We check permits on every house:
Category Archive: ‘Repairs/Improvements’
Are fixers out of the question?
Are you willing to pay a premium for a reno? How much extra?
The home-improvement videos on YouTube are causing more people to do their own repairs around the house – great! Personally, I like to stick to the minor fixes – let the pros help you with anything major.
Lowe’s is the most subscribed retailer on YouTube – this drywall repair video has over 668,000 views!
The trends change fast enough that older homes that have been remodeled previously can still benefit from an update:
Another rule-of-thumb on how much to spend on your house:
Maintaining a home, especially an older one, can be expensive—in fact, experts say homeowners should be prepared to spend roughly 1 percent of their home’s value every year on maintenance.
The good news is, you can save on maintenance by completing simple tasks yourself. According to the experts at Underwriters, Inc. these include:
- Cleaning the Gutters – To prevent costly damage to your home’s foundation, landscaping and siding, remove debris and leaves from the gutters at least twice a year. Don’t forget gloves and eye protection!
- Open Garage Doors Manually – Don’t call a garage technician the next time your power’s out—simply locate the (usually red) cord, suspended from the ceiling-mounted operator, in your garage, and pull it to disconnect the cord from the motor.
- Removing Stripped Screws – Avoid causing more damage when screws slip from a screwdriver. Place a rubber band or piece of steel wool over the screw and then try to remove it—if that method fails, use a screw extractor.
- Repairing a Leaky Faucet – Leaks can cost hundreds in wasted water. Before you call a plumber, try DIY-ing by shutting off the main water supply, removing the faucet’s knobs, and checking the washers, stems and O-rings for signs of damage. Take these pieces to the hardware store to find exact replacements.
- Stop a Running Toilet – Another plumber job you can do yourself! Remove the lid to the tank behind the toilet, and check the flush lever, rubber flapper, lift chain, float ball, pump and overflow tube. A running toilet usually requires just a simple adjustment or replacement to fix.
If you can master these essential homeowner skills, you’ll not only save money on maintenance, but also the expense of more costly fixes in the future.
Milgard gives a lifetime guarantee on their windows – here’s how it works:
Back in 2009, we ran the first post entitled, Home Maintenance Costs:
After discussing the need for home maintenance with several clients recently, I thought it would be a great time to review.
Every condo association in California is required to complete a Reserve Study so they are socking away enough money every month to repair and replace every item needed over time. Homeowners should do the same!
Examples of things that need regular repair/replacement: Air conditioning, appliances, BBQ, ducting, faucets, flooring, furnace, lighting, painting, roof, siding, sinks, toilets, windows, etc.
These are pure home repairs and replacements – they don’t include exterior maintenance or home improvements/upgrades/updating, which all matter too.
I came up with my own formula to estimate how much money homeowners should spend each year just on maintenance – try it out:
Age of home X square footage/15 = Annual spend
The 15 was derived from a reasonable number of years it will take to catch up on everything if you start today. You may want to re-start again in year 16!
My formula is unscientific, but it is close enough. Spend something!
Doing regular repairs will help you avoid multiple major expenses, and save you from needing a complete redo when it comes time to sell.
The joys of homeownership!
Every house needs house numbers. But not every house has to have boring house numbers. They’re easy to change and can make a place feel fresh and new when you find just the right ones.
We got the lowdown on the HERO program; here is more on solar leases:
Net metering is an agreement between the utility company and the residential or commercial customer. The property owner who generates excess solar energy can sell it back to the utility company for credit to be used later. Solar panels often produce more energy than the home needs during the sunny months. In the winter when cloud cover obscures more of the panels, owners’ net metering credits can be used to pay down their winter utility bills.
When net metering is not an option, property owners are less likely to be interested in buying or leasing a solar system, as this instinctual savings incentive is lost.
The good news for solar in California: net metering continues, and SolarCity is optimistic about potential for even more tax credit growth in the state.
Going solar requires long-term planning. On average, it takes a homeowner 20 years to pay off the full cost of a solar system. Leasing solar panels eliminates the investment, but it still requires a similar, lengthy commitment.
What happens if the homeowner sells before the 20 years are up? There are three options:
- The seller may transfer the solar lease to their new home if it is in the same territory, for a cost.
- The seller may purchase the solar panels outright and include the cost in the home’s sale price, if they find a willing buyer.
- The buyer may assume the solar lease.
Since the solar lease is a contract, interested homeowners may be concerned that signing a solar lease will place a lien on the property. However, the lien is on the solar fixture — not the property. Therefore, if the homeowner stops paying for solar service, the leasing company’s sole recourse is to reclaim the solar system, not foreclose on the property.
On the other hand, taking out a mortgage to pay for the purchase of a solar system does create an additional lien on the property.
Another reason long-term planning is necessary before signing a solar agreement is the possibility of roof maintenance. That is, if the homeowner’s roof needs repairing, they will need to pay to have the panels moved before work can begin on the roof. Therefore, installing panels on a roof that will need maintenance in a few years is not wise.
However, the long-term investment does pay off, though it can take several years. The energy savings can be significant, especially for Southern California homeowners who receive the most sun. The average solar lease savings after the cost of renting the solar panels is a 15% reduction on monthly utility costs. Purchasing solar panels may provide bigger savings, but they won’t be realized until the system is paid off.
Read more about the details of solar leases here.
Read about prepaid solar leases here.
For a critical list of issues homeowners are to consider before signing a solar lease, click here.
This film is a public service to help participants learn the basics – because you will come across these HERO loans when buying and selling. Renovate America has been approved by 350 municipalities in California, and have every intention of expanding throughout the country – they have 600 employees!
They have the potential of becoming the Zillow of the home improvement sector – they think big. They have already implemented several customer-care benefits like monitoring the contractors – who don’t get paid until the consumer signs off – and providing contractor-dispute resolution whether the company is involved or not.
Loans are based on the homeowner having at least 10% equity based on a recent appraisal, or values from four AVMs (no income-qualifying required). The loans are sold on Wall Street as HERO bonds.
Here is an introduction: