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Home Repair Issues and How to Spot Them

Home Repair Issues and How to Spot Them

For the senior citizens among us, their home is their largest single asset and a source of pride. In many cases, the home is paid off (despite the housing disaster of the past few years, 1 in 3 homes in the United States are owned free and clear, mostly by the elderly). As the homeowner ages, the odds of the home having deferred maintenance tends to increase. The little things don’t get done, or don’t get done timely.

Unfortunately, there are many scam artists out there who are only too happy to help out seniors with their deferred maintenance problems. These scammers can either work off the books for cash, or for larger jobs, attach a lien against the property, ensuring an eventual payout. In this article, we look at the more common home repair scams.

The most common are roofing or driveway scams. These work as follows. There’s a knock at the door, and the scammer explains they were “in the neighborhood” and need work, and noticed that the home in question needs roofing or driveway work. Since they need the work right now, the senior is told that the work is available for a few hundred dollars. Sensing a would-be bargain, the senior agrees. Some work is done, and its’ time for payment. Suddenly, threats and intimidation are used to drive up the cost from the few hundred quoted to thousands of dollars. Fearful and intimidated, the senior hands over the money or writes a check.

Remedy: Don’t hire a home repair company that just knocks on your door. Get an estimate in writing, and pay only written amount agreed to. If the worker becomes belligerent or intimidating, call the police.

Related to this scam is the “asphalt paving scam” that works as follows. A pickup truck of asphalt or other building materials cruises the street. If they see a house that looks like it needs repair, or if there is someone out front, the truck occupants explain that they were working nearby and have some materials left over from the job. Since you need some work done, and there are materials left over, let’s make a deal. After the work is completed, the homeowner learns that the work is half done, or poorly done, and the price paid is much too high.

Remedy: Legitimate companies don’t prowl the streets with pickup truck loads of building materials. Avoid anybody that offers to work for you to dispose of surplus building material.

Finally, many seniors fall for the roof repair scam. In this scam, the scammer knocks on the door of the senior and explains that they had installed/repaired the roof some years earlier, and they were back in the neighborhood to do the required upkeep and repairs. When there’s resistance from the senior, the excuses keep coming until the scammer gets a check. If any work is done, it is superficial repairs that most likely were not needed anyway.

Remedy: most roofing companies do a terrible job following up on past customers, so the odds are long you will be contacted by them in the first place. Second, sending somebody door to door is time consuming and expensive. If somebody comes to your door to do repair work unsolicited, call the police or slam the door in their face.…

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Discover The Secrets To Having Great Curb Appeal For Your Home

Discover The Secrets To Having Great Curb Appeal For Your Home

Even if you have just moved into your home and presently have no intention of selling it, maintaining the curb appeal of your home is very important. Read this to find out why it’s so important and ways to ensure that your home scores high. Let’s start at the beginning.

What is curb appeal? When people drive by your home what is their impression? You can tell when a homeowner focuses on curb appeal – the home looks well maintained, both the home itself and the grounds surrounding the home. When a home looks uncared for there are tell-tale signs. For example, signs of neglect may include chipping paint, a gutter along the front of the house that has become detached and is hanging, overgrown bushes, or overflowing garbage cans in the front near the garage. You may have moved into a home that suffers from these problems, but the sooner you fix them the better. Let me explain why.

Why is curb appeal important? The average time that a homeowner owns a home is 5 to 7 years, so it’s likely at some point in the future that you will be selling your home. If your home always looks unloved with the lawn not cut, the front door looking shabby, or screens missing people will take note. Their impression will probably be ‘if this is how the homeowner cares for the outside of the home, then what is the condition inside the home? ‘ They’ll never know for sure, but they will wonder.

When and if you do decide to sell your home and put the ‘for sale’ sign out front, wouldn’t it be great if people who have driven by your home all those years were excited. It may be that your home has been their dream home, the one they always felt they’d love to move into if it comes up for sale. Maybe they know someone who’d like to move in.

