What is in Property Management

What is in Property Management

What is in Property Management
A good property manager can make your life a lot easier.

What is in property management is an extraordinarily useful service to property owners.

Property managers handle the day to day business operations, oversight, and control of apartments, single family homes, mobile homes, condos, hotels, motels, and other commercial, and industrial properties.

Property managers are hired by investors, and owners to relieve them of the hard work, and associated headaches of dealing with renters and rental property.

I will explain to you what property management companies do, how much they charge for their services, the questions you should ask before you hire one,  and the 5 best states in the US to be a landlord.

Hire Property Management or Do It Myself

The big question that investors will eventually ask is, do I really need to hire a property management company or should I manage my properties myself?

If you own just a few single family homes, or a small apartment building, it may make more sense to manage your properties yourself.

You will save the fees associated with hiring someone or hiring a company to manage your small portfolio of properties for you.

Of course, this will depend on a few factors, even if you don’t own much rental real estate.

These factors are: If you live in a different town than your property, and/or if you are so busy with work or other projects that you don’t have the time, or want to be bothered with day to day management issues.

Most small owners will choose to manage their properties themselves.  Normally, it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to deal with just a handful of renters, even if you live out of town.

However, if you own a lot of properties, or a larger apartment building or complex, and you have a full time career that deals with something other than real estate, it can make sense to hire a property management person or team to help you out.

Doing so will take the mundane duties and responsibilities of handling a large amount of units, and tenants off your plate, freeing you up to deal with what you may consider to be higher priorities.

Nothing like getting phone calls in the middle of the night to unstop a toilet for a tenant whose 3 year old threw her doll in, to make you appreciate the value of a good property manager.

What exactly do property management companies do?

The most important job that these fine folks do is to find you tenants.  As with any business, sales is the life blood, and in the real estate rental property game, the equivalent to sales is putting rent paying tenants in the vacant units, and get them generating income.

In order to find tenants, the property manager will place advertising, answer phone questions, show vacant homes or apartments, and handle the rental paperwork.

What is in Property Management
One of the jobs of a property manager is to check the criminal history of prospective tenants.

To find the right, dependable tenants property managers do a thorough check of the prospective tenants before deeming them rental ready.

They check their work history, income, their credit, past rental history, and background as it relates to any criminal offenses.

They also remove tenants which entails a legal process, and coordination with the local sheriffs office.  This is known as evictions.

This is an eventual fact of life, and unfortunately the steady non paying tenants have to removed to make room for the steady paying tenants.

Property managers also handle collecting rents, and fining those tenants that are late with their rental payments in accordance with the rental contract.

They keep tenants informed of any changes or disruptions to the community rental area such as paving, renovations, or pool closings.

In addition, they enforce regulations of the rental agreement such as parking, trash, and complaints from other tenants.

Property managers also coordinate needed repairs to the property they handle.  For larger rental communities such as apartment complexes, there is often a maintenance department that takes care of issues within the units, and outside the units.

The maintenance workers, whom are supervised by the property manager, take care of many jobs around the property.

Due to the fact that problems with a tenants property can arise at anytime day or night, the manager must have a 24/7 emergency maintenance program in place to take care of these issues.

Often this is done by having a member of the maintenance department on call by phone to respond to tenant’s urgent requirements.

On occasion, there may be larger, more involved needed repairs that will require an outside contractor be brought in handle.

What do property management companies charge?

Knowing how much you will have to pay a property management company in relation to the amount of rental income you generate is, needless to say, a very important consideration.

A general rule of thumb is that property management companies will charge approximately 10% for their services.  This can vary somewhat, and you may see fees in the 7% to 13% range depending on various factors.

These factors include, strength of local economy, type and extent of work required, particular location, reputation of company, other fees that may be added, and willingness to negotiate the percentage.

In most cases, however, you can expect to pay right at 10% to hire a property management organization.

Questions to ask before you hire a Property Management Company
What is in Property Management
Before you hire a property manager, you should ask them the right questions.

If you have made the decision to hire someone to manage your properties, or are considering doing so, here are some questions you should ask before you decide on the company.

How are tenants vetted or screened?
They should be verifying employment.
A thorough background check should be done to check for any criminal or illegal activities.

Previous landlords should be contacted to find out the type of tenant they were.  Did they pay on time, and were they an otherwise problem renter?  Any late payments or evictions on their record?Employment should be verified.

What are the fees and charges?
Find out what the charges and any fees will be for their rendered services. As previously explained, the charges normally run about 10%, with some slight variance.

If they charge a lot less than 10% or a lot more than 10%, you should delve deeper into why this is, or find another company that charges in this 10% range.

How are evictions dealt with?
Although unpleasant, evictions are part of the rental business.  You want a landlord that is well versed in the eviction process.

They should know how to handle paperwork, and how to file it at the county courthouse.

They should know how to communicate with the tenant regarding dates, and times pertaining to the eviction.

In addition, they should know how to bring in the local authorities, usually the local Sheriff to ensure that the tenant is removed at the eviction date if they don’t move on their own.

They should also know how to handle any tenants belongings that are left behind.

What is their turnover process when a tenant leaves the property?

How are units treated when a tenant moves out?  Do they use the same materials such as paint, drywall, and carpet and keep them on site?

How long does it take to bring the unit back to move in condition?
Keeping these needed materials on site usually means they can turn the apartment over quickly, and have it rented in short order.

Are there extra fees involved? If so, how much? How are the fees broken down? Ideally, you don’t want a property management team that has a lot of extra charges.  Some charges are acceptable, as long as they are reasonable, and justifiable.

What is the rate of vacancy in this city, town, or part of town?   This is a question that you should have received the answer to before deciding to buy a rental property in this area, but, nontheless, you need to know the answer.

The national average for vacancies, or vacancy percentage is about 7%.  The lower you can get this number, the better.  Of course, a property management company can help reduce, or raise this percentage based on how they go about their business.

Obviously, the lower the vacancy rate, the closer you can come to maxing out your rental income, and overall profit as a rental property owner.

The 5 states that are treat landlords the best

If you are a real estate investor that owns rental properties, you may want to know which states are the most landlord friendly.

What is in Property Management
The state of Texas is very landlord friendly.

This is important so that you will know if evictions favor the tenant, or the landlord.  Tenant friendly states can draw out evictions into lengthy, and costly legal situations that will cost you time, and money.

You want to own in a state that enables you to evict problem tenants quickly and seamlessly so you can put paying tenants back in the property as soon as possible.

You also want to be able to hold onto security deposits, and rents if warranted.   You want to be able to word leases in such a way as to protect yourself, and your investment in a landlord friendly manner.

What kind of loan are you looking for? 

For instance, if a tenant sues the landlord, you want a situation where the tenant is limited to the amount of money they can recoup from the landlord.

 Colorado   Although it is an expensive state to buy rental property in, generally speaking, Colorado is very landlord friendly.

If you are non paying tenant, you can be removed relatively quickly compared with most other states. In addition, the landlord can access his property with little notice to the tenant, if need be.

 Arizona  Having lax rent control laws, and landlord friendly conditions, Arizona is another great place to own rental property.

For instance, if a tenant makes a false statement on the rental contract, called non-compliance, and the landlord discovers it, the tenant is subject to near immediate eviction.

The lax rent control laws allow landlords to raise rents with little worry about limits.

Florida  Also with a lack of rent control laws, Florida is quite landlord friendly.  This makes it difficult for tenants to sue landlords, and make demands that they are not entitled to.

Indiana  Another very pro landlord state is Indiana.  Judges will favor landlords over tenants regarding legal matters, and have little tolerance for non paying tenants.

The legal environment is such that landlords can hold owed rents, and security deposits for longer periods, and tenants have less to gain from lawsuits.

Texas  The great state of Texas may be the most landlord friendly state in the union.  Very little tolerance for tenants that don’t pay their rent, and the eviction process can happen very rapidly.

There are also other laws on the books of Texas that make the lone star state a landlord’s favorite.

