Waterproofing Your Foundation? What Is The Right Choice?

Brian Morris

by: Dagmar Rakos

What is foundation waterproofing?

Waterproofing is Protecting your property foundation – be it residential or commercial – from cracks due to natural processes such as water damage, thermal movement, shrinking, settlement and other causes.

Think of foundation waterproofing as a long term solution for protection of your property.

Did you know that 44% of new homes have leaking basements without 3 years of completion? And the warranty on dry basement on a new home in USA and Canada is only 1 or 2 years?

Think of what can happen if you don’t pay attention to properly seal your house foundation.

It not only causes countless damage to your property it also decreases value of your house, costs money to repair, wastes time, not to mention various health and life hazards.

So what is the Solution to this problem?

Waterproof your property the right way as you build it!

There are many products on the market and it is difficult to choose at times, but not all are the same quality.

The easiest, simplest and smartest way is to apply rubberized liquid membrane. Liquid rubber membranes are elastomeric polymerized coatings made from liquid rubber – the same quality tough material your car tires are made from.

Advantages: They are easiest to apply, quick to dry, cold applied. You can do it by yourself, by using sprayer, roller or trowel. The liquid cures into an elastic rubber coating on the wall, able to fill up eventual cracks in foundation wall because of its flexibility. They also come with a long warranty and are very cost effective.

If you want the best ones you should aim at the ones which are environmentally friendly, non-toxic, non-flammable, also VOC compliant, offer superior vapor and water barrier protection, and no priming is required before installation.

Disadvantages: Possibility of inconsistency in coverage, but the newest liquid rubber foundation waterproofing membranes will help you to determine the “right” thickness by intensity of color f.e. the Gray Coat All Seasons Formula from Aquasealusa.com blends in with the concrete foundation, so over-spraying is no longer a problem, making it much easier for the applicator to apply.

There are of course other products on the market like sheet membranes, cementitous waterproofing, hot tar or bentonite, but they either don’t offer such a long warranty, are labor intensive or low quality, or you have to use company employees/certified technicians who are the only ones allowed to apply their product which will cost extra money.

Basically it comes what your needs are and how much money your are willing to invest to protect your property properly.

What seems to be cheaper at the beginning can be Very costly later on if you don’t do it right the first time.

© Dagmar Rakos
Waterproofing-foundation-guaranteed.com

About The Author

Dagmar Rakos is the site Administrator for Waterproofing-Foundation-guaranteed.com

Highly effective, easy to apply foundation, basement and specialty waterproofing products for ICF and standard construction. For home builders and waterproofing contractors.

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Ways To Heat Your Water

Brian Morris

by: John Thomson

Water heating options

Where you live, as well as the life style you lead, the number of people in your household, and where you’ll put the water heating system, you’ll need to factor these realities in if you’re going to purchase a new hot water system, or getting a back up system.

Having this basic information at hand, will ensure you’ll get hot water every day of the year, when you want and however much you need – at the best cost possible. This will also help you decide, if you should stick to the traditional water heating system you’ve used or if you’ll step out of the box and try an alternate water heating system.

Here’s a short list of the different water heating systems, available today

Electric hot water tank

This system uses heating elements that are located at the topmost and bottom parts of your tank. Because they don’t need vents, you can install or put them wherever you feel is the best location. For example in Canada many R-2000 energy saving homes have this water heating system.

Induced draft gas hot water tanks

This heating system has a fan that’s found at the top of the tank itself. What the fan does is to induce movement of the combustion gases to go through a sealed plastic pipe and then out the sidewall of the house. You’ll find that a lot of these units use combustion and dilution air found inside the house. However, due to the combustion gas exhaust fan pressure; you won’t have to worry about the backdrafting combustion gas spillage. You’ll need to buy a condensing furnace that works well with this kind of heating system.

Natural draft gas hot water tanks

These are inexpensive units, which come with a naturally aspirating burner and draft hood, which is connected to a vertical chimney vent. However, this particular equipment more prone is more subject to combustion gas spillage compared to the other models mentioned, here, so you’ll need to make sure you have a furnace that works well with this equipment. Another factor you’ll need to think about is, if you live in an highly energy efficient home. These homes experience a higher degree of air tightness, so it’s not advisable to install a unit of this kind.

Direct vent gas hot water tanks

As stated a direct vent or sealed combustion water carries combustion air in from the outside, while venting the combustion gases out through a single concentric pipe. As there is no interconnection between the burner and house air, they are spillage resistant and work very well in the more closely sealed Homes.

