Renovating Your Home: Keep Calm and Make a List

We all have two homes – the one we have and the one we want. If you are not happy with the layout of your home, it is important to make changes so that it complements your lifestyle.

When it comes to a real-estate property, there are two types of changes that you can make in order to have a lovely home. Choose any one of the following options to make your living space beautiful:

1. Buying a new home – It will be a costly affair. Also, do not forget the time that you will have to spend in finding the perfect home and the ideal neighborhood for your loved ones.

2. Renovating your current home – You can hire an experienced home renovation contractor and assign him the responsibility of making your home beautiful.

Renovating your Home is a Practical Choice

The cost of renovating a home is less compared to the cost of buying a new home. The renovation process doesn’t mean making a few quick changes in your home. It means adapting your home to suit your lifestyle and adding new value to your real-estate property. Contact an experienced home renovation contractor who will be able to achieve the following things for you:

· Increase the size of the kitchen,

· Add a walk-in closet in the bathroom,

· Add a children’s room,

· Create a home theatre,

· Finish the basement, etc.

Don’t Jump on the Bandwagon

Do not get excited by the thought of making your home beautiful and stylish. Remember that emotional decisions can become a nightmare in the future. It is important to keep calm and consider several things before beginning any kind of renovation work at your home.

The first step is to create a list of things that are in dire need of repair. Do not forget to write about old fixtures and outdated appliances. Include specific changes that you wish to see in your home. Provide detailed description of your ideas so that the contractor can make it a reality. Here are some ways in which you can create a comprehensive list for renovating your home:

· Explore New Trends and Ideas

The initial stage of creating a list involves exploring new renovation trends. Do you like a classic theme for your home? Or, are you looking for a contemporary design? Do not stick to any one style. Instead, consider several options for different rooms. Also, think of your future needs. It will enable you to avoid unnecessary changes in the future.

· See what Others have done

Renovating a home is a very common phenomenon. Many of your friends may have incorporated several changes in their homes to suit their requirements. Getting ideas from your friends is a good way of planning your own project. They will provide you with honest opinions and enable you to make a perfect decision. Also, they will provide you with valuable references for choosing a home renovation contractor.

· Research

Look for home improvement magazines at your local news-stand or library. Collect pictures of homes, rooms and products that appeal you. Watch home improvement shows on television. Also, do not forget to research online for innovative ideas. The internet is the ideal destination for searching current trends. You can create online boards to put together your dream home. The online boards will be a convenient way of manifesting your ideas to the contractor.

Once you have prepared a list on the basis of your extensive research, it is time to start prioritizing your requirements. Remember that renovating your home successfully requires a calm mind. So, do not make any hasty decision. Consider your budget and discuss it with the home renovation contractor. He will suggest you different ways of creating a beautiful living space within your budget.

Are you thinking of renovating your home? Do not worry if you are confused about prioritizing your list of requirements. Affinity Renovations is an experienced home renovation contractor of Greater Toronto Area. We will help you to transform your idea into a reality. Get in touch with us for complex home additions as well as quick handyman services.

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Home Inspector

Congratulations, you’ve found the perfect home to buy! Right about now, you are probably on information overload, and looking for resources to get everything ready. One of the most important steps you need to take after getting that ratified contract is to get the home inspected. Like most subjects on the internet, there is a ton of information about home inspections, and how to hire them. One source that is very underrepresented though is probably the best one out there: the home inspectors themselves. No, I’m not just talking about reading their websites, since anyone can put up whatever they want. Instead, we went to a group of highly respected home inspectors and posed this question: If you were hiring a home inspector to inspect a home for your out-of-state family member, what questions would you ask them?

1. What are your certifications?

If you are in one of the many states where home inspectors are licensed, that is just a minimum level to be able to do the job. As a group, we will look for a home inspector that has taken the time to get extra certifications above and beyond the minimum. There are multiple home inspection organizations (both national and local) that offer certifications for inspectors. The two major organizations are the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Both offer multiple levels of certifications based on both experience and continuing education. InterNACHI has the Certified Professional Inspector and Certified Master Inspector certifications. ASHI has the ASHI Associate, Inspector, and Certified Inspector certifications.