Feel free to leave your questions, comments, and suggestions below. Please also feel free to share on social media by using the buttons below. Thank you for reading, What is in Property Management. Good luck with your rental properties.

What kind of loan are you looking for? 

What is in HUD

What is in HUD

What is in HUD
HUD or US Department of Housing and Urban Development is part of the federal government.

What is in HUD or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is a list of available foreclosed homes that anyone who qualifies for a loan or has cash can buy.

These foreclosures become available when someone that has purchased a home with an FHA or Federal Housing Administration loan has defaulted.

HUD then takes over the property, has it appraised, inspected, and prepped for sale.  They then place the home on the market, and attempt to sell it.

A HUD foreclosure is a residential property that can be from 1 to 4 units.   These are either single family homes, duplexes, three plexes, or four plexes.

Single family homes make up the largest percentage of foreclosures by far that HUD handles.

I can tell you from experience that HUD foreclosures offer you a great way to find a nice home at a discounted price.

As a Realtor, I have had many people tell me that they believed that all foreclosures were in disrepair, and that the former owners destroyed the home as a result of being foreclosed upon.

This is not the case for the majority of foreclosures. While there are some that are in need of major repairs, and have been compromised by the previous owner, most are in fairly good condition.

Foreclosure homes may be a little dirtier, and possibly in need of a few minor repairs, possibly due to the forthcoming foreclosure, and a lengthier time period of being vacant than for a standard home.

You should know also that buying HUD foreclosure is not as difficult as you may think, and almost anyone can bid on and buy one.

I will explain the foreclosure process, and how HUD prepares and sells their homes, how you can go about bidding on and buying a HUD foreclosure, and how the FHA functions and how it can benefit you. I will also provide a handy checklist for HUD foreclosure buyers.

Foreclosure Process
What is in HUD
HUD foreclosures come in different sizes, conditions, and price ranges.

Foreclosures come in every different home style, area, condition, and can be very inexpensive as well as somewhat higher priced.

When the homeowner gets behind on their payments to the mortgage, usually for a time period of 3 to 4 months, they will receive a default notice from the mortgage holder, which is usually the bank or other lender.

This default notice informs the homeowners that they have until a specific date to bring the balance that is owed up to date, and thus cause the loan to be reinstated.

This time period is normally approximately 90 days from the default notice. This past due balance may also include late fees, legal fees, administrative costs, and other fees added to the owed mortgage payments.

If the loan has not been paid back sufficiently to the demands of the lender by the termination of the default time period, they will begin the process of foreclosure.

With government foreclosures such as HUD, no grace period is granted for the occupant to stay in the home, as is the case with some privately owned homes or non government foreclosures.

How HUD Prepares and Sells Foreclosed Homes

HUD which is affiliated with the FHA,  will take over a home based on an FHA loan foreclosure.  It then utilizes the assistance of various other entities to prepare the home, and to sell it.

An appraisal is done to determine the home’s value, and an inspection is done to determine the home’s condition.

Once the home is listed, the appraisal, and inspection results are made available to the public which is a big benefit, and advantage to the potential buyer, over other types of foreclosures that aren’t inspected.

HUD enlists the help of various public sector or non government businesses to assist them in preparing and selling their foreclosures.

What is in HUD
HUD enlists the help of the public sector such as Realtors to help sell their foreclosures.

HUD will appoint a Field Service Manager to prepare, and take care of the house and property for sale.

HUD also uses an Asset Manager to list the home, and help market it to the public for sale.

The Asset Manager then hires a Listing Real Estate Broker to list the home on the MLS, and on the HUD website.

Once the HUD property is ready to be put on the market, the listing is placed in the MLS, multiple listing service by the Listing Broker, and is also listed on the HUD Home Store website. At this point, the foreclosed home sale is ready to be bid on.

The Asset Manager that is responsible for the sale,  handles the paperwork/contracts and communication with the real estate agent, and also facilitates the transaction, and moves it toward the closing date.

HUD Bid Process

HUD works on a sealed bid process.   This means for a given property that only HUD knows what you or anyone else has bid for it.

When a HUD property is first made available, bids for the first 15  days are accepted for owner/occupants only.  An owner/occupant is defined as someone that lives in the home, and makes it their principal residence.

After the initial 15 day owner/occupant period, if an acceptable bid has not been received, the bidding is opened to all bidders, including investors.

For HUD Properties labeled as ‘insured’ or ‘insured with escrow,’ the exclusive listing time period is also 15 days.

For HUD Properties marketed as ‘uninsured,’ the exclusive listing time period is 5 days.  Uninsured homes are normally in need of significant work.

During the bidding period, no preference is given to a bid that arrives sooner than another bid.  As long as it is received prior to the end of the bidding period, all bids will be equally considered.

If an acceptable bid has not been received during the first 10 calendar day bidding period, the bidding period will revert to one business day until a bid deemed acceptable has been received.

What is in HUD
HUD sells their foreclosures on a sealed bid basis.

In order to bid on a HUD foreclosed home, you will need to provide your name, address, phone number, social security number, marital status, and the price you would like to bid for the property you have chosen. Your HUD approved real estate broker/agent will then submit your bid for you, online.

If your bid is the winning bid, your agent or broker will inform you.  HUD requires a preapproval letter, or a proof of funds if you are paying cash for the property.

In addition, an earnest money deposit of either $500 or $1000, depending on the accepted bid price of the home, is to be provided as well as the required, signed HUD paperwork within 2 days.

Once all of this is received, and approved by HUD, your agent or broker will let you know, and the process of closing on your foreclosure purchase will start.

Have no fear if this process seems confusing or overwhelming. Your HUD approved Broker/Agent will take you by the hand, and show you the way.

FHA Loan Benefits

FHA or Federal Housing Administration is the loan guaranteeing member of HUD.

The primary role of the FHA is to insure loans for FHA approved lenders and mortgage companies to make it easier for home buyers to handle the expense of purchasing real estate, and in addition, to make it more viable for lenders or mortgage companies to grant home loans.

Qualification for an FHA loan is the same process used to qualify for any other loan.  FHA has somewhat less strict requirements than conventional loans do, but the process is the same.

Other benefits to an FHA loan is there is only a 3 1/2% down payment needed to purchase a home.   This is 3 1/2 % of the purchase price of the home being bought.

What is in HUD
FHA home loans have advantages over conventional home loans.

So if you are buying a $100.000 home, your needed down payment would be $3500 with FHA.  This is beneficial as a conventional loan usually requires anywhere from 10% to 20% down.

Another benefit with buying a HUD home through FHA is 3% of the price of the home will be given to the buyer towards closing costs, if requested.

This 3% for closing costs is only granted if requested, and is only for the purchase of a HUD foreclosure.  The lower down payment, and the closing cost credit can greatly reduce the amount of ‘out of pocket’ money a home buyer will need to come up with.

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HUD Foreclosure Buyer Checklist

Here are the steps you need to take to bid on and buy a HUD foreclosure.

  1. Get preapproved for a loan through a lender that handles FHA loans.
  2.  Find a Realtor that is HUD approved.
  3.  Go to hudhomestore.com and see what HUD foreclosures are available in your area.
  4. Have your Realtor send you details from the MLS on HUD properties you like.
  5. Have your Realtor set up showings to see any of these HUD homes.
  6. When you are ready to bid, give your Realtor the required information.
  7. When you win your bid, your Realtor,  and your lender will guide you through the process to closing.

At this point, any questions you may have will be answered by your Realtor,  or your lender.

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Thank you for reading, What is in HUD. Feel free to leave your questions, comments, and suggestions below.

I will respond to you directly. Please also feel free to share on social media by using the buttons below. Good luck with your HUD bids.

 

What is in Winter

What is in Winter
Winter means ice, snow, and cold temperatures.

What is in Winter

What is in winter is ice, snow, freezing rain, and cold temperatures that can greatly inconvenience our lives.  There is much we can do to prepare for winter in order to minimize that negative effects that winter brings.

Winter is also a time of sledding, ice skating, building snow men, making snow angels, and throwing those snowballs at each other.  It is also a time where we spend the vast majority of our time indoors.