Tankless water heater

You could purchase an instantaneous water heater or tankless water heater, which as its name indicates provides hot water, without the aid of storage tank. You can choose either a gas or electricity driven unit. In tankless water heaters, temperate water runs through a pipe into the unit, and then either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water.

Solar Units

Or you could try a solar powered heating water system. Solar heaters derive their power from the sun’s energy, and channel the heat to water.

You can purchase a reliable solar heater and use this as your main source for heating water. Or you can decide to use this unit as the back up system. If so, then select a solar heater, which allows you to be the back up for either electric or gas water heater.

Take your time to do research on this system – find out the differences between the different water heating systems – so you can save on money, your time and resource. Not only that but the right water heater for your home will mean a lot of difference on whether you’ll have hot water when you need it, in the amount, you want to use the water heater to produce.

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“If Rome Was Built Today It Would Be Built Using Insulated Concrete Forms!”

Brian Morris

Imagine . . .

What would you think if we said that a home could have:

Heating bills 35%-60% less.
Weather resistance that will stand up to hurricane force winds, and is rated to withstand earthquakes.
The ultimate fire resistance insofar that some insurance companies decide to give a 20% (or more) discount on a homeowners’ policy.
Healthy indoor air quality, essentially free from dust and pollen.
A guarantee to never get dry-rot, or be infested by termites or carpenter ants.
Recycled material components that save in average 15 trees per home when constructed.
Reduced exterior wall sound transmission by more than 65% so barking dogs, lawn mowers, and even airplanes are reduced to a whisper.
The most amazing thing of all, is that this technology is available right here, right now and it costs only a little more than a conventional wood built house.
The Magic of ICF’s……

The big secret that more and more builders, architects, engineers and homeowners are beginning to uncover is the new advances in concrete homes constructed using Insulating Concrete Forms technology.

Insulating concrete forms are lightweight, highly durable foam blocks or forms composed of an expanded or extruded polystyrene, and recycled materials.

Raw plastic beads are molded into one of several basic form types.

Some look like hollow blocks that you stack and interlock like big Lego’s. Others use panels that are held a constant distance apart by a series of plastic ties.

Either way, the product is stacked in the shape of your home, reinforcing steel is placed inside, and concrete poured in between to create a solid, structural wall.

The Insulating Concrete Forms’s remain in place after the concrete sets, and function as thermal and acoustical insulation, an air and vapor barrier, and exterior wall sheathing.

Your finished wall is basically 6″ +/- of reinforced concrete with 2”-3” of dense foam insulation on the inside and the out, resulting in a rock solid, 12″ thick, super-wall!

The integral, permanent insulation allows builders to construct ultra efficient walls in a fraction of the time required to build walls out of wood or steel studs.

How is an ICF Home More Environmentally-Friendly?

In so many ways, ICF homes reduce their consumption of energy. They are the most air-tight homes on the market. The concrete absorbs solar heat and slowly releases it so heat is distributed evenly throughout the home. The average energy consumption reduction is 35-60% below conventional wood frame houses. The houses use fewer natural resources to heat them and they will last quite literally for centuries.

ICF walls conserve forest resources and their energy efficiency reduces fossil fuel consumption. It’s estimated a 2,000 square foot home saves up to 15 large trees when compared to conventional construction. Concrete is inert, non-toxic, and produced from abundant natural and recycled material.

Lower noise from the outside world and the air exchange system all contribute to a more peaceful and healthy environment for the occupants of an ICF home.

Disadvantages:

Cost; expect to pay 5-10% more for an ICF home depending on where you live.

Where ICF homes are popular the cost will probably be a little cheaper. Even though ICF construction is very durable and Code approved, it will take a little extra to get your plans through the building department (unless they are familiar with the particular system that you are using).

ICF construction requires subcontractors to do certain tasks differently. Wiring, heating, plumbing, drywall will be different than in traditional construction. This might cause prices to be higher or difficulty in finding sub-trades that have experience working in an ICF home.

The ICF industry is growing rapidly, and in the last few years we have completed projects in many different townships and municipalities. There are very few building departments left in Southern Ontario where they are not informed with the ICF building process.

Summary:

ICF homes are a superior system to wood framed or steel framed homes.

Once the exterior walls are poured they are ready for finishing (on the inside and out).