In states where there isn’t a licensing program for home inspectors, it is even more important to make sure the inspector has a certification, since essentially anyone can call themselves a home inspector! In these cases, it can be tempting to hire someone like a general contractor to just walk through the house with you. But, as Andrew Jolley with JODA Home Inspections in Stansbury Park, Utah said “unlike contractors, home inspectors have a system they follow so that all systems are evaluated and nothing is left out of the inspection.” Additionally, a certified home inspector has received training on all of the systems in a house, as well how to inspect them and look at the whole house as a system.

2. What kind of report do you provide and when will I receive it?

Hopefully any legitimate inspector will be providing you with a written report that you can use in your evaluation of the home purchase. That being said, reports differ in both style and level of detail. An inspection report should include digital pictures of defects as well as narrative statements about the systems and defects found. Some reports will also include things like video, glossaries, and summaries. If there is a summary, make sure you still read the entire report!

The turnaround time for a report should also be determined. As inspectors, we understand the tight timelines your real estate agent has put you under, so we will always get you the report as quick as possible. Remember that sometimes a little extra research is required, so don’t expect to get the report at the end of the inspection. Most inspectors should have the report to you within 24 hours of the end of the inspection.

3. Walk me through your typical inspection, what are the most important things?

Norm Tyler of Sage Inspections in St. Louis, MO says: “I’d ask this for a couple reasons. It would help me decide if his approach would be similar to mine. Every inspector is a little different, some will detail 500 little issues, while I’m more of a ‘disregard petty cosmetic stuff so I can focus on finding $1000 problems’ kind of guy. More importantly, if the inspector takes the time to walk me through his approach now, while I’m just a prospect – he’ll probably take all the time needed to take care of me as a customer.”

4. Are you available after you send the report for questions and/or clarification?

This was one of the most popular questions I received from the inspectors I talked to. We all strive to write a report that explains all of the issues as clearly as possible, but sometimes things may not make sense to you. Being able to call or email your inspector with questions after the inspection is critical, especially if you can’t make it to the inspection.

Along with this, you should probably ask the inspector about their policy for follow-up inspections. Once you have negotiated repairs with the seller, make sure you get those repairs re-inspected. I have done a lot of re-inspections, and I have yet to find that all of the repairs were done. Sometimes I am given receipts for repairs that were clearly not even attempted. You should expect to pay for this re-inspection, so find out what it will cost ahead of time so there aren’t any surprises.

5. What is your home inspection experience?

You will find that home inspectors come from many different backgrounds. Some may have been in the building trades, and some may be doing it as a second career. The important thing to look for is an inspector that has experience doing home inspections. David Sharman of County Home Inspection in Peterborough, Ontario mentioned to ask them how many inspections they’ve done in the last 12 months. This number could vary based on the market, but it should be a reasonable number. Look for someone doing at least a few inspections a week, but be wary of those that have really high numbers (unless they have multiple inspectors at their company). This can be a sign of someone that is just doing the minimum to get on to the next inspection of several that day.

6. How many inspections do you do in a day?

Hopefully the answer is only one or two. Most inspectors will do a morning and an afternoon inspection. Some will add in an evening inspection. If it gets over three, start to worry about how long they are spending on your inspection. Most inspections will take 2-3 hours for an average size house. Smaller houses don’t really cut down on the time, but larger houses can significantly increase the amount of time it takes to inspect.

7. What extra services can you provide?

Michael Conrad II, at Diligent, LLC in Nashville, TN points out that you should check with the inspector to see if they offer any other inspection services, such as Thermal Imaging, Termite, Radon, and Mold inspections. This can help you in many ways, since not only do you get all of the inspections you need from one company, it allows your inspector to look at the whole house as a system and provide the best assessment of the house. Some areas require separate licenses for these extra inspections, so make sure they have those licenses as well if required. If licensing isn’t required, make sure they have a third-party certification.