We want to make sure that our homes are warm, snug, and safe through the long winter months.

We want to know that are doing all we can to winterize our domiciles so that when Spring finally comes around again we haven’t created new problems, and corresponding work and expenses.

If you live in a part of the country that experiences temperatures below freezing, it will be to your benefit to apply these simple steps.

I will list some ideas that you can do to prepare your home and property for the impending winter.  Some are obvious, and some you may not have thought of.

I will also make some recommendations of where you can find the parts and supplies you may need. In addition, if you don’t want to do the tasks yourself, I will make a suggestion as to where to go to find the best, local contractors.

Winter Home Prep Tips
What is in Winter
Prepping your home properly for winter is very important.

1. Keep your pipes from freezing  Many homes now have back flow valves in the pipes that lead to the outside hose bibbs.   Even if you do have this feature, it is still a good idea to bleed these pipes before the hard winter hits.

Find the pipes that lead to the exterior of your home.  Close the valve from inside your home that is on the pipe that leads to the exterior.

If there is no shut off valve on this pipe, shut off the water at the main shut off valve.  Then go outside and turn on the exterior faucets until the water stops dripping.  Shut the exterior faucet, and screw a cap on the threads of the hose bibb or faucet.

You can buy these caps at your local hardware store or home improvement center for a dollar or two.

Don’t forget to drain and roll up your garden hoses, and store them inside.

This easy bit of prevention can save you from the residual water in your pipes from freezing, and bursting as a result.  If this happens you are in for a hassle, and fairly large expense to have it fixed.

2. Check your insulation   Your attic insulation not only helps keep your home warmer during the cold months, but it also helps keep your home cool during the warmer months.

Make sure you go in your attic and inspect the insulation between the beams.  If you see gaps or low spots, add more insulation.

It is recommended that you have at least 12″ of insulation, or more if you live in a colder, northern location.   Experts say that an R value of R38 should be the norm to prevent leakage of cold or warm air.

3.  Change air filters   Clogged air filters in your furnace can cause it to run longer and harder, increasing your energy bills, and shortening the usable life of it’s fans and blowers.

Simply replacing the inexpensive filters will allow the air to flow faster and cleaner, and more efficiently, saving you money in both the short run, and the long run.

What is in Winter
Windows should be checked for gaps, and air leaks.

4. Check windows for air leaks  Gaps in windows can often be a cause of higher heating bills, and a less comfortable interior of the home.

Check for these gaps both on the exterior, and the interior of the windows.  Inspect the surrounding areas of the windows.  If you detect gaps or drafts, apply a line of caulk or weather sealing tape to  these points.

On  the interior of the home, you can find drafts by holding a lit candle around the outside of the windows.  If the flame flows toward the window, you have located a draft.  Apply caulk or weather tape to these areas.

If your windows are older, and you find yourself adding large amounts of caulk or tape, you may want to consider purchasing new
windows.

Today’s newer windows are much more energy efficient, and you may be able to pay for them in a few years with the savings you will realize on your energy bills.

5. Clean your gutters and downspouts  During the fall months is when you get the most accumulation and build up from leaves, sticks, dirt, and other debris in your gutters and downspouts.

These clogs and layers can cause leaks to your roof, and to the outside and inside of your home.  Cleaning your gutters and downspouts regularly can save you some serious money, as well as a  major inconvenience.

Paying for some jobs just makes sense. I believe this is the case for gutter cleaning.  Climbing ladders to clean your gutters can be a risky endeavor.

Many people are seriously injured every year when attempting this dangerous job as a do it yourselfer.  A pro will remove everything from your roof, gutters, and downspouts.

This job is normally in the $100-$200 range.  You can get the job done right, and in less time if you hire a contractor to help you here.

What is in Winter
A Smart thermostat can save you money, and keep you comfortable.

6. Install a Smart Thermostat system   Smart thermostats are now replacing programmable thermostats in new homes, and in many existing homes.

These remarkable devices sense and adjust to what temperature you like when you are home, and when you are not home they alter the temperature to save you money.

It learns your schedule, and your temperature preferences, and automatically adjusts to the correct preferred temperature just before you come back in to your home.

No complicated programming is needed.  You only need to set the thermostat to your preferred temperatures for the first week, and from then on, the thermostat will adjust for you.

No more paying extra for forgetting to adjust the thermostat before you leave for work, or before you go to bed.  The Smart thermostat will adjust it for you.

7. Test your Fire/Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide detectors  Although this should be done 2 or 3 times during the year, it is especially important to check your fire/smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors prior to the cold months.

This is due to the fact that you will be inside a lot more than in the warmer months, and the house will be closed up more in the winter.

8. Clean and cover your BBQ Grill and A/C Unit  Make sure that the grill is clean and free of grease and other residue that could attract animals, and insects to make a home inside your BBQ grill.

If you use propane, be sure to disconnect the propane tank from the grill to eliminate the fire hazard.  Use a cover to put on the BBQ grill to protect it from the elements.

Be sure to also cover your air conditioning unit for the same reason.

9. Clean and cover your outdoor furniture  You will greatly increase the usable life and the enjoyment of your outdoor furniture if you clean it before the winter sets in.

Use warm, soapy water to clean it, let dry, and bring in whatever is removable from the furniture, such as cushions, pillows, mats, etc.

Be sure to cover tables, sofas, and chairs if you plan on leaving them outside through the cold months.

What is in Winter
Cleaning your blinds is a smart winter prep.

10.  Clean you interior window blinds  It is a good idea to clean your blinds in the Fall as they are likely quite dusty and dirty from having your windows open a lot in the prior several months.

This will keep the interior cleaner, and dust free for when the home is closed up, and the air quality is more easily compromised.

11.  Clean your wood burning fireplace  If you have a wood burning fireplace, and use it during the winter, the fall is a good time to clean and prep it.

Use a wire brush to clean the interior walls and the base of the fireplace.  Sweep up any residue, and vacuum and clean any screens and fireplace instruments and containers.

For a thorough job, you can hire a chimney sweep who will clean and prep your entire chimney and fireplace for you.

What is in Winter
The Home Depot has tools, supplies, and contractors to help you with winter prep.

Where to find tools and contractors  The best place  to shop for needed tools, parts, and other products for winter prep is the Home Depot.

You can shop online and pick up at your local store, or have your items delivered right to your door. With over 2500 stores throughout the US and Canada, you can be sure there is one near you.

Click here to shop the Home Depot

If you would like to hire a local, reputable, licensed, and bonded contractor to help you prepare your home for winter, I suggest using HomeAdvisor.

Click here to go to HomeAdvisor

What is in Winter – Conclusion

What is in winter is ice, snow, freezing rain, and cold temperatures that can greatly inconvenience our lives.  There is much we can do to prepare for winter in order to minimize that negative effects that winter brings.

We want to make sure that our homes are warm, snug, and safe through the long winter months.

What is in Winter
Good winter prep will allow a smooth transition into spring.

As a result, when Spring finally comes around again we haven’t created new problems, and additional work and expenses.

Some important winter prep tips are:
1. Close interior water valves and bleed and cap outside faucets
2. Check your insulation
3. Change air filters
4. Check windows for air leaks
5. Clean your gutters and downspouts
6. Install a Smart Thermostat system
7. Test your fire/smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
8. Clean  and cover your BBQ grill and A/C Unit
9. Clean and cover your outdoor furniture
10. Clean your interior window blinds
11. Clean your wood burning fireplace

The best place  to shop for needed tools, parts, and other products for winter prep is the Home Depot.

Click here to shop the Home Depot

If you would like to hire a local, reputable, licensed, and bonded contractor to help you prepare your home for winter, I suggest using HomeAdvisor.

Thank you for reading, What is in Winter. Feel free to leave your comments, questions, and suggestions below. I will respond to you directly.

Please also feel free to share on social media by using the buttons below.  Good luck with your winter prep.

What is in Plumbing

What is in Plumbing

What is in Plumbing
Plumbing improves our lives in many ways.

