Home Improvement Checklist

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have programs that help people renovate and repair their homes with the assistance of the U.S. Government.  They received many complaints of contractors that do shoddy work, and because of the financing, these contractors believe they can do the shoddy work with impunity.

The Ohio Attorney General’s website provides a list to follow for all people living in Ohio that want or need to have home repairs.

The list includes among others:

  1. Checking the contractors references
  2. Not signing anything without making sure you have read everything carefully
  3. Not signing with the first contractor you talk to
  4. The contractor has shown you proof of Licenses, insurance, and bonding
  5. You have checked with the Better Business Bureau for the company’s credentrials

At Pioneer Basement Waterproofing, we pride ourselves with the work we do, the commitment to our community, and the customer satisfaction history we have worked for since 1979.  We are a locally owned and operated company that is fully licensed, bonded and insured for the protection of our customers. We treat our customers the same way we treat our friends and family; the way we want to be treated.

If you are thinking about a home repair or improvement, inform yourself before starting any big or small project.

To read more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


7 Explosive Ways to Increase Customer Satisfaction

Follow these seven strategies to keep customers coming back again and again.

Customer satisfaction is crucial for any business to succeed, but satisfying increasingly demanding consumers can become a challenge. Poor customer experience is a catalyst for customer churn, and the damage of one unhappy customer is the 9-15 people they will tell about their encounter. Customer satisfaction is priceless when acquiring new customers—a process that’s 4-5 times more expensive than maintaining an established customer base.

So, customer satisfaction is important, but what can businesses do to drive their customer satisfaction up and keep it there? Below are seven effective ways to improve your customer experience and increase customer satisfaction.

Respect Your Consumers

Just as a bad experience can have a dramatic effect on your business, so can a positive one. Word of mouth packs a punch in the buying world, so treat your customers with respect and watch your customer satisfaction flourish. The secret to building a loyal customer base is creating respectful experiences for your consumers to share with their friends and family.

It all sounds pretty straightforward. However, finding the right balance and approach to respectful interactions can be tricky for both you and your customer. Respect your customers by providing them with tools to help themselves. Ensuring that your consumers can easily access frequently asked questions and information about your product on your user-friendly site is one simple way to create a respectful customer experience.


5 major tips to measure Customer Satisfaction

When it comes to mobile app customers, there is no better friend and foe for a mobile app business, especially in the current market conditions. Earn the customer’s trust and they would be devoted to your brand but if you treat them poorly then the tables can turn towards you. In addition, the major issue is that only 5% of unhappy customers really express their discontents. And sometimes it might happen that some of them won’t even come back. So what can you really do to determine the satisfaction of your customers?

The most effective way to measure that is using feedback surveys and communicating directly with the customers. Being cautious regarding the customer experience and its influence on your business conversions is vital to the business’s success. Consider the following tips to measure the effectiveness of your app’s customer experience.

 


Do Your Customers Promote You?

Getting the right information about how satisfied your customers are with your services is the first step toward getting them to recommend you to others.

Few would argue that satisfying customers is a “must” if a company hopes to grow and prosper. Most companies even have some established means for measuring how satisfied customers are with their products and/or services, and they take these measures seriously. Too often, however, these internally developed measures do not provide a true picture of how satisfied customers really are. In fact, I would argue that many of the measures used by companies tend to skew results to be artificially favorable. This can lead to customer service complacency based on a mentality of “we haven’t heard otherwise, so things must be OK.”


Home Maintenance Tips That Can Save You Money

Spring and summer months are the chosen moths for most people to sell and buy homes.  The curb appeal during these months is enhanced by the vegetation around your home, but the problems are clearly noticeable as well.  Basement and foundation problems are clearly visible if water is sitting on the basement floor of your home during the spring months, and the humidity during the summer months is felt when checking the basement of your home.

If you are selling, buying or just enjoy the feeling of shopping for a new home, here are some tips that you need to check when shopping or selling  a home. Just follow the links below to find out more about this topic.