They are extremely durable and they don’t cost much more than a traditional framed home.
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Finding subcontractors may be a challenge, but if you are planning to live in your home for many years, ICF homes are the only choice to make.

Harvey Juric, ICF Consultant and CEO of ICFhome.ca is a custom home builder in southern Ontario. He has been in the home construction industry for the past 30 years performing a wide variety of tasks related to the building trades. As one of the pioneers of the Insulated Concrete Form industry, he formed “Rainbow Country Homes” (RCH) that later changed its name into ICFhome.ca to take advantage of, at that time, emerging new construction techniques that promised stronger and better homes. All the members of his staff are skilled professionals who share the same commitment to quality workmanship and exceeding the client’s expectations.

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Your Building Your Dream Home, But Where Do You Start?

Brian Morris

by: Martin Smith

You have finally found the perfect lot, in the neighborhood of your choice, and at a price you can afford. Now you have to decide what type of house you want built.

In fact you may even know the house you want, be it a big rambling farmhouse, with a wrap-a-round porch reminiscent of your grandmother’s home, a rustic log cabin or a more modern luxurious home.

Whatever you choose, the first thing you will need is a set of house plans.

An architect can draw up plans to your exact specifications, but this can be very expensive. A building contractor may show a selection of home plans to choose from, but perhaps a better less costly idea would be to purchase a set of pre-drawn house plans.

There are magazines and web sites where you can purchase plans for just about any style house you could imagine.

Most House plans web sites allow you to search, by house style, such as country, cottage, log cabin, Tudor or luxury home. You can also search by price, designer, number of bedrooms, number of stories, garage etc. not all sites offer all search options.

Informational articles, or FAQs (frequently asked Questions) are available on most sites. These provide information about the different types of plan sets available and what is included in each, making changes to the house plan you choose, return policy, finding a builder, return policy, and a number of other questions. For Questions not covered in the information section, there is usually a toll free number you can call to get the answers to your questions.

The types of house plan sets are: Construction sets. Which consists of 5 to 8 complete sets of plans. This set is what you will need, to get a building permit, arrange financing, and actually get your house built. The plans in this set include, exterior views (elevations), floor and roof plans, basement or foundation plans,

Building sections, electrical schematic, and usually information about such things as structural specifications, excavation and grading, flooring material, carpentry, and tiling. A building license, not to be confused with a building permit, is included. The license allows you to use the plans to create your dream home.

A reproducible set is available for making minor changes to your plans. The plan is drawn on erasable vellum or Mylar. This set comes with a Copyright Release, allowing you to make as many copies as needed to accommodate the changes you make to the original plan. It also comes with a building, license, but you may not construct more than one house without first getting a multi-use license from the company.

The CAD set is intended for use when you will have a local architect make major changes to the original house plans. It also includes a copyright release so that your designer can make copies as needed. Again you need to get a multi-use license if you intend to build more than one house.

A study set, is used primarily for estimating costs, it usually doesn’t include foundation plans and may not be copied. No license is included and comes marked with a “Not for Construction” label. Lastly there is the Single set it is for obtaining bids, it also bears the “Not for Construction” label, and no license is provided.

The designers of pre-drawn house plans do their drawings to meet national building codes. It is possible that you will need to hire a local architect to bring your plans up to code for your area. It may be wise to contact your local building agency and to find out what is required to get a building permit.

At last you have chosen the plans for your new home, obtained financing, and your plans meet code. What comes next? You need to hire a building contractor, and sub contractors, for electricity and plumbing.

Where do you begin? Most areas license contractors, so make sure that the people you interview, have the right qualifications, and licenses. If you had a local designer to alter your plans she may be able to refer you to some qualified, reputable contractors in your area.

If you have had electrical or plumbing work done in your present home, that person may have the name of a good builder. Always ask for and check references.

Also, make sure your contract provides for redress if the work is not completed, done properly and to code standards Once you hire a qualified builder, he should have the names of plumbers, air conditioning specialists and electricians that he has worked with in the past.

Check the Better Business Bureau to see if the person you are considering has any complaints lodged against them.

The companies that sell house plans will usually make minor changes to your plan, for an additional charge and it may not be necessary to hire a local designer. However, the changes must be requested at the time of purchase.

It is possible to have your plans reversed in most cases. If your breakfast nook faces north for instance and the best view from your lot is to the south, you can ask to have the plans reversed.

