Posted by WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briarwood Real Estate on 11/6/2019

Photo by F. Muhammad via Pixabay

Each year, flooding causes more than eight billion dollars in damages to homes in the United States. Despite that, many affected homeowners go on to sell their houses so that they can relocate. When your home has damage from a tropical storm, heavy rains, or rising water from a hurricane, here are ways to help your home retain its value.

The crucial first 48 hours

Do your best to minimize the damage. If you know flooding is possible, use sandbags around the foundation, board up windows, fill in crevices around vents and pipes with expandable waterproof insulation. After damage occurs, in the first two days, it is essential that you go through this checklist as quickly and thoroughly as you can.

  • Protect yourself. Flood water often has contaminants and dangerous materials, mold and bacteria. If your flooding includes back-up sewerage, this is especially crucial. Wear industrial-quality gloves, rubber boots, masks, and other protective gear.
  • Make lists of the damage. Walk around your home and write down everything that is affected by the water. Separate the list by those items attached to your home and those that are separate such as furnishings and personal belongings. These could be very long lists, so write down everything.
  • Take photos of all the damage with your smartphone or digital camera. Capture images of the walls, floors, cabinets, outlets, doors, windows, and ceiling if water leaked in from above — document everything.
  • Contact your insurance company. They will send out a catastrophic storm damage adjuster to assess the damages. Even if FEMA may cover the costs, ask your insurance adjuster to document everything as well. Compare their list to yours to make sure nothing is left off. Your insurance company may be able to help you restore and repair much of the damage. Professionally mitigated and restored damage makes a tremendous difference when you go to sell your home.
  • Once you've documented everything, remove anything that retains moisture from the house. These include carpet and padding, fabric, bedding, furniture, clothing, drywall, and insulation. Doing so lowers the opportunity for mold to take hold in the house. It only takes mold 48 hours to begin germinating, so time is of the essence.
  • Rent a dehumidifier to dry out your home. If your HVAC system is unaffected, run the air (heat or cold depending on outdoor temperatures) to help dry things out, too.
  • Using a utility knife, cut away and discard any damaged or wet drywall or wallboard and any damp insulation behind it. Spray the remaining walls and the framing of the damaged walls with a solution of nine-parts water with one-part bleach.

Repair or Sell "As-Is."

Make all repairs that your insurance or FEMA covers. If other repairs remain, you might decide to fix them yourself or sell your home just as it is. If you completely restore your home, it likely will sell for more. But if the return on your investment isn't high enough, you may end up losing out in the long run. Here is where you need the advice of a professional. Your real estate agent can help you determine which items to repair and which won't give you any return. Remember, though, that if your relocation is time-sensitive, whatever sells quicker can save you in the long run.




Tags: storm   flooding   damage  
Categories: home repair   home selling  


Posted by WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briarwood Real Estate on 6/24/2019

These days, homeowners are very busy renovating and improving their property, according to a HomeAdvisor survey. The homeowners who participated in that survey admitted they had spent an average of over $6,600 on repairs and improvements in 2018, and almost 50 percent of these homeowners were thinking about doing more renovations.

What is driving all this home improvement? Part of the reason is that a lot of potential buyers are buying places that need work as home prices are becoming so high. So, many people are remodeling rather than moving when they want more or better space.

Home renovations are a serious project. Many individuals renovate to update and upgrade their homes as well as increase property values. There are many ways you can pay for home repairs. Below you will find the three smartest ways to cover those costs.

1. Saved-up Cash

This option can be effective if you have a separate emergency fund saved and can save what you need before renovations become critical.

If you had saved up enough cash, you probably would not be reading this post as you are here to know how you finance your home repairs with your available funds! But still, the best way to pay for a home renovation is with the cash you've saved over the years so that you can keep your total debt at the lowest level. 

Of course, your patience can wear down when you see your core rooms like the kitchen and the bathroom going down the drain. You know waiting until you have cash is not realistic at all as you should not delay critical repairs for a long time. If you neglect a leaky roof, it might turn into a bigger and more expensive problem.