What is in plumbing is pressure lines, drainage lines, and venting.  Plumbing provides the ability to shower, bathe, wash, facilitates cooking, and eliminates waste.

Plumbing also helps us to water the lawn, wash the car, and perform many other tasks that we may take for granted.

The advent of indoor plumbing has improved, and enhanced our lives to a great degree.  It has eliminated disease and other health problems previously caused by lack of ability to eliminate waste safely.

I will include information about the history of plumbing.  I will also explain what plumbing jobs can be attempted by do-it-yourselfers DIY’s, and which plumbing jobs are best left up to the professionals.

I will also make recommendations for plumbing tools, and supplies, as well as where to find reputable contractors to do the job for you.

History of Plumbing

The word plumbing stems from the Latin word for lead, which is plumbum.

Although plumbing may have begun prior, the first evidence of effective plumbing on a large scale was that of the ancient Romans.

The ancient Romans had an ingenious aqueduct system that allowed water to flow from the rivers into the cities.

They also devised a system to allow waste to flow out away from their homes, and public gathering areas by way of sewers.

What is in Plumbing
Early Roman plumbing developed in 800 B.C.

The best estimate is these plumbing projects were first built around the year 800 B.C.  With the fall of the Roman Empire, most of these plumbing systems were lost.

It would be another 1300 years until new innovations of plumbing would reappear.  In the year 1340 monasteries of Monks engineered a system of plumbing by utilizing river water to assist them in cooking, irrigation, and waste elimination.

It was well know at this time that water was not safe to drink, and, as a result, wine and ale were the beverages of choice.

The first flush toilet was invented and used around the year 1575 by John Harrington, for the queen of England, Queen Elizabeth.

It wasn’t until the year 1775 before it was discovered by Alexander Cumming that by trapping water with an S bend, also called a U bend or a J bend, that established a water barrier between the human waste and the interior room could help eliminate offensive, and disease causing odors and remnants.

Around this time, bathing was coming into fashion.  Copper tubs were becoming common, and the first showers began to appear.

For decades, bathrooms remained very basic. In 1842, things began to change. Engineers in New York designed a gravity system that delivered water to homes throughout the city.

They used the same principle, gravity, to come up with a sewer system to take waste water away from homes.

Many other cities then followed suit with similar systems of their own. Indoor plumbing made cleaning up a practical endeavor, and became commonplace.

Do It Yourself Plumbing Jobs
What is in Plumbing
Some plumbing jobs are DIY.

There are many plumbing jobs that are relatively easily accomplished.  There are many other plumbing jobs that should never be attempted by anyone but a licensed plumber.

A good rule of thumb is, if you don’t know what you are doing, and/or if you don’t have some basic tools that can be used in a plumbing application, call a plumber.

If you are a handy person, have at least some basic plumbing knowledge, and have a few tools, or are willing to buy or borrow the tools you need, you may be able to accomplish some simple plumbing jobs around the house.

Repair Faucets  A common plumbing job that is fairly easy to do in most cases is to repair a leaky faucet in the kitchen or bath.

If you have a leak that comes out of the spout of the faucet, it is usually caused by a bad seat at the base beneath the valve in a two handle faucet.

In a single handle faucet,  bad washers or a bad ball are usually the culprit, depending on the maker of the faucet.

If you have a two handle faucet, place your hand under the spout and see if the water that is leaking is hot or cold. This will tell you which side needs to be repaired.

Turn the water off under the sink on the side that is leaking.  It is a good idea to locate the main water shut off coming into the house.
In case you encounter a leak that you cannot control, turn the water off at the main.

Remove the handle, and the valve.  If the washer at the bottom of the valve has a furrow or is hacked up, then you know the seat that the valve sits on is pitted. Use a seat wrench to remove the seat.

What is in Plumbing
A hardware store or plumbing supply will have the parts and tools you need.

Take the seat and the valve that you removed into your plumbing supply or hardware store, and buy a new seat and washer.

If the bottom of the valve is destroyed and will no longer hold a washer, replace the entire valve.  Take the new parts, and reinstall them into your faucet.

If you have a leak coming from the handle, you will need to replace the o-ring, which is a round black rubber ring that surrounds the valve.

If you have a single handle faucet, you will need to remove the faucet handle, and replace the washers, springs, and possibly the ball that is underneath.

Bathroom Faucet – Repair and Installation

Replace Faucets  Replacing kitchen and bath faucets is another relatively simple plumbing job that can be achieved by a do it yourselfer in most cases.

The only catch to doing this job yourself, and really any plumbing job, is the plumbing tools that you should have.

It may be possible to complete this and other plumbing jobs without the right tools, but it will be more difficult.

Your first step is to turn the water off at the valves under the sink that holds the faucet you want to replace.  Unscrew the supply lines that lead up to the faucet at the valves under the sink.

Leave the supply lines attached to the bottom of the faucet. Unscrew the connecting nuts that hold the faucet to the sink.  You may need a plumber’s wrench that flexes down in order to remove the nuts.

You may also need a flat head screwdriver to pry the faucet base from the sink.  Once the faucet is loose from the sink you can take it with you to your plumbing supply or hardware store to buy a new one.

What is in Plumbing
Fixing a dripping faucet is no big deal.

You will need to at least bring the supply lines in with you so that you are sure to get the right sized replacement supply line as the sizes of the connecting nut can vary.

When you buy the new faucet you want, you should also buy new supply lines, and buy some teflon tape, and some plumbers putty.

Use the teflon tape around the exposed threads prior to connecting your new supply lines to your new faucet.  Use a line of plumbers putty around the inside of the base of the new faucet where it sits on the sink to give you a waterproof seal.

Install your new supply lines to the base of your new faucet before inserting it in the holes of the sink.  Screw the nuts to the base of the faucet, and then attach the new supply lines to the valves.

Kitchen Faucet – Repair and Installation

Other DIY Plumbing Jobs

Other do it yourself plumbing jobs that are often taken on by non professionals include:

Toilet repair and replace   Such jobs are replacing the wax ring, replacing the washer between the toilet and bowl, replacing the toilet water supply line, and replacing the toilet supply valve are all repairs that are not too difficult, in most cases.

To repair or to replace the entire toilet, follow these steps.  Turn the water valve off, flush the toilet, unscrew the supply line from the valve, unscrew the nuts holding the toilet to the ring in the floor, and pull toilet off.

Replacing the flush valve, and the flapper assembly that are located in the tank, are also easy repairs.

When replacing a toilet, be sure to know the rough in distance. This is determined by measuring from the wall to the center of the hole in the floor.

Shower repair and replace  Plumbing jobs such as fixing a leaky tub spout by replacing the valve seats, washers, or valves is very doable.

The steps needed are similar to that of repairing a faucet.
You will however need to buy or borrow a set of shower socket wrenches to accomplish this task.

Shower replacement normally involves replacing the valves, the handles, the shower arm, and shower head, and the bath spout (if applicable) which is easily done, most of the time.

If the entire shower/bath set up from behind the wall needs to be fixed or replaced, it’s time to call a plumber.

Other jobs that can be done without a plumber are, repairing and replacing outdoor hose bibbs, repairing leaks in drain(non pressurized) pipes, and fixing or replacing sprinkler piping, sprinkler heads, and sprinkler valves.

In addition, if you have drain or toilet clogs, you should be able to clear the obstructions yourself.  There are various products that can be applied to the area, and drain ‘snakes’ that can be utilized to fix the issue.

Recommendations
What is in Plumbing
Home Depot  and Lowe’s have your DIY plumbing needs.

What is in Plumbing

For plumbing parts, tools, faucets, etc. I recommend Home Depot, and Lowes.  There are over 4600 locations in the US and Canada between these two home improvement goliaths.

Click here to shop the Home Depot

Both companies also allow you to shop online, and pick up your items in your local store, or have them shipped directly to you.

If you would rather have a plumber or other contractor help you with your project, Home Depot, and Lowes can assist you with that also.

Click here to shop Lowe’s

Or, you can utilize HomeAdvisor to provide a local licensed,  and bonded contractor to do the work for you.