8. Can I accompany you on the inspection?

The inspection is your time to learn about the house. Odds are, the inspection is the longest amount of time you will spend in the house until you own it, so make the most of it. Your inspector should encourage you to ask questions as the inspection is going on. After all, it’s a lot easier to explain (and understand) an issue with it right in front of you. If you wait until a day or two later, now the inspector has to explain it over the phone, and they’ve inspected more houses since then. Charles Buell, of Charles Buell Inspections, Inc in Shoreline, WA, says that he wants the client there the whole time. This is their time to learn about the house. Additionally, Jim Holl with 5 Star Home Inspections LLC in Hillsborough, NC says: A professional home inspector wants you, the future occupant, to attend the inspection so you can ask questions and see most of what the inspector sees. Since you are going to live there and get to maintain it, for safety, health and financial reasons, this is your opportunity learn all about your new castle. If the inspector doesn’t want you to observe, move on to the next inspector you want to interview.

9. Who will be doing the inspection?

This is mainly for the multi-inspector firms, but Ian Mayer of IM Home Inspections in Woodland Hills, CA warns to watch out for the bait-and-switch. The owner of the company may have really great certifications, but he sends out the guy that was just certified last week to do your inspection.

10. What warranties/guarantees are included with the inspection?

A home inspection is, by definition, a snapshot in time. It shows the condition of the house on the day of the inspection. None of us have a crystal ball to predict the future of a house, and sometimes sellers will intentionally hide known defects. Some home inspectors offer various warranties and guarantees with their inspection. Make sure you read the fine print on anything offered to ensure you understand what you are getting and what the limitations are. Frank Rotte of Certified Inspection Services, LLC of San Diego points out that many repairs are actually under the deductible, so the buyer ends up paying for the repair anyways.

11. How much does the inspection cost?

This is the last question you should ask, and it’s really only so you know how much to write the check out for. In other words, don’t price shop, and don’t look for the cheapest inspector. (How much are you paying for that house again?) James Braun with Braun Inspection Consultations in Jefferson City, MO rightly says that “A good inspector is not cheap, and a cheap inspector is not good.” You are making what may be the largest purchase of your life, do you really want the cheapest inspector you can find to do your inspection?

Thank you for sticking with me for this long, and I hope that it has been informative for you. The best home inspectors are those that work for you, and inspect each home as if they, or their favorite relative, were buying it. These home inspectors have nothing to gain except providing you with the best inspection they can, which allows you to make an extremely important decision. Now, go out there and hire the best home inspector you can find.

Top Home Remodeling Projects for a High ROI

If you are looking to add value to your home, be it to make it more perfect your needs or because you have plans to sell it, then you don’t want to invest money in a home remodeling project that has a low return on investment. However, determining what remodeling projects will bring the biggest bang for your buck might be a challenge – especially if you have a limited budget!

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of homeowners looking for ways to give their home’s a new look – but not every upgrade has an ROI worth talking about. Here are some of the top home remodeling projects for garnering a high ROI.

· Landscaping – While not actually a home remodeling project of the building type, research has shown that yards where the lawn is well-maintained and logically laid out can make a huge difference in the curb appeal of your home and thus, how much you can boost your home’s equity.

· New Roof – Want to get as much as a 105% ROI on a home remodeling project? Then talk to your local roofer about upgrading your home’s roof. While a new roof may not be the sexiest home remodeling project, it is one with a high return!

· Hardwood Floors – These too bring a huge ROI – in fact it is nearly a 100% ROI – perhaps more should you decide to do the work yourself, or happen to discover that underneath those tired carpets you have gorgeous hardwoods just waiting to be refinished.

· Patio or Deck – Boost your living and entertaining space while increasing your home’s value. Choose building materials known for longevity and get more value for your investment.

· Doors – From upgrading the front door to a safer more secure option such as a steel entry door to replacing old outdated garage doors for newer ones with better features and more insulation, upgrading the quality of your home’s doors can have a significant uptick in the value of your home.

· Kitchen Remodel – A minor kitchen remodel, say new countertops or cabinetry, can improve your home’s resale value by as much as 80%.

· Bathroom Remodels – This is a prime way to recoup a solid ROI. A home remodel that involves updating a bathroom with new fixtures, lighting and vanity, or perhaps adding anew bathroom to home’s layout are a great way to improve your home’s resale value and living space. It should be noted that you don’t want to make huge changes, however, as those can sometimes have a negative affect or not have as high an ROI.

Remodeling one’s home can be a fun project, whether you are doing to improve the resale value or simply to make your home more suited to your needs. If you have questions about improving your home’s resale value, then now is the to talk to a local home remodeling team and get started on crafting a home design that works for needs and your budget.