Buyer Beware – Don’t Fall for the “Tricks” of Home Selling

housesMagazines, TV shows, blogs and your neighborhood realtors’ newsletters are all full of good ideas on how to influence people to buy your house.  What you don’t see as much are the magazines, TV shows, blogs and your neighborhood realtors’ newsletters full of good ideas on how to avoid that influence if you’re the buyer.

Buying a house is a difficult, confusing, time consuming task, and none of us want to make a bad choice.  Here are some suggestions to combat realtors and sellers attempts to sway you.

Smell

Sellers are encouraged to bake cookies, burn candles and use deodorizers to cover up unpleasant smells (mold, animal, dirty/musty, teenage boy, etc).  They’re also used to distract from nearby outside smells (farms, factories, neighbors’ kennels, sewage, etc).

Don’t be affected.  The chocolate chip smell doesn’t mean you’re in your cozy childhood home, and that wonderful cinnamon/vanilla candle combination might be masking the cat odor in the carpet.  If you’re serious about a house ask for “no smelly stuff” when you schedule your 2nd visit and go sniffing through it.

Fresh paint

Sometimes fresh paint is covering old or unattractive paint and sometimes it’s covering mold and water damage.  From the attic to the basement water damage is a fairly common problem in Northeastern Ohio houses; it would be wise to look for it.

Was the entire bedroom ceiling painted or just certain spots (roof leak)?  Has the whole dining room been freshened up or just the wall under the upstairs shower?  Are the freshly painted outside basement walls covering up big problems? 

Look for discolorations in suspicious areas.  Water stains and mold can bleed through paint.  You may be able to see faint outlines if you’re looking for them.  In addition to looking, feel for texture differences. 

Water damage can weaken the drywall, changing the texture and making it soft to the touch.  Does it give or feel mushy if you press it?  Does it look different from the surrounding areas?  Does the odd colored area on the outside basement wall feel moister or cooler (possible water) than another?  Ask the realtor about the spots and bring them to the attention of your inspector.

Creating the Dream

“Imagine your family eating together in this large, airy kitchen.”  “The basement is perfect for that man cave your husband wants.”  “Oh no, the house isn’t too big.  You can turn that extra room into your own private office.” 

Good realtors understand how to get you emotionally invested in a house.  Some will greet you at the door of a house saying, “Welcome home.”  Hopefully, your realtor will help you keep your feet firmly on the ground — just remember they’re trying to sell you something.

But, ultimately it’s up to you to look out for your best interests.  Falling in love with a house may sound romantic and seem necessary, but it can cause poor judgment.  Dreams are nice, except when they lead to buying a lemon.

Watch the TV shows and read the articles through an unemotional buyer’s eyes.  They come close to saying, “Assume the buyer is clueless and can be tricked with candles, staging, neutral paint, natural light and emotional manipulation.”  Buyers beware indeed.


Nicole Abbott is a professional writer who’s had over 200 articles published.  She’s a business consultant and former psycho-therapist with over 20 years of experience in mental health, business and addiction.  She’s a coach, lecturer, trainer and facilitator.  She has conducted over 200 workshops, trainings, presentations, seminars and college classes. 

Home Improvement Tips

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You might not be selling your home just yet, but having a list of repairs or projects to better your home is a good way to keep the maintenance to a minimum, and the value of your home increasing.  Snow, sleet, high winds, and rain can play havoc to your home if it’s not properly maintained. Gutters full of debris can be a problem when the snow comes, and the spring showers can really be a problem for the basement and foundation of your home if those gutters were not cleaned after all.  Having a list of chores to do this fall, or home improvements that you need to consider, can keep your home and wallet “healthy” this year.

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


Kuffa: Small details could become turn offs for a home sale

Let’s talk about simple turn offs to houses on the market.

We often get calls from people who say, “My lender (or Realtor or parent) told me I should get a home inspection even though I don’t think I really need one.”

Then the day comes for the big inspection and I’m sitting in the driveway just looking at the exterior and my brain is racing because of numerous problem areas I have seen before I’ve even left my vehicle.