Most house plan web sites allow you to view the reversed image on line. Occasionally the view can’t be seen on line, but most companies will email you a reversed view in that case.

One thing the plans do not include is the actual layout of the electrical, plumbing and air conditioning work, since the designers have no way to know where on your lot these lines would enter the house. Your contractor s will have no problem working that out.

There are dozens of home styles to choose from .A- frame to Victorian. One search option is size. A small house is anything up to 1500sq. ft. of living space, a medium size is from 1500 to 2500 sq. ft. A home over 2500sq.ft is considered large.

A luxury home is also 2500 sq. ft. or more and has extras, such as large main floor master bedroom suite, walk in closets, media room, and home office. Premium homes are also large, often 5000sq.ft. In addition to the Master bedroom suite and extra special use rooms, they generally have a bathroom for each bedroom. Music room’s media centers, and offices are common. The garages with these houses are often larger than 600sq.ft

Your dream house is out there, you just need to do your homework. When you find the right plan to suit your family and your lot. Make sure your contractor is licensed, reputable and qualified to do the work and adheres to your local building code. Be sure that your contract protects you if the work isn’t done to code. Stay in touch with the contractor, visit the site often, be there when the last detail is completed. Now relax and enjoy your new home see page.

About The Author
Martin Smith is a successful freelance writer providing advice for home buyers and consumers on purchasing a variety of unique house plans which includes cottage plans, beach house plans, and more! His numerous articles provide a wonderfully researched resource of interesting and relevant information for more information visit http://www.1st-4-house-plans.com.

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13 Things You Need To Know Before You Buy a Building Lot

Brian Morris

Don’t Build on Fill:

Your foundation needs to rest on solid, undisturbed ground. It can take hundreds of years for ground to settle.

Sometimes, a steep ravine may have been filled in and/or the land may have previously been a dump.Big Hero 6 2014 film trailer

If you cannot dig down far enough to rest the footings on solid and undisturbed ground, then you run the risk of having the ground settle after you home is built.

This can cause severe wall cracks or structural failures.

A shifting foundation can also cause doors and windows to stick.

Avoid building on top of fill. If you need to build on fill, use compacted gravel for fill rather than dirt. Compacted gravel will settle less than dirt. It may be possible to build on soft ground if you take extra precautions such as grade beams to make sure your foundation footings are supported by solid ground. If you fail to do this then you may experience major problems that will be very expensive to correct. Foundation problems may not show up for several years (long after the builder’s warrantee has expired).

Don’t Build on Bedrock:

If the land has bedrock close to the surface of the soil it can be expensive to dig a hole for a basement. If this may be a concern, look at nearby foundations to determine how far down the bedrock is or ask neighbours who have already built if they had problems with stone. You can also dig a few test holes to see if shallow bedrock will interfere with construction. Modern equipment has made it easier to dig through bedrock so this might not be as big of a concern if the proper equipment is available in your area. In some areas bedrock is not stable because of expansive soil. The term “heaving bedrock” means that the bedrock may shift and move and this type of soil is more difficult to build on.

Avoid Clay:

The type of soil found on a site can also affect it’s suitability for construction. The soil will also affect how well you can grow trees and plants on the property. It’s best to avoid building on clay. If you do build on clay, you may need stronger and larger footings to prevent foundation cracks. Clay soil can make it difficult to have a dry basement. Also clay soil can make it harder to grow things. It’s a good idea to look at the street and surrounding buildings in the area you are thinking about building. If the street is cracking or sinking or other buildings have cracked walls then this could indicate the soil is unstable.

Some types of clay will shrink when dry and expand when it’s wet. This type of ground is called expansive soil. Expansive soil can be found in most parts of Canada. Extra care must be taken when building on expansive soil because there is greater risk to foundation damage.

Make Sure You Ask For a Survey:

A survey will show you where the actual boundaries of your property are. A survey can also point out possible problems with the land (you encroaching on your neighbour’s property, or the other way around). Land usually has stakes or markers showing where the property boundaries are. However these markers are sometimes incorrect because they were moved or improperly placed. A survey will give you an accurate idea of your property’s boundaries. Before spending money on a survey, you may want to ask the landowner if they have a survey. If a certified surveyor has already done a survey then it may suit your needs. If they don’t have a survey it may be reasonable to request they pay for a survey. After all, how can you pay for land to build your custom home, if you don’t know what you are buying?

