23 February 2018

Buying And Selling - The Costs You Need To Know About

If only buying and selling a home was as easy as putting pen to paper to transfer the deeds. According to the National Association of Realtors, home sales were down 3.2% in January 2018 - the second month in a row that a decline was recorded. So, why are sellers failing to attract buyers and why are buyers holding back from making a purchase? One thing that could be to blame is the rising costs of properties. The average selling price of a home is now $240,500 and when you factor in the additional costs of buying and selling, you can see why individuals are put off from making the leap. This is especially true for those looking to buy a first home who particularly feel the financial squeeze.

Tips for sellers

As a seller, it’s your job to make your home the best it can be to lure potential buyers through your front door. You might think investing in a new kitchen or bathroom suite is a waste of time and money, but if it’s going to add value to your home and, ultimately, sell your property then it’s cost definitely worth considering.

When the deal has been done and a price agreed, one of the first things your buyer will do is request a professional home inspection to ensure that the property is kosher and doesn’t have any significant problems, such as damp or electrical faults. Should the inspection pick up any issues, then your buyer might pull out of the sale, request a reduced price or demand repairs are completed before the purchase continues. Therefore, to prevent delays and higher repair costs, it’s best to have your home checked for any issues prior to sale and get them sorted before placing the for sale sign outside your home.

What should buyers consider?

Does the house you’re buying require extensive renovations? If so, you need to consider these costs when making your offer. It’s all well and good comparing the property you’re considering making an offer on to the sale price of the one across the road, but if it requires $20,000 of work, then it’s probably not such a good deal after all.

Additional costs when buying a home soon mount up. There are legal fees to shell out for, between $350 and $550 for a home inspection and when you’re in your new property home insurance is a must to ensure your property, its foundations and your personal belongings are protected in the event of a natural disaster, such as a flood, an accident or a burglary. You’ll likely also want to complete some renovations and basic DIY work when you move in, too, such as giving the kitchen a lick of fresh paint or putting down new flooring in the hallway. To be sure you can afford everything that comes with a home, you may be best putting down a smaller deposit on your home and saving the extra cash to cover your additional costs.

There’s no denying that buying and selling property can be expensive, but, thankfully, there’s plenty of things you can do to ease the pressure of these fees and to ensure a smooth purchase.

19 February 2018

Save on Your Home Energy Costs with These Renovations and Changes

There's no secret that homeowners’ bills have been going up over the past decade, as the cost of living is always on the rise. Unfortunately for many families, increases in wages haven't kept pace making the rise in the cost of living all the more impactful. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average person spent $3,052 per year in energy in 2012, so now six years later you can expect that the total is more.

If the costs of your home energy bills are causing you to stress, then it may be time to look for solutions. There are a number of renovations and changes you can make in your home that will make a difference either immediately or over the long-term, and will help to bring down your energy bills.

Replace Your Windows

Replacing your windows can end up being one of the most effective ways to bring down your home energy bills. When you replace single-paned windows, you can expect to save anywhere from $126-465 a year. Now if you look to upgrade from single-paned to double-paned, you'll be able to save even more.

Obviously replacing all your windows is an investment. The average price to install a remodelled PVC window with a fusion-welded frame is on average $553 according to https://porch.com/project-cost/cost-to-install-remodeling-windows. If replacing all the windows in your home is too much at one time, start with one floor.

Switch Out Old Appliances

Another energy-guzzler in your home is old appliances. All old appliances should be switched out over time and replaced with the latest energy-star rated models. These appliances use up much less energy, and they run more efficiently since they are using today’s technology. Appliances such as your fridge, stove and dishwasher are a must, but don’t forget your electronics like your computer, televisions, stereo and more.

This is the kind of thing you can do over time, focusing on the oldest appliances and electronics first.

Install Dimmer Switches Throughout the Home

Here's a much less expensive tip and one that you can often do yourself. Installing dimmer switches around your home allows you to control how much energy is being used by your lights. As an added bonus, dimmer switches also allow you to better set the mood and atmosphere in a room.

