Like in a relationship, the foundation of a house is integral, and must be strong. There are many reasons why a house’s foundation might crack or shift including temperature variances in the soil surrounding it, since earth expands in heat and contracts in cold. But whatever the reason, there are certain steps to follow when addressing concerns about your house’s foundation.
Prevent The Problem, If Possible
First, whenever possible act to prevent problems before they arise. Make it a habit to check for foundational stress by taking a walk through your basement and around the outside of your home. Signs of a problem include cracks in the foundation itself (particularly horizontal ones larger than a hairline), uneven or sloping floors, doors or windows that won’t open or close properly anymore, and water damage (puddles or moisture in the wood) that signals improper drainage.
Confirm The Problem, If There’s Time
If you find a crack that has you worried, but isn’t an insurmountable gap, take the time to coat it with concrete waterproofing paint. Then keep an eye on it. If the crack reappears after the paint has dried, it means the gap that produced the crack is growing and should be addressed. If you suspect water drainage problems, try shutting down all water-using appliances in your home. Then watch the water meter for 6 to 12 hours. If the levels change in that time, your water is finding another way out of the house. Finally, if you suspect a sloping floor, rest a tennis ball on it and look for rolling.
Fix The Problem, If It’s Small
Sometimes DIY methods can be used to address small issues, like little cracks (ones not in the foundation itself, but in walls or floors). Fill them with a vinyl concrete patch, or a similar product. Be sure the material you use is flexible and can move a little, because the concrete will it slightly expands and contracts to keep stable.
Call For Reinforcements!
That said, the absolute best method of dealing with foundation problems is to call in reinforcements, because even successful DIY fixes are temporary. And because, even though it will cost a little more, the money is worth it to prevent your house from collapsing! Reach out to a foundational specialist or a structural engineer if there are any signs that have you worried about a shifting or crumbling foundation.
If you have more in-depth questions, or want advice on a foundational specialist, talk to your trusted local real estate agent.
As a homeowner, thinking outside the box, gadget-wise, can lead you to gizmos that solve your problems – even ones you didn’t know you had in more humane, sustainable, energy-efficient ways than ever before. Read on to find out about five such inventions.
It’s Humane!: Solar-Powered Gopher Repellent
If you ever have a problem with rodents like gophers, moles, voles or shrews intruding on your lawn, look no further. This humane repellent doesn’t hurt anyone (people or animals), it simply emits a high-pitched sound at regular intervals to disrupt the animals’ sleeping patterns. It discourages them from moving in by making your lawn inhospitable but without using traps or poison. The sound is too high for humans to hear it, and only travels underground so dogs aren’t disturbed, either.
It’s Tasty!: Outdoor Wine Glass Holders
They seem simple, but sometimes the most obvious things are the hardest to recognize. Like outdoor wine or champagne glass holders removing the need to balance a full glass on uneven ground. Next time you’re on a picnic, take along these portable items, stick them in the grass (or the sand, if you’re at a beach) and hang your stemmed glass on the hook.
It’s Easy!: One Touch Jar Opener
Who hasn’t struggled with a jar opener for the pasta sauce while the noodles boil over and the onions burn? For any cook that doesn’t have a sous-chef handy, don’t worry there’s now a one-touch jar opener for just that occasion. Conveniently sized and battery-operated, these little guys adjust to any jar size and have padded edges to protect the jars so you can reuse them.
It’s Handy!: iPad Fridge Mount
Increasingly, people these days are cooking with recipes from the Internet. With an iPad Fridge Mount, you don’t need to copy out the recipes, print them or worry about your device getting splashed or hit with dinner. The mount is easy to install no tools needed and easy to remove, so the iPad is as portable as ever. The mount can also go on walls or doors.
It’s Smart!: Automated Watering Controller
Unlike the other items on this list, which ranged from $10 to $30, the Blossom Smart Watering Controller sells on Amazon for just under $400. But it saves money, and conserves water, by monitoring the weather (so it can adjust its lawn/garden watering schedule for wetter or dryer days), and you control it through your smartphone. No new wiring, sprinklers or valves are needed.
If you need more info or want suggestions on neat home gizmos that work well in your neighborhood, reach out to your local real estate agent.
In an effort to boost the value of their property, many homeowners invest in renovations that will help them sell at a higher price. However, with all of the renovation options, it can be hard to know what kind of fix-ups are really worth investing time and money into. If you’re looking at all of your options for home improvements, here are some surefire fixes that won’t stress the bank and will probably bump up the offering price.
Add In Stainless Steel
The look and functionality of the kitchen is one of the deciding factors for many homebuyers, and this means that if you have old appliances or an outdated look, you should definitely spend some money on a little upgrading. Since kitchen renovations can be a significant expense when it comes to knocking out walls and adding an island, you may want to stick with smaller stuff like a stainless steel appliance replacement or even renovating your cabinets for a more up-to-date look.
