11 Ways You Can Protect Yourself from DIY Disasters
By Shari
April 25, 2014

I know we all have seen the network programs and thought "Hey! These people make it look so easy, I can do that!"

It may look so easy, and the idea of saving money is very enticing, but there are times where the DIY (Do It Yourself) Projects can surprise you. There are many projects around the home that can be accomplished by any homeowner but there are just as many projects as well that should be left to those with more experience. Either way it is very important to plan and understand a project before you begin it.

Here are 11 tips for avoiding DIY Disasters.

1. Measure twice, cut once. This particular proverb has been around forever. If you cut your tile, panelling, or molding too short, you can't magically make it longer. Always double check your measurements.

2. Beware of plumbing projects. Even though most people can change the insides of a toliet, problems can still happen as most people have discovered. If your home has only one bathroom, you might want to be prepared to stay somewhere overnight if something goes wrong. One thing to remember is to turn off the water before you start any plumbing project.

3. Leave electrical projects to the professionals. IF you know what you are doing, you can change a light fixture. But say if you're replacing a light fixture with a ceiling fan this will involve more than just changing the fixture. Just think, there are even more complicated electrical projects than this. Also a word of safety, if you are going to work on electrical project make sure that you turn off the breaker before you touch anything.

4. Look for instructions online. With the vast number of video tutorials nowadays that can be found on YouTube there are instructional videos for everything! Just be mindful that the videos you are watching will pertain to your project. Take into account the area you live in. You don't want to watch a video on how to build a deck that was done in one part of the country that may not take into account the weather conditions where you live.

5. Take a class at Home Depot or Lowes. Nearly every week or month these stores nationwide offer free classes on everything from replacing a faucet to tiling a room. These classes fill up fast so you want to register ahead of time to participate in these workshops.

6. Ask questions at the hardware store. Most hardware stores have expertes on staff who can answer questions about home projects. If you're replacing a part, make sure you bring that part with you rather than trying to remember what that part looks like.

7. Use the right tools. You can rent or borrow tools if you don't own them. If you are going to do a lot of projects then you might want to invest in the proper tools.

8. Know which projects require a permit. Some cities or counties are stricter than others about permits. Sometimes they even require that a licensed contractor must obtain a permit before the project is started. If you are going to do a major renovation and the proper permits are not obtained. This may cause problems if you ever try to sell your home. This may cause you to redo the project to meet city specifications.

9. Know what you can and can't do yourself. Be cautious with your projects and know your limitations. You don't want to take down a low-bearing wall and accidently bring down the second floor on top of you.

10. Consider what your time is worth. Judge realistically how long the project is going to take you in man hours. For example if you earn $100/hour and replacing a faucet takes you 3 hours to do. Is it worth it? Or would it be cheaper in the long run to hire the plumber.

11. Be prepared to live with the results. This will include both the quality or the work and the time your house will be in disarray. Can you install the molding well enough to be happy with the end results? Or will it bug you that it isn't straight? Consider this for all the projects you do for your home. If you remodel the kitchen and it ends up taking you six months to do can you live without a kitchen for that long???


You Know You're Ready to Sell Your House When....
By Shari
March 2, 2014

The decistion to put your home on the market should never be done hastely but at the same time should not be dragged out either. With economic uncertainy and rising mortgage rates this makes potential home owners flip flop in deciding to list their home.

There's no set formula to decide if you're ready to list or not but there are at least four signs that hint that it may be time;

1. You Have a Game Plan: A serious seller typically has an idea where their next home is going to be located and what type of home they want. Generally having a game plan where and what your replacement home will be, will be a motivating factor to most home sellers. Because of this general idea what home your next neighborhood is going to be in, this should give you an estimated price of how much home you can afford. You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you sell your home and can't afford the new one. or you can't secure the loan because you don't have a large enough down payment. 

2. You're No Longer Emotionally Attached to the Home: If you have ANY emotions about the home then you're really not ready to sell says most experts and I agree. If you're finding yourself still connected to the home then you're not going to listen to your agent and do what it takes to sell. A seller has to view the home as a product and not as "their" home.

3. You are Financially Ready to Make the Leap: Some say that this is the first sign a homeowner is ready to sell. They are financially ready. Evaluate and determine that you are financially ready for the costs associated with purchasing a new home. Take into account the down payment, closing costs and moving expenses.

4. You are Ready to Make Changes: A seller who is still emotionally attached to a home will more than likely resist major changes or upgrades which could affect the price and quick sale of the home. A seller should invest the time and energy to do a little renovating from time to time to get the best price in the quickest time. 

Buying a House

The home may be where the heart is, but the home-buying process can easily have headaches if you're not careful.

To keep hassles to a minimum, take time to evaluate each professional you'll need, from lender to real estate agent to home inspector to title agent. Choose client-focused, experienced professionals who are appropriately licensed.

Here are some tips,

Mortgage lender: Before you start looking at homes, find a reliable lender to preapprove you for financing. This is especially important now, given that there are more stringent government regulations of home financing.

Seek a responsive bank or mortgage professional who keeps the terms of the agreement consistent, or gives fair warning of changes, and who communicates well so that paperwork flows in a timely way.

Real Estate Agent: Look for an agent who'll communicate with you promptly throughout the process.

Make sure the agent you hire has the computer skills and is web savvy to set up automated searches so you're notified quickly of new listings.

Confirm that an agent is properly licensed and in good professional standing. All states require that real estate agents be licensed.

Home inspector: Look for inspectors who go beyond state regulatory requirements (though not all states require inspectors to be licensed), receive continued education and belong to a professional organization, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Be sure to schedule an inspection early enough in the process that there's time to deal with repair issues or other problems if they are discovered.

To prevent last minute problems at closing, closely monitor that the sellers take care of any agreed-upon repairs stemming.

Title Agent: Inquire about licensing, which is required for title agents in all states, and require a full list of charges.

With these things in mind then this will make your home buying process very easy.