Make Use of Ceiling Fans

If you find you are spending a lot to cool and heat your home, air circulation may be a problem in the space. To help circulate the air better, install ceiling fans throughout the space. In the summer you will want the blades to turn counter clockwise, while in the winter you will reverse the direction and have them move clockwise.

Tips and Changes that Really Add Up in Savings

Depending on the kind of budget you are working with you may only be able to do some of these changes, or perhaps you can do them all. Regardless of what you pick, you will start to see a difference in the amount you spend on your home energy bill.

13 February 2018

Step By Step DIY Guide For Your Brand New Loft Room

Converting a loft is one of the best decisions that you will ever make in your home improvement projects. When you think about the potential of turning your loft into an extremely useful and absolutely beautiful area of your home, it’s probably going to excite you. However, if you’re doing some portions of the loft conversion on your own, you need to read this article to guide you in a DIY loft conversion and design project.

Steps in pulling off a successful DIY loft conversion

Converting your loft involves a lot of factors to consider, but these things should not hinder you from pursuing your plans. That’s why we have this loft conversion guide, to help you navigate through the nitty gritty details.

Start with the basics

Before buying any furniture or tearing down walls, you need to answer the following basic questions in converting a loft:
  • Does your local building code allow you to convert your loft?
  • Is your roof space tall enough to make your loft conversion plans possible?
  • Will the floor below the loft remain unaffected by the changes?
If you answered no to any of these questions, you may want to ask a professional building contractor about your loft conversion plans.

Do the floor

If the floor in your loft is already fit for your needs – say, solid floorboards sitting on strong wooden beams – then you don’t have to worry too much about the loft flooring. Otherwise, you need to carefully plan what kind of flooring you will install in your loft conversion.

Make sure that your loft floor is sturdy enough for your needs. Failing to check the floor integrity may cause you to fall through the ceiling and destroy your loft conversion project in one fell swoop!

Add insulation

Insulating your loft is something that many homeowners fail to consider, and this may lead to extreme temperature changes when you’re inside the loft.

The good news is that putting insulation on your loft has become more convenient than before. You may purchase insulation boards that you can slide in between beams and walls. Make sure that the insulation covers the entire room with minimal gaps, so that you can protect the loft from sudden weather changes.

Before insulating your loft, you should also consider where you will have your windows in order to get enough light in the room. Installing soundproof windows in your brand new loft room would be the icing on the cake! More light and less noise!

Connect to utilities

Planning to convert the loft into a bathroom? You need to check if the plumbing system is accessible. Otherwise, you will have to spend a little more to install additional pipes and fittings.

In short, plan out your loft conversion to include access to necessary utilities such as electricity, water, and gas.

Include safety precautions

Most lofts are not as accessible as the rest of the rooms in your home, and so you need to make sure that safety precautions are put in place. Some measures that you can put in your loft conversion include the following:
  • Install smoke detectors
  • Put a fire extinguisher
  • Install an alternative access door
  • Make the windows big enough for people to fit, in case of rescue operations
  • Check the electrical system for proper grounding and integrity of circuit breakers
At the end of the day, achieving the perfect loft for your home involves careful planning. By following the tips above, you should be able to enjoy your newly converted loft with less worries and loads of fun and relaxation.

12 February 2018

Ten Helpful Tips For Your Next Appliance Purchase

Image source: Pixabay.com
Are you in the market for a new household appliance?

If you are like most homeowners, you plan to upgrade and add new appliances every five years. However, if you are not careful, you will accidentally buy the wrong appliance or buy an appliance that will not fit in your house.

We are here to help!

We put together ten must know tips on buying household appliances.

Read Reviews Of Brands Before Committing To Any Purchase Decisions

Before you commit to purchasing any appliance, read trustworthy reviews on the brand and model. Learn how a particular appliance holds up over time, maintains functionality, and when to expect breakdowns.

Every product, including appliances, has strengths and weaknesses. Some appliances last decades. Others only survive a few years. Trustworthy reviews will help you weed out potential bad products. You can search for a website like Best10anything for the best appliances reviews.