What is in Plumbing

Thank you for reading, What is in Plumbing.  Feel free to leave your questions, comments, and suggestions below. I will respond to you asap.  Please also fee free to share on social media by using the buttons below.  Good luck with your plumbing projects.  Tom

 

 

 

 

 

What is in Loan

What is in Loan

What is in Loan
Mortgage loans have various interest rates, and terms.

What is in Loan is a home loan, a business loan, an auto loan, a personal loan, a student loan, and credit cards.

Each type of loan has it’s own credit requirements, length of time, payment size, interest rates, and loan sizes.

A home or mortgage loan will be for most people the largest loan they will ever apply for, as a home is the largest purchase you will ever make.

I will describe how mortgage or home loans work, what is required to qualify, and where the best place I recommend to apply for these and other types of loans.

Home Loan

A home loan or a mortgage loan is the loan that is granted for the purchase of a home and it’s property.  The mortgage is the agreement to utilize the home and property to collateralize the loan.

If the loan is not paid back according to the rules set forth on the contract, the lender can legally foreclose on the homeowner, and take ownership of the property.

There are five different types of mortgage lenders. These are banks, mortgage lenders, mortgage brokers, direct lenders,  and credit unions.

Any mortgage lender looks for certain things to determine your credit worthiness to be accepted for a mortgage loan.

The qualifications include your credit rating, your income and time on job, your debt load in relation to your income, and the amount of your down payment.  The lender will also look at the price of the home or property you want to buy.

Credit Rating  Your current credit rating is a very important consideration for the mortgage lender.  Normally, they want to see at least a 600 credit rating to begin the process.

There are certain exceptions where a lesser number is acceptable, but, if so this also usually means you will be charged a higher interest rate and/or more down payment will be needed, or higher front end or back end fees will be charged.

What is in Loan
Income and time on job are factors lenders look at to see if you are loan worthy.

Income and Time on Job  The amount of your income as well as where the income is generated, and length of time on the job are also important factors involved in qualifying for a home loan.

The more income you make the better, but if the home you want to buy is in line with your income, you may still qualify. 

Lenders want to see if you have been on the same job for at least 2 years full time, and if your income is based on hourly or salary.

This is a preferable situation to being self employed or on a draw against commission, or a straight commission basis.  This won’t preclude you from being approved necessarily, you will just have to show more proof of earnings, and establish a consistent pattern of earning.

Debt to Income Ratio  Lenders want to see some debt, and a solid record of making your debt  payments on time.  This ability to pay is also often reflected in the credit rating.

The amount of debt should be very manageable in relation to the amount of money that your make. In other words, you should not have more outstanding debt than you can be reasonably expected to pay back.  The more income you have of course, the better.

Down Payment  You should have more than enough liquid cash or liquid assets to handle the down payment.  Liquid simply means, ability to turn into cash quickly.

The lender may also ask you to see your total readily available cash, or how much cash you have in reserve. 

The type of home loan and the amount of the home you want to buy will determine how much of a down payment is needed.  For instance, a conventional loan will normally require anywhere from 10% to 20% of the price of the home as a down payment.

An FHA or Federal Housing Administration loan has lesser down payment requirements. They mandate a 3 1/2% down payment, and may offer assistance with closing costs. The more money you have for the down payment, the better the lender feels about granting you the loan.

Price of Home/Property  The price of the home/property which is determined by the appraisal, is also a factor in granting a loan.  The majority of lenders will not lend on a home that is valued at less than $50,000, and some lenders want to see even higher minimum values.

However, if the price meets their minimum, you are more likely to get a loan that is lower priced as this increases the likelihood that you will be able to handle the payments for the duration of the loan.

What is in Loan.
There are various mortgages and interest rates.

Types of Mortgages

There are various types and time periods or durations of home loans.

Fixed Rate Mortgage The method of mortgage loan that is granted from lenders the most by far is the fixed rate loan, or fixed rate mortgage.

A fixed rate mortgage is a loan with a fixed rate of interest lasting the entire predetermined period or duration of the loan.  A fixed rate sets or locks your monthly mortgage payments at a consistent amount.

Easily the most common fixed rate loan time period is the 30 year fixed rate.  Time or payback period of 15 years is also quite common. 

Two-step Mortgages   The two step mortgage has 2 differing time durations. The initial time period will be set at one percentage fixed interest rate, and the other time period will be placed at another fixed rate of interest.

As an example, the initial ten year period of the mortgage may have a fixed interest rate at 6%, and the next or subsequent ten year duration may have a fixed rate at 7%.

Combination Mortgage   Combination mortgages or combo mortgages as they are also called, combine a fixed rate time period, and an adjustable rate term. 

As an example, there are loans where the first period is at a fixed rate such as for a 5 year term, and for each year beyond that the rate turns into an adjustable rate for the balance of the time period of the loan.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage Also known as an ARM, the adjustable rate mortgage has a floating or variable rate of interest.  An ARM’s interest rate can go either up or down, or stay the same, unlike a mortgage with a fixed interest rate. 

Changes in an ARM’s interest rate can fluctuate based on changing economic conditions, market factors, as well as on the indicator it may be aligned with.

An Adjustable Rate Mortgage’s interest rate is usually somewhat lower to start than a fixed rate mortgage due to the possibility that it may go higher as time passes.

What is in Loan
A balloon mortgage has lower monthly payments, and a large lump payment at the end.

Balloon Mortgage  A balloon mortgage will normally feature a fixed interest rate for a certain period of time, with relatively low monthly payments, and a substantial balance amount or balloon that becomes due at the expiration of the term of the loan.

The balloon can be a risky mortgage if the borrower does not plan for the large amount that will need to paid at the end of the loan period. 

Best Place to Apply for a Mortgage Loan

What is in LendingtreeThe place that I recommend for you to apply for a home, auto, business, or student loan, and a credit card is at LendingTree

Lendingtree is America’s largest, established, trusted, and reputable online lending marketplace that offers loan sources for all of your needs.

At Lendingtree, just apply once, and you can compare offers from as many as 5 lenders at once.   Loans are available for a home purchase, for home equity, for a home refinance, as well as for reverse mortgages.

And, not to mention, it is 100% FREE, with no obligation for you to get quotes. 

No need to worry about multiple credit inquiries affecting your credit score and rating either.  As long as these inquiries are done within a short time period, less than a month, they are all treated as just one single inquiry.

LendingTree also facilitates auto, and business loans, as well as credit cards.  You can shop and compare interest rates and terms across many different financial offerings right from the comfort of your home or office.

Click here to shop LendingTree

Thank you for reading, What is in Loan.  Feel free to leave your comments, questions, and suggestions below. I will respond to you asap.  Please also feel free to share this article on social media by clicking the buttons below. Good luck in your loan qualifying.  Tom 

Click here for Credit Repair Magic

 

 

What is in Appliances

What is in Appliances

What is in Appliances
The right kitchen appliances will help sell your home.

What is in appliances are dishwashers, refrigerators, ranges, wall ovens, cooktops, disposals and compactors, blenders, grills, stand mixers, and food processors.

Ask any real estate agent or real estate investor, and they will tell you that kitchens sell homes.  What is the most important aspect of the kitchen?  It’s appliances.

New or newer appliances are a must for achieving the thumbs up from the buyer, and will help the seller get a higher price and close in a shorter period of time.

In the last decade or so, most of the newer homes have stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.  Stainless steel has an attractive, shiny, clean look that really pops in any kitchen.

Black stainless steel appliances are also popular. Black and white colored front appliances are also utilized widely today.

The standard kitchen large appliances are the dishwasher, the refrigerator, microwave, and the range with hood and vent.

Some kitchens also have a wall oven, a cook top, and/or a wine fridge or an under-counter fridge.

In addition, more and more homes are being built with outdoor kitchens, or they are being added to existing homes.

I will describe the various major appliances, the differences between the various types, and what determines the pricing.

I will also give you my recommendation of where to shop for appliances, both online, and offline, and why it is my choice.