Inspecting a house is like being a detective. You are looking for clues, irregularities, oddities and indications of non-professional work. Other clues may be indications that previous owners or residents were possibly “do-it yourselfers” or were just neglectful or didn’t take care of the property. As an inspector, it is always easier to inspect a building whose previous resident has lived there for a long time. This resident has more knowledge about the history of the house and usually their lifestyle and habits are more evident. Also, it is always easier to inspect a house that is represented by a real estate agent than one that is “for sale by owner.” The real estate agent has to abide by specific laws and rules, fills out required paperwork and has their reputation at stake. In my experience, The “for sale by owner” situations typically are more problem laden, less often abide by the same rules as a real estate agent and the seller has decided to cut out the real estate agent’s fees.


Waterproofing Basement Walls: Costs and Options

Tempted by ads that promise to waterproof your basement? Here’s the scoop:

If you’re trying to figure out how to cure a wet or musty basement, you’re probably curious about advertisements for products that claim to waterproof basement walls. So you wonder: Is it really possible to dry out a basement simply by sealing the walls?

Yes, it is possible — but to make sure you’re choosing the right option, you need to figure out if the moisture is coming from the outside, or if it’s actually high humidity that’s condensing on the cool walls of your basement.

How to Find Out What’s Causing the Moisture

Tape a 1-foot-square piece of aluminum foil to the inside of your basement walls, and leave it in place for 24 hours.

If there’s condensation on the outside of the foil, you have high humidity in your basement. Fix it with a portable room dehumidifier or a whole-house humidifier system instead of waterproofing products.

If the foil has condensation on the inside surface (next to the wall), it may be the soil around your house is naturally damp from a high water table or poor soil drainage. In that case, waterproofing your basement walls can be useful.


How to Conquer the Huge Problems Found During Home Inspections

You’ve finally found a buyer for your beloved home and signed a deal. Phew, what a relief! But then comes the reality check, aka the “home inspection.” Such simple words, yet so fraught with stress and fear! Many contracts include a contingency that allows the buyer to back out if serious problems are found during inspection. So, bring on the fear.

Of course, you know your home and you think it’s just fine, but maybe a professional with a less sentimental eye might see it differently?

To keep at least one step ahead, check out these common issues found during an inspection. That way you can fix them, save the deal, and even save yourself!


 

Buying A Home? Read These Tips Before You Commit

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There is nothing quite like getting your first home.  After years of paying rent, signing the papers that make you a home owner is quite exciting.

The pitfalls that come when buying a home are many and it’s better to be aware of them before you sign those papers. So, what are some of the things you need to be aware when looking to buy a home? A thorough home inspection is absolutely a necessity.  The roof, foundation, water heater, furnace, and air conditioning are expensive home repairs you do not want to overlook when inspecting the home. Make sure the home inspector is a licensed professional with a good reputation before you hire him/her for the job.

Follow the links below to read more about this very important topic.


Buying an Old House? Here Are 5 of the Scariest Issues You Could Face

Many investors dive headfirst into real estate simply because it can bring high returns. However, those with more experience know that renting or flipping a home doesn’t always …

Many investors dive headfirst into real estate simply because it can bring high returns. However, those with more experience know that renting or flipping a home doesn’t always put you in the green, particularly if the house is subject to a number of serious issues.

Sometimes, when you tour a house or look at listing photos, the outdated fixtures can throw you off. For example, Formica countertops and closed off quarters can be a turn-off to investors. However, this is all cosmetic and can be easily fixed. It will cost a little extra, but these little changes won’t compromise the entire structure of your home.

When looking for a house, you must carefully watch for signs of issues that will cost tens of thousands to fix and potentially render the property unprofitable. If you see any of the following signs, think twice before making a purchase.


Home inspection checklist: What to inspect

If you’ve signed a contract to purchase a home, a key step before completing the sale is getting a professional home inspection. Make sure to keep this home inspection checklist handy – the inspection is often the last chance you’ll have to go inside the home before the final walkthrough.

