Being a home owner is often a rewarding experience. Homes need to be continually cared for, and everything inside has a lifespan. Understanding this will ensure their replacement doesn't put you in a bind.
Windows 8-40 years
Old, out-of-date windows aren't merely an aesthetic problem — they can also lead to higher energy bills. Over time, efficiency gains will help the windows pay for themselves.
Usage, weather, maintenance, and material quality all have an impact on how long your windows will last. Is it time to replace them?
Roofs 15-150 years
Roofs vary widely when it comes to average lifespan, largely depending on type and quality of materials used and ventilation. Here's how long you can expect some of the most common roof types to last, according to InterNACHI:
Tar or coal: 30 years
Metal: 40 to 80 years
Rubber: 15 to 25 years
Asphalt: 30 years
Slate: 60 to 150 years
It's important to have an idea of how soon that repair may be necessary. A leaky roof can also lead to serious water damage, so it's critical to keep a close eye on the overall condition of your roofing.
Central Air 7-15 years
Replacing your air conditioning unit every seven to fifteen years, InterNACHI suggests replacing your furnace every 15 to 25 years along with general upkeep and maintenance.
Counter tops 20-100 years
While tile, stone, and wood can last more than a century, laminate or resin-based counters should be replaced roughly every 20 to 30 years.
Another thing to consider: Semi-synthetic surfaces, such as cultured marble, do not have nearly the lifespan of natural stone. These surfaces may last as little as 20 years.
Understanding the lifespan of your big ticket items and other items will allow you to make the best and sound decision when it comes to repairing or replacing them. We recommend speaking with a professional.
Note: This information is provided as a courtesy and is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Contents of this website are subject to change without notice. This content is not intended to replace official resources
Inspections and the Inspector
An important part of purchasing a home, aside from the financial considerations, is a home inspection.
We've provided is a general list of what to expect and what to look out for.
You need to vet the inspector just as you would with a contractor.
Request license- A professional inspector should always carry their license. No Proof. No Deal.
Ask if they're currently/have ever worked for the seller's realtor. They should be working for you only.
Ask about their education and training experience. Inspectors have a unique discipline, and they should have specific experience in residential inspections.
Ask for references.
Ask if they maintain a membership in a professional home inspector association. Request to see a membership ID or other due diligence
Ask what the inspection covers-Specific requirements may apply in your state, special request for areas you want inspected.
Request attendance during the inspection- It's invaluable to a home owner or home buyer to see through the eyes of an expert. Refusal should raise a red flag.
Ask for duration of inspection- Two to three hours is the average depending on the size of the home/property
Ask for cost-Varies on region, size and age of house, scope of services and more. Cost doesn't reflect a quality inspection.
Ask for samples of previous reports
Always ask question!
The Inspection (Pro and You)
During this time, take note of your own observations, too. You should always do your own initial inspection before making an offer also, ensure you hire a professional.
Foundation-cracks, fissures, ruptures, sagging, shifting, water intrusion, discoloration, musty smell or bugs, draining issues, extreme weather changes (pressure on the foundation), walls buckling or leaning, windows and doors won't close correctly, crumbling or chipping concrete (vertical, zigzag horizontal, non-uniform, jutting from the floor or wall) and encroaching trees.
Plumbing-water filtration systems, fixtures, supply lines, drains, all above-ground, exposed plumbing, shut-off valves, traps, sinks, showers/bath, toilets, kitchen, laundry room draining, venting systems, storage water tank or tankless water heater, drains, sewer pipes, sump pump and discharge inspection.
Roof (exterior)- leaks, ice dams, condition of roof shingles/tiles, proper flashing(dormers, valleys, side walls, eaves and rakes) and chimney.
Electrical-switches and outlets grounded, electrical panel box have circuit breakers, exposed wires, key splicing devices, cables secured to boxes, conductor fill, box positioning, floor and ceiling boxes, recessed lighting are clear of combustibles, cables installed in contact thermal insulation.
Windows-water damage, wood rot and quality of windows.
Doors-swinging and closing properly, scraping floors, cracks above the door(signal of sinking header), delamination, dents, water damage, door faces and edges sealed, weather stripping.
Staircase-gaps between stringer and wall, too steep or narrow, handrails, horizontal support under the handrail, low headroom, treads crack, squeaky steps, steps that are springy, loose rails.
Heating & Cooling- condensing unit, indoor coil, visible refrigerant leans, condensation drain pan, drain line and p-trap, wiring and control unit, blower assembly and thermostat operation and programming.