Make Sure You Have a Builder Look at the Lot Before You Buy…

Your builder can give you a good idea if the lot is suitable for the type of home you want. In particular, a builder can tell you if much fill dirt will be needed or if there may be drainage problems with the land. He will assist you with building your custom home lexapro 10 mg.

Perc Test – Why is it So Important?

A Percolation Test test involves digging a hole and filling it with water. This is done to determine how well water drains through the soil. If you need a septic system, a perc test can tell you how suitable the soil is for this purpose. If the ground isn’t suitable for a septic system you may need to dig up the septic bed area and replace it with sand. This will add thousands to building the septic system.

What is Useable Area and How Much is Enough?

When evaluating a piece of land look at its useable area. If you have a 5-acre lot but it only has 1/2 an acre that is useable (due to drainage, topography, etc.) then the value of the lot may be similar to what a 1/2-acre lot sells for. Don’t overpay for a larger lot. Look at how useable the land is when determining a price.

Developed Land vs Undeveloped…

When looking at land, also consider how much development is needed to make the land suitable to build on. Developed land usually costs more than undeveloped land. A land developer typically adds things such as streets, city sewer, street sewers, city water, streetlights, phone lines, and electric lines. You may be able to buy undeveloped land at a lower cost, but after developing the land it may end up costing more than what it would have cost to buy land that was already developed.

Watch Out For Water Tables…

It is common to have underground water. It’s a good idea to dig a test pit to see if the underground water will interfere with having a basement. The water table (the depth of underground water) varies during different times of the year and the water table is usually highest during the springtime. For this reason, it is best to do any testing of the water level in the spring. The water table can determine the type of foundation you use. You might not be able to have a basement if your site has a high water table.

Slope Is Only Good For Skiing…

If the land slopes, try to determine how big of a height difference occurs in the land from one side of the home to the other side. If the slope is right, the lot may be ideal for a walkout basement.

If the slope is too drastic, you may have to haul in a lot of fill and do extensive grading (which can get expensive). A slope can be deceiving – sometimes a gentle slope may actually be too much of a slope; especially if you have a wide house or want to build your home far away from the street.

You can use string, stakes, and a level to help you determine the elevation change of a slope. A more accurate way to measure slopes is to use an optical level and transit. The tools to use are tripods and viewfinders to measure slopes and you can usually rent them from a local rental shop.

It is best to have a spot to build on that is higher than surrounding parts of the lot. If you build on a lower spot then water is more likely to drain towards the home. If building on a slope you should make sure the ground is stable. If the ground is less stable additional work and expense may be needed to better anchor the home to the ground.

If the lot’s slope will affect your driveway then it may be more difficult to use the driveway when it has snow or ice on it. Also a driveway that has a quick change in its slope can cause the car bottom to drag on the pavement.

When building up slopes, use fill dirt rather than topsoil. Topsoil should only be the last level. Topsoil is more likely to erode or wash away than fill dirt.

Wooded Lots – Does a Tree Make a Sound?

Wooded lots with nice trees can increase the value of your property. It will also increase the construction costs because you will need to clear away some trees before you start building. A lot with brush or unattractive trees may be worth less than a lot with no trees (because of the cost of removing the brush).

When looking at a wooded lot, try to visualize where the home, driveways, septic tank, pool, and anything else will be. If the lot slopes, determine where grading and fill dirt will be needed (you will probably lose trees in those areas). Some trees may need to be removed to allow large equipment to access your property when building the home.

Utility Hookups – Surprise … Surprise…

If you are thinking about buying land before utilities have been run to the land, be sure you know where the utilities are going to be placed. If you don’t know this, you might be in for some surprises. For example, a fire hydrant might be put in the place you were planning to run your driveway, or you might have an unattractive electric box or pole in front of your home. Utilities can also impact the grade of your lot.

The cost of your utility hook-ups is directly proportional to the length of your driveway.

House Plans Suitable for Lot or Lot Suitable to House Plans?

Before buying a lot, you may want to see if you can find a house plan that is suitable for the lot. First determine the amount of buildable area you have on the lot. Keep in mind that setbacks and easements will reduce the amount of space that you can use when building a home. Make sure the lot has the characteristics suitable to the type of home you want to build. For example if you want a side garage or L-shaped garage then you will probably need a wider lot or a corner lot.

Ranch style homes need a larger lot than a 2 story home. Try to make the house fit the lot rather than changing the lot to fit the house. It can be very expensive to modify a lot if it is not suitable for the type of home you want to build.

