Thursday, December 19, 2013

Upgrades vs. Maintenance: A Continual Showdown

For many years now there's been a constant banging of the drum of what equates Maintenance/Upgrades.  Some of the time its subjective, some of the time its objective, and the other third is completely off the wall.  We see sellers many times try to get buyers to pay for everything that they've done to get the house in selling shape.  But its not going to work that way when the activities that were engaged in were maintenance of the house to keep it in working order.

Let's go with a few quick examples that make sense (hopefully):
Repairing or Replacing the home's roof.  This is wear and tear.  Loose shingles, storm damage, water leakage...This is basic maintenance.  If the seller decided not to sell, they would still have to make the repairs to keep the house running.

Lawn care & exterior house cleanliness.  This is another maintenance issue. Keeping landscaping looking nice, weeding, making sure the grass is cut below a certain level (prevent rodents & snakes from hiding in and attacking passerbys).  Trash being kept out of sight when its not collection day.  Any other items which may need to be stored and not flowing over the yard (tools, projects, escaped items from trash).  Its all maintenance to keep the house looking good, and also in this case sometimes within city limits you can be fined for an untidy yard.  No one wants to walk next to five foot grass which holds surprises.

Now the flip side:  Appliances, CounterTops, and Remodeling are just a few examples of Upgrades.  Appliances can be upgrades to more energy efficient and high quality stainless steel models instead of the old plastic energy hogging devices.  Changing from the old style of 50's & 60's countertops to something definite and substantial such as granite is a major upgrade that works well with new kitchen cabinets for that extra storage which everyone seems to need.  Remodeling.  Remodeling can really be an upgrade if done correctly.  Completely redoing a bathroom making it a full bath from a 3/4 bath and having nice double vanity and whirlpool tub.  Bringing new quality landscaping to a bland yard with no excitement.  Adding an entertaining deck to the patio can be included if done right.  These are just a fraction of upgrades that can be done.  But the main point here is that Upgrades are only Upgrades if the work has been done with quality in mind, and not haphazardly.  This subpar work leads buyers to know they'll either have to do serious maintenance upkeep or scrap and redo all over again with the knowledge it'll cost them extra.

Whether the Upgrades you do to your home bring any value with it is another story completely...and we'll save that for another day.

Today's Tidbit:  Everyone have a Merry Christmas, and be safe out there.  We know the driving tends to be a bit hectic.

Huntsville Metro Area Homes

Friday, December 6, 2013

Its Raining, Take the Time...

As we know its going to be raining for a while so we thought to send out a note on taking the time to look for water damage inside the house.

When its raining is the perfect opportunity to check for wet spots, or previous ceiling damage from water leakage through the roof.  Normally when ceiling damage happens such as the pictures below, there are two major causes.  (Roof experts can probably get more in depth and explain additional causes). One cause can be of moved, damaged, or torn/blown off roof shingling allowing for easy access for the rainwater to make its way inside.  Another cause can be of damaged, torn off, or rotted fascia on the side just underneath the roofing area. Moisture can flow in or rainwater can be blown in by winds into this area.  Any rain damage you have has a possibility of turning into mold, so it is recommended that you keep an eye on the damaged area and fix the problem if able to do so.  Minor water damage is less painful than mold infestation.

Another aspect of rain damage is the damage it can do to wood flooring.  Now everyone would love to have wonderful wood flooring such as the picture below shows.

However, once the rain settles in or a large amount of moisture (humidity) comes in and is captured, the wood will begin to swell and warp.  While not easily noticeable at first, the damage very quickly becomes evident.  Buckling and warping are the effects of the wood flooring swelling with moisture; In some cases depending on if a house has been vacant and uncared for, the wood flooring can go through a cycle of drying out and releasing the water into a very dry atmosphere and when the surrounding area is humid again the wood recaptures the moisture.  If any of this happens and you manage to capture it early, seek the assistance of a professional to see if you can minor repairs to the affected area.

Today's Tidbit: Take the time to look around.  You'll never know what you'll see when its raining.  Sometimes you might see that hidden damage, and it could save your pocketbook in the long run especially if you plan on putting your house up for sale.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Choosing the Right Water Heater for You, Helpful Information to Know

Every once in a while, the most trustworthy of home essentials goes bad.  Either through the product reaching the end of its life or a problem/accident.  The end result is still the same, the search for a replacement.  So in this post, we decided to break down this large volume of information and try to give quick bites of info about one of the true essentials of the modern home: A Water Heater.

A water heater in its easiest explanation is something that we overlook everyday.  We know water comes out of the faucet and when we want, it comes out hot.  But the trusty water heater is behind it all.  It heats the water for kitchen sinks, washing machine, mudroom sink, bathroom sinks, showers, etc.  It is the standard when we need gallons of water heated quickly.  But take it away and we're left with just plain, cold water.

Let's dig a little deeper into water heaters and see what they offer, you might be surprised.

There are three major determining factors of the Water Heater: Fuel, Water Storage, and Space.

There are several different types of fuel that water heaters use but the two Main ones are electric and gas. (Gas being either Liquid Propane or Natural Gas).  Electric Water Heaters have a large variety of gallon sizes for homes, have options for high efficiency, are the least expensive, and uses heating elements to heat the water.  Gas Water Heaters are more energy efficient than Electric Water Heaters, but are more expensive, and uses a burner to heat the water (storage nearby around the water heater can be a fire hazard), and there are less options for size availability than Electric.

Water Storage:
This next part is where it can get tricky and throw people for a loop.  You can either have tank water heaters or tankless.  Tank water heaters physically hold the water as it heats, (whereby you can actually see a 50 gallon water heater) and the tankless heats the water as it passes through the heating coils and does not physically hold the water.  However, for tankless water heaters it is very important to know your flow rate.  Your flow rate may have an impact on the tankless water heater you get.  For either Tank or Tankless the amount of people living in the house and the number of bathrooms is a good indicator for the Gallon Size Tank or Gallons/Minute Outflow Rate that the home might need.

This is where you determine the location of where the water heater will be placed.  Sometimes it can be placed in the exact spot as the old one, sometimes another spot is preferred when the size of the water heater is changed.  Before you choose which water heater you will have, remember to measure the area in which you want the heater to go.  This measurement will go along way to not having problems later on in terms of fitting the new water heater in. In some areas, the tall tank water heaters will not fit and can be substituted for large width low water heaters, and still hold the same amount of water.

Remember we recommend any installation and change over into a new water heater or major appliance to be done by a professional so they can fix any problems that occur on the spot and well as have it done correctly the first time.

Today's Tidbit:  Yes, we know that Water Heaters don't really pop into one's mind (only when buying a new home) but its still useful information that we gladly pass on to help those who are in the quandary of information overload when going through looking for a new Water Heater.

Huntsville Metro Area Homes