15 Preventative Home Maintenance Tips That Save You Money

Plus: What regular home repairs can mean for your homeowners insurance.

No doubt there are plenty of benefits of owning your own home: freedom from rent and landlord rules, contributing to an investment, building a home on property that you own, and so on. But let’s face it – being a homeowner also means dealing with costly repairs yourself from time to time.

Every time something breaks or stops working, it feels like it came out of nowhere, and when you head to the hardware store or call a specialist to get a repair quote, your wallet winces at the expense.

But, hark! A spot of good news! Many of the expensive fixes homes often require can actually be prevented if you simply remember to do the proper maintenance. A fix here and a test there can save you some real cash over time.

Make these 15 preventative maintenance tips part of your spring cleaning ritual this year, and set calendar alerts so you remember to stay on top of them in the months and years to come.


Not uncovering problems with home before you buy can cause big headaches later

We purchased a home in Maryland about three years ago. Following the purchase, we discovered that a sunroom addition on the upper and lower levels of the home was built on top of an existing outdoor deck.

The addition does not have a proper foundation or insulation. We found no evidence that the addition was permitted. We consulted with an architect, who advised us that the addition on both levels will need to be removed and completely rebuilt. In the meantime, both rooms are freezing cold in winter and boiling hot in summer due to lack of insulation.

Our home inspection report did not flag the construction of these rooms as a problem, nor did the seller disclose any foundation, structural or latent defects in the residential property disclosure statement. Do we have any recourse with the inspector or the seller?


Home Inspections: Items That Aren’t Deal-Breakers

After making an offer on a home, you’ll enter into a contract. Part of that contract should always include getting a home inspection. It is recommended that any homebuyer make an offer to purchase contingent upon a home inspection. This allows you to withdraw your offer if there are any major issues discovered during an inspection.

More than likely, the home inspector will find problems that need to be fixed before closing. Major foundation issues and significant water damage are at the top of the list of signs to walk away from.

On the other hand, there are some home defects found during an inspection that don’t have to be deal-breakers. Many of them can be fixed, and they can be used to negotiate with the seller for a lower price point or additional help with the closing costs.

Lead-Based Paint
Lead-based paint was banned in 1978, but it’s still possible that you could purchase a home that contains it if it was built before the ban. The sellers should disclose this, but the home inspector may find it, as well.


 

Home Foundation or Basement Problems? Read This First

In 2013 Americans spend an approximate $150 billion dollars in home improvement and repairs.  And studies have shown that that amount increases every year. 

Home improvement experts agree with the 1% rule that says, 1% of the purchase price of your home should be set aside for home maintenance.  Spring time is not only a good time to declutter and clean your home, but it’s a time where home maintenance is required. After the long winter months and spring showers, now it is a time where you have to inspect your home thoroughly to catch problems that were  not there the previous year.

Do you need a maintenance list to inspect your home this year?  Then follow the links below for more information.


Can You Identify These Common House Foundation Issues?

How many times have you heard someone dismiss foundation cracks as simply an old house that’s “settling”? Ignoring foundation problems such as cracks and uneven floors can lead to serious – and expensive – problems down the road.

Homes are built on dirt and, over time, that dirt will shift and settle. Clay, for example, will contract and expand depending on the moisture. Sand will erode after significant rainfall or flooding. Plus, the average home weighs 160 tons so that’s a lot of pressure on the dirt underneath your home, explains Michael Connolly, marketing manager for Lowcountry Basement Systems, which recently moved into the Charleston market.

“Problems don’t get better, they only get worse, and the worse they get the more expensive they will be to fix,” Connolly says.

Foundation issues can keep doors and windows from opening properly. Moisture can get into the house and create mold problems. Not properly repairing these issues can also make it difficult to sell your home down the road, he adds.


Check Yourself: 7 Home Maintenance Tasks You Should Tackle in May

We’ve been fantasizing about it for months, and finally warmer weather has arrived. We know: You just want to fire up the grill and start working on your tan—we do, too! But before you can kick back in your hammock (or in your pool on your giant patriotic bald eagle float, if that’s your thing), there are a few tasks you’ll need to tackle.

And you can bet they’re all outside.

“The old adage ‘April showers bring May flowers’ rings true and makes May prime time for landscaping and lawn care in most of the country,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

But it goes beyond gardening and yard work. Now’s the last chance to take care of all that winter wear and tear and transform your home’s outdoor space into something worthy of the host with the most.

The good news? We’re here to make it as quick and easy on you as possible—with our handy checklist of home maintenance chores, you can knock them out and get back to that pool float ASAP. We’ve provided tips for doing each task faster and easier—or with the help of a pro.


‘Thank God it wasn’t worse’

HUNTINGBURG — Rene Katterhenry and her three children were all asleep on the living room couch inside their home at First and Washington streets when rushing floodwaters and a waterline break caused her brick basement wall to cave in in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

She had been watching a movie with 9-year-old Reese, 8-year-old Logan, and 5-year-old Lexi before they all dozed off. But around midnight, the sound of rushing water woke up Katterhenry.

“I’m not sure if it was the wall caving in at that time or just the storm, I think it was the storm at that time,” she said. “I went to look, because I could hear some rain gushing. The water was pretty much at the top step of the front porch. I could see the top concrete step, but that was it.”

She thought that she should probably check the basement, since water sometimes seeps in during storms.

“I opened the basement door, and there I had one full step and a second step. The water was all the way up to the house,” Katterhenry said. “And I was panicking. The wall was already gone, but I didn’t realize it.”

She called her father. He had to meet up with her brother in his truck to reach Katterhenry’s house.


 

Do You Want A Dry Basement? Tips and Information To Keep Your Basement Dry

During the raining season, it is very clear whether you have a leaky basement or not.  Water seeping to the basement of your home become a reality when you see puddles of water on the basement floor.  The question then is, where is the water coming from? If the spring season brings water into the basement, chances are the water is coming from the outside.  If you have problems with leaky pipes, water would be a problem all year long, not only during the spring season.  The humidity in your basement can play havoc with furniture, the stability of the foundation, appliances you may have there, etc. Taking care of those problems right away can save you many headaches down the road.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.


Mission Impossible? Setting Out to Save a Damp, Dingy Furnace Room

Basement moisture introduces mold and mildew, wood rot and worse. Gradually, the effect of such issues combine to compromise the home both structurally and aesthetically. Fortunately for us all, affordable and DIY-friendly masonry waterproofer can both of those problems at the same time. Read on to find out how!

As homeowners, we all have our dirty little secrets, whether it be a carpet stain concealed by strategically placed furniture or in my case, a basement furnace room that resembles a horror-movie set. Despite being dimly lit, with exposed pipes spreading like tentacles all around, I know the room would have problems much worse than aesthetics, if it weren’t for the sump pump and drains I opted to add several years ago. The combination worked wonders to stem the tide of basement leaks we’d been struggling to control until then. But recently, I began to recognize that although pools of liquid water no longer suddenly appear on the floor, another, subtler warning sign—unsightly, unhealthy mildew—proves that basement moisture remains an issue.

So I decided to launch on a new campaign aimed not only at protecting against future mildew growth, but also at improving the look of the furnace room once and for all. Of course, I’m not the first homeowner to take on a project like this.


Keep your basement dry when rain rolls through the area

WASHINGTON — Next week could bring heavy rain into the region. And if rain makes your basement soggy, a consumer’s group advises trying easy do-it-yourself solutions before hiring a contractor.

“Check to make sure your gutters have been cleaned out. Check to make sure that downspouts from your gutters are spilling far away from your home,” said Kevin Brasler, executive editor at Checkbook.org.
Also, hiring a drainage consultant might reveal additional quick fixes, or determine that grading performed when the home was new has diminished. Grading of soil near a home prevents water from flowing toward walls.
“It’s a pretty inexpensive thing to do, especially compared to what these companies will propose,” Brasler said.
You should examine all options, Brasler added, before hiring a basement waterproofing contractor.

