Renovating your home can be a stressful and expensive endeavor. How much should you spend? Who should you trust? Who’s the best contractor/architect/designer/etc. in town? If you find yourself asking these questions as you consider a renovation, you may want to consider a renovation coach.
Expert opinions Renovation coaches are a recent trend in home remodeling. Think of it as a project manager for your home renovation—someone who is great at working with contractors and vendors, and at keeping things running smoothly and moving forward as your renovation progresses.
Worth the investment? Renovation coaches can handle projects of any size, and can be involved as much or as little as you like. They’re especially useful for managing bigger projects that involve several vendors and contractors, but they can also be helpful in simply recommending the best and most reputable companies for your specific project. If you don’t know who to hire to remodel your kitchen or basement, a renovation coach can be a huge asset.
Finding the right coach There’s currently no national directory or association for renovation coaches, but it’s a fast-growing profession and chances are there’s a great one in your area. Take to the internet to find some coaches in your area—Houzz and Google are a good start. Vet several candidates and reach out to past clients to find the coach that can help you get the most out of your renovation.
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS - Home owners can overdo it when it comes to the upkeep of their home. This Old House recently spotlighted several ways that home owners’ enthusiasm for home ownership may actually harm the house.
1. Having light bulbs that are too bright. You want a well-lit home, but exceeding a lamp or light fixture’s recommended wattage can be dangerous, particularly with incandescents or halogen lights, says John Drengenberg, consumer safety director for Underwriters Laboratories. "Using a bulb with too-high wattage will cause the fixture and its wiring to overheat," he notes, which could then allow the heat to travel to the wall or erode the insulation on the wires and lead to a house fire. Check the fixtures label to make sure you use the correct wattage.
2. Planting trees near driveways or walkways. A line of trees to the house may up its curb appeal but adding young trees near driveways or walkways could be putting your slab at risk. As these trees grow taller, their roots will go outward, potentially pushing up the paving and causing it to buckle or crack. This Old House recommends planting small trees that will remain under 20 feet at maturity and that are at least 10 feet from paved areas. For larger trees, leave at least a 20-foot radius.
3. Overscrubbing a sink. Don’t overdo it with abrasive cleaners; they can scratch the sink. "Cleaners with a grit or grain to them will wear away at the finish and dull it," Kohler's Mike Marbuch told This Old House. "That will make the sink more prone to gunk sticking to it—actually making it look dirtier." Try a liquid cleanser like vinegar or lemon juice on the sink and avoid scrubbing it every day.
4. Overdoing it with can lights. Excessive recessed lighting in a home can cause a lot of air leaks. Recessed lighting is known as causing heat-sucking air leaks, especially when the fixtures are unsealed in vaulted ceilings. Airtight recessed lighting fixtures are available that are rated for insulation contact (IC). Also, use as few recessed lights as you can, especially when it comes to adding them to cathedral ceilings or in rooms directly below unconditioned attics.
5. Spreading too much mulch outside. “Over-mulching will suffocate plants, confuse their root systems, and prevent water from percolating into the soil,” notes the article at This Old House. “If you’ve mulched so much that tree trunks and flowers’ and shrubs’ lower branches are covered by or dragging in it, you’ve gone overboard.” Have mulch no thicker than 3 inches.
6. Using glass cleaner on mirrors. Watch out for store-bought sprays that promise to make your glass sparkle. “A drop of liquid running around the mirror’s edge can cause the reflective backing to lift or craze,” This Old House notes. The black edge can occur from using ammonia- or vinegar-based cleaners. This Old House recommends using warm water and a soft, lint-free cloth to clean mirrors. Or if you do use the sprays, spray it onto a dry cloth first and not directly onto the glass.
7. Repainting too much. “Excessive paint is detrimental – especially on an older house, which may have layers of thicker oil-based paint, which becomes brittle with age,” notes This Old House. To avoid thick, cracked, or peeling paint, be sure to carefully power-wash prior to painting, sand areas that need it, and then use 100 percent acrylic-resin exterior paint.
8. Fertilizing too much. Fertilizing too often can spur more weeds to grow. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency warns over-fertilizing can cause “nutrient pollution,” which is when nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from lawn fertilizers and then leads to an overgrowth of algae that can even pollute local waterways. Some lawn experts recommend only fertilizing twice a year, late summer and fall only.
Making the decision to buy your own home can be one of the most stressful but rewarding choices of all. If you’re a first time buyer, the entire process can seem very intimidating. A few common sense tips can help you ease your way through it much easier.
First off, you may want to look up some basic real estate principals. Make a sincere attempt at learning the jargon associated with the real estate process, so once you are meeting a real estate agent and a bank officer, you’ll have a better idea of what everyone is talking about.
Second, know what the difference is between “pre-qualified” and “pre-approved”. Sound confusing? It can be. It all relates to how serious of a buyer you are. If you’re “pre-qualified” it means that you have a letter from a mortgage broker saying what he thinks you can afford. This is better than not having a letter, but you can still do better. If you’re “pre-approved” it means that you not only have a letter from a broker, but everything in the letter was shown to be true by a lender and most of the work for a loan has already been done. You’ll have a MUCH better chance of getting the house you want if you’re “pre-approved” than if you are only pre-qualified.
Another important key to a smooth transaction is choosing the right Mortgage Lender for your loan. You want a lender who is going to be on top of everything and giving you updates on the process. There is a lot of steps in the transaction and having someone who can keep you up to date on the loan is very important.
Even when you are working with a great agent, there may still be delays that are unforeseen. Any business that deals in red tape may have challenges that come up that no one knew about. Real estate purchases are no different, so make sure you understand and don't freak out if this does happen.
While none of these tips are fool proof, they can still help you. It is important that you team up with a great Real Estate team, so that they can walk you through the entire process.
Here at The Gayden Team, we strive to make every transaction a smooth one. We want our clients to have the best experience with the least amount of worry or stress. Give us a call today is you are thinking about buying or selling a home.