided by the garage door. The garage is typically an unheated area. This means that any heat in the garage can easily escape through various openings. One of the largest openings is through the garage door. Try to find a door with some insulation. This will trap heat inside the garage and lower the home’s energy costs. An insulated garage door might be more expensive but can also save money on utility bills.

Choosing The Right Garage Door

There are a lot of options when it comes to garage doors. Each choice has its benefits and drawbacks. Homeowners need to take the time to assess the various options and figure out which one is right for them.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

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Pros and Cons of Replacing Your Roof Before A Listing

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 22nd, 2019

Pros and Cons of Replacing Your Roof Before a ListingYou might be wondering whether to replace your roof before listing your property. Most reputable real estate agents will advise you only to do so if your current roof isn’t likely to pass inspection or if replacing it will significantly raise the value of your home. 

Here is some valuable information to help you decide.

Pros Of Replacing Your Roof Before You Sell

Buyers are attracted to homes with curb appeal and online photos highlighting a new roof will attract a lot of traffic. That means you may sell your home more quickly. Roofing replacements also help you when it comes time to negotiate a sales price. Buyers will be willing to pay more for the security of knowing they won’t need a new roof anytime soon.

Cons Of Replacing Your Roof Before A Listing

Putting on a new roof is a huge financial commitment. It may not be one you’re willing to assume before moving into a new property. Other problems may arise that delay construction or cause cost overruns. Both of these scenarios impact your ability to look for a new home right away, meaning you can’t put the current one up for sale.

Consider Repairing It Instead

If your roof is in decent shape, talk to an expert about whether it needs to be repaired. If there’s structural damage, chances are an inspector or appraisal will request repairs prior to closing anyway. You may want to just get it taken care of. If the roof is in good shape but doesn’t look great, it may just need to be cleaned and spruced up. A roofing expert can give you some great ideas that are within your budget.

Should You Replace Your Roof?

Ultimately, it’s your decision. It’s important to determine how much a new or repaired roof adds to the price you’re likely to get. Dealing with construction on a home that no longer meets your needs is stressful. If the roof needs a lot of work, it may be worthwhile to offer a concession to the buyer — you essentially give them the money to fix it when they move in — so you can move out and move on sooner. Your time frame is another factor to consider. If you don’t have a lot of time, leaving this task to the buyer may be your best option.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

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Can I Sell A House That Still Needs Repairs?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 7th, 2019

Can I Sell A House That Still Needs RepairsWhen you started thinking about putting your house up for sale, you probably made a list of repairs that need to be done ahead of time. If that list was long, you might be at a point where you’re asking if it’s all worth it. Will prospective buyers really notice the little things? And even if they do, will that affect how much you’re able to get for your home?

You Can Sell An Imperfect House

Your house doesn’t need to be perfect in order to sell it. Many older homes have some issues like outdated kitchens and bathrooms or wall-to-wall carpeting that needs to be replaced or gotten rid of.

But be aware that a house in need of repair or is different than a house that needs updating. Outstanding repairs are a red flag to buyers that you haven’t maintained the home as you should have over the years. Buyers may suspect that your home needs even more repairs than the obvious issues. So first off, you might have more buyers walk away from a house in need of repair and second, you will probably get less money for your home. 

Outstanding Repairs Give Buyers Leverage

When you try to sell a home that’s in need of repairs, you give buyers leverage to get a lower price out of you. For instance, if your house needs a new furnace, the buyers might say, “Well, we’ll make an offer but it’s lower by this amount because we know we’ll have to get a new HVAC system as soon as we move in”.

That amount for the HVAC system will usually be more than what you could have paid for a new furnace before listing your home. You can almost always sell your house for more by taking care of repairs first.

One thing that real estate agents advise is to get an independent home inspection report before you sell. This will give you an official list of all the repairs that need to be done. Then you can pick and choose among which repairs you should take care of.

This also helps to avoid unpleasant surprises later on. Even though finishing repairs can be costly and time-consuming, many home sellers find that it’s worth it to do as much as possible before listing. The final purchase price often ends up reimbursing you for your expenses, if not for your time.

Be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional to help you prioritize home improvement projects prior to listing.

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When Is The Best Time To Do Your Roof Maintenance?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 2nd, 2019

When Is The Best Time To Do Your Roof MaintenancePerform roof maintenance on sunny days when there’s less chance of slipping. Blocking off a weekend twice a year gives you plenty of time to complete the items below without rushing or taking unnecessary risks. The beginning of spring and fall present the best opportunities to complete your maintenance before the weather turns too hot or too cold.

Loose Debris Removal

Remove leaves, branches and accumulated debris before winter sets in. Set up a ladder, preferably with another person holding the ladder steady, and clean off as much debris as possible without risking your safety.

General Inspection

Start in the attic or crawl space by looking for ceiling stains. This may indicate water seepage that can compromise your home. Examine the roof in those areas to find loose, lifted or missing shingles that you have to replace. Then, examine the rest of the shingles for mold, worn spots, peeling or cracks. Also, check for missing flashing. 

If you don’t feel comfortable doing the repairs yourself, this is still a valuable exercise. You’ll know what to expect and can avoid charges for unnecessary repairs.

Moss And Mold

You can buy roof moss remover at most home improvement stores. Follow the instructions for best results. After the solution has had time to set, gently brush away the mold and moss, using a soft-bristled broom or wide brush. Try to avoid spray-washing shingles to preserve the UV-blocking granules on their surface.

Facia, Downspouts And Gutters
Protect your hands with heavy rubber gloves and remove debris with a scoop to make the work go quickly. Then, gently scrub dirt and grime from the fascias. Spray each area with a garden hose so that you can check for peeling paint or missing caulk. Re-paint and caulk these areas as needed and note any damage you’d feel more comfortable leaving to a professional. 

Chimneys, Skylights And Vents

Start by closing off your fireplace and cleaning any creosote from the chimney with a hard-bristled brush. Inspect the chimney for missing or cracked bricks. If you do the repairs yourself, remember to treat the chimney afterward with a water-repellent sealant. Inspect and clean vent outlets and skylights using a roof safety harness for steep inclines.

This may seem like a lot of work, but it can save you thousands of dollars by avoiding critical repairs due to negligence.

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