“If you are going to hire a company to solve your problem inside your basement, make sure you talk to several companies,” Brasler advised. “I would talk to five or six companies that do this type of work.”


Southern Trust Home Services shares tips to prepare your home for spring

Just as spring allergens can pose a problem for people, spring weather and changes can pose a problem for homes. Ted Puzio, owner of Southern Trust Home Services, shares tips about how homeowners can prep their homes for spring.

Homeowners can reduce seasonal allergens inside the home by inspecting or replacing HVAC air filters and inspecting ductwork and vents for signs of mold growth.

Homeowners can prevent basement waterproofing problems due to spring showers by checking the house for any leaks and seepage and unclogging gutters and checking that all downspouts extend away from the home’s foundation.

Homeowners can prepare for early heat by checking the AC. – strange noises, condensation leaks and indoor temperatures that do not match thermostat readings are signs that it needs repair – and by requesting a seasonal HVAC tune-up and cleaning.


Landscaping Your Home The Right Way

When selling or improving your home, the interior of the house is the place which we spend most of the time worrying about.  Is the kitchen up to date with the appliances? Are the countertops in good condition?  Is the bathroom on the first floor well maintained?

If selling the home your priority this year, make sure the outside of the home is being taken care of, and the landscaping makes a good impression to the potential buyer.  Shrubs, gravel, unleveled driveways, branches hanging from trees, are some of the easy to spot maintenance jobs you need to do before putting your home for sale.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


7 Landscaping Trends to Avoid When Selling Your Home

Aside from location, location, location, your home’s landscaping is one of the first things to make an impression on a potential buyer. And it’s not just curb appeal, although that is important.

Amenities like an outdoor fire pit or brick barbecue pit are not all created equal. The same goes for trees, shrubs, and outdoor lighting. If you don’t want to spend some real money on dressing up the outdoor space around the house, then don’t spend anything at all.

Jennifer Geddes at Realtor.com has created a list of seven landscaping trends to avoid as you get your home ready to sell. Her list follows.

Landscaping laid out with a ruler
Nice, neat lines used to be the trend for planting flower beds and bushes, but today’s outdoor look is much more natural.

The same cheap trees everyone has
Choose trees wisely, including eastern red cedar, sugar maple, Colorado blue spruce, and myrtle. Steer clear of the ones that rain leaves and needles (pecan, oak, sweet gum, eastern white pine), and your look will be neater and easier to maintain. And when it comes to placement in your yard, think strategically.


Certain landscaping materials prone to fast-spreading fire, officials say

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – What materials do you use in landscaping your yard? Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue released a new public service announcement warning homeowners and property management companies against using pine straw and similar products.

“When landscaping, use noncombustible material like rock instead of pine straw or mulch,” urges Lt. Jonathan Evans with MBFR. “If it can catch on fire, don’t let it touch your house.”

Fire officials warn that it’s not just landscaping material that can fuel fires near your home.

“Dry grass can be fuel for wildfires, so keep your grass and lawns hydrated and maintained,” suggests Lt. Evans.


Consider investing some green in your landscaping to increase your home’s worth

SIOUX CITY | If you want to turn your backyard into an oasis as seen on HGTV, be prepared to spend some money.

Mike Lutt, owner of Country Nursery Inc. in Wayne, Nebraska, said that makeover could cost anywhere from $1,000 to more than $200,000 depending on your wants, needs and square footage. The average cost of an outdoor patio is $12,000 to 15,000.

“People are going from wooden decks and synthetic Terex decking to a raised paver patio for the same cost,” said Lutt, who said multi-level raised paver patios allow homeowners to incorporate more elements and designs into their outdoor spaces. “It used to be just slapped up against the house. Now, they bring it out further.”

Lutt said there are benefits to using VERSA-LOK retaining walls, made of high-strength, low-absorption concrete, and Willow Creek Paving Stones, composed of high-strength aggregates. He said these materials don’t have to be stained or sealed as wood does, and they don’t fade.