I will also give you my recommendation for the best place to shop for small kitchen appliances.

Refrigerators

What is in appliances
Stainless steel side by side refrigerator with ice maker and water dispenser on door.

Ah, what would we do without our refrigerators? Also known as the fridge, ice box, freezer, cooler, and others.

The refrigerator provides a vital kitchen function in storing our perishable food,  keeping our food cool, and helping preserve, and extend’s the food’s life.

In many refrigerators is also a freezer component that allows for the making, and storage of ice, as well as the freezing and storage of many foods. This food freezing capability provides the benefit of longer term storage.

Many refrigerators today include the additional feature of water dispensing, and ice dispensing right on the outside of the door without the need to open the door of the fridge.

There are various types of refrigerators on the market today. These include double door or French door refrigerators that open side by side with the freezer compartment underneath.

Another model is the side by side refrigerator with a refrigerator side and a freezer side, and the single door refrigerator with a freezer compartment on the bottom.

The conventional top door refrigerator with the freezer compartment on top of the refrigerator compartment is still available today.

In addition there are built in refrigerators that are built into the wall which saves space in the kitchen.  Other types are the under counter refrigerators, and  wine refrigerators,

Refrigerators start in the $300 range for a top freezer model,  and can cost more than several hundred dollars for a large deluxe model.

Dishwashers

What is in appliances
New stainless steel dishwasher

Dishwashers are another extremely useful appliance.  These amazing machines perform a service that save us time,  work, and keep our kitchen sinks and counters free from dirty dish build up.

Dishwashers today come with a variety of features, and a corresponding range of price points.

So, how do you know which dishwasher is the right one to buy?  The low end of dishwasher prices is around $500-$600 dollars.

One significant feature on the more expensive dishwashers is quiet.  The less you spend, the more noise you can expect your dishwasher to make.

Most dishwashers have similar settings.  Some of the more upper end dishwashers have a gentle or china cycle which of course is ideal for your more expensive dishes and glasses.

You can also find a fast speed or express function on many of the better dishwashers.  Drying is another important feature of a dishwasher.  Most dishwashers have drying capability.

Loading flexibility is another feature to keep in mind. The ability to fold, and raise and lower the interior to accommodate larger pots and pans can be a helpful option.

Additional features should also be expected with the higher priced models, such as specialized jets for casserole dishes or bottles, steam, and the ability to wash certain levels at a time, to name a few.

Ranges

What is in appliances
New gas range with oven and broiler.

Depending on the fuel type that your home provides, you will need either a gas type range, or an electric range.

There are some homes that offer both, and if this is the case for you, you then have the option for one or the other.

Smooth top ranges make up about 40% of all the ranges sold.  The smooth ceramic glass top allows for ease of cleaning, and the look is modern and sleek.

The electric heating elements from below heat the smooth top surface.  At least one high power burner is featured on most smooth top ranges.

Scratches can occur on some of these ceramic glass surfaces. It is suggested to not use cast iron, ceramic, or glass cookware on them.

Better choices are aluminum, and stainless steel cookware.  Also, look for cookware that has flat bottoms for optimum cooking results.

Induction heated cooktops that utilize magnetic coils provide superior performance to electric element heated cooktops.

They heat up faster, have better control, and localize heat better and more safely. As a result, induction ranges cost more than most other ranges.

Coil top electric ranges are also quite common.  These type ranges offer fewer bells and whistles, and are usually less expensive than other types.

Gas ranges are easier to control and adjust than electric ranges. You can also use whatever types of pans and pots that you desire. There are no restrictions.

Gas ranges are also on the lower priced end of ranges, making them even more appealing.

Of course all ranges have an oven below the cook top which is operated with the same heat source as the cooktop, either electric or gas.

You want an oven that does a good job with baking, roasting, and has an effective self cleaning feature.

An electric range that is free standing can start as low as $350, while some induction ranges can go as high as $3500.

Other important kitchen appliances are Microwaves, Compactors and Garbage Disposers,  and Wall Ovens.

Smaller Kitchen Appliances

What is in appliances.
Stand mixer with bowl is a must have for food prep.

Although not a factor for real estate valuation, and resale, small appliances can give the kitchen chef the tools they need to create a myriad of tasty delights.

Some of these helpful inventions include Stand Mixers, Blenders, Food Processors, Countertop Ovens, Slow Cookers, Pressure Cookers, Toasters, Hand Mixers, Hand Blenders, Kettles, and more.

Recommendations

My recommendation for the best place to shop for large and small energy efficient appliances is The Home Depot.

What is in Appliances
Shop online and pick up in store or have delivered.

Home Depot offers the most extensive selection and lowest prices of the  trusted quality brand name appliances that online shoppers can browse from the comfort and convenience of their own homes.

Shop from your computer, mobile, or other device, and pick up at your local store, or have delivered. With over 2300 locations in the US and Canada, there is a Home Depot near you.

FREE 2 day delivery, same day delivery, or next day delivery.  Need your appliance installed? The Home Depot has professional licensed, bonded installers for all your home projects.

Click here to shop the Home Depot

What is in Appliances – Conclusion

What is in appliances are dishwashers, refrigerators, ranges, wall ovens, cooktops, disposals and compactors, blenders, grills, stand mixers, and food processors.

New or newer appliances are a must for achieving the thumbs up from the buyer, and will help the seller get a higher price in a shorter period of time.

The standard kitchen large appliances are the dishwasher, the refrigerator, microwave, and the range with hood and vent.

The refrigerator provides a vital kitchen function in storing our perishable food,  keeping our food cool, and helping preserve, and extend’s the food’s life.

In many refrigerators is also a freezer component that allows for the making, and storage of ice, as well as the freezing and storage of many foods.

Dishwashers save us time,  work, and keep our kitchen sinks and counters free from dirty dish build up.  The features to look for are low noise, fast speed, drying, and a gentle or china cycle.

Depending on the fuel type that your home provides, you will need either a gas type range, or an electric range.

Smooth top ranges make up about 40% of all the ranges sold.  The smooth ceramic glass top allows for ease of cleaning, and the look is modern and sleek.

Induction heated cooktops that utilize magnetic coils provide superior performance to electric element heated cooktops.

Gas ranges are easier to control and adjust than electric ranges. You can also use whatever types of pans and pots that you desire.

Other important kitchen appliances are Microwaves, Compactors and Garbage Disposers, and Wall Ovens.

Small kitchen appliances include Stand Mixers, Blenders, Food Processors, Countertop Ovens, Slow Cookers, Pressure Cookers, Toasters, Hand Mixers, Hand Blenders, Kettles, and more.

My recommendation for the best place to shop for large and small energy efficient appliances is The Home Depot.

Click here to shop the Home Depot

Thanks for dropping by and reading, What is in Appliances. Feel free to leave your comments, questions, and suggestions below. I will respond to you asap.

Also feel free to share on social media by clicking on the buttons below.  Good luck with your home appliance shopping.   Tom

 

What is in Flooring

What is in Flooring

What is in Flooring
The right flooring can add beauty, and value to a home.

What is in flooring is an array of choices that includes a wide selection of hardwoods, heated floors, tile, linoleum, carpet, laminate, cork, engineered wood, vinyl, and others.

Generally speaking, the rooms or areas of the home or building that you have flooring in, will determine the types of flooring that work best.

For instance surfaces that resist or repel water are best for rooms that have running water such as the kitchen, and the bathrooms.

The other consideration for the best type of flooring to use is cost. There is a variance, and sometimes a wide variance in price from one type of flooring to another.

Some styles of flooring are not too difficult to install, and can be handled by a do it yourselfer, whereas other styles may require an expert installer or contractor to do the job.

Good quality flooring installed properly can greatly enhance the look and feel of the interior, and even in some areas, the exterior of the home.

In addition, the right flooring can increase the value of a home, and shorten the time needed to sell the home once put on the market.

I will describe the different types of hardwood flooring available to you. I will also let you know why some types and styles are considered preferable to others.

I will also make a recommendation for you where to shop for flooring online, and how you can compare and contrast the look and cost right from your computer or mobile device of the various kinds of flooring.