Kitchen- age and condition of the appliances, vents that lead to nowhere, major appliances, range burners, ovens, refrigerators and freezers, missing stabilizing brackets and range top ventilation.
Radon-ask your realtor if a radon test has been performed within the past year. If radon has ever been detected in the house and has a radon mitigation system been installed.
Your home inspector should be willing and able to explain things more than once until you feel confident you understand the issue and potential solutions.
Note: This information is provided as a courtesy and is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Contents of this website are subject to change without notice. This content is not intended to replace official resources.
Properly Insured - Request a certificate of insurance for the contractor as well as worker's compensation insurance (covering, you, your family and any visitors to your home if they are injured on the work site.
Properly Bonded- Read reviews on Better Business Bureau (Even if the individual or company you plan to hire looks legitimate on the BBB website, homeowners should still ask them for proof that they have the necessary licensing, bonding and insurance. Licensing entities vary state to state).
Verify permits (if applicable)
Step 2- Get Multiple Contractor Estimates (Apple to Apples)
Request a line item bid (listing each item with an estimated price).
Stay local! It's more likely the contractors will be familiar with building codes in your area.
Be familiar with (allowances, furnish and install, fixture, millwork, specifications or specifics, specific exclusions, standard vs. special, builder hours, hiring subcontractors, etc).
Spend time researching (calling suppliers to determine material costs without the markup).
Take recommendations from family members friends, neighbors and friends.
Require a minimum of 3 references from each contractor.
Consider how long it takes to deliver the estimate, this may be an indicator of their reliability (find a contractor who is keeps to their word).
Step 3- Checking Past Work
Check references about the quality of work, products, workmanship and customer service.
Research their professional reputation and years in business with the BBB (Better Business Bureau), business website, social media and other reputable resources.
Step 4- Everything in Writing
Make sure your contracts are clear and well written. Consider having a lawyer review the proposed contract for your protection. Things to look for:
A detailed description of the work to be completed and the price of each item (job summary).
A payment schedule showing deposit requirements and balance dues upon start/completion of the project.
An estimated start date and completion date.
Check for applicable guarantees (party responsibilities, validity period, etc).
Never sign a contract containing blank sections.
If changes are made, acknowledgment must be done in writing.
Step 5- Right to Cancel
Federal law may require a “cooling off” period, in which you can cancel the contract without penalty.
Be sure to follow applicable rules during the cooling off period.
If you do cancel, consider sending the notice of cancellation by registered mail to ensure you have proof of the cancellation.
Read the FINE PRINT on all contracts
Step 6- Paying Up-Front
Don't pay for an entire project before it is completed.
Make sure you make checks payable to a company, not an individual, and do not pay in cash.
For larger projects, it is standard practice to pay one-third of the estimated costs as an initial payment. That way, you can retain your cashed check as a receipt.
Step 7- Record Keeping
Always keep a paper trail/digital trail of your documents for the entire project. Your file should contain:
Plans and specifications
Bills & invoices
Letters & job notes
Any other supporting documents
Step 8- Take Your Time
From step one you've been "vetting" contractors and it can be overwhelming but:
Don't feel pressured to make an immediate decision to sign a contract
Be cautious if asked for a large deposit up front
Read the FINE PRINT on all estimates and contracts
Note" This information is provided as a courtesy and is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Contents of this website are subject to change without notice. This content is not intended to replace official resources.
Before You Make That Investment
Purchasing a home is a major milestone that on many people's to-do-lists. You can take control of your home-buying process by understanding what it takes to purchase a home and what you should be asking.
Buying a home can be exciting but, it also can lead to some regret home-buying mistakes and with the housing prices gong up the added stress can confuse the process.
Let's look at some ways to prepare yourself of your first buying experience:
1. Determine What You Can Truly Afford
Determining your budget is the number one factor when purchasing a home. Rule of thumb, you should be looking at home \prices that are two to three time your annual income. This helps ensure you're not taking on a larger mortgage commitment that you can afford.
When coming up with the figure, try not to exceed 28% of your monthly gross income, look at your cash reserves saving up a minimum of 20% of your down payment plus another 3% for closing costs and enough savings left over to help pay for any home improvements or miscellaneous moving costs.
It's time to start shopping for a mortgage lender and we've got the right one for you. Valley West Mortgage offers Low Rates and No Obligation Pre-Approvals. Licensed in 18 States. We have a reputation of providing great customer service and timely closings. We will work with you throughout the whole buying process by helping you choose the right mortgage options for your situation.