Protecting Your Basement From Spring Rains

Spring weather is here and along with it comes the rain.  It is inevitable that as homeowners we want to ensure the basement of our home is dry and free of humidity, mold or mildew, and that is a safe place to spend time with our kids.  Knowing if you have a problem with your basement, is the first step in solving a problem that may go undetected for years.  The humidity in your basement may be an early indicator to problems with water leaking into the basement of your home.  Taking care of humidity issues right away, ensure your foundation won’t sustain damages that are more troublesome and can jeopardize the structure of your home.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


Many people associate a wet basement with seeing water, but that’s not the only symptom of a potential problem, according to Wes Pfleiger, marketing manager at Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing.

In addition to water seepage, loose or crumbling mortar between stones and plaster, mold and mildew, musty odors and cracks or dark spots in basement walls and floors can all be signs of a basement with a water problem.

Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing is primed to educate consumers as a vendor at the Northeastern PA Home and Better Living Show April 8 and 9 at the Lodge at Montage, 1000 Montage Mountain Road in Scranton.

The event is presented by the Home Builders Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania and sponsored by Scranton Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, Window World and Bath Fitter/Kitchen Saver.

Pfleiger said trained professionals from the 52-year-old company will be on hand at the event to answer “any and all questions” about basement waterproofing. Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing will also offer free, no-obligation basement inspections for home show visitors.


Basement flooding season begins

(WTNH) — I have been lucky to never see basement flooding in my house, but whether you’ve lived in your house for 20, 30, or even 40 years, it does not mean it can’t happen to you. So how do you prevent it from happening in the future, and if it does, what can you do to make sure it doesn’t happen again? Well let’s find out.

Weeks of above average rainfall and lots of snow melt have helped us hugely to lower our drought numbers, but with a saturated ground and more rain on the way, your basement may flood over the coming weeks, so what can you do?

“It’s real imperative for residents throughout the state to be looking for signs of water seepage. Is it damp around cracks, and the floor wall seam. Is it damp to the touch? These are all indications that the soil around the outside of the house is over saturated and it could be poised to flood any time,” said Mike Lane, Sales, Connecticut Basement Systems.

There are some things you can do to help prevent this. Buy gutter extenders to keep water from dripping close to your foundation, and try to make sure that if you live on a hill, rain water gets routed away from your home. If all else fails, call a professional.


Roof Tips To Keep Your Home Young

When looking to buy a house, most buyers look at the most expensive home repairs in the house they are looking to buy, to gauge whether the price they intend to offer is reasonable.  A house that is a good deal on paper, may turn out to be a disaster when the appraisal is done.  A roof that needs repairs, or a complete overhaul, is an expensive home repair that should be taken into consideration when buying a home.  A faulty foundation or one that needs repairs, is not something you can overlook.  A 30 year old furnace is not something you want to be stuck with, when you first buy the home. Or a 30 year old air conditioning system that will probably will not last much longer.

When buying a house, look for these expensive home repairs before you make an offer.  If they are in good condition, then the price may be right.  Have a thoroughly certified home inspection before you sign those papers.

Read more about this topic.


5 Factors That Can Deteriorate Roofs Faster

Los Angeles, CA, March 26, 2017 –(PR.com)– Julian Construction (http://www.julianconstruction.com), a roofing and foundation repair and foundation construction company, is informing the public on five factors that can deteriorate roofs faster, causing problems and roof leaks.

As stated by Julian Construction, roofs are built using various types of materials such as slate, rubber slate, wood shake, asphalt and metal. Eventually, these materials of the roof will wear out over time and need repair or replacement. While a good roof can last for a long time, there are certain factors that can accelerate the deterioration process.

See those listed below:
1. Design Issues: When a roof isn’t designed correctly in the first place, it can lead to sagging and splitting, as well as water and sediment accumulation. All of which are serious issues.

2. Improper installation: An improperly installed roof lowers the life expectancy of that roof. The issues you will encounter are similar to those found in a faulty design, such as poor drainage.


Kuffa: Quick answers to common house problems

Let’s try something different. I have decided to give myself a challenge.

