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Take advantage of the weather

Take Advantage of the Weather!

by SellingYourOwnHouseNow on April 5, 2012

This year has been a unseasonably warm already and in a vast majority of the country, homeowners are already thinking about the springtime repairs and cleaning projects.  I recommend whether you are planning to sell your house FSBO or not, that twice a year, a homeowner should take the time to do a full walk through inspect their house to catch any problems before they start.  With a good mild spring upon us, now is the time to take advantage of the great weather and before the heavy rains start.  By doing the inspection now, you can catch small problems before they become big problems and as an added bonus, you may have a hefty tax-refund check in your bank account that will make affording any home repairs easier. The best part, is if you are planning on selling your own house – you can take care of the items on this list while the weather is favorable, so your house can be ready for the sale.

When thinking about your spring projects, there are some that should take top priority.  Focus on the items that are general maintenance or safety issues.  Once you’re good there, move on to weather preparation.  You know it’s going to rain and storm – why not prepare now?  I’ve put together a top 6 things you should be looking at this spring – It’s not an exhaustive list but should keep you busy in the weeks ahead.

1. Clean and repair gutters

When your gutters aren’t doing their job right, water will seep into the home’s walls and foundation,  making for costly repair bills.  Look around for areas where water will pool near the foundation and consider bringing in some dirt providing drainage for the area.  If you can do it yourself, it’s about a weekend worth of work.  If you need to pay a handyman, you’re looking at no more than $100 to $150 for an average home. Prevention in this case is MUCH cheaper than fixing the water damage from not thinking ahead.

2. Check the roof

Call in a professional and have a roof inspection done.  After a long winter, having an inspection prior to spring showers can ensure issues are caught early.  Broken shingles, poor calking or damaged flashing can be caught and fixed before moisture has a chance to get in. In addition, an inspection might reveal it’s time to replace the roof. For areas that get a lot of hail, impact-resistant roofing is an option and may even earn you a discount on home insurance.

If you’re afraid of the cost, checking it out won’t break the bank.  At a maximum, it may cost a couple hundred dollars for a check and minor repairs as long as you use a reputable company for the inspection, it’s well worth the cost.

3. Clean out vents

Have you ever cleaned your soffit vents?  Did you know they can get clogged with dust and other debris? Take a moment, climb up and blow them out with a small can of compressed air or a shop vacuum.  This little bit of effort will ensure your attic is properly ventilated and your heating and cooling is running at maximum efficiency.

4. Clean and service your air conditioner

Take your garden hose and clean and give your AC unit outside a good rinse down.  Get the dust and grime out of the air fins and call up a professional to service the system.  This small act will ensure it’s running efficiently when you need to kick it on when things get hot this summer. When you put your house on the market FSBO and have walkthroughs – you want your house to be just the right temperature and not have your potential buyers wondering why the air conditioner is laboring in the heat!

5) Calking and Weatherproofing

One of the most missed items on a house is making sure the caulking is in good condition around your doors and windows. This is a great task if you plan on selling your own house now – grab a good tube of calking, a ladder and a couple hours to go over every crack, joint and gap in your house. This is perfect for sealing up any spots where water or insects could take foothold.

6. Prepare for bad weather

Now is the time to brace yourself and your house for the storms coming in the months ahead. Proactive improvements now will have a significant impact on the amount of damage your home may sustain and  improve the safety of your family.  If you are in an area that has frequent damaging winds, you might consider installing a reinforced garage door or retrofitting an existing one.  Most people don’t realize that the garage door is one of your house’s weakest points.  In high winds, the garage door can come loose, blow it in and pressurize the interior of the home – potentially lifting the roof right off!

Other proactive measures you may consider include installing storm shutters in hurricane-prone areas and a generator in places where homes tend to lose electricity for stretches of time.  As you make these upgrades, make sure to ask your insurance company about any potential discounts.  Discounts vary state to state, but hey, the worst they can say is no!

Image: jthetzel
Hammer on the deck - why do it on your own?

Why do it on your own?

by SellingYourOwnHouseNow on January 4, 2012

As a homeowner, why should you do renovation work yourself? My answer – Why not?  if you’re familiar with tools, or even have a slight aptitude for building things, light do it yourself projects are a natural extension for your skills.  Most non-DIY’ers will tell you they just don’t know how – but in reality, it’s not skills they lack, it’s the confidence to know that they will do it right.  Your home is the biggest investment you will probably ever have – and depending on how you treat it, it can be an appreciating or depreciating asset!  There is a short article that highlights some great points about why you should do it on your own and talks to some great points:

It might be nice to employ an expert designer when you’ve got no time, however, if you are low on budget you can also ask you buddies to be sincere with you and get them to tell you what they really think of your place. Because of so many websites, there is almost no need to seek professional assistance. There are YouTube videos for pretty much everything, and webpages in abundance that may help you match up material styles. If you devote a few days or two for your project and you also enlist a couple of good friends to assist out (with the promise of beer) you can do it. And also you can make it a lot fun.