3. Consider a Financial Trial Run
Totaling up all of your monthly expenses associated with a home purchase can ease the anxiety of not being able to afford a mortgage. It will allow some perspective on your current costs.
4. Decide Which Features Are Must-Haves and Nice-to-Haves
Brainstorming a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves allows you to look objectively at what houses you can may to work on or if it's move in ready. Finding what is most important will keep you from paying more for what's not necessary and stay within your budget.
5. Start House-Hunting, and Decide If You Need a Real-Estate Agent
This is the time to decide if you're going to hire a real estate agent, if you haven't already. An agent can provide access to more home options than you'll likely find yourself. Find someone who understands your needs and represents you as the buyer and not the seller. Start viewing as many houses as possible.
Most lenders will require the name of the agency providing you with home insurance. Shop around for a quote. Basic insurance typically covers fire, theft, storm damage and liability should someone get injured on your property and sue you. But you can also add on riders for things like expensive jewelry, furniture and home office equipment, as well as choose to get additional flood insurance if your home is in a flood-prone region.
7. Put in an Offer
Let's Make An Offer. You don't want to low-ball your offer, and risk losing the home to another buyer or insult the seller- but you also don't want to pay more than is necessary.
Look at other home sales in the area. If sold for an amount that's comparable to your seller's list price, you should be offering a number close to asking. Consider how long the home has been on the market? What's the market like in the neighborhood?
Pay special attention to contingencies in the contract, it will protect you in cases something goes wrong.
Home inspections can cost typically between $200 and $500. If there are issues, you may be able to ask for a price reduction to help cover the cost of repairs. Read it over carefully.
9. Sign the Papers
Before signing, you're entitled to a walk-through to confirm that nothing has changed since the inspection. Make sure the funds required for closing are wired into the correct account. Always, ask for copies.
On closing day, bring your I.D., as well as any paperwork you received throughout the process.
It’s that time of year again! The Earth is turning beautifully toward the Sun, sweet smelling spring flowers are budding, and our days are getting longer and brighter. Spring time is quickly approaching with the first day of Spring being Monday, March 20th of this year. We’ve set our clocks forward, we’ve done some spring cleaning to make room for fresh bathing suits and hordes of thong flip flops, but what can we do to prepare the exterior of our homes for the Spring & Summer weather that will be arriving within the next warm breeze?
Examine your Lawn
You can begin to prepare your home for the Spring and Summer months by cleaning up your outside area. Go out to your lawn and pick up any fallen branches that may have separated from trees with the weight of the snow that fell this year. Most of us choose not to venture outside more than we have to in the winter months, so there may be new and uninvited lawn décor that has floated onto your property and gone unnoticed until now. Amp up your curb appeal by gathering and getting rid of any debris that might be blowing around your yard.
Excavate your Gutters
Let’s face it, we don’t know what’s in there. The thought of what might have gathered in the gutters during the winter months can be a little bit scary but they have to be dug out at some point, what better time than the Spring? For those of you who get heavy snowfall in the winter, cleaning your gutters is especially important because you want to be sure that the runoff from any melted snow is being released into the right areas. If you’ve got a crack or a leak in your gutters, your basement might be housing an underground pool without your knowledge. Plus, we all know what they say about April showers! Be sure that the gutters have no blockage and are prepared to take on the rain that will bring out May flowers.
Break out the Grill
One of the best ways to take advantage of the changing climate is to do things that you would normally do inside, outside. Warm weather often brings with it the craving for barbeque and social gatherings. Spring Break, Easter, and Memorial Day hold some of the best opportunities to enjoy time with friends and family. Prepare for the festivities by dusting off your grill, buying some fresh coals and lighter fluid from your favorite home goods store, and get ready to take your meals out to the back patio.
Check your Air Conditioning
AC is a must! Here in Las Vegas, the summer heat can be brutal and air conditioning is absolutely necessary. No matter what city you’re in, the sun is about to show up and show out. Check your AC Unit by cleaning it up and replacing any damaged parts. If you’re not exactly AC savvy call up a professional. Clean AC units function better and last longer.
When doing your research, always be sure to consult great sources! Check out the sources for this article below:
Here’s an interesting statistic: 85 million families in the United States own pets. Dogs, cats, iguanas, snakes, even pigs! You name it, there’s someone out there who’s got it. Our little cozy critters and loving companions bring us comfort, love and protection. But how has having a pet affected your home? If you’ve ever house broken a dog, you know that it can be an exasperating task. I don’t even want to imagine what it’s like trying to house break a pig. Our homes are an important asset in our financial portfolios, so it’s important that we keep them in good shape. How many of us have walked into someone’s home and instantly smelled the odor coming from a litter box? Let me tell you, it’s not pleasant. In this article, we’ll discuss a few ways to keep your home looking and smelling like it’s pet free, even if it’s not.