Have you ever found yourself researching a problem around the house and after doing so becoming more confused than ever?

When inspecting a house I always try to explain verbally all of my observations and what impact it may have on the house.  When doing this I can see many times that I am losing my client because they become confused and just don’t understand.  What I have learned to do is summarize these observations as simply as possible so that they can understand.

Personally, I have the same problem.  So, I have decided to challenge myself by trying to make things more simple for you.   Here are some common and popular house problems that I will try to simplify in 15 words or less.

Question:

How can I tell if a roof is getting old?

Answer:

Stains, granular loss, “curling”, brittle to the touch, missing pieces and patches.

Question:

What is the biggest enemy to a house?

Answer:

Water (rain, ground, plumbing leaks), shade, overgrowth and neglect.

Question:

What do I need to do to keep my basement dry?


How to Repair Your Roof

Roof repairs are to homeownership what good nutrition is to overall health — a necessary component of keeping things in working order. They may not be the most glamorous projects, but they are definite musts. Here is a beginner’s guide to keeping your roof intact and your home dry.

While it’s obvious that you need to immediately address an active roof leak, it’s also wise to move quickly on more minor problems such as missing or loose shingles. That way, you can prevent water damage from starting or, if it’s already begun, from spreading further. A minority of homeowners may be willing to climb onto their roofs, but for reasons of safety and expertise, most will want to call a professional roofer.

What’s involved: For a leaking roof, the first step is identifying its location. “Most leaks exist where there’s already a pre-existing roof penetration,” says John Koch, a roofing contractor at John Koch Construction in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Leaks tend to develop near a chimney, venting pipe, screw or satellite dish, or in a valley “where two different roof pitches meet,” Koch says.


 

Humidity In The Basement? Read This

Where is the humidity in your basement coming from:  There are a few reason as to the why, but the three main reasons are:

1. Ground water or rain water seeping into the basement

2. External air that enters the basement and condenses on cool surfaces

3. Leaks from pipes in your basement, bathrooms or leaky faucets that are constantly on.

How do you know you have too much humidity in your basement?

Having a humidifier in the basement of your home is a great solution to your humidity problems, but if you are collecting a gallon of water in the container of the humidifier every single day, then you may have other issues that are far more serious.  Sitting water around the foundation of you home and seeping to the basement of your home may be a reason why you have so much humidity in your basement.  Making sure water does not sit around the foundation of your home, could be the only solution you need. 

Providing a clear and an unobstructed path for the rain water to find a way far enough from the foundation of your home, is a solution that does not cost a lot of money and can solve a problem for your in the future.

What to do in case you need a waterproofing Company?

A Google search for a basement waterproofing company will give you about 896,000 results in about .82 seconds.  How do you  choose one?  I researched landscaping companies by doing a Google search once.  Their rating ( 5 stars, 4stars, etc…) were very good. When I tried to find them at the BBB online, some of them didn’t even exist even though they were rated as a 4 start company using other home improvement sites. They were either long gone, or their rating at the BBB was very bad.Be careful when choosing.  Not all home improvement sites have the same level of ratings for the companies that advertise there. Waterproofing companies, or landscaping companies that are listed on those sites should be checked thoroughly using the BBB, or asking those companies for testimonials that are not from family members or friends. And you should truly check those testimonials before committing to anything with a company. Don’t sign anything and do not advance huge quantities of money before the work begins.

Do you need to check a company using the BBB?

Then, here is a link for you to do so, but remember that is only the first step.  You need to talk to the people that will be doing the work at your home, and if you don’t feel “right” about them, choose another one with a good rating and begin the process again.

BBB – The Better Business Bureau Locator

BBB of Akron, Ohio  – It serves the counties of  Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit & Wayne Counties.


Declutter Your Home by Starting Small

We, at some point or another have a messy home.  It is inevitable.  With the busy lives we lead, cleaning our homes are relegated to the weekend, and only if we have no children that have sports meets during those two days. We are busy, there’s no doubt about it.  But, a messy home is very different from being a hoarder.  Clutter is somewhat expected, but hoarding to the point of having no space in your home to live in, is something different.