“In my experience, the majority of homebuyers don’t know that much about what they are buying and are relying on the inspection to fill in the many gaps in their knowledge,” says home inspector Scott Brown, owner of Brightside Home Inspections in Syracuse, New York.

If your purchase agreement has an inspection contingency — and it should — a home inspection that reveals serious flaws can allow you to walk away from the deal without penalty. It can also allow you to ask the seller to make repairs before closing, saving you money and potentially some hassle.


A 5-Point Checklist for Buying Your First Home

Get these out of the way before you start house-hunting.

Are you buying a home for the first time? Before you start looking at wrap-around porches and bay windows, here are five things you need to do.

  1. Get your credit reports straight. The interest you’ll pay on your mortgage depends on how creditworthy your bank thinks you are. That means you have to cast yourself in the best light. Order all three of your credit reports — from TransUnion, Experian and Equifax — about a year before you start looking. Fix any mistakes.
  2. Set a budget. One good rule of thumb is to make sure your house doesn’t cost more than 2.5 times your salary. If your household income is $100,000, then $250,000 should be your max.
  3. Figure out which type of mortgage you want. So this breaks down to: fixed-rate versus adjustable rate. A fixed-rate loan is when the interest rate and payment stays constant for the entire loan, usually 15 or 30 years. An adjustable-rate mortgage has a fixed interest rate that then resets after a certain period. A good rule of thumb is that if you can afford a home only if you get an adjustable-rate mortgage, then you can’t afford a home.

Home Repairs That Can Save Your Budget

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Doing a little bit of maintenance around your home every year can surely prevent costly repairs that you are not expecting. A list of yearly chores for the fall is a good way to keep you organized, and keep your home healthy thought out the year. Here are 4 chores for you to do this year.

1.Tree branches that are too long around your home can be trim to a good size, and help you keep them from damaging your home during a good storm.

2. Cleaning the gutters, and making sure they are debris free, can help you keep the water flowing well.  Water sitting around the foundation of your home will eventually find a way to the basement, and   give you a new set of problems.

3. Inspecting the roof for loose shingles, or other problems can help prevent further damage to the roof.  Inspect the foundation of the home as well.

4.Change your smoke detector batteries, and carbon monoxide detectors as well if you have them.


Six Expensive Home Repairs You Can Avoid With A Little Maintenance.

The cost of owning a home goes well beyond the price you paid for the house itself. When something breaks, you have to fix it, and those repairs can be costly. You can’t foresee or avoid every home repair, but some regular maintenance can save you hundreds — maybe thousands — on some of these big ones.

Inspect Your Roof Every Six Months to Avoid a Costly Roof Replacement.

If you have a loose shingle or a leak in your roof, it will typically cost you several hundred bucks to fix the problem. That’s not exactly spare change, but if the problem goes unaddressed, the damage will cost a lot more in the long run.

When you neglect a leak, water can seep into the insulation and other parts of your attic, which can lead to mould growth and structural damage to your attic’s decking, beams and joints. At this point, you may have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to fix the problem. Duh, that’s what homeowner’s insurance is for, you might think. Bad news, though. Typically, homeowner’s insurance only covers damage that is sudden and not preventable. Most policies won’t cover any expenses you could have prevented with proper maintenance.


Quick Fix Home Repairs You Can (Really!) Do Yourself

Did you know…

There are some quick fix home repairs you can do yourself, at little to no cost?

Patching up those small holes in your wall from nails and screws can be a cinch…with a just a little toothpaste! Squeeze a bit into the hole, and simply use a putty knife or playing card to scrape off the excess!

Scuffed linoleum floors can also be rejuvenated with a little toothpaste just apply some to a dry towel and buff out those scratches. An old tennis ball fitted at the end of a broom handle can also do the job!

Finally, if you have any loose laminate tile that needs to be adjusted, try using an old hair dryer! Hold the dryer a couple of inches away from the tile and move it around until the laminate’s glue softens up. Then, simply reposition as needed! Just be careful not to hold the dryer too close for too long or you’ll burn out the motor.