House breaking is potty training for your pet. It’s specifically important for dog owners. If you plan to leave your dog out while you’re not home, the use of pee pads will definitely be necessary until your pet is accustomed to a regular schedule where they know when you will be home to let them out. Take time with your pet to train them. Pee pads will keep your carpet clean during training (if you can convince your puppy to use them). There’s also crate training, with idea that if you keep your dog in it’s cage then he won’t pee just because he doesn’t want the pee in there with him. Dogs are smart, they can figure out the pattern. They’ll eventually learn and sense what time you will be home, and hold it until then.
Zoning your Home
You can create “Zones” inside your home that are pet free like the kitchen or the bathroom. I’ve known people that had pets that were never allowed to come upstairs, for example. That way your pet doesn’t carry his hair into every room in the house. If you can cut down on the amount of shed hair around the house, you can cut down on the odor it carries. You can also use kiddie gates to keep pets out of certain spaces. Although, if you have an animal that is prone to shedding, some pet hair will always transfer from room to room just on your clothes. The idea, is that what few strands of hair that transfers from your socks into the room will be cleaned up with your weekly dusting. Also, the less time your pet spends in a particular room, the less likely the room is to smell like them.
Using Baking Soda
There are plenty of products out there that are designed to eliminate pet odor. You may have one in your refrigerator door though that you’ve been forgetting about. Baking soda is a fantastic odor eliminator, especially when used on the carpets. Baking soda has the chemical ability to absorb odor molecules and trap them. You can sprinkle baking soda right out of the box and on to your carpet. Let it sit for 20 minutes, or overnight if you haven’t deodorized the carpet in a while. Just be sure that no one walks on it or disturbs in so it can take full effect, then just vacuum it up when you’re ready!
Living with a pet is an awesome experience for everyone in the family. Cleaning up after a pet is a big responsibility, but if you apply a few of the methods above, it’ll be a breeze.
When doing your research, always be sure to consult great sources. Check out the sources for this article below!
If you’ve seen recent horror movies like The Conjuring, The Forrest, and The Collector or even more dated movies like Scream from the 90s, or Psycho from the 60s, you’d probably never venture down into the basement for fear of the unspeakable terrors that could be awaiting you within the bowels of your home. Television has portrayed the basement to be a dark and scary place where spooky things happen to nice people. But this is the real world, so what’s really down there in your basement?
If you haven’t been conducting séances or communicating with the dead using a oujia board, then you’re probably safe from unspeakable terror. Instead of being afraid of what’s in the basement, why not develop it into a space that can be fully functional for your family?
Benefits of a Basement
The basement can be used for a number of different purposes. You could develop it into an office space and work from home. You could turn it into a play room for your children and finally get some peace and quiet upstairs. Husbands could use it for a man cave. Wives could use it for all of those extra shoes and handbags crowding up the closet in the master bedroom. You could turn it into a guest space or just use it as a large laundry room. No matter what you decide to use the space for, it’s so beneficial to have the extra square footage. It’s sometimes challenging to add on to the surface level of the home because of backlash from neighbors who think you’ll be to close to their home, or from the HOA for violating local ordinances on construction. Adding a basement to a house that doesn’t yet have a basement can increase the property value because you’re increasing the livable space within the home. Finishing a basement that was already a part of your home also can bring the value up because you’re improving the space that already existed. Imagine how much more your home would be worth if you turned the basement a second master bedroom or master suite, for example.
Building a Basement
If you’re building your home from scratch it will be more feasible to include a basement. Building a basement under an already existing home requires the approval of your local housing administration. In either case putting in a basement would also require that building professionals (soil specialists, contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc.) come out and evaluate your home’s eligibility for a basement. Certain factors could keep you from building a basement. Those factors include the density and texture of the soil around your home, the depth of frost lines in your area, and your homes proximity to bodies of water.
There has to be a foundation underneath your home for the house to sit on. Most builders call this foundation “footing”. Having a basement is what we like to call a win/win situation. You would have a strong foundation underneath your home and you can use the space inside of that foundation in any way that you choose! So, what exactly is hiding in the basement? The opportunity to expand your home and create a space that is unique to you and your family’s needs.
When doing your research, always be sure to consult great sources. Check out the sources for this article below!