We tend to do many home improvements in our home that are purely aesthetic, and that’s good.  But, decluttering a home can be, for sure, the beginning of having a beautiful home without spending money.  Getting rid of stuff is good.  Start small.  A closet, or even a closet shelf is all you need to do  to begin the process of decluttering your home.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.


How to Declutter Your Home: Clutter Busting Tips & Tricks!

When your home is cluttered, it doesn’t just feel like your living space is unorganized and messy. It also feels like your life is unorganized and messy. In this “How to Declutter Your Home” guide, we take a look at several decluttering methods to help you find one that’s manageable for you!

Why Is Your Home Cluttered?

This is an important place to start when thinking about decluttering your home. Whether your struggle is that you don’t have an effective organization system, your number of possessions has grown but your living space hasn’t, or a combination of reasons, identifying why you have clutter will help you determine the tips, tricks, and methods that will most effectively help you get started toward a cleaner, more organized home.

You Don’t Have Enough Space

Maybe your home doesn’t have the amount of space necessary to hold all of your things. Or maybe you don’t know how to effectively utilize the space you have. Either way, you need a space-saving solution and/or storage solution.


As Jenny Lee decides 2017 is the year to tackle the clutter in her home, she seeks advice from County Down declutterer Gwen Montgomery.

I AM a hoarder. I’ve always tried to deny it, but now that I’ve admitted it I am determined 2017 is the year I’m going to tackle it and declutter my home.

My home really doesn’t look too cluttered – every now and again I do clear out – the problem is I take an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude, and rather than bring stuff to a charity shop or skip, it all just goes into storage upstairs in the attic.

Our house has the potential to be expanded upwards but my dream of our attic being converted into a much-needed office space and playroom is being hampered by it being crammed with clutter – my clutter.


Thinking about decluttering? Start small to build your confidence

Professional organizer Cris Sgrott-Wheedleton joined Post staff writer Jura Koncius last week on our home front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.

What is the best room of the house to start with when trying to declutter?

I always recommend starting with a smaller area (coat closet, pantry or linen closet). It will make you feel like you’ve accomplished something and will also help you build confidence! Most people get discouraged because they start with larger projects and tend to lose steam after having to make decisions when encountering all of the stuff. By starting small, you avoid the decision fatigue, and it sets you up to feel good about your project and organizing in general.


 

Buying A New Construction Home? Read This First

The U.S. Census Bureau along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released the numbers for home construction for the year 2016.  According to the figures, there were 1,123,000 houses built in 2016 with a 2% rise over the previous year.

The slight mortgage rate decrease has given borrowers new hope.  Total mortgage rate applications have slightly increase-2.3%-over the last few months, but is a 23% decrease since last year overall. 

Regardless of what the interest rate is, many first time home buyers look to buy a new construction, or a fairly new home. The pitfalls start right away if as a first time home buyer you do not due your due diligence. From interest rates that the bank gives you that do not benefit you, to shoddy construction that will jeopardize your financial situation before you can move into your new home, the hazardous road to owning a home are many.

There are many construction companies that are honest, and try to do great work.  But, there are hundred others that because they are trying to make a profit at your expense, do not care about the construction of their homes.  Contractors pass the buck when something goes wrong with the home. The dry wall contractor blames the main contractor, and so on until owning a new home starts to feel like a nightmare.

When buyers of new construction homes are ready to move in, they find that the home was not what was promised. Drywall cracks, damp basements, roof problems, and squeaky floors are some of the most complained aspects of new home construction. 

Damp basements in a new construction really spells trouble for you.  The roof and basement are big ticket items to fix, so if your new home have issues with them, you have to talk to the builder right away, and have the matter settled.  Look to the warranties, and to the contract you signed.  If the builder is not responsive, seek legal advice.

If you are buying a new home and need to do some due diligence, this  is a nice article for you to start learning what to look for when buying a new construction.