Video: How a Sump Pump Helps Protect Your Home from Flood Damage

If you’ve ever been the victim of water in your home then you know how much of a hassle and how costly it can be to repair the damage. Having a sump pump in your house is the best defense against flooding. A plumber can install one for you or replace your broken one.

Brad Isley, L.E. Isley & Sons Inc.:  “Anybody that has a sump pump pit needs a sump pump. If you have a basement you have a sump pump pit and if you have a crawlspace you’ll have a sump pump pit so you’ll need a sump pump. Older homes sometimes do not have a sump pump pit and there are companies out there that will put those pits in and run the piping. There are a lot of different model, sizes, and horsepower on a sump pump. It’s based on your application. A traditional home uses a 1/3 horsepower sump pump. Some of your larger homes or large commercial buildings use 1/3 or 1 horsepower sump pump.


 

The Fun Part of Waterproofing the Basement – Decorating It

stock-photo-3164773-executive-home-bar-and-entertainment-roomYou finally got your basement waterproofed.  It’s dry, looks good and smells even better.  Now it can be used as an actual living, working, and storage space.   This is where the fun starts; it’s time to decorate.

Basements can be a decorating challenge because they’re usually used for a variety of different functions (i.e. workshop, crafts, kid’s play area, storage, media room, workout equipment, laundry, meditation).  Some of these uses are utilitarian and straightforward, while others are more esoteric and personal. 

Here are some decorating ideas to make your spaces functional and uniquely your own.

Use the walls

Too often walls are used only to hang pictures on or put furniture against; there are other uses for them.  Think about using your storage needs as a decorating opportunity.  Depending on the function of the room consider using bookcases, cubbies, lockers, storage units or shelving.  Add corresponding baskets or plastic totes and you have a functional as well as decorative feature. 

Exercise room – metal shelves for weights, workout DVDs, fitness balls/mats and clear plastic totes for smaller items.  Kid’s play room – shelving (sturdy and secured to the wall) painted in primary colors for books, games, baskets and colored totes for toys.  Media room – bookcases for DVDs, electronic equipment and baskets for remotes.

Consider the ceiling

People don’t consider the ceiling when they’re thinking of decorating.  But, the basement can be different – like the walls, the ceiling can be used for decoration and function.  If you have overhead space there are some creative ways to use it.

Kid’s play room – string a net from the ceiling between 2 corners and use it to store balls.  Workshop – save garage space by hang bikes or golf bags along the wall, out of the way, with ceiling hooks.  Storage room – that Christmas tree doesn’t have to take up valuable self or floor space; some overhead hanging units can hold up to 250 lbs. 

Remember the stairs

The space under the stairs is usually left to spiders and bugs.  There are many pre-made cubbies, shelves and bookcases that fit under standard basement steps or you can get built-in shelves or cabinetry. 

Getting to decorate after your basement has been waterproofed is exciting, and there are a lot of good ideas you can use.  Just keep in mind that simple and uncluttered never goes out of style.  Cluttered and disorganized will make even an Architectural Digest room look bad.


Nicole Abbott is a professional writer who’s had over 200 articles published.  She’s a business consultant and former psycho-therapist with over 20 years of experience in mental health, business and addiction.  She’s a coach, lecturer, trainer and facilitator.  She has conducted over 200 workshops, trainings, presentations, seminars and college classes. 

Saving Energy At Home This Winter

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Yes, fall is here.  The leaves are falling, the pumpkins are appearing at people’s homes, the weather is changing.  Those are some of the many signs that precede the changing of the season.  With winter and cold weather just around the corner, the focus now turns to the heating of our homes.  Has your furnace gotten a tune up lately? If not, that should be a top priority this fall for you.  Making sure your furnace is working properly can save you money, and keep you safe. Carbon Monoxide is a real threat during the winter months, and having a properly tuned furnace can help you keep the threat to a minimum. 