Harvey Juric, ICF Consultant and CEO of ICFhome.ca is a custom home builder in southern Ontario. He has been in the home construction industry for the past 30 years performing a wide variety of tasks related to the building trades. As one of the pioneers of the Insulated Concrete Form industry, he formed “Rainbow Country Homes” (RCH) that later changed its name into ICFhome.ca to take advantage of, at that time, emerging new construction techniques that promised stronger and better homes. All the members of his staff are skilled professionals who share the same commitment to quality workmanship and exceeding the client’s expectations.

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Selling your Property – How to Present to Potential Purchasers

Brian Morris

by: Allison Thompson

When you are deciding to sell your property it is always a good idea to make the property a potential purchase to as many buyers as possible. One of the best ways of doing this would be to present the property as if it were a blank canvas on to which a potential buyer can stamp their own individual tastes. Below are provided a few simple rules which should help you to obtain that potential sale of your property without too much effort or cost to yourself.

1. De-Clutter

Wherever possible try and depersonalize the property as much as possible, such as putting away any photographs that you have of yourself and your family and try only to leave out a few essential items on show in each room, which will hopefully still show the property as a family home, but will give the illusion of space. Also if possible try only to have a select number of pictures/paintings on the walls; this will also help to give the illusion of space in a room.

2. Smells

An idea that some people say helps when they have people in to view their property is to make it smell “homey”. They suggest that you either have freshly baked bread or coffee that has just been brewed in the kitchen. However, if you don’t have time to do this then just ensure that you make the rooms smell as nice as possible, there are number of good quality plug in air fresheners on the market that will provide a pleasant smell to the potential purchaser when entering your home lexapro anxiety.

Also if you have pets then make sure that wherever possible you have been able to neutralize the smells that they produce. You should remove their bedding from the house before a viewing starts and purchase a good quality air freshener that will eliminate the smells.

Finally, if you are able to arrange for your carpets to be cleaned, either professionally or hire a carpet cleaner (these can be rented from most supermarkets and dry cleaners now day at a very reasonable cost).

3. Colours

If you are able to, keep the colours of the house as neutral as possible, this will help to make the rooms look both larger and brighter. Unfortunately bright colours and dark colours although may be too your taste may not be the preferred option of your potential buyer. Also by having a neutral colour scheme throughout the property you are able to provide your potential buyer with a blank canvas onto which they can stamp their own preferred styles.

4. Cleanliness

It is always good to ensure that your house looks and smells clean. People when viewing a property have a habit of sometimes looking everywhere in the property (this includes cupboards, drawers, toilets and baths). Always make sure that you toilet is clean and that if possible a toilet block has been placed in it, which will not only clean the toilet after each flush but also make the room, smell nice. If you find you have limescale around the taps, the bath and the toilet, make sure that this has been removed (there are a large number of products on the market which would be able to assist you with this matter). It also helps the potential buyer to see that you have maintained the property well.

Any wood surfaces should be either wiped down with a damp cloth or polished to remove any dust from the surface. Also the same should be done for any items such as TV’s and Entertainment centers including the stands that they are sat on.

Windows wherever possible should be cleaned and a good way of getting clean windows if you do not want to pay a window cleaner is to fill a bucket with warm water and vinegar. Use a cloth to wash the windows in the water and vinegar and then use newspaper to wipe the water off. You will find that this leaves your windows streak free.

5. Exterior of the Property

One of the first things that you should make sure always looks good is the front entrance to your property as this is the first thing that a potential purchaser will view when approaching the property. Therefore ensure that you keep the front of the property clean and well maintained. The more curb appeal your property has the more likely a potential purchaser will be keen to enter the property to view it. If you have any plants at the front, ensure that any dead ones have been removed, the lawn is kept neat and tidy and if you should have a driveway make sure it is in good repair, potential purchasers will not want to be thinking about money they will need to spend on the property if they decide to purchase it. Many times problems like this could give your potential purchaser the chance to lower the asking price.

The rear of the property should also be shown in a clean and tidy state, make sure that the lawn is neat and well kept, and if you have a patio area keep it clean and tidy. Any pots that are broken should be removed and the same should be done with any dead plants. Make sure that any fencing is well maintained and if it is broken then replace it, a few pounds spent on keeping this in order could mean that extra money on the sale of the property.

I hope that you find the above to be of use to you when deciding to sell your property.

