Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Don’t Wait Too Long

Lately, I have seen many people wait too long to complete a project on their home.  There are some real consequences to waiting.  For example, if you put off a roofing project, you may pay far more than what you should have.  Once water enters the home, it creates problems and quickly forces you to replace sheet rock, insulation, and possibly mold removal.

In this economy you may be afraid to spend money on home improvements, but if you don’t, you may spend far more.  Even if finances are an issue, talk to a contractor who may offer financing.  If you have equity in your home, you can also get a loan with a low interest rate.  Pay attention to your home, it’s always best to do home repair sooner, than later.

Here are some projects that you should not put off and what to look for:

What to look for: shingles peeling up, moss on the roof, ice dams in the winter, fading, know the life of the roof - don’t wait longer than 25 - 30 years.

Obviously, if you wait too long to replace a roof you may end up with damage to your home.  You may have to replace sheet rock, insulation, trim boards, and potentially do mold removal.  Save yourself the headache and the money and keep an eye on your roof and interior ceilings and walls.

What to look for: peeling paint, bubbles in the paint, and rotten areas.

Quite simply, wood exposed to the elements results in rotten wood.  Keep up on painting both exterior and interior to keep these problems at bay.

What to look for: joint separation, rotten wood, fogged glass in the winter, and overall function.  If the window is hard to open and close, chances are you will have a problem.

If you have old windows, you lose in energy costs and you pay the price if there is water leakage. Sounds like its time to give me a call J, but just like a roof, if water comes in your home you will have to replace trim boards, sheet rock, insulation, and potentially do mold removal.  Make sure you are doing the maintenance recommended by the manufacturer.

What to look for:  peeling or bubbles in the paint, rotten areas (you can replace sections), fading and wavy sections of vinyl siding.

Like a roof, siding is your first line of defense from the elements.  It is really important to keep up on the painting of your siding. Siding will rot quickly if not properly maintained.  If you have vinyl siding, you don’t have much in the way of maintenance, but know when it was installed because it has a shelf life.  The manufacturer will have more detailed information on maintenance.

Mechanical Maintenance:
All I want to say about this is – do not delay scheduled maintenance on your mechanicals including your furnace (and chimney), hot water, septic system etc. etc. etc.  It is very expensive for replacements.

I’ve witnessed people wait too long on the above projects and see them pay a lot of money to fix the consequences.  Not all problems can be avoided, but some knowledge of what to look for can head off serious problems.  Paying good attention to your home can help you maintain and continue building equity.

I hope this helps make Your Home in Maine a better place.  Happy Thanksgiving!



Friday, November 11, 2011

Cost vs. Value

One very important question when considering a remodeling project is “how much will I make on this investment”?  This can be a difficult question to answer, so I hope to shed some light on a resource I use.

I look to the Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report each year.  Remodeling Magazine submits bids to hundreds of contractors to calculate average job costs.  They then work with real estate professionals to see how much the project has increased the value of the house.  It is not a perfect formula, but it does provide valuable guidance when considering a project. 

For example, I feel the job cost for some projects are too high in the Cost vs. Value report.  According to the 2011-2012 report, the average job cost for vinyl windows in New England is $11,647.00.  At Classic Window Systems, we have windows that can be installed for much less without sacrificing quality.

The first thing to consider is how long you plan to stay in your home.  If you are moving within a couple of years, you probably shouldn’t sink a ton of money in the house unless it truly needs it.  On the other hand, if you plan to stay in your home long term, over 10 years, most projects are a good investment. 

There are certain projects that will make money right away.  Landscaping will almost always make a profit no matter when you are moving, as long as you don’t go overboard.

Almost every project that is done right will appreciate over time.  One thing to consider is style.  When you remodel a kitchen it will most definitely make you money over time, but at some point it will start to decline because of style.  Thank goodness we don’t have olive green appliances anymore, understand my point?  Projects like installing a good quality window that will last a lifetime will keep appreciating with the house for longer than you need it to.

Overall, it’s best to do your research on any project and this is just one component to consider when investing in Your Home in Maine.