If you’re buying a brand new home – meaning a home that has just been built and has no previous owners – it’s fairly typical to automatically receive a warranty for a set number of years on the structure, its fixtures and appliances – and generally at no extra charge. Builders want to give their buyers peace of mind by guaranteeing the quality of their work and this warranty covers it. Since there’s no additional charge for this kind of warranty, there’s little for home owners to grapple with; yes, they’ll gladly accept the warranty. However, what if you buy a resale home (a home that has had previous owners) and have been given the opportunity to pay into a home warranty? Is it worth it? Do home warranties make sense? Is it yet another scare tactic? Angie’s List., the web source that lets home owners rank, review and find service providers, has kept tabs on consumer feedback on home warranties and the message they got was rather discouraging. [Read more...]
Congratulations, home owner, you just got the keys to your new place! Now all that’s left is that delightful matter of packing and moving your crap. Sure, you can go the ol’ Garbage Bag and Boxes from the Liquor Store route, or you can realize you don’t live in a frat house any more and need real, sizeable moving containers that won’t be mistaken for trash. Alas, buying new cardboard boxes is surprisingly costly – and while recyclable, it’s hardly a great move for the environment to keep producing and trashing cardboard. So what’s a classy, budget-minded, and eco-aware person in transition to do? We’ve got the answer! [Read more...]
We recently wrote about some of the services you can expect, or in the least – ask for –, from your real estate agent. However, it’s important that you also understand that your agent can’t perform miracles. If she could, do you really think she’d spend her time selling your bungalow when there’s peace in the Middle East she could wave her magic wand over? My real estate agent mentioned a few examples from her “clients from hell”, and it’s flabbergasting what people expected of her. Don’t be one of these people, people! [Read more...]
The first time table legs became a part of my life was when I moved away from the confines of home and family and got my first apartment in college. Trust me, the thought that table legs would become an important challenge in my life had never crossed my mind. But like most of us starting out in life, I might have hooked up with kind of a bunch of Neanderthals. One of them had found an apartment and invited me to go in on it with the other dudes. Turned out unfurnished meant no furniture, who knew. So dining room tables were invariably card tables one of you got from home for free, and since you didn’t have dinner parties or probably even a dining room, this worked just fine. Then there was the living room. A coffee table was a must and you needed a place for the stereo to live as well. These fine furnishings would need to be procured elsewhere. [Read more...]
You know those ads where you can go to one website – usually owned by an insurance company – and get quotes from a bunch of different insurance companies and directly compare the rates? Those don’t always paint the full picture. I’m not saying those websites are lying, but you can only really get an exact quote for coverage of your home by going through a full questionnaire with the company directly – and usually with a human being. I know – that dreamy world where we don’t have to interact with each other isn’t quite here yet. Sigh. Plus, there’s more to insurance than what you pay monthly – there’s that whole service thing that occurs should you need to make a policy change or – hopefully not – a claim. I recently secured new home insurance and here’s some things I discovered along the way: [Read more...]
When you think of high-rise apartments, flood damage isn’t usually on the top of the list of things to be concerned about. After all, lakes and streams are all the way down there. Us glorious Sky Gods are safe up here, right? Oh, how wrong we are. I can now say that with experience, seeing as the condo building I live in recently experienced so much flooding that it could have been the backdrop to A River Runs Through It. [Read more...]
About three to four years ago, the housing market in my city was going all kinds of crazy. It was a seller’s market on Mark McGwire-grade steroids. Everyone was looking for real estate at that moment and a house with a little yard in downtown was mighty coveted. Back in 2007, friends of mine made offers on 23 places in 14 months and were heavily involved in five bidding wars before emerging victorious with an accepted offer and a place of their own. I get a headache just thinking about it.
In order to make their offers more enticing, many people during this time were doing all kinds of things to win – offering far above the asking price, providing massive deposits with offers, bumping possession dates to whatever the buyers were asking for and removing conditions.
Say that again? Removing conditions? Like what?
Oh, nothing. Just the very-important and you-are-insane-to-remove-conditions like the home inspection. While the idea of submitting dozens of rejected offers makes my head hurt, the idea of buying a house without a home inspection makes my stomach sick. [Read more...]
1978 was a very good year. It marks the appearance of the first cell phone (which was probably the size of a football), a pound of bacon cost just $1.20, and the country was enamored with a dancing-singing John Travolta. Most importantly, yours truly made her glorious debut into the world that year. It was also a good time for home owners. It was in 1978 that the government took your safety more seriously and banned the use of lead-based paint.
But what if your home was built prior to 1978? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 64 million dwellings in the United States currently contain lead-based products, so there’s a fair chance your pre-80s home is among them. As of this April, there are new regulations from the EPA concerning renovation, repair and painting work in your home – and you need to know about them. [Read more...]