Measure Out Space and Confirm You Can Fit Your Appliances In A Specific Room

When you are planning on upgrading large appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, and washing machines, measure the spaces where new appliances will go. By getting the measurements ahead of time, you will reduce the likelihood that you will buy an appliance that does not fit in your home.

With appliances that need ventilation, make sure you factor in extra space for cords, cables, and hoses.

When Renovating Entire Rooms, Upgrade Your Appliances To Match The Theme

Many appliance upgrades occur when a room's design is being renovated. Modernizing a kitchen, for example, requires new a new stove, sink, refrigerator, and oven at the least. In order for the renovation to look professional, you will need to find appliances that match your new theme. Clean, stainless steel appliances would match a modern kitchen.

However, they would not match a rustic, wooden kitchen. Shop around to find a store or vendor that will sell you sets of appliances that match your theme.

Find Energy Efficient Appliances That Will Save You Money

When you are buying your appliances, compare brands to find what appliances will save you the most money. Many higher-end brands compete with each other to create the most efficient, low-energy devices. These appliances will use less energy. This helps the environment and keeps your wallet fatter each month.

The United States Government has a calculator that can help you determine if your new appliance will save you money on electricity. In 2018 when there is a high focus on energy conservation there is little need to waste money buying a high-energy device when so many quality alternatives exist.

Negotiate With The Salesman To Get A Better Price On Your Appliance

Most appliance salesmen have wiggle room when it comes to pricing appliances. According to ConsumerReports.org, only 30% of large appliance consumers attempt to negotiate with salesmen on price. The average savings of consumers who negotiated with a salesman was $98. Whenever possible, work with the salesman to find a price you can both agree on.

Bring cash with you to leverage your negotiations. Offering physical cash increases the likelihood that your offer will be accepted. Besides price, negotiate on delivery fees, installation fees, and financing rates. Many consumers can reduce the overall cost of their appliances by adding purchase resistance to their salesman. Do not let yourself pay full price!

Floor Models Look Just As Good But Come At A Discounted Price

Old floor models need to be moved in order for new models to take their place. Knowing this as a consumer gives you power. You can ask if the floor model is available for sale. More often than not, a salesman is looking to get one sold.

Look for floor models with imperfections in places that will be hidden once the appliance is in your house. You can negotiate the price down based on scratches, small damages in the exterior, and other imperfections in the appliance.

Make Your List Of Needed Features And Use It To Make Purchasing Decisions

Avoid buying appliances out of emotion! It is easy to see that perfect fridge with the ice dispenser and built-in water-filter - but do you need it?

Consumers go over budget because they emotionally invest in features and accessories that do not solve a tangible problem they have. They allow the salesmen to paint a picture of what an extra feature could do.

Avoid this by creating a list. Write down all of the features that you need. Stick to that list when a salesman tries to convince you to take an upgraded, and far more expensive, model. Remind yourself of what you need, and more importantly, what you do not need.

If You Are On A Budget, Work With A Lender To Acquire Financing

If you have good credit, you may be able to secure a loan to purchase appliances. Companies such as Best Buy and Lowes will sell you appliances and help you to secure financing. If your store does not offer you financing, you will need to seek it from a bank or lender.

Look In Magazines, Coupon Websites, And Forums For Deals And Freebies With Appliance Purchases

To attract customers, companies give away freebies and deals such as bonus utensils, free shipping, and extended warranties. These offers can make buying a new appliance a better deal. In the case of shipping and warranties, it can save money and potential heartaches.

Know Your Home's Hookups And Buy Appliances That Match Them

Before you set out to buy any appliances, make a list of all the hookups your home has. Note what appliances you need and map out where they would go. Either mentally or on paper, calculate if you have enough hookups to properly support your new appliance. You can avoid the stress of buying an appliance you cannot use by preparing and mapping out hookups ahead of time.

Buying A New Appliance Does Not Have To Be Stressful

Appliance shopping can be stressful! With so many options out there, it can be difficult finding the right equipment for you. Follow our tips listed above and you will be more prepared when you buy your next appliance.