About The Author

Allison Thompson now living in Spain and the partner in a small and friendly real estate company.

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Location, Location, … – Not!

Brian Morris

by: Michele Roman

Untold Secrets of Buying and Selling Real Estate

Owning a home can truly be satisfying. However, with the financial pressures of today’s world, getting good value is crucial. These days I am much savvier about buying and selling homes than I was when we bought our first of eight houses. The knowledge I acquired as a former realtor and veteran corporate mover (seven moves) has provided me with a real world education about the process of finding a house that is a good value and that will resell quickly.

So, If the key isn’t the age old “Location, Location, Location, what is it? My real world experience says it is 1) Curb Appeal, 2) Interior Appeal and 3) Price. Sure, if you buy in the most exclusive neighborhood with the best schools you probably won’t have a lot of difficulty selling your home, but will you make money and will it sell fast? Maybe, maybe not.

A home’s appearance from the street is by far the most important factor. If the house doesn’t draw prospective buyers inside, they’ll never get to see your beautiful decor. Of the seven homes we have owned and sold, five were really cute from the street. They all sold quickly and for top dollar. This is the only test that really matters. The two other homes we bought were beautiful on the inside but pretty undistinguished looking from the street. Neither resold well. Don’t make this same mistake.

When it comes to interior appeal, the kitchen & family rooms are far and away the most critical. Also, if numerous prospective buyers complain about a particular element, fix it. We bought a house that had been for sale for over a year. That fact alone put us in a good bargaining position. The house was a Cape Cod outside and had a kitchen with contemporary cabinets. The den and breakfast room were traditional and in the same big space. I had a cabinet-maker make new traditional paneled doors. I painted and hung them with my husband’s help. When our next move came up, we placed an ad in the local paper and sold and closed the house in 60 days without the help of a realtor. I priced the kitchen job with the pros as high as $20,000. We did it for $1,500.

The master suite is next in areas of importance. Choose neutral backgrounds and fixtures. You want a potential buyer to feel “My stuff will look great in here.” Don’t get carried away with window treatments. Floor to ceiling side panels and understated top treatments work well, and you won’t leave a lot of money when you sell your home.

Now, let’s talk about price? What makes a house a good value? I like to look for a house that is on the low price end for the area. This may sound obvious but how do you know how prices should run in a specific area? You can get data on houses that have sold near by from the web, the tax office or Multilist. Homes near the home you are considering that have resold in the last sixty days are most relevant. Make adjustments (Add and subtract) for individual differences. If you have a large number of resold homes, a good rule would be to discard the high and low priced homes. Never buy the highest priced house in the neighborhood if you care about resale. Donald Trump made his initial fortune by always buying real estate based on good value or price. He made his money on the front end.

Before you apply for a mortgage, clean up your credit. Credit problems will cost you in higher interest payments every month for the entire term of the loan. My favorite mortgage broker says a buyer can finance over 100% to cover closing costs if the house appraises for the higher amount. You simply raise the price and have the seller give you an equal amount of credit toward closing costs. However, he cautions that if you buy a house that is a fixer upper or one that needs work to give it street appeal, it may be years before you can afford to make any improvements. It’s also important not to over improve the house for the location. Think about this before you buy. If you’re good at fixing up, buy a home with the potential for street appeal and create it.

About The Author

Michele Roman breaks with the traditional real estate rules and tells all about selling your home faster and for a lot more money.

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When Does It Pay-off To Obtain A Home Mortgage?

Brian Morris

By: John Edwards

If you are in dire need of money and don’t have the financial means for a large cash transaction to buy a house, then opting for a home mortgage is worth consideration.

Basically, a mortgage refers to a long-standing credit that a debtor obtains from a financial institution or from a property seller.

In most cases, the house is the usual collateral for the mortgage, thus the term “home mortgage”. In turn, the mortgage lender will be entitled to some legal rights upon the property as long as the mortgage is in full force or until the debtor pays back the loan.

A home mortgage serves as security for loans, thus giving the lender the power to acquire the property through foreclosure in the event that the borrower fails to pay the loan on time.

Generally, a home mortgage is comprised of a large loan. That’s why in most cases a home mortgage can take 15 to 30 years before the borrower can pay back the due amount.

In a home mortgage, the amount due to be paid by the borrower stipulates the principal amount of the mortgage and the interest owed relative to the outstanding balance. The real estate taxes and property insurance are also factored into the total mortgage balance.