On the other hand, a home that has been uncared for over many years and all of a sudden has been “fixed up” to sell just doesn’t create the same excitement to a passerby. If you keep your home well maintained all along you’ll be spending less money to get it ready for sale. This is true because it is much more cost effective to take care of things that need fixing when they are small problems, rather than letting them become big problems.

What can be done to have great curb appeal? Here’s the principal behind great curb appeal for your home. At least twice a year, perhaps in the spring and fall, take a walk around the exterior of your home and complete a checklist of anything that needs attention. Items to assess include the condition of paint, doors, windows, roof, walkways, and landscaping.

Then prioritize your list, with any structural items going to the top of the list. These structural items are the things that will cost more to fix as they get worse, so take care of them sooner rather than later. As you conduct this twice a year inspection, take a critical view of your home as someone driving by might do. You’ll find that some of the things will cost little or nothing to address, you may just not have thought about them. For example, finding a place for your garbage cans so that they are not visible in the front of the house may be as simple as moving them to the back, or may require installing a small fence to shield them from view.…

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How to Enhance Your Home With Good Home Repairs – Do It Yourself Information

How to Enhance Your Home With Good Home Repairs – Do It Yourself Information

Home repair do it yourself information can save you money every year, and it can also provide you with a very deep sense of satisfaction as you improve your abilities. You can extend the life of the fixtures and fittings in your home, and save both time and money on expensive replacements. Having do it yourself home repair skills also lets you alter the appearance of items, allowing you to create a properly color coordinated and matching set of items in your home.

These skills can also pay off handsomely if you ever decide to sell your home. There is no doubt that one of the greatest influences on the sale price of a home is the standard of the fixtures and fittings, especially those in the kitchen and bathroom. It is not that the new owners could not make the necessary changes, it is just that the richest section of the home buying market just wants to move in with everything already in place. They are often prepared to pay a premium for this.

In theory, every item in your home can be maintained using DIY home repair. The only exception to this is gas appliances, which need to be serviced by someone with the right qualifications. Although there is nothing to stop you from completing the training courses and obtaining these qualifications, it is rather an extreme step to take just to be able to service your own gas furnace. Unless you have an ambition to take up a career in gas servicing, it will be best to leave this to a qualified professional.

Electrical appliances are a different matter, and anyone determined enough can find out how to carry out repairs. The problems come with the fact that so many modern appliances are made very cheaply, and made to be discarded when they stop working. Often, the replacement parts are not even available. In this situation, there really is nothing you can do but replace the item as the manufacturer intended. If you buy a better quality product, there is a better chance that you will be able to repair it.

Maintaining your furniture, and kitchen and bathroom fittings, can be the most rewarding aspect of DIY home repair, and also the most profitable. If you can prevent wear and tear to kitchen units with good maintenance, you can avoid having to replace the units when you come to sell the property. This can save you a lot of time and money. Extending the life of well made kitchen cabinets is easily possible, and it all starts with proper cleaning. If you can prevent grease from building up, you can keep the cabinets in good condition. They can also be easily resurfaced if you are adept at home repair do it yourself.…

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Avoid the Effects of That Worst Storm With a Moisture Absorbent

Avoid the Effects of That Worst Storm With a Moisture Absorbent

While we need a certain amount of moisture in the air just to survive, we need to pay particular attention to excess amounts as they can lead to all kinds of problems in the home. If you live in a certain type of environment, excess moisture can be a seasonal issue and can lead to hefty mold accumulation in your home if you’re not careful. There are certain steps you can take and the use of a moisture absorbent is a good solution.

It would be nice to maintain a perfect humidity within your house without much worry. The truth is that most of us live in a climate where we are constantly trying to manipulate the inside conditions so that we can live a comfortable life. We don’t want to be too dry and we certainly don’t want it to be too moist, it’s a never-ending battle.