Saving on heating bills is a necessity for many people, and getting the best price for gas and energy is very important for many of us.  If you don’t know what you’re paying for gas or electricity, check your bill and then go to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and check the gas, and electric companies and their prices. You’ll be glad you did.


From LED bulbs to window coverings, 5 easy ways to cut energy use in your home

With all the political wrangling this year around solar policy and natural gas expansion, it’s easy for Mainers to overlook the most obvious and cost-effective ways to save money and use less energy in their own homes.

Today’s high-performance houses can be warmed with the heat output of a few hair dryers, but that’s not where most of us live. Maine has the fifth oldest housing stock in the country, according to the U.S. Census, with more than a quarter of all homes built before 1940. So for most of us, the challenge is to integrate modern efficiency measures into our vintage structures.

As a longtime energy writer, I’ve used what I’ve learned to upgrade the efficiency of my family’s 38-year-old cape-style home. Here are my five favorite steps.

Each step can be done by a handy do-it-yourselfer. Each will help reduce energy use in your home, which saves money and lowers carbon emissions. In most cases, your investment will pay for itself within a year or so.

Dr. Neil Donahue had some enlightening facts about how much energy Americans burn as they go about their daily business of living.

Wielding a 100-watt light bulb before a mostly filled lecture hall of students, faculty and local residents gathered for the initial installment Tuesday of Washington & Jefferson College’s 2016-17 Energy Lecture Series in Yost Auditorium, Donahue shed a lot of light on the staggering amount of energy used in America.

As a country with roughly 300 million people, he said, it takes the equivalent of 300 trillion 100-watt bulbs to run the country each day. That breaks down to about 10,000 of the bulbs (100 100-watt bulbs) running nonstop for life for the average American, Donahue said.

The evening’s co-lecturer, Dr. Michael Blackhurst, a research development manager at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Social & Urban Research, delivered the second part of Tuesday’s one-two punch on the topic of energy use, noting that about 60 percent of the energy the United States produces is wasted – in power generation itself, as well as in factories, cars and homes.


Brilliant Ways to Save Energy at Home

Energy is a shared resource. Saving energy is not only about keeping the bills low, but also about using as much as is needed, so that there is more than enough for everyone else. How can that be done more efficiently? Following are some tips:

1. Go easy on the electronics

In today’s world, it’s easy to forget the old fashioned way of heating water on the stove. We use the microwave oven instead. Or for a hot bath, we use the geyser daily. Sometimes it might be a good idea to use the kettle instead of putting stress on the electricity.

Not turning off the appliances from their plug can mean they are running on standby mode. In a stretch of a year, the consequences could be significant. Ensuring the electrical appliances are off at the plug, of course without upsetting the programming, is also a good idea.

2. Cut air conditioning

IFrameIt’s very tempting to notch up the AC to the full in the summer. While it can cool you in no time, it consumes a lot of energy. This is not the only trick in keeping cool. Why don’t you keep the blinds closed during the daylight hours to block the heat coming in and turning your home into a miniature green house? Utilize your shades and save up to 7% on bills.

If that doesn’t help, there’s a simple trick. Try placing a packet of ice in a bowl in front of a fan. When the air whips off the ice and whizzes past, it’s a genuine alternative to the power-consuming air conditioner.


Protecting Your Home By Waterproofing Your Basement

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One of the most obvious tell-tale signs of problems with the foundation of your home is the cracks in the floors and basement walls.  Puddles in the basement, and flooding after a rain, means you have a problem there. Waterproofing the basement and making sure the foundation of the home is not compromised requires immediate attention before the problem escalates. Problems to the foundation of your home done by swelling soils can play havoc to the entire structure, and make your home unsafe.

Calling a contractor or company to do the work requires you to do your homework first.  Make sure you call a reliable company with a long, and good history in the area.  If you still have questions and need an honest answer, then contact us.  We have an excellent record doing business in Northeast Ohio since 1979, and we’ll be happy to talk to you.