However, if you are not sure how critical a repair is, especially for something like the roof or anything structural, consult a real estate professional such as a licensed a home inspector.

2. Home Improvement Loan

If you do not have enough cash in your savings to fund your renovation project, there is still hope; you can get a personal home improvement loan. This option allows you to secure loan money without putting your house at risk. If you go for an unsecured personal loan, you will probably get more than you can on a credit card. 

However, pay attention: it is more sustainable not to borrow more than you need for your repairs. No matter how much you borrow, make absolutely sure that you know the amount of your overall monthly payments.

3. Home Equity Line of Credit

Using home equity is a viable option if you have at least 20 percent equity in your home and do not need over $25,000 as well as want to make a series of smaller home improvements.

The HELOC or home equity line of credit works in the same way as a credit card. You do not have to borrow and pay interest on the complete sum all at once. Instead, you borrow and pay as you go. With this arrangement, this option makes a HELOC an excellent choice for not-too-large renovations or a series of small home improvements.

Wrapping Up…Home repairs and renovations can be expensive to handle, but there are many ways to pay for them. So, you should plan your budget before embarking on a home renovation project as the cost of most repair works can increase considerably.





Posted by WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briarwood Real Estate on 1/28/2019

If you've lived in your home for very long, you know that lots of places collect dust, lint, grime, hair, fuzz and, well, gunk. Often, we become so busy in our daily lives that we neglect to remove the gunk until it causes a significant problem such as a clogged drain or even a fire in the dryer vent.

So, what to do? Get out the gunk, of course.

Put your gunk patrol on a schedule. Once every month, or more often if needed, check these areas and remove any debris built up there that can cause expensive calls to a plumber, electrician, or the fire department.

  • Vanity drains: In the bathrooms, the vanity drain collects hair, fuzz, slivers of soap and other junk that causes clogs. To clear the plug area, push the plunger in as far as it goes, reach into the drain area with tweezers and pull out any hair and slimy gunk hiding in there. New quick-release plugs with removable baskets make this job a snap. If the drain already has a clog, turn off the water access under the sink. Then gently remove the trap—the curved piece of pipe—to see if you can locate the clog there. If the trap is stuck, you’ll want to call in a plumbing professional.
  • Shower and tub drains: Similar to vanities, these drains clog with hair and other debris that washes down. Pull what you can from the upper side. If your shower grate has removable screws, you can loosen them and lift it off to access any clog. Tubs are more difficult because you cannot access the drain or the trap, so you may need to call a plumber for a plugged tub. To protect against this problem, place a hair screen (available at hardware stores) over the drain and clean it out daily.
  • Dryer lint hose: In the same way that lint builds up in the dryer lint trap, it also collects in the hose leading to the outside vent. Often, dryer hoses become kinked when pushing the dryer into place, so carefully pull out the unit and carefully unhook the hose from both the dryer side and the wall. Carry the hose outside and shake it out over a trash bin. Look through the hose to make sure you've removed all the collected lint. If necessary, use a bent wire coat hanger or broom handle to remove any lint you can't reach. Carefully replace the hose, making sure the clips are in place, and the hose remains un-kinked when you push back the dryer. Remember, built up lint causes more than just an inefficient dryer, it can also cause house fires.

Just a few moments each month can save a homeowner from tons of costly repairs. If you'd prefer to hire someone to take care of servicing these items for you, reach out to your real estate professional for a referral.




Categories: homeowner   maintenance   home repair  


Posted by WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briarwood Real Estate on 10/9/2018

f you are on the fence about buying a fixer-upper house, you may be wondering if it’s as affordable as you think it might be. Depending upon what needs to be done in the house and how extensive the projects are, you may be in over your head buying this type of home. Here’s a few things that you should consider before you buy a fixer-upper:


Can You Do Any Of The Work Yourself?


