Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kitchen Remodel, How much should you spend?

It is great to be able to spend money on a complete kitchen remodel, if you have the funds to do so. However, for every day people, money for such projects is hard to come by and in many cases, do not yield a big return investment wise.  Well I am sure you have heard that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes and this concept has been reinforced many times on television remodel shows,etc. The truth is, you may not recoup a majority of your expenses. You may only break even, or even lose some money. Why is this? Simply put, its all about where you live and what your neighbors have that dictates whether your money is well spent.

Consider this. If the homes in your existing neighborhood all have dated kitchens and are fetching at or below market value, you may want to scale back your improvements if you're looking to make money off your efforts. Dated homes take longer to sell but if you have many in your neighborhood the buyers looking are not expecting to pay far more for your lavish updates. You'd think just the opposite would apply, your updates should set your home above the rest, and command a better price. Unfortunately that rarely is the case.

So what can you do in this situation? Well you might want to scale back your project. If most kitchens in your neighborhood have laminate counter tops, that is what buyers in that  price point expect to find in your home. That doesn't mean you can invest in nice laminate though. Wilsonart has incredible updated styles that would surely appeal to a buyer, but save you thousands at the same time. Dated old wood cabinets in other homes on the street don't mean you're stuck either, but you may want to considered giving them a fresh new look with paint. Flooring too can be freshened up using some of the tile look alike peel and stick varieties and again save you thousands.
Here's an example of what paint can do for a kitchen, that can stand out and be noticed.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mold in your dream home?

Black mold growing on an inorganic surface pro...
Black mold growing on an inorganic surface probably gets its energy from light &/or heat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
First and foremost there are many different types of mold. Treating mold can be as simple or as complicated as contacting a mold remediation team to come in and tackle the problem. The first thing you have to address is what is causing the mold. Mold can lead to any number of health problems. Those that are already highly allergic, young and older family members may be at the highest risk of developing health issues. That being said, it is imperative that it be dealt with sooner than later. It will get worse the longer you let it go.
1. Identify the source of the problem. This may require hiring a professional that deals with mold or a contractor, home inspector, or handy man.
2. Don't always opt for the cheapest remedy. Mold has a nasty way of coming back if it isn't completely removed. Even if you identify the source of the moisture, a small amount can still grow and flourish with just a little moisture to live on. A simple solution of bleach and water may remove it visually but it can come back if it is inside the wall or ceiling.
3. Don't be afraid to replace a whole section of ceiling or wall. It is good to go ahead if it is in a wall to remove the whole wall to make sure you can see exactly where all the mold is present. This requires having your windows open and lots of ventilation. You don't want to cause mold spores to be air born if you can help it.
4. Be prepared, you may  have termites.  Termites love moist wood. Sometimes termites are the reason for the mold in some homes. They get into a wall, the baseboards and studs become hollow and This allows for moisture to enter in via rainy days, etc. and before long what the termites don't destroy mold will.
5. Trust your nose. Your nose often times can smell damp, rotting and unfresh smells like mold very easily. Don't just chalk it up to normal. It is not normal for a room in your house to smell like a soggy old gym sock.  Hire a home inspector or someone specializing in mold remediation and get it taken care of. If you're planning on putting your house on the market than this becomes especially important. Any mold that turns up during a home inspection will be a deal breaker.