Your home is under constant attack from the elements. Over the years we have become quite good at sealing our homes, but the temperature differences and humidity variations between inside and out are sometimes extreme. If moisture builds up, especially in certain rooms, you will need the moisture absorbent to soak up the worst. Your basement or garage can be particularly vulnerable.

By using a water absorbent sock, sometimes known by the name “hurricane sock,” you can help combat dampness, mildew and mold. Homeowners in Florida know how effective these products are at keeping out the worst that can be thrown at them by tropical cyclones.

The moisture absorbent sock will soak up to a gallon of water at a time. If you find that water is coming underneath the door during a major storm, or that moisture is building up on the inside of windows at a certain time of year, then this product can come to your rescue. These are economical and tough products that can be reused again and again. When conditions have improved, the products can be air dried and will be as good as new.

It’s a good idea for a homeowner to have a stock of moisture absorbent products. Not only will you be able to use them during unexpected weather conditions, but you could place them around washing machines, water heaters or other appliances that could leak. It’s much easier to deal in this way then have to mess around with rolled up towels, mops or buckets or constantly have to check to see what is happening.

Conforming to any surface, the moisture absorbent hurricane sock is made from a great, tubular nylon material. Within, super absorbent polypropylene does it’s job for you and these products have been proven time and again when the heat is on.

If you have to deal with a major flooding event, very little can help you unfortunately. However, with wind driven rain water, a moisture absorbent product can provide a good line of defense. In an ongoing situation, you can simply wring them out and put them back in place if needed!…

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Do You Have Water Damage to Your Ceiling?

Do You Have Water Damage to Your Ceiling?

Water damage ceiling repairs are not uncommon, but they may present problems beyond the expectations of most homeowners. If you are faced with the need to repair water damage to a ceiling, be aware that you could be encountering a major project!

In the 1950’s 1960’s housing contractors discovered that they could save themselves large amounts of money by spraying what is commonly called popcorn texture onto ceilings rather than pay skilled workmen to provide a smooth finish on the ceilings of living areas. For some reason, people came to view this abomination (in my opinion)as acceptable, and even desirable.

During the 1970’s, as the dangers presented by asbestos became evident, many varieties of spray on ceiling finishes came under scrutiny and were discovered to contain dangerous levels of asbestos. Although the use of asbestos was discontinued in the manufacture of spray on ceiling textures, there remain many thousands of popcorn textured ceilings in homes throughout the country.

Spray on textured ceilings containing asbestos generally pose no threat to health, provided that they remain solid and intact. However, in a case in which there is ceiling water damage, the risk is considerable.

The primary method to remove asbestos material involves giving it a thorough soaking with water, which is precisely the situation in the case of ceiling water damage. This loosens the bond between the asbestos fibers themselves and the underlying material. If you experience water damage to a textured ceiling and you aren’t positive it was manufactured and installed after 1980, you are facing a risk of asbestos exposure, as the loosened fibers can become dislodged and infest the air you breathe.

If you face such a situation, the first thing to do is to collect samples of the materials from the affected area. This should be done as if you were certain that the samples are positive for asbestos! There are any number of testing facilities on the internet and the Yellow Pages which will test the samples, generally for about $30, with a discount for multiple samples.

These testing labs provide very detailed instructions for the collection of samples, which must be followed to the letter if you wish to prevent danger to yourself and your family.

If your samples test positive for asbestos, you can hire a contractor certified to perform asbestos removal (hiring any contractor not so certified to remove asbestos is illegal), or you can do it yourself, assuming all the attendant risks.

Before undertaking such a task, one would do well to thoroughly investigate the enormity of the undertaking. It’s not for the faint of heart, but there are detailed instructions to be found on the internet.

For my part, if I were considering buying a property containing textured ceilings, I would insist upon testing and professional certification that none of the materials contain asbestos before proceeding. The risks and cost associated with asbestos containing materials are exorbitant, and besides, many people today find that popcorn ceilings are not the most attractive of options available..…