In addition I will let you know where you can buy online, and pick up at a physical store, or buy online and have it delivered to you or to your contractor.

Hardwood Flooring

What is in flooring
Hardwood floors have increased in popularity in the last 20 years, and continue to do so.

In the last 18-20 years or so, hardwoods have risen in popularity for use in flooring to an impressive extent. The appeal, and demand for hardwood floors is at an all time high, and showing no signs of slowing down.

Within the hardwood flooring sector, there are many different types, and styles to choose from.

Hardwood flooring is a significant investment, and it is important to know the advantages, and disadvantages, as well as the appearance of each species.

Solid hardwood flooring is one solid piece of wood that normally ranges from 1/2″ thick to 3/4″ thick.  Hardwood boards can range between 2 1/4″ wide to as much as 13″ wide.  Solid hardwood must be nailed or stapled down to a wood sub floor.

It is not recommended to glue solid hardwood flooring directly to a concrete floor, in almost every case. Thus, homes without basements because they have concrete slabs would typically not be able to have solid hardwood floors.

Solid hardwood floors afford you the benefit of being able to sand and refinish them if they become scratched or gouged, or if you would like to change the stain color.

Depending on the thickness of the hardwood, this is possible anywhere from 2 to 5 different times.

Oak  Oak is quite possibly the most common of woods used for hardwood floors.  Oak is also one of the least expensive types of woods used, and is softer than many other woods.

The specific oak grain provides an advantage in that it will camouflage scratches and damage well caused by pets, furniture, and continual every day use.

Oak also absorbs stains well. This makes the process of refinishing the floor relatively easy.  Oak is considered a classic, traditional wood.

What is in flooring
Maple is lighter, harder, and more expensive than oak.

Maple  Maple is more expensive, and is a harder wood than oak. Maple also has a lighter color than oak.  There are different grades of maple, which, as a result creates differences in it’s prices.

Maple has a smooth, slick look due to it’s having less grain.  You will see maple used in many gymnasium floors, for instance.  Maple is considered a modern wood.

Maple may turn a bit yellow in color when it is exposed to extended periods of light.  It does not absorb stain well.  Maple with stain may develop spots and blemishes. Darker stains may even turn gray.

Hickory  Hickory looks much like oak in it’s graining and coloring.  Hickory, however, is a much tougher wood, and, as a result, it is also more expensive than oak.

It’s graining and hardness allows it to hide dents and scratches very well, which makes it a popular favorite wood among pet owners.

Bamboo  This exotic looking wood has grown in popularity recently, and is now in high demand.  Technically a grass, bamboo grows to a tall, hard, round plant or tree.

It is less expensive than most hardwoods, and is also considered eco friendly.  Depending on the type and quality of the bamboo, prices can vary.

Avoid the very low priced bamboo as it is surely of low quality, and will be prone to dent without much effort.  A distinct advantage of a quality bamboo hardwood floor is that it can be glued to concrete floors, making installation less expensive, easier, and faster.

A disadvantage of bamboo floors is that it tends to reveal scratches, and dents more easily than other hardwood floors.  It is also not as resilient to water, and pet stains.  It is also not an easy wood to refinish or sand.

Brazilian Cherry  This deep grained, attractive wood sports a deep reddish color.  Like hickory, Brazilian cherry comes in a variety of colors.  It is a strong wood that doesn’t easily dent.

What is in flooring
Brazilian walnut is the hardest, and strongest of all the hardwoods.

Brazilian Walnut  Like the Brazilian cherry, this wood has a deep rich attractive grain, and a smooth finish. It’s colors are a brownish tone. It is the hardest and strongest of all the hardwoods.

Brazilian walnut is a more expensive choice than Brazilian cherry. It is often used in decks that call for a top quality, durable, attractive wood floor.

Pine  Pine is considered a softer wood, but depending on the species, the hardness varies.  Soft pine is a lighter, blondish color, and may dent and scratch somewhat easily.

Hard pine is darker in color, and provides good protection against scratches and dents. It’s hardness rivals that of red oak. It is know for it’s different patterns, and knots which give it a rustic appearance.

Birch  Birch wood is similar to maple as far as color, and graining. It is somewhat softer, however, and less expensive than both oak and maple.

Like maple it absorbs brown stain well. Birch is often used as a filler wood in some engineered hardwood, and in plywood. Sweet birch is the hardest of the birch species.

Ash  Ash hardwood has a pale color.  It is good at absorbing and holding stains. Ash wood’s ideal and consistent hardness makes it an ideal wood for making skis, hockey sticks, and garden implement handles. Ash has a high quality shock resistance.

American Cherry   Like Brazilian cherry, this wood has a very attractive, deep red color that even increases with age. It is also an expensive hard wood.

A big difference though is this wood is quite a bit softer than the Brazilian cherry, and as a result, can dent, and scratch more easily.  American cherry is difficult to stain, and may turn out discolored.

American Walnut or Black Walnut  Also known as simply walnut, this is an expensive wood. It ranges in color from a pale brown to a dark, rich brown.

Other attractive, popular hardwoods for flooring include: Acacia, Brazilian Koa, Pecan, and Cumaru.

Engineered Hardwoods

What is in flooring
Engineered hardwood looks just like solid hardwood from above.

Engineered hardwoods, unlike solid hardwoods, are made up of layers of wood. Generally these layers number from 3 to 9.

The top and bottom layers are the real wood, such as oak, hickory, maple or whatever wood is chosen. These top layers can also vary in thickness.

A benefit of engineered hardwoods is that it can be glued directly to concrete sub floors, unlike solid hardwoods.  This is ideal for homes without basements that only have concrete slabs.

Another way to install engineered hardwoods on a concrete sub floor is to place a pad on the sub floor, and glue the tongue and groove connection of the hardwoods together to place it on top of the pad. This is called the float installation technique.

If you are on a wood sub floor, engineered hardwoods can be installed with nails or staples through the side of the hardwood down into the wood sub floor.

Engineered hardwoods have greater stability when it comes to humidity, and temperature than do solid hardwoods.

This means that they won’t contract, and cause small gaps in the hardwood panels of your floor, which solid hardwoods may sometimes do. This is called cupping.

Normally engineered hardwoods cannot be sanded and refinished.  However, if the top layer is thick enough, it may be possible.

From an appearance standpoint, engineered hardwoods, and solid hardwoods look exactly the same from above once they are installed.

From a cost standpoint, engineered hardwoods are slightly cheaper than solid hardwoods.  It is also less expensive to have engineered hardwoods installed.

Other Flooring Types

Other flooring available to you include Vinyl Plank, Stone Look Tile, Wood Look Tile, Linoleum, Laminate, Heated, and Waterproof.

Recommended Flooring Source

What is in flooringI recommend Lumber Liquidators as the best flooring provider.

Lumber Liquidators has one of the largest inventories of unfinished and prefinished hardwood flooring in the entire industry. There are flooring experts in every store ready to help. In addition, free samples are available.

They have stores in 46 states, and has 420 locations in the United States, and Canada. They continue to add new locations throughout both countries.

Lumber Liquidators has in it’s inventory, solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, bamboo flooring, laminate  flooring, vinyl flooring, cork flooring, butcher blocks, stone look tile flooring, wood look tile flooring, moldings, and accessories.

Everything Lumber Liquidators sells is top quality to industry specifications and grades.

You can shop online, and pick up your purchase at the nearest store. Lumber Liquidators purchase directly from mills that practice sustainability, and they eliminate the middleman, and pass the savings on to you.

They offer special financing, a best price guarantee, gift cards, professional installation, and special pricing for flooring contractors.

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Thank you for dropping by and reading, What is in Flooring. Feel free to leave your comments, questions, and suggestions below. I will respond to you asap.

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What is in Home Improvement

What is in Home Improvement

What is in Home Improvement
Painting is just one of many possible home improvement projects.

What is in Home Improvement is a chance to increase the value of your home, and to increase the enjoyment you receive from remaining in your home.