Some home owners who find it difficult to make their mortgage payments may opt for refinancing of their mortgage. But for those who wish to pay off a home mortgage quickly, there are things to be considered…

First, make sure you have a stable source of income. Organize your overall financial assets to ensure that paying off your mortgage will not over-extend your cash flow. There are many such considerations that should be carefully planned and organized before resorting to pay-off your home mortgage.

It’s also important to your financial security to have a ready reserve of cash just in case of emergencies. This can be in the form of stocks and bonds, a bank savings account, or any other readily available form of cash.

Paying off your home mortgage can be a rewarding experience, but be sure to consider your overall financial status before making the decision to do so. The wrong decision can put you at great financial risk.

If you think that you are ready for the mortgage “experience” and that you have your finances securely organized, then by all means, go for it. After all, nothing beats a worry-free, mortgage-free financial status.

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7 Tips To Lower Home Construction Costs

Brian Morris

Dreaming of building a new home, but worried about the expense? Long before you draw up the final plans, it pays to do some “guesstimating.” Knowing approximately how much the project will cost will help you modify your plans(if needed) in order to meet your budget.

Here are 7 handy tips from Harvey Juric president of ICFhome.ca to lower your home construction costs…

1. Contact Local Builders: Talk with several custom builders in the geographical area in which you plan to build to get a rough idea of what it will cost to build your house. Builders can give you a range of costs based on your desired finishes/features. Once you have made the decision to build and chosen a builder that you feel comfortable with, consider having the builder work up a more detailed plan and a cost estimate which is more precise as part of the design-build process.

2. Start With a Plan the Builder Has Used Before: It may be to your advantage to start with a plan that the builder has used before and “customize” it to suit your objectives. Based on past experience, the builder is already aware of the final cost and of any “glitches” associated with building that particular model.

3.Standardize The Size of Your Home: When building a home, it’s best to work with even numbers. Have your home size rounded up or down to increments of two feet. This reduces wasted materials. Also, it is most economical to build a home which is no deeper than 32 feet. If the depth exceeds 32 feet, then your roof trusses may need to be specially designed and will be more expensive.

4. Some Features Cost More: The most expensive areas in a home are usually the bathrooms and kitchen. The number of windows and the size and quality of windows can also affect the cost. Vaulted ceilings and high roof pitches can increase the cost of a home. If the builder is using another home to calculate your estimate, be sure the home in question has similar features and is similar in style to the home you plan to build.

5.Shape of the Home: Homes that have a rectangular or box shape cost less to build. Having more angles and corners in the shape of your home can increase the amount of labour and materials needed to build a home. Dome shaped homes also make efficient use of materials and tend to cost less than other shapes.

6.Choose a Relatively Flat Lot: Preparing a site for construction can have a big impact on the cost of a home. Building on a flat lot will usually cost less. If you have to haul in truck loads of dirt, do additional grading, clear trees, or blast through large rocks, then site preparations can become more expensive.

7.Careful Planning: Usually the finished cost of a home is more then the original bid price. Cost overruns occur from overspending on the allowances, making changes and encountering unforeseen problems. Proper planning can greatly reduce cost overruns. Builders are not fond of change orders because they cause delays and often result in having to “undo” some work that has already been completed. It is critical that you have as few of these changes as possible. They way to avoid too many change orders is to have your specifications as detailed as possible up front.

In general, it is a good idea to allow an additional 10% to cover unexpected costs.
Harvey Juric, ICF Consultant and CEO of ICFhome.ca is a custom home builder in southern Ontario. He has been in the home construction industry for the past 30 years performing a wide variety of tasks related to the building trades. As one of the pioneers of the Insulated Concrete Form industry, he formed ICFhome.ca to take advantage of, at that time, emerging new construction techniques that promised stronger and better and more energy efficient homes. For more information about the model home, Insulated Concrete Forms or Radiant Floor Heating contact ICFhome.ca by telephone 519 843-7612, e-mail info@icfhome.ca,
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Sample Page

Brian Morris

This is an example page. It’s different from a blog post because it will stay in one place and will show up in your site navigation (in most themes). Most people start with an About page that introduces them to potential site visitors. It might say something like this:

Hi there! I’m a bike messenger by day, aspiring actor by night, and this is my website. I live in Los Angeles, have a great dog named Jack, and I like piña coladas. (And gettin’ caught in the rain.)

…or something like this:

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