Increase Energy Efficiency
With the push towards reducing overall housing costs and being environmentally sustainable, making your home more energy efficient can be a huge selling feature for the kind of buyers who will be able to save money as a result of renos. While there are many financially taxing overhauls that can seriously bust the bank, try simple fixes like adding extra insulation where drafts exist, and installing LED lights for lowered energy costs and longer light bulb expectancy.
Prep For Paint
It may require a little bit of work to get the job done, but re-painting your home can be one of the best, and most economical, means for upping the value of your home. While painting can still be an economical option even with professional painters, a shiny new coat can take years off the look of your house and instantly improve its appearance. You just need to make sure you choose a neutral color and a high-quality paint for maximum effect.
While taking on home renovations will require a bit of spending, it can be a great idea if you’re re-financing your home and are looking to boost its value. The only thing to keep in mind is making sure you choose the kind of fixes that will be inexpensive and popular on the market. Contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.
It doesn’t matter where you live, what kind of home you have or what time of year it is. If you’re looking to sell your home quickly, you’ll need to do a better job than other local homeowners who are competing against you. Try these top three tips to secure a sale within 60 days.
1) Enhance Its Appearance
When it comes to selling your home, looks are everything. If the appearance of your home is impressive, it will be more inviting to potential buyers. Remove any items that make the home distinctly yours, such as family photos, kids’ toys, or personal items. Ensure that every space is meticulously clean and clutter free to demonstrate that it is a well-kept property.
It is also extremely beneficial to neutralize the design of your home. Maybe you love the red walls in your living room or the fluffy pink area rug in your bedroom, but this doesn’t leave much room for others’ imagination. Make your home a blank canvas upon which buyers can project their own idea of a dream home.
2) Price Wisely
While everyone would love to sell their property for more than market value, inflating your asking price could delay a sale. Research the asking prices of comparable properties in your neighborhood and consult a reputable real estate professional for advice.
There are several other strategies you can use to price your home for a quick sell. Psychologically, certain prices are more attractive to buyers even if there’s marginal difference; a home priced at $599,000 is more attractive than a home that’s priced at $600,000. Although there’s marginal difference between these two prices, the home that’s priced just under the century mark will likely sell quicker.
3) Go The Extra Mile
One of the best ways to make your home stand out from the competition is to offer something that no one else is. Whether it’s high quality photos or a video tour of your home, your listing can provide viewers with a unique look at your property that encourages them to become attached to it right away.
Several other incentives can be offered to help you close quickly, such as including home appliances and transferring your warranties over to the buyer. You can also offer to cover their closing costs, either partially or fully, which is another financial perk that will set your home apart from the rest. Everyone likes a gift-with-purchase, but few sellers offer them.
Need more advice on how to sell your home within 60 days? Speak to your trusted real estate professional today to learn more about custom solutions for selling your home.
Last week’s economic news included the NAHB Housing Market Index, Commerce Department releases on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.
Shortages of available single-family homes have driven up home prices and increased competition among homebuyers; short inventories of homes for sale are affecting affordability in many areas, although buyers seem motivated by lower mortgage rates and some easing of mortgage requirements. Analysts have repeatedly said that the only solution to the shortage of homes is building more homes.
Fortunately, the National Association of Home Builders reported that builder sentiment concerning U.S. housing markets increased in August. The HMI moved up to a reading of 60 in August as compared to July’s reading of 58. Readings over 50 indicate that a majority of builders surveyed are confident about housing market conditions.
According to NAHB, home builders continued to face obstacles including shortages of buildable lots and skilled labor. Regulatory issues were also cited by some builders, but overall, builders remain optimistic about housing market conditions.
Housing Starts Up, Building Permits Issued Slip in July
Commerce Department reading s on housing starts and building permits issued were mixed; housing starts rose from July’s reading of 1.186 million permits issued to 1.211 million permits issued in August. July’s reading was the second highest since the recession but was driven by multi-family construction. Building permits were lower in August with a reading of 1.152 million permits issued against July’s reading of 1.153 million permits issued.
Analysts said that under present market conditions, there is little reason for homebuilders to increase single-family home production as current pricing has put many would-be buyers on the sidelines.
Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims Lower
Freddie Mac reported that average rates for 30-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgages dropped last week while the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose. The average rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage was 3.43 percent and the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was 2.74 percent; both readings were two basis points lower than for the prior week. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage was two basis points higher at 2.76 percent. Average discount points held steady for fixed rate mortgages at 0.50 percent; average discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages were lower at 0.40 percent.
New Jobless claims fell by 4000 claims to 262,000 new claims, which was lower than analyst expectations of 265,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 266,000 new claims. Job security is important to home buyers and signs of strong labor markets can help propel would-be buyers into the market,
This week’s scheduled economic news includes releases on new and existing home sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released on schedule.