Sometimes it may be preferable to update certain rooms, sections, or areas of your home and remaining there, versus selling the home, and buying a different home that has the features and/or location that you desire.

It may be that you don’t want to uproot your children from the school that they have been attending.  You may like the neighborhood, and the amenities that it offers. Or, perhaps you are in close proximity to your workplace.

By improving your home, and increasing it’s value, you will also buoy the home values of your neighbor’s properties, in most cases.

You can also derive a great deal of satisfaction by performing some or all of the upgrade work yourself. This also allows you to save the labor costs that hiring tradesmen, and contractors would demand.

And, let’s face it, moving is never easy. It can be a large hassle to go to the trouble of preparing your home for sale, hiring a realtor, and leaving for showings.

Not to mention you still have to find a new home, coordinate the selling of your existing home, and buying and moving into your new home, organizing and packing,  hiring movers, etc. etc.

And, if that weren’t enough reason, oftentimes you will spend more for you new property than what your existing home is worth, thus increasing your monthly payments, and your debt load.

In addition, you may have to come up with a substantial down payment to make your new purchase possible.

The good news is, if you live in the US or Canada, there are 2 home improvement chains that have everything you need and then some to help you accomplish your home upgrade tasks.

Combined there are more than 4600 Lowe’s, and Home Depot locations.  Odds are very good that there is one near you. You can shop online, pick up in store, or have delivered.

What is in Home ImprovementWhat is in Home Improvement

Improve This

What is in Home Improvement
The kitchen is by far the most important room in the house to improve.

Have you ever wondered which rooms or areas of the home will improve the resale value of your home and property the most?

Maybe you have limited funds to devote to upgrading your home, and you want to put your home improvement efforts where it will have the biggest bang for your buck and time.

As a Realtor, and someone that has had a lot of conversations, and exposure to real estate investors, I have learned the best places to improve your home in order to allow you to get the biggest return on your money, and efforts.

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The good news is, there is one room in the home that is by far the most important one to sink your attention toward.  This is not to say that you won’t benefit by improving other parts of the home, but if this one isn’t up to snuff, it could be futile to attempt to upgrade other areas.

1. Kitchen  

I would bet that you probably already knew this, or at least guessed that the kitchen is far and away the most important room in the house to update.  Real estate agents and real estate investors know that kitchens sell houses.

So, why is the kitchen the most important room in the house to upgrade? The reason is, because it is the most important room to the ladies or wives.

At the risk of sounding sexist, it has been my experience, and that of all of the other real estate agents, and investors I’ve known, that if the wife doesn’t like the kitchen in the house, she simply will not be a party to buying it, and will not let her husband talk her into buying it.

The saying, Happy Wife, Happy Life applies here.  It really is important to have a large kitchen with ample, and newer cabinets, plenty of counter space, newer appliances, a large single or double kitchen sink with a nice faucet, a center island, and a breakfast bar.

And the flooring better not be cheap linoleum either.

What is in Home Improvement
The master bath or main bath is the second most important room in the house to improve.

2. Master Bath or Main Bath

The second most important room in the house to improve, after the kitchen is the master bathroom, or if there is no master bath, the main full bath.

Despite being a somewhat distant second in importance to the kitchen, never the less, the master bathroom is important.  The reasoning here, I believe, follows closely with the previous reason.

Men also like to have a nice large bathroom with dual vanities(ideally) with newer bath sink faucets, a separate tub and shower(again ideally), and a large closet or storage area for towels, robes, and other bathroom accessories.

It is not necessarily vital to have dual vanities, and a separate tub, and shower, but if there is one sink and faucet, and a tub/shower combination, it should be newer, and have attractive fixtures, and a newer or updated tub and surround.

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3. Basement or Lower Level

Another significant area to consider upgrading or improving is the basement of lower level.  Some homes don’t have basements or lower levels, and if this is the case for the home you have, I would emphasize the kitchen and master bath for your upgrades.

It makes sense to partially finish, or finish the lower level or the basement, especially if the main level or levels of the home do not include a lot of square footage.

What is in Home Improvement
Before a basement or lower level is finished, it has to be waterproofed.

Adding livable square footage to the home will in almost every case, increase the value of the home, if done in a professional manner.

An ideal basement or lower level scenario is to have a walk out, a full bath, a separate sleeping area, a main living area, and an unfinished storage area. Even more ideal is to have a full or partial kitchen, making it a Mother-in-Law quarters.

These Mother-in-Law quarters allow for easy rentals, and very comfortable accommodations for family members or friends to stay for extended periods of time, thus the name.

This is a renovation area that can be quite challenging, and unless you are experienced, and prepared for this type of work, it may be best to leave up to the professionals.

Serious potential issues such as cracking in the walls or in the floor causing water, and possibly mold problems need to be addressed, and eliminated before even considering finishing the area.

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Other Home Improvement Ideas

Of course, it is vital that glaring problems with other areas of the home be addressed, regardless of renovating the kitchen, bath, and lower level.

Issues such as large, uneven cracks in the driveway or sidewalk, steps that are in disrepair, brick chimneys or walls that need tuckpointing, exterior or interior walls that are in desperate need of repair or paint, doors or windows that don’t operate or close properly, should all be taken care of first and foremost prior to putting your home on the market, should you choose to do so.

What is in Home Improvement
An upgraded backyard patio is an appealing feature of a home.

Other areas of the home that will likely boost the value of your home are back yard patios or decking.  It is now expected, that a home has some sort of gathering area in the back for grilling, and socializing.

More and more homes are including fire pits, gas heaters, extra seating, pergola’s, veranda’s, patio covers, and even outdoor kitchens in order to spend more time outside socializing, and to accommodate family and guests for many months of the year.

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Home Improvement Areas to Avoid

Just as there are many areas of the home that are beneficial to improve, there are also some areas that may be best to avoid.

These areas may actually cost you more money to upgrade than you will be able to recoup in home value or resale value.  The two areas where this is possible are garages, and swimming pools.

If you have an existing garage, and it needs some sprucing up, that is fine, but if you want to add a new garage, you may want to rethink it.

A new garage can run you anywhere from $20K to over $50K.  More times than not you home value will only increase half or less, as a result.

Swimming pools are another area that can be problematic. Depending of course where you live, a built in pool may or may not be a good idea.

What is in Home Improvement
A built in pool is a risky upgrade to a home.

If you live in the deep south, or southern California, adding a pool will likely pay for itself. However, if you live in most other parts of the country, a pool will probably not pay for itself.

A lot of people don’t like the liability, and the danger of pools. Families with young children are often turned off by built in pools as it presents a danger to the kids, and added worry for the parents.

Other folks want the back yard space for patios, gardens, or for the yard itself in order to play sports, and games, run the dogs, etc.  If you find the right buyer that loves having a pool in the back, you are safe.

This though will lessen the pool of prospective buyers, pun intended, and could mean a longer time on the market, and a smaller selling price should you decide to sell.

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What is in Home Improvement – Conclusion

What is in Home Improvement is a chance to increase the value of your home, and to increase the enjoyment you receive from remaining in your home.

Sometimes it may be preferable to update certain rooms, sections, or areas of your home and remaining there, versus selling the home.

And, let’s face it, moving is never easy. It can be a large hassle to go to the trouble of preparing your home for sale, hiring a realtor, and leaving for showings.  Not to mention the expenses involved.

There are three rooms or areas of the home that have been proven to be the most effective as far as increasing the value of your home by upgrading them.

The kitchen by far and away is the most important room in the house as far as helping houses sell.  Second is the master bathroom, or the main bath if the home doesn’t have a master bedroom suite.

The third best area to renovate is the lower level or the basement.  This is an area that is usually best left up to the experts for improvement, unless it is not a major project.

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Other areas that will usually pay you to improve are the back yard patio or deck.  Areas to avoid improving are, adding garages, and adding built in pools.

Thank you for reading, What is in Home Improvement. Feel free to leave your questions, comments, and suggestions below. I will get back to you asap.

Please also feel free to share on social media by clicking on the social media buttons below. Good luck with your home improvement projects.