If you watch any television remodeling show, you think that remodeling can be done in an hour. They make it look so easy! Too bad it isn't like that in real life. If you attempt a job, and it takes longer than it normally would, that can set you back on dollars. Even worse, if you can’t complete the job yourself, you may need to hire someone to finish it, which will cause you to incur unexpected costs. Ask yourself the following questions before you decide to undertake your own home improvement projects in a fixer-upper home:


  • Do You Have The skills? 
  • Do you have the time to complete the job? 
  • Will doing the repairs stress you out? 
  • will you be happy if the results are less than professional? 
  • Do you actually want to do the job yourself? 


Before You Make An Offer, Price Out Repairs


Before you even make an offer on a fixer-upper home, make sure that you find contractors and price out the repairs that the home will need. If you do decide to do the work yourself, make sure that you price out the supplies that you’ll need. No matter what you decide to do for your repairs, you should add an additional 10-20% on to the estimated costs for other unforeseen problems.   


Don’t Forget About Permits


You’ll need to check out the permit costs for any and all repairs. Doing work without a permit may save you money, but it could cause problems once you try to resell your home. Contractors can arrange the permits for you. Getting these permits can be a time consuming matter and frustrating at times, so be prepared to go through some paperwork when you start the repair process. 


Understand The Cost Of Major Structural Work


If the home needs major structural work, it’s a good idea to hire a structural engineer for a few hundred dollars in order to inspect the home before you even put in an offer. This way, you can be confident that you have everything budgeted properly and understand the full extent of the problems. 


Generally, it’s not a great idea to purchase a home that needs major structural work unless you fall into the following categories:


  • You’re getting a great discount
  • You understand all of the problems that you’re facing in the home
  • You know for sure that the problem can be fixed
  • You have an estimate for the repairs
  • You know how you’re financing the repairs
  • You have the budget to complete all of the repairs. 


There’s a lot to consider when you’re buying a home that needs significant repairs. It can be a great bargain if you have the budget and the will to complete the projects at hand. Just know what you’re getting into when you buy a fixer-upper home!   





Posted by WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briarwood Real Estate on 10/25/2017

A home repair checklist can make a world of difference for any home seller, at any time. With this checklist in hand, a home seller can prioritize assorted home repairs. Plus, a home repair checklist helps ensure that a seller can enhance his or her house before adding it to the real estate market.

Ultimately, there are several items to include in a home repair checklist, such as:

1. Inspecting and Repairing the Roof

If you notice damaged, loose or missing roof shingles, you'll want to repair or replace these shingles immediately. That way, you can improve your home's roof – something that may make your house more attractive than others to dozens of potential buyers.

Remember, many homebuyers don't want to deal with the hassle of roof repairs. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to repair your roof today, you can include details about your upgraded roof in your home listing. Thus, roof repairs may help you increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

When it comes to roof repairs, it often pays to hire professionals. Reach out to local roof repair companies, and you should have no trouble upgrading your house's roof.

2. Sealing Cracks and Gaps in Windows and Doors

Cracks and gaps in windows and doors can cause warm or cold air to leak outside a house. As a result, these problems can drive up a homeowner's monthly heating and cooling bills.

Fortunately, sealing cracks and gaps in windows and doors can be quick and easy. In most instances, caulk or weather stripping can help minimize these issues. Or, you can always reach out to local contractors for professional assistance as well.

3. Power-Washing Windows and Siding

Your home's curb appeal can have a significant impact on how quickly your residence sells. If you power-wash your residence's windows and siding, you can instantly boost your home's curb appeal and help your residence stand out to potential buyers.

Oftentimes, you can rent a power-washer from a home improvement store. You also may choose to buy a power-washer; by doing so, you can use your power-washer both now and in the future.

A home repair checklist is a must-have for home sellers, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. If you need extra help determining which home repairs to complete prior to listing your residence, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent too.

By hiring a real estate agent, you can receive expert guidance throughout the home selling journey. A real estate agent can put you in touch with the best local contractors to help you finish myriad home repairs. In addition, a real estate agent will help you promote your residence to the right groups of buyers and ensure that you can generate substantial interest in your house.

Ready to sell your house? Include the aforementioned items in your home repair checklist, and you can upgrade your residence in no time at all.