As they say, everyone has friends – friends have know how to get things done. Companies like Lowes and Home Depot would not be in business if there weren’t a millions of DIY consumers in the world.  What that means is at least one of your friends or family is an avid Do It Yourselfer.  Think about it, who is constantly working on their house, just renovated a bathroom or updated the lighting in their home?  Ask them, could they help out a bit – teach you what you need to know – even barter to exchange services?

Here’s an example.  I have a friend that is an excellent plumber.  He has been a plumber his entire life and has an awesome set of tools… for plumbing.  The issue is he wanted to install a click together laminate flooring.  Let me tell you, the tools needed for each job are pretty specific and he just didn’t feel confident that he would be successful installing an entire floor all by himself.  Knowing he wanted to do this, but what hesitant, I offered to come over and show him and his wife the technique, and to borrow my tools for the install.  He happily accepted and we began planning – all the while I explained all the details of what I was doing, why and how it was going to affect him and his success.  Needless to say, the floor was a success and with the new found confidence, we went to work on his bathroom (Tile, closet addition), Kitchen (cabinet renovation, new tile) and basement (complete overhaul).

The best part – labor = a couple pizzas

Most friends will work for nothing – just to see a job well done.  Most DIY’ers love to do it just for the experience – the issue is they don’t have the cash to do it all the time.  In this case, my friend funded the renovations and I supplied the experience.  It was a win – win.  In the end, my friend lived in the house another couple years, then was able to sell the house and make a VERY significant profit from the upgrades.  In my calculations, He was able to recoup over 250% or more because of the spend because there were no labor costs on the renovations.  That’s a heck of a return, and all it cost was some elbow grease and time.

So, to better answer the original question – As a homeowner, why should you do renovation work yourself?  The best reason is to save cash! There is a huge opportunity to save money when doing renovations yourself.  Even if you contract out heating and air (HVAC), plumbing or electrical, you will have saved potentially thousands of dollars in the tear out and rebuild.  Another significant opportunity is you gain confidence in yourself when doing these renovations.  Each one you do, you get better and better – and when it comes time to sell your home, you know it will be lucrative!

What types of renovations have you done? Have you seen success with DIY?  Tell us about it in the comments!

Image credit: thefixer
construction - how to mud drywall screws

How to Mud Drywall Screws Correctly

by SellingYourOwnHouseNow on January 2, 2012

With winter in full swing, although we have had record low snowfalls, it’s a perfect time for those interior projects and preparation to put your home up for a spring sale!  One question I get asked quite a bit about is “How do you fill the drywall screw holes so nicely?”  Any interior project that requires drywall, will require filling a couple screw holes, and that’s where Lee Wallender over at About.com  has us covered with his how to article on getting the perfect fill.

Filling these holes is a pretty small thing, but it’s something you do hundreds of times over in a sizable project.

So, if you’re stuck indoors for the Winter, hanging drywall in that basement or bedroom, I offer up my $0.02 on filling drywall screw holes.

So if working on drywall is in your future, brush up on your technique to ease your sanding burdon!

Image courtesy DVS

Design Help from an App

by SellingYourOwnHouseNow 6 comments
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Needing some design help as you renovate and stage for a sale?  Try looking to our new computer overlords for some assistance.  Applications for your iPhone or Android phone are getting more and more powerful, and helpful, when it comes … Continue reading

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New Years Resolutions for Your Home

by SellingYourOwnHouseNow 3 comments
Thumbnail image for New Years Resolutions for Your Home

We all set new years resolutions for ourselves, but what about our home?  Think about what home improvements you could be working on to get your home ready to sell. It’s not too surprising that the first item on your … Continue reading

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Save Time Painting, Skip the Tape

by SellingYourOwnHouseNow 2 comments

Preparation is key when painting the interior of a house, but did you know you can save a significant amount of time by bypassing the tape and just cutting in the corners with a brush?  Now when I say brush, … Continue reading

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An Easier Way to Update Cabinets?

by SellingYourOwnHouseNow 9 comments

Looking to update some kitchen or bathroom cabinets but don’t want to completely tear them out? I just stumbled onto this Rustoleum Transformations product while writing my eBook – looks like a great product, if anyone has used it, leave … Continue reading

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