With more rain on the way, here’s how you can prevent water from leaking into your basement

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – While some people across southcentral Kansas saw extreme flooding over the last week, others experienced the storms in smaller doses with some minor basement flooding.

KSN wanted to find out what you can do to prevent water leaking into your basement and how to minimize damage if it’s too late.

The key is to divert any water away from your home, and while that may sound obvious, it’s an issue a lot of people struggle with.

You can start outside your home by extending rain gutter down spouts away from the house itself.

Next, make sure the grade of your yard surfaces slope away from your home, creating a natural flow downhill.

You can also clear your gutters of leaves and other debris that may block water from flowing through.

Finally, install a sump pump and even potentially a back-up sump pump if needed.

To learn more, KSN spoke with Danny Morrow, owner of Kansas Basement and Foundation Repair.


So, You Want to… Waterproof Your Basement – BobVila.com

Basement waterproofing can be a confusing (and expensive) process. But if you’re dealing with leaky foundation walls or water welling up from the floor, finding an effective means of managing these problems could save you a lot in the long run. Here’s a quick rundown of your options for keeping downstairs dry.

Unless your plan is to install a swimming pool in your basement, you probably cringe at the idea of water trickling in beneath your house. While the best time to waterproof is during new construction, if you live in an older structure, you don’t have that luxury. There are, however, a few measures you can take to protect your home from water, running the gamut from inexpensive safeguards to high-dollar professional remedies. Here’s all the information you need to choose the best solution for your basement.

EXTERIOR REMEDIES
The most effective way to waterproof a basement is from the outside. Doing so, however, involves excavating the soil away from the exterior of the foundation on all sides and installing drain tile (a flexible perforated pipe covered with mesh or fabric) at the base of the foundation.


6 Telltale Signs Your New House Is a Money Pit

Fixer uppers can get expensive.

If buying a fixer-upper is your next big money move, make sure you’re not settling for something that’s going to cost you much more than you planned. Buying a house in need of repair can mean ample savings in the short term but a potential significant investment in the long term.

If you don’t know how much it’s going to cost to fund all of those renovations, you might be diving right into a money pit. Ideally, your budget for repairs and renovations should have 10 percent to 20 percent tacked on for unforeseen problems. Run into these problems, though, and your budget could go well over that. Here are six signs you’re moving into a money pit.

2. Water in the Basement

If tornadoes, hurricanes and torrential rains are a frequent occurrence in the area, make sure the basement and home are protected from the elements.

“Just know that if your home has a basement and there’s been flooding before, the chances of recurring flooding issues are high unless you hire a professional to come out and ‘waterproof’ the basement, which can be extremely costly,” said Stephanie Sullivan of Dream Town Realty Brokerage.

Any puddles of water or small pools of water in the basement are a sign the basement might not have proper sealants or a fully functional interior water drainage system. According to the latest HomeAdvisor cost profiles, you’ll be looking at spending an average of $3,816 to waterproof the basement. But, your bill could reach $9,135 or more depending on the amount of work that needs to be done.


 

Home Insurance: Are You Really Covered?

pioneer (1)Floods, fire, and strong wind or hail storms are some of the natural disasters that can play havoc to our homes.  When flooding occurs and you want to call the insurance company, you need to make sure that:

 1. You have insurance coverage and that there hasn’t been a lapse in your      policy.

2. And that you have flood coverage.

Many people believe that because they have home or renters insurance, they will automatically have flood insurance coverage as well, and that is not the case.  You need to specifically ask your insurance company for it, and pay the extra charge to have it, otherwise you are not covered in the case of flooding.
For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


Revealed: What You Don’t Know About Home Insurance Coverage

Buying a house is one of the biggest investment you can make if you are into real estate. A house increases in value overtime when properly taken care of.

And if you are a homeowner be it in California or anywhere else, you need a home insurance.

So why do you need a home insurance?

Home insurance will help protect your house against unforeseen occurrences such as fire, theft, natural disasters etc. Having a decent home insurance is not as hard as it seems considering the fact that this could be your only lifesaver when you least expected it.

The problem most people have with choosing a home insurance company is finding a balance between competitive rates and effectiveness.

For home owners in California, for example, the average premium cost varies by the geographical location of the house. The most expensive locations are in Los Angeles area and the least expensive locations are in Orange County area.


Ask the Contractor: Insurance: Make sure you’re covered

Q: Our homeowners insurance just went up $100 per month. What is the cost per square foot to rebuild so we know that we are covered correctly?

Marge and Bill, Prescott

My phone has been ringing off the hook with this very question. There is no standard cost per square foot amount and there are many key factors that have an impact on what it would cost to rebuild your home. Costs to rebuild your home often differ from market values, mortgage requirements, tax assessments and real estate appraisals because of current building code changes, current labor and materials costs and specialized workers required

Square foot pricing is a ratio of the total costs of a project components divided by the size of the livable portion of a house in most instances. Since the components that make up a project can be so different from project to project it is impossible to predict a price per square foot with any accuracy.

Most of the calls coming in are coming from homeowners questioning their homeowner insurance coverage. We know that homeowner’s insurance is deceptively simple, it is the coverage you need in the event of significant loss, and not all policies or claim situations are the same and coverage comes in as many forms as there are flavors of ice cream.


10 events homeowners insurance doesn’t always cover

If you own a home, you most likely have homeowners insurance (it’s typically required to secure a mortgage). You know your insurance policy covers your home and the possessions inside it in the event of a fire or theft, but you may not realize there are many things which are not covered by your homeowners insurance.

Before you have a claim, it is important to know what your insurance provider will and will not cover so you can alter your policy or budget accordingly.

1. Flooding

Flooding is usually not covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy. If you live in an area prone to flooding, you may have already secured flood insurance. However, many people who do not live in this type of area do not have this additional coverage. You can visit the National Flood Insurance program to learn more about adding this to your insurance line up.

2. Earthquakes

If you haven’t experienced an earthquake in your area, you probably feel you do not need to worry about earthquake coverage. However, there have been more instances of this in less typical parts of the country, like the one that hit Oklahoma recently.


 

Make Your Basement Safe for Storage

pioneer (9)It’s the unusual, and lucky, person who doesn’t want more storage space. Even people who are ruthless about clutter need a place for their “must keep” items.  Thank goodness for basements.  When used properly a basement can be a great place to safely store a variety of objects for a long time. 

Unfortunately, in most households basement storage just happens, there’s no organization to it.  Items are tossed into unsuitable boxes and bags, then “temporarily” put in corners, on shelves and in cabinets — where they stay for years. 

People often unintentionally damage or ruin their things, sometimes important keepsakes and valuables.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  A little bit of knowledge and planning can go a long way toward making sure your possessions are protected.  Here are some things to consider when making your basement safe for storage.

  • Every house and basement has bugs, so it’s smart to plan for them.  What kind do you have?  Are they the kind who do damage and need to be exterminated (carpenter ants, termites)?  Or are they the kind to create deterrents for (spiders — sealed bags and boxes, or moths — balls or cedar chips)?
  • Think about plastic or wire shelves instead of wood.  Wood shelves absorb moisture and can damage items stored on them. 
  • Get a dehumidifier, it’ll help control dampness and odors.
  • Go through your belongings and decide what storage containers and packing materials are appropriate for them.  Grandma’s quilt (damp) and your mother’s good china (breakage) need something different.
  • People often store tools, iron or steel possessions in the basement thinking it’s safe.  They don’t think about rust until they unpack Uncle Joe’s vintage train set and see that it’ll need major, expensive repairs to get it back to the condition it was in when first packed.  Consider a light coating of machine oil every few years for protection. 
  • Furniture can easily get ruined in a basement.  Moisture, odors and bugs can damage it fast and beyond repair.  Consider using unbleached drop cloths or old color fast sheets to drape over it.  Store it at least 3 inches from the wall and elevated on non-wood pallets, bricks or blocks to prevent moisture damage. 

Basements are funny places — they hold our cherished memories alongside our junk.  It’s worth the time to safeguard the valuable and useful.  After all, what will your kids put in their basements if you don’t preserve anything to give them?


Nicole Abbott is a professional writer who’s had over 200 articles published.  She’s a business consultant and former psycho-therapist with over 20 years of experience in mental health, business and addiction.  She’s a coach, lecturer, trainer and facilitator.  She has conducted over 200 workshops, trainings, presentations, seminars and college classes. 

Home Repair And Basement Waterproofing

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As you make a list of projects to do in your home, there are many projects that are probably purely personal.  Men want a personal spot for them to relax, and women usually want projects that will make the home look prettier and organized.  But depending on the region you live in, projects done to your home may not return the investment invested doing them, and if selling the home, the projects may help you sell the house, but you won’t recuperate the money you put into it.  Basement waterproofing and installing a new roof are probably less glamorous than anything you may think on doing, but those projects are vital to the health of your home.  Read more about home repairs and upgrades that can help you have a better home.


The Top 5 Basement Waterproofing Tips of the Household

Waterproofing your basement is all about minimizing, if not totally preventing, the entry of water from the outside environment. This can then be enhanced further by the application of interior basement waterproofing technologies.

The basement is the strongest part of any home. However, it is also one of the most often neglected parts.

It is prone to water damage primarily because of its proximity to ground water. When the rainy season comes, the basement often receives the brunt of water damage. Before your basement get severely undermined by water damage, you need to make it waterproof. Here are the top 5 basement waterproofing tips for the household.

1.       Check Your House’s Plumbing Network. – Even before you buy and apply waterproofing products, it is important to make sure that you don’t have any plumbing fixture that is leaking or is already damaged or worn out. Sometimes, you don’t need the rain to flood your basement. A faulty or broken pipe or plumbing can have the same effect. If you are not sure what to look for, having a professional plumber and basement waterproofing experts check it out first is always a good idea.


17 Simple Home Repairs and Upgrades That Will Save You Bundles of Money

Homeowners fantasize about making fabulous changes to their homes: adding rooms, beautifying the grounds, and remodeling kitchens and baths. In reality, however, these dream projects may not be financially possible.

Don’t let that stop you, however, from taking good care of the home you have. By keeping up with small repairs you’ll not only save money by heading off the big expensive fixes, you’ll also maintain your home’s resale value.

Here are 17 small jobs you can do to hold down household costs:

1. Change HVAC filters

Your furnace and air conditioner filters trap airborne allergens and dust so you breathe clean air. These filters need changing every few months while you’re using the furnace or air conditioning. The reason: Tiny particles of dirt pulled into the system from the air can hurt your furnace’s heating coil and fan. Changing filters regularly also can lower utility bills by as much as $100 a year, since dirty filters force HVAC systems to run harder and use more energy.


Making Home Repairs to Sell your Home

When selling your home, you often need to first do perform some repairs and maintenance. Some of these you can do yourself if you have the time but many need special tools that repairmen tend to have in their toolboxes. Also, many people just can’t find the time to make repairs.According to Angie’s List, hiring a handyman can prevent waste and overcharging, as the handyman will only charge you for hours worked. Plus they keep their rates low with low overhead and by not having to pay other workers.

Handyman Work

Most handyman work is relatively simple. It can be simple carpentry work or painting. It doesn’t typically involve major construction or expansion of the home. When you think you’re going to more extensive work, you should consider a contractor. Contractors supervise specialized tradespeople such as plumbers, electricians, and craftsmen. Contractors can put together a teal to expand your house or make major remodeling changes.

Before you hire a handyman or a contractor, make a list of the jobs you need done. If your list is composed mostly of repairs and some updating like painting, a handyman should suit your needs.

Deciding On the Best Repair Person

  • Get recommendations from family, friends, or your real estate professional. She or he may know an individual or company that specializes in “make-ready,” a room-by-room clean-up, touch-up and fix-up. You can also contact sites such as HomeAdvisor or